March 31
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

answers to questions

Over the last week, I've seen gobs and gobs of Twitter and general internet content designed to help keep people busy and thinking about sports even though we have very little of it to report on.

Most of it is "list" kind of things, the exact sort of stuff that sports enthusiasts love to generate.

And while I don't participate in the back and forth on Twitter, I've stashed away a bunch of my answers for use here at #DMD.

If you see any of these that interest you enough to comment on, please feel free to share your opinions below.

Best college basketball player I've seen -- I've been watching college basketball since the late 1970's and I've never seen anyone as good -- in the college game -- as Christian Laettner. He wasn't a great pro player, but he was an outrageous talent and competitor at........yikes..........Duke.

One player, from any team, to add to my favorite team? Easy answer. It's this guy.

Best baseball stadium I've ever been in -- We all have our own definition of "best". Here's how I define it: If I could watch one baseball game in a stadium of my choice, where would I watch it? And that's a VERY easy answer for me. I'd go to Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles. I've been there four times. It is, without question, the best baseball stadium. To me, anyway.

One putt from 10 feet. You can pick any player on the PGA Tour to make it. If he sinks it, you both get one million dollars. Who putts it? -- Easy answer to this one: Patrick Reed. Where do I collect my million bucks?

The most overrated athlete of the four major team sports is who? -- This is a great question. I'd say it's Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees, particularly when you factor in his $26 million salary. Wake me up when he gets a big hit in a big game.

If you could change one historical moment or event in your city's sports heritage, what would you change? -- Another no brainer. With all due respect to the Ravens, we know what the answer to this one is. If I could change one thing about Baltimore's sports history, it would be the Colts moving to Indianapolis.

You can change any one rule in sports. What would you change? -- I'd eliminate offsides in hockey.

Pick any player in any sport and put him/her on your favorite team. Who would it be? -- 5 years ago? Easy answer: Tom Brady. Now, in 2020? Max Scherzer. That guy is such a winner.

What one sporting event haven't you seen live that you'd like to see? -- Daytona 500.

If your son or daughter could play for any coach in college, who would it be? -- Geno Auriemma, UConn women's basketball.

Not considering your own favorite team or athlete, what one unfortunate or tragic sports moment would you change if you could? -- I'd have Bill Buckner catch Mookie Wilson's grounder in the 1986 World Series. Buckner endured a lot of heartache because of that one error.

If you could gift one major championship to any current PGA Tour player, who would you give it to? -- No one needs a major more than Rickie Fowler, but he has plenty of time to win one somehow. If I could give one to any player, I'd give it to Lee Westwood. He's been a remarkable player, a terrific representative of the sport and has had too many close calls to not win one.

Create a "Mount Rushmore" of the top 4 most underrated athletes in your city's sports history -- Adam Jones, Jarret Johnson, Dave McNally, Ken Singleton

Who is one athlete in your city that most people don't know, but should? -- Jeff Cook, former Johns Hopkins lacrosse player. In 1981, he scored 52 goals in 14 games for the Blue Jays.

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"frank fund 3.0" continues tomorrow

We're excited to get back on the road tomorrow and continue our "Frank Fund" efforts with our third set of hospital visits in the Baltimore area.

Tomorrow, Brian Hubbard and I will take breakfast around to doctors, nurses and medical professionals, our first "early morning" delivery since we started the project last week with an initial donation of $200 from our friend Frank Del Viscio. We're hoping to get everyone's morning off to a great start with coffee from Royal Farms and bagels (and all the fixings) from our friend Tim Giancola at Bagel Works Hunt Valley. Tim is an '89 Calvert Hall graduate and eager to help with our "Frank Fund 3.0" project.

On Thursday night of this week, "Frank Fund 4.0" will include dinner from our friends at Chick fil-A Nottingham Square. Our plans on Wednesday and Thursday are to hit some of the outlying areas like Anne Arundel and Carroll counties.

Since last Monday, we've received donations exceeding $2,000 and have spent roughly $1,500 on food and essentials for 13 local hospitals and Our Daily Bread in downtown Baltimore. We'll take the remaining monies and anything else we receive and put it to good use this week.

If anyone who has donated has a specific hospital for us to visit and drop off food, we're all for it! Just e-mail me and give me the details.

If you're interested in donating to "Frank Fund 3.0 and 4.0", please know how much we appreciate and need your support. Our medical professionals are doing "foxhole" work during this Covid-19 crisis and we're doing our best to show them our thanks and gratitude.

Reach out to me via email (18inarow@gmail.com) if you'd like to donate and I'll tell you how to do it.

Thank you to everyone who has donated thus far and thanks to our friends at Royal Farms, Glory Days Grill, the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Bagel Works Hunt Valley and Chick fil-A Nottingham Square for their support of our "Frank Fund" initiative.


40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 31: mike gill

Mike Gill, a 1968 Calvert Hall grad and one of our city's most inspirational business leaders, has been in my life since the mid 1980's. Gill was the former neighbor of then Blast head coach Kenny Cooper, and his communications company, Americom, was a Blast sponsor back in the early days of the franchise.

I spent many a day at Mike's office in the '80's, listening to his business wisdom and learning the nuances of leadership and management. Why Mike let a mid 20's kid from Glen Burnie into his office to soak up information is beyond me...but I'm sure grateful that he did it!

When I got the Calvert Hall golf job in 2012, the first call I received when the news was released was from Mike Gill. "Tell me how I can help," was just about the first thing he said to me during that phone conversation. That season, I instituted a new program with Calvert Hall golf called the "Honorary Captain" and I tabbed Gill for that role in my first campaign as the Cardinals head coach. We would go on to win the MIAA championship that season. Mike still reminds me that he's 1-0 as an "Honorary Captain"!

In each of my eight seasons at the helm, Mike has been a supporter and a guiding influence for players on the team. Last spring, he attended our team breakfast on the morning of the championship match vs. Loyola and provided some inspiring words to the entire roster.

I've been fortunate to make many friends in the Baltimore business community during my lifetime. Very few -- I can name them on one hand, honestly -- have ever been more positive, uplifting and gracious as my friend, Mike Gill.

I try to tell him "thank you" as much as I can, but in doing this "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration, he's absolutely a "must include" on my list. I'm thankful to have him as a friend.

I Am Catholic

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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. XIII — Disorder fatal to the doctors–to the clergy–to drunkards–to filles de joie–to maid servants–to the poor–and in close streets. —Less destructive to the French.

RARELY has it happened, that so large a proportion of the gentlemen of the faculty have sunk beneath the labours of their very dangerous profession, as on this occasion. In five or six weeks, exclusive of medical students, no less than ten physicians have been swept off, doctors Hutchinson, Morris, Linn, Pennington, Dodds, Johnson, Glentworth, Phile, Graham and Green. Scarcely one of the practicing doctors that remained in the city, escaped sickness. Some were three, four, and five times confined.

To the clergy it has likewise proved very fatal. Exposed, in the exercise of the last duties to the dying, to equal danger with the physicians, it is not surprising that so many of them have fallen. Their names are, the Rev. Alexander Murray, of the protestant episcopal church—the Rev. F. A. Fleming and the Rev. Laurence Graessl of the Roman catholic—the Rev. John Winkhause, of the German reformed—the Rev. James Sproat, of the Presbyterian—the Rev. William Dougherty, of the Methodist church—and likewise four noted preachers of the Friends society, Daniel Offley, Huson Langstroth, Michael Minier, and Charles Williams. Seven clergymen have been in the greatest danger from this disorder, the Rev. R. Blackwell, Rev. Joseph Pilmore,. Rev. William Rogers, Rev. Christopher V. Keating, Rev. Frederic Schmidt, the Rev. Joseph Turner, and the Rev. Robert Annan; but they have all recovered.

Among the women, the mortality has not, by any means, been so great as among the men*, nor among the old and infirm as among the middle-aged and robust.

* In many congregations, the deaths of men have been nearly twice as numerous as those of women.

To tipplers and drunkards, and to men who lived high, and were of a corpulent habit of body, this disorder was very fatal. Of these, many were seized, and the recoveries were very rare.

To the filles de joie, it has been equally fatal. The wretched, debilitated state of their constitutions, rendered them an easy prey to this dreadful disorder, which very soon terminated their miserable career.

To hired servant maids it has been very destructive. Numbers of them fled away–of those who remained, very many fell, who had behaved with an extraordinary degree of fidelity.

It has been dreadfully destructive among the poor. it is very probable, that at least seven-eighths of the number of the dead, were of that class. The inhabitants of dirty houses have severely expiated their neglect of cleanliness and decency, by the numbers of them that have fallen sacrifices. Whole families, in such houses, have sunk into one silent, undistinguishing grave.

The mortality in confined streets, small allies, and close houses, debarred of a free circulation of air, has exceeded, in a great proportion, that in the large streets and well-aired houses. In some of the allies, a third or fourth of the whole of the inhabitants are no more. In 30 houses, the whole number in Pewter Platter alley, 32 people died: and in a part of Market-Street, containing 170 houses, only 39. The streets in the suburbs, that had the benefit of the country air, especially towards the west part of the city, have suffered little. Of the wide, airy streets, none lost so many people as Arch, near Water-street, which may be accounted for, by its proximity to the original seat of the disorder. It is to be particularly remarked, that in general, the more remote the streets were from Water street, the less of the calamity they experienced.

From the effects of this disorder, the French newly settled in Philadelphia, have been in a very remarkable degree exempt.* To what this may be owing, is a subject deserving particular investigation.** By some it has been ascribed to their despising the danger. But, though this may have had some effect, it will not certainly account for it altogether; as it is well known that many of the most courageous persons in Philadelphia, have been among its victims. By many of the French, the great fatality of the disorder has been attributed to the vast quantities of crude and unwholesome fruits brought to our markets, and consumed by all classes of people.

* The French who had been long established here, were nearly as much affected as the natives.
** The frequent use the French make of lavements [Ed.: enemas] at all times, may probably account for their escaping so very generally as they did. These purify the bowels, help to discharge the foul matter, and remove costiveness [Ed.: constipation], which is one of the most certain supports of this and other disorders.
* Essays and observations, vol. II. page 407.

We'll publish Chapter 14 tomorrow.

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#dmd comments

March 30
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"essential people"

As my friend Brian Hubbard and I drove around town Saturday night during our "Frank Fund 2.0" drop-off activities, we made our way to the Essex area and stopped at Franklin Square Hospital.

I exchanged a funny story about my first kidney stone episode four years ago that landed me there for six of the longest hours of my life. It's too long to share here, but the cake-topper of the night was a man laying on the floor next to me in the emergency room, covered in a sheet. Only it turns out he wasn't dead. He was just a guy from the area who would routinely visit the hospital E.R. complaining of something (he was under the influence) and laying on the floor and placing a sheet over himself to draw attention to his body.


We're learning more these days about who in our world is "essential"...and here's one of Baltimore's essential medical professionals accepting food for her emergency department last Thursday.

As Brian and I left the hospital, we noticed a room with Todd Heap's name on it. It turns out that Heap gave the hospital $1 million back in 2007 for the development of a new pediatric center and it became a reality in 2010.

Taking off our protective gloves and masks, Brian and I paused for a minute outside of the hospital. I commented about Heap's name adorning the wall and the good he had done in the community when he played for the Ravens.

"It's funny," Brian said. "We have a different view now of who the "essential people" are, don't we?"

That, of course, has become the sports fan's dilemma over the last three weeks or so. There was a time when we thought Lamar Jackson, Joe Flacco, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis were essential. Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Zach Britton, Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Palmer...at one time, we considered them "essential" to our happiness.

And most or all of those men did fine community work in Baltimore and Maryland. Many of them established foundations or a charitable organization that helped the citizens of Baltimore. Being an athlete and a contributor to the well-being of the community do go hand in hand.

But the dilemma we've all been forced to encounter over the last three weeks is the knowledge that we probably put far too much stock in athletes, actors and celebrities and not nearly enough importance on doctors, nurses, and emergency responders.

It's been chic over the last five years, in fact, to be openly against police officers in our country. One athlete, in fact, created a cottage industry of sorts three years ago by leading a crusade against law enforcement officials, going as far as wearing a pig in a police officer's hat on his football socks.

That football player did his best to become "essential", I guess you could say.

It turns out we're all learning more and more about "essential personnel" these days and you know what we're finding out?

Doctors are "essential". Nurses are "essential". EMT's, police officers and firefighters are "essential".

Athletes, celebrities and actors are just people with talent. And they're important, too. They all have roles and they certainly add to the joy and happiness in our lives if we're connected to them in some way.

But for a long time, it felt like our country put perhaps too much emphasis on sports and movies and theater and not nearly enough emphasis on people who were on the front lines -- in the trenches, as the saying goes -- doing productive, heartwarming work at probably one-tenth the pay a position of their importance and volatility deserves.

In keeping with that theme, households all over the country are finding something else out these days. They're learning just how valuable teachers are in the development of our children.

With nearly every home now having to involve themselves in on-line learning during the Covid-19 crisis, we're learning about the ups and downs of having school children in your midst for three, four or five hours. It's not for the feint of heart, that's for sure.

Covid-19 has taught us a lot. Ironically, one of its greatest lessons has been uncovering the value of teachers and educators.

Sports will return in full glory in our country sometime this summer. We'll go back to cheering, tweeting, tailgating and visiting sports websites and offering opinions and keen insights into why our favorite team(s) won or lost.

We will, most likely, return to where we once were, which is to say, we'll go back to thinking sports is really, really, essential stuff.

Let's hope, though, that we also remember the greatest lesson we've learned thus far. The term "essential people" should be used more often when we reference our medical professionals, law enforcement officials and educators. Without them......we're in over our heads and we simply can't survive.

day 30: ruth woody

My "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration takes me back to Glen Burnie.

This name won't mean anything to any of you, unless, you're one of a few folks from Glen Burnie who visit this website and were around in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

But "Ruth Woody" meant a lot to me. And to a lot of other Glen Burnie High School students who would often seek refuge in her home in the Country Club Estates area of Glen Burnie, circa 1980.

Ruth was the single mother of four children, three of whom went to school in my general time frame at GBHS. Kim, an outstanding soccer and softball player, was in the same graduating class as me. Kelly, I believe was one year behind me. And Paul was either two or three years behind me. I can remember how Pat Ercoli scored the game-winning goal in overtime in Phoenix back in 1983 when the Blast beat the Inferno, 4-3, but I can't remember if Paul Woody was two or three years behind me in school. There was also an older daughter, perhaps four years my elder, but I can't remember her name. I'd bet *something* that it was "Karen", but I wouldn't bet my house on it.

Sorry for the fairly lousy trip down memory lane. Back to Ruth Woody.

Ruth was known for three things. A) Her house was always open to us. B) She made the greatest shrimp-macaroni salad in the history of the world. C) She always had pitchers of iced tea available in the refrigerator.

We could have made a million dollars selling that macaroni salad, I tell you.

While most kids in Glen Burnie drove around town, drank beers out of their trunk in the McDonald's parking lot, and generally figured out how to waste 4-6 hours on a Friday or Saturday night doing almost nothing productive, my "group" of Gophers would converge on the Woody house midway through the evening and set up camp there. Ruth loved to play cards. She also loved Orioles baseball. If they were playing, the game was on the radio in her kitchen. To suggest that she was like a second mother to most of us would have been completely accurate. Except she was the mother who offered no judgement. She was just happy to have us there and staying out of trouble, I suppose.

The best part about the Woody house is that none of her kids had to be there in order for "the boys" to come barging in at who-knows-what-hour and start scarfing down her macaroni salad and drinking all the ice tea. Kim or Kelly would come home at 11:00 pm and have to park halfway down the street because their driveway was filled with our cars.

Ruth Woody had a heart of gold. Even now, when I occasionally chat with Paul Woody on Facebook, I'll always remind him about his mother's macaroni salad and hospitality. We weren't angels back then, by any means, but one of the reasons we all stayed pretty much on the straight and narrow was because of the safe haven of the Woody house in Glen Burnie.

I couldn't possibly do this "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration and not include Ruth Woody in there. I doubt I ever formally told her "thank you for everything" but I've never forgotten her. She was a huge part of my life.

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plans for "frank fund 3.0" are underway

We're taking today to organize our week here at #DMD and consider how we can best utilize the funds we still have on hand as part of our "Frank Fund" mission.

Since last Monday, we've received donations exceeding $2,000 and have spent roughly $1,500 on food and essentials for 13 local hospitals and Our Daily Bread in downtown Baltimore. We'll take the remaining monies and anything else we receive and put it to good use this week, likely either tomorrow or Wednesday.

One contributor asked that we take food and essentials to the doctors and nurses at Carroll County General Hospital...and we'll do that, for sure. If anyone else who has donated has a specific request for us to visit and drop off food, we're all for it!

If you're interested in donating to "Frank Fund 3.0", please know how much we appreciate and need your support. Our medical professionals are doing "foxhole" work during this Covid-19 crisis and we're doing our best to show them our thanks and gratitude.

Reach out to me via email (18inarow@gmail.com) if you'd like to donate and I'll tell you how to do it.

Thank you to everyone who has donated thus far and thanks to our friends at Royal Farms, Glory Days Grill and the Archdiocese of Baltimore for their support of our "Frank Fund" initiative.


"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

back and forth…

No offense to people who own liquor stores, but liquor stores are not essential businesses. I wish they’d close up for a while, just to prove to people that life can go on for a while without alcohol. Off soapbox…I have to get back to that beer I just opened.

Sports…hundreds of thousands of people in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19, and thousands have died. I really don’t care to see the individual stories about this sports figure or that celebrity who’s come down with the disease. Now, of all times, they’re the same as everyone else.

Back in 1846, a Hungarian doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that hand washing among doctors nearly eliminated almost every case of childbed fever. He was treated with scorn, fired from his job, and eventually died in an asylum from sepsis, the same kind of infection he was trying to eliminate.

Sports…I don’t know how any of these coaches are dealing with all this. Most of them spend nearly every moment of the day thinking about how their players can get better. Sometimes that’s to their detriment, so maybe some time at home like everyone else will be good for them.

For most of us that work in an office, working from home isn’t bad. Computers are computers, and access to office systems seems to work pretty well with all of this remote technology. The problem isn’t working from home; it’s the fact that you can’t go anywhere before or after.

Sports…I’m glad that some important members of the sports media have actually started talking about the college football and NFL seasons and what might happen to them. It’s not hyperbole, and it’s always better to proactively realize what could really happen as opposed to reactively wonder what might have been.

Yesterday was my 47th birthday. Of historical note, the Baltimore Colts stole out of town in the snow on the morning of my 11th birthday. The 10th President of the United States, John Tyler, was born March 29, 1790. As of last year, two of his grandchildren were still alive.

Sports…not that running/jogging has ever really gone out of favor since the 1970s, but I wonder if more and more people are going to become serious about it in the age of social distancing and closed gyms. It can be totally solitary, and it’s the best thing for cardiovascular health.

Dr. Anthony Fauci was the starting point guard for the basketball team at Regis High School in Manhattan, from where he graduated in 1958. That’s right…Dr. Fauci will be 80 years old in December. His parents owned a pharmacy, and his first job was delivering prescriptions to the pharmacy’s customers.

Sports…In case you forgot, the Milwaukee Bucks had a 53-12 record when the NBA season was suspended, four wins better than the Los Angeles Lakers. In the NHL, the Boston Bruins had recently become the first team to 100 points before the league’s suspension. Those numbers may be suspended forever.

There’s something enlightening about seeing television hosts and news anchors from their homes without much makeup, including most of the national broadcasters. People don’t always look like they do on television, the men included. Again, these men and women make a lot of money, but they’re just like everybody else.

Sports…true, Chris DiMarco played better than Tiger Woods in the final round of the 2005 Masters, that chip aside. Woods really won the tournament on Sunday morning finishing his third round, starting with four straight birdies, going from four strokes behind to three strokes ahead in a matter of minutes.

I don’t understand the whole toilet paper thing. For one, don’t people tend to keep a good supply of it at home anyway? Also, nobody has said that the coronavirus would keep a lot of trucks from reaching the grocery stores. I guess it’s a victory lap for doomsday preppers.

Sports…did you see those pictures of the team in the Korean professional baseball league wearing masks during an intra-squad scrimmage? Strange, even weirder than playing in empty stadiums I think. We sometimes know baseball and basketball players better than football and hockey players because you can see their faces well.

The Governor of Maryland, now in his second term, is an anathema to many Democrats, who see him as just another wealthy businessman who only cares about rich people. I don’t know about that, but I do think he’s a great person to be leading the national association of Governors.

Sports…Jalen “Stix” Smith had an awesome year for Maryland, even better than what might have been projected. In the last 14 games of the regular season, he had a “double-double” 13 times. He isn’t projected as an NBA lottery pick right now, but he could be picked immediately after that.

Twitter is a great thing. It’s changed the world, and mostly for the good. The conversation is now broader, if not necessarily more enlightening. That’s great except for when the world is struck by a global pandemic, and people are just looking for legitimate information. You’re not getting it there.

Sports…Zion Williamson started his rookie NBA season late. No problem, really. In 19 games, he averaged 24 points and seven rebounds per game. Dwyane Wade said recently that Williamson is a “monster,” and that “watching him play in the NBA looks the same as it did watching him in college.”

I’ve used the grocery delivery services recently. I feel like the success of it depends on the “shopper” you are randomly assigned. Some of them do a great job, and some of them seem like they’ve never shopped for groceries before. Either way, I appreciate their services in these times.

Sports…this whole Brandel Chamblee controversy about golf instruction comes down to one thing—he’s being paid to be controversial and stir the pot a little bit. He was a touring golfer, so he knows about that, but he has no idea what high-level golf instructors do on a day-to-day basis.

I usually don’t like hand sanitizer; I’d much prefer to wash my hands as often as possible. I do think it’s pretty cool that all these distilleries and similar places are switching to producing the sanitizer, though. I guess alcohol is really an essential business, at least in some way.

Sports…The Ravens signed former Denver Bronco Derek Wolfe after the Michael Brockers deal fell through. The sense is that Wolfe, an eight-year veteran, won’t have the same impact that Brockers would have, but Eric DeCosta seemed convinced that the defensive line was the place to go in free agency.

Of course, you should stay home to help flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection. At the same time, I think you should be pretty careful while you’re moving around at home. The last thing you want now is to end up at a hospital with injuries you could have avoided.

Sports…Lamar Jackson says Amazon is selling unlicensed merchandise using his trademarks, name, image and likeness, and he’s suing. He wants apparel that says “Lamarvelous” and “Action Jackson” taken down from the website. I can understand…he was the best player in the NFL in 2019, and he only made about $910,000!

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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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. XII — Conflict between the law of self-preservation and the law of charity. The law of charity victorious.

WHILE our citizens were proscribed in several cities and towns—hunted up like felons in some—debarred admittance and turned back in others, whether sound or infected—it is with extreme satisfaction I have to record a conduct totally different, which cannot fail to make an indelible impression on the minds of the people of Philadelphia, and call forth the most lively emotions of gratitude.

At Woodbury, in New Jersey, at an early period of the disorder, a meeting was held for the purpose of determining on what steps were requisite to be taken. A motion was made to stop all intercourse with Philadelphia. But, four persons only having risen to support it, it dropped, and our citizens were allowed free entrance.

A respectable number of the inhabitants of Springfield, in New Jersey, met the first day of October, and after a full consideration of the distresses of our citizens, passed a resolve, offering their town as an asylum to the people flying from Philadelphia, and directing their committee to provide a suitable place as an hospital for the sick. The Rev. Jacob V. Artsdalen, Matthias Meeker, and Matthias Denman, took the lead in this honourable business.

I have been informed, by a person of credit, that the inhabitants of Elizabeth town have pursued the same liberal plan, as those of Springfield, but have not been able to procure a copy of their resolves or proceedings on the subject.

At Chestertown in Maryland, a place was appointed, at a distance from the town, for the reception of such travelers and others, as might have the disorder. It was provided with every necessary–and a physician engaged to attend the sick.

An asylum has likewise been offered to Philadelphians, by several of the inhabitants of Elkton, in Maryland; and the offer was couched in terms of the utmost sympathy for our sufferings. A place on the same plan as that at Chester, was fitted up near the town.

At Easton, in Pennsylvania, the only precaution observed, was to direct the emigrants from Philadelphia, to abstain for a week from intercourse with the inhabitants.

The people of Wilmington have acted in the most friendly manner towards our distressed citizens. At first they were a little feared, and resolved on the establishment of a quarantine and guards. But they immediately dropped these precautions, and received the people from Philadelphia with the most perfect freedom. They erected an hospital for the reception of our infected citizens, which they supplied with necessaries. Yet of eight or ten persons from Philadelphia, who died in that town, with the malignant fever, only one was sent to the hospital. The others were nursed and attended in the houses where they fell sick. Humane, tender, and friendly, as were the worthy inhabitants of Wilmington in general, two characters have distinguished themselves in such a very extraordinary manner, as to deserve particular notice. These are Doctor Way, and Major Bush, whose houses were always open to the fugitives from Philadelphia, whom they received without the smallest apprehension, and treated with a degree of genuine hospitality, that reflects the highest honour on them. In the exercise of this virtue, they were not confined by a narrow regard to their particular friends or acquaintance—but entertained, with equal humanity, whole families of persons who were utter strangers to them. This was of the more importance, and operated as a heavier tax on them, as, I believe, there was only one tavern-keeper, Brinton, whose house was open for people from Philadelphia: and it was consequently so crowded, in general, as frequently to render it difficult to procure admittance.

The instances of this kind, through this extensive country, have been very few; but they are therefore only the more precious, and ought to be held up to public approbation. May they operate on people, at a future day, in similar cases of dreadful calamity, and teach them to temper their caution with as much humanity and tenderness to the distressed fugitives, as prudence will allow–and not involve, in one indiscriminate proscription, the healthy and infected.

We'll publish Chapter 13 tomorrow.

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March 29
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sunday musings and fun facts

About a year ago, the Masters put every final round broadcast of their tournament, since 1975, up on YouTube for free, public consumption. Talk about great rainy day viewing, huh? Well, for the last week or so, every night around 10:00 pm I settle on the couch, throw on the headphones, and watch another one. Some nights it's just white noise as I write or do other things. Other nights I get captivated by the final round action and actually watch it...again. The 1986 Masters where Jack Nicklaus wins his 6th green jacket features about 90 minutes of the most incredible "theater" golf has ever seen. At some point in that last slice of play, every guy in contention gets rattled and either falls apart or can't come up with the big shot at the right time. It was Seve's tournament to win until he inexplicably dunked his second shot into the pond at #15 with a 5-iron in his hand. All Tom Kite had to do was make a 10-foot putt at 18 to force a playoff with Jack, and he couldn't do it. Greg Norman birdied 17 from the trees, then hit one of the wost pressure shots in major championship history from the middle of the 18th fairway to make bogey and give the title to Nicklaus. Oh, and Jack hit four amazing shots down the stretch and made great putts at 15, 16 and 17 to win.

Fun fact from Augusta: Everyone talks about Tiger's miracle chip from behind and left of the 16th green in the final round of the 2005 Masters. And it was, by far, the greatest single shot -- that got the desired result -- in the history of major championship golf. No shot has ever been executed with more perfection than that one. It was out-of-this-world-sensational. But here's what people don't remember about 2005..Chris DiMarco should have won the golf tournament. He actually outplayed Tiger over the final 18 holes and nearly chipped in for birdie twice with the tournament on the line, once at 18 in regulation and once again at 18 on the first playoff hole. Tiger bogeyed 17 and 18 in regulation to slip into a tie with DiMarco, then made an 18-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to win. But DiMarco, honestly, was the better player on Sunday. You see that all for yourself when you watch the replay of the final round on YouTube.

Washington Capitals goaltender Bernie Wolfe, not to be confused with new Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe.

The Ravens plugged the gap left by Michael Brockers by signing former Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe to a one-year deal yesterday. Wolfe, 30, is coming off of his best personal campaign ever, with 7 sacks and 34 tackles in 2019. Football people like his "motor" and his willingness to go all out on every play. You'll probably hear "he plays like a Raven" at some point during his introductory press conference. The knock on Wolfe? He has a tough time staying healthy. Only 3 times in his 8 year career has he managed to play all 16 games. Last season, he missed the final 12 games of the season with a dislocated elbow.

Here's a fun fact: If I wind up becoming a fan of Derek Wolfe, there's zero chance -- absolutely none -- that he would wind up being my favorite "Wolfe" athlete of all time. That honor is held and will always be held by former Washington Capitals goaltender Bernie Wolfe, who toiled for the team back in the late 1970's. You know, when they lost almost every game they played. In my sporting life, Wolfe is one of my top five favorite athletes, from any team, at any time.

Speaking of golf, there's a petition floating around on the internet that asks Marylanders to urge Governor Larry Hogan to rescind the closing of state public and private golf courses during the Covid-19 situation. Other nearby states like Delaware and Virginia still have their courses open for play, with very tight restrictions in place, of course. In short, the restrictions are "no touching anything except your clubs and the ball". I said from the outset of the Covid-19 scare that Hogan was wrong about closing the golf courses. There's far less public interaction on a golf course than there is, say, at a grocery store, home improvement store or your local carry-out, all of which Hogan has allowed to remain open. You can literally walk 18 holes of golf by yourself or with one, two or three other people and never once come within six feet of one another if that's the desired intention from the start of play. Here's hoping the petition generates enough momentum to get the Governor -- who has done a GREAT job during our state's Covid-19 situation -- to wake up and do the right thing.

Fun fact: I've seen several local courses over the last few days that all have people on them, walking with clubs in their hands. Most folks don't take an entire bag with them. They just grab a few clubs and a putter and go out for a walk. It's a fun way to play. I mean, it looks like a fun way to play. They call that a "Freudian slip" I believe.

Some national Covid-19 experts are chiming in with their thoughts of "complete recovery" for our country during this crisis and a few are now saying there will be an "extensive threat" of the virus well into the fall of 2020. I heard one doctor on CNN -- don't remember his name, sorry, but he was from Columbia University -- say he believes, failing a medication that treats the condition, that colleges might not start on time next August or September. It's now April (for argument's sake). Are we really still in for five months of Covid-19-related-restrictions and/or shutdowns?

(Not so) Fun fact about football: I assume the NFL is already doing this, but they better be making 2020 contingency plans in the event the coronavirus lingers through the summer into the fall. I personally don't see it lingering until September, but I have no idea what I'm talking about. That's just me assuming that we'll either come up with a treatment/prescription for the virus or it will fall off on its own due to our social distancing measures and state-wide shutdowns and restrictions. I'll come back around in September and remind you I was dead wrong on this, but I don't see the 2020 NFL season getting impacted by Covid-19.

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"frank fund 2.0" was a success

I grabbed my friends Brian Hubbard and Vic Biscoe of Primary Residential Mortgage for round two of "Frank Fund" deliveries on Saturday and we were able to visit seven local hospitals and Our Daily Bread over a 3-trip around Baltimore.

Brian Hubbard (left) with two nurses from Upper Chesapeake hospital.

Thanks to all of you who have donated thus far! We currently have received money from 64 people!!! What started as a generous $200 donation from our DMD reader-friend Frank Del Viscio has blossomed into an awesome opportunity for all of us to show our heartfelt appreciation for area doctors, nurses, medical staffers and emergency workers.

On Saturday, we visited the following hospitals and dropped off 20 Royal Farms sandwiches and 100 Glory Days boneless wings to each one: Mercy, Bon Secours, University of MD, St. Agnes, Good Samaritan, Franklin Square and Upper Chesapeake in Harford County. Once again, we met with nurses and other emergency administrators who were thrilled to receive the food from us during an incredibly busy time for all of them. One nurse mentioned the current staff "on duty" hadn't stopped for a food break since 8:00 am (and it was 5 pm when we visited them).

Our friends at Royal Farms and Glory Days Grill keep coming through for us as well. We owe them a ton of thanks for getting the food together, keeping it fresh, and providing additional goodies like condiments, sanitary wipes and so on.

Additionally, through our friends at the Archdiocese of Baltimore and with the help of my longtime friend Bill McCarthy at Catholic Charities, we donated 425 bottles of water to Our Daily Bread on Saturday as well.

From Frank's initial donation of $200, we've added over $1700 more -- giving us a total of just over $1900. We've spent roughly $1500 of it thus far, so we still have monies left over for "Frank Fund 3.0" on Monday or Tuesday of this coming week. And we're still accepting donations. Brian and I will head back out in a day or two and visit more hospitals. We might even make a breakfast run the next time around.


HERE'S THE LINK YOU USE TO JOIN THE CALL AT 7:30 PM -- https://kellyway.zoom.us/j/477714092



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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. XI — Proceedings at Havre de Grace–at Hagerstown–Alexandria–at Winchester–at Boston–at Newburyport–in Rhode Island–at New Bern–at Charlestown–in Georgia. – Fasting and Prayer.

THE 25th of September, the inhabitants of Havre de Grace resolved that no person should be allowed to cross the Susquehannah river at that town, who did not bring a certificate of his not having lately come from Philadelphia, or any other infected place and that the citizens of Havre would embody themselves to prevent any one from crossing without such a certificate.

At Hagerstown, on the 3d of October, it was resolved, that no citizen should receive into his house any person coming from Philadelphia, supposed to be infected with the malignant fever, until he or she produced a certificate from a health officer; that should any citizen contravene the above resolution, he should be proscribed from all society with his fellow citizens; that the clothing sent to the troops then in that town, should not be received there, nor suffered to come within seven miles thereof; that if any person from Philadelphia, or other infected place, should arrive there, he should be required instantly to depart, and in case of refusal or neglect, be compelled to go without delay; that no merchant, or other person, should be suffered to bring into the town, or open therein, any goods brought from Philadelphia, or other infected place, until permitted by their committee; and that the citizens of the town, and its vicinity, should enrol themselves as a guard, and patrole such roads and passes as the committee should direct.

The governor of Virginia, on the 17th of September, issued a proclamation, ordering all vessels from Philadelphia, the Grenadines, and the island of Tobago, to perform a quarantine of twenty days, at the anchorage ground, off Craney island, near the mouth of Elizabeth river.

The corporation of Alexandria stationed a look-out boat, to prevent all vessels bound to that port, from approaching nearer than one mile, until after examination by the health officer.

The people of Winchester placed guards at every avenue of the town leading from the Patowmac to stop all suspected persons, packages, etc. coming from Philadelphia, till the health officers should inspect them, and either forbid or allow them to pass.

The legislature of Massachusetts were in session, at the time the alarm spread; and they accordingly passed an express act for guarding against the impending danger. This act authorized the selectmen in the different towns to stop and examine any persons, baggage, merchandize, or effects, coming or supposed to be coming into the towns respectively, from Philadelphia, or other place infected, or supposed to be infected; and should it appear to them, or to any officers whom they should appoint, that any danger of infection was to be apprehended from such persons, effects, baggage, or merchandize, they were empowered to detain or remove the same to such places as they might see proper, in order that they might be purified from infection; or to place any persons so coming, in such places, and under such regulations as they might judge necessary for the public safety. In pursuance of this act, the governor issued a proclamation to carry it into effect, the 21st of September.

The selectmen of Boston, on the 24th, published their regulations of quarantine, which ordered, that on the arrival of any vessel from Philadelphia, she should be detained at, or near Rainsford’s Island, to perform a quarantine not exceeding thirty days, during which time she should be cleansed with vinegar, and the explosion of gunpowder between the decks and in the cabin, even though there were no sick persons on board; that in case there were, they should be removed to an hospital, where they should be detained till they recovered or were long enough to ascertain that they had not the infection; that every vessel, performing quarantine, should be deprived of its boat, and no boat suffered to approach it, but by special permission; that if any person should escape from vessels performing quarantine, he should be instantly advertised, in order that he might be apprehended; that any persons coming by land from Philadelphia, should not be allowed to enter Boston, until twenty one days after their arrival, and their effects, baggage, and merchandize should be opened, washed with vinegar, and fumigated with repeated explosions of gunpowder. In the conclusion, the selectmen called upon the inhabitants “to use their utmost vigilance and activity to bring to condign punishment, any person who should be so daring and lost to every idea of humanity, as to come into the town from any place supposed to be infected, thereby endangering the lives of his fellow men.

The 23d of September, the selectmen of Newburyport notified the pilots not to bring any vessels from Philadelphia, higher up Merrimack river than the black rocks, until they should be examined by the health officer, and a certificate be obtained from him, of their being free from infection.

The governor of Rhode Island, the 21st of September, issued a proclamation, directing the town councils and other officers, to use their utmost vigilance to cause the law to prevent the spreading of contagious disorders to be most strictly executed, more especially with respect to all vessels which should arrive in that state, from the West Indies, Philadelphia, and New-York; the extension to the latter place was owing to the danger apprehended from the intercourse between it and Philadelphia.

The 28th of September, the governor of North Carolina published his proclamation; requiring the commissioners of navigation in the different ports of the said state, to appoint certain places, where all vessels from the port of Philadelphia, or any other place in which the malignant fever might prevail, should perform quarantine for such number of days as they might think proper.

The commissioners of New Bern, on the 30th of September, ordered that until full liberty should be given, vessels arriving from Philadelphia, or any other place in which an infectious disorder might be, should, under a penalty of five hundred pounds, stop and come to anchor at least one mile below the town, and there perform a quarantine or at least ten days, unless their captains should produce from inspectors appointed for the purpose, a certificate that in their opinion the vessels might, with safety to the inhabitants proceed to the town or harbour, and there land their passengers or cargo. The 18th of October, they ordered, that if any free man should go on board any vessel from Philadelphia, etc. or should bring from on board such vessel, any goods or merchandize, before she was permitted to land her cargo or passengers, he should, for every offence forfeit five pounds; and if any slave should offend as above, he should be liable to be whipped not exceeding fifty lashes, and his master to pay five pounds.

The governor of S. Carolina, published a proclamation, subjecting Philadelphia vessels to quarantine, the date of which I cannot ascertain. The inhabitants of Charleston, on the 8th of October, had a meeting, at which they resolved, that no vessel from the river Delaware, either directly or after having touched at any other port of the United States, should be permitted to pass Charleston bar, till the citizens had again assembled, and declared themselves satisfied that the disorder had ceased in Philadelphia. If any vessel, contrary thereto, should cross the bar, the governor should be requested to compel it to quit the port, and return to sea.

The governor of Georgia, on the 4th of October, published a proclamation, ordering all vessels from Philadelphia, which should arrive in Savannah river, to remain in Tybee creek, or in other parts like distant from the town, until the health officer of the port should, on examination, certify, that no malignant or contagious disease was on board. All persons contravening this proclamation, were to be prosecuted, and subjected to the pains and penalties by law pointed out.

The people of Augusta, in that state, were as active and vigilant as their northern neighbours, to guard against the threatening danger.

The inhabitants of Reading, in Pennsylvania, had a meeting the 4th of September, and passed sundry resolutions, viz., that no dry goods should be imported into that borough from Philadelphia, or any other place infected with a malignant fever, until the expiration of one month from that date, unless permission was had from the inhabitants convened at a town-meeting; that no person from Philadelphia, or any other infected place, should be allowed to enter, until they should have undergone the examination of a physician, and obtained his opinion of their being free from infection; that no stagewaggon should be permitted to bring passengers from Philadelphia, or other place infected, into the borough; and that all communication, by stages, should be discontinued for one month, unless sooner permitted by the inhabitants.

At Bethlehem, a meeting was held on the 26th of September; at which it was resolved, that persons from Philadelphia, should perform a quarantine of twelve days, before their entrance into the town. A similar resolve was soon after entered into at Nazareth. But at neither place was it observed with any strictness. No guard was appointed. And the assertion of any decent traveller, apparently in health, with respect to the time of his absence from Philadelphia, was considered as sufficient to be relied on, without resorting to formal proof.

Various precautions were observed in other places; but I am not able to give a statement of them, not having procured an account of their resolves or proceedings.

The calamity of Philadelphia, while it roused the circumspection of the timid in various places, excited the pious to offer up their prayers to Almighty God for our relief, comfort, and support. Various days were appointed for humiliation, fasting, and prayer for this purpose. In New York, the 20th of September; in Boston, September 26th; in Albany, the 1st of October; in Baltimore the 3d; in Richmond, the 9th, in Providence, the same day; the synod of Philadelphia fixed on the 24th of October; the protestant episcopal churches in Virginia, November 6; the Dutch synod of New York, November 13; the synod of New York and New Jersey, November 20. At Hartford, daily prayers were offered up for our relief for some time.

We'll publish Chapter 12 tomorrow.

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#dmd comments

March 28
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everywhere i look, no one has "given up"

I read a comment here at #DMD yesterday that thoroughly irked me. It takes a lot these days to get me agitated. I mean, I can get aggravated with my putting in a flash, and I grit my teeth and bear it when I have 120 yards into a green and the best I can do is hit it to 30 feet, but for the most part, at age 57, I don't get mad all that often or very easily.

I got set off yesterday. And I knew, going in, that the intention of the comment publisher was to do just that. I'm not naive or dumb. The particular person who authored that comment has been rattling my cage here for years, under a variety of monikers and aliases. It's just what he does. And, as I've always said, using my "neighborhood bar" analogy, there are people who come into the bar who are nice, and friendly, and there are people who stumble in who are mean and angry and just not very pleasant to be around.

She hasn't given up...

I'm proud to say that I believe nearly all of our "bar patrons" here are the nice guys and girls. I do take great pride in that. But I also know we have some folks who come around mostly to agitate and stir the pot. But I let them come in nonetheless, and hope this could be the day they sober up.

Anyway...the comment yesterday had a variety of things in it that were either off point, untrue, non-factual or, to borrow a term we've all come to know, love and, well, maybe not love, #fakenews.

But one thing in particular tripped me up and it was on my mind all day yesterday.

The author noted in his maniacal rambling composition that I had "given up" because of my inability to get the website published on time over the last two weeks and because the Comments section, where, he said, "people used to just be able to let it rip", was now different and not as all-accessing as the previous one.

"Given up".

That one lit a flare under me, because everywhere I look, in my world, no one has given up. I certainly haven't given up, but the comment that was published irked me more for the rest of the people in the country and not me. I don't have any need to defend myself as having not "given up" because I know I haven't. I don't have to worry about that. But what I think should be made clear is that I don't see people giving up at all.

In fact, I see people who are galvanized.

I see people who are helping others.

When I travel around town, I'm feeling a warmth and a friendship that I might not have felt this time a month ago.

And she hasn't given up, either...

I don't see anyone giving up and it makes me feel good, not only about Baltimore, but about people in general.

Since last Monday when we started our Frank Fund, we've had exactly 44 people donate money to help us deliver food and drinks to area hospitals and soup kitchens in the Baltimore area. Those 44 people haven't given up.

Doctors, nurses, medical professionals, EMTs, etc. They haven't given up. They're working around the clock to battle Covid-19. I've seen it myself, on a very small scale. You talk about "in the foxhole", front-line work...those people are doing it. If they were to give up, we'd all be in big trouble. One of the biggest reasons why we're going back out later today to deliver more food and drinks to the hospitals is precisely because of the fact that those folks have not given up.

Governor Larry Hogan hasn't given up, that's for sure.

I see Governor Cuomo of New York on the television virtually every day as the virus overwhelms his state. He definitely hasn't given up.

My two children and school-age kids all over the state have been thrust into a world with which they're not familiar, now getting educated at home, in a new environment, and needing to learn how to do it on the fly. They haven't given up.

When I asked my friend Brian Hubbard to help me with this project, his text reply was, "I'm in. Anything you need." He hasn't given up.

People like John Novak, Sandi Clisham, Tony Schramm, Leslie Miller, Chris Voxakis, Mark Johnson, Kent Madigan and an overnight "anonymous" friend, all of whom donated money on Friday, most certainly haven't given up.

When I called on my friends at Royal Farms, Glory Days Grill and the Archdiocese of Baltimore to help us with our "Frank Fund" and today's "Frank's Food 2.0" delivery, none of them had given up. They all went to work right away, helping us get organized, giving us reduced prices on things within their control, and being good friends of the community.

I haven't gone around specifically looking for people who have given up, mind you, but I feel very confident when I say that I haven't seen anyone in my world "giving up".

Instead, what I've encountered over the last week or so are people who in it for the long haul. They're not only not giving up, they're doing more than they've ever done before. I don't see people giving up. I see people trying to live and help others live, too.

God works in mysterious ways, for sure. What initially was a baiting, chiding, viperish comment turned into a massive positive for me yesterday. It got me to thinking about the rest of the people I've seen and worked with recently and it reminded me of how none of them have given up. Not a one of them. So much good has been done in our community over the last week...so much of God's blessing has touched our community...so much friendship and love and support has been shown.

"Given up"? Not hardly.

As a concluding note to this, I'll mention that the offending commenter from Friday was blocked from further interaction here.

He'll re-surface again, of course, probably as soon as today, under a new name. He'll threaten to contact #DMD's sponsor list and will go out of his way to talk about censorship and banning and firing the customer and will do his very best to come across as threatening and combative. I'm as certain of that as I am that Pearl Jam's new album will be met with half favor and half criticism. Side note: I actually like it.

In my 5+ years of owning and publishing #DMD, it's the first time I've officially "kicked someone out of the bar". He will call it "firing the customer" and in a sense that's precisely what it is. I've never really had a favorite bar in my life. That's not to say I haven't been in them and haven't enjoyed their atmosphere, but I've just never really had a local, neighborhood place to call my own. That said, I'm sure bar owners don't like kicking out regular customers who plunk down money every day or three times a week.

At some point, though, when the customer continually gets loud and unruly or urinates out behind the dumpster during a smoke break or berates two friendly folks who come in wearing Steelers or Yankees caps, the bar owner has to say, "Enough is enough. You have to go now."

That's what I finally did yesterday. You can call it censoring (it is) or banning (it is) or "firing the customer" (it is) and I'm going to nod my head in agreement. It's all of those things. I put up with the same person urinating behind the dumpster for a long time and when I read "you've given up" yesterday, I couldn't do it any longer. So, he gone...to borrow a familar phrase. I know he'll try and get back in and it's probably a problem that will never go away, but I did want to be transparent here and say, for the first time ever, I kicked someone out of the bar on Friday.

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40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 29: dave and kathy orcutt

As I continue to go through my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration, I've taken a day or two off along the way to more closely align with Good Friday on April 9 with hopes of concluding this journal on that date.

On Day 29, I think about and thank a longtime friend of mine from the high school days whose mother wound up working with me in the soccer business for seven years; Dave Orcutt and his mom, Kathy Orcutt.

Dave and I were close friends in high school and beyond. He was an outstanding pitcher on the Glen Burnie High School baseball team and in college as well. He and I listened to every Doors cassette tape ever made and we joked constantly about going to Paris together someday to see Jim Morrison's grave. Dave and I shared many summer drives to Ocean City together and he was my first true "golfing friend". Through a friend who worked at NSA, he secured a couple of "government employee cards" for us and we gained access to the two golf courses at Fort Meade. One was called "Applewood" and the other was "Parks". I have great memories of those two places.

Applewood was directly in front of the starter's shack and it featured an opening hole of roughly 375 yards, a slight dogleg right with an uphill second shot. The first tee at Parks was a 30 second cart ride to the left, and the first hole was a weird, 280 yard par-4. These days, it would be a par-3. But back then, it was a handshake to start the day, a driver and a sand wedge, if you hit two good ones.

Dave and I played there hundreds of times. I remember once, vividly, making birdie on 16 and 17 of the Parks Course and needing a birdie at 18 to birdie three holes in a row for the first time in my life. I hit my approach shot to 5 feet and Dave gave out the famous "Noonan!" just as I took the putter back......and I missed it, of course. The car ride back to Glen Burnie was a little quiet until Dave pulled in to a liquor store and came out with a 6-pack of Molson Golden. I must say, that was a nice apology stop.

In the mid 1980's, Dave's mom, Kathy, came to work at the Blast as our ticket manager. She was a delightful, hard working woman. When my mom passed away in 1987, Kathy sorta-kinda became a de facto 2nd mother to me during my 20's and 30's.

I haven't kept in touch with Dave as much as I should have, but I surely haven't forgotten about him, or his mother. They were both awesome friends.


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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. X — Proceedings at Chestertown–at New-York–at Trenton and Lamberton–at Baltimore.

THE effects produced by those tales were such as might be reasonably expected. The consternation spread through the several states like wild-fire. The first public act that took place on the subject, as far as I can learn, was at Chestertown, in Maryland. At this place, a meeting was held on the 10th of September, and several revolves entered into, which, after specifying that the disorder had extended to Trenton, Princeton, Woodbridge, and Elizabeth-town, on the post-road to New-York, directed, that notice should be sent to the owners of the stages not to allow them pass through the town, while there should be reason to expect danger therefrom; and that a committee of health and inspection should be appointed, to provide for the relief of such poor inhabitants as might take the disorder, and likewise for such strangers as might be infected with it. In consequence of these revolves, the eastern shore line of stages was stopped in the course of a few days afterwards.

The alarm in New-York was first officially announced by a letter from the mayor to the practicing physicians, dated Sept. 11th, in which he requested them to report to him in writing the names of all such persons as had arrived, or should arrive from Philadelphia, or any other place, by land or water, and were or would be sick; and that such as should be deemed subjects of infectious diseases might be removed out of the city. He notified them, that the corporation had taken measures to provide a proper place as an hospital, for such persons as might unhappily become subjects of the fever in New-York. In this letter the mayor declared his opinion clearly, that the intercourse with Philadelphia, could not be lawfully interrupted by any power in the state. The 12th appeared a proclamation from governor Clinton, which, referring to the act to prevent the bringing in, and spreading of infectious disorders, prohibited in the terms of that act, all vessels from Philadelphia, to approach nearer to the city of NewYork, than Bedlow's island, about two miles distant, till duly discharged. The silence of this proclamation, respecting passengers by land, seemed to imply that the governor's opinion on the subject was the same as that of the mayor.

The same day, at a meeting of the citizens, the necessity of taking some precautions was unanimously agreed upon, and a committee of seven appointed to report a plan to a meeting to be held next day. Their report, which was unanimously agreed to, the 13th recommended to hire two physicians, to assist the physician of the port in his examination of vessels; to check, as much as possible, the intercourse by stages; to acquaint the proprietors of the southern stages, that it was the earnest wish of the inhabitants, that their carriages and boats should not pass during the prevalence of the disorder in Philadelphia; and to request the practitioners of physic to report, without fail, every case of fever, to which they might be called, occurring in any person that had or might arrive from Philadelphia, or have intercourse with them. Not satisfied with these measures, the corporation, on the 17th, came to resolution to stop all intercourse between the two cities; and for this purpose guards, were placed at the different landings, with orders to send back every person coming from Philadelphia; and if any were discovered to have arrived after that date, they were to be directly sent back. Those who took in lodgers were called upon to give information of all people of the above description, under pain of being prosecuted according to law. All good citizens were required to give information to the mayor, or any member of the committee, of any breach in the premises.

These strict precautions being eluded by the fears and the vigilance of the fugitives from Philadelphia, on the 23d there was a meeting held, of delegates from the several wards of the city, in order to adopt more effectual measures. At this meeting, it was resolved to establish a night watch of not less than ten citizens in each ward, to guard against every attempt to enter under cover of darkness. Not yet eased of their fears, they next day published an address, in which they mentioned, that notwithstanding their uttermost vigilance many persons had been clandestinely landed upon the shores of New York island. They therefore again called upon their fellow citizens to be cautious how they received strangers into their houses; not to fail to report all such to the mayor immediately upon their arrival; to remember the importance of the occasion; and to consider what reply they should make to the just resentment of their fellow citizens, whose lives they might expose by a criminal neglect, or infidelity. They likewise declared their expectation, that those who kept the different ferries on the shores of New Jersey and Staten island would pay such attention to their address, as not to transport any person but to the public landings, and that in the day time, between sun and sun. The 30th they published a lengthy address, recapitulating the various precautions they had taken–the nature of the disorder–and the numbers who had died out of Philadelphia, without communicating it to any one. They at the same time resolved that goods, bedding, and clothing, packed up in Philadelphia, should, previous to their being brought into New York, be unpacked and exposed to the open air in some well ventilated place, for at least 48 hours; that all linen or cotton clothes, or bedding, which had been used, should be well washed in several waters; and afterwards, that the whole, both such as had been and such as had not been used, should be hung up in a close room, and well smoked with the fumes of brimstone for one day, and after that again exposed for at least twenty four hours to the open air; and that the boxes, trunks, or chests, in which they had been packed, should be cleaned and aired in the same manner; after which, being repacked, and such evidence given of their purification, as the committee should require, permission might be had to bring them into the city.

The 11th of October, they likewise resolved, that they would consider and publish to the world, as enemies to the welfare of the city, and the lives of its inhabitants, all those who should be so selfish and hardy, as to attempt to introduce any goods, wares, merchandize, bedding, baggage, etc. imported from, or packed up in Philadelphia, contrary to the rules prescribed by that body, who were, they said, deputed to express the will of their fellow citizens. They recommended to the inhabitants to withstand any temptation of profit, which might attend the purchase of goods in Philadelphia, as no emolument to an individual, they added, could warrant the hazard to which such conduct might expose the city. Besides all these resolves, they published daily statements of the health of the city, to allay the fears of their fellow citizens.

On the 14th of November, the committee resolved that passengers coming from Philadelphia to New York, might be admitted, in future, together with their wearing apparel, without restriction as to time, until further orders from the committee.

The 20th, they declared that they were happy to announce to their fellow citizens, that health was restored to Philadelphia; but that real danger was still to be apprehended from the bedding and clothing of those who had been ill of the malignant fever and that they had received satisfactory information, that attempts had been made to ship on freight considerable quantities of beds and bedding from Philadelphia for their city. They therefore resolved that it was inexpedient, to admit the introduction of beds or bedding of any kind, or feathers in bags, or otherwise; also, second-hand wearing apparel of every species, coming from places infected with the yellow fever; and that whosoever should attempt so high-handed an offence as to bring them in, and endanger the lives and health of the inhabitants, would justly merit their resentment and indignation.

The inhabitants of Trenton and Lamberton associated on the 13th of September, and on the 17th passed several resolutions to guard themselves against the contagion. They resolved that a total stop should be put to the landing of all persons from Philadelphia, at any ferry or place from Lamberton to Howell’s ferry, four miles above Trenton; that the intercourse by water should be prohibited between Lamberton, or the head of tide water, and Philadelphia; and that all boats from Philadelphia, should be prevented from landing either goods or passengers any where between Bordentown and the head of tide water, that no person whatever should be permitted to come from Philadelphia, or Kensington, while the fever continued, that all persons who should go from within the limits of the association, to either of those places, should be prevented from returning during the continuance of the fever; and finally, that their standing committee should inquire whether any persons, not inhabitants, who had lately come from places infected, and were therefore likely to be infected themselves, were within the limits of the association, and if so, that they should be obliged instantly to leave the said limits .

The 12th of September, the governor of Maryland published a proclamation, subjecting all vessels from Philadelphia to the performance of a quarantine, not exceeding forty days, or as much less as be judged safe by the health officers. It further ordered, that all persons going to Baltimore, to Havre de Grace, to the head of Elk, or by any other route, making their way into that state from Philadelphia, or any other place known to be infected with the malignant fever, should be subject to be examined, and prevented from proceeding, by persons to be appointed for that purpose, and who were to take the advice and opinion of the medical faculty in every case, in order that private affairs and pursuits might not be unnecessarily impeded. This proclamation appointed two health officers for Baltimore.

The people of Baltimore met the 13th of September, and resolved that none of their citizens should receive into their houses any persons coming from Philadelphia, or other infected place, without producing a certificate from the health officer, or officer of patrol; and that any person who violated that resolve, should be held up to the public view, as a proper object for the resentment of the town. The 14th, a party of militia was dispatched to take the possession of a pass on the Philadelphia road, about two miles from Baltimore, to prevent the entrance of any passengers from Philadelphia without license. Dr. Worthington, the health officer stationed at this pass, was directed to refuse permission to persons afflicted with any malignant complaint, or who had not been absent from Philadelphia, or other infected place, at least seven days. The western shore line of Philadelphia stages was stopped about the 18th or 19th.

The 30th, the committee of health resolved that no inhabitant of Baltimore, who should visit persons from Philadelphia, while performing quarantine, should be permitted to enter the town, until the time of quarantine was expired, and until it was certainly known that the persons he had visited were free from the infection; and that thenceforward no goods capable of conveying infection, that had been landed or packed up in Philadelphia, or other infected place, should be permitted to enter the town–nor should any baggage of travellers he admitted, until it had been exposed to the open air such length of time as the health officer might direct.

We'll publish Chapter 11 tomorrow.

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March 27
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I kept thinking two things as my friend Brian Hubbard and I drove around Baltimore early Thursday evening and delivered food to six local hospitals.

Hebrews 13:1-2 -- Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. (2) Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

And, second, the people we were seeing, the nurses who came out to collect the food, and the other medical professionals inside the various hospitals, didn't sign up for this. They signed up for helping others, of course. But they signed up to treat people in car accidents, people with food poisoning, people with heart issues, people who need stitches and surgery, or a cast or a splint. They signed up for a lot when they decided to be a doctor or a nurse, but what they didn't sign up for was to walk into work and face, potentially, their own death. As we drove from hospital to hospital, I kept thinking about that. They signed up for a lot, but they didn't up for this.

Two heroes from a Baltimore area hospital.

By the time Brian and I left the Towson Glory Days parking lot on Thursday, our "Frank Fund" had ballooned to almost $1400. What started with an extraordinary gesture of $200 from #DMD reader Frank Del Viscio on Monday was at $1400 on Thursday afternoon. "Do some good with it," were Frank's only instructions in his initial e-mail. I hope Frank feels that we have.

I'm not writing this today to put the spotlight on Brian and I. We did very little, honestly. I sent out a bunch of emails on Wednesday that took maybe 30-45 minutes of my time and I probably spent another 30 minutes or so posting various social media messages during the week to seek additional donations. And I reached out to our friends at Royal Farms and Glory Days to see if they could put together a large food order for us on short notice. Which, thankfully, they did.

The reality is, like anything that's accomplished in life or on the sports field, the "team" was the winner yesterday. Brian and I just drove around for a couple of hours. But without the generosity of the 27 of you donated, the entire project never gets off the ground.

I realize none of the 27 really want the spotlight, just like Brian and I don't. But it's worth noting that the credit really goes to those that gave of their hard earned money. I know that.

The spotlight, of course, goes directly on the medical staffers at the six hospitals we visited and all of the others in the area, some of which we hope to reach over the weekend with "Frank's Food 2.0".

The people working in the emergency rooms are the heroes. Reflecting back to the Hebrews 13:1-2 verse I cited above, the people working in the emergency rooms are the angels.

There was a palpable sense of tension in the air yesterday as we moved from hospital to hospital. At each stop, we introduced ourselves, helped unload the food, and would always ask a question or two. Nearly every stop we made, we heard the same two words from nurses: "scary" and "afraid". Most of them voluntarily mentioned something like, "this is just the beginning of it" or "we can feel it growing more and more every day."

We also heard something else at every stop. "Thank You."

And another hero...

I wish I could have recorded the scene(s), because I think you would have been able to detect how genuinely appreciative the nurses and staffers were who collected the food from us. At one hospital, there were two nurses and two doctors in the E.R. who went on duty Tuesday at 7:00 am and hadn't yet gone home -- and it was 6:10 pm on Thursday night. One nurse mentioned that she was working her 20th consecutive day and that a friend of hers in the same hospital was on her 15th straight day.

They were genuinely thankful for the food. You could hear it in their voices and see it in their faces, hidden behind a mask and all.

Each hospital received 25 freshly made, individually wrapped subs from Royal Farms and 100 steaming hot boneless chicken wings from Glory Days Grill. "Do you have ranch dressing and celery?" one nurse asked with a smile. Brian reached into his truck and pulled it out. "Of course we do!" he said.

One hospital would have normally had 15 emergency room staffers on a "typical Thursday night". Last night, they had 35 in there. "We're all starving," the nurse said. "I can't wait to take this in there and share it with them." She looked worn out and tired, but re-energized by a visit from two strangers.

For the record, we dropped off food at GBMC, Sinai, Mercy, Johns Hopkins, Union Memorial and St. Joseph's.

To all of you who donated, I can't say "thank you" enough. If anyone is interested in helping us with "Frank's Food 2.0" over the weekend, please reach out to me via email (18inarow@gmail.com) and I'll get you set up to donate.

Thursday was a day of seeing people doing God's work. From those who donated to the willingness by Royal Farms and Glory Days to help us in a pinch, to the nurses and medical staffers we met during our trip around town -- everyone is doing work that make's God proud. Thank you all.

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loss of brockers hurts ravens...for now

A week ago, the Ravens brought in a big name to help boster their defensive line, the one that Tennessee's Derrick Henry run over, through and around back in mid-January when the Titans came to Baltimore and shocked the #1 seed.

Would the Ravens have made an effort to keep Michael Pierce if they knew the Brockers ankle injury was that bad?

Michael Brockers never even made it to training camp, as it turns out. The deal with Brockers was called off by the Ravens on Thursday night after issues arose with an ankle injury he suffered with the Rams late last season. In normal times, Brockers would have come to Baltimore for a physical and it would have been a much quicker process following his signing. With Covid-19 mandates in place, the Ravens haven't had the same working conditions. So it took a few days of x-rays and mri's being done and the results looked at over a 72 hour period rather than the normal one day turnaround for matters such as this one.

But Michael Brockers is no longer a Raven.

And, in an added twist, Brockers suddenly returned to the Rams on Thursday evening, signing a new 3-year deal out there. Really, really weird. His ankle wasn't good enough for Baltimore but it was good enough for L.A.? Or did Brockers suddenly get buyer's remorse and the two parties crafted the ankle-injury-story to help each of them save face? Just a strange, strange ending to the story.

Interestingly, the Ravens have now lost three defensive linemen in a week's time. They've now lost Brockers. They traded away Chris Wormley to the Steelers. And they also lost veteran Michael Pierce, who scooped up $27 million from the Vikings last week as a free agent.

My sense is the Ravens were never going to keep Pierce anyway. He reported to camp wildly out of shape last July and couldn't even make it through the team's opening day "endurance test". I'm not saying that completely sealed his fate with John Harbaugh and the organization, but if you come to training camp 30 pounds overweight in your contract year, that certainly speaks volumes about your dedication level.

But it certainly is interesting to at least entertain the question. Had Brockers not been available, would the Ravens have made a push to keep Pierce in the fold for 2020 and beyond? And did they ship Wormley off for draft picks assuming Brockers would eat up all of the defensive snaps that Wormley might have otherwise received in a part-time'ish role?

And in this world of social media reporting, "break the story first", and agents wanting to get the news out of the deal they just struck for their client, did the premature announcement of Brockers' deal in Baltimore wind up hurting the organization? They knew Brockers had suffered a high ankle sprain last season in Los Angeles. In a perfect world, it would have made sense for the Ravens to get the physical part of the deal out of the way first...then announce it.

But these are strange times, indeed, and the way it "would have been" doesn't really matter now. What matters is the Ravens' defensive line now has a gaping hole. And they'll have to fix it, again, either through another free agent or the upcoming NFL Draft.


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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. IX — Extravagant Letters from Philadelphia. Credulity put to the test.

That I might not interrupt the chain of events in Philadelphia, I have deferred, till now, giving an account of the proceedings in the several states, respecting our fugitives. As an introduction thereto, I shall prefix a short chapter respecting those letters, which excited the terror of our neighbours, and impelled them to more severe measures than they would otherwise have adopted.

Great as was the calamity of Philadelphia, it was magnified in the most extraordinary manner. The hundred tongues of rumour were never more successfully employed, than on this melancholy occasion. The terror of the inhabitants of all the neighbouring states was excited by letters from this city, distributed by every mail, many of which told tales of woe, whereof hardly a single circumstance was true, but which were every where received with implicit faith. The stresses of the city, and the fatality of the disorder, were exaggerated as it were to see how far credulity could be carried. The plague of London was, according to rumour, hardly more fatal than our yellow fever. Our citizens died so fast, that there was hardly enough of people to bury them. Ten, or fifteen, or more were said to be cast into one hole together, like so many dead beasts*. One man, whose feelings were so composed, as to be facetious on the subject, acquainted a correspondent, in New York, that the only business carrying on, was grave digging, or rather pit digging.** And at a time when the deaths did not exceed from forty to fifty daily, many men had the modesty to write, and others, throughout the continent, the credulity to believe, that we buried from one hundred to one hundred and fifty.*** Thousands were swept off in three or four weeks.**** And the nature and danger of the disorder, were as much misrepresented, as the number of the dead. It was said, in defiance of every day's experience, to be as inevitable by all exposed to the contagion, as the stroke of fate.

* The following extract appeared in a Norfolk paper about the middle of September: Extract of a letter from Philadelphia, to a gentleman in Norfolk, Sept. 9.

“Half the inhabitants of this city have already fled to different parts, on account of the pestilential disorder that prevails here. The few citizens who remained in this place, die in abundance, so fast, that they drag them away, like dead beasts, and put ten or fifteen, or more, in a hole together. All the stores are shut up. I am afraid this city will be ruined: for nobody will come near it hereafter. I am this day removing my family from this fatal place.”

I am strongly inclined to imagine that this letter was the cause of the Virginia proclamation.
** From a New York paper of October 2. Extract of a letter from a gentleman in Philadelphia, dated Sept. 23.

“The papers must have amply informed you of the melancholy situation of this city for five or six weeks past. Grave-digging has been the only business carrying on; and indeed I may of late, pit-digging, where people are interred indiscriminately in three tiers of coffins. from the most accurate observations 1 can make upon matters, I think I speak within bounds, when I say, eighteen hundred persons have perished (I do not say all of the yellow fever) since its first appearance.”
*** From the Maryland Journal, of Sept. 27. Extract of a letter from Philadelphia, dated Sept. 20.

“The disorder seems to be much the' same in this place as when I last wrote you: about, 1500have fallen victims to it. Last Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, there were not less than 350 died with this severe disorder. As I informed you before, this is the most distressed place I ever beheld. Whole families go in the disorder, in the course of twelve hours. for your own sakes, use all possible means to keep it out of Baltimore.”

Extract of a letter from 'Philadelphia, of the same date.

“The malignant fever which prevails here, is still increasing. Report says, that above one hundred have been buried per day for some time past. It is now thought to be more infectious than ever. I think you ought to be very careful with respect to admitting persons from Philadelphia into your town.”
**** From a Chestertown paper, of Sept. 10. Extract of a letter from a respectable young mechanic, in Philadelphia, to his friend in this town, dated the 5th inst.

“It is now a very mortal time in this city. The yellow fever hath killed some thousands of the inhabitants. Eight thousand mechanics, besides other people, have left the town. Every master in the city, of our branch of business, is gone.”

The ‘some thousands’ that were killed at that time, did not amount to three hundred. The [Ed.: in-]authentic information in this letter, was circulated in every state in the union, by the newspapers. From the date, I suspect this letter to have been the occasion of the Chestertown Revolves. [Ed.: Mr. Carey here and in the next chapter uses "revolves" in a sense not now used, meaning 'radical changes.']

The credulity of some, the proneness to exaggeration of others, and I am sorry, extremely sorry to believe, the interested views of a few*, will account, for these letters.

* As this charge is extremely pointed, it may be requisite to state the foundation of it, for the reader to form his opinion upon. Some of the letters from Philadelphia about this time, were written by persons, whose interest it was to injure the city; and gave statements so very different, even from the very worst rumours prevailing here, that it was morally impossible the writers themselves could have believed them.

Note: We'll publish Chapter 10 tomorrow.

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March 26
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there is good news on opening day

As fate would have it, at least here in Baltimore, what would have been opening day at Camden Yards is going to be a splendid 60 degree early spring afternoon.

Who didn't know that, right?

We endured Jay Gibbons losing a ball in a blinding snow squall and 46 degree opening pitch temperatures and more losses to kick-off the season than we'd care to remember. But we still had opening day, no matter the weather or the quality of the on-field product.

What we'd give for a "normal" opening day this afternoon, right? Who cares if Gerritt Cole would have come in and shut us down on four hits over 7 innings in a 6-1 Yankees win? We'd have baseball...and for many, the first day of spring doesn't really begin until that first official pitch of the season is thrown.

Alas, there's no baseball today and we're challenged with something much greater than worrying about whether the Orioles can beat the Yankees.

But we can still think about opening day today. Covid-19 has taken a lot from us over the last two weeks, but it still can't damage our ability to remember good times and the very reason why we gather together on opening day in the first place.

Because, like most of you, I find myself this week with pockets of time to delve into topics I otherwise might not concern myself with, I went back yesterday and looked at every Orioles schedule from 1990 through 2019. My memory isn't perfect, but by looking back at the schedule I can recall attending 20 of those 30 opening days in Baltimore.

I vividly recall a lot of them.

One of the greatest sights in all of sports. A sold out baseball stadium on opening day.

I have a lot of "great" memories about the Orioles. My earliest "fond memory" was going to Memorial Stadium in 1983 and meeting the team after they returned from the Game 5 World Series clincher in Philadelphia. Four goofs from Glen Burnie hopped in a car and made the trek to 33rd Street just to be there and be part of it.

But none of those 20 opening days I attended meant as much as the one on March 31, 2014. That was the day I sat in the stands with my son, 6 years old at the time, and watched baseball with him, the way dads dream of watching sports with their little boys or girls "someday".

I do remember the game, too. Nelson Cruz hit a late home run (7th or 8th inning?) and Tommy Hunter was still "trying" to close games at that point and he put a couple of guys on base in the top of the 9th as the O's held a 2-1 lead over the Red Sox. It turns out that was one of the rare occasions where Hunter came through under the gun, getting Big Papi to fly out in that 9th inning (kind of deep to left, if I remember) to help seal the win.

The game, though, is etched in my memory because it the first opening day I attended with my son. He had been to other games with me before that, of course, but not opening day. And while he likely won't remember it when he's 57, Dad certainly knows all of the details. My little boy wore a white turtleneck long sleeved shirt with a black Brian Roberts tee-shirt and #1 on the back over top of the turtleneck. I have a good memory for stuff like that...

It was decent that day, weather wise, but windy, if I recall. We sat in Section 13, which is under cover, but doesn't allow any sunlight to leak in and warm us. I remember visiting friends in the 4th or 5th inning who were in Section 68 or so and they were on their 5th or 6th "round" of the game and having a great time. But I'm not sure their day was memorable. Mine sure was.

If you asked those five guys what they remember about opening day 2014, I doubt they would recall any of the details unless assisted by an internet search or pictures from Facebook.

I remember it like it was yesterday. My son and I have been to other opening days since then, by the way, but none stand out as much as that first one.

There's something about sports and families that connects in a way that "camping" and "Ocean City" and "ski trips" don't. Not that those occasions and memories aren't valid and/or memorable, because they are. They just don't create the same kind of long lasting memories that sporting events do. And I can't explain that.

Back in January, when the Ravens were the #1 seed and looking like they could play in the Super Bowl, I was contacted by a client to help them organize a trip to Miami for the big game. One of the first questions the client asked me was, "Would you go to the game with the group?" When it was determined that the client would potentially pay for my ticket, I was then left with the biggest quandry of all. What would I do with my son? I couldn't possibly leave him home. And remembering that the last time the Ravens were in the Super Bowl and I was working at the game and unable to watch it with my family, I was determined not to let that happen again.

I wasn't in position to pay $6,000 for a ticket for him, either. $6,000 is a year of private school for my son or daughter. There's no way I could justify that expenditure on a sports ticket when I could just write that check to their school.

So I decided I wouldn't go to the game if the Ravens made it. I'd still organize the trip, still do pleasing work for my client, and still be in Miami when the game was played. But my son would be with me and we'd find a "pro Ravens place" to watch the game in Miami. My wife and daughter might have come down late in the week, although, if we're being honest, they'd both prefer to just watch it from the comfort of our living room.

I bring that whole story up to merely reinforce how important it is for us to have our family and friends around when sports events really matter. And the reason we do that is because nothing creates family and friendship moments like sports. I don't know why that is, but that's the way it is.

There's no opening day in Baltimore today but that doesn't mean we can't go back in time and revisit one that's still fresh in our minds.

That's the good news today. The coronavirus has robbed our country of opening day 2020, but it hasn't impacted our ability to remember the great times we've had in the past.

I remember March 31, 2014. I'm sure you have one or two that you can recall, too.

I'd love to read about yours in the Comments section below.

Happy Opening Day, friends.

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our "frank fund" is now over $900!

#DMD reader Frank Del Viscio sent me an encouraging email on Monday and offered his help. He was willing to contribute $200 to a #DMD fund and has asked me to find a way to distribute it here in the Baltimore area. He asked that I seek other donations, big or small, and that we figure out a way to help others in the community. I loved the idea!

At 8:00 am on Wednesday, we had $340 in the Fund, thanks to Frank's initial donation and several others. After an appeal here at #DMD on Wednesday and a couple of Twitter posts, the good hearted people of Baltimore started to shine. I'm happy to report that this morning, as I write this, we're at $910!!

Later today, my friend Brian Hubbard and I will take some meals and goodies to several local hospitals in the area and show our thanks and gratitude to the numerous medical staffers who are working tirelessly during this Covid-19 scare. I spent a couple of hours on Wednesday reaching out to hospital PR departments to determine the best, safest way to get the food into the emergency rooms and ICUs. As you can understand, you can't just drive up and stroll into the hospital right now.

We're also looking for people and families who have been hit hard by this situation and lost their ability to make money and support themselves. If we can buy them food or household supplies, we'd love to make a difference.

Various #DMD readers came through yesterday with donations, including Matt Crow, Bob Yeagle, Don Leatherwood, Andrew Redding, Darren Curry, Pat Simon, Nick Kelly, Mark Johnson, Bill Mojica, Tony Iafolla and a couple of "anonymous" friends helped us reach $910 yesterday. If I left anyone out, I apologize.

If you're interested in donating, reach out to me via email (18inarow@gmail.com) and we'll get it organized.

For lack of a better term, we'll call this our "Frank Fund". Many thanks to Frank Del Viscio for reaching out to me with this generous donation offer and thanks to the others who have agreed to donate thus far!

On "Day 28" of my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration, it makes complete sense just to give thanks to everyone who has been here with me since August 25, 2014. I'm just a guy who loves sports and wants to share that with others by writing about it, in some way, every day. Without readers, there's no Drew's Morning Dish. And in times like these, where I reach out and ask for you to help others in our community who are experiencing hardship, it always blows me away to see how generous people are who are connected to #DMD. So, on Day 28, I'm thanking "#DMD Friends" for all that you've done in the past, whether it's our coat drive or an event we held for Van Brooks, among others, and for your contributions over last few days.

Thank you, all!


"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

i don't think...

I don’t think they should play The Masters in 2020. The Masters isn’t just an invitational golf tournament played at Augusta National. It’s an invitational golf tournament that takes place during the first full week of April at the club.

It’s a spring tournament, played at a time when the trees are blooming for the new season and the weather is unpredictable. The course is prepared to be “perfect,” directly before it closes for the summer. Yes, it could also be prepared to perfection in October, which is a lovely time to play golf in the Southeast. But it wouldn’t feel the same.

The Masters was cancelled in 1943, 1944 and 1945 because of World War II. We aren’t in the same kind of war, but it just doesn’t feel right to play the tournament in this environment. And I’m not sure it will feel right in the fall either.

I don’t think the rest of the NBA or NHL seasons will be played. First off, look at last year’s postseason. The NHL playoffs started on April 10, and the NBA playoffs began on April 13.

In other words, the playoffs are pretty much here already. Even in the most optimistic of situations, they’d have to start immediately after the word “go.” And that’s not going to happen, as much as some players would probably be ok with it.

Sure, it sounds like a great deal to have the two-month slog of both the NHL and the NBA potentially shortened. No more basketball teams that finished around .500 being forced to play a few more games against the elite. Throughout its history, the NHL has always had way too many teams qualify for the playoffs. But I don’t think the entire league is truly going to be ready to play.

I don’t think it would a bad thing to play a baseball season that starts in early June, somewhere around a 100-game season. The Orioles’ 62nd game this year was originally scheduled for June 5, for example. I know…why would it be ok to have a shortened baseball season but not for basketball and hockey? Just doesn’t seem as spooky, I guess.

Now, I’m not sure if the schedule could be adjusted to make it “fair.” I have a feeling the league might have to start from the point where it should be in early June. Teams wouldn’t have the same number of games at home and on the road, and wouldn’t necessarily play everyone in their own league.

A four-month season seems legitimate to me; in general, the cream would rise to the top, though it’s worth noting that the 2019 Nationals had a 28-34 record after 62 games.

I don’t think that golf courses are particularly dangerous right now, for all the reasons mentioned on this site in recent days. Certainly, knocking a few Titleists around isn’t “essential” in the way that food and shelter are, though you’d surely find a few golfers who consider the game more important than eating.

I will say this though…I’m not sure there’d be a great amount of joy in golf for lots of us right now. Despite the occasional mild outburst and under-my-breath mumbling, I get a lot of joy out of playing the game. Wondering whether it’s the “right thing” to be doing while standing out there doesn’t seem fun.

It’s really difficult to get people off the golf course, though, just like it is getting a bunch of young guys to stay away from an outdoor basketball court. It’s recreation, and it’s an itch that needs to be scratched.

I don’t think that there’s much on television besides sports. But that’s me. Others can watch marathons of “Law and Order: SVU” or binge watch shows on Netflix, but that doesn’t do much for me. If you haven’t seen it, and have access, I do recommend “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” from Amazon Prime. The writing is great, the acting is excellent and the production really makes it seem like it’s the 1950s.

I was thinking last week about all the folks who work in television production in the sports industry. They toil behind the scenes in those big trucks and lots of other places to make a broadcast work. In any one game, there might be hundreds of people making it happen. And now they aren’t working.

Someday, however, the games will return and they’ll be working again, which can’t necessarily be said about everyone who’s lost a job recently.

I don’t think people are talking about how lucky the NFL is. The league wants you to believe that its season never ends, and that’s actually come true even when everyone else is off the grid. There is a real chance that NFL training camps will begin exactly when they were supposed to begin, and that the regular season will start on Sept. 10, exactly when it is supposed to begin, probably in Kansas City.

Now…lots of other stuff is up in the air. All those minicamps, the mandatory ones and the optional ones. And there’s the preseason, of course…did you know that the Ravens have won 17 straight completely irrelevant games? Yes—here’s your chance to comment that the Ravens have now lost their last two extremely relevant games.

The NFL always promotes itself as one big celebration for 17 weeks. This season, it might actually feel like that.

I don’t think Maryland was going to make the Final Four, which some postmortem simulations seemed to think was a reality. It’s easy to see why those simulations might say so, because the Terps were a very efficient team in 2019-20 despite their poor three-point shooting. They were just as good a bet to win as any other team of similar stock.

I just think that, likely in the Sweet 16 but maybe even in the second round, Mark Turgeon’s team would start out really slowly, as it did so often this season. And this time it would actually cost them a chance to win in the end.

At the very least, the college basketball regular season was played to 100 percent of its capacity. Maybe the average person doesn’t care about anything but the NCAA tournament, but in the regular season Maryland was a lot of fun to watch.

And I don’t think that the postponement of the Olympics to 2021 is a bad thing at all. First, it was the obvious thing to do. Besides that, though, it might actually convince some athletes to compete a bit longer than they otherwise would.

If they’re still there for 2021, it’s more likely they’d stick it out until 2024. Four more years is a lot, but three more years might sound a little better, especially for some older athletes.

Life will go on in Tokyo, one of the world’s largest cities, and here in the United States NBC will just postpone all its over-the-top Olympic promotion for a year. The 2021 Olympics might really feel like a celebration in the way the Games haven’t in recent times.

Get ready for lots of Olympics promotion and coverage in a short time, though. The Winter Games in Beijing are in February 2022.

I Am Catholic

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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. VIII — Repeated addresses of the committee on the purification of houses. —Assistant committee undertake to inspect infected houses personally. Extinction of the disorder. Governor's proclamation. Address of the clergy. A new and happy state of affairs.

THE committee exerted its cares for the welfare of the citizens in every case in which its interference was at all proper or necessary. The declension of the disorder induced many persons to return to the city at an earlier period, than prudence dictated. On the 26th of October, therefore, the committee addressed their fellow citizens, congratulating them on the very flattering change that had taken place, which afforded a chearing prospect of being soon freed from the disorder entirely. They, however, recommended to those who were absent, not to return till the intervention of cold weather, or rain* should render such a step justifiable and proper, by totally extinguishing the disease.

*I shall in some of the following pages attempt to prove, that the idea here held out, was erroneous.

The 29th, they published another address, earnestly exhorting those whose houses had been closed, to have them well aired and purified; to throw lime into the privies, etc.

The 4th of November, they again addressed the public, announcing that it was unsafe for those who had resided in the country, to return to town with too much precipitation, especially into houses not properly prepared. They added, that though, the disorder had considerably abated, and though there was reason to hope it would shortly disappear, yet they could not say it was totally eradicated; as there was reason to fear it still lurked in different parts of the city. They reiterated their representations on the subject of cleansing houses.

The 14th, they once more addressed their fellow Citizens, informing them of the restoration to our long afflicted city, of as great a degree of health as usually prevails at the same season; of no new cases of the malignant fever having occurred for many days; of their having reason to hope that in a few days not a vestige of it would remain in the city or suburbs; of applications for admission into the hospital having ceased; of the expectation of the physicians at the hospital, that no more than three or four would die out of ninety-one persons remaining there; of the number of convalescents increasing daily. They at the same time most earnestly recommended that houses in which the disorder had been, should be purified; and that the clothing or bedding of the sick, more especially of those who had died of the disorder, should be washed, baked, buried, or destroyed. They added, that the absent citizens of Philadelphia, as well as those strangers who had business in the city, might safely come to it, without fear of the disorder.

Notwithstanding all these cautions, many persons returned from the country, without paying any attention to the cleansing of their houses, thereby sporting not only with their own lives, but with the safety of their fellow citizens. The neglect of some people, in this way, has been so flagrant, as to merit the severest punishment. This dangerous nuisance attracted the notice of the committee; and after a conference with the assistant committee, they, on the 15th of November, in conjunction with them, resolved, that it was highly expedient to have all houses and stores in the city and liberties, wherein the malignant fever had prevailed, purified and cleansed as speedily and completely as possible; to have all those well aired, which had been closed for any length of time; to have lime thrown into the privies; to call in, when the district would be too large for the members to enforce compliance with those revolves, such assistants as might be necessary; and when any person, whose house required to be cleansed, and who was able to defray the expense thereof, should refuse or neglect to comply with the requisition of the members appointed to carry those resolves into effect, to report him to the next grand jury for the city and county, as supporting a nuisance dangerous to the public welfare. The assistant committee undertook to exert themselves to have these salutary plans put into execution; they have gone through the city and liberties for the purpose; and in most cases have found a readiness in the inhabitants to comply with a requisition of such importance.*

*The utmost exertions of the magistrates, and of the citizens generally, are necessary to guard against the deplorable consequences that may arise in the spring from the neglect of a few whose supineness renders them deaf to every call of duty in this respect. The beds secreted by the nurses who attended the sick, are likewise a fruitful source of danger, and demand the greatest vigilance from every person invested with authority to watch over the public safety.

This was the last act of the committee that requires notice. Their business has since gone on in a regular, uniform train, every day like the past. They are now settling their accounts, and are preparing to surrender up their trust, into the hands of a town meeting of their fellow citizens, the constituents by whom they were called into the unprecedented office they have filled. To them they will give an account of their stewardship, in a time of distress, the like of which heaven avert from the people of America forever. Doubtless, a candid construction will be put upon their conduct, and it will be believed, that they have acted in every case that came under their cognizance, according to the best of their abilities.

On the 14th, governor Mifflin published a proclamation, announcing, that as it had pleased Almighty God to put an end to the grievous calamity which recently afflicted the city of Philadelphia, it was the duty of all who were truly sensible of the divine mercy, to employ the earliest moments of returning health, in devout expressions of penitence, submission, and gratitude. He therefore appointed Thursday, the 12th of December,* as a day of general humiliation; thanksgiving, and prayer, and earnestly exhorted and intreated his fellow citizens to abstain, on that day, from all worldly avocations, and to unite in confessing, with contrite hearts, their manifold sins and transgressions — in acknowledging, with thankful adoration, the mercy and goodness of the Supreme Ruler of the universe, more especially manifested in our late deliverance; and in praying, with solemn zeal, that the same mighty, power would be graciously pleased to instill into our minds the just principles of our duty to him and to our fellow creatures; to regulate and guide all our actions by his Holy Spirit, to avert from all mankind the evils of war, pestilence, and famine; and to bless and protect us in the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty.

* The pious observance of this day, by an almost total cessation of business (except among the Friends, whose stores generally remained open) and by the churches being universally filled with people pouring forth the effusions of their gratitude for the cessation of the dreadful scourge, exceeded that of any other day of thanksgiving I have ever known.

The 18th, the clergy of the city published an elegant and pathetic address, recommending that the day appointed by the governor, should be set apart and kept holy to the Lord, not merely as a day of thanksgiving, for that, in all appearance, it had pleased him, of his infinite mercy, to stay the rage of the malignant disorder, (when we had well nigh said, hath God forgot to be gracious ?)—but also as a day of solemn humiliation and prayer, joined with the confession of our manifold sins, and of our neglect and abuse of his former mercies; together with sincere resolutions of future amendment and obedience to his holy will and laws; without which our prayers, praises, and thanksgivings will be in vain.

The 26th the assistant committee passed several very judicious and salutary resolves, requiring their members in their several districts through the city and liberties, immediately to inspect the condition of all taverns, boarding houses, and other buildings in which the late contagious disorder is known to have been; to notify the owners or tenants, to have them purified and cleansed; to report the names of such as should refuse compliance, and also make report of every house shut up, in which any person is known to have lately sickened or died. They cautioned the vendue [Ed.: auction] masters not to sell, and the public not to buy any clothes or bedding belonging to persons lately deceased, until they know that the same has been sufficiently purified and aired.

I have not judged it necessary to enter into a minute detail of the business of the committee from day to day. It would afford little gratification to the reader. It would be, for several weeks, little more than a melancholy history of fifteen, twenty, or thirty, applications daily, for coffins and carts to bury the dead, who had none to perform that last office for them—or as many applications for the removal of the sick to Bushhill. There was little variety. The present day was as dreary as the past—and the prospect of the approaching one was equally gloomy. This was the state of things for a long time. But at length brighter prospects dawned. The disorder decreased in violence. The number of the sick diminished. New cases became rare. The spirits of the citizens revived—and the tide of migration was once more turned. A visible alteration has taken place in the state of affairs in the city. Our friends return in crowds. Every hour, long-absent and welcome faces appear—and in many instances, those of persons, whom public fame has buried for weeks past. The stores, so long closed, are nearly all opened again. Many of the country merchants, bolder than others, are daily venturing in to their old place of supply. Market-street is as full of waggons as usual. The customhouse, for weeks nearly deserted by our mercantile people, is thronged with citizens entering their vessels and goods. The streets, too long the abode of gloom and despair, have assumed the bustle suited to the season. Our wharves are filled with vessels, loading and unloading their respective cargoes. And, in time as every thing, in the early stage of the disorder, seemed calculated to add to the general consternation; so now, on the contrary, every circumstance has a tendency to revive the courage and hopes of our citizens. But we have to lament, that the same spirit of exaggeration and lying, that prevailed at a former period, and was the grand cause of the harsh measures adopted by our sister states, has not ceased to operate; for at the present moment, when the danger is entirely done away, the credulous, of our own citizens still absent, and of the country people, are still alarmed with frightful rumours, of the disorder raging with as much violence as ever; of numbers carried off, a few hours after their return; and of new cases daily occurring. To what design to attribute these shameful tales, I know not. Were I to regard them in a spirit of resentment, I should be inclined to charge them to some secret, interested views of their authors, intent, if possible, to effect the entire destruction of our pity. But I will not allow myself to consider them in this point of light—and will even suppose they arise from a proneness to terrific narration, natural to some men. But they should consider, that we are in the situation of the frogs in the fable—-while those tales, which make the hair of the country people stand on end, are sport to the fabricators, they are death to us. And I here assert, and defy contradiction, that of the whole number of our fugitive citizens, who have already returned, amounting to some thousands, not above two persons are dead—and these owe their fate to the most shameful neglect of airing and cleansing their houses, notwithstanding the various cautions published by the committee. If people will venture into houses in which infected air has been pent up for weeks together, without any purification, we cannot be surprized at the consequences, however fatal they maybe. But let not the catastrophe of a few incautious persons operate to bring discredit on a city containing above fifty thousand people.

Note: We'll publish Chapter 9 tomorrow.

#dmd comments

March 25
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

mlb scrambling, ravens not so much

Major League Baseball is really starting to feel the pinch. As they should, by the way.

Baseball is the one sport that seemingly has the most to lose during the nation's Covid-19 pandemic. Hockey, basketball and golf had at least started and played some of their respective '19-20 seasons before the coronavirus halted everything in early March.

All baseball had was a smattering of spring training games under its belt before they were forced to shut down.

And now, things are starting to look really concerning. The owners and the MLB Player's Association are starting to discuss those ugly matters that only rise up during times like these.

"How are players going to get paid?"

How is Mike Trout going to make his $35 million in 2020 if no games are played?

"If there's no baseball for three months, how do the front office employees get paid?"

"What about the minor league players?" Many of them make less than $2,000 monthly for the "privilege" of being professional athletes. How will they get paid during this down time.

Since there's no definite start date on the horizon, it's difficult for the two sides to come up with solutions.

One idea being bandied about is starting at or around July 1st and somehow working the All-Star Game in Los Angeles into a kickoff event to get the season going.

Another concept is to potentially play a significant number of games in several pre-designated locations, with each team rotating through the two or three cities that would be utilized. There could be three games scheduled in one location on the same day with six teams playing on that day (12:30, 4:30 and 8:30), although extra innings and inclement weather could impact a 3-game slate. The more likely scenario would be two games at the same location (1:30 and 6:30), with four different teams playing on any given day.

But with 30% of the league's revenue generated from gate receipts over a 162-game regular season, owners and players are only willing to use the "no fans in stands" idea as a last resort.

Everyone is still saying the goal is for all MLB teams to play 162 games but that seems next-to-impossible at this point. There's little doubt now the league's earliest starting point, if everything went perfect from now until then, would be June 1st. And even that's pushing it...

The most likely scenario is a return to spring training on or about June 1st with a late June/July start date. Under traditional scheduling of 26 games per-month, that would add up to 78 games, a far cry from the 162 the league would prefer to play. A doubleheader per-week would yield roughly another 14 games getting the total up to 92. It just doesn't seem possible to play 162 games in 2020, or even 120 games for that matter.

One thing for sure. The owners are going to try and squeeze the players and the front office employees when this is all said and done and the players are going to have to fight for everything they get. You just know there's friction on the horizon between the two sides. It's imminent.

There's not much friction as far as the Ravens go these days. Other than losing Michael Pierce and Josh Bynes, not much has gone wrong for Eric DeCosta in free agency over the last ten days. They also lost WR Seth Roberts to the Panthers, but no one even noticed that move.

Bynes joined the Bengals on a 1-year deal yesterday, while Pierce jumped ship to the Vikings last week for $27 million. And if we're being honest here, the Ravens likely had no interest in retaining either of those players.

Eric DeCosta and the Ravens have been very busy since free agency started, as players around the league look for a fit in Baltimore.

What's becoming more and more apparent during the early days of free agency is what we'll refer to around here as "The Lamar Effect". After watching Jackson's MVP season and the Ravens' record setting 14-2 mark in 2019, players around the league want to be part of what's going on in Baltimore.

One of the first things DE Calais Campbell tweeted out when he was traded to the Ravens was, "Time to go ring hunting!"

You have to figure Jackson and the uptick of the Ravens factored into Michael Brockers' decision to go from West Coast to East Coast and move to Baltimore.

Over the last two days, the Ravens have been able to keep both Jimmy Smith and Chris Moore on the roster, with Smith sliding in at a very team-friendly $6 million deal. Moore is around more for special teams than his pass catching skills, but he's cheap and he knows the system and he's bound to make a handful of exceptional special teams plays over the course of 16 games.

Yes, the Ravens are in great shape heading into the draft.

They've even traded away two regulars from 2019 -- Hayden Hurst and Chris Wormley -- and picked up future draft picks via those transactions. Not only is the organization prepping for this year's draft, they're already armed with additional picks in 2021.

The guess here is the Ravens will use the 2020 draft to bolster its wide receiving and linebacking corps. There hasn't been a draft this heavy with talented pass catchers in a long time, and there are several high quality linebackers who should be available at or around the time the Ravens execute the 28th pick in the first round.

Whatever happens with the Ravens, draft wise, they're still going to be heavy favorites to win the AFC North and logical contenders for the AFC title in 2020. While it would be hard to top last year's 14-2 record, there's no doubt a season of similar excellence is well within their grasp. And this time around, I think we'd be OK with a 12-4 regular season mark as long as Lamar can earn at least one playoff win next January, if not two or three.

#DMD reader Frank Del Viscio sent me an encouraging email on Monday and offered his help. He's willing to contribute $200 to a #DMD fund and has asked me to find a way to distribute it here in the Baltimore area. He asked that I seek other donations, big or small, and that we figure out a way to help others in the community. I'm definitely up for this task! We won't use all the money on one person, by the way. We'll hopefully raise enough to assist several people or families. We're talking about buying food, household items, etc. I'll probably use my personal Facebook page to get this started later today.

If you're interested in donating, reach out to me via email (18inarow@gmail.com) and we'll get it organized. Frank's donation of $200 is a great "starter kit" for us. If you can donate $10.00 or $20.00, that would be awesome. We have $320 donated thus far, with $80 to go towards our modest goal of $400 by the end of today.

For lack of a better term, we'll call this our "Frank Fund". Many thanks to Frank Del Viscio for reaching out to me with this generous donation offer and thanks to the others who have agreed to donate thus far. Matt in Owings Mills contributed $50, Lisa in Fallston sent us $30 and two anonymous friends each contributed $20. We'll put everyone's donation to good use, I assure you.

My RideMyCause banner ad

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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. VII — Proceedings of the committee–Loans from the bank of North-America. Establishment of an orphan house. Relief of the poor. Appointment of the assistant committee.

The committee, on its organization, resolved that three of the members would attend daily at the city hall, to receive applications for relief; to provide for the burial of the dead, and for the conveyance of persons labouring under the malignant fever, to Bushhill. But three being found inadequate to the execution of the multifarious and laborious duties to be performed, this order was rescinded, and daily attendance was given by nearly all of the members.

A number of carts and carters were engaged for the burial of the dead, and removal of the sick. And it was a melancholy sight to behold them incessantly employed through the whole day, in their mournful offices.

The committee borrowed fifteen hundred dollars from the bank of North-America, agreeably to the resolves of the town meeting by which they were appointed. Several of the members entered into security to repay that sum, in case the corporation or legislature should refuse to make provision for its discharge. This sum being soon expended, a farther loan of five thousand dollars was negotiated with the same institution.*

* It ought to be mentioned, that on the payment of these sums, the directors generously declined accepting interest for the use of them.

In the progress of the disorder, the committee found the calls on their humanity increase. The numerous deaths of heads of families left a very large body of children in a most abandoned, forlorn state. The bettering house, in which such helpless objects have been usually placed heretofore, was barred against them, by the order which I have already mentioned. Many of these little innocents were actually suffering for want of even common necessaries. The deaths of their parents and protectors, which should have been the strongest recommendation to public charity, was the very reason of their distress, and of their being shunned as a pestilence. The children of a family once in easy circumstances, were found in a blacksmith's shop, squalid, dirty, and half starved, having been for a considerable time without even bread to eat. Various instances of a similar nature occurred. This evil early caught the attention of the committee, and on the 19th of September, they hired a house in Fifth-street, in which they placed thirteen children. The number increasing, they on the 3d of October, procured the Loganian library, which was generously given up by John Swanwick, esq. for the purpose of an orphan house. A further increase of their little charge, rendered it necessary to build some additions to the library, which are nearly half as large as that building. At present, there are in the house, under the care of the orphan committee, about sixty children, and above forty are out with wet nurses. From the origin of the institution, one hundred and ninety children have fallen under their care, of whom fifteen are dead, and about seventy have been delivered to their relations or friends. There are instances of five and six children of a single family in the house. To these precious deposits the utmost attention has been paid. They are well fed, comfortably clothed, and properly taken care of. Mary Parvin, a very suitable person for the purpose, has been engaged as matron, and there are, besides, sufficient persons employed to assist her. Various applications have been made for some of the children; but in no instance would the committee surrender any of them up, until they had satisfactory evidence that the claimants had a right to make the demand. Their relations are now publicly called upon to come and receive them. For such as may remain unclaimed, the best provision possible will be made; and so great is the avidity of many people to have some of them, that there will be no difficulty in placing them to advantage.

Another duty soon attracted the attention of the committee. The slight of so many of our citizens, the consequent stagnation of business, and the almost total cessation of the labours of the guardians of the poor, brought on among the lower classes of the people, a great degree of distress, which loudly demanded the interposition of the humane. In consequence, on the 20th of September, a committee of distribution, of three members, was appointed, to furnish such assistance to deserving objects as their respective cases might require, and the funds allow. This was at first administered to but few, owing to the confined state of the finances. But the very extraordinary liberality of our fugitive fellow citizens, of the citizens of New York, and of those of various towns and townships, encouraged the committee to extend their views. In consequence, they increased the distributing committee to eight, and afterwards to ten.

Being, in the execution of this important service, liable to imposition, they, on the 14th of October, appointed an assistant committee, composed of forty-five citizens, chosen from the several districts of the city and liberties. The duty assigned this assistant committee, was to seek out and give recommendations to deserving objects in distress, who, on producing them, were relieved by the committee of distribution, (who sat daily at the City Hall, in rotation,) with money, provisions, or wood, or all three, according as their necessities required. The assistant committee executed this business with such care, that it is probable so great a number of people were never before relieved, with so little imposition. Some shameless creatures, possessed of houses, and comfortable means of support, have been detected in endeavouring to partake of the relief destined solely for the really indigent and distressed.

Besides those who came forward to ask assistance in the way of gift, there was another class, in equal distress, and equally entitled to relief, who could not descend to accept it as charity. The committee, disposed to foster this laudable principle, one of the best securities from debasement of character, relieved persons of this description with small loans weekly, just enough for immediate support, and took acknowledgments for the debt, without ever intending to urge payment, if not perfectly convenient to the parties.

The number of persons relieved weekly, was about twelve hundred; many of whom had families of four, five, and six persons.

The gradual revival of business has rescued those who are able and willing to work, from the humiliation of depending on public charity. And the organization of the overseers of the poor has thrown the support of the proper objects of charity into its old channel. The distribution of money, etc. ceased therefore on Saturday, the 23d of November.

Note: We'll publish Chapter 8 tomorrow.

March 24
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

stay healthy, help others

These are challenging days, huh?

I mean, it's impossible to overstate how new all of this is. We've never been through it. Never. That's how new it is.

From a personal standpoint, we're all trying to stay as healthy as we can. That's priority number one for all of us.

But while our physical health is critical, so too is out mental health. We're all creatures of habit and routine. In "normal times", we do things on a fairly normal schedule every day. Those habits and routines have been shattered, for the most part, and now we're left to deal with a completely new set of daily rules.

Like most of you, I assume, I've spent a lot of time on the internet over the last week. I've read a lot, watched a ton of YouTube videos on various subjects (golf, music, faith) and, in general, searched for interesting things to keep my mind occupied and as fresh as possible.

I've read George's contribution here every day over the last five days. It's remarkable how similar the events of 1793 were to what we're going through today. There are so many similarities it's scary. If you haven't read George's 6th great-grandfather's account of it, you've missed an incredible story...but you can catch up on all of it by just going back through the last five days and reading each chapter. You'll be surprised (maybe) to see that 1793 and 2020 bear a striking resemblance to one another.

Elsewhere at #DMD, I haven't started posting lists or "best of's" or stuff like that. I say that with no offense to ESPN.com and Golf Channel.com, who have been doing that now for five days or so. I just haven't felt moved to tell you who my Top 10 favorite Orioles are...or my Top 10 favorite Masters of all time...or my Top 10 most memorable Baltimore sports moments.

We do have the NFL Draft coming up next month -- hopefully -- and we'll start focusing on that next week here at #DMD. That's definitely some topical, current sports news to follow. A few NBA and NHL franchises are asking their employees to work four days a week now and effectively cutting their salaries by 20% at the same time. I have an opinion on that, too, and will share it tomorrow, perhaps, or later in the week once we see if others in the world of professional sports follow suit.

But the go-to thing these days are "Best of" lists (which I love, by the way) and brackets and even fictional match-ups between teams and/or players, where someone just arbitrarily decides who would win and who would lose and asks us to consume that stuff as if it were real. You might enjoy that sort of online banter, but thus far, we've avoided it.

We might get to that point, by the way, so be prepared. But as of now, I just haven't felt compelled to go in that direction to keep your attention here at #DMD.

Instead, I try and come here every day and be part of the "routine" you were used to following before Covid-19 shut us all down.

I might only be a very small part of your day and your reading time might only be two or three minutes, but I want you to know you can come around at some point during the day and #DMD will be here with a new, daily contribution. I understand people have a lot going on these days, but we're here for you, in whatever way you need us.

Yesterday, while watching the daily press briefing from the White House, something dawned on me. I'd love to see the President start off every one of his daily briefings with some kind of verse from the Bible. I don't want to make this political and certainly don't want this to spin into a mass back-and-forth about the President's ability to read the Bible, understand it and so on. I'd even suggest that Governor Hogan do the same thing when he goes to the podium once or twice a week.

The verse either of those men could have led with yesterday is a simple one: John 14:27 -- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Of all things we need these days, besides health, of course, it's peace. Jesus said those words at The Last Supper, of course, sharing peace with his disciples, even in the face of his imminent death. He didn't argue or bicker or bemoan his fate. Instead, he just left them with peace.

So...let's stop arguing and pointing fingers and fighting about who said what and who did what to whom and let's just pray for and seek "peace". If we can't all get along now, in these days of fear and the unknown, we're really in trouble.

One thing I'd like to do for the next week is come up with a "Daily Encouragement" for everyone. You are certainly not obligated to follow along. I'm merely suggesting you participate in this as a way of spreading some peace and goodwill to people in your life. You might already be doing stuff like this. And if you are, that's awesome. If not, take a few minutes each day and join in with me and anyone else who wants to participate and contribute.

Today's "Daily Encouragement" is a simple one. Call someone in your world that you haven't spoken to in the last week (or texted with) and check in on them today. It could be a co-worker, a friend, a family member, etc. Just pick anyone from your world and reach out today and say, "I'm just checking in to see how you're doing. Can I help you in any way?"

#DMD reader Frank Del Viscio sent me an encouraging email yesterday and offered his help. He's willing to contribute $200 to a #DMD fund and has asked me to find a way to distribute it here in the Baltimore area. He asked that I seek other donations, big or small, and that we figure out a way to help others in the community. I'm definitely up for this task! We won't use all the money on one person, by the way. We'll hopefully raise enough to assist several people or families. We're talking about buying food, household items, etc. I'll probably use my personal Facebook page to get this started later today.

If you're interested in donating, reach out to me via email (18inarow@gmail.com) and we'll get it organized. Frank's donation of $200 is a great "starter kit" for us. If you can donate $10.00 or $20.00, that would be awesome. I'd love to have $400 by tomorrow, March 25 at 12 noon. That's our modest goal. Let's try and meet it!

For lack of a better term, we'll call this our "Frank Fund". Many thanks to Frank Del Viscio for reaching out to me last night with this generous donation offer. We'll put everyone's donation to good use, I assure you.

40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 27: "bob in hereford"

While I was on the air, I had a number of regular callers. Some of them (you might remember their names) were more shtick than serious contributors. Folks like Rick in Reisterstown, Merton in Indianapolis and "Stan The O's Fan" were half-real, half-comedy. I let them all on, though, because I always considered the radio show to be similar in nature to a corner bar. Lots of "different" people come in for a beer throughout the day. I actually used that model here at #DMD when I started this project in August of 2014.

But while some callers back then weren't totally serious about sports, others who called in regularly were serious. Many of them were seasonal (called in a lot during baseball, not so much during football, and vice versa), but a few of them were almost daily contributors no matter the day, month, or time of year.

One of my favorites was Bob in Herford. He's my Day 27 contribution in the "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration that I'm immersed in. Bob was awesome.

He was a huge fan of the Orioles and Colts, then, like my dad, was forced to accept the Ravens as his "new team" in 1996. Bob would call in after wins and losses and, while he always had an opinion, he was also one of the rare callers who understood the nuances of the games.

When the producer would put the sticky note on the window that said "Bob in Hereford, Line 2", I always knew I was in for a few good minutes of listening or a back and forth conversation that didn't end in the two of us arguing.

I had lots of regular callers that I admired in my 12 years at WNST. Many of them knew more than I did about the Colts, Orioles and Ravens. Bob knew a lot about those three teams and it came across every time he called the show.

I didn't get to tell my regular callers how much I appreciated them because of the nature of my abrupt departure, but I most certainly did appreciate them -- all of them. So today I'm thanking one of them, who made my job fun every morning for a dozen years.

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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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. VI Magnanimous offer. Wretched state of Bushhill. Order introduced there.

AT the meeting on Sept. 15th, a circumstance occurred, to which the most glowing pencil could hardly do justice. Stephen Girard, a wealthy merchant, a native of France, and one of the members of the committee, touched with the wretched situation of the sufferers at Bushhill, voluntarily and unexpectedly offered himself as a manager, to superintend that hospital. The surprise and satisfaction, excited by this extraordinary effort of humanity, can be better conceived than expressed. Peter Helm, a native of Pennsylvania, also a member, actuated by the like benevolent motives, offered his services in the same department. Their offers were accepted; and the same afternoon they entered on the execution of their dangerous and praise-worthy office.*

* The management of the interior department was assumed by Stephen Girard – the exterior by Peter Helm.

To storm a just estimate of the value of the offer of these men, it is necessary to take into full consideration the general consternation, which at that period pervaded every quarter of the city, and which made attendance on the sick be regarded as little less than a certain sacrifice. Uninfluenced by any reflexions of this kind, without any possible inducement but the purest motives of humanity, they came forward and offered themselves as the forlorn hope of the committee. I trust that the gratitude of their fellow-citizens will remain as long as the memory of their beneficent conduct, which I hope will not die with the present generation.

On the 16th, the managers of Bushhill, after personal inspection of the state of affairs there, made report of its situation, which was truly deplorable. It exhibited as wretched a picture of human misery as ever existed. A profligate, abandoned set of nurses and attendants (hardly any of good character could at that time be procured,) rioted on the provisions and comforts prepared for the sick, who (unless at the hours when the doctors attended) were left almost entirely destitute of every assistance. The sick, the dying, and the dead were indiscriminately mingled together. The ordure [Ed.: solid waste; #2] and other evacuations of the sick were allowed to remain in the most offensive state imaginable. Not the smallest appearance of order or regularity existed. It was, in fact, a great human slaughter-house, where numerous victims were immolated at the altar of riot and intemperance. No wonder, then, that a general dread of the place prevailed through the city, and that a removal to it was considered as the seal of death. In consequence, there were various instances of sick persons locking their rooms, and resisting every attempt to carry them away. At length, the poor were so much afraid of being sent to Bushhill, that they would not acknowledge their illness, until it was no longer possible to conceal it. for it is to be observed, that the fear of the contagion was so prevalent, that as soon as any one was taken ill, an alarm was spread among the neighbours, and every effort was used to have the sick person hurried off to Bushhill, to avoid spreading the disorder. The cases of poor people forced in this way to that hospital, though labouringly under only common colds, and common fall fevers, were numerous and afflicting. There were not wanting instances of persons, only slightly ill, being sent to Bushhill, by their panic-struck neighbours, and embracing the first opportunity of running back to Philadelphia.

The regulations adopted at Bushhill, were as follow

One of the rooms in the mansion house (which contains fourteen, besides three large entries) was allotted to the matron, and an assistant under her – eleven rooms and two entries to the sick. Those who were in a very low state were in one room – and one was appointed for the dying. The men and women were kept in distinct rooms, and attended by nurses of their own sexes. Every sick person was furnished with a bedstead, clean sheet, pillow, two or three blankets, porringer [Ed.: small bowl with a handle], plate, spoon, and clean linen, when necessary. In the mansion house were one hundred and forty bedsteads. The new frame house, built by the committee, when it was found that the old buildings were inadequate to contain the patients commodiously, is sixty feet front, and eighteen feet deep, with three rooms on the ground floor; one of which was for the head nurses of that house, the two others for the sick. Each of these two last contained seventeen bedsteads. The loft, designed for the convalescents, was calculated to contain forty.

The barn is a large, commodious stone building, divided into three apartments; one occupied by the resident doctors and apothecary; one, which contained forty bedsteads, by the men convalescents—and the other by the women convalescents, which contained fifty-seven.

At some distance from the west of the hospital, was erected a frame building to store the coffins, and deposite the dead until they were sent to a place of interment.

Besides the nurses employed in the house, there were two cooks, four labourers, and three washerwomen, constantly employed for the use of the hospital.

The sick were visited twice a day by two physicians, Dr. Deveze and Dr. Benjamin Duffield*, whose prescriptions were executed by three resident physicians and the apothecary.

* Very soon after the organization of the committee, Dr. Deveze, a respectable French physician from Cape-Françoise, offered his services in the line of his profession at Bushhill. Dr. Benjamin Duffield did the same. Their offers were accepted, and they have both attended with great punctuality. Dr. Devize renounced all other practice, which, at that period, would have been very lucrative, when there was such general demand for physicians. The committee, in consideration of the services of these two gentlemen, have lately presented Dr. Duffield with five hundred, and Dr. Deveze with fifteen hundred dollars.

One of the resident doctors was charged with the distribution of the victuals for the sick. At eleven o’clock, he gave them broth with rice, bread, boiled beef, veal, mutton, and chicken, with cream of rice to those whose stomachs would not bear stronger nourishment. Their second meal was at six o'clock, when they had broth, rice, boiled prunes, with cream of rice. The sick drank at their meals porter, or claret and water. Their constant drink between meals was centaury [Ed.: an herb] tea, and boiled lemonade.

These regulations, the order and regularity introduced, and the care and tenderness with which the patients, were treated, soon established the character of the hospital; and in the course of a week or two, numbers of sick people, who had not at home proper persons to nurse them, applied to be sent to Bushhill. Indeed, in the end, so many people, who were afflicted with other disorders, procured admittance there, that it became necessary to pass a resolve, that before an order of admission should be granted, a certificate must be produced from a physician, that the patient laboured under the malignant fever; for had all the applicants been received, this hospital, provided for an extraordinary occasion, would have been filled with patients whose cases entitled them to a reception in the Pennsylvania hospital.

The number of persons received into Bushhill, from the 16th of September to this time, is about one thousand; of whom nearly five hundred are dead; there are now (Nov. 30,) in the house, about twenty sick, and fifty convalescents. Of the latter class, there have been dismissed about four hundred and thirty.

The reason why so large a proportion died of those received, is, that in a variety of cases, the early fears of that hospital had got such firm possession of the minds of some, and others were so much actuated by a foolish pride, that they would never consent to be removed till they were past recovery. And in consequence of this, there were many instances of persons dying in the cart on the road to the hospital. I speak within bounds, when I say that at least a third of the whole number of those received, did not survive their entrance into the hospital two days. Were it not for the operation of these two motives, the number of the dead in the city and in the hospital would have been much lessened; for many a man, whose nice feelings made him spurn at the idea of a removal to the hospital, perished in the city for want of that comfortable assistance he would have had at Bushhill.*

* I omitted in the former editions to mention the name of a most excellent and invaluable woman, Mrs. Saville, the matron in this hospital, whose services in the execution of her office, were above all price. Never was there a person better qualified for such a situation. To the most strict observance of system, she united all the tenderness and humanity which are so essentially requisite in an hospital, but which habit so very frequently and fatally extinguishes: should the wisdom of our legislature decree the permanent establishment of a lazaretto [Ed.: a hospital for those with contagious diseases], no person can be found more deserving, or better qualified to be entrusted with the care of it.

Before I conclude this chapter, let me add, that the perseverance of the managers of that hospital has been equally meritorious with their original beneficence. During the whole calamity to this time, they have attended uninterruptedly, for six, seven, or eight hours a day, renouncing almost every care of private affairs. They have had a laborious tour of duty to perform. Stephen Girard, whose office was in the interior part of the hospital, has had to encourage and comfort the sick—to hand them necessaries and medicines—to wipe the sweat off their brows—-and to perform many disgusting offices of kindness for them, which nothing could render tolerable, but the exalted motives that impelled him to this heroic conduct. Peter Helm, his worthy coadjutor, displayed, in his department, equal exertions, to promote the common good.

Note: We'll publish Chapter 7 tomorrow.

March 23
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monday musings

Yesterday, the Governor of Delaware issued the state's "stay at home" order, but in doing so, John Carney added an interesting twist.

He permitted Delaware golf courses to remain open during the shutdown.

I hope Governor Hogan has the same kindness in his heart today at 11:00 am when he makes his anticipated "shutdown" announcement.

I'm a golfer, so I'm naturally predisposed to thinking like this, but hear me out.

I went to the local grocery store yesterday. I'd say there were 50 people in there at the time, including employees. I was wearing medical gloves, but no mask. I saw a few people with gloves and masks on. NONE of the grocery store employees were wearing gloves or masks, although they were using hand sanitizer like it was going out of style.

Which location has more of a chance of me either picking up the coronavirus or spreading it? A grocery store? Or the scenario below...

I get out of my car and retrieve my golf clubs out of the trunk. The parking lot is mostly empty. I count the cars...there are 5 other vehicles in the lot.

I proceed to the first tee. The pro shop is closed, of course, and because of the shutdown, there are no employees, no golf carts, etc.

I head to the tee. And off I go. I never encounter another golfer along the way, although I do see two friends over on the 7th hole and I wave as I walk down the 1st fairway.

The greens haven't been mowed in a few days since there are no employees coming in. The flag sticks are in the hole, but a device that's been placed in the cup prohibits them from being removed, so there's no need to even touch the stick. And the rakes are also nowhere to be seen.

But there are still tee boxes, fairways and greens. It might not be in pristine condition, but it's still a golf course nonetheless.

Three hours later, I'm back in my car, heading home.

I ask again...which scenario is more dangerous to me and others?

This is my way of saying -- "Keep the golf courses open, Governor Hogan!"

The big ESPN.com story released on Sunday about the breakup of Tom Brady and the Patriots was fascinating to say the least.

To no one's surprise, it essentially came down to the relationship between Brady and Bill Belichick souring over the years. 5 years in, it was developing. 10 years in, it was special. 15 years in, it was uneven. 20 years in, it was fractured beyond repair.

Who quit who first? Did Belichick leave Brady or did Brady leave Belichick?

It shouldn't come as a shock. Any relationship, of any kind, is tough to carry on for 20 years without a handful of significant obstacles to overcome.

Brady and Belichick battled through the last five years of their relationship, according to the story, but always found one thing cured whatever was ailing them: winning.

Once they didn't win in 2019-2020, Brady saw his opportunity to get out.

And this time around, there wasn't enough money to keep him happy, or, perhaps Belichick had instructed Robert Kraft to let Tom leave in peace.

Either way, the ESPN.com story that was released yesterday morning was an incredibly interesting read, chock full of things we knew about Brady (over-the-top detail oriented) and things we didn't (very well liked by his teammates on a personal level).

It says something about Brady that he formally requested just one thing from the Tampa Bay front office once he joined the organization last week. He didn't ask for two lockers. Or seat 1D on the team plane. He didn't ask for #12 (worn previously by WR Chris Godwin). And he didn't want an extra sky box for his family to attend the games in Tampa Bay.

The only thing Brady asked for was a list of all signed players for the 2020 season along with their respective cell phone numbers.

And he also asked this question: "What's the earliest I can get into the training facility every morning?"

It's going to be an interesting season in Tampa Bay.

Who knows if Governor Cuomo is right when he says the entire state of New York might be on lockdown until August 1 or later. That seems a bit exaggerated to me, but then again, New York's a big place and the virus has exploded up there over the last few days.

But let's pretend he is right for just a second. Let's pretend they have to keep people in their homes, essentially, for the next four months.

Could Aarone Judge and the Yankees be forced to play "home games" somewhere besides New York in 2020?

They have two Major League baseball teams there. If MLB was able to start up again, say, on June 15, how could the Yankees and Mets play in New York if the state was still shut down?

And what if, somehow, the shut down lingered through August into September? How would the Jets and Giants start the 2020 NFL season?

Is it at all possible that the Yankees, Mets, Jets and Giants might have to play some or all of their 2020 home schedule at a neutral venue, far away from the Big Apple?

It seems silly to even think that, of course, until you take into consideration the serious tenor of Governor Cuomo's comments over the weekend and his statement on Sunday that it could take 4-8 months before the New York state lockdown is lifted.

Perhaps he's just saying 4-8 months to scare everyone into staying home now. I guess that's a strategy that a concerned government official would use. But given the rising number of cases and deaths in New York over the last three days, and the number of people who live there, it's reasonable to think that New Mexico, for instance, might be open for business on May 1 and New York might have to wait two or three more months before they can experience the same amount of freedom.

At the very least, it would appear as if the NBA and NHL seasons are over (at least the playing-in-New-York part) for the Rangers, Islanders, Knicks and Nets. Those two leagues might not finish the 2019-2020 season anyway, but it sure looks like those four teams would have to play elsewhere if, let's say, both leagues started playing again on May 15.

My personal guess is that the NHL and NBA seasons are finished and will not be completed. There are just too many loose ends to tie up, plus at this point there would have to be some kind of two or three week "training camp" for each league, which takes both of them even further into summer.

My "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration now has me at Day 26. When I started thinking about this project back in mid-February, one of the first people that entered my mind was Charley Eckman. I'm not sure why it took me until Day 26 to get to him, but like I said on day one when I introduced this Lenten celebration, there's no order to any of those who I list.

Charley Eckman was an acquired taste, one of a kind, a "broke the mold" type of guy.

But if Charley liked you, you were "in".

Charley Eckman, legendary Baltimore media figure and former NBA head coach and referee.

For reasons I never figured out, Charley liked me from the start. His nephew played on the same Little League team with me for two years, circa 1976 or so, ironically, at the fields near BWI Airport which now contain "Charley Eckman Drive". That's where I first met Charley. He would come lumbering into the stands around the 3rd inning or so and I could hear him up there "holding court" from my position in left field.

"You got a helluva glove there, kid," he said to me once. "If you ever learn how to hit, you'd be dangerous."

Once, after a narrow loss where we left runners at all three bases in our last at-bat, Charley gave a great piece of advice to one of my teammates who made the game's second out. "When you get up there on the first pitch, act like you're gonna bunt. If those yahoos at first and third are paying attention, they're going to creep in a little bit and that gives the kids on first and third the chance to take a bigger lead. If you hit a grounder to second or short, they might be able to score because of that bigger lead."

That sort of baseball strategy wasn't taught by our 12-13 Glen Burnie Pony League manager at the time.

In 1981, I got the break of a lifetime when I was selected by the Blast indoor soccer team to be their media relations intern for the '81-82 season. And lo and behold, who was the color anyalyst for the radio broadcasts back then? Charley Eckman.

I learned a lot from Charley in those days. How to pour a scotch and water for him in the men's bathroom, quickly, was one of my first lessons. But I also learned about coaching from him. Eckman was very fond of Coach Kenny Cooper and many of our road trip dinners featured an impromptu coaching seminar from Charley. Eckman had two mottos: Get the best players and make sure they know who gets the final say.

I went to see Charley at his Glen Burnie home about two weeks before he passed away in 1995. "You were pretty green when I first got a hold of you," he said to me with a smile. "But you're getting there now. Another 20 years or so and you might know something." He giggled a little, but I sensed he was serious. I was only 32 at the time, but still had a lot of learning to do.

"Always remember this," he said, his voice no longer loud and bellowing, but soft and effortless. "Always remember the people you passed on the way up...because if you ever slide down, you're gonna pass them again. And that ain't a fun ride, leader."

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The first two days of the NCAA tournament are the best days of the sports calendar, for me. You might choose those four days at Augusta in April, or baseball’s Opening Day, or any/all of the 16-plus (soon to be 17-plus) days the Ravens take the field.

On Thursday, somewhere around noon on the erstwhile first day of the tournament, I asked myself why? I mean…I wouldn’t watch Houston play Marquette in December, so why should I be so keyed up about watching them in March? Why am I so disappointed that Saint Mary’s and Rutgers aren’t getting ready to show up on my big screen?

For some, it’s just about the brackets—a yearly tradition—but that’s not me. For others, it’s just about taking off or leaving early from work and sitting at a bar in the middle of the day, back in the old (and I assume future?) world where people were allowed to hang out at bars. But that doesn’t really describe me either.

I guess I’m not sure exactly what it is. There’s something wonderful about those two days featuring 16 games each day, and nothing else approaches it. Even though it’s only two days out of 365, not having those days left a big hole.

If you’ve paid attention to this space over the past few years, you know that I’ve been all over the place during the first two days of the tournament. I’ve actually been at tournament sites, and I’ve simply been in my house. I’ve been watching in bars—such as the outstanding “Deuce” in the Pinehurst resort clubhouse—and I’ve been stuck at work for too much of the day sneaking looks online.

No matter where I was, though, or how close to the actual tournament I was, something always felt different about those two days. They’re in my blood, not unlike the Masters must feel to so many patrons who visit Augusta every year.

I really look forward to the 2021 NCAA tournament. I imagine it will feel even better than it usually does, so maybe that can serve as a silver lining.

Interesting dichotomy going on at the local public golf courses.

On Thursday, both the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corporation (BMGC) and the Baltimore County Revenue Authority (BCRA) made announcements about their operations. The BMGC, which operates the city courses (and Pine Ridge), says they are staying open “while adhering to state mandates.” The BCRA, which runs five courses in the county, decided to close up through April 3, saying that doing so “is the right thing for our employees, customers and our communities.”

Golf courses are interesting cases, aren’t they? If the guidance is that we ought to go for a walk outside/do some exercise while avoiding large groups, then the sport can fit the bill. At the same time, there are plenty of “public” spaces at a golf course, even at a private golf club. The most “public” is a golf cart, I suppose. The BMGC says that it is going to limit the number of available tee times starting today so that only one person is in a cart.

The place where I do most of my golf practice is currently closed. Unlike the BMGC and BCRA, it’s a small business, not part (or quasi-part) of a local government. I’m quite conflicted about it. I would love to be out there almost every day, but I seriously wonder whether being around 50 others with a minimum of separation would be a good idea. At the same time, I’m worried about the business itself. It’s always appeared to be a thriving one, but how long can it go being shut down?

The BMGC, for whatever reason, tends to be a bit more lenient about its operations than the BCRA. Frost delays are quite common at the county courses, and not so much at the city ones. I suppose you can argue that’s just about money…and thinking that collecting it while also making golfers happy is more important than losing it and annoying golfers. At this point, in this situation, I don’t know what the right answer is. Unless the governor gets up at the podium and tells all golf courses to close, it’s going to be up to the consumer and the course operators.

Michael Pierce, who signed with the Vikings this past week, made his bed with the Ravens last summer when he showed up to a June mini-camp weighing well north of his listed playing weight of 340 lbs. If a player shows up like that in his “contract year,” then what should a team expect after they give him a long-term deal with plenty of guaranteed money? That long-term deal might not have happened anyway for Pierce, but it sure wasn’t happening after last June.

By all accounts, Pierce was well-liked, by his teammates, his coaches and the media. By all accounts, he took full responsibility for his lack of conditioning last summer, and even took the unfortunate social media scorn in good humor. By all accounts, he was back at his typical playing weight during the 2019 season and played well.

But NFL teams will look for just about any reason to let you go and sign someone else, unless you’re the starting quarterback or maybe a left tackle. Pierce is only 27, so he’ll have some good years left with the other purple team.

Another thing about NFL teams? They’re looking to improve at their weakest points, while at the same time not turn something that was a strength into a weakness. That was the point of the Calais Campbell signing, it seems. He’ll give the Ravens something they haven’t had—a good pass rusher from the interior of the line—and the defensive line still ought to be good at stuffing the interior running game.

No matter the players on the field, the Ravens are still in a position of defensive advantage as long as they can maintain their style of offense. Wink Martindale’s group should continue to spend less time on the field than any other team, which should allow the unit to continue its aggressive nature. Over a 16-game season, those factors add up to a bunch of wins.

Can the Ravens actually have a “dominant” defense to match their “dominant” offense? Assuming we are able to play the NFL season as normal, I look forward to finding out.

The NFL is funny, isn’t it? The league gets younger and younger every year, as teams get more dependent on players with rookie contracts and shy away from long-term deals (see above). And yet, what have we been talking about since the free agent period began? Old guys.

Tom Brady, born August 3, 1977. During the preseason, he will turn 43 years old. By the luck of the Bucs, I wouldn’t be surprised if he fell in a heap five minutes into the team’s first regular-season game, never to return.

Tampa signed Brady and said goodbye to 26-year-old Jameis Winston. Yes, Winston threw 30 interceptions last season, but he also threw for 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns. In doing so, he became one of just eight NFL QBs all-time to throw for 5,000 yards in a season. And that wasn’t enough to justify a long-term deal against a two-year deal for Brady.

Philip Rivers will turn 39 during the 2020 regular season. He signed for one year, $25 million, with the Indianapolis Colts. His fellow N.C. State alum, 27-year-old Jacoby Brissett, is still on the team, and reports are that the team intends to keep Brissett as its “primary backup.” Let’s see how that goes, though in Brissett’s case, he didn’t join the Colts as the starter in the first place.

Meanwhile, the Saints’ Drew Brees agreed to stay with the team on a two-year deal. Brees, now 41, dashed the hopes of “slash” type player Taysom Hill, who insists that he’s a franchise quarterback for somebody, if not the Saints.

So, teams in the NFL are always looking to get younger, except at quarterback, where they are seemingly fine with being as old as possible. Sure, these old guys are Hall of Famers, but are they still playing at that level? We can’t be sure at their age.

Are the Bucs and Colts legitimate Super Bowl contenders with their new quarterbacks? I’m not sure we can go that far. Will the Saints continue to be one with their aging quarterback? It’s not a sure thing. As a 40-something, however, I’m still fascinated by all this news about other 40-somethings.


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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. V Distress increases. Benevolent citizens invited to assist the guardians of the poor. Ten volunteers. Appointment of the committee for relief of the sick. State of Philadelphia.

In the mean time, the situation of affairs became daily more and more serious. Those of the guardians of the poor, who continued to act, were quite oppressed with the labours of their office, which increased to such a degree, that they were utterly unable to execute them. I have already mentioned, that for the city there were but three who persevered in the performance of their duty.* It must give the reader great concern to hear, that two of them, James Wilson, and Jacob Tomkins, excellent and indefatigable young men, whose services were at that time of very great importance, fell sacrifices in the cause of humanity. The other, William Sansom, was likewise, in the execution of his dangerous office, seized with the disorder, and on the brink of the grave, but was so fortunate as to recover. The deceased persons became daily more numerous. Owing to the general terror, nurses, carters, and attendants could hardly be procured. Thus circumstanced, the mayor of the city, on the 10th of September, published an address to the citizens, announcing that the guardians of the poor, who remained, were in distress for want of assistance, and inviting such benevolent people, as felt for the general distress, to lend their aid. In consequence of this advertisement, a meeting of the citizens was held in the city-hall, on Thursday, the 12th of September, at which very few attended, from the universal consternation that prevailed. The state of the poor was fully considered; and ten citizens, Israel Israel, Samuel Wetherill, Thomas Wistar, Andrew Adgate, Caleb Lownes, Henry Deforest, Thomas Peters, Joseph Inskeep, Stephen Girard, and John Mason, offered themselves to assist the guardians of the poor. At this meeting, a committee was appointed to confer with the physicians who had the care of Bushhill, and make report of the state of that hospital. This committee reported next evening, that it was in very bad order, and in want of almost every thing.

* With respect to the guardians of the poor, I have been misunderstood. I only spoke of those for the city. Those for the liberties, generally, continued at their post; and two of them, Wm. Peter Sprague and William Gregory, performed, in the northern liberties, the very same kind of services as the committee did in the city, viz. attended to the burial of the dead and the removal of the sick. In Southwark, the like tour of duty was executed by Clement Humphreys, John Cornish, and Robert Jones. Far be it from me to deprive any man of applause so richly and hazardously earned. I only regret, that want of leisure prevents me from collecting the names of all those who have nobly distinguished themselves, by their attention to the alleviation of the general calamity.

On Saturday, the 14th, another meeting was held, when the alarming state of affairs being fully considered, it was resolved to borrow fifteen hundred dollars of the bank of North-America, for the purpose of procuring suitable accommodations for the use of persons afflicted with the prevailing malignant fever. At this meeting, a committee was appointed to transact the whole of the business relative to the relief of the sick, and the procuring of physicians, nurses, attendants, etc. This is the committee, which, by virtue of that appointment, has, from that day to the present time, watched over the sick, the poor, the widow, and the orphan. It is worthy of remark, and may encourage others in time of public calamity, that this committee consisted originally of only twenty-six persons, men mostly taken from the middle walks of life; of these, four, Andrew Adgate, Jonathan Dickinson Sergeant, Daniel Ossley, and Joseph Inskeep, died, the two first at an early period of their labours – and four never attended to the appointment. The heat and burden of the day have therefore been borne by eighteen persons, whose exertions have been so highly favoured by providence, that they have been the instruments of averting the progress of destruction, eminently relieving the distressed, and restoring confidence to the terrified inhabitants of Philadelphia. It is honourable to this committee, that they have conducted their business with more harmony than is generally to be met with in public bodies of equal number. Probably there never was one, of which the members were so regular in their attendance; the meetings, at the worst of times – those times, which, to use Paine's emphatic language, tried men's souls, were composed in general, of twelve, thirteen, and fourteen members.

Never, perhaps, was there a city in the situation of Philadelphia at this period. The president of the United States, according to his annual custom, had removed to Mount Vernon with his household. Most, if not all of the other officers of the federal government were absent. The governor, who had been sick, had gone, by directions of his physician, to his country-seat near the falls of Schuylkill – and nearly the whole of the officers of the state had likewise retired. – The magistrates of the city, except the mayor* and John Barclay, Esq.** were away, as were most of those of the liberties. Of the situation of the guardians of the poor,*** I have already made mention. In fact, government of every kind was almost wholly vacated, and seemed, by tacit, but universal consent, to be vested in the committee.

* This magistrate deserves particular praise. He was the first who invited the citizens to rally round the standard of charity, and convened the meeting at which the committee for relief of the sick was appointed, as well as the preceding ones; of this committee he was appointed president, and punctually fulfilled his duty during the whole time of the distress.
** This gentleman, late mayor of the city, acted in the double capacity of alderman and president of the bank of Pennsylvania, to the duties of which offices he devoted himself unremittedly, except during an illness which threatened to add him to the number of valuable men of whom we have been bereft.
*** The managers of the almshouse attended to the duties imposed on them, and met regularly at that building every week.

Note: We'll publish Chapter 6 tomorrow.

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do you really miss it?

A lot of interesting conversations are sparked on the golf course, I've found.

There's actually only about 2 minutes of "golf" during an 18-hole 4-hour round, so that leaves a lot of down time.

"Are you really missing sports?" someone asked me yesterday as we walked the front nine.

"I mean, like, really missing it. As in, you're hurting without it?" he continued.

I hadn't actually thought about it, until that moment. Over the last ten days, I've just moved on and done what everyone else has done...which is to say, I've done without sports, since there hasn't been any.

The Masters green jacket ceremony will be sorely missed on April 12.

"I miss coaching my golf team," I said right away. "We were really starting to our stride and we had won our first non-conference match. And then it all just stopped."

"I definitely miss those guys, but I'm hoping there's still a season to salvage next month at some point."

"OK," my friend added. "But what about sports? Your Calvert Hall Golf team is something you do. I'm talking about watching and following sports. Do you miss it?"

"Do you?" I asked.

"Ha! I asked you first," he replied.

I hit a shot into the 5th green and we kept walking in silence.

It was -- and is -- an interesting question.

"I miss the Capitals," I replied. "I love hockey. And I really love the last month or two of the regular season and the playoffs because it means spring is here and summer's right around the corner."

I'm not a big spring baseball fan, truth be told. So it's probably not totally accurate for me to say I "miss" baseball. Baseball in April is take-it-or-leave-it for me. Opening Day is cool and all, but it's mostly a one day excuse for people to drink and act like goofs, I've found.

"I don't think I miss baseball all that much," I said. "Although I would definitely miss baseball if this shutdown drags into June or July. I love going to summer baseball games with my family and my friends."

I definitely don't miss the NBA. Not one iota. But that doesn't connect with my friend's original question because I don't really follow the NBA all that much when there isn't a shutdown.

"But I really miss golf and the PGA Tour," I said as we putted out on the 5th green.

"The Masters is, by far, my favorite sporting event of the entire year," I said.

"Bigger than the Super Bowl and World Series?" my friend asked.

"For sure," I confirmed. "I'm going to really miss not having the Masters on my calendar next month. That one's a crusher."

As we strolled over to the 6th tee, my friend answered the question.

"I don't miss any of it," he said.

I was surprised. He's a pretty huge sports fan. "Really?" I asked.

"None of it. I thought about it a few days ago. I love March Madness and I'll watch every game I can, especially in those first four days, but you know what I realized this week? I didn't miss it at all. It just wasn't there and my life went on and I worried about other stuff."

I do get the "other stuff" part of it. We've all been so consumed with our "new normal" over the last ten days that we haven't really had time to think too much about sports. We're now worried about working from home, getting the kid's online schooling up and running, and staying as healthy as we can during this Covid-19 scare. It would probably be different if sports just stopped -- all of them -- but everything else about lives was unchanged. That, I think, would cause us all to really miss sports.

"I like the NCAA tournament too," I said. "I think there's a big difference between the tournament not being held and the tournament being held and you, for some reason, being unable to watch it. Since it's not being held at all, you probably don't miss it. But if it was on TV and you were forbidden from watching any of it, you'd miss it then."

"Maybe so," my friend added. "That's a good way of putting it. Since no one can watch it, we're all in the same boat."

"Right...and because no one can watch it we all just sort of go on with our day and try not to make a big deal out of it," I added.

"Misery loves company," my friend said.

"Something like that," I replied. I think it's a great question. Do you really miss sports?

And, so, now, I ask all of you.

Do you miss sports?

If so, what are you missing the most?

If you don't miss sports, does that surprise you?

Use the new and improved Comments section below and let us know.

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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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. IV. General despondency. Deplorable scenes. Frightful view of human nature. A noble and exhilarating contrast.

THE consternation of the people of Philadelphia, at this period, was carried beyond all bounds. Dismay and affright were visible in almost every person’s countenance. Most of those who could, by any means, make it convenient, fled from the city. Of those who remained, many shut themselves up in their houses, and were afraid to walk the streets. The smoke of tobacco being regarded as a preventative, many persons, even women and small boys, had secars [cigars] almost constantly in their mouths. Others placing full confidence in garlic, chewed it almost the whole day; some kept it in their pockets and shoes. Many were afraid to allow the barbers or hair-dressers to come near them, as instances had occurred of some of them having shaved the dead, and many having engaged as bleeders. Some, who carried their caution pretty far, bought lancets for themselves, not daring to be bled with the lancets of the bleeders. Many houses were hardly a moment in the day, free from the smell of gunpowder, burned tobacco, nitre, sprinkled vinegar, etc. Some of the churches were almost deserted, and others wholly closed. The coffee-house was shut up, as was the city library, and most of the public offices – three, out of the four, daily papers were discontinued* as were some of the others. Many were almost incessantly employed in purifying, scouring, and whitewashing their rooms. Those who ventured abroad, had handkerchiefs or sponges impregnated with vinegar or camphor at their noses, or smelling-bottles full of the thieves' vinegar. Others carried pieces of tarred rope in their hands or pockets, or camphor bags tied round their necks. The corpses of the most respectable citizens, even of those who did not die of the epidemic, were carried to the grave, on the shafts of a chair, the horse driven by a Negro, unattended by a friend or relations, and without any sort of ceremony. People hastily shifted their course at the sight of a hearse coming towards them. Many never walked on the foot-path, but went into the middle of the streets, to avoid being infected in passing by houses wherein people had died. Acquaintances and friends avoided each other in the streets, and only signified their regard by a cold nod. The old custom of shaking hands, fell into such general disuse, that many shrunk back with affright at even the offer of the hand. A person with a crape, or any appearance of mourning, was shunned like a viper. And many valued themselves highly on the skill and address with which they got to windward of every person whom they met. Indeed it is not probable that London, at the last stage of the plague, exhibited stronger marks of terror, than were to be seen in Philadelphia, from the 25th or 26th of August, till pretty late in September. When people summoned up resolution to walk abroad, and take the air, the sick-cart conveying patients to the hospital, or the hearse carrying the dead to the grave, which were traveling almost the whole day, soon damped their spirits, and plunged them again into despondency. While affairs were in this deplorable state, and people at the lowest ebb of despair, we cannot be astonished at the frightful scenes that were acted, which seemed to indicate a total dissolution of the bonds of society in the nearest and dearest connections. Who, without horror, can reflect on a husband, married perhaps for twenty years, deserting his wife in the last agony – a wife, unfeelingly, abandoning her husband on his death bed – parents forsaking their only children – children ungratefully flying from their parents, and resigning them to chance, often without an enquiry after their health or safety – masters hurrying off their faithful servants to Bushhill, even on suspicion of the fever, and that at a time, when, like Tartarus, it was open to every visitant, but never returned any – servants abandoning tender and humane masters, who only wanted a little care to restore them to health and usefulness – who, I say, can think of these things, without horror? Yet they were daily exhibited in every quarter of our city; and such was the force of habit, that the parties who were guilty of this cruelty, felt no remorse themselves – nor met with the execration from their fellow-citizens, which such conduct would have excited at any other period. Indeed, at this awful crisis, so much did self appear to engross the whole attention of many, that less concern was felt for the loss of a parent, a husband, a wife, or an only child, than, on other occasions, would have been caused by the death of a servant, or even a favorite lap-dog.

* It would be improper to pass over this opportunity of mentioning, that the federal gazette, printed by Andrew Brown, was uninterruptedly continued, and with the usual industry, during the whole calamity, and was of the utmost service, in conveying to the citizens of the united states, authentic intelligence of the state of the disorder, and of the city.

This kind of conduct produced scenes of distress and misery, of which few parallels are to be met with, and which nothing could palliate, but the extraordinary public panic, and the great law of self-preservation, the dominion of which extends over the whole animated world. Many men of affluent fortunes, who have given daily employment and sustenance to hundreds, have been abandoned to the care of a Negro, after their wives, children, friends, clerks, and servants, had fled away, and left them to their fate. In many cases, no money could procure proper attendance. With the poor, the case was, as might be expected, infinitely worse than with the rich. Many of these have perished, without a human being to hand them a drink of water, to administer medicines, or to perform any charitable office for them. Various instances have occurred, of dead bodies found lying in the streets, of persons who had no house or habitation, and could procure no shelter.

A man and his wife, once in affluent circumstances, were found lying dead in bed, and between them was their child, a little infant, who was sucking its mother's breasts. How long they had lain thus, was uncertain.

A woman, whose husband had just died of the fever, was seized with the pains of labour, and had nobody to assist her, as the women in the neighbourhood were afraid to go into the house. She lay, for a considerable time, in a degree of anguish that will not bear description. At length, she struggled to reach the window, and cried out for assistance. Two men, passing by, went up stairs; but they came at too late a stage. – She was striving with death – and actually, in a few minutes, expired in their arms.

Another woman, whose husband and two children lay dead in the room with her, was in the same situation as the former, without a midwife, or any other person to aid her. Her cries at the window brought up one of the carters employed by the committee for the relief of the sick. With his assistance, she was delivered of a child, which died in a few minutes, as did the mother, who was utterly exhausted by her labour, by the disorder, and by the dreadful spectacle before her. And thus lay, in one room, no less than five dead bodies, an entire family, carried off in an hour or two. Many instances have occurred, of respectable women, who, in their lying-in, have been obliged to depend on their maid-servants, for assistance – and some have had none but from their husbands. Some of the midwives were dead – and others had left the city.

A servant girl, belonging to a family in this city, (Page 25) in which the fever had prevailed, was apprehensive of danger, and resolved to remove to a relation's house, in the country. She was, however, taken sick on the road, and returned to town, where she could find no person to receive her. One of the guardians of the poor provided a cart, and took her to the almshouse, into which she was refused admittance. She was brought back, and the guardian offered five dollars to procure her a single night's lodging, but in vain. And in time, after every effort made to provide her shelter, she absolutely expired in the cart.

To relate all the frightful cases of this nature that occurred, would fill a volume. To pass them over wholly would have been improper – to dwell on them longer would be painful. Let these few, therefore, suffice. But I must observe, that most of them happened in the first stage of the public panic. Afterwards, when the citizens recovered a little from their fright, they became rare.

These horrid circumstances having a tendency to throw a shade over the human character, it is proper to reflect a little light on the subject, wherever justice and truth will permit. Amidst the general abandonment of the sick that prevailed, there were to be found many illustrious instances of men and women, some in the middle, others in the lower spheres of life, who in the exercises of the duties of humanity, exposed themselves to dangers, which terrified men, who have hundreds of times faced death without fear, in the field of battle. Some of them, alas! Have fallen in the good cause! But why should they be regretted? Never could they have fallen more gloriously. Foremost in this noble group stands Joseph Inskeep, a most excellent man in every of the social relations of citizen, brother, husband, and friend. – To the sick and forsaken has he devoted his hours, to relieve and comfort them in their tribulation, and his kind assistance was dealt out with equal freedom to an utter stranger as to his bosom friend. Numerous are the instances of men restored, by his kind cares and attention, to their families, from the very jaws of death.—In various cases has he been obliged to put dead bodies into coffins, when the relations fled from the mournful office. The merit of Andrew Adgate, Joab Jones, and Daniel Ossley, in the same way, was conspicuous, and of the last importance to numbers of distressed creatures, bereft of every other comfort. Of those worthy men, Wilson and Tomkins, I have already spoken. The Rev. Mr. Fleming and the Rev. Mr. Winkhause, exhausted themselves by a succession of labours, day and night, attending on the sick, and ministering relief to their spiritual and temporal wants.

Of those who have happily survived their dangers, and are preserved to their fellow citizens, I shall mention a few. They enjoy the supreme reward of a self-approving conscience; and I readily believe, that in the most secret recesses, remote from the public eye, they would have done the same. But next to the sense of having done well, is the approbation of our friends and fellow men; and when the debt is great, and the only payment that can be made is applause, it is surely the worst species of avarice, to withhold it. We are always ready, too ready, alas! To bestow censure – and , as if anxious lest we should not give enough, we generally heap the measure. When we are so solicitous to deter by reproach from folly, vice, and crime, why not be equally disposed to stimulate to virtue and heroism, by freely bestowing the well-earned plaudit ? Could I suppose, that in any future equally-dangerous emergency, the opportunity I have seized of bearing my feeble testimony, in favour of these worthy persons, would be a means of exciting others to emulate their heroic virtue, it would afford me the highest consolation I have ever experienced.

The Rev. Henry Helmuth's merits are of the most exalted kind. His whole time, during the prevalence of the disorder, was spent in the performance of the works of mercy, visiting and relieving the sick, comforting the afflicted, and feeding the hungry. Of his congregation, some hundreds have paid the last debt to nature, since the malignant fever began; and, I believe he attended nearly the whole of them. To so many dangers he was exposed, that he stands a living miracle of preservation. The Rev. C. V. , the Rev. Mr. , and the Rev. Mr. Dickens, have been in the same career, and performed their duties to the sick with equal fidelity, and with equal danger. The venerable old citizen, Samuel Robeson, has been like a good angel, indefatigably performing, in families where there was not one person able to help another, even the menial offices of the kitchen, in every part of his neighbourhood. Thomas Allibone, Lambert Wilmer, Levi Hollingsworth, John Barker, Hannah Paine, John Hutchinson, and great numbers of others have distinguished themselves by the kindest offices of disinterested humanity. Magnus Miller, Samuel Coates, and other good citizens, in that time of pinching distress and difficulty, advanced sums of money to individuals whose resources were cut off, and who, though accustomed to a life of independence, were absolutely destitute of the means of subsistence. And as the widow's mite has been mentioned in scripture with so much applause, let me add, that a worthy widow, whose name I am grieved I cannot mention, came to the city-hall, and, out of her means, which are very moderate, offered the committee twenty dollars for the relief of the poor. John Connelly has spent hours beside the sick, when their own wives and children had abandoned them. Twice did he catch the disorder – twice was he on the brink of the grave, which was yawning to receive him – yet, unappalled by the imminent danger he had escaped, he again returned to the charge. I feel myself affected at this part of my subject, with emotions, which I fear my unanimated style is ill calculated to transfuse into the breast of my reader. I wish him to dwell on this part of the picture, with a degree of exquisite pleasure equal to which I feel in the description. When we view man in this light, we lose sight of his feebleness, his imperfection, his vice – he resembles, in a small degree, that divine being, who is an exhaustible [Ed.: no doubt means "inexhaustible"] mine of mercy and goodness. And, as a human being, I rejoice, that it has fallen to my lot, to be a witness and recorder of a magnanimity, which would alone be sufficient to rescue the character of mortals from obloquy and reproach.

Note: We'll publish Chapter 5 tomorrow.

March 21
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the silver lining...

It's been a weird week.

I've watched more CNN in the last 7 days than in the last 7 years combined. Can any news network be as openly against the President as those people? It's so obvious...which, I assume, is part of their plan.

It's been a weird week because almost every single one of us has had our lives changed, some far more than others.

I have close friends who are fearing the outright loss of their business. Others are concerned that the company they work for might have to downsize when/if we all get back to normal. A good number of my friends who work in sales are facing an enormous loss in commissionable sales.

And then there's the health issue. While I don't know anyone personally who has been diagnosed with Covid-19, I read enough internet and watch enough news to know they're are many who have come down with the virus.

But there has been a silver lining this week.

My 12-year old son and I got a head start on the summer golf season this week, what with his home-schooling schedule, the warm temperatures, and the basic need to get outside at some point during the day and breathe some fresh air.

We played golf on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and, yes, also on Friday. And here's the best part. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, it was my son who got in the car and said, "I have to be back up here at 1:30 pm tomorrow because the other guys are all coming up and we're playing again."

It would usually be the other way around, of course. The dad would be telling the son what time they'd be playing the next day.

My son got bit by the golf bug last weekend, apparently. He's still learning the game and hasn't yet broken 100, but he's hitting some impressive tee balls and has made very obvious improvements in his game just in the last week alone.

Last year, he played from the "family tees", which is a set of tees stationed roughly 200 yards from the green on par 4's and 5's, marked with a plate in the fairway. The par 3's from the family tees are all in the 120 yard range.

This year, he's moved up to the red tees, which are typically reserved for women, but just happen to be a nice, comfortable yardage for junior golfers as well. He shot 107 from the red tees on Tuesday.

"Now here comes the hard part about golf," I said to him as we exited the club on Tuesday night. "You're going to expect to shoot 106 or better tomorrow. ..and it just doesn't work that way."

"I know," he said, even though he actually doesn't know. He's afflicted with the same ideology most golfers possess. "If I shot 85 today, I should shoot 84 tomorrow."

"You should be worried about how many great shots you hit, not your score," I told him on the way home. "At your stage of golf, great shots are way more important than whatever it is that you shoot." That axiom actually works for any golfer, of any level, by the way. The more experienced you get, the easier it is for you to detect the difference between a "great shot" and a "good shot".

On Wednesday night as we got in the car, my son announced to me he had 11 "great" shots during the day. I saw three of them myself, as I played nine holes with him and a couple of other juniors at the club before joining a group of my own friends for the back nine.

"Great shots are hard to come by," I told him as we drove home on Wednesday. "You should savor those, for now, until you make enough progress that those great shots turn into birdie opportunities and then you can start measuring yourself that way."

On the 7th hole at Eagle's Nest on Thursday, I saw him pipe a drive of 175 yards or so with an old Adams 3-wood that George gave him three years ago during a visit to Maryland to watch me play in the Maryland Open at Fountainhead in Hagerstown.

He then hit a perfectly struck 5-iron about 150 yards, right in the middle of the fairway. His third shot into the par 5 was also a 5-iron and it came up just short of the putting surface. It was, like the shot before it, perfectly struck, with an in-balanced golf swing and finish...like he knew what he was doing.

I didn't say it out loud, but I thought to myself, "Those are three great golf shots right there."

And, so, despite being turned upside down by Covid-19 over the last eight days, there have been some moments of joy and smiles in my household. We're all together as a family, on a strange, unified schedule, where we're all eating together, doing work together and enjoying some recreational time together.

Here's hoping you and your family have remained healthy, for starters, and have also discovered a silver lining or two of your own this week.

Please share your "silver linings" in the Comments section below. I'd love to know yours!

day 25: dave matthews band

Throughout my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration, I've mentioned how important music has been in my life. Other than country and classical, there really isn't a genre I haven't enjoyed in my lifetime. I tried to think the other day of how many different bands I've seen live, in concert. I think it's roughly 35.

But despite seeing all of those different concerts, there are really only six bands/artists that I've loved - in the music sense -- in my life. One of them is the Dave Matthews Band. And I got in late on the DMB scene. I wasn't really a "fan" until the early 2000s and didn't really become an ardent follower of the band until a few years after that. Truth of the matter: My wife was a DMB nut and introduced them to me. I introduced her to the band "Rush". She didn't really dig them all that much.

But now...I'm a Dave Matthews Band junkie, for sure.

I'd never be able to write my life story without focusing on music and how much my mom and dad influenced me when it came to music. And the Dave Matthews Band has been a significant part of my musical "life" over the last 15 years or so.

It's hard for me to pick a favorite song by DMB but this is my current choice. It just came out (on the "Come Tomorrow" record) a few years ago, in fact, although the band had been playing different versions of it in concert for well over a decade or longer.

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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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. III First alarm in Philadelphia. Flight of the citizens. Guardians of the poor borne down with labour.

IT was some time before the disorder attracted public notice. It had in the mean while swept off many persons. The first death that was a subject of general conversation was that of Peter Aston on the 19th of August, after a few days illness. Mrs. Lemaigre’s on the day following, and Thomas Miller’s on the 25th, with those of some others, after a short sickness, spread an universal terror.

The removals from Philadelphia began about the 25th or 26th of this month: and so great was the general terror, that, for some weeks, carts, waggons, coachees, and chairs, were almost constantly transporting families and furniture to the country in every direction. Many people shut up their houses wholly; others left servants to take care of them. Business then became extremely dull. Mechanics and artists were unemployed; and the streets wore the appearance of gloom and melancholy.

The first official notice taken of the disorder, was on the 22d of August, on which day the mayor of Philadelphia, Matthew Clarkson, Esq. wrote to the city commissioners, and after acquainting them with the state of the city, gave them the most peremptory orders, to have the streets properly cleansed and purified by the scavengers, and all the filth immediately hawled away. These orders were repeated on the 27th, and similar ones given to the clerks of the market.

The 26th of the same month, the college of physicians had a meeting, at which they took into consideration the nature of the disorder, and the means of prevention and of cure. They published an address to the citizens, signed by the president and secretary, recommending to avoid all unnecessary intercourse with the infected; to place marks on the doors or windows where they were; to pay great attention to cleanliness and airing the rooms of the sick; to provide a large and airy hospital in the neighbourhood of the city for their reception; to put a stop to the tolling of the bells; to bury those who died of the disorder in carriages, and as privately as possible; to keep the streets and wharves clean; to avoid all fatigue of body and mind, and standing or sitting in the sun, or in the open air; to accommodate the dress to the weather, and to exceed rather in warm than in cool clothing; and to avoid intemperance; but to use fermented liquors, such as wine, beer and cider, with moderation. They likewise declared their opinion, that fires in the streets were very dangerous, if not ineffectual means of stopping the progress of the fever, and that they placed more dependence on the burning of gunpowder. The benefits of vinegar and camphor, they added, were confined chiefly to infected rooms; and they could not be too often used on handkerchiefs, or in smelling bottles, by persons who attended the sick.

In consequence of this address, the bells were immediately stopped from tolling. The expedience of this measure was obvious; as they had before been constantly ringing almost the whole day, so as to terrify those in health, and drive the sick, as far as the influence of imagination could produce that effect, to their graves. An idea had gone abroad, that the burning of fires in the streets, would have a tendency to purify the air, and arrest the progress of the disorder. The people had, therefore, almost every night, large fires lighted at the corners of the streets. The 29th, the mayor, conformably with the opinion of the college of physicians, published a proclamation, forbidding this practice. As a substitute, many had recourse to the firing of guns, which they imagined was a certain preventative of the disorder. This was carried so far, and attended with such danger, that it was forbidden by an ordinance of the mayor.

The 29th, the governor of the state wrote a letter to the mayor, strongly enforcing the necessity of the most vigorous and decisive exertions to prevent the extension of, and to destroy, the evil. He desired that the various directions given by the college of physicians, should be carried into effect. The same day, in his address to the legislature, he acquainted them, that a contagious disorder existed in the city; and that he had taken every proper measure to ascertain the origin, nature, and extent of it. He likewise assured them that the health-officer and physician of the port, would take every precaution to allay and remove the public inquietude.

The number of the infected daily increasing, and the existence of an order against the admission of persons labouring under infectious diseases into the almshouse, precluding them from a refuge there*, some temporary place was requisite; and three of the guardians of the poor, about the 26th of August, took possession of the circus, in which Mr. Ricketts had lately exhibited his equestrian seats, being the only place that could be then procured for the purpose. Thither they sent seven persons afflicted with the malignant fever, where they lay in the open air for some time, and without any assistance.** Of these, one crawled out on the commons, where he died at a distance from the houses. Two died in the circus, one of whom was seasonably removed; the other lay in a state of putrefaction for above forty eight hours, owing to the difficulty of procuring any person to remove him. On this occasion occurred an instance of courage in a servant girl, of which at that time few men were capable. The carter, who finally undertook to remove the corpse, having no assistant, and being unable alone to put it into the coffin, was on the point of relinquishing his design, and quitting the place. The girl perceived him, and understanding the difficulty he laboured under, offered her services, provided he would not inform the family with whom she lived.*** She accordingly helped him to put the body into the coffin, tho’ it was, by that time, crawling with maggots, and in the most loathsome state of putrefaction. It gives me pleasure to add, that she still lives, notwithstanding her very hazardous exploit.

* At this period, the number of paupers in the alms-house was between three and four hundred; and the managers, apprehensive of spreading the disorder among them, enforced the abovementioned order, which had been entered into a long time before. They, however, supplied beds and bedding, and all the money in their treasury, for their relief, out of that house.
** High wages were offered for nurses for these poor people – but none could be procured.
*** Had they known of the circumstance, an immediate dismissal would have been the consequence.

The inhabitants of the neighbourhood of the circus took the alarm, and threatened to burn or destroy it, unless the sick were removed; and it is believed they would have actually carried their threats into execution, had compliance been delayed a day longer. The 19th, seven of the guardians of the poor had a conference with some of the city magistrates on the subject of the fever, at which it was agreed to be indispensably necessary, that a suitable house, as an hospital, should be provided near the city, for the reception of the infected poor.

In consequence, in the evening of the same day, the guardians of the poor agreed to sundry resolutions, viz. To use their utmost exertions to procure a house, of the above description, for an hospital, (out of town, and as near thereto as might be practicable, consistent with the safety of the inhabitants,) for the poor who were or might be afflicted with contagious disorders, and be destitute of the means of providing necessary assistance otherwise; to engage physicians, nurses, attendants, and all necessaries for their relief in that house; to appoint proper persons in each district, to enquire after such poor as might be afflicted; to administer assistance to them in their own houses, and, if necessary, to remove them to the hospital. They reserved to themselves, at the same time, the liberty of drawing on the mayor for such sums as might be necessary to carry their plans into effect.

Conformably with these resolves, a committee of the guardians was appointed, to make enquiry for a suitable place; and on due examination, they judged that a building adjacent to Bushhill, the mansion house of William Hamilton, Esq. Was the best calculated for the purpose. That gentleman was then absent, and had no agent in the city; and the great urgency of the case admitting no delay, eight of the guardians, accompanied by Hilary Baker, Esq. One of the city aldermen, with the concurrence of the governor, proceeded, on the 31st of August, to the building they had fixed upon; and meeting with some opposition from a tenant who occupied it, they took possession of the mansion-house itself, to which, on the same evening, they sent the four patients who remained at the circus.

Shortly after this, the guardians of the poor for the city, except James Wilson, Jacob Tomkins, Jr., and William Sansom, ceased the performance of their duties, nearly the whole of them having removed out of the city. Before this virtual vacation of office, they passed a resolve against the admission of any paupers whatever into the alms-house during the prevalence of the disorder.* The whole care of the poor of the city, the providing for Bushhill, sending the sick there, and burying the dead, devolved, therefore on the above three guardians.

* The reason for entering into this order, was, that some paupers, who had been admitted previous thereto, with a certificate from the physicians, of their being free from the infection, had, nevertheless, died of it.

Note: We'll publish Chapter 4 tomorrow.

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March 20
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loss to titans clearly rattled ravens

If you thought the Ravens would just brush off that shocking January home loss to the Tennessee Titans as "just one of those days", you were wrong.

They did not take it that way in the least. Even if it was an outlier or a fluke or an outcome that would have happened once every five times the teams played, the Ravens apparently saw something on that warm January Saturday that rattled them.

And they're doing something about it.

Derrick Henry's 195 yard outburst in last January's playoff game in Baltimore definitely caught the eye of general manager Eric DeCosta.

After watching Derrick Henry run through, over and around them to the tune of 195 yards -- and a TD pass of his own, to boot -- in the 28-12 Titans win, general manager Eric DeCosta was clearly bound and determined to not let that happen again.

In short order this week, the Ravens added DE Calais Campbell via a trade with the Jaguars and DL Michael Brockers, formerly of the L.A. Rams. In an addition by subtraction move on Thursday, the Ravens allowed Michael Pierce to leave via free agency, which will now move Brandon Williams back to his more familiar -- and successful -- nose tackle position.

Having applied the franchise tag to Matthew Judon earlier this month, that gives the Ravens four high quality defensive players on or around the interior line.

Here's betting that no one runs for 195 yards on the Ravens next season.

This isn't the first time the Ravens have reacted aggressively to a playoff loss or two. There was a time when Ozzie Newsome got tired of seeing the Ravens go to Pittsburgh and lose to Ben Roethlisberger and whatever plethora of wide receivers he was working with in that given season. Little by little, the Ravens started putting emphasis on the secondary in the early stages of the NFL Draft, including taking the likes of Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Terrence Brooks, Matt Elam and most recently, Marlon Humphrey.

They weren't all taken specifically because the Ravens were tired of losing to the Steelers, but Pittsburgh's offensive dominance over Baltimore -- particularly in the air -- most certainly had something to do with it.

Looking back to 2019, the Ravens lost only three games, but in all three, their defensive interior was shredded. They surrended 140 yards in the 33-28 loss to the Chiefs on September 22, then gave up 193 yards on the ground a week later at home to Cleveland in a 40-25 defeat. And then there was the pounding at home against the Titans in January, where Derrick Henry just crushed the Ravens' spirits.

Eric DeCosta watched those three games and probably thought, "That's the only way we can lose moving forward...so I'm going to fix it."

And I'm sure DeCosta's not done yet. With linebacker Clay Matthews getting released by the Rams yesterday, there's a decent chance he might find his way to Charm City. Like Calais Campbell, Matthews isn't the player he once was, but he's still plenty good enough to make an impact.

Chris Wormley's development in 2019 was also a welcomed surprise and he figures to play an important role in 2020.

Maybe the January playoff loss to Tennessee was just one of those days. And maybe DeCosta and his staff overreacted a bit this week in spending a lot of the team's available salary cap dough on defensive interior help.

But the bet here, from this author, is that the Ravens are better now than they were this time last year. The players still have to perform, of course, and it could turn out that Brockers is not all that much different than Pierce at the end of the day, but there will be no room for double teaming the Ravens defensive interior next season. I mean, you can double team Williams if you want, but that leaves Campbell and Brockers to feast on their one-on-one match ups. And so on...

You still have to play the games and, as we saw last January, one bad day can end a season, but the Ravens are setting up to be a dominant defensive team in 2020.

All it took to shake them up was a 14-2 season that ended abruptly with a loss to the six seed Titans.

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#dmd comments update: third time's the charm

OK, we think we have this figured out. We hope we do, for sure.

After installing a second round of software for the Comments section on Thursday, we discovered it had the same bug as the first one we installed earlier in the week. If you published a comment using a Safari web browser, it could only be seen by those using Safari. Same for Firefox or Chrome.

We now believe we've finally come up with a solution that allows all comments to be published and seen regardless of what browser you used!

So, for the third time in five days, we're updating our Comments section and using the "Disqus" software, which is similar in nature to the others we've tested this week.

We're almost willing to make a promise that this one is the real deal. (Almost).

There are some awesome features that go with the Disqus format. You can write in bold, italics, etc. and you can also post links, GIF's and so on. We think you'll prefer this new format to the others we've launched recently, actually.

Just like the others, you can either sign in using your own social media platforms or your email (which won't be published, only your name appears) or you can create a fake account, for those sweating over the idea that others might know your identity.

We're working hard to try and bring you the best Comments software/format we can. It hasn't been easy, but we think Disqus is a winner.

40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 24: luke jones

When Glenn Clark was moved to the afternoon host shift at WNST (circa 2012), Luke Jones joined me as my morning show producer and co-host.

Glenn and Luke were completely different. Good guys, both of them, and each had an incredible love for sports and, in particular, Baltimore and Maryland teams, but boy were they different.

I'd say Luke was Wally Cleaver and Glenn was Eddie Haskell. And I say that with all due respect to Glenn and Eddie Haskell, since I'd say Eddie is the Leave It To Beaver character I most resembled when I was 28.

Luke was an awesome producer. And he was fully capable (back then and now) of hosting his own show, but he served the co-host role to perfection. Always ready to chime in with something meaningful and germane to the topic we discussed, but not overwhelmed with the need to make an on-air contribution. If there's anything I've seen over the last 10 years or so in radio that puzzles me, it's the producer's obvious desire to have an on-air role in addition to their behind-the-scenes duties. The best producers don't have to say anything on the air to make a contribution to the show.

People listening don't understand how critical the producers really are. Think of them like this: They're the roadies who set up the stage and the lighting and the instruments so the band can come out and play for two hours. Without the roadies and set-up crew, there's no Coldplay concert. The same for the producer. Without him/her, there's no show.

Luke got the "producer's job" down perfectly. He was really good at it, in addition to adding an occasional thought on air when it was appropriate.

I'm thankful to have had him with me for the better part of three years. He's one of the best professionals I ever met in radio.


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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. II Symptoms – A slight sketch of the mode of treatment.

THE symptoms which characterised the first stage of the fever, were, in the greatest number of cases, after a chilly fit of some duration, a quick, tense pulse—hot skin—pain in the head, back and limbs—flushed countenance—inflamed eye—moist tongue—oppression and sense of soreness at the stomach, especially upon pressure—frequent sick qualms, and retchings to vomit, without discharging any thing, except the contents last taken into the stomach—costiveness [Ed.: constipation] etc. And when stools were procured, the first generally showed a defect of bile, or an obstruction to its entrance into the intestines. But brisk purges generally altered this appearance.

These symptoms generally continued with more or less violence from one to three, four, or even five days; and then gradually abating, left the patient free from every complaint, except general debility. On the febrile symptoms suddenly subsiding, they were immediately succeeded by a yellow tinge in the opaque cornea, or whites of the eyes – and increased oppression at the præcordia – a constant puking of every thing taken into the stomach, with much straining, accompanied with a hoarse, hollow noise.

If these symptoms were not soon relieved, a vomiting of matter, resembling coffee grounds in color and consistence, commonly called the black vomit, sometimes accompanied with, or succeeded by haemorrhages from the nose, sauces [Ed.: the throat], gums, and other parts of the body – a yellowish purple colour, and putrescent appearance of the whole body, hiccup, agitations, deep and distressed sighing, comatose delirium, and finally, death. When the disease proved fatal, it was generally between the sixth and eighth days. This was the most usual progress of this formidable disease, through its several stages. There were, however, very considerable variations in the symptoms, as well as in the duration of its different stages, according to the constitution and temperament of the patient, the state of the weather, the manner of treatment, etc.

In some cases, signs of putriscency appeared at the beginning, or before the end of the third day. In these, the black vomiting, which was generally a mortal symptom, and universal yellowness, appeared early. In these cases, also, a low delirium, and great prostration of strength, was constant symptoms, and coma came on very speedily.

In some, the symptoms inclined more to the nervous than the inflammatory type. In these, the jaundice colour of the eye and skin, and the black vomiting, were more rare. But in the majority of cases, particularly after the nights became sensibly cooler, all the symptoms indicated violent irritation and inflammatory diathesis. In these cases, the skin was always dry, and the remissions very obscure.

The febrile symptoms, however, as has been already observed, either gave way on the third, fourth, or sixth day, and then the patient recovered; or they were soon after succeeded by a different, but much more dangerous train of symptoms, by debility, low pulse, cold skin, (which assumed a tawny colour, mixed with purple) black vomiting, haemorrhages, hiccup, anxiety, restlessness, coma, etc. Many, who survived the eighth day, though apparently out of danger, died suddenly in consequence of an haemorrhage.

This disorder having been new to nearly all our physicians, it is not surprising, although it has been exceedingly fatal, that there arose such a discordance of sentiment on the proper mode of treatment, and even with respect to its name. Dr. Rush has acknowledged, with a candour that does him honour, that in the commencement, he so far mistook the nature of the disorder, that in his early essays, having depended on gentle purges of salts to purify the bowels of his patients, they all died. He then tried the mode of treatment adopted in the West Indies, viz. bark, wine, laudanum, and the cold bath, and sailed in three cases out of four. After wards he had recourse to strong purges of calomel [Ed.: mercurous chloride] and jalap [drug made from the root of the Mexican morning glory], and to bleeding, which he found attended with singular success.

The honour of the first essay of mercury in this disorder, is by many ascribed to Dr. Hodge and Dr. Carson, who are said to have employed it a week before Dr. Rush. On this point, I cannot pretend to decide. But whoever was the first to introduce it, one thing is certain, that its efficacy was great, and rescued many from death. I have known, however, some persons, who, I have every reason to believe, fell sacrifices to the great reputation this medicine acquired; for in several cases it was administered to persons of a previous lax habit, and brought on a speedy dissolution.

I am credibly informed that the demand for purges of calomel and jalap, was so great, that some of the apothecaries could not mix up every dose in detail; but mixed a large quantity of each, in the ordered proportions; and afterwards divided it into doses; by which means, it often happened that one patient had a much larger portion of calomel, and another of jalap, than was intended by the doctors. The fatal consequences of this may be easily conceived.

An intelligent citizen, who has highly distinguished himself by his attention to the sick, says, that he found the disorder generally come on with costiveness; and unless that was removed within the first twelve hours, he hardly knew any person to recover; on the contrary, he says, as few died, on whom the cathartics operated within that time.

The efficacy of bleeding, in all cases not attended with putridity, was great. The quantity of blood taken was in many cases astonishing. Dr. Griffits was bled seven times in five days, and appears to ascribe his recovery principally to that operation. Dr. Mease, in five days, lost seventy-two ounces of blood, by which he was recovered when at the lowest stage of the disorder. Many others were bled still more, and are now as well as ever they were.

Dr. Rush and Dr. Wistar have spoken very favorably of the salutary effects of cold air, and cool drinks, in this disorder. The latter says, that he found more benefit from cold air, than from any other remedy. He lay delirious, and in severe pain, between a window and door, the former of which was open. The wind suddenly changed, and blew full upon him, cold and raw. Its effects were so grateful, that he soon recovered from his delirium – his pain left him – in an hour he became perfectly reasonable – and his fever abated.

A respectable citizen who had the fever himself, and likewise watched its effects on eleven of his family, who recovered from it, has informed me, that a removal of the sick from a close, warm room to one a few degrees cooler, which practice he employed several times daily, produced a most extraordinary and favourable change in their appearance, in their pulse, and in their spirits.

Note: We'll publish Chapter 3 tomorrow.

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March 19
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down but not out

I visited with a friend on Wednesday, a small business (food service) owner in Baltimore County. Things are not good for him or his employees these days.

"We're down, but not out," he said. Those words stuck with me all day.

His business is down 60% and he anticipates it will grow worse in the coming weeks. Out of principle, he says, he's not laying off any employees and he's paying them what they would be paid normally.

"They're with me when things are hoppin' around here," he said. "I have to be with them when things aren't good."

I keep thinking back to "Down but not out". I think those four words probably sum up a lot of us, whether they apply to business, your own family's health and well being, or both.

I don't know many people in my sphere who aren't scared or concerned about Covid-19 and the growing number of cases in the U.S. and Maryland. You'd have to be naive to not think we're just at the beginning stages of this whole thing. Keeping our respective families healthy is everyone's primary goal. We can worry along the way about jobs and revenue and paying the bills, but nothing is more important than the health of our families.

Traffic here at #DMD is down by roughly 40% this week. I'm not at all surprised by that. When people's routines get disrupted, they simply don't follow the same daily patterns they usually do. I can go back over the last five years and show you some stretches in the winter where our traffic dipped for two or three days by 30% or more. Those occasions almost always coincided with heavy snowfalls that kept people from going to work.

We've experienced a double whammy here at #DMD in that our core function is sports, obviously, and there really isn't much of that to report on these days. We'll still be here every day and we're eventually going to settle into some kind of flow as it relates to writing about sports of some kind, past or present, but the sports world is essentially on hiatus right now, save for the news coming out of the NFL.

Whammy number two for us occurred when the Comments section went down last Wednesday, just as the first days of significant Covid-19 sanctions started to trickle in. The internet is very similar to talk radio. Studies show that 1% of people who listen to the radio call into a show. At #DMD, roughly 2% of those who read comment in a given week.

But without a Comments section, reader's routines were disrupted. And then Covid-19 came along and really rattled people. Thus, here we are, like nearly every other business in America. We're down...but not out.

So, if you're reading this today, thanks for stopping by. I hope we can continue to provide you with some sort of daily news that helps you manage these rough waters. If you want to use our Comments section to mention a good deed someone did or a place where they have shelves full of toilet paper and bread, you can do that as well. The Comments section is back up and running, better than ever. Use it as you see fit.

how can we help?

I was reading the Book of Hebrews on Wednesday morning and got convicted by a verse I read.

Hebrews 13:1-2 -- Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. (2) Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

I wondered why it was that I couldn't put that verse out of mind as I went about my duties and errands on Wednesday morning. I wondered why...

By noon, it hit me. There are people in our community who either can't get out or, because of an underlying medical condition, they don't want to go out. Yet they still need things. Food, toiletries, prescriptions filled or picked up, etc.

If you are someone in that position or there's someone in your neighborhood who fits that profile, please reach out to me. My friend Brian Hubbard and I will go shopping for them and pick up whatever items they need. Brian has a huge truck that can fit lots of items, so we can make multiple stops for those who need help.

This isn't just for the elderly or shut-ins, but those are the ones we're trying to find the most. So if you have someone in your neighborhood or family that needs this assistance, please reach out to me (18inarow@gmail.com) and we'll do their shopping for them. There is no charge for this. They'll merely pay for whatever it is that they buy.

We'll clean and disinfect everything we purchase and get it to them in the most timely fashion we can.

And speaking of Brian Hubbard...

In my ongoing "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration, Brian is one of the reasons I'm here today sharing these people and places with you. I'm at Day 23, and while the list is in no particular order, Brian is near the top of my list of best friends AND best people.

He's an awesome man of faith, with a wonderful family. He's heavily involved with Hunt Valley Church and FCA and also serves as my assistant coach for the Calvert Hall varsity golf team. We talk nearly every day, sometimes two or three times along the way. When I need encouragement or uplifting, he provides it and vice versa.

Earlier this week, with our normal Tuesday morning men's fellowship group at BCC on hiatus due to Covid-19, Brian quickly put together a virtual meeting on ZOOM that still allowed for us to gather for an hour and start our morning with faith and testimony. That's Brian Hubbard...he wasn't going to let the fact we couldn't meet in person get in the way of meeting at all. And, so, a dozen of us gathered around our respective computers at 7:00 am on Tuesday morning and had an awesome "virtual" hour together.

I'm thankful to have Brian in my life. They don't make them like him any longer.

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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.

[Editor's Note: In 1787 the United States of America adopted its Constitution, replacing the ineffectual Articles of Confederation which had served since the Revolution ended in 1783. The new Republic flourished under the Constitution, and its citizens began to build a nation. Philadelphia served as the capital of the country from 1790 to 1800 while Washington, D. C. was under construction.

In the spring of 1793, French colonial refugees, some with slaves, arrived in Philadelphia from Cap Français, Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). The 2,000 immigrants were fleeing the slave revolution on the island. They crowded the port of Philadelphia, where the yellow fever epidemic began in the city in August. It is likely that the refugees and ships carried the yellow fever virus and mosquitoes. The disease is transmitted by mosquito bites. The mosquitoes easily breed in small amounts of standing water. The medical community in 1793 did not understand the role of mosquitoes in the transmission of yellow fever.

Mathew Carey, my sixth great-grandfather, was an Irish radical and revolutionary who escaped the English hangmen when they came for him in Dublin. Dressed as a woman, he boarded the merchant ship America, and arrived in Philadelphia in 1784. Using a loan of $400 from the Marquis de LaFayette, he established and published a newspaper in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Herald. He later established a magazine, The American Museum, which published articles and essays on important issues of the day. When the Yellow Fever Epidemic hit Philadelphia in 1793, Carey was a printer, publisher, and essayist.

In 1793, Philadelphia had 50,000 citizens. As the disease began to spread, 20,000 left the city. Mathew Carey stayed, and with other city leaders, did what he could to serve the beloved town that had welcomed and adopted him. He wrote extensively about the epidemic. Drew suggested, in this time of our own crisis caused by disease, that it would be interesting to read about a city ravaged by disease 227 years ago, and see what lessons we could learn.

Carey's main account of the epidemic, titled below, consists of 17 chapters, an account of the London plague of 1665, and an account of the plague that struck Marseilles in 1720. We'll publish one or two chapters a day until we can get back to sports. The only content changes I made to the original were to place the footnote text after the paragraph in which it appears instead of in the footer of the page, and to give explanations of some obscure words so you don't have to look them up.


Lately Prevalent in


With a Statement of the


That took place on the subject, in different parts of the


To which are added,


Of the Plague in London and Marseilles;


From August 1, to the middle of December, 1793



PHILADELPHIA: Printed by the Author

January 16, 1794

CHAP. I — State of Philadelphia previous to the appearance of the malignant fever—with a few observations on some of the probable consequences of that calamity.

BEFORE I enter on the consideration of this disorder, it may not be improper to offer a few introductory remarks on the situation of Philadelphia previous to its commencement, which will reflect the light on some of the circumstances mentioned in the course of the narrative.

The manufactures, trade, and commerce of this city, had, for a considerable time, been improving and extending with great rapidity. From the period of the adoption of the federal government, at which time America was at the lowest ebb of distress, her situation had progressively become more and more prosperous. Confidence, formerly banished, was universally restored. Property of every kind, rose to, and in some instances beyond, its real value: and a few revolving years exhibited the interesting spectacle of a young country, with a new form of government, emerging from a state which approached very near to, anarchy, and acquiring all the flexibility and nerve of the best-toned and oldest of nations.

In this prosperity, which revived almost extinguished hopes of four millions of people, Philadelphia participated in an eminent degree. Numbers of new houses, in almost every street, built in a very neat, elegant style, adorned, at the same time that they greatly enlarged, the city. Its population was extending fast. House-rent had risen to an extravagant height; it was in many cases double, and in some treble what it had been a year or two before; and, as is generally the case, when a city is advancing in prosperity, it far exceeded the real increase of trade. The number of applicants for houses, exceeding the number of houses to be let, one bid over another; and affairs were in such a situation, that many people, though they had a tolerable run of business, could hardly do more than clear their rents, and were, literally, toiling for their landlords alone.* Luxury, the usual, and perhaps inevitable concomitant of prosperity, was gaining ground in a manner very alarming to those who considered how far the virtue, the liberty, and the happiness of a nation depend on its temperance and sober manners. Many of our citizens had been, for some time, in the improvident habit of regulating their expenses by prospects formed in sanguine hours, when every probability was caught at as a certainty, not by their actual profits, or income. The number of coaches, coachees, chairs, etc., lately set up by men in the middle rank of life, is hardly credible. Not to enter into a minute detail, let it suffice to remark, that extravagance, in various forms, was gradually eradicating the plain and wholesome habits of the city. And although it were presumption to attempt to scan the decrees of heaven, yet few, I believe will pretend to deny, that something was wanting to humble the price of a city, which was running on in full career, to the goal of prodigality and dissipation.

* The distress arising from this source, was perhaps the only exception to the general observation of the flourishing situation of Philadelphia.

However, from November 1792, to the end of last June, the difficulties of Philadelphia were extreme. The establishment of the bank of Pennsylvania, in embryo for the most part of that time, had arrested in the two other banks such a quantity of the circulating specie, as embarrassed almost every kind of business; to this was added the distress arising from the very numerous failures in England, which had extremely harassed several of our capital merchants. During this period, many men experienced as great difficulties as were ever known in this city.* But the commencement, in July, of the operations of the bank of Pennsylvania, conducted on the most generous and enlarged principles, placed business on its former favourable footing. Every man looked forward to this fall as likely to produce a vast extension of trade. But how sleeting are all human views! How uncertain all plans sounded on earthly appearances! All these flattering prospects vanished like the baseless fabric of a vision.

* It is with great pleasure, I embrace this opportunity of declaring, that the very liberal conduct of the bank of the united states[sic], at this trying season, was the means of saving many a deserving and industrious man from ruin. No similar institution was ever conducted on a more favourable, and at the same time, prudent plan, than this bank adopted at the time here mentioned.

In July, arrived the unfortunate fugitives from Cape François. And on this occasion, the liberality of Philadelphia was displayed in a most respectable point of light. Nearly 12,000 dollars were in a few days collected for their relief. Little, alas! Did many of the contributors, then in easy circumstances, imagine, that a few weeks would leave their wives and children dependent on public charity, as has since unfortunately happened. An awful instance of the rapid and warning vicissitudes of affairs on this transitory stage.

About this time, this destroying scourge, the malignant fever, crept in among us, and nipped in the bud the fairest blossoms that imagination could storm. And oh! What a dreadful contrast has since taken place! Many women, then in the lap of ease and contentment, are bereft of beloved husbands, and left with numerous families of children to maintain, unqualified for the arduous task – many orphans are destitute of parents to foster and protect them – many entire families are swept away, without leaving a trace behind – many of our first commercial houses are totally dissolved, by the death of the parties, and their affairs are necessarily left in so deranged a state that the losses and distresses, which must take place, are beyond estimation. The protests of notes for a few weeks past, have exceeded all former examples; for a great proportion of the merchants and traders having left the city, and been totally unable, from the stagnation of business, and diversion of all their expected resources, to make any provision for payment, most of their notes have been protested, as they became due.*

* The bank of the united states, on the 15th of October, passed a resolve, empowering the cashier to renew all discounted notes, when the same drawers and indorsers were offered, and declaring that no notes should be protested, when the indorsers bound themselves in writing, to be accountable in the same manner as in cases of protest.

For these prefatory observations, I hope I shall be pardoned. I now proceed to the melancholy subject I have undertaken. May I be enabled to do it justice; and lay before the reader a complete and correct account of the most awful visitation that ever occurred in America. At first view, it would appear that Philadelphia alone felt the scourge; but its effects have spread in almost every direction through a greater portion of the union. Many parts of Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia, exclusive of the back settlements of Pennsylvania, drew their supplies, if not wholly, at least principally, from Philadelphia, which was of course the mart whither they sent their produce. Cut off from this quarter, their merchants have had to seek out other markets, which being unprepared for such an increased demand, their supplies have been imperfect; and, owing to the briskness of the sales, the prices have been, naturally enough, very considerably enhanced. Besides, they went to places in which their credit was not established – and had in most cases to advance cash. And many country dealers have had no opportunity of sending their produce to market, which has consequently remained unsold. Business, therefore, has languished in many parts of the union; and it is probably, that, considering the matter merely in a commercial point of light, the shock caused by the fever, has been felt to the southern extremity of the United States.

Note: We'll publish Chapter 2 tomorrow.


"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

when nobody's there...

Before there were no sports, there were sports with nobody there to watch. This was a brief moment in time, and not without some levity.

Some of the players from Rutgers and Michigan came out for warmups at the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis and started playing to the non-existent crowd. When the suits came out onto the court to call it a day, the levity ended.

Still, I started thinking about the fact that nobody started out playing for the crowd. At some point, they wanted to perform for the crowd. They started to enjoy the adulation, and sometimes it even fed them. If the crowds got bigger, that meant they were really getting somewhere as athletes. More than that, they were becoming entertainers. They didn’t call them the “Showtime” Lakers for nothing.

But none of them got to that place before doing almost everything in front of nobody at all, or maybe just their teammates and coaches. Brooks Koepka says that he doesn’t even like golf, but he must have worked pretty hard at it when nobody was looking.

Anthony Cowan scored a lot of his 1,881 career points by slashing into the lane and making contested layups look easy. Those are plays he practiced, from the time he first realized he wasn’t going to be as tall as lot of his friends.

It’s a bit of a cliché, but sometimes life is about what you do when nobody is watching. That often gets used when talking about under-the-radar good deeds, but it applies to sports as much as any other aspect of our lives.

When I was a freshman in college, the best player on the basketball team was named Will Lasky, a senior. We had a deal, Will and I. Three days a week, usually, I ran over to the gym around noon. Will was there shooting free throws, typically. I rebounded for him, and we talked about whatever there was to talk about. He shot hundreds of jump shots, and he needed someone to throw him a pass each time.

Will wasn’t my friend, really. He was a quiet kid from a small Pennsylvania town, and a senior when seniors seemed older than they do now. When I watched him play in front of the crowd, though, I knew that the overwhelming majority of what he’d done as a player was done all alone.

March 14, five days ago, marked the 24th anniversary of one of the best sporting events I ever witnessed live. Princeton beat UCLA, the defending national champion, at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, thanks to a backdoor layup by a freshman named Gabe Lewullis. The whole thing played out right in front of me, as I sat on press row a few feet from the court.

The game and outcome seemed unreal to me, and probably to most of the players too. I don’t think any of us brought enough clothes to last through the weekend. For 36 hours or so, Princeton basketball was the biggest thing in the sports world.

The other day, though, I thought back to a recent interview with Mitch Henderson, the Tigers’ point guard back then and the program’s head coach now. In reminiscing about the game, he said that what stands out to him more than 20 years later is the bond he shared with his teammates and the hard work that they put in together. He didn’t mention one play from the game itself, a game in which he played all but three minutes in front of more than 30,000 fans. His message to his current team, and his fondest memories, have no fame attached to them at all.

Years after he graduated, I used to work at the gym where Henderson and his teammates spent all those hours together. For five seasons, I did exactly the same thing at every home game. I’d set everything up, do my job during and after the game and break everything down. I’d wait for the reporters covering the game to wrap up their stories and leave the building. When that was done, there was usually only one other person left…the janitor, Joe, who was finishing up his work for the night too.

Joe knew what to do. He left the door open to the closet where we stored the basketballs and he left the lights on. I had the key to the closet, and I knew how to turn off all the lights. I grabbed a ball, took off my tie, untucked my shirt and went out on the court alone. It was around 11 p.m., typically, and I spent at least 30 minutes shooting free throws and three-pointers and working on moves against imaginary defenders.

I loved those times. That court is a place for performance, the center of a massive building that has four stories below ground. I was just blowing off steam, imagining for a moment that I belonged out there. The only way I could have done that is if nobody was looking. Nobody but Joe knew I did that or how much it meant to me.

These are all basketball stories, which seems fitting because this would typically be the best basketball week of the year. But there are stories like this from every sport and every generation. Fact is: even the best athletes, the ones with the longest careers and greatest accolades, spent most of their time working on their games in their own worlds.

Back to present times, on Sunday, which couldn’t be called Selection Sunday this year, NCAA president Mark Emmert spoke with ESPN. He said that the organization really believed it could play this year’s tournament without fans, believed that they had the proper procedures in cleaning and sanitizing and even travel to make it happen. They were ready to go ahead with it…until Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in Oklahoma City and his team’s game against the Thunder was cancelled.

I’m not sure why the NCAA didn’t cancel its tournament immediately in the wake of the NBA’s suspension announcement Wednesday night. I don’t know why, the next day, the Big Ten told Rutgers and Michigan to warm up in Indy, or why the Big East told Creighton and St. John’s to play an entire half in Manhattan. A week later, it seems kind of silly to worry about any of it.

I do think that, if Rutgers and Michigan did play, it would have been the same game as it would have been had they played in front of thousands. Rutgers would have played “ugly,” like they did throughout the season. Michigan wouldn’t have needed any extra crowd motivation while trying to redeem themselves after playing poorly at Maryland in their previous game.

The players on all those teams spend most of their time playing when nobody’s there. Of anyone in that situation, they were the ones who would be the most prepared to handle it well. Sadly---though correctly and understandably—they never got the chance.

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#dmd comments

March 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

poor boston...

Boston has taken some real hits over the last month.

Mookie Betts was traded to the Dodgers.

The NHL season was postponed just when it looked like the Bruins might be a front runner to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the Boston Marathon.

But those three pieces of news paled in comparison to what Beantown had to endure yesterday.

6 Super Bowl rings weren't enough to keep Tom Brady in Boston.

Tom Brady is gone.

Yep, the greatest quarterback to ever play the game is going to spend the last year, two or three of his storied career in Tampa Bay, of all places, propping up one of the NFL's most undistinguishable franchises along the way.

TB 12 is, now, officially "TB 12".

But how? Why?

Depending on which story you believe, it's simple and complicated at the same time.

There are rumors that Brady promised his wife, model Gisele Bunchden, that he'd finish his career in a warm weather climate. I know you might be giggling at that, but have you seen her? If she asked you to move to Tampa Bay, wouldn't you do it?

The Patriots apparently went to Brady several times over the years and re-worked his contract in order to help with their salary cap. There was a story floating around that owner Robert Kraft always promised Brady he would make it up to him "in the end". Kraft's farewell letter on Tuesday hinted at a contract impasse of sorts -- "Unfortunately, the two sides were unable to reach an agreement to allow that dream to become a reality." Perhaps this was the occasion where Brady -- who reportedly will get $30M from Tampa Bay -- wanted it "made up to him" and Kraft and Bill Belichick balked.

And the most plausible story of them all is the growing rift between Brady and Belichick. They never became enemies or anything like that, but as the years went on, the coach and the quarterback grew apart. Belichick became even more stern and more "my way or the highway" as he got older and Brady, probably to the coach's chagrin, was more out-going and affable as his career moved along. Cornerback Rodney Harrison -- now an analyst with NBC -- said recently that Brady's locker room popularity irked Belichick. The coach wanted the players to respect Brady so much that they'd wind up treating him with indifference. Instead, the players loved Brady for his friendly, outgoing off-field nature.

In the end, it could have been bits and pieces of all three things that led Brady to leave the Patriots. Perhaps at one point during a particularly cold, aggravating Boston winter, Brady did promise his wife they'd spend a few of his final playing years in a warm-weather city. Have you been to Boston in the winter? It does wear on you.

And it's certainly reasonable to think that the Patriots, having watched Brady's performance show a hint or two of "drop off" in the 2019 season, just simply didn't think he was worth $30 million any longer. That's called a "business decision". Teams make them all the time.

Brady and Belichick have always enjoyed what appears to be a healthy relationship on the outside, but there's no telling what's really going on behind closed doors. And given the coach's brooding, mercurial personality, it's easy to see where a guy like Brady might have grown tired of it after 20 years.

One thing for sure: It's going to be weird seeing Tom Brady play in Tampa Bay.

In one way, it's sad. And I'm not even a Patriots fan and I think it's sad. It's sad that Brady wasn't able to pull off a Derek Jeter and spend his entire career in New England. Sure, lots of iconic figures have played for more than one team (Jordan, Peyton, Gretzky are the first three that pop up), but that just makes it more special when someone like Magic Johnson or Walter Payton or Derek Jeter spends their entire Hall of Fame career with just one franchise.

It doesn't tarnish Brady's career in any way, mind you. Nothing really changes because he'll spend a couple of years with the Buccaneers at the end of his career. It just means he couldn't do what Larry Bird did...spend all of his playing days in Boston.

On the field, the Patriots take a major step back and the Buccaneers take a significant step forward. Brady isn't what he used to be, mind you, but he's certainly good enough to help Tampa Bay cobble together 10 or 11 wins and be a threat to make the NFC playoffs. He'll have two pass catching weapons at his disposal immediately -- Mike Evans and Chris Godwin -- and the Bucs will now be able to recruit other offensive players with a lot more ease than they did during the Jameis Winston days.

It's going to look weird, but if there actually is an NFL season in 2020, it's going to be well worth watching. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are officially "for real".

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an update on the "comments section"

We're on to version 2.0 of the #DMD Comments section after we discovered a bug in the new format we used yesterday. Many of you contributed commentary yesterday that only appeared to those using the same web browser as the one you wrote your original comment from. Weird, right?

In other words, if you posted a comment from a Safari browser, only people who were reading #DMD on Safari could see that comment. Likewise for Chrome users. If you posted using Chrome, only those with Chrome browsers could see what you posted.

That "bug" wasn't going to be fixed anytime soon.

So, George and I spent a couple of hours last night fiddling around with the version you'll see below. It seems better than the one we unveiled yesterday, actually. It immediately got George's seal of approval, which is all that matters to me.

Moving forward, the easiest, simplest way to write a comment and have full editing capabilities as well is to send the comment using your Facebook, Twitter or Google email account. Your email address will not appear on #DMD but a name will appear.

For those of you who can't see fit to using your real name, real Facebook or Twitter page or real Google email, we do have a solution.

You can contribute a comment without using one of those three options, just like you could in the "old" comments section. For those of you who prefer to operate and contribute under a fake/assumed name or ID, have no fear. You can still do that. You will, however, have to create a "fake email account" in order to do that, as you will always have to log in under that account. For those of you who post under multiple fake names, that means you'll have to create and use multiple fake email accounts as well.

Like any change, this will take a day or two of getting used to before it settles in nicely. In the end, if you simply create an account using your Google email or Facebook or Twitter account(s), it will be a 20-second sign-up and you'll be posting to your heart's content forever. If you have to operate under a cloak of anonymity here, it will take an extra minute or two to create your account and then you'll be good to go.

One additional note about the new and improved Comments section: In the upper left, you'll see "Number of Comments" along with the current number. To the right, you'll see something that reads "Sort By Relevance" and a down arrow next to it. If you click on that down area, you can have the comments listed by either the latest one to come in or the first one that came in. You can choose your preference accordingly.


40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 22: fred couples

People ask me all the time, "Who is your favorite golfer ever?"

It takes me no time to give my answer: "Fred Couples".

As I've gone back and remembered most of my last 57 years, one of the things that stands out to me is how much I was impacted by certain athletes. Fred Couples was the golfer I wanted to be when he broke on the scene in the late 1980's and eventually became the Masters Champion in 1992.

This is not an exaggeration. I recorded the '92 Masters on VHS (Google it...it's how we recorded things 30 years ago) and can say, without hesitation, that I watched a replay of the final found at least 500 times. I watched it so much I memorized what the announcers said on certain shots. At 17, after Freddie coaxed home a 4-footer for par to keep his 2-shot lead intact, Gary McCord said, "Ohh, ohh, Freddie fills his lungs with air and blows it out."

I loved everything about Fred Couples the golfer. Although I wasn't nearly flexible enough to emulate his long, languid golf swing, I certainly tried to picture his tempo in my mind as I started learning how to play golf in the early 1990's. When Freddie's back gave out in 1993 and his career took a tumble, I was unable to find someone else to root for, honestly. There was simply no one who could replace him in my eyes. Freddie had a couple of other brushes with the Masters later on and he always seemed to favor Augusta National more than any other course in the major rotation, but that 1992 green jacket was the lone major triumph of his Hall of Fame career.

Perhaps the coolest part of the '92 Couples win at Augusta National is that he and Jim Nantz were once college roommates and they would rehearse the Butler Cabin scene as college kids, with Couples winning the title and Nantz serving as the host of the jacket ceremony. Not even a dozen years later, there they were, college dreams having somehow come true for both of them.

My love for golf is owed partially to Fred Couples. I have him to thank for a lot of my very modest golfing accomplishments and my ongoing quest to be as good as I can be.

Through the grace of YouTube, we can watch every shot of that '92 Masters win below. In only 16 minutes...

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#dmd comments

March 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

is it the right thing to do?

Mostly by virtue of their schedule and nothing more, the NFL is seemingly moving along as if their world hasn't stopped.

Everyone else -- almost literally everyone else -- has had their lives severely impacted over the last seven days.

Almost every day, there's "new news". The Kentucky Derby announced yesterday they're moving from their familiar first Saturday in May to Saturday, September 5. The Preakness will announce a similar move shortly, as they won't be running their annual race at Pimlico in mid-May.

But with the NFL, it's been completely business as usual over the last couple of days, as the free agency period hits and players all over the country are receiving overwhelming financial gains as they join new employers.

And I wonder........

Is it the right thing to do?

Should Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL put a temporary halt to the free agency period in light of Covid-19?

I don't know the answer, by the way. I'm asking, in a sense, what is the right answer?

And I'm not necessarily laying blame on the players or the teams, mind you. I'm not suggesting they should both just arbitrarily not participate in this start-of-season money grab. They're only doing what the NFL is allowing them to do.

So the spotlight shifts to the NFL and the 32 owners. Should they have delayed the opening of their free agency period in an effort to be more sensitive to the rest of the country and the millions of businesses and families who are going to have their respective lives changed during this national Covid-19 scare?

It feels like the NFL should have slowed down a tick or two...but maybe I'm just bowing to the unknowing nature of what lies ahead in our country over the next 2-6 months.

While some people lose their businesses and their jobs and their homes, potentially, a middle linebacker is on Twitter reveling in his new $30 million contract and $14 million up-front-check. "Teach your kids to play football" might be the new motto of the next decade, huh?

I'm sure the NFL considered a shut down. I mean, if they didn't, then they're far more obtuse than we all thought they were in the first place. Right?

So...if they did consider a shut down, it would be interesting to know why they didn't put a halt to the free agency period. I realize there's a CBA and all that lays out specific dates of the "new year" based on the date of the Super Bowl, but I'm quite certain the CBA wasn't written with a national health emergency in mind.

I saw a Johns Hopkins researcher on TV last night who suggested the Covid-19 situation could be the worst medical and health emergency in the history of the country. If that's the case, football seems rather unimportant at this point.

It's a done deal now, obviously. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, as the saying goes. The NFL is moving forward and players are getting rich, more rich and crazy rich. They were going to do that anyway, of course, but it seems like a weird time to be celebrating a massive financial gain when millions of the people who helped make those contracts a reality are suffering.

I might be nuts on this. And if so, that's fine. But I've found it hard over the last two days to revel in the outstanding work Eric DeCosta and the Ravens have done when moments later I see a 65-year old man in Tacoma, Washington who lost his wife of 44 years to Covid-19 and she hadn't done any traveling or otherwise exposed herself to the coronavirus. She started with a fever on Thursday at 6:30 am and was gone by Saturday at 5:00 pm.

Interestingly, we tend to use sports as a distraction. That's one of the best things about them, whether it's the team or college we support or the 18 holes we play or the 10 frames we bowl. In this case, here and now, there's no baseball, no hockey, no basketball, no golf -- no distractions, in other words. We're left alone to deal with this medical emergency on our own, essentially, and that's fine. But watching the NFL roll on as if nothing's wrong with the country has been very unsettling for me.

Your mileage may vary.

And I'm not here to say the NFL is 100% absolutely wrong.

I'm merely asking...

Are they doing the right thing?

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an update on the "comments section"

We're on to version 2.0 of the #DMD Comments section after we discovered a bug in the new format we used yesterday. Many of you contributed commentary yesterday that only appeared to those using the same web browser as the one you wrote your original comment from. Weird, right?

In other words, if you posted a comment from a Safari browser, only people who were reading #DMD on Safari could see that comment. Likewise for Chrome users. If you posted using Chrome, only those with Chrome browsers could see what you posted.

That "bug" wasn't going to be fixed anytime soon.

So, George and I spent a couple of hours last night fiddling around with the version you'll see below. It seems better than the one we unveiled yesterday, actually. It immediately got George's seal of approval, which is all that matters to me.

Moving forward, the easiest, simplest way to write a comment and have full editing capabilities as well is to send the comment using your Facebook, Twitter or Google email account. Your email address will not appear on #DMD but a name will appear.

For those of you who can't see fit to using your real name, real Facebook or Twitter page or real Google email, we do have a solution.

You can contribute a comment without using one of those three options, just like you could in the "old" comments section. For those of you who prefer to operate and contribute under a fake/assumed name or ID, have no fear. You can still do that. You will, however, have to create a "fake email account" in order to do that, as you will always have to log in under that account. For those of you who post under multiple fake names, that means you'll have to create and use multiple fake email accounts as well.

Like any change, this will take a day or two of getting used to before it settles in nicely. In the end, if you simply create an account using your Google email or Facebook or Twitter account(s), it will be a 20-second sign-up and you'll be posting to your heart's content forever. If you have to operate under a cloak of anonymity here, it will take an extra minute or two to create your account and then you'll be good to go.


40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 21: mike donohue

From someone I first encountered in the mid 1970's to a man I first met just two years ago. It's been an interesting two days here at #DMD.

Yesterday, my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration focused on the impact Bruce Springsteen has had in my life. I first heard Bruce sometime in 1977 or so. Today, at #21, I need to thank Mike Donohue, the Area Director of Search Ministries. And I just met him two years ago.

Mike Donohue leads a Tuesday morning fellowship group at Baltimore Country Club.

It was in February of 2018 when my friends Brian Hubbard and Steve Tuttle invited me to attend a Tuesday morning men's fellowship group at Baltimore Country Club. Mike Donohue leads that group. We meet every Tuesday at 7:00 am. If you just flew in from Pluto, you'd think it's a Bible study, but it's much more and much different than that. And, no, you do not have to be a member at BCC to join the group. It's open to all men, regardless of your "faith level" or denomination.

Mike is a minister who works for Search, a national ministry and faith group with locations throughout the country. He leads us on Tuesday mornings with incredibly rich discussions about faith and our journey and the way we can all be better men, fathers, husbands and friends.

I've met a lot of high quality "speakers" and "presenters" in my 57 years, as have most of you, I assume. Mike is a Top 5 guy when it comes to leadership and presenting a message. I remember going to my first Tuesday morning meeting at BCC and standing out in the parking lot afterwards with Brian and Steve and saying, "I'll never miss another Tuesday morning here." It was that good and that meaningful, right away.

My "40 Friends in 40 Days" celebration has turned into something I didn't know it would when I first started doing this. It's really turned into a bit of my life story, unintentionally. I wrote from the beginning I wouldn't include my immediate family because, obviously, they're the most important things in my life and always will be. But the people and things and places I've written about over the last 21 days really are the greatest influencers I've encountered since 1963.

In only two short years, Mike Donohue has had a dramatic impact on my life.

I'm also pleased to report that no fewer than three #DMD readers have joined me there over the last year or so at my urging. They're welcome to come here today and reveal themselves if they so choose. I won't reveal their respective identities, but they're welcome to do that. I know this, though. They've been impacted by Mike Donohue just like I have been impacted by him.

And if any of you would like to start your Tuesday mornings off with Mike Donohue and the 30 men who meet at Baltimore Country Club, just reach out to me (18inarow@gmail.com) and I'll happily get you set up for your first visit. Just be prepared: It's a life changer.

I Am Catholic

#dmd comments

March 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

back to normal...sort of

It's going to be a long time before things are back to normal in our country. That's what I think, anyway. Your mileage may vary on that, but it seems like we're getting ready for a massive nationwide shutdown of sorts in the next 3-5 days.

But we are mostly back to normal here at #DMD, as you'll see below with the unveiling of a new Comments section. We're not 100% certain this is the long term answer, but for now we can use this and see what happens and we may come to find it's a new and improved version of the one that we used previously.

I spoke with someone yesterday about the Comments section and he mentioned it has come at the best of times and worst of times. "Best of times" because there's no sports to comment on. "Worst of times" because online discourse becomes such a natural part of your daily routine that it shakes you up when it's no longer available to you.

I thought those observations were accurate. With no daily, new sports to watch and critique, we're left with very little to write about. But at the same time, I'd like to think we can all come here and offer something else, even if it means stepping outside of our normal sports-related analysis and commentary.

One note about the new Comments platfom that you should be made aware of...at least on my computer, it doesn't pop up right away when you move past the final ad or article prior to the Comments box. It takes a second or two to populate. Not sure why that it is, but you have to wait just a second in order to see it.

Once you're in, it's very easy to use. I hope you find the functionality appealing.

I've been mapping out some #DMD topics and will start introducing them tomorrow morning. I'm still continuing my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration, brought to you by my friends at the Archdiocese of Baltimore. We'll get through this Covid-19 situation here at #DMD! Who knows how long it will be, but we'll get through it!

Speaking of my "40 Friends in 40 Days" concept, we're at halfway point today. I took some time yesterday to circle back and look at the first 19 people, places and things that have given me reason to say "thank you" over the last two and a half weeks. A few of you have reached out to tell me you've been doing the same thing during Lent after reading my piece(s) at #DMD, and that's heartwarming to say the least.

Colossians 3:12 -- Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Let's keep being kind to one another during these trying times.

Please use the Comments section below to tell us how you're doing. I'm excited to have everyone "back".

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40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 20: bruce springsteen

I was at Ocean City, age 14, on the day Elvis Presley died. My mom cried.

I mean, she cried. For several hours, she listened to the radio in our hotel room and cried about Elvis passing away.

I had no idea he impacted her like that, so it was "uneasy" to see her crying like that and knowing I couldn't console her.

43 years later, I get it. I would cry today if news broke that Bruce Springsteen had passed away. And someday, when he does, if I'm still here on Earth, I'll cry.

I've loved music all of my life, thanks to my mom and dad, but no single artist or band has connected with me the way Bruce Springsteen has over the last 40-some years.

I met him once, which is to say I merely shook his hand in a line of greeters and well wishers when he was in Tampa for the Super Bowl performance and I was at his Tuesday press conference the week of the Super Bowl. As I shook his hand, I said the one thing that I'd always wanted to say to him: "Thank you." Bruce laughed that weird, nervous laugh of his and said, "For what? What did I do?" and I was moving down the line and said, "Thank you for the music" and he laughed again and said, "It's the only thing I know how to do." And that was it. My only real encounter with Springsteen lasted all of about 4.5 seconds.

I can still remember where I was the first time I heard the opening harmonica sounds of "Thunder Road". I was standing in the driveway of Fred Ravidge's house while he washed his car and he threw in the 8-track "album" of Born to Run.

I didn't become a Springsteen devotee right then and there, but I remember, even to this day, where I was the very first time I heard his music. That was sometime around 1976 or so. Here's how crazy music is: Yesterday, 44 years later, I listened to that entire album again, front to back, and it was like listening to it for the first time...except I knew all the words.

I've been involved in so many online Springsteen discussions and forums that I'm almost burned out from writing about him, honestly. I've done album rankings, song rankings, lyric rankings, show rankings and so on. I've seen him and the E Street Band perform live 27 times in my life.

I didn't go see him on Broadway in 2018 and 2019. I had two chances to go, but both times the asking price for the ticket was $600. I just couldn't pull the trigger on that, although, oddly enough, $600 was once the going rate for a ticket to go a Masters practice round and I paid that. And $600 is the going rate to play Pebble Beach and I'd pay that every day.

Do I regret not going? I do now, yes. I should have forked over the money and gone up to New York to see him a setting I'd never again get to see him. But I didn't, and that's past history now.

But I've seen him 27 times over the years. My first Bruce concert was at the old Capital Centre on The River tour, sometime in 1980 or 1981. Since then, I've seen him in Baltimore, D.C., Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Tampa and St. Louis.

One year, when I was in the soccer business, we played in St. Louis on a Saturday night and Bruce played in St. Louis on Friday night. Talk about great timing. Our plane landed at 3:00 pm on Friday and a Steamers front office guy got me 8th row tickets for the show that night. Chalk up one for the MISL schedule makers.

There are rumors going around that Springsteen and the E Street Band will release a new album in 2020 and a world tour will follow. The Good Lord willing, I'll be there, somewhere, for show #28. And maybe #29 and #30, too.

The video below is my favorite Bruce song. It's from an awesome, underrated rated album from 2007 called "Magic". The song is called "I'll Work For Your Love".


"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

sports are important

I arrived home on Thursday to find an envelope sitting on my favorite chair. I recognized it immediately as a check from Stevenson University, one of many I’ve received from the school in the last seven years. I was momentarily happy, as one is allowed to be when such a check has your name on it. Then the moment passed, and a terrible wave of sadness washed over me.

This was not the sadness of tragedy, death or illness, though that’s obviously been a part of this unprecedented time in our lives. This was not the sadness of loss or defeat—perhaps a difficult divorce, or really any situation where you believe you could have done better.

It was a sadness of recognition, really. That check sitting there? It meant that sports are important. Somebody paid me for supporting the whole operation, right? Somebody pays Mark Turgeon a salary that’s higher than any other state employee, whatever you think of that. It’s more than fun and games.

And now they’re gone, just like that. Poof.

I’ll repeat that. Sports have just stopped. Indefinitely. And it doesn’t matter whether cancelling sports seemed the prudent, obvious and even fiduciary thing to do. It doesn’t matter that Duke and Kansas took themselves out of the NCAA tournament even before the announcement of its cancellation. Yes, all of that is an admission that certain realities are bigger and more pressing than a tournament or a team’s next few games on its schedule.

None of it means that sports aren’t important. Think about how you felt when these cancellations were announced—especially the NCAA basketball tournament for me—inevitable as those decisions became. There was pit in my stomach that had nothing to do with worrying about community spread of a novel coronavirus.

The world is not the same without organized sports as an institution, at least not in the United States in 2020. We felt the world change when we heard the news, and it really hurt.

Yes…it’s obvious that sports matter financially. They matter in the macroeconomic sense, with large industries like three of the four major professional sports leagues shutting down operations for an uncertain period of time. The NBA owners want an answer from the guy who works for them, league commissioner Adam Silver, in 30 days. Is he going to be able to give them an answer? I don’t know, and neither does Silver.

Sports matter in the microeconomic sense. Ever noticed the men and women from S.A.F.E. Management? Of course you have. They work in security, crowd management and parking staffing all over Maryland and five other states. They’re at college basketball games with 500 people and Ravens’ games with 70,000 people. They are fundamental to the operation. no matter how big the event. Sports is vitally important to them; even one cancellation or postponement is a loss. Hundreds and hundreds of events cancelled, with no firm idea of when they might return? Devastating.

I don’t feel bad for major professional athletes, what with their $600,000 minimum salaries and even average players making many millions per season. But these are their jobs; it’s what they do every day, and they have no idea when they’ll get to do their jobs again.

I do feel bad for college athletes, especially seniors, who’ve gone through what has to have been the worst week in the history of NCAA athletics. Sports may matter to them even more than it does for the pros, who can’t possibly maintain that focus every day for six months or more.

But much has already been written about them, what with March Madness stunningly gone from its namesake month and seasons and careers ending without proper conclusions, good or bad. Some coaches and administrators have even called for the NCAA men’s basketball committee to release a bracket of 68 teams* just for posterity—the bracket as a symbol being that important.

*That won’t happen, by the way. The committee is constantly talking about at-large teams prior to the tournament, but it doesn’t even start doing an actual bracket until 48 hours before the selection show, at the earliest.

This is a fans’ blog, though, and what matters most in all of this is why sports is important to us, and what all this feels like to us, besides the fear of the unknown that lies in every one of us.

First off…it’s just really boring. I honestly believe that feeling in my stomach came from the fact that some of my favorite things in the world were just gone, and there was nothing to replace them. What exactly are we going to do on Thursday, or Sunday at The Masters? Selfishly, what exactly are we supposed to write about?

Is that a ridiculous sentiment, considering something particularly virulent is about to make its presence known in a big way, a huge problem for some of us even it’s not a big deal for others? Maybe. But that’s how important sports can be to us. There isn’t anything to replace them. It’s not “Hamilton,” which will be the same show six months from now that it would have been today. Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam are going to do the same playlist if their concert gets rescheduled.

That’s not sports. Something great was going to happen during the NCAA tournament…oh, I don’t know, like UMBC beating Virginia…and now it’s not going to happen…ever. The time for it to happen is gone now, and that seems sad even if it doesn’t have anything to do with us.

Secondly, and maybe more importantly, sports makes for a great gathering place. Quite literally, of course, the potential dangers of gathering together are what these decisions inevitable, and that’s just sad. In general, nobody really likes being in a crowd, except for a crowd at a sporting event. And now we can’t do that for a while.

And consider an event like The Masters, which certainly brings a crowd to Augusta, including many that have come every year for most of their lives. But there’s also another crowd, the ones who’ve never been there, or maybe been there just once like I have.

We’re part of a group too, the ones that sit in front of our televisions on that first full week of April and consider the tournament the unofficial start of golf season. We’re all over the United States, of every age, color and creed, and we’re not going to be able to get together for that either—even though I suppose it’s safer right now if we keep our social distance from each other.

Sports aren’t life and death, and they represent only a small part of the entertainment world, let alone the entire globe. But we shouldn’t be afraid to say that they’re important, and that losing them is a huge blow in so many ways. It’s ok to feel bad about it…that doesn’t mean your priorities are out of whack or you can’t think critically about serious issues. It just means you’re a fan.

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March 15
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should sports be concerned?

Beware of the nature of unintended consequences.

A friend approached me yesterday at Eagle's Nest and we had a casual conversation about Covid-19 and the shutdown of sports and he -- a #DMD reader -- asked me what I was going to do with the website during this however-long-it's-going-to-be shutdown.

"I'm just going to do what I always do," I said. "I'll write about sports. Of some kind. In some way. And hope that the world returns to normal sometime sooner rather than later."

"Here's a question for you," he replied. "Is there any chance at all that we go a month or two without sports and we all realize it's not really that important after all? Is there any chance we realize that life can go on without sports?"

How much are you going to miss sports during this shutdown?

There are millions of people in the country -- and the world, for that matter -- who live full, healthy and satisfied lives without sports. Odd as it seems to us, there are lots and lots and lots of folks who simply aren't interested in sports. Seems weird to us, of course, but it's true.

But my friend's question had merit. And it's certainly a possibility that this shutdown will change the way people view sports moving forward. It could make us love sports even more. Or less.

I don't know how many of you are Twitter users, but there's no question, at least in my world of Twitter followers and engagement, that the shutdown has most certainly impacted people's use of Twitter.

I've seen countless people post something over the last few days that says, basically, "I have nothing of substance to say without sports in my life."

But if this shutdown goes on, say, for 60 days instead of 15 or 20, what's going to happen then?

Will we all just find something else to do with ourselves? Or will we jump back in with more enthusiasm than ever before?

I wrote last week that sports has traditionally served as a healing tool when something tragic happens in a community. But in those cases, there was almost an immediate return to the playing field(s) and the end date was always visible. After 9-11, for instance, we knew the shutdown would be a week or two, tops. In the event of a weather-related tragedy in a community, it might take a month, but sports returns rather quickly and helps knit the people together again.

What if this shutdown goes on for three months?

Could we figure out at some point along the way that we've been putting too much emphasis on sports and not enough emphasis on other things in our lives that are far more important? That might be a tad too deep for a Sunday morning, but it's most definitely worth pondering.

I hope the shutdown is two or three weeks rather than two or three months, but I also want the country safe and healthy and, most importantly, much more aware of how to stay ahead of these sorts of things -- if that's even possible -- in the future.

If it is two or three months, though, it will be interesting to see what the longterm fallout from that would be. It might be nothing. In fact, it could work in the opposite direction and people may discover their love for sports was even greater when it was taken from them.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Maybe that's what will happen with all of us. Perhaps we'll discover just how much we love sports and miss it.

Or maybe we'll all figure out that sports is important and meaningful but not nearly as critical to our overall well being as sometimes think it is.

We'll know in two weeks. Or five weeks. Or two months. Or four months. We'll know...sometime in the future.

comments update

We're hopefully going to get the Comments section fixed soon. George and I (and a couple of others) are working on a resolution. I know the Comments section is important to a lot of you and we're working behind the scenes to fix it.

It's very frustrating to say the least, but the problem (and solution) goes way beyond my paygrade. If you're hitting a hook or slice, I can fix that for you. But when it comes to "back room" computer stuff, I'm a dummy.

In the meantime, I have a temporary solution. If you would like to publish a Comment, please email it to me at: 18inarow@gmail.com

I will create a "manual Comments section" here and upload comments as they come in and as my daily schedule allows. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have much time to do something like that during the day, but I can handle that workload for a few days until we get the real Comments section back up and running.

If you do create a comment and email it to me, please put #DMD Comment" in the header part of the email so I know what it is and include your name or whatever ID you prefer to use somewhere in the body of the comment. I will not publish anyone's email address, obviously.

Comments will be placed at the bottom of the page below, for those who want to check in and see their contribution and others as well.

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40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 19: mike welsh

Anyone who has ever joined a golf club knows this is true: the head golf professional at the club matters.

And by that, I mean, he or she either matters to you in your decision to join or he or she matters in your decision to stay. The head golf professional is critically important.

I joined Eagle's Nest in 2015 because of Mike Welsh. Yes, the "club" mattered too. I needed a place with a pool and an active social calendar for my two young children. As much as I enjoyed my time at Mountain Branch, I was the only family member who could utilize the facility since they were/are "golfing only".

I knew, at Eagle's Nest, my children could hang out with other children, my wife could meet and befriend other moms, and so on.

But I joined there because of Mike Welsh, who is now the PGA Head Professional Emeritus after retiring in 2017. He's still at the club, plays a lot of golf there, and we all get to enjoy him and his company even more, now, if that makes sense.

Sadly, I must report he's a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. He even buzzes around the course in a specially painted/decorated Steelers black and yellow golf cart. But we somehow overlook that character flaw of his.

Mike Welsh was a phenomenal golf professional. I've been blessed to know a lot of them in this market, many of whom are top of the line: Mike Healy, Mike Norton, Jim Deck, Brian Meyer, Joe Franz, David Hutsell, Greg Jones, Tim Bolton and Eagle's Nest's current head professional, Nick Miller. Those guys are the best of the best. Mike Welsh is right there with them.

I knew Mike for 15 years before joining Eagle's Nest. In all of my visits out there, whether it was in the annual U.S. Open qualifier the club held for 20 years or so or during an A-Team match when I'd be part of the visiting team, or just in a general round of golf when a member would invite me out, Mike always made me feel welcomed. Without being a member, he made me feel like one.

I can honestly say this: I've never heard one person say a negative word about Mike Welsh. Not once.

He's been a great friend to me and my family. He's been a wonderful asset to the golf community and Eagle's Nest/Towson Golf and Country Club. Mike Welsh is a gem of a man.


March 14
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no masters? now it's real

Everyone's own mileage varies, of course, but I was OK with the NBA and NHL shutting down and I've always thought the baseball season was too long anyway, so starting that campaign in mid-to-late April seems almost justified to me.

I didn't even mind the whole March Madness cancellation. I mean, I like the event and all and that Thursday and Friday of the first tournament week is really two of the best sports days of the calendar year. But I don't have to have March Madness in my life in order for it to be complete.

But I got the gut-punch of all gut-punches yesterday morning when I saw the news: "Masters tournament postponed"

OK, so now the coronavirus is starting to really get on my nerves.

Masters officials announced on Friday they're postponing next month's tournament and will hopefully play it at a later date in 2020.

I get it. It's the right thing to do. But no Masters in April is like the government saying no one is allowed to have turkey at Thanksgiving this year. It's like someone saying "You can't put holiday decorations up at Christmas, and that means no tree in your house as well."

No Masters in April?

It just can't be.

Now, again, I realize this doesn't impact everyone. Or, perhaps, even a lot of you. But to me, this is a potential year-spoiler, and we're only four months into 2020.

I love the Masters so much and it's meant so much to me that it easily fits into my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration. It's fitting that today we're at Day 18...since...of course...there are 18 holes at the greatest golf course in the world, Augusta National.

I love golf and I love golf tournaments but the Masters is the once-a-year-world-stopper for me. I'll play golf during the other major championships and plan my day to see the last 12 holes or something on Saturday or Sunday. I will not miss a moment of Masters coverage on the weekend. Not one second.

I once won a significant bar bet at Mountain Branch, sometime around 2005 or so, when I bragged to a friend in front of a large group of others that I could not only name the winner of every Masters from 1980 through that year, but I could also name the runner-up in those years as well. I know, that's a little nerdy, but I could do it. And I did.

I've been privileged to have gone to the Masters ten times since 2007. People always ask me why I go so often and I have a simple answer: I treat it the way some people treat a museum. It never looks the same to me from year to year. Just like a museum has new pieces and new additions on a regular basis, Augusta National and the tournaments -- along with the players -- never look the same from year to year.

Sadly, I wasn't going to be able to go this year because of my Calvert Hall golf team's schedule. But now that it's potentially played at another time in the year, maybe I can.

And speaking of playing this year's Masters in May or September...

The weather and turf conditions in Georgia throughout the summer make it almost impossible to have the event in June, July or August. The TOUR schedule is already filled, of course, and this year the Ryder Cup will be played in late September. It's possible, since the TOUR Championship -- the season ending event -- is played prior to Labor Day, that they could squeeze The Masters in during the weeks prior to the Ryder Cup. A mid-September Masters would be cool with me.

My guess is they're going to try and move one of the late May events and tuck the Masters in there, but both of those tournaments' presenting sponsors (Charles Schwab, May 21-24 and Rocket Mortgage (May 28-31) are huge cash friends of the TOUR and they probably don't want to risk rubbing them the wrong way by approaching one or both and saying, essentially, "How'd you like to sit out a year so we can play the Masters the week you were going to host your event?"

Last year, the TOUR's Fall schedule started in mid-September. Those lower grade events, played primarily out west, would be better suited for a disruption than would a late May event right in the heart of the TOUR season.

I don't know much, but I know this: The Masters has to be played in 2020.

There are some minor irritants along the way: What if it's played after August 31? Does the result count in the 2019-2020 calendar? If so, would Ryder Cup points count? The team would have been set by then, obviously. What about the field? It's basically almost set now. Would they allow the current field to play or would they extend the qualifying process through August? In other words, could a guy who has already qualified lose his spot, somehow?

Smarter people than this writer can figure that stuff out, but I know this: They better play the Masters in 2020.

If they don't, I vote for skipping right to 2021 and starting a whole new year.

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what's our covid-19 plan?

Well, God willing, we're going to be here every day during the coronavirus shutdown and we'll be writing about sports. In some way. In case you haven't noticed, ESPN.com and the various sports related websites you visit have already resorted to what we knew they'd resort to without real live sports to report on: They're creating lists and "best of's" and other evergreen content pieces that replace live sports coverage.

That makes sense. And it at least keeps them busy and gives you something to follow.

I'm sure we'll have a list or two over the next two weeks. You can expect that.

We're going to continue our "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration. We're at Day 18 today.

We're also hopefully going to get the Comments section fixed soon. George and I (and a couple of others) are working on a resolution. I know the Comments section is important to a lot of you and we're working behind the scenes to fix it.

In the meantime, I have a temporary solution. If you would like to publish a Comment, please email it to me at: 18inarow@gmail.com

I will create a "manual Comments section" here and upload comments as they come in and as my daily schedule allows. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have much time to do something like that during the day, but I can handle that workload for a few days until we get the real Comments section back up and running.

If you do create a comment and email it to me, please put #DMD Comment" in the header part of the email so I know what it is and include your name or whatever ID you prefer to use somewhere in the body of the comment. I will not publish anyone's email address, obviously.

Comments will be placed at the bottom of the page below, for those who want to check in and see their contribution and others as well.

Stay healthy friends and let's get back to normal soon!


March 13
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now what?

Well, there was some good sports news on Thursday.

My Calvert Hall varsity golf team kicked off its season with an 18-3 non-conference win over St. John's of D.C., with all six of my starters securing at least two points (out of three) in the win.

So, we have that going for us.....which is nice.

But that's about it, as far as good news I can deliver to you.

The rest of it is pretty much a downer.

Here locally, we got the worst news we could get on Thursday regarding Trey Mancini. Although none of us knew precisely what was ailing the O's veteran when he was abruptly removed from spring training last week, we could tell by the shroud of secrecy coming out of Sarasota that it was a serious situation. And serious it is.

Mancini had a cancerous tumor removed from his colon on Thursday. What happens from here depends greatly on the results from the lab and pathology, but the Mancini news was certainly more bone rattling than schools being closed in Maryland for two weeks or the National Guard getting called in to help the situation we're all dealing with here in Baltimore and the surrounding areas.

The rest of the sports world is now officially on hold.

Hideki Matusayama tied the course record at TPC Sawgrass on Friday with a 63. It marked the last round of golf on the PGA Tour for at least the next three weeks.

Baseball has been shut down. Spring training is finished, for now, and opening day has been pushed back at least two weeks. A 162-game schedule seems almost impossible now.

The NBA will likely move right into the post-season if and when they resume play. It would seem likely that the NHL would follow a similar format, although a story leaked on Thursday afternoon said a memo was sent to NHL general managers asking them to confer with their respective arenas and look into building availability through the end of July.

The NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments went from "no fans" to "no tournament" in the span of about 16 hours. Once Duke and Kansas pulled out yesterday, it was over. They just made the NCAA's job a lot easier, that's all.

Soccer is done. So, too, are all college spring sports. Of all the reactions from the various sports leagues and groups, I thought just crushing all spring college sports was the one that seemed like an overreaction. It's March 13. In one month, you couldn't somehow cobble together a schedule for lacrosse and baseball and track and field and give those kids a chance to compete in an abbreviated format?

But I get it. These are uncharted waters we're in now and no one really knows what's to come in the next few weeks. We could be like Italy in ten days and have the entire country isolated in our homes or this might blow through in ten days and we're back to business as usual. Better safe than sorry, obviously.

Golf was apparently rolling on, announcing on Thursday morning that they would continue to play tournaments without spectators through April 5. But that changed late Thursday night when the TOUR announced they were scrapping the last three rounds of The Players and also canceling the next three tournaments as well.

So with the Masters looming in the next four weeks, it will be very interesting to see how that plays out if the coronavirus situation in our country worsens over the next 10-14 days. They might be faced with either not allowing "patrons" on the property (just in case the folks at Augusta National are #DMD readers) or not having the tournament at all. One thing people haven't thought about is the possible conflict if, say, the Masters simply moved their event to mid-May, on the same weekend as a regular PGA Tour stop. They'd think nothing of doing that, of course, and the TOUR would then have to make a decision about its own event bumping up against one of the four biggest tournaments of the year.

There's no sports in our country for the next few weeks, at least. It's strange, to say the least.

Here at #DMD, we're going to move forward as best we can. I've been thinking a lot over the last day or two about what I can do during this down time to give you something worthwhile to read on a daily basis. I'll be doing my best.

For now, let's enjoy the upcoming weekend, stay healthy and see where things are with our country on Monday morning. We're hopefully in a better place than we are right now. People are scared, as the grocery store aisles are showing, and every day presents new information that only creates more concern. A few days of "no news" would be really beneficial for everyone, I think.

comments update

We do not have a resolution to our Comments issue at this point, mainly because the person we've been using over the years for some high end HTML work is in India and, obviously, not always easy to connect with. So......if you happen to have some in-depth HTML experience or know someone that does, please email me: 18inarow@gmail.com

Your/their assistance might come more quickly than the assistance provided by our friend in India.

In the meantime, we are now looking into a new Comments format that would require you to use your Facebook account for the time being. That could be in place by the weekend.

The rest of #DMD seems to be in reasonable working order after our "crash" on Wednesday. I apologize for this situation. Much like the coronavirus invasion, we're doing the best we can with something we haven't had to deal with previously.

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40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 17: paul kitson

The nature of working in professional sports is interesting in that you "meet" and "know" all of the players who come and go, but you rarely -- as a front office employee, at least -- get very close to any of them.

They're playing and you're working. And while the players occasionally might need you or your department or you might work with them on a project of some kind, there's not much social connection between players and front office staffers.

In my 17 years with the Blast, I'd say I connected, socially, with only a handful of players. I shared my early (1990's) love of golf with Rusty Troy and Bruce Savage. Kenny Cooper and I were very close when he was in Baltimore and it was Cooper, actually, who urged me to pick up the sport as a way of connecting with local media members (Vince Bagli, Chris Thomas, Jack Dawson and others) who played the sport.

But my closest player-friend on the Blast was Paul Kitson. He showed up in 1983-84 and for whatever weird reason, we hit it off.

Paul Kitson, Baltimore Blast 1983-86.

Kitson passed away in August of 2005 after suffering a heart attack at age 49. He was coaching a youth soccer team in Toronto when he collapsed. None of us know the day, time and scenario of our passing, but I can say for sure that Paul Kitson left this earth doing exactly what he loved to do. Playing soccer -- and working with kids.

I have two funny Paul Kitson stories. "Kitty" was famous for always needing tickets to home games. Back then, Blast players got four tickets to each home game. In Paul's time with the team, we were knee-deep in the stretch where we sold out 56 consecutive home games. In other words, tickets were at a premium. They weren't floating around.

Paul couldn't say "no" when someone asked him for tickets. Whether it was someone he met at an appearance who had never seen a game or a string of family members coming to town from Toronto or New Jersey, Kitson always "over promised". He'd routinely peek into my office around 5 pm on game-day and say, in that London accent of his, "Hey, Drewski, any extras lying around?"

Occasionally I'd be able to scarf up one or two upper level, obstructed view tickets for him. "Anything's fine," he'd say. "Just get me in the building."

After a couple of months of that exercise, Kitson finally figured out there were simply no more tickets to be had. It wasn't like he could even buy them. The games were sold out well in advance and tickets were just not available.

We played a late season Friday night home game against Cleveland that was massively hyped. The whole town was fired up. Staffers carried walkie talkies back then, and at about 6:30 pm, one hour before kick-off, I heard the ticket manager bark on the walkie-talkie, "I've had it with Paul Kitson! Can someone let him know his 8 people are down here in the lobby with no way to get in."

Kitson, it turns out, had put two empty envelopes at the window, with the names and ticket order written on the front, but "forgot" to put the tickets in there. It was, of course, his way of trying to sneak the people in the arena somehow. There were never going to be any tickets in those two envelopes in the first place. Kitson didn't have the tickets. But he figured he'd just put the empty envelopes in there and hope for the best.

His people were eventually ushered in after the first quarter, as the story goes. Kitson got an earful from the general manager and Kenny Cooper.

My other memorable story about Paul Kitson is one I've written about here before at #DMD. It involves a tense relationship he had with a player from Cleveland named Bernie James, a thick, rugged defender who enjoyed going toe-to-toe with Kitson and Stan Stamenkovic, another Blast great.

In the 1984-85 playoffs, the Blast and Force were tied at 1-1 in a best-of-5 series when we moved to Cleveland for Games 4 and 5. In Game 2 in Baltimore, Kitson and James got into several small skirmishes, including a shoving match that earned them both time in the penalty box. This wasn't "friendly engagement in the heat of the battle". Those two guys truly didn't like one another.

On the morning of Game 3, both teams had practice at the Richfield Coliseum. The Force practiced from 9 am to 10:30 and the Blast practiced from 10:30 to 12 noon. As fate would have it, just as the Force players were exiting the area floor, the Blast players were entering.

James was walking off as Kitson walked on.

"I'm going to kick the ever-living s**t out of you tonight," James snarled at Kitson, with a finger pointing at him for good measure.

Kitson stopped. "Is that so?" he asked.

James barked, "You bet your ass it is."

"Well," Kitson said, inching in James' direction. "You better bring a f*****g army with you."

Kitson scored two goals that night and the Blast won to take the series lead, 2-1.

It's a line I'll never forget.

Paul Kitson was a good, good man. He had a heart of gold. He'd do anything for anyone, including, as I saw many times, tell people "Yes, I'll get you tickets" even when he couldn't do it. He just hated to tell people "no" or let them down.


March 12
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even sports can't help us

There have been times throughout my life when sports served as a healer.

The 911 tragedy sticks out, obviously, for those who were around back then. A nation, horrified by an intruder coming into our country and doing massive damage, was brought back together in some small way by baseball and football in late September.

Here in Baltimore, the Orioles once played a game in an empty stadium while the city tried to figure out how to deal with the uncertainty and danger of the Freddie Gray riots. Those people who returned to the downtown baseball stadium in the months thereafter used the Orioles and Major League Baseball to try and calm their own fears about public safety.

Sports, if you follow them, have always served as a healer.

This time, even sports can't help ease the grip of the coronavirus that our nation is just now starting to really experience.

The NBA season has been suspended indefinitely after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the virus.

Several conference tournaments got underway on Wednesday, some playing with fans in attendance and others playing without fans in the building. The guess here is those tournaments will likely all be canceled sometime today.

The Ivy League ended all spring sports on Wednesday in a vote of school presidents. They didn't suspend spring sports. They ended them.

Nearly every college in the country is going to an on-line setting for the rest of March, if not longer. Schools in Baltimore are likely going to be shut down by Friday or Monday at the very latest.

Sports can't stop any of this.

The Players golf tournament is scheduled to start today in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Whether it makes it through four days is anyone's guess. I'd be surprised if all 72 holes get played.

They're still playing spring training baseball in Florida and Arizona, but for how long? Baseball's opening day certainly seems in jeopardy.

One would have to assume the NHL will suspend its regular season sometime today. They're using the same arenas and arena workers as most of the NBA teams. Their teams are traveling in airports and staying in hotels, two obviously-dangerous factors.

This could be a 3-week thing or it could be a 3-month thing. No one knows, which is the scary part.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that our nation hasn't dealt with something like this in a long, long, long time. We know what to do in our respective communities when a blizzard hits. We have the equipment and the means to "fix it", even if it takes a week or so. There's always light at the end of the tunnel.

We're in new territory with this Covid-19 virus. Scary territory.

And there's something far, far, far more scary or concerning than sports. It's your health, obviously, and the health of your family members, both local and extended. It's very concerning.

There was a time when sports could make us feel better after a tragedy or some other community pain that was being felt.

Not on this occasion, though.

Everyone is scared and everyone is a target, potentially.

Sports can heal a lot of things, but it can't overcome this coronavirus.

Stay healthy, everyone.

Day 16 of my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration takes me to a "place", not a person, but it's important to me nonetheless. From 2001 through 2015, I played my golf at Mountain Branch in Joppa, MD. I was there almost at the beginning. The course opened in 2000 and I didn't start playing there regularly until about a year later.

Not only did I play the best golf of my life while I was a member there, but I met some of the best people there, too. Lifelong friends like Ernie Kosmas, Steve Xintas, Bill White, Chris Baloga, Rusty McCready and countless others teed it up there with me throughout those 14 years. There was a time, I'd say around 2007 or so, where the "Wednesday game" at 1:30 pm in the summer featured 16 players of 3 handicaps and lower. I can distinctly remember coming into the bar after a tidy round of 69 and expecting to finish "top 3" and in the money and the game organizer saying, "68 got paid today".

We had some of the best golf professionals there, too. Christopher Scheaffer started as the first PGA pro at Mountain Branch. He was awesome. Later, Damon Klepczynski and Matt Summers ran the golf operations. And I knew Mike Norton before he assumed the Head Pro duties in 2012 or so, but didn't really get to know him until he was the top guy at Mountain Branch. Mike was one of the best head professionals I'd seen in my golfing life.

Mountain Branch had great people. That's really what made the place. The course is good, but it has its flaws, as most places do if you know it well enough. But the players and the staff and the people were incredibly memorable.

I'd never be able to write my life story without remembering Mountain Branch and thanking the people who helped make it enjoyable. Those were some awesome years.

As most of you probably know, the website here had a major "crash" on Wednesday (was it "bad luck" or "bad form"?) and was down from 12 noon until 5 pm or so. We're still not back to full speed and won't be for several days. Right now, the biggest issue is the Comments section, which will remain inoperable for the time being. We're working on trying to restore it and will post something here as soon as you can Comment again. Thank you for your understanding. - DF

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

covid-19: from the bleachers...

Note: I am not an epidemiologist or public health expert, just a humble blogger who gets the news like anyone else. Surely more schools and institutions will make coronavirus-related decisions after I submit this, but these are a few sports-related thoughts as of Wednesday, 8 p.m.…

Here’s a funny thing about the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, aka “March Madness.” Of all the great American sporting events, it’s the one that can most legitimately be played without any fans in the stands…which is the plan for now, anyway.

The NCAA tournament is truly a television event. There are no home courts. The atmosphere is intentionally antiseptic, so that every arena from Salt Lake to Miami is transformed to look the same. Think about what the arenas look like during the 12:25 p.m. games on Thursday, when the local people who bought tickets are still working. Plus, much of the fun of the tournament for fans is being able to watch more than one game at a time.

There will be almost no difference for CBS and Turner, which paid $23 gazillion to televise the tournament until the year 2132, or something like that. Their longer-than-usual TV timeouts will still exist, their sideline reporters will still be able to ask their difficult questions (coach, how do you plan on breaking down this 2-3 zone?), and their access to players will still be the same.

If you let the teams play and allow the media in the building, then it would be great if the bands could come too, though that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. They could play during timeouts and at halftime, just like they would anyway. I suppose they’ll be canned music now, if anything. It will be weird, but it will be equally as weird for both teams.

Now, I’m not saying it’ll be ideal. Many fans from the big programs plan their calendars around traveling to watch their teams, including members of the players’ families, of course. And of course there will be plenty of lost revenue, if not for the NCAA then certainly for plenty of businesses in the host cities.

Once the Governor of Ohio said that he wanted the arenas in Dayton and Cleveland (and other places in Ohio) not to allow fans in the stands, the NCAA’s hands were pretty much tied. More to come, probably…

The 2020 Summer Olympics are scheduled for July 24 to August 9 in Tokyo.

Needless to say, continuing with the Olympic Games as scheduled would be a huge mistake if a global pandemic is still happening then. I don’t know of any other event, let alone a sporting event, where so many human beings from so many places in the world congregate in close quarters for such a long time.

Ironically, these Olympics are being referred to colloquially in Japan as the “Recovery Olympics,” in reference to the earthquake and tsunami-related 2011 nuclear accident at the Fukushima power plant. By 2017, the Japanese government had counted more than 2,000 deaths related to that disaster; certainly the death toll from COVID-19 will be exponentially higher.

When we think of the Olympics, one of the first things we think about is the “Olympic Village.” These are accommodation centers built specifically for the games, often within an Olympic park that may be the location of several event venues. Since the terrible terrorist massacre in Munich in 1972, these villages have been tightly secured and controlled.

On a much lighter note, do you know what comes up immediately on Google when using the search term “Olympic Village?” That’s correct…condoms.

The last Olympics, the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, featured 3,000 athletes from more than 90 countries. In addition, the Games there featured 110,000 free prophylactics, available at the village, the press center and event venues.

Yes, the Olympics are about more than a once-every-four-year resurgence in curling, or about the margin of victory for the U.S. men’s basketball team in each game. They’re about sex, or at least a really good chance of it.

Without a doubt, they use Tinder in the village. Except for those curling guys, maybe, there are a lot of young men and women in the best physical shape of their lives, and that can be kind of attractive to other men and women in the best shape of their lives.

It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder if the Games should go on, you know?

In a bit of a preview, Johns Hopkins elected to play last weekend’s NCAA Division III tournament basketball games without fans. (Note: You can probably only get 1,000 fans in Goldfarb Gymnasium as it is). On the court, the Blue Jays were upset in the first round, less than a week after beating the No. 1 team in Division III, undefeated Swarthmore, in their conference title game.

Off the court, before the games, I’m guessing that Hopkins felt forced into the move by two realities. One was the fact that the school is associated with the Johns Hopkins medical institutions, who were certainly among the organizations informing the CDC’s guidance on large gatherings. The other was the presence of the basketball team from Yeshiva University, which had cancelled classes through Tuesday after a student tested positive for COVID-19.

Though that student hadn’t been on campus for a while, and the basketball team showed no signs of illness, that didn’t stop the DoubleTree Hilton in Pikesville from cancelling Yeshiva’s reservations right before the team left for Baltimore.

The team’s coach told the Associated Press that the decision was “discrimination,” though it’s unclear exactly what he meant. Yeshiva likely chose the hotel based on the fact that it has a kosher kitchen, making it more suitable for the observant Jews on the team, so I have a hard time believing he was talking about religious discrimination.

Yeshiva won both its games in Baltimore, scoring 102 points in each game, so perhaps they used any perceived slights as motivation. Or maybe they’re just a good team, and got fortunate that the hosts lost in the first round.

If 1,000 people or so is considered a large gathering, then I wonder what the Final Four in Atlanta (the home of the CDC, by the way) would have been considered. The capacity at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is listed at around 71,000.

If the Final Four happens, perhaps they’ll attempt to move the games to a smaller venue in Atlanta, though even an NBA arena like the Hawks’ State Farm Arena would still be “too big.”

“Regrettably, the information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision.” So said Robin Harris, executive director of the Ivy League, when announcing that the league’s basketball tournaments, scheduled for this weekend at Harvard, had been cancelled.

Amazingly, that decision was only the tip of the iceberg for the Ivy League. Twenty-four hours later, the league’s Presidents announced that all spring athletics competition and practices had been cancelled for the rest of the academic year.

Considering several of the schools’ announcements that students would not return to campus and classes would be held online for the rest of the semester, the decision makes sense. If, in the Ivy League, the athletes are supposed to be like everyone else, than they need to stay away like everyone else.

There was one caveat allowed by the league. Individual institutions will decide if they will allow winter sports teams and individuals who have qualified for postseason play to participate. In basketball, that’s Yale for the men and Princeton for the women, each of whom are good candidates for postseason victories. That’s especially the case for Princeton, which will likely be a No. 6 seed. I’d imagine both teams are ready to go, but I don’t know if it’ll be their decision alone.

There are plenty of other winter sports teams still playing. Four Ivy League hockey teams are still vying for the ECAC championship and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. There are probably more than 100 indoor track and field athletes who might qualify for the NCAA championship event.

In a bit of irony, the Ivy League will likely ask the NCAA for a “blanket” waiver for an extra year of eligibility for all spring athletes whose seasons have been cancelled, and I imagine it will be granted without much debate. In the normal course of events, the Ivies don’t allow “redshirting.” If a player graduates from Princeton, but still has one year of eligibility remaining due to a previous injury, he must transfer elsewhere to play.

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March 11
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bad luck...or bad form?

Monday's piece here with regard to the three men's basketball programs who claim they (each) are the 2019-2020 Big Ten Champions got me to thinking about a few things.

Part of my Monday entry centered on today's generational fear of failure. I mentioned a golfing friend of mine who "gave" his son a 2-foot putt for birdie in part because he didn't want him to miss it.

I don't think Maryland, Wisconsin and Michigan State are afraid to confront the truth that they're actually Co-Champions, not "Champions" of the Big Ten in '19-20, but I do believe it somehow connects to the fact that schools, programs and coaches are desperate to glorify any kind of accomplishment, even a watered-down "Co-Championship" accomplishment.

And a big part of what irked me on Sunday and Monday was the open, blatant dishonesty of the three programs. They all hailed themselves as "Champions" of the Big Ten in 2019-2020. They were not champions. They were co-champions. And they knew that, too. But somehow, didn't want to admit it.

It got me to thinking about the way we approach our own sports successes and failures and how do we look back and chronicle them?

So, I wonder......what is your greatest sports/athletic failure?

Not a failure you blamed on someone or something else...I'm talking about a failure you, yourself, authored.

Do you remember the details?

Did you try to first lay the blame on other factors? That's always a convenient way of avoiding the truth. "Well, it wasn't my fault I didn't catch that game-winning pass."

My experience in coaching and playing tells me we all have a tough time occasionally separating the difference between "bad luck" and "accountability".

A few years ago, we had an interesting development during a Calvert Hall match at Baltimore Country Club.

One of my players hit an errant second shot on the 9th hole on BCC West. The ball bounded over the green, back left, and came to rest under a small bush hat had pine needles and other tree-related debris at the base of it.

My player called me over to see the situation.

"Am I getting a drop from here?" he asked.

"I don't see why you would," I replied.

His playing opponent from St. Paul's agreed with me. "Why would you get a drop here?" he questioned.

"It looks like a newly planted bush," my player countered. He was right, kind of. It did look like it might have been planted recently, perhaps back in the summer or fall (this event was in April). Occasionally, newly planted trees or bushes will be played as "ground under repair".

"It might be new, but it's not marked off in any way," I pointed out. "I don't think you get relief here."

"Can you ask the head pro?" my player wondered.

The only reason I even considered doing so was because the pro shop was about a 40 yard walk.

And knowing the Head Professional could probably authorize an answer more quickly than the three of us would come up with one, I ventured off.

Two minutes later, the Head Professional confirmed what I'd said originally. No free drop. Nothing was marked. The ball needed to be played as it was.

My player smartly took a penalty drop for an unplayable lie. There was almost no way he could have advanced the ball. He didn't hit a particularly good shot from there, took two putts once he reached the green, and made a double bogey six to lose the hole.

As fate would have it, he lost the "back six" by one hole.

Afterwards in the parking lot, on the bus, I overheard him going through his match with some of our players.

"You should have seen the terrible bad luck I got at #9," he said. "The head pro wouldn't give me a drop from under a tree and I made double there and lost the hole."

I stood up and addressed him.

"You didn't get "bad luck" on number 9," I said, sternly. "That wasn't bad luck. You hit your golf ball there. You hit it there. No one else hit it there. You did."

I rolled on from there. "If you flushed a 160 yard 8-iron from the middle of the fairway and at its apex your ball collided in mid-air with a bird ------ I gave a 2 or 3 second period of silence to let it sink in ------- now that would be bad luck. You hitting a bad shot 15 yards over the green under a tree isn't bad luck. You hit your golf ball there."

"This garbage where you guys blame other people or other things for your bad golf has to stop. The club is in your hands. You hit the ball. It ends up going where you hit it!"

The bus ride back to Calvert Hall was pretty silent.

So.........I'll ask you again.

Do you have a memory of a sports failure that you authored that you'd like to share with us?

I have about 50, I'd say!

In the 1999 Spring Publinx at Pine Ridge, I was on the verge of my first Baltimore golfing win when I came to the 17th hole of the final round with a one shot lead. The 17th is a pretty easy hole, unless you hit a really bad shot either off to the left or over the green. It's a 160 yard par-3 that plays a half-club or so downhill.

I don't recall specifically how nervous I was, but I know I was nervous. I had won a tournament before, in Richmond, but Baltimore players back then measured themselves by winning Baltimore events like the Publinx or the Maryland Amateur Stroke Play at Mount Pleasant.

Up one with two holes to play...and two pretty easy holes, to boot. But instead of being focused and calm, I was a nervous wreck.

You often hear TV announcers talk about a player being "amped up" in the fairway when they are coming down the stretch with a tournament on the line. It's not unusual to see a player who would typically hit a 7 iron 170 yards be able to hit that same club 190 yards just because of their internal vigor they can't really feel for themselves.

I hit an 8-iron about 20 yards over the green into the pond behind the 17th hole at Pine Ridge.

I had failed to even think about the fact that I was amped up. I hit a good shot, technically, but forgot to consider anything other than making the swing and getting it over as quickly as possible.

I initially blamed the wind.

I blamed the yardage markers being wrong on the scorecard (we didn't have lasers back then that gave you the exact number).

I think I blamed a couple of geese who flew overhead during my backswing.

I blamed everyone but myself, the guy who actually hit the shot in the water.

The reality -- I see it much better now, 20 years later -- is that I simply didn't take into account how much energy had racing through my body and didn't realize, because I was inexperienced, how much that would impact the shot.

My 160 yard 8 iron turned into a 185 yard iron and the golf tournament was over. I lost by a shot.

It was kind of fitting that I won that same event the very next year at Pine Ridge. On that occasion, I made a par at 17 and 18 and won by a single shot.

But here's what's weird. The 1999 episode where I hit it in the water sticks out to me to more than the triumph.

Feel free to tell us about your sports failure below. Don't tell us about bad luck, either. Tell us about bad form!

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this could be a (weird) memorable month

The coronavirus is putting a damper on the sports world.

Ivy League basketball tournament -- canceled.

The city of Seattle has introduced a temporary ban on gatherings of 250 or more people.

Pearl Jam just canceled the first leg of their U.S. tour -- including a stop in Baltimore later this month -- over coronavirus concerns.

Colleges everywhere, including Towson University and Loyola University, are basically going "dark" until April 1st, with classes being offered on-line for three weeks or more.

Given the obvious nature of sports (people in a building or within close proximity to one another watching the event "live"), it would make sense for the leagues and associations to consider not allowing people to attend the events over the next month, particularly those that are inside.

Mark Turgeon and the Terps could face some weird situations in next week's NCAA tournament, wherever they wind up playing.

That puts the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournament directly in the crosshairs, since they're due to start eight days from now in various locations throughout the country. Talk about a textbook way to spread a virus or some other communal illness, right? Have people from all over the country spend 2-3 days together in one common location, then have those same people all return to their original location. That's precisely how it spreads.

So the guess here is that at least the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament is going to be impacted. Perhaps by the second weekend the fear won't be so great or the documented cases of the coronavirus will be diminished enought to lift the "attendance ban", but the next obvious step for the NCAA would be to not allow fans in the building(s) to watch the games.

If that happens, it will certainly make for some very odd viewing of the tournament, let alone playing in it.

Those of you who watched (on TV) the Orioles and White Sox play in an empty stadium (don't giggle, you know what I mean) during the Freddie Gray riots remember how distinctly odd it was for the game to be played in front of no one.

It's still sports and all, but it's just weird.

And if the NCAA tournament winds up not playing in front of live fans for the first weekend or longer, it's going to be weird. It could, looking ahead, even change the landscape of the competition. More upsets? Not as much energy in the arena leading to less quality on the court? Who knows...

Major League Baseball is set to begin later this month...in about two weeks, to be exact.

It's a tad different in an outdoor facility, but plenty of MLB teams play in enclosed facilities. Once the NCAA decides to play games with no fans (if they do), baseball would almost have to follow suit.

The NBA and NHL are going to be impacted as well.

People are scared. Airports are virtually empty, in case you haven't been watching the news. Airlines have lowered their prices just to try and strongarm folks into flying instead of driving.

I can't imagine the various leagues shutting down. The games still have to be played, in other words. But we'll be watching them from our living room instead of seeing them in person, for the time being at least.

The more I go through my 40 Friends in 40 Days Lenten celebration, the more I realize it's become a little bit like writing my life story. Except I might be the only one who really cares about the people and the places and the moments. But for the most part, as I go back and look at the first 14 days, I'm seeing people and "things" that made an impact in my life. At some point in the near future, you'll read about a golf course here. Sure, it's not a living being, but it surely impacted me.

If you haven't done this exercise, you should try it. Leaving out your family members (because they're obvious), it's really cool to look back and remember people and places and what they did or meant to you.

Jimmy Grem (left) and Nick Smearman (right) are holding the championship plaque at Caves Valley in May of 2013 following Calvert Hall's A-Conference golf championship win over Gilman.

I'm at #15 today. Because I could never separate them, I won't. And because I constantly mention them in tandem, any time I speak of them, it's only fitting I step out of the normal listing of one person and mention two young men today who were part of my first season at Calvert Hall -- Nick Smearman and Jimmy Grem.

Smearman and Grem were the two senior captains in 2013. I quickly learned they were more like co-coaches, which was critical for me in my first year at a new school. My previous stop, John Carroll, was also my first coaching venture. There, golf just wasn't all that important and we labored through two 0-8 seasons before I got the call from Calvert Hall. I quickly found out golf mattered at Calvert Hall, which I was thrilled to learn, but I was also concerned about how I could make the program better.

I figured out how to make it better...just have better players. And have two guys as captains who were really motivated and wanted to win.

Smearman and Grem were those two guys.

I didn't really have to do anything. I just turned them loose. And, along with the other kids on the team, we won the MIAA A-Conference championship that year, beating Gilman in the finals at Caves Valley.

Grem and Smearman were incredible captains. They had practice ideas and lineup ideas and none of them were a product of selfishness or something that fit their own agenda. If it was good for the team, they were all in.

One of the things I brought with me to Calvert Hall and immediately integrated into the program was the need for captains. And I'm not talking guys who are just "nominated" as captains and get a special "C" on their hat or something. I'm talking about captains who can be part-player, part-coach and part-friend. The best captains can fill all of those roles. Smearman and Grem checked off every box.

As we prepare for a new golf season at Calvert Hall, I'll be selecting two new captains at this year's kick-off dinner this Saturday night. Every year when I select a new set of captains, I think back to Nick and Jimmy and I wonder how the new guys will fill their shoes. I've had some great captains in my eight years at Calvert Hall. Those two, though, got it all started back in 2013. They were remarkable players and leaders.


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March 10
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close to perfect

If Marshal Yanda does indeed announce his retirement tomorrow, the Ravens are losing a legacy player.

And their team...gets a little worse. At least for the time being.

Forget the old adage for a moment: "He'll be hard to replace."

Yanda will be impossible to replace. "Impossible" in the same way that no one has yet to come along and replaced Ray Lewis. Or Ed Reed. And as good as Ronnie Stanley has been, he's no Jonathan Ogden.

The Ravens will very likely never have another player that becomes the whole package like Yanda has been throughout his career in Baltimore.

If Marshal Yanda does indeed retire tomorrow as many around town are speculating, the Ravens will have a huge void to fill heading into the 2020 campaign.

He's as close to perfect as the Ravens have ever had.

Ray was a great player, but there was baggage there, particularly in the latter stages of his career when the Hall of Famer because an occasional nuisance to the front office.

Reed was a sensational performer, but his well-known mercurial personality created some behind-the-scenes tension with the coaching staff.

Ogden was an all-world performer, but late in his career he had a thing for not breaking much of a sweat in training camp or during practice.

Yanda, though, checks off every necessary box.

Hall of Fame caliber player? Check.

Practiced hard, put everything on the line? Check.

A respected voice in the locker room and on the field? Check.

No player is perfect. No, not even Barry Sanders or Tom Brady, despite what the experts say.

But Yanda is about as close to a "perfect player" as the Ravens have ever had.

Even in 2019, with most of the tread gone from his tires, Yanda was still kicking ass and taking names every Sunday.

He just brought his "A game" every Sunday. No talk. No showboating. No hopping around like a 10-year old on his 3rd Mountain Dew of the night.

Yanda brought his lunchpail to work and put in the hours asked of him.

There aren't many guys these days who could have played back in the 1960's or 1970's but Yanda most certainly could have played in that era. He's our modern day Jim Parker. Not much fanfare but an incredible amount of quality.

If Yanda retires tomorrow, the Ravens immediately take a step back from the 14-2 team of a season ago. That's not to say they're automatically an 8-8 squad moving forward...but a Ravens team without Marshal Yanda is not as good as a Ravens team with Marshal Yanda. No use even trying to argue against that point, because all you'll be doing is exposing yourself as a football imposter.

Yanda is a slam dunk Ravens Ring of Honor inclusion, obviously. When that happens is anyone's guess, but I'd assume it would happen in either 2022 or 2023.

The big question, of course, is the one that centers on his potential selection to the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton. He's obviously good enough. But, as we've seen time and time again, offensive guards rarely get Hall of Fame recognition.

Yes, even Marshal Yanda might need a mini-miracle to get to Canton, but that says far more about the selection process and those who do the voting than it does about Yanda's quality on the field.

Yanda doesn't need to do anything else to prove how good he's been in Baltimore. He's been...close to perfect.

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news and notes

Another loss for the Caps last night, this time in a shootout to lowly Buffalo, 3-2.

Although they picked up one point by virtue of the overtime defeat, they failed to pick up what should have been an automatic two points against one of the worst teams (68 points) in the Eastern Conference.

Alex Ovechkin now needs just two more goals to reach the 50-goal plateau this season.

If it's possible for a reeling team to have a favorable short-term schedule, the Caps do at least have a lighter slate in the weeks ahead. They're home against Detroit, Chicago and Edmonton over the next six days, then play at Columbus and host Ottawa. None of those teams are world beaters, although Columbus and Edmonton are both fighting for playoff spots and won't lay down when they meet up with Alex Ovechkin's team.

Speaking of Ovechkin, he scored his 48th goal of the season last night. He's had an uneven last few weeks, truth be told, but he's inching ever-so-close to another 50-goal campaign, which is just remarkable at age 34.

The F***** could move into first place tonight with a home win over Boston. The worst franchise in the history of sports has won 9 straight games to basically draw even with the Caps in the Metropolitan Division. I don't know about you, but I'd rather see Duke win the NCAA tournament than to have the F***** win the Metropolitan Division.

Golf's so-called "5th Major" takes places this week at TPC Sawgrass in what routinely showcases the best field in the sport. Even without Tiger Woods teeing it up, The Players is a significant event.

Is it Jon Rahm's turn to win at TPC Sawgrass this week?

Putting aside the money ($2.7 million), The Players provides some of the best benefits to the winner. The winner receives a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a three-year invitation to the Masters Tournament, three-year exemptions for the U.S. Open and The Open Championship, and an exemption to the next three PGA Championship tournaments. There's a lot less worrying about your future, in other words, if you can win at TPC Sawgrass this week.

Who wins? Well, I love the way a few guys are playing these days. Bryson DeChambeau is having a nice run and he seems to be figuring out his putting. As we've seen with BDC in the past, if his flat stick works, he's hard to beat. Webb Simpson has won at Sawgrass before and has emerged over the last couple of years as one of the TOUR's best tee-to-green performers. I wouldn't be shocked at all to see him win this week. And even thought he couldn't get it done under the gun a couple of weeks ago at The Honda Classic, Tommy Fleetwood is the kind of big-name-player who could win The Players this week and make Sawgrass his first PGA Tour victory.

But I'll go with Jon Rahm to win this week. Very few guys have the record of Rahm over the last six months. He's quietly emerged as one of the best players in the world and it's only a matter of time before he bags a significant tournament. This isn't a major, obviously, but it's razor-thin-close to being a major. And Rahm is a major-winner-waiting-to-happen.

My 40 Friends in 40 Days Lenten celebration rolls on today, as we've reached Day 14 already. If any of you have played Mount Pleasant or Pine Ridge over the last 30 years, you've most likely encountered Jim Deck.

Deck was the longtime head pro at Mount Pleasant (90's through mid 2000's) before moving over to Pine Ridge. I started playing golf at Mount Pleasant in the early 1990's, which is where I first met Jim. A decade later, I was working there part time so I could play free golf (truth be told) at any of the five BMGC facilities.

Current Pine Ridge head PGA professional Jim Deck.

I have far, far too many great stories to tell about Deck and my friendship with him. I'd need a week's worth of Drew's Morning Dish to give you the top 10 stories. We've shared a lot of great times together over the years. I'll save the best ones for his retirement party, which might be coming up in a couple of years.

Any of you who have had the privilege of running into Jim Deck at Mount Pleasant or Pine Ridge have seen first-hand what kind of professional he is. He could work at any club in the country, public or private, and make the membership happy. He's as good as they come, whether it's at Pine Ridge or Pine Valley.

OK, OK...I'll give you one story.

This one, I think, is Deck's favorite story about me, and since it embarrassed me, it's probably appropriate to share today.

I was working as the cashier on a morning shift and Deck was in his office. At some point he came out and I had my foot propped up underneath the cash register like I was in my man cave watching golf on TV.

"Hey!" Deck barked. "Get your foot down from there and sit up straight. This isn't your living room."

I put myself back into a more "professional" position and waited on customers as they came in to buy their greens fee tickets.

Thirty minutes later, with no traffic in the pro shop, I went back to the same relaxed position. Deck came in from outside and saw me again. "Come on," he said. "Put your foot down and look like a guy who cares about how he presents himself. Sit up straight."

I mumbled something about being bored and tired and Deck said, "I'll stick you outside washing golf carts if you can't sit up straight."

Ten minutes later, out of habit more than anything, I again propped my foot up underneath the register, only this time, somehow, a board slipped and my right shin scraped the entire wooden surface.

I didn't break my leg, but it sure felt like I did.

I let out a yelp and went down to the floor. Deck heard the commotion and came rushing out of his office. "What happened?" he said.

"Nothing," I replied. "Go back in your office. I'm fine." I lifted up my pants leg and there was a huge, 10-inch scrap all the way from knee to my ankle. Blood was starting to seep out at this point.

Deck started laughing. "What did you do? How the hell did you hurt yourself working in the pro shop?"

I didn't want to tell him how it happened, obviously. "Just go back in your office," I yelled.

A few minutes later, I heard Deck howling with laughter. He had gone into the pro shop video camera security system, rewound the tape until my incident occurred, and there, on the video tape, was me, with my foot up, then a moment later, falling to the ground in agony.

"This is the funniest thing I've ever seen," Deck said. "Oh, man, I can't wait to to show the guys this little beauty."

I had it coming to me, obviously. God works in mysterious ways, you know. And on this occasion, I got exactly what I deserved. And Jim Deck loved it.


March 9
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"they say geniuses pick green"

An enthusiastic golfing friend of mine caught up with me a week or so ago to announce his 10 year old son had made his first-ever birdie earlier in the day. Having been on the course with my son last year when he rolled in a 15-foot putt for his first-ever birdie, I knew how cool that moment must have been.

"That's awesome!" I said. And I meant it. "What hole?"

"Number 7," he replied. The slightly uphill 7th hole at Eagle's Nest is a par 5.

"That's so cool," I continued. "How far was the putt?" I was trying to visualize his young son making the putt and reacting to it.

"Oh, he didn't even have to putt it," my friend said. "He hit a wedge in there to like 2 feet and I just gave it to him. I mean, I might have gagged it from 2 feet but he wasn't going to miss it and it was his first birdie and all, so I wanted to make sure he got it."

You know where this is going...

My son's friend still hasn't actually made his first real birdie. I'm sure he'll make plenty in his life, but he hasn't yet made one, because his father didn't let him. Instead, his dad kicked his ball back to him and said, "That's your first birdie son!"

No. It wasn't. He didn't finish the par 5 hole in four shots.

Mark Turgeon and the Terps celebrate while the sign at the Xfinity Center says Maryland is the 2019-2020 Regular Season Champions.

There's a funny scene in the movie Meet the Parents where Ben Stiller meets his girlfriend's parents for the first time ever. Her dad, Robert DeNiro, is one of those hard-to-win-over types and when he meets them upon their arrival, he notices Stiller's (Greg) rental car.

"Interesting color, you pick it?" DeNiro says.

"Oh. No, the guy at the counter picked it out, why?" Greg replies.

"Well, they say geniuses pick green," DeNiro counters.

Greg smiles at the thought that DeNiro might, in some roundabout way, be praising him.

"Only you didn't pick it," the dad says.

Maryland beat Michigan yesterday to win a share of the Big Ten men's basketball championship. They earned a "share" of it because Michigan State and Wisconsin also finished with the same record as did the Terps.

Funny, in that "weird kind of way", that had Maryland not gagged away a late lead at Wisconsin earlier in the season, they would have actually won the Big Ten title instead of sharing it.

But something strange happened after the game on Sunday. The Terps, via their various social media publishings, touted themselves "Big Ten Champions". Now, let's be fair. Wisconsin and Michigan State did the same thing. Their media and P.R. departments quickly went around the horn and bragged about their own "Big Ten Championship".

There's only one small problem.

Maryland didn't win the Big Ten Championship yesterday. They were the Co-Champions.

Wisconson didn't win the Big Ten Championship yesterday. They were the Co-Champions.

Michigan State didn't win the Big Ten Championship yesterday. They were the Co-Champions.

You can call it nitpicking if you want or you can simply call it what it is: a fact.

Michigan State must not have received the memo, because they also believe they, too, won the Big Ten Championship.

Those three schools are sharing the Big Ten title in 2019-2020. They can publish whatever they want and cut down the nets and wear hats declaring themselves "Big Ten Champions" but they are not the champion. They are, the records show, Co-Champions.

I'm not sure why this bothers me so much. It shouldn't. I don't care at all, really, and the winner of the Big Ten Championship -- or Co-winner, in this case -- gets nothing extra in their stocking except a better seed in the tournament this weekend in Indianapolis.

But I guess is rankles me for the same reason my friend's son's first birdie not really making a birdie bothered me. It didn't actually happen.

It could also be that the collective "softening" of young athletes gets under my skin, too. That's a story for another day, and people get offended when the subject comes up, but our country has slowly eroded over the years into this murky area where we don't want our kids to experience disappointment or failure or failing to meet a goal.

We'd rather just give you the short, 2-foot putt than have you miss it and have to deal with the agonizing consequences of failing to make a short birdie putt.

We didn't really win the Big Ten Championship, but we're going to avoid the messy details of sharing it with two other schools and just call ourselves "champions".

One of the things that really chewed at me yesterday was seeing Mark Turgeon hop up and down like Kevin Bacon in Footlose after the Maryland win and during the celeration that ensued. I don't know if the other two coaches did the same thing. If so, shame on them as well. But Turgeon, as a grown adult, had to know the truth. You can celebrate if you want, but if you're celebrating winning the same amount of games as two other competitors in your conference, perhaps your goals need an oil change.

Rant over.

Wait, not yet.

The other thing I've never, ever understood about college basketball is how the 3 or 4 day (in most cases) post-season conference tournament carries more weight than does a 14, 16 or 20 game regular season. I find that almost bizarre, frankly.

In three days, anything can happen. Someone's best player gets hurt. Three players get food poisoning. And so on. Luck gets involved, too. One team's middle-of-the-pack shooter gets hot for a weekend and can't miss and suddenly your 10-6, 4th seed team beats everyone over three days. And that somehow makes you the best team in the conference?

The regular season is what should matter most. It's three or four months long. You play in hostile gyms half the time. You travel to those places, stay in hotels, eat, sleep and think in different rooms than the comfort of your campus apartment or dorm facility. You're going to class (insert joke here about Kansas student-athletes), taking tests and doing a lot of other things that compete with basketball, even if on a minor scale.

If you navigate your way through a 3-month conference schedule and you finish with the best record, that, to me, means you were the best team in that conference for the season. I know I'm just howling at the moon at this point, but I've always wondered why the conference tournament matters so much, other than the obvious NCAA tournament invite that comes with it.

Now, rant over...

They say geniuses pick green.

Only you didn't pick it.

On Day 13 of our "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten Celebration, we go to the video tape.

Or, as we do in 2020, we go to YouTube.

I discovered the website, "I Am Second" about three years ago. Since then, I've watched every video they've posted. I have several favorites, one of which I'm sharing below that features Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers.

You can see the entire website at www.iamsecond.com

If you go to the "Films" icon on the right and click on "White Chair Films", you'll see some of the best athletes and entertainers sharing their life stories.

I try and watch something on "I Am Second" every day. It's become part of my daily routine. I've probably watched the Lecrae video at least 20 times. For those interested, the Jeff Fisher video and the Brian Welch (Korn singer) video are awesome starting points to see what I Am Second is all about.

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

consider this...

Annoyance #1…the insistence of Division I basketball referees upon going “to the monitor” in every late-game situation that they possibly can.

Now…some of that isn’t their fault, because some of it is now in the rule book. With under two minutes left, a coach can ask the officials to review certain plays, like Mark Turgeon did on Sunday to question whether his team or Michigan should have been awarded the ball after a missed shot and loose ball.

And some of it makes sense, such as determining whether a shot was released before or after the final buzzer. In somewhat-microscopic situations, the replay monitor can help determine a win, a loss or a tie that sends the game to overtime.

Otherwise, the frequent trips to the monitor have done two things, both of them unfortunate. One is to eliminate common sense from officiating, and the other is to make the officials prime-time players when they are supposed to be in the background. Did you know that most schools used to announce the officials’ names prior to the game before that policy became generally frowned upon?

The “common sense” part comes down to the fact that the referees are actually watching the game in real time, right? If a foul is flagrant, isn’t it easier to tell that while standing right next to the players involved than it is on a slow-motion replay? If a referee is absolutely sure that the ball hit a certain player before going out-of-bounds, and his fellow officials agree with him, then a late-game situation should be no different than any other game situation.

And then there’s the second part. There were nothing atypical from the coaches, players or officials during Sunday’s Maryland-Michigan game, for instance. A few foul calls were questionable, but no more than any other game. Yet the game’s final minutes were dominated by D.J. Carstensen, Terry Oglesby and Kelly Pfeifer. The coup de grace was, of course, the visit to the television announcers courtside, ostensibly to explain the call but also to make sure the official got on television.

Annoyance #2…after yesterday’s 83-70 win over Michigan, Maryland decided to cut down the nets, as the win clinched a share of the Big Ten championship along with Wisconsin and Michigan State.

Now…as nice as it would have been for Maryland to have won the conference outright, which the Terps would have done had they not performed so poorly in their previous two games, 14-6 is outstanding. A couple teams did as well, but nobody did better. And frankly, of the three teams that finished with that record, Maryland had the most consistent year. Wisconsin was only 6-6 before winning its last eight games, for instance.

And yet…while the Terps’ accomplishment was enough to get their head coach a $50,000 bonus and hang a banner in Xfinity Center before next season, the net cutting was a step too far for me.

And the net finally came down yesterday, in the hands of Maryland senior star Anthony Cowan, Jr.

Cutting down the nets, it seems to me, is about celebrating a championship. Maryland’s regular season was certainly an accomplishment, and it would have been an even greater accomplishment if the Terps had found a way to get that 15th win and beat out the Badgers and Spartans. Even then, though, it wouldn’t have been a championship.

Maryland will have a chance to win a championship beginning on Friday night in Indianapolis. The team that wins three games in three days there (or possibly four games in four days, or even five games in five days) will not necessarily have been the best team all season, but they will have won a championship. And for that they’ll be entitled to cut down the nets.

The following week, the Terps and lots of other teams will head to wherever with a chance to win an even bigger championship. And those net-cutters will go down in history in a different way.

A reporter I follow sent a Tweet following Sunday’s game, joking that he wasn’t sure how long the net-cutting ceremony was taking, but that the Terps were in the ACC when it started. Funny, but also kind of annoying. Honestly, I thought the end of that game was a time to switch to another goal.

Annoyance #3...anybody who just summarily dismisses the new XFL and wishes it would just go away. That doesn’t mean I’ve watched much of the league, or that you should. I do think that some of the rules and game changes are of potential interest to NFL teams and fans in the future, though. Maybe even the near future.

If you don’t know about these rules, the XFL has divided them into three categories. There are five “gameplay” innovations, five timing changes and five “common sense” rules.

Among the innovations in play, the XFL point-after touchdown is an interesting concept. There are no kicking PATs; a team has the option to run a play from two yards, five yards or 10 yards away from the goal line, worth one, two or three points respectively.

Even with the NFL extra point moved back to a 35-yard attempt, teams still made more than 94 percent of their tries during the 2019 season. Eliminating the try entirely would hardly kill the game, no matter what the NFL’s point-after options would become.

As for timing changes, the “up-tempo” game clock is an intriguing idea. In the XFL, outside the last two minutes of each half, the clock only remains stopped after a play ends out-of-bounds or with an incomplete pass until the ball is spotted, as opposed to when the ball is snapped.

The idea is to play every game within the three-hour window expected of football games, but hardly expected of today’s NFL games. In general, the league expects there to be the same amount of total plays in each game.

As for the “common sense” rules, sign me up right now for the dedicated ball-spotting official that’s used in the XFL. His or her sole job is to get a new football and spot it quickly after each play. In the NFL, the system uses the entire crew, and sometimes takes a longer time than it should.

Of all these things, I’d love to see the end of the extra point. It would add more fun for fans and more challenge for coaches and players.

Annoyance #4…I don’t dislike Chris Davis, and I don’t easily forget such seasons as he had in both 2013 and 2015. Nor do I forget his suspension at the end of the 2014 season, which didn’t hurt the Orioles chances of winning the division but certainly hurt them going forward.

Honestly, I’m a little annoyed at Davis right now, because he appears to be on the way to being a legitimate hitter again. And the Orioles’ don’t need that, do they?

My annoyance began early last week, when I saw a USA Today headline that Davis was “bouncing back from career low point with a sizzling spring start.” It continued yesterday when I watched a highlight of him dumping a run-scoring single into left field during what was certainly an epic 5-5 tilt with a split-squad representing the Yankees.

Davis had almost four years to figure out his game while wearing an Orioles’ uniform, an eternity in professional sports. At almost any time in that stretch, had he become anything resembling the former Chris Davis, he would have become, at the very least, a legitimate trading commodity.

But it seems to have taken until now, after he made a decision to change his body in the offseason and prepare for the season in a different way, after briefly considering retirement and walking away from $69 million he’s still owed.

And it’s just too late. It’s too late for the Orioles to need him as a member of the team, and it’s probably too late for any other club to believe he can help them.

Maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe the Orioles will be scuffling along in July and Davis will be the team’s bright light, and someone else will want to grab him and finally take him off our hands, even with a couple years left on that insane contract.

Whatever happens, I don’t think I’ll be happy to see Chris Davis headlines this year, even if they’re good ones. His time to be here ended three years ago, but he’s still here somehow.


dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps beat michigan 83-70

The final horn sounded and barely a soul had left the arena.

Everyone wanted to share in the revelry as Maryland’s 83-70 victory gave this class, coach, and school, their first Big Ten Championship. The trophy was on display and a banner will be hung. It was an emotional conclusion that saw Mark Turgeon hug, hold, lift, and carry his star point guard, Anthony Cowan.

Cowan was masterful in leading his team to the clinching victory. He posted 20 points on 7-11 shooting, was a perfect 6 for 6 from the foul line, and handed out 8 assists. Cowan wasn’t the only Terp who played well today. His teammates supplied plenty of support.

Jalen Smith served up another double/double, leading Maryland with 11 rebounds and adding 18 points. Big offensive production was also provided by Eric Ayala (19 points) and Aaron Wiggins (15).

Jalen Smith might have played his final home at Maryland yesterday but he went out in style with 11 points and 18 rebounds in the win over Michigan.

It was a welcome change to see Maryland work inside the three-point line to get their 41-28 halftime lead. They made 14 shots in, and around, the paint on just 22 attempts, good for 55%. Maryland only took 8 threes in the first half and one of those was a last second heave out of the hands of Jalen Smith as time ran out in the first half. That bomb found nothing but net and gave him 11 points in the half.

Maryland’s 8 first half assists properly reflected the Terp emphasis on getting good looks inside. Cowan had 4 of the 8 first half assists to compliment his 10 points on 5-7 shooting.

I thought the 2 stats that most accurately depicted the energy and hustle with which Maryland played in the opening half were the offensive rebounding numbers for Michigan and the scoring from Michigan’s starters.

Michigan failed to grab a single offensive board, and their starters scored only 13 of their 28 points. It was Michigan’s David DeJulius and his 13 first half points that keep Michigan remotely close for the first 20 minutes. The Terp defense got a little loose during the last 5 minutes of the half, but overall the Maryland defensive effort was stellar.

The second half start for Maryland was a bit sloppy. They had a few careless turnovers and played some lackluster defense. Michigan took advantage of the lapse in Terp tenacity as the Wolverines scored 10 points in the first 4 minutes of the half. The Terp lead went from 13 to 7 with just under four minutes off of the second half clock.

By the 11:55 mark of the second half, Michigan had already pumped in 21 points, compared to just 28 in the entire first half. They had made 8 of 12 shots from the floor and knocked down 2 of their 5 threes. The Terps were shooting lights out also, but their 5 turnovers in just 8 minutes allowed Michigan to tighten up the ballgame.

When Xavier Simpson was again allowed to go to his right for his 4th bucket of the second half, Maryland led by only five with 11:02 left.

A sixth second half Terrapin turnover, as well as a Maryland lane violation on a missed Isaiah Livers foul shot, eroded the Terp lead to just a single possession, 56-53.

But Maryland came right back, hitting 3 out of 4 foul shots and then getting a big three by Wiggins. The lead had climbed back to 9 points, and Michigan never really challenged after that.

The Wolverines did manage to slice the Maryland advantage to seven points on 3 separate occasions, but each time they did either Wiggins or Ayala hit a big shot to push the lead back to a comfortable 9 or 10 points.

The combo of Wiggins and Ayala was deadly in the second half today. They combined to hit 5 second half threes on just 7 attempts, and scored 10 and 13 points respectively. It seemed like every time the Wolverines had an ounce of hope, one of those two canned a big shot. They were both terrific.

Perhaps the key second half moment started with Ayala missing each of two foul shots with the clock stopped at 5:00 and Maryland up by 7, 69-62. The second missed was tipped into the air by Smith and it was Ayala who fought two Wolverines for the ball and came down with one of his 7 rebounds. He was triple teamed the left wing, but still found Wiggins in the left corner. Wiggins hit nothing but net on his uncontested three. What looked like an opening for Michigan would up being a 10-point advantage for the Terps.

From that point on the game was never in doubt.

This was a big win for the program. While Maryland was being presented with their Big Ten Championship trophy, Turgeon addressed the crowd letting everyone know that the gorilla had been lifted off of their backs. The confetti was flying and the team cut down the nets. It was truly a magnificent college basketball environment that brought back memories of the ACC days.

The Terps can now rest before their late Friday night Big Ten Tournament game against either Nebraska, Indiana, or Penn State.

I Am Catholic
March 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

sunday stuff

The NHL announced on Saturday that effective immediately, team locker rooms will be closed to the media due to ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

And......are you ready for this?

People complained.

Media members bellyached about it. "How are we going to do our jobs if we can't get in the locker room after a game?"

Fans whined, too. "We need the most in-depth information we can get...and keeping the media out of the locker room robs us of that information."

Select players from both teams will be brought out into a secluded press conference room after the game, so it's not like the media won't have any access at all. It's just that they won't be free to roam around the locker room and pick and choose their post-game interviewees.

The coronavirus being what is is and all, it's probably a sound idea to limit the amount of contact for the time being. How long this shutdown takes place is anyone's guess, but it's far more important to protect the health of players, staff and media alike.

And people actually complained about the NHL's decision yesterday. I mean, they really did raise a fuss about it.

I don't understand...

Draymond Green plays basketball for the Golden State Warriors. You might have heard of him.

He's a good player. But he's not really all that much more than that. And "good" player could be stretching it favorably in Green's direction.

Throughout the current season, TNT's NBA analyst, Charles Barkley, has chirped loud and often in Green's direction. He's not a fan of his play, let's just say.

With Golden State struggling on the court this season, Draymond Green went for a "win" against Charles Barkley earlier this week as their season-long beef escalated.

Earlier this week, Barkley said Green had gotten himself ejected from a recent game vs. the Lakers because "he just didn't feel like playing anymore."

Green had heard enough. This past Friday, he threw a bomb in Barkley's direction and made a direct hit.

"Barkley should stop before I take his job," Green told the media. "Because I can do that well, too. He also can’t talk basketball with me either. Not smart enough, not qualified. No rings...can’t sit at this table."

The "no rings" jab was a reminder that Barkley never won a championship in the NBA. Green, courtesy of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, has three of them.

But the comment didn't sit well with NBA fans, many of whom adore Barkley and his straight-to-the-point analyst style. Green came under heavy social media attack on Friday and Saturday as fans all over the country lashed out at him.

Can you imagine Trent Dilfer saying he knows more about football and quarterbacking than Dan Marino because Dilfer has a ring and Marino doesn't?

Draymond Green is a lot like Charles Barkley, actually. He's outspoken, brash and occasionally says dumb stuff.

In this case, Green deserves whatever backlash and criticism he gets, from Barkley and the fans.

Tyrrell Hatton is 18 holes away from a significant win on the PGA Tour. And if he comes out on top at the completion of play in today's final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, he not only secures his first TOUR victory but puts a clamp on Paul Azinger's mouth at the same time.

It was just last week that Azinger stirred the pot in a big way when he basically downplayed the quality of the European Tour when discussing Tommy Fleetwood's career and how winning on that European Tour pales in comparison to winning an event on the PGA Tour.

'Zinger was right, by the way. But everyone gets worked up over words these days, and he drew the wrath of touring professionals -- especially those who have played the European Tour regularly -- and members of the media for his comments.

Fleetwood rinsed his second shot on the 72nd hole at PGA National last Sunday in an effort to win and/or create a playoff with eventual winner, Sungjae Im. So, for a week at least, Azinger's point still lingered.

But Hatton could quiet Azinger today if he holds on to his 2 shot lead and wins at Bay Hill GC in Orlando. Hatton is a good player. A bit of a hothead at times, he is, but still a solid player nonetheless. But all of his success has come on the European Tour.

And no matter what Hatton or any other European players say, they all know the truth. If Tyrrell Hatton wins at Bay Hill today, his career changes.

Most importantly, he'll no longer have to rely on winning events on that European Tour in order to show everyone how good he really is.

It's day 12 of my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten Celebration and I'm excited to tell you about my friend, John Buren, the former sports director at WJZ-TV, Channel 13.

Buren and I hit it off almost immediately when he got to Baltimore via San Francisco in 1986. That he initially made fun of the Blast and indoor soccer didn't really bother me at all because he made fun of everything and everyone at some point along the way.

Our first common bond was golf. John was an excellent player until he abruptly gave up the game one day on the 8th hole of a round we were sharing with then-Blast-coach Kenny Cooper. Buren hit a poor shot, softly put the offending club back in his bag and announced, matter-of-factly, "Drewski, you've just seen the last shot of Beavo's golf career."

And that it was. I never played a round of golf with him again and Buren still tells me to this day, 30 years later, that he never played another hole of golf after that memorable occasion at Hunt Valley Golf Club.

Thankfully, though, our friendship didn't end when John shut down his golf game. He was one of the few sports media types in town who gave indoor soccer its due over the years. Even after I got out of the soccer business in the 1990s, we remained friends, sharing a quarterly breakfast together at the old Bel-Loc Diner until they blew that place up two years ago.

We still meet up for breakfast and talk about old times at various locations in Baltimore County.

John Buren has always been good to me and he's been a friend since 1986. Best of all, one bad golf shot didn't spoil our friendship.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

reeling terps host michigan today

Today’s game against Michigan is Maryland’s last of the 2019-2020 Big Ten regular season. While it might not have grave implications for the Terps' seeding in the NCAA tournament, a loss here could be devastating to Maryland psychologically.

Two weeks ago, the Terps looked like a lock to gain at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title. After a brutal two week stretch of three road games and a battle at home against Michigan State, Maryland needs a win today just to gain a two-way or possibly three-way tie for the conference title.

Wisconsin has already clinched at least a tie, and Michigan State gets a piece with a home win today over Ohio State. The Terps have gone 1-3 over their last 4 games.

This game is big. A loss here would be devastating to the fans, players, and their coach. It’s senior day for Anthony Cowan, and I’m sure it will be emotional for the 4-year senior.

Will Anthony Cowan help deliver Maryland a share of the Big Ten regular season title in his final home game today?

Michigan is driven by Xavier Simpson. The 6’1 senior point guard is averaging almost 8 assists a game and leads the Big Ten in that category. His near 13 points per game is second best on a Wolverines team that starts 5 double digit scorers. He’s strong, a real competent defender, and he gave Anthony Cowan trouble last year in both of his meetings with Maryland.

Simpson is a decent three-point shooter (35%) and possesses a YMCA type sky hook when driving the right side of the lane. Therein lies the key to limiting Simpson. You have to force him to go left. Not only does he score more when going to his right, but he passes far better with the ball in his strong hand. I don’t see many teams overplaying him to his left. That’s a bad mistake.

Michigan’s other starting senior, Jon Teske, is a 7’1” force inside. He uses his nice back-to-the-basket game to average just a shade under 12 points per contest. Despite being a top five shot blocker in the Big Ten, I expect him to struggle with Jalen Smith today. Teske is not overly mobile, and is susceptible to any big who can put the ball on the floor or use creative spin moves inside. He’s also slow to get back on defense. Smith will surely go for 20 points today.

Isaiah Livers is the leading Michigan scorer with 13.3 per game. He has battled through the injury bug this year, but still has hit 42% of his three-point shots. At 6’7”, he has good, athletic, size. Livers is sure to draw Maryland’s Darryl Morsell. Morsell must keep this guy off of the three-point line.

Guard Eli Brooks is another guy that needs attention on the perimeter. He has attempted more threes than any other Wolverine player and hits over 37% of them. The junior guard is pretty shifty with ball but hasn’t shown exceptional finishing abilities. He’ll get Eric Ayala today.

Franz Wagner is a 6’8” freshman starter that many scouts around the country are already beginning to notice. I don’t see him as flashy, but he has a solid overall game to go along with his good size and length. His numbers offensively are good (11.4 points, 5.7 rebounds) but I expect him to struggle on the defensive side against Donta Scott’s bulk or Morsell’s quickness. Wagner’s big brother Moritz (Moe) also played for Michigan and is now earning money in the NBA with the Wizards.

First year coach Juwan Howard will allow his team to play a fast-paced game, so the Terps better be ready with their transition defense.

Not only will today’s game be the final home contest for the seniors, but it might also mark the end of Jalen Smith’s career at the XFINITY Center. With his draft stock rising, Smith has put himself in a position to start making some big cash next year. He’ll be motivated to have a big game tonight.

Maryland can beat Michigan defensively if they force Simpson to his left, defend the three point, and get back on transition. The Terps have fallen from the upper echelon of defensive teams nationally, but let’s chalk that up to fatigue. They’ll have renewed defensive energy today.

Offensively, the hosts obviously need to hit some outside shots, but they also must get a big game from Cowan.

Cowan was awful at home against Michigan last year. Jordan Poole and Simpson hounded Cowan into a 4-15 shooting night, including 1-7 from outside the three-point line. Cowan committed 4 turnovers and notched just 1 assist in the 69-62 Terp loss. He needs to be better today.

I think Smith can get Teske into foul trouble. Therefore, I’d feed Smith down low frequently. I’d also like to see Wagner’s man drive on him. I’m not sold on Wagner’s defensive abilities.

It’s a real big game on an emotional stage. The Terps will win. Smith gets 25 and forces Teske to the bench with foul trouble. In his last game playing with his former Mt St Joe teammate, Morsell gets 15. Cowan gets to the foul line and Maryland prevails 76-70. The early line has Maryland as a 4-point favorite.

Tip-off is at noon and the game can be seen on Fox. Terps fans attending the game are encouraged to wear white today.


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March 7
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it's time for concern

Here's the good news: Your Saturday and Sunday just opened up next weekend. You can plan accordingly.

The bad news: Tiger Woods announced yesterday he won't be playing in The Players next weekend. Hence, the shift in your schedule I referenced above.

Woods is skipping golf's self-annointed "5th Major" -- which he's won twice -- because his back is "just not ready". Tiger hasn't played since mid-February when he teed it up at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles. He then missed the year's first World Golf Championships event in Mexico, didn't play in last week's Honda Classic -- 15 minutes from his home -- and surprisingly didn't tee it up this week at an event he's won more times than you've made a right turn on red this month, the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in Orlando.

And yesterday, Tiger failed to meet the 5 pm entry deadline for next week's tournament in Ponte Vedra, Florida. His agent sent a brief email out about one hour before the deadline to let everyone know what was coming and Woods himself posted something early Friday evening confirming the news.

The simple explanation: Tiger's back isn't ready.

This actually all started in Australia in early December during the Presidents Cup. Tiger lugged Justin Thomas around on Thursday and Friday, then, citing a tight back, he sat out both sessions on Saturday afternoon. But he returned on Sunday to clobber Abraham Ancer in the singles matches and no one thought anything else about the Saturday situation.

But that was the first sign that something wasn't right.

We thought we'd seen the last of these kinds of pictures...but maybe not?

Woods did play his traditional season opener six weeks later in San Diego and logged a 9th place finish, then came back a couple of weeks after that at the Genesis and slapped it around for four days of unTiger-like golf. Some played it off as early season rust. Woods didn't say much, other than his usual cryptic comments about the early morning weather temps not helping his 44-year old body and the need to more carefully pace himself through the eight month PGA Tour schedule.

It's all more clear now: Tiger's back is keeping him from playing.

Several national golf writers and media "experts" produced the obligatory "Tiger's just preparing for the Masters they way a 44-year old with a bad back would go about it" columns on Friday and there's obviously some logic to that. Others, like his close friend Notah Begay, who works for The Golf Channel, say Woods has placed so much more focus on the major championships these days that playing in other TOUR events just doesn't have the same appeal it had 10 or 15 years ago.

Eh, I'm not sure I believe either of those opinions.

Woods isn't "preparing" for the Masters by sitting out golf tournaments he would normally play in.

And while I would agree his hyper-focus in 2020 (and beyond) are the four major championships, it doesn't seem logical that Tiger would eschew a handful of "warm up events" leading up to the first major of the season at Augusta National in one month's time.

It's time to be concerned.

Sure, because he's Tiger and he knows Augusta National the way you know your own driveway, he could play in nothing leading up to the Masters and beat everyone in the field and win his 6th green jacket. Anyone who says he's not capable of doing that doesn't know Woods...or golf.

But the odds of Woods winning the Masters with no ramp-up events on his schedule are very, very slim. It's just not practical to think that a guy with no golf tournaments under his belt in what will then be a 2-month layoff can win one of the biggest events of the year.

Tiger's done a lot of stuff in his career, but that would be an all-time triumph, even for him.

His golf hasn't been all that great in 2020, obviously. It's a small sample size, mind you, and there have been lots of under par rounds on his card, but since winning in the ZOZO in October and back-handing everyone at the Presidents Cups, Tiger's play has been spotty. Did he re-injure himself in Australia? Has a new injury popped up that he's not revealing? Fair questions for sure.

In the meantime, the TOUR schedule plods along and the weekly events come and go without much fanfare. Quick, tell us something about the two guys leading this week's event in Orlando without going to Google. I know what you're thinking: "First off, who actually ARE the two co-leaders in Orlando?" (Tyrrell Hatton and Sung Kang). With Woods in the field, there's someone to follow and something to keep you interested. Without Woods, you're left to hope that Patrick Reed moves some sand or kicks his ball from underneath a tree.

The guess here, at least, is that Tiger's Masters appearance is now officially in jeopardy. Perhaps he's playing and practicing in Jupiter and just wasn't quite ready for a four-day event. Or maybe he's in the hot tub all day and hasn't touched a club in three weeks. One would be better than the other, in terms of potentially playing in the Masters, but the fact that he can't go next weekend at The Players is a major red flag.

But at least your Saturday and Sunday have freed up next weekend. Tee it up yourself or get some of that early spring yardwork done. Just don't hurt your back...

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news and notes

A couple of interesting tidbits came out of the NBA on Friday. For starters, the league has distributed a memo to all teams advising them to start planning for a situation where home games are played but no fans are allowed in the building due to the ongoing concern over the Coronavirus.

You're welcome to insert your own joke here about the Orioles playing in front of no fans in Baltimore for the last couple of years. I'm not doing it...but you can.

I hope it doesn't come to that, of course, and I'm not even a big NBA fan, but it would surely be odd to witness some important late season games be played without the benefit of one team having the home crowd on its side.

Here's something to ponder: How would Vegas and the various gambling houses who set lines on the game react if no fans were in the building(s)?

Also, the CEO of the Atlanta Hawks was in the news on Friday when he suggested that the league essentially wait until football season is nearly complete before starting the NBA season. Steve Koonin says the NBA should wait until mid-December to kick-off its campaign, which means college football's regular season would be complete and the NFL campaign would have just three weeks of regular season games remaining. Koonin's plan would have the NBA regular season ending in June and the playoffs and championship series would then be finished in August, just before the NFL season kicks off again.

I know what yo're thinking: You had no idea Atlanta still had a team in the NBA. They do.

And you're also thinking what I'm thinking: If you can avoid going up against football, you should. So, in that regard, Koonin's plan isn't all that dumb.

Scott Garceau and Jeremy Conn finished up a 10-year run together yesterday on 105.7. Garceau is leaving the station as a sports talk host to assume play-by-play duties for the Orioles, while Conn will shift to a new position in the evenings, with a stronger emphasis on podcasting in the future as well.

I know both of them very well. I've known Scott the longest, having first met him in the mid 1980's when I was with the Blast and he was the sports director at Channel 2. We've played some golf together over the years and have shared some good times along the way. There aren't many men in the media world with more professionalism and integrity than Scott.

Jeremy was a producer on the morning show that Terry Ford and I ran from 2002 through 2006. Back then, Conn was a witty sports know-it-all who wanted to talk more about gambling on the games than the actual games themselves. But along the way he became a solid radio professional and was a perfect fit for Garceau's slower, more analytical style. Jeremy, as I've always said, follows sports as much as anyone I've ever known. He'd probably admit that soccer and hockey are out of his wheelhouse, but you won't find anyone around who knows more about baseball, football and basketball than he does.

Those two produced a lot of good radio over the last ten years. They were a really good team. They'll be missed, for certain.

Sung Kang -- at 7-under par -- is the co-leader of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill through 36 holes. The reason I know a lot about Kang is because his instructor, George Gankas, is one of golf's best new teachers. And as part of my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten Celebration, I'd like to highlight Gankas and his work today. He has helped my golf game immeasurably over the last two years or so -- and I've never even met him.

Gankas is a teaching professional out of Westlake Golf Course in Southern California since 2007. In 1996 he turned professional and played mini tours while starting to teach at the same time. George has become an instructor for players of all levels including members of the PGA Tour and top college players all over the world. His latest client list includes Matthew Wolff, Sung Kang and Adam Scott.

YouTube is filled with Gankas lessons and teaching sessions. If you wanted me to pick one of his lessons that I think every golfer should watch, it would be the one below. My apologies for the title. I didn't make it up, Gankas did. But it's one of his best philosophies and you'll be quite shocked, I think, with what you see. It's much different than anyone else has been teaching for the last 20 years, but.......it makes sense and it works.


March 6
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nose dive in d.c.

It seemed fitting -- to me, anyway -- that on a day at #DMD where I wrote about players, those very individuals for the Washington Capitals stunk it up at Madison Square Garden.

The late season tailspin of the Capitals continued last night with a 6-5 overtime loss to the Rangers. To make matters worse, the worst team in the history of sports won again and are now tied with the Caps for first place in the Metropolitan Division. Both the Caps and F****s have 87 points with 15 games remaining.

In last night's fiasco, the Caps let some dude with a name I can't pronounce score 5 goals against them. Two goals in a NHL game is a good night. On a rare occasion, you score three. Zband-whatever scored FIVE times in the 6-5 overtime win. And, yes, because you might be wondering, he scored the overtime game-winner.

The game was, by any standards, a fiasco for the Capitals.

As the Caps spring swoon continues, Todd Reirden is firmly in the crosshairs.

Penalties. More penalties. And, yes, more penalties. At one point in the third period, the Caps basically spent six straight minutes in the penalty box. And please, please, (one more for good measure) please don't bellyache about the officiating. All three penalties were legit. They were dumb.......but legit nonetheless.

Several Caps players lollygagged around like last night's contest was a September pre-season game. Evgeny Kuznestov played with the intensity of a cotton ball. That's becoming a constant theme for him, if we're being honest here. He's highly skilled, but pretty much a rose petal.

Tom Wilson was on the ice for all four New York even strength goals, including the game-winner, when he got caught napping at center ice and allowed The Five Goal Guy to get behind him on his way to the game-winning tally.

And even the great Alex Ovechkin was a liability on Thursday, despite scoring twice in the 3rd period and helping the Caps secure a point with his last minute goal in regulation. The older he gets, the more Ovechkin tends to have stretches of games like he's having right now where he just doesn't obligate himself to meaningful effort at both ends of the ice.

Over the last five weeks or so, the Caps' goaltending hasn't really been all that good, either. Braden Holtby is having a decent season, nothing more, and Ilya Samsonov is a 23 year old rookie who is starting to show the wear and tear that most first-year players experience in March.

Todd Reirden, the team's head coach, got hammered on social media after last night's game, as expected. This horse has been beat so much the coroner will no longer even come out to the scene for the official declaration.

When a team wins, "the players were great". When a team loses, "the coach sucks".

The Capitals and their fans are mired in that very cycle right now.

Reirden took a distinctly odd turn in last night's post-game press conference when he lit into his locker room without naming anyone specifically. It generally takes a lot for a coach to do that, because we all know, in this day and age, that you have to be incredibly careful of saying something truthful, honest AND critical about a player.

I mean, we all saw Kuznetsov mail it in last night. But you can't say that.

We all saw Lars Eller take dumb penalties in the third period when the team was playing its second game in 24 hours and already gassed from a frantic pace in the opening 40 minutes. But you can't say that.

And everyone saw Wilson and Orlov bungle their coverage assignments at center ice on the game-winning goal. But we can't say that.

Instead, the coach has to tiptoe around the various situations that came up during the game and be careful not to offend anyone in the post-game press conference.

Now, the coach obviously bears the ultimate responsibility in the same way, say, a CEO or the Astros owner is responsible for the performance and conduct of his employees. Reirden was always a bit of an odd choice to replace Barry Trotz, but Caps management probably assumed any goof could coach a Stanley Cup winning team. I mean, it's the players who do the winning, after all. So if that's the case and if they're the ones mostly responsible for it, just shove anyone in there who knows something about hockey and he'll do fine.

And the Caps -- with Reirden in tow -- had a very good 2018-2019 regular season before a familiar post-season flatline in a 7-game loss to Carolina. But, you'll see a pattern developing here, they did all of that in spite of the coach, not because of him. That's what the fan base and "experts" will tell you.

By the way, if the general theme of this situation in D.C. looks, sounds and smells familiar, it's because it is. This is almost precisely what John Harbaugh goes through every year.

When the Ravens win, it's because of Lamar Jackson. Or Marcus Peters. Or Matthew Judon.

When the Ravens lose, it's because Harbaugh didn't have them ready to play.

So what we're seeing bubble over in D.C. shouldn't be in any way shocking to hockey fans. Heck, it's actually happening in D.C. with another sports product: Maryland basketball. When the Terps win, it's because of Jalen Smith. When they lose, it's because Mark Turgeon doesn't know how to coach.

As it relates specifically to the Capitals, I would say, from my vantage point at 35,000 feet, that the team has largely decided to just play things out the way they want to play them out. You can call that "tuning out the coach" if you want, and I'd probably just agree with that phrase so we can move on and argue about something else. But it's true. If you've watched the Caps play over the last two weeks, they're no longer a "team". They're just a bunch of guys playing hockey.

It's also worth repeating one of my favorite sports axioms of all time: The hardest thing to do in sports...is to stop losing.

There's no manual for it. If your car stops working, you can go that Chilton book from the library and toy around with it yourself. If your washer goes kaput, you can go online and watch a video on how to fix it.

No one has ever figured out a guaranteed, foolproof way to stop losing. The only thing that stops losing -- is winning. And players, by and large, don't know why they're losing in the first place. They have to watch game film to see it happen after the fact in order to learn. So, while you're trying to stop losing you wind up watching yourself..........yep, lose.

And the coaches don't always know, either. You can coach 'em up all you want, but in the end, the play on the field, court, ice, diamond, etc. is far beyond a coach's direct control.

This lousy play -- you can call it a collapse and you wouldn't be wrong -- ultimately will be Reirden's cross to bear and the guess here -- just a guess, nothing more -- is that he will not be the coach in D.C. next season if this spring swoon results in another one of those patented early-playoff exits that the Caps seemingly author nearly every Apri or May.

So people will indeed get their wish, I think. Reirden will be gone.

It will then be interesting to see if his departure means Evgeny Kuznetsov gets a new heart. Or the goaltenders make more saves. Or Ovechkin starts working hard at both ends of the ice again. Or guys stop taking dumb penalties in March when legs and minds are weary.

We all know how this ends: You can't fire all the players. So the coach and his staff bear the brunt of it. And the coach and his staff should be held accountable, by the way. It's their team, after all.

But the players who did the job well when the team was winning with regularity earlier this year -- with the same coach and staff -- are also responsible for themselves and their performance when the team loses.

For reasons I've never figured out, we tend to forget that.

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40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 10: glenn clark

Twenty minutes after I met Glenn Clark for the first time -- circa 2006 -- I looked to the back seat, sizing him up.

"You think you know a lot?" I asked him.

He and a mutual friend who were in the back seat of rental car in Phoenix during Super Bowl week both snickered. It was a snicker I'd hear a lot from him in years to come.

"Yeah, I know a lot of stuff," Clark said.

I was about to throw him a curve ball. I assumed he expected a sports question. "Where did Hines Ward go to college?" or "Who won the 2001 British Open?" or something else that would test his sports knowledge.

"OK, wise guy......where's the band 311 from?" I asked.

Clark didn't even let "from" get finished.

"Omaha," he snapped. "Next question."

That was the first time I ever challenged Glenn Clark. It wouldn't be the last, of course, as we wound up doing a radio show together for three wild years before he was handed the keys to his own show and I inherited another producer/co-host.

It's fitting that I'm adding him today in my "40 Days and 40 Friends" Lenten Celebration because on Friday mornings I sit in with him on Glenn Clark Radio, which you can find at www.glennclarkradio.com.

He's become a master interviewer, I'd say. Not that he isn't good just sitting around talking about sports, because he is. But we all have strengths and then we have one or two things that are sort of "extra" strengths. And interviewing people is one of Glenn's "extra strengths".

He's also very good at play-by-play, which might even wind up being his actual calling someday. As I tell him often (off the air, of course) there will come a day when talking about sports for two, three or four hours just loses its luster. You realize, eventually, that your opinion on sports holds real weight with about six people, tops. And when you finally realize that, you move on to something else.

One of these days, I predict Clark will be a play-by-play guy for some college or some pro team and I'll remember him as the kid in the back seat who impressed a new friend by knowing where the band 311 hailed from.

In the meantime, I'm happy to call him my friend. We've had some ferocious arguments and debates over the years. In nearly all of them, Clark contended he was right. That, I learned, is part of his charm. Even when he's wrong, he digs in and insists he's right. He's the kind of guy you want on your team. He's all in.

And, yes, Glenn was right about 311. They were originally from Omaha.


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.

i pledge allegiance

This brief piece was inspired by a conversation with the site's editor-in-chief about the Red Skelton clip on reciting the Pledge of Allegiance that ran in Wednesday's edition. Mr. Skelton, you may recall, passed along a lesson he had learned from a teacher many decades ago. He put into words thoughts I sometimes have, that the Pledge is recited by rote with little thought given to the meaning of the words.

I mentioned to Drew that sometimes, in public gatherings when invited to join in reciting the Pledge, I have an urge to remain seated and silent. I never do this, but the urge is there. I always stand and recite in unison. But I wonder what would happen if I didn't participate. I do indeed love my country, dearly, and an element of that love is the stark realization that under any other form of government I probably would have been hanged a long time ago. But I have no particular inclination to announce my patriotism to those nearby, don't care a lick about the patriotism [or lack] of others, and see no purpose in the exercise. So the realization comes that the reasons I join in reciting the pledge are that I don't want to irritate other folks and don't want the bother of having to correct erroneous conclusions about my patriotism.

As a now old and crochety man, I profoundly disapprove of professional sports leagues incorporating false patriotism into their branding. And I feel no sense of national pride whatever when an American athlete, after a smashing victory, wraps his or her sweating body in an American flag.

The American flag is the living symbol of this country. Its treatment, and the traditional respect to be shown to it, is codified in the Flag Code (4 U.S.C. § 1 et seq).

§8. Respect for flag, c states, "The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free." When I see a huge American flag unfurled parallel to the field at an NFL game by scores of people holding it around its perimeter, I wonder if it is a deliberate attempt to disrespect the flag, or if it is merely a misguided exercise. The old people must have never known or have forgotten the reason this is [was] not done, and the young now find it to be their new normal.

The U.S. Code provisions are advisory, as no penalties are attached to disobedience. Its purpose is simply to record our traditions. The underlying reason for this particular tradition – that the flag should fly upright and free – is because it represents the citizens of the United States of America, and we citizens also stand upright and free.

The U.S. Code doesn't ban using the flag as a sweat towel after a contest. I suspect that when the Code was enacted [in 1942, during World War II], this unsanitary and grossly disrespectful practice was unthinkable.

There are occasions when I'm moved without reservation to recite the Pledge. One such time is when my VFW Post conducts a flag-retirement ceremony. The Code, §k states, "The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning." We built a special area on the Post grounds for retirement ceremonies. The surrounding community knows that we collect flags for dignified retirement, and many drop off their flags for storage until a ceremony is scheduled. All are invited to participate when one is conducted. Attendance at ceremonies is voluntry for Post members, as of course it is for community members. Each ceremony has but a single purpose. One such ceremony is shown in the video below.

You'll see, at the end of the clip, a special visitor who has attended four of the last five ceremononies. She might have been at the fifth and I didn't see her. She never participates, just observes from a distance. Then leaves out at the conclusion.


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March 5
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in search of "the right players"

This weekend in Baltimore, I'm hosting a first-ever event that will bring high school golf coaches from all over the Middle Atlantic together in a conference-type setting. It's a concept I've been tinkering with a for a couple of years and back in November I finally got up the gumption to make it a reality.

The Middle Atlantic High School Golf Coaches conference will feature a dozen panelists and guest speakers on various topics, including training, nutrition, NCAA compliance, junior golf tournaments, golf swing fundamentals, developing effective practice habits and more.

One of my personal obligations in the conference is to discuss the player-coach relationship and how an engaging, honest relationship with your players helps foster a successful team environment.

As I went through my notes and developed my presentation on Thursday, a subject came to mind that I think connects with Maryland basketball and the Washington Capitals, two teams going in the wrong direction late in their respective seasons.

No, I'm not saying I could coach the Terps. I most certainly couldn't. Mark Turgeon knows far more than any of us about coaching high level basketball, although one trip through Twitter on a Maryland game night might find some guys who seriously think they could do a better job.

T.J. Oshie is a very good player. But is he the "right player" for Todd Reirden?

But I do have an opinion on the makeup of Maryland's roster and that thought came to me yesterday when I was developing my presentation for the golf conference.

I'm a believer that the team with the best players usually doesn't win. Sure, there are occasional outliers with stacked rosters who just roll through the season and clobber everyone, but I contend -- and I think history shows this -- that the best players don't win nearly as often as do the right players.

Virginia most certainly didn't have the best players last April when they won the college hoops title. They simply had the best "team"...or...the right players.

The Nationals barely made the playoffs last year, then almost got eliminated twice in the post-season before winning the World Series in dramatic fashion. They didn't have the "best" roster in baseball. Not by a longshot. But they had the "right players" who all came together at the right time.

You see this play out in hockey all the time. Nearly every year, the team with the best players on its roster doesn't win. And a collection of players with varying levels of ability wind up winning the whole thing, much to the dismay of the talent-soaked teams they beat along the way.

This, of course, is not my way of saying you don't need really good players in order to compete and be successful. You most certainly do. You can be the best coach you're trying to be and if you don't have quality players, you're not winning.

My first two years of coaching high school golf were at John Carroll in 2011 and 2012. We went 0-8 both seasons up there. I don't think I knew any less about golf back then that I know now, but my roster was filled with kids who liked golf but had no experience playing it at a high level and couldn't break 85 on their best day. They were awesome young men (and women...we had a female on our team) and they were a pleasure to coach and work with but we were never going to win a match in the A-Conference of the MIAA with six kids who couldn't break 85.

We got better from year one to year two, even though we didn't win. We improved, but not nearly enough to be competitive.

So you can be the best coach you want, but without quality players, you're not winning.

Oddly, though, you can also have great players on your roster and not win.

There's a memorable scene from the movie "Miracle" where Herb Brooks and Craig Patrick are discussing the roster make up of the 1980 Olympic hockey team and Brooks gives Patrick the list of players he intends to keep for the tournament.

"You're missing some of the best players," Patrick says to the head coach.

"I'm not looking for the best players," Brooks shoots back. "I'm looking for the right ones."

In my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration, that simple scene -- which really did happen (it wasn't just a movie) -- has stuck with me for a long time and is #9 on my on-going list. Whether you are a soccer coach, basketball coach, golf coach, CEO, Vice President or department head, you're not always looking for the "best" people. You're looking for the "right" people.

Any coach who has the responsibility of compiling his team's roster faces the roster-cuts situation. Coaches are constantly looking for the "best" players they can get. If your roster has 25 spots, you want your 25 players to be better than any other team's 25 players. That's not possible, obviously, but it's still a thought that every coach generates.

But as I watch Maryland and the Caps play, I wonder if those coaches have the "right players". I don't know if they do, because I'm not there with them every day. I'm not at practice. I have no idea if the players on those two rosters are "right" or not.

What we see on the court or on the ice on game day is only 50% of what makes a player "right". All of the other stuff before the game, in practice, in meetings, in the locker room...those are the things we don't see, but are critically important to the roster make-up.

In last night's game vs. the Flyers, I saw something from two distinguished Capitals that looked concerning. There was a moment where both Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie essentially quit on the play and their lack of effort created a 5-on-2 situation that the Flyers easily cashed in on. Vrana and Oshie were both members of the Stanley Cup winning team from two years ago, which makes them decorated players for the rest of their lives.

On that particular shift, though, last night, they each quit. And it made me wonder, just for a second: Are they the "right" players for Todd Reirden? They were part of the Cup winning team under Barry Trotz and both Vrana and Oshie are high quality hockey players. But are they......the right player......for Todd Reirden and his system? I don't know the answer, because, as I noted above and say all the time to people, if you're not around the team every single day, you don't know half of what's really going on.

But I bring up that very small example to point out that a player can be "right" for one coach and potentially "not right" for another one.

Both Turgeon and Reirden get raked over the coals for their team's losing ways. A large number of Caps fans would prefer Reirden and his staff be fired today. A significant portion of the Maryland fan base would rejoice if Turgeon got the boot this afternoon.

And coaching does matter. Anyone suggesting it doesn't is just wrong, plain and simple.

But do those two teams have the right players?

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

one game at a time, friend…

My group of Facebook friends is — like yours, probably — a motley crew (alas, no members of Mötley Crüe (1) are my Facebook friends). For instance, my friends include both Ocean City legend DJ Batman and my mother, whom I believe are contemporaries. I have “friends” that I don’t really like that much, and others whom I admire greatly, either closely or from afar.

Someone who fits into the latter category took a step down the friend ladder Tuesday when he posted the following Facebook missive:

“On Super Tuesday, I have officially asked the courts to emancipate me from the University of Maryland basketball team. I can no longer do this year after year with Mark Turgeon at the helm. I am officially adopting Tony Bennett and the Virginia Cavaliers (2). If and when Maryland gets a new coach I may return, but until then Charlottesville has my heart. This is a mental health move.”

Maryland lost to Rutgers on Tuesday, you’ll recall, and big time at that. To use the tired sports cliché, the final score of 78-67 (3) was not indicative of the game itself. It wasn’t quite Reagan-Mondale 1984, though like then the Terps recently won in Minnesota, albeit barely. The second half of the game in Piscataway was uncompetitive, and people don’t understand how a highly-ranked team leading the season’s best conference wasn’t competitive.

Tony Bennett and the University of Virginia picked up a new fan on Tuesday night after Maryland lost at Rutgers.

Apparently that was enough to make my acquaintance jump off the ship. I’m sure others did the same, without the same eloquence. And to them I ask…since when is being a fan of a college basketball team supposed to be good for your mental health?

Here’s what I mean. A basketball game — especially a college game — can be a real struggle. Three minutes can make a big difference. And I don’t understand how those three minutes could make someone pick another team to root for, or make you finally give up on the coach or proclaim that you won’t watch a game from now on.

Like everyone who’s jumping ship, I watched with anticipation Tuesday night. I wondered if Maryland could beat a beatable team, albeit one that’s been difficult to beat at home, and earn a hard-won trophy4. Andy Katz even showed the trophy on the broadcast pregame, and only one team in the building had a chance at it.

The first half wasn’t pretty, but Maryland trailed just 35-29 at halftime. The Terps then had the ball to begin the second half and ran a great play, as teams often do on the first possession of a half. Jalen Smith caught the basketball in perfect position near the basket, with his defender in terrible position. Smith turned toward his left shoulder and tossed a soft half-hook toward the basket. The ball bounced twice on the rim and came out, and I winced.

On their next possession, the Terps still trailed by six. We know that Maryland finished 6-for-32 from three-point range in the game, but the shot that Anthony Cowan got on that possession was as open as any three-point opportunity he’s had all season.

The shot was a brick, and I winced again.

On the following Maryland possession, with his team still trailing by only seven points, Eric Ayala took a three-point shot that was nearly as good as Cowan’s 25 seconds earlier. He missed. A few moments later, Rutgers’ Akwasi Yeboah took a deep shot that was somewhat contested, and it hit nothing but net (5). Soon after, trying to play more aggressively to ignite his team, Darryl Morsell’s miss in the lane ignited a Rutgers fast break, which ended with a transition three-pointer from Ron Harper, Jr. Turgeon called timeout.

I winced for the final time. The game was over. In the first three minutes of the second half, Maryland executed well and gave itself the opportunity to make the game very close, and Rutgers was somewhat fortunate to have the opportunity to take a big lead. Only one team took advantage of its opportunity.

That’s what happened. Turgeon didn’t coach any better or worse on Tuesday than he has in any other game this year. On Sunday, Maryland will have the opportunity to play its own Senior Day game against Michigan, just like Rutgers did this week.

Let’s compartmentalize for a bit. After winning nine games in a row — and doing so in a variety of ways — Maryland has now lost three of its past four games. Were it not for Morsell’s heroics, that would be four consecutive losses. The Terps were in serious consideration recently as the “next” No. 1 NCAA tournament seed should undefeated San Diego State finally lose a game, which they did (6).

That was less than two weeks ago, and it’s clear that Maryland didn’t take advantage of its opportunity there either. So a few things can happen now.

The way my friend is thinking, the Terps only have three games left this season. They’ll lose at home to Michigan, lose their first game in the Big Ten tournament (7) and probably lose their first NCAA tournament game, since their seed will have taken a tumble.

The way the experts are thinking, Maryland will beat Michigan and earn the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament. All bets are off in Indianapolis, since a Friday game against a No. 7 or No. 10 seed would almost be a toss-up on a neutral court, but the Terps would be big-time favorites in their first NCAA tournament game.

The way I’m thinking? Maryland’s game against Michigan might come down to a few minutes — probably toward the end—like many games between good teams do. What happens in the tournament in Indianapolis won’t have anything to do with these last two weeks, though the recent track record isn’t great (8). As for the NCAA tournament, it’s not worth worrying about until the bracket is announced.

It’s another cliché, but taking it one game at a time as a fan is very freeing, I’d say. And it keeps a person from throwing in the towel and picking another team, no matter if you like the coach or not.

Notes --

1 You can see Mötley Crüe on a stadium tour this summer with Def Leppard, Poison and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. They’ll be at Nationals Park in D.C. August 22.

2 If my friend is looking for a team that makes a lot of shots and is in general “fun” to watch, I wouldn’t suggest this year’s Virginia Cavaliers.

3 In Big 10 play overall, Maryland is allowing about 66 points per game. In their last four games, the Terps have allowed 79, 73, 78 and 78 points respectively.

4 The Big Ten regular-season race could still end in a four-way tie. I assume the league office has as many trophies as necessary for that contingency?

5 In the first half, Rutgers’ Geo Baker hit a three-pointer as the shot clock expired from at least 32 feet away from the basket. Maryland is going through a stretch where the other teams are making those shots.

6 The Aztecs won their final two games to finish the season 28-1. They are still a No. 1 seed in all “bracketology,” and will definitely remain so should they win the Mountain West Conference tournament that starts for them today.

7 Despite the recent struggles, Maryland has clinched one of the top four Big Ten seeds and won’t play until Friday at the tournament.

8 After reaching the semifinals in both 2015 and 2016, Maryland has lost its first game in the conference tournament in each of the last three years.


Discover the Difference
March 4
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5 points

1. Don't look now, but the Philadelphia Flyers are on a roll. -- And as fate would have it, the worst franchise in the history of sports (with 83 points) visits D.C. tonight to take on the first-place Capitals (86 points). Both teams have played the same number of games (65) and this is their final regular season match-up.

Can we please see the Flyers bench look like this tonight?

Tonight's winner won't decide the Metropolitan Division -- not with 16 games remaining after this evening's tilt -- but it will go a long way in helping the Caps secure the Met if they can win and extend their points lead to five. A Flyers win tonight (I break out in hives just typing that) makes it pretty much a dead-heat with five weeks left in the regular season.

The Flyers have come out of nowhere, basically, to cement themselves in the division race. They were 16 points behind back in early January, but now, here they are, challenging the Caps and Penguins in the final month of the regular season. This is, potentially, the single worst thing that could happen in sports, anywhere.

If you think Tom Brady winning another Super Bowl title next season is bad...the Flyers coming back from the dead and winning the Metropolitan Division crown would be worse. If you think the Astros steamrolling everyone in 2020 and winning the World Series without cheating is awful, the Flyers winning the division is worse. If you believe Duke cutting down the nets in Atlanta in early April is terrible...the Flyers having any success whatsoever is far worse.

I'm not feeling good about this one tonight, Caps fans. I've seen it play out too many times in the past 45 years.

2. Maryland lost to Rutgers in basketball last night. -- Yes, yes, I'm aware Rutgers is "better" this season. Yes, yes, I know they've lost one home game all year. I also have the internet and I can see they didn't have to play Michigan State or Ohio State in their building in 2019-2020. But, please, save your glorifying of Rutgers for another day. With the Big Ten conference title on their serve last night, Maryland laid a colossal egg -- against RUTGERS. That's like having the Big Ten football title in your grasp and coming to -- wait for it -- College Park and losing.

Dale Williams will unpack everything that happened up in New Jersey last night in his game review below, but it's safe to say these are rough seas for Maryland right now. They've gone from a 2 seed to a 3 or 4 seed now, and could freefall even further down if they can't beat Michigan on Sunday or stub their toe badly in the conference tournament.

Something happened after that Michigan State miracle back on February 15. Perhaps the last four games have just been the inevitable market correction that comes with overachieving. But since that stunner at East Lansing, the Terps slept through a 76-67 home win over a lousy Northwestern squad, got battered at Ohio State in a game not nearly as close as the 79-72 final score, pulled off a once-in-decade victory at Minnesota, then got run out of the gym by Michigan State and Rutgers.

That win at Michigan State either gave the Terps a comfort level they never quite adjusted to (also called: being full of themselves) or took so much out of their tank they just don't have anything left to give. Or...maybe the Terps just are what they are, a 6-man-deep team with a good-but-not-great coach who are finally coming back to earth after a scorching 3-week run.

It's tough to swallow: Maryland lost at basketball to Rutgers...in a game that mattered. Any chance the ACC is taking new schools for 2020-2021?

3. NBC golf analyst Paul Azinger is in hot water over his use of a four-letter word on the air. I know what you're thinking. "Of course he's in trouble for using a four-letter word. So what's your point?"

It wasn't the four letter word you're thinking of, friends.

Ian Poulter lashed out Paul Azinger this week: "That European team has been beating your rear ends in the Ryder Cup, don't forget."

Last weekend when Tommy Fleetwood was trying to break through and win his first ever PGA Tour event, Azinger had some sharp words for the talented Englishman and Ryder Cup star. “A lot of pressure here,” Azinger said on the broadcast. “You’re trying to prove to everybody that you’ve got what it takes. These guys know, you can win all you want on that European Tour or in the international game and all that, but you have to win on the PGA Tour.”

"That" European Tour.

No pun intended, but that did it.

With Azinger apparently disrespecting the European Tour -- where Fleetwood has been very successful -- veteran players lashed out at him, including Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn and Ian Poulter. They felt slighted by the broadcasters use of "that European Tour" and tore into the former PGA Champion on social media.

Here's what's weird. Azinger was right.

Every player knows that you can win on the European Tour all you want, but you haven't truly "made it" until you win on the PGA Tour. And if you look at the careers of guys like Ballesteros, Faldo, Montgomerie and Westwood, for example, you'll see a distinct difference between their winning ways on the European Tour and the PGA Tour. All four of those guys were (are) great players. But they had far more success playing the European Tour than they did on the PGA Tour. Those are just facts.

In reality, Azinger was probably trying to dig more at Fleetwood than the European Tour. Had he said "the European Tour" instead of "that European Tour", the whole thing might have sounded different and been received less critically.

But it's 2020, and we spend most of our time these days trying to figure out a way to say something without potentially offending someone. It's an awful way to go about your day. Or your profession.

4. Chris Davis cooled off on Tuesday, but only because he went 0-for-1 with a walk. The O's first baseman, looking to rebound from a dreadful three season decline, is still lighting it up in spring training, despite Tuesday's showing.

Davis is hitting .556 in Grapefruit League action and already has 3 home runs this spring. But here's the most impressive thing about his February and March numbers. Davis has struck out just ONE time thus far in spring training. I know...that seems almost impossible, right?

The obvious best thing about a Davis resurgence would be if the O's were able to peddle him to a contender in July. That sounds terrible to say, but it's true. There's zero chance Davis will be in Baltimore in 2023, so if the O's could somehow find a team to take him off their hands for the final 2.5 years of his contract, they'd do it in a heartbeat.

We all know there aren't many teams who want a $23 million player who hits .200 and has 15 home runs in 150 games.

But a $23 million player who is hitting .258 on July 28 and has 26 home runs at that point? And a very good defensive player, as well? Some desperate team just might scoop that guy up.

What's always made the Chris Davis situation difficult to watch is that he is -- by everyone's standard -- a jewel of a man. He and his wife have poured lots of their own money back into civic and charitable groups in town. He's become a fixture at places like Helping Up Mission over the last five years. Davis is a good, God fearing man. His baseball skills, sadly, have declined greatly since 2016.

It would be awesome to see him have a bounce-back season in 2020.

5. My "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration takes an interesting turn today at Number 8. I grew up saying the Pledge of Allegiance to start the morning at Glendale Elementary School in Glen Burnie. Some schools still, thankfully, have the courage to say it today at the start of their morning.

I carried that tradition over to my morning radio show when I was the solo host. From 2006 until 2014, I would open the mic at 6:07 am, stand up, and say the Pledge on the air. Even now, five-plus years after my departure, I still have people come up to me and tell me they would say the Pledge with me every morning.

The Pledge of Allegiance has always been important to me. It was important to my parents and, naturally, they passed that on to me. I've passed it on to my children, as well, and hope they'll do the same with their own offspring some day.

It was also important to comedian Red Skelton, who once offered an outstanding four-minute recitation of the Pledge on a 1969 TV show. I didn't see that show live (I was 6 years old) but I've seen the YouTube clip below numerous times. I hope you enjoy it.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps lay an egg at rutgers

Wow! Never in a million years could I have seen the beat down coming that Rutgers handed Maryland last night. Forget the 11-point margin of victory, the final score of 78-67 doesn’t nearly depict the chasm that separated the two teams. It was a 20-point game until garbage time.

Rutgers was very good last night. And Maryland was just awful in a game where they again trailed for almost 40 minutes.

So how did this happen? To me, the game came down to three things. The first was Rutgers had a season best night shooting the ball. At one time they had knocked down 58% of their three-point attempts. This is a 30% team, worst in the Big Ten, remember.

Despite a 19-point night, Anthony Cowan didn't have his best performance according to #DMD hoops analyst Dale Williams.

Second, Maryland hit 6 of 32 three pointers. I don't know what's worse. Going for 6-for-32 or continuing to throw up threes when you weren't hitting them.

Third, and this one is huge: Rutgers physically dominated Maryland. Especially at the guard positions.

The box score will show that Anthony Cowan had a game high 19 points. Toss that stat out, because he struggled. Cowan had trouble beating anyone off the dribble, and therefore couldn’t drive and dish for good looks. He had just 3 assists offset by 3 turnovers. Cowan struggles offensively against bigger, athletic guards. Tonight, was a prime example of that. Maryland won’t beat a good team with Cowan unable to get into the paint.

Last night’s mismatch reminded me of a football game where one team runs the ball for 450 yards while the losing team only gets 5 first downs. That’s how physically dominating Rutgers was. They were faster, stronger, quicker, jumped higher, and pushed harder. Combine that with their unusually effective shooting, and the result was the blowout we all witnessed.

The Terps offense looked shell-shocked by the Rutgers ball pressure. Dribble penetration was almost impossible as Rutgers looked a step quicker than Maryland and they continually cut off the driving lanes. That left Maryland with some open looks at threes, but most of the attempts failed to connect.

Most of those misses were not rattle-around-the-rim misses. Instead, they were bricks with a few airballs thrown in. Also, there were way too many possessions where Maryland struggled to get off any shot at all. If I had to award an “Ugly Shot of the Day’ award, I couldn’t go wrong picking any of Hakim Hart’s five shots, all missed.

On the defensive side, while Maryland was subject to an unexpectedly remarkable night from the Scarlet Knight shooters, they gave up way too many buckets around the basket They got beat off of the dribble, and failed to rotate fast enough to cut off the short pass for an easy basket. Even when they did force a tough shot, the ball seemed to go into the hole.

The Terps are a poor shooting team who have to score off of transition and by dribble penetration. They also need to pound the ball into the low blocks and let Jalen Smith go to work. They can’t win by jacking threes. They just don’t have the shooters to do that, especially on the road.

My advice is to stop being lazy while taking the easy three, and start working harder to get a quality shot. Easier said than done, of course, but that's what I'd suggest to Turgeon and his team as the NCAA tournament draws near.

Maryland will have one more chance to gain a first-place tie in the Big Ten regular season when they host Michigan on Sunday at 12 noon.


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March 3
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by the percentages

0% -- Chances the Orioles win the World Series. I guess it's impossible to be at 0% if you're actually one of the 30 teams in MLB. You'd have to be at, say, at least 1%, right? We all know there's a 0% chance of the Birds winning the World Series, so we'll keep it at 0%.

10% -- Chances the Orioles finish .500 or better. See, I'm an optimist when necessary. I know it's highly unlikely that the Birds go at least 81-81, but I'll give it 10%. (Note: Realistically, it's probably more like 3.5%, but I'm trying to be positive).

Could lightning strike twice in three years for the Caps this June? Highly unlikely.

20% -- Chances the Capitals reach the Stanley Cup Finals. I know they've had a really good regular season thus far, but it's realistically almost a fluke that the Caps are this good given the inconsistent performance of their defensive players throughout the season to date. Come playoff time, those defensive warts are going to cost the Caps in a big way. I hope I'm wrong but.....they're the Caps.

30% -- Chances the Terps win three games in the NCAA tournament and reach the Elite Eight. Maryland's play on the road this season has just been too spotty to expect they can win three neutral court games against decent (expected) teams. It's all in the draw, as they say, but unless something wacky happens and Maryland gets three consecutive inferior opponents, I don't see them winning three straight in March Madness.

40% -- Chances the Ravens do NOT place the franchise tag on Matthew Judon. In other words, it's 60-40 they let him walk and test free agency. My guess now is the Ravens go after a rush end early in the draft and add a veteran free agent who isn't as costly as Judon would be.

50% -- Chances that the XFL never sees season two. Sure, they're off to an OK start, league wise, but that doesn't mean fans and sponsors are in the for the long haul. My guess is people were curious initially and wanted to see if the product has/had staying power. It doesn't. The football just isn't good enough to captivate people. Plain and simple.

60% -- Chances that Tommy Fleetwood's first PGA Tour victory is a major championship. I love his game for Augusta National next month or Harding Park (PGA Championship) in May. Fleetwood is a great player. Like most, his putting is hot and cold. But tee-to-green, he's a stud. Put him on your short list of wagering favorites at Augusta National in April. He could very well win there.

Back to the Final Four for Duke? Maybe so, yes.

70% -- Chances that one of these four teams makes the Final Four in NCAA hoops: Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville. At some point, one "chalk" team almost always makes the Final Four. It doesn't happen every year, but it happens quite a bit. In fact, a "1 seed" has made the Final Four in eight straight Final Fours dating back to 2012 and in four of those eight years, both a "1" and a "2" have made it to the Final Four.

80% -- Chances the Orioles celebrate 40 years without a World Series appearance in 2023. That might be right around the time when the organization starts to truly see the fruits of their painful rebuilding labor, but it's hard to imagine they'll be good enough to make the World Series for the first time since 1983 in 2023. It sure would be nice, though.

90% -- Chances the Ravens make the playoffs in 2020. I haven't even seen the schedule yet and I can call this one a slam dunk. Now, Lamar could get hurt in week three and all bets are off. But if everything's equal at the start of the regular season and stays that way for the most part, the Ravens are going to the playoffs in 2020 and Lamar will get another crack at that elusive first playoff win.

100% -- Chances the Orioles win at least 50 games this season. I've seen some local social media sticks-in-the-mud moaning about a potential 115 loss season (47-115) but there's just no way that's happening. Terrible teams win 9 games a month (54 wins) by accident. It might not be much more than 54, mind you, but the Orioles are, 100%, winning more than 50 games. Book it. Bet it. Put your house on it.

40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

When the University of Delaware shifted their ice hockey program to a "club team" during my senior year of high school, I lost interest in going up to Newark "just to go to school". My (unreachable) dreams of playing in the NHL dashed, I turned my attention to the next best thing. Instead of playing NHL hockey, I wanted to do play by play of NHL hockey.

Ron Weber was the original radio voice of the Washington Capitals.

As I reach day 7 of my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten Celebration, I recognize someone who had a great influence on my life at a young age: Washington Capitals radio voice Ron Weber, who was the man behind the microphone in the early years when a kid from Glen Burnie would listen to every minute of every broadcast.

I had the pleasure of meeting Weber once when I was in broadcasting school. Back then, there was this thing called "mail". I carefully typed a letter to Weber and sent it to his attention at WTOP in Washington, DC. Wouldn't you know it, Weber mailed me a reply, with his phone number and all!! A few weeks later, I was sitting in the stands at Bowie Ice Rink interviewing Weber as part of a project at broadcasting school.

In 2006, I was at a Caps game in DC, roaming around the press box, when up ahead of me I saw Ron Weber. He was no longer broadcasting the games, but was there that night to just take in the game and see old friends. I approached him and mentioned our encounter some 25 years earlier and before I could mention "Bowie Ice Rink", he said, "Sure, I remember, we met at the Bowie rink!"

Listening to Washington Capitals hockey on WTOP Radio is one of my fondest childhood memories. It gave a kid something to shoot for when he realized he wasn't going to play in the NHL someday. And even though I never became the Capitals play-by-play guy, I eventually did make it into radio and, even more importantly, I've been a lifelong fan of the Caps in part because of Ron Weber.

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dale williams aims the
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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

big ten title on the line tonight

Maryland plays Rutgers tonight hoping to become only the second visiting team to win at the RAC in the 2019-2020 campaign.

A Terp win assures Maryland of at least a first-place tie in the Big Ten, while a win by the Scarlet Knights virtually secures their place in the NCAA Tournament. There’s plenty at stake tonight starting at 7 p.m.

Maryland can’t play against Rutgers the way they did when these two teams met in College Park back on February 4th. That game ended with the Terps winning 56-51, but Rutgers was in the game the whole way, and led 25-20 at the half.

Maryland relied heavily on the three-point shot that night, and suffered for it. They only connected on 30% of their threes. For the game, Maryland took 27 threes and just 26 shots inside the arc. There should be a dramatic reversal of those shot selection numbers tonight.

Maryland needs a big game from Jalen Smith tonight as they look to secure the Big Ten title with a win at Rutgers.

I’m not sure if this will happen, but I’d like to see Aaron Wiggins get the start tonight. In the first meeting, Eric Ayala failed to score in 30 minutes of action. The size and length of the Rutgers guards caused him some trouble offensively.

Both Ayala and Wiggins grabbed 6 rebounds, but I thought Wiggins was more impactful despite his 2 for 8 shooting performance. At least he didn’t get blanked like Ayala did, and Maryland needs some offense tonight. The length of Wiggins will serve Maryland well against the long guards of Rutgers.

The last time these teams met, Anthony Cowan should have had a big game based on his quickness advantage. But he went 0 for 4 on his shots inside the three-point line because of the size of those guards. The Terp point only dished out 3 assists against an equal number of turnovers. He needs to be better. His team’s fortunes rest upon his output.

Mark Turgeon only has a limited amount of quality players, so running all night long might put tired legs underneath his starters. That being said, he HAS to run tonight.

Maryland can’t win this game tonight if the score is in the 50‘s like it was in College Park.

Rutgers doesn’t have any pure shooters on this team, but they won’t go 3-17 (17%) shooting threes tonight like they did in the first matchup, and they’ll get more than 4 points from the foul line too. Maryland needs to score and it’s imperative that they get good looks from close range. They don’t shoot well enough, consistently, to depend on deep balls.

Transition buckets are the answer for the Terps. They need to push the pace for 40 minutes.

I liked the way Jalen Smith responded with his back to the basket against Minnesota and Michigan State. I want to see more of that in the half-court tonight. Let Rutgers try to double down and then rotate when Smith kicks the ball out or passes it inside. I'd like to see Donta Scott post up down low also.

Defensively, the Terps only need to limit the dribble penetrations, and box out on missed shots, to stifle the Rutgers offense. There will be a bunch of missed shots, and Maryland needs to snatch them up. Limiting the second chance points will be critical against a strong rebounding team like the Scarlet Knights.

Just like their the road game against Minnesota last week, Maryland again will be the underdog tonight. The spread has them getting 1.5 points. I think Maryland can win here, but they have to play a real heady game.

Rutgers rarely loses at home (17-1 overall). They rebound well and their big guards are strong defensively. This is a sticky spot for the Terps. Rutgers is rested, and hungry. They’ll have a loud crowd as they try to put the sting of losing 6 of their last eight games behind them.

Maryland is a better team than Rutgers. If they play with energy, they win 69-64. A lethargic effort gives them their second loss in a row.


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March 2
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point, counter-point

Pick your side and go with it.

For every point, there's a counter-point. In sports, one person can watch the game and see the exact opposite of what someone else saw...even though both people watched the same game.

Point: Maryland is really good. -- Despite Saturday night's home loss to Michigan State, the Terps are still one of the ten best teams in college basketball. They have a dominant player (Jalen Smith) and a point guard who can take over the game and hit the big shot when necessary (Anthony Cowan). They also have a lengthy record of success in the final five minutes of games under Mark Turgeon. And if you believe in fate and "sometimes it's just your turn", the Terps' chances improve even more. This Maryland team could be very dangerous in the NCAA tournament.

Counter-point: Maryland is a paper tiger. -- After a bunch of lucky wins, the Cleat of Reality finally paid a visit to the Terps on Saturday night in the loss to Michigan State. People forget that Maryland was fortunate to win a couple of December non-conference games when they fell behind inferior teams before rallying to win. And then, in recent weeks, the Terps pulled off miracle wins at Michigan State and Minnesota. The Terps have very little depth, a coach with no real track record in the NCAA tournament, and once they get away from the friendly confines of the XFINITY Center, it's a total coin flip in terms of what kind of quality Maryland will present. This Terps team will be extremely fortunate to win two games in the tournament.

Could Tiger earn a 6th Masters title this April?

Point: Tiger's back stiffness will impact him in the Masters. -- Tiger Woods will not play in this week's PGA Tour event at Bay Hill GC in Orlando, citing a stiff-back in last week's press release after he failing to meet the sign-up deadline. Woods last played three weeks ago at the Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles, then skipped the WGC event in Mexico and this past week's Honda Classic near his home in South Florida. This past Friday, his agent distributed a note to the media simply saying that Woods continues to battle a "stiff back". The Masters is six weeks away, now. Woods will likely only have one or two events prior to the trip to Augusta National to prepare for defense of his 2019 title. Tiger might play the Players Championship and the Match Play Championship, but that's it. With only those two tournaments (if he even plays those), how is he going to test that stiff back and get it ready for the grueling week at Augusta? Tiger fans should be prepared: He's not winning the Masters again this year. Not with a bad back he's not.

Counter-point: It's Augusta, Tiger can win there anytime. -- Can a 44-year old guy with a bad back win at Augusta National? Well, a 43-year old guy did just that last April, so why not again this April? Look, it's very obvious that Woods isn't what he once was. He's simply not able to compete physically on the same level as he could 15 years ago when he beat everyone like a drum. But Augusta National and the Masters...that's a different story. As he showed last April when he won his 15th career major, Tiger can always cobble together a decent round or two at Augusta and put himself in the hunt. Bad back and all, he can make birdie on the four par 5 holes. A couple of more birdies and the obligatory bogey or three and there's an under-par round right there. Don't forget, Tiger didn't play Bay Hill last year, either. He didn't play the Honda last year as well. All he needed as a ramp-up session to winning at Augusta was to compete at The Players and the Match Play Championship. All he needs this year is some warm Augusta weather in early April and he's good to go. Bad back and all, Woods will be there on Sunday...like always.

Point: LeBron James might be the best ever. -- 35 years old and still roaring along, LeBron went toe-to-toe with NBA hotshot Zion Williamson last night in New Orleans...and scored 34 points in 36 minutes on a 14-for-21 shooting night. At this point, unless you're just a contrarian, there's no doubt James is the best player of his generation. Now, though, some NBA experts are starting to wonder if LeBron might be the best player ever. No one has dominated the game in the way he has, particularly in the last five years, when he still gets the best of the game's top stars on an almost nightly basis.

Counter-point: LeBron James doesn't make others better. -- Sure, LeBron is a great player, but would you really want him on your team? Name the last player or two that LeBron made better in Cleveland, Miami, Cleveland (again) or Los Angeles. Go ahead. It's tough to do, right? That's because LeBron doesn't make players better around him. He doesn't even try to do that, in fact. For all of the talk about his position as one of the game's top players, James is a one-man show. He's just there for himself. No one else around him benefits.

Point: The Ravens should draft an outside linebacker in the 1st round in April. -- The last time the Ravens chose a rush end/outside linebacker in the first round was when? Come on, don't go rushing off to Google. If you guessed "Terrell Suggs", you're right. The Ravens haven't selected an outside linebacker in the first round since 2003. And now, after another season of just-OK linebacker play, the Ravens are faced with the potential of having upwards of three high quality linebackers to consider in next month's draft. Simmons, Murray and Queen are just three of the names linked to the Ravens, with others obviously available outside the first round. But after a season of little quarterback pressure from its linebacking corps, is it time for the Ravens to cash in their first round pick on an outside linebacker? The answer is "yes".

Counter-point: Get Lamar Jackson some more wide receiver help in the 1st round. -- Linebackers? They don't score points and help the quarterback. The Ravens are "this close" (fingers held narrowly apart) to breaking open the entire league with Lamar Jackson and his band of offensive talent. With their first pick next month, the Ravens should be adding another wide receiver to Jackson's stable. Imagine another speedster alongside Hollywood Brown. Scary, right? And if Miles Boykin comes along and improves in year two, the Ravens will have a 3-receiver group to match any young assembly in the league. Remember that home playoff game in January when the Ravens offense fizzled? Don't let that happen again. Get. Another. First. Round. Receiver!

In my ongoing "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration here at #DMD (day 6 today), I'm going to share with you one of the best 18 minutes of "life" you'll ever hear. I've shared this here before, but it's worth doing so again. It's a sermon from Dr. S.M. Lockridge, a former San Diego area minister, and it's appropriately titled "The Greatest Sermon Ever Preached".

I know you have 18 minutes to spare today, at some point. Please spend those spare 18 minutes listening to this.

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"The Keen Eye" of
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DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

consider this...

Every Maryland fan wanted the day to end on Saturday in the way it began, with a late-night celebration of a big win in the same vein as the televised morning celebration of a great season.

In that way, the 78-66 loss to Michigan State was a terrible disappointment. Even worse, the game was over pretty early. The way the Spartans were playing, that comeback we’ve seen from the Terps a few times wasn’t happening, home crowd or not.

In reality, it’s important to look at the big picture too. It was a season split with Spartans, with a win on the road, which in some ways is better for both teams than the more typical home-and-home split. The Terps need to win only one of their last two games to earn a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, and could still win it outright with only one win.

Maryland has hit a bit of a wall, it seems. If it wasn’t for a small miracle from Darryl Morsell in Minneapolis, this would be a three-game losing streak and a real crisis of confidence. Mark Turgeon’s team has made its name on defense this season, but that hasn’t been the case in the last seven days.

And the final road game comes at Rutgers — which has lost just once at home, is desperate after a three-game losing skid and hasn’t played since last Wednesday.

The biggest issue when it comes to the Terps’ lack of depth isn’t foul trouble or fatigue; it’s that Maryland tends to go as their “sixth starter” Aaron Wiggins goes. When he hits a few shots early, or even makes an athletic play on the fast break, it always seems to energize Turgeon’s team. If it isn’t his night, this year’s version of Eric Ayala isn’t enough to make up for it.

Saturday night’s game was highly-anticipated, and the home team’s performance didn’t match the buzz. But when the final buzzer sounded, it was the same as any other loss.

The Terps are still relative neophytes in the conference, in their sixth season as members, and I was thinking the other day about the best Big 10 basketball road trips to make if you’re interested.

I’d first tell you to go to Rutgers, for the purposes of both convenience and atmosphere. You can get there from Baltimore in about three hours, and it’s a quick jaunt off the New Jersey Turnpike. As for the arena itself, the “RAC” is loud, outdated, crowded and uncomfortable…which is great. Someday Rutgers will fundraise for and build (not necessarily in that order) a new place on the wide expanse of New Jersey land the school owns, and it’ll be a sad if necessary day.

As for the other “close’ trip, to State College, Pa., I wouldn’t go out of my way. The only time the cavernous Bryce Jordan Center gets crowded is for something the students call “THON,” where undergrads spend two days dancing while raising money for childhood cancer research. This is a beautiful event, and you should check it out instead of a basketball game.

When it comes to farther-flung places in the league, head first to the amazing Williams Arena at the University of Minnesota. On television, you can see the raised floor, probably two feet above the bench level. What you can’t see is the rest of a building that was originally constructed in the 1920s and sounds like it. Bonus—Minneapolis is a true big city, unlike most of the conference towns. Not a bonus—you’ll be going there in January or February.

The arenas at Purdue, Iowa and Illinois are remarkably similar, though I wouldn’t necessarily say the same about the small-ish cities in which they reside. The arena at Ohio State is just another version of Xfinity Center, in the same way the school is just another version of Maryland, just with a good football team.

Wherever you’re going, bring a heavy jacket or two. You’re unlikely to get a North Carolina “winter” day in Madison or Ann Arbor.

Maryland senior guard Anthony Cowan is one of just two players in program history to score 1,800 points and hand out 550 assists; the other is Greivis Vásquez, who amazingly has been gone from campus for 10 years now. You can be a great point guard at 6-foot-6 or less than six feet, and maybe both will lead their teams to regular-season conference titles as seniors.

Cowan is an interesting player, as was Vásquez, in a different way. The Bowie native is going to be a three-time all-conference pick, ranks high on the Maryland lists in points and minutes and has started every game of his career. Like his one-year backcourt mate Melo Trimble, he’s become a player who makes clutch shots at important times.

Yet somehow, as happens in college basketball these days, some of that gets used against him. If he was a great player, he would have left early, and not just declared for early NBA entry before deciding to return for his senior year. When he doesn’t play well, his size is the issue. When he does play well, he shoots too much and doesn’t play the role of point guard well enough.

I tend to harp on something Cowan said when he decided to return to Maryland for his senior year, which (by the way) came after he had already graduated last May. “As a kid that was born down the street who has always been a Maryland fan,” he said, “I just want to leave my legacy here. I believe I have more to give Maryland.”

This year’s Maryland team is fun in that way, with Cowan playing alongside Baltimore natives and Mt. St. Joe grads Jalen Smith and Morsell. We often hear about the quality of prep basketball in this area, and it’s always great to see when than translates to College Park as opposed to out-of-state.

In any case—and call me old-fashioned—I’ll always be a fan of a player who grew up wanting to play for a team and made his dream come true.

Have you read about this minor “feud” between Turgeon and Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann? It began last Sunday after the Buckeyes beat the Terps in Columbus, when Turgeon said that OSU’s Kaleb Wesson “was allowed to be the bully offensively” during the game.

Holtmann was told about those comments, and he didn’t say much, but Turgeon brought it up again in the following days, and the Ohio State coach was kind of annoyed. On Wednesday, unprompted in an off-day press conference, he said that he continued to take issue with Turgeon’s characterization.

And then there was some great trolling. Later on Wednesday, Turgeon decided to use his celebratory postgame interview to complain about the 9 p.m. ET tip time in Minneapolis. The following night, OSU played a 9 p.m. ET game in Lincoln, Neb., and after the game Holtmann began his press conference by saying that “it was great having a 9 p.m. tip. We could get in here early.”

It’s still too early to call, but it would be great fun if the Terps get the No. 1 seed and end up playing Ohio State in their first Big 10 tournament game. That game would take place at 12:30 p.m. on a Friday in Indianapolis. Too early, Mark?

In all seriousness, I kind of like the feisty Mark Turgeon.

You may remember that the previous Maryland coach was sorta feisty about these type of things. He liked to complain about the ACC tournament taking place in North Carolina 35 of the last 40 years (or something like that) and never quite gave up the underdog role, even though his team spent many years outside that lane.

Maybe Turgeon is just annoyed at the continued sniping at him while his team is having a great season. Or maybe he just had a week where his usually private thoughts, for some reason, came out of his mouth while microphones were stuck in front of it.

Whatever it is, it can be a lot of fun when a couple of adults start sniping at each other in support of their teams.


st. frances wins 3rd straight catholic league crown

Before he became widely known as “Ace,” Adrian Baldwin scored on a put-back at the buzzer, giving St. Frances Academy’s boys basketball team an improbable come-from-behind victory over Chicago powerhouse Morgan Park at a mixer at Poly in January 2017. Baldwin, a freshman guard, was carried off the floor by his teammates.

Even back then, Baldwin had an innate flair for the dramatic. Sunday, he capped his memorable varsity career in style.

No. 2 St. Frances defeated top-ranked Mount St. Joseph, 81-65, in the 49th Baltimore Catholic League Tournament championship game in front of nearly 2,000 at Loyola University’s Reitz Arena. Baldwin posted a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds, in his final area match for the Panthers (38-4 overall).

Ace Baldwin won his 3rd straight Baltimore Catholic League tournament MVP award as St. Frances beat Mount Saint Joseph, 81-65.

The East Baltimore school started fast and finished strong against the Gaels (29-6), who denied the Panthers in the MIAA A Conference final last weekend at Harford Community College.

Sunday, St. Frances completed the fifth 3-peat in BCL Tourney history, and Baldwin became the first player to win three straight tourney MVP honors since former Panther and BCL Hall of Famer Mark Karcher in the late 1990s.

Karcher, who coached St. Frances to the 2009 BCL tourney title (last before 3-peat run), is considered one of the best in the storied history of Baltimore prep hoops.

Baldwin, who will play for Virginia Commonwealth University next season, solidified his spot Sunday.

“Three BCL MVPs, four championships in four years, he’s got to be one of the best players to come out of St. Frances and one of the best to come out of Baltimore,” said St. Frances coach Nick Myles. “His will to win, the drive to want to win every game, every second.”

For the first time this season, Baldwin and the Panthers put together a 32-minute effort against Mount St. Joseph, which defeated them in two of three prior meetings to Sunday. It would’ve been three-for-three if not Baldwin’s heroics in the final five minutes on Valentine’s Night as St. Frances rallied from a 13-point fourth quarter deficit.

“It was a great environment, and everybody came to play,” said Baldwin. “We really wanted this one after losing to them last Sunday.”

Myles said Mount St. Joseph’s MIAA A title celebration on social media struck a chord.

“We were focused, prepared and locked in today,” said Myles.

It started with Khyrie Staten, intercepting a St. Joe’s pass under the basket and scoring the game’s first basket. Baldwin drained the first of his five 3-pointers, giving the Panthers a 9-0 lead.

Mount St. Joseph drew to 21-17 after a basket from Jason Edokpayi, but a Baldwin 3-pointer – sandwiched between four Jamal West’s free throws – pushed St. Frances’ advantage to 28-17.

The lead was 41-28 at halftime and the rout was on.

“Everybody had to buy in,” said West. “When everybody buys in and play their role, everybody wins. We got off to a fast start and kept it going.”

This is a partial reproduction of the game story originally published by our friends at Varsity Sports Network, Maryland's top provider of high school athletics news and information. The full recap of Sunday's Catholic League title game can be found at www.varsitysportsnetwork.com

I Am Catholic
March 1
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sunday stuff

Dale Williams will handle all of the heavy lifting in his Maryland-Michigan State review below. I don't have anything specific to say about how Maryland got blown out at home.

Other than this...

I wonder if the school has ever had two more widely anticipated games bellyflop in front of them like this season's home football loss to Penn State (59-0) and last night's 78-66 defeat to the Spartans?

Mark Turgeon and the Terps dropped the most anticipated Big Ten home game ever last night, 78-66, to Michigan State.

I don't know the answer, by the way. That's why I wrote, "I wonder" to start the previous paragraph.

Maryland football got off to a great start last season. They were -- keep your giggles to yourself, please -- ranked 25th in the country after blowing out Howard and Syracuse to start the campaign. Then, after a narrow loss to a decent Temple team, the Terps hosted Penn State on a Friday night at College Park.

Did they or didn't they cancel classes on that Friday when Penn State came to town? I seem to remember that story floating around on social media but I'm not sure it was legit or urban legend.

Classes or not, that Friday night showdown with Penn State was wildly anticipated. It was going to be the moment where Mike Locksley and the Terps showed everyone they were on their way back...

And........they lost 59-0.

Now, last night's loss to Michigan State was different in that people really care about Maryland basketball. The ESPN GameDay crew was in College Park on Saturday and this was the marquee college hoops game in the entire country yesterday.

The atmosphere was beyond electric. Even Tom Izzo complimented the packed area in his post-game comments.

But the home team again fizzled, losing by 12 points.

If you're wondering how I'm going to somehow tie all of this into a bow and make a point of some kind -- I'm not.

I'd just like to know if there have ever been two more "crushing" home losses in one season of Maryland sports?

There is a great golf tournament being held this weekend at The Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

It's so good that 5-under par is the leading score (Tommy Fleetwood) through three rounds at PGA National. That's not 5-under after 18 holes. That's 5-under......for.......54 holes.

Lee Westwood (-3) is two shots behind third round leader Tommy Fleetwood at The Honda Classic.

For all the recent talk about how length off the tee is hurting the game of golf and more specifically, the PGA Tour, the short 7100 yard layout at PGA National is giving the field all they can handle and then some.

Why is it playing so hard?

The greens are very difficult to putt. There's water on virtually every hole. The chipping areas around the greens are tight and unforgiving. If you miss a green, bogey or double bogey is a near certainty.

Interestingly, the rough isn't all that terrible. Sure, it's a par 70 layout, which inherently lends itself to a lower scoring total over 4 days, but there just aren't that many easy holes on the course.

The place is so good and so hard that they held a PGA Championship there in 1987. Larry Nelson beat Lanny Wadkins in a playoff after the two players finished at just 1-under par over 72 holes.

It's a shame the TOUR can't play regular events at distinguished older courses who can still hold their own the way PGA National is doing this week. This has been three days of really good golf, with birdies and bogeys alike and no fewer than a dozen players who could leapfrog over Fleetwood and win this afternoon.

And it's also a shame that golf course builders still think a layout has to be in the 7700 yard range to challenge elite golfers. PGA National is proof that 7100 yards is more than enough if the holes themselves are punshing if not played correctly.

Chris Davis is off to a great start in spring training. You might have heard about it. He hit his third home run of the month yesterday as the Birds won their 4th straight game, 12-6 over the Marlins.

Davis is hitting .714 so far in 2020 spring training.

Are you excited? It's OK if you are. No harm in unbridled enthusiasm, even for a guy who has been as ineffective as Davis has been for the last three years.

I'm not excited, honestly.

I've learned something along the way over the course of my 57 years.

How you play in spring training has almost zero connection to how you're going to do in April (or, late March) when the games really count.

Just like pre-season football doesn't matter, neither does spring training baseball. Not one iota, in fact.

How you play a practice round the day before the golf tournament begins has no bearing at all on how you're going to play the following day when your swing has to hold up under the gun.

Practice, scrimmage, exhibition, etc. None of them matter. I mean, playing well in those events and games is better than not playing well, but it's not very smart to put any stock in how you perform in games that don't matter.

Like a lot of people, I'd love to see Chris Davis have an excellent season in 2020. He deserves it after the three years of misery he's had to endure.

But I'm not getting excited at all by what he's done over the last week. I'd love to see him do it in April and May, though. At that point, it would matter.

In my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration here at #DMD, today's entry (#5) is the first person I didn't know or meet. But just because I didn't meet Harvey Penick doesn't mean he didn't influence me, which is why he's on my list.

Penick was an Austin, Texas golf instructor who taught the likes of major champions like Tom Kite and Davis Love III. He was well known for his easy-going, no-pressure style. Kite was one of the game's top amateur players under Penick and later went on to win the 1992 U.S. Open. Love III won the '97 PGA at Winged Foot. Both of them prospered greatly under Penick's tutelage.

Penick's famous book, "Harvey Penick's Little Red Book: Lessons and Teachings From A Lifetime in Golf", came out in 1992 and I tore through that thing like President Trump attacks Twitter every morning. It contained some of the greatest golf wisdom of all time, which is why most PGA Tour players believe it's the best golf book of its kind, ever.

Back then, remember, there was no internet. You couldn't go to YouTube and watch a bunch of golf swing videos in slow motion with hours of research and data backing up whatever it was that the instructor was teaching.

In 1992, a "book" was about the best golf instruction you could get from a well known source like Penick.

There are far too many lessons and teachings that I learned then that I still use today, but one of them still sticks out, nearly 30 years later.

Looking up is the biggest alibi ever invented to explain a terrible shot. By the time you look up, you've already made the mistake. - Penick.

In my opnion, this remains one of the great misnomers in the history of golf instruction. I wish I had a nickel for every time someone I was playing with hit a bad shot and immediately said, "I lifted my head up in the downswing." David Duval, Annika Sorenstam and Jim Furyk -- just to name three -- have made a gazillion dollars and won a bunch of golf tournaments by "looking up" in their downswing.

Even now, with my high school players, they'll hit a bad shot and say, "I looked up." To which I say, "Well, I hope you did. How else would you rotate through the ball and see where it was going once you hit it?"

For players that "lift up" in the downswing, what's really happening is that their body is actually extending toward the golf ball in the downswing, a terribly damaging move that most golf instructors call, simply, "early extension". From there, a player loses his angles and his ability to drive hard and fast through the impact area and the head and upper body naturally "come out of the shot". Keeping your head down on the downswing isn't a "bad" thought, but it requires a number of other things to go right in sequence in order to make the ball go where you want intend it to go.

"The Little Red Book" had a profound impact on my love for the game of golf and my ability to play at a modestly decent competitive level over the last 20 years or so.

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outclassed terps fall at home to sparty

Maryland picked a poor time to play their worst defensive game of the year last night at the XFINITY Center.

Not only did the Terps give up way too many easy buckets, but Michigan State lit it up from outside, and seemingly corralled all of their misses to get second chance points. Add in a 7-minute Maryland scoring lapse starting midway through the first half and it all added up to a humbling 78-66 defeat.

It was a brutally physical game, but typical of coach Tom Izzo’s, teams. The bigger the game, the more rugged his Spartan’s play. Maryland couldn’t answer and, in the meantime, lost for the first time at home all season.

The Terps regressed to having one of the same poor starts that highlighted their play earlier in the season. After scoring the game’s first 9 points, it took the Spartans less than 4 minutes to obtain a double-digit lead, 14-2.

By the 14:47 mark, the Terps were down 17-5. Michigan State was on fire from the floor, hitting 7 of their first 8 shots including a perfect 3 for 3 from the three-point line. The first 6 rebounds of the game all went to MSU. It was a rough start to say the least.

Maybe “uninspired” more aptly described the Maryland effort in the opening 7 minutes.

When the Spartan shots started to dry up and the Terps shots started to fall, Maryland was able to pull even at 23-23. It would be the last time the game would be tied.

Michigan State’s board work started to pay dividends and they ran off 7 straight points, with 5 coming off of second chance buckets. At the same time, Maryland was in the midst of a 7-minute scoring draught and found themselves down 7, 32-25, at the under 4-minute TV Timeout.

When Cassius Winston hit a three-quarter court heave at the halftime buzzer, (uncontested) MSU went into the locker room with a 40-29 lead.

In the opening 20 minutes, the visitors hit 7 threes compared to Maryland’s 3. That 12-point differential accounted for the entire Michigan State lead.

Maryland only posted 6 points in the final 10 minutes of the half. Even worse, in those final 10 minutes, the Terps turned it over six times, went 2 for 8 from the field, and missed the front end of a one-and-one.

Those were 10 bad minutes for Maryland and the amped up crowd was silenced. That stretch determined the game.

The second half started with Michigan State scoring 9 points in the first 2:45. Most of the points came in the paint as the Terp defense looked sluggish and disinterested.

The MSU lead was now 16, 49-33. The game was over.

The Terps had put themselves into a hole that was too deep to overcome against a motivated Michigan State team. Winston was killing Anthony Cowan, and the Terps, with his 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting in just 24 minutes of action.

The Terp defense was sieve-like, allowing MSU to hit their first 7 shots of the second half, and when the Spartans finally missed a shot, they were able to capture the offensive rebound and drain a three. It took a charging foul for Michigan State to finally have a dry possession.

The lead grew to 18, 61-43. The Michigan State starters had hit 21 of 33 shots. Ballgame. There can’t be a comeback when you fail to get stops.

Maryland’s guards were woefully outplayed last night.

Cowan failed to hit a three, and committed 4 turnovers. Aaron Wiggins made only one of seven shots and Eric Ayala missed all 4 of his attempts. In contrast, the combo of Winston and Rocket Watts pumped in 33 points for Michigan State.

The three-point shot was also critical last night, but that’s no surprise in college basketball. It’s virtually impossible to win a game when one team outscores the other by 18 points from behind the line. That’s what happened last night when MSU knocked down 12 triples compared to Maryland’s 6.

Here's the 3-word summary from last night's big showdown at College Park: Maryland got steamrolled.

For the Terps, it's on to Rutgers for a 7pm game on Tuesday night at the RAC in New Jersey.


February 29
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40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

day 4: scott manning

In my 17 seasons with the Blast organization, I created friendships with a lot of people. Some were in the front office, some were players on the field. As I go through my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration here at #DMD, it's inevitable you'll see other Blast-related names pop up.

One of those, Scott Manning, is appropriate to bring up today.

Tonight, the Blast will induct three new members into the franchise's Hall of Fame. One of them, former athletic trainer, Marty McGinty, is a friend of mine. Marty and I were roommates on the road with the Blast from 1988 through 1992, in fact. Marty is a good, good man. And he was a terrific trainer, too. He still is, in fact, although he now works at Curley High School instead of with the Blast.

The other two inductees going in tonight are David Bascome and Lee Tschantret. Both were players for the team in the late '90s, early '00s. I know each of them, but they both arrived on the scene after I departed in 1998. David and Lee were outstanding players, for sure.

Scott Manning was the MVP of the 1983-84 MISL Championship Series when the Blast defeated the St. Louis Steamers, 4-games-to-1 and Manning was the winning GK in games 2, 3 and 4 of that series.

I first met Scott Manning in 1982. He came to the Blast that season after a short stint in Buffalo. In short time, Scott not only became one of the best Blast players in history, but he finished his indoor career as one of the top 10 goalkeepers in the history of the "old MISL". Some lists -- like mine, for instance -- might even have him in the top 5. He was, by anyone's account, a great goalkeeper.

Scott Manning is not in the Blast Hall of Fame.

Because some of you might not be overly familiar with the Blast, circa 1985, and the quality of Manning's performance in particular, I'll paint this picture for you. Most people would agree in the history of Ravens football that the team's top three players were Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Jon Ogden. In Orioles history, it might go Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer.

In Blast history, any historian of the franchise would tell you the best three players were Stan Stamenkovic, Mike Stankovic and Scott Manning.

Not having Scott Manning in the team's Hall of Fame is akin to Jon Ogden or Jim Palmer not being in the Ravens Ring of Honor or Orioles Hall of Fame.

So, yes, this is a significant void. There is not a debate about the quality of Scott Manning's play as a member of the Blast, in the same way there's no debate about the quality of Ogden or Palmer. Scott Manning is a Hall of Famer, period.

But he's not in.

And I'm not blowing hot hair about this because Manning is still in town, belongs to the same golf club as me, and remains one of my friends from my 17 years in the soccer business. I'd be saying this every February if, say, Joey Fink wasn't in the Hall of Fame and I no longer spoke with him on a regular basis.

What's right is right and what's wrong is wrong and Manning not being in the Hall of Fame is wrong.

He's not in the Hall of Fame because the team's owner hasn't allowed him in. I don't really know all of the details, honestly, although a decade or so ago I heard "a story". Let's just leave it at that.

For a long time after my departure in 1998, the Blast gave me a vote on the team's Hall of Fame class. After a few years of not seeing Manning go in, I started to inquire with the team's front office about the former goalkeeper's exclusion from the Hall. One year, I hand wrote his name in with a small note scribbed next to it. I was told that didn't go over well. I did the same thing again the following year.

I was told by someone in the organization "Scott's never getting in". That seemed a little too definite for me. "Never?" "Ever?" That's a long time to punish someone.

At one point in the mid 2000's, bored for sports talk fodder in February, I suppose, I went on the radio and barked about the injustice of Manning not being in the Hall of Fame.

I no longer received a Hall of Fame vote after that on-air session where I questioned the legitimacy of a Blast Hall of Fame without Scott Manning's name on the banner.

So, I made my point but lost my Hall of Fame vote. I wasn't trying to stir the pot. Rather, I was trying to speak for Manning when he apparently wasn't able to speak for himself. I remain a fan of the organization and the team to this day and have been to several home games this season. I can proudly say that I've seen at least one home game of the Baltimore Blast for 40 straight years.

Scott Manning was a great goalkeeper and a terrific representative of the Blast franchise during his tenure with the franchise (1982-1991). He was one of the organization's most visible players in the community and loved Baltimore so much he stayed here when his playing days were complete.

I'm heading out to the Hall of Fame game and induction ceremony tonight. I'll see a lot of old, familiar faces, many of whom I grew to know on a deeply personal level over the years. I might even bump into Ed Hale, the current Blast owner whom I worked for from 1988 through 1992. Ed's a good man who has invested nearly 30 years into the game of indoor soccer in Baltimore. He, too, is a Blast Hall of Famer.

But good men can make mistakes, too. And we all make them. Not having Scott Manning in the Blast Hall of Fame is a mistake. Every name on the banner is watered down just a smidgen because Manning's name isn't up there.

In this Lenten season of celebration, I can only hope that somehow, tonight, Ed sees that the time has come to put Scott in. Whatever happened between those two can't possibly be bad enough to not having Scott Manning's name rightfully placed in the team's Hall of Fame.

Either way, though, I'm happy to call Scott Manning a friend.

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unbeaten home season on the line tonight

There were so many games-within-the-game when Michigan State played Maryland in East Lansing just two weeks ago, that it’s hard to figure out which one is repeatable.

Are we likely to see the Maryland team that raced out to a 39-24 lead with just 3:00 minutes left in the first half, or the one the Spartans outscored by 21 points over the next 20 minutes? Maybe we’ll get the Terp team that won the final 3:25, 14-0 (I doubt that).

One thing we can count on: This will be a raucous environment starting at 8pm. If you’re not lucky enough to view the game in person, you can catch the action on ESPN. The network has set up their “Game Day” shop in College Park. This is the premiere home game for Maryland, and I’m hoping the students have a flash mob performance awaiting the attendees and TV viewers.

I’ll start out my evaluation of tonight’s game by sharing some concerns.

Can Maryland complete the regular season sweep of Tom Izzo and Michigan State tonight in College Park?

I’m concerned that Michigan State will make a higher percentage of threes in the XFINITY Center than the 21% they hit at home.

I’m concerned that Rocket Watts will far outperform his 5-point game that he had two weeks ago.

Also, I’m concerned about Anthony Cowan’s ability to replicate his 5 for 9 three-point shooting. Three of his triples came in succession during the game winning stretch in the final three minutes of that 67-60 win.

On the plus side for Maryland, outside of Cowan’s 9-9 from the foul line, the Terps tallied only 3 points shooting free throws. Tonight, that will surely change for the better. On that same note, Cowan went 5-9 shooting threes, his teammates went 4-16. He’s bound to get more help in this rematch with the Spartans.

I recognize the level of defense that these two teams can play, and that tenacity surely played a role in the final score of the February 15th game, but the 127 total points (67-60) of the first game will be blown away in tonight’s contest. Both teams, and coaches, know the value of easy buckets in the transition game and they’ll run when they can.

The pace of play will be much different this time around. 67 points won’t win this game, as I anticipate both teams to score over 70.

Maryland will continue to get Jalen Smith heavily involved in the offense. He led his team with 14 shot attempts in the first game, and he’ll get something close to that tonight.

One person that didn’t get involved offensively when these teams clashed 2 weeks ago was Darryl Morsell. The Terp hero against Minnesota failed to make a field goal against the Spartans. He’ll be key tonight in the Terps fast break offense and will post double digit points.

Overall, I’d rate Maryland as the better defensive team, but Michigan State as the superior offensive team. In an attempt to predict the outcome, I’ll assume that neither squad goes nuts from behind the three-point line. If that holds true, then Maryland should win this game.

Transition defense and rebounding are the keys tonight. If Maryland can hold their own in those two departments, then they’ll clinch no worse than a regular season first place tie. They will do just that, in a hotly contested game, that ends in the home team’s favor, 76-72. For you short term investors, the early line has the Terps favored by 2.5 points.

February 28
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bregman, brooks and brady

There was an interview with Alex Bregman a couple of years ago where the Astros third baseman said this: "One of the best things about baseball is that we police ourselves. Call them unwritten rules if you want, but when you get to the majors, you find out real quick what they are and that you're supposed to abide by them. I love that we keep order in our own game."

Bregman is a lucky man. "Lucky" because he's now getting a first-hand glimpse into how many of his major league brethren also believe in baseball's unwritten rules...just like him.

More home runs...or hit by pitches...in 2020?

In their first three games of spring training, Bregman and his Astros teammates were hit with 7 pitches. Bregman himself got plunked in the back against the Cardinals a couple of days. Credit to him, Bregman just strolled down to first base.

If the Astros can put aside this upcoming six month torture tour and win the American League West again, it would be, in my opinion, one of the best stories and best accomplishments in the history of the sport. Part of the charm of the arduous 162-game baseball schedule is that half of that slate is spent on the road, where you typically get to toil in anonymity, whether it's walking in a visiting city at lunch time or playing the game in an "away" venue. When you're on the road, the focus is typically on the home team. The road team is just another visiting squad with different uniforms.

The Astros will get no such treatment this season. In every city, every game, and every inning, they'll have a bullseye on their backs. Everywhere. If they can rise above all of that and win 95 games again, they deserve any accolades they earn, as long as they're no longer cheating, obviously.

Bregman loves baseball's unwritten rules. That's good. So, too, do the other 29 teams and their players. Bregman will find that out this season.

Earlier this week, a portion of a GQ feature on PGA Tour player Brooks Koepka was leaked to the media to generate interest in the upcoming March issue. Koepka is one of golf's rising stars, with four recent major championships and a position as one of golf's most outspoken people.

In the article, Koepka spoke out against golf's "stuffiness", criticizing things like men removing their hats indoors, the need for having their shirt tucked in, and the "no cell phone" policy that many private clubs enforce these days.

“One thing I'd change is maybe the stuffiness," Koepka told the magazine. "Golf has always had this persona of the triple-pleated khaki pants, the button-up shirt, very country club atmosphere, where it doesn't always have to be that way. That's part of the problem. Everybody always says, ‘You need to grow the game.’ Well, why do you need to be so buttoned-up? ‘You have to take your hat off when you get in here.’ ‘You're not allowed in here unless you're a member—or unless the member's here.’ Really? I just never really liked the country club atmosphere. I know that drives a lot of people away from liking me. But just 'cause this golf club has such prestige and the members are all famous and have a lot of money…like, why can't I show up and just go play the golf course? Why do I have to sit in my car and wait for the member?"

One of the pictures in question from next month's GQ feature on Brooks Koepka.

Opinions. Everyone has them. Private clubs have rules. Not just private golf clubs, but all private clubs. Businesses have "rules" too. Koepka, of course, runs his own business, so it's not all that surprising that he doesn't understand the need for common, basic rules that corporate folks need to follow as best they can.

But that's not the issue here.

In the aftermath of the story, another "issue" surfaced.

Koepka got blasted by readers and "influencers" who criticized his attire and one of the scenes -- at least -- where he was photographed.

"Dude's crying about golf being stuffy and he's wearing a $900 Louis Vutton shirt," someone wrote on the GQ forum. "Nothing stuffy about that."

"So wait, he doesn't like the country club lifestyle but he's racing around Florida in his $200,000 boat?" another guy (Mick) wrote.

"A stuffy golfer blasting other stuffy golfers for being stuffy," Melissa said. "Nothing to see here."

And on it went. Everyone had an opinion on Koepka. Not on his "opinion", which might have merit or might not. Golf most certainly has had a long set of rules and standards that have been slow to change. A couple of years ago at a friend's member-guest, I was admonished for playing music during our round. "Can you turn that off?" a competitor asked me. "We don't play music on the course." At my club in Baltimore, I'd say at least 50% of the groups on the course have music playing.

But anyway...Koepka wasn't criticized for his opinions. He was criticized for -- wait for it -- what he was wearing..............in a fashion magazine.

Are people really that eager to blast someone? Just because Koepka did his interview on a $200,000 boat, his words don't have value? What, he was supposed to do the interview in a dark alley in New York somewhere?

People, man...

There's talk around football that Tom Brady is prepared to enter free agency this off-season and, potentially, end his 2-decade run with the New England Patriots.

There are a lot of teams who could use Brady, still. There are a few hammerhead goofs in the national media who think Brady is "done". He's about as "done" as Chris Davis is "back" after hitting two spring training home runs.

New England? Or elswhere?

Tom Brady is like most quarterbacks who have been around for 20 years. He needs more help the older he gets, not less. Ten years ago, he could get by with three scrubs and Randy Moss at wide receiver. He and the New England offense could survive with Corey Dillon as their running back. But in 2020, Tom can't do it by himself. So, he's not "done". He just needs help.

Now, the question is: Are the Patriots done with Brady? They might be. It would be a very Belichick'ian thing to do to send Brady off into the sunset somewhere, just to prove that every player has a finish line that they eventually cross over.

But Belichick isn't beating anyone next year without Tom Brady behind center.

A Brady-less New England squad would be hard pressed to go 8-8 in 2020.

8-8 could win the AFC East, by the way...

Brady would help the likes of Indianapolis or the LA Chargers or, perhaps, even someone like Carolina or Tampa Bay, both of whom have veteran returning quarterbacks that have been inconsistent over the last couple of years. John Elway might even sniff around in Denver.

My guess is Brady winds up right back in New England, but it sure would be interesting to see what the Pats would do if Belichick gives TB12 the heave-ho and goes with another quarterback.

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40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

"94 million people..."

It's rare that you meet someone who immediately impacts you.

Most times, it will take multiple encounters before a new person in your life creates an impression.

I only met Tim Tebow one time.

But that was enough.

Day 3 of my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration is an awesome story about my chance meeting with the former Heisman Trophy winner.

Tebow came into the Super Bowl media center when the big game was played in New York. I don't remember the day, but I think it was early in the week, like Tuesday or maybe Wednesday. He was brought to our table by a PR handler. I don't even remember what he was hawking that day. Soup, maybe? Or a sports drink? I don't recall.

Anyway, Tebow sat down at the table. I introduced myself. Glenn Clark was there as well. While on a commercial break, Clark and I were talking about going to dinner somewhere in New York.

"What kind of food do you guys like?" Tebow asked.

Most guests who come up to the table use idle time to go through their phone or talk to their handler(s). It's rare that a guest in front of you actually talks off air.

We chatted with Tebow about restaurants and food. I wanted steak that night. Clark was harping about fish or something else, I think. Tebow rattled off the names of steak places in the area. He mentioned one of them and said, "They have an unreal vegetable medley there. Be sure and get that if you go."

A few seconds later, I noticed Tebow scribbing something on a small piece of paper. As we got back on the air, he slid it over to me. It had the address of the steak place he was glowing about earlier. Tebow also wrote: The owner's name is Marcus. If he's there, tell him Tim sent you.

We completed the interview and off Tebow went. "Friendly guy," I said to Clark. And that was it. Other guests came and went that day and I frankly didn't think much more about the encounter with Tebow.

The next morning, just before 9 am, I darted off the set to use the bathroom. Before getting back to the table, I stopped for another coffee refill.

A voice to my right said, "So, Drew, did you and Glenn choose steak or fish last night?"

It was Tim Tebow.

He was swirling some lemon and honey in a styrofoam cup of hot tea.

"Steak or fish?" he asked again.

We chatted for a minute about our dining event from the night before. "I had some great fish at (I don't remember where)" he said.

"Well, Drew, nice seeing you again," Tebow said with his hand out. "Hope you have a good rest of the week. Thanks for having me on yesterday."

I have no idea how many people Tim Tebow met during his two or three day trip to New York. He's Tim Tebow. He must have met hundreds of people. Hundreds...

But 24 hours after meeting two goofs from a Baltimore radio station, Tebow not only remembered my name but seemingly wanted to have an earnest discussion about our restaurant choice from the night before.

"Remember their name" is something Tebow taught me that day.

It's not always easy, of course. But remembering someone's name and calling them by their name is the hallmark of a quality leader. Tim Tebow wasn't the greatest NFL quarterback, of course, but he sure was a great leader when he was at Florida.

Tebow is also a remarkable public speaker. If you have six minutes to spare today, please watch the video below. It includes something great that happened in Tebow's life. He beat the Steelers in the playoffs. We can all get behind that, right?

I Am Catholic
February 27
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an unforgettable lesson

I don't remember the exact day but I can narrow it down to sometime in the summer of 1986.

I probably hadn't ever posted a complete 18-hole round of golf with a score under 90 by that point.

I picked up the sport at a late age, in my early 20's as it were, mostly because then Blast coach Kenny Cooper wanted me to be able to play with media members in town like Vince Bagli, Jack Dawson and Jim West.

So, through a very loose agreement with the fine people at Rolling Road, Cooper and I would occasionally tee it up at the outstanding course on Wilkens Avenue near UMBC. It was there, on that 99-acre facility, that I got my first-ever formal golf lesson.

I don't remember the date, as I noted above, but I remember it like it was yesterday.

On Day 2 of my "40 Friends in 40 Days" Lenten celebration, today I say thank you to the great Bill Bassler, Sr., of Rolling Road Golf Club. He passed away 15 years ago but his words have never left me.

Bill saw me hacking away at a wedge on the short 9th hole at Rolling Road one summer day and pulled his cart up next to me.

"You need help," he said.

As I grew to know Bill Bassler, Sr., I learned that was a strength of his. Direction communication, with no wasted words.

Bill threw a ball down. "Hit that one," he growled. Bill had a distinct voice. Think Bruce Springsteen and you're close to what he sounded like.

My wedge shot careened off the club dead right and missed the green by 10 yards short and 20 yards wide.

"Put your stuff in the cart and come with me," he said. Later, I'd learn he probably did this because I was backing up the whole course. But in the meantime, I was about to get the first lesson of my life.

We drove over to the 13th hole at Rolling Road.

"Get out your 7 iron," Bill said.

He threw a few more balls down that had been discarded in the back basket of the cart.

"Golf is very simple," he said.

"It's a hands game."

Bassler nudged one of the balls close to him.

To this day, I can still remember what he was wearing. A neatly pressed white golf shirt, perfectly pleated long beige pants, and brown golf shoes, untied.

He certainly looked like a guy who knew what he was doing.

"The rest of your life," Bassler sneered, "you're going to hear people tell you about the shoulder turn, the hip turn, where your feet should be, keep your head down and a bunch of other bulls**t that doesn't really matter."

"Here's what matters..." he said.

And with that, he hit a piercing shot down the fairway at #13 at Rolling Road, with my clubs, no less. And no practice swings or warm-up.

"It's a hands game."

"The clubhead is all that matters. It's at the end of the shaft. You hold the club with your hands. Not with your shoulders or feet or hips. With......your.......hands." And just as he said that, he drilled another shot down the fairway.

Armed with that thought, I was ready to start really learning golf.

Believe it or not, just three years later, in the spring of 1989, I was the low amateur in a season-opening Middle Atlantic PGA pro-am event that was held at Rolling Road, of all places. My round of 70 was the best score of the roughly 50 amateurs who were in the field.

Later that week, I bounced into the pro shop at Rolling Road and there was Bassler behind the counter, reading the newspaper. There were several other older men in the shop shooting the breeze with Bill Sr.

"You won the pro-am," he barked, a twinkle in his eye. "You must think you're really good now." The others in the room giggled.

"You think you're good?" Bill asked.

Before I could say anything, he handed me the paper. "If you think you're good, pick out the winners of the 7th, 8th and 9th at Laurel tomorrow. That's more important than being good at golf."

I got pretty decent at golf, but was never very good at horse handicapping. I wish Bill would have given me a lesson in that endeavor, too.

Bill's son, Billy, became a close friend of mine. He, too, was a longtime golf professional at Rolling Road and an outstanding player himself.

Even now, when I struggle with my game for a round or three, I'll always remember those words from Bill Bassler Sr. Golf instruction has changed dramatically over the last ten years, let alone the last 35 or 40, but I can still hear the words.

"It's a hands game."

Thank you, Bill.

40 Friends in 40 Days

a lenten celebration of influential people in drew's life

Brought to you by the Archdiocese of Baltimore

"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

sacrifice, just a simple word

First, a story about Lent. I had been working at what was then Loyola College for about six weeks in February 1998 when I parked my car and headed toward my office in the student center. As I walked by one student after another, I noticed something strange. Almost everyone had what appeared to me to be dirt all over their heads. When I reached the office, I asked a co-worker what was happening, and he looked at me quite odd.

“It’s Ash Wednesday. On Ash Wednesday, Catholics put ashes on their foreheads.”

I was 24 years old, having gone away to college and even traveled the country a bit. And I swear I’d never seen anyone place ashes on his or her forehead. So don’t assume everybody knows about that, just like I don’t assume anyone knows about the meaning and traditions of Jewish holidays.

Second, a story about Lent that’s sports-related. Back then, the Loyola women’s lacrosse team played in the Colonial Athletic Association and often traveled south to Virginia on Friday afternoons. The team was usually accompanied by the athletic department chaplain, who had one role more important than any other.

As the team bus parked near Potomac Mills, the site of several chain-type restaurants, Father Mac stood up at the front. He said a prayer and then gave the players a “special dispensation” to eat meat on Fridays, seeing how the team had a game the next day and the food options were somewhat limited.

I always appreciated the prayer, even if I didn’t need the dispensation. Being on the road wasn’t as glamorous as you might think, so I was glad someone may have been looking out for me.

Dianne Geppi Aikens.

Finally, a story about sacrifice, which is what many of us think about when Lent comes up. You know…giving something up for a time, whether it’s chocolate or booze or social media. This was a much bigger sacrifice, it’s related to the second story, and I was just reminded of it the other day when I saw John Geppi.

John Geppi was, and still is to a certain group of people, “Pops.” He was the “Pop” to Diane Geppi-Aikens, the coach of the Loyola women’s lacrosse team. He was more than that, as anyone around those teams would remember. He was the team’s biggest supporter, win or lose, and he was a semi-surrogate father to 25 or 30 young women every season.

Then, in 2003, he became much more. He took on the responsibility of taking care of his daughter who was about to die in a way that few fathers would. In a specially-designed van, he drove her to every game, and almost every practice, and everywhere else. She could no longer do it herself, and some parents would have told her she was crazy for doing it at all. She had brain cancer, was no longer able to walk and was being kept alive by drugs that sapped most of her energy and changed her appearance into something unrecognizable.

Pops never questioned his role in all this. The only game Diane missed all season was a game at Stanford, because she was no longer able to fly; I often wondered if he’d volunteered to drive her across country and back before he realized the folly in that.

This was all very sad then, and it remains sad 17 years later. But something happened that season, and I honestly believe it came because of Pops’ sacrifice.

The Greyhounds won, and they kept winning. They beat Princeton, the No. 1-ranked team and the defending national champions, in overtime in Game 3. They traveled to James Madison, ranked in the top five, and beat the Dukes by 12 goals. At home against Penn State, they won by a goal even though their best player had been given two yellow cards and couldn’t play in the second half. After 14 wins, they finally lost, by one goal to Virginia, only to return to the field four days later and beat Maryland in College Park.

All of this, you may remember, was helping make Diane famous. She was terminal and coaching from a wheelchair and her team was undefeated and ranked No. 1. They were “playing for their coach” in a way that no team ever had, and even the opposing teams were playing for her. Sports Illustrated was the first to make her story national, and back then SI still meant something. That one article, which the reporter smartly wrote from Diane’s first-person perspective, started a month-long media barrage.

It was hard to take joy in all that, the way a small college ought to take joy when a lacrosse team gets the front page in large metropolitan newspapers and ends up on GMA, CBS This Morning and Today. Yet Diane seemed to be enjoying it; in a way, she was sacrificing some of the few days she had left so that others could get the attention she surely thought they deserved.

John’s final trip with Diane to a game ended in a loss, a national semifinal game played at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse against the same Princeton squad her team had beaten earlier in the season. The final score of that game was 5-3, and it was as difficult a game as that score sounds. There was such dynamic play all year, and none of it was on display that night.

The next day, John drove Diane home to Baltimore. For the next six weeks or so, he and the rest of his family took care of her 24 hours a day, just as they had for many months before. In those six weeks, she made it to her son’s high school graduation, the only goal she really had when she’d received her diagnosis. On June 29, Diane died. She was only 40 years old.

Like I said before, the sadness remains. There is no greater sadness, of course, than being a parent who loses a child, and John and his wife have now lost two of them — Diane’s sister Patti died of cancer in 2016.

When I look back on that time in 2003—much of which happened during Lent—which I don’t truly understand, I have such beautiful memories of true sacrifice.

John did what any parent would do, I suppose, but he went past the ordinary. He wasn’t just keeping his daughter alive, he was keeping her spirit alive. He was allowing her to be who she’d been her whole life even though that was physically impossible for her. He never scored a goal or won a draw or made a save or called a play, but he made a great season possible. His sacrifice made everyone else in his orbit want to do the same in their own ways.

There are different religious symbols for all of us, depending on our faith, and some of us don’t believe in any of them. People places ashes on their heads or they don’t, and life goes on either way.

All of us have been the grateful recipients of the sacrifices of others, however, so we should always think of our sacrifices as something we’re giving as opposed to something being taken away.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

another road miracle for maryland

As Mark Turgeon said last night, “Everything went wrong”, yet the Maryland Terrapins came away with an unlikely 1-point victory at Minnesota, 74-73.

It was a Darryl Morsell deep (very deep) three-pointer with 1.9 seconds left that provided the winning margin in a game where the winners led for just 20 seconds and trailed by as much as 17 points. These Terps have heart.

Maryland won despite Jalen Smith picking up three fouls in the first half, and playing only 4 of the first 20 minutes. They won even though they had another horrendous shooting night (39% from the floor and 21% from the three-point line) which included 2-15 from Anthony Cowan. They won even with Minnesota knocking down 6 of their first 7 threes, including three in a row from a guy who had only made 7 all season.

You can point to several keys reasons why Maryland was able to pull off this comeback. Changes in offensive and defensive philosophy, an amazing night on the offensive glass (20), and some key misses by the Golden Gophers from the foul line, headlined the turnaround.

Darryl Morsell's 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left last night lifted Maryland to an improbable win at Minnesota.

Things in the first half changed quickly for Maryland when, at 16:02, Jalen Smith picked up his second foul while attempting to grab an offensive rebound. With Smith on the bench and Minnesota on fire from behind the three-point line, the Golden Gophers raced out to an 18-6 lead.

You know things are bad when a guy who had made only 7 threes all season, Isaiah Ihnen, makes three in a row in the first half. Meanwhile, the Terps missed their first 7 threes, started out 3-15 from the floor, and trailed 23-12 with just a bit more than 9 minutes left in the half.

Eric Ayala finally made a three, a shot that was so far off line that it banked in, but it was one of the few shots Maryland would make in the first half. They were down 33-19, and shooting just 21% of field, when Smith picked up his third foul (on another horrible call).

The half ended with Minnesota leading 47-31. We said yesterday that the keys for Maryland were to limit Oturu and guard the three-point line. The Terps did neither in the first half. Oturu put up 15 points and the Golden Gophers hit 7 threes in the first 20 minutes.

The Terps made a couple of runs in the second half. On the first run, they had cut a 16-point deficit to 59-50 before Marcus Carr scored in lane and a Daniel Oturu block of a Smith shot, followed by his own made three pointer, quickly pushed the lead back to 14.

Maryland came right back again, and made an even stronger run this time, cutting the lead to just 4 points. They had several tries to cut the lead to just one possession until a Carr basket in the lane and a Gabe Kalscheur long two made the gap 7 points.

Maryland never quit though. They kept chipping away until a turnover by Minnesota with 43.5 seconds left gave the Terps the ball, behind just 3, 72-69. A set play off of the inbounds pass left Smith with a quality look at a game-tying three-pointer. The shot was off the mark and Maryland was forced to foul Kalscheur. This is where the Golden Gopher fortunes turned.

Kalscheur, shooting one-and-one, missed the second foul shot after making the first. It was 73-69 with 40 seconds remaining. Cowan had a contested layup blocked, and the Terps fouled Marcus Carr. Carr missed the front end and Maryland still had a tiny bit of life.

With 18 seconds left to go and the Terps still down by 4 points, Cowan missed a three. The rebound came to Smith who caught it and slammed it home. There were 15 seconds left and now Maryland was down by just 2 points. After Minnesota got the ball inbounded to Kalscheur, he was immediately fouled and went to the line with a chance to make two shots and seal the win.

Like Carr before him, Kalscheur missed the front end and the rebound came to Aaron Wiggins, setting up the final Terp points. The play was set up for Cowan, but he was perfectly defended by Oturu on the left side and down to the left corner. The ball swung to Morsell, who was way behind the three-point line at the top of the key. He let loose the game winner which rattled home crushing the home fans.

Minnesota had one more chance to win the game. After a timeout, a long pass from under the basket made its way to Oturu. Looking to add to his 28 points, Oturu caught the long pass on the right wing and fired an airball. The shot shouldn’t have counted because he clearly traveled before he shot, but it didn’t matter. The Terps celebrated the wild comeback win.

It’s interesting to note that, much like the Michigan game that Maryland lost on a last second basket, Mark Turgeon elected not to defend the inbound passer. This time it worked.

With Maryland trailing by 16, Mark Turgeon started the second half with his team playing a zone defense. Minnesota continued to make shots, so the Terps went back to man, and they defended with energy, contesting everything. They came up with defensive stops and some key steals that they converted into points.

Offensively, Turgeon decided to play Smith on the low post instead of facing the basket, and Smith responded with a big half.

The Terp changes surely helped Maryland, but so did Minnesota. They turned the ball over, missed foul shots, and forgot the put a body on Maryland rebounders. They gave Maryland a chance, and to their credit, the Terps took it.

Smith and Wiggins led the Terps with 16 points each. Morsell had 13 points and 9 rebounds. Donta Scott had 11 very timely points to go along with his 7 rebounds.

Maryland returns home to face Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans this Saturday night at 8 pm.

February 26
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40 friends in 40 days

Today is the first day of the Lenten celebration, a 40-day period of reflection and selflessness that starts on Ash Wednesday (today) and generally ends the day before Easter Sunday (Holy Saturday). Some religions tweak the end day of Lent to serve their own particular needs, but in general it's 40 days from today thru Holy Saturday.

Most of you know the general premise of Lent so I don't think there's a need for a full report here, but the basic concept is this: Lent is a 40-day period that offers us an opportunity to come to terms with the human condition we may spend the rest of the year running from and it brings our need for a Savior to the forefront. Like Advent, Lent is a time to open the doors of our hearts a little wider and understand our Lord a little deeper, so that when Good Friday and eventually Easter comes, it is not just another day at church but an opportunity to receive the overflowing of graces God has to offer.

A common thought about Lent is that you "sacrifice" or give up something you like or enjoy during the 40-day season as a way of not only purifying yourself and your mind, but showing that you appreciate the grace and good will of God.

In recent years, Lent has also changed in that Christian followers are developing new ways of fulfilling their Lenten obligations. Rather than the traditional "I'll give up chocolate for Lent", people are instead proactively making a positive change in their life or creating a daily challenge they'll meet.

I have two personal Lenten obligations I'm undertaking. Rather than "give up" something, I'm adding the popular 40 gallons in 40 days idea to my daily regiment. Over the next 40 days, I'll drink one gallon of water per-day, mixing in two apples along the way throughout the day (a nutritionist's suggestion). My bathroom trips might increase, but my health and well being will improve even more.

I can still have a cup of coffee in the morning, too. I started the "gallon per day challenge" last Sunday, actually, just to get myself used to it, but today officially kicks off the 40 gallons in 40 days quest.

Next, over the 40-day Lenten period, I'm going to take a moment each morning here at #DMD to highlight a friend or influencer in my life/lifetime. Some of these people you'll know. Some will be local names, some will be national names. Some will be people of prominence in our society, others will simply be friends. For simplicity sake, I will not list my three greatest friends and influencers, namely, my wife and two children. They are at top of the list and don't need to be singled out.

In general, I'm taking time over each of the next 40 days to highlight people and say "thank you". Simple enough. Some I've probably thanked before, others I haven't. Over the next 40 days, though, I will.

I've spent a lot of time over the last week or so thinking -- in preparation for Lent -- about the people who have helped me over the last 57 years. "It takes a village" they say, and I've needed those villagers a lot in my 57 years.

The order of inclusion in my "40 Friends" celebration is 100% random. There's nothing to the order of people as they're presented. I have a list, currently, of 34 people, and another list of 15 that I'm narrowing down to the final 6 who "make the cut" for lack of a better term. I'll simply bring them up in whatever order they come to mind between now and Holy Saturday.

In the meantime, please consider doing something similar during Lent. Call one old friend every day for the next 40 days. Buy a coffee for the person behind you in line. You'll figure something out, I'm sure.

I'll kick off my 40 Friends idea this morning.

Terry Ford was the first person I worked with when my radio career formally started in 2002. They brought me in and introduced me to this tall, skinny guy who I thought looked a lot like Geddy Lee of Rush. Maybe that's why I liked Terry so much. I was (and still am) a huge fan of Geddy Lee. (True story: I once brought up the name "Geddy" when my wife and I were discussing names for our son. She liked it, actually. "Where did you get that from?" she asked. When I told her Geddy Lee of Rush, she said, "Come up with something else." So, we settled on Ethan.)

Anyway, Terry and I worked together for the better part of five years. I learned more from Terry, I'd say, than anyone else I worked with. He was a radio "professional" who had spent time in lots of other cities besides Baltimore (his hometown). I was just a guy who liked sports and the owner of the station said to me one day, "You should do radio". Terry actually worked in radio and knew the ins and outs of it. I had hosted my own golf talk show on Monday nights at the station for a couple of years and had done lots of radio play-by-play and color commentary during the Blast days, but hosting your own talk show is different than any of that stuff.

Terry knew things about sports that boggled my mind. We'd be talking to a guest about a Maryland-North Carolina State football game and Terry would say to the guy, "Well, North Carolina State isn't going to run all over Maryland this Saturday. Not with that run game they have now. It's not like back in 1988 when Schmedley Warehouse ran for 204 yards in that game where North Carolina State scored twice in the 4th quarter to win 17-10."

And he was doing that ALL off the top of his head, by the way. No computer in front of him. No notes. I would sit there and look at him with amazement. I didn't know one football player that ever played for North Carolina State and Terry knew some running back from 15 years ago in a game no one cared about in the middle of November.

A little known fact about Terry: He's a good basketball player.

I enjoyed my time with him, a lot. I learned from Terry. We still occasionally exchange a random text message or two, particularly when April 1st rolls around and we remember our April Fools joke that we played on the city of Baltimore, and the Ravens, concerning a trade for Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch.

Terry is still on the air these days at the FM station in town and remains one of their best hosts.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps look to rebound at minnesota tonight

Maryland travels to Minnesota to do battle tonight with the Golden Gophers and that means they will be doing battle with Daniel Oturu, one of the Big Ten’s best players.

Luka Garza might win Big Ten Player of the Year, but it’s Oturu that could be the more effective player at the next level. NBADraft.com has the sophomore as the seventh pick in the NBA draft and the first Big Ten player taken in the draft.

The best way to describe Oturo’s game to a Maryland fan might be to say that he does everything that the Terps Jalen Smith does, but Oturu does most of them just a tiny bit better. We’ll give Smith the nod when shooting from longer distances.

Minnesota's Daniel Oturu figures to give Maryland some problems tonight.

The Minnesota sophomore is a slightly better rebounder than Smith because he jumps much better and has better hands. Oturu also has better control of the ball when he puts it on the floor, and with the little extra bulk he possesses, he’s tougher inside.

Oturu is going to be trouble tonight. He’s going to corral some balls that look to be destined for other hands. He’ll make a few shots that look like he should never have attempted. He’s really good when he wants to be.

The Terps will also have to deal with point guard Marcus Carr and his almost 15.4 points per game. Carr is very athletic, but his shooting stats (just 37% from the floor) are far from stellar. At 6’2”, he is Minnesota’s smallest of their three starting guards, and would seem a natural matchup for Maryland’s Anthony Cowan. However, I think Maryland would be better served to let Darryl Morsell hound Carr all night.

Morsell’s longer reach and taller frame will make it harder for Carr to get off his quick-trigger threes and it also would force Carr to be much less liberal with his passes to Oturu. Carr gets close to 7 assists per game and Oturu is the recipient of the bulk of those.

Getting Cowan off of Carr could work because the other Golden Gopher guards, Gabe Kalscheur and Payton Willis, won’t create mismatches with their size. With both guards standing at 6’4”, Cowan wouldn’t be giving up too much size and Eric Ayaya would have a slight advantage against either one. I think Willis vs. Cowan, and Ayala vs. Kalscheur makes the most sense for Maryland.

The last head to head matchup should be dominated by Maryland. Minnesota small forward Alihan Demir has been unable to score in double figures in 9 straight games. He can grab rebounds when he establishes position, but he’s not real mobile and should struggle mightily with any Terp that he tries to guard. Donta Scott, and his increasingly confident offensive play, should find success against Demir unless Oturu helps out. The “4” position should be a big advantage for Maryland.

Getting back to Smith and Oturu, just because Oturu is extremely talented doesn’t necessarily mean he outplays Smith tonight. Smith plays smarter and with more sustained energy that does his Minnesota counterpart. Getting back on defense is not Oturu’s strong suit and Smith loves to run out in front of the break. Look for Smith to get down court for fast break points as much as the situation allows.

Maryland’s chances of pulling off the upset tonight (yes, they are 1-point underdogs) will be greatly enhanced if they can guard the three-point line and keep the Golden Gophers off of the offensive boards. The Terps gave up 13 offensive rebounds to Ohio State on Sunday and a repeat of that will spell doom for Maryland.

I expect very little help to come from the Minnesota bench. Jarvis Omersa can grab a rebound or two, but bench points should be rare for Richard Pitino’s team.

In addition to doing strong board work, the Terps also must limit Oturu’s offensive output. He can get 20, but if he gets anywhere near 30 points, Maryland won’t win.

This is a big game for Minnesota. With road games coming up against Wisconsin and Indiana, they can’t afford a home loss tonight. KenPom has them ranked 31st, but should they lose at home to Maryland and then lose two road games, they will most likely be on the outside looking in come tournament time.

Here’s what happens tonight: This Terp team is eagerly awaiting the opportunity to erase the sting from the OSU loss. Smith and Cowan both looked week against the Buckeyes, and I see a big bounce-back game for both of them. Smith knows that scouts are eager to see how he fares against Oturu. He’ll be ready tonight.

Propelled by fast-break points, strong games from both Cowan and Smith, plus a solid showing from Scott, Maryland holds off the Golden Gophers 67-61 before heading home to face Michigan State on Saturday.

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February 25
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"tell me what they've done"

I have a friend who is an Orioles fan.

You probably do, too. There are still Orioles fans out there...

My friend -- I think he'll be OK with me using his first name, Chris -- caught up with me yesterday for a non-Orioles related discussion but it eventually shifted to baseball.

"You renewing your tickets this year?" he asked me.

"I'm not really sure," I said. "I haven't yet. But it's not because I'm mad at the team or anything like that. It's just that I'm not really under any pressure to buy seats ahead of time...so why do it?"

The 2020 Orioles have Trey Mancini...and they have...Trey Mancini...and, well, there's Trey Mancini, at least.

Chris gave me a weird look. "But you're going to go out there this summer and watch that garbage product they're putting out?" he asked.

"Sure," I replied. "I like going out there with my kids on a nice summer night. I'm not going out there in April when it's 44 degrees at first pitch, but I love going out there when it's 90 and sweltering at 7:37 pm."

"You're nuts," Chris said, emphasizing the word nuts. "Why would you spend money on that product?"

"Well, I still think they --" I didn't get to finish before he cut me off.

"Tell me what they've done," Chris said. His voice was demanding. He was getting a little too worked up about a casual conversation, I thought.

"Well, they haven't done anything, yet. Really," I said.

"EXACTLY! But they have suckers like you that will go out there 10 times a year to watch them finish last," Chris barked.

"But if you'll let me finish..." I said, knowing I probably wasn't going to get the chance to finish. "Just because they haven't done anything yet doesn't mean the groundwork they're laying right now won't work out down the road."

"Who do they have now that's any good at all, besides Mancini?" Chris asked. We weren't really discussing "good players", of course, but that's a "gotcha-moment" waiting to happen and I, stupidly, dove right in.

"I'm not sure that's the point," I countered. "I don't think they're trying to put good players out there right now. Where would -- "

"BINGO!" Chris said. "You said it yourself. They've made the whole season meaningless because they won't put a real team on the field."

"Where would they get a good player right now?" I asked. "No good free agent would come to Baltimore even if the Orioles waved a bunch of money at them. That's not the plan. They literally can't get good players in 2020. Come on now, you're not paying attention to how this works."

"So..." Chris began, given himself a second to catch his breath. "They don't have any good players and they're not going to try and get any and you're still going out there? You're such a sucker."

Realizing at that point that the conversation was going nowhere and whatever friendship we had might be starting to wane, I tried turning the conversation to golf.

"Hey, my Calvert Hall team is practicing on Thursday after school. Wanna come out and join us for 9 holes?" I asked.

"I can't. I'm heading to Sarasota on Thursday morning for the weekend," Chris said as he sipped some water and, I thought, warmed up his pipes for another round of shouting.

"Sarasota? For what?" I asked.

"Spring training. Me and some buddies from work go down for a long weekend every March," Chris stated.

I couldn't make this up if I tried, right?

The Orioles "doubter"...heading to Sarasota for spring training, which, if regular season baseball in Baltimore is meaningless and no good players play, what on earth does that make games that don't count with 60% of the players who won't be in Baltimore on opening day?

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12 prediction "guarantees" for O's 2020

I'm going 12 for 12 on these.

Cut this out, post it on your refrigerator, and bring it back around in late September so you can bow down, publicly, to my 12-for-12 accomplishment.

1. On Opening Day, someone will be in the O's lineup that you'd never heard of until they were introduced before the first pitch. You'll actually say, "Who? Never heard of him before..."

2. There will be a point in April sometime when you say "You know what, this Orioles team might not be all that bad after all. We might have something here."

7 home runs before the end of April for Chris Davis? That's an official #DMD prediction!

3. There will be a point in July when the O's are 22 games under .500 and they've just lost 6 of 7 when you'll say, "These guys are worse than I thought they'd be. Man, they're terrible."

4. Chris Davis will have 7 home runs by the end of April. You heard it here first. He'll only be hitting .220, mind you, but he WILL have 7 home runs at least. Baby steps, folks. Baby steps...

5. None of the starting pitchers will be any good. I mean, we already know that, but I'm "guaranteeing" it.

6. The Orioles will win, at some point, four straight games...but they'll do that only one time during the season.

7. The Orioles will have losing streaks of 5, 6, 7 and 8 games during the season. I know, I'm going out on a limb, right?

8. Opposing teams will put up a 22 run total, an 18 run total and a 16 run total against the Birds in 2020.

9. Trey Mancini's totals before gets traded on August 12. He'll be hitting .288 with 24 HR's and 68 RBI. Wait, I'm not guaranteeing the "traded" part. Just the average, HR and RBI totals. Those are guaranteed.

10. Hanser Alberto (wait, is that right? or is it Alberto Hanser? Seriously, I forget) will fall back to earth in 2020, hitting just .251 with 10 HR's. Oh, and I was right...it's Hanser Alberto. I checked, though, to be sure.

11. The Orioles will get no-hit before the All-Star break.

12. OK, without giving away my final season wins total, let me say this: The Birds will win more games this season than they did a year ago. Yep, you heard it here from "Mr. Optimist". More than 54 wins. Let's go O's!!

If you have any "refrigerator door guarantees", please add them in the comments section below and we'll have them for safe keeping and a September review.

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February 24
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golf's new villain emerges

Golf really hasn't ever had a true villain.

You could say professional wrestling mastered the art of creating a "heel", to use their term, but mainstream "real" sports have had a long list of villains over the years.

Ravens fans would spend more energy booing Hines Ward than cheering their own players 15 years ago. Baker Mayfield might get that same treatment here in Charm City for a while, or at least until he fizzles out and gets replaced by Cleveland's 1st pick in the 2023 draft.

The famous basketball tactic is to boo the villain every time he or she touches the ball. That's always fun, especially if the booing obviously rattles the intended target.

Golf being what it is and all -- a bunch of guys walking in a field and chasing a white ball and occasionally hitting it -- there's never really been a villain or, frankly, even the need for one.

One of the purest axioms in competitive golf is to never root against your opponent. It's a no-no to watch your opponent stand over a 15-foot putt to put you 3 down with 4 to play and say to yourself, "Miss it, please." People certainly do it, but you're taught from a young age to never want your opponent to fail.

And...........now...........we have Patrick Reed.

The times, they are a changin'.

Detractors? What detractors? Patrick Reed ignored the noise on Sunday and posted his 8th career win with a 1-shot triumph in Mexico.

Because of his own actions and, if we're being honest, some good old fashioned media piling on, Reed has become the PGA Tour's bad boy. He is, for sure, officially a "villain". There's never really been one of those, at least not from the viewpoint of the people who consume the TOUR on TV and at the various venues where the tournaments are held.

Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia have been ridiculed and harrassed over the years, but they've never really been "villains". They're both just hot heads with rabbit ears who let American fans get under their skin. For the most part, people in the U.S. didn't (don't) care for those two, but in Europe, they're both essentially golf royalty.

It's different with Reed. No one, anywhere, really cares for him.

He did that to himself, most would contest, and that's about 80% true. Reed has a history of nefarious behavior, going back to his days in college at Georgia (charges, of course, that he denies) and extending to the PGA Tour, where he's had as many whispers of cheating allegations as he has TOUR wins...which now stands at 8 after yesterday's victory in Mexico.

Say what you will about Reed, but this much is for certain: He has an amazing ability to block out the hate, the media witch hunt, the rest of his fellow PGA Tour players and everyone else that's rooting for him to fail. In no way would I condone what he's done and I doubt very seriously I'd want him on my team, but I also wouldn't want to see him on the other team, either. He's an out-of-this-world competitor.

Reed's win yesterday was the 8th of his career. Here's the key takeaway from that victory: Reed doesn't just win, but he rises to the occasion in big events against the best fields in golf. Of his eight wins, one is a major ('18 Masters), two are World Golf Championships events, one is the season opening Tournament of Champions and two have been FedEx Cup playoff events.

And yesterday's win in Mexico might have been the most impressive of his career. Against the backdrop of Brooks Koepka calling him a cheater this week and Peter Kostis grilling him on a national podcast about cheating that he witnessed (but didn't report until two years later) during his days as a TV golf analyst, Reed somehow shoved all of that to the side and beat the best players in the world with a come-from-behind win.

Afterwards, Reed's post-tournament press conference was better than his golf.

When asked about the week's media coverage of his "situation" (no one in the media wants to actually call it "cheating" so they call it his "situation"), Reed didn't take the bait.

"I don't read the internet or anything media wise," Reed said. "My team does all of that. They read what's on the web and they handle it. I'll check out the PGA Tour app occasionally to see how I'm doing on the points list and stuff, but I don't read the internet to see what people are saying. If I do that, I'm not focusing on my golf game."

Finding someone who doesn't read the internet in 2020 is like finding a Flyers fan who gives up his parking spot for the old lady at the supermarket. They just don't exist.

But Reed apparently doesn't do it. And even though he knows what Koepka and Kostis said about him ("I heard some stories", he said yesterday), the amazing thing is the continued piling on, two months after the incident in the Bahamas, hasn't impacted his golf at all. In fact, if this is even possible, it might be making him play better golf.

Make no mistake about it, golf has a villain. You'd have to look far and wide to find people who actually like Reed and want him to do well. You'd have much more luck finding people -- mostly everyone -- who want to see him fail.

Reed's detractors are going to get lots of chances to see him fail over the next eight months. He's obviously fully exempt for all of the majors. He has a decent chance of snagging one of the four American Olympic spots. And he's now nearly a lock for the Ryder Cup team in September.

If you're a Patrick Reed detractor, you have a summer of rooting against him coming up.

Good luck with all of that. Reed likes proving you wrong, apparently.

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"The Keen Eye" of
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DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

consider this

The Orioles announced their 2020 broadcast team this past week; it must have taken the intern quite a while to make the Twitter infographic with all 18 names on it.

Before you make fun of an 18-person radio/tv lineup (two for every person in the actual lineup?), remember that Major League teams are running full-time content operations now. It’s not about your transistor radio or Magnavox; it’s about literally everything that MASN or the radio network does, or even what individuals do on their own social media pages.

Or, as the team said in its press release, it’s about a “multi-platform approach delivering news, insights, analysis and creative storytelling directly to our fans.” Fine. That’s 2020 for you.

Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer will again be a TV partnership in 2020, but the Orioles announced big changes to the rest of their "media lineup" last week.

Still, there was some news. Both Jim Hunter, around since the 1990s, and Tom Davis, around since the beginning of time, are “transitioning” to new roles as on-air personalities. One has to wonder if the Orioles are simply trying to get younger on their broadcasts, but Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer will still be around, so maybe not. Plus, Scott Garceau will be back as an Orioles’ broadcaster, something he did very well on broadcast television when us middle-age guys were young.

There is somewhat of a youth movement. Geoff Arnold, who worked in Frederick for five years, will now be calling Major League games for the organization. The Orioles also have gone for a little publicity by hiring Melanie Newman, who made history as part of baseball’s first all-female broadcast team last year. Before you go crazy, I’m quite sure that Newman is qualified to do the job, as are many minor league announcers who just need a chance at higher levels.

Taking all of this into consideration, just remember one thing: the more the Orioles (or any team) create a comprehensive content team like this, the less good information you actually get. Every piece of it comes through a certain lens. The front office can say that it’s going directly to the fans, but sometimes the fans deserve more than that.

What do I think of the proposed NFL schedule and playoff changes? What does it matter what I think? The owners and players aren’t going to do what the fans want, and you could argue that what the fans want is more “meaningful” football, which I suppose a 17th regular-season game and extra playoff games would offer.

Think about this, though, if you’re looking forward to that extra team in the playoffs: Sunday, December 29, another rainy and mild day in Baltimore, and the Pittsburgh Steelers were in town. Pittsburgh had to win to have a chance at the playoffs, against a Ravens’ team that was resting its best players, including the eventual league Most Valuable Player. You’ll remember that Pittsburgh’s season mercifully ended that day, and just how bad “Duck” Hodges really is.

Yet the Steelers would have been the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoffs last season. Is that a team that anybody wanted in the playoffs? More seriously, over time, would having those teams in the playoffs make a big competitive difference?

I know what you’re saying…this past season, the AFC’s No. 6 seed went into the No. 1 seed’s stadium and blew the non-existent roof off the place. Surely a No. 7 seed could do the same to a No. 2 seed, and you’d be right about that. But more often than not, a pretty bad team would be playing in the game.

Then there’s the 17-game issue. In pro sports scheduling, there’s often a call for shorter seasons, whether it’s about weather (see what I did there) or load management or just the overall fan interest over five or six months. But there’s never been a call for the simple unfairness of having an unequal number of home and road games.

The owners don’t care about that. In the seasons in which they’d have only eight games, they’d have two preseason games. In the seasons they have nine, one preseason game. 10=10. The tickets have been purchased, the money is the same. As a fan, however, I’d have a bigger problem with it. But it doesn’t matter what I think…

In response to this past week’s post about the BMW tournament coming to Caves Valley, a commenter talked about the many tournaments he’d attended, and the ways he enjoyed following the golf at them. I suppose this was almost urging fans locally to attend the event, which is a great one—a short (70-person) field featuring the best players of the year.

I really admire this commenter, and others like him. Because as much as I like golf, and play golf, and read about golf and watch (some) golf, I really don’t like trying to watch the pros play onsite. I think it’s difficult, and I don’t think it’s a lot of fun.

At the Masters in 2018, like anyone going for the first time, I couldn’t wait to see the course. I walked it entirely over the course of a few hours. I stopped often to watch shots being hit, and all I could think about was how difficult it was to follow the ball, how little I cared about engaging with the players and how boring it is to watch people putt, no matter whether it’s my Sunday partner at Pine Ridge or Jordan Spieth.

Seeing a course like the Augusta National was wonderful, as I’m sure is the case with many other courses that aren’t as famous. As for the golf itself, I had a better time watching the players at the driving range than on the course.

I’ve always thought it would be fun to play a large PGA Tour event or a major without spectators at all…without hospitality tents and concession stands and having to move 200 people out of the way when Tiger hits it left and has to hook it out of the trees. I would allow for television towers, but that’s it. No grandstands. You know…the way the golf course is the other 51 weeks a year, the way a golf course is supposed to be.

Since that won’t happen, maybe I’ll try to enjoy the experience more the next time I go, which might even be next summer at Caves Valley.

Had Maryland defeated Ohio State yesterday, you probably would have seen the Terps as a No. 1 seed in somebody’s bracketology this morning. Not that it would have really mattered, especially on February 24, but it would have been cool nonetheless.

As it is, Maryland won nine games in a row before losing in Columbus, so the loss didn’t hurt much. All five of the Terps’ losses this year have come to very good teams on the road, so none of them have hurt much in the RPI-and-other-metric sense either.

Mark Turgeon’s team has four games remaining. I think his team is better than all four of those teams, especially with the Michigan State rematch on Saturday taking place in College Park. Still, there are no guarantees. Minnesota is desperate, Rutgers just lost its first home game of the year and Michigan was the team that won that game in New Jersey.

Ohio State played an almost perfect game on Sunday for about 25 minutes. They are an excellent three-point shooting team, especially at home, but they aren’t that good usually. Luther Muhammad, who averages about six points per game, had four of those three-pointers, scored 22 points and seemed like the best player on the floor. OSU’s defense was excellent—I looked up with seven minutes left in the second half and the Buckeyes had only committed two team fouls, and it didn’t seem like an officiating problem.

Maryland played poorly for a few minutes, and they didn’t have Jalen Smith when the Buckeyes pulled ahead by halftime. In general, the Buckeyes did a nice job defensively on Smith, and the Terps aren’t winning against a good team on the road if Smith isn’t a star that night.

As for the Anthony Cowan situation with four minutes left, that was unfortunate, and it was judged poorly by the officials, but that’s not why Maryland lost.

It’s easy to say that Sunday’s game was more important for Ohio State, a team that has eight conference losses as opposed to four for Maryland. And maybe that was true. Anyway, on to Minnesota.


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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

hot shooting buckeyes beat terps

Yesterday’s Maryland basketball game at Ohio State was a perfect example of why it’s so hard to beat good teams on their home court. The Buckeyes used some hot early shooting, an incredible streak at the foul line, and received the lion’s share of close calls to beat the Terps, 79-72.

Please don’t misinterpret me, I’m in no way implying that the officiating caused Maryland to go down in defeat, but the home team gets the benefit of the doubt in NCAA conference games. It’s always been like that and it always will be. It’s expected. Yesterday the Buckeyes surely were on the receiving end of some “gifts” from the men with the whistles, but they outplayed Maryland throughout the game.

With Jalen Smith getting limited time in the first half once he picked up his second foul, and then returning to the bench after picking up foul number 3 in the second half, Maryland had little chance to beat the Buckeyes, even with Smith’s sub-par performance where he looked very fatigued.

Anthony Cowan fouled out of Sunday's game vs. Ohio State and the Buckeyes took full advantage to beat the Terps, 79-72.

When Anthony Cowan was called for a questionable technical foul, his 5th personal, the automatic ejection with 3:54 left in the game and the Terps down by 5, sealed Maryland’s fate. Two foul shots later the OSU lead was 7 and Maryland never challenged after that. It just wasn’t their day.

The Terps two most potent offensive weapons, Smith and Cowan, combined to hit just 4 field goals. They scored more points from the foul line (10) than from the field (8).

Bolstered by the loud and excited crowd, Ohio State played as if their season depended on this game. They shot the lights out in the first half, knocking down 8 of 16 three-point shots. It took them only 9 tries to make their first 5 three pointers. In the previous matchup between these two ranked teams, Ohio State used 27 attempts to hit 5.

The home court strikes again. Ohio State was just as comfortable from the foul line as they were from the field, hitting 17 of 18 free throws in the second half.

The keys of the first half were the 8 three-pointers made by Ohio State and the bench time for Jalen Smith due to foul trouble. The Buckeyes, in desperate need for a conference win, connected on 50% of their 16 first half three-point tries. With Smith on the pine, Maryland played the last five minutes of the half without making a field goal. Ohio State led at the half, 37-30.

A 7-0 run to start the second half gave OSU their biggest lead, 14 points. To Maryland’s credit, they never quit, and were able to collapse the lead to just 5 points on several occasions. They even got it to 4 with under a minute to play.

Unfortunately for Maryland, Ohio State kept the pressure on by getting timely buckets and knocking down all of their foul shots. Aaron Wiggins supplied most of the fire power that Smith and Cowan couldn’t provide. He had a career high 22 points including making 6 of 13 three-pointers. Eric Ayaka was second in scoring with 16.

Ohio State’s Luther Muhammed did a masterful job on Cowan. He continually cut Cowan off from the lane, and held the Terp point guard to just 4 shot attempts. He gave Cowan immense trouble on the other side of the court also, torching the Terps for 22 points with most of those coming while Cowan was trying to guard him.

With Smith out of the game, or playing with foul trouble, Ohio State dominated the glass. They outrebounded Maryland 36-27. That included 13 offensive rebounds for the Buckeyes.

With Ohio State playing so comfortably and confidently in front of their home fans, it would have taken a superb effort from Maryland to pull out this win. To do so without contributions from Cowan and Smith was impossible. But they stayed in the game and never got blown out.

Maryland definitely received Ohio State’s best shot on Sunday. The Buckeyes deserved the win, no doubt. However, if these two teams happen to meet again on a neutral court in the Big Ten Tournament, the outcome will be very different.

On Wednesday, Maryland will travel to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers. The 9p.m. contest will be televised by BTN.

February 23
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that was a wild saturday

It's tough being at the top if you're in college basketball.

Just ask Baylor, Gonzaga and San Diego State.

They were #1, #2 and #4 respectively in the country -- in men's basketball -- before yesterday's slate of games.

They all lost.

Maryland's run toward a #1 seed takes them to Columbus, Ohio today to take on an improving Ohio State team.

The only reason the #3 team, Kansas, didn't lose is because they were the ones who beat the #1 team, Baylor.

San Diego State was 26-0 before yesterday but they fell at home to UNLV, 66-63.

I know what you're thinking...if Maryland beats Ohio State today, maybe they crack the top 5 this week. I don't know, maybe so. It's hard to argue that Maryland isn't a top 5 team if they go to Columbus and win today.

The Terps are comfortably in the 2 seed spot at this point, one would think, but there's a lot of basketball left between now and selection Sunday.

In order for Maryland to secure one of the #1 seeds in the NCAA tournament, they'd likely have to win the rest of their regular season games (not impossible) and advance at least to the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament. Even a late slip-up in the Big Ten tourney wouldn't crush them providing that they don't lose between now and then.

The #1 seed is mostly cosmetic, of course. Sure, it affords you an easier ride through the first two games, but really, once you reach the second weekend of the tournament, seedings don't mean all that much in terms of who you get to face next. By the time the Sweet 16 rolls around, just about everyone can beat everyone on any given night. Something named "Loyola of Chicago" made the Final Four a couple of years ago, in case you don't remember.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 700th career goal yesterday in a 3-2 Capitals loss at New Jersey. The malady lingers on for the Caps, who have now dropped 6 of their last 7 games. The only reason they're still tied with the Penguins is because Pittsburgh lost at home to Buffalo yesterday.

There'll be no tie atop the Metropolitan Division standings after today, though. The Penguins are in DC for a 12 noon matchup with the Caps. Winner gets first place -- for now.

Now that he's reached 700 goals, Ovechkin can begin the process of weeding his way through the list of goal scorers ahead of him. There are only seven players in NHL history who have scored more goals than Ovechkin and the next guy on the list is former Caps winger Mike Gartner at 708. Ovi should figure out a way to score 9 more goals in the final 21 games of the regular season, but the 6th place player with 717 goals, Phil Esposito, will have to be caught and passed next season.

Wayne Gretzky's record total of 894 goals isn't really any kind of danger at this point. It seems highly unlikely Ovechkin can score 194 more times. If you're asking for an official guess, you can cut this out and post it on your refrigerator door. When he's skated his last shift, Ovechkin will end up with 829 goals, which will be good for second place on the all-time list.

The Caps, meanwhile, are really circling the drain. The Flyers won yesterday -- those might be the four worst words you can write in sports -- to move up to 77 points. The Caps and Penguins both have 80 points. The Capitals seem like a lock to make the playoffs and all, but let me be the very first one to fire a warning shot. The last wild card team in the Eastern Conference currerntly has 74 points. Columbus is the odd team out at this point, but they too have 74 points, although they've played two more games than have the Capitals.

There is no reason to think the Caps aren't a lock for the post-season......until you realize they could very well continue to lose. And if they were to wind up with something like 92 points, who knows what might happen?

I saw a funny commercial for the PGA Tour yesterday while watching coverage of the WGC event in Mexico, which is currently by Justin Thomas at 15-under par.

In the commercial, a guy -- dressed in Nike golf gear and, I guess, appearing to be Tiger's alter ego or something -- says to Tiger Woods, "How many of your 82 career wins can you name, by either the sponsored title or the tournament itself?"

Tiger pauses.

"Come on," alter ego guy says. "Can you name all 82?"

Erik van Rooyen is one shot behind Justin Thomas in his quest to win his first ever PGA Tour today in Mexico.

Tiger smiles and says "I can name 15 for you right off the bat."

In Mexico, where the six players in the top 5 have a combined 6 major titles (Thomas-1, Reed-1, McIlroy-4), the surprise story is South African Eric van Rooyen, who is looking to make a name for himself with a win today. He's a 30 year old South African with just one win on the European Tour and a T8 at last year's PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

Don't be fooled by his soft career record or the fact you likely don't know anything about him. van Rooyen is an excellent player and appears to be the next South African to compete for major championships. He follows in an incredibly long line of talented South Africans including Bobby Locke, Gary Player, Nick Price, Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and Rory Sabbatini (who now no longer claims South Africa as his residence).

Of those names, only Sabbatini and Grace don't have a major championship to their credit.

Augusta National has always been favorable for South African golfers, for whatever reason. Player, Schwartzel and Immelman have green jackets. Oosthuizen lost in a playoff in 2012, Els had a couple of chances to win but never did. Price held the course record for a while.

If van Rooyen continues to play solid golf and gets in to the Masters (either by winning today or being in the world's top 50 by early April), he'd be someone to consider when it comes to wagering on the event. This week is not a fluke.

I don't follow boxing any longer. I stopped being a boxing fan the night they stole the Hagler-Leonard fight from Marvin Hagler. I don't remember when that was (late 80's?), but boxing hasn't interested me since.


There was apparently a big fight last night and some guy named Fury beat a guy named Wilder.

There's your boxing recap. Oh, and Wilder was upset that his corner threw in the towel.

And the Orioles kicked off their Grapefruit League season in fashion on Saturday, losing 5-0 to the Braves.

You're going to see lots of 5-0 losses this year, I'm afraid.

Well, wait, that seems like a good wagering idea right there.

How many times will the Orioles get shut out this season?

No need for you to hurry over to Google to look it up. I already know what you're thinking. "How many times did the Orioles get shut out last season?" That's what you want to know.

The total was.......8.

So that's what I'd set the betting total at this year, with the half-point hook added on, of course.

This year's total is 8.5.

Would you take the over or the under?

I'll take the over.

I'm saving my official win-loss prediction for closer to the regular season, but if last year's team got blanked 8 times, this year's team is getting shut out at least 9 times.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps face big road test today

The Ohio State team that Maryland plays today is very different from the one they beat on January 7th in the XFINITY Center. Starting guard, DJ Carton, is out indefinitely for personal reasons, and Kyle Young is back from his ankle injury. Additionally, CJ Walker was ineffective in the first game due an illness. Things should be a good bit tougher for the Terps today than they were in the 67-55 Maryland win on the 7th.

OSU is the best three-point shooting team, percentage wise, in the Big Ten. They have multiple players that knock down over 40% of their threes, and when they shoot the deep ball well as a team, they can beat anyone. Against Maryland, they hit just 5 of 27 attempts, good for 18%. The Terps can’t count on that happening again.

#DMD's Dale Williams says today could be a day when Jalen Smith finds foul trouble.

Ohio State was highly ranked until they lost 6 of 7 starting on December 29th. Since that slide, they have won 4 of their last 6 games, and re-entered the top 25 lists. Their current ranking is 25th, but KenPom has them at 13. You can totally dismiss their 7-8 record the Big Ten play. This is a dangerous team.

The Buckeyes don’t do anything fancy on offense. They run the same ball screen sets that many other college teams run. What makes their offense effective is their big man, Kaleb Wesson. Wesson is very adept at scoring on the low blocks and when he steps outside to shoot, he frequently scores. Wesson is one of Ohio State’s 40% three-point shooters.

When one guy is so tough to stop, I’m inclined to think that it’s more important to stop his teammates, because that one special player is going to get his points regardless. In the case of today’s game, stopping Wesson should be the top priority.

I’m not advocating that the Terps should let the other OSU players shoot open shots, I’m saying that everything OSU does offensively starts with Wesson.

Here’s what I think happens today. OSU will make getting the ball inside a much bigger priority. They will play at a faster tempo than they did in the first meeting and they will look to get to the rim as often as possible. They’ll force Jalen Smith to defend, and Smith will do something that the has avoided for most of this season, he’ll get in foul trouble.

Maryland can’t win without Smith on the court.

If you could switch the three-point shooting percentages from the first game, OSU wins in a blowout. Maryland, atypically, shot 44% to OSU’s already mentioned 18%. Those numbers won’t remotely match what we will see this afternoon (4 pm).

Maryland’s chances to win this game rely on Smith staying out of foul trouble, and Maryland hitting some outside shots. Unfortunately, both of those things will be hard to accomplish. The Buckeyes will look to take the ball right to Smith whenever possible, and I see no reason to think that the Terps will improve upon their shooting percentages.

Ohio State is a 2.5 point favorite today. I was expecting something closer to 5. The Terps play great defense and it always keeps them in games, but at some point, they are going to face a team that shoots the ball well. That will be tonight. Smith will have a tough time, Cowan will have the kind of road game -that plagued him earlier in the season, and OSU will win by 5, 70-65.

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February 22
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saturday stuff

In my weekly appearance on Glenn Clark Radio yesterday, the show host asked me about the new slate of NFL changes that appear to be almost in ink, now.

For the most part, I think they're all dumb.

Unless I'm missing something, other than officiating and the replay system, is there anything really wrong with the NFL these days?

The owners are making a gazillion dollars. So, too, are the players. I imagine it's pretty good work to be part of a NFL team's front office these days as well. The money is flowing freely.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners are looking to strike while the iron's hot by adding one regular season game and one additional playoff team per conference.

Why tinker with it?

To make more money?

I guess this is why I do what I do in Maryland instead of owning three homes and belonging to Seminole and Shinnecock Hills. I've never quite grasped the concept of greed. They didn't teach that one at Glen Burnie High School.

16 games seems fine to me. Glenn Clark always likes to say, "We want more football, though, not less." And that might be true, in essence, but under that theory, why not just make the NFL regular season 24 games? 28? 30?

16 regular season games seems like a great number. 32 teams. 16 games. 12 playoff teams. It all seems so......even......and perfect.

Under the proposed changes about to be set in place, the season will go to 17 games. Math was never my specialty, but doesn't that mean you'll play either 9 home and 8 away or 8 home and 9 away? And isn't that pretty much unfair if you get the extra road game?

Quick, name another professional sport that plays an "odd" number of games in their regular season. Right..............there isn't one.

College football and basketball don't have "balanced" schedules, but every other real sport does. You play the same number of home games as road games. It has to be that way given the importance of playing at home.

17 regular season games is dumb. Make it 18. Or keep it at 16. I'm a dummy and I can figure that one out.

And this proposed new playoff format where 7 teams in each conference gets in now? Also dumb. Not because "more teams" is dumb, but because adding teams to the playoffs is likely going to mean that more mediocre teams make it into post-season play.

You're not going to see an extra 12-4 team get in (or, in the new format, 12-5). You'll see more 9-8 or 10-7 teams get in. When you go 9-8 or 10-7, you're mediocre. I thought the regular season was supposed to count for something.

Greed is a terrible, terrible thing.

Don't look now, but the Caps are starting to show real signs of a tailspin. Over six months of hockey, every team goes through one of those stretches where they lose 5 out of 10 or 3 in a row on a road trip or something like that.

The Caps haven't been prone to that sort of stuff over the last couple of years. They won the Stanley Cup two years ago and were one of the league's best regular season teams again last season despite an early playoff ouster. Their recent play, though, is very concerning.

The Caps and Penguins are now tied for the Metropolitan Division lead with 80 points. At one point in mid January, Washington owned a 10 point lead on Pittsburgh. One month later.....it's gone.

Washington is 7-9 in its last 16 games and have lost three straight. In their last six games, Alex Ovechkin has one goal. Therein lies the issue, on two levels.

Can Braden Holtby lead the Capitals to a late regular season surge and keep it going into the post-season?

When Ovechkin doesn't score, that's one thing. The team's offense sputters, obviously, but there are plenty of other talented players on the offensive roster to pick up the slack.

But when Ovechkin doesn't score and no one else really does, either, that's when trouble hits. The Caps aren't scoring, in general. Their defense isn't all that swift, either, which makes for a troubling situation. It's one thing if they can play lock-down "d" and get great goaltending and win a bunch of 2-1 and 3-2 games. In the last 16 games, they've allowed 4 or more goals on 7 occasions, losing 6 of those 7 games.

A midweek trade for a defenseman (Brenden Dillon, San Jose) was good thinking, but hardly the tonic for what ails the Caps at this point. They need help just about everywhere, actually. Goaltending is fine, with Holtby and Samsonov being adequate enough to get by. If Holtby can up his game a tick heading into the playoffs -- which is quite possible -- the Caps will be fine in goal. But stopping the other team from scoring isn't just about defense. It's a team thing. And the Caps are just not getting it done over the last month to six weeks.

Perhaps this was inevitable. You can't win forever, obviously. Even the New England Patriots are proving that.

This might be the season where the Caps collapse down the stretch, get blasted by Toronto or the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs, and an off-season overhaul is needed. I don't know enough about the Caps salary cap situation to tell you who stays and who goes if they blow it up, but obviously Ovechkin and Backstrom aren't going anywhere. You can start a rebuild around those two, if necessary.

I'm not "down" on the Capitals. I saw them do something two years ago I thought they'd never do. And, despite them winning that Stanley Cup, I still kind of view the Caps the way I've viewed them since the mid 1970's. When push comes to shove, they're always going to let me down. It's just their way of doing things.

I'd like to think the Caps can reverse themselves out of this tailspin and right the ship, but I don't think it's going to happen. They're likely going to have to fight like the devil to hold on to the second spot in the Metropolitan Division. Philadelphia has played one more game than the Caps but they now have 75 points. The Islanders have 74 points. Making up six points in 22 games isn't all that difficult.

No matter what happens between here and the end of the regular season, it's fair to expect very little from the Capitals come April.

A leopard's spots never go away, remember. They just fade a little over time.

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reed answers with a big round

You have to give credit to Patrick Reed.

While the golf world piled on him this week with more discussion about his -- ummmmmm -- flirtation with the rules, Reed has positioned himself nicely near the top of the leaderboard at the World Golf Championships event in Mexico.

Combative as ever, Patrick Reed went 69-63 to start this week's WGC event in Mexico, despite more public discussions about his "playing style".

The 2018 Masters champ put up a second round 63 on Friday to finish the first 36 holes at 10-under par, just one shot behind midway leader Bryson DeChambeau. Say what you will about the cheating stories that are circulating around him constantly, but Reed has an uncanny ability to play great golf while all of that stuff is being said and printed.

Earlier this week, the big bombshell came from former CBS golf analyst Peter Kostis, who claims he saw Reed improve his lie "4 or 5 times" over the years. The internet being undefeated and all, several online snoopers then went back and found several instances where Reed's behavior and use of his club prior to a shot was, let's just say, "curiously interesting".

Brooks Koepka didn't help this week, either, as he essentially called Reed a cheater for the incident in the Bahamas back in December.

I'm not sure why Koepka chose this week to bring that incident up -- again. Perhaps he was asked about it and wanted to give an honest answer. Maybe this was his first public comment about it and it had been brewing inside of him for a while. But it seems a little "old and odd" to bring up Reed's cheating two months later. Unless, of course, you've seen him do something again recently and wanted to send him the message that people are still watching.

Make no mistake about it. Reed is being watched. By every player, every analyst and every TV viewer. It's almost impossible for him to play a shot now without being heavily scrutinized. You'd almost want to say at this point: "If you can cheat now, you deserve to get away with it!"

The crazy thing is that Reed continues to play great golf despite the swirling stories. And, remember, he was labeled a cheater in college and still came out on TOUR and won right away and became a Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup star almost overnight. Then he won the Masters in 2018. All of that stuff was accomplished with the cheater tag already around his neck.

And now, two days after the Kostis bombshell, Reed shoots 63 in Mexico and is poised to perhaps capture one of the biggest non-major events on the TOUR calendar.

Golf hasn't had a polarizing figure of this magnitude in a long, long time. In reality, "polarizing" might be the wrong word, because I'm not sure there are all that many Patrick Reed fans out there. Detractors? Lots and lots and lots of those. Big time supporters? Not very man of them.

Somehow, though, despite the issues he's brought on himself, Reed still plays world class golf. I don't know how.....but he does.

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February 21
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do you remember?

There's a video you'll see below that triggered something in me earlier this week when my friend Mark Suchy sent me the piece you'll read below.

It's a song by the Dave Matthews Band called "Do You Remember?". The video was from a show I actually happened to see live in Camden, New Jersey in 2018. I don't want to spoil the whole thing, but prior to the song, Dave Matthews says to the audience: "I think when we have good times together, those are the things that stay with us."

Well, Pam Bernard, I remember.

Noooooo, it's not what you're thinking. Come on now.

But it does have something to do with Mark's awesome article you'll read today.

Yesterday here at #DMD, I wrote about looking ahead to the 2021 BMW Championship at Caves Valley GC. There's a lot of time between now and then, but the planning is already underway for that event. Baltimore needs to put its best foot forward for that week of festivities. And, well, as we all humbly know these days, "Baltimore" and "best foot forward" don't exactly chime together all that often.

Herb Brooks was the inconic coach who led the U.S. hockey team to the Olympic gold medal in 1980.

But we have 20 months to get it right and I'm cautiously optimistic that Baltimore will showcase itself in a great light next August.

Yesterday we looked ahead. Today, though, we look back.

Tomorrow celebrates the 40-year anniversary of the greatest single sporting "moment" I've ever witnessed.

Where were you on February 22, 1980?

Some of you, perhaps, won't even born yet. If not, Mark Suchy's story below will be a great sports lesson for you.

A lot of you, if our 2017 survey was statistically accurate, were youngsters back then. Like I was. I was an 11th grader at Glen Burnie High School during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.

Memories being what they are and all, there are occasions along life's journey that stick with you forever. I remember, sadly, exactly where I was when my father delivered the news to me that my mother had passed away in 1987. I recall right where was I standing in the Blast offices on S. Conklin Street when someone called to tell me that a close high school friend -- whom I had just seen two days earlier -- had committed suicide the night before.

I also remember watching Notre Dame break UCLA's 88-game in 1974 from my living room in Glen Burnie and throwing our family's small dog in the air when the final horn sounded. Yes, I caught the dog.

I was pacing my living room floor in the last minute of the Capitals Stanley Cup-winning clincher in June of 2018. My great friend Dale Williams was with me. It was the first night of the Eagle's Nest member guest. We watched the first two periods at Eagle's Nest and then I said to Dale, "I hate to do this, but we need to go. I need to watch this last period privately in the event these guys come back and win. I can't be in public if they win the Stanley Cup."

So, Dale and I retreated to my house and watched the last 15 minutes or so together with my wife and son (who fell asleep) and me pacing the floor saying, "These guys are gonna win the Stanley Cup. These guys are gonna win the Stanley Cup."

He likely won't remember this when he's 57, but I woke my son up with two minutes to go and told him to watch the Capitals win the Stanley Cup because "it might not ever happen again."

If I'm being honest, watching the Ravens win the Super Bowl from the pressbox at the stadium in New Orleans in 2013 wasn't really all that memorable. I mean, I remember being there and all and it won't ever go away, but I was effectively working that night and unable to really enjoy the whole thing the way a lot of you "enjoyed" it. But, still, I'll always remember having the privilege of being in the stadium and watching Josh Bynes tackle Ted Ginn Jr. on that last punt after the Ravens took the safety with a few seconds remaining.

But February 22, 1980.

I remember that night.

I will always remember that night, in fact. I know right where I was when the American hockey team upset the Soviet Union, 4-3.

I was at Pam Bernard's house, in her "TV room", with her father and mother and brother. Her brother, David, was a good soccer player who played with me on the Glen Burnie soccer team. Pam was an outstanding athlete herself, a track star at Glen Burnie. For some bizarre reason back then, she liked this guy (me) who was a hockey player for the Benfield Flames and, thus, demanded everyone gather around the TV to watch the Olympic hockey team play the Soviets.

I didn't win Pam over in the long run. But I won that night.

We watched the game at Pam's house. I'll never forget it.

Funny enough, Pam now lives in Chicago and her teen-age son plays ice hockey. I follow his progress on Facebook. I know God works in mysterious ways, so I've often wondered if Pam's son plays hockey in any small way because of the fact she grew to like the sport while she watched the Olympic victory on February 22, 1980.

For a kid in Glen Burnie who loved ice hockey more than any other sport in 1980, that U.S. Olympic hockey win over the Soviet team was the single greatest sporting event I ever witnessed that didn't involve something I was directly involved in, like the Blast winning the MISL title on June 8, 1984 or my Calvert Hall golf team winning the MIAA title in my first season at the school in 2013.

The Dave Matthews video below has a wonderful minute or so of Dave speaking to the audience before the song.

"I think when we have good times together, those are the things that stay with us."

Sports is amazing that way, isn't it?

Do you remember February 22, 1980?

I sure do.

I'll never forget it, either.

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february 22, 1980

Contributed by Mark Suchy

The most galvanizing sporting moment in American history occurred 40 years ago in Lake Placid, NY in the 1980 Winter Olympics when the United States defeated the Soviet Union (remember them?), 4-3 in medal round play (essentially the tournament semifinals).

To this day I can’t think of another sports related event that brought the country together in such a joyful and unexpected way. While there have certainly been plenty of momentous upsets in sports (Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson, the NY Giants beating the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, NC State over Houston in the NCAA basketball tournament – to name just a few), nothing will ever compare to the events of those 2 weeks in Lake Placid that the young college players on the US hockey team provided. If you were old enough then to appreciate it, it’s something you will never forget.

Full disclosure here: I never really watched hockey growing up. My sports obsessions were the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Colts and the Maryland Terrapins (primarily the men’s basketball team). I attended a few Baltimore Skipjacks games at the Civic Center and the most memorable thing I can think of was a Saturday night game when the Hershey Bears players attempted to scale the glass to go after the fans who were launching bottles and debris at them during an on-ice brawl. I think the Skipjacks won.

But my awareness of hockey was generally peripheral; I knew it was there but since I didn’t grow up in an environment where it was played, it just didn’t register very deeply with me. That certainly changed in February 1980.

The Americans celebrate a goal in the 4-3 upset over the Soviet Union.

The context of the times is central to the story of the Miracle on Ice.

The world was a very different place as the decade of the 1980’s dawned. The politics behind the story is significant to the narrative. Throughout my youth the underlying tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union always threatened global peace. The idea that something could trigger nuclear war was not far-fetched. The two global superpowers had fought wars in Southeast Asia and through unknown backchannels around the globe.

The Bay of Pigs had nearly launched missiles in 1963. Germany was not united; the Berlin Wall stood as testament to the divisions created in the ruins of World War II 36 years later. 52 American citizens were being held hostage in the American embassy in Tehran, Iran, and it was widely understood that the Soviets supported the new Iranian leaders and their efforts to humiliate America on the world stage. The struggle to impose each’s ideologies on underdeveloped nations was real.

When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December of 1979, then President Jimmy Carter publicly began floating the idea of boycotting the 1980 Summer Olympics to be held in Moscow. These were also the days of the United States still holding onto the ideals of using amateur athletes in the Olympic Games. The Soviets had long used professional athletes in Olympic competition. Any time the nations met in international competition the ideologies of democracy vs. communism were at stake.

It’s also important to note the ways that news was reported and consumed in February of 1980.

Cable television was still in its relative infancy. Americans relied on the 3 networks to provide nightly news, and local news was central to many peoples’ daily lives. There actually used to be a job called local sportscaster, and the producers would dedicate 3 or sometimes 4 minutes to the sportscast. It seems so quaint now, but some evenings the local news was appointment viewing if you wanted to know what was going on.

And there were actual newspapers, these tangible things you could hold in your hands and read. Some people even subscribed for 2 of them, each day, and they would be left at the doorstop or the end of the driveway. There were no cellular phones, no internet, no laptop computers. If you wanted to know what was happening at a sporting event you either bought a ticket to watch the game or you listened on the radio.

Against this backdrop, the 1980 Winter Olympics opened in Lake Placid, NY.

When the Games began it’s probably fair to say that few Americans gave the men’s hockey team much notice. They were a collection of basically unknown college players who had played 61 exhibition games over the course of five months leading up to the Olympics. Their Head Coach, Herb Brooks, was probably unknown to most Americans outside of college hockey fans (he was the Head Coach at the University of Minnesota).

The team's average age was 21 years old, making them the youngest team to ever suit up for the United States in Olympic hockey, and only one player, Buzz Schneider, had played on the 1976 Olympic team. And heading into the Olympic tournament they had been thoroughly routed by the Soviets, 10-3, in Madison Square Garden in their final exhibition before the Games.

The Soviets, by the way, had gone 5-3-1 in exhibitions against NHL teams prior to the Olympics. They had won 4 consecutive gold medals in hockey going back to the 1964 Olympics, with an overall record of 27-1-1 in Olympic play over that time frame.

There really is no measure of hyperbole great enough to describe what happened that Friday night, February 22, 1980 in the Lake Placid Field House. You’ve probably watched the movie “Miracle”; you’ve doubtless heard the iconic call by Al Michaels thousands of times (Do you believe in miracles? YES!); you’ve seen Mike Eruzione’s game winning goal in highlights of the game; you’ve seen the legendary picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated that had no caption and needed none.

But let me tell you about the feelings and the memories. Because if you’re of a certain age, like me, they never go away.

Just typing that previous paragraph brought the goosebumps again. There are moments in time, and then there are moments in time that are forever etched on our hearts and souls. I will never forget the thread of the story over those two weeks.

This photo, taken after the final horn sounded vs. the Soviet Union, wound up being the cover shot used by Sports Illustrated to celebrate the American hockey gold medal in 1980.

I remember watching a pool play game on a Saturday afternoon while we were staying at the Carousel Hotel in Ocean City, Md. (I think they defeated Norway 5-1). I remember the steady buildup of excitement as they won three consecutive games to advance to the medal round and the matchup against the mighty Soviets. I remember thinking that it had been really fun watching them, learning a little more about the nuances of hockey, and daring to believe that maybe we wouldn’t lose 10-3 this time. Maybe we could keep it a little more respectable.

I was in 8th grade. I was with my school basketball team (Hail Mount Washington!) at a Frostburg State basketball game in Frostburg, Md. Our coach, Doc Edwards, was a Frostburg graduate, and each year we would take a weekend and travel to Cumberland and Frostburg and play 2 or 3 games against their local parish school teams. There are some things I’ll just never forget.

The Bobcats were hosting Mary Washington University. There was a sizable crowd gathered, and while everyone was paying attention to the game it’s certain that everyone in that building was thinking of Lake Placid. The entire country was.

ABC had the contract to cover the Olympics, and they had requested that the game time be moved from its 5:00 p.m. scheduled start to 8:00 p.m. so they could broadcast it live in primetime. The Soviets objected, saying it would make the start 4:00 a.m. local time in Moscow, and the governing body of Olympic hockey agreed. So ABC tape delayed the broadcast. Unless you had family or friends in the arena in Lake Placid you had no idea how the game went.

Sometime late in the second half of the Frostburg – Mary Washington game, during a timeout, the PA announcer opened his microphone. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have a final score from Lake Placid. The USSR 3……the United States 4.”

The arena erupted. My teammates and I jumped around as if we had just won our own gold medals. A spontaneous chant of U-S-A!, U-S-A! arose and went on for what seemed like five minutes.

I remember seeing lots of hugging and lots of people wiping their eyes. For one glorious moment everyone was truly united. A bunch of college kids playing hockey had accomplished something no team before or after had ever done: They had brought pride to every American, they had reinforced the notion that dreams really could come true, they had written the most remarkable underdog story in American sports history. They had made us all remember that the American Dream was a real, living, tangible thing and not just some antiquated notion of generations long gone.

No moment in our nation’s history has ever felt so genuine, so joyful, so glorious.

That Sunday afternoon I was back home from our trip to Western Maryland. My family and I watched the United States defeat Finland for the gold medal, 4-2. It was sunny and warm for late February and there was no snow on the ground.

After watching the medal ceremony I went out to the driveway with an old hockey stick from the basement that had belonged to my grandfather. He grew up in New England and he never threw anything away. All his stuff always seemed to wind up in our basement. I took a couple of benches and set them up as a makeshift goal. I took a few rubber balls and for an hour or so I fired them around, imagining I was wearing a white sweater with USA stitched on the front. I scored game winning goals and heard the crowd roar.

Then I started shooting hoops. I still have never learned how to skate.

1980 US MEN’S OLYMPIC ROSTER -- Head Coach: Herb Brooks

30-Jim Craig; 3-Ken Morrow; 5-Mike Ramsey; 10-Mark Johnson; 24-Rob McClanahan; 8-Dave Silk; 6-Bill Baker; 9-Neil Broten; 23-Dave Christian; 11-Steve Christoff; 21-Mike Eruzione; 28-John Harrington; 1-Steve Janaszak; 17-Jack O’Callahan; 16-Mark Pavelich; 25-Buzz Schneider; 19-Eric Strobel; 20-Bob Suter; 27-Phil Verchota; 15-Mark Wells

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February 20
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about that caves valley event...

Baltimore, you might have heard, has recently accepted another sports challenge.

This one won't come around until August of 2021, but Caves Valley Golf Club has been selected to host the 2021 BMW Championship, which is the second of three tournaments in the FedEx Cup, a season-long competition that determines the "champion player" of the season on the PGA Tour.

The best 70 players on the PGA Tour will convene at Caves Valley. It's not just a regular old TOUR event where six big names show up and there's a Monday qualifier and 14 players you've never heard of tee it up because your event is sandwiched in between two or three weeks of other significant tournaments.

The BMW Championship is a huge event on TOUR, with massive implications for all 70 players who make the field. The low 30 players following the Caves event will get to play in the TOUR Championship the following week, which is the only way you can capture the coveted $11 million first place check for winning the FedEx Cup.

So, the event is set. Baltimore's getting a really-close-to-a-major-championship tournament, at one of the eastern seaboard's premier facilities.

But here comes the big question.......

Will people come out to watch it?

The current 9th hole (seen here) at Caves Valley will likely be the 18th hole when the BMW Championship visits Caves Valley in 2021.

The golf is going to be great. We know that already. The star power will be unmatched. When you get Koepka, McIlroy, Thomas, Fowler, Johnson, Rahm, Schauffele, Woods, Rose and the other prominent names who are likely to be in that grouping of top 70, the event becomes "can't miss" in terms of drawing cards.

The question still looms, though: Will people come out to watch it?

They should...but will they?

Other than the Preakness, which itself saw a massive drop off 15 years ago when they wouldn't let you bring your own booze to the track, Baltimore has never been any good at hosting these one-off kind of events. The other exception to that might be the Army/Navy game, but the tradition that accompanies that particular event separates it from, say, an international soccer game, a senior golf tournament, an Indy-style downtown car race and the X-Games fiasco that spent a summer or two in Charm City a few years back before they were forced to go elsewhere.

A lot of those events saw decent-to-good attendance figures and corporate support the first time around. But in years two and three, interest quickly waned. There will be excuses all around, but that's just the reality of how things went. Unless it says "Baltimore" on it, we tend not to buy in over the long haul.

This is not to suggest Baltimore won't support the PGA Tour event at Caves Valley.

This is, though, suggesting that Baltimore has its work cut out for it.

History is not on our side.

In particular, the significant professional golf events that have been held here in the last 20 years have all received luke warm receptions. None were able to stand the test of time. The Senior Tour plopped down at Hayfields for a few years, circa 2000, and by the time that event's run came to an end, the crowds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday looked like a midweek Orioles home game. 5,000 people, tops, were there for Sunday's final round the year J.C. Snead won (2002). I was there, working the event. It was a family and friends gathering.

The U.S. Senior Open was held at Caves Valley in 2002. The golf was outstanding. Don Pooley and Tom Watson played a memorable five hole playoff to decide the winner. The course held up beautifully against 100 or so of the best senior golfers in the world. The crowds, though, were light, particularly when presented in the context of a national golfing championship.

An LPGA "international event" at Caves a few years back was a disaster from an attendance standpoint. The course looked awesome, the event's concept was solid, the players were amongst the biggest names in women's golf......but no one came out to watch.

Bulle Rock hosted an LPGA major for several years in the early 2000's. The course seemed perfectly situated between Baltimore and Philadelphia and big attendance numbers were expected. Lots of people came out in year one. A couple of years later it was a ghost town out there.

Baltimore Country Club held a Senior Players Championship for a few years a decade ago. Same story. Great, iconic golf course. 120 of the best senior players in the world, with at least a dozen memorable former major champions (Watson, Price, Langer, Strange). The first year, the crowds were really good. The second year, not so much. By the time Jay Haas won the event in 2009, the attendance was oddly poor.

Caves Valley held another Senior Players Championship a few years back when Scott McCarron won. The Ravens had more people attend their open practice at the stadium than ventured out to see world class golf.

Baltimore has enjoyed an amazing golf history, dating all the way back to the old days of the Eastern Open at Mount Pleasant and an LPGA event at Pine Ridge. Those tournaments seemingly "meant something" to the community. The crowds, based on photos and old newspaper articles, were strong. Neither event stood the test of the time, though.

Now, it's fair to point out that Baltimore hasn't had an event of this magnitude, golfing wise, since all the stars of the TOUR played Mount Pleasant in the late 50's and early 60's. There hasn't been a PGA Tour event in Baltimore since then. Washington DC has played host to regular TOUR stops and a handful of U.S. Opens (Congressional CC) and Presidents Cups (Robert Trent Jones GC) and those events have drawn very well over the years.

But, as we know, Baltimore and Washington DC are close to one another -- 45 miles -- only in actually mileage. They might as well be 200 miles apart in terms of the way people support sports, music and arts events.

This is a huge challenge for the PGA Tour. Caves Valley certainly seems like the perfect venue to host the BMW Championship. There's ample parking, the property is big enough to hold plenty of people but condensed enough to allow for a variety of different viewing options throughout the day. It's the perfect course and club, honestly, for this kind of tournament.

Longtime head professional Dennis Satyshur is among the best in the business and his staff will give the entire tournament the white gloves treatment all week. There's no need at all to worry whether Caves Valley -- as a club -- can handle this. The course and people involved were built for this exact thing, actually.

The players might have their way with the course, by the way, but that's a story for another day. Depending on how it's set up and what the TOUR does with par (my guess is holes #3 and #11 will be shifted from par 5's to par 4's to create a par 70 layout), I could see the winner shooting something in the 16 under par range for four days.

But what happens scoring wise will have no bearing whatsoever on whether or not skyboxes and tickets get sold in advance of the tournament. That's the ultimate barometer on whether moving the tournament to Baltimore was, in fact, the right move.

Will anyone go out there to see the golf?

It's also important to remember that the event is open to anyone who wants to attend. You don't have to show your Maryland driver's license to get in the place. Golf fans from Philly, New York, Boston, Richmond, Charlotte and anywhere in the world can travel to Charm City next August and take in the tournament.

But if Baltimore wants to establish itself as a potential long term host for significant golf events like the BMW or perhaps a major championship or a U.S. Amateur (rumored), the 2021 tournament at Caves Valley has to be a massive success story. We're getting one shot, again, to get it right.

Our history for these events isn't great, if we're being honest.

Let's hope we make the best of this mulligan Baltimore has been granted. Caves Valley deserves a grand, national showcase and so does our city.

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DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

your college basketball primer

Selection Sunday is the Ides of March, 24 days away. The date was notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts, which I suppose could happen in the NCAA tournament should there be a rematch of a regular-season game, or a third game between two teams that split a pair of games.

Anyway, in case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s a primer for the teams and stories that might make up the tournament this year.

Let’s get Maryland out of the way first. With five games left, the Terps have a two-game lead in the Big Ten standings. Every team has a slightly different schedule, but it’d still be a nice accomplishment to win a 20-game regular-season title in the best conference in college basketball in 2019-20. The Terps haven’t won an outright conference regular-season title since 2002, and you’ll remember what happened after that.

The Big Ten still may get nine or 10 teams into the NCAA tournament, but it’s hard to say anyone is a real title contender besides the Terps. Penn State, led by Lamar Stevens, is fun to watch on both ends of the court, but they seem like more of a Big Ten tournament champion than a Final Four team.

Cassius Winston and Michigan State have been a disappointment this year, considering the standard to which Tom Izzo’s program is now held. If you like to watch great offense, Iowa is your team; just stop watching after that until the Hawkeyes get the ball again.

Woudn't a March match-up between Maryland and Duke be glorious? Coach K might not think so after his Blue Devils lost by 22 last night to NC State.

Kudos to both Rutgers and Illinois for (probably) making the NCAA tournament, though I wouldn’t be surprised if both get knocked out in the first round.

Baylor (yes, Baylor) is the No. 1-ranked team in both the AP and Coaches polls, though you’d be hard-pressed to say they are a “better” team than Kansas, ranked third in both polls. The Bears do have maybe the best win of the season by any team, beating the Jayhawks by double digits at Allen Fieldhouse on January 11. The teams play again on Saturday in Texas.

Maybe the second-best win all season came against Duke, the one by unheralded Stephen F. Austin (now 23-3, by the way) at Cameron Indoor Stadium back in November. The Blue Devils beat Kansas early in the year, but this year’s weak ACC means they probably aren’t as good as their record might indicate. Coach K has another great (one-and-done, I assume) freshman in 6-10 Vernon Carey, who might finish just behind Kansas’ Devon Dotson and Iowa’s Luka Garza for national player of the year awards.

As far as the rest of the ACC, at this point defending national champion Virginia is on the outside of the NCAA tournament bubble. The Cavaliers have both Duke and Louisville on their home floor in early March, so Tony Bennett’s team has the chance to get on the right side of the bubble. Virginia’s offense, even more atrocious than usual early this year, has started to come around a bit. Right now, though, it’s just Duke, Louisville and Florida State out of the ACC, and North Carolina is likely to finish in last place.

Somehow I’ve gotten this far without talking about the nation’s only undefeated team, San Diego State, now 26-0 and 15-0 in the Mountain West. The Aztecs should have no problem winning their final three games, and also should have no problem getting a No. 1 seed. Can they win the national title? Thanks to guard Malachi Flynn, just maybe. The transfer from Washington State can do it all at 6-foot-1, and the Aztecs are the type of experienced team you just don’t see any more at the highest levels of college basketball.

The West Coast’s second-best team is another one from outside the Power Five, Gonzaga. The Zags have lost a neutral-site game to Michigan back in November and that’s it. Both BYU and Saint Mary’s will likely make the tournament out of the same conference, the WCC, so Gonzaga’s league isn’t as bad as it usually is. Still, the Zags have beaten Saint Mary’s by 30 points and BYU by 23, so it’s not like anyone is nipping at their heels.

The other great non-Power Five program this season? Dayton from the Atlantic 10. 6-foot-9 Obi Toppin is a future NBA star—he’s making nearly 70 percent of his two-point shots and almost 40 percent of his three-point attempts. Anthony Grant’s team is undefeated in conference play and has only lost twice, one of which came against Kansas.

Some great players who will play in the NCAA tournament on teams that aren’t likely to make long runs? It starts with Iowa’s Garza, a 6-foot-10 Washington, D.C., product whose improvement since his freshman year is incredible. Markus Howard from Marquette is the most explosive scorer in college basketball, perhaps the only player who can score 40 points in a game without it being a fluke. Myles Powell of Seton Hall, who didn’t play against Maryland in December, is sort of a Markus Howard-lite. There’s still a small chance that Minnesota can make the Big Dance. If they do, 6-foot-10 Daniel Oturu will have a lot to say about their fortunes. Either way, you can see him play against the Terps in Minneapolis next week.

Locally, as in the Baltimore area, both Towson and Morgan State are having excellent conference seasons, 9-5 in the Colonial and 8-5 in the MEAC respectively. There’s no reason either team couldn’t make a run in its conference tournament. This hasn’t been UMBC’s year, but the Retrievers have won their last three games. Loyola was 1-8 in the first half of the Patriot League season but is now 5-1 in the second half. Freshman Santi Aldama has been a revelation after returning from injury, and he’s made the Greyhounds a team that can beat any team in the league in the conference tournament.

As for the Final Four, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kansas and Baylor play for a fourth time there after a third game in the Big 12 tournament. For some reason, I’m betting that neither San Diego State nor Gonzaga will make it to the semifinals. And somewhere along the line the lack of depth for the Terps will really hurt them, so a great season won’t end up in Atlanta.

At this point, I’ll take the Jayhawks. I’m not sure how Bill Self still has a job in Lawrence, and I think he might be headed to the NBA soon if he gets the chance. Chalk up his second NCAA championship as of now, though I reserve the right to change my mind in a few weeks. Plus, you’re not going to get me to pick Duke…

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February 19
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seven more months of this?


I'm not gonna write about it.

I'm not.

Baseball's not going to sucker me in with this professional wrestling type subplot to their 2020 season.


OK, only for a second or two.

"Every single Astros players needs a beating," said Nick Markakis on Tuesday.

The baseball regular season has always been boring. That's not to say that your favorite team's season can't have excitement associated with it. There was a time six years ago or so where the Orioles were actually exciting.

I know that's hard to believe, but it's true. You can look it up. The Orioles weren't always this bad.

But rarely does the regular season in its totality generate widespread interest. I mean, unless you're betting on the games, do you really care who wins the American League West or the National League Central?

162 games. Six months. If you're lucky, your team wins one more game per week than they lose over five months and September rolls around and that month of baseball actually matters.

The baseball regular season is long. And mostly uninteresting.

If you're actively involved in fantasy baseball you might give a hoot what Yelich or Bellinger or Goldschmidt does on a nightly basis, but for the most part, you don't care what those guys do unless the Brewers, Dodgers or Cardinals are your favorite team.

Is anyone in Baltimore staying up on a Wednesday night in July to watch, say, the Royals and Mariners play the second game of a 3-game set in Seattle?

This season, though........

This season might be different.

Check that: Strike the word "might" and add "will".

This season will be different.

Things are going to be interesting on a daily basis because of the Houston Astros.

Nick Markakis blasted them on Tuesday.

Mike Trout lit into the Astros on Monday.

Other big names are sure to follow suit as spring training opens this week and veteran players get a microphone shoved in their face for reaction to the big off-season scandal involving the 2017 World Series champs.

Commissioner Rob Manfred was back in the crosshairs on Tuesday, apologizing for calling the World Series trophy "a piece of metal" over the weekend when he defended baseball's decision not to strip the Astros of the 2017 title.

No matter where you look, baseball and the Astros are the topic of conversation.

Phil Hughes hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2018 but there he was this week, front and center, yapping on Twitter about how the players should simply refuse to play until the Commissioner penalizes those Astros who were involved in the sign stealing saga.

Imagine that for a second. The players all have a "sit-out" until Manfred suspends a couple of Astros who were involved. Wouldn't that be an all-time power play?

It's weird, but I don't remember the players being nearly this hacked off about steroids 20 years ago.

Twitter and social media didn't exist back then, so the avenues for outrage were far less than what we have today. But even back then, players just sort of silently nodded and went on about their business. If they were disgusted by the guys on the juice gaining a massive advantage, very few players said or did anything about it.

In 2020, players are overwhelmingly outraged at the sign stealing benefits the Astros cooked up for themselves. Pitchers are talking about beaning the likes of Altuve, Correa and Springer. Markakis said "They all deserve a good beating over there", whatever that means.

The Dodgers are the most incensed because they're the ones who lost to the Astros in 2017. The two teams don't play one another in the regular season, sadly, but baseball would surely set some all-time TV ratings numbers if the two enemies were to somehow meet up again in October.

Here in Baltimore, the daily saga involving the Astros will keep baseball interesting throughout the summer. With the Orioles likely out of the A.L. East race by May 10, we'll need something to follow.

And it's looking like the Astros are going to be well worth following this season.

No matter your favorite team, you'll have to keep one eye on Houston, too.

Seven months of denials, beanballs and anger. Heck, if we're lucky, the Astros might only hit .220 at home for a few months and then we'll really have ourselves a story.

Baseball might just be interesting after all this season...even in Baltimore.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

unbeaten at home, terps glide past northwestern

It was a workmanlike effort that carried the Maryland Terrapins to a 76-67 win over the Northwestern Wildcats last night. After a 7 for 17 three-point shooting first half, Maryland followed it up with a 1 for 13 second half.

Even mediocre results from the three-point line would have resulted in a final score of blowout status. Northwestern keep the game close at times, but never really challenged for a lead.

Four Terps posted double digit points with Jalen Smith’s 22 points and career high 19 rebounds leading the way. Anthony Cowan had 19 points while Darryl Morsell and Donta Scott had 13 and 12 respectively.

As expected, Maryland ran their fast break when it was available and scored 17 fast break points. Part of the reason for their up-tempo success were the limited turnovers that Maryland committed. For the game, the team only turned it over 5 times.

Darryl Morsell chipped in 12 points for the Terps last night in their win over Northwestern.

Maryland rode a wave of three-pointers to a 37-25 halftime lead. The Terps made 7 of 17 first half long range attempts, good for 41%. After getting pushed around inside in their previous meeting, the Terps won the first half points-in-the-paint war, 12-8. That stat greatly favored Northwestern in their earlier game, 30-12.

The Terrapins had the lead from the outset of the game and extended it to as much as 11 before a Terrapin mini-drought allowed Northwestern to slash the lead to 3, 25-22 with 4:06 left in the first half. After the under four-minute media timeout, Maryland responded to an angered Mark Turgeon and finished the half on a 12-3 run. All 12 Terp points came on threes.

The second half started with Northwestern scoring inside. By the 11:42 mark, they had amassed a total of 22 points in the paint. Ryan Young accounted for 8 of those points and a handful of offensive rebounds. Maryland saw their lead shrink to just 4 points, 48-44, as the Terp threes stopped dropping.

The Wildcats could never get closer than four points because Maryland’s half-court offense began to operate about efficiently as I’ve seen it all season. For the game, Maryland dished out 17 assists while committing just the five turnovers. Even without the threes falling, the Terps were able to score enough to keep Northwestern at bay.

Some credit must be given to the Wildcats. I have said it twice, they will win some games with this core group. It just won’t be this year. They have some skilled pieces, and only need a real solid rebounder to elevate themselves from the bottom of the league. Don’t be surprised if they stun someone in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

Maryland needs to work on its ball screen defense. Northwestern figured things out in the second half, and used that knowledge to get the ball to certain spots on the floor. Boo Buie looked like he knew every coverage that was coming his way and he responded by knocking down 6 of 11 shots from inside the three-point line. Many of those came from little jumpers near the foul line after using a screen. Turgeon will definitely have his troops working on that this week as they prep for Sunday’s game at Ohio State.

Smith did have a great game with his 22 and 19, but I thought he got pushed around by Northwestern’s Ryan Young. Young, working exclusively inside, backed down Smith and converted on 8 of 11 shots. Smith just couldn’t stop this guy. That should never happen and will spell doom if Maryland runs into a tournament team with a big man who can duplicate Young’s success.

Here’s the difference in this year’s Maryland team. They ran into a squad that shot the lights out in the second half. Their interior defense in the second half was lacking. They couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn with their three-point shots in the second half. Yet they won by 9 points and now have a 2 game lead in a really tough Big Ten conference.

The Terps might be playing well, but they’ll need to learn from tonight if they expect to hold on to the top spot in the Big Ten.

The schedule gets brutal for the last 5 conference games. Maryland will play back to back road games against Ohio State and Minnesota before retuning home to play Michigan State. They then travel to Rutgers, who is undefeated at home, before finishing the regular season in College Park against Michigan.

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February 18
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turgeon quieting the critics

Perhaps the only way Mark Turgeon can finally and totally shut down his critics is for Maryland to win this year's NCAA title in Atlanta in early April.

That would, of course, do it once and for all, in the same way that anyone who had a beef with Gary Williams in the first decade of his College Park tenure got their lips sealed in, of all places, Atlanta in 2002.

Turgeon and the Terps have a long way to go before he can do the "shhhhhhhh" sign to his crew of haters, but Maryland is running awfully hot these days after a series of impressive Big Ten wins over the last month, including Saturday's memorable comeback at Michigan State.

Maryland brings a 14-0 home record into tonight's game with last place Northwestern and Mark Turgeon's Terps could be on the verge of breaking into the top 5 in the national poll.

I'd be one of those critics Turgeon gets the pleasure of quieting if Maryland makes a run to the Final Four this year. It's not that I was "anyone who replaces Gary can't live up to his standards", but I never felt as strongly about Turgeon's in game abilities as I did about those which Williams possessed. And because Maryland seemed to underachieve throughout the early years of Turgeon's tenure, I was naturally inclined to be only luke warm about the job he was doing at College Park.

Even this year, I wasn't sold. The Terps picked up a flukey win over Illinois in December, then got blasted by Penn State and Iowa and gave a game away to Wisconsin, all within a month or so. I wasn't expecting much at that point. I didn't think Turgeon had the players and I surely didn't think he could coach them up.

It sure looks like I was wrong and he was right.

In fact, it looks like everyone who thought (or thinks, still) Turgeon couldn't coach was wrong. I get it, players play and coaches coach, but if the coach gets a lot of the blame when the team loses, he should, therefore, got a lot of of the credit when the team wins. And Turgeon deserves a lot of the credit for this run through the Big Ten and climb into the national top 10.

In much the same way that Tiger Woods stuffed humble pie into the face of his critics with last April's Masters win, Maryland's play this season has done the same for those of us who assumed Turgeon couldn't get a team to the promised land.

The obvious most recent example of the humble-pie-feast is Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. "He'll never win a Super Bowl," they said about Reid. Humble pie delivered. Enjoy it, haters.

Now, it's fair to point out that Woods and Reid both won...and Turgeon, in fairness, hasn't really "won" anything just yet. The Big Ten tournament looms and Maryland's seeding in the NCAA tournament will likely be directly tied into how they play in that event. From there, the Terps will likely be favored in at least their first three March Madness games, if not their first four. Turgeon will face a new challenge come March in that every game at that point will be of the "win or go home" variety.

But for now, Mark Turgeon is quieting the masses. It took him a while to do it, and he'll always have his detractors, but winning closes down the critics in a way nothing else can.

Don't look now, but the Capitals are on the verge of falling out of first place after last night's 3-2 loss in Las Vegas.

The Caps (79 points) own just a one point lead over Pittsburgh and the Penguins have played two fewer games. By this time next week, expect the Caps to be in 2nd place in the Metropolitan Division.

Still stuck on 698 goals...

Washington has lost four of five and sport a 10-10 record in their last 20 games, which hardly qualifies as "getting hot at the right time". After a 3-game road trip out west, where they went 1-2, the Caps return home on Thursday night to host lowly Montreal. They need to get back on track...and quickly.

Alex Ovechkin is still stuck at 698 goals. He hasn't scored a goal in six games. Whether that's serving as a distraction for the Caps is something only they can answer, but the offense has been lousy of late. In their last ten games, the Caps have scored more than 3 goals just four times and have tallied 11 goals in their five most recent games. It's hard to win in the regular season with production like that.

Overall, Washington's problems are easy to detect but not so easy to fix in mid-season. The team's defensive backline is suspect, with John Carlson spending as much time creating offense as he does trying to keep the other team from scoring. He's a terrific player, mind you, but the team's defensive struggles mandate that several players take the bull by the horns and lock down that end of the ice. The Caps don't really have anyone of that ilk other than Carlson.

Braden Holtby has been "good" in goal, but "good" is like getting a B-minus in school. It's OK, but you can do better, in other words. Holtby has been sharp at times this season and also shockingly subpar at other times. As we saw two years ago when the Caps won the Stanley Cup title, you win in June because of your goaltender, not in spite of him. If Holtby can't raise his game in April, the Caps won't see May, let alone June.

There's also ongoing whispers in D.C. about the future of head coach Todd Reirden. There are gobs of hockey fans who aren't impressed. It might be wise for the Caps to look for someone new, but now is the not the time to do that. And, let's not forget, we are still talking about -- technically -- a first place team. It's not like the Caps are laboring near the cellar or fighting for a playoff spot.

Unlike last April, when the Caps were shockingly dismissed from the post-season by the upstart Carolina Hurricanes in seven games, nothing would surprise me this April. If the Caps go one-and-done, it wouldn't be an eye opener in the least. This group of players had their magical run in 2017-2018, held on for a while in 2018-2019, and now look to be simmering in 2019-2020. It's probably time to reload and go through the process again.

There was a scary scene at Daytona International Speedway last night as Ryan Newman was involved in a horrific crash near the finish line of the Daytona 500.

Newman's mangled and burned car rested on its hood for nearly 30 minutes after the race as track and medical employees worked to remove him from the vehicle. It was a very scary scene.

In the aftermath, something interesting happened on social media. People started praying. Or, at the very least, they wrote those words. "Praying for Ryan Newman." "I'm praying for Ryan!" "Not sure how many of you believe in prayer, but please say a prayer for Ryan Newman tonight."

Some members of the media even jumped in with the same thought. All over the country, people were praying for Ryan Newman. #prayingforryan was even a trending Twitter hashtag.

About two hours after the race-ending accident, word came from Newman's family that the NASCAR driver was safe. His injuries were serious, but not life threatening.

Prayer works...

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps host northwestern tonight

Northwestern and Maryland played each other on January 21, each team winning a half.

Northwestern won the first half 40-26. In the second half, it was the Wildcats who could only muster 26 points, while Maryland exploded for 51 to win on the road by 11, 77-66.

In that first meeting, Northwestern employed a defensive strategy that basically forced the Terps to beat try and beat them from the outside. In both zone and man-to-man defenses, the Wildcats packed the lane while leaving the outside shot available. Maryland shot 33 threes, making 13. They made just 6 shots inside the key. They were outscored 30-12 in the paint. Maryland will fix that tonight.

The Terps did start going inside during the second half, and as a result they wound up going to the foul line 29 times. They hit 26 of those freebies.

Pat Spencer returns to the DC/Baltimore area tonight, but playing a different sport, as the former Loyola lacrosse star looks to slow down Anthony Cowan and the Terps.

Northwestern had a great game shooting from the floor, hitting 44% of their threes and 50% overall. They played very aggressively and dictated the action. It was a strong showing from the Big Ten’s last place team. Unfortunately for them, the game is 40 minutes long and Northwestern couldn’t sustain.

Things will be a bit different tonight starting at 8pm. First off, Maryland will be motivated. There won’t be a post big-game let down like there was against Nebraska. Watch the replay from the first game and you’ll see some hot-dogging by Northwestern players. Maryland won’t forget that and they won’t forget that they trailed by 14 points either.

I truly believe we are going to get 40 minutes out of the Terps tonight, who right now are 2 seed according the NCAA ranking committee.

I trust that Mark Turgeon and the Terps will find a way to get the ball inside tonight and not shoot such a high percentage of three-point shots. This may mean running a bit more than they did during the last game, and I expect a quicker tempo game. The transition offense will be key for Maryland.

In order to push the tempo, the Terps need to control the boards. They held just a slight one rebound advantage in the previous game, but that is partially because Northwestern hit a lot of their attempts. That won’t be the case tonight as I see the Wildcats struggling from the field. They’ll be fortunate to shoot 40% in this rematch.

The Loyola lacrosse grad, Pat Spencer, torched Maryland for a team high 17 points in that January game. He’s not getting that many in tonight's contest. It may mean that Darryl Morsell gets assigned to him while Anthony Cowan checks the freshman, Boo Buie. Cowan can be a tenacious defender, but Spencer is a great athlete who may be a bit too rugged for Cowan. This leaves Miller Kopp and Eric Ayala matched up. It’s a win all around for the Terps.

I think those head-to-head battles will greatly favor the Terps. Maryland’s defense will not allow 40 points in a half the way they did in the first 20 minutes at the Welsh-Ryan Arena.

As I wrote in my pre-game article for the January 21st game, this young Northwestern ensemble will win their fair share of games. It’s just not going to happen this year, or especially tonight when a motivated Terp team takes care of business.

Northwestern’s schedule had them at Penn State on Saturday, then home for one day before flying to Maryland to tackle the Terps. Tired legs against a motivated team wanting to run spells trouble for the Wildcats.

The line-makers have posted an aggressive 15.5 point line on this game. A point-spread win (or loss) could be determined by how well the Terp reserves play. I expect Maryland to have big lead in this game, and win by 17, 79-62.

February 17
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the story that just won't stop

As much as I want to get away from SignGate, the Astros, the media and the rest of baseball won't let that happen.

And the more I follow the story, the more amazed I become at how stupid a lot of the people involved show themselves to be on an almost daily basis.

I've read, watched or listened to almost every Astros player who has been willing to speak on the record about what happened in 2017.

Here's what stands out with each of those occasions: The players aren't really all that sad about damaging "the game we love" (as many of them describe it). They're not sad. They're mad. They're mad at Mike Fiers for spilling the beans on them. Nothing more than that.

It's sorta-kinda what happened to Colonel Nathan R. Jessup in A Few Good Men. He wasn't really all that sad about a "sub-standard marine" dying on his company's watch. He was far more mad that the men who served under him couldn't keep the "code red" a secret.

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred says the Astros have been punished enough in the wake of their sign stealing scandal.

The Astros don't come across like a group of guys who really, truly understand the damage they've caused and the long-term stigma this will give themselves and their organization. Instead, they come across like a group of guys who feel poisoned by one of their own.

In some ways, this episode from 2017 (and 2018 and 2019...we'll get to that in a minute) is far worse than steroids, PEDs, pine tar on the neck and corking bats, which are all "tricks of the trade" that this nefarious group of so-called professionals have been using for decades.

At least with steroids, PEDs and pine tar, every player in baseball could have dabbled in those wrongdoings. In other words, as odd as it seems, every team could have benefitted from their scandalous players breaking the rules.

In the Astros case, while others around baseball might have also been utilizing an electronic sign-stealing scheme, it's obvious that not every opposing team they faced had the same advantage they had over the last three years.

And, yes, despite their claims, there's almost no doubt that the Astros were still using cameras and laptops in 2018 and 2019.

What? You think they won the World Series in 2017 and then suddenly felt shame and went to spring training in 2018 and said to one another, "OK, now, that was fun last year and all...but we have to go back on the straight and narrow this season and win the right way"?

Of course not. They started upgrading the cheating, I'd bet. That's where buzzers and other body-worn devices came into play.

This is all similar to Pete Rose's silly claim that he "only bet on the Reds" when he was gambling while serving as the team's manager. Yeah, sure, Pete. We believe you...

"We won the World Series in 2017 using an illegal sign-stealing scheme, then decided we didn't want to win like that any longer..." Yeah, sure. We believe you...

The real question through all of this, of course, is what kind of punishment do the players deserve? The GM and manager lost their job. The owner has fully embarrassed himself every time he talks about the whole ordeal. If baseball could fire him, they would.

But what of the players?

Commissioner Rob Manfred definitely cut a deal with them in order to learn all he could about the situation and publish his now famous "report". My guess is part of that agreement with the players is that he'd only focus on the 2017 season and would not pursue anything from 2018 or 2019. That's why Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve keep mentioning "the facts are in the report...and...the only year the Commissioner's report referred to was 2017."

So, because Manfred had to cut a deal, he has no real leverage remaining. The right thing to do would have been to strip the Astros of their title. As David Rosenfeld notes in his piece today, the Dodgers were the ones that couldn't win Game 7 at home in the 2017 World Series. But Houston won a lot of regular season and playoff games by virtue of their enhanced sign stealing scheme that year...it wasn't just the World Series victory that wound up being tainted.

The entire 2017 Astros season was tainted.

And this notion that "if you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin'" is about the most idiotic response anyone could author in an effort to overlook the Astros' transgressions. If you write or say that -- as lots of knuckleheads have over the last three weeks -- you're condoning cheating. Period.

Just because someone didn't punish Gaylord Perry doesn't make it right to say "boys will be boys" when the Astros involve themselves in the worst team-related scandal since the Black Sox threw the World Series in 1919.

There is one other piece of business to settle. And it's called "self policing", which appears to be one of the ways current major leaguers are going to deal with the Astros in 2020. If self-policing includes throwing the ball at an Astros player in an attempt to even the score, those throwing the ball should immediately be suspended for 15 games.

The Commissioner is the officer in charge of remedy in this case. The players, as much as they want to believe they should arbitrate the punishment, are not in charge.

Throwing a baseball at someone is never the answer. It's not the answer after someone throws his bat aside after hitting a home run off of you. It's not the answer when you steal second base when your team is leading 10-2 in the 8th inning. And it's not the answer in the case of the Astros, either.

The answer would have been for Manfred to throw the book at the former 2017 World Series* champions right from the start. Once he negotiated his way out of the ability to do that, the story would never end.

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

consider this

Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, the reigning National League MVP, didn’t mince words at Spring Training when asked about those cheatin’ Astros. He said that Houston second baseman José Altuve “stole” the 2017 AL MVP award from the Yankees’ Aaron Judge, and that “everyone knows” the Astros stole the 2017 World Series against Bellinger’s Dodgers.

To which I say…Bellinger and others have every right to be upset at the Astros, to think that the team’s scripted apology day was pretty lame, and to believe that Houston continued their shenanigans the last two years as well. Like Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman said, the Astros likely gave themselves a “distinct advantage.”

While they might have stolen signs in a highly against-the-rules way, however, the Astros didn’t “steal” those achievements. They just didn’t. They happened, just like the banging on the trash cans happened.

Altuve and Judge are different players, and not just by the 13-inch height difference. Altuve gets on base a lot because he’s a good hitter, with just enough power to keep pitchers honest.

Judge is the quintessential modern power hitter, albeit one with a better batting eye than most. He strikes out 200 times every year and he hits home runs. It makes for an interesting choice when deciding on things like the MVP award.

Did Altuve win the MVP over Judge simply because the Astros defeated the Yankees in the ALCS in 2017, with every win in that series coming by the home team? I really doubt it. Both of them had a good series, but neither team really hit the ball well in general against the excellent pitching of their opponent.

As for the World Series, the Dodgers had Game 7 in their home ballpark, away from garbage cans apparently. Yu Darvish, not helped by his defense, couldn’t get out of the second inning. The Dodgers managed four hits in the first five innings. The Astros led big early, and like any good team took advantage.

The Astros won the World Series. The Dodgers had every chance to do so and lost. There’s no shame in that, of course, and there is some shame in cheating. But the results are what they are.

One of the first things Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde did at Spring Training this past week was address his pitchers and catchers, just like every other manager did. Hyde told the Baltimore Sun that he wanted his returning pitchers to remember their struggles, and “know what that feels like and tell yourself that’s not going to happen anymore.”

Brandon Hyde is back for year two in Baltimore but the roster he starts with might be inferior to the one he inherited in 2019.

Those are good thoughts. A confident mentality is important for a pitcher. I’m not sure any of the Orioles’ pitchers are physically capable of taking that mentality and turning it into results, but I can’t blame Hyde for trying.

Considering the era of offensive baseball we’re in (I mean like home runs, not “offensive”), you could argue that the 2019 Orioles had the worst pitching performance in MLB history. At the plate, Hyde’s team performed more like a 70-win team, not a 54-win team.

On the mound, it was sometimes hard to believe Hyde’s team ever won a game, especially after trading Andrew Cashner away in mid-July.

The Orioles’ team ERA was 5.59, almost half a run worse than that of the Detroit Tigers, who actually won seven fewer games. The pitching staff (in)famously broke the record for most home runs allowed in a single season with an entire month left and allowed opponents to score 981 runs, a simply astonishing figure that’s hard to process even now.

Of course, it’s not like there hasn’t been turnover on the pitching staff since last year. 36 pitchers are in camp, and only 15 of them pitched for the team last year. Maybe a couple who weren’t on the staff last season can be productive. A guy like David Hess, who showed signs as a rookie, can’t possibly be as bad this year as he was in 2019, can he? We’ll see.

As mentioned often in this space, it’s hard for a terrible pitching staff to get better when playing 76 games a year against the American League East. At least Mookie Betts is no longer around to torment us.

Maryland scored the last 14 points of the game Saturday evening in East Lansing, beating Michigan State 67-60. The Terps made three-pointers on four consecutive possessions in the final three minutes, thanks to terrific dribble penetration by Darryl Morsell and Aaron Wiggins and some questionable defensive decisions by the Spartans. I had to go back and watch the end of the game again so I’d believe it really happened.

But you already knew all that from yesterday’s game recap from Dale Williams or from watching the game on television. The question to ask now is…how far can Maryland go before the NCAA tournament starts in mid-March?

Is it realistic to think that the Terps can win their final six regular-season games? Probabilities suggest that maybe it isn’t, especially since the win at Michigan State was already Maryland’s eighth in a row.

But the fact is that Maryland, which is 14-0 at home, plays three more home games they’ll be favored to win. That means the Terps have three more road games too, but they’ve just won four straight on the road, in a league where there have hardly been any road wins all season besides games at Nebraska and Northwestern.

One of the three road games is at Rutgers, whose 17-0 record at home this season is even better than Maryland’s 14-0 record. The others are at Ohio State and Minnesota. I won’t predict they’ll all be Maryland wins, but neither will I predict they’ll all be losses either.

After all that, is it realistic to think that the Terps can win the Big 10 Tournament? Certainly any of the top four seeds, the ones that would only have to win three games to do it, are the best bets. Right now, it would take a total collapse for Maryland to fall out of the top four.

As for NCAA tournament seeding, a No. 1 would be tough. The Terps may really need to win 17 games in a row entering the tournament to get one. And if they did that, they’d probably be the favorite to win it all.

A thought on 2,000 (and two) straight days of publishing at #DMD. There are lots of books and articles and blogs that tell writers (both aspiring and experienced) to develop a daily writing “habit.” Some people start doing that at a young age with a personal journal or diary. Others start much later with subjects that are less personal.

Here’s what I can tell you, though I can’t really speak for the person who actually has posted something 2,000 straight days here. It may or may not always have been great for you to have read the 200,000-or-so words I’ve posted here, but it’s been great for me.

Writers write. If a writer doesn’t write something every day, then it’s just a hobby, really. There’s no reason that I can’t write something every day, even if it has nothing to do with sports and isn’t published at #DMD or somewhere else.

Does writing every day make someone a great writer? Not necessarily. Is it a good way to be a more curious and thoughtful person? Absolutely.

I’ve learned quite a bit while doing this the last few years. I’ve done research and gained sports knowledge that I never would have known or looked for otherwise. I’ve reacted to current events in ways that I never had to before. I’ve gotten a much better sense of what readers are like, including the fact that many of you are more interested in talking to each other than I’d imagined.

There are hits and misses in 2,000 straight days of content. For this site specifically, there are certain sports realities. I groaned in early January even before the Ravens’ unfortunate loss to the Titans, wondering what in the world I was going to talk about once football season was over, especially considering how much there was to talk about during this particular season.

But something always seems to come up. A big reason for that? When you do this for 2,000 days in a row, you start to look at the world a little differently…and realize that almost anything could be the subject for a spirited discussion.

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February 16
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sunday stuff...

Indoor soccer began in Baltimore back in 1980, when the Houston Summit moved to Charm City and renamed themselves the Blast. We have Blackpool, England native Kenny Cooper to thank for that one. He was tasked with finding a new home for the Blast and was scheduled to visit Baltimore first, then head north to check out the city of Boston.

Cooper never made it to Boston.

The Blast set up shop in Baltimore and started playing in November of 1980. 40 years later.......indoor soccer is still being played in Baltimore, although the venue changed a few years ago when the current franchise moved from the downtown Royal Farms Arena to the 4,000 facility on the campus of Towson University known these days as SECU Arena.

40 years after Kenny Cooper brought indoor soccer to Baltimore, they're still playing the pro game in Charm City.

I went to last night's Blast-Harrisburg game and bumped into some old friends. Mike Conway was a young East Baltimore soccer player back in 1992 when we first signed him to play for the Spirit, which was an entry in the NPSL after the MISL folded and we were in a legal hassle over using the Blast name. Mike would go on to later work in the front office with me and eventually moved up to the team's General Manager a year or so ago.

I also ran into Lance Johnson last night, a former Towson University soccer player that we drafted in 1993 and would go on to enjoy a successful career with the Spirit/Blast and later be added to the team's Hall of Fame roster.

And I spent some time chatting with Kevin Healey, who ran the Blast for 15 years or so after I departed in 1998 and is now the general manager of the Harrisburg team, where his son Pat, an outstanding player himself with the Blast for a decade, is now the Heat's head coach.

"40 years......." I said to Kevin as we stood in the concourse together at halftime.

"I know, it's amazing," Healey responded. "40 straight years without missing a season. No one can say the same thing in this country in soccer."

Indeed that is true. No city in the U.S. has featured a professional indoor soccer team playing in a professional league for 40 consecutive years except for Baltimore. I've lost track at exactly how many leagues have come through the city since 1980 but I'll give it a whirl: the original MISL, the MSL, the NPSL, the MISL (again), the NISL, the MISL (again x 2) and, now, the MASL, which, in case you don't know or care, stands for Major Arena Soccer League.

The crowds are down these days, a far cry from the zenith of the sport when 12,000 would jam the Baltimore Arena/Civic Center for Blast soccer, entertaining such great indoor players as Steve Zungul, Tatu, Keith Furphy, Tino Lettieri, Stan Terlecki, Branko Segota, Preki, Kai Haaskivi and 50 more that I don't have the time to list.

They had roughly 2,000 there last night to see the Blast beat Harrisburg in a big game, 7-4. While the 2,000 had a good time, it was disappointing to see an already small building only half full. The times have changed, unfortunately, and the hot ticket that once was isn't hot any longer.

But it was cool to catch up with three old friends and chat about the old days. All three of those men played vital roles in indoor soccer, in some way, from 1992 through 2018. One of them, Lance Johnson, is already a franchise Hall of Famer. The other two, Kevin Healey and Mike Conway, should be in the Hall of Fame someday. Without those two, that 40-year stretch of indoor soccer in Baltimore probably wouldn't still be intact.

Didn't see any of the Maryland game last night. Not one second of it. Because, as I noted above, I was at the Blast game. But here's precisely how it went for me.

I had a Google calendar update set on my phone and got instant scoring changes, so all I had to do was open my phone and look at the score.

I saw Maryland was up early, enjoyed a 14-point lead at one point, and by the next time I checked the score it was a close game in the 40's somewhere. "Michigan State wasn't going to get blown out on their home court," I mumbled to myself as I saw they had forged ahead 51-50.

Could Anthony Cowan be closing in on getting his jersey hung in the Xfinity Center rafters someday?

The next time I looked it was 60-53 with 3:25 remaining. This also happened to coincide with the end of the Blast game (both contests started at 6 pm) and the home team led in that one 6-4 but Harrisburg had pulled their goalie and was pressing to get back in the game.

The Blast goalkeeper threw the ball into the empty net for a goal to make it 7-4 with 30 seconds left and I grabbed the kids and headed for the exit.

Walking to my car, I checked my phone.

MD 67 - M St 60 (Final)

I actually stopped in my tracks.

"Come on Dad, keep walking, it's freezing," my son said.

I started walking again but refreshed my phone to try and get the score to come back up again. Surely that couldn't be right. My brain started doing the math. Maryland was down 60-53. They couldn't have won 67-60. That's a 14-0 run.

The phone refreshed and the score popped back up: MD 67 - M St 60 (Final).

Dale Williams will do his duty below as our outstanding basketball analyst, but I'll just say this: Back in early January or so, I didn't think this Maryland team was all that good. I said so. I didn't think they were lousy or anything, but I just didn't think had much under the hood. I was wrong. Big time wrong.

I still think they could run into a bad match-up in the NCAA tournament if they draw a high scoring, offensive minded team, because this Terps squad doesn't seem like one that can pour in points at a feverish pace, but they are playing great team basketball and defending the heck out of the half court game. There's no telling how far they might go. Last night's win over Michigan State proves that.

Even though Tiger won't win his 83rd career event today in Los Angeles, the golf might still be worth watching. The final group is a promoter's dream, with Rory McIlroy, Matt Kuchar and Adam Scott all tied for the lead at 10-under par.

Adam Scott doesn't have a PGA Tour win since March of 2016.

And then there's Harold Varner III one shot back at 9-under par. Varner is African American and seeking his first win on TOUR. It would be, quite obviously, a unique story line for Varner to win his first ever tournament and be handed the trophy by the tournament's host, Tiger Woods.

Editor's note: I had a very good fantasy team working its way up the DraftKings leaderboard yesterday until Ryan Palmer took six shots to get out of the bunker on a par-3 hole and made a "9" there. Thanks a lot, Ryan...

McIlroy was once the next fair haired boy on TOUR, winning four majors rather quickly before falling back to earth five years ago. He's still a great, great player, of course, having won last year's PLAYERS title and the FedEx championship as well. But he's been stuck on four majors since 2014 and still needs to win the Masters to complete the career grand slam. A win for him today would be a nice way to start that lead-in period to Augusta National in early April.

It's fitting that Adam Scott is in the hunt giving his Hollywood good looks and the tournament's venue in Los Angeles. Scott was also once "the next great thing" but still has just one major championship to his credit, the 2013 Masters. He has top 5 finishes in all of the other three majors, but hasn't been able to crack through at any of them. Unlike McIlroy, though, who has piled up PGA Tour and European Tour wins over the last five years, the Australian has just a handful of international wins since 2013 and hasn't won on the PGA Tour since 2016. He's had his chances, too.

If any of the final three could really use a win today it would be Scott. McIlroy's still great no matter what and the other guy, Matt Kuchar, won twice last season on TOUR. Scott really needs this one today.

Kuchar can win today and that would be great, but his career is still incomplete without that elusive major championship. He's had chances throughout his two decade career to snag one, but Kuchar hasn't ever pulled into the winner's circle at the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open or PGA. A victory today would be nice for his already-bulging bank account and would garner him some significant Olympic and Ryder Cup qualifying points, but the victory he wants the most is in Augusta, Georgia in two months time.

I'm rooting for Varner, personally, but certainly wouldn't mind seeing Adam Scott get the trophy at the end of the day, either.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

a comeback for the ages

This team has heart!

Maryland squandered a 15-point first half lead, trailed by 7 points with only 3:25 left in the game, and yet the Terrapins managed to beat Michigan State last night in the Breslin Center by 7, 67-60.

After struggling to score throughout most of the second half, the Terps outscored the Spartans 14-0 during the last 3:25 of the game to secure the win. They were down 60-53 prior to the late run. Jalen Smith and Anthony Cowan combined to hit four three-pointers in just 2:30, and the entire team never stopped defending with ferocious energy.

As a result, Maryland secured a road win against a tough, and stunned, Spartan team.

A lot of the Turgeon critics have been silenced in recent weeks.

Three-point shots gave the Terps the early lead (5 were made in the first half), and it was the three pointer that enabled them to overcome the late 7-point deficit and win this game.

After going 0-10 from long range in the second half, the Terps hit their last four deep balls in a row to fashion a come from behind win. Jalen Smith hit the first, but it was Anthony Cowan’s clutch shooting that put Maryland over the top when he nailed three bombs in a row in just under two minutes.

Cowan finished with 24 points and Jalen Smith added 17 points and 10 rebounds.

At halftime, Maryland held a 22-12 rebounding advantage, a big advantage on three-point shots made (5-1), and a 39-31 lead on the scoreboard. Xavier Tillman (13) and Cassius Winston (9) had accounted for 22 of the 31 Spartan points.

Maryland’s defense excelled early on, and they got 7 big points from Eric Ayala, but the momentum at the half switched to Michigan State’s side when they scored 7 straight points to cut a 15-point deficit down to 8. The momentum had shifted, and even though the Terps held the 8-point intermission lead, you could sense the confidence in the green and white and a bit of panic with Maryland.

The second half continued much where the first half left off. Maryland struggled to score and Michigan State chipped away at the lead. The Spartans finally forged ahead when Cassius Winston made a three pointer with 7:32 left in the game. Things really looked bleak for the Terps.

Michigan State would gradually push their lead to 7, but then their scoring stopped and it was all Terps, and long-range bombs from that point on.

Maryland made Michigan State work hard for every bucket. At times the Terp half court ball pressure was stifling. They raced to loose balls and dominated the glass in the first half. However, MSU was able to turn the rebounding tables in the second half when they out rebounded Maryland 22-13. Tom Izzo must have given them a stern pep talk.

I’ll go on record as saying that the three-pointer is way too influential in college basketball. It’s ruined the pro game for me.

It’s a shot that yields up to 50% more points than a shot inside the three-point line, but it’s not 50% more difficult than the closer shot. It’s too influential, but the NCAA and the fans, enjoy the equalization that the shot can provide.

Earl Weaver preached pitching, defense, and three run homers. Last night, Maryland played outstanding defense, and hit enough timely three-point home runs to ruin Michigan State’s hope for a quality home win.

Michigan State did a nice job defending Cowan for much of the second half. This left Eric Ayala open for 13 shot attempts, He scored 7 times in the first half, but only managed to hit 1 shot in the second. He shot just 4-13, so I guess the strategy was successful.

I couldn’t notice any significant changes for Maryland, defensively, between the first half and the second. Michigan’s splits were 31 points in the first half and 29 in the second. Pretty consistent.

Offensively, with MSU’s concentrated effort on stopping Cowan, I thought Maryland did a nice job running sets for Smith and he responded with several assisted layups. Both teams played tough defense, but Maryland just made more critical shots, especially late in the game.

Sparty will get their chance to avenge last night's home collapse when these teams meet again in two weeks back at College Park.

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February 15
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lou, we're coming for you next!

As you can see above, today marks the 2,000th consecutive day of publishing here at #DMD.

I'm not much for milestones. Looking forward is always more productive than looking back, but 2,000 days in a row is pretty wild to sit back and reflect upon.

Tony Young got me started with #DMD about five hours after we all got canned at the radio station. He was the guy who built the first website for me and made me go live on Monday, August 25, 2014 when I had little idea what this would or could become.

I'm sure I'm going to miss a location, somehow, but by God's grace and the computer wisdom of my friend George McDowell, who built me a mobile server way back when, we've been able to publish #DMD from a lot of different places since August 25, 2014.

Baltimore, Hagerstown, Ocean City, Deep Creek Lake, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Foxborough, Myrtle Beach, Washington DC, Hot Springs VA, New York City, Plainfield NJ, Pinehurst NC, West Palm Beach FL, Raleigh NC, Durham NC, Kiawah Island SC, Nashville, Phoenix, Pebble Beach CA, London, Atlanta...I *think* that's everywhere we've hit "publish" from over the last five-plus years.

So, next up is something symbolic, from a sports standpoint anyway. We're gunning to go 2,131 days in a row and surpass the games played streak of the great Lou Gehrig. If we're able to reach that number sometime in early July, then -- and only then -- will we even *think* about Cal Jr.'s all time record!

We're channeling our inner-Ripken here, I guess, but I can say that we didn't start out with the hope or goal of publishing 2,000 consecutive editions here. It's just happened that way. I've published in the middle of a kidney stone attack in Pinehurst, during more gout outbreaks than I care to remember and I've published in the middle of an overnight cardiac evaluation at GMBC. I hit "send" minutes before taking off from Dulles airport en route to London for the Ravens-Jaguars game. We've published on Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. On any of those days, I suppose it would have been just fine to say, "Taking a day off today, see you back here tomorrow"......but we just never did. I can't explain it. Here we are at 2,000 days and counting.

Isn't there a Johnny Cash song about this? "I've Been Everywhere".

I haven't been everywhere. No one has, actually. But we've published from a lot of different places, that's for certain.

Anyway...I don't know how many people have checked in for all 2,000 days thus far, but thank for visiting here no matter your frequency. I hope we've become part of your daily routine in some small way.

Carroll County Public Schools voted on and approved a new high school athlete transfer rule last night. It now reads that no CCPS varsity athlete can switch schools and play the same sport without sitting out one year of competition. The rule does not apply to JV athletes or students without varsity level experience.

This rule, of course, is in place to serve as a potential "game changer" in terms of transferring within the CCPS. If after two outstanding years as a varsity football player at CCPS "A", you can't finish out your sophomore year and then skip over to play your junior year at CCPS "B". You can go to school as a junior a CCPS "B" and you can even practice and participate in all athletic activities with CCPS "B", but you can't play in any games with them until your senior year.

Oh, and in case you're wondering......this exact rule already exists within the MIAA. A Calvert Hall rugby player can't play his sophomore year on the varsity team and then transfer to Gilman and play his junior year of rugby over there. He could play rugby if Calvert Hall discontinued rugby. And he can play soccer or baseball or golf at Gilman as a junior. But he couldn't play rugby again until he sat out one year.

This was good news from Carroll County on Friday.

Tony Kemp was called up by the Astros in September of 2017 and was asked directly, if he wanted to participate in the sign stealing scheme. Kemp said "no thanks".

Kemp, now with the Oakland A's, was a rookie in 2017 who had enjoyed a productive minor league season at the Triple A level.

"Once I got called up, I just felt like I was going to trust my abilities up there," he said. "I just didn't want any distractions."

Imagine being that guy...

The varsity players tell you about this new drink they're all drinking before a game that makes you hit the ball better and you say, "No thanks, I'm good."

Now they know you're not willing to go to the dark side with them. How can they trust you as a teammate? Do they worry that you're going to someday spill the beans on them? How do you go along every day and know what's happening and not be distracted in some way?

I noted yesterday that some national writer penned a piece that essentially said, "I'm going to keep riding the Astros until one of the prominent parties in the whole sign stealing scheme openly uses the word "cheated" in a direct attributable quote."

Boy, you talk about dying on a hill.

We need to hear them say "cheated" for what reason? Just to force it out of them? Will it make them feel any differently at all? Worse about themselves? Will it feel like, finally, the media and fans won and the Astros lost?

The only way the players lose is if Rob Manfred punishes them, somehow. And it would appear he granted most of them immunity in exchange for having them participate in his initial investigation. So, punishing them now might not actually be permitted.

I don't think the Astros are going to say "we cheated". But we all know they did and we know that they know that we know, too. That's good enough for me.

Barring a stirring weekend comeback, Tiger Woods won't win at Riviera CC this weekend, making him 0-fer, still, at the iconic track in Los Angeles. Matt Kuchar leads at 9-under par while Woods rests at even par after rounds of 69-73 to start the tournament.

But that wasn't the biggest news to come out of L.A. on Friday. Woods and three other prominent American players who could use the free Olympic qualifying points available at next week's WGC event in Mexico City have elected NOT to play down there. Woods, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Cantlay each failed to sign up by last night's deadline. International players in need of Olympic qualifying points who also missed the deadline included Justin Rose (England), Jason Day (Australia) and Henrik Stenson (Sweden).

It's a horses-for-courses thing, apparently. Just like Woods has never fared well at Riviera, most of those skipping Mexico City haven't scored well at Club de Golf Chapultepec.

Koepka’s record at Club de Golf Chapultepec is dismal: He hasn't finished better than 27th in two appearances, and he’s playing the following week at his hometown Honda Classic.

Fowler has never cracked the top 15 in Mexico City, either, and as a past champion he’s already signed up for Honda, in addition to Bay Hill and The Players that all come around within a month's time.

Rose? Never better than 37th in Mexico City, and he skipped in 2019, too.

More and more these days, the best players in the world simply pick and choose where they play, even when valuable "free" Olympic points are on the line.

My guess is guys like Koepka and Cantlay and the rest of them just assume they'll win once or twice between now and late June and that will take care of their Olympic qualifying quest. They're not forced to play in Mexico City. They'll just win somewhere else in the next few months.

Wins wise, there's only one thing Tiger hasn't done in his career: He doesn't yet have an Olympic medal of any kind, mostly because golf was just added as an Olympic sport in 2016. If it's important to him to play in Tokyo this summer, skipping the Mexico City event is an odd way of showing it.

a new #dmd podcast

Bill Bolander of Jerry's Toyota sits down with me this week to discuss the Ravens, the Terps and the benefits of leasing a vehicle. I learned a lot in this one, myself. I learned Bill knows plenty about the Terps and I definitely discovered that I should be a leasing a new vehicle soon instead of buying one.

Check out my conversation with Bill Bolander below.


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dale williams aims the
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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps face huge test tonight in east lansing

With Michigan State now occupying third place in the Big Ten and no longer part of the top 25 national rankings after being the preseason #1, you might think this team isn’t one of Tom Izzo’s better teams.

Don’t believe that. This Sparty team is good. They might not be Final Four good, but they are good.

Every Spartan home conference win this year has been by double digits. Other than their recent home loss to Penn State, they really haven’t been challenged at home in their conference games.

In order to beat Michigan State in East Lansing, Penn State needed a special night by Myreon Jones (6-8 shooting threes) and a big night forcing turnovers. Two things at which the Terps don’t excel, unfortunately.

It's almost unthinkable that Tom Izzo and his Spartans would lose two straight home games.

I think the Spartans are a tough matchup for Maryland. Coach Izzo has used a variety of starting lineups lately, but I’ll take a shot at the likely starting matchups for tonight's game (6:00 pm tip off).

Cassius Winston is the best point guard in the league. He can slash and he can shoot from beyond the three-point line He’s a four-year player and the heart and soul of their team.

Winston leads them in scoring with over 18 points a game and also dishes out a team high 5.7 assists per game. The Winston – Anthony Cowan battle will be fun to watch and go a long way in determining the outcome of today’s game. Michigan State can still win even if Maryland can limit Winston’s scoring, but the Terps have little shot for victory if Cowan doesn’t put up big points himself to counter the expected production from Winston.

The next likely matchup involves Eric Ayala and Rocket Watts. Watts is a smaller guard, at 6’2”, but staying in front of him will be a real problem for Ayala. Watts is a relative newcomer to the starting lineup, but he can provide an offensive lift whenever he’s on the court. He’s not a deep threat (29% from three), but he’s good at getting into the paint and making things happen. It’s another good matchup, but in this game they pretty much all are.

At the three-spot, Izzo will start Aaron Henry. Henry shoots it really well from the outside (38%) and is an athletic defender with his 6’6” 210-pound frame. He’s a natural matchup with Maryland’s Darryl Morsell. He may not be the defender that Morsell is, but he’s more versatile offensively. I see this fight as a draw.

The small forward starter could come from any one of three players. Gabe Brown and Malik Hall have amassed the most minutes there, but a guy that only gets 12 minutes a game could come up big for Michigan State, literally.

If Izzo chooses to give significant court time to Marcus Bingham Jr, the matchups under the basket greatly favor the Spartans. Bingham’s body is almost a carbon copy of Maryland’s Jalen Smith. Like Smith, Bingham is a lanky 225 pounder, but he’s not nearly as skilled as Smith. However, at 6’11”, he could be a problem for Donta Scott, Ricky Lindo, or anyone else Maryland puts on him. Regardless of who plays the four spot for Michigan State (including Kyle Ahrens), they are winning that battle.

Perhaps even more important than the point guard battle, is the big man battle between Smith and Xavier Tillman.

Defensively for the Terps, I think this is the most important duel on the court. Winston will get his points because he is just really good, but limiting Tillman spells success for Marc Turgeon’s Terps. Only once this year have the Spartans lost a Big Ten Game where Tillman scored in double digits.

If you look at the box score at the conclusion of this game and see that Tillman has 12 or more points, his Spartans will have won the game.

From a team perspective, I’m sure Maryland’s recent practices have focused intensely on transition defense and rebounding. Runouts and second chance points are a trademark of Tom Izzo teams. It’s where Tillman will beat you too. Michigan State's rebounding stats are the best in the Big Ten, overall, and Maryland can’t allow themselves to get man-handled on the glass.

Not only are the Spartan rebounding stats superior to Maryland’s but Michigan State is better than Maryland in most of the Big Ten statistical categories. They are a good all-around team playing a big game for them.

I have questions about this game. Can Smith stop Tillman? Which Anthony Cowan will we see? Can Maryland compete at the small forward position? Will Michigan State lose back-to-back conference home games after losing to Penn State the last time they played in East Lansing?

Again, this is a tough matchup for Maryland. They can really distinguish themselves with a win here today, but I think it’s a bit too tough a task.

Maryland is a good defensive team, but a poor shooting team.

The Terps' rebounding is average. Michigan State has better rebounding, defensive, and shooting numbers than the Terps.

The Spartans are home, so you can’t expect Maryland to gain a huge advantage with their excellent foul shooting abilities.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see Jalen Smith pick up a few early fouls. Tillman will get 15, Winston will provide 20, and MSU will force Terp turnovers. It will take a major shooting percentage upgrade for the Terps to hang with Sparty and pull off the upset today.

And shooting accuracy on the road hasn’t been Maryland’s strong suit. Michigan State is a 6-point favorite on the early line. It another situation where an unranked home favorite is playing a top ten team. That almost never goes well for the visiting team....Michigan State wins by 9, 76-67.

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February 14
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things i love in sports

This isn't a complete list and some of my affections are quirky, but here are some Valentine's Day loves of mine.

Please don't ask for an explanation...in most cases, I don't have one.

I love a three point shot that banks in off the backboard and swishes. I especially think it's cool when it's clearly an accidental shot attempt or something that is thrown up to beat the shot clock.

I love the hockey tip in and not just because T.J. Oshie authored one last night 2:04 remaining in Colorado that gave the Caps a 3-2 win. There's just something about a guy standing in front of the net and gently nipping at the puck that is more like art to me than a 50-foot slapshot at 110 mph. Tom Wilson also had one last night, it's worth mentioning. Hockey tip-ins are the best.

Go get 'em Skipper!!

I love when Jim Palmer calls what's going to happen and then it does happen. "You know, Gary, if they put Villar on here, they'll have to hold him at first base with a one run lead, which means the gap between first and second is about 15 feet wider. That would open things up for Mancini to punch one into right field, which, as we saw in that Boston series last week, he's pretty adept at doing when the circumstances call for it." Villar walks...and on a 1-1 pitch, Mancini pokes one between first and second, just like 'Cakes said he might.

I love hearing the TV announcer say, "This ball is buried, I can't see any way he can hit the green from here" and then seeing a PGA Tour player gouge it out of there to 15 feet. The late, great Bob Rosburg was famous for authoring that line. "What's he have, Bob?" "Oh, Roger, this is awful. I've been out here all week and this is by far the worst lie I've seen in the rough. I almost stepped on the ball walking past it. If Tiger can get this out to within 50 yards of the green he'll be lucky." Moments later, Tiger blasts it out to within 15 feet of the hole. "I can't believe what I just saw," Rosburg would then say.

I love seeing the manager kick dirt on the umpire's shoes. It doesn't happen all that much these days, but it was an Earl Weaver special way back then. When a manager beefs with the ump and all he does is yell, we're missing the best part of it all. I mean, we can "see" it, but we can't hear what's being said...and we know that alone would be worth the price of admission. But seeing the manager kick dirt on the ump's shoes is the visual treat we need. It's harmless, obviously, but it's so over the line you know the manager is getting tossed. And he's OK with that. "If I'm going to get thrown out, you're at least going to have dirty shoes..."

I love being the first group or two on the course when it's immaculate and the greens are freshly cut and untouched by other players. Sure, it's easier to putt, but even more so, there's just something very settling about putting on fresh greens. No one else has been on them yet today. They don't have "missed putts" in them already. They're brand new, with no bad memories seeded in them from other players coming along and scraping their feet or missing a 2-foot putt and cursing the greens. Uncursed greens react better for everyone than do cursed greens. I'm pretty sure that's a fact. Don't curse at the greens. It makes life miserable for everyone else that follows you that day.

I love watching the snap, hold and kick in a football game. There really is an art to that. The timing of it all is nearly flawless. The snapper has one job, but he has to be almost perfect. The holder has one job, but he has to be almost perfect. The kicker has one job, but he has to be almost perfect. If any of those three efforts are "off", the kick is generally not made. There's precision, science, art and mechanics, all wrapped in one two-and-a-half second event.

I love the smell of new ice at an ice rink. You know, the one the Zamboni machine creates when it cleans the ice and lays down a new, fresh sheet. It's one of the greatest "clean" smells you'll find anywhere. In between periods of a hockey game, you duck out for a bathroom break and a refreshment. When you walk back to your seats, it's the first thing that hits you as you go from the concourse to the seating area. "That smell"...wow, it's glorious.

a new #dmd podcast

Bill Bolander of Jerry's Toyota sits down with me this week to discuss the Ravens, the Terps and the benefits of leasing a vehicle. I learned a lot in this one, myself. I learned Bill knows plenty about the Terps and I definitely discovered that I should be a leasing a new vehicle soon instead of buying one.

Check out my conversation with Bill Bolander below.


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stop talking and stop caring

The Houston Astros had their day in the sun on Thursday and, for the most part, it didn't go well.

In an attempt to get everyone to start the process of forgetting that the Astros cheated to win the 2017 World Series, the players who are still around from that team met the media to discuss, openly, what happened and how regretful they are that they were a part of it.

Instead of helping people forget...they poured more gasoline on the fire.

Owner Jim Crane was the worst of them, stumbling and bumbling through a 30-minute explanation at the team's spring training headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida. Crane said so many dumb things I won't list them all here, but the two biggest eye openers were these:

"I shouldn't be held accountable for the actions of my employees."

"Our opinion is that this didn't impact the game."

These guys were having fun then...not so much now!

Other Astros talked openly about "SignGate" and nearly all of them said something dumb at least once or twice in the Q & A with the media. Carlos Correra was one of the few who came clean and understood the situation entirely.

"It was definitely an advantage for us," said Correra.

Of course it was an advantage. It turned out to be such an advantage that the Astros -- loaded with talent already, it's fair to point out -- were able to use their sign stealing talents to edge themselves past everyone they faced in the playoffs, including the Dodgers in the World Series.

The only person dumb enough to not believe the whole episode created an advantage for the Astros was the owner.

Everyone else knows.

The media, naturally, tore into Crane on Thursday. They sniped at certain players, too, like Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, both of whom met with the media yesterday but didn't come close to authoring any sort of full, open admission of guilt or a lengthy, tears-welling-in-the-eyes apology.

We do this a lot. Athlete makes mistake. We demand apology. Athlete's apology isn't "good enough" for us, so we demand something better. Nothing better comes along, so we say they're not willing to take ownership of their ways.

The Astros cheated. To suggest they didn't is just you being dumb or protective of them. No other evidence is needed. This case is settled. The Astros cheated.

In the same way they should stop talking now, because it's not helping their case, we can now stop worrying about it, because they've said what they said and it's clear they just.....don't.....get it.

And, really, what more could the Astros say that would us feel any better?

I can't think of anything myself.

I mean, if Jose Altuve stood up there yesterday and broke down in tears and went into great detail about his sorrow and how much he knows this impacted careers and records and young players learning the sport he loves, would it change anything at all? It might be nice to hear, but nothing really changes.

We're best served to let it go now.

And by "we're best served", I'm talking about the media, the fans, and everyone with a Twitter or social media account. You can continue to pile on if you like, but in the same way the Astros are no longer serving a purpose with their lukewarm apologies, those of us on the outside aren't changing anything by hammering away at them.

The Astros cheated and got caught. The person responsible for punishing them is Commissioner Rob Manfred. We don't have that authority, which is actually something the Astros should be happy about. I do believe the court of public opinion would be harder on the Astros than Manfred has been thus far.

My advice to the Astros is to shut up about it now. They have a long season of baseball ahead of them and 17 different cities to visit over the next seven months. They can't keep doing this Apology Tour from now until September. Like it or not, deserved or not, they are public enemy #1, baseball wise.

And my advice to the rest of us? Let it go now. They know that we know...and they know we won't forget about it, too.

But there's no reason to continue trying to make the Astros see something they clearly don't want to see.

They should stop talking now. And we should stop caring. The Astros are guilty and that's that. Nothing else needs said.


valentine's day reminder!

Men, today is Valentine's Day, in case you didn't know. Most men -- studies show -- are huge procrastinators. Today's your last chance.

We're doing our part here to keep you in good graces with that significant other in your life. We don't want you getting the cold shoulder when you forget that this Friday is an important day!

Get your Valentine's Day purchase out of the way today by shopping at Flowers and Fancies.

For those men (and our female readers, too, Valentine's Day works both ways!) who are looking for something to give to their wife, girlfriend or significant other or family member this Friday, please consider using our friends at "Flowers and Fancies". They're a local company owned by longtime Baltimore florist Edddie Wingrat. Not only will they put together the best flower arrangement you can find, you can also purchase "fancies" from them like balloons, fruit baskets and much more.

You can visit their website by clicking here. There's also an ad on directly below that will take you there. We'd prefer you use the ad simply because it will best allow us to track our results, but either way works just fine.

Get your Valentine's Day obligations taken care of today by visiting the Flowers and Fancies website. You can also reach them by phone at 410-653-0600. Please tell them you're a Drew's Morning Dish reader!

And....men....don't procrastinate! Get it done now!

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February 13
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

what's baseball thinking?

In case you haven't noticed this week, Major League Baseball is considering some significant changes in the very near future.

I think most of them are dumb.

Before we even look at the idea of the DH in the National League, expanded playoffs, and choosing your playoff opponent, I'd love to ask baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred this question:

"Why do you think these changes are necessary?"

Baseball's potential new playoff format might mean we get to see Mike Trout play more October baseball than we have in the past.

I'd love to hear his answer...because I think that would give us a look into his mindset and the others who have their fingerprints on these proposed changes for 2022.

The league announced yesterday that a few changes will be implemented in spring training (starting on March 12) and will carry over into the regular season. These are not the ones I'm referring to above, remember. The one we'll know as the "3 batter rule" is perhaps the biggest game changer. A starter or relief pitcher must now face a minimum of three batters unless the inning ends. This one mostly impacts the LOOGY (left handed, one-out guy) in late game situations, but it could potentially also factor into a team's decision to go with the starter by committee idea that was used frequently in 2019. Relief pitchers -- as they were -- will now have to be better equipped to throw 25 or more pitches on consecutive days.

There are some other nitpicky changes for 2020; 20 seconds to challenge a call instead of 30 and back to the 15-day injured list instead of 10, but the 3-batter minimum is the big one. I don't know if I'm going to like that rule or not. I don't think it's dumb...I just don't know if I like it. Yet.

But the ones on the table for 2022 -- two of those are really dumb.

I don't mind the designated hitter in both leagues. It was always inevitable, I guess, even though it took four decades to finally happen. There's always been a healthy debate about which league is "better" but I think it's obvious that only having half of the teams use a DH is sort of useless. Either all 30 teams use it or zero teams use it.

The other two rules don't make much sense.

Instead of the current five team playoff format (three division winners and two wild card teams who play a best of 1), the proposal calls for 7 teams in each league to qualify for the post-season. The three division winners would still make it, obviously, along with four wild card teams. I'm assuming the thought process there is more playoff teams keeps the regular season important, longer, and increases the chances of bigger TV markets making it into the post-season.

It also increases the chances that an 83-79 team could sneak into the post-season and win the World Series. St. Louis did that once recently, if I remember it right, but they won their division at least. Under the new format, the Red Sox -- at 84-78 in the regular season -- would have made the playoffs last season. Winning six more games than you lose (over 162 games) shouldn't qualify you for the playoffs, in my opinion, but it occasionally does now. In the future 84 or 85 wins will almost guarantee that you make the post-season.

One national media member says baseball is trying to do everything it can to get Mike Trout and Aaron Judge into the playoffs more often. I see that logic but can't imagine that's what's really going on behind the scenes.

I thought the playoffs were supposed to be a reward for outstanding overall play over a 162-game season. 84-78 isn't "outstanding".

Honestly, I thought three division winners and one wild card team making the playoffs was just fine. Those were the old days, of course.

But I'd sign off on 7 teams making the playoffs WWWAAAAYYYY before I'd ever even think about adopting the other dumb rule: The top team in each league gets a first-round bye. I'm all for that. Now it gets weird. The next two division winners and the wild card team with the best record host all three games (best of 3) against a team of THEIR CHOOSING among the remaining three wild card teams. Yes, you read that right. You get to pick the team you play in the playoffs. It might make for good smack talk and internet chiding among fans, but it's a dumb idea.

Little League baseball has often used a first half/second half theme for their schedule. The team with the best record in the first 12 games is automatically in the playoffs and the team with the best record in the second half is also automatically in. I like that idea better than the 7 teams getting in.

Simply play an 81-game "first half" and give the three division winners of the first half a playoff spot. Then do it again in the second half. Add one "wild card" team if you want and base that on the entire season's record and you'd always have a minimum of four teams in the playoffs and a max of seven.

The baseball season is entirely too long. We all know that. If I ran MLB, the schedule would be 130 games. We can fight in court about contracts and money and all that other stuff but the season would be 130 games. Adding playoff teams and best of 3 series' and all that other stuff is only going to push the start of the season up. If these new rules get adopted, you might see a March 20 starting date for regular season games in 2022. March 20 in Tampa or Atlanta or Los Angeles? That's fine. March 20 in New York, Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago? Not so fine.

Baseball would be smart to let everyone in on their secrets. We might be able to tolerate some of these radical changes if we knew why they were being considered.

One national writer suggested the main theory behind it is to keep teams from tanking or going through these massive five-year rebuilding programs where everyone in the league knows those teams aren't trying to win.

Rather than disrupt the playoff format, how about just do this: You are only allowed a Top 5 draft pick twice in a four year period. Once you've used two picks within the top five in a four-year period, you move to sixth in the first round order for the next draft. You could have a situation where two or three teams get moved to 6th, 7th and 8th and teams that would have been picking four, five and six now get moved up to first, second and third. But I like that idea better than re-arranging the playoff format to help persuade teams to get better more quickly.

If it were up to me, I'd keep the playoff format as is and simply make the wild card "game" a best of 3 series. If we're all going to agree that 162 games is too long, I think we'd also agree that it's too long to allow one game or one manager falling asleep in the dugout in extra innings to have your season end with one swing of the bat.

Baseball has one other problem. Most of the country is glued into what's happening from about mid-May through the end of August. Once football begins and more than half the teams are already out of the baseball playoff picture, national interest declines. Baseball's biggest post-season obstacle is football.

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

pretty good for valentine’s day

This is the best Maryland basketball team since the 2009-10 squad tied Duke for the ACC regular-season title and came within a sort-of-lucky buzzer beater by Michigan State’s Korie Lucious of reaching the Sweet 16.

*Yeah, I know that Nebraska game was a close one. Hey, a win’s a win.

From the standpoint of “efficiency,” if you want to look at it that way, none of Mark Turgeon’s previous teams has been close to this year’s group. Maryland’s KenPom ranking is 10; in the last five seasons, four of which have ended in the NCAA tournament, the high was just 22. That was the 2015-16 team, which was supposed to be great but was really just pretty good, reaching the Sweet 16 by barely beating noted powerhouses South Dakota State and Hawaii.

You get to the Top 10 by having a decent balance of offense and defense (in Maryland’s case, tilted more toward defense) while playing a good schedule. It became abundantly clear early on that almost every Big Ten win would be a good win this season. Meanwhile, blowout victories against Rhode Island and Marquette keep getting better as the season goes on. Even close wins against Temple and Harvard look pretty good.

As poorly as Maryland played in road losses to Penn State and Iowa in conference play and Seton Hall out-of-conference, those teams are on their way to high NCAA tournament seeds. If the Terps had hung on in the final 15 seconds against Wisconsin in Madison, their résumé wouldn’t even have any minor blemishes.

The Mark Turgeon critics have been silenced this season as the Terps roll into mid-March as a potential 2 or 3 seed in this year's NCAA tournament.

In those “Bubble Watches” that started to appear online in early February, the Terps have already surpassed “should be in” and are a “lock.” There’s nothing to discuss, apparently. What does all this mean, besides a No. 3 seed in the first NCAA tournament committee preliminary ranking that was obsolete the next day? Nothing, actually.

Maryland has seven games left. All but one of them is an “A” game, or a “Quad 1” opponent to say it another way. And the one that isn’t is Northwestern, which was beating the Terps by 14 points at halftime a few weeks ago in Evanston, you may remember.

So, 10 wins in a great conference and 20 wins overall by February 11 is really good. The Terps hold a one-game conference lead. If Maryland simply wins the rest of its home games and can win one game on the road, there’s a good chance they’ll win the regular-season title. And that’s nice…

But even if the Terps continue to play well the rest of the month, and maybe end up with the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, they’re still going to be judged on how they play, and for how long they play, in Indianapolis. Even if they end up with a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, they’ll be judged on how long they play in that tournament, and a No. 2 seed ought to win at least two games, and if they lose the third it sure shouldn’t be a blowout.

That’s the way every team gets judged when they play well enough to get a high seed, not just Maryland. And that’s the way it’ll be this year, even though it’s already pretty clear that this is Mark Turgeon’s best team.

This team is more “efficient,” and thus better, for a few reasons. A big one is turnovers, or a lack thereof. No matter how talented Turgeon’s teams have been, or how many games they’ve won, they’ve almost always ranked among the worst teams in the country in terms of the percentage of possessions that result in turnovers. That’s not the case this year, and it’s made a difference that you maybe don’t even notice. Or maybe you did notice that the Terps had just 10 turnovers in a hostile environment at Illinois last week.

Maryland also has an “efficient” player in Jalen Smith. In conference games, the Pomeroy rankings says that he’s been the best offensive player in the league, buoyed by the fact that he is both a great three-point shooter and an excellent offensive rebounder, two things that don’t usually go together. He’s also a great shot blocker, among the 50 best in the country.

Dez Wells and Melo Trimble and Bruno Fernando and Anthony Cowan were/are outstanding players that have been responsible for a lot of wins at Maryland. Others like Kevin Huerter had somewhat brief flashes of greatness. But Smith is Turgeon’s first player to show the kind of efficiency that’s mostly been the province of guys at Kansas and Duke and Gonzaga.

The most important factor in Maryland’s 2020 efficiency is its defense. Turgeon’s teams have usually been good on defense, but this one is just better. It’s statistical, for sure—opponents are shooting just 38 percent, and the Terps have made 70 more free throws than their opponents have attempted. But it’s also anecdotal, I think. The other team may get an ok shot, but it takes them a while to get it.

That wears on a team over a 40-minute game, even the good teams.

Other things? The Terps haven’t lost games by shooting free throws poorly at the end*; each of their top six players is shooting 74 percent or better from the foul line. As poorly as Maryland has shot the ball from three-point range this year, their opponents haven’t done any better.

*So, yeah, so that almost happened Tuesday night with both Eric Ayala and Anthony Cowan.

Problems? It would be nice if Serrel Smith and Ricky Lindo, and even Josh Tomaic, could play a few more minutes per game. With Eric Ayala, Turgeon can take Cowan out of the game and still have a good point guard. With Lindo, they have a guy who can mix it up near the basket, which Jalen Smith doesn’t do. Lindo would be a better compliment to Smith if he could play more and give the team’s star a few more minutes of rest every game.

And I’m sure some fans are still saying that Turgeon is a problem, or at least could be one. But this team seems a little more set in its ability to just go out and play, taking advantage of whatever the opponent is giving them at the time. They can run a bit, and they seem a little more willing to do so. They can play defense well in a few different ways, as they showed at Illinois. And as good as it would be to have more depth, there’s something to be said for a short rotation. There’s not a lot for a coach to think about when he has one.

There are seven games left, so let’s see what happens. There will be time in the future for fans to be disappointed in what happens in the Big 10 and NCAA tournaments. Maybe a decision Turgeon makes will be criticized for days. But right now the record is 20-4 and 10-3, and the team is a lock as early as its been in many years.


valentine's day reminder!

Men, this Friday is Valentine's Day, in case you didn't know. Most men -- studies show -- are huge procrastinators. I think that's spelled right. I'll check it out at some point today or tomorrow. Or Friday, maybe.

We're doing our part here to keep you in good graces with that significant other in your life. We don't want you getting the cold shoulder when you forget that this Friday is an important day!

Get your Valentine's Day purchase out of the way today by shopping at Flowers and Fancies.

For those men (and our female readers, too, Valentine's Day works both ways!) who are looking for something to give to their wife, girlfriend or significant other or family member this Friday, please consider using our friends at "Flowers and Fancies". They're a local company owned by longtime Baltimore florist Edddie Wingrat. Not only will they put together the best flower arrangement you can find, you can also purchase "fancies" from them like balloons, fruit baskets and much more.

You can visit their website by clicking here. There's also an ad on directly below that will take you there. We'd prefer you use the ad simply because it will best allow us to track our results, but either way works just fine.

Get your Valentine's Day obligations taken care of today by visiting the Flowers and Fancies website. You can also reach them by phone at 410-653-0600. Please tell them you're a Drew's Morning Dish reader!

And....men....don't procrastinate! Get it done now!

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February 12
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

we have a new leader in the clubhouse...

A few days from now, #DMD will -- with God's grace -- publish for the 2,000th consecutive day. There won't be any national fanfare. Or local fanfare, for that matter. On Saturday, we'll just publish like we always do and the Issue number above will be #2000 and that will be that.

But along the way, there have been some things here worth a gold star. Contributors like David Rosenfeld, Brien Jackson, Dale Williams, George McDowell, Bo Smolka and others have published some remarkable pieces over the last five-plus years. As Buck used to say, "I like our guys."

I'll put "my guys" -- past and present -- up against anyone else in town when it comes to producing strong, engaging commentary.

The Comments section is another story. This isn't the time or place for me to dissect and opine on it. As Elton John said in the song Philadelphia Freedom, "The less I say the more my work gets done."

But there was a submission in yesterday's Comments that is now the new clubhouse leader for "Best Comment in Franchise History". We've had a lot of them since August 25, 2014. Well over 25,000, I'm guessing.

Biff Poggi was a longtime successful coach at Gilman who has recently taken the St. Frances Academy football program to a national powerhouse.

And while I admittedly don't have a precise, etched-in-stone way of determining the order of brilliance for #DMD comments, I can say that I've never read one more spot-on than the one offered by "Such" (Mark Suchy) yesterday.

I'll save you the time that it would take to scroll down and present it here:

I'm continually amazed at the target that's painted on St. Frances Academy when the title article is about an alumnus of a Baltimore public high school leaving his head coaching job. These two issues are not even closely related. And even if the schools are located less than a mile apart, they operate in two completely different worlds when it comes to attracting athletes to enroll.

The broad brush argument of blaming "AAU culture" is a lazy and tired trope. I know plenty of young men who compete at various levels of AAU and at both public and private schools. I can assure you that the majority of young men who choose to participate in AAU programs do so because they love the game of basketball and it provides the opportunity to play in the spring and summer. And contrary to the belief of a frequent poster here, these boys realize that their futures lie at lower levels than Power 5 DI schools. Amazingly, they're happy with that reality!

I find it hilarious that anyone believes that private schools have to recruit athletes "in order to survive". That's incredibly myopic. And this argument only seems to apply when the sports discussed here are football or basketball. Hmmm, why is that? Nobody ever seems to get too worked up about what private schools do regarding lacrosse, soccer, wrestling, swimming etc. Hmmmm again....

I look around Baltimore and see lots of private schools that apparently don't need to "recruit to survive". They've been around for quite a while and it seems that they'll be around for quite a while to come. The decision to turn a school's focus towards athletics, for whatever reasons, lies solely with that school's administration. They don't owe me or anyone else an explanation. And I'm honestly not asking for one anyway because it makes no difference to me.

It's long overdue that the lazy slur "Evil Empire" be retired. Quite frankly, as someone who knows several young men enrolled there, as well as their families, it's quite offensive. These are fine people who chose to send their sons there, and again, it makes no difference to me. But they deserve a smidgen of respect regardless of anyone's opinions. Especially an alumnus of a school that is equally complicit in the modern prep sports culture.

#DMD has never had a comment hit the bulls-eye like that one did yesterday. Now, some might argue that Mark enjoys the benefit of having media/writing experience and that might be true. But it's more the context and not the polished nature of his writing that was the eye-opener.

I have an advantage, if you want to call it that. I'm currently a high school coach. I don't teach at the school, so I'm not around all of the kids at Calvert Hall, but I'm in the facility a lot from January through May. Some might say, rather than having an advantage, that I'm actually "jaded" about high school athletics. Maybe so. I most certainly favor high school athletics and, in this case specifically, the work that private, faith-based schools do in educating young men and women. My son likely will not play sports in high school, but if he's fortunate enough to get accepted, he'll most certainly attend Calvert Hall.

I know very little about the inner-workings of St. Frances Academy, but they, like other schools of their ilk, no doubt take great pride in educating young men and women. They are not, in any way, shape or form, "evil". Is every student and/or student-athlete at that school perfect? Of course not. Here's a news flash: None of us are. No school, no place of employment and no home is without flaws, problems and ongoing tension.

But to suggest that St. Frances Academy is "evil" because they put value in athletics and endeavor to use sports as a growth formula for young men and women who otherwise might not have that same opportunity elsewhere is, at its core, simply not true.

We should be thankful for any school, anywhere, that takes in boys and girls and pledges to teach them and help them grow. Academies that use sports to do that are similar in nature to schools that emphasize dance, music and theater. Perhaps because this is a sports website we don't delve into the real world all that often, but there are thousands of children each year who eschew "normal" high school and instead spend their teenage years at a school learning to perfect their craft at piano or the violin. I don't see anything wrong with that. And I don't hear much arguing about it, either, although I'm admittedly not in that in circle.

And how the schools go about running their business is extraordinarily complex. With all due respect to anyone and everyone here, it's far, far more complicated than you can imagine. There are state and national guidelines to follow, banking and financial issues, and so much other stuff that goes into it that can be adequately explained here. For most of us (me included), it's simply above our pay grade. You just don't know. You think you know and you come around to places like this and try and talk as if you understand all of the complexities of running a multi-million school, but you don't know.

Case in point: I don't know anything about the public school system. I was a public school "kid" and did OK. But my children have been blessed to attend a private Catholic school and that's important to me and my wife in terms of building their faith foundation. I don't know what's happening these days in the public school system because I'm not there. I assume they're doing the very best they can, though.

And I don't need to read some fancy book by a college professor who tells me about the failings of high school and high school athletes. I'm there. I'm around them. I see it for myself. If you want to know about being a high school parent, consult with Mark Suchy, as just one example. He is one. If you want to know about high school athletes, go talk with one who is in high school today.

We live in a world of generalization. You saw it yesterday in our Comments section. Someone once coached a student-athlete who was better than he thought he was and suddenly, "most kids are delusional" about their athletic prowess and ceiling. I have another news flash: My modest coaching experience tells me there are only two kids of athletes: You're either better than you think you are. Or you're not as good as you think you are.

It's a very rare thing indeed when you can find a young athlete who doesn't fit one of those standards. As I tell my golf team all the time: Your goal should be to move from one to the other. For a few months, you're better than you realize. Then, you get into a month or two where you're not quite as good as you think you are. Armed with that information, you go back to working hard and you wind up, again, being better than you realize.

Most kids at the high school level are not, in fact, "delusional" about what they're doing in college. In fact, they know exactly what their limits are. Their coaches typically do a very good job of painting a picture for them of what they're capable of and what they're not capable of. And if their high school coach fails in painting that picture, the number of interest letters and e-mails they receive as juniors and seniors paints an even more accurate picture.

Often times, it's in the presentation. As I've told a number of student-athletes: "It's not that (X-school) didn't want you. It's that they wanted someone else more." And that's the truth. Kentucky can't have the best 25 high schoolers on their team, even though they'd love that. So they pick the 16 best that fit their program and leave 9 others to go elsewhere.

This is 2000, not 1980. Kids are very aware of their progress and how it measures up against everyone else. I can say, for certain, every young man who plays for me knows what his level of college golf might or might not be. I'm not speaking for every coach at Calvert Hall, but knowing the ones that I know, they have a similar situation in their sport(s). They are more than ready to give their student-athletes the required information necessary to understand what their level might be in college, if there even is one.

Parents? That's a story for another day. But they can fend for themselves. They're adults. High school coaches and administrators are there to lead, guide and mentor. In the Lasallian Way that we do our best to follow at Calvert Hall, we're there in a high schooler's formative years to give them a foundation that encompasses life lessons that go beyond sports on the field of play. And I've found nearly every student-athlete both understands and appreciates what is given to them.

If you don't know a high school boys or girls athlete in 2020, you should get to know one. They're extrarodinary people. They have incredible personal and educational challenges that, without question, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been able to handle in 1981. I was a "teen ager" at Glen Burnie High School. The students I interact with at Calvert Hall and the other schools we compete against are "young men".

This likely seems like a blanket, overseeded defense of high school athletes. And it is. But yesterday's post in the Comments section by "Such" deserved some space of it own today. I'm not moved to do it very often, but I was moved to do it today.

So, Mark Suchy gets the #DMD golf clap this morning for his contribution on Tuesday. 25,000 or so comments later, it's the best one I've seen yet.

Give that man a scholarship...or a half one, at least.

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terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps squeak past nebraska

For 20 minutes last night, there was no “D” in Maryland.

As a team, the breakdowns were numerous, mostly in the second half, and they allowed the Nebraska Cornhuskers an opportunity at pulling off the biggest upset in the Big Ten this year. But, as much as Maryland tried to give the game away, the Cornhuskers couldn’t capitalize and the Terrapins walked away with a less than impressive 72-70 home win.

The game came down to the final 23 seconds.

Down by 3, 71-68, Nebraska elected to put Eric Ayala on the foul line for a one and one. They were the first foul shots in the half for Maryland after taking 18 during the first half. Ayala had to be feeling the pressure, as his short miss was closer to an airball than a made shot. "Ugly" is an understatement. "Choke" may not be.

Nebraska grabbed the rebound and set up their potentially game tying play. The Terps, not risking a game tying three point try, put Nebraska on the line, intentionally fouling the ‘Huskers’ Cam Mack with 12.9 seconds left in the game. A sub 60% foul shooter, he hit them both to bring Nebraska within a single point.

Jalen Smith's last second block saved Maryland from an embarrassing home defeat on Tuesday night.

The Terps easily inbounded the ball to Anthony Cowan, who was fouled immediately. With a chance to put his team up by three, the usually reliable senior guard missed the front end. Like Ayala, his shot also came up extremely short, just a small fraction better than the bad miss a few seconds ago by Ayala. Remarkably, Nebraska was now down 1 with the ball, and had a chance to steal a win on a last possession shot.

Mack brought the ball almost straight up the court. He blew by Cowan like Cowan had his feet glued to the floor, and headed directly to the rim. His short, 3-foot floater looked to have a chance of going in for the win before Smith blocked it and came away with the loose ball. Game over. The Terps survived.

Yesterday I wrote about this game being wedged between the big Illinois win and the huge road game on Saturday at Michigan State. It was a typical “let down” situation and Maryland played like it.

Not one Terp was innocent of playing bad defense, but Cowan, Darryl Morsell, and Donta Scott were leading the pack of indifferent defenders. Close on their tails were Ayala and Aaron Wiggins. The Cornhuskers were easily slipping past their defenders on the perimeter, getting into the paint, and dishing off to a wide-open back cutting teammate.

Maryland played defense in the second half without an ounce of passion. They were really lucky that they had a substantial gap in talent and size, because they were out-worked in the final 20 minutes.

There wasn’t anything exceptional or unexpected about the first half. Maryland had a 38-25 lead, Nebraska was horrible from the three-point line, and Jalen Smith controlled the interior. Smith’s 10 rebound, 9-point half provided much of the led for the Terps. A 14-4 advantage from the foul line accounted for the rest.

There was no surprise in the fact that Mark Turgeon gave his bench almost 25 minutes of playing time in the first half, but it was a bit confusing that none of those minutes went to Ricky Lindo, while starter Danta Scott played almost 18 minutes. Lindo never saw the court at all last night.

With Nebraska always seemingly with striking distance in the second half, the substitutions were far less liberal. Maryland went only 6 deep for the final 20 minutes.

The Terps were fortunate to claim the victory last night. It could have easily gone the other way. After two games where they showed immeasurable heart, last night they won simple because they were bigger and better, but just barely.

There is a big clash in East Lansing on Saturday night at 6pm as the Terps take on Sparty. ESPN will carry all of the action.


valentine's day reminder!

Men, this Friday is Valentine's Day, in case you didn't know. Most men -- studies show -- are huge procrastinators. I think that's spelled right. I'll check it out at some point today or tomorrow. Or Friday, maybe.

We're doing our part here to keep you in good graces with that significant other in your life. We don't want you getting the cold shoulder when you forget that this Friday is an important day!

Get your Valentine's Day purchase out of the way today by shopping at Flowers and Fancies.

For those men (and our female readers, too, Valentine's Day works both ways!) who are looking for something to give to their wife, girlfriend or significant other or family member this Friday, please consider using our friends at "Flowers and Fancies". They're a local company owned by longtime Baltimore florist Edddie Wingrat. Not only will they put together the best flower arrangement you can find, you can also purchase "fancies" from them like balloons, fruit baskets and much more.

You can visit their website by clicking here. There's also an ad on directly below that will take you there. We'd prefer you use the ad simply because it will best allow us to track our results, but either way works just fine.

Get your Valentine's Day obligations taken care of today by visiting the Flowers and Fancies website. You can also reach them by phone at 410-653-0600. Please tell them you're a Drew's Morning Dish reader!

And....men....don't procrastinate! Get it done now!

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February 11
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booth dismissed at dunbar

Dunbar fired men's basketball coach Keith Booth on Monday, ending his first-season at his alma mater before it even reached its conclusion.

We'll wait for the "official" word so as not to muddy the waters. Depending on whom you believe, Booth's departure was either "in the works for a while" or "a sign of people feeling pressure" after Booth apparently approached the Baltimore school about upgrading the basketball program to better compete with the city's elite high school teams.

"Keith went in there, rolled up his sleeves, and was working his tail off to make that program better," a source close to the school told #DMD on Monday. "You can't make wine out of a water anymore, no matter what your name is or how many years you played in the NBA. The playing field isn't level out there. Keith knows how the game is played. But if the school's not willing to help him out, there's no sense in being there."

Keith Booth was fired at Dunbar on Monday.

Booth's sudden departure is the second area coaching termination in less than a month. In mid-January, Archbishop Spalding fired its women's coach after she made what some people thought were disparaging remarks about a rival player in a private message to a sports website.

In that case, the coach, Lisa Smith, was trying to point out the imbalance of coverage provided to local high school players. When she asked the publication to "highlight some other girls in the conference who aren't as genetically gifted", Smith was deemed to have crossed the line. The former Spalding coach also described the rival player's on-court behavior as "repulsive, unacceptable and unflattering." In closing, Ms. Smith also wrote, "You can have swag without acting like a punk." While she didn't mention the rival player by name with that comment, it was obviously intended to frame the player in that light.

The word and use of "punk" didn't mean much in the '70's and 80's. Its definition has taken on a different tone in the last decade or so.

The issues facing Booth and Smith were different, yet eerily similar in their desired conclusion. Booth apparently wanted his school's basketball standards to improve. Smith wanted the standards of player behavior to improve. At its core, both of them simply wanted "better" for their school and their sport.

Booth might have said the wrong thing to the wrong person or used a tone that was inappropriate. There could be more to the story, too, which is why we'll allow everyone to unveil their part of the story before making a full and final opinion on the merits of dismissing one of Baltimore's biggest basketball names not even one full season into his tenure.

In this instance, though, it would be fair for Dunbar to remember that they brought Keith Booth in because of his cachet in the Baltimore basketball community. They knew Keith Booth wanted to restore Dunbar to basketball greatness. That's why they hired him in the first place. Booth wasn't going to take the job unless he had certain guarantees that the school and its alumni base would help him get the program percolating again.

If Booth wasn't seeing the kind of support he was initially promised, one would expect he'd voice his displeasure at some point. Those of us who were in Baltimore in the '70's and '80's know all about the legacy of the Dunbar basketball program. So, after years of recent underachieving, the powers-that-be decided it was Booth who could lead them back to respectability. It can't be done with magic, though. Decisions have to be made about the upgrading of standards, which occasionally means either an influx of money or improved facilities. Sometimes, it even means both.

If Keith Booth rubbed people the wrong way, it was only because he was doing the job they asked him to do in the first place.

When the dust settles, the questions worth asking are these: Does that coach always have the best interest of his or her team at heart? Does that coach maliciously demean or disparage their own players and/or players from other teams? Does that coach put teaching and mentoring above winning?

I can't answer those three questions for the people at Dunbar.

But if the answers are "Yes", "No", "Yes", you'd be hard pressed to find a reason to terminate a coach, barring some kind of criminal activity, obviously.

I don't know *exactly* what happened with Keith Booth, but I hope Dunbar didn't rob their student-athletes of a high quality coach who believed in those students and was trying to help make them the best they could be.

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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.

preliminary factual findings of a tragedy

I've reprinted below that part of the National Transportation Safety Board's "Aircraft Accident Investigative Update" that describes the flight of the helicopter that crashed and burned, killing all nine souls on board including Kobe Bryant.

I re-paragraphed the Update to allow for clarity and the insertion of explanatory annotation. Anything in brackets is my comment; what's in parentheses is in the original.

ATC communications and radar data indicate the flight departed KSNA [John Wayne Airport; Santa Ana, CA] about 0906 PST. N72EX proceeded to the north-northwest at an altitude of about 700 to 800 feet mean sea level (msl) under visual flight rules (VFR).

[Note the use of both msl {Mean Sea Level} and agl {Above Ground Level} below. MSL is what the aircraft's altimeter will show, and what the cloud ceiling will be reported as. AGL will, in mountainous terrain in a rapidly-moving aircraft, change frequently and drastically.]

[Visual Flight Rules in the airspace where the aircraft was operating required the pilot to be able to see clearly for three miles in his general direction of travel, and that he remain 500 feet below any cloud layer above him and 2,000 feet from any cloud or fog in any horizontal direction.]

At 0920, as the aircraft neared the Burbank class C airspace, the pilot requested to transition the area along Highway 101. The current Burbank weather observation reported instrument flight rules (IFR) conditions. [That is, the airport and vicinity were below VFR minima.] In response to the pilot’s request, the air traffic controller advised that cloud tops were reported at 2,400 feet msl and queried the pilot’s intentions; the pilot then requested a special VFR clearance (an ATC authorization to proceed in controlled airspace at less than VFR weather minima).

[The ATC clearance authorized this currently instrument-rated pilot to fly this currently IFR-certified aircraft "clear of clouds," without other ceiling or horizontal restrictions.]

The air traffic controller advised that the pilot would need to hold for a short time due to IFR traffic, which the pilot acknowledged.

[This is why the aircraft slowed down and circled for a few minutes just east of Dodger Stadium.]

At 0932, ATC cleared the pilot of N72EX to transition the class C surface area following the I-5 freeway, maintaining special VFR conditions at or below 2,500 feet [MSL]. The pilot acknowledged with a correct readback and climbed to approximately 1,400 feet msl (600 feet agl). In response to query, the pilot replied to the Burbank ATC that he would follow Highway 118 and “loop around VNY [Van Nuys Airport]” to follow Highway 101. ATC acknowledged and coordinated.

At 0939, as N72EX was passing west of Van Nuys at 1,500 feet msl, the VNY controller asked the pilot if he was in VFR conditions. The pilot replied “VFR conditions, one thousand five hundred” [feet MSL] and the VNY controller advised him to contact Southern California Terminal Radar Approach Control (SCT) for radar advisory services.

The pilot reported to SCT that the flight was going to Camarillo [Camarillo Airport, CMA; 11 miles by car from the Mamba Sports Academy] at 1,500 feet [MSL]. The SCT controller advised that he would not be able to maintain radar contact at that altitude and terminated services.

[Part of the controller's transmission included the words "too low." This has been widely mis-interpreted. It meant than that the aircraft was beneath the altitude necessary to be acquired by ATC radar, and NOTHING else.]

The SCT controller was subsequently relieved by a different controller. At 0945, the pilot of N72EX again contacted SCT and advised he was climbing above cloud layers and requested advisory services. The second controller was not aware of the aircraft, as services had previously been terminated, so asked the pilot to identify the flight. The SCT controller then asked the pilot his intentions, to which he replied he was climbing to 4,000 feet [MSL].There were no further transmissions.

Radar/ADS-B data indicate the aircraft was climbing along a course aligned with Highway 101 just east of the Las Virgenes exit. Between Las Virgenes and Lost Hills Road, the aircraft reached 2,300 feet msl (approximately 1,500 feet above the highway, which lies below the surrounding terrain) and began a left turn.

This is the most heartbreaking image contained in the NTSB Update. It was taken by a wildfire-alert camera about 30 seconds before the aircraft crashed. The National Weather Service analyzed the photo, and determined from a known elevation that the top of the lower cloud layer was at 2,400 MSL. Had S-76 climbed only 100 more feet, it would have broken through the clouds into clear sky.

[Why the pilot began a left turn will be widely discussed. The reasonable assumption, partially supported by witnesses on the ground, was that the aircraft was in clouds and had no visible reference to earth. The pilot's function in this instance {termed Inadvertent IFR} is to stabilize the aircraft using information from dashboard instrumentation, on a straight course at proper speed in a controlled climb at a proper rate of climb, then declare an emergency and await ATC instructions for course, speed, and altitude.]

Eight seconds later, the aircraft began descending and the left turn continued. The descent rate increased to over 4,000 feet per minute (fpm), ground speed reached 160 knots. The last ADS-B target was received at 1,200 feet msl approximately 400 feet southwest of the accident site.

[There has been much reporting of the fact that the aircraft was not equipped with a device that would have warned that it was too close to the ground, called a Terrain Awareness Warning System. Reputable publications have deemed this system "key," "crucial," and "vital," and have suggested or implied that had the S-76 had such a device, there would have been no crash. This is sensationalism, and grossly misleading. No pilot would ever, under any circumstance, fly on instruments without external visual clues so close to the ground as to have to depend on beeps from a box. A 4,000-feet-per-minute {67 feet per second} turning descent is a 45-mph dive. The S-76's VNE {Velocity, Never Exceed} is 155 knots; at impact its groundspeed was 160 knots. The aircraft was out of control.]

Additional information will be released as warranted.


dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

nebraska visits college park tonight

In between the end of last year, and the beginning of this season, there has been a radical change in Nebraska basketball. I can’t remember any other college basketball situation where a coach has had just one returning player, and the coach is new also.

The 2018-2019 Nebraska team was one bad injury away from being an NCAA tournament participant. This year’s team of freshmen and transfers have put Nebraska, and coach Pete Hoiburg, near the bottom of the Big Ten with a 2-10 record.

Darryl Morsell and the Terps look to stay undefeated at home when Nebraska visits College Park this evening.

Gone are James Palmer, Isaiah Robey, Isaac Copeland, Glynn Watson Jr and the rest of the Nebraska roster with the lone exception being Thorir Throrbjarnarson.

The Huskers have lost 8 in a row, and even their two wins are somewhat tainted. In Nebraska’s home wins against Iowa and Purdue, the visitor’s combined to shoot 10 of 68 from the free-throw line and scored a total of 4 points from the charity stripe.

Nebraska doesn’t rebound well, are the worst defensive team in the league, and struggle mightily from the foul line. The ‘Huskers big men are no threat inside, but the guard play, offensively, isn’t all that bad.

All three starting guards average scoring in double digits. The group is led by Cam Mack and his 13 points-per-game. Mack came to Nebraska via the Community College route. He was a star at Salt Lake Community College before entering the Big Ten. At this level, he’s more of a slasher than a catch and shoot guy, but he can get a bit out of control. He gets to the foul line more than any other Cornhusker, but he converts just 58% of his attempts.

An even more impressive slasher, in my eyes, is Dachon Burke Jr. Burke played two seasons at Robert Morris before joining Nebraska. He’s the best defender on this team and causes turnovers with his quickness and wiry frame, He’ll play hard all night, but he’s even worse from the foul line than Mack.

Completing the three-guard lineup is Haanif Cheatham. He had stints at Marquette and Florida Gulf Coast before coming to Lincoln for his final season. Cheatham is a decent shooter, but he will struggle defensively tonight trying to defend Darryl Morsell or Aaron Wiggins. Cheatham scores almost 12 points per contest.

This should be a tough game for Nebraska. They play small at 6’2” (Mack), 6’4” (Burke), 6’5” (Cheatham), 6’6” (Throrbjarnarson - and he plays smaller than that) and 6’9” (freshman -Yvan Ouedraogo). Their only hope would be a Terp letdown because the game is sandwiched between Maryland’s emotional win at Illinois and a pending collision at Michigan State on Saturday.

Maryland will never shoot poorly enough to keep Nebraska in the game. I anticipate the Terps to own the boards and dominate with points-in-the paint. Dribble penetration will yield easy buckets because of the lack of a Nebraska rim protector.

A ton of touches down low for Jalen Smith will allow him to maintain his streak of double-digit scoring games. The line is 16 1/2, but I’m thinking that Mark Turgeon will play his reserves as much as possible, even early in the game, in an effort to keep his starters well rested for the big game Saturday night. Because of that, I’m hesitant to predict a huge blowout tonight.

Nebraska likes to push the tempo, so possessions will be available for both teams to score. Maryland dominates, 79-67, in a game that isn’t as close as the final score indicates.

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February 10
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maybe there's hope yet

It's been a long time since another football league came along to challenge the NFL.

And maybe the newest football entry -- the XFL -- isn't even here to challenge the NFL as much as it's here to capitalize on it. Perhaps that's their angle.

An ethusiastic crowd of over 17,000 in DC saw the Defenders win the XFL's inaugural game over Seattle.

Either way, though, one week after the NFL campaign ended with Kansas City's Super Bowl win, the XFL roared into action with four games over the weekend, including one right down the road in Washington DC.

Nothing's perfect, of course, and any comparisons to the NFL would be off target, but the XFL's debut weekend was well received.

The crowds were decent and so, too, were the TV ratings. They weren't NFL numbers, by any means, but for a start-up league with no juice at all, opening weekend was a hit.

The two Saturday games (in DC and Houston) both drew over 17,000. The DC vs. Seattle game -- played at the DC United soccer stadium, which holds just north of 20,000) -- averaged 3.3 million viewers with a peak high of 4 million. Official attendance numbers for the Sunday game weren't available as of this writing, but they were rumored to also be in the 17,000-18,000 range.

Now, as I tell anyone who listens when the subject of sports attendance comes up, the only "real" number that matters when talking tickets is the "gate", which simply means how much revenue was generated via ticket sales. If you draw 12,000 to your game but your "gate" is only $120,000, I did better than you if I drew 9,000 but my gate was $150,000.

I have no idea how many of those 17,000 seats were sold in DC...or how many were complimentary...and I have no idea how many of those seats were sold at full price and how many were somehow discounted. Thus, the "gate" question looms large in DC and elsewhere throughout the XFL. Despite their partnership with both ABC and FOX, the XFL can't make it on TV and TV alone. People have to be interested enough in the eight cities where teams are located to spend money on the franchise and go to the games. If 2,000 people start showing up, the league's dead.

The on field product, filled with former NFL players, was fine. It wasn't the NFL, obviously, and it never will be. But there was some "good football" in the games I checked out. The rules of the XFL are different than those in the NFL. Some are, in my opinion, improvements. Others aren't. The biggest difference you'll notice immediately is that camera people and sideline reporters are everywhere. You'll get the occasional f-bomb dropped in because reporters are sticking microphones in guy's faces right after a midfield skirmish.

The United States is so football-delirious we'll watch just about anything once. And in cities like Washington DC, where the NFL product has been lousy for so long, the XFL might even have a chance of capturing the local football fanbase for a few months in the spring. If they play their cards right, the XFL's model franchise could wind up being the DC Defenders. That would be a nice feather in the start-up league's cap.

No one's giving up with their NFL season tickets because they've fallen in love with the XFL. That's just not happening. But the first weekend, at least, was a definite success. Let's see what happens once the bloom is off the rose in a month or two.

Speaking of roses, this Friday is Valentine's Day, in case you didn't know. Most men -- studies show -- are huge procrastinators. I think that's spelled right. I'll check it out at some point today or tomorrow. Or Wednesday, maybe.

Get your Valentine's Day purchase out of the way today by shopping at Flowers and Fancies.

Anyway, for those men (and our female readers, too, Valentine's Day works both ways!) who are looking for something to give to their significant other or family member this Friday, please consider using our friends at "Flowers and Fancies". They're a local company owned by longtime Baltimore florist Edddie Wingrat. Not only will they put together the best flower arrangement you can find, you can also purchase "fancies" from them like balloons, fruit baskets and much more.

You can visit their website by clicking here. There's also an ad on the right side of #DMD today that will take you there. We'd prefer you use the ad simply because it will best allow us to track our results, but either way works just fine.

Get your Valentine's Day obligations taken care of today by visiting the Flowers and Fancies website. You can also reach them by phone at 410-653-0600. Please tell them you're a Drew's Morning Dish reader!

And....men....don't procrastinate! Get it done now!

Phil Mickelson sure does love Pebble Beach. He doesn't love it enough to have won a U.S. Open there (0-for-3 in 2000, 2010 and 2019), but Mickelson again put himself into contention at the historic layout before finishing 3rd in this weekend's Pebbble Beach Pro-Am.

Three weeks ago, Mickelson was in a funk, missing two straight cuts on the PGA Tour and then heading over to Saudi Arabia for his first appearance in their big European Tour event that's held there every January.

Two consecutive third place finishes have Phil Mickelson motivated to qualify for this year's U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

After a 3rd place finish there, he jetted back to the States and teed it up at Pebble, a venue where he'd won five times previously. And if not for some stellar golf from Canadian Nick Taylor on Saturday and Sunday, Mickelson might have very well been the repeat champion (he won last February).

Mickelson, who will turn 50 this June, is nothing if not entertaining these days. He went on a bizarre 5-day fasting program in the fall where he drank only a wild concoction that included Ethiopian coffee, promptly lost 15 pounds, started posting his workout sessions on social media, and pronounced himself "fitter than ever" just before Christmas.

Last week, when asked if he would accept a special invitation from the USGA if he fails to qualify for this June's U.S. Open at Winged Foot, Mickelson flatly said "no". Winged Foot was the site of one of Mickelson's closest brushes with winning the only major he's never won. He made a double-bogey 6 on the last hole in 2006 to help hand the U.S. Open to Geoff Ogilvy. As of this weekend, the southpaw still hasn't qualified for this year's event at Winged Foot.

"I'm not taking a special exemption," Mickelson said on Wednesday at Pebble Beach. "I'm either getting in the old fashioned way or I won't play. I have too much respect for the tournament and the process that it takes to play. I either make it on my own or I'll watch it at home."

I'm betting he gets in. Even though he's not the player he once was, Mickelson -- as he showed this weekend -- can still be competitive if the venue is right for his game. Between now and early June, he'll win a tournament or climb high enough in the world ranking to draw an exemption into the U.S. Open. And if he doesn't do either of those things, he can still go through 36-hole sectional qualifying and get in that way.

Don't bet against Phil. He might not be as good as he once was, but he's as good, once, as he ever was.

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

consider this

Contrary to emotional belief, the Maryland men’s basketball team has been pretty successful as a member of the Big Ten Conference. Friday’s comeback win at Illinois improved the Terps’ B1G regular-season record to 68-36. In other words, the Terps have won just about two of every three league games they’ve played.

There have been buzzer beaters and near-buzzer beaters. Comebacks from big deficits much later in the game than on Friday. Wins over Michigan State, Wisconsin and Purdue when those teams were among the top six or seven in the country. All good.

The win in Champaign on Friday? I’d say that was the best game Maryland’s played in its six seasons in the B1G, and not by statistics or execution or style points, though there were a few of those, led by Jalen Smith’s left-handed catch and finish on a lob pass that screamed “NBA All-Star.”

Mark Turgeon had his best coaching game I can remember. He adjusted his defensive strategy, for sure, and he never tried to strangle his team into playing a certain way. When they needed to run, the Terps ran. When they needed to be judicious, they were. He showed a lot of trust, which I’m sure he understandably didn’t have earlier in the season.

As for the guys that really matter, the players, they were composed in a difficult environment. In the first half, they were more composed than Turgeon, by a long shot. With Anthony Cowan and Darryl Morsell, and a group of experienced sophomores, Maryland is honestly somewhat unusual among the country’s top teams. The Terps might lose, or miss shot after shot, but they won’t panic.

These last two road wins for Maryland, at Indiana and Illinois, were not games the majority of fans believed the Terps could win. They were not games that Turgeon’s other five B1G teams would have won, despite their overall success. Against the Illini in particular, the Terps exhibited a combined sense of calm and effort that’s a good sign for the rest of the season.

I woke up Saturday morning looking for the Baltimore Sun game story from Maryland-Illinois, only to find Associated Press copy instead. It was odd, since beat writer and Sun vet Don Markus would usually have been there. Perhaps he had a couple days off, or maybe the long trip to Champaign wasn’t on his schedule this year.

It came as a surprise, then, when Twitter gave me the actual reason for Markus’s absence. After 35 years at The Sun, Friday was Markus’s last day. Like so many others before him, he finally “took the buyout” from the paper.

Always one to show his sense of humor, Markus tweeted about Maryland’s win in Champaign, noting that the Terps were now 1-0 in the post-Markus era, and that “Mark Turgeon will never let me near the Xfinity Center again.”

There used to be lots of men and women in this city, and lots of other cities, that “covered” sports. They didn’t blog about them or tweet about them or “create content.” They covered them. That might have meant a beat like Maryland basketball, but it also might have meant simply looking for stories wherever they were.

People like me used to spend some of our time doing what was (and still is) called “pitching,” and sometimes it would even work! That great soccer player or the swimmer with the unique family story was enough for a person like Don Markus to spend a day reporting, by which I mean actually doing interviews and showing interest in a story.

These people were (and are) actual journalists. At the very least, they pretended that the local college basketball game mattered to them. Maybe they had only 10 or 12 column “inches,” as they used to say, but they really tried to make the most of them.

People like Markus aren’t being replaced, obviously. The world of sports journalism works differently now. But I really appreciated all of them, even if they sometimes wrote something I didn’t like. They were good at what they did.

I’m not sure I realized until the release of the Orioles’ promotional schedule for 2020 that it’s now been 25 years since Cal Ripken’s 2,131st consecutive game played. I believe that was before “load management” had entered the sports vernacular.

On the exact 25th anniversary, Sept. 6, the Orioles host the Yankees at Camden Yards and the first 25,000 fans 15-and-over will get a Cal Jr. bobblehead. I’m interested in seeing what era of Cal Ripken will be chosen, and whether or not the bobblehead will feature one of the 132 batting stances Cal used during his career.

As Cal Jr. approaches his 60th birthday this year, almost 20 years since he retired from baseball, it’s worth mentioning that, as a baseball player, Cal’s consecutive games streak was nothing but a sidebar.

Cal changed the notion of what a shortstop was supposed to be. Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have him to thank for that. I don’t know how sincere A-Rod is in general (I’m guessing not very), but his insistence on Ripken moving to shortstop in that last All-Star Game was absolutely sincere.

He was the smartest baseball player of his time all the time, though he was only the best player of his time in short spurts. He was a unique and quirky player, and not just with the batting stances. There was a certain genius to him that was innate, or maybe just gleaned from spending his childhood in baseball clubhouses like Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes did.

Cal’s son Ryan attended Gilman School when I worked there. One day I walked out the back door of the new academic building, which was right behind the baseball field. I looked up and saw someone throwing batting practice 400 feet away, and I immediately knew who it was. Only Cal threw a baseball like that, and it must have been a dream for many of those kids to step into the box against him even for a few seconds.

So this report came out from the USGA and R&A, the “Distance Impacts Project,” and I suppose what it said was predictable. “In summary,” the report noted, “we believe golf will thrive over the next decades and beyond if this continuing cycle of ever-increasing hitting distances and golf course lengths is brought to an end.”

This brought out the usual solutions, such as more club regulations and “tournament balls,” and also the typical thoughts from professional tour players like Dustin Johnson (so what?) to Graeme McDowell (on some courses I feel like I’m two shots behind standing on the first tee).

As I read about the study, and thought about this issue that’s been at top of mind in professional and top amateur golf for years, I thought back to a round I played last May.

My usual group, for various reasons, wasn’t available. So I stood on the first tee with a nice man and his son-in-law. The younger fella walked back to the back tee box, the one that began the 7,100-yard course with the course rating of 74.0 and the slope rating of 137.

And the speed with which this man hit the ball was frightening. Even standing even with him or behind him, I’d often lose the flight of the ball almost immediately. But he had no idea where it was going. I can’t imagine he was having fun, though I could imagine he’d have fun if a bunch of those 320-yard drives were going straight that day.

My point? Being able to hit the ball “too long” is okay, but being able to hit the ball “too long” and in play is actually really hard. Being able to hit the ball “too long” and in play and also having the skills to play delicate 85-yard wedge shots and beautiful rhythmic chips around the green is even better. So why would we want to take that away from a high-level golfer, pro or not?


we're heading to new york!

We have 14 people signed up for this trip so far!!! It's going to be a blast!

Maybe the O's aren't going to be all that good in 2020. We know that going in. But what you might not know is how much fun a #DMD road trip can be in the summer! And what better place to visit and take in a couple of games than New York?

Join us in NY on June 23-24 to see Trey Mancini and the O's take on the Yankees.

We're going to the Big Apple to support our Birds, June 23 and 24. And we've love to have a bunch of O's fans join us in the Bronx for a couple of days in New York and two baseball games.

We'll leave on Tuesday, June 23 around noon and check in at our Manhattan hotel sometime around 4 pm. The game that night is at 7:05 pm. We'll have upper deck seats for that, with unlimited food and drinks for everyone in our group.

The next night, June 24, we'll have a pre-game bullpen party and awesome left field seats close to the field.

Once the game's over, we'll head back home, arriving in Baltimore after midnight.

If you're interested in going on the trip, send me a quick email so I can start building the trip list: 18inarow@gmail.com.

I Am Catholic
February 9
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ten things you should know...

If you watch today's final round of the PGA Tour event at Pebble Beach, here are a few nuggets for you that could give off the "smartest guy in the room" vibe.

Even though I only played Pebble Beach once during my recent four-day trip out there, I soaked in a lot of information, both just from my own observations and from caddie lore that was shared throughout the trip.

The TOUR event actually isn't very popular -- While everyone absolutely loves Pebble Beach and the area around the course, the tournament itself is one of the most unpopular on the PGA Tour. To wit, this week's event has one of the weakest overall fields of the year. Why? Three reasons. First, the Pro-Am format lends itself to 5.5 hour rounds. Each TOUR player gets paired up with an amateur. The amateur is typically a decent player (handicap ranges this week go from 0 to 22), but there's a difference between a 10 handicap playing at his/her home course and teeing it up in a national competition at three tough venues.

Second, the tournament uses three different courses; Monterey Peninsula CC, Spyglass Hill GC and Pebble Beach. That means you have to learn three courses instead of one, have to get your bags and equipment to three courses, etc. A tournament is hard enough when it's played on the same course for four days. Expecting a TOUR player to hop around to three different courses in three days and actually like the format is asking a lot.

Third, it's "party first, golf second" for a lot of people this week. It doesn't really resemble a golf tournament, except for the guy who gets the trophy Sunday afternoon. The entire week is filled with dinner, drinking, concerts, shows, etc. Most of the top players who have their financial security handled don't need to go out and schmooze at night. But the mid-tier players and rookies who are playing in the event feel compelled to go out and entertain and hang with their amateur partners. And ultimately, that takes away from why they're there in the first place. To play golf.

The 7th hole at Pebble Beach plays 105 yards. Players have hit lob wedges and 5-irons into the green throughout the years of the Pro-Am tournament.

Pebble Beach isn't very difficult -- Like any course, Pebble can be toughened up, as it was last summer in the U.S. when Gary Woodland posted 13-under for 4 days. But all in all, Pebble is not very difficult. There are some tough holes, for sure. #7 is a tricky 105 yard hole. #8, #9 and #10 are three holes where you really have to hit it straight (and long, helps, too). But other than the dangerous 14th hole -- a par 5 with a crazy green -- the back nine is fairly easy.

There's expensive, and then there's Pebble Beach -- Everything costs a lot of money at Pebble Beach. Coffee: $5.00 Bagel: $7.50 Burger: $18.00 Wine: $20-$25 glass, minimum. I tell anyone who goes out there to expect to pay $200 a day for food/drinks. No matter where you go, no matter what you eat (assuming you're going to eat regular meals), you'll wind up spending $200 per-day on food and drinks. And $200 is a minimum number.

The practice facilities are bland -- We played three courses on our trip out there; Pebble Beach, Spyglass and Spanish Bay. None of them had practice facilities worth a hoot. The one at Pebble Beach was "decent", but certainly nothing like you'd find, say, at Caves Valley. Property value being what it is in that part of the region, a huge, 10-acre driving range wouldn't be nearly as smart as selling two or three houses on that same parcel of land. So they're really "warm-up" facilties rather than "practice facilities".

It really is that beautiful -- You'll hear Jim Nantz wax poetic throughout today's final round about the beauty of Pebble Beach and the quaint town of Carmel. Nantz should know all about it...he lives there, now. Unlike Augusta National, which in person looks very different from what you see on TV, Pebble Beach looks exactly like what you'll see on TV. The views and the beauty of the area surpass the quality of the golf course, if I'm being honest. It's a great golf course, don't get me wrong. But the piece of land it sits on and the Pebble Beach are remarkably gorgeous. I haven't been to many places in my life where I said, "Boy, I'd live here in a heartbeat." I'd live at Pebble Beach in a heartbeat. If I had $30 million, that is.

The greens aren't great -- One of the reasons why they play the TOUR event there every February is that it's the best time of the year for them to be able to cut the greens on a daily basis and not have the poa annua take over by 12 noon. Poa annua greens are great to putt on for about six hours every day. But the small flowers start to pop up once the sun hits its peak and by mid-afternoon, putting can be tricky. Regular golfers don't mind it much or even notice the real difference. TOUR players don't care for bad bounces and putts that should break a half-ball to the left but instead actually wiggle a touch to the right. They used a special chemical on the greens last June when they held the U.S. Open to keep the poa at bay, but the maintenance required to apply it and control it would be too much to do on a daily basis.

The caddies know -- I guess if you've lived there your whole life, you know the differences in wind, air temperature, etc. If you do make it out to Pebble Beach, listen to your caddies. They tell too many stories and jokes, in all fairness, but I assume they figure that's half of what you're paying for. But when they tell you the shot you're facing has a carry of 145 but it plays more like 175, you'd be well served to just believe them. Or you can try and hit your 160 club there because you don't believe there's a 30 difference in carry vs. wind and you'll come up 15 yards short. We played a par 3 at Spanish Bay that was 145 to the hole from a slightly downhill tee box. I assumed it played 140 or so. "This is actually uphill," the caddie said. "Or at least it plays like that. It's 155 to the hole." My well hit 9 iron came up about 50 feet short of the hole. I listened the rest of the way to my caddie's advice.

You're not getting a tee time at Cypress Point -- Lots of people make the trip to Pebble Beach and wonder, "How do I get my foursome on at Cypress Point?" Answer: You don't. You can actually see Cypress Point from several holes at Spyglass Hill. But they're worlds apart, in reality. No one plays Cypress Point unless they're invited, and even then, a guest can only play on Monday or Tuesday morning at 7:00 am. Even the TOUR players who are in town for the tournament this week know the drill. You don't just "phone the pro shop" to see if you can get on. Ian Poulter apparently found that out once.

Pace of play moves along -- Roughly ten years ago, the biggest drawback at Pebble Beach was pace of play. The rounds would take six hours, mainly because of photo and video opportunities that each group took it upon themselves to create. That's no longer the case. You're told before you start to keep photography to a minimum and it's strongly suggested that you allow caddies to do the picture-taking. Our round in October took exactly 4 hours and 20 minutes to complete. Our caddie knew the spots on the course for photos and he'd announce it ahead of time. "Next hole we'll take pictures right by the 7th tee so get a phone out for me." Sure, groups without caddies (and there are some of those) wouldn't have that luxury, but caddies and groups playing up on them would send the message right away to pick up the pace. Or, the caddies simply go up and tell them to get moving or skip a hole, one of the two.

It's expensive, but you should do it. -- A 4-day trip with golf at the three big courses is going to run you $5,000-$6,000. It just is. But if you love golf and you have that sort of money to spend on something like a guy's trip to Pebble Beach, you will not regret it. I had this discussion with a friend back in January when the prospect of the Ravens playing in the Super Bowl was still a reality. I told him I probably wouldn't go to the game if they got in. He wondered why. "Because I'd rather spend $5,000 to go back to Pebble Beach than to spend $5,000 on a ticket to a game I can watch from a bar in Miami." I'll be going back someday. Maybe soon, in fact. It's worth the money. But it is, for sure, an expensive trip.

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we're heading to new york!

We have 14 people signed up for this trip so far!!! It's going to be a blast!

Maybe the O's aren't going to be all that good in 2020. We know that going in. But what you might not know is how much fun a #DMD road trip can be in the summer! And what better place to visit and take in a couple of games than New York?

Join us in NY on June 23-24 to see Trey Mancini and the O's take on the Yankees.

We're going to the Big Apple to support our Birds, June 23 and 24. And we've love to have a bunch of O's fans join us in the Bronx for a couple of days in New York and two baseball games.

We'll leave on Tuesday, June 23 around noon and check in at our Manhattan hotel sometime around 4 pm. The game that night is at 7:05 pm. We'll have upper deck seats for that, with unlimited food and drinks for everyone in our group.

The next night, June 24, we'll have a pre-game bullpen party and awesome left field seats close to the field.

Once the game's over, we'll head back home, arriving in Baltimore after midnight.

If you're interested in going on the trip, send me a quick email so I can start building the trip list: 18inarow@gmail.com.


February 8
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

saturday stuff

During Friday's edition of Glenn Clark Radio, the show host asked me if the Red Sox/Dodgers trade (still not officially confirmed) in any way bothered me.

"Bothers me?" I asked. "How so?"

It's still not a done deal yet, but the Red Sox are on the verge of shipping Mookie Betts to the L.A. Dodgers.

Clark went on to ask if it bothered me that one really rich franchise (Boston) that could easily afford the contracts of both Mookie Betts and David Price would dump them for a couple of hotshot prospects and shave nearly $60 million off their payroll, giving away one of the game's best offensive players and a still-decent-but-no-longer-great left handed starting pitcher.

It doesn't bother me in the least.

First of all, we can't really complain when the rich teams overspend (which they do) and then counter-complain when they decide they want to spend less. The luxury tax does matter in baseball, even though most of the really wealthy franchises sorta-kinda ignore it for a while in their quest to win a World Series.

If Boston doesn't want to pay Mookie Betts $350 million and they know that right now, why not just trade him and get a couple of kids who might help you win again in 2024? I don't see a problem with that. Unloading David Price as part of that deal was really smart, if you ask me. It would be akin to the Orioles trading away their only good player, Trey Mancini, and "adding" Chris Davis to the deal. We'd all applaud that move.

That the Dodgers are the ones scooping up Betts and Price could be looked at as an issue. I mean, why not just give the Dodgers Scherzer, Arenado and Judge too? At some point, we should all hope the Dodgers win a World Series just so their team payroll will get in under the $500 million mark. Right?

I don't have an issue with Boston getting rid of Betts. Sure, they have the money to pay him (now and in the future), but perhaps they don't want to pay him. I have no idea, because I'm not there every day. Maybe he's not the greatest locker room guy. Maybe he's already started telling people he can't wait to leave the organization. I couldn't tell you why the Red Sox wouldn't want to keep him around as a lifetime Red Sox player, but that's their call.

This year's NCAA Final Four will be held in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maryland, you might remember, once did themselves proud down there in the 2002 Final Four.

Mark Turgeon's Terps are now ranked #9 in the country.

And with last night's win at Illinois, it's more than fair to start at least looking at flights and hotel rooms for that first weekend in April.

Make no mistake about it, the Terps are getting hot at just the right time. Dale Williams does the heavy lifting from Friday evening's win in his review below. I'm just here to look at it from 35,000 feet and tell you a few things I see.

I wasn't around at practice, obviously, but there's little doubt that something changed with the Maryland program when the Mitchell twins departed in late January. It might have taken a few weeks to come together after their abrupt exit from the program, but I'm adding two (Maryland's massively improved play) and two (the Mitchell twins leaving) and I'm coming up with four.

Jalen Smith's play has been extraordinary over the last month. So much so, in fact, that he's officially now in the running for Big Ten Player of the Year. Others have more scoring numbers on their side (overall) but there's little argument that Smith has essentially carried the team on his back of late. Even last night when he was only good for 11 points, he still snagged a game-high 11 rebounds. Smith is all but done at Maryland, of course. He'll be a NBA draft pick in June and will not return for his junior year at College Park. But he has a lot of basketball left to play for Mark Turgeon still.

Barring something bizarre happening, the Terps are going to get the double-bye in the Big Ten tournament and might very well lock down the #1 seed in the next three weeks. They still have to face Michigan State twice, including at East Lansing next Saturday, and there's a road trip to take on pesky Rutgers still looming, so the Terps can't put it on cruise control just yet. But Maryland's rolling now and it sure looks like they're getting hot at the right time.

FYI, I checked on flights last night. There are gobs of Baltimore-Atlanta options for Friday, April 3 and hotel rooms for that weekend are plentiful in Atlanta. Just sayin'...

The match-up I dread the most in the NHL is front and center tonight as the Capitals host the worst franchise in the history of the sports. It will be the first regular season visit by the Flyers this season, with the series tied 1-1 after the two teams split a pair of games in Philly earlier in the season.

This one's titled: Miserable in Philadelphia. Also known as: The best picture in all of sports.

The one saving grace from tonight's game is that Alex Ovechkin is sitting at 698 career goals. Wouldn't it be glorious if he dumped two into the net tonight and hit the historic 700 goal mark with the Flyers and their fans having to endure the celebration that would unfold on the ice? Ahhhhhh, just thinking about that gives me goose bumps.

Washington is rolling along with the best record in the Metropolitan Division while the Flyers are in the thick of the playoff race with 65 points. Much to everyone's chagrin, Philadelphia is actually on the upswing. They'll likely do enough to squeeze into the post-season and they could be a tough out in April if their goaltender gets hot, which is always the primary factor in any team's Stanley Cup run. I hate to even think about it, but the possibility does exist that sometime in April or May the Caps and Flyers could meet in a 7-game series. I might have to disconnect myself from the internet for those 10 days if, in fact, the two teams face one another.

In the meantime, I'm hoping beyond hope that Ovechkin can score twice tonight and hit that 700 goal mark. That sure would be sweet. And doing it against the Flyers.....oh, man, that would just be about the best thing that's happened thus far in 2020.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps roar past illinois for big road win

I’ll label last night’s Maryland win at Illinois as “impressive".

The Maryland Terrapins withstood some torrid early shooting by the Fighting Illini, and they showed massive poise and determination thereafter, beating Illinois 75-66 on the road. The Terps may have lost the first ten minutes of the game, but they won the last 30 impressively, outscoring Illinois 58-35 after falling behind by 14 points in the first half.

Anthony Cowan was masterful while scoring 20 points on 11 shots and Darryl Morsell added 18 on just 10 attempts. Jalen Smith had another double/double with 11 points and a team high 11 rebounds.

The first half featured some great basketball and a massive momentum change. Illinois came out on fire. They were knocking down threes and finishing inside. The Terp defense wasn’t exactly horrible, but the Illini were just that good. Illinois forged a 14-point lead while their shooting hand was hot (5-7 from three). They led 31-17 with just under 10 minutes left in the half.

After leading Maryland with 17 points in Tuesday's win over Rutgers, Anthony Cowan again led the way last night with 20 points in Maryland's road victory.

Mark Turgeon tried almost everything to change the course of the game. He called timeouts and drew a technical foul. Nothing worked until they changed defensively philosophy.

Illinois was on pace to score 60 points in the half when Marc Turgeon decided to go with some light full court pressure and a zone defense. The switch worked, as the Illini offense stalled for the rest of the half and the Terps got back into the game.

When the Illinois three pointers dried up and the Maryland threes started to fall, the Illini lead began to shrink. Maryland also started to push the tempo and get inside. By the time Aaron Wiggins hit a three just before the first half ended, Maryland was solidly back in the game, down by just 2 points at intermission, 42-40.

Each team’s featured guard, Cowan for Maryland and Ayo Dosunmu for Illinois, dominated their team’s scoring in the first half. Cowan poured in 13 while Ayo Dosunmo tallied 10 points in the first 20 minutes.

The momentum stayed with Maryland as the second half began. Illinois went without a field goal for the first 8 minutes of the second half and by the time they finally broke the ice, the Terps had a seven-point lead. Although Illinois twice hit three pointers to cut the lead to one point, Maryland was able to answer with a three of their own to immediately extend the gap back to 4. The Terrapins would lead for the rest of the game.

Turgeon eventually went back to his staple man-to-man defense, but the Illini had lost their offensive mojo, and the crowd had been hushed. Also, Maryland was playing some inspired defense.

This was the second straight game that I thought Maryland showed some great heart. It would have been easy for them to panic early and get blown out. That may have happened if this game had been played in December. But this team has grown, and every player seemed to play with emotion, and yet with poise. Eric Ayala still needs to hit more shots, but there’s not one Terp who I would say had an off night or didn’t play with urgency.

The only concerns about last night’s game were the exposure of a real depth issue and the 5 turnovers by Morsell. Once thought to be a strength, depth now looks to be an issue as the Terps last night were effectively 6 deep. Outside of the top 6 plyers, the others logged just 13 minutes without getting a single point or rebound.

Morsell played such a strong game, but his 5 turnovers hurt the Terps. That being said, it’s much easier to accept the miscues when Morsell is being as aggressive and effective as he was last night. He was really good.

The Terps were impressive last night. Their poise, heart, and intensity were all on display and they earned their number 1 spot in the Big Ten. Things should get a bit easier for the Terps when Nebraska comes to the XFINITY Center on Tuesday for an 8:30 tip-off.

February 7
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue

saving the preakness (for the 12th time)

I don't really know if this current attempt to save the Preakness is the 12th such occurrence or not. But it definitely feels that way.

Stop me if you've heard this story before.

Roughly $180 million of work in and around Pimlico Race track is about to be waved in front of the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis. There are still plenty of hoops to jump through, but if that money finally gets approved and the work actually gets done, the Preakness will survive and thrive at Pimlico and Baltimore will have one-upped Laurel in the fight for one of horse racing's three triple crown races.

I know what you're thinking: I'll believe it when I see it.

I feel the same way.

Rather than bring in tents and temporary buildings for the Preakness every May, the new Pimlico facility would have most of those structures permanently in place in the infield so other events could take advantage of them.

I trust the whole process about as much as I trust the Orioles to rebound and once again dominate the American League East by 2025. In fact, I probably trust the Orioles more than I trust Maryland lawmakers and horse racing enthusiasts to get this Pimlico project off the ground.

When you trust the Orioles to win, you know you're taking a leap of faith.

The Preakness is the centerpiece of the redevelopment plan for Pimlico. Without the Preakness being held at Pimlico, there'd be no reason at all for the track to exist. Under the plan being presented to the General Assembly, the grandstand will essentially be gutted and rebuilt, the track itself shifted slightly in direction, and monies will also be poured into the Park Heights neighborhood that borders the race track.

Detractors of the whole idea will point to the $180 million and wonder if that money shouldn't be better spent somewhere else. Yes, perhaps it should. But do you really trust the state of Maryland and Baltimore City government to appropriately spend $180 million of "found money" on something sound? I sure don't.

The blessing of the money being spent on the Pimlico project is that the plans will be displayed for public consumption and we can all generally follow along to make sure it's coming together as promised.

Not that we'd have the power to do anything about it otherwise, but there's a checks and balances opportunity that exists as far as the race track goes. If we just handed over $180 million to Baltimore City and said, "Do some good with this, please" we might wind up with a dozen new children's books in unopened boxes in the basement of City Hall.

Better the devil you know than the devil you don't, as the saying goes. I'm not sure spending $180 million on the Preakness is actually the smart, prudent thing to do. But it's probably better to do that than rely on government officials to spend it elsewhere.

Horse racing in Maryland is pretty much dead. And that's not to say it couldn't work, because for a while, circa 1975, it was an important part of the Baltimore sports landscape. Here's one that's hard to believe: All three local TV sportscasts -- back then -- used to spend 20 seconds or so giving daily results of the 7th, 8th and 9th races at Pimlico.

But that was back when they actually ran a full 200-day schedule at Pimlico. In those days, people went to the track and wagered. Today, you can bet on every race in the country from your cell phone.

People don't go to watch "live" horse racing any longer, which is why Pimlico barely has a competitive racing card these days. It's the Preakness and nothing else, for the most part.

And before anyone jumps up and down and claims I'm "anti horse racing", you should know that's far from the truth. In my days on the radio, I was one of the only people in town who actually gave a rat's rear end about the sport and the industry. I would routinely do shows -- and series' of shows -- on racing and the track(s) and how to "fix" all of it. I cared.

But that was then and this is now, with all credit going to S.E. Hinton for that cliche. Like most everyone else who has been paying attention for the last couple of decades, I've lost faith in our political powers-that-be to get anything done and get it done the right way. It's like asking you to pinch hit in the 9th inning at Camden Yards. Back in the old days you were a pretty good hitter...but that was then and this is now. William Donald Schaefer isn't coming back to see this project through to its completion, in other words.

I always contended the only natural way to revitalize racing was to build a new track somewhere downtown. Horse racing -- or any sport, for that matter -- can rarely be saved just by polishing up the old jalopy and putting it back on the road as is. Everything in sports is typically saved by one thing and one thing only: a new facility. That's why they don't play baseball and football up on 33rd Street any longer. And, absent a new, 20,000 seat state-of-the-art indoor arena in the 1980's or 1990's, that's one of the biggest reasons why Baltimore never garnered a NBA or NHL franchise to call its own.

A new track downtown somewhere might have had a chance. "Might have" being the two key words there. A refurbished/rebuilt Pimlico? It will help the Preakness, which is good. But it's not doing anything else for Maryland's horse racing industry.

While the detractors of the $180 million will bellyache about those funds being used for entertainment instead of education, supporters of horse racing will contend that this is precisely what the industry needs to get it back up and percolating again. But that's just fantasyland stuff.

The Preakness is a viable, one-off entertainment day that's great for Baltimore and Maryland. Horse racing in general, though, is done. At least here, anyway.

Let's hope the General Assembly sees the bill through and Baltimore and Pimlico gets its $180 million. The folks at Laurel will get $175 million, by the way, to line their pockets and "boost" that ratty old track down there. But the real winner in the whole thing -- if it all faces into place -- will be Pimlico.

I'm not convinced the people in charge are trustworthy enough to move this project from the planning room to the point where shovels go in the ground. Our state local government isn't really well known for smart, proactive work, in case you haven't noticed.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Until then, I'm going to assume somewhere along the way it's going to get fouled up.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps face big test at illinois tonight

While watching a replay of the Illinois and Maryland game from early December, it became very evident to me that Maryland is a far different team right now than the one that defeated the Fighting Illini in that early conference test.

There are no Mitchell twins, Hakeem Hart is seeing almost no action, and Jalen Smith is playing at a whole different level. This all should bode well for the Terps tonight.

Well, maybe not.

Kofi Cockburn had a solid first half in College Park back in December, then ran into foul trouble and wasn't a factor in the final 20 minutes.

In the first half of that first meeting, Illinois dominated. They lead 39-25 after 20 minutes and looked like a quicker, bigger, and stronger team than their Big Ten counterparts. Maryland had little answer for the massive Kofi Cockburn or the speed and power of Andres Feliz.

Fortunately for the Terps, Cockburn played less than six minutes in the second half and Maryland made a dramatic comeback to win by a single point, 59-58.

There will be no similar comeback in Champaign’s State Farm Center tonight. If Maryland gets behind by 15 points, like they did in December, this game will be over.

Illinois and Maryland have identical 8-3 conference records and sit atop the Big Ten. However, the Illini have yet to beat any of the top 5 conference schools. They lost to Iowa, Michigan State, and Maryland while having yet to play Penn State. All three of Illinois' losses have come on the road.

As I wrote in the pre-game analysis of that December contest, I really like the guard rotation of Illinois. Starters Ayo Dosunmu, Trent Frazier, and Damante Williams are a formidable trio. Reserves Feliz and Allan Griffin offer little drop off. Inside, Cockburn and Giorgi Bezhanishvili (Bez), are stout and strong.

The fashion by which Illinois lost the first game will have them ready for redemption tonight. They should have the fresher legs, as they haven’t played since Sunday. The Terps played a tough game against Rutgers on Tuesday, and then have to travel.

If Illinois can knock down a few early threes, it will be tough for the Terps to answer. I look for a very physical game with both teams playing aggressive basketball. With the strong guard play and big interior lineup Illinois boasts, plus the home court, I don’t see the Terps walking away with the sole lead in the Big Ten.

Bez and Cockburn will avoid the foul trouble that limited both of them in game one. Maryland continues to struggle from the outside, and Illinois wins a hard-fought game, 70-64.


we're heading to new york!

We have 14 people signed up for this trip so far!!! It's going to be a blast!

Maybe the O's aren't going to be all that good in 2020. We know that going in. But what you might not know is how much fun a #DMD road trip can be in the summer! And what better place to visit and take in a couple of games than New York?

Join us in NY on June 23-24 to see Trey Mancini and the O's take on the Yankees.

We're going to the Big Apple to support our Birds, June 23 and 24. And we've love to have a bunch of O's fans join us in the Bronx for a couple of days in New York and two baseball games.

We'll leave on Tuesday, June 23 around noon and check in at our Manhattan hotel sometime around 4 pm. The game that night is at 7:05 pm. We'll have upper deck seats for that, with unlimited food and drinks for everyone in our group.

The next night, June 24, we'll have a pre-game bullpen party and awesome left field seats close to the field.

Once the game's over, we'll head back home, arriving in Baltimore after midnight.

If you're interested in going on the trip, send me a quick email so I can start building the trip list: 18inarow@gmail.com.

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February 6
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"fixing" golf

On the heels of yesterday's piece here at #DMD, where I broke down some of the ways I think sports is "missing it" these days, I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to pontificate about golf.

Like the sports I zeroed in on yesterday, golf has some issues. A recent report -- 18 months in the making -- was released that focused on how "length" has become such a dominating factor in the sport, in terms of the distance the golf ball travels. To that end, the increased length in terms of distance has led to golf courses of 7,500-8,500 yards being built throughout the country.

But golf's issues are far greater than this overhyped subject of "length". Sure, professional players are hitting the ball incredibly far off the tee, but the average golfer (15.7 handicap in 2019, according to Golf Magazine) hasn't seen the same percentage of increase as the pros have over the last decade or so.

Golf participation is down. Fewer people are picking up the sport, more people are giving it up, and the general summary of golf right now is that it's losing its appeal with the younger generation.

So I'll fix it today.

With night golf, you could tee off at 6:00 pm and play until 10 pm or so in mid-summer.

I won't really fix it, of course. My ideas, while sound, would require either too much of a shift in tradition or course owners wouldn't be willing to sink capital into a few of the projects that I believe would make the game more enjoyable for everyone.

And here's the thing. I'm not going to tamper at all with the game. We're not going to make the hole bigger (stupid idea...been bandied about for decades). We're not going to make the holes shorter (another dumb idea, hole length is critical to a fair score of "par"). And we're not going to allow you to move the ball into a "beneficial playing area" no matter if you're in the fairway or rough (the entire theory of golf is based on playing the ball as it lies...nothing should ever change that.)

The changes I'd put into play if I "ran" golf or owned a course are all submitted with two things in mind: Get more people interested in golf (1) and make it more enjoyable when they do play (2).

Let's understand a couple of things right away about golf. A) It's incredibly difficult. B) It takes too long.

"A" plays into "B" and "B" plays into "A". The more shots you hit, the longer you take to play, for the most part. If you take 100 shots and I take 75, I'll finish my 75 before you finish your 100. And the more shots you take and the harder it is, the less likely you'll want to spend 4.5 or 5 hours of your time out there being unsuccessful at something.

With that in mind, I'd do two things right away: Make the golf course 12 holes. Remove all of the sand traps/bunkers.

I'm not saying this just because my Calvert Hall team plays 12 hole matches in the MIAA...but let me stress to you how "perfect" 12 holes is. It takes no more than 3 hours to play, for starters. It's still a large enough sample size to have a fair competition with someone. Sure 18 holes tells a better story -- talent wise -- than does 12 holes, but if you made courses 12 holes we'd figure out how to play 12-hole matches in no time.

Golf's slow play issue would essentially be gone. No more 5 hour rounds. No more half-days of work used for client entertaining.

12 holes is perfect. Get to the course by 4:00 pm, done by 7:00 pm. How good would that be?

Why remove the sand traps? There's an easy explanation. They're tough to play out of, for starters. And if you removed the bunkers, your maintenance crew would have far less work to do each morning.

You can still leave the bunker imprint there and even let the grass grow to mid-calf length in those "bunker areas" if you want to keep some of the integrity of the hole intact. But there's no valid reason to have sand bunkers on any golf course any longer. All it does is slow things down and cost a lot of money to maintain.

Want more golfers? You need more daylight. And since we can't functionally add more daylight, let's just add more light, in general.

If each course added some kind of lighting on the incoming four holes, for example, you could get an extra hour of play out of each day. At 10-minute tee time intervals, that's roughly 24 more players you could add, per-day, if your timing works out right. If your greens fees are $80, that's almost $2,000 in additional daily revenue. Pull that off for 200 days a year and that's $400,000.

I don't know enough about electricity costs to tell you if burning those lights for an hour or hour and a half each day would eat up all of the $400,000 you generate. But that's an issue that can be addressed in a variety of ways, including a surcharge of $5.00 per-person to play under the lights, increased food and beverage sales on the course, etc.

The money you save by not having to worry about sand in the bunkers, maintaining it and replacing it, for example, would help defray the lighting costs. What would get you more players and make them enjoy the sport more....bunkers with sand or lights on the last few holes? You know the answer.

Lights on the last few holes of the course makes great sense. Originally it would be a novelty and the courses with lights would be a major attraction. I know it's not easy to do (or people would be doing it now) and it would take some serious financial backing to make it work, but we're in 2020 now. Nothing is impossible. All things should be considered.

Music should be encouraged and played. I occasionally have friends as guests at Eagle's Nest and I give them all fair warning before we start. If you have a tough time playing golf when music is being played, you won't care for my course/club. Music is constantly on. It's not played at a loud volume or anything like that. You can't hear Van Halen on the 7th fairway if my group has it playing in the first fairway.

But, music is very much a part of the Eagle's Nest golf culture. And it's that way at a lot of places these days.

People like to have fun. Music is fun. Music should be part of golf.

Those are my four starting points.

Courses should be 12 holes. I know Brandel Chamblee of The Golf Channel has promoted this idea in the past. I think it's a no brainer. You can still have 18 hole courses, obviously, and true golf "competitions" will likely still be played out over 18 holes, but a course with 12 holes only would be a massive invitation for more people to take up golf and/or play it more regularly.

No more sand traps. They're silly. Grow the grass mid calf-high and maintain it once a month instead of every day.

Have some kind of lighting on the last 3 or 4 holes of the course. You'll be able to get more feet on the course with that extra hour of light.

Play music throughout the course and/or encourage people to bring their own music (even better).

Golf should resemble an outdoor neighborhood party. Or there should at least be courses in the area who focus on that sort of "brand".

You can still belong to a club that honors the longstanding traditions (18 holes, sand traps, no lights, no music or outside "noise") if you so choose. I'm not saying we should do away with those clubs and/or that approach to golf. But I am saying that alternative approaches should be considered in an effort to get new people interested and, hopefully, keep them interested.

Make golf easier, quicker and more fun and you'll see a new wave of interest almost immediately.

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"The Keen Eye" of
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DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.

news and views

As often happens in the wake of a divorce, Larry King and his ex-wife Shawn recently sold their house. It went for nearly $17 million, so they made a nice profit after reportedly buying it for just under $12 million in 2007. The house has seven bedrooms and nine(!) bathrooms, a pool and a gym, and a guesthouse of course—does any abode in Beverly Hills not have a guesthouse?

King had a rough 2019…he revealed in November that he had a stroke last March and was actually in a coma for a while prior to heart surgery, and that he doesn’t really remember much of what went on for months. He’s 86 now, though he’s back at work at least part-time on his internet talk show.

Back in his somewhat younger days, King wrote a column in USA Today. “News and Views” was its name, but it was really just a seemingly random, stream-of-consciousness list of celebrity shout-outs, personal likes and dislikes and references to his childhood in Brooklyn. It was Twitter well before Twitter, but without most of the cyberbullying.

As I’ve done a few times before, here’s another attempt at King’s News and Views, #DMD style. Best wishes to King for a better 2020…

This Patrick Mahomes character is ok, but he’s no Leonard Ray Dawson. Let’s see Mahomes host Inside the NFL for 25 years…The time’s finally yours, Andy Reid…Can we go to “AFC-NFC World Championship Game?” Super Bowl just isn’t cutting it for me…Up with People was terrific at halftime, weren’t they?...The best quarterback to play for both the 49ers and Chiefs? Has to be Steve Bono, by a nose over Elvis Grbac…How a team can be successful without running the Packers’ sweep is beyond me…64 degrees Sunday at game time in South Florida? We need a warmer place for these games. I’m thinking Palm Springs. Hey, it was good enough for Sinatra.

Former Loyola lacrosse star Pat Spencer is enjoying an outstanding grad-student season with the Northwestern men's basketball team.

Looking forward to the NCAA tournament in a few weeks. If CCNY can’t win it, give me West Virginia. That Bob Huggins is a class act…Those Terps really love the three-pointer! They’d rather shoot contested 22-footers with one second on the shot clock than score layups on the fast break. Analytics, they tell me…The game really misses another class act—Rick Pitino…Boy, when I get upset, I only wish I was as calm as Iowa’s Fran McCaffery…I saw that Kansas and Kansas State got in a fight. Someone told me that Kansas State is in Manhattan. And I thought it was in Missouri…Those Cameron Crazies are just the best. What’s better for a fan than being told what to say off a prepared script?

Non-sports…If you’re looking for a place to get the real scoop on the coronavirus, you won’t do better than Chinese state TV…Is this “Impossible” burger guaranteed to keep me from having a heart attack? If not, I don’t want it…Let’s have another 1980 TV show remake, like Hawaii Five-0 and Magnum, P.I. I vote for “Bosom Buddies.”…When I’m looking for a quick laugh and hoping to feel better about the world, I head right to NBC’s “This Is Us”…I’m glad Tom Brady did that whole thing for Hulu. It just wasn’t right going more than four hours without talking about him…Kudos to all those guys who predicted a cold, snowy winter around here. Spot on, fellas.

Shout-outs...Lamar Jackson won the NFL MVP award unanimously. He was my choice too, just ahead of Jameis Winston, whose “30-30” season was quite an accomplishment…Webb Simpson birdied three straight to win in Phoenix. His full name is James Frederick Webb Simpson, while his wife’s name is Taylor Dowd Simpson (she goes by Dowd). I think they’ve spent a few days at the country club…Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open for the eighth time…has anyone in the U.S. actually been awake to watch any of those matches?...It’s amazing how good Pat Spencer is at basketball, but it says something that he’s probably Northwestern’s best player.

The greens fee at Pebble Beach moves to $575 per round April 1. Jim Nantz’s backyard par-3 is part of the deal, right?...The AT&T pro-am is there this week. If I were playing, I’d like my celebrity partner to be either J-Lo or Shakira…The best college basketball player in Baltimore is Loyola’s Andrew Kostecka, and he’d be even better if Spencer had decided to play point guard at Loyola for one year instead of Northwestern…The best young player in the NBA is from—you guessed it—Slovenia…The Terps were ranked No. 5 in the RPI earlier this week. It figures that the NCAA no longer uses that metric…Is it even necessary for the Orioles to have Spring Training? What difference is it going to make?

Philadelphia stories...Flyers’ mascot Gritty has been cleared of any wrongdoing in an alleged November assault of a 13-year-old. That does not make he/she any less frightening…Love the revisionist history on Andy Reid in Philly. We loved him the whole time! Spare me…St. Joe’s fired legendary coach Phil Martelli after last year. If they were looking to lose their first nine conference games by double digits under the new coach, then well done!...Some rich guy who sits courtside at Xfinity Center actually believed Jay Wright might leave Villanova for Maryland in 2011…I’m thinking Bryce Harper might be able to lead the Phillies to 83 or 84 wins this year as opposed to 81 last season.

Mike Trout update...he still hasn’t won a playoff game. I’m thinking Anthony Rendon might help…North Carolina lost to Boston College on Sunday. How many more years can Roy Williams take?...Loyola’s Kevin Lindley has taken over the No. 7 from Pat Spencer this year in case you’re wondering who that is out there…San Diego State might go undefeated in men’s basketball this year…Watch out, this year’s Duke team might be subject to another Mercer or Lehigh upset…This year’s Summer Olympics are in Tokyo—didn’t remember that until I looked it up…Personally, I was rooting for Almaty, Kazakhstan, for the next Winter Olympics, just for Borat appearances.

And finally…Expect Chiefs-Patriots as the Thursday season opener in September. Good luck Jarrett Stidham...I’m also betting on Ravens-Jaguars for Week 1, televised to 4.7% of the country…I can’t be the only one looking forward to the continuation of this preseason winning streak…I have an idea for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Instead of inducting an extra 15 guys for a Centennial year, just induct an extra 15 guys for a Steroid year. Great publicity!...Reading the Golf Digest equipment issue right now. Every one of these drivers flies completely straight and feels great off the face, apparently…And you heard it here first—your Masters winner is not Tony Finau.


I Am Catholic

February 5
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nothing remarkable about seeing it live

I ventured down to College Park with our intrepid basketball analyst, Dale Williams, last night.

The best part of the night was, by far, catching up with him.

Maryland's basketball experience is, to put it bluntly, bland. Maybe it's just me and my expectations. It could have been that the game featured a lot of bad basketball. Or maybe it is what I think it is -- that the production of putting on a live sporting event lacks imagination these days.

And this isn't really an attempt to pick on Maryland basketball, per se. It will be, as you'll see in the context below, more about every sport and a lot of teams. Maryland just has the recency bias because I've been there twice in the last two months.

I used to be a set-list-peeker when I'd go to a concert. By that, I mean I'd venture to the internet a week or two out to see the set-list of the various shows the performer I was going to see had utilized in previous shows. I eventually stopped peeking once I realize a lot of the set lists don't change from show-to-show.

I love Billy Joel to death, but on the most recent monthly run of his Madison Square tour, he opens with the same song -- The Natural -- every night.

Another one of my favorite bands of all-time, Rush, had the same habit. They'd play 18 songs on Tuesday night in Chicago, the exact same 18 songs two nights later in Cleveland, and the exact same 18 songs in Philadelphia the very next evening. I get it. Nearly everyone in Chicago is different than the folks watching the show in Cleveland. Therefore, they don't know the difference, set-list wise. But it speaks to a higher issue, in my opinion.

It speaks to their comfort level. "I'll just play The Natural, Big Shot, Just The Way You Are and I Go To Extremes again because the band knows that flow really well." Fair enough. The band's flow is important. But it's incredibly flat if you are a concert goer who knew going in they played those same four songs two nights earlier in Buffalo. You almost expect more...even though you weren't actually in Buffalo. You feel slighted, somewhat, by Billy's lack of effort to mix things up.

Back to the Terps...

To the athletic department's credit, they didn't bite the apple last night when the game wasn't sold out. In other words, they announced the "real" crowd (15,855) instead of a sellout (17,950). But as I sat and watched the game, it made me wonder, naturally, how the Terps couldn't sell out a Big 10 game against an opponent with a fan base just three hours away? Oh, and this isn't Rutgers 2016, the league pushover. Despite their tepid performance last night, this Rutgers team has been ranked in the Top 25 this season and look like a 70/30 bet to make the NCAA tournament in March.

As we drove home last night, Dale brought up the attendance. "Pretty disappointing crowd," he said. "Anytime I see empty seats like that, I wonder if the attendance would have been better if the opponent was Virginia or Clemson or NC State?"

To wit, the discussion about the Big Ten move has been discussed ad nauseum, but still bears mentioning. It's just not as exciting as was the ACC. The style of basketball is different. And other than Penn State, which is clearly not really a football rivalry, the only in-the-blood rival the school has in the Big Ten are the Nittany Lions. No one else in the Big Ten gets the fan base's blood boiling.

Point to any of the external circumstances you want about last night's crowd. Early game (7:00 pm). Rutgers isn't the most inviting opponent. Lots of folks just went hard on Super Bowl Sunday and aren't yet ready for another night out. The Capitals were home last night playing the Kings before a sellout crowd. All four of those factors might have been part of the equation.

But to my eyes, a bigger part of the issue, at nearly every sporting event, is the lack of seeing something new.

In one of his (many) great books, marketing mastermind Seth Godin talks about the importance of what he calls, the Purple Cow. He uses the purple cow as a metaphor for doing something remarkable. And as I watch live sporting events, nothing about them really stands out as all that remarkable. It's the same thing, game after game, pigeon-holed into the exact same time during the game.

Either that or the production crew totally misses the point.

I went to the Towson-College of Charleston basketball game on Saturday afternoon at SECU. During the pre-game warm-ups, loud rap music blared from the speaker system. I might have been one of the only 57 year old white guys in the crowd to know several of the artists and lyrics, but I've had an affection for certain types of rap music for two decades or so. But, based on a scan of the audience, I can say for certain the majority of the folks in the stands would have preferred something a little more soft than say, Rick Ross.

So exactly who was the music being played for before the game? The players? Sure, it might have been their music of choice, but a lot of them had on their listening gear to start with. If the 750 people sitting in the building are largely older -- and it's VERY easy to scan the arena seating and figure that out -- why wouldn't you play something a little more connected to their likely musical interests? This.....I've never really understood. Are you playing music for 16 basketball players or 750 people in the stands who paid money to enter the facility?

I think the unfurling of the big Maryland flag (if that's the correct terminology) is a cool idea. But here's the thing. There's nothing at all new about it. Game in, game out, the video they play on the screen is the same. The music is the same. In fact, they do it at exactly the same time. Every. Single. Game. And while it's cool to see the kids in the upper deck get it started and help lower it down to the floor, it's incredibly boring to have it all happen in such a cookie-cutter fashion.

The player introductions? Incredibly boring. "A six-nine sophomore from Baltimore, Maryland, Jalen Smith..." And out he comes, meeting a benchwarmer at the end of the line to do some sort of fancy handshake or skit. Doing that once or twice a season? Really cool. Doing it for all 18 home games. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz...

Here's a thought. Introduce every guy. Just say their name. They're all on the team, right?

How about bringing each player out with his favorite professor/instructor? You can insert the joke here, but that would also be a nice touch for the educators.

Bring out a different Maryland coach with each player. Who is the swimming coach? Golf coach? Tennis coach? Give them a small slice of the limelight one night.

I could come up with 18 different introduction ideas in about two hours.

Unfurl the flag at a different time.

The Ravens are guilty of this, too.

I get it. There are probably only so many ways to introduce the football team. But this week it's the defense, next week it's the offense, and so on. Same music, same smoke, same lights, etc.

There's nothing "remarkable" about any of it. Not if you go often, anyway.

So while most of the blame these days goes to television as the easy "way" to watch sports these days, I'm not so sure that's entirely the problem. I could have stayed home last night instead of fighting 5 o'clock traffic. I could have watched it from the comfort of my living room. But I wanted to go, so I went.

And the product was, by and large, very forgettable. I've found myself thinking the same thing at Capitals games, Orioles games and Ravens games, too. "This was fun...but it was almost 'forced fun'."

Last week's PGA Tour event featured, without question, the most unique set-up in all of golf. An "arena" is basically built around the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, where upwards of 30,000 people jam their way into seats to watch the players play ONE hole.

It started in the 90's. There were no stands or arena settings in place back then.

Then in the 2000's they built a small 5,000 seat configuration to give it a "distinct" feel.

Then they added more seats and suddenly 10,000 were there.

Now, there are 30,000 people sitting around one golf hole screaming and making a scene.

It's not something that would fit in at every tournament on the schedule, which is what makes it unique. I just had four friends go out there for the tournament because seeing the 16th hole live was a sports "bucket list" item for all four.

There's nothing at all "bucket-list" worthy about Maryland basketball or the Ravens or the Capitals. It's generally "well done" -- to their credit -- but it's also generally very predictable.

Either that or I'm just getting old and I'm the only goof who thinks about this kind of stuff.

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dale williams aims the
terps spotlight

DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

terps win: cowan, smith, morsell shine

There’s a saying regarding a golf score that states, “They don’t ask you how, just how many”.

The same might be said of Big Ten wins this year. It really doesn’t matter how you get them, just keep ringing up those victories. And Maryland did just that last night when they defeated Rutgers, 56-51, in a less than packed XFINITY Center. Both defenses played hard, but both offenses played ugly ball.

It was a 7-2 run over the last 2:12 that propelled the Terps to the win. Four of those points were scored by Anthony Cowan and Daryll Morsell accounted for the other three. All of the points came from the foul line. Rutgers missed their last five shots, helping Maryland to advance to an 8-3 Big Ten record, tied for tops in the league.

Three Terps scored in double figures, led by Cowan with 17 while Jalen Smith and Morsell both tallied 14.

Jalen Smith (14) and Darryl Morsell (14) scored half of Maryland's 56 points on Tuesday night in the win over Rutgers.

Maryland raced out to a 14-6 lead after 7:11 had been played in the first half. Then, in what I thought was a bizarre coaching move, Mark Turgeon elected to pull out his core group of starters and insert Chol Marial, Serrel Smith, and Ricky Lindo. Rutgers immediately went on a run that eventually reached 19-4.

During that run, the Scarlet Knight’s Akwasi Yeboah scorched Maryland for 9 points on three triples. The Terp defense started breaking down, and Maryland, even after the starters returned, never regained their offensive confidence or continuity. They shot just 2 of 17 for the remainder of the half. Even for a team that struggles offensively at times, playing the last 9:21 without making a field goal is mind boggling. But the Terps managed to pull it off.

Luckily for the Terps, Rutgers proved that they too could be offensively inept, as they failed to score at all during the last 5 minutes of the half. The end result of all this offensive futility was a 25-20 halftime lead for the Scarlet Knights.

For the half, Maryland shot 24% from the floor, and had 4 shots blocked. Their spacing looked awful, with the lane too crowded to allow for dribble penetration. It was a bad half triggered by the questionable substitutions by Turgeon.

Early in the second half, Maryland would cut the Rutgers lead to 1 by scoring 8 points in the paint. A layup by Danta Scott and 3 buckets by Morsell, including a monster dunk, would get the Terps within one possession, 29-28. Shortly after the last Morsell dunk, a Jalen Smith 3 gave Maryland a two-point lead, 31-29.

The Terps would grow the lead to 8 points by outscoring Rutgers 24-11 during the first 13:17 of the second half. It was at this point that Rutgers began pounding the offensive glass and racking up second chance points. 7 of the Scarlet Knight’s 8 offensive rebounds came in the second half. Most of those 7 happened during a 13-5 run that allowed Rutgers to knot the game at 49 apiece.

The score was 49 all when Cowan began the Terp run of free throws that secured the win. The first three were made after Cowan was fouled while shooting a three-point shot. He converted them all, and Maryland never looked back.

I will give some credit for Rutgers defensive success to their game plan. They frequently slacked off of the Terp perimeter players, and chose to crowd the lane. This made it extremely difficult for the Terp ball handlers to dribble penetrate.

In the second half, Maryland began to get inside with the dribble, and the results were positive. It’s what allowed them to get back into the game.

With the two teams combining to miss 78 shots, this game really didn’t come down to size, speed, or skill. It came down to heart. Maryland had the heart last night to stay tough despite being frustrated on the offensive end of court. They had the heart to make foul shots with the game on the line. And they also had the heart to play tough defense, and get stops, during the critical last 2:12 of the game.

If you are a Terps fan, you have to be encouraged with that effort. It wasn’t pretty, but when you look at the 8 conference wins, nobody asks, “How?”.

On Friday, first place in the Big Ten will be on the line when the Terps travel to Champaign for a rematch with Illinois. Game time is 8PM and the contest will be covered by Fox Sports 1.


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February 4
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wrapping up the nfl season

In honor of the 21 points the Chiefs scored in the final 8 minutes of Super Bowl 54...

1. If there was any one coach in the league who deserved a Super Bowl ring, it was Andy Reid. This theme might have been overplayed a bit, but that's only because it's undeniably true. He's been oft-criticized for some of his clock management skills, but the reality is every coach in the NFL has occasional issues getting it right. Reid is a great coach.

2. The Miami victory at New England in Week 17 really twisted the AFC playoffs in an unthinkable way. It meant the Chiefs only had to win one game to get to the AFC title game and it also meant -- by the fact they went to New England and won -- that the Titans wound up playing the Ravens in Baltimore. And, when the Ravens lost that game, Kansas City hosted the AFC title contest and their march to the Super Bowl was on clean pavement.

3. Speaking of "17", I can't for the life of me figure out what the owners are thinking about by playing 17 regular season games. I mean, I know it's all about money, money, money, but why wouldn't they try and put together an 18-game schedule as a way of making it even? The players will bellyache about it right up until......they get another $50 million added to the salary cap. 17 games -- such a stupid number. Drop the four pre-season games down to one and add two regular season games with another "bye" week in the schedule somewhere.

4. Why isn't the Super Bowl on a Saturday? I don't have any logical reasoning behind the question. But I've always wondered that. Why play the game at 6:30 pm on Sunday night? Why not play it at 8 pm on Saturday evening?

Could Josh Allen be a MVP candidate in 2020?

5. Lamar Jackson was the NFL head-turner this season. If the Bills help their quarterback, Josh Allen, with a couple of pass catching upgrades, I think he could be the 2020 head-turner. Not saying he's ready to be the MVP or anything, but I think he's due for a big season in '20.

6. Kyle Shanahan got roasted pretty good by the national media on Monday, but here's my question: Where's the critical eye for 49'ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh? I mean, he was the guy who was gifted a 20-10 lead with 8 minutes remaining. Where are all the hot takes surrounding Saleh?

7. The team that turned out to be the biggest disappointment in 2019 had to be the Los Angeles Rams. Some folks might say the Browns, but they weren't really beating anyone when it mattered. Others might say the Steelers, but they weren't doing anything of note without Roethlisberger. The Rams were a Super Bowl team 12 months ago and couldn't even sniff the playoffs in 2019. And if they're not careful, they'll be the 4th best team in the NFC West next season.

8. My "official" prediction with Matt Judon is: franchise tag. I don't think the Ravens are willing to fork over $80 million or so for him. And I also don't think they want to lose him, either. So they'll give Judon $16 million and ask him to have another great season and then can revisit the long term deal next spring. I'm still not completely sold on him. I think he's a good player who had a great season. I'm not sure he's a great player.

9. I also remain unconvinced on Hollywood Brown. And by "unconvinced", I mean as a long term, #1 receiver. I think he's very capable. He obviously has speed to burn. But until he goes through a couple of seasons playing 16 games and is available for all the offensive snaps, I'll hold off on a full appraisal.

10. Three teams that weren't very good in 2019 who could be decent enough to be in the playoff hunt next year: NY Jets, Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons.

11. I think Joe Burrow was a great college quarterback. But there's no telling if he can go to Cincinnati and be a great professional quarterback. They are the Bengals, after all. He would have been much better off being picked by just about any other franchise. Think he'll lead the Bengals to the playoffs by year three of his career? I don't.

Matt Ryan and the Falcons...can they rebound and be a playoff contender in 2020?

12. Dustin Colquitt nearly fouled up the opening coin toss on Sunday night. After Richard Sherman called "tails" and it came up that way, the 49'ers cornerback quickly said, "We'll defer." The referee then said to the Chiefs, "The 49'ers have deferred, what do you want to do?" Colquitt said, "We'll kick..." and the referee quickly shot back, "You'll what?" just as another member of the Chiefs blurted out, "We want the ball!". Here's what needs to happen in 2020 (and beyond). The team that wins the coin flip gets their choice of kicking or receiving to start the game. Whatever they choose, the other team gets the opposite "benefit" to start the 3rd quarter. Easy enough. No need to ask anything of anyone. You kick to start the game, you get the ball to start the 2nd half.

13. The Chiefs may have themselves a scheduling problem. The Royals play at home on Thursday, September 10 at 12:35 pm (CDT). That's also the opening game of the NFL season, which traditionally features the defending Super Bowl champion opening at home. This past season, the league went away from that tradition in order to have the Packers and Bears play the opener as a way of celebrating the NFL's 100th anniversary. The Royals also play at home on Sunday, September 13. Will the Chiefs and Royals be able to work out a suitable solution, since they both share the same parking lot and facility staffers?

14. While on the subject of the schedule, my early guess is that Kansas City's visit to Baltimore next season will be a NBC Sunday Night game. CBS would probably like it for one of their late season 4:25 pm national games, though. You just know those two networks are going to be fighting like heck over that one. I assume Baltimore at New England will be a Sunday Night or Monday Night game as well.

15. I'm not a mock draft guy in the least, but a bird on a tree out at Owings Mills tells me the Ravens are very high on A.J. Epenesa, the edge rusher from Iowa.

16. This year's "deserving coach" was Andy Reid. Who takes over that title now that Reid finally has his ring? Kyle Shanahan makes the most sense, although his biggest heartbreak was when he was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons and they squandered that 28-3 Super Bowl lead. Still, it would be good to see him win a title soon. The other guy already has a ring. After seeing the Saints get ripped off at home in the NFC title game two years ago, I wouldn't have a problem with Sean Payton winning a Super Bowl again. As long as neither Shanahan or Payton win at the expense of the Ravens, I'm cool with one of those guys winning a title.

17. Michael Pierce to the Packers. Jimmy Smith to the Eagles. Tony Jefferson to the Steelers. You heard it here first.

18. Count me in as someone who thinks the Steelers can be a threat next season -- but only if Roethlisberger is healthy. They're not beating anyone with Rudolph or Duck under center. They need some help offensively, obviously, but if they get a couple of pass catchers and a decent running back, Pittsburgh could be good. My guess is the Derrick Henry rumors are just blogger-fodder from the Steel City, but he would clearly help them.

19. Philip Rivers? Tampa Bay, Nashville, Charlotte. One of those three. I can't imagine the Titans are ready to turn the team over to Ryan Tannehill for the long haul. What if Cam Newton pulls an Andrew Luck? And haven't the Bucs seen enough of Jameis Winston to know he's good-but-not-great? My guess? Rivers in Tampa Bay in 2020.

20. Terrell Suggs is a Hall of Famer. That's a done deal. Marshal Yanda should be a Hall of Famer, but as Tony Boselli is showing, offensive linemen have their work cut out for them. Yanda's career will wind up being much longer than Boselli's, who played just eight seasons. The other Raven who should get into Canton someday: Justin Tucker. But we know how it goes with kickers.

21. I have the Ravens going 11-5 next season and winning the AFC North for the third straight year. I know...I know...we haven't even seen the draft, free agent signings or the schedule, for that matter. But I'm going with 11-5 no matter happens between now and September.

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DALE WILLIAMS returns for his fifth season of covering all things Maryland men's basketball for #DMD. Terps Spotlight will preview and review all games in the 2019-20 season.

rutgers rolls into college park tonight

At almost the exact mid-point of the Big Ten regular season, Mark Turgeon’s Terps are just a half game away from the top spot in the conference.

With a 7-3 record, only Illinois and Michigan State (both 8-3) are ahead of Maryland. The Terps opponent tonight, the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers, are just a half game behind Maryland at 7-4.

The Rutgers record is not a fluke. They are a legitimate NCAA Tournament caliber team this season.

With wins over Wisconsin, Penn State and Seton Hall, Rutgers already has defeated three teams that topped the Terps. However, all three of those wins came inside the cozy confines of the Rutgers home court known as the RAC. Tonight they’ll play in College Park, where Maryland is 12-0 so far in '20-21.

#DMD basketball analyst Dale Williams sees another big night for Jalen Smith when the Terps take on visiting Rutgers this evening.

Rutgers has an assortment of big guards that play a relentless style of basketball. Ron Harper Jr is the epitome of this group. At 6’6” and 245 pounds, Harper has seen stints guarding the other team’s point-guard, and their 4-man. Offensively, on a team without a dominant producer, Harper is the leading scorer at 11.6 points-per-game.

Caleb McConnell is a 6’7” guard who plays pretty “long”. Montez Mathis --- from John Carroll High School in Bel Air -- is a strong 6’4” guard who can be expected to score tough buckets in the paint. He’s a real competitor.

One thing all of the Rutgers guards do is rebound. They are the main reason why Rutgers is in the top 3 in rebounding, both offensive and defensive, in the Big Ten. Off of the bench, Jacob Young and the athletic Geo Baker are both capable substitutes but I think Young is more of a scoring threat, as Baker tends to miss a large percentage of his shots.

Akwasi Yeboah and Myles Johnson do most of the work on the interior for the Scarlet Knights. Yeboah is a bit undersized at the power forward position, being just 6’6”. But, he’s a sturdy 230 pounds and the team’s best three-point shooter, at 38%.

This isn’t a stellar shooting group that head coach Stephan Pikiell puts on the floor. They have many players who could get hot, but on a nightly basis, there’s no sharpshooter of which to be afraid.

McConnel will struggle defensively. He’s long, but not quick at all. If Maryland’s Daryll Morsell gets the start, he’ll have a big night getting into the paint. Aaron Wiggins could beat McConnel also, but I think Morsell is tougher in the paint. Whoever is McConnell’s assignment, that Terp needs to attack.

I’m not sure what Rutgers starter is quick enough to guard Cowan. Maybe Baker or Young off of the bench, but none of the starters can handle Cowan’s bursts. Quickness should be a real issue for the visiting Scarlet Knights.

Defensively for Maryland, the keys are to keep Harper in check, and rebound well. Every Maryland defender, especially the guards, needs to put a body on a man. Keeping Rutgers off of the glass will be key, as I expect the Knights to miss a ton of shots.

I have much respect for this Rutgers program, and anticipate seeing their name when the brackets are announced come March. However, playing three home games in a row and then coming into the XFINTY Center to face a pumped up Maryland team, might not be the best scenario for a squad without a “go-to” scorer or a top line post game.

Rutgers has had success guarding on the perimeter, but tonight their lack of speed and the absence of a true rim protector will hurt them.

I think four Terps get into double figures tonight. Cowan, Smith, Morsell, and Donta Scott will lead Maryland to a 70-59 win. Game time is 7pm and can be seen on FS1.


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February 3
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super fourth quarter saved the day

Christmas was six weeks ago, but I was feeling very "bah-humbug" throughout most of the Super Bowl.

Commercials? Eh. A few were really well done. Most of them were very forgettable. Not many were worth their six million investment, plus production costs.

Google and Hulu won the night, I'd say. Google's ad was the most memorable and Hulu's, by far, drew the most social media reaction. Hulu's ad featured Tom Brady and served as a blend-in-moment for his earlier cryptic tweet during the week, where it looked like Brady might have been retiring or "saying goodbye" to the NFL.

Instead, Brady was merely saying goodbye to cable TV. Nicely done, Hulu. And give Brady credit. Even when his team wasn't there playing in the game, he figured out a way to make himself a topic of conversation nonetheless.

Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes having fun after last night's Super Bowl win.

Halftime show? Embarrassing. I mean, those two women can definitely sing, but I had to send my two children up to take a bath. Actually, my 12 year old son needed a cold shower. I have no idea what the NFL really wants to do with the halftime show. My guess is they're looking to keep the men glued to the set and craving -- uh, who was the sponsor, Pepsi? -- product of some kind. But last night's halftime performance should have been rated-R. I'm aware it's 2020 and all and there are very restrictions in our world today, but that Shakira/J-Lo episode was borderline pornographic.

The game? It was a chess match for three quarters, and despite my personal fondness for the great game of chess, we all know how boring it is watching two people play. The 49'ers defense did a great job of putting the heat on Patrick Mahomes early on and the San Fran offense did an even better job of keeping Mahomes off the field by chewing up the clock and executing their game plan.

But a 10-10 halftime score in the Super Bowl is like 5-under par winning the Masters, which is what Danny Willett did back in 2016 when Jordan Spieth gift-wrapped the Masters for him. In other words, it's not what we expected. Or wanted, even.

The end of the first half was a comedy of coaching from the 49'ers. They got the ball at their own 20 with 59 seconds remaining, armed with all three time outs. They ran a pedestrian play for three yards and called time ou -- wait, no they didn't. They let the clock keep running for some bizarre reason. Apparently afraid of their own shadow (insert Groundhog Day joke here), the 49'ers then ran another play into their own line for two more yards. Kansas City, coaching unafraid at this point, then called their own time out with 19 seconds remaining.

On 3rd and 5, Jimmy Garoppolo connected on a 20-yard pass. San Francisco now decided to play football again, so they called their first time out with 14 seconds remaining in the half.

Garoppolo then found George Kittle on a 42 yard throw down to the K.C. 13 yard line. The 49'ers, at worst, were going to kick a field goal and go into the locker room up 13-10, which would have made folks with "3" and "0" in the block pool world very happy indeed. Except Kittle got called for pass interference (ticky tack) and the half ended at 10-10 after San Fran took a knee.

Kyle Shanahan sprinkled those two time outs he didn't use on his halftime orange slices.

The 49'ers didn't lose the game because of what happened at the end of the second quarter, but it was further proof that some coaches stay engaged throughout the entire game and others are just happy to still be in the game for sixty minutes.

Kansas City couldn't do anything throughout the third quarter, but in fairness to Patrick Mahomes and their offense, the AFC champs only got the ball twice. Mahomes threw a terrible pick on K.C.'s first possession of the 3rd quarter, then Tyreek Hill had a ball bounce off his hands early in the 4th quarter on a drive that started late in the third. Those two interceptions looked as if they were going to seal the deal for Andy Reid. Another Super Bowl trip, another year of missing out.

But then, what we assumed would eventually happen did, in fact, happen.

Kansas City's offense got hot, the 49'ers defense ran out of gas, Richard Sherman got exposed, and the referees got involved.

All four of those things led to an epic 21-point explosion by the Chiefs in the final eight minutes of the game. K.C. went from the team that was starting to have a monkey on its back to world champions.

Mahomes wasn't great in the first 52 minutes of the game. Not by a longshot. Some of that, of course, was due to the San Francisco defense. The other team tries, too. And the 49'ers did a great job of pressuring the K.C. signal caller and keeping him uneven throughout the first three and a half quarters of the game.

But a long throw on 3rd and 15 kept a drive alive and Travis Kelce collected a TD pass a minute later to make it 20-17. You could see the 49'ers starting to wobble.

After a 3-and-out from Garoppolo and the San Fran offense, Mahomes went right back to work. He hit Sammy Watkins on a beautiful 38 yard throw where Sherman looked like he had cement feet. Moments later, the K.C. quarterback soft-tossed one to Damien Williams and he scored the go-ahead TD with 2:44 remaining.

Or did he score?

It was awfully, awfully close.

It was so close, in fact, that anyone who adamantly says "He was in" is just saying that to say it.

The call on the field was a touchdown, so now the officials had to decide if there was enough evidence in place to overturn the call. Even though it looked like his right foot might have hit the sideline before the ball touched the plane of the goal-line, there was no change in the call. Touchdown Chiefs -- game over.

It was really, really close. Personally, I thought he was out of bounds shy of the goal-line. But I'm not the guy making the call.

At that point, it was all over but the shouting. Now, the 49'ers suddenly had to get the bit between their teeth and do something magical in the last two and a half minutes. And that just wasn't going to happen. Jimmy Garoppolo might very well turn out to be an excellent quarterback someday, but that moment, in Super Bowl 54, was far too big for him. Montana? Sure. Young? Sure. Garoppolo. Not a chance.

K.C. tacked on a touchdown to make it 31-20 and Andy Reid had his Super Bowl, finally. And despite a ragged first 52 minutes, Patrick Mahomes came up big when it mattered most. The MVP award he won probably should have gone to Damien Williams (or even San Fran's Deebo Samuel, who was a wrecking ball all night), but the quarterback always gets the nod in moments like those.

The Chiefs and 49'ers gave us a memorable Super Bowl, even if the action didn't really heat up until late in the game.

In the end, the right team won.

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