Around the Horn

April 16, 2011 | Paul Hoke

Today was supposed to be my son’s “Opening Day Ceremonies” for his sixth season in Towson Rec Council’s little league baseball league.  I put Opening Day in quotes because his first game, which was postponed of course, was on Thursday, and in this day in age, it appears as though the allure of little league opening days has passed us.  I can remember as a kid, marching in the Opening Day Parade for Hamilton Little League on Moyer Avenue, then, at some point, playing our FIRST game of the season later that day.  But, as they do, times have changed.  Anyway, here is you April 16th installment of Around the Horn…..

—  April 16th was my maternal Grandmother Edna’s birthday.  She passed away in April of 2004 after an extended stay in a Tampa, Florida nursing home, just a week or so before my maternal Grandfather and my wife’s paternal Grandmother.  April of 2004 was not a happy time in the Paul from Towson house because of these losses.  But the one common denominator between all of our grandparents was sports, shockingly enough.  I can remember sitting in my grandparent’s house in Dunedin, Florida as a kid and watching Major League Baseball with my grandfather on Tampa channels 44, and 28.  My grandfather HATED the Yankees, and used to call Lou Pinella, and I quote, “the biggest cry baby sissy that ever stepped on a baseball field.”  Pop Pop and Mom Mom Duley were old time Oriole and Colt fans, but I’m sure that they would love their Baltimore Birds in the 21st Century, just as much as those they used to root for, back in the “Good Ol’ Days.”  This one, is for Mom Mom:

—  Our beloved Baltimore Orioles began the season 6-1, following a dominant Zach Britton effort against the Texas Rangers in the first game of a doubleheader last Saturday.  They haven’t won since.  Sitting at 6-6 following a loss to the Cleveland Indians last night, Baltimore’s orange Birds aren’t hitting a lick (.226 combined average), and every pitcher not named Guthrie or Britton is giving “The Human Batting Tee” Jose Bautista, a run for his money.  Still, there’s a different feel for me this season.  Even though they have dropped 5 in a row, there’s a feel about the team that even they haven’t played well this past week, they know what they are capable of.  The Boston Red Sox are 2-10 after the season’s first 12 games.  But if you think they are going to be in the cellar come October, you are sadly mistaken.  Not to mention that the Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals are tied for first in the American League Central….hmmmm.  That won’t last.  The first 12 games are what they are…just 12 games. There are 140 games left, and the Birds have shown that they can be the above .500 team we think they are this year.  So let’s not lose hope O’s fans, there’s still plenty of season to go:

—  Recently, there was a column authored by Pennsylvania columnist, John Stiegerwald, in reference to the sad story of San Francisco Giants fan, Bryan Stow, who was beaten into a coma by Los Angeles Dodger’s fans, following the first game of the season between these two long time rivals.  My take on this, is that Steigerwald, who placed blame for his beating on Stow for wearing a Giants’ jersey to Dodger Stadium, is a moron who should never be allowed to author anything again.  The First Amendment prohibits this of course, as every idiot is allowed, under the First, to run his mouth and show what a jackass he is.  But, what should we expect from a state that has produced the turd cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, along with such monumental jackasses like Ken Lindsman, Danny Brierre, Bobby Clarke, Ben Rottenberger, Hines Ward, Cindy Crosby, and the 1971 and 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates.  All that being said, fan behavior at sporting events has become so out of control, that I refuse to take my son to Ravens’ games.  Gone are they days when you went to the ballpark to catch a game, keep score, and root root root for the home team.  In the heyday of the Baltimore Colts, Memorial Stadium was referred to as “The World’s Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum.”  Which was fine, because the fans only cared about one thing…our team winning.  Now, sporting events are about beer, getting drunk, fighting, and general jackassery.  Adam Jones, who said that Oriole fans should, “beat the s*** out of Yankee fans”, your an idiot too.  It has to stop.  I agree 1,000 % with Drew Forrester…if you go to a game, and your sole purpose is getting loaded, and making an ass out of yourself, you deserve to be hit square in the nuts with a shovel.  And although I HATE Philly and their fans, our fans here in the “Charm City” are no better.  So, let’s all remember, have fun, cheer on the home team, but please, please…..:

—  In my weekly, “It has nothing to do with sports” segment, I want to announce that I recently heard the 1990’s smash hit TV show “Quantum Leap” was allegedly making the jump to the big screen.  As some of you out there know, I am one of the biggest fans of the show.  The premise, starring Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell, was that Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the Quantum Leap time machine…and vanished.  He awoke to find himself….well you know the rest, but Dr. Beckett’s main goal is to put right what once went wrong.  And hope that his next leap, is the leap home.  I own every season DVD, and totally geek out at the thought of a new movie, to bring my favorite TV franchise back to life.  I also root for the possibility that Dr. Beckett would leap into Peter Angelos, and decide to sell the Orioles, following the 1997 season, and avoid the disaster that followed.  But here’s to “Quantum Leap”, and for those of us, who still believe that time travel is possible…”

—  Our Washington Capitals have opened the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with two huge home wins over the 8th seeded New York Rangers.  Coming into the series, I was extremely nervous.  As I’ve blogged about in the past, the Rangers were a bad matchup for the Caps.  They owned them in the regular season, and goalie Henrik Lundqvist always seems to rise to the occasion against the Caps.  But following Wednesday’s nail-biting OT win, the Capitals followed up with a superb Friday night effort, as rookie net minder Michael Neuvirth blanked the Rangers, 2-0.  Earlier in the week, Caps GM George McPhee and Baltimore City Councilman Larry Young announced that the Capitals would play a preseason game against the Nashville Predators, at the 1st Mariner Arena on September 20th.  Great news for is hockey fans, because we get a chance to see our hockey heroes without having to trek all the way down to DC, and it’s a chance to show the NHL that Baltimore is still a Hockey Town, that is completely capable of supporting a minor league team.  Ever since the Baltimore Bandits abandoned the city for Cincinnati, of all places, after the 1997 playoff loss to the Philadelphia Phantoms, I have dreamed that Pro Hockey could once again return to Baltimore.  The problem, as I see it, is our arena.  I can remember as a kid going to the Civic Center for Baltimore Skipjacks’ games, and the arena was outdated then.  No way we are going to be able to bring in even an ECHL team with this arena, let alone an AHL team.  Baltimore needs a new arena.  Period.  And hopefully, one day, we can recapture the beauty that was once, Baltimore Hockey:

—  The NFL remains entangled in a lockout that is now in the court system, and the longer it drags on, threatens the preseason and regular season, and blah blah blah.  The Ravens announced their preseason schedule, but until there is some sort of labor settlement and both sides stop whining like spoiled little children, I will continue to not give a damn.  As far as I’m concerned, I would rather watch this….then hear news about the NFL’s labor problems:

For those of you who graduated from City, Perry Hall High, or any of our local Private Schools….that was a video of paint drying.  I know you fellas aren’t as bright as the rest of us, so I figured I’d give you a little hint.  You’re very welcome.

—  This brings another Around the Horn segment to a conclusion.  I know, dry your eyes, but don’t worry, while I leave you with another of my favorite songs of all time, I assure you that we shall return…and as always….

GO CAPS!!!!!!!!!!

Suck it Hendrix, that’s the greatest guitar rift of all time!!