Around the Horn

June 18, 2011 | Paul Hoke

Jesus, where do I begin.  Well, the Orioles stink again.  But more on them in a moment.  The entire city of Vancouver apparently has lost their collective minds, or is it just the usual 20% of the population creates 80% of the problem scenario?  I’m voting for the latter.  Either way, they made it into this midnight edition of Paul from Towson’s “Around the Horn”.  Yipee.

—  Well, our beloved orange Birds from Baltimore dropped another squeaker tonight, falling 8-4 to the suddenly red-hot Washington Nationals.  Look, I’ll be honest, I didn’t see the game, I don’t know the details, all I know is that about 30 minutes ago I checked the Orioles website, saw that they lost, and figured the game followed the same script as the past 14 years…the other team was better tonight.  Enough said.  Listen, I tried, I really did.  Given the moves this team made during the offseason, and the presence of an actual Major League manager in Buck Showalter, I really thought this team was going to be better this year.  And they are, but they’re still the fifth best team in a five team division.  And I know that injuries are to blame, along with down years for proven MLB stars like Derrick Lee and Vlad Guerrero…but isn’t that supposed to happen as athletes get older???  Hmmmmm.  Wonder why that didn’t happen the past decade.  It seemed that the older these guys got, the better they played.  I wonder why that is…..?  And why it is no more?  As Chris Farley said in “Tommy Boy”….”Gee that’s a mystery.”  Or was it,…”Do you know where the weight room is…?  It’s ok, I’ll check it out.”  Either way, this year’s edition of the Orioles is slightly better then their predecessors, but not by much.  Sometimes, I feel like watching them, reminds me of these guys….

–  The Vancouver Canucks choked away Lord Stanley’s Cup earlier in the week after dropping Game 7 to the Boston Bruins, 4-0.  I personally don’t have anything against the Bruins, other then the fact that they are supported by the second worst fans in sports.  And while the fans of Boston will NEVER out imbecile the fans of Philthadelphia, they certainly give them a run for their money.  Consider that before 2004, EVERY Red Sox fan had given up on their team.  Hell, in SEPTEMBER, that right, pennant chase September, of 1999, my buddy and I were able to secure 4 primo seats for us and our wives to a Boston-Detroit game at Fenway for next to nothing.  The experience was great as I am a HUGE fan of history, and sitting in the hallowed grounds that is Fenway Park was definitely a highlight in my baseball fandom career, but the downside was, that it birthed a Red Sox fan in the form of my wife.  Yet, during a season in which the Yankee were to rattle off their 2nd of 3 straight World Championships, Red Sox tickets were just as easy to get for out of towners as Oriole tickets have been for 14 years.  Yet…these are the “best” fans in baseball.  Give me a break.  Boston fans don’t deserve their success at anything they do, and the fact that they won The Cup is more about the Canucks losing it, then it was about the Bruins winning it.  But to be honest, they did beat the hell out of Vancouver…literally.  Boston won the fight, that’s for certain.  But the civil unrest that has permeated Vancouver since the Finals ended is nothing more then a group of idiots inciting another group of idiots to incite a larger group of idiots.  I expected better of Canadiens.  Especially since this beautiful lady…is one of them…”

…little known fact….this song is about me.  True story, but Shania keeps it under wraps because I’m married.  She’s good like that.

—  An unrelated sports topic, but my wife and I watched the new Adam Sandler comedy, “Just Go with It” tonight, and we loved it.  Funny in a lot of parts, cute in others, but the point I want to make is that my friend Nicole Kidman makes a cameo, of sorts, in the film.  I say “my friend” because back in December of 2005, I spent 10 minutes talking to Mrs. Kidman on the street of Towson.  She was in town filming “The Invasion”, and one night she came out to eat at the same spot a buddy of mine and I were eating at while we were working.  Afterwords, she couldn’t have been more gracious with her time, and was just a really sweet lady.  She was kind enough to sign an autograph for my wife and I, and literally talked to this dumb cop from Baltimore County for 10 minutes.  Because of my job, I’ve had the honor of meeting a number of local and national figures of both sports, media, and entertainment, but none are bigger then Nicole Kidman.  My dad has even reminded me of the poster of Mrs. Kidman, from her role in Batman Forever, that graced my room when I was a young twenty-something with a Hollywood crush.  Seeing her in movies will always remind me of my 10 minute brush with Hollywood royalty, and will always remind me of this…

—  The NFL lockout continues, but at this point, who really cares?  I will be devastated if there is no football come September, but that;s only because I’m a mega-fan who subscribes to the Sunday Ticket and lives and dies with the Ravens.  The real me wonders which group of whiny millionaires will bend first.  Look, I know that not all NFL players are millionaires, and I understand that their very livelihood depends on whether or not there is a season or not.  But as a guy who works 40-60 hours a week with some part time sprinkled in in 95 degree heat, I really can’t muster any sympathy for anyone involved in this.  The money is there.  From every conceivable angle, there is money for EVERYONE.  These clowns just can’t seem to agree on who gets the biggest, or fairest cut.  All are to blame.  The owners, the players, the league, I hold everyone accountable.  Get it fixed, get it done, do it now.  Otherwise, I’m not opposed to this….

…and who knows, it could always lead to this….

—  Manchester United recently won their record setting 19th English Premier League title.  They won by nine points over second place Chelsea to break the all time tie with Liverpool for the most first division titles in English soccer history.  Good for them.  My Manchester City squad finished in third place, and guaranteed themselves a spot in Europe’s Champions League next season.  That’s all well and good, but the other thing they did, was pull themselves closer competitively to Manchester United but finishing just just nine points off the pace.  That’s 3 wins in English soccer…not a whole lot.  Can they close the gap next season?  Who knows, but one thing is certain.  If Man City is to be a force next season, it will all be because of this guy…

—  Finally, I conclude Around the Horn tonight with news that my son recently graduated from Elementary School this week.  It was a moving assembly and very well done by Cromwell Valley Elementary.  In Dylan’s honor, I leave you with this…one of his favorites, and mine…

And for the Patriot in me, for flag day….I give you this