Big League & Bush League

February 21, 2008 | Drew Forrester

Here’s a quick trip around the local and national sports scene to hand out a pat on the back (Big League) or a slap on the wrist (Bush League).  Feel free to respond if the mood strikes you.

Big League: UMBC Basketball — Coach Randy Monroe has let the Dogs out this year and his Retrievers posted a huge road win last night, 81-77 in OT over Albany.  That victory gives UMBC at least a share of the America East regular season conference crown — they can wrap it up on Saturday night at home against New Hampshire. 

Bush League:  The Orioles — So, yesterday afternoon I decide to try and squeeze in one more guest for today’s edition of The Comcast Morning Show.  I figure, “Hey, it would be cool to talk a little hometown baseball tomorrow…”, so I contact an O’s PR official in Ft. Lauderdale and ask if I can have a player or coach on with me today to chat about spring training and the upcoming ’08 season.  For the record, their response is in parantheses – (………………….) – Yep, they didn’t even return the call.  To say that’s Bush League is actually doing an injustice to bush-leaguers everywhere.

Big League: Tiger Woods — It’s almost unfair to label anything he does as Big League, but that late rally yesterday was one for the career highlight film.  He couldn’t hit a fairway for the first 13 holes and when J.B. Holmes took a 3-up lead with 5 holes to play, it looked all but over.  TOUR players – no matter who they’re playing – just don’t lose 3-up leads with 5 holes to play.  But Holmes did.  Well, actually, Tiger took it from him, with birdies at 14, 15, 16 and a mammoth 35-foot eagle putt at #17 that gave him the lead and forced a wry smile from Holmes, who looked to be saying, “you’re f’ing kidding me…”  Just another great Woods story, among the hundreds he’s authored so far in his golf career.

Bush League: Philadelphia Philles — What they did to that Kendrick kid with the “trade to Japan” prank was way out of line.  Move his car out of the parking lot.  Put tiger balm in his underwear.  Have a male stripper show up at the facility and loudly proclaim, “you left your wallet at my apartment last night!”.  But that prank they developed with all of those players and officials in cahoots was bush league.

Big League: The Orioles — It’s funny that they can be on both ends of this segment, but, that’s them.  I like the fact that the club is trying to re-connect with the past by bringing Earl Weaver in to talk with the team during spring training.  Having B.J. Surhoff, Rick Dempsey and Scott MacGregor hanging around and helping out in Ft. Lauderdale is a good way to give the kids an idea of what solid, fundamental baseball is all about.  Most of the current players in orange and black have no idea the franchise actually used to be revered by baseball people who admired the professional approach of the franchise.  It’s good to let them see some of the old guard who formerly helped the team achieve great success both on and off the field.

And this week’s 5-star Big League stamp of approval goes to:  Terrell Suggs — I was extremely impressed with the way “T-Sizzle” handled himself during the franchise-tag scenario that played out earlier this week.  He said all the right things (he even acknowledged that his ’07 season was average to above-average) and couldn’t have been any more professional in the way he responded to the club slapping the “tag” on him.  When he arrived in Baltimore, Suggs was sort of like a “big kid” who sometimes acted more like a “little kid”…but he has REALLY matured over the last year or so and might very well be the face of the team’s defense by 2009 or 2010.  Terrell showed everyone that he has grown up this week with his handling of the franchise tag story.  Big League stuff…