Welcome to the Wednesday Wheelhouse. Feel free to discuss anything and everything that’s on your mind, sports or otherwise.
Here’s what I’m thinking about on this sunny Wednesday in Baltimore:
-If I were John Harbaugh, I’d give my game ball to Mark Clayton, no questions asked. I’ll admit that I was one of the talking heads that labeled him as a bust in the beginning of the season. Although his performance this past week in Cincinnati was the best of his career, I’m not ready to jump on the Clayton bandwagon quite yet. It was only one game…if he can have a couple of repeat performances against anyone other than Leon Hall, you might see me calling for a hack on the shoulder of Charles Street as the Clayton bandwagon passes by.
-The Orioles need to renegotiate Nick Markakis’ contract ASAP…bottom line, no questions asked. All this man has done has played his rear-end off for this franchise and this city. It’s bad enough that he got snubbed by the Gold Glove voters this season (considering the plays he made and the amount of outfield assists he racked up), but for his own team to low-ball him year after year is another prime example of reprehensible actions by the Orioles. Pay this man. Hell, overpay this man…where have all these MASN dollars gone (aside from inside Mr. Angelos’ pockets)? If they’re not going to pay Markakis, do you think MacPhail and Angelos will back up the Brinks truck for Derek Lowe? Ben Sheets? AJ Burnett? Mark Teixiera? If you believe he will, I have some oceanfront property I’d be willing to sell you. Then again, maybe they’re just playing the waiting game…you know, not rushing things. I hope Peter Schmuck is right.
-Like most of you, I’m a little upset that Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens haven’t been getting their due respect as far as the national media is concerned. What else does this team have to do to prove that they are legitimate playoff contenders?
-Manchester United continued their usual “snakes in the grass” attitude this past Saturday, as they recorded a 1-0 win over Manchester City at the Darby. The Red Devils lone score came off of a Wayne Rooney put-back off of a deflection. They may not be getting as much press as Chelsea and Liverpool, but once the holidays have passed on the calendar, look for ManU to be right in the thick of things as the Premier League schedule comes to a close.
-InsideLacrosse.com has listed their top ten strength of schedule rankings. Among local schools, Johns Hopkins (1), Towson (5), and Maryland (7) all made the list. This spring, the UMBC Retrievers will face a five game stretch of ’08 NCAA Tournament teams: Colgate, Hopkins, Princeton, Maryland, and Ohio State. And you thought the Ravens schedule was tough…the Retrievers have an excellent recruiting class coming into west Baltimore County in 2009, and look to make a big splash nationally within the next few years.
-Despite an impressive win over then-#6 Michigan State, the Maryland Terps basketball team has hit an icy patch on their way to the meat and potatoes of their schedule (i.e. ACC competition). As much as it hurts to admit, Braxton Dupree (a fellow Calvert Hall Cardinal) and the interior of Gary Williams’ squad have proven that they can’t run with teams like Gonzaga. The Terps lack size and depth in the paint, which will hurt them in the long run.
-UMBC and Towson will square off tonight at the RAC. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend because I’ll be coaching varsity swimming over at Calvert Hall. I have not yet had the chance to see the Retrievers in person, but going off of what I’ve seen from the Tigers, I think Towson wins a close game tonight in this cross-town rivalry.
-Speaking of swimming, the time standards for the high school National Catholics were emailed a few days ago to all of the coaches. I personally feel that these qualifying times aren’t fast enough, and the bar should be raised to qualify for a national meet. The Loyola Dons are once again favored to be a top competitor in this meet, which features Catholic high schools from all over the country. I’ll be sure to blog about the results when the meet is over…this meet takes place one week prior to the MIAA Championships.
-The season finale of Entourage left a lot to be desired from fans of the Hollywood-based comedy. HBO is usually good about ending their series on conclusive notes, save the season finale of The Sopranos. HBO is willing to extend the Entourage contract for a few more seasons as long as the ratings that accumulated this season remained high. Good news for Entourage fans: most projections are giving the HBO original comedy series a check mark. Considering Vince landed a star role in a Martin Scorscese film in the season finale, Entourage fans will look for Vince to bounce back after the calamity that was Medellin.
-After looking at Barack Obama’s selections for some of his cabinet members and economic recovery teams…all I can say is that I sure hope this guy knows what he’s doing. Whatever happened to the days of: “Shame on you, Barack Obama”?
-A 9-year old student at Dr. Bernard Harris Elementary School in Baltimore recently passed away due to a strange virus. The Baltimore Medical Examiner originally thought that the boys’ death was caused by the adenovirus, a virus that typically causes the common cold and ear infections; however, the case is still open to investigation (translation: they have no idea why this child passed away). This virus can become life-threatening in patients who have respiratory problems such as asthma. Let this be a lesson to all: take care of yourself and your loved ones during flu and cold season. Something as trivial as the cold virus can become life-threatening if people aren’t vigilant. Wash your hands, eat your vitamins (taking vitamin supplements are NOT the same thing), get a good nights sleep, and look out for the young and the elderly as flu season approaches.
Check back tomorrow for the weekly prediction blog!