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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 28 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because after a weekend in Ocean City, I spent the evening literally BATHING in aloe vera. I’m not kidding, I think I looked like Justin Bartha in “The Hangover”…

justinbartha

The thing is, it doesn’t hurt until you’re sober.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Miguel Tejada singled home winning run to lift O’s to sweep of Nationals

I didn’t think it was possible.

I especially didn’t think it was possible after Julio Lugo doubled with one out in the 8th and then proceded to get picked off 2nd base by Wil Nieves.

Shows what I know.

I’m well aware that it was the Nats, but it’s still a sweep. Around here, that’s almost as good as winning the World Series.

It’s been particularly nice to see the Birds put together some rallies and come back from early deficits in these games-but it would be nicer to see starting pitchers be a bit more effective. We’ll get back to that.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of sweep

Jeremy Guthrie wasn’t bad yesterday. 6 innings, 3 earned runs on 3 hits with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts. He certainly wasn’t GREAT, but he wasn’t bad. Compared to some of the other starting efforts we’ve seen at Camden Yards recently, it was really good.

Only Tejada had two hits amongst Orioles players yesterday, but that’s all that was needed. Maybe these guys are hitting better because Nick Markakis called them out publicly. Maybe they’re hitting better because they know the July 31 trade deadline is coming up and this is their chance to get out of Charm City.

I don’t really care why they’re hitting better. I just want them to keep doing it.

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Buck Showalter told ESPN Orioles have ‘some great pieces’

Yeah…like Markakis…and….ummm….Adam Jones for a week?

Clearly having watched the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks win World Series titles AFTER he left has made Showalter badly want another MLB gig. Of course, if he thinks he’s going to reach that level under Peter Angelos, he’ll probably be disappointed.

You know who DOES have some great pieces? Zaira Nara. (Thanks Guyism/Remix Magazine!)

zaira

4. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Andy MacPhail finally cut ties, DFA’ed Garrett Atkins

I’m trying to figure out the right way to say this. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts were here before MacPhail got here. Adam Jones has been marginally successful. Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta all look like they’re talented but haven’t necessarily shown it yet.

As far as a “face” of the MacPhail era is concerned, umm….Atkins is about as good a choice as any.

This was a failure from Day 1. It represented the fact that the team decided to sign a lesser player instead of going out and actually signing a real impact player. That’s the real impact of the MacPhail era.

Maybe the marketing folks at the Warehouse should put together a “Mt. Rushmore”-type photo of Atkins, Rich Hill, Adam Eaton and Koji Uehara (who returned with the Atkins DFA). Could be a hot seller this Christmas. If I was better at Photoshop, I’d do it for them.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Felix Pie 2-4 with RBI, two runs for Frederick Keys on farm

Me, I’d put Felix Pie on the “Mt. Rushmore”, but someone would try to convince me that his 8 hits earlier this season mean he’s a good player. If Jake Fox was an offseason acquisition, he’d make it for sure. In the meantime, a few more things before we move on from the Orioles…

-Congratulations to our “Apologist of the Morning”, as selected by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. “Heath” from Dempsey’s Army is no stranger to the AOTM-but this morning he received the award for citing Fangraphs in opining that Juan Samuel was wrong for trying to have Matt Wieters bunt last week. I don’t often credit Drew for being funny, but labeling a group of people as “Fangraph-sexuals” was pretty damn humorous.

-The Orioles are off today, but return to action tomorrow night opening a 3 game series against the Oakland Athletics at OPACY. Matusz, Kevin Millwood and Arrieta take the hill for the Orioles; Dallas Braden, Ben Sheets and Trevor Cahill go for the A’s.

-Thanks to Joe Sheehan from Baseball Prospectus for joining us this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST to talk some baseball. If you missed it, head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Other guests this morning were SI’s Jon Wertheim (live from Wimbledon) and UMBC soccer coach Pete Caringi (who went around the World Cup). It’s all up in the Audio Vault.

6. National Football Post’s Matt Bowen says Ravens without Ed Reed would be like Pittsburgh Steelers without Polamalu

As a commenter eloquently scribed after Bowen’s piece (why do all of the good commenters post at NFP?), the Ed Reed situation really IS the “elephant in the room.”

If the Ravens are going to be Super Bowl contenders (and I believe they will be), it is hard to imagine them doing it with Dawan Landry and Ken Hamlin at safety. They need Reed to be some sort of difference maker in the secondary.

My assumption remains that Ed does intend to come back, and will sit out the majority of Training Camp-part for health reasons and part because he probably doesn’t have that much interest in spending his August sweating it out in Westminster.

We know Ed WANTS to return. It SEEMS like he’ll be healthy enough to return. Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed that he IS.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says new LB coaches Dean Pees, Ted Monachino making impact in offseason

Maybe so, but even the Arizona State connection couldn’t help Monachino get Terrell Suggs to Owings Mills this offseason.

You know who’s REALLY made an impact this offseason? Wendy Braga. (Thanks Don Chavez/Busted Coverage!)

wendy

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens has Maryland 68th in offseason college football rankings

Boy.

I have had a bad feeling about this Terrapins club since the end of last season.

I know that luck played a role in 2-10 last season. I know that they lost close games throughout the season, and certainly had a chance to beat the likes of Middle Tennessee State, Rutgers, Virginia, Duke, etc. That being said, they still have a real lack of talent at crucial spots (namely O-Line and D-Line), and Jamarr Robinson is unproven at best under center.

There is talent on this team. A team with as many decent running backs (Da’Rel Scott, Davin Meggett, Caleb Porzel, D.J. Adams, Gary Douglas) and WR’s (Torrey Smith, Emani Lee-Odai, Tony Logan, Quintin McCree, LaQuan Williams, Ronnie Tyler, Adrian Cannon, Kevin Dorsey, Kerry Boykins) as Maryland does, they should really be better offensively.

If this IS Ralph Friedgen’s last season in College Park-it COULD be a long one.

9. Testudo Times’ Ben Broman says Eric Hayes will join Washington Wizards’ Summer League roster, Landon Milbourne joins Atlanta Hawks’ Summer League roster

And as I passed along yesterday via Twitter (follow us @WNST), Morgan State’s Reggie Holmes will join Greivis Vasquez with the Memphis Grizzlies’ Summer League team in Las Vegas. I should also know about Jermaine Dixon (who graduated at Pitt but is from Baltimore and is the younger brother of Juan Dixon) and his NBA future later today.

I will obviously be rooting for all of these guys this summer, but understand it will be a longshot for any of them to end up on a roster (other than Vasquez of course). The one thing that could help Hayes or Holmes is if their respective squads just simply want a player who can come off the bench and provide deadly accuracy from beyond the arc. I don’t know how those guys would do defending NBA guards, but I certainly know they can shoot against anyone.

And geez-the ‘Zards have Quinton Ross and James Singleton on their roster. You mean to tell me Eric Hayes isn’t better than THEM?

10. The AP’s Samuel Petrequin says Michael Phelps received ‘wakeup call’ at Paris Open meet

I’d personally prefer my own wake-up call in France to come from Emanuelle Chriqui from “Entourage” (Thanks Barstool Sports!)…

chriqui

And finally, I leave you with this.

I know that Team USA’s loss to Ghana in South Africa really limits the excitement fans have about soccer; but I’ll pass along these YouTube clips anyway for the 4 or 5 of you who haven’t already seen them.

Here’s the epic “world reaction” to Landon Donovan’s goal against Algeria. ABC used it in the setup for the Ghana match…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbn3rOPmR9w[/youtube]

Now here’s Andres Cantor calling the Donovan goal…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__vpoPMOKfg[/youtube]

Is the awesome Andres Cantor GEICO commercial available on YouTube yet? I could really use it.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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A Long, Hard Look At Nolan Reimold …..

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A Long, Hard Look At Nolan Reimold …..

Posted on 03 March 2010 by Rex Snider

As we sat around on March 3rd, 2009, our respective outlooks on a lot of things looked differently …..

Aside from the sting of absorbing another Steelers Super Bowl victory and a Terps basektball team that served up frustrating and disappointing performances with regularity, baseball fans wanted to believe the Orioles would break their streak of losing seasons.

And, why not? The birds were sporting a brand new look ….. full of retreads.

The starting pitching staff included Adam Eaton, Mark Hendrickson, Alfredo Simon and Koji Uehara. We thought they would perform poorly – yet, they still managed to be even worse.

The bullpen was a mess – and, that’s a polite way of putting it.

And, Gregg Zaun anchored the starting catcher’s position with a .111 batting average throughout the first month.

Still, Orioles fans had HOPE. Regardless of the above listed pile of “misfit toys” nobody else wanted anywhere near their bench, we still hoped things would get better before getting any worse. In fact, I distinctly recall the theme beckoned by many …..

“If the veterans can just tread water until the KIDS arrive ….. after the All Star break.”

Well, we all know how that pipedream ended …..
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As predicted, the pitching was absolutely horrible and those veterans who we hoped could “tread water,” ended up drowning. Indeed, the young prospects started streaming through Bowie and Norfolk, enroute to their ultimate destination, BALTIMORE, a little earlier than expected.

Brad Bergeson pitched very well. And, the heralded arrival of our savior, Matt Wieters, turned out to be a success, too.

Yet, as the orange carpet was being rolled out for Wieters’ first big league at-bat, on May 29th, another prospect was settling comfortably into the lineup, after making his debut just a couple weeks earlier.

One of the first players to struggle, in 2009, was the opening day left fielder, Felix Pie. Touted as a five tool, CAN’T MISS prospect throughout his minor league career, Pie was doing something the experts said he wouldn’t (or should I say CAN’T ….) do, with his impressive talents.

Through the month of April, Pie struggled at the plate with a .157 batting clip. And, if you recall, he looked even worse …..

By mid-May, the Orioles had seen enough – so ALL OF US thought. On May 14th, a move was made and another rookie was added to the lineup …..
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Nolan Reimold made an immediate impact upon seizing the role as starting left fielder. Heck, his first homerun came off Mariano Rivera – and he went deep another 14 times, in just 400 at bats.

It was an impressive rookie campaign and it fueled a starving fan base that has waited beyond rightful understanding to see the “Baby Birds” develop before our eyes. And, to a point Reimold’s success and overall “splash” was kinda unexpected.

While we awaited the eventual promotions of Wieters, Matusz, Tillman and Hernandez, seeing Reimold’s impact was certainly the promising surprise of another dreadful season. And, after those 400 at-bats, everybody is ready to annoint the streaking sophmore part of the long term future of Baltimore’s baseball landscape.

In fact, as the 2010 season is fast approaching and the Orioles assemble the makings of their most promising roster, in more than a decade, many experts and casual observers are penciling Nolan Reimold’s name in the left field slot.

Better yet, most enthusiasts are writing Reimold’s name with a SHARPIE.

I hope we’re right. I will never, EVER root against any player wearing an Orioles uniform. That included, Reggie Jackson, Albert Belle and most recently, Aubrey Huff. So, I absolutely hope to see a less-heralded guy like Nolan Reimold make it.

Nothing would make me happier than to see #14 on Birdland highlight reels for years to come …..
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But, admittedly, I have some reservations. Call me a pessimist or detractor, if you wish. Yet, I’m just trying to be honest with myself, and YOU.

Most observers are hoping Nolan Reimold’s name accompanies Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis into the long term future of the Baltimore Orioles franchise.

However, I have real concerns.

Did you know Reimold is older than all of the above mentioned players? Yeah, yeah, he’s only a month older than Markakis. But, he’s going to be 27, this year. Not the optimal age for a sophmore season, huh?

Here’s a piece of future trivia for developing an eventual question – Nolan Reimold was born on the day the Orioles won their last HOME World Series game.
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Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissuaded from hoping Reimold can be a fixture in this town, for a while. He’ll turn 27 AFTER the season – but, I still acknowledge he’s not that optimal aged prospect, if you know what I mean.

To compound my doubts or overall concerns, Reimold has a pretty consistent injury history. In fact, he’s been on the Disbaled List during 4 of his 5 professional seasons. The injuries have been varied and, at times, substantial. He’s had back issues – which concern me with anyone.

Say what you will, players tend to fight the injury bug as they get older.

My final cautionary consideration on Nolan Reimold is I’m not 100% certain he’s the best left fielder on this Orioles team. Being open minded, I believe he has some competition from within the 25 man roster.

Last August, I witnessed a DIFFERENT Felix Pie. He was disciplined, yet, aggressive at the plate. And, that HUGE hole in his swing was gone !!!! Pie looked comfortable and confident whenever he stepped in the box; heck, he looked like he was having fun …..
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While Nolan Reimold probably offers a little more power, Felix Pie has speed on his side. He’s more dangerous on the basepaths and covers more territory in the outfield. He’s been widely touted as the “5 Tool” player, as I’ve mentioned. And, the man who first took a chance on him (Andy MacPhail) hasn’t abandoned hope.

The intangible factors favoring Pie is he’s a little younger (so we think ….) and his injury history suggests he’s a healthier player. Pie has been on the DL only 2 times, in 8 seasons.

Look, I’m not trying to initiate a positional feud – I just think the Orioles are still very much within a phase where long term projections and in-house competition are a GOOD THING.

Heck, in a perfect scenario, Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold both make the most of the respective situations and opportunities. If so, I’d reckon Luke Scott will lose playing time – if anybody does.

As I said during yesterday’s show, I think Nolan Reimold has the makings of a potentially solid big league career. But, I also think Felix Pie might be one of those “diamonds in the rough” or “late bloomers,” if you know what I mean.

If either has a sliver of SUPERSTAR potential, I feel it’s safe to say it’s Pie. But, he could also end up being the biggest disappointment.

Regardless, I don’t think we’re anywhere near approaching a situation similar to the most famous outfield platoon, in Orioles history …..
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I’ll just be happy if Nolan Reimold or Felix Pie translates into a solid, everyday left fielder for this Orioles team. Heaven forbid they’re both successful – that’s a GREAT problem to consider.

I just hope they both get a REAL shot …..

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It’s “Million Dollar” Monday …..

Posted on 17 August 2009 by Rex Snider

Good Morning, Baltimore …..

As the title indicates, this blog is devoted exclusively to TODAY, which I’m officially proclaiming as “Million Dollar Monday.” Hell, it’s actually MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR MONDAY, if we wanna be exact about things.

Last Wednesday, Orioles Scouting Director, Joe Jordan, announced the team would no longer pursue 2nd round draft selection, Mychal Givens. Good for Joe, and the Orioles, as an organization.

I’ve been following this Mychal Givens debacle, since the draft unfolded, back in June. Thus, I’m not surprised he’s not signed. And, I’m not surprised he didn’t even acknowledge or respond to the team’s offer.

I’m not disappointed in Givens; I don’t know him. But, I’m also not disappointed in the Orioles.

This is a business.

The Orioles made a competitive offer to Givens. That’s right, I call more than $1 million dollars for a kid who’s never played a day above high school baseball, a competitive, if not generous offer. The slotted amount for Givens’ draft position was approximated at $600 thousand dollars. The Orioles were willing to overpay.

Mychal Givens chose not to accept the offer, albeit by not responding with a counter-offer or a simple “NO THANKS.” History says a day will come when Mychal Givens wishes he had a million bucks, or an offer of it.

Just ask Matt Harrington. Yes, THAT Matt Harrington. He turned two offers exceeding $1 million dollars. In fact, he turned down nearly $5 million dollars. Today, he’s changing tires at Costco for $11.50 per hour.

Remember Wade Townsend? In 2004, the Orioles offered him $1.85 million dollars. He turned them down and a year later, he begrudgingly accepted $1.5 million dollars from the Tampa Bay Rays. Townsend’s greed cost him a cool $350 GRAND !!!!

By the way, Wade Townsend is out of baseball.

Let’s talk about Mychal Givens, again. He expected to be a 1st round selection. He was wrong. He changed his financial expectations, on draft day. The Orioles gambled on his fallen stock and overall upside. It was a good business move.

Mychal Givens feels he can go to college and improve his prospective draft position. Print this blog, because I’m telling you he’ll never see another offer exceeding a million bucks. He was a .380 hitter in high school. That’s not a great accomplishment.
I’m not gonna beatup on the Orioles. Not on this one. They signed their #1 pick and he’s playing ball. They’ve signed an impressive contingent of draft selections over the past few years. I’m not criticizing them over an unproven kid who rejects a generous offer.

You know what happens when you give into extortion or unreasonable demands? Yep, you get more of it. Whether its favors for politicians, the respective business practices of Somali pirates or baseball prospects, they’re all looking for a weak link in the “money chain.”

Losing Mychal Givens is not a big deal.

Losing Steven Strasburg is a big deal. And, it just might happen to the Washington Nationals.

If it does, I’ll give them the same pass afforded the Orioles. The Nationals have made an offer in the range of $14 to $16 million dollars for Strasburg. It’s not enough – not enough for Scott Boras.

The Nats are willing to exceed the previous record signing of Mark Prior, by roughly $5 million dollars. But, Scott Boras is inclined to gamble with Steven Strasburg’s career. And, that’s a shame.

Throughout this very public Steven Strasburg vs. Washington Nationals affair, I’ve had one distinguishable concern cross my mind …..

Where are Steven Strasburg’s parents ???

Where are the people who love him ???

Don’t feed me the “he’s an adult ….. blah, blah, blah,” either. Steven Strasburg is 21 years old and he’s barely seen this world. Has he struggled to pay bills? Has he lived on a budget? Has he gone without things?

The Nationals are offering him a lifetime of financial independence. If he really is Nolan Ryan’s Second Coming, he’ll earn much more and walk directly onto a Cooperstown stage, someday. If he’s half that good, he’ll still earn much more and be a very comfortable retired player, someday.

But, most importantly, if Steven Strasburg turns out to be another Adam Eaton, Rocky Coppinger or Brien Taylor, he has an opportunity to still be a rich man for the duration of his lifetime. But, he’s less than 24 hours away from pissing it down the drain.

He can be the next Adam Eaton – believe it.

I don’t care about Scott Boras. He is what he is. But, I am wondering where Steven Strasburg’s folks are in all this. They should be counseling their son and shepherding a “sure thing” decision.

Ironically, a bunch of kids, less than 10 years younger than Steven Strasburg, are assembled in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. They’re the best of the best and the LOVE THIS GAME. Steven Strasburg is also the best of the best, but I don’t believe he loves baseball.

I hope kids like Strasburg and Givens wake up and make some responsible, well informed decisions, before midnight. Then again, if they don’t, the world will still go round …..

And, Costco will still need tire changers.

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Matusz’s debut provides some much needed excitement in yet another miserable baseball summer

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Matusz’s debut provides some much needed excitement in yet another miserable baseball summer

Posted on 04 August 2009 by Marco Romanell

 It is hard to be excited about a team that is 44-61 and again in last place, especially with football season right around the corner. But, unlike the previous 11 summers, this Orioles team is providing me with some excitement this August. The reason for that excitement is that another “piece” toward contending in the future – Brian Matusz – has been called up to make the start tonight against the Tigers. Things are finally starting to look up for the Orioles; even if their win loss record doesn’t show it.

Matusz is the 5th pitcher called up from the Minor Leagues this season, leaving Jeremy Guthrie as the only starter from the original rotation on Opening Day. A rotation of Guthrie, Tillman, Berken, Hernandez and Matusz makes me more excited then the dismal Guthrie, Koji, Eaton, Hendrickson, Hill and Simon rotation that the Orioles sported for the beginning of the season. Once Bergesen gets off the DL, the Orioles rotation will start to take shape in a better direction, and I can’t help but get excited about this.

I have always been one who believes in the adage that pitchers need to get seasoning in the Minor leagues. Given the Orioles dismal state this year, I have no problem if the starting staff consisted of nothing but young pitchers who were called up from the minors. Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz have shown they can get Minor League hitters out, so it’s senseless to keep them down there. Since wins and losses don’t matter, it is better to get them some experience this season, hopefully earning them a starting spot in the rotation next spring training. I have never believed that calling a player up too early- and them not succeeding- can ruin their mindset. If you are good, you’re good, if you’re not then you’re not, simple as that. The difference between Chris Tillman and Jason Berken isn’t their mind set when they struggle, it’s their talent. Tillman looks to have it and Berken looks like he doesn’t.

Whether Matusz comes in and struggles or not, I believe he is the Orioles ace of the future and will anchor what could be one of the best rotations in all of baseball. This is the right time for Matusz to come up. Obviously fans would like to see him succeed for this season but if he doesn’t I am not worried. Seeing Brian Matusz give up seven runs a game is far more exciting then watching Rich Hill give up seven runs.

My birthday is August 7th and for the past 12 years the only present I have wanted from the Orioles was competitive baseball. Once again they aren’t providing me with competitive baseball but they are providing with some excitement and a small amount of hope in the pitching. Maybe one year soon I will get that present that I have longed for.

Brian Matusz is yet another piece in Andy MacPhail’s puzzle and with him, the puzzle is almost complete. Matusz’s debut could not come at a better time for Orioles fans who just watched Red Sox Nation take over Camden Yards like it was their own stadium. While that sour taste will stay in my mouth for a long time, Brian Matusz has at least helped lessen it.

After 11 straight losing seasons’ and en route to a 12th, Brian Matusz has provided me with a reason to get a little excited in August. At this point, that is really all any Orioles fan can ask for.

Now please don’t let him be the next Rocky Coppinger, Matt Riley or Rick Krivda !!!

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Going into the All Star Break I Have Enjoyed the Ride So Far

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Tom Clayton

Here we are at the All Star break and the Orioles are pretty much where I expected them to be at 40-48 and in last place in the AL East. On the upside we are light years ahead of where I imagined we’d be in terms of our youth movement and player progression.

There is no better story in Baltimore right now then rookie starting pitcher Brad Bergesen. His teammates have begun to call him ROY as in Rookie of the Year…and rightfully so. In 16 starts this season Bergesen is 6-3 with a 3.54ERA and a WHIP of 1.20 in 104.1 innings. Perhaps as impressive as Bergesen’s numbers is how deep he is going in games at such an early stage of his career, he is averaging 6.1 innings per outing and hasn’t pitched less then six innings since May 24th when he pitched 5.2 innings against the Nats. It looks like the Orioles have found the first piece to their future starting rotation with Bergesen and at 23 he seems to be improving with each outing.

The youth movement doesn’t stop with Bergesen as Nolan Reimold has shown some serious pop at the dish. Reimold has nine big flies and 23 RBIs in 51 games this season; spread those numbers across a full 162 games and he would be on pace for 29 homers and 73 RBIs. Reimold has cooled off a bit of late but I think he has the plate discipline and strike zone recognition to heat back up after the All Star break.

With Reimold locking down left field the Orioles have created one of the most talented and diverse young outfields in baseball. Adam Jones is going to make his first All Star appearance Tuesday and has shown improvement in every facet of his game in 2009. Jones has raised his OPS by .127 in his second full season and is on pace for around 24 home runs and 94 RBIs. While Jones has been impressive at the plate he has been even more impressive in the field covering more ground than any centerfielder not named Torii Hunter and making home run robbing catches at the wall look almost routine.

Rounding out the Orioles impressive outfield is 25 year old right fielder Nick Markakis. Markakis started the season on an absolute tear with an obscene OPS of 1.020 and driving in 22 runs in April. Nick’s May was just as impressive as his power numbers spiked with five bombs to go with his 18 RBIs which gave him 40 RBIs going into June. Nick’s power numbers have fallen off quite a bit as he hasn’t had a home run since June 16th against the Mets; his homer-less drought is at 25 games going into the break. I think Nick is showing us the kind of hitter he is destined to be throughout his career; I see him as a guy who will hit around 20 homers with 95-105 RBIs and an OPS of around .870.

When Matt Wieters made his major league debut on May 29th against the Tigers, Baltimore baseball became more relevant than it has been in over a decade. Regrettably, Wieters struggled at the plate as he attempted to reach the completely unrealistic expectations placed on him. On the positive side Wieters has begun to show a lot of improvement as he gets his feet under him at the major league level; all of his offensive numbers have improved as he continues to figure out major league pitching. Behind the plate Wieters has looked fairly good making some heady plays but he has also struggled throwing out just one of the 21 players who have attempted to steal on him this season. While none of Wieters numbers are really attention grabbing, I have been impressed with his maturity and work ethic which fill me with confidence that when the light does in fact go on, the Orioles will have one hell of a special player behind the plate.

Luke Scott has been the most productive Oriole offensively, by far. While playing a majority of his games as a DH Scott has18 bombs, 51 RBI, and an eye popping .976OPS; in fact Scott is on a pace for the first 30 home run, 100 RBI season of his career. At 31 and with a very manageable contract, Scott is a viable, intriguing piece to the Orioles puzzle.

Another solid veteran contributor has been closer George Sherrill. After a rocky start to the season Sherrill has come on strong and driven his stock about as high as it can possibly go. In his last 27.2 innings Sherrill has only allowed five earned runs and converted 16 of 18 saves. Sherrill could potentially be a very valuable trading chip around the trading deadline as he has become not only a proven closer but a proven left handed closer.

Some unlikely players have also made great contributions throughout the first half of the season. Robert Andino did a great job filling in for Cesar Izturis. Andino isn’t going to be mistaken for Hanley Ramirez at the dish but he played an outstanding defensive shortstop.

Over the last few games Oscar Salazar has been a revelation at the plate with an OPS of 1.067 and two bombs in his first 31 at bats this season. With Melvin Mora struggling at the dish and in the last year of his deal it may be an interesting idea to deal Mora and grant Salazar an opportunity to play everyday. At 31 Salazar probably isn’t the long term solution at the hot corner but he has shown enough ability at the plate to give him a shot.

Unfortunately not everything has been coming up aces for the Orioles; they are still eight games under .500 for a reason.

Jeremy Guthrie is the only pitcher remaining from the opening day starting rotation. Experiments such as Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson were monumental flops, although Hendrickson has become a reliable left hander out of the pen. As for Guthrie, he has not been “right” all season; his fastball has little to no movement and he has shown a below average ability to place his breaking pitches. It seems like a majority of Guthrie’s sliders are up in the zone with little break, essentially making them below average fastballs. Guthrie is also allowing home runs at an alarming rate, in 101.1 innings Guthrie has allowed 20 homers. I am not sure if this is due to Guthrie’s participation in the WBC or the fact that opposing hitters have figured out Guthrie but it is an alarming statistic for sure.

As for the pitchers who have filled the starting rotation, other than Bergesen they have all been less than impressive to put it nicely. Rich Hill is wildly inconsistent and hasn’t shown me anything in terms of intangibles that lead me to believe he is anything more than a below average major league starter. Jason Berken has battled on the mound and showed a lot of grit but his numbers tell a story of a pitcher that may need more grooming down on the farm.

As for Felix Pie I don’t think there is much that I haven’t already said. Pie has played better of late and he is playing on the cheap so we could do worse than Pie as a fourth outfielder.

The most frustrating part of the first half of the season hasn’t been any one player but the mental lapses that the players seem to routinely make. The Orioles have been atrocious on the basepaths and have run themselves out of more innings then I can count. Melvin Mora looks clueless running the bases and is good for two or three boneheaded plays a week. I would implore Dave Trembley to sit Mora down and explain that he is 37 and doesn’t have the wheels to swipe bases anymore.

Overall it has been an exciting season for the Orioles, there have been some amazing comebacks and the team seems to battle for all 27 outs. The days of Kevin Millar and Jay Payton blocking the promotions of our young talent seems to be in the rearview and many of the young players are making the most of their opportunities and producing. On top of the many positives I haven’t even mentioned Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz who were both named top ten prospects in all of baseball. While the second half may be a roller coaster, we are building the tracks for one hell of a fun ride.

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15-7-0

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15-7-0

Posted on 15 June 2009 by Glenn Clark

You get props:

1. Brian Roberts, Ty Wigginton & Brad Bergesen

Yo Forrester-consider me OFFICIALLY off the Derek Lowe bandwagon. You mean to tell me the greatest pitcher in the history of the world can’t beat the Orioles on a day when they’re not even trying to win???? And to think-you thought the Orioles should have paid him to have him on their team. We’ve got Bergesen Forrester! And Uehara! And…..Jesus Christ I can’t remember the other guys on this team. But they didn’t suck Saturday and Sunday! Thank God!

And as a note to “Warning Track Power”: I really enjoy your fervor and all; but having to hear THIS song at every game might well end up being the death of me. The team is horrible. You put Ryan Freel in the song. Just sing a song about how it’s been forever and it would be nice for them to not suck every now and then. In fact, the hook is catchy. But do I HAVE to be reminded of who the players are?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFwlKt9LX84[/youtube]

2. Anna Nordqvist & Brian Gay

nordqvist

I’m not trying to say she’s hot; but when your choices are Nordqvist and say, Christina Kim…..

kim

….it’s not a particularly difficult choice. The LPGA Championship might not be coming back to Havre de Grace; but we’ll always have the memories. (Editor’s note: Upon review, I apologize for not realizing that no one has any memories of this event.)

Brian Gay won the Golf Tournament Classic in Memphis this weekend too. I will give you 5 seconds to giggle about his name.

(Pause)

Can’t you just grow up already?

3. Cain Velasquez, Rich Franklin, & Ray Mercer

Congratulations to Velasquez and Franklin for big wins in Germany. But the story of the fighting weekend HAS to be Ray Mercer’s knockout of Tim Syliva; which ranks amongst the more hilarious knockouts I’ve ever seen.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNZARnHMOdo&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

I swear to God my 7 year old cousin would probably have offered more resistance than Tim Sylvia did. And if I remember right, this fight was supposed to be a boxing match; but after he wouldn’t have been allowed to get a license, Sylvia was able to have it changed to a MMA clash. This is actually more embarrassing than the time I had my pants pulled down in 8th grade in front of the very attractive Emily Hancock only to have it revealed that I was apparently the only person in my entire middle school who was still wearing tighty-whities. Did I say that happened to me? I meant my cousin. It was really embarrassing for me him.

4. Miguel Cotto

Cotto beat Clottey Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in a fight that no one was more interested in than Bob Haynie, but yet Bob Haynie was unable to see it. Reminds me of the time I was really looking forward to seeing Maryland play at Duke but nobody told the Terps they had a game scheduled that day.

And apparently Floyd Maywather hurt himself and had to postpone his fight with Juan Manuel Marquez from July 18 until September. Hopefully he will remember to reschedule his July 19th retirement party as well.

5. Michael Phelps

Or as I like to call him “The gift that keeps on giving.” In the pool at the Santa Clara Invitational; Phelps was mediocre at best. But does anyone really care about what this guy does in the pool? First of all, he showed up at the event sporting this Jake Plummer imitation….

phelps

…..and then we found he wrote a CHILDREN’S BOOK. Chapter 2: “Kids, make sure no one has a cell phone camera.”

BUT IT GETS BETTER!!!!!

phelps

You know, after seeing this, I now think I might have to change my mind about my decision to not advance work on ANY of book ideas. Making matters worse, the other guy whose name is at the top of the book-Alan Abrahamson-is a legitimate journalist who covers Phelps for NBCSports.com. I put in a request to interview Alan Abrahamson’s dignity about the book; but of course found out no such thing existed.

6. Jim Miller, Tim Bascom, and Brett Bordes

The Orioles also promoted all the good pitchers in the organization and demoted all of the ones who weren’t major parts of their plans. Somehow Mark Hendrickson remained with the big league club.

7. Andy Murray & Tommy Haas

This is a picture of Tommy Haas’ girlfriend Sara Foster. I will leave you alone now with your thoughts.

foster

8. Phil Jackson

Congratulations to Jackson on setting the new all-time record by winning his 10th NBA Championship. And to think, none of it would have been possible without Will Perdue…..

will

9. Torii Hunter, Albert Pujols, & Ronny Paulino

These guys LOVE the longball. Jolts. Jacks. Round trippers. Moon shots. Four baggers. BLEACHER….CREATURES!!!!

Elsewhere in baseball, fired their hitting coach Gerald Perry in an attempt to improve their offense. You would have thought that trading for Brian Roberts would have helped……

Was that a low blow?

10. Michal Neuvirth & Andre Giroux

So they couldn’t get a team past the Conference semifinals in the NHL Playoffs, and now they won’t even be able to claim a Calder Cup. What the hell does Canada have anymore????

hortons

11. Josh Wicks & Machel Millwood

DC United and Crystal Palace USA were winners this weekend. That’s nice and all; but it CLEARLY isn’t the biggest story in soccer. The biggest story in soccer is somehow…..Paris Hilton?

paris

…..who reportedly hooked up with the world’s most expensive soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo. I say “reportedly” because journalists are actually covering this breaking news story. I didn’t spend every day of my high school career trying to get into the University of Maryland School of Journalism for nothing, friends.

12. Jim Tracy

Don’t look now, but after a managerial firing; the Colorado Rockies have won 11 straight games. I say don’t look now because if you’ll look, you’ll probably notice that we’re still only talking about baseball. I’d say this was an exciting streak; but I’m not a great liar. Although, MLB.com apparently is….

mlb

……as this picture from Sunday’s win was accompanied by the caption “The skies were ominous, but the mood in the stands at Coors Field was festive.”

What the hell part of that picture is “festive”? The part where some people are pointing at something but some people aren’t? It’s a freaking baseball game!

13. Cougar Town

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HLhOrQuy9U[/youtube]

This will almost undoubtedly be the worst television program not only in the history of ABC, but in the history of television. But it the only lasting part of this television program is the image of Courtney Cox we see at the 2:52 mark of this trailer; this show has served its purpose.

14. Hons

Some cities brag about their beautiful weather, near perfect air quality, and/or championship sports teams. In Baltimore, we have……the best beehives?

beehive

Of course, they one-upped themselves at this year’s HonFest; as they figured out a way to show off the OTHER thing our beautiful city has to offer, by creating the Guinness Book of Records’ World’s largest crabcake…..

crab

The crabcake is rumored to have been just enough to feed Ray Bachman.

15. Dogfish Head “Aprihop” IPA

dogfish

As you may have heard, I’m a bit of a beer snob. This is another delicious brew from the fine people at Dogfish Head, who have given us such classics as “Punkin Ale” and “90 Minute IPA”. I generally approve of just about everything Dogfish Head does; mostly because I tend to approve of beer in general. The beer is brewed with apricots, hence the very clever name “Aprihop.” This marked a much better choice than their other idea….”Dogfish Head Beer made out of Apricots for people who started drinking fruity beers instead of getting laid in high school.”

You got lucky…..

1. Mark Martin

The last time I gambled on fuel strategy, I ended up on the side of 695 dumping out a gallon of milk so Barry Aparicio could give me a ride to Royal Farms to get some. Things didn’t work out as well for Jimmie Johnson; meaning the math his crew chief Chad Knaus did to determine he could make it didn’t work. Of course, anything that involves math isn’t a sport. In fact, anything that involves math is nothing more than something that should just go away.

2. Marc-Andre Fleury

fleury

Nothing like a well placed crossbar to ruin Nicklas Kronwall’s would-be tying goal and give those inbreds in Pittsburgh another major championship. Thanks for that Detroit. And I’ll say this again; it’s probably best that teams in Pittsburgh are good. Because if I had to live in that WRETCHED place and root for crappy teams, I’d be happy there were 400 bridges to pick from.

3. Alex Rodreguez & Willy Aybar

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5xjQUMhN9Y&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

I’d be angry that A-Rod got lucky and had Luis Castillo drop his pop-up Friday night; but it really couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy. (Editor’s Note: Apparently, this good fortune could have happened to ANY other human being on the face of the planet and they would have been more deserving.)

Aybar had a double go off 3rd base to help the Rays sweep the Nationals; which is really just like rubbing salt in the wounds at this point. Manny Acta might get fired soon; or he might not. Would anyone really even care???

4. Jim Calhoun

Is it wrong of me that when I heard Jim Calhoun broke 5 ribs and collapsed; I was thinking in my head “Yes, yes, thank God yes!!!!!” But apparently Calhoun is actually going to be okay; and is looking forward to visiting with some of his current and former players this summer. At Leavenworth.

5. Adam Eaton

How in God’s name is this guy still employed???? He got his first win with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, as he hopes to work his way back to the big leagues to join the red hot Colorado Rockies. Obviously he won’t because he might be the worst pitcher in the history of ever; but at least he gets to hang with this guy while he plays with the Sky Sox…..

fasano

6. Viewers of the KOMU News whose Friday night viewing suddenly became more entertaining…

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/4965587[/vimeo]

Why the hell doesn’t this type of thing ever happen when Jayne Miller is on location???

jayne

7. Bonnaroo attendees

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVknE8aPgIM&feature=channel[/youtube]

3 hours of Bruce Springsteen, two sets from Phish, a surprise set from Jimmy Buffett, Beastie Boys, etc etc etc??? That’s good and all, but you know how I spent my weekend??? Cleaning up my apartment and trying to get rid of the mildew smell after my dishwasher busted shooting water through the tile into my bathroom. Which lead to this classic text from my roommate….

“If I had to guess how deep the water was, I’d say 8 feet. But I’m not a mathematician.”

Now who had a better weekend?

You’re a zero…….

Good looking people at my apartment complex’s pool

pool

Look, I mostly avoid the pool. Not because I don’t like pools; but mostly because I don’t have the time. But I went to the gym Sunday (save the snickering); and I thought “you know, maybe I should jump in there quickly for a pool shower.” If you don’t know what a pool shower is, you never lived in Arizona. In Arizona it is so hot that you feel the need to take 8 showers a day if you spend more than 5 minutes outside. It had been a while since I had the chance to enjoy a good pool shower; so I decided to hop in Sunday after going to the gym. Of course, my visit to the pool was brief, mostly because there were 5-6 girls and 3-4 dudes that were WAAAAY too attractive to be hanging out at our pool. Go somewhere else people. Chubby dudes who can barely swim shouldn’t have to put up with something like that.

-G

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Top 10 Reasons Why the Orioles Can’t Win on Sundays

Posted on 08 June 2009 by Luke Jones

Any Orioles fan paying attention to Sunday baseball—and if you haven’t, I envy you—knows how putrid the team’s fortunes have been dating back to last season.

The Orioles were an astonishing 3-21 in Sunday games last season and are trying to top that mark with a 1-8 record so far in 2009.

While most will point to Dave Trembley’s tendency to use Sunday as a day to rest several starters, I decided to dig much deeper into the issue to determine why the Orioles cannot win on Sundays.

From the home office in Glen Rock, Pa., I bring you the Top 10 Reasons Why the Orioles Can’t Win on Sundays:

10.  The good Lord said to rest on Sundays, and darn it, we’re going to do it!

9.  Felix Pie keeps forgetting to pick up the Sunday doughnuts.  Can’t that guy do anything right?

8.  The Orioles have some very serious U2 fans in the clubhouse:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbNuIqiVPbU[/youtube]

7.  As a nod to Dugout Club sponsor Chick-fil-A, the club has decided it is also closed on Sundays.  The pesky issue of the other team continuing to show up still needs to be resolved.  Not to worry, the same individuals handling the spring training situation are on top of it!

6.  Adam Eaton continues to make prank calls to the Sunday starting pitcher, challenging him to top what he did in his short time in Baltimore.  Isn’t that veteran influence a great thing?

5.  Baltimore loves Purple Sundays in the fall, eh?  We’ll show them! (insert evil laugh)

4.  Players are preoccupied trying to remember if they set their DVRs for Desperate Housewives.

3.  Trembley insists a blue law still exists in the state of Maryland prohibiting good baseball from being played.  When reporters then asked about the team’s performance Monday through Saturday, Trembley left the press conference in obvious disgust.

2.  Much like the rest of the PGA Tour, the Orioles simply fold to Tiger Woods on Sundays.

And, the No. 1 Reason why the Orioles can’t win on Sundays…

Matt Wieters will answer the organization’s prayers…just not on Sundays.

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Tonight’s Orioles – Blue Jays Lineups

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Tonight’s Orioles – Blue Jays Lineups

Posted on 26 May 2009 by Chris Bonetti

This evening at Camden Yards the Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays will square of in game number two of their three game set at 7:05pm.  The O’s 4-1 victory last night gave them their third win in four games and extended Toronto’s losing streak to a season-high seven games.

Jason Berken will make his major league debut tonight as the Orioles starting pitcher, and for the time being, will fill the vacant rotation spot left by the recently released Adam Eaton.  Berken, a 25-year old right-hander, started the season in Double-A Bowie, but most recently has made his last five starts in Triple-A Norfolk, where he pitched to a 1.07 ERA and a 2.67/1 strikeout to walk ratio..  Following the debut of Brad Bergesen earlier this season, Berken is the second member of the ‘cavalry’ of starting pitchers to join the team as rookies.  Before the season began, Berken was the #11 ranked pitching prospect in the Orioles farm system according to Baseball America.

The Blue Jays will also have a rookie on the bump tonight in 24-year old Ricky Romero.  Romero was up with the team when Spring Training broke and pitched to a 2-0 record through three starts to begin the year, but needed to be shelved over the last few weeks with a strained oblique muscle.  After two rehab starts in Triple-A Las Vegas, he was recalled on Friday and now seems back and ready to go for manager Cito Gaston and the big club. They’ll need a nice outing from the kid; the Jays have lost the first seven games of their current nine-game roadtrip and have fallen from first place in the A.L. East to third in the process.

Here are this evening’s starting lineups:

Orioles

Brian Roberts 2B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Melvin Mora 3B
Aubrey Huff 1B
Ty Wigginton DH
Nolan Reimold LF
Gregg Zaun C
Cesar Izturis SS

Blue Jays

Marco Scutaro SS
Aaron Hill 2B
Alex Rios RF
Vernon Wells CF
Adam Lind LF
Scott Rolen 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Kevin Millar DH
Rod Barajas C

Despite leaving yesterday's game with a leg injury, Roberts is back in tonight's lineup. (Courtesy: Baltimore Sun Photos / Gene Sweeney Jr.)

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Hello Mr. Berken, Welcome To Baltimore

Posted on 26 May 2009 by Tom Clayton

 

Tonight when the Orioles take the field against Toronto at 7:05 at the yard it looks like twenty five year old right hander Jason Berken will be making his major league debut.

 

Berken was promoted to take the place of Adam Eaton in the starting rotation, and let’s be honest he isn’t taking the place of Jim Palmer.  Berken will be replacing one of the most ineffective starters I have ever seen in an Orioles uniform.  In his eight starts with Baltimore, Eaton had a recorded of 2-5 and an ERA of 8.56; numbers that make me miss the days of Daniel “Headcase” Cabrera and his exceptional command.

 

 The Orioles pitching staff as a whole isn’t reminding anyone of the 1971 rotation.  As a team the Orioles are 28th out of 30 teams with an ERA of 5.47 and are getting hit harder than Jim Rome when he called Jim Everett Chris.

 

So tonight we will get our first look at one of the young arms we are stockpiling on the farm.  Berken was considered a mid-level prospect going into this season; in fact Berken wasn’t even on the major league roster during spring training. But he has dominated Triple-A hitters and forced his way onto the 40 man roster and a spot in the rotation for the big league club.  In five starts for Norfolk Berken was 2-0 with an eye popping 1.05 ERA.  Berken was flat out embarrassing hitters at the Triple-A level; he only allowed one home run and three earned runs while walking just six in 25.2 innings.  Berken isn’t a high strikeout pitcher as he only has sixteen strikeouts and pitches more to contact than attempting to get a ton of swings and misses.

 

Berken a 6-0 175 pound right hander was the Orioles sixth round pick in the 2006 First Year Players Draft.  Berken’s fastball sits in the low nineties and he is improving his command of the pitch in the zone.  He also has a slider that is usually in the low 80’s and shows flashes of good tilt and break; but his slider is still inconsistent and has a tendency to hang in the zone at times.  Berken’s changeup sits in the low 70’s and doesn’t have much movement.  Berken rounds out his pitch repertoire with a curveball that is below average and is not currently an effective option.

 

Berken has shown outstanding growth and has surprised a lot of people with how dominant he was at Norfolk. But if he can not develop either his changeup or curveball to be a effective third pitch he looks more like a reliever in the big leagues especially with the big time talent the Orioles will bringing to the mound in the next year or two.

 

I think the fact that the Orioles decided to cut Eaton and bring up a young talented prospect who was dominating in the minors’ shows a change in philosophy that has been sorely needed for over a decade.  In the long run cutting Eaton will show a lot of the young players that the aura of losing that has floated around the team for far too long will no longer to be tolerated.  It also shows prospects that if you do your job you will get an opportunity at the big league level.

 

While this season has been pretty tough to watch it does reignite my interest when we get to watch young players who could be pieces to rebuilding develop on the field.  And we may get another shot at excitement as David Hernandez may be coming up to take Koji’s spot in the rotation on Thursday.

 

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 26 May 2009 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: PGA Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (Thursday & Friday 3pm Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm CBS; all of the gripping golf action from Fort Worth, TX), IRL ABC Supply Co. Inc. AJ Foyt 225 (Sunday 3:30pm from Milwaukee Live on VERSUS), Giro d’Italia Final Stage (Sunday 8:30am live on Universal Sports)

10-World Series of Flip Cup (Saturday 2pm Recher Theatre), US Air Guitar Championships (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club)

And to think, my father told me I could NEVER be a Professional Athlete!!!! First of all, please to be setting your eyes on the 2 time defending World Series champs, the 2 Finger Fanatics…..

2ff

….Now here’s reigning Philadelphia Air Guitar champ Rob “Windhammer” Weychert……

windhm

9-Erie River Rats @ Baltimore Mariners (Saturday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena), Real Maryland @ Crystal Palace USA (Friday 7:30pm UMBC), El Salvador vs. Jamaica (Saturday 7pm RFK Stadium)

You mean they play other sports in Jamaica?????

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qLc9kaGqaow[/youtube]

8-NHL Conference Finals: Penguins vs. Hurricanes (Tuesday 7:30pm from Raleigh, Friday & Sunday if necessary), Red Wings vs. Blackhawks (Wednesday 7:30pm from Detroit, Saturday & Monday if necessary; all games in each series live on VERSUS)

Remember how a couple weeks ago the NHL was undergoing a revival? What the hell happened to that? I’m probably more likely to check out an episode of “Jon & Kate Plus 8″ than the crap they’re putting on right now and calling playoff hockey. But if somehow….oh please dear God somehow…..the Penguins could somehow blow a 3-0 lead and leave those idiots in Western Pennsylvania looking like this……

nhl

…..I would forever be grateful to everyone in Raleigh, North Carolina. Except Sidney Lowe. And DeShawn Painter. But everyone else.

7-Dream.9 (Tuesday 5am from Kanagawa, Japan; live on HDNet)

I don’t think we get HDNet in the spacious Towson studios of WNST; but if we did, I know a certain doughy producer who would be in early tomorrow morning to watch some fights. Who’s on this card, you ask? Try this man……

sapp

…..Bob Sapp. Who reminds me of Michael Oher except he’s BIGGER and REALLY FREAKING SCARY. After Tuesday’s fight, Sapp next plans to fight Bobby Lashley a month from now in Biloxi; which reminds me that 1-I need to check on the prices of flights to Mississippi and 2-I will probably need some bigger sofa pillows. There’s another idiotic maniac on Tuesday’s card; one whose fighting career thus far has included this stellar performance against Vai Sikahema….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CJn9n0UKOA[/youtube]

This gives me a great idea for how to handle the Hall of Fame debate with steroids players, by the way.

6-NASCAR Autism Speaks 400 (Sun 1:30pm from Dover Motor Speedway, live on FOX)

Rex Snider will be riding the WNST bus up to the Monster Mile Sunday to spend another exciting (?) day of watching left turns with you yahoos. And I love the fact that NASCAR is using this opportunity to try to raise awareness for autism. Because nothing quite says autism awareness like a morning of wasting money on slots, heavy drinking, spitting tobacco, and cursing at professional race car drivers.

“Hey Gordon, why don’t you get your pansy ass off our track and let a real man drive a car! Dale JUNIOR RULES!!!!! Oh, and please donate some money for autism. It’s an epidemic. Just like your mom, Edwards!”

5-French Open/Roland Garros (Tuesday-Friday 5am-noon live on Tennis Channel, noon-6:30 live on ESPN2; Saturday 5am-1:30pm live on Tennis Channel, 1:30pm-4:30pm live on NBC; Sunday 5am-3pm live on Tennis Channel, 3pm-6pm live on NBC; Monday 5am-noon live on Tennis Channel, noon-6:30pm live on ESPN2. All matches from Paris.)

As of the time I wrote this, Rafael Nadal had won 29 straight matches at the French Open; and will almost certainly extend that streak to 35. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to have my girlfriend (“The Luckiest Darn Gal on the Face of the Planet”) step in to guest edit with her list of things I’ve done 35 times consecutively…..

-Replace the alarm clock with his own flatulent wake-up call
-Tell me we’re going out to a nice dinner and then ask me where he put his Qdoba coupons
-Invite me to meet his friends at a bar and then let me know I’ll be the one who’s driving
-Respond with “Does it matter?” when I ask him if he thinks I’m beautiful
-Bring beer to bed on a Friday night
-Tell me he wants to stay in and watch TV and then inform me that he and his roommate “always watch wrestling on Mondays. And Thursdays. And Fridays. And sometimes Sundays.”
-Tell me he’s already let his buddies know I’ll be making buffalo chicken dip tonight
-Interrupt a meaningful question by asking “Do you think there are any episodes of Girls Next Door on the TiVo?”
-Ask me “I wonder what Gary Williams is thinking right now” before we go to bed
-Stand in front of the mirr…….

You know, I think that’s enough of TLDGOTFOTP for tonight. Thanks sweetie. Please prepare some more dip.

4-Ravens Passing Camp (Tuesday-Friday, 1 Winning Drive)

I already know you’re going to be asking me this on Wednesday, so I’m just going to go ahead and answer before you even get the chance…..

flacc

……he’s fine. His arm looks strong, he appears to be healthy, he hasn’t tweezed his eyebrows, and he still doesn’t really enjoy talking to people. Next question.

3-Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee (Semi-finals Thursday 10am live on ESPN, Finals Thursday 8pm live on ABC. All spelling action from Grand Hyatt Washington)

Because I’m such a damn good reporter, I’ve actually already been able to track down a transcript of how the final round will play out….

Moderator: “The word is Uehara”
Child: “Uehara?”
Moderator: “Yes, Uehara.”
Child: “Uehara. Can you give me the origin?”
Moderator: “Yes, Uehara is Japanese.”
Child: “Uehara. What part of speech is it?”
Moderator: “It is a noun”
Child: “Uehara. Can you use it in a sentence?”
Moderator: “Yes. The Orioles desperately needed pitching during the offseason, but all they managed to get was Uehara.”
Child: “Uehara. U..E….H…….A………..R……………….A???”
Moderator: “Congratulations. You have won the Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee. Which is one more win than Adam Eaton will have for the rest of his life.”

2-NBA Conference Finals: Cavaliers vs. Magic (Tuesday 8:30pm from Orlando, Thursday 8:30pm from Cleveland. Saturday from Orlando & Monday from Cleveland if necessary; all games on TNT); Nuggets vs. Lakers (Wednesday 9pm from Los Angeles, Friday 9pm from Denver; both games live on ESPN. Sunday 8:30pm from Los Angeles if necessary, live on ABC)

How much are the Orlando Magic killing David Stern right now? All they want is to get their epic ratings monster Kobe-LeBron final; and some guy named Hedo Turkoglu keeps screwing everything up. Cavs-Lakers would get every TV set in the country. Magic-Nuggets would get every TV set in…..the Epcot Center and Chris Andersen’s parents’ house?

Meanwhile, Vince McMahon did a nice job of making Nuggets owner E. Stanley Kroenke look like an ass Monday night, accusing him of “Enos envy”, which I have to admit I laughed at. I also laughed at the worst Jack Nicholson impersonator of all time, and at the fact that I was watching a children’s TV program and analyzing it as if it were the AFC Championship Game.

Eh, I don’t care. Here’s a picture of Vince McMahon getting his head shaved by Donald Trump for absolutely no reason at all….

wwe

1-UEFA Champions League Final (Wendesday 2:45 from Rome live on ESPN)

I have decided I will be rooting for Manchester United Wednesday against Barcelona. There are a couple of reasons why I have made this decision. First of all, I like the fact that Man U has this guy on their squad……

fabio

Okay, so that guy ISN’T on the team. But they DO have a player whose only name is Fabio; and that kinda kicks ass. I’m also rooting for Man U because Christiano Ronaldo plays for Man U; and he used to date Merche Romero…..

ronaldo

….this is one of those relationships where you’re not so sure how you feel after the break-up. You know, except for the fact that you’re absolutely certain you kinda wanna get with Christiano Ronaldo.

Wait, was that out loud?

-G

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