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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 15 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a Happy Tuesday for me 1-because I’m so drugged up on allergy meds that I wouldn’t know if it WASN’T a Happy Tuesday, 2-because a friend passed this classic along to me via Facebook…

(Edit from GMC: The audio here is NSFW! Unless of course you work as an intern on “The Morning Reaction.” In which case, we’ve used all of these words to describe you this morning.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TH_dKfBI40[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says Chris Tillman roughed up, knocked out early as Orioles fell to Giants

I did it again.

Much like Sunday when I was a few minutes late in flipping to MASN because I wanted to watch Stephen Strasburg on MASN2, I was a few minutes late last night because I wanted to watch the end of WWE Raw. And once again, by the time I got flipped over to watch the Orioles-things were already out of hand. This time, it was 6-1. And while I had missed a Matt Wieters home run, apparently I hadn’t missed too much more than that.

I went back and watched a bit of Tillman-his velocity certainly needed to be up. I also thought he lacked confidence in his pitches, but that might have just been a realization of what jersey he was wearing.

It was a fun night at AT&T Park. Just as long as you don’t root for the Orioles. There aren’t too many of us that do.

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

Ty Wigginton had a couple of doubles (one of which maybe should have been a home run), but he also had two of the team’s 8 strikeouts. That’s about how it goes these days.

You know what, you REALLY don’t want to look at this box score. In fact, let me go another way with this. This is Brittany Rathel. Busted Coverage pointed her out to me. She’ll be more fun to look at than last night’s box score would have been…

brittanyrather

3. WNST.net’s Jay Trucker says while Garrett Atkins historically bad in Baltimore, Aubrey Huff excelling in San Francisco

AND JUST WHEN I HAD STARTED FEELING GOOD AGAIN!!!!!

The must frustrating part about Jay’s column is certainly the information that the Huff is making $3 million in San Fran while Atkins is making $4.5 million in Charm City. I wasn’t heartbroken when the Birds decided to part ways with Huff, but I would have never signed off on it had I known they weren’t going to go out and get anyone else who could drive in runs.

That’s absolute INSANITY.

Of course, I somehow feel as though it hurts MORE that Pat Burrell homered last night. How can PAT BURRELL be hitting home runs?

I can’t think about this anymore. I might have another allergy attack.

4. ESPN.com says Bobby Valentine doesn’t see much ‘reward’ in O’s situation

Thank you Bobby Valentine for not sugar coating this. Valentine apparently went on “Baseball Tonight” (I will admit that I rarely watch Baseball Tonight anymore) last night and said “I don’t know that Andy (MacPhail) and I get along that well.”

I don’t know this to be true-but I might imagine it would have something to do with Bobby V telling MacPhail he wouldn’t be okay with managing a team that featured nothing but young guys and second-rate veterans.

This is the reality of the Orioles’ situation. Andy MacPhail and Peter Angelos want to get “the right guy”, but I don’t think they’re going to lie to them in the process. Instead, they’re likely going to say something along the lines of “look, we want you to get the job done here-but we’re not gonna go out and become the Yankees or the Red Sox. If you think you can work with young talent and a couple of key veterans, we want you here. If not, this might not be the job for you.”

And that approach might well work for an Eric Wedge (who has already interviewed), or Bob Melvin, or Clint Hurdle (who is currently employed by the Texas Rangers so he’d have to wait until the end of the season to interview); but apparently not with Valentine.

We can’t COMPLETELY scratch him from the list yet, but we might as well. I’m not losing sleep over not having Bobby Valentine as manager, but that doesn’t mean he might not have been a good manager for this team.

5. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Wigginton hoping to reach All-Star Game as write-in candidate

There have been some BAD all-stars in the history of the Midsummer Classic, including the likes of Robert Fick and Ron Coomer. And of the current crop of Baltimore Orioles-while Adam Jones, Miguel Tejada, Kevin Millwood and Brian Roberts are known former All-Stars, did you know Cesar Izturis was ALSO once an All-Star?

That’s the group Ty Wigginton would hope to move into. The group of Robert Fick, Ron Coomer, Lance Carter and Cesar Izturis. Ugh.

As an Orioles fan, I hope Nick Markakis gets the call as the Orioles’ representative. He’s been the team’s best player this season-even if not necessarily deserving of being honored amongst the best players in the American League. He also deserves the nod for having played like an All-Star now for 5 years in his career.

6. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Josh Bell homered, doubled for Norfolk Tides last night

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few notes:

-The Orioles and Giants are back at it tonight, with Jake Arrieta facing Joe Martinez. First pitch from the Bay Area is at 10:15pm on MASN2. Game 6 of the NBA Finals starts at 9pm, which means the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics should at least have played about 6 minutes before first pitch in SF.

-Congratulations to “Apologist of the Morning” Todd Webster. Since “The Great Arbitrator” got too far behind this morning, I went ahead and handled responsibilities when it comes to making the selection. Todd Webster works for MASN, and was reached for comment when word came down that MASN’s Orioles ratings were somehow UP a little bit this season despite the Orioles being historically bad. Here’s Webster’s response…

“The Orioles’ improved ratings shows the depth of commitment Orioles fans have for their team. The history and tradition of Orioles baseball is a part of the fabric of Baltimore and Washington, as more fans are tuning in.

Demand for advertising is also stronger than last season, as marketers see the value of associating with Orioles baseball. Led by the automotive sector, year-over-year ad sales are up by double-digits, not only because of the improving economy but also because MASN and the Orioles can offer so many solutions, from TV spots to in-game and in-park sponsorships, from hospitality to radio. …”

Now THAT’S apology.

-There was a measure of good news yesterday, as Brittany Ghiroli passed along via Twitter that Andy MacPhail had said Felix Pie, Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson and Brian Roberts could return by the end of June. I feel like I should be excited. For some reason, I’m not.

-If you missed former Oriole and current Aberdeen Ironbirds pitching coach Scott McGregor today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, make sure you head on over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault and check it out. Other guests this morning included NFL Network reporter and World Cup enthusiast Jason La Canfora and our annual U.S. Open preview with Damon Klepczynski from Mountain Branch. Plus, our pal “Captain Jerk” had a Tony Bennett-inspired Orioles song worth taking a listen to. It’s all in the Audio Vault.

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says former Ravens Frank Walker, William VanDeSteeg tried out with Houston Texans

If I didn’t know better, there would be so many great jokes I could make here about the Texans. The fact is, I know that neither Walker nor VanDeSteeg would be expected to be any sort of impact player this season-so I can’t really beat them up too bad.

Of course, if I were looking at guys like Frank Walker and William VanDeSteeg, I might also bring in Alessandra Ambrosio for a look. Just so I’d know. (Thanks Guyism!)

alessandra

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Joe Flacco plans to keep working with Anquan Boldin, Donte’ Stallworth between now and Training Camp

Do you know how much better this headline reads than this…

“BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Kyle Boller plans to keep working with Clarence Moore, Randy Hymes between now and Training Camp”?

I already feel better just based on the names involved!

9. The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Maryland officials, boosters believe move from ACC to Big Ten ‘unlikely’

This is one of the subjects Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse on Twitter) and I discussed during our inaugural “D1scast”, which can be heard right now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

The more I talk to high ranking Terrapins (and I talked to more yesterday), the more I truly believe this probably isn’t happening. But as I said yesterday, you always have to keep in mind that money talks. Don’t call it DEAD, just call it UNLIKELY.

10. Inside Lacrosse’s John Jiloty says Drexel coach Brian Voelker hasn’t been contacted by Terrapins regarding lacrosse gig

And neither has Stevenson’s Paul Cantabene (as Ed Lee from the Sun confirmed last night), but Harvard’s John Tillman HAS.

It isn’t a sexy group. As I said yesterday, I’ve seen sexier groups on “The Biggest Loser.”

That being said, the Terps are just hoping there’s a decent coach in the group.

And speaking of “sexy groups”, here’s a new picture of Kim Kardashian from What Would Tyler Durden Do….

kimk

And finally, I leave you with this.

I’ll admit it. As much it bothered me as an Italy fan to come up with just a draw against Paraguay, I still enjoyed this. (Thanks Deadspin!)

paraguay

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Huff hitting, fielding in San Francisco

Posted on 15 June 2010 by Jay Trucker

The Orioles continued their earth-shatteringly awful season a 10-2 loss in the early morning hours Tuesday. Now is probably not the time to talk about Aubrey Huff. Yet, the faithful few who tuned in to the late night horror show in the Bay Area Monday night saw Huff, sitting in the four spot, with his .302 average, his 10 home runs, his 14 doubles, and his .394 OBP.

Garrett Atkins’ numbers? Prepare yourself. This is NSFW

.216/.276 with 1 home run.

Don’t get me wrong. Huff, no stranger to controversy during his nearly three years here in horse**** Baltimore, had come to the end of an up and down three year tenure here, and as the season ended, it looked like it was time to turn the page for both he and the team.

But then the Orioles went out and signed Garrett Atkins, whose numbers had been on the slide for three seasons, and who was being asked to play first base, a position meant to generate power. The move was particularly perplexing because it came early in the offseason, before the market “played out.”

Aubrey Huff is making $3 million dollars to play in San Fran.

Garrett Atkins is making $4.5 million dollars, mostly to sit on the bench in Baltimore,

AND the Orioles will have to hand him another $500,000 to buy out of his option for 2011.

And while Atkins has been splitting time between first base and the bench, Huff has shown his versatility, vacating first base to make room for hefty Pablo Sandoval. Huff has played third base, left, and even right field.

And so, while the Orioles were forced to sign Corey Patterson off of the scrap heap, Huff has shown that he can still wear an outfielders’ glove.

By all accounts, Huff’s exit from Baltimore was a gracious one. He was traded to Detroit in August of ’09 in exchange for a pile of beans, and he had a number of positive things to say about the team’s young core of players while packing his bags. Were the team looking into an upgrade, or even a younger player with potential to evolve, then closing the door on Huff for good would have made perfect sense. Instead, the Orioles said goodbye to a player who, even in his bad years, hit the ball hard. In exchange, they paid more for a guy on the decline who appears to be unable to see the ball or drive it with any authority on the off chance he gets a hold of one.

Which scout or scouts told the Orioles organization they’d better grab Garrett Atkins early in the hot stove season before some other team takes him away? As the managerial search threatens to continue through the duration of this painful season, it’s time to wonder who, if anyone, is being held accountable in the Orioles front office?

Meanwhile, congratulations to Aubrey Huff, whose San Francisco Giants are 36-27 and a half game out of first in the NL West, no small thanks to the versatility of their hard-hitting, inexpensive cleanup hitter.

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 14 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because this happened yesterday…

crabs

Need I explain more? The “Luckiest Dang Little Sister on the Face of the Planet” had a birthday, and I reaped the benefits.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Kevin Millwood roughed up as Orioles swept by Mets

I decided to peek at Stephen Strasburg for a bit yesterday over on MASN2 as the Nats played in Cleveland-just because I didn’t want to be the only guy in the world NOT talking about him.

By the time I realized I had forgot to flip over and watch the start of the Birds game, it was already 5-0 in the first. At least it made it easier to stop watching and head outside for crabs and Moosehead.

I’m well aware that the game got back to 5-3 at one point; but the Orioles really DIDN’T ever have a chance. A special thanks to Mark Hendrickson for making sure it wasn’t AT ALL interesting at any point after he came in.

I’d like to say something poignant here to wrap this up. I think I’ll go with “The Orioles stink.” How’d that sound?

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

The crazy thing is that the team has been getting some hits recently. Over the last 6 games, they’ve collected 62 hits. Sadly, they’ve rarely turned into runs.

Of course, when you let the one RBI producer you have go (Aubrey Huff) and don’t replace him with someone who’s an acceptable replacement (like Matt Holliday or Jason Bay); this is what you get. It’s been piss poor all season. I don’t know why I’d bother being frustrated by it now.

I don’t know if you can tell by my tone early on, but this wasn’t exactly fun this weekend. I was hoping the World Cup would help to improve my spirits towards sports in general-but I got a bit too much sun Saturday, and then my allergies came racing back yesterday.

I still blame the Orioles. Why wouldn’t I?

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says with sweep, O’s now continue historic poor pace

There is no doubt that over the next few months, there will be plenty of attention paid to the Orioles’ potential assault of the 1962 New York Mets’ record for futility. I’m not the type of person that hopes they DO pursue the record down the stretch just to keep the season entertaining-as I don’t really want to have any part of that. The Mets have that record. I hope they keep it.

That being said, those that support the Orioles going on to finish with the worst record in baseball so that the team can finish with the #1 overall pick in next year’s MLB Entry Draft-I can probably get behind that. I won’t root for them to lose (of course, I can’t bring myself to watch the games at ALL half the time anyway), but I understand that losing games could help the team more than winning can after the All-Star Game.

This just keeps getting more and more depressing. Let’s take a look at a picture of January Jones (who may or may not have been involved in a car crash?) from over at WWTDD and then we’ll regroup and move forward.

janjones

4. MLB.com’s Noah Rosenstein says Birds activated Alfredo Simon, sent down Brad Bergesen

So we’ve got that much going for us, which is nice. Juan Samuel says he’ll use Alfredo Simon primarily as the closer. I’d probably prefer to keep using David Hernandez myself, but I think I’ll just accept EVER having another save situation again first.

As far as Brad Bergesen goes; this is a numbers game. Of the 4 young pitchers in the “cavalry”, he’s got the lesser pedigree of the bunch. It probably goes Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta then Bergesen. With the other 3 up and both Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie having not been dealt yet. That’s 6 guys for 5 spots. While Hernandez is probably best suited for the bullpen in the long term, Bergesen should probably remain a starter. In order to do that, he has to go to Norfolk, at least for now.

5. Baysox.com says Pasadena native Chorye Spoone matched MLB pitcher Ross Detweiler in Bowie’s win over Harrisburg on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things…

-A reminder that the Birds are back in action tonight, facing the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. First pitch between Chris Tillman and Jonathan Sanchez is at 10:15pm. The other starters for the Orioles this week are Arrieta and Guthrie; the Giants counter with Joe Martinez and Tim Lincecum. The hopes for a Madison Bumgarner-Jake Arrieta showdown were nice, but appear to be all but gone.

-Congratulations to our “Apologist of the Morning”, a former winner-”Neal S.” from The Loss Column. Neal was selected by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. For a change, today’s winner didn’t win because of “apology”, but instead for being an apologist yet having the stones to say the right thing. Neal said…

“I’m getting frustrated with Andy MacPhail’s ultra-conservative, deliberate approach. I’m not getting at any larger point, necessarily, it’s just what it is. Frustration with an approach that seems to be growing less effective by the day.”

It’s time the uber-defenders of “The Plan” wise up and accept facts. The fact is, the manager has been fired but the team still stinks. Either that means there are two bad managers, or the general manager put a bad club together. I think I know which one it was in this case.

I don’t think Peter Angelos should FIRE Andy MacPhail, but I ABSOLUTELY believe his feet need to be held to the fire to MAKE THE TEAM BETTER.

I hope others will join Neal S. in having the courage to stand up and say “this isn’t okay.”

-While Bobby Valentine and Eric Wedge remain the only managers known to have interviewed for the job, I think there’s an obvious choice for the next interview. As I posted Saturday on Facebook, the recent meltdown from one time would-be Arizona Diamondbacks manager Wally Backman HAS to earn him an interview, correct?

(Edit from GMC: This video is ABSOLUTELY NSFW. Unless you work at a place that has the F word in the name of the company. If that’s the case, I would imagine the video is probably okay.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PJJUc2u0bs[/youtube]

6. The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ravens S Nakamura ‘well ahead of schedule’ in return from injury

The organization has to be happy with the quick returns from injury not only for Nakamura-but also for Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb. Washington & Webb still aren’t 100 percent, but all of these players have remained ahead of schedule. That’s good news for ALL Ravens fans.

A reminder that we will NOT be out at 1 Winning Drive for Passing Camp this week-because the NFL took away Passing Camp this week. The Ravens are still doing formal work with their rookies, but there is no availability for us. But as any news comes from Owings Mills, we’ll be sure to get it to you via Twitter (follow us @WNST), WNST.net and on air at AM1570.

7. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says only ‘money’ would make sense in potential Terrapins move to Big Ten

This is a great read from Patrick regarding the entire conference situation. I have said a few times that I don’t think it helps the Terps to go to the Big Ten, and I won’t waiver on that. That being said, if Big Ten commish Jim Delaney has $20 million a year to throw at the University for free, it would have to be considered by C.D. Mote or whoever replaces as him-even if it ends up going against the wishes of Debbie Yow.

We talked some college sports this morning on “The Morning Reaction”, as Morgan State Bears head coach Todd Bozeman joined the program to respond to the news of recent scholarship losses. If you missed the chat, you can head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to listen, as Drew and Todd also discussed the Boston Celtics’ 3-2 lead on the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Other guests this morning were Baseball Prospectus’ Jay Jaffe and UMBC Soccer Coach Pete Caringi-who recapped the United States-England match, as well as all other things World Cup.

8. Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns has Maryland 5th, Johns Hopkins 11th, Loyola 15th in ‘way early’ 2011 lacrosse poll

The Dave Cottle defenders of the world pointed out that he deserved the chance to coach one more season, as this Maryland team is arguably the best he would have had.

Maybe so, but that’s of course not an option anymore. Speaking of which, nothing new on the Maryland lacrosse search front this weekend.

Speaking of which-if we’re going to put together ridiculous lists at the wrong time, I want to make a list of “gals from Australia who made the cover of Ralph Magazine and I would like to get to know better.” Gianna Pattison is number 1. (Thanks Guyism!)

gianna

9. The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Baltimore County World Soccer Festival part of “World Cup fever” coming over Charm City

If you didn’t come out to Patriot Plaza in Towson for the event Saturday, it was a GREAT time, even if the match ended in a fairly fortunate draw. Here’s a look courtesy of WNSTv…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJQ6uakWUQs[/youtube]

We will be out at Amicci’s in Little Italy this afternoon for Italy-Paraguay. The food is GREAT, the beer is cold, it’s going to be an awesome day. Forza Azzurri!!!

10. BaltimoreMariners.com says Mariners topped Erie on last second FG

Thankfully their long snapper isn’t named Matt Katula.

I’m kidding!!!! Matt’s a good man, and hopefully has moved past his elbow issues. Hopefully.

You know, I completely forgot to mention this when we were discussing World Cup, but have you seen Cristiano Ronaldo WAG Irina Shayk? Thanks Busted Coverage…

shayk

And finally, I leave you with this.

If you haven’t been paying attention to WWE Raw, you might not have noticed that they’ve been having guest hosts on the show every week. Some of been great (notably Shaquille O’Neal and Bob Barker), others have been Ashton Kutcher. My buddy Brandon Holthaus started a group on Facebook to try to get Kevin Smith to host the show. Check the group out here.

And how can THIS guy NOT make a good host? (Edit from GMC: Once again, this video is ABSOLUTELY NSFW. Unless you work for Kevin Smith. Or the WWE presumably.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-xKUU5sWS4[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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The Orioles & Andy MacPhail – 5 Mistakes In 3 Years (Part I of V) …..

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The Orioles & Andy MacPhail – 5 Mistakes In 3 Years (Part I of V) …..

Posted on 14 April 2010 by Rex Snider

I can honestly proclaim my fair and balanced treatment of Andy MacPhail, since the day he seized control of the Orioles’ Baseball Operations.

Okay, I haven’t necessarily been an ORANGE KOOL-AID drinkin’ son of a gun, but I’ve certainly been heavy on the patience and guarded praise, while leveling mild criticism on justified, sporadic occasions. In fact, I absolutely believe I’ve given Mr. MacPhail the benefit of the doubt on many occasions – and, I don’t regret it.

Has he made mistakes? Sure. But, I’ve maintained his decisions were in the best interest of the Orioles franchise – and the greater good of Baltimore’s vulnerable baseball fans.

Yet, I think it’s also fair to say Andy MacPhail and the Orioles, as an organization, have fallen short on numerous decisions and transactions, over these last 3 seasons.

I’m not beating them up. That’s not productive. However, I can think of 5 distinguishing events, moves or directives that have resulted in a LOSS for the Orioles. Of course, I’ll qualify my opinions by asserting my FAN CARD …..

I have absolutely no working knowledge or experience concerning the inner-sanctum of a professional baseball organization. I’ve never stuck my hands inside a baseball product ABOVE the college level. And, I think this disclosure is important, because nearly everyone who stands in my shoes (from a media perspective) is also standing on the “same ground.”

That said, I’d like to believe I’m an educated guy and open-minded regarding most topics.

Baseball is one such topic. I love the science of baseball ….. the history of baseball ….. the modern day culture of baseball ….. and, the game as a whole.

Agree with me. Disagree with me. I understand – and, I don’t take it personally.

My first observed/recalled “MacPhail Mistake” can be found below. I’ll write 5 such blogs over the next 5 days. Of course, I reserve judgement to include a 6th mistake if this losing streak doesn’t end soon …..

Mistake #1  -  Letting Joe Girardi Get Away

One of Andy MacPhail’s first decisions was finding a successor to Sam Perlozzo, who was dismissed in the same window that allowed MacPhail’s entrance as the new President of Baseball Operations. While Dave Trembley was named as the interim skipper, MacPhail conducted a thorough search and even levied a firm three year offer to his most coveted candidate.

Of course, EVERYONE knew Andy MacPhail had a solid relationship with Joe Girardi. And, Girardi, who owned the distinction of winning “NL Manager Of The Year” and being fired after the same season was readily available …..
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No, Joe Girardi didn’t get fired for legal or character reasons. He’s a SOLID CHARACTER guy. He was fired by an owner who didn’t like being told to “SHUT UP.” While most employees would get fired for saying such a thing to their boss, lets remember, Jeffrey Luria was heckling the umpire when it happened. And, Joe Girardi does things the right way.

Never mind the task of taking a young, disorganized group of kids and instilling discipline and a WINNING attitude, in less than six months. That’s not important to Jeffrey Luria. Hmmm …. I wonder if he feels good about firing Girardi – TODAY.

Nevertheless, Joe Girardi was Andy MacPhail’s GUY.

In fact, MacPhail and others flew to Girardi’s neck of the woods, near Chicago, to woo and tempt the hottest managerial free agent. When is the last time a TEAM went to the CANDIDATE to conduct an interview?

Days later – on June 21st of 2007 – Joe Girardi told Andy and the O’s “uhh, thanks …. but, no thanks.”

That’s a day I’ll never forget. Why? It’s this girl’s birthday …..
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And, regardless of Joe Girardi falling thru the holes of the Orioles crab net, I’d better never forget the significance of June 21st – ANY YEAR.

Why did Joe Girardi decline the Orioles offer to become the next manager? Of course, I’ll rely on my earlier disclosure – I have no working knowledge of the Orioles inner circle. But, I can imagine or make an educated guess of some possible reasons.

Maybe, he talked with some baseball friends, who have intimate knowledge of the Orioles dysfunction, prior to MacPhail’s arrival. Who? Perhaps, he had coffee with Davey Johnson. Maybe, he had dinner with his former coach, Lee Mazilli. Better yet, I guess he could’ve just had a very long phone conversation with George, Hank or Hal Steinbrenner.

But, something made Joe Girardi reject the Orioles 3 year/$3 million offer. Heck, maybe that’s it.

I realize most managers aren’t breaking the bank with contracts in the same neighborhood as many players. Yet, if a manager with any resume’ of success is going to soil his career with a stint on the Orioles bench, I’ll assume the money will have to do the talking – not a bunch of bigwigs flying into the guy’s hometown.

If Andy MacPhail was serious about hiring Joe Girardi as the next skipper, and he flew 750 miles to meet with him, I’d like to think he had the company checkbook in hand.

What’s the one thing we know about today’s world of pro sports and signing free agents? If you want the guy, don’t let him leave the room without a deal. Do you doubt me? This philosophy brought the Baltimore Ravens a Super Bowl winning head coach …..
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It also landed the Chicago White Sox one of the hottest managerial prospects, following the Florida Marlins 2003 World Championship …..
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And, as the we know, he skippered the team to a World Championship, just a couple seasons later.

Andy MacPhail should’ve never let Joe Girardi leave that meeting – not if he was the guy. And, how does an offer like $3 million, in 3 years, inspire a guy of Girardi’s caliber to take this job? I’m not talking about the Joe Girardi who manages the New York Yankees. I’m talking about the Joe Girardi who broke the disruptive spirit of players who initially balked at his managerial powers, in the Marlins clubhouse.

As many know, I’m a devout listener of the Comcast Morning Show. I was listening to Drew before I knew where the WNST station was located. He makes sense ….. and he’s right on many occasions.

Recently, Drew has pointed out the lackluster and non-chalant attitude of Adam Jones. Whether it’s blowing bubbles on dropped flyballs or stupid baserunning blunders, Jones doesn’t seem to be busting his hump or devoting maximum concentration to the game itself.

And, as Drew has also suggested …. what can Dave Trembley do about it? Counsel Jones? Bench him? Fine him?

Adam Jones has every hunch to assume his manager is just one banana peel OR LOSS away from being a former employee. If such exchanges or relationships exist, would any of us be surprised?

Now, put Joe Girardi in that clubhouse and dugout.

Does Adam Jones or anyone challenge him? If they do, they’ll lose. Just ask Miguel Cabrera. He balked at Girardi’s policies regarding junk food in the clubhouse and locker room. Girardi didn’t bend his rules – and Cabrera didn’t bring skittles to the ballpark.

Marlins players had every reason to dismiss Jor Girardi, as the season neared an end. Everyone knew the manager was getting fired and the team had a losing record. That said, those players respected him and they played hard. The Marlins opened the 2006 season with SIX ROOKIES in the lineup and a $14 million payroll. Okay, some sources have the payroll as high as $21 million – but, I’m certain you get the point.

Joe Girardi was fired, because the owner didn’t like him.

You gotta have that guy, right? He doesn’t tolerate off-field distractions. He doesn’t permit lackluster performances. And, he always protects him team …..
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But, if MacPhail wanted the guy, why offer a measly 3 million bucks? I’ve always wondered if things would’ve turned out differently if Andy slid a blank check across the table, in Chicago. My gut says YES. My head says YES.

I’ll imagine Joe Girardi had enough time to look at the $3 million offer and consider the Orioles plight, as well as the recent history regarding managers. I’ll conclude that he probably thought …. “in a few seasons, OR LESS, I’ll have a few million bucks in my pocket, but I’ll also be that guy who’s possibly been fired from two jobs, in less than 5 years.” “I don’t mind the risk, but it’s not enough money – not near enough money.”

He probably reasoned the Orioles job could ruin him, as far as future managerial prospects go. If that’s the case, the reward had to be greater.

In case “Franchise” is reading this, I don’t see Joe Girardi as a “what if” kinda guy. He rejected the Orioles halfway thru the 2007 season. He had no reason to believe he was going to be the Yankees new manager, just a few months later.

Yeah, we all heard that Girardi or Don Mattingly would eventually succeed Joe Torre, as Yankees skipper. But, if the Yankees would’ve beaten the Cleveland Indians and BUGS, in the 2007 ALDS, we might’ve never seen a managerial change.
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After all, Joe Torre turned down a one year extension.

Joe Girardi rejected the Orioles, because it wasn’t enough money for such a risky gamble. Who wants to hire a former Orioles manager?

Maybe Joe Girardi would’ve taken the O’s job for 3 years/$10 million. But, that’s an extra $7 million – which means the Orioles couldn’t afford Aubrey Huff. Umm …. make that TWO Aubrey Huffs.

A note to Andy ….. Ozzie Guillen is a free agent, following the 2012 season. If you’re gonna offer 3 years/$3 million, don’t waste his time or yours.

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Gonzalez quickly sculpting unnerving image in Baltimore

Posted on 09 April 2010 by Luke Jones

If we can take anything from the opening series of the 2010 season, we know it’s going to be interesting in the final inning.

Unnerving.

Agonizing.

Hold on for dear life.

New closer Mike Gonzalez atoned for his Opening Night debacle by preserving the first win of the season Thursday night, but the performance was anything but routine in the Orioles’ 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay.

After striking out the first two batters of the ninth and appearing poised to retire the side in order, Gonzalez loaded the bases before finally enticing Ben Zobrist to fly out to right, thankfully ending a 26-pitch, 12-strike inning as Orioles fans finally breathed a sigh of relief and somewhere Earl Weaver burned through an entire pack of cigarettes. At least that’s the rumor.

Gonzalez made it very clear he was anxious to return to the mound following his blown save on Tuesday night, and to his credit, he got the job done, but it couldn’t have been any shakier. It’s quickly becoming pretty apparent why few teams were beating down Gonzalez’s door last December to sign him up as their fireman.

With just 54 career saves, Gonzalez had rarely been used as a primary closer in his first seven seasons in the big leagues. The 31-year-old lefty went 10-for-17 in save opportunities for the Braves last season and had saved no more than 24 (2006 with Pittsburgh) in any season.

But it was enough for Andy MacPhail to ink Gonzalez to a two-year, $12 million contract, designating him the replacement for George Sherrill and ending the short-lived Jim Johnson experiment at closer.

Gonzalez battled tightness in his back and hesitated to go all out in his spring outings, insisting he would be in top form for the regular season. You have to wonder how much that’s impacted his shaky start. For better or worse, Gonzalez is Dave Trembley’s closer. There is no other viable option in the bullpen.

The Orioles will live and die in the ninth inning as violently as Gonzalez delivers his fastball.

Few players have made such an impression—good or bad—in their first two appearances as an Oriole. It’s scary to think what the crowd’s reaction might have been at Camden Yards on Friday had he blown a second straight save and the 0-3 Orioles limped home to Baltimore for the home opener.

I’m guessing Aubrey Huff probably would have placed a call from San Francisco to offer moral support—hopefully without sharing his thoughts on the city.

But Gonzalez nailed down the victory, protecting Brian Matusz’ first victory of the season and allowing the Orioles to return home feeling better about themselves after the disappointment of dropping two winnable games against the Rays.

There’s no doubting his talent—chaotic mechanics and all—and a 2.63 career ERA shows he’s had plenty of success at the big-league level. Even Sherrill came to the Orioles as a little-known setup man with four career saves before becoming an All-Star closer.

In fact, when you look at the franchise’s history of closers, Gonzalez’s early tightrope act fits right in with a plethora of characters.

Don Stanhouse didn’t earn the nickname Fullpack for 1-2-3 innings but still managed to make the 1979 All-Star team.

Randy Myers may have set a club record for saves in 1997, but anyone following his career knows it wasn’t a Myers outing unless at least one man reached base in the process.

And Sherrill’s two seasons were anything but routine as he racked up 51 saves in two years for the Orioles before being dealt to the Dodgers last summer.

However, Armando Benitez, Mike Timlin, and Jorge Julio sit on the opposite side of the spectrum.

Need I say more?

It’s too soon to determine into which camp Gonzalez will ultimately settle, but the early return suggests fans might want to stock up on the Rolaids and Pepto-Bismol—or maybe something stronger—this summer.

At the very least, he should keep things entertaining.

***Don’t forget WNST.net is your source for Opening Day coverage as I’ll be at Camden Yards for all Opening Day festivities. Follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and join us every game for our Orange Crush live chat to talk Baltimore baseball.***

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 11 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

Thanks to everyone who joined us on our WNST Bus Trip to Providence and Foxborough this weekend. Thanks to Chick-Fil-A Nottingham Square and Zeke’s Coffee for a delicious breakfast Saturday morning, Gunther Charters (and my man Stack) for getting us there, the Providence Hilton (and especially our girl Taryn downstairs at Shula’s for serving us WELL after last call) and Dave & Buster’s in Providence (with the best AND best looking staff we could have asked for) for taking care of us during our trip to New England. And thanks to the New England Patriots for taking even better care of us. Great weekend. It made this group of people DELIGHTFUL to travel home with…..

bus

Let’s see what everyone has to say…..

1. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says ‘crazy’ season continued for Ravens with win over Pats

Crazy doesn’t begin to describe it.

In fact, if you were following us on Twitter (@WNST), you’d know that I was out of descriptive words as early as things went to 21-0. I kept going back to “surreal”, but I don’t think even that was explaining it well enough.

Looking for help, I consulted Thesaurus.com and entered “crazy.” Here are some ideas they offered…..

ape, barmy, bats in the belfry, batty, berserk, bonkers, cracked, crazed, cuckoo, daft, delirious, demented, deranged, dingy, dippy, erratic, flaky, flipped, flipped out, freaked out, fruity, idiotic, insane, kooky, lunatic, mad, mad as a March hare, mad as a hatter, maniacal, mental, moonstruck, nuts, nutty, nutty as fruitcake, of unsound mind, out of one’s mind, out of one’s tree, out to lunch, potty, psycho, round the bend, schizo, screw loose, screwball, screwy, silly, touched, unbalanced, unglued, unhinged, unzipped, wacky

This helped. Here’s your headline….

“Ravens win over Patriots mad as a March hare.”

Love it.

2. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens win ‘glorious’, but team not Super Bowl contenders just yet

Boy, even I want to punch myself in the shoulder for saying that.

It’s true-I stand by it, but maybe I should’ve just chosen to celebrate a little more yesterday than immediately going down the “don’t get too excited” route. I love critiquing myself.

That being said, if the Ravens go to LucasOil Stadium and beat Peyton Manning and company, they are ABSOLUTELY Super Bowl worthy.

They’re already more Super Bowl worthy than the Jets, who are AMAZINGLY still alive in the playoffs despite the fact that they stink! I guess the Bengals just stink even more???

Either way, this guy is ABSOLUTELY already booking a flight to Miami today, despite the fact that there’s NO WAY his team can get there…

rex

Right???

3. Ravens Official Site’s Ryan Mink says secondary stepped up to lead Ravens to AFC Wild Card victory

Credit Domonique Foxworth.

Credit Chris Carr.

Credit Dawan Landry.

Credit Ed Reed.

Credit Frank Walker-especially for a hell of a play leading to the Landry pick.

It WAS a very impressive performance. Please someone let Randy Moss know that the game was YESTERDAY. I’m pretty sure he’s warming up right now for kickoff….

4. The Sun’s Brent Jones says Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed ‘back’ after outstanding win

Let’s hope that saying this wasn’t a one-off showing.

T-Sizzle made a MAJOR statement defensively with his sack/strip/recovery on the Pats’ first drive, and Ed Reed did the same by batting down a Tom Brady pass that appeared destined to give the Patriots their initial first down.

It has to continue. Terrell Suggs HAS to find a way to get Peyton Manning on the ground. Ed Reed has to see where Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark are going on the field. It can’t be a “one time only” thing.

5. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Flacco ‘tough’ even if performance not overwhelming

Okay…..

Joe Flacco gutted it out yesterday, but everyone with a pulse knows that you can’t keep winning NFL playoff games with a quarterback going 4/10 for 34 yards a pick and a QB rating of 10.

I’m happy that Joe’s hip/quad didn’t cost the Ravens in their first playoff game. I’m hoping his arm will help the Ravens win their next playoff game.

6. Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy says Sunday’s loss proved Patriots’ ‘dynasty over’

Must be nice to live in a place like Beantown, eh?

Celtics are winners, Red Sox are winners, Bruins have won consitently even if they haven’t won the Stanley Cup recently, etc.

Look, the Patriots “dynasty” IS over. But it isn’t doomsday.

They’re going to have Bill Belichick next year. And Tom Brady. And Randy Moss. And Vince Wilfork. Etc.

They just have to use their picks in the NFL Draft better. They’ve really struggled there. It might be wise to try to trade 2 or 3 of their 2nd round picks to get a better pick in the first round and get an impact player.

Or they can just keep struggling. I’d be just fine with that.

7. ESPN.com’s Len Pasquarelli says Ray Rice ‘set tone’ in win at Gillette Stadium

Remember when John Harbaugh was asked about Ray Rice a couple of weeks ago and he responded “I just love the guy”?

Ditto for the rest of Baltimore.

We just love the guy.

8. CBS Sports’ Clark Judge doesn’t think Ravens will have enough to win at Indianapolis in divisional round

That’s completely fair. The Colts didn’t lose a game all season in which they actually tried. The Ravens haven’t beaten Peyton Manning since he was fresh out of Tennessee.

Of course, the Ravens had NEVER beaten the Patriots, and the Patriots had NEVER lost a playoff game at Gillette Stadium.

We’ll all be thinking about the January 2007 game at M&T Bank Stadium this week. I don’t have to tell anyone that there are a number of demons to be exorcised there…

9. NBC Sports’ Mike Florio says Harbaugh ‘disappointed’ Ravens didn’t have enough evidence to challenge punt issue

The only real question here is: which feed was being shown in the coaches’ box upstairs?

If it was the in-house feed at “The Razor”, then the assistants did NOT get to see the play again, and the Ravens had NOTHING to base a challenge off of.

If it was the CBS network feed, then they probably should have seen the play again.

Thank God the final score was 33-14 and this REALLY doesn’t matter.

10. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Greivis Vasquez tallied 22 points as Terps topped Florida State

In the second half, he needs to be the guy. Other players on this team will put up numbers (like Eric Hayes did last night and Sean Mosley & Landon Milbourne have done at other times this season), but when it comes to getting wins in ACC play, he needs to be the one to carry them down the stretch.

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Greivis Vasquez hit big jumper to squash Seminoles’ rally in 2nd half

It’s not EXACTLY redemption from his miss against William & Mary-because the Terps were trailing the Tribe; but leading against FSU. But it is similar. The shot isn’t the problem. MISSING the shot is the problem.

12. Tallahassee Democrat’s Corey Clark says foul trouble for Solomon Alabi cost ‘Noles in loss to Terrapins

The Terps will NOT be killed by teams who are dominant inside (although Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal will give them fits when Georgia Tech comes to Comcast Center). The Terps will be KILLED by teams who can just drill outside shots and get 12 points while nobody notices. Florida State was the former.

13. The Sun’s Matt Bracken says former Miami LB commit Javarie Johnson switched pledge to Maryland

Picking up a 4 star linebacker is always a good thing. It appears as though Johnson (Dunbar in Washington, DC) just decided he had a change of heart and wanted to play close to home. As long as that’s the case, no reason to be concerned about the mental or emotional state of the kid. If it’s something more-you never know if a kid is ready to play at this level.

14. The AP’s Janie McCauley says Giants add former Orioles 1B Aubrey Huff

The best news about this? Andy MacPhail won’t try to pass along this note in a month….

“We really think the re-acquisition of Aubrey Huff solidifies us at First Base this season as we continue to develop our young players.”

But that doesn’t mean they’ve ruled out signing this guy to man the hot corner…..

conine

15. Loyola Official Site previews tonight’s visit from Iona at Reitz Arena

A week ago, we were talking about the Siena game being a potential “gravy” win for this Greyhounds team. More realistically, the Hounds now can’t afford a home loss to the Gaels to fall to 1-5 in MAAC play.

And I leave you with this…

I didn’t get to see much of Charles Barkley hosting SNL. I’m going to try to check some more of it out during the day today. Here’s his monologue, what did everybody think?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF7zu3H3Eqo[/youtube]

Talk to you later from 1 Winning Drive.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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3rd Day Of Christmas …..

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3rd Day Of Christmas …..

Posted on 18 December 2009 by Rex Snider

It’s my “3rd Day Of Christmas” blog – and it’s time for a PARTY …..

That’s right, this blog is devoted to the perfect Christmas party. If I was hosting the PERFECT PARTY, there would be alot of considerations :

Who would I invite …..

Who would emcee …..

Who would provide entertainment …..

What would we eat …..

What would we drink …..

This is a “Pie In The Sky” concept – no restrictions (exception – everyone is ALIVE), no budgets, no problems. Got it ???

Well, here ya go – on this “3rd Day Of Christmas,” we’re celebrating with Rex Snider’s Christmas Party …..

Master Of Ceremonies

Billy Bob Thornton – He’s the logical choice. Billy is a sports fan and he has a habit for truly speaking his mind, which I tend to like. And, I’m not inviting his ex-wife, because I don’t think she’s very attractive …..
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Entertainment

Stephen Marley – The second son of Bob Marley, Stephen is my favorite member of the Melody Makers. I’d like his Caribbean touch to the party’s musical lineup.
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Elton John – Is there a better musician to lead everyone thru a sing-a-long to some great Christmas songs?
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Motley Crue – I’m not stupid ….. where there’s CRUE, there’s WOMEN. And, I want Ray Bachmann to show up.
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Van Halen – Of course, Van Halen’s headlining the party !!!! It’s MY party ….. and I want Bob Haynie to show up …..
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Bartender

Tommy Lee – Remember, he’s already gonna be here !!!! Can you imagine trying to keep Tommy from drinking the product?
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Cocktail Waitresses



Jessica Simpson & Tiger’s Girls
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Guests

Well, every single WNST listener is invited – provided you wear one of these …..




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Special Invited Guests (By Table)
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Living Legends Table






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Movers & Shakers Table






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MVP Table





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Disgraced Table






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Trainwreck Table






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FOR Table (FOR = Friends Of Rex)






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Bathroom Table (Yep, They’re Sitting In The Crapper)






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Now, that’s a PARTY !!!!

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 08 October 2009 by Glenn Clark

This e-mail I got from a listener this morning was worth passing along….

“Do you think that with Dez Bryant ineligible now there’s a chance he could slip in the Draft and be available for the Ravens?”

God, we can only hope.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Flacco didn’t feel need to talk to Clayton after costly drop in Patriots game

Drew Forrester rooting for Yankees in hopes of keeping Orioles ‘honest’

Derek Arnold says Terrell Suggs ‘played like a Raven’ against Pats

Rex Snider says Ochocinco running his mouth on Twitter

Tom Federline thinks Baltimore fans should watch “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” movie about Baltimore Colts marching band

Corey Johns says UMBC soccer bounced back with 2-0 win over Stony Brook

Paul Hoke thinks Glenn Clark should be supportive of Capitals (If they were the “Maryland” Caps, trust me-I would be!)

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ochocinco already prepared to pay NFL fine for “The Ricky Bobby” dance he’ll do Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Harbaugh remembered Tony Fein as ‘really good teammate, tremendous American’

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says despite neck brace, Jared Gaither won’t rule out return Sunday

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Oher could be forced to face Antwan Odom Sunday with Jared Gaither possibly out

The Official Site says Ochocinco ‘targeting’ Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Fabian Washington, Domonique Foxworth

Bengals Official Site’s Geoff Hobson says for a change, Marvin Lewis’ team comes in strong defensively, John Harbaugh’s with powerful offense

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Matt Birk thinks O-Line can survive even if Gaither can’t go

The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says 52 ‘laughed’ off comments made by Ochocinco

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Todd Heap, Chris Carr Ravens’ new player reps

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley and Justin Fenton say no foul play believed in Fein’s death

7 of 7 Sun analysts pick Ravens

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ochocinco challenged Terrell Suggs to boxing match

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Gaither has history of playing hurt

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Fein’s death apparently a suicide according to attorney Warren A. Brown

Carroll County Times’ Patrick Stoetzer says Troy Smith bringing big crowds to Westminster

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Ray Lewis remembers Fein as “humble young man”

Cincinnati Enquirer’s Paul Daugherty says Bengals unknown commodity through 4 games this season

The AP’s Joe Kay says Carson Palmer continues to perform well in most important moments

8 of 8 USA Today analysts pick Ravens

4 of 6 CBS Sports analysts pick Ravens

Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager picks Ravens 28-22

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Sun’s Jeff Barker
says Friedgen plans to put Jack Heise’s initials on Maryland helmets

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Heise attended almost every game for over 50 years

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says D.J. Adams, Caleb Porzel not concerned about burning redshirts

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says sacking Kyle Parker helped Demetrius Hartsfield ‘make his name’

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says James Franklin wanted to use Gary Douglas even before Da’Rel Scott hurt

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Jamari McCullough playing at about 90 percent

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Tom Brattan expecting to have Bruce Campbell Saturday in Winston-Salem

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Friedgen’s decision to go for it on 4th down from own 29 in Clemson game inspired Terps

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Don Brown believes defense has come a ‘long way’

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says both California, Middle Tennessee State struggling after beating Terps

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says WFU’s Grobe thought loss to Maryland last year ‘embarrassing’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Don Brown went with simple base defense against Tigers

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Tony Logan just 5th Terp in Friedgen era to return punt 43+ yards

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Wake really good when Riley Skinner doesn’t get intercepted

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph likely to give bulk of work to Meggett, Douglas

Winston-Salem Journal says Jim Grobe concerned with Terps WR Torrey Smith

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Fridge expects Davin Meggett, Gary Douglas, D.J. Adams, Caleb Porzel to fill in admirably for Da’Rel Scott (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Claire Knudsen profiles freshman OL deSouza (must subscribe)

Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says things ‘coming together’ for Demetrius Hartsfield

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Official Site announces details for next Friday’s “Maryland Madness” event

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Gary Williams doing fine after disc surgery

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Desmond Hubert visited College Park over weekend (must subscribe)

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Navy, SMU to play for Gansz Trophy, named after Frank Gansz

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says trip to Texas big for Navy recruiting

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says injuries to Chase Burge, Shane Bothel leave Mids ‘thin’ at nose guard

Go Mids’ Chris Rohe breaks down matchups between Mids, Owls (must subscribe)

NAVY BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says former Midshipman Hugh Kilmartin to be honored by New England Hoops Hall of Fame

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

Rhode Island Official Site previews Saturday’s showdown with Tigers

Rhode Island Official Site offers complete Rams-Tigers release (pdf)

MORGAN FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s contest with North Carolina A&T at Hughes Stadium

The Official Site offers complete Bears-Aggies release (pdf)

HOPKINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s trip to Dickinson

The Official Site offers complete Blue Jays-Red Devils release (pdf)

UMBC BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Midnight Madness highlights Homecoming celebration next weekend

TOWSON LACROSSE:

The Official Site says Tigers assistant Nadelen promoted to associate head coach

BLAST:

The Official Site says Blast to open season Nov. 13 at First Mariner Arena

Examiner Richard Crabbe says Blast opener will feature concert by band Kutless

ORIOLES:

Examiner Jay Trucker says getting to Detroit couldn’t turn Aubrey Huff into winner

BALTIMORE MARINERS:

The Official Site says AIFA team signed former Penn State/Linganore standout Lucian

HORSE RACING:

Thoroughbred Times’ Jeff Lowe says Mine That Bird looking for first win since Kentucky Derby in Goodwood Stakes

RUNNING:

The Sun’s Candus Thomson says Brian Boyle running Baltimore Marathon after nearly dying in car crash

The Sun’s Anica Butler offers details on what’s new this year at Baltimore Running Festival

The Sun’s Anica Butler says Lee Corrigan expects 20,000 runners this year

The Sun’s Meredith Cohn says marathon trying to limit trash left on course

SOCCER:

Washington Times’ Tim Lemke says DC United almost certainly not moving to Baltimore

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-I talked to some important advisors within Sheila Dixon’s office yesterday; and I think the one important thing I took away from my conversations about the possibility of an MLS team here in Charm City is what it could mean for Baltimore’s potential inclusion in the 2018 U.S. World Cup bid. Having World Cup matches here in Baltimore could mean somewhere in the range of a BILLION dollars, and a soccer stadium/MLS team could go a long way towards proving Baltimore as a viable soccer market.

Talk to you from Owings Mills.

-G

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So long, Melvin, and hold your head up

Posted on 30 September 2009 by Luke Jones

As the Orioles fall toward the 100-loss mark with seemingly little resistance over the final week of the season, their elder statesman winds down his 10-year stay with an organization fixed in what feels like an endless era of losing.

Melvin Mora arrived in the Charm City after being traded with three others from the New York Mets for shortstop Mike Bordick in Syd Thrift’s infamous fire sale of 2000.  The 28-year old utility player was coming to a struggling team with a future Hall of Famer (Cal Ripken) winding down his career and its best hitter (Albert Belle) only months away from retirement due to a degenerative hip condition.  The Orioles were completing their third-straight losing season in 2000. Change was needed.

Mora’s addition, along with the 13 others acquired in the five summer deals, would pump youthful energy into an aging organization and eventually bring the Orioles back to where they belonged at the top of the standings, right?

If only.

Of course, we all know the story. Despite the quantity of players coming to the organization for veterans such as Bordick, Charles Johnson, B.J. Surhoff, and Harold Baines, Mora would be the only acquisition to contribute beyond the next couple seasons. Most would never contribute at all.

Mora debuted with the team as a role player on an 88-loss club and will take his final bow this weekend on a club trying to avoid becoming the third team to lose 100 games in the 56-year history of the franchise (1954 and 1988 were the others). In his 10 years, the Orioles averaged 92 losses a year, finished in fourth place seven times, and landed in the basement twice—one of those this year.

He played for four different managers, five different general managers (or whatever the organization was calling the job at the time), and saw the beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards transform from one of the chic places to be (3.1 million fans in 2000) on a summer night to a mostly desolate palace (less than 2 million fans in 2009) infiltrated by Boston and New York fans 18 times a year.

During Mora’s 10-year stay in the Charm City, the Orioles finished in third only once (2004), but the high-water mark came in the early stages of 2005.

The Orioles enjoyed a two-month reign at the top of the American League East, and the long rebuilding process appeared to be on the right track. However, Mora saw his team collapse in the second half with a disgraced teammate’s steroid suspension (Rafael Palmeiro), injuries, and management’s failure to improve the team down the stretch (trading Larry Bigbie for Eric Byrnes is going to get you over the hump?).

Needless to say, Mora has had little to smile about in his 10 years with the Orioles. You almost have to feel sorry for the guy.

As he is resigned to the reality of this almost certainly being his last season in Baltimore (the club will not use a $8 million club option for 2010), people will overstate the importance of his disappointing 2009 season—at age 37, mind you—and his mid-summer spat with Dave Trembley when judging his 10 years as an Oriole.

His disappointing final season cannot—and should not—shortchange his accomplishments playing in an absolutely miserable era of Orioles baseball.

The super-utility player that came to Baltimore flashing the leather at a variety of positions—left field, center field, and shortstop to name a few—steadily improved his game and eventually became an All Star, albeit for a bad club needing a representative in 2003. Mora would earn a second trip to the Midsummer Classic in 2005.

Ironically, Mora was excluded from the All-Star squad in 2004 despite being the best third baseman in baseball that season. Yes, before you ask, better than that guy wearing pinstripes in the Bronx.

It was the best season of his career and one of the finest seasons ever by an Oriole.  His .340 average was, and still is, the best single-season clip in club history. Mora also led the American League with a .419 on-base percentage and finished in the AL’s top 10 in batting average (behind only Ichiro Suzuki), slugging percentage, runs, hits, total bases, and doubles. His play earned him the Silver Slugger award (awarded to the best offensive player at each position) and solidified his status as an everyday player.

While Mora would never approach his tremendous 2004 numbers again, he would continue to provide solid numbers and steady defense in his remaining years in Baltimore, even throwing in an amazing second half of the 2008 season for good measure.

Regardless of the sour aftertaste created by his 2009 campaign, Mora is unquestionably an Orioles Hall of Famer, ranking in the franchise’s career top 10 in home runs, hits, doubles, runs batted in, and runs. And with apologies to Doug DeCinces’ fans, Mora may rank as the second-best third baseman in club history (The 1979 hero’s best years came with the California Angels).

Perhaps more important than his diamond achievements when pondering his legacy in Baltimore is the fact that Mora truly embraced the Charm City and adopted it as his home. Mora and his wife Gisel had their famed quintuplets in Baltimore—and chose to raise their six children right here.

While nearly every Oriole of the past decade waved goodbye to the city at the end of September and didn’t return until the new baseball season in April, Mora and his family stayed in Fallston—and plan to continue doing so.

Others wanted little to do with the community or even went as far as to demean the city (Aubrey Huff), but Mora thought highly enough of it to make it his home.

Make no mistake, the organization treated Mora very well financially (probably too well), but he understood the importance of sharing that good fortune with the local community through various charitable endeavors.

Simply put, Mora got ”it.”

It’s an idea not to be taken for granted in this modern age of so many high-paid mercenaries completely void of any pride, philanthropy, or connection for the city in which they play.

Mora’s role in the community was never more apparent than in late-December 2005. Longtime bullpen coach and leading community ambassador Elrod Hendricks had passed away just a few days shy of Christmas, yet Mora was the only active Oriole to attend the coach’s funeral on December 29.

It was more an indictment on the sorry state of the organization than a tremendous gesture, but at least Mora WAS there. It was something the 24 others could not say, regardless of the pathetic excuses claiming it was too close to the holidays.

As an Orioles fan, I chastised the missing players but also appreciated Mora being there to represent the current team, pathetic as it was. Mora understood not only what Hendricks meant to the organization but to the entire city.

One might say it doesn’t take much effort to embrace the local community, so why such praise for Mora? He was being paid millions, right?

Well, easy as it might be, he was one of the few to care enough to actually do it.

Even in his final weeks with the Orioles, Mora demonstrated one more example of understanding what it means to be a Baltimorean. When learning the organization planned to honor him for playing the second-most games at third base in franchise history, Mora requested the man ahead of him on the list, Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, to be present.

So, despite little publicity or fanfare (a different issue entirely), Mr. Oriole was there to celebrate the accomplishment with the Orioles’ current third baseman. Who knows if Mora can tell you how many Gold Gloves Robinson won at the hot corner or what year he even retired, but he knew enough to understand Brooks needed to be there. That’s saying something.

Unlike Brooksie, who played a large portion of his career in the Orioles’ glory days, Mora is likely to be remembered as the figurehead—along with another good player and nice guy, Brian Roberts—for the franchise’s miserable era of losing baseball that is yet to end here at the conclusion of the 2009 season.

“Mora had to stink, or the Orioles would have won while he was here, right?”

But let’s admit, save for the infancy of his career and a two-year window of fantasy baseball in 1996 and 1997, Ripken didn’t exactly play in the Orioles’ glory years either.

The truth is though Mora certainly wasn’t the type of player that could carry a winning team by himself, he also wasn’t the reason the team stunk for the decade he was with the organization. In his best years, Mora undoubtedly would have been a valuable member of a contending club.

No one will suggest that Mora belongs in the same stratosphere as the Orioles’ royalty of the Robinsons, Ripken, Palmer, and Murray. Not even close.

And even the casual fan would never confuse his baserunning prowess with the legendary Rickey Henderson, or even Willie “Mays” Hayes for that matter.

Mora may not have always said the right thing, but he was occasionally willing to speak up in a way so many frustrated fans could admire. His declaration that some Orioles didn’t know what it took to win in 2007 and his famed “Who is going to pitch for us?” query in 2005 may have ruffled some feathers in the Warehouse, but it was music to the ears of fans wanting a terrible organization to take accountability.

Ultimately, Mora should be remembered as a good player and one of the few to perform admirably through a miserable period of Orioles baseball.

He represented the city with pride and is one of the few I felt proud to cheer over the last decade.

So long, Melvin, but we’ll see you around town.

It’s a shame we didn’t have much fun at the ballpark.

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 01 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

You know you’re an Orioles fan if…..

….An opposing pitcher is throwing a perfect game, and you’re completely unmoved

….You’ve braved hostile crowds, name calling, battery throwing, and obscenity chanting from opposing fans……..to enjoy a game at Camden Yards

….You used to enjoy a drink while watching a game, but now the drinks have become a necessity to stomach the game

….At least 15 times a year there’s someone in your team’s starting lineup that you can honestly admit you’ve never heard of

….Your child’s Little League team regularly makes more significant offseason additions than your favorite Major League baseball team

….you’ve looked at the TV, the other had more than 225 runs, and you thought “Yeah, that’s about right.”

….Every Spring Training, “if” becomes your new favorite word (CB in Northeast)

….Your car’s MPG is lower than your favorite pitcher’s ERA (Christopher Edwards)

….You’ve ever paid money to go to a Major League Baseball game and your Designated Hitter bunted (John in Towson)

….“Cash for Clunkers” represents your team’s offseason free agent acquisitions (Tim in Overlea)

….Your favorite team’s colors are black, orange, and shame (Alex Thomas)

….When you hear that “no lead is safe”, you understand that TRULY, no lead is safe (Erienne)

….You miss Aubrey Huff (texter “5750”)

….You still respect Rick Dempsey (Mark in Nottingham)

….when “Orioles Magic” is still something that happens….but only to your wallet (Brandon in Abingdon)

….a 4th place finish sounds fantastic (Ken Phillips)

….you’re not sure if you should be proud or embarrassed when your favorite team adds “Baltimore” to the front of their away uniforms (Intern Jack)

Let’s see what everyone else has to say….

Best of Monday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Ravens CB Foxworth looking forward to seeing ‘old friends’ Thursday night in Atlanta

Drew Forrester says Trembley thought Birds ‘never gave up’ in loss

Drew Forrester offers comical take on Orioles improving

Rex Snider says NBC’s Dateline profiled McNair murder last night

Glenn Clark would like an Ed Reed jersey (from the WNST.net store) for his birthday

Bob Haynie took responsibility for jinxing Pettitte last night

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Markakis broke up Pettitte’s no-hitter in 7th, but Yankees still topped Birds

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says David Hernandez takes hill tonight vs. AJ Burnett, Yanks

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Uehara could return before season ends

Yankees Official Site’s Bryan Hoch says Hairston error in 7th ended Pettitte’s bid for perfect game

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says 25,000 fans at Camden Yards saw Bombers top O’s (I won’t even bother to remind you that most of them were New York fans. Oh wait…..)

The Sun’s Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec say Tillman, Matusz will make 2-3 more starts before being shut down for season

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Orioles expected to call up Sarfate, Fiorentino, Albers, Castillo today

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Birds should be ‘encouraged’ by “Guts”’ performance

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Jeremy Guthrie fell to 9-13 after loss to Yanks last night

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Roberts not sure how Birds finish really that important

The AP says Melvin Mora homered to break up shutout

New York Post’s George A. King III says Mariano Rivera pitched 9th for 37th save

New York Times’ Tyler Kepner says Nick Swisher homered for Yanks in win

New York Daily News’ Mark Feinsand says skipper Girardi thought Pettitte pitched ‘great game’ despite losing no hitter

Newsday’s Erik Boland says Cano added 2 run double in win

Newark Star-Ledger’s Marc Carig says Pettitte picked up 16th career win at OPACY, 26th career win over Birds

Bergen Record’s Pete Caldera says A-Rod sat out Yankees’ win Monday night

Sporting News’ Ryan Fagan has Birds 26th in power rankings

ORIOLES MINOR LEAGUES:

Bowie Baysox Official Site says Oullette, Deza took losses as Reading swept Bowie in doubleheader

Delmarva Shorebirds Official Site says Bordes winner as Shorebirds topped Lake County

Aberdeen Ironbirds Official Site says Kantakevich winner as Ironbirds topped Tri-City

Bluefield Orioles Official Site says Mechaw winner as Orioles topped Burlington

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Shorebirds’ Ronnie Welty, Joe Mahoney hit back to back homers in win over Captains

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Shorebirds’ Welty honored by South Atlantic League

Laurel Leader’s David Driver says new Keys pitcher Brett Jacobson has found adjustment from Tigers organization ‘difficult’

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Keys’ Caleb Joseph out of ‘nightmare’ 0-28 slump

Washington Times’ Jay LeBlanc says Arrieta, Britton, Erbe organization’s top prospects

Virginian-Pilot says Tides, Charlotte rained out last night; to play doubleheader today

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Rolle will spend first 6 weeks of season on PUP list

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ray Lewis practiced after elbow scare in Carolina; LB Ellerbe, DT Gregg, OL Chester, OT Rodgers all returned to practice

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says despite miss vs. Panthers, Harbaugh still gives Hauschka ‘edge’ in kicking competition

Falcons Official Site’s John Manasso says RB Jerious Norwood ‘most likely’ won’t play Thursday, S William Moore definitely won’t

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Brendon Ayanbadejo excels not only on football field, but also in other areas of life

The Sun’s Edward Lee and Jamison Hensley say Suggs returned to practice Monday

The Sun’s Mike Preston says organization hoping Heap can return to previous form

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Kelly Gregg returned to practice yesterday, ‘intends’ to play vs. Falcons

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Chris Carr, Oniel Cousins also did not practice

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Harbaugh not particularly hopeful about Mark Clayton playing Thursday night

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Rolle told Ozzie Newsome he intended to play this season

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says QB Drew Willy, WR’s Bradon Godfrey, Biren Ealy Ravens’ first cuts

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Billick’s book not about Ravens

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Heap again looking like ‘playmaker’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson reports Harbaugh said Rolle won’t play if playing presents ‘any risk at all’

The AP says teammate, friend Derrick Mason thinks ‘Samari just wants to play’

Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Orlando Ledbetter says Falcons coach Mike Smith confirms reserves will play majority of Ravens game

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Suggs could use work Thursday night

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s open in Berkeley

The Official Site offers complete Terrapins/Golden Bears release (pdf)

Cal Official Site previews Saturday’s opener vs. Maryland

Cal Official Site offers complete Bears/Terps release (pdf)

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph thinks ‘ignorance is bliss’ when it comes to young players

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says young O-Linemen Gonnella, Pinegar have each played before

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Maryland commit Devin Burns opened ’09 season with big game

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Adrian Cannon became different player after making big TD catch in Humanitarian Bowl

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says O-Line, TE, Kicker likely Terps’ ‘biggest concerns’

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Don Brown’s defense made more than 50 picks in camp

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Ralph holds responsibility of program ‘CEO’

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Phil Costa, Chris Turner, Nolan Carroll, Adrian Moten ‘sworn in’ as team captains

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terps may wait until gametime to pick kicker between Mike Barbour, Nick Ferrara

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says players happy to be big underdogs against Pac 10 foe

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terrell Skinner knows Adrian Cannon ‘great player’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps won only previous meeting with Cal (last year)

San Francisco Chronicle’s Ron Kroichick says Cal returns 8 starters from ’08 team

Oakland Tribune’s Jonathan Okanes says RB Jahvid Best beginning Heisman Trophy campaign Saturday night

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says O-Line ‘most unsettled’ position for Terps

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Bishop McNamara WR prospect Brandon Coleman has other schools higher on list than Maryland (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says DL Ivey drawing comparisons to former Terp Randy Starks (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Isaiah Miles and John Crowder amongst Baltimore recruits Terps pursuing (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS BASEBALL:

Washington Times’ Ben Goessling says former Terp Justin Maxwell may be getting last shot with Nationals

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s opener at Ohio State

The Official Site offers complete Buckeyes/Midshipmen release (pdf)

Ohio State Official Site previews Saturday’s opener vs. Navy

Ohio State Official Site offers complete Bucks/Mids release

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Ohio State, Wake Forest, Pitt, Notre Dame make Mids’ schedule ‘most challenging’ Niumatalolo has seen

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says kickers Jon Teague, Joe Buckley will both travel to Columbus with Mids

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says center DeMell to make college debut Saturday at Ohio Stadium

Columbus Dispatch’s Rob Oller says Navy seniors dealing with futures beyond football this week

Scout.com names Pospisil, Tuani, Middleton, Blake Carter to all-service academy defensive team

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s opener at Northwestern

The Official Site offers complete Tigers/Wildcats release (pdf)

Northwestern Official Site previews Saturday’s opener vs. Tigers

Northwestern Official Site offers complete Wildcats/Tigers release (pdf)

HOPKINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site offers complete preview of 2009 Blue Jays

HORSE RACING:

Daily Racing Form’s David Grening says Borel to mount Derby winner Mine That Bird again in Goodwood Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic

Daily Racing Form’s David Grening says Belmont, Travers winner Summer Bird in good position to win 3 year old Championship

Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch says Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra put in final breeze at Saratoga before Saturday’s Woodward Stakes

Thoroughbred Times’ Ed DeRosa says trainer Woolley likes Borel because rider ‘knows’ Kentucky Derby winner

Thoroughbred Times’ Phil Janack says trainer Steve Asmussen says Rachel Alexandra ‘happy, loose’ in workout

CRYSTAL PALACE USA:

Examiner Jeff Hemelt says Brian Rowland, Val Teixeira, Paul Robson Palace players most honored by USL-2 this season

BALTIMORE COLTS:

The Sun’s Mike Klingaman ‘catches up with’ former Colt Bob Vogel

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Gotta get to Owings Mills today. Add your own analysis.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

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