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Trip to Arizona Reminds Me 2011 Orioles Just Need to Win

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Trip to Arizona Reminds Me 2011 Orioles Just Need to Win

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

When Nestor Aparicio told me Wednesday would be the day I would scribe my Baltimore Orioles preview piece, I chuckled a bit. I’m sure he had no idea of the symbolism involved.

If you listen to “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST (and you certainly should), you probably know that Wednesday marks the first time I’ve taken a vacation since returning to the Charm City airwaves in 2008.

I’m headed to Phoenix, which is where I lived and worked for two years after leaving CBS Radio here in Baltimore.

Just before departing CBS for the Valley of the Sun, I heard that Nasty was organizing an event called “Free The Birds”. I will admit now that upon hearing of the event, my thoughts (in my head and on-air) were along the lines of “what a blowhard.”

It wasn’t until I got to Arizona that I truly understood what Nestor was doing.

My only full season of MLB coverage in Arizona came in 2007. I was there for the end of the 2006 season and half of the 2008 season-but ’07 was my only full year of covering baseball-specifically the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It you’ll remember, 2007 was the year the D-Backs went on an improbable run to the NL West crown and a trip to the NLCS (where they would ultimately be dismissed by the Colorado Rockies).

The 2007 Diamondbacks were a special group. They were a young team (CF Chris Young, RF Justin Upton, SS Stephen Drew, 1B Conor Jackson and 3B Mark Reynolds were all at the beginning of their careers) with a few “journeymen” type veterans (1B Tony Clark, 2B Orlando Hudson and LF Eric Byrnes) sprinkled in.

Their pitching staff (led by stars Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson) was clearly what carried them to October, but even that group included some journeymen, as Doug Davis and Livan Hernandez held down rotation spots.

They were a fun team that found success from Opening Day until the postseason, and it made the entire summer in Phoenix sort of magical.

Every game in every series at Chase Field (and away from Chase Field) mattered. Every game had a story line. Every game had underlying drama.

Every game was discussed by sports fans the next day on radio, around water coolers and on social media accounts (MySpace was the most popular at the time) throughout the state.

chasefield

As someone who wasn’t from Phoenix (and who actually went to Chase Field for three games in June looking like the above and below pictures), I had no emotional ties to the D-Backs. Yet as the season continued, I found myself more and more emotionally invested as the city where I resided came down with a case of Diamondbacks fever.

os

I even found myself in a public fight with Diamondbacks President/CEO Derrick Hall before NLDS Game 1 against the Chicago Cubs-arguing with him that the team shouldn’t play “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th Inning Stretch because it would give too much encouragement to the Cubs fans in attendance.

I REALLY didn’t care in my heart whether or not the Diamondbacks won the series. My team (the O’s) had just polished off their 10th consecutive losing season. Yet for some reason, the magic of the Diamondbacks’ accomplishment had touched even a dyed-in-the-wool Birds fan like myself.

It was then…in October of 2007…that I finally understood what Nestor (and company) were trying to say.

I hadn’t experienced that type of feeling as an Orioles fan in a decade.

I haven’t experienced it since then of course either.

The last time a meaningful game was played in Baltimore was in October of 1997, when Tony Fernandez crushed both Armando Benitez and the dreams of every 14 year old kid at Perry Hall High School like myself.

I at least got to see a meaningful game as a high school freshman. We’re now approaching a time where area kids will enter high school having not been alive for a single meaningful baseball game.

It’s real.

After seeing the Diamondbacks’ magical run and the way even a transient city like Phoenix was carried away by a season of baseball-I knew that “Free The Birds” was about the desire to finally see the city of Baltimore again experience the same thing.

And we all know just how much the city of Baltimore really needs to experience something like that.

That brings us to the 2011 Baltimore Orioles.

What’s happened with this franchise since 1997 isn’t the fault of President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail, Manager Buck Showalter, DH Vladimir Guerrero or any other player, coach or front office member…with one glaring exception-but we’ll leave Peter Angelos alone this time.

Just because the past 13 seasons aren’t the fault of the overwhelming majority of the principles involved in 2011 season doesn’t mean that the issues surrounding the past 13 seasons can suddenly be ignored.

Whether they like it or not, the 2011 Baltimore Orioles carry the burden of the failures of recent teams.

Just as the 2010 Baltimore Orioles did…and the 2009 Baltimore Orioles did…and the 2012 Baltimore Orioles will if this team doesn’t succeed.

The team (and most notably CF Adam Jones, who recently made some colorful comments to the Baltimore Sun) will be reminded of that when they report to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday, April 22nd to open a six game homestand against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

It will be a somewhat painful reminder that what happened between 1998-2010 is still very much an issue to fans in Baltimore today.

The 2011 Baltimore Orioles will have to accept the desperation of a fanbase deprived of a winner for 13 cities every time they step on a baseball diamond.

We’ll find out over the next six months whether or not they can handle the responsibility.

The early returns have been questionable. Jones has popped off about the fanbase, Showalter took time in an interview to worry about the money Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is spending and how Yankees SS Derek Jeter stands at the plate.

The Orioles (and Orioles fans) cannot afford to waste their time this season worrying about anything other than winning baseball games.

They’re fighting a battle that won’t be easy. While most pundits agree this team is better than they have been in recent years-few believe they will be better than the Yankees, Red Sox or even the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. Few believe that meaningful games will return to OPACY after the All-Star Game this season.

The Orioles will look to do their best to prove those pundits wrong, and it won’t be easy.

In the meantime, they’ll have to try to win back an entire city. There will always be a group of hardcore fans that will support a team emotionally and economically no matter what the results are-but this team will look to re-establish a broader level of support beyond that group.

To do so-the only thing they can concern themselves with is winning.

In fact, the Orioles would be wise to channel Al Davis and consider a “Just Win, Baby” mentality for 2011.

If they do so-Jones won’t have to worry about who is in the stands when the Yanks come back to town this August. Showalter won’t have to worry about how much money any other team in Major League Baseball spends.

The 2011 Baltimore Orioles just need to worry about winning.

Nothing else.

If they can win even enough to have their name on the Wild Card race list when the Yanks visit this August-the feeling at those games will be even more special than what I experienced at playoff games in Phoenix in 2007.

-G

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Is Vlad simply Sammy Sosa version 2.0 for Orioles?

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Is Vlad simply Sammy Sosa version 2.0 for Orioles?

Posted on 04 February 2011 by Luke Jones

It may have come seven years too late, but the Orioles finally persuaded Vlad the Impaler to bring his free-swinging talents to Baltimore.

And before you shout charges of negativity and raining on a feel-good parade — fans in this town deserve a celebration as much as any city in baseball after 13 years of hell — I’ll admit to sharing enthusiastic visions of Vladimir Guerrero raking baseballs into the left field seats at Camden Yards.

Guerrero brings an imposing presence to the heart of the lineup and should — along with veteran first baseman Derrek Lee — offer the legitimate protection that Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters, and Adam Jones painfully lacked a season ago. He should make the team better in 2011, though how much is up for debate.

My hesitation isn’t even about the $8 million price tag that so many statheads will whine about with accusations of the Orioles bidding against themselves and blocking Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie for the possible luxury of another two wins (in terms of WAR or “wins above replacement” for the sabermetrically-challenged). The reality is sabermetrics and responsible spending habits don’t exist in a vacuum when you’re playing the free-agent market and no player worth his salt wants to play for you without significant, extra dollars coming his way.

Sure, the Orioles overpaid for a veteran slugger who can no longer play the outfield, forcing Luke Scott to move from designated hitter to left field and weakening the club’s defense. But I’ll credit Andy MacPhail for upping the ante and getting his man, even if it looks like he may have been bidding against himself — we may never know for sure.

Even if the Orioles did spend to sign a hitter for four times the amount Tampa Bay gave Manny Ramirez last week, it’s not the type of decision that will hamper an organization that supposedly had the money to make multi-year offers to Mark Teixeira and Victor Martinez in recent offseasons. It’s not like that money has been shrewdly invested in other outlets, such as upgrading international scouting or spending more on amateur draft picks (two other areas the Orioles continue to neglect if they want to compete long-term in the American League East).

It’s a fair question to ask why the club wouldn’t overpay a younger and more productive option at the DH spot — 31-year-old Adam Dunn, for example — who actually would have helped the club now and when it’s hopefully ready to compete over the next few years. Instead, the Orioles made a token offer of four years, $40 million to Dunn and ultimately went the cheaper route by paying Guerrero.

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

With only days remaining until the start of spring training, this is a solid decision by the Orioles that will spark some interest and hopefully bring more fans to the ballpark for Guerrero T-shirt night and maybe even a bobblehead giveaway later in the season if Guerrero puts together a similar first half to what he did in Texas last season.

Who isn’t ready to see Vlad crush a ball at his ankles off the foul pole for a three-run shot against the Yankees?

So then, why do I keep envisioning Sammy Sosa sprinting to right field in an Orioles uniform in 2005?

Perhaps I’m jaded after seeing this charade of false hope too many times, but is this just the latest veteran signing that will create some buzz but lack the reward to really make the team that much better?

It was six years ago Friday when the Orioles introduced Sosa to the Baltimore media after sending Jerry Hairston, Mike Fontenot, and Dave Crouthers to the Cubs in a trade. The Orioles were capitalizing on a barren market for a 36-year-old slugger coming off a poor second half (hitting just .233) despite hitting 35 home runs in 2004.

They hoped for a renaissance, or at least one more productive season, from one of the generation’s finest hitters.

As pessimistic as it may be, you have to admit it sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?

Guerrero won’t bring the same baggage as the diva-like Sosa and has no desire for the limelight considering he doesn’t even speak English after all these years in big league baseball. He is simply a baseball player, and that’s all he’s ever wanted to be. However, it’s hard to overlook a 2010 second half in which his batting average dropped 41 points (from a .319 first half to .278) and his home run total declined from 20 in the first half to just nine over the season’s final 81 games. His 2010 postseason is even more concerning as Guerrero batted just .220 and failed to hit a single home run for the Rangers in 59 at-bats.

Anyone’s entitled to a bad few months, but when you’re 35 and already coming off a poor season in 2009, the whispers of being washed up become a little louder with every misstep. Let’s face it, if talent evaluators thought Guerrero was anywhere close to the player he used to be, he wouldn’t be unemployed and accepting an offer from the Orioles in early February.

Again, the Orioles should be applauded for spending a little more to close the deal and bring a high-profile player to the Baltimore lineup. Maybe Guerrero will find his fountain of youth and provide the protection for the team’s key young players to take a step toward stardom while the Orioles move toward respectability in 2011.

It’s the same bet the organization was making six years ago when they introduced Slammin’ Sammy as Orioles fans pictured the Sosa Hop over and over in their minds.

I’m all for it.

Let’s just hope it works out a little better this time.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 17 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because it’s time to name a couple “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” The NEW TGSOATTW honoree is from Zac Brown Band’s new CD “You Get What You Give”, which I can already tell you will be on my short list of nominees for Album of the Year this year. I love the tune “Keep Me In Mind.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFI8Sn-IoSI[/youtube]

The retro version stems from my trip to Atlanta last week, as I was reminded of the greatness of music from A-Town. Let’s not forget that this was the town that gave us the Black Crowes, Little Feat, Ludacris, Usher, Cee Lo Green, Sevendust and of course the AMAZING Outkast; who combine with Erykah Badu for “Humble Mumble”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LSDDDYvd-Cs[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. CSNBaltimore.com says Ravens’ Week 12 game with Tampa Bay Buccaneers at M&T Bank Stadium flexed to 4:15pm

LOVE this. Maryland plays NC State the night before, and I’m hoping it will be a relevant game that gets moved back to 8pm. If it does, I can use the extra sleep. 4:15pm is a PERFECT game time.

You would think that the game against the New Orleans Saints on December 19 would be a prime candidate to be flexed as well. The games at the Cleveland Browns and against the Cincinnati Bengals to end the season probably aren’t the type of premiere battles to warrant national television, but if there’s a lot on the line that could certainly change.

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Joe Flacco in Top 10 in NFL in big passing plays

“TAKE THE HANDCUFFS OFF!!!”

Some of the numbers on these 25+ yard passes might be a bit skewed by short passes that ended up going a great distance, but I think this is a legitimate statistic.

I’ve laughed at the “time to open up the offense” comments that some fans have directed to Cam Cameron in the past, but I will admit that the Ravens don’t have the personnel necessary to TRULY be the type of dynamic offense some folks want to see.

Hopefully Donte’ Stallworth can continue to progress health-wise and his speed will add something to the offense. That being said, the Ravens are STILL missing the 6’4″-6’5″ type WR to haul in jump balls downfield. I know there’s the whole NFL Draft process, but could they just petition to pick up Georgia WR AJ Green for the rest of the season?

3. ESPN.com drops Ravens to 4th in power rankings

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-We’ll be out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today as the Ravens return to the practice field. We’re expecting to hear from Head Coach John Harbaugh, LB Ray Lewis, Flacco and others following this morning’s walkthrough. Make sure you’re tuned in to AM1570 WNST throughout the day, following @WNST on Twitter and checking WNST.net for updates!

-The Carolina Panthers made a roster move Tuesday, signing veteran QB Brian St. Pierre from their practice squad. With starter Jimmy Clausen expected to miss Sunday’s battle in Charlotte, St. Pierre would back up rookie Tony Pike. Armanti Edwards is also on the roster, but the Panthers have been in the process of moving him to WR.

4. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Orioles have ‘already been in contact’ with free agent Adam Dunn

Is this thing on?

ATTENTION ANDY MACPHAIL: PLEASE FINISH THE JOB!

It is NOT enough to simply talk to free agents like Adam Dunn. Adam Dunn would be an almost PERFECT piece to add to the Birds’ lineup, but he has to agree to come to Charm City.

That’s the hard part.

That being said, Dunn’s been in the area and has played for a wretched franchise with few signs of hope. The American League might help his numbers, and while the Orioles might not want him to play first base-they also don’t have anyone blocking him from the position.

There’s no reason why the Orioles COULDN’T get Adam Dunn. Especially with all of that money they have their regional cable network.

Right?

RIGHT?

5. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says former O’s prospect Scott Moore re-signed with Chicago Cubs

He will be missed.

To warm your hearts with Scott Moore gone, I figured I’d pass along this picture of Candice Boucher. (Thanks Brosome!)

boucher

6. UMTerps.com says Gary Williams announced Tuesday that Sterling Gibbs, Nick Faust officially signed LOI

While we knew both players had already committed to coming to College Park, but it’s always hard to feel TOO confident until that LOI is signed.

Maryland supporters can certainly breathe now.

They both SHOULD be good players at the college level, but clearly there is no guarantee. That being said, it is simply nice to see well thought of players headed to the University of Maryland.

Of course, we thought the same thing when McDonald’s All-American Mike Jones debuted at Comcast Center…

7. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland center Jordan Williams named to Naismith Award watch list

While I doubt that Jordan Williams will be on the list at the END of the season, it is VERY nice to see his name on these lists (he’s also on the Wooden Award watch list) to start the season.

I did happen to think there was one notable name left off the watch list. Renata Kuerten. I believe there’s no relation to Gustavo. I know I’LL be watching. (Thanks Guyism!)

kuerten

8. The AP says Rashawn Polk scored 29 points to lead Towson past Coppin State at Towson Center

And a nice debut from former Calvert Hall and Maryland big man Braxton Dupree, who tallied six points and 14 rebounds in his Tigers debut.

More local college hoops action tonight, as UMBC visits Loyola at Reitz Arena. Tip-off is at 7pm, you can see the game live on MASN.

And in women’s action last night, Maryland fell to Georgetown 53-45. I thought Brenda Frese was supposed to have a high-powered group this season?!?!?

9. Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terrapins trying to avenge ’08 loss to Florida State at Byrd Stadium Saturday

Did you miss Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher Wednesday with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net today to check it out! Other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Solomon Wilcots (CBS Color Analyst)-who previewed Ravens-Panthers with Drew Wednesday
  • Todd Bozeman (Morgan State Hoops Coach)-who talked about the start of the Bears’ season with Drew Wednesday
  • Anthony Burgos (Franklin High School Football Coach)-who previewed Friday night’s showdown with North Harford (they’re doing God’s work) with Drew Wednesday
  • Steve Roberts (Arkansas State Football Coach)-who previewed the Red Wolves’ showdown with Navy Saturday in Annapolis with Thyrl Nelson Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”
  • Wes Shivers (Strikeforce fighter)-who joined Thyrl Tuesday on “The MMA Report”
  • Jamey Eisenberg (CBSSports.com)-who talked Fantasy Football with Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive”

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so I’ve planned your day for you. You can thank me later.

10. People Magazine says Michael Phelps dating reality TV star Brittny Gastineau

You’re thinking to yourself: “You didn’t really just post this to put up a picture of Brittny Gastineau in her underpants, did you?”

You already know the answer.

gastineau

And finally, I leave you with this.

Complex.com named this Trinity College miracle the greatest trick play in football history. It WAS pretty awesome, but does it top the hook and lateral from Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl? I don’t know…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfKL3EUj7vA[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 14 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because for the first time ever, I’m going to name CO “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week”.

And in one of those historic moments-I’m going to name both a hip-hop and a country song.

(Edit from GMC: Insert your own joke here about “that just means you’re replacing your six pack with a 40 in your pickup truck” or something like that. But be sensitive in the process. We’re always appropriate here.)

First, I will admit that my love for Hootie & The Blowfish might make me jaded, but Darius Rucker is ABSOLUTELY one of the greatest things to have ever happened to country music. This is “Come Back Song”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eIVtvgc8BPw[/youtube]

On the flip side, a lot of folks have said a lot of things about Kanye West in recent years. Not among them would be that his new single “Power” isn’t really freaking good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96tTu9-aW9k[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. MLB.com’s Doug Miller says Wigginton played, didn’t hit in American League’s All-Star Game loss

I legitimately watched MAYBE six outs of the ASG last night. I was watching “Wipeout” on ABC, then flipped over to see Ubaldo Jimenez get a double play to get out of the 2nd; and I tapped out to go see “Despicable Me.”

So…my thoughts on “Despicable Me” are that it was GOOD…but your kids will enjoy it more than you will.

Thoughts on the All-Star Game? It happened. Brian McCann may have helped himself, as the Atlanta Braves have at least a chance to reach the World Series. As far as Ty Wigginton is concerned, he’ll always be able to tell folks he was a Major League Baseball All-Star.

So was Robert Fick. So was Ron Coomer. So was Steve Trachsel.

That’s all I’ve got for you.

2. Wall Street Journal says Peter Angelos believes George Steinbrenner ‘as synonymous’ as any great Yankees player

Kudos to “GNicks1024″ on Twitter (you can follow US @WNST) for the response of the day to Angelos’ statement:

Steinbrenner on Angelos “his name is as synonymous with losing as anyone to ever put on…well anything”

I think there’s a relevant discussion about the reaction to George Steinbrenner’s death in comparison to what the reaction would have been had the news been yesterday that Peter had passed away.

Not that I think that Peter will necessarily see the moment as a sort of “A Christmas Carol” situation and will suddenly wake up and decide that he needs to be a better person/baseball owner. But I guess there’s at least a hope that maybe “Ebenezer Scrooge” Angelos will see that just because your legacy looks bad right now, it doesn’t mean there’s no hope for you to be remembered in a different way at the end of your life.

Maybe.

He’ll have a long way to go to be remembered positively here in Charm City.

3. The Daily Record’s Liz Farmer says Birds ranked 20th of 30 MLB teams in Harris Interactive popularity poll

The real question is “how embarrassing must it be for the 10 teams that are somehow LESS POPULAR THAN THE O’S?”

I also thought it was a bit awkward when the teams MORE popular than the Orioles included…

redsox
generals
beerfest

4. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Mike Gonzalez gave up run, 2 hits; Mike Flacco drove in game winner for Aberdeen Ironbirds on farm

Well, we had hoped to catch up with Mike Gonzalez this morning, but we missed him. Hopefully he’ll hook up with Thyrl Nelson later today.

Guests who DID appear on “The Morning Reaction” today with Drew Forrester included John Feinstein (Washington Post), who previewed the U.S. Open and also discussed LeBron James and George Steinbrenner with Drew. Check him out at FeinsteinOnTheBrink.com and pick up his new book “Moment of Glory.” Former Oriole Ken Singleton-now a Yanks TV analyst for the YES Network also joined Drew to remember “The Boss.” Those interviews can be heard in the Audio Vault as well.

And before we move on from the Birds, I want to address Roch Kubatko’s note that the Orioles are interested in Mark Prior…

“TO DO WHAT?!?!?!? CERTAINLY NOT TO PITCH, RIGHT?!?!?!?”

Andy MacPhail’s undying fascination of players he was involved with in the Chicago Cubs organization has AT BEST been unhelpful for the organization; and has arguably HURT the organization. This….this is absolutely INSANE.

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens introduce new Training Camp autograph policy

The policy basically states that autographs are only available for children 14 and younger, and that players will only sign autographs after the morning sessions during Camp; none after the afternoon sessions. In fairness, the team had no REGULAR autograph signing sessions in the afternoon; but players would often wander over to the crowd in the past following the PM sessions.

Here’s what REALLY matters to me. If Nina Senicar were to show up at Training Camp, can I still get an autograph from her??? (Thanks Guyism!)

senicar

6. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says new autograph policy in Westminster might send ‘wrong message’

And it might.

The reality is that there’s nothing wrong with a group of incoming seniors at Eastern Tech wanting to come over and grab autographs from Terrence Cody and Joe Flacco. In fact, that demand is EXACTLY what the organization should want.

Clearly there has been trouble with adults trying to bullrush kids for the chance to breathe near Sam Koch or Edgar Jones. I understand the organization’s need to address that. But there is a risk that if a group of high school or college students that WOULD have come out to Camp chooses NOT to come to Camp because they feel like they aren’t welcome to get autographs.

I’ve always thought that setting up some sort of “picture booth” would probably be the right way to do this. What’s popular with young people now is getting a “picture” with a pro athlete or celebrity-mostly so they can post it on Facebook. Hell, even I have an old picture with Ray Lewis somewhere amongst my Facebook pics. The difference is, there’s no real value in a “picture” to anyone besides the person who is IN the picture-so the unreal demand to get multiple signatures on multiple pieces of memorabilia.

It gets rid of the folks who are pushing to get autographs so they can sell them on eBay. It gets rid of the folks who want 10-15 things signed.

It still allows adults to get face time with the pro athletes they love. In fact, the Ravens could even handle all of it in-house with a photographer, and post the pictures at their official website; which helps their brand even more moving forward.

Ravens VP Kevin Byrne joined Drew this morning to explain the policy-if you missed it, make sure you hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to check it out.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says rookies Ed Dickson, Arthur Jones officially signed deals

Also yesterday, the Marc Bulger deal was officially signed-so it was good news all around in Owings Mills!

It was even better news, Dania Ramirez is on the cover of August’s Maxim. Wait, that’s not news? News to me…

dania

8. Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager thinks Walt Harris will win battle for #2 CB job at McDaniel College

Okay…with no offense to Peter Schrager, I think he’s missing something here.

1-The actual “competition” will be between Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington if both are healthy.

2-If they’re not; Harris, Chris Carr and Travis Fisher would all be in the mix.

3-Assuming a 36 year old corner who didn’t play at all last season can beat out much of anyone is probably not the safest of bets at this point.

If he’s healthy, the easy assumption is that Lardarius Webb will be the guy. If not, I’d rank the group:

Fabian Washington
Chris Carr
Walt Harris
Travis Fisher
Cary Williams
Prince Miller

9. The Sun’s Erica L. Green says Michael Phelps to give free swim lessons to Baltimore City summer school students this afternoon

This is a very good thing. I’ve said ever since he dominated the 2008 Olympics in Beijing that Phelps had some level of responsibility to return to Baltimore and be visible and involved in the community.

I know he’s been visible at Ravens games; and his Foundation has done some things for the community. But I haven’t been OVERLY impressed with his dedication (or his team’s dedication) to making that a priority.

You know what I HAVE been overly impressed with? Jenna Pietersen (Thanks Uncoached/Busted Coverage!)

jenna

10. Inside Lacrosse’s John Jiloty says Iroquois Nation will try to travel to FIL World Championships in Manchester, England one more time this afternoon

This story is crazy if you haven’t been following it. The Iroquois Nation plays in the World Championships every 4 years, but there is a passport issue this year that is preventing them from being able to fly into the United Kingdom. They don’t want to have to get U.S. passports because they have laws that protect them as a sovereign nation.

It’s unreal.

Speaking of unreal, how does GEICO keep making awesome commercials? The Randy Johnson snowball commercial is a CLASSIC…

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

And finally, I leave you with this.

Apparently this is some sort of riveting video of Terrell Owens getting dunked on at Rucker Park in Harlem that a lot of folks are worked up about. I’m clearly not the target audience for this video. (Thanks With Leather!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVGaJam4J80[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Mailbag: Thursday the 8th of LeBron

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Mailbag: Thursday the 8th of LeBron

Posted on 08 July 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

There’s been some mail, and a few on air discussions cut short that I’ve been meaning to catch up on. And since some of it at least is timely, there’s no time like the present, so here goes, the first edition of Thyrl’s Mail Bag. And if you have a question, comment or idea, send it to me at thyrl@wnst.net.  

 

With all of the NBA’s free agent buzz, a caller off air asked who the highest paid NBA players were in 2009-10.

 

It’s an interesting list, and leads you to wonder where some of the teams spending big might find themselves on the tail ends of these monster contracts, especially with a new collective bargaining agreement on the near horizon too.

 

Here’s the top 10, from hoopshype.com for 2009-10:

1. Kobe Bryant $24.8 mil

2. Rashard Lewis $20.5 mil

3. Kevin Garnett $18.8 mil

4. Tim Duncan $18.7 mil

5. Michael Redd $18.3 mil

6. Pau Gasol $17.8 mil

7. Andrei Kiralenko $17.8 mil

8. Yao Ming $17.6 mil

9. Gilbert Arenas $17.7 mil

10. Vince Carter $17.3 mil

 

For all of the grief baseball gets, there top 10 looks much better. Here are the MLB rankings from CBSSports.com for 2010:

1. Alex Rodriguez $33 mil

2. CC Sabathia $24.2 mil

3. Derek Jeter $22.6 mil

4. Mark Teixeira $20.6 mil

5. Johan Santana $20.1 mil

6. Miguel Cabrera $20 mil

7. Carlos Beltran $19.4 mil

8. Ryan Howard, Carlos Lee & Alfonso Soriano $19 mil

 

And USA Today’s top 10 NFL salaries for 2009:

1. Philip Rivers $25.5 mil

2. Jay Cutler $22 mil

3. Eli Manning $20.5 mil

4. Kurt Warner $19 mil

5. Kelvin Hayden $17.4 mil

6. Matt Schaub $17 mil

7. Julius Peppers $16.6 mil

8. Chris Long $16.5 mil

9. Greg Jennings $16.2 mil

10. Antonio Smith $15.5 mil

 

Jeff, who didn’t identify where he was from wanted to know who has the biggest potential among this year’s crop of free agents to be a bust?

 

For the money Jeff, Chris Bosh seems a bit too willing to concede the driver’s seat to another superstar. Although he’s a willing second fiddle, he doesn’t seem to be a willing #5 in the NBA, and therefore probably lacks the toughness a superstar would need in the paint. If winning the Eastern Conference means solving Dwight Howard, I like A’mare Stoudamire’s chances much better than the pick and pop game of Bosh. But the even easier answer is Darko, again.

 

Kevin in Fallston heard me say – in a moment of weakness perhaps – that the O’s might be close, and wants to know exactly how close.

 

Kevin, I’d say not quite as close as the ’06 Rays or even the ’03 Tigers, but still much closer than the ’46 Cubs. Or so I hope.

 

And Adrian in Essex wants to know what I expect LeBron will announce tomorrow at “The Decision”.

 

The Knicks fan in me wants him to go to New York, the closet Nets fan growing inside of me wants New Jersey, my humanitarian side wants him to stay in Cleveland, but more than anything, I want to see it drug out a little further. I’m hoping to see LeBron at a table, flanked by World Wide Wes on one side, Simon Cowell on the other, and a parade of teams auditioning to win the judges and America over. After that we’ll have a nationwide vote, and Shaq can emcee the results show. I’m almost afraid to see it all end, so are a lot of teams, I’ll bet.

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 07 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because the Netherlands beat Uruguay and advanced to Sunday’s World Cup Final. This means Rafael Van Der Vaart gets to play another significant game in South Africa.

Why is that good news? Well…apparently you don’t know that Rafael Van Der Vaart is married to Sylvie Van Der Vaart…

vandervaart

Like I said, this is good news.

Of course, had Uruguay won-we would have been talking more about Diego Forlan-WAG Zaira Nara, and there wouldn’t have been anything bad about that either…

zairanara

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP says Johnny Damon crushed walk-off homer to lift Tigers past Orioles in Detroit

Look, let’s go ahead and get this out of the way. I WAS named “Apologist of the Morning” by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. I said it last night on Twitter (follow us @WNST), and I’ll stick by it…

Here’s where I’ll be fair. Sometimes the other team tries too.”

I should have prefaced that. I should have said that if the Orioles were a good team, they’d earn the benefit of the doubt that sometimes the other team tries too.

I didn’t feel as though the Orioles didn’t try last night, or as if anything in particular was a glaring reason for why they LOST the game. I really DID feel as though the Tigers were just much better.

Of course, I should be fair. They AREN’T any good. This is what happens when you aren’t any good. Even when you play well (Jake Arrieta pitched well, the Orioles added runs in the 8th and 9th inning, etc), the teams you play against can figure out ways to beat you.

Maybe another Tweet I sent out last night was more fitting for this team…

“Well, the Orioles managed to find a way to lose again. Just like a season long kick in the nuts…

It really is.

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

Matt Wieters had both a double and a triple in last night’s game. Rumor has it that afterwards he IMMEDIATELY needed an IV.

Credit Arrieta for pitching well…6 and 1/3 innings, 1 earned run, 7 hits, 4 strikeouts, 2 walks. Hopefully he won’t give up hope. I’m not exactly sure how he couldn’t, but I hope he won’t.

You know what, you REALLY don’t want to look at the numbers. Instead, look at this video that SecretSauce.TV put together called “Twilight for Guys.”

(Editor’s Note: Warning. This video involves girls in their underwear making out with each other. Or in other words, don’t watch mom.)

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

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Felix Pie activated, Kevin Millwood sent to DL

And Felix Pie had two hits last night. Although he couldn’t move Matt Wieters (trust me, I think it was terrible baserunning from Wieters too) to 3rd base-or score him-in a key situation; but I’ll leave that alone.

By the way, he didn’t win AOTM-but I wanted to address something Peter Schmuck wrote. Schmuck wrote…

“For his trouble, he waited 21/2 months for enough offensive support to earn his first victory of the year and now appears to be wilting under the weight of this discouraging season.

How else could you explain his performance Monday in Detroit, where he lasted just one inning, threw 45 pitches and allowed five runs? It was the third-shortest outing of his 14-year career and the sixth time in his past eight starts that he gave up at least five runs.

I understand that Millwood did a decent job to start the season, but are we really surprised that he’s struggling???

Kevin Millwood is a solid MLB pitcher who was poorly cast by Andy MacPhail as a front of the rotation starter on a bad team. He’s a good pitcher, but he’s a good pitcher who should be the 3rd or 4th starter on a good team.

He’s a pitcher who was 48-46 over his last 4 seasons (all with the Texas Rangers) before being traded to Baltimore. He averaged a 4.67 ERA over those 4 seasons as well.

He was GOING TO STRUGGLE this season. He isn’t Roy Halladay. He isn’t Felix Hernandez. He isn’t Andy Pettitte! He’s a veteran starter who has been good in his career; but has struggled at times.

It’s frustrating because it almost eliminates his trade value as we approach the July 31 deadline; but it isn’t surprising. It’s what happens when a team acquires “a guy” instead of “the guy.”

We know all too much about that here in Charm City.

4. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Garrett Atkins officially released by Birds

Now here’s the part where we all sit around and think about our memories of Garrett Atkins…

-There was the time he hit his home run
-There was the time he went to London and brought Aldous Snow back to the Greek Theater
-There was the time he blew up that BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico
-There was the time he blew the call on Maurice Edu’s goal in the Team USA-Slovenia match
-There was the time he announced Mary Kane as his running mate in his campaign to replace Martin O’Malley as governor of Maryland

I’m not sure why everyone was down on him, it was a hell of a run.

(Edit from GMC: Apparently only the 1 home run was true amongst the things on that list. I could have sworn…)

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Zach Britton, Ryohei Tanaka struggled for O’s on farm

Before we move on, a couple of things…

-The Birds are back in action tonight as they try to avoid the sweep at Comerica Park. First pitch between Brad Bergesen and Max Scherzer is at 7:05pm on MASN. My guess? The Tigers will finish the sweep. But I always assume the other team will win.

-Did you miss Bowie Baysox pitcher and Orioles prospect Steve Johnson on “The Morning Reaction” this morning on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. We also had ESPN analyst and former Rangers/Cubs/etc OF Doug Glanville (author of the new book “The Game From Where I Stand”) and former Terrapins/Blast star Desmond Armstrong to talk World Cup on the show this morning-make sure you check them out as well.

6. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Ed Reed likely to be out until October

This wouldn’t surprise me necessarily. I know that Ed is wanting to get back on the field; but I wouldn’t exactly be stunned if he missed Training Camp. Should he miss Training Camp, there would be a major question as to whether or not he should be PUP’ed.

There are some simple facts here. 1-While Ken Hamlin and Tom Zbikowski give the Ravens depth at safety, neither are Ed Reed. 2-There are CLEARLY other issues involved in this, with Ed bringing up his contract multiple times during an interview on “The Morning Reaction” last Friday.

I’ll guess that Reed’s situation will be the story we’re most interested in while we’re in Westminster. In fact, I hope it is. A Joe Flacco injury would be a more interesting story. I’m not looking for something like that.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s John Eisenberg says costly moves show Ravens commmitted to making run towards Super Bowl

I would counter with the same thing I’ve said a hundred times before. The moment the Ravens traded for Anquan Boldin, they showed me they were intent on getting to Dallas and hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy. I’m not worked up about the additions of Marc Bulger, Ken Hamlin or Walt Harris. Any NFL team could make those types of moves.

Acquiring Anquan Boldin? That’s a Super Bowl-type move.

By the way, John Eisenberg will join Rex Snider this afternoon on AM1570 WNST at 3:30pm.

8. NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks says Ravens offense now in ‘spotlight’ thanks to offseason moves

This is very similar to what I told Mike Florio in his ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports season preview magazine. There is a shift here. Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and Michael Oher are the nucleus of a unit that should make the Ravens winners for years to come.

They’ve added pieces like Matt Birk and Anquan Boldin to that. They’ve kept pieces like Derrick Mason and Todd Heap with that.

And they’ve done it without sacrificing much of anything defensively.

There’s a reason why they’re considered a “Rolls Royce” of professional organizations.

By the way, I’d like to put something in the “spotlight” myself. Something named Rhian Sugden. (Thanks Guyism!)

rhian

9. Inside Lacrosse’s Sean Burns says former Terps coach Dave Cottle removes name from consideration for Harvard lacrosse job

I said from the jump that I wasn’t sold on this being a good fit for Dave Cottle. He really has no background in the northeast, and having to get kids to an Ivy League school isn’t as easy as the success Princeton has had would make you think it was.

The Penn State job would have been a great gig for Cottle-but the Nittany Lions found their man. Instead, he’s probably better suited sitting it out and seeing what might open up in the next year or two. He’s MUCH better off in the Mid-Atlantic. Had Towson parted ways with Tony Seaman (which they rightly didn’t), that might have been a good fit.

10. UMTerps.com says Comcast Center to host Women’s NCAA Tournament games on Sunday, March 20 & Tuesday, March 22 2011

I’ve attended Women’s Tournament games in College Park, and they do an outstanding job of hosting the event. Hopefully, Brenda Freses’s team won’t be on the outside looking in during March Madness this year.

Question: Is there any chance Laura Leigh Siani could be part of the Tournament??? (Thanks Brosome/Busted Coverage!)

siani

And finally, I leave you with this.

Is it even safe for the Orioles to go to the Ballpark in Arlington this weekend??? Not only are fans falling from the upper deck (I’m not even going to bother re-posting that video), but even fans in the outfield are pinning kids against fences to try to steal cheap souvenirs…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7_C92Q3uIQ[/youtube]

Heat does crazy things to people…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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My Day at Citizens Bank Park

Posted on 20 May 2010 by dansoderberg

Philadelphia, PA – After attending two O’s games in April I decided it was time to see some actual  Major League Baseball action, so I packed up the family and headed to Philly to watch the Phils and the Cubbies.  I’ve always rooted for the Cubs and became a full fledged Cubs fan after taking a trip to Wrigley about 8 years ago, so I went to the game with a rooting interest.

First off, Citizens Bank Park is a very nice ballpark, it’s not quite Camden Yards but it is damn nice.  There is an open concourse all the way around the park so you can see the field from the concession lines and when walking to the restrooms.  I’ve been to Comerica in Detroit and PNC Park in Pittsburgh an they also have an open concourse.  It’s really the one thing those parks have all over Camden Yards, though the concourse at Camden Yards is much wider and easier to maneuver while carrying a 9 month old and a 3 year old, as I was today.

Citizens Bank Park also had a great play area for kids called the Phanatic Phun Zone.  We spent about 20 minutes there before the game letting my 3 year old son stretch his legs after the long car ride.  He had a great time and frankly would have stayed there all day had we let him.  The ballpark also features a Build-a-Bear workshop just in case you want to drop $80 bucks on a stuffed Phanatic, we passed.

Citizens Bank Park also features an area beyond the outfield called “Ashburn Alley”, which is Philly’s version of Eutaw Street.  Ashburn Alley had some  activities for kids, plenty of concessions (including Greg Luzinski’s “Bull’s BBQ) and some interesting exhibits on Phillies history.  The authenticity of the B&O Warehouse, and the fact that it’s the original, give Eutaw Street the edge on Ashburn Alley.

As for the game, the Phils beat the Cubbies 5-4.  The game featured a 3-run bomb from Jimmy Rollins and solo shots from Chase Utley and the Cubs Kosuke Fukudome.  If you’ve never had the chance to see him play, Chase Utley is ridiculously good.  Also, the Cubs 20 year old Shortstop Starlin Castro jut looks like a future star.  He exhibited tremendous range, quick reflexes, hustle on the bases as he beat out a dribbler for a single, and he stroked an RBI single to the opposite field for the Cubs first run.

Going to Citizens Bank Park and seeing the park packed with fans for a Thursday afternoon game really made me miss the spectacle that was Camden Yards in the 90′s.  Unlike Camden, Citizens Bank Park is not in the city center and is basically surrounded by parking lots and access roads.  The area around the park lacks the carnival type atmosphere that used to exist outside of Camden Station.  There are no street vendors or ticket scalpers to speak of; ome people may look at that as a positive but I missed the chatter and the activity.

If you’re looking to see some real Major League Baseball and are tired of waiting for the Orioles to become relevant again I’d strongly suggest making the trek to Philly.  Today the sky’s were blue without a cloud in sight and the temps were in the low to mid 80′s.  It was a great day for baseball, win or lose for the Cubs.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 20 May 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because:

A-It was a thriller in Owings Mills yesterday, and a great lacrosse game is about as good of theater as there is in sport

and…

B-The 2012 Olympics may not have been awarded to Baltimore and Washington; but at least we didn’t come up with a stupid mascot like London did…

london

That might actually make the thing they used in Atlanta in 1996 look like a decent mascot. You remember, the thing that was so weird that they originally named it “Whatzit” before changing the name to “Izzy”…

izzy

What’s wrong with just making a Bear or a Tiger a damn mascot?!?!?

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s Stephen Hawkins says Nelson Cruz’s sac fly in 9th lead Rangers over Orioles

What a freaking mess this was last night…

-Jeremy Guthrie apparently spent after 6 innings (according to Dave Trembley via Rick Kranitz)
-Koji Uehara wiltering in the Texas heat
-SIX relievers in less than 3 innings
-Garrett Atkins being….Garrett Atkins
-Cesar Izturis doing his best Paul Molitor impression
-Josh Hamilton maybe…or maybe not…hitting 2 home runs
-Jim Hunter apologizing, Jim Palmer analyzing
-Dave Trembley getting mad at Palmer and Hunter for not being able to fight with C.B. Bucknor during MASN’s “Wired Wednesday” segment
-Atkins, Miguel Tejada, and Corey Patterson combining to be responsible for leaving 16 men on base
-A two run rally from the Rangers when they couldn’t get the ball out of the infield!
-Will Ohman’s wacky shtick
-Brian Roberts in the hospital?
-A walk-off win to send the crowd in Arlington home…happy?

It was just a WEIRD night at The Ballpark in Arlington. Maybe it’s best that the Birds are only playing two there.

I want to analyze this one, but it’s really hard to do.

Another nice effort from Guthrie, but I’d like some more info on why Kranitz thought he couldn’t go longer than 90 pitches. Was he hurt? Is he laboring? Was the heat really an issue in The Lone Star State?

And the biggest issue of course…WHY DO I EVEN CARE THIS MUCH?!?!?

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

You really don’t want to look at this.

As my buddy Brian Marston from Forest Hill pointed out, the Rangers were somehow actually WORSE than the O’s with RISP-but they still won!

You know, I’m going to do you a favor. Instead of looking at the box score, look at Antone DeJesus making some ridiculous home run-saving catch in the minor leagues…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5-fDeGBXDg[/youtube]

Trust me, that was much better than thinking about last night’s game any more.

3. WNST.net’s Jay Trucker says Brian Roberts hospitalized with pneumonia, Andy MacPhail not concerned

And why would he be???

This sounds awfully similar to the organization’s reaction when the original news about B-Rob’s troubles came down in Spring Training. While Buster Olney was reporting “kidney stones”, the organization was dismissing it as some form of back pain.

There really does appear to be something particularly troubling going on with Brian Roberts. Does it mean he won’t return in June? Not necessarily. But does it mean that we can probably expect it to be an issue in the future? I’m guessing yes.

Is it a bad sign when you read that Brian Roberts has pneumonia and you can’t possibly be surprised?

It really sucks being an Orioles fan.

4. ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins says umps admitted they missed call on what would have been home run for Josh Hamilton in Rangers’ win

As I said last night via Twitter (make sure you follow us @WNST), we’re all in agreement that Josh Hamilton is doing steroids, right? I said it because I wanted to dismiss Jeremy Guthrie giving up a bomb like the one he gave up for Hamilton’s first home run-more or less the 2nd one that ABSOLUTELY should have been a home run.

The real issue is that the replay system is totally screwed up. Dana DeMuth said that Ron Washington didn’t request a replay, but wouldn’t have granted it even if he did. How is that even possible?!?!? Umpires are going to defend each other’s calls, and the replay system should be in place to circumvent a situation like that.

If that’s the system, it needs to be fixed. Of course, had it helped the Orioles win last night-I probably wouldn’t be so miffed about it.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Scott Moore, Chris Tillman had big night for O’s on farm

Before we move on from the Birds, a few things:

-I guess it’s a done deal that Michael Aubrey is coming up for the Nationals series. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Garrett Atkins’ tenure is over in Baltimore, but I would presume it marks the end of his tenure as everyday first baseman. The real question this weekend is what to do with Luke Scott? If Michael Aubrey plays first base, do you move Corey Patterson to center and put Luke Scott in left? Do you bench Patterson and have Adam Jones lead off again? Do you bench Scott-who is in the middle of his annual hot streak?

You can’t possibly call Michael Aubrey up and keep him on the bench with Luke Scott at first, can you???

-Congratulations to Steve Melewski for being named “Apologist of the Morning” today by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester. It was a frustrating morning for me after another loss, but I still can’t fathom writing 400 words and dedicating an entire segment of the pre-game show to a single Matt Wieters throw. It was a throw. It was fast. I’m glad he made it. I’m even happier that he’s leading the American League in caught stealing.

But again, it was a throw. PERSPECTIVE, please.

-If you missed Norfolk Tides 1B Brandon Snyder with Drew today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, make sure you click on the Audio Tab and head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to listen. Snyder is mired in a terrible slump, and just really wanted to talk about it. Also this morning, Drew talked to Trenni Kusnierek from MLB Network, former Cubs/Phillies/Rangers OF and current ESPN analyst Doug Glanville, and Stevenson lacrosse coach Paul Cantabene.

-The O’s wrap their short series with the Rangers tonight in Arlington, Brian Matusz faces Scott Feldman. First pitch on MASN2 is at 8:05pm. Is anyone going out to Nats Park tomorrow night? I’m thinking about making the trip.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Le’Ron McClain wants long term deal

Nothing to be concerned with here. Of COURSE Le’Ron McClain wants a long term deal. Any RFA wants a long term deal. And after reaching the Pro Bowl while getting the majority of carries in 2008, Le’Ron McClain is always going to want more carries.

As long as he doesn’t become a distraction in the process, there’s no reason to be concerned.

If YOU’RE looking for a distraction, I think the picture of Audrina Patridge from the cover of Ralph Magazine that Guyism posted yesterday will do the trick…

audrina

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says WR Justin Harper, CB Cary Williams, S KJ Gerard signed exclusive rights deals

All 3 guys are really long shots to make the roster, but they each bring something different to the team. Justin Harper brings size and leaping ability, but unfortunately he offers little in terms of consistency.

KJ Gerard-the UFA out of Northern Arizona really impressed them in the offseason and Training Camp last year, enough that he was bumped from the practice squad to the active roster after Haruki Nakamura got hurt. But with Nakamura healthy and Ed Reed expected to return, it’s unlikely the Ravens will keep a 5th safety.

Cary Williams also has more size (6’1″) than the rest of the corners on the roster, but lacks experience. If Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington are healthy, it’s unlikely they’ll keep move than 5 corners. It sets up for a battle between Williams and Travis Fisher for the most part.

8. GoMustangSports.com says Richie Ford scored in OT to cap thrilling win over Roanoke in NCAA Tournament quarterfinals

I can’t even begin describe how awesome this game was. The Maroons (what a terrible name) actually got 72 shots in the game, 40 of them on goal! Geoff Hebert played out of his mind for the Stangs, as did Roanoke goalie Jake Dorsey.

I get it-it’s DIII lacrosse. If you can’t get excited for it, I’m not going to talk down to you. But it WAS exciting yesterday. It was THRILLING, frankly. There was a packed house at Caves Athletic Complex (maybe as many people as ventured into Oriole Park at Camden Yards Monday night), and they were treated to something special.

Up next for Stevenson is Salisbury in the NCAA semifinals; after Salisbury survived Haverford in overtime last night. The game will be Sunday at Sea Gull Stadium. If you’re in Ocean City this weekend, it’s worth stopping by on your way back.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland seniors trying to avoid becoming first class since 1971 to graduate without reaching Final Four

I’ll just go ahead and say it. The Terps SHOULD be in the Final Four AT LEAST every four years. Some people (Patrick included) will remind me that making the Final Four ISN’T EASY, but I don’t buy it when it comes to the Terrapins. They HAVE better resources than almost any other team in the country, and they should compete at that level. I understand that academics makes it difficult, but it’s not an excuse for them to not reach that level.

For the record, I expect them to beat Notre Dame and get to the Final Four this year, but I won’t be celebrating. It means they met my expectations. I’m not going to apologize for having outrageous expectations, either. They have the monetary resources. They have the best talent in the country in their backyard. They SHOULD be there.

By the way, make sure you check out Patrick’s story about the shadow George Huguely is casting over Dom Starsia and the Virginia Cavaliers. It’s must-read stuff.

10. The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, Landon Milbourne to graduate today-still think about loss to Michigan State

Myself-I DON’T want to think about it. Congratulations to the Maryland seniors, but I’m not discussing what happened in Spokane that day. Instead, Busted Coverage had some pictures of someone named Emma Taylor, I’d rather talk about that…

emma

And finally, I leave you with this.

Via With Leather, Jets QB Mark Sanchez may or may not be dating Jamie-Lynn Siegler. I may or may not hate Mark Sanchez…

jamie

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Pudge plugs along, Castro’s flubs down Cubs

Posted on 10 May 2010 by dansoderberg

I remember back to 1991 when the Rangers recalled then 19 year old Ivan Rodriguez to the big leagues.  Pudge was an obvious phenom brought to the big leagues for his glovework.  He gunned down would-be basestealers from his knees and picked off runners at first.  Anything he did with the bat was a bonus.

Well, 19 years and over 2700 hits later Pudge is still plugging along.   The Washington Nationals signed Rodriguez to tutor their young catchers and help guide a young pitching staff.  Anything he gives them with the bat is a bonus.  And quite a bonus it is.  The now 38 yo Pudge is hitting .365 through his first 24 games as a National.  The upstart Nats are a surprising 18-14 and just 1.5 games behind the defending NL Chmp Phillies in the NL East.

In an interesting contrast the Cubs recalled 20 year old shortstop Starlin Castro from AA on Friday.  They sang the same tune as the Rangers 19 years ago, stating that Castro was brought up to solidify the defense and anything he does with the bat is a bonus.  Well, the kid started off with a bang; hitting a 3-run bomb in his first at bat and a 3-run triple later in the same game.  Tonight, the Cubs lost 4-2 to Florida in Castro’s first game at Wrigley.  The star-crossed Starlin made 3 errors, and another bad throw that could’ve been an error, leading directly to Marlins’ runs.  Here’s hoping it was just a case of the jitters and Castro can enjoy the same type of staying power as future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez.

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Lou Montanez’s Misfortunes: Baltimore Orioles

Posted on 30 March 2010 by Andrew Stewart

If you were to ask a Baltimore Orioles fan who Lou Montanez is, a vast majority of them would say, “Lou who?” If you followed up by saying, “Montanez won the Triple Crown in 2008 at Double-A and went on to hit a home run in his first official major league at bat,” their response would be, “why in the hell is he not on the club?”

The unfortunate answer to that is bad luck.

As a senior in high school, Lou Montanez had the appearance of a future star. The young 18-year-old phenom was drafted third overall by the Chicago Cubs in 2000. To go along with the third overall pick, Montanez got a very sizeable signing bonus ($2.75 million).

The Cubs’ plan for Montanez was to start him out at rookie ball and slowly have him make his progression to the major league level. Unfortunately for Montanez, the dream of playing in Wrigley Field never happened, and Montanez would not make his major league debut until late in the 2008 season with the Baltimore Orioles.

During his time with the Cubs, Montanez slowly climbed his way up the ranks. He did not reach Triple-A until 2006, and struggled with his batting, hitting .224 over 81 games. Ultimately, the honeymoon between Montanez and the Cubs was cut short in 2006 after the Cubs chose not to resign him.

On Jan. 5, 2007, Montanez signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles. Immediately, Montanez was assigned to the Bowie Baysox, Baltimore’s Double-A affiliate.

In his first 31 games for Bowie, Montanez hit .339, before being bumped up to Norfolk. Unfortunately for Montanez, the numbers did not carry over; he ended the 2007 season hitting .259 with seven home runs in 69 games at Norfolk.

The following season Montanez started the year back at Bowie, and got off to another fast start with the Baysox. In 116 games Montanez hit .335, 26 home runs, and 97 RBI, and went on to win the Eastern League Triple Crown. Montanez was than later called up to the Orioles in August of 2008, skipping Triple-A in the process.

Montanez’s major league debut for the Orioles came on August 5, 2008, however Montanez’s first major league at-bat was not until the August 6, 2008. Lou went on to do the improbable and hit a home run in his first major league at-bat.

This made Montanez only the second Oriole to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat, with Buster Narum accomplishing the feat in 1963.

The early success continued for Montanez, as he finished the season hitting .295 with three home runs in 38 games for the O’s.

Montanez started off the 2009 season at Norfolk before being called up again in April. However, his stay with the Orioles did not last long due to the fact that Montanez broke his wrist, and did not return to the Orioles in 2009.

At the age of 28, Montanez entered his third spring with the Orioles in 2010. He entered today’s spring training game against the Tigers with a .310 average. Montanez increased his average to .326, going 2-4 with a triple and three RBI.

The 2010 season will likely see Montanez start out at Norfolk again due to a log jam in the outfield. Luckily for the Orioles, you can never have too many outfielders. Just as every season goes for Montanez, he will likely get an opportunity at some point in time, barring an injury or trade.

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