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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 15 April 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because…I FINALLY have a reason to be excited about the NHL Playoffs!!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow9zaT8ebfQ[/youtube]

Look, Baltimore has never had a team. If we ever GET a team, I’ll root for them. I’d root for the Washington Capitals if I lived in Washington. Since I don’t, no thanks. I DID however live in Phoenix for 2 years, and went out of my way 25+ times each season to drive to the OTHER SIDE OF THE CITY in order to watch the ‘Yotes so I could see how great hockey really was.

The Desert Dogs weren’t any good at the time, but I knew there was something special about the NHL product. I badly want Charm City to get an arena and get a team, but in the meantime what is happening with out in Phoenix with the Coyotes means the WORLD to me.

Oh and also, “Crowd Chant” by Joe Satriani should be used at (intense) sporting events almost as much as “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC. Freaking great arena song.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Carlos Pena, BJ Upton crushed 3 run bombs as Rays swept Orioles

After what happened Tuesday night, you could kinda see it coming. They sorta pulled out “all of the stops” Tuesday night; with the orange pajamas, the goofy lineup, Brian Matusz, Luke Scott’s theatrics, Matt Wieters t-shirt night, extra innings, the whole deal.

And sadly, it all lead to a loss. Playing a game after a deflating loss like that leaves you dry emotionally, and the Orioles just had nothing left yesterday.

Of course, Brad Bergesen didn’t do much to help.

And it probably wouldn’t have mattered too much if he had, to be honest.

What else do we say?

There’s been a lot of talk over recent days about how it will be good for the team to “get away”, as if they will suddenly become a good baseball team just because they aren’t playing at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Look, we all know they’re not going to go 1-161 this season. They’re going to win at some point. They’ll probably win a couple of games. But it would take a MIRACLE for them to see .500 at some point this season-and I’m already starting to feel a bit uneasy about my prediction that they would win 74 games.

Of course, our “Apologist of the Morning” Neal S from the blog “The Loss Column” still thinks the team can “right the ship” and be 10 games under .500 at the All-Star Game.

If “righting the ship” includes being 10 games under .500 at the All-Star break, the ship is more of a disaster than the FREAKING TITANIC.

And even accomplishing THAT would take a minor miracle.

What a summer we have ahead of us.

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

It’s easy to figure out why a team lost when a game is close and individual plays REALLY matter. It would be all too easy to just point at Bergesen as being to blame for yesterday’s game (and certainly he deserves to shoulder it), but there are other things I didn’t like.

-Nick Markakis had a triple yesterday, which is pretty good. But he also struck out twice. There might be an argument that striking out twice is better than being nervous to swing at all-which is what it was starting to look like Markakis was going through early in the season-but it sure as hell isn’t good.

-Ty Wigginton went 2-4 yesterday, which we ALL know is a good thing. And while Dave Trembley is desperately working through a neverending quest to put together an effective lineup, Wigginton’s bat might look like a decent option for the number 2 spot. But asking someone whose baserunning abilities appear to represent “lumbering” at times to hit 2nd might not be the best idea. Wigginton was on 1st base in the 8th inning, yet failed to score on a 2 out double to RIGHT FIELD by Felix Pie.

And it wasn’t as if it looked like he wasn’t trying. He just isn’t quick, and shouldn’t be hitting 2nd. The run didn’t REALLY matter yesterday because the game was a blowout-but the run COULD’VE mattered.

-It’s hard to blame Cesar Izturis OR Miguel Tejada for Tejada’s error in the first inning. On a sunny afternoon, sometimes pop-ups are lost. Embarrassing? Yes. But they HAPPEN. However, it is a bit concerning to hear/read that the problem was communication. Two players-especially two players that don’t have a language barrier issue-should be able to let each other know what’s going on there.

Of course, Brad Bergesen needs to be able to pick his players up, but that’s another thing altogether.

-Jason Berken is the one guy worth applauding yesterday, and it certainly looks like long relief is a role that suits him just fine.

3. The AP says “closer” Mike Gonzalez placed on DL

Placed on the DL due to what I believe was listed officially as a “bruised ego.”

Could Mike Gonzalez REALLY be hurt? Sure, maybe. Is it very likely that Gonzalez is no more hurt today than he was on Opening Day? Yeah, that’s particularly likely.

Does it make it worse when the player placed on the DL isn’t available to speak to the media after a game? Yes, that makes it worse. Especially when even MASN (the TEAM-RUN “media outlet”) can’t get a quote. It makes it look particularly fishy.

Amber Theoharris said during yesterday’s broadcast that Kam Mickolio is expected to be called up today to take Gonzalez’s place. The only exciting part about that statement is that Amber Theoharris said it.

Of course, maybe Mickolio is a better option at closer than Gonzalez. I think the Orioles should go with Jim Johnson IF they ever get another chance to close another game, but at this point they might as well go with Willis Roberts to finish off games.

Welcome back to Baltimore, Kam.

4. SI’s Jon Heyman says no use for O’s to ‘worry’

And I completely get what he’s trying to say. Why “worry” when this team wasn’t going to do anything anyway against the likes of the Rays, Yankees, and Red Sox in the AL East?

You know what I’m going to spend my time worrying about instead of worrying about the O’s? Finding out more about whoever Nicky Whelan is…(Thanks Busted Coverage!)

whelan

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Jake Arrieta, Rhyne Hughes, Steve Johnson all sparked for Birds on farm

And when things are as bad at the major league level as they’ve been for the Orioles, what happens at Norfolk and at Bowie seems to get more and more notice. “Hey, the Orioles lost, but Steve Johnson threw 5 shutout innings for the Baysox!!!”

Before we move on from baseball, the Orioles return to action LATE tonight when the face the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum. First pitch is at 10:05, the game can be seen on MASN. David Hernandez returns to the hill for the Birds, he faces Ben Sheets. We’ll of course have our “Orange Crush” chat going at WNST.net, I think we’re opening it early if you want to talk about the Washington Capitals’ playoff game.

You can also follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for 24/7 commentary regarding the Birds. During yesterday’s game, I offered the classic quip “Don’t worry, Brad Bergesen says he’ll be fine by Opening Day!”

6. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Derrick Mason has sights set on winning Super Bowl this season

A couple of things:

1-Mike Preston apparently blogged yesterday that the Ravens held the press conference to “pacify” Derrick Mason; as the team doesn’t usually hold press conferences when a player re-signs, but they needed to hold one for Mason because they held press conferences recently for Donte’ Stallworth and Anquan Boldin. Apparently Mike forgot about the press conference the team held for Ray Lewis just a season ago-which also happened a couple weeks after HE signed because of scheduling issues.

2-I heard/saw a few local and national football analysts say “I bet the Ravens are regretting the fact that they traded for Boldin and didn’t hold out for Brandon Marshall knowing the price the Miami Dolphins got him for!”

HUH?

The Ravens were THRILLED to get Anquan Boldin, especially for the price they paid for him. While Brandon Marshall is taller and maybe could be more of a red zone target, he also has a MUCH MORE checkered past, and Ozzie Newsome and company never really appeared to TRULY be interested in him-especially not for the price the Fins paid.

If you missed Derrick this morning with Drew Forrester on AM1570, make sure you click on the “Audio” tab right above where you’re reading this; it will take you to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault, where you can hear the interview.

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Morehouse OT Ramon Harewood has visited 1 Winning Drive

What do you need to know about Ramon Harewood? He’s certainly a beast at 6’6″, 341 pounds; and it does appear as though he will be drafted.

While OT might not jump out at Ravens fans as an area of great need, it will be an area they’ll look to upgrade no matter what happens with Jared Gaither.

Should they end up trading Jared Gaither, they’ll have an immediate need at OT, with Oniel Cousins, Marshal Yanda and Tony Moll their top options behind Michael Oher.

Should they end up KEEPING Jared Gaither, they’re still unlikely to give him an extension keep him here long-term, meaning they’ll need depth at the position anyway.

Either way, they’ll be in the market. Watch names like Vladimir Ducasse (UMass) and Jared Veldheer (Hillsdale College) as well.

8. The Sun’s Ken Murray says Morgan State WR EJ Morton-Green worked out with Jim Zorn in Owings Mills yesterday

If you missed Morton-Green with Drew Forrester this morning, click on that same “Audio” tab you used to listen to Derrick Mason.

As I’ve said before, Morton-Green is unlikely to get drafted, but thanks to his size (6’4″), he could certainly be an option for the Ravens to sign as an undrafted free agent and give him a look during Training Camp.

9. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says NFL schedule to be released Tuesday night at 7pm, Ravens will find out when they play AFC North, AFC East, NFC South teams

I wish I could say this would provide a nice distraction from the Orioles-but since the Birds are in Seattle, the game isn’t until 10pm. So after 3 hours of dissecting the schedule and figuring out what the Ravens are going to do, you’ll still have to watch the Orioles face the Mariners-who have suddenly looked a bit better recently.

IT NEVER ENDS!!!!

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Ralph Friedgen still wants to see more from Pete White

Does anyone get concerned that White might join the likes of Jared Gaither and Bruce Campbell amongst Terrapins O-Linemen who seem to have NFL level ability but just never really make it work at an All-ACC level in College Park? Or am I just too paranoid as a Terps fan?

Cue Black Sabbath…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aIhh9nFYv4[/youtube]

11. Inside Lacrosse says Maryland’s Grant Catalino, Brian Farrell; Loyola’s Jake Hagelin nominees for Tewaaraton Award

It’s a long list. There’s 4 players from the state of Maryland (including one from Salisbury), and ONE from a school in Baltimore.

Those things aren’t good.

You know what else is good? Pictures of Supaksorn Chaimongkol at Guyism.com…

chaimongkol

And finally, I leave you with this.

I usually don’t use this area for more “hot chicks” pictures, but I usually don’t find pictures of Edyta Sliwinska from “Dancing With The Stars” in Maxim…

dwts

…Yeah, she seems nice.

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 April 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because…the interwebs found video of Shaquille O’Neal lip-synching to Aaliyah…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myo9IabMtUA[/youtube]

…this is why the internet was invented.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Carlos Pena homered in 10th as Rays stunned Orioles

Did anyone else feel like they had been backed into by a FREAKING BRINKS TRUCK LAST NIGHT?!?!?

I’m not sure why these game still bother me-but boy was that tough last night. Thanks to all who participated in our “Orange Crush” chat at WNST.net or via Twitter (follow us @WNST). Without that outlet, I’m not sure any of us would be able to keep our sanity on nights like last night.

Last night was just surreal. The orange pajamas, Brian Matusz dealing, Ty Wigginton homering, the first implosion, Luke Scott getting it back, then another implosion.

It was SURREAL.

There was a dead horse sitting by my car this morning. What else was I supposed to do with it?

If the Orioles had signed a REAL first baseman instead of telling Garrett Atkins he was GOING to play first base, they likely would have gotten out of the 8th inning tied at 3.

If Dave Trembley hadn’t thrown Matt Albers into the game Monday night for no reason whatsoever, he might have had a fresh pitcher last night in the 10th inning.

If Felix Pie didn’t inexplicably decide to run to 2nd base when BJ Upton (intentionally or unintentionally) bobbled a ball in center field, he probably scores on Miguel Tejada’s ensuing double, and the O’s could have blown things wide open in the 7th before Tampa Bay even had a CHANCE to rally.

Stop leaving dead horses outside my door!

Instead of those things, the Orioles are now 1-7.

1-7.

It doesn’t even seem possible.

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

Some strange stats to look at last night-

-Matt Wieters & Adam Jones went a combined 1 for 9 and left 8 men on base. Ruh-roh.

-With runners in scoring position, the team continued to struggle-as they went just 1-6. As WNST Ballpark reporter Luke Jones pointed out, the team is now 1-29 with RISP and 2 outs. Ho.ly.Crap.

-In 2 2/3 innings of work from the bullpen (Jim Johnson, Will Ohman, Cla Meredith, Matt Albers, Jason Berken); the Birds gave up 4 earned runs on 5 hits and 2 BB’s.

So….there you go….

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says bullpen couldn’t back up strong start from Matusz in Birds’ loss

The ONE thing worth taking solace in is that For 7 1/3 innings, Brian Matusz looked BRILLIANT. I’m talking 8 K’s/1 BB brilliant. I’m taking 2 hits-neither of which left the INFIELD brilliant.

In fact-if you asked me who looked better: Matusz or Laura Leigh in Maxim (via COED Magazine, Thanks!)…

lauraleigh

…I’d take Leigh in a landslide.

But Matusz was still really damn good. You know, until giving up 4 straight hits.

4. Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Trembley moved Tejada to 2nd spot, Wieters to cleanup in lineup shuffle

Dave Trembley was so desperate to get some offensive production last night that this was actually the first lineup he turned in…

SS Jimmy Rollins
2B Hanley Ramirez
1B Albert Pujols
DH Prince Fielder
3B Alex Rodriguez
C Joe Mauer
RF Nelson Cruz
LF Jason Bay
CF Curtis Granderson

I think it would have been effective, myself.

In fairness to Dave Trembley, I don’t blame him for mixing up the lineup. But as I’ve said, if he’s looking for consistent run producers, keep shuffling.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Chris Tillman loser, Zach Britton winner for O’s on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things.

-Coungratulations to “Roar From 34″, who “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester determined this morning on AM1570 was our “Apologist of the Morning.” Amongst the transgressions? Comparing this Orioles team to the 2005 Atlanta Braves. You know-a Braves team that offered John Smoltz and Tim Hudson atop a rotation en route to their 14th straight NL East title.

-The Orioles get back at it this afternoon at 1:35, the game can be seen on MASN. Brad Bergesen goes to the bump against David Price. Nestor Aparicio will man our “Orange Crush” chat during the game. I’m no rocket scientist, but I think they might need this one.

6. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ozzie Newsome claims he hasn’t talked to any other NFL teams about Jared Gaither deal

Do we believe this? Maybe. Is it possible that teams have called to see what it would take but never actually offered a deal? Sure, that’s possible-and it would mean Ozzie Newsome didn’t lie in his assessment.

Of course, he made the assessment at the annual “Liars Luncheon.”

Jared Gaither is CLEARLY in play, but the Ravens are not going to give him away for free. It’s a tough situation for all parties involved-as I mentioned yesterday and will mention again in the future no doubt.

If the Ravens say they want a 1st round pick in the NFL Draft for Gaither and nothing left, teams are going to balk at that. But if the Green Bay Packers or Dallas Cowboys get on the clock late in the 1st round thinking they’re going to take Bruce Campbell, it’s at least worth considering. Of course, teams probably would need to know they could sign Gaither long-term, and Draft weekend would be a bad time to try to do that.

What I’m basically saying is that Gaither’s value will go both up AND down on Draft weekend. He’s a better option than other players available, but the closer the Draft gets, the more difficult it becomes to negotiate a long-term deal with Drew Rosenhaus and company.

This issue won’t necessarily be resolved by Draft weekend, either. Should a team suffer an injury to an anchor tackle in Training Camp, they might suddenly decide that Gaither is WORTH a 1st Round pick.

No matter how you try to slice it, there’s no easy answer for any of this.

7. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Ravens terminated contract of CB Samari Rolle

As I’ve said before, Samari will always be viewed in my mind as one of the Top 5 free agent acquisitions in Ravens history. Not Derrick Mason or Michael McCrary level, but in the neighborhood of Trevor Pryce, Rod Woodson (he was great-but didn’t play here long), Shannon Sharpe, etc.

I’m not sure why Samari didn’t use the Ravens’ decision as a chance to just announce his retirement. Maybe he really thinks he still has something left in the tank (a lot of guys feel this way much longer than they should, sadly); or maybe he’s looking for a chance to sign with the Titans and retire there-although he didn’t play there too much longer than he played in Baltimore.

Certainly not unexpected, but still worth taking a minute to remember a very nice career here in Baltimore.

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Maurkice Pouncey to visit 1 Winning Drive tomorrow

This is an interesting propisition. Let’s say Dez Bryant AND Jermain Gresham are off the board, and the Ravens have struggled to move back.

Maurkice Pouncey MAY well be the best player available on the board-but the Ravens already have Matt Birk-so Pouncey would be unlikely to start this season.

Do you sign off on taking the best player available, even if he is a player that is unlikely to start?

He’s 6’5″, 304 pounds. He played in the SEC. He looks legit.

But his contributions to a team that considers themselves a Super Bowl contenteder would likely be minimal.

Tough call. Easy for me to say I’D sign off, but I’m not 100% on the decision even myself.

9. South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Mike Berardino says Ravens could be interested in Dolphins KR/WR Ted Ginn Jr.

And they should be.

With Lardarius Webb a major question mark even for Week 1, it might be best for John Harbaugh to tell him to just think about getting ready to play Corner (especially if the team doesn’t acquire much more secondary help this offseason), and to not worry as much about returning.

Jalen Parmele performed admirably in the role last season, but was by no means explosive.

Ted Ginn Jr. COULD be that guy, and MIGHT still have something to offer at WR for a team that doesn’t have a ton of long-term options at WR.

I say “might” because…he “might.” No reason to expect anything more than that.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Will Yeatman might not be ready to return in time for Maryland’s showdown with Hopkins Saturday night

I’ve gotten a ton of “I have a nervous feeling about this game Saturday night” messages this week. As I’ve said to everyone who has sent me a message like that, so do I.

Dave Pietramala has OWNED Dave Cottle while the two have been involved in the Hopkins-Maryland rivalry. The Jays NEED a marquee win. The atmosphere will be electric at M&T Bank Stadium Saturday night (you know-if the weather is nice). Will Yeatman (and Brian Farrell) have been dealing with injuries.

I feel like I’ve seen this script before.

11. GoMustangSports.com says Ian Bolland tallied 16 saves as Stevenson topped St. Mary’s 13-10

No rest for a weary ‘Stangs bunch, as Paul Cantabene’s crew returns to action TOMORROW afternoon at Caves Athletic Complex against York College.

You know what Mary should be a saint in my book?

Mary Ann from Gilligan’s Island…

gilligansisland

And finally, I leave you with this…

Here’s the slurring drunk Jerry Jones video from Deadspin. Enjoy!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDOuwaeV6Qk[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Bullpen implodes as Orioles fall 8-6 to Tampa Bay

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Bullpen implodes as Orioles fall 8-6 to Tampa Bay

Posted on 13 April 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Orioles looked to be cruising toward their second win of the season behind the left arm of Brian Matusz, leading 3-0 in the top of the eighth and the left-hander in control of the game.

However, after striking out Willy Aybar to start the eight, Matusz gave up four straight singles, losing the shutout and turning the game over to the Baltimore bullpen with the based loaded and one out.

From there it completely fell apart.

Despite 7.1 sparkling innings from Matusz—striking out eight, walking one, and surrendering six hits—the bullpen imploded, allowing all three inherited runners to score and giving up four runs of its own as the Orioles fell to the Rays in 10 innings, 8-6.

“Tonight was similar to what we’ve been seeing for the last week,” said manager Dave Trembley. “We’re not closing the games out out of the bullpen. We’re not getting outs when we need to get outs. It’s no one guy [alone].”

The Orioles (1-7) have now given up at least one run in the eight or ninth inning in every game this season, a dubious stat playing a large part in why they’re already six games below .500 a little over a week into the season. The club has now allowed an astonishing 21 runs in the eighth inning or later in just eight games.

While Mike Gonzalez’s two blown saves have earned him the most notable goat horns to begin the season, the lefty hasn’t thrown a pitch since Friday. And the Orioles have lost all four games in which he hasn’t appeared since.

Jim Johnson, the man some have called to replace Gonzalez as the closer despite struggling in the role late last season, pitched just a third of an inning before giving up a two-run single to Evan Longoria to complete the Tampa Bay comeback, tying the game at 3-3. Lefty Will Ohman followed Johnson and gave up two more hits, allowing the go-ahead runs to score as the Orioles fell behind 5-3 entering the bottom of the eighth.

A tremendous night from the talented young starter was completely wasted, because the bullpen could not pick him up.

The pen even received a chance at redemption as Luke Scott’s clutch, pinch-hit two-run homer tied it in the bottom of the eight as the game eventually moved to an extra inning.

In the 10th, despite having a fresh Jason Berken available to pitch, Trembley again went with a struggling Matt Albers, pitching in his third consecutive game after giving up a run on Monday. Albers did not retire a better, walking two before giving up a three-run shot to Carlos Pena, sealing the Orioles’ fate of a fifth straight loss and a 1-7 record.

Since his impressive Opening Day performance at Tropicana Field last week, things have fallen apart quickly for the long reliever, who was considered a question mark to make the team entering spring training before an injury to Koji Uehara opened a spot for him. Albers has walked five in 4.1 innings, pitching to a 10.38 ERA.

“The ball’s not down, and his curveball is just being taken,” said Trembley about Albers, who is out of options. “It’s not being thrown for a strike.”

The collective implosion of the bullpen is just another problem to add to the pile plaguing the Orioles as they complete the home stand Wednesday afternoon before traveling to Oakland Thursday to begin a seven-game West Coast trip (and finishing the road trip with three in Boston).

The little things continue to build up. An ineffective bullpen, failure to hit with men in scoring position, and critical errors have all contributed to heartbreaking losses for the Orioles over the last week.

You only begin to wonder how long the starting pitching is going to hold up. It’s arguably the one bright spot for this club right now.

“We’re playing hard one through nine,” said Matusz. “You could see it with Luke’s homer. We’re just coming up short and have to battle through this.”

- The Orioles went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position Tuesday night and are just 10-for-63 (.159) on the season. The club is even worse with two outs, hitting just 1-for-29 (.034) in the first eight games.

- Longoria’s two-run single that tied the game in the eighth inning gave him eight RBI on the season, all of which have come against the Orioles.

- Scott’s pinch-hit home run was the first for the Orioles since Ty Wigginton did it on Sept. 30, 2009 against James Shields of the Rays.

Five of the club’s eight homers have either tied the game or given it a lead.

- The Orioles will send Brad Bergesen to the hill looking to avoid the sweep tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 p.m. Lefty phenom David Price will take the ball for Tampa Bay.

Check out the final box score here and the pre-game notes below.

________________________________________________

Good evening from a cold, rainy Oriole Park at Camden Yards as the Orioles (1-6) prepare to face the Tampa Bay Rays (4-3) in the second of a three-game set, scheduled to get underway at 7:05.

The major news of the day is the new lineup filled out by Dave Trembley in hopes of pumping a pulse into an offense that has scored only three runs in its last three games and is 1-for-17 with RISP over the same stretch.

Miguel Tejada will hit second, Matt Wieters will slide into the cleanup role, and Adam Jones will now hit from the No. 5 spot in the order. The move comes as no surprise as the Orioles manager said in his post-game press conference last night that he had to “show a different look” to get things going.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Tampa Bay
SS Jason Bartlett
2B Sean Rodriguez
RF Ben Zobrist
3B Evan Longoria
1B Carlos Pena
CF B.J. Upton
DH Willy Aybar
C Dioner Navarro
LF Gabe Kapler

SP Jeff Niemann (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Felix Pie
3B Miguel Tejada
RF Nick Markakis
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
DH Nolan Reimold
1B Garrett Atkins
2B Ty Wigginton
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Brian Matusz (1-0, 3.60 ERA)

The tarp is currently on the field, but the weather forecast does look promising in terms of seeing baseball this evening. How many people will be in the stands is an entirely different story.

Tonight is Matt Wieters T-shirt night, so I would imagine the promotion gave a boost to advanced sales for tonight’s game.

As always, please join WNST.net’s Orange Crush chat, beginning at 7:00 p.m. with Comcast Morning Show host Drew Forrester hosting and a variety of other WNST.net personalities chiming in throughout the evening. Also, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest news and updates from Camden Yards.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading up to the scheduled first pitch at 7:05. At that point, I’ll be switching over to the Orange Crush to provide my thoughts.
__________________________________________________________

6:55 p.m. — I’m about to move over to the Orange Crush chat, but I thought I’d leave you with this surprising nugget of information.

The Orioles’ .158 average with runners in scoring position ranks 30th out of 30 teams in the big leagues.

I’m floored.

Things HAVE to turn around tonight, don’t they? See you in the live chat.

6:50 p.m. — While Brian Roberts has been the focal point on the injury front, we received word today that Koji Uehara was scheduled to throw another bullpen session in Sarasota this afternoon. As he did on Sunday, the Japanese righty was expected to throw 25 pitches in the session as he works his way back in shape after a left hamstring injury sidelined him during spring training.

6:30 p.m. — In an effort to change up their luck, the Orioles will wear their orange batting practice jerseys for tonight’s game. Let’s hope it works.

Of course, it’s not quite the same look as this:
Orioles

It’s sad to think three of the four 20-game winners are no longer with us.

5:56 p.m. — The grounds crew is currently removing the trap from the field, so it looks like we’ll have baseball tonight as expected.

Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, tonight’s game provides an attractive pitching duel as Brian Matusz gets the ball in his second start against right-hander Jeff Niemann. Matusz was uncharacteristically wild in his first start in Tampa, walking five batters while striking out seven in five innings. However, the young lefty finished strongly and secured the only victory of the season for the club.

On the opposite side, Niemann was knocked out in the second inning after taking a line drive to the pitching shoulder from Tejada. It was a scary scene at the time, but the Rays pitcher sustained only a bruise and is not expected to be limited tonight. Niemann had a successful 2009, going 13-6 with a 3.94 ERA. The 6-9 righty will definitely provide a challenge to the Baltimore lineup, as if it needed one currently.

Much has been said about the high hopes for Matusz as a potential No. 1 in the future, but the Orioles will need him to pitch like an ace tonight. At 1-6 and a seven-game West Coast trip looming after the series finale against Tampa Bay tomorrow afternoon, the club needs something to feel good about to hopefully build some momentum.

If not, things could spiral even further out of control.

No pressure on the 23-year-old though, right?

5:23 p.m. — Mike Gonzalez is back with the team after traveling back to Arizona to be with wife for the birth of his daughter, so the big question on everyone’s mind is whether he’ll received the ball in the ninth inning in a save situation.

Trembley has implied that Gonzalez will be eased back into the closer role while working on his mechanics with pitching coach Rick Kranitz, citing a preference for the team to have a big lead in the final inning.

Any lead in the ninth inning would be acceptable at this point, but that’s just me.

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Orange Chatter: 10 Questions for 2010 (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on 03 April 2010 by Luke Jones

In Part 1 of my 10 Questions for 2010, we pondered the health of Brian Roberts, the status of Jeremy Guthrie and Chris Tillman, and the platoon of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold.

Here are my second five of 10 questions entering the 2010 season:

6. Is the bullpen up to par?

Following the trade of George Sherrill last summer, it was clear the Orioles struggled in the late innings with Jim Johnson better suited in his previous role as a setup man. Andy MacPhail responded by signing free agent closer Mike Gonzalez to a two-year, $12 million contract, the club’s largest signing of the offseason.

Gonzalez has 54 career saves in a seven-year career, including 10 last season in Atlanta. While the lefty seems capable of closing games–keep in mind Sherrill was never a closer before the trade to Baltimore–Gonzalez battled a stiff back and appeared hesitant to cut it loose in Sarasota until recently. He closed out the spring with a perfect outing against the Mets on Saturday, striking out two and lowering his spring ERA to 5.14.

Gonzalez is joined in the bullpen by two mainstays in Johnson and lefty Mark Hendrickson, who thrived in the bullpen (3.44 ERA) after being moved out of the starting rotation (5.40 as a starter) last season.

However, after these three, the bullpen becomes a bit murkier, especially with Koji Uehara on the disabled list (hamstring) to begin the season. Cla Meredith had a tremendous spring (0.84 ERA) and pitched well in Baltimore after being acquired from the Padres last season but is certainly not a household name with a track record. Newcomer Will Ohman figures to provide plenty of laughs, but Trembley would like to see him evolve into an effective left-handed situational arm (a career 4.25 ERA in seven seasons).

And with three pitchers 25 or younger in the starting rotation, the club will go with two long men in Matt Albers and Jason Berken. Albers was very effective in 2008 (3.49 ERA), but a shoulder injury (torn labrum) and questions surrounding his conditioning led to an abysmal 2009 season in which he pitched to a 5.51 ERA and was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk on three different occasions.

Berken shifts to a long-relief role after starting 24 games last season (6.54 ERA). While the 26-year-old lacks the stuff of an effective starting pitcher, Trembley will look for him to eat innings should a starter be knocked out early. Of course, Berken could find himself back in the starting rotation should there be an injury or two over the course of the seaosn.

A player to keep an eye on at Norfolk is Kam Mickolio, a hard-throwing righty (part of the Erik Bedard trade with Seattle) who appeared to have a good chance of making the 25-man roster before a groin injury limited his opportunities in the spring. He projects as a late-inning man with closer potential.

As is the case with any bullpen on any team, the starting pitching will ultimately decide its fate. If starters are unable to reach the sixth or seventh inning on a consistent basis, this bullpen will inevitably wear down as we’ve seen just about every summer over the last 12 years. Improved starting pitching will hide the weaknesses in the bullpen and allow more opportunities to finish games.

7. Will Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins prove to be capable stopgaps?

The corner infield positions were two of MacPhail’s biggest priorities to address in the offseason, and he responded by adding two veterans accustomed to playing different positions than they will in 2010.

Tejada’s return to Baltimore was a controversial decision, but his ability to adjust to third base will be critical to the infield defense and pitching. Most seem to think Tejada will become a capable third baseman, but it’s hard to forget the initial struggles of both Cal Ripken and Melvin Mora when they shifted to the hot corner. One would expect Tejada to struggle in the first month or two of the season before settling in to be an average third baseman.

Tejada will also be asked to handle the cleanup spot in the order, at least until Matt Wieters is ready to grab the reins. While no longer capable of hitting 25 home runs per season—he hit just 27 in two combined seasons in Houston—Tejada led the National League with 47 doubles in 2009.

Across the diamond, Atkins shifts to first base after primarily manning the hot corner in his seven seasons in Colorado. Atkins has played 105 career games at first, so the transition should not be as drastic as Tejada’s.

The acquisition of Atkins was a curious one with the 30-year-old coming off the worst season of his career (.226, 9 home runs, 48 RBI) and safer options such as Adam LaRoche available. The club hopes Atkins can regain his pre-2009 form when he averaged 25 home runs and 110 RBI over three seasons.

Neither player figures to be in the fold when the Orioles aim to contend in the next few years—both signed one-year deals—but with prospects Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder likely a year away from the big leagues, Tejada and Atkins will be depended on for offense and steady defense on the corners. At the very least, neither contract will come back to haunt the club should either player prove ineffective.

8. How good will Brian Matusz be?

Though the hype hasn’t rivaled the insane expectations for Wieters, Matusz appears set to contend for the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year after starting eight games down the stretch, going 5-2 with a 4.63 ERA.

His 2009 minor league numbers look like something out of a video game, as he went a combined 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA at Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. In fact, Matusz was even better after being promoted to Bowie, going a perfect 7-0 record with a 1.55 ERA in eight starts.

Matusz was fantastic in the spring, finishing with a 2.59 ERA while striking out 21 and walking just three in 24.1 innings.

There’s a reason why he’s on every top-10 prospect list you’ll find this spring. Though Matusz would be hard-pressed to match Mike Mussina’s numbers in his first full year in 1992, don’t be shocked if he’s the Orioles’ best pitcher by mid-season. He might be already.

A scout was recently asked about Matusz in Baseball Prospectus: “He might have been the best pitcher I saw all spring, and I’m not just talking about prospects.”

Need we say more?

9. Is Dave Trembley managing his last season in Baltimore?

While many wondered about Trembley’s job security as the Orioles collapsed down the stretch last season, which included a 13-game losing streak that nearly pushed the club past the 100-loss mark, MacPhail retained Trembley while also declaring the 2010 season would be judged more critically on wins and losses.

It’s clear Trembley has had a near-impossible task trying to win with inferior talent in the AL East, but the skipper cannot expect a free ride either. Baserunning gaffes, poor fundamentals, and questionable bullpen management were major issues in 2009, regardless of who was on the field. It’s no secret the Orioles lack the talent of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, so playing fundamentally-sound baseball is an absolute necessity if the club wants to improve in 2010.

Trembley’s supporters continue to claim he hasn’t had a chance to compete in his three seasons as manager, but the lack of talent cannot excuse some of the problems witnessed in 2009. Having bad players doesn’t mean you’re a bad manager, but it doesn’t mean you’re a capable manager either.

It’s imperative for the club to make significant improvement in 2010, or Trembley will be shown the door at the end of the season—if not sooner.

10. Will the Orioles make it an unlucky number 13?

Twelve years.

Twelve painful, long years.

The Orioles begin the new decade after closing out the first 10 years of the century without a winning season, their last winning campaign coming in 1997.

But unlike most of the last 12 years, it really looks as though the team will improve from where it was a year ago, though it’s difficult to go any direction but up after a 98-loss season. The problem is even a 15-game improvement–a tremendous accomplishment—would only create a 79-83 mark and a 13th straight losing season.

If the Orioles have any hope of a .500 season, they not only have to thrive against the AL Central and West but must find a way to avoid the utter embarrassment experienced last year against the Yankees and Red Sox.

The Orioles were 5-13 against the Bronx Bombers, and the results were even worse with the Red Sox, as Baltimore was an egregious 2-16 against Boston. Another 7-29 mark—far and away their worst record against the two AL East powers over the last 12 seasons—is unacceptable, if not unfathomable.

Forget about money, competitive imbalance, or recent history. A .194 winning percentage over 36 games against the Yankees and Red Sox should never happen.

When it all adds up, the Orioles can make significant improvement in 2010, but it looks like a 13th consecutive losing season is almost inevitable.

A record in the neighborhood of 77-85 will not rejuvenate the fan base immediately, but it would be a sizable step in the right direction.

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 01 April 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because:

A-I still don’t live anywhere near North Harford High School

B-Instead of bothering with that whole pesky “Spring” thing around here, we’ve decided to just go right from Winter to Summer. Therefore, I was able to take “The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet” over to Essex Community College to play tennis for the first time this year. Sadly, her skill level was no greater than either of these two young ladies…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nkRaFSduX3Q[/youtube]

Thank God she’s pretty.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Jason Berken, Jim Johnson roughed up as Birds fell to Red Sox

Do the Orioles think the last week of Spring Training is optional???

I mean, Intern Super Jack came in the other day and told me he was having a tough time caring about his work at Towson High School because he was battling a case of “senioritis”, but when he’s done, he’s….DONE.

When the Orioles finish Grapefruit League play, they actually have to go play real games.

They know that, right?

I’m reasonably certain that with Koji Uehara headed to the DL, there’s no chance Jason Berken doesn’t leave Sarasota and come to Baltimore in the bullpen-but it would have been nice to see a more representative effort for sure.

Jake Arrieta makes the start today in Port Charlotte against the Rays, who are starting someone named Mike Ekstrom, who I’m reasonably certain I went to Chapel Hill Elementary School with. I think we both had Ms. Lutz-Itzoe in 3rd grade.

2. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Brian Roberts played in 3rd straight game against Boston

I know WHY this is apparently a news story, but……..WHY IS THIS A NEWS STORY???

In a related story, Cesar Itzuris chewed the same brand of gum for the 3rd straight day; going with Juicy Fruit.

And for a 3rd straight day, I spent more time looking at pictures of Katy Perry over at What Tyler Durden Do than I did covering sports.

katyperry

3. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark & Drew Forrester pick Orioles 4th in AL East, DF picks Matusz to win Cy Young Award

You know that Forrester-consummate Orioles apologist.

As I said yesterday when we discussed this on “The Comcast Morning Show”, I’m taking the UNDER on the number of 74 1/2 wins that Las Vegas has posted for the Birds.

It’s just WAAAY too easy to say “The Orioles are going to be better…they’ll win 80 games.”

How?

They play 54 games against the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays. Are they going to win 25? Even 20? If they can win 20, they’d have to 54-54 over the rest of their schedule just to hit 74 victories.

Are you confident that the Orioles can go .500 against the rest of the teams on their schedule? Are you confident that they can win 20 of 54 against the best teams in the AL East?

If not, picking the over would be a bad choice.

And I’m not just trying to be a “Debbie Downer.” If the Orioles win 74 games, that will be a 10 game improvement! But this thought process that just because they are somewhat improved, they’ll compete to be .500; I guess people don’t understand that other baseball teams TRY.

4. Deadspin’s Will Leitch says ‘early season schedule particularly cruel’ to O’s

Of course, because the early season is so difficult, the middle of the season will also be “particularly cruel”, the end of the season will also be “particularly cruel”, and offseason will also be “particularly cruel.”

In fact, I’ll turn it over to Bananarama from here…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPNhV1gF008[/youtube]

5. WNST.net says Ravens to play Panthers, Giants at home; Redskins, Rams on road during preseason

Rumor has it the Ravens requested that they also play an exhibition game against a semi-pro team at Ambridge High School in suburban Pittsburgh, but apparently EVERYONE IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA KNEW THAT WAS UNACCEPTABLE.

It’s a bit strange that Carolina is coming to M&T Bank Stadium knowing that the Ravens will turn around and visit Charlotte in the regular season; but these things have happened before. Fortunately, the first preseason game (even if it is on ESPN) doesn’t usually include a whole lot of playing time for the starters, so John Fox’s staff won’t see too much from John Harbaugh’s staff.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Troy Smith has switched agents, leaving Ralph Cindrich for Neil Cornrich

How’s the crawl?

The first thing Neil Cornrich said as agent to Troy Smith: “Hey man, before we go talking about trades or anything like that, why don’t we make sure there are other NFL teams that actually want you.”

By the way, I’d crawl to Cleveland myself if I knew Vida Guerra was waiting for me there painted like a tiger… (Thanks Don Chavez!)

vida

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Domonique Foxworth went to Randallstown for US Census Drive with Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger

Did VH1 begin a new season of “The Surreal Life” without letting any of us know in advance?

It’s very clear that Domonique Foxworth is much smarter than the rest of us (and if you’ve been to his Facebook page, you’d also know that his girlfriend is much prettier than any of ours…and she’s an attorney); and clearly he makes more money than the rest of us.

Therefore, Domonique Foxworth, I shake my fist in your general direction!

Before I move on from the Ravens, let me remind you that we will be out at 1 Winning Drive today to meet Ravens WR Donte’ Stallworth. I will be Tweeting live (follow us on Twitter @WNST) and will be blogging right here. You can also hear today’s press conference this afternoon with Rex Snider and Ray Bachman.

8. Stevenson Official Site says Trip Latta scored 4 goals as Mustangs topped Hood College 20-4

Which sets up an undefeated #1 vs. #2 showdown for the ‘Stangs Saturday afternoon against Salisbury at Caves Athletic Complex in Owings Mills. I’ll be there. You should be too.

You know who else should be there? Rosie Huntington-Whiteley…(Thanks Guyism.com!)

rhw

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland freshman QB Devin Burns impressing Ralph Friedgen

Obviously the idea here would be to redshirt Burns this season with two freshman QB’s (C.J. Brown and Danny O’Brien) ahead of him, but it is going to create quite a battle come 2011 after Jamarr Robinson goes under center this season.

My guess? Burns ends up being THE guy-even if O’Brien or Brown starts for a short time, as I get the feeling James Franklin will want Burns’ athleticism under center.

Of course, James Franklin might be the head coach at that point, so who knows.

10. The Sun’s Don Markus says Terps LB David Mackall doesn’t think he would have made it to College Park had he not left Woodlawn for Edmondson

Look, I just haven’t found a way to squeeze in a picture of what I had for dinner last night, so I’ll just do it here. I had some shrimp jumbalaya last night, and it was delicious…

shrimp

But read the Don Markus story, it was pretty good.

And finally, I leave you with this.

Did Flip Murray really hit THIS SHOT the other night and it DIDN’T COUNT???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St2L0fvXYC0[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because…..I’m still breathing?

stpattys

(Edit from GMC: Photo is from last year. My friends are all much too hungover to send me pictures from last night.)

Look, it was St. Patrick’s Day. What did you expect?

By the way-these two things ABSOLUTELY happened to me within a 5 minute span at a bar in Parkville last night.

1-As I was walking out of the bathroom, I recognized the young lady who was standing to my left. Not someone I knew particularly well, but I definitely recognized her. She recognized me as well-but apparently she comes from a place where the way to greet someone is to throw yourself upon them, lick their face, say “Watch this” and proceed to make out with a random girl who walks by.

For the record, I’m totally fine with that particular greeting.

2-As I walked outside to greet the party I was with, another attractive young lady greeted me. She said “do you want to see my boobs?” As someone who is a fan of anatomy in general, I said “sure” and then told her I thought my girlfriend would want to see them as well. The young lady indeed showed us her breasts, and they were lovely.

After showing us her breasts, the young lady proceeded to ask us about our relationship, and if we were getting married. She told us she was a therapist, and that she would be more than willing to provide counseling if we were considering getting married. (We’re not.) She then offered us other types of relationship advice, before showing us her breasts again.

You know what? I MIGHT take her up on her offer…

Let’s see what everyone has to say….

1. The Diamondback’s Kevin Robillard says Obama not a Gary Williams fan

I have to imagine this was just a slip of the tongue, as I don’t really think the POTUS meant to offend Gary Williams, I just think he inteneded to praise Tom Izzo-and it came out the wrong way.

Look, I have no problem with Barry O picking the Spartans to beat the Terps. It’s really a tossup. I was torn myself, but since I’ve got Testudo on my underpants-I stuck with Maryland.

The other story there is that there was some opposition to Steny Hoyer’s attempt to honor the Terps in the House of Representatives. And why wouldn’t there be? I mean, being a Terrapins fan is….anti-American???

2. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Milbourne, Hayes, Mosley tend to struggle when Vasquez takes a lot of shots

Yet, it doesn’t necessarily mean Maryland is always doomed (see Virginia Tech just a few Saturdays ago).

Clearly, Maryland is a better team when they’re getting at least a level of offensive balance. Greivis Vasquez is GOING to be “the guy”, but they should be able to get contributions from the rest of the offense.

That being said, if a game does fall into the hands of the senior from Venezuela in the 2nd half; I am much more comfortable with him this season than I was a season ago.

3. ESPN.com’s Pat Forde says Terps reach Final Four in ‘best case’ scenario, fall to Houston in ‘worst case’ scenario

I mean, in the “best case” scenario, we’d probably be seeing something like this again, right?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKdvOf2Nd5s[/youtube]

God, I could watch that all day.

4. The Sun’s Ken Murray says Morgan State will support leukemia stricken teammate Anthony “Big Ant” Anderson in Buffalo

It’s a tremendous shame that “Big Ant” is too sick to make the NCAA Tournament trip, as he had talked about getting the chance to do so as the Bears were making their run through the MEAC and the MEAC Tournament.

That being said, there is NO DOUBT that Anderson is on the heart and mind of Todd Bozeman and these Morgan players every time they play. Reggie Holmes had the number 4 shaved into his head the night of the Coppin State game, and he waved 4 fingers in the air after the title game in Winston-Salem. DeWayne Jackson was Anderson’s roommate, and they both had to sit out their first season.

5. Stevenson Official Site says Kyle Moffitt tallied 4 goals as Mustangs topped Stevens 16-11

I mean, why didn’t they just go ahead and have this guy handle the face-offs?

seagal

The Mustangs now hit the road for games at Lynchburg and Mary Washington, which could at least mean they’ll have their first game with a differential of less than 5 goals.

6. The AP says Jason Berken struggled as Birds fell to Blue Jays

Who’s having a worse spring? Nolan Reimold or this fella…..

massa

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Chris Tillman, Jason Berken, David Hernandez competing for fifth rotation spot

I don’t understand this AT ALL. Why in the hell are the Orioles screwing around with Jason Berken by putting him in the rotation mix again? He’s fine in the relief role. LEAVE HIM THERE.

As far as the Tillman/Hernandez debate goes, I would tend to think that Tillman will eventually be the guy for the role, but I would understand it if the O’s decided to start him in Norfolk and start the season with Hernandez.

8. Sporting News’ Stan McNeal says Kevin Millwood not concerned about ‘lousy’ start to Spring Training

Millwood might actually belong in the Reimold/Massa debate for who is having the worst Spring.

You know who ISN’T having a bad spring? Anyone who has heard of Nadine Coyle….

coyle

9. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens could play Jets Thanksgiving night at the Meadowlands

NO. DISLIKE. WHOLLY DISAPPROVE.

BUT….feel free to insert your own Rex Ryan Thanksgiving joke here.

Seriously, I want NO PART of a trip to East Rutherford to play the Jets on a short week. Especially on a day that is supposed to be about food and WATCHING football. At home.

10. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Frank Walker ‘weighing options’ in free agency

And no, the Toronto Argonauts are NOT believed to be one of the options he is weighing, even if they did just sign former Ravens QB Cleo Lemon.

Ravens fans are quick to say “go ahead and let him go”, but they should really think about that. SOMEONE has to play cornerback at the beginning of the season, with both Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb major question marks.

11. Ravens Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Marcus Smith battling injuries, new acquisitions in attempt to make Ravens’ roster

At 6’1″, Marcus Smith doesn’t stand out the same way Demetrius Williams does. Williams seems to have a role in Baltimore no matter what because the Ravens have no other tall options at receiver right now.

But a healthy Marcus Smith would have trouble separating himself behind the likes of Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth.

12. Lingerie Football League Official Site says new team to be called “Baltimore Charm”, will meet with prospective players Friday night at Mother’s in Federal Hill

Am I ACTUALLY interested in the team? No. Do I fully support the product? Of COURSE I do.

lingerie

And finally, I leave you with this.

As today is the single greatest day of the year, here are my Top 5 favorite first round moments in NCAA Tournament history.

5. VCU beats Duke

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

4. Harold “The Show” Arceneaux leads Weber State past North Carolina

show

3. Bryce Drew

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0haGKGiX9qA[/youtube]

2. Coppin State beats South Carolina

coppin

1. Drew Nicholas

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 08 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because this weekend’s trip to Charlottesville was MUCH better than some of the other trips to Charlottesville I’ve made for football and basketball games in recent years. Did it get interesting late? Sure. Was it still a big win to clinch a share of the ACC regular season title? You bet your ass.

Plus, I made a pit stop in DC Friday night, and I wasn’t cut by the Redskins! (That’s a funnier joke if you know that the Skins cut 10 players last week. Of course, that only means that life got BETTER for 10 NFL players last week.) After a long evening of drinking heavily having responsible fun, a friend looked at me at about 3am and said “do you want an empanada?” Of course I responded with “I’ve never wanted anything more.”

So, she directed us to something called “Julia’s Empanadas” in Adams Morgan. I ordered a saltenas empanada….

saltenas

…and continued to howl in delight with a mix of chicken, potato, green peas, hard boiled egg, raisins, green olives and onion swirling in my gullet.

But I’m sure your Friday night was good too….

Let’s see what everyone has to say….

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Maryland to face Georgia Tech/North Carolina winner in ACC Tournament quarterfinals Friday night

Which gives me an excuse (like it did for Luke) to watch the video of Cliff Tucker’s shot again….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmmnA8WVqW8[/youtube]

I could watch that video all day.

Anyway….

It would NOT be a good matchup for the Terps if they had to face Georgia Tech Friday night. The reason Cliff Tucker HAD to hit that miraculous shot was because the Terps couldn’t put away the tough interior of the Wreck, who killed them on the glass. The Yellow Jackets may also be in a potentially similar situation as the Terrapins were going into the ACC Tournament a season ago, needing two wins to be able to sleep easier going into Selection Sunday. The Terps used that motivation to knock off Wake Forest last year.

That being said, Maryland would be well served to face a Paul Hewitt team that was playing a second game in as many nights. A less-rested Derrick Favors would likely not be as effective against a well-rested Jordan Williams.

And if Maryland were to be fortunate to face Carolina…..what are the mercy rules for college hoops?

2. ACCSports.com’s Jim Young picks Greivis Vasquez ACC Player of the Year, Gary Williams ACC Coach of the Year

Homer Simpson I might be, but I’m in complete agreement.

Look, if there were another candidate for ACC Coach of the Year, I’d consider it. Seth Greenberg had this award on ice before the Hokies dropped 3 straight a couple weeks ago, same for Tony Bennett before closing the season with 9 straight losses. Dino Gaudio and Oliver Purnell actually didn’t reach the heights they were expected to, and Paul Hewitt’s team never really got over the hump.

Apparently Mike Gminski nominated Coach K last night during the FSN broadcast of Clemson-Wake Forest, and I won’t be quite so dismissive here. Sometimes the award just SHOULD go to the coach of the best team in the conference. But seeing as how Duke had superior talent and higher expectations yet finished tied with Maryland; it’s hard to see how Mike Krzyzewski could be labeled as having been a BETTER coach than Gary Williams this season.

As far as Player of the Year is concerned, the guy that drilled 3 HUGE 3-balls in the 2nd half down in Charlottesville Saturday is well-deserving. If he splits it with Jon Scheyer (similar to how Shane Battier and Joe Forte did in ’00-’01), I won’t be nearly as enraged as some of you apparently would be.

3. The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps using yesterday, today to rest after grueling stretch, with trip to Greensboro looming

As Gary Williams pointed out following Saturday’s game in the bowels of John Paul Jones Arena-the Wednesday/Saturday turnaround seems a lot longer than it really is when you play at 9pm Wednesday and 1:30pm Saturday.

The Terps can use a few days off before preparing for GT and UNC. You could tell at different times over the last 3 weeks that they were losing their legs a bit-which makes you wonder how things may have been worse had the team not hired new strength coach Paul Ricci.

You know who probably DOESN’T need a new strength coach??? Shakira….

shakira

4. Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Tony Bennett’s technical Saturday different situation than when Gary Williams tossed his jacket against Georgia Tech

In the end, you just can’t show up officials. Yanda points out (and Maryland fans everywhere probably REFUSE to believe that Steve would defend Gary Williams-but he DID) that when Gary tossed his jacket, he did it because he was frustrated with how the Yellow Jackets were just beating the tar out of the Terps on the glass.

When Tony Bennett threw his jacket Saturday, he did it immediately after a Jerome Meyinsse foul call that he apparently thought should have been a charge on Sean Mosley. Whether the call was right or not (and in fairness-it was questionable), every coach has to know he can’t show up an official in that moment. He can disagree, and he can try to get the official’s attention for an explanation. But he can’t show up an official.

It really doesn’t matter that much to Maryland fans-as it wasn’t THE reason why the Terps won the game-it just made the final moments much more comfortable than they could have been had the Cavaliers managed to get the ball back down just 3-especially with once-College Park bound Jeff Jones having been red hot in the 2nd half.

Fortunately, we’ll never have to know how that situation would have played out.

5. Mt. St. Mary’s Official Site says Mountaineers’ hopes of returning to NCAA Tournament dashed by Robert Morris in NEC Tournament semis

Milan Brown’s ‘Eers had a chance to do what Randy Monroe’s UMBC Retrievers couldn’t and what Todd Bozeman’s Morgan State Bears will try to do-play for a 3rd straight conference championship.

While he fell short, MSM was very competitive again this season, and Brown has continued to do an OUTSTANDING job since replacing the legendary Jim Phelan.

Emmittsburg is a tough place to be noticed, but hopefully Brown is. He deserves some consideration for a job at a higher level. Not an ACC or  even a Conference USA level gig necessarily, but certainly consideration for jobs in conferences like the America East or the MAAC. If he’s interested in moving up to those levels that is.

6. Stevenson Official Site says Richie Ford scored 3 goals as Mustangs topped Western New England

Congratulations to Paul Cantabene’s ‘Stangs-who actually showed some defense yesterday in improving to 4-0 to start the lacrosse season. If you follow us on Twitter (@WNST), you’d know that my weekly “OldLineLax7″ poll (of the 7 D1 lacrosse schools in the state of Maryland) looks like this following this weekend’s action, including the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic…

1-Maryland
2-Johns Hopkins
3-Loyola
4-Navy
5-UMBC
6-Towson
7-Mt. St. Mary’s

I’m not trying to say the Mustangs could necessarily beat the Tigers or Mountaineers, but I will say that neither of those teams have won a game yet….

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Nick Markakis homered, but Birds lost to Red Sox

Knowing that the O’s would be playing the BoSox yesterday, I decided to be a professional reporter and went to the “Boston” page at BarstoolSports.com for info about the team. I spent about 15 minutes really studying up on pictures of Casey Batchelor….

batchelor

….what position will she be manning at Fenway Park this season?

8. Carroll County Times’ Rich Dubroff says Jason Berken off to solid start in Spring Training

At times, it actually really did look like Jason Berken was capable of pitching last season. I don’t know it for sure, but he definitely at least APPEARED capable of being able to pitch, at least after his WOEFUL start.

That being said, it’s too easy to call his role “long relief and spot starts” and just expect that he’ll experience some sort of renaissance this season. He’s gonna be in for a battle again, and it will certainly be interesting to see how he performs.

9. ESPN The Magazine’s Tim Kurkjian says Orioles ‘could flirt with .500′

Insert the name of many other national baseball writers where the name “Tim Kurkjian” is, and you can see the general tone many analysts have when it comes to this year’s Orioles.

The problem is-while they address what the Orioles have done to improve, they don’t really address how the Orioles stack up against the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Jays in the AL East. The same writers who say they think the Orioles can finish around .500 are usually writers for publications who think the Orioles will finish no better than 4th in the division.

Is it possible that 4 teams in the AL East could all finish at .500 or better? I guess. Is it likely? No.

.500 would be a REMARKABLE accomplishment for this Orioles team, not something that should be expected.

10. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Marlin Jackson will visit Eagles after visiting Ravens Tuesday

Which means Marlin Jackson probably isn’t the type of player that will get a contract offer from Ozzie Newsome Tuesday and call Philadelphia to say “forget it, I’m signing here!”

If the Ravens are looking to add a CB, Jackson would at least give them a little bit more size (the CB’s on their current roster are all sub-6’0″) even if his health remains a question mark. But the Ravens will be looking to get him for a bargain, meaning a contract offer for big money won’t be coming. He’ll go to Philly for another visit, and he might not end up deciding on Charm City.

11. LA Times’ John Horn says Sandra Bullock won Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy-adoptive mother of Michael Oher

Which was maybe the least surprising thing….ever.

And as much as I loved “The Blind Side” (I really did-even if it was a chick flick), where was the love for the green chick from “Star Trek” in this category???

startrek

12. The Sun’s Ken Murray says international soccer to return to M&T Bank Stadium July 25

Love the idea…don’t love the date. This would either be a Sunday night match, or a July afternoon match. They did a Real Mardrid-DC United match at FedEx Field last summer, and I was told it was about 187 degrees on the field at the time of kickoff.

Unacceptable.

But otherwise, I’m all in. Love the idea, especially as the city tries to earn a bid to host World Cup games.

And finally, I leave you with this.

Here’s a video Busted Coverage had of two young ladies expressing their feelings for each other at a Chicago Bulls game. Now the explanation ends and the video begins….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bbqr1ZJ3ZGw[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983….

-G

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O’s spring training: The 25 who will make it (#7)

Posted on 26 February 2010 by Drew Forrester

It’s time to go back to the mound for #7 in my O’s spring training blog preview, “The 25 who will make it”.

If you missed Thursday’s profile, here’s what I think about Nick Markakis and his prospects for a successful 2010.

Now, let’s focus on perhaps the team’s biggest question mark:  starting pitching.

The off-season acquisition of Kevin Millwood gives the Birds a definitive, legitimate proven commodity. He’s no Roy Halladay, but he’s an established veteran and reliable enough to give his team a chance to win in 75-80% of his starts.

To me, though, Kevin Millwood isn’t the most important starting pitcher for the O’s in 2010.

That honor – and #7 in the “25 who will make it” profile – goes to left-hander Brian Matusz.

This time last year, Andy MacPhail would break out in hives anytime someone mentioned the mere thought of bringing up Matusz in 2009.  Now, after 8 starts in the big-leagues, it’s apparent to anyone who watched him pitch last year that Matusz has big league stuff and can win, and get hitters out, effective immediately.  That said, I don’t think it’s a slam-dunk he starts the year in Baltimore.  He could go to spring training and struggle or simply not do enough to give Trembley and MacPhail reason to “push him” into the majors to start the season.  I think – as you’ll see below – the chances of that are remote, but it’s fair to at least note that Matusz COULD start the year in Norfolk if he gets off to a slow start in Sarasota.

Odds he’ll be on the roster at the start of the season:  90%

Odds he’ll be on the roster at the end of the season:  100%

Odds he’ll be an effective contributor in 2010:  80%

Odds his name will get mentioned at the trade deadline in late July:  0%

Summary:  If Drew ran the O’s, Matusz would start the season as the team’s #2 pitcher.  He’s cool, calm and definitely capable of handling the perch that goes with being the team’s #2 guy.  Nothing I saw last year indicates otherwise.  He finished 2009 with a 5-2 record and a 4.63 ERA, but that figure was spiked greatly by a 5-earned-run outing over 2.2 innings in Toronto in his 2nd start on August 9. He threw into the 6th inning in 7 of 8 starts and had 38 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 44.2 innings of work.  His WHIP turned out to be higher (1.478) than anyone would like, but that disastrous start in Toronto wreaked havoc with most of his important numbers.  And don’t forget…in a full-season, when you face the Yankees and Red Sox roughly six times, total, your numbers have a tendency to be inflated vs. what you might do against the rest of the league.

Brian Matusz is going to be a rock-star in Baltimore…hopefully they keep him around instead of letting him sign with the Yankees, a’la Mike Mussina.

I liken him to having the make-up of a Tom Glavine-type: good enough fastball (with location) to keep you honest, a nasty breaking ball and a slider that can be used as his “out-pitch” against right handed hitters. That always seemed to be the problem with both Hernandez and Berken last year.  They could get two strikes on a hitter, but getting that 3rd one presented a problem.  In the big leagues, to go from being a decent pitcher to a good pitcher to a great pitcher, ALL of your pitches need to be capable of being used as your out pitch depending on the hitter and the on-base situation behind you.  Matusz can definitely get people out with his off-speed pitches and his fastball will be better as those pitches become a more important part of his arsenel.  Greg Maddux’s fastball looked like a lot different when his slider and breaking ball were dancing around the plate.

Based on his 157 innings of work in 2009 (113 in the minors and 44 in the big leagues), you can assume the O’s will follow the Verducci Rule and only permit Matusz to hover at the 185 inning mark in 2010. That’s fine.  If he has to be shut down on September 18 and miss his final two starts, I’m cool with that. By then, they’ll want to take a look at Britton or Erbe or Patton anyway.

As you can tell…I’m already a card carrying member of the Brian Matusz Fan Club.

Drew’s projections for Matusz in 2010:

* 10-11 record

* 172.2 innings

* 4.29 ERA

* 1.291 WHIP

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 21 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a happy Thursday for me because the blog site Mister Irrelevant found this picture of Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray from the SI Vault….

murrayripken

Greatest picture ever? Greatest picture ever.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…..

1. Pro Football Talk/NBC Sports’ Mike Florio says Ravens QB Coach Hue Jackson interviewing for Offensive Coordinator job in Oakland

Right.

Jim Zorn once interviewed for the OC job with the Redskins, too.

I’m not trying to say that I know the Raiders are seecretly interviewing other candidates for Tom Cable’s job-but you have to earn the benefit of the doubt to get it.

The word is now that Jim Fassel DIDN’T interview in Oakland-which makes it seem more likely that maybe Al Davis ISN’T interviewing head coaching candidates.

But I don’t trust that to be the case.

The Ravens could have blocked Hue Jackson from interviewing with the Silver & Black, but since this would be a promotion; Steve Bisciotti and John Harbaugh did the right thing to let him interview. The Raiders clearly see Jackson as having the chance to improve JaMarcus Russell in the same way he worked wonders with Carson Palmer and Joe Flacco.

I still think Jackson is in a better place in Baltimore than he would be with EITHER job in Oakland, but that’s just me.

2. The Sun’s Edward Lee says Parmele ‘hopes’ to be in mix for KR job next season

And of course, he should be.

He shouldn’t be GIVEN the job-there should absolutely be a competition for the gig, involving him and Lardarius Webb-and anyone else they bring in this offseason who has an appropriate resume.

Unless your name is Devin Hester or Joshua Cribbs-you should probably be competing for a KR job EVERY year. If Lardarius Webb is going to be a starting CB for this team (which he might well be), or Cam Cameron is going to try to figure out a way to get him the ball offensively (which there are no plans for as of now-but certainly it would make sense); maybe Parmele would be a better option-as he could focus on the job primarily.

Of course, Cribbs is also likely to be available this offseason-and showed himself to be a capable offensive player at times as well.

Maybe?

3. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens hope to bring back both Dwan Edwards, Justin Bannan next season

I hope they do too, but I don’t see it. Both guys earned the right to make real money on their next deal, and are just waiting for someone to give it to them. Maybe the CBA trouble will help to make it difficult for them to find work elsewhere in the NFL-but I would imagine someone will be willing to give one (or both) of these guys big bucks.

Remember, Marques Douglas never had trouble finding work. Neither did Tony Weaver. Or Abrayo Franklin. And the Ravens have more linemen behind this group. There’s a reason why they kept Kelly Talavou and Brandon McKinney coming out of Training Camp last season-despite the fact that they didn’t need D-Linemen at the time.

They knew what was coming.

4. WGRZ (Buffalo)’s Aaron Saykin says Brian Billick couldn’t understand why Bills GM Buddy Nix didn’t reach out to him about coaching vacancy

And neither do I.

I really never got the idea that Brian particularly wanted the job, but I can understand why he would want the phone call/interview/etc. Buffalo likely would never have had the economic backbone to even make it interesting for Coach Billick, who is still getting $4 million from the Baltimore Ravens over each of the next two seasons provided he doesn’t end up employed elsewhere.

The point for Brian is that in 2 years, he’d like to be coming off a span where he was a hot name in the coaching world. Where teams had shown interest in him, and he had been asked to be a part of the hiring process, even if he didn’t end up taking any coaching jobs.

There was no reason for the Bills NOT to talk to Coach Billick. If he determined it wasn’t the right fit for him (which I’m guessing he would have), it couldn’t possibly have hurt to have discussed where the franchise was heading with a Super Bowl winner.

5. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Josh Brown’s 14 not nearly enough as Towson blown out by Northeastern

Look, I wasn’t there-so I don’t want to say the wrong thing here, but this looks like maybe one team started to give up in the 2nd half at Towson Center last night.

Pat Kennedy has his work cut out for him. Fans who went to the Towson Center for the first time last night could not possibly have left feeling good about the product they paid to see. Losing games to good teams on the road is one thing-getting blown out at home is another.

6. The Diamondback’s Aaron Kraut says rebounding, experience starting to set Terps apart from others in ACC

Agreed, but they still have problems has well. Their lack of pure outside shooting hurts them, no matter how capable they are in other areas.

And things won’t be easy for Maryland. The NC State team they’re playing Saturday night that everyone thought they’d beat in a walk just took it to a Top 10 Duke team last night. They play North Carolina on Super Bowl Sunday-and the Heels are going to be close to desperation mode, after losing a 3rd straight ACC contest to Wake Forest last night.

There are wins to be had in this conference this season-but the Terrapins have to go get them. Nothing will come easy.

7. UMBC Official Site previews Retrievers’ contest with New Hampshire tonight at RAC Arena (pdf)

Here’s my conundrum. I love Randy Monroe and his guys, but the following people are from the great state of New Hampshire….

mandy

silverman

….so maybe I’m rooting for the Wildcats?

8. Loyola Official Site previews tonight’s trip to Siena

Again, I’m not trying to offend Jimmy Patsos or anyone on his staff-but it appears likely that the Greyhounds will fall to 2-7 in MAAC play tonight.

That’s not good enough. Not for a coach who has recruited all of the players on the team.

This isn’t a “Jimmy Patsos has to go” statement-not in the least bit. But this IS a statement that Jimmy Patsos needs to be better. Losing tonight at Siena is really no big deal-as the Saints are REALLY good. But the Hounds have to find wins. They just have to win games. They can’t be 2-7 in the MAAC.

It just isn’t good enough.

9. Inside Lacrosse’s Danielle Bernstein says IL analysts think Maryland, Hopkins could end up in Final Four

And Dave Cottle might NEED to get back to the Final Four.

Maryland started practice on Monday-and they’ll be back inside Byrd Stadium (or Capital One Field at Byrd Stadium if you will) this season, so the “no home field” excuse won’t be in play any longer.

There’s only 2-3 programs in the country that should be able to compete with the University of Maryland when it comes to lacrosse. Syracuse has a talent base and financial backing, as does Virginia. Johns Hopkins has a passionate fanbase and a program that builds itself around lacrosse. Same can be said for Princeton-but neither the Jays not the Tigers have the financial backing that Dave Cottle has in College Park.

Dave Cottle can’t just be reaching the NCAA Tournament. He HAS to be reaching the level of the Final Four-and in the mix to win national championships.

Unlike my statement about Jimmy Patsos-this IS a “Dave Cottle must go” argument…IF the Terps aren’t playing at M&T Bank Stadium come Memorial Day weekend.

10. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Luke Scott would rather play in field, not be full-time DH

And I’d like someone to bring me a plate full of the shrimp vindaloo from the indian joint Drew Forrester and I went to in Indianapolis Friday night…..

vindaloo

Sing it with me….”You can’t always get what you want….”

I’m not sure where Luke Scott wants to play. I think he wants to play Left Field, but that’s absolutely Nolan Reimold’s spot. If he wants to play First Base-I guess he has just as good of an argument as ANYONE who is currently on the roster-but he’s not a first baseman either.

Maybe he should just be happy that he’s getting 4 and a half million bucks after hitting no better than .258 in any of his last 3 seasons.

I’m just saying.

11. MLB.com’s Spencer Fordin says Jake Arrieta, Caleb Joseph, Alfredo Simon, Chad Moeller amongst Birds’ non-roster Spring Training invites

The only name on this list that is AT ALL interesting to me is Arrieta, who I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t get a look at the end of the season last year. Arrieta is the “next” of the group of young pitchers, and may be closer to being ready than we realize. If David Hernandez and Jason Berken are in the mix for the 5th spot (behind Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman); why shouldn’t Arrieta be?

12. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Pimlico/Laurel auction delayed until February 10

If I was David Cordish right now, I would probably look like this….

hulk

The guy paid his money for slots. He got into the bidding process. He got zoning rights for his slots. Why the hell should he have to wait for the chance to try to win the tracks?

In other horse racing news, Jeff Seder told Drew this morning in an interview on “The Comcast Morning Show” on AM1570 WNST that if his group were to win the tracks, he WOULD change the rule to allow outside alcohol to be brought in on Preakness Saturday. David Cordish had also said he would change that rule. We are assuming that Joe DeFrancis would NOT change the rule, as we are assuming that the Maryland Jockey Club would maintain control of the event.

And finally, I leave you with this.

We DVR a lot of things in the Glenn Clark home. 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, The Office, SNL, Family Guy, The Simpsons, Man vs. Wild with Bear Grylls, WWE Raw, the ESPN 30 for 30 Series, and for some reason Charm School with Ricki Lake are amongst the programs you’ll find on our Comcast DVR. But maybe my favorite show on the DVR is “True Life” on MTV. Yesterday, the episode “True Life: I’m Deaf” was on my DVR, and while I’ve seen the episode before-I decided to watch it again.

If you never saw the episode, you can watch it here.

The episode is about a gal named Amanda from Towson University, who attempted to tryout to be a Baltimore Ravens dance squad member despite the fact that she’s deaf. At the end of the episode, you find out that despite the fact that she didn’t make the Ravens squad, she tried out to be a Baltimore Blast cheerleader and made the team.

All of this was basically a buildup for me posting pictures of a hot Blast cheerleader and saying something along the lines of “maybe you should get to a game”…..

blastamanda

BUT!!!! There’s another update! Amanda has since moved on to a new gig…..she’s a…..PHILADELPHIA EAGLES CHEERLEADER?!?!?!?

Ugh.

amandac

I thought these stories were supposed to have happy endings!

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 October 2009 by Glenn Clark

Ravens 21, Patriots 19

Before the season, I would have said the Ravens had NO CHANCE to win in Foxborough. But they have a chance. I think the Patriots will struggle in the red zone. If the Ravens can keep Randy Moss and Benjamin Watson in check; they get a BIG win.

Clemson 30, Maryland 20

This pains me. I hope I’m wrong. I’m probably glad I won’t be in College Park tomorrow.

Navy 35, Air Force 30

As Drew Forrester said, “take the over.”

New Hampshire 41, Towson 17

Love Rob Ambrose, but it could be a long day tomorrow at Unitas Stadium

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

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Drew Forrester says Ravens won’t put Brigance in Ring of Honor

Glenn Clark says trip to Gillette Stadium could be ‘big’ for Hauschka

Drew Forrester says Orioles should allow fans to come to OPACY for free this weekend

Bob Haynie says Orioles ‘getting hot at wrong time of season’

Tom Clayton picks Ravens to beat Patriots

Lawson Lambert says Maryland ‘not a good football team’

Ed Frankovic says Caps opened season with win in Boston

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Cam Cameron believes Pats giving teams more of a 4-3 defensive look

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens 0-4 all time against New England

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Trevor Pryce returned to practice, Troy Smith remained out with illness

The Official Site’s Sarah Ellison says Flacco/Brady being billed as matchup of ‘elite’ quarterbacks

The Official Site says Ray Rice thought scoring first TD ‘unbelievable feeling’

The Official Site says Kruger’s punt rush abilities in practice have been ‘really encouraging’ to Rosburg

The Official Site says Ray Lewis partnered with Gameloft to announce iPhone application

Patriots Official Site’s Erik Scalavino says Kaczur returned to practice; Mayo, Wilfork remained out

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Harbaugh ‘admires’ Belichick, Patriots

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Hauschka must keep cool, Ravens must pressure Brady, and red-zone defense must continue to step up

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Pats can beat Ravens by getting ahead early, holding on to football, throwing jump balls to Randy Moss

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens can ‘take advantage’ of Pats’ injuries in Foxborough Sunday

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Fabian Washington, Domonique Foxworth have history in AFC West with Randy Moss

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Antwan Barnes getting nod over Paul Kruger as Suggs’ backup

The Sun’s Mike Preston thinks Ravens’ secondary will struggle with Patriots’ WR’s

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Kelley Washington grateful for chance he had with New England

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Demetrius Williams, Lardarius Webb have made big plays on Sam Koch punts

5 of 7 Sun analysts pick Patriots to beat Ravens

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says ‘chess match’ between Brady, Reed worth watching

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Patriots’ Adalius Thomas bucking trend of defensive players struggling after leaving Baltimore

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Heap believes Flacco ‘special’

Boston Globe’s Michael Vega says Terdell Sands expected to ‘bolster’ Pats’ D-Line with Wilfork banged up

Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian says Randy Moss revealed he was dealing with intense back pain against Falcons last week

Providence Journal’s Shalise Manza Young says Tom Brady expects Ravens to be different defensively than Rex Ryan’s Jets

Worcester Telegram’s Jennifer Toland says Flacco third straight solid young QB (Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan) Patriots have faced

ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss says CBS’ Esiason likes Patriots Sunday

NFL.com’s Gil Brandt says Cam Cameron has done ‘nice job developing’ Flacco

Fox Sports’ Adam Schein says despite future Hall of Fame players on field, Flacco will be best player Sunday

ESPN.com’s John Clayton says Ravens, Patriots each throwing ball more

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Reed, Brady ‘cerebral’

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens can legitimately discuss Super Bowl

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Chris Waters stellar as Birds snapped 13 game funk with win over Rays

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of win

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Jason Berken takes Camden Yards mound tonight against David Purcey, Blue Jays

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Luke Scott missed Thursday’s game with sore left foot

Rays Official Site’s Bill Chastain says Garza’s quality effort not enough as Rays fell to O’s

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Dave Trembley particularly celebratory after Birds broke losing streak

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Jays come to OPACY playing hot baseball

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says he’s not protecting Peter Angelos

The AP says Waters beat Rays in front of family from nearby Lakeland, FL

SI’s Ted Keith has Birds 28th in power rankings

ORIOLES MINOR LEAGUES:

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Justin Turner best 2B prospect in organization

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Friedgen thought Chris Turner particularly good in practice this week gearing up for Clemson

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Adrian Cannon trying to ‘zone’

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Da’Rel Scott walking around campus with football this week

Carroll County Times’ Matt Zenitz says Torrey Smith believes Terps could easily be 3-1 right now

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says students even avoiding Byrd Stadium during struggles

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Lamar Young, Andrew Gonnella will start at Guard for Terps

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Terps will be hard pressed to turn things around in ACC play

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Terps inspired by Johnny Holliday’s grandson Jack Rolle-who is battling cancer

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Bruce Campbell ‘blanked out’ when he drew personal foul against Rutgers

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Swinney expects Ralph to have Terps ‘ready to play’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps missed in O-Line recruiting with Evan Eastburn, Zach Marshall, Joe Faiella, Bearthur Johnson

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens picks Clemson 23-7

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ferrara will kick, punt, handle kickoffs

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says visiting team has won last four Clemson-Maryland matchups

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Fulper will backup Gonnella

Charleston Post and Courier’s Travis Sawchik says baseball helped Tigers QB Kyle Parker improve

Columbia State’s Paul Strelow says Swinney will rely on CJ Spiller, Jacoby Ford offensively

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Terps have no idea what backup QB Jamarr Robinson would bring to field

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Terps don’t want to play themselves out of Clemson game with turnovers, penalties (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Lempa plans to start McCullough Saturday (must subscribe)

Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says McCullough’s return Saturday ‘pivotal’ for Terps

Turtle Sports Report’s Ross Leonhart says Fridge worked with Da’Rel Scott on fumbles this week

Turtle Sports Report’s Ethan Rothstein chats with Maryland prospect Josh Furman (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says future Terp Stoglin ‘loves’ Comcast Center

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Terps interested in 6’11 Ontario (Canada) prospect Nastic, a native of Serbia (must subscribe)

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site’s Bob Socci says contest with Air Force about Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, not ‘mind games’

The Official Site says Pospisil semifinalist for National Football Foundation’s Bill Campbell Award-to be given to nation’s top scholar athlete

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Dobbs, Air Force QB Tim Jefferson each have Atlanta background

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Niumatalolo, Troy Calhoun battling for recruits

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Dobbs (Douglas County), Jefferson (Woodward Academy) went to rival high schools in Georgia

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Air Force more ‘pivotal’ than Army for Midshipmen with C-i-C Trophy on the line

Denver Post’s John Henderson says Ricky Dobbs wants to beat Falcons, become President

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina breaks down Navy-AFA tomorrow (must subscribe)

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

Examiner Matthew Schlissel says New Hampshire 5-0 all-time against Tigers

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Carroll County natives Brady Smith, Dan Bridges making impact for Tigers

HOPKINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s trip to Muhlenberg

The Official Site offers complete Jays-Mules release (pdf)

UMES BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Hawks took lanes with highly regarded women’s bowling team

GOLF:

The AP says Lonnie Nielsen shot 65 to lead Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship through one round at Baltimore Country Club

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg says Tom Watson one stroke back on Five Farms course

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Jay Haas also one stroke back of Nielsen

HORSE RACING:

Daily Racing Form’s David Grening says Belmont winner Summer Bird returns to track Saturday for Jockey Club Gold Cup

Thoroughbred Times’ Jeff Lowe says Summer Bird will face older horses in Gold Cup at Belmont Park

The Sun says Luis Garcia could reach 1,000 career wins today at Laurel

BLAST:

Examiner Richard Crabbe says future of Blast, NISL in question

BALTIMORE MARINERS:

The Official Site says AIFA team re-signed former Hereford star Goloboski

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-The Orioles WILL lose 100 games this season. No chance they win 2 this weekend.

Talk to you this weekend.

-G

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