Tag Archive | "josh bell"

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Orioles trade infielder Josh Bell to Arizona for player to be named

Posted on 21 April 2012 by Luke Jones

After designating him for assignment earlier in the week, the Orioles have traded infielder Josh Bell to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named later.

The Orioles removed Bell from the 40-man roster on Monday to create room for catcher Luis Exposito, who was claimed on waivers from the Boston Red Sox.

Despite a few different stints in Baltimore, Bell was never able to establish himself as a major leaguer, hitting .200 with three home runs and 18 runs batted in over 79 games with the Orioles in 2010 and 2011. Bell had 78 strikeouts and only six walks in 226 plate appearances in the big leagues the last two seasons.

Bell was off to a miserable start at Triple-A Norfolk, going just 3 for his first 32 with one home run before being designated for assignment.

The switch-hitting infielder was acquired on July 30, 2009 along with right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson from the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Orioles closer George Sherrill.

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Orioles claim catcher Luis Exposito off waivers

Posted on 17 April 2012 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Tuesday that they have claimed catcher Luis Exposito on waivers from Boston.

Expositio, 25, is a career .268/.324/.420 hitter in seven minor league seasons in Boston’s farm system.  He was the Red Sox 31st round selection in the 2005 first-year player draft.

 

To make room for Exposito on the 40-man roster, infielder Josh Bell has been designated for assignment.  Bell, 25, batted .200/.221/.264 in 79 games with the Orioles in 2010 and 2011.  He was acquired by Baltimore on July 30, 2009 in exchange for left-handed pitcher George Sherrill.

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The Good, the Vlad and the Orioles

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The Good, the Vlad and the Orioles

Posted on 02 February 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

As with most things related to Orioles baseball, when it comes to their reported pursuit of free agent designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero it seems that the fan base is split. I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising considering not only that there’s little that Orioles fans can come together and agree on these days, but also because from an organizational standpoint, the goals of this year’s team are still anybody’s guess.

There’s little doubt that the Orioles will go forward into 2011 as a much better version of themselves. There’s the undeniable Showalter factor, the expected development of a number of young players who continue to build their Major League acumen, the acquisitions of guys like Mark Reynolds, JJ Hardy, Justin Duscherer, and Kevin Gregg; across the board the O’s look like a better team than they did going into last season. Even the stopgap acquisition of Derrek Lee is something that O’s fans could possibly see as positive, as with the Red Sox, Yankees, White Sox, Tigers, Angels and a number of other notable big spenders pretty well set at first base going forward, the O’s could see significant opportunities in free agency in coming seasons.

 

Still, the question remains, not what should we expect from this team this season, but what are they expecting from themselves? Wildcard significance into the last month of the season? I doubt it. A run at .500? Won’t be holding my breath for that one either. How about a ticket out of the AL East basement? Maybe. A 10-game improvement from last year’s 66 win total? Now we’re probably talking.

 

So what’s the use in bringing in Vladimir Guerrero anyway?

 

Are they looking to part ways with Luke Scott?

 

Unlikely, Scott is younger and although he doesn’t provide Guerrero-like prowess at the plate, his career is arcing upward while Vlad’s seems to be trending the other direction. Maybe though, with all of his political rhetoric this off-season and a date at the arbitration table looming the O’s are looking to cut bait with Scott. Still, if the market is this cold for a one-dimensional Vlad, then it can’t be much bigger if at all for a one and a half-dimensional player like Scott.

 

Does he add protection for the young players the O’s are hoping to develop around him?

 

Again unlikely. With Vlad in tow, the O’s lineup would likely feature Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Derrick Lee, Mark Reynolds, Scott and Guerrero in some order in the top six spots. That leaves Hardy along with the only 2 young developing everyday players in Matt Wieters and Adam Jones relegated to spots 7-9 in the order.

 

Nolan Reimold might stand to benefit more long-term in that scenario as he’d likely be optioned back and forth between the O’s and the minors all season on his one remaining option. As for Felix Pie, as the likely 4th outfielder in that scenario any upside you envision for him, or even the real opportunity to assess his place on this team could be stalled for another season.

 

What it would accomplish, in concert with the Duscherer acquisition is providing the team with an opportunity to stick Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Reimold and Josh Bell back in the minors to begin the season, at least creating the perception of organizational depth.

 

It’d be remiss not to consider the possibility, strike that, to not expect injuries. In the case laid out above, most roads point to Pie. He would be the guy called upon to fill any outfield positions, and if needs arose at first base or DH, those would likely be filled by Scott, pressing Pie back into duty in left field. An injury at second, third or short would likely fall on Izturis and of course catchers are catchers.

 

Maybe the last and most important question is where is the pride that we’re supposed to feel as Orioles fans?

 

Are Vlad and his management team really running the O’s through the motions again?

 

We’re not, after all, that far removed from the Guerrero courtship of 2004, where he reportedly accepted less money than the O’s were offering to sign with a much more competitive Angels team, citing concerns about Baltimore’s Dominican community or lack thereof. I’m no census taker, but the Dominican population in Baltimore hasn’t spiked recently to my knowledge.

 

So here we are again, bidding against ourselves in an otherwise cold market for an aging, one-dimensional player who’s still reluctant to sign…and we’re still trying to play ball.

 

It’s time to salvage some pride Orioles. Let Guerrero walk, before he does it to you anyway. State your goals for the season and put your money where your mouth is. If you can’t deliver a winner or even a modicum of hope at this stage in the game, then at least give us the perception that you still have some pride. Otherwise our reasons to have pride in you are dwindling or have dwindled)…along with our hopes.

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Striving For Mediocrity

Posted on 02 February 2011 by Erich Hawbaker

It’s about this time every year that my brain begins its semiannual transition out of one mode and into another. By August, I start to get the itch for football season and slowly begin checking out of baseball. It’s a lot easier to do when your team is nowhere near playoff contention, and as we all know that’s the way it’s been since I was in middle school. But nonetheless, it’s about now when I begin to fondly look forward to having a baseball game to listen to on the radio every night and enough daylight to get me to at least the 5th or 6th inning if I’m out on the farm.

So now, we must inevitably begin the speculation of how the 2011 edition of the Baltimore Orioles will fare. I have to say first off that it’s kind of a new experience for me to see some guys on the O’s roster that I’ve actually had on my fantasy teams in years past. I had JJ Hardy that year he was hitting homeruns like it was going out of style, and I also had Justin Duscherer for that season when Oakland moved him into their rotation and he put up some solid numbers. But unfortunately, this actually shows us that the Orioles’ offseason strategy has not changed at all.

Early on, when the top shelf free agents are looking for new homes, they’re nowhere to be seen; or if they do make an appearance, it’s only ever a half-hearted attempt at snagging one (case and point, Adam Dunn). Then, after the dust settles, they go about the business of filling their roster needs with so-so position players who might be better than who they had last year but are a far cry from being the building blocks of a playoff team. Round it out with a couple guys who were stars five years ago, but are now in the twilight of their careers, and you’ve got the Angelos/MacPhail formula for “success”.

Over the years, I’ve gotten sick after spiking my tea with orange Kool Aid enough times that I refuse to do so again. I tend to be more of a realist than an optimist in just about everything. But for some reason, the one exception I always made to that was for the Orioles. Not again. This year, I’m going to assume that this team still sucks until they show me otherwise. Exactly one year ago, I wrote a blog right here where I praised the front office for bringing back Miguel Tejada, and speculated that he, along with Josh Bell and Garrett Atkins, were going to at least give the Birds a shot at breaking .500 in 2010. Reading that again now, I feel like Gary Cooper saying that Gone With The Wind was going to be the biggest flop in Hollywood history.

I’m officially changing my modus operandi of being a fan, because they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Are you listening, front office? We’re still in the midst of this “grow the arms and buy the bats” mantra, but whenever it comes time to actually buy, you once again take the bargain basement route and bring home the guy who set the MLB record for most strikeouts in a season (Reynolds), a flash-in-the-pan hitting shortstop (Hardy), and yet another transient, aged power hitter (Vlad). And the best part is, Andy managed to go over what Pete wanted to spend! I guess the economy hasn’t been good for the ambulance chasing business, either. But they’re committed to winning, don’t doubt it for a second!

This team has proven me wrong (and Murphy’s Law right) more times than I care to recall. And I really hope they prove me wrong again this year… by at least having a pulse.

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Recently acquired 3B Mark Reynolds joins WNST first to discuss bouncing back along with new team

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Recently acquired 3B Mark Reynolds joins WNST first to discuss bouncing back along with new team

Posted on 07 December 2010 by Ryan Chell

Mark Reynolds

It took awhile for the Orioles to get started, but Monday finally brought news that Baltimore made a move with the Arizona Diamondbacks-bringing in third baseman Mark Reynolds in exchange for Orioles pitchers David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio.

Reynolds, 27, will likely supplant Josh Bell as the team’s Opening Day third baseman and brings a solid combination of power(121 HRs in 3+ seasons) and some speed on the base-paths( 24 SB in 2009).

The trade will likely be a work in progress for both sides, as both the Orioles and Reynolds are in the works of trying to rebound from disappointing seasons and personal slumps.

Reynolds joined Rex Snider on “The Afternoon Drive” in a WNST exclusive to discuss the trade, and the being a Virginia Beach native discussed coming back home to the Chesapeake Bay area.

“I have a lot of family there,” Reynolds told Snider. “My parents are still there, along with my aunts and uncles, cousins…a lot of family there. I get back there-usually around the holidays-because I live in Arizona now.”

Ultimately playing in front of his family is going to be worth the move to the East Coast to suit up in the orange and black.

“It’s gonna be great playing close to home. I get to see some family and friends on an off-day. It’s a positive experience and I’m looking forward to it.”

Reynolds, a fifth-year veteran out of the University of Virginia, can play both first base and third base for his new ball club. In his career, he has a total of 121 career home runs, 346 RBIs, and a career batting average of .242.

Reynolds’ best season came in 2009 when he hit .260, had an OBP of .349 and a OPS of .892. He hit 44 HRs-good for 4th best in the NL-and 102 RBIs on top of stealing 24 bases.

The Orioles certainly would hope to have that version of Reynolds as opposed to his 2010, where he fought through numerous injuries and batted .198 while striking out a league-high 211 times.

His lack of production at the plate also affected his base-stealing skills, as his stolen base production dipped from 24 in 2009 to just seven last year.

Reynolds admitted that he hates making excuses for his slump, but the injuries a year ago were a lot to handle based on his abilities, and his injuries ranged from his quad, his thumb, and to cap it all off, he ended up being hit in the head by a 95-MPH fastball while at the plate facing Nationals pitcher Collin Balester back in August.

“I had never been hurt in my career,” Reynolds said. “Then, on the last day  of spring training, I hurt my quad and that hindered me from stealing bases, which is a major part of my game. I wasn’t really comfortable playing defense, or pushing off of my back leg.”

Reynolds said he never felt the same after that and felt out of his element. And the worst part about it all? He didn’t feel comfortable sitting out of games with the injury either.

“I’m stubborn,” Reynolds admitted. “I’ll play through anything. I hate missing games, so that season got off to a slow start.”

Ultimately the injuries continued to be a slippery slope for the fourth-year veteran.

“It was very frustrating,” Reynolds told Snider. “Obviously, I don’t picture myself as a sub-.200 by any means. And I don’t expect that to happen ever again. One thing after another this past year, and it resulted in a down year.”

He vows never to have that bad of a season again-especially now that he has a fresh start in Baltimore. He learned a lot through the adversity he suffered through the past year. And he still believes that he has the skills to contribute to the Orioles and that his overall baseball skills haven’t fallen off the table.

“But my power numbers were still there, still drove in some runs, and was still able to get on base pretty quick. This past year, I learned a lot about how to deal with injuries and how to take a day or two if I need it, instead of struggling to play through it.”

The Orioles will retain his services for at least two more seasons before a club option is available.

In a sense, this is a great trade for the Orioles. They got a power-hitting third baseman who had one off-year for cheap, and they did not have to give up any of the hot pitching prospects in the organization.

The Diamondbacks were high on starting pitcher Chris Tillman, but instead the Orioles were able to work out the deal for Reynolds instead with Hernandez-a pitcher who excelled after moving to the bullpen-and the other pitcher that came over in the Erik Bedard trade to the Seattle-Kam Mickolio.

Not giving up Tillman in that deal could mean that they could then package him in another move toward another corner infielder.

Reynolds said that now his job is getting to know his teammates, preparing himself for spring training, and learning to respect a manager in Buck Showalter, who used to manage his original ballclub before he became a member of the team, that he doesn’t know too much about just yet.

“I actually just got off the phone with him a little bit ago,” Reynolds said. “And he was welcoming me to the team. He sounded like a good guy to play for. I’m just going to go in it with a positive attitude…[and] hoping to get some wins and help turn this team around.”

Tune into WNST and WNST.net as we continue to follow the Orioles throughout their off-season! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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My 3-part “Orioles in review” series begins with…the report card

Posted on 05 October 2010 by Drew Forrester

With baseball season over in Baltimore – once again, five weeks too early – it’s time to spend a few days reviewing what happened and what lies ahead.

I’ll start my 3-part “Orioles review” with the 2010 Report Card.

When your team only wins 66 games, it’s easy to hand out a bunch of C’s and D’s, but I was a little more kind than that given the club’s outstanding play in August and September.  They took what MIGHT have been a 50-win-campaign and turned it into just another bad season.  And I mean that in the most complimentary way possible.  20 years from now, folks will look back at 2010 and say to themselves “well, they were bad that year…”.  Had they gone 50-112, folks would remember that FOREVER as one of those historically bad seasons for ANY club in baseball history, not just Orioles history.

Winning 66 games was a miracle based on where the team was when Buck took over in early August.

Here are the grades:

Pitchers

Brian Matusz (C+) — Didn’t get off to a great start, but came on strong in Aug/Sept and showed he’s here to stay.  Could wind up being next year’s version of this year’s David Price (Tampa Bay).  At some point, it’s all going to come together for this kid.  He has a bright future, for sure. Let’s hope it’s in Baltimore.

Jeremy Guthrie (B) — Was the team’s best pitcher and, honestly, their best PLAYER all season.  Take away the 2009 season when the club cut his salary in pre-season and he’s put together three VERY good campaigns in Baltimore since arriving in 2007.

Brad Bergesen (C) — Another pitcher who responded well to the arrival of Showalter.  He still has a propensity to get involved in a big inning on occasion, but his stuff is as good as anyone’s on the staff and he’ll be in the rotation to start 2011.

Chris Tillman (D) — Sprinkled in the occasional good start, but for the most part he remains overmatched with his lack of control and little movement on his fastball.  Hopefully not a “AAAA pitcher” but that’s what it’s looking like more and more — hitters can’t touch him at the AAA level but he can’t get hitters out consistently enough at the big league level.

Kevin Millwood (D) — Wasn’t nearly as bad as his final numbers showed, but the bottom line is that he appeared disinterested from the start and that lack of enthusiasm translated into the worst season of his career.

Jake Arrieta (C-) — Control problems continue to plague him (52k/48bb) at the major league level, as they did in the minors, but he occasionally showed flashes of good stuff and should contend for a starting rotation spot in 2011 spring training.  WHIP (1.53) and BAA (.271) were way too high, but as a first year contributor, he had some decent moments.

David Hernandez (B-) — Accepted his bullpen role well and turned out to be impressive in his non-starter-work.  Could eventually compete for a starter’s spot again, but his lack of durability was an issue in his previous efforts to start.

Jason Berken (B-) — Was arguably the team’s most consistent pitcher – out of the bullpen – before getting hurt.  Like Hernandez, might not have been good enough to a consistently good starter, but he seems to have settled into his bullpen role with enthusiasm.

Koji Uehara (B-) — When healthy, he’s good to very good.  When not healthy, he’s not helping.  The question isn’t whether or not he can pitch and be effective.  He can be.  The question is “can he stay healthy?”.  Had some success as the closer, but also gave up several big home runs in that role.

Jim Johnson (C) — Injury-riddled 2010 didn’t give him a chance to do much.  Will be interesting to see what role Showalter gives him.  Was at his best as the 8th inning set-up man.

Mark Hendrickson (C-) — The journeyman left hander figures to NOT return in 2011.

Matt Albers (C) — Trade bait, perhaps?  He’s been OK in Baltimore, but with Hernandez and Berken (and maybe Koji?) coming back, where does he fit in?

Alfredo Simon (C-) — Too inconsistent to be counted on.  Experiment as the closer didn’t work.  He can’t start.  So what do you do with him?  Teach him to pitch left-handed?

Michael Gonzalez (C) — Didn’t really get enough work to justify any grade, but on the whole, he was just OK, at best.

Field Players

Ty Wigginton (B) — Should have been the team’s MVP, truth be known.  Carried the team in April and May when they were horrible.  Had an off-month in June, but rebounded nicely under Showalter and looks to be Buck’s kind of player.  Get used to seeing him, he’ll be back next year.

Luke Scott (B) – Blossomed into the team’s best – and, maybe, only – real power hitter.  If not for that 3-week injury where he hurt himself jogging around the bases, he would have enjoyed, perhaps, a VERY good season.  The only knock on him?  Where do you play him in the field?  He was OK at first base…better than I thought he’d be, but he can’t play left field every day, that’s for sure.

Adam Jones (C+) – He is, without question, the club’s most mysterious player.  One week he’s red hot and has that big-player swagger and the next week he’s swinging at pitches out of the strike zone, grounding into double play-after-double play, and watching fly balls sail over his head.  Personally, I think he’s the player with the most potential on the roster.  But his 2010 was just “eh”…some good, some bad…mostly “eh”.

Nick Markakis (C) — Hard to give Nick much better than a “C” when a lot of his numbers were down across the board.  That said, I really believe the power drop-off can be attributed more to where he hit in the lineup than anything else.  Still remains one of the game’s best defensive outfielders and with solid additions to the lineup, he could once again be a .300, 24 HR, 100 RBI guy without question.

Felix Pie (C) –  An incredibly gifted athlete who certainly improved over his injury-riddled 2009, but he’s still not nearly the 5-tool player that everyone imagined he’d be when he came up through the Cubs system.  His blemishes are obvious — not patient enough at the plate, not enough power  and prone to the mental mistake more than you’d like.  But there’s plenty of good with him as well.  Improved defensively, for sure, and looks to be more comfortable against left handers.  It wouldn’t hurt the club to make him part of trade talks in the off-season, but if nothing else, he’s a valuable role player going forward.

Corey Patterson (B) – For what he was – a minor leaguer out of a job in the spring – Patterson turned out to be a more-than-adequate 4th outfielder in 2010.  He probably won’t be back in 2011, but it wouldn’t be a bad decision to bring him back if he’s willing to settle for the part-time role again.  He is what he is — a decent professional player.  Nothing more, nothing less.  But he had a good year in 2010.

Cesar Izturis (C-) – Outstanding defensive year was tempered by the expected offensive fizzle.  He’s better at the plate than given credit for — but the numbers don’t lie.  The Orioles need to do better at the shortstop position, that’s for certain.  Will they?  I’m not so sure.  I have a weird feeling Buck likes him…and that he might be back on a 1-year deal while the team figures out what they’re going to do at the position long-term.

Brian Roberts (C) — Tough to assess him based on the fact he missed 100 games.  As expected, the team benefitted greatly when he returned, but it wasn’t “the old” B-Rob for the most part.  15 RBI in 59 games?  Wow.  4 HR in 59 games?  Ugh.  14 doubles in 59 games?  Eye opening.  But let’s assume his early season injury contributed to his lack of production.  At this point, though, you would figure the Orioles are starting to think about “life after B-Rob”.  It’s coming sometime soon.

Josh Bell (D) — Wasn’t ready.  Period.  Overmatched.  Period.  53 strikeouts in 53 games.  2 walks.  A .214 batting average.  Was OK in the field, and that’s being kind.  Just not big-league caliber yet.  But it also means the Orioles will be in the market for a 3B this off-season.

Matt Wieters (C-) — Seemed to pick it up when Showalter arrived, but it wasn’t a good sophomore season from “Mauer with Power”.  His defense was questionable at times and his long, loopy swing was victimized throughout the early part of the season by fastball pitchers.  A .249 batting average clearly isn’t good enough, but the more eye opening stat was 11 HR in 130 games.  Not time to panic yet, because he’s a year and a half into his career — but we all probably expected more at this point.  Patience, young grasshopper, patience .

Julio Lugo (D) – Not much there.  Nothing memorable stands out, which is why he won’t be back next year.

Craig Tatum (C) — He’s the back-up catcher, but an adequate enough one.  Was actually decent defensively.  Not dangerous at the plate, but back-up catchers rarely are.

Staff

Andy MacPhail (C-) — Rescued from a “D” or even “E” grade with Showalter’s August-September impact.  All four of his off-season acquisitions were basically either non-contributors (Atkins, Gonzalez), not motivated to succeed (Millwood) or not good enough (Lugo).

Buck Showalter (A) — Nothing else to say.  Easiest grade to give.  Gives everyone hope for 2011.

Dave Trembley (D) — Game after game, there were always “next-morning-questions” about his strategies and in-game decisions.  Was never given a decent roster to work with, but he turned out to be overmatched as the head honcho.

Juan Samuel (B-) — I thought he was better than Trembley, for sure, and the questions about strategies and what not weren’t as prevalent as those involving Trembley.

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Before You Push The Purple Panic Button ….

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Before You Push The Purple Panic Button ….

Posted on 23 August 2010 by Rex Snider

My highly anticipated “Sports Saturday” started off on a positive note, thanks to the Orioles 8-6 victory over Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers. The game was full of pleasant surprises …..

Who would’ve ever predicted that Josh Bell would connect more often than Joe Flacco on a simultaneous gameday? Ahh …. the magic of the unexpected in sports, huh?

By the time I hit the Lazy-Boy for the Ravens vs. Redskins preseason showdown, I was convinced it was going to be a GREAT night. I can’t say it turned out badly, but I did go to bed knowing John Harbaugh’s bunch still has A LOT of work on its hands before reuniting with Rex Ryan and his Jets.

While I can readily admit Saturday night’s game left me agonizing over a few areas of concern with this team, I’ve chosen to take a more sensible look at the overall picture of the 2010 Baltimore Ravens …..

For the past few weeks, we’ve heard the gloomy forecasts from those who invested a significant portion of their collective hope in Domonique Foxworth’s presence at cornerback. From callers to on-air hosts and even occasional guests, some sobering words have been spoken.

However, in all fairness, there has also been a fairly respectable amount of us who believe the team will be just fine, while downplaying any real handicap to the secondary. And, we’ve had answers for our continued positive outlook, right?

The common rationale in defending the stubborn optimism has been along the lines of “THE RAVENS ARE GONNA HAVE TO BLITZ MORE OFTEN AND GET AFTER THE QUARTERBACK.”

This certainly seems like a logical solution, right? Heck, it’s Football-101 …..

But, we’ve also heard the fairly warned potential ramifications to this solution, too.

As many realists have concluded, if you’re blitzing, you MUST get to the quarterback. If not, guys like Donovan McNabb are gonna make plays. And, the Ravens will be facing a host of ‘slingers better than the former Philadelphia Eagle, in 2010.
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At times during Saturday’s game, McNabb looked like he was doomed, only to fool all of us by stepping up or rolling out of the pocket to buy an extra tick. He succeeded in some crucial situations, including a couple opportunities from the Redskins endzone.

By the way, does anyone know if Travis Fisher made the trip to DC?

The good news is we still have three solid weeks remaining before action on the field really counts. That’s 21 days for Lardarius Webb to get healthier. That’s 21 days to shop for better options on the rosters of other teams. And, that’s 21 days for Greg Mattison to assert some Rex Ryan and Marvin Lewis “PURPLE MAGIC” into his defense.

I’m certain a proportionate amount of this week’s WNST phone calls will be directed at finding a way to help the crippled cornerback unit. That’s the way it always is with the fan base. Among our consistent reactions, nothing is stronger than the tendency to PANIC.

Well, I’m telling you to relax.

Absorb the preseason for what it is – PRESEASON.

John Harbaugh and Greg Mattison weren’t really worried about stopping Chris Cooley, Santana Moss or Anthony Armstrong. Indeed, I’ll guarantee you they were more interested in seeing how their patched up secondary would fare against them – for better or worse.

For some players, like Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason, this game was simply about finding their rhythm and getting back into the flow of established gameplans.
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For some others, like Anquan Boldin, Donte Stallworth, Cory Redding and Ken Hamlin, this game served as a prime opportunity to become intimate with their surroundings and a whole new playbook, at fullspeed.

And, yet, for some guys, like Travis Fisher (really …. did he play?), Prince Miller, Jason Phillips and Cary Williams, this was a vitally significant opportunity to prove they can play at this level and for this team.

You can bet a few sets of discerning eyes were cast on Flacco and his cohorts, as well as Boldin and his gang. But, I’ll bet the house nearly every eye that matters was watching that final group, as they danced upon the bubble …..

So, while you’re worried about the Ravens cornerbacks being able to cover the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, I’m urging you ….. LET IT GO.

Unless he suddenly finds some of Ronnie Lott’s natural ability deep within his soul, Travis Fisher will not find a spot on this Ravens team. Greg Mattison surely suspected it going into Saturday night’s game. Fisher, himself, only confirmed it.

Perhaps, that’s why Mattison emphasized on a blitz-happy defensive attack. I can see that strategy. Think about it …. they might as well test the unproven or unlikely guys in an ideal situation, right?

Thus, they blitz and leave “Fisher Island” all by itself.

The preseason is partly about bringing the obvious back into focus, while also helping the truly qualified to learn a new system. But, it’s equally apportioned to testing the untested, to see if they can be part of a championship-caliber organization.

This trip to FedEx Field was nothing more than the second step in John Harbaugh’s FOUR-STEP preseason process. This team is in a self analyzation stage. They must find out who can contribute, even in the most mitigating ways, to this team’s immediate future.
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While we love and savor those summer days in Westminster, it won’t be revealed there. Harbaugh and company cannot determine their 53rd man at McDaniel College. The survival process does not surround the practice field.

Two meaningless games are in the books and two more still remain. I don’t mean to undervalue the meaning of playing the New York Giants and St. Louis Rams over the next couple weeks. But, these games really don’t matter.

Let me rephrase that ….

The next couple games don’t matter UNLESS you’re standing in the shoes of Fisher, Miller, Williams and a few others. For them, these games are every bit as important as Super Bowl XLV.

These are the biggest games of their lives.

As I suggested, relax. This team will be just fine. Ozzie Newsome didn’t spend more than six months agonizing over a kick ass opportunity, just to be totally derailed by losing a cornerback in the early stages of training camp.

He’s obviously not panicking, why should we?

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I have some new rules to unleash for “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week.” Previously, I handed just one honor out per week-but I’m going to mix that up. I will now be handing out both “New” and “Classic” versions of the honor.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook (feel free to search “Glenn Clark” and add the man who is sipping Orange Kool-Aid after losing a bet to Ed in Park Heights), you know that this week’s “Classic” version (the rule is that the song must be at least 5 years old) is “Out of My Head” by Fastball…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7reY8OyYmLI[/youtube]

This week’s new version of “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week” isn’t really even a song I like that much. Honest to God. Frankly, I find “The Boys of Fall” by Kenny Chesney to be a particularly insufferable song musically. BUT-the speech from New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton at the front of the video is so freaking epic that I’m going to give it the honor anyway.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlXDo5WhQXI[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Luke French, Seattle Mariners shut down Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Yeah, but how are you expected to get anything going against a Cy Young Award candidate like Jeanmar Gomez Luke French?!?!? The Buck Showalter era has been very good in Charm City, but there have still been a few puzzling pitchers to shut the O’s down.

What’s weirder? The fact that the Birds were able to muster just 3 hits against some fella named Luke French or the fact that Josh Bell had two of them?

It all wasted the best start made by Kevin Millwood arguably all season. He gave up just 3 hits and 3 walks over 7 and 2/3 innings, allowing just one run to cross the plate. Armando Gabino sadly wasn’t quite as effective.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to remind everyone of this-but after the Birds have lost 3 of 4 for the first time under Showalter; I think it’s important.

You can’t win them all. You just can’t.

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

Rough night for Ty Wigginton-who went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts and left 3 men on base. Of course, it was a rough night for just about anyone else who was wearing orange and black too.

In one of those “at least it’s familiar” feelings; you REALLY don’t want to look at these numbers. Trust me. Instead, check out something else baseball-related. Sara Saco-Vertiz is the gall that got hit by a foul ball recently at a Houston Astros game down at Minute Maid Park when her boyfriend “Bo the Bailer” jumped out of the way. She’s also a very pleasant distraction from what happened in the Orioles game last night. (Thanks H8TORADE!)

sarasaco

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says MRI on Craig Tatum’s knee ‘shows no damage’

Good news!

Or at least “oh…okay” news.

You know what-if this is the most interesting thing going on with the Orioles’ roster, it IS good news.

You know what else is good news? The new Harvard Sailing Team video that Dave Carey linked to my Facebook page last night. Thanks Dave!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FukzyfIqYf8[/youtube]

4. USA Today’s Paul White says O’s ‘soaring’ under Buck Showalter, but team still needs to improve roster

This is the unfortunate part about the reasonable success the Orioles have had recently. As solid as they’ve been, it just doesn’t REALLY matter.

The fact remains that it is MUCH nicer for us as fans to watch the team win a few games at the end of the season than to continue to lose games at a historic rate. I’m not trying to take away from the value of that, as it bothers me to watch losing as much if not more than anyone.

But this season has been over for some time. There was nothing to tangibly gain from a strong (or even semi-strong) finish to the season.

If the Orioles don’t make significant roster upgrades during the offseason and field a legitimate team come Opening Day; they’ll lose games in April and May of 2011 under ANY manager. Even Buck Showalter.

Wins this season are like “warm fuzzies.” They’re nice to have around, but they don’t actually help with anything. When you’re cold, you need a blanket-not something the size of pocket lint.

The Orioles don’t need warm fuzzies. They need a massive overhaul. It has started with the manager. Now they need more.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Bowie Baysox OF Xavier Avery had 4 RBI in win over Trenton Thunder on farm

A few things before we move on from the Orioles…

-The O’s and M’s wrap up their 3 game set tonight at OPACY. First pitch between Jeremy Guthrie and David Pauley is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Did you miss Xavier Avery this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Rich Dubroff (Carroll County Times)-who discussed all things Orioles with Drew
  • Peter King (SI/NBC)-who checked in from Westminster to preview this afternoon’s “Tweetup” at Amicci’s in Little Italy (4:30-6pm…make sure you come hang out!)
  • Seth Everett (ESPN Radio New York/ESPNNewYork.com)-who checked in with Drew to preview the Jets as we finished the AFC East in our preview of every team on the Ravens’ schedule
  • Our “Cheap Shots from the Bleachers”, including Drew’s shot at all parties involved in the Renee Gork Arkansas/Florida debacle and my shot at the Ravens’ “You Make the Cut” game
  • Plenty of audio from McDaniel College Tuesday-including John Harbaugh, Jim Zorn and Oniel Cousins
  • Todd Heap-who checked in with Rex Snider yesterday afternoon following Ravens practice
  • Matt Bowen (National Football Post)-who discussed his former teammate Brett Favre with Rex Tuesday as well

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so go check it out. Your day is planned now. You can thank me in form of cash money.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says David Hale, Matt Birk, Davon Drew, Marcus Paschal, Brandon McKinney, Daniel Sanders, Stefan Rodgers, Jared Gaither all missed practice Tuesday at Ravens Training Camp

When it comes to Birk and McKinney, my initial thought is “I bet they’ll be plenty healthy when the team is in Owings Mills next week.”

I’m not quite as laid back about David Hale; as the team doesn’t really have much interior line depth. Birk, Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda and Chris Chester are there to handle the Top 4 spots; but the team clearly doesn’t want to have to use Chester as the reserve center.

Now-they could be more flexible if they had better tackle depth. Should they be able to start Gaither and Michael Oher with Cousins behind them; it COULD allow Tony Moll to play guard and have the team use Chester in a pinch as a reserve center.

The thing is-they need these guys to be healthy to do ANY of that. That’s an issue as of right now.

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ed Reed has visited rehab specialist in Atlanta recently to ‘accelerate’ hip healing

You know what else might help Ed ‘accelerate’ his healing? Showing him this picture of Miss USA Rima Fakih. (Thanks Guyism!)

fakih

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Tavares Gooden working with first team defense at JACK LB spot

And before we move on from the Ravens, a few things here as well:

-I have no idea what to make of the JACK LB battle. The job appeared to be Jameel McClain’s to lose, but both Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe have gotten their chances to run with the 1′s after McClain started against the Carolina Panthers. At this point, I’ll still leaning towards McClain-but it will be interesting to see who works with the first unit at FedEx Field Saturday night.

-A reminder that the Ravens hit the practice field today-if you missed the 8:45am practice, you missed it. There’s a special teams practice at 2pm today. Today and tomorrow are the LAST TWO DAYS that you can see the Ravens practice in person at McDaniel College; as they are closed to the public Friday before Saturday’s preseason showdown with the Washington Redskins.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland WR Emani Lee-Odai fractured pinkie during practice, Ralph Friedgen expects him to need surgery

This is a tough break for the senior; who was expected to play an important role in a surprisingly deep group of receivers.

Congratulations also to Terrapins LB’s Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten; who were both named to the Butkus Award Watch List; and to Terps WR/KR Torrey Smith, who was named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List-given to the nation’s most versatile player.

And if Maryland needs some depth at WR with Lee-Odai out, may I suggest Ann French? (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

annfrench

10. UMTerps.com says Gary Williams to join Babe Ruth, Johnny Unitas, Art Modell, Jim McKay, Brooks Robinson in inaugural “Hall of Legends” class at Sports Legends Museum

We could debate the names that AREN’T part of that list (Cal Ripken, Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, Chuck Thompson, Jonathan Ogden, etc.); but that isn’t the point of this really. They’re going to have years to get all of these guys in this group, and this first group of 6 is absolutely outstanding.

The real question is…which year will it be when we see “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio inducted?

I’m sure it has to be soon, right?

And finally, I leave you with this.

The young lady in my life (whatever that means) is a Dallas Cowboys fan. I’m not proud, trust me. We call her “Boomer Sooner” around here. I hope I NEVER hear her singing this song. (Thanks Deadspin!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9KDuKAT5Apg[/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 12 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because days like today are the closest I’m going to feel to having a new child myself…at least that I know of. Today there was a new child born in the Chick-Fil-A family; which I count like my own family. Today’s new birth was in Hunt Valley (the mother of “The Artist Formerly Known as The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet” lives there-I wonder if I’m still welcome to visit?).

While Chick-Fil-A Nottingham Square remains my own personal location, I’m always happy to see an addition to the family. I was even HAPPIER when WNST’s new “Quality Control Director” Chris Cortezi came strolling through the front door at 1550 Hart Rd. with this gift, sent by our HERO Susan from Towson…

minis

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Donte’ Stallworth, Mark Clayton, Tom Zbikowski in mix to be punt returner

Punt return is a strange area this season. Chris Carr was the incumbent and did a decent job last season. Fans were disappointed with the number of times he signaled for a fair catch, but John Harbaugh and Jerry Rosburg were happy to know that he wouldn’t turn the ball over when it was sent to him.

The trouble is-the team now needs Carr to be a starter in the secondary; and they want to keep his focus there. Thus, the punt return job is available for one of these other guys to win. Donte’ Stallworth certainly has the speed to do it and Tom Zbikowski has admirably handled the duties in the past.

Clayton is a particularly interesting character in this cast. His role in the wide receiving corps is a bit diminished, but he still has plenty of speed and is a threat to make plays. That combination could make him a real impact guy in such a position.

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens remain in talks with Frank Walker, but he tried out with Miami Dolphins

I know Ravens fans aren’t thrilled with the idea of Frank Walker returning to Charm City, but he’s a legitimate option to be a “plug and play” guy with this team; and they will likely need at least ONE more corner with Cary Williams out for the first two games of the season-assuming Cary makes the roster.

Of course, there are plenty of other options for the team to consider besides Frank Walker. For example, Alessandra Ambrosio would be a tremendous option (Thanks Guyism!)…

alessandra

3. Fanhouse’s Milton Kent says Ravens preseason games to air in Washington, Harrisburg

And in a story that somehow went unnoticed, WBAL announced that the “Rave TV” weekly programming will air on WBAL Plus (I believe that’s 11.2 on your digital cable); including the “John Harbaugh Show.”

Make your appointments accordingly.

With no offense to the Ravens, WBAL, WBAL Plus, Rave TV, the John Harbaugh Show or people who watch 11.2 looking for an Oprah Winfrey rerun; I think this is a disappointing solution.

Plus, do they realize what they’re up against at 7:30pm? WNUV54 has “Family Guy”, WMAR2 has “Wheel of Fortune” and WUTB 24 has “The Office”! How am I supposed to choose “Purple Passion” ahead of THIS?!?!?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-wf2pP7T0Y[/youtube]

4. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Joe Flacco-Anquan Boldin TD on first drive tonight could send M&T Bank Stadium crowd into frenzy

And a few things before we move on from the Ravens…

-The Ravens of course open exhibition season tonight with a showdown against the Carolina Panthers at “The Bank.” The game can be seen live on ESPN-and will be relayed on WJZ13. Jared Gaither and Chris Carr are definitely expected to be out (besides all of the PUP guys); no definitive word on Fabian Washington’s status just yet. Either way, expect to see a lot of Chris Hawkins and Doug Dutch tonight-but don’t forget that the beer will still be the same price.

-Suzy Kolber and the Monday Night Football crew (Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski, and Michelle Tafoya) are working the game for ESPN tonight. She joined Drew Forrester for a GREAT chat this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST; make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Eugene Robinson (Panthers Color Analyst, former Pro Bowl Defensive Back); who previewed tonight’s showdown with Drew
  • Orlando Alzugaray (WQAM Miami)-who previewed the Dolphins with Drew as we continue to go around the AFC East and look at the Ravens’ 2010 schedule
  • Our weekly “Cheap Shots from the Bleachers”, as I took to task the USTA and the lack of American men in the Top 10 in the World Tennis rankings; and Drew took Neal S from “The Loss Column” to task for calling out O’s fans

There’s plenty more in there from Rex Snider’s Show Wednesday and with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”, so make sure you go check it out.

Your day? Planned. I’ll accept tips.

5. The AP says Brad Bergesen threw complete game two hitter to lift Orioles past Indians at Progressive Field

I just don’t know what to make of any of it.

As I’ve said before, it is impossible look at this stretch of 9 games and say “okay, it took them a long time-but they’ve finally developed into the type of team we thought they would be.”

Instead, we’re forced to wonder what any of it means. The danger is that Brad Bergesen isn’t just the pitcher who threw a gem in Cleveland last night, he’s a guy who has gone 4-9 this season with a 5.84 ERA. Do you keep a rotation spot in stone for a guy like that next season?

Brian Roberts added another home run last night. I like the Birds more when Brian Roberts is playing. Of course, everyone does.

6. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of another win

Unbelievably, you actually DO want to look at these numbers. Again. Brad Bergesen’s line enough is enjoyable.

But AFTER you look at the numbers, look at this picture of Christina Hendricks from whatever the hell that show is that she’s on that everyone likes so bad. Mad Men? True Blood? Tosh.0? Hell if I know. (Thanks Busted Coverage!)

hendricks

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Buck Showalter will allow Josh Bell to keep playing during slump

And with Miguel Tejada gone, there aren’t a whole lot of other options.

The only concern here is that somehow Bell’s confidence can be hurt between now and the end of the regular season; but the opposing argument would be that he’s a Major League Baseball player-and he just needs to suck it up.

I don’t think the team should be working under the assumption that Bell is ABSOLUTELY the Opening Day 3B next year. Mostly because I would like to see the team go out and get a real legitimate 3B in the offseason.

I’d also like a million dollars. But only the Barenaked Ladies got that wish.

8. LA Times’ Dylan Hernandez says former Oriole Jay Gibbons keeping paycheck he’s getting from Los Angeles Dodgers

Some might call Gibbons a hypocrite for that; but I wouldn’t be amongst them. The dude probably needs the paycheck at this point.

By the way, Jay Gibbons will join Rex Snider this afternoon at 3:15 on AM1570 WNST. My guess is that the words “Mitchell Report” will be uttered at some point.

9. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Nolan Reimold had two hits for Norfolk Tides in loss to Indianapolis Indians on farm

And before we move on from the O’s, a couple of things.

-The O’s wrap up a 3 game set with the Tribe tonight before heading to Tampa Bay this weekend to face the Rays. Kevin Millwood faces Jeanmar Gomez, first pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Lou Montanez began a rehab assignment with the Bowie Baysox last night, Jim Johnson is expected to begin his tonight. I support the Bowie Baysox myself and think you should as well.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland TE Lansford Watson limited with knee swelling

In that case, the Terrapins may be in need of some help at TE. May I suggest Ralph Friedgen and the Terps consider Bar Rafaeli??? (Thanks Don Chavez!)

barr

And finally, I leave you with this.

NEW JIMMY EAT WORLD! NEW JIMMY EAT WORLD! OMFG NEW JIMMY EAT WORLD!!!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWOsyA3To3o[/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 05 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because WNST.net’s own Jay Trucker posted a gem on Facebook yesterday (you can add me as a friend by searching for “Glenn Clark” and clicking on the pic of the goofy dude in a Dan Wilcox jersey at Artscape, you can also “like” WNST.net). It’s a combo of 50 Cent’s “Wanksta” and Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City.” It’s actually quite good…

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

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Orioles touched up Ervin Santana in 9-7 win over Angels at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

In Charm City, two straight wins ABSOLUTELY qualifies as a winning streak. We take what we can get.

I know I wasn’t the only person who was terribly afraid that a 9-1 lead was going to completely disappear after the rain delay. Thankfully Los Angeles (slash Anaheim slash California slash etc.) thought it was a good idea to have Torii Hunter steal third base in the 9th inning despite not even being the tying run.

You take them however you can get them-especially when you don’t have too many of them.

Kudos to Brian Matusz, who looked like the guy that everyone on the face of the planet was counting Cy Young Awards for before the season started. Hopefully he can do that again in the future.

Back to back wins. Is this what heaven is like?

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

Look at all of this:

-Luke Scott was 2-5 with a 2 run bomb
-Ty Wigginton was 2-5 with 2 RBI and scored a run
-Adam Jones was 3-4 with a pair of doubles and scored 3 runs
-and even Felix Pie was 3-4 with a triple, 3 RBI and a run scored. Hell, he even tallied a stolen base for a second night in a row. Talk about Orioles Magic!!!

This isn’t supposed to work this way. This is supposed to be where I say “You don’t want to look at the numbers, so instead go look at (blank).” So once again, I guess I’ll suggest you look at the numbers THEN look at this picture of Montana Fishburne (Laurence Fishburne’s daughter); who thought the quickest road to fame involved releasing a sex tape. What, you think there’s something wrong with that? (Thanks Don Chavez!)

fishburne

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says David Hernandez ‘likely’ DL bound with sprained ankle

Which is the bad news that comes from what was an otherwise good night. The good news is that Josh Bell and Brian Roberts were both hurt during the game, but both appear to be okay.

Who takes David Hernandez’s roster spot? I’ll say Frank Mata. And I’ll be unimpressed. Make sure you’re on our WNST Text Service, as you’ll find out as soon as it happens.

4. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says former Buck Showalter players believe manager ‘perfect guy’ for Birds

It’s great insight from a handful of players that played for Showalter with the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Yankees or Texas Rangers, including:

-Luis Gonzalez
-Matt Williams
-Greg Colbrunn
-Doug Glanville
-Matt Nokes
-Matt Riley
and more.

Plus, you can hear from all of these players in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net. It will get you excited. Being within 35 games of .500 would get you more excited, but let’s take what we can get for now.

5. Baysox.com says Steve Johnson winner as Bowie topped Portland Sea Dogs on farm

And before we move on from the O’s, a couple of things:

-The Birds and Halos wrap up their 3 game series tonight, first pitch from OPACY is at 7:05pm. Dan Haren takes the hill for LA, he’s looking for his first win since coming to the American League. Jake Arrieta opposes him for the Orioles-you can see the game on MASN. If the Birds sweep the Angels, Showalter might as well head over to Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office and start working there.

-Did you miss former Orioles (well, kinda)/Tampa Bay Rays/Florida Marlins/Glen Burnie Gophers pitcher Tony Saunders with Drew Forrester today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the Audio Vault today to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Vault include:

  • Steelers Play By Play Voice Bill Hillgrove-who previewed Pittsburgh with Drew this morning as we continue to look around the AFC North
  • New Navy basketball assistant and former Duke hoops star/Syracuse QB Greg Paulus-who talked to Drew about his new role on Billy Lange’s Midshipmen staff
  • Trevor Pryce-who joined Thyrl Nelson fresh off the practice field at McDaniel College Wednesday
  • All sorts of audio from Westminster Wednesday-including John Harbaugh, Roger Goodell, Matt Birk and Michael Oher

So there you go. Your whole day is planned for you. Tell your boss to get bent-you need to listen to the latest and greatest at WNST.net. It will go over fine. I promise.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says John Harbaugh, Ravens were ‘excited’ to host NFL commissioner Roger Goodell at Training Camp Wednesday

Which you could certainly tell from player reactions, both via audio and on Twitter (you can follow us on Twitter @WNST!). For example, banged up CB Lardarius Webb (@LWebb21) said:

“Roger G is a laid back type of guy! He don’t seem to be that guy everyone tries to say he is. Nice meeting you G.

If only Goodell would have Tweeted back something like “You too L-Dubs!” That’s the type of world I’d like to live in.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ravens could be in line to play game overseas

I don’t know how I feel about this at all. The idea is that playing a game in London (or Barcelona…or Amsterdam…or Berlin…or wherever) would be good for marketing and branding. I can understand the value of that.

However, I’m not so sure it’s a great idea football-wise. I know the New England Patriots had no trouble with jetlag or strange surroundings, but you never know how a group of athletes are going to handle such a drastic change in preparation and game atmosphere. These guys don’t like it when they have to bump kickoff back three hours to 4pm. They’re creatures of comfort, and this isn’t comfortable.

It probably wouldn’t be a situation where the team would have to give up a home game at M&T Bank Stadium. The more likely scenario would be that an opponent who sometimes struggles with ticket sales (the Jacksonville Jaguars come to mind) would be hand-picked to face the Ravens-who are one of the league’s more model franchises.

It’s potentially good for the organization big picture, but it might not be good for the franchise in a single season. It leaves me torn. My pal Chad Dukes would say “I’m Torn like Natalie Imbruglia.”

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens to try out former LSU CB Chris Hawkins today

Which is all well and good, but I can’t imagine they’d be trying him out thinking there was any legitimate chance he could be on the field come September 13th when the Ravens line up to face the New York Jets at the Meadowlands.

Here’s a question: Why wouldn’t the team give Zhang Jingchu a tryout??? (Thanks Guyism!)

jingchu

9. CSNBaltimore.com’s Joe Platania says Derrick Mason missed practice Wednesday, Davon Drew returned, Matt Birk could return soon

And before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things:

-Our own Luke Jones reported that Oniel Cousins (throat) came off the PUP list and returned to practice. The Ravens are practicing at 8:45am and 2:45pm (2:45pm is scheduled to be a full squad workout) today if you want to head up to Carroll County.

-Luke will be checking in throughout the day with Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider on AM1570, with Training Camp reports at the bottom of every hour. We are also scheduled to hear from John Harbaugh, Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham after practice-you will be able to hear from them in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Navy an early 7 point favorite against Maryland

Well, it’s come to this.

I know Ken Niumatalolo’s Mids look like they’re going to be a good team this year-but I cannot believe we’ve gotten to a point where the Terrapins are a 7 point dog to Navy on a neutral field.

I’ve said this before. It’s easy to look at these teams and assume Navy is better this season. That doesn’t necessarily mean Navy is going to win. I would probably pick Navy (the funny part is I might pick them by 10+ points), but it doesn’t mean they’ll just roll right past the Terps-who if nothing else will probably have more size and speed on the field.

I’m still afraid they will.

11. Universal Sports’ Matt Stroup says Michael Phelps picked up two golds at Nationals in Irvine, CA

Which means that Michael Phelps has surpassed Terry Caulkins for the most gold medals in U.S. National Championship history. Unlike some folks, I’m unbelievably happy for the Baltimore guy.

I also have a question. Is this the type of accomplishment that would impress Edita Vileviciute? If so, I might go buy a Speedo. (Thanks Heyman Hustle/Busted Coverage!)…

edita

And finally, I leave you with this.

“The Other Guys” opens in theaters tomorrow. Anyone else interested?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6WOoUG1eNo[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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