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Your Monday Reality Check: Aw hell, why not?

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Your Monday Reality Check: Aw hell, why not?

Posted on 13 August 2012 by Glenn Clark

If I understand the way the math works, the Baltimore Orioles’ magic number to clinch an American League Wild Card spot currently sits at 48.

I really felt the need to tell you that because for some goofy reason I sat and worked on it Sunday while I was supposed to be watching the Baltimore Ravens practice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

Congratulations Birds, you’ve successfully gotten me to take attention away from the Ravens and place it on the orange and black. The moment has actually occurred. I’m blown away.

The magic number is 48.

That means that if the total combination of O’s wins combined with losses (individually) from any other team in the Wild Card race reaches 48 before the end of the season the now 15 year playoff draught will officially be over.

It means the Birds will be playing on Friday, October 5 as part of Major League Baseball’s first ever Wild Card play-in games.

I honest to God can’t believe I’ve just typed all of this.

It’s time to cue the music.

I feel like it’s safe to say that I’ve been as reluctant (if not more reluctant) than anyone in town to accept this as an actual, realistic possibility. And if truth me told I would still say “no” if an assailant questioned my belief that the Orioles make the playoffs with a gun pointed to my temple.

It might seem like a four game split with the Kansas City Royals at home would be an odd time for me to suddenly stand and pledge allegiance to the “Why Not?” bandwagon, but…you know…Machado and all.

My original idea for my weekly “Reality Check” column was to write about the realities of 3B Manny Machado’s hot start (6-16, 3HR, 7RBI in four games). I had planned to say “I hate to be the bad guy, but let’s remember that the most likely scenario is that Machado won’t be able to continue this success for the rest of the season or likely even for the rest of August.”

I had intended to say something along the lines of “American League pitchers will likely end up catching up with Machado, who also won’t have the benefit of facing Kansas City Royals pitching every time out.” I was going to add thoughts along the lines of “let’s not forget that even OF Xavier Avery collected 10 hits in his first eight games after getting called up to Baltimore earlier in the season.”

I probably would have mentioned that in the coming week Machado would have to go up against veteran pitchers like Red Sox starters Josh Beckett (albeit a Beckett that has struggled mightily in 2012) and Clay Buchholz as well as reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and MVP Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. It’s a bit more legitimate than a group of KC starters that included Will Smith, Luke Hochevar and Bruce Chen.

I also think I would have mentioned that Machado had not hit .300 in a single month while playing in the Eastern League this season, making a market correction from a very hot start to August seem likely at some point.

That’s what I WAS going to do. But for some reason, it just didn’t stick.

As we’ve repeated ad nauseum during the 2012 Orioles campaign, there is no statistical explanation for why the Birds have won 62 of their first 115 games. Those of us who have been watching understand that the team has benefitted from an incredible bullpen, a number of home runs, great success in close games and expert guidance from AL Manager of the Year candidate Buck Showalter.

That’s why I couldn’t write the Machado column. I didn’t have it in me.

Maybe there IS a chance Machado can continue to make significant contributions as a 20 year old in a lineup that has been seeking an additional spark. The Birds don’t have a full season .300 hitter in their lineup, but they’ve managed to get continued contributions from unexpected places.

Career journeyman INF Omar Quintanilla is batting .328 in just 20 games sense being acquired in a deal with the New York Mets. Veteran (and by “veteran” I mean “washed up”) OF Nate McClouth has eight hits in his first 24 AB’s since being called up from the Norfolk Tides. Even the miserable bat of Mark Reynolds (.211 and just nine home runs in 289 AB’s) provided what proved to be the game winning RBI in Sunday’s win over KC.

I don’t think it can be sustained. I didn’t think it could be sustained two months ago. I was wrong then. Maybe I’m wrong now. I don’t think I’m ever going to understand exactly how all of this has happened this way this season.

So can Manny Machado keep contributing to an Orioles team pushing towards an appearance in the postseason?

What the hell?

Or…why not?

-G

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monday morning

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This Year, We All Should Embrace The Mid-Summer Classic

Posted on 09 July 2012 by Big Chee

It is Monday Morning. If you are like me on the first day of the work week you are probably trying to ease the depressing realization that the weekend is over and you have the five day grind ahead of you. For me at the 9-5 desk job I am spending the first hour(s) of my day meticulously analyzing my fantasy baseball team and catching up on sports stories I might have missed during the pregame Friday & Saturday night.

The anxiety could be even higher this week, and I may have to spend the beginning of my day reading about how bath salts turn humans into zombies and why Scientology ruined the marriage between Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. Baseball is at its All-Star Break. Wimbledon is over. The Olympics have yet to begin in London. Football, basketball, and hockey have yet to begin. Might I actually have to start “working”? Ugh, this could get brutal. I better drink another Espresso double shot. Embrace yourselves everyone; we are about to experience the worst sports week of the year.

I mention the All-Star Break for baseball, for the past ten years I have taken a dissenting attitude towards MLB’s mid-summer event. That differs in my apathetic stance towards the Pro Bowl, NHL & NBA All-Star Games, where I can watch the highlights on SportsCenter and live with myself.  In 2002, Bud Selig and the MLBPA transformed the event from casual to competitive. I used to hate it. It baffled me that home field advantage in the World Series was indicated by which All-Star Team’s pitchers brought their best stuff during the one inning each of them would get on the mound. It drove me nuts that traditional cellar dwellers like the Royals, Pirates and Orioles (sorry everyone) had at least one player on the All-Star Team, even though there was a better shot of Anna Kournikova coming out of retirement to beat Serena Williams to win the Wimbledon than any of those teams winning the Fall Classic.

This year, I have decided to cave in and embrace the All-Star Game, and I suggest all of you fellow sports fanatics do the same. This year, forget about them ludicrous reasons I mentioned in the previous paragraphs. If you love sports, chances are you are someone who craves competitiveness in sports and life alike. Plus this week, you don’t really have a choice, right? The 4th of July relaxed attitude around your office is over. Daily stresses are back and we are on the full five day work week again.

If you are a Baltimore Orioles Fan, as most of you reading on WNST.net probably are, this is the first time in more than a decade that this game has some real meaning to it. Let’s call a spade a spade, does anyone reading truly believe that the O’s are ready to make a push to play in the World Series? I did not think so. However, heading into the All Star Break, Baltimore is six games back of the Yankees, six games above .500. If the season ended now, the first year of expanded playoffs would open with Baltimore at the Los Angeles Angels for the one-game AL wild card. The guys representing the resurgent O’s this year in Kansas City, Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and Jim Johnson, make up a trio that marks the first time since 2005 that the Orioles have sent multiple players to the All Star Game.

“It’s pretty cool,” Jones said of the group the Orioles will send to Kansas City. “For the last seven years, it’s been one player. You have to win to get more than one player nowadays. Representing the Baltimore Orioles, it’s a tremendous accomplishment for us as a team, also.”

Wieters, who was the Orioles’ representative in last year’s All-Star Game also added, “It makes it even more fun that you get to share something with your teammates that you’re battling the whole year with.”

Comparing baseball’s All Star Game to the other major sports in the United States, one cannot forget the fact that just because it is an exhibition game, the play of the field does not change. For example, in the NBA’s ASG, there is little to no defense played. There is an open lane almost every time when either squad comes down the court. While alley oops and monster dunks are cool, when it occurs every possession, it can get old very quickly. In baseball, the matchups do not change. When Clayton Kershaw comes to the mound and faces Adam Jones, do you think he is going to toss a 75 mph meatball for Adam Jones to crank towards the fences? Not a chance. He is going to bring it just like he would during a regular start for the Dodgers.

I mention those All-Stars facing each other as just one example of a potential matchup that makes for a great watch. How about the 23 year old phenom Steven Strasburg going head to head with legend Derek Jeter who is 15 years his senior? How cool would it be to see RA Dickey, the arguable front runner for NL Cy Young, tossing his knuckleball and trying to fool slugger Josh Hamilton? And 2012 will be the last All Star Appearance for eight time all star and surefire Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, who is retiring after this season. It will certainly be weird without him in Atlanta next season that is for sure.

Back in February of this year, I explained to Mike Huber on XTSR Towson Radio why I believed that the second calendar month was the worst sports month of the year. The football season was over. Pitchers and catchers report in the middle of the month, but baseball was still months away from beginning. Basketball, both college and professional, was still in their respective regular seasons. Same applies to hockey.  Not to mention on the East Coast, February is typically a cold, dark month (but after this torturous heat wave, I sure would not mind a 35 degree day.) Now we approach arguably the worst sports week, not entire month, of the year. I hope my words give you something to look forward to when it’s quitting time on Tuesday.

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Here’s a look at Orioles Memorial Day uni…

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Here’s a look at Orioles Memorial Day uni…

Posted on 26 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jake Arrieta’s Twitter account, here’s a look at the camouflage duds the Birds will sport Sunday against the Kansas City Royals in honor of Memorial Day…

What do you think?

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Orioles recall Paulino, Pomeranz for start of Royals series

Posted on 25 May 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles today announced that they have recalled pitcher Stu Pomeranz and catcher Ronny Paulino from Triple-A Norfolk, optioned catcher Luis Exposito to the Tides and designated infielder Bill Hall for assignment.

Pomeranz has not allowed an earned run in 10 appearances this season with Triple-A Norfolk (five games, 10.0IP) and Double-A Bowie (five games, 13.1IP). He pitched more than one inning in nine of 10 appearances, striking out 35 and walking three. Pomeranz made two scoreless appearances (4.0IP, 4H, BB, 3K) for the Orioles earlier this season after having his contract selected on May 7.

Paulino batted .300 (9-30) with three RBI in nine games for the Orioles earlier this season. He hit .283/.313/.391 in 12 games for Norfolk after being optioned on May 7.

Exposito hit .059 (1-17) in eight games with the Orioles after being recalled from the Tides on May 4.

Hall batted .286 (2-7) with a solo home run, becoming the 22nd Oriole in franchise history to hit a home run in his first game with Baltimore. He had his contract selected on May 12.

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Orioles agree to six-year extension with center fielder Adam Jones

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Orioles agree to six-year extension with center fielder Adam Jones

Posted on 25 May 2012 by Luke Jones

(Saturday 6:45 p.m. update — The Orioles have completed the deal and will announce it on Sunday, according to MASNSports.com. Jones’ agent Nez Balelo remained in Baltimore over the weekend to finalize details with executive vice president of baseball operations.)

In what would be a benchmark moment for the future of the organization, the Orioles are reportedly close to a club record long-term extension with star center fielder Adam Jones.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported Baltimore was closing in on a six-year agreement for money in the neighborhood of $85 million as of Friday morning. That contract would trump the franchise record $72 million contract the  Orioles offered to Miguel Tejada prior to the start of the 2004 season. A new agreement would buy out Jones’ final year of arbitration before he was scheduled to become a free agent following the 2013 season.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has remained mum on the topic of a Jones extension, dodging questions about it in several local interviews, but it appears the Orioles will make a long-term commitment to the 26-year-old outfielder.

Jones is hitting .311 with 14 home runs (tied for second in the American League) and 29 runs batted in this season in what’s easily been his most productive start to a season in his seven-year career in the big leagues.

Reports indicate Jones has already taken a physical as the two sides iron out final details for the deal on Friday morning.

The center fielder is making $6.15 million this season and would likely become the highest paid player on the team with a deal certain to surpass the six-year, $66.1 million extension signed by right fielder Nick Markakis prior to the start of the 2009 season.

With the Orioles set to welcome the Kansas City Royals to town to begin a three-game set, Friday could prove to be a memorable night in the history of the organization.

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Orioles open three game set with Royals Friday night

Posted on 24 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Matusz takes on Hochevar in KC matinee

Posted on 17 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Hunter, Paulino square off Wednesday night in KC

Posted on 16 May 2012 by WNST Staff

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 17 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Jermain Taylor vs. Caleb Truax (Friday 11pm from Biloxi, MS live on Showtime), Abner Mares vs. Eric Morel (Saturday 9pm from El Paso, TX live on Showtime); Tennis: ATP Tour Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (Tuesday-Friday 4:30am Saturday 7am Sunday 7:30am from Monaco live on Tennis Channel/ESPN3.com); Soccer: MLS-Montreal Impact @ DC United (Wednesday 7:30pm from RFK Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), New York Red Bulls @ DC United (Sunday 6pm from RFK Stadium live on ESPN2); Women’s College Lacrosse: ACC Tournament-Maryland vs. Virginia Tech (Friday 2pm from Durham, NC live on ESPN3.com), ACC Championship (Monday 7pm from Durham, NC live on ESPNU)

10. Augustana (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Portugal. The Man (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live); Charm City Devils (Saturday 6:30pm Recher Theatre); Colin Hay (Thursday 7:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); The Bacon Brothers (Thursday & Friday 6:30pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage), WAR (Sunday 5pm & 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Fountains of Wayne/James Iha (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), NEEDTOBREATHE (Saturday 8pm Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Glen Campbell (Tuesday & Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere), Bela Fleck & The Flecktones (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Bad Brains (Friday 8pm Howard Theater); Daryl Hall/Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (Friday 8pm Warner Theatre); Bowling For Soup (Saturday 8pm Stevenson University); Johns Hopkins Spring Fair feat. Passion Pit (Friday-Sunday, Passion Pit show Friday 7pm JHU Rec Center); UMBC Quadmania feat. Gym Class Heroes (Friday-Sunday, Gym Class Heroes show Saturday 7pm RAC Arena); Neon Trees “Picture Show” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

You know I’ll be at Recher Saturday night supporting the very awesome John Allan and CCD. My only issue with “Man of Constant Sorrow” is that I can’t fathom a human being leaving Kentucky…

I don’t particularly know anything about NEEDTOBREATHE but I DO know I dig this tune…

If Daryl Hall had Fitz & The Tantrums as his touring house band, I’d go to every show…

I probably shouldn’t admit how much I dig Neon Trees…

9. Ron White (Thursday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Eddie Griffin (Friday & Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Norm MacDonald (Friday & Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Wendy Liebman (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday); Tax Day (Tuesday)

I think I’m gonna go see Norm MacDonald. Because Norm MacDonald is funny. See below.

Also, it’s Tax Day Tuesday. I don’t think I’m getting any money back (do you have to make money for that?), but if I did I know exactly how I’d spend it…

There isn’t anything…in the world…I want more than a LoveSac.

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Broncos SB Odds Improve, Ravens Drop After Start of Free Agency

Posted on 19 March 2012 by WNST Staff

Peyton Manning Odds

Peyton Manning – Total Passing Yards in the 2012 Regular Season? 

Over/Under                    4000    

Peyton Manning – Total TD Passes in the 2012 Regular Season?       

Over/Under                    28½

Peyton Manning – Completion % in the 2012 Regular Season?          

Over/Under                    65%

Peyton Manning – Total Interceptions in the 2012 Regular Season?   

Over/Under                    16½

Peyton Manning – Will his first pass of the season be complete, incomplete, or an Interception?

Complete                      -180     (5/9)

Incomplete                    +150     (3/2)

Interception                   +1000   (10/1)

Peyton Manning – Will he win 2012 NFL MVP?           

Yes                              7/1       

Peyton Manning – Will he win 2012 Comeback Player of the Year?   

Yes                              1/1       

Tim Tebow Odds

Tim Tebow – Which team will he be on for Week 1 of the Regular Season?     

Jacksonville Jaguars                  3/2

Denver Broncos                         7/4

Miami Dolphins                          7/4

New England Patriots                 7/1

Cleveland Browns                       12/1

Tim Tebow – Will he start as a QB in the NFL Week 1 of the Regular Season?          

Yes                  EVEN  

No                    -140     

Broncos Odds

Denver Broncos – Regular Season Wins         

Over                              10        

Will the Denver Broncos play against The New York Giants in the 2013 Super Bowl?           

Yes                              50/1     

Will the Denver Broncos win the AFC?

Yes                              6/1

Will the Denver Broncos win the AFC West?

Yes                              2/3

2013 SUPER BOWL XLVII ODDS  (odds current, 3/19/2012)                  (odds on 2/6/2012)

Green Bay Packers                                13/2                                          6/1

New England Patriots                             15/2                                          7/1

New Orleans Saints                               10/1                                          8/1

Denver Broncos                                     12/1                                          50/1

Houston Texans                                     12/1                                          12/1

San Francisco 49ers                              14/1                                          18/1

Baltimore Ravens                                   15/1                                          14/1

Philadelphia Eagles                                15/1                                          12/1

New York Giants                                    16/1                                          15/1

Pittsburgh Steelers                                18/1                                          12/1

Dallas Cowboys                                     20/1                                          18/1

San Diego Chargers                               22/1                                          16/1

Chicago Bears                                       25/1                                          30/1

Detroit Lions                                          25/1                                          18/1

Atlanta Falcons                                     28/1                                          22/1

New York Jets                                       30/1                                          16/1

Carolina Panthers                                  40/1                                          50/1

Cincinnati Bengals                                 40/1                                          40/1

Miami Dolphins                                      40/1                                          35/1

Seattle Seahawks                                  40/1                                          60/1

Arizona Cardinals                                   50/1                                          30/1

Kansas City Chiefs                                50/1                                          50/1

Oakland Raiders                                    50/1                                          50/1

Tennessee Titans                                   50/1                                          40/1

Washington Redskins                            50/1                                          60/1

Buffalo Bills                                           75/1                                          60/1

St. Louis Rams                                      75/1                                          75/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers                         75/1                                          75/1

Indianapolis Colts                                   100/1                                        50/1

Jacksonville Jaguars                               100/1                                        100/1

Minnesota Vikings                                 100/1                                        75/1

Cleveland Browns                                   150/1                                        100/1

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv,  Twitter: @BovadaLV).

“Our Super Bowl odds have been down for a couple weeks until we knew where Peyton would go since this signing would have such a huge impact on every team’s odds.  Denver who we had at 50-1 before we closed the odds have dropped to 12-1 and as I expected the public is taking them regardless as soon as we opened this morning.  We were a bit lucky that Denver came out of nowhere in the Manning Sweepstakes so not too many people bet them at 50-1.”

-Kevin Bradley, Bovada.lv Sportsbook Manager

 

 

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