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Forget the Home Field Advantage: An AL Team Will Win the World Series

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Big Chee

Wretched. Sucky. Lopsided. These are just some of the adjectives I stumbled upon on Twitter this morning that described last night’s All Star Game, an 8-0 blowout victory for the National League. Right out of the gate, Justin Verlander, arguably the best pitcher in the American League, surrendered 5 runs to give the National League a comfortable lead. From there, the American League had no answer for Cain, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Kershaw, Dickey, Hamels (you get the picture), and Melky Cabrera’s two run homer turned the game from a solid lead to a drubbing.

Speaking of Twitter, baseball fans on social media seem to be crying foul over the home field advantage the NL will earn once again in the World Series. I was not one of them, and I still believe that there is nothing wrong with adding a little competitive spirit to the Mid-Summer classic, I explained in my last blog on WNST.net.

However, in this 2012 season, let’s not spend too much time on this argument, because, quite frankly, it does not matter. This year, the American League’s individual teams are far superior to the National League, and it’s not even close. That can be evidenced by the fact that the American League went 142-110 (.563 win %) over the National League in interleague play this year, and the AL team with the best record (NY Yankees) swept the team in the NL with the best record (Washington Nationals.) Don’t get it twisted, I am well aware that the Texas Rangers have been victims of the American League losing two years in a row in the ASG, and if the Rangers had been home Game 7 last year, the results very well could have been different. However, one exhibition game in July cannot change the fact that there are five teams in the American League that are better than all in the National League,  even if it was a beat down. Here are the five teams that would beat the National League pennant winner in 2012, even if the game is held in the Nation’s Capital.

1.)       The New York Yankees

The Yankees are defying the post steroid era notion that achieving greatness is all about pitching. The 7yr/$161 Million Dollar Ace CC Sabathia has been solid, but his 3.45 ERA is far from spectacular. Ivan Nova might lead the staff with 10 wins, but his 3.92 ERA is even higher than Sabathia’s. Phil Hughes has been up and down all season, Andy Pettite is on the 60 Day DL and Hiroki Kuroda is simply an innings eater. Not to mention Michael Pineda’s season ending injury before the season even started, as well as the legend Mariano Rivera’s freak accident while shagging fly balls that put the rest of his career in jeopardy. This season could have been lost for the Yankees. However, they have the best winning percentage in baseball at the break, leading the Orioles by 7 games in the AL East.

In post steroid era ball where players in their 30s are supposed to be tailing off and fading into the sunset, the Yankee veterans only continue to shine. They lead the majors with 134 home runs as a team.  Derek Jeter at 38 years old is tied for 1st in hits in the American League with Miguel Cabrera. Nick Swisher is on pace for over 100 RBIs. Eric Chavez has shown flashes of the player he was in his prime in Oakland, his versatility and personality has been great for the clubhouse. Andruw Jones has been punishing left handed pitchers as of late. And let’s not forget that Robinson Cano and Mark Texiera’s important defensive ability. All Star Curtis Granderson continues to be worth the investment when they snatched him from Detroit before last season, he has 24 HRs at the break. This lineup is loaded 1-9 and even superb National League starters like Clayton Kershaw and Steven Strasburg cannot find relief in this lineup.

2.)       Texas Rangers

You may be wondering: How can the Texas Rangers be on this list when they have lost the World Series the past two years in a row without the home field advantage? Or you may be curious how the Rangers will fare after two integral pieces of their 2011 postseason out of the conversation this year. I’m talking their #1 last year, CJ Wilson, who left for Los Angeles and their preseason #2 starter Derek Holland who has been less than mediocre in 2012, spotting a 5.05 ERA at the break.

Production at the plate has been key for another successful season thus far in Arlington for the Texas Rangers, who sport the 2nd best record in baseball at 52-34, leading the Angels by 4 games in the West. You can make an argument that despite his recent cool-off from his historic April, Josh Hamilton had a MVP 1st half, batting .308, leading baseball in both HRs (27) and RBIs (75). Ian Kinsler leads the majors with 63 runs scored. Fellow All-Stars Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli are key contributors to the Rangers leading the majors in team average (.280), runs (443), hits (844) and RBIs (430).

The pitching staff inevitably will have to play a big part in this team’s success just like 2011, and there are new names that will do so. Despite a somewhat slow start by Yu Darvish, the $100 million man from Japan made the All-Star Team and continues to improve and adjust to the American game. Fellow All-Star Matt Harrison has been even better with an 11-4 record and 3.10 ERA. Roy Oswalt adds a veteran presence, even if he has been up and down. If the lineup just continues business as usual in dominating opposing pitching staffs, this should lessen the pressure of this staff to carry them to a World Series victory.

3.)       Los Angeles Angels

The Angels seem to get lost in the conversation for World Series favorites at the All-Star break, due to the fact that if the season ended today, they would face the Baltimore Orioles in a one game playoff for the wildcard draw in the postseason. They are 48-38, four games back of Texas in the AL West, probably short of the lofty expectations this team faced to start the 2012 season. The Angels made the biggest splash at MLB’s Winter Meetings, signing preseason favorite AL MVP Albert Pujols to a 10 year/$254 million dollar deal. In addition, they snatched up former Texas Ranger and Cy Young contender CJ Wilson to form a 1-2 punch with Jered Weaver that could be the best in the game.  While the Angels are getting slowly but surely getting back on track, their start to 2012 was not exactly a smooth ride. Pujols went 92 at-bats in the month of April without hitting a home run. Weaver & Wilson have been rock solid, middle of the rotation guys Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have been extremely disappointing with 4.86 and 5.75 ERAs, respectively.

I have not even mentioned Mike Trout, the best position player in the American League not named Josh Hamilton. The All-Star Game last night gave Trout national exposure. The baby faced 20 year old not only leads the American League in batting average at .341, but he gets himself in position to score more than anyone in the AL as well with 26 steals at the break. Mark Trumbo will continue his power surge and build off his 22 home runs. Torii Hunter is continuing to prove how valuable of a veteran he is on this roster in the #2 spot in the lineup as well as his defensive ability in the outfield. Manager Mike Scoscia has the experience and savvy to keep this team rolling in the 2nd half and in the playoffs. It would be shocking if the AL West does not produce two of the four teams in the Final 4 of the American League playoffs.

4.)       Detroit Tigers

Fittingly, the Tigers are mentioned right after the Angels, another team that failed to live up to expectations after they partook in an active offseason. Prince Fielder signed with Detroit for 9 years, $214 million making him the second biggest FA signing behind Pujols.  Ace Justin Verlander was the starter in the American League All Star Game. Yet this team is only 44-42 at the break and in 3rd place in the worst division in the American League, the Central.

Again, there is too much talent on this team for this to continue. Let’s start with the pitching staff. Don’t overthink Verlander’s meltdown last night in the first inning. He’s in contention for another Cy Young, as he leads the league with strikeouts at 128 and is 4th in the majors with a 2.58 ERA. Max Scherzer, 8-5, has been much improved and rookie Drew Smyly has hit the All Star break in stride, winning his last two starts and holding a 4-3 record into the break.

At the plate, Miguel Cabrera is certainly in the running along with Hamilton and Trout for AL MVP. He is hitting .324 and is tied in first with Jeter for hits with 111 , is 2nd in the AL behind Hamilton with 71 RBIs Right below the young phenom in batting average is Austin Jackson of Detroit, hitting .332. Prince Fielder has not been atop the league as far as statistics go, but his presence at the plate will be a huge factor in determining where the Tigers go in the 2nd half.

Finally, let’s not also forget their manager Jim Leyland. This guy has been in the game long enough and had plenty of success throughout his entire career to not let this slow start get his guys unraveled. His cool demeanor will allow for his players to bring it all together making a run to the World Series in 2012.

5.)       Chicago White Sox

However, the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox are my choice for the 5th team that would win the World Series against an NL team because they are better than any of the NL teams that will be in the World Series. Now hear me out on this one:

A good portion of this article has been in regards to the strength of the lineups of each of these teams. When you take a look at the White Sox, their lineup is certainly potent enough to compete at the next level. And just like the Yankees, the veterans are getting it done on the South Side. Let’s start with the resurgent Adam Dunn. Whatever it was that Dunn did in the offseason to get this mojo back after his disastrous 2011 campaign, it has turned him into a comeback player of the year candidate. He leads the American League in walks and is 2nd in HR with 25. How about Alex Rios? He is third in the AL in hits for the first place White Sox. Still think Team Captain Paul Konerko is not a Hall of Famer? He just made is 6th All Star Game and is 3rd in the AL in average at .329. Finally, if you’ve never heard of Alejando De Aza, it’s ok. But get to know him now: he’s 5th in the AL in runs scored and chipped in 15 SBs.

Speaking of guys one might not ever heard of, let’s move onto the pitching staff and ace Chris Sale. Sale has been so spectacular this season that he could have easily been selected to start last night’s All Star Game and who knows? Maybe it would have been worth watching All this 23 year old has done is spot a 2.19 ERA, .95 WHIP (both 2nd in the AL) along with 10 wins. Let’s not forget another member of the White Sox who could be mentioned as Comeback Player of the Year in Jake Peavy. He leads the team with 108 K’s, and just made his 3rd All Star appearance. Also, keep an eye on Jose Quintana in the 2nd half. In 8 starts he is 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA.

Even if you are just a casual baseball fan, you probably could have guessed the first four teams on this list.  As far as the fifth position, there are plenty of teams that can receive consideration. The Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation features All Star David Price which led the MLB last year in ERA. The Boston Red Sox started 2012 slow, but are slowly creeping into the Wild Card conversation and getting healthy. Let’s not forget about the great things that the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians have done this year! If those two teams acquire some big name pitching at the deadline, they could certainly be considered for a shot at the World Series.

So there you have it. There are the five teams that will beat the Dodgers, Nationals, Giants, Braves, Pirates or whoever the National League crowns champions and earns home field advantage in the World Series. Let the debate begin…

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable MentionBoxing-Victor Ortiz vs. Joselito Lopez (Saturday 9pm from Los Angeles live on Showtime); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Phoenix Mercury (Wednesday 10pm from Phoenix live on WNBA.com), Washington Mystics @ Seattle Storm (Sunday 7pm from Seattle live on WNBA.com); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Boston Cannons @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet); U.S. Olympic Trials: Diving (Wednesday 12am & 10pm Thursday 10pm Friday 11pm live on NBC Sports Network, Saturday 4pm Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All diving from Federal Way, WA); Track & Field (Friday 9pm live on NBC Sports Network Saturday 8pm Sunday 7pm live on NBC Monday 9pm live on NBC Sports Network. All track from Eugene, OR); Swimming (Monday 6:30pm live on NBC Sports Network 8pm live on NBC. All swimming from Omaha)

10. Earth, Wind & Fire (Thursday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion), Childish Gambino (Saturday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Rascal Flatts/Little Big Town (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Counting Crows (Wednesday 7pm Wolf Trap), Diana Krall (Tuesday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap); Jill Scott (Thursday 7pm Verizon Center); LMFAO (Monday 7pm Patriot Center); Mr. Greengenes (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Tech N9ne/Machine Gun Kelly (Tuesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage), Ice Cube/Wale/DJ Khaled (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Deanna Bogart Band (Saturday 8:30pm Rams Head on Stage); The Hives (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Modest Mouse (Wednesday & Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); Fiona Apple (Wednesday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers (Friday & Saturday 8pm Jammin’ Java); Del Ray Music Festival feat. Pat McGee (Mt. Vernon Recreation Center Fields Alexandria); Ringo Starr (Sunday 7pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle feat. Soul Asylum/Cowboy Mouth (Saturday & Sunday Pennsylvania Avenue DC); Smashing Pumpkins “Oceania” and Kenny Chesney “Welcome to the Fishbowl” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I like Donald Glover on “Community” (Six seasons and a movie!) and all, but I was always skeptical about him as a performer. But honestly, not bad (lyrics NSFW)…

Quick. Favorite Counting Crows song ever. I’ll go with this…

Wale and Kevin Durant have something in common. I like them both a LOT but would like them a hell of a lot more if they weren’t Redskins fans…

Fiona Apple is coming to town. Anyone remember their awkward feelings about seeing her in her underwear in the “Criminal” video? I can’t tell you how confused I was about myself watching it the first time…

9. Aziz Ansari (Friday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Paul Mooney (Thursday-Sunday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Jim Gaffigan (Thursday DC Improv); “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter”, “Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World” & “Brave” out in theaters (Friday)

If you don’t think Aziz Ansari is funny I don’t think this conversation is going anywhere and we might want to consider talking to other people…

Also, I think I AM planning on a midnight screening for ALVH Thursday night. I’m hoping to come dressed like this…

If you don’t go see this movie you’re a terrible American.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 05 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour FedEx St. Jude Classic (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Memphis), Champions Tour Regions Tradition (Thursday & Friday 6:30pm Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm from Shoal Creek, AL on Golf Channel), Wegmans LPGA Championship (Thursday & Friday 12pm Saturday & Sunday 2pm from Pittsford, NY live on Golf Channel); WNBA: New York Liberty @ Washington Mystics (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Mixed Martial Arts: UFC on FX 3-Demetrious Johnson vs. Ian McCall (Friday 9pm from Sunrise, FL live on FX); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Charlotte Hounds @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet/ESPN3.com)

10. Gavin DeGraw & Colbie Caillat (Sunday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Foster The People (Sunday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Carbon Leaf/Civil Twilight (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Hawthorne Heights (Sunday 5pm Recher Theatre); Victor Wooten (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Edwin McCain (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Little River Band (Sunday 1pm Rams Head on Stage), Marshall Tucker Band (Sunday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Bootsy Collins (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Jimmy Cliff (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Wailers (Tuesday 8pm Howard Theatre); Beach Boys “That’s Why God Made The Radio” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

There was a time in my life when I genuinely enjoyed the tunes of Gavin DeGraw. Maybe that’s not something I should be broadcasting…

Since Foster The People are coming to town and the Beach Boys are putting out a new record, here’s FTP’s EXCELLENT take on the greatest Beach Boys tune of all time…

Any excuse to share a Carbon Leaf tune is a good one…

I wish I could go to RHL Saturday night. Civil Twilight is excellent too…

9. “Prometheus” opens in theaters (Friday); Safe House“, “John Carter” and “Act of Valor” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Greg Proops (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Doug Benson (Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Honfest (Saturday & Sunday Hampden); Maryland Wine Week begins (Friday)

You know Prometheus as THAT MOVIE EVERYONE IN THE WORLD WANTS TO SEE. Well, at least until “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” comes out, at which point they might as well just stop making movies.

Honestly, there is no single greater gift you could ever purchase me than this movie poster…

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 May 2012 by WNST Staff

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Antonio Tarver vs. Lateef Kayode (Saturday 9pm from Carson, CA live on Showtime), Gabriel Rosado vs. Joel Julio (Friday 9pm from Bethlehem, PA live on NBC Sports Network); WNBA: Minnesota Lynx @ Washington Mystics (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Denver Outlaws (Saturday 9pm from Denver live on ESPN3.com)

10. Zac Brown Band (Thursday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Capital Jazz Fest feat. Indie.Arie, Bill Cosby (Friday-Sunday Merriweather Post Pavilion); Radiohead (Sunday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Miranda Lambert/Jerrod Niemann (Sunday 4pm Jiffy Lube Live);  City and Colour (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Smile Empty Soul (Saturday 5pm Recher Theatre); Crossfade (Monday 7pm Baltimore Soundstage); Dandy Warhols (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Used (Wednesday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Victor Wooten (Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre); Dr. John (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); Rhett Miller (Monday 8pm Jammin Java)

I’d watch ZBB do just about anything, but this was as good as anything I’ve seen them do…

My favorite tune from Thom Yorke and the boys?

For more traditional country folk, I sorta dig this Jerrod Niemann tune…

I wish I didn’t have to admit to digging this tune…

9. Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival (Saturday & Sunday 12pm Oregon Ridge); Guy Torry (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Corey Holcomb (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “Man on a Ledge” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Glenn Clark’s first ever “Hogfest” (Saturday)

That’s right. For the first time in my (still?) young life, I will be roasting a pig Saturday. It’s all thanks in part to ABC Rental Store in Rosedale. A talented young man I listen to on the radio is always talking to me about them. I think his show is called “The Reality Check.” I PRAY my results make me as happy as George W. Bush…

Also, I will be hosting a qualifier for the Olympic KanJam team Saturday (more on Twitter @OlympicKanJam). I expect the day to look much like this…

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 22 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Ft. Worth, TX), Champions Tour Senior PGA Championship (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Benton Harbor, MI); High School Lacrosse: MPSSAA Class 2A/1A Final-Fallston vs. South Carroll (Tuesday 6pm UMBC Stadium), Class 4A/3A Final-Westminster vs. South River (Wednesday 4pm UMBC Stadium), Class 3A/2A Final-Hereford vs. Glenelg (Wednesday 8pm UMBC Stadium); WNBA-Tulsa Shock @ Washington Mystics (Wednesday 7pm Verizon Center)

10. Drake (Friday 7pm Verizon Center); One Direction (Thursday 7:30pm Patriot Center); Corey Smith (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live); Jason Isbell (Saturday 1pm Rams Head on Stage); Garbage (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Collective Soul (Wednesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Thrice (Wednesday 7:30pm Howard Theatre); John Mayer “Born and Raised” and Garbage “Not Your Kind of People” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

You know that I’m a “money over everything, money on my mind” type of guy, right?

I used to have the biggest crush on Shirley Manson. Hell, I probably still have  huge crush on Shirley Manson…

If you don’t want to go see Collective Soul we probably wouldn’t be much of friends…

John Mayer is apparently doing country music now. This is a classic example of when “success just simply isn’t enough.” See below.

9. Men in Black III” and “Chernobyl Diaries” open in theaters (Friday); Bob Marley (Wednesday-Sunday DC Improv); Cedric The Entertainer (Saturday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Brew at the Zoo (Saturday & Sunday Maryland Zoo in Baltimore)

There’s simply no chance MIB3 is something I’ll want to go see. And while Cedric the Entertainer is funny, I’d rather talk about beer.

I have no idea whether or not Flying Dog Brewery will be unleashing canned Underdog Atlantic Lager on the Zoo this weekend, but I DO know that the campaign they used to roll it out in our nation’s capital was simply fantastic…

Brilliant.

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I’ll Have Another on to Belmont Stakes

Posted on 21 May 2012 by WNST Staff

BALTIMORE, 05-20-12 – I’ll Have Another’s connections loaded their Preakness Stakes winner onto a van Sunday morning at Pimlico Race Course to begin their journey to Belmont Park in their continuing quest to sweep racing’s Triple Crown.

In front of a record crowd of 121,309, Reddam Racing’s chestnut colt edged Bodemeister by a neck in the 137th Preakness Saturday afternoon to become the first horse since Big Brown in 2008 to win the first two legs of the series. He will try to become the 12th horse to capture American racing’s most treasured prize – and the first since Affirmed in 1978 – in the Belmont Stakes on June 9.

Trainer Doug O’Neill said the colt and his team are ready for the challenge.

“My dreams always ended with winning the Kentucky Derby,” he said. “They never were followed up with winning the Preakness and going to the Belmont. That’s a new dream now I’m waiting to pull off.”

O’Neill said that I’ll Have Another came out of the race well and was happy with his appearance when he arrived at the barn at 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

“He looked great,” O’Neill said. “He had licked his feed tub. Once we cleaned the poultice off, his legs were ice cold. He had good energy.”

I’ll Have Another was loaded onto a van at 9:05 a.m. for the journey to Belmont Park.

The thrilling Preakness victory pushed I’ll Have Another’s record to 4-0 this season. He returned from a nearly five-month layoff due to sore shins with a win in the Robert Lewis (G2) on Feb. 4. On April 7, he added the Santa Anita Derby (G1) to his resume before winning the Kentucky Derby on May 5. O’Neill said the colt is well-suited to handle the demanding 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes, the longest of the three races and called “The Test of the Champion.”

“He’s got the mind,” O’Neill said. “You’ve seen the way he’s handled the attention in Kentucky and here in Baltimore. He’s got a great confidence about him and he’s got the stride of a horse that a mile and a half won’t be a problem. He’s got the pedigree; so much stamina on the female side.

“And he’s lightly raced. After winning the Bob Lewis it enabled us to give him plenty of time before his next start. He’s still a fresh, happy, thriving horse that just seems to be getting better and better.”

Meanwhile, O’Neill is prepared for the attention and demands on his time that will come his way between the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

“Bring it on,” he said. “We’re ready.”

O’Neill spent a few hours at the post-race party in the barn area hosted by the Maryland Jockey Club, but ended his celebrating around 10 p.m.

“Lynette and I and the kids ended up going back to the hotel and getting room service,” he said. “And the kids were doing a lot of gymnastics moves off the bed. It was kind of a mellow evening once we got back into the hotel.

“Here it was just a fun house party. We kept saying ‘I hope mom and dad don’t show up. We’re all going to be in trouble.’ It’s something I had never experienced before in my life, the amount of enthusiasm and positivity and love for horse racing. It was a dream come true for anyone involved in the business.”

Assistant trainer Jack Sisterson and several members of O’Neill’s staff went with the colt to Belmont Park. O’Neill and his family were scheduled to fly home to California on owner J. Paul Reddam’s private jet. After checking on his horses at Hollywood Park and Santa Anita, O’Neill said he would probably travel to New York in about a week.

In all likelihood, O’Neill said, he won’t make any changes in I’ll Have Another’s training program during the three weeks leading up to the Belmont Stakes.

“We’ll have to play that by ear,” he said. “It depends on the weather and all that stuff, but we’ll maintain the same type of exercise that he’s had. There’s the old line about you can’t take a sprinter and train him two miles and make a router out of him and you can’t take a router and work them three-eighths every week and make a sprinter out of him.

“If we’ve got a true route horse, which we do, he’s going to maintain his fitness and his exercise. If they can go a mile and a half they will. And he will.”

While the Derby and Preakness had similar storylines with I’ll Have Another catching and passing Bodemeister near the wire, O’Neill said his personal emotions watching the stretch runs were not the same.

“Winning the Derby was an out-of-body experience. It was like, ‘Oh, my God, I can’t believe it.’” he said. “The Preakness, the expectations were obviously a lot higher. It was almost like, ‘C’mon boy, C’mon.’”

O’Neill acknowledged that there were moments in the duel through the stretch that it looked like I’ll Have Another might not overtake Bodemeister.

“He was running such a brilliant race and even if he had run second he would have run brilliantly,” O’Neill said. “You don’t want to run second when you run that good, and I’m glad he didn’t.”

BODEMEISTER – After another agonizingly tough loss to I’ll Have Another in the Preakness, Zayat Stables and Michel and Tiffany Moreno’s colt was flown back to California Sunday morning. He will remain in training, but will skip the Belmont Stakes.

“I’ve had enough,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert quipped.

Baffert said that Bodemeister appeared to be in good condition before leaving the Pimlico Stakes Barn for Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

“He was actually pretty happy today,” Baffert said. “He ate up, got on a plane and headed back to California. He came out of it really well.”

Bodemeister set the pace in the Derby and the Preakness and each time I’ll Have Another managed to catch and pass him near the finish line. The Arkansas Derby winner turned in gallant performances in defeat.

“He’s a pretty amazing animal,” Baffert said. “He didn’t act tired. After the race, he came back to the barn and he wasn’t as tired as he was after the Derby.”

Baffert said I’ll Have Another and Bodemeister showed in the Derby and the Preakness that they are at the top of a talented crop of 3-year-olds.

“They are two really good horses,” he said. “On any given year they could probably win those races. It was a tough year.”

Baffert said that the Zayat Stables’ colt Paynter might start in the Belmont Stakes.  Paynter, who won an allowance race in convincing style Saturday at Pimlico, was shipped to Belmont Park Sunday morning.

“We’re going to train him there,” Baffert said. “If it looks like he snapped out of his race, we’ll run him in the Belmont if he looks really good.”

CREATIVE CAUSE – The third-place finisher in Preakness 137 boarded a van Sunday morning to head for Baltimore-Washington International Airport for a scheduled 9 a.m. flight back to Los Angeles and his home base of Hollywood Park.

“He came out of the race OK,” said trainer Mike Harrington minutes before putting the son of Giant’s Causeway on the van.  “Back to California, regroup.”

Harrington surprised some observers when he sent Creative Cause home after his fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, before bringing him back to Pimlico the following week for the Preakness. He said he is now contemplating one more cross-country venture to compete in the Belmont Stakes.

“I’d say right now it’s 50-50,” said Harrington, who was scheduled to get on a flight Sunday evening with assistant/exercise rider John Cisneros for the trip home.

“He ran his heart out,” Cisneros said. “He didn’t have any trouble at all. He ran hard, and I thought he was going to win it. Today he was very alert and happy. Actually he was jumping up and down when he was walking.”

The Belmont would be Creative Cause’s sixth race midway through his sophomore season. The San Felipe (G 2) winner has only been out of the money once in 10 career starts, that coming in his fifth-place finish in the Derby.

ZETTERHOLM – Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said Sunday that the Winter Park Partners’ Zetterholm appeared to come out of his fourth-place finish in the Preakness in good order.

The New York-bred son of Silver Train was shipped back to Dutrow’s barn at Aqueduct Sunday morning.

“I got what I wanted from the race,” Dutrow said. “I was hoping and praying for a third or fourth-place finish.  We got the fourth-place finish and we left there satisfied, but I did not see my horse run big. I know he put in his little effort there, but I thought he could have run better. He didn’t change leads, which is very unlike him, and he didn’t get along so well with the track.”

TEETH OF THE DOG – Trainer Michael Matz reported that J. W. Singer’s Teeth of the Dog exited his fifth-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness in good condition.

“I was happy with the way he ran. He’s kind of inexperienced and he’s probably not as good as those horses right now,” said Matz from Fair Hill Training Center Sunday morning.

Teeth of the Dog will be not run in the Belmont Stakes, but Matz has the horse that may well be Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I’ll Have Another’s most dangerous foe in his quest for a Triple Crown sweep. Union Rags, who finished a troubled seventh in the Kentucky Derby, was held out of the Preakness to train for the Belmont Stakes.

Union Rags captured the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park last fall. Matz is confident that Union Rags will be well suited to the 1 ½ -mile oval, the sweeping turns and the relatively deep racing surface.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” Matz said. “He’s won there before, so I don’t think that part of it will be a problem.”

OPTIMIZER – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who won back-to-back stakes races on the Preakness undercard but finished sixth in the main event, exited Pimlico shortly after dawn with his entourage early Sunday for the long van ride back to Louisville.

“He’s fine; he came out of the race in good shape,” Lukas said by phone while on the highway home. “We’re going to get home and Mr. Kelley (owner Brad) and I talked last night and we’re going to talk a little bit further when we get back.”

Lukas said before the Preakness he believed the son of English Channel was probably better suited to the 1 ½-mile Belmont Stakes than either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness. He finished 11th in the Derby in some traffic, then got going late to split the field in the Preakness at odds of 23-1.

“I would say we’re probable for the Belmont just because of the distance and the different configuration of the race track,” said Lukas, who has won the Belmont Stakes four times in his storied career. Lukas last took the Belmont in 2000 with long shot Commendable, following three consecutive victories from 1994-96 with Tabasco Cat, Thunder Gulch and Editor’s Note.

“I’d say it’s 50-50 right now,” he said. “The winner (I’ll Have Another) is a nice horse, but we’re not going to hand it (the Triple Crown) to him. He’s got to earn it.”

COZZETTI – The seventh-place finisher in Preakness 137 returned to his home base at Churchill Downs Sunday, where trainer Dale Romans will decide whether to continue on to Belmont or embark on a grass campaign to take advantage of his attractive turf pedigree.

“I’m not sure,” Romans said when asked if he would go onto the Belmont Stakes with Albaugh Family Stable’s son of grass champion Cozzene. “We’ll regroup. We’ve got to figure out why he’s not running better. He’s a better horse than he’s shown. Once we get back to Kentucky, we’ll figure him out.”

Even if Romans bypasses the Belmont with Cozzetti, he has another candidate that he’s more than a little excited about in Dullahan.

“He worked Saturday morning (five furlongs in 1:00.20, second-best of 26) at Churchill,” Romans said of the Blue Grass winner and Kentucky Derby show finisher. “He’s on track for a big Belmont.”

Romans, who won the 2011 Preakness with Shackleford, decided not to run in the Preakness and give Dullahan extra rest for the Belmont Stakes.

“It should help him,” he said. “He’ll be a fresher horse.”

WENT THE DAY WELL – Team Valor International and Mark Ford’s Went the Day Well was reported to have come out of  a 10th-place finish in the Preakness in good order.

“He seems OK. He has a couple of scrapes, but all in all, he’s good,” said trainer Graham Motion from Fair Hill Training Center Sunday morning.

Motion could offer no concrete reason for the disappointing effort that followed a strong fourth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.

“Maybe the Derby took more out of him that I realized. I just don’t know,” Motion said.

Went the Day Well is unlikely to go on to the Belmont Stakes.

“I think we’ll point to some of the summer races like the Travers,” Motion said.

TIGER WALK – Trainer Ignacio Correas and his eighth-place Preakness runner were back at Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Farm Sunday morning, having departed Pimlico Saturday night for the 20-minute van ride home.

“He came out of the race good,” Correas said. “He just walked today. He was probably a little tired.”

The Preakness was Tiger Walk’s fourth race as a 3-year-old, all stakes, but his only in-the-money finish came in the Withers (G3) at Aqueduct in February in his seasonal debut.

Correas said he thought the son of Tale of the Cat would probably not be heading to New York for the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.

“I don’t think so,” he said. “I haven’t talked to Kevin about it yet. We’re going to talk during the week, but I don’t think so.”

PRETENSION – Trainer Chris Grove reported from Bowie Training Center that Kidwells Petite Stable’s Pretension came out of his 11th-place finish in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes in good order.

“He’s in great shape. No problems, “I think we’ll probably head for the Mike Lee in late June,” said Grove, referring to the Belmont Park stakes that’s restricted to New York-bred horses.

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The Friday Conversation-a fictional chat between LeBron James and Kobe Bryant

Posted on 18 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Some Free Advice for Showalter, World Peace, Loyola Lax and more

Posted on 17 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 15 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Chicago Sky @ Washington Mystics (Saturday 7pm Verizon Center); Mixed Martial Arts: UFC on FUEL TV 3-“Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier (Tuesday 8pm from Patriot Center live on FUEL TV); Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Final-Josh Barnett vs. Daniel Cormier (Saturday 10pm from San Jose live on Showtime); Bellator Fighting Championships 69 (Friday 8pm from Lake Charles, LA live on MTV2); Golf: PGA Tour HP Byron Nelson Championship (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Irving, TX), LPGA Tour Sybase Match Play Championship (Thursday & Friday 6:30pm Saturday 3pm Sunday 4pm from Gladstone, NJ live on Golf Channel); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Hamilton Nationals (Friday 11am from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada live on ESPN3.com); Tennis: ATP Tour & WTA Tour Internazionali BNL d’Italia (Tuesday-Saturday 6am Sunday 7:30am from Rome live on Tennis Channel); Women’s College Lacrosse: NCAA Tournament-Loyola @ Maryland (Saturday 12pm Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex)

10. Infieldfest feat. Maroon 5, Wiz Khalifa, Little Big Town, The Darkness (Saturday 11am Pimlico Race Course); New Edition (Sunday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena); Black Keys/Arctic Monkeys (Friday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Lucinda Williams/Drive-By Truckers (Saturday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Lady Antebellum/Darius Rucker (Sunday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Styx/REO Speedwagon/Ted Nugent (Friday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Buckcherry/Foxy Shazam (Thursday 7:30pm Power Plant Live), Mr. Greengenes (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); 2 Skinnee J’s/All Mighty Senators (Friday 8pm Rams Head Live); Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage, Thursday 8pm Howard Theatre); Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), SOJA (Friday 7pm Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); Fishbone (Thursday 7pm State Theatre); Less Than Jake/Ballyhoo! (Friday 8pm Rock N Roll Hotel); Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival feat. Jonny Lang, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Big Head Todd and the Monsters (Saturday & Sunday Sandy Point State Park); Justin Jones & The Driving Rain (Monday 7pm Ottobar); Night of 1000 Dylans (Friday 7:30pm Creative Alliance); Tenacious D “Rize of the Fenix” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Totally underrated Black Keys tune? “I Got Mine.” See you at MPP Friday night…

If Maroon 5 promised to not play a song they’ve released in the last 10 years I’d be excited to see them Saturday. But if they did nothing but tunes from “Songs About Jane” I would be in…

If you haven’t seen Darius Rucker play country music, you’re going to have to trust me. He kicks a little ass…

I’m hoping Justin Jones will stop by the studio Monday. He’s quite talented…

9. Brian Regan (Friday & Saturday Warner Theatre); John Henton (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Bobby Slayton (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); “The Dictator” (Wednesday), “Battleship” and “Crooked Arrows” (Friday) open in theaters; “The Grey” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Preakness Crab Derby (Thursday 12pm Lexington Market); Preakness Frog Hop (Wednesday 12pm Patterson Park)

Crab races? Okay I guess. MUCH more kickass? PIG races.

And as far as the frog hop goes, I think you already know which frog I’ll be pulling for…

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 08 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-ShoBox Yudel Jhonson vs. Willie Nelson (Friday 11pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 68 (Friday 8pm from Atlantic City live on MTV2); Roller Derby: Charm City Roller Girls (Saturday 5:30pm Du Burns Arena); Soccer: MLS-DC United @ Houston Dynamo (Saturday 4:30pm from Houston live on NBC Sports Network); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Rochester Rattlers @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on ESPN3.com); Tennis: ATP Tour/WTA Tour Mutua Madrid Open (Tuesday-Friday 7am Saturday 5am Sunday 9:30am from Madrid live on Tennis Channel); Preseason WNBA: Connecticut Sun @ Washington Mystics (Monday 7pm Verizon Center)

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers (Thursday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Avett Brothers (Friday 8pm Patriot Center); Go-Go’s (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Andrew Bird (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Eve 6 (Saturday 7pm Recher Theatre), Lit (Sunday 5:30pm Recher  Theatre); Fear Factory (Saturday 7pm Sonar); ALO (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Mike Doughty (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Dar Williams (Saturday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage), Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); M83 (Saturday 7pm & 11pm 9:30 Club), Cranberries (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Maine (Saturday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Esperanza Spalding (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Carolina Chocolate Drops (Thursday 7:30pm Birchmere), Chris Isaak (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); The Gourds (Wednesday 8:30pm State Theatre); Feist (Wednesday 8pm Strathmore); M3 Rock Festival feat. Night Ranger, Kix, Ratt, Queensryche, Skid Row, Warrant, Quiet Riot, LA Guns, Great White (Friday & Saturday Merriweather Post Pavilion), Rob Zombie/Megadeth (Sunday 3pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); DC101 Chili Cook-Off feat. Incubus, Cake, AWOLNation, Angels & Airwaves, Airborne Toxic Event, Neon Trees (Saturday 11am RFK Stadium); Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Thursday 7pm Friday & Saturday 8pm Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts); Glenn Frey (Monday 8pm Warner Theatre); Silversun Pickups “Neck of the Woods” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

One of the highlights of my life was getting a MySpace message from the Eve6 drummer. Seriously.

Mike Doughty is super talented.

I’m not really a Rob Zombie type of guy. I’m such a Rob Zombie type of guy though.

I know a guy who worked as a telemarketer his senior year at Perry Hall High School and sang “Short Skirt Long Jacket” by Cake into multiple answering machines. That guy was me.

9. Brad Sherwood/Colin Mochrie (Friday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Christopher Titus (Friday & Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Colin Quinn (Tuesday & Wednesday DC Improv); “Dark Shadows” in theaters (Friday); Baltimore Tattoo Arts Convention (Friday-Sunday Baltimore Convention Center); Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival (Thursday-Saturday Turf Valley); Foodie Experience feat. Andrew Zimmern (Saturday 3pm France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at the Hippodrome)

Colin Quinn is pretty funny. That said, Colin Quinn was never really all that good on Weekend Update…

Hey! Kat Von D has tattoos! Why don’t a post a picture of her here and just move on already…

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