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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 03 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because it’s time to name “The Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.”

As I posted on Facebook last night, the retro version of TGSOATTW is the song “Wounded” by Third Eye Blind. There will never be a day when the song won’t mean the world to me…

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

As far as the NEW version goes, I also showed my hand on Facebook last night. (A reminder that you can be my friend on Facebook by searching “Glenn Clark” and adding the goofy guy in the pink shirt who is dancing at a wedding.)

When we look back on 2010 in the future, there is no doubt in my mind that we will remember it as “The Year of Cee-Lo Green.” For as great as “F*** You” is, there’s something even more amazing about “Old Fashioned”…

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

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says future of horse racing in jeopardy as David Cordish wins Anne Arundel County slots vote

Well…now we know.

I’m completely torn on this entire situation.

On one side, I ABSOLUTELY think David Cordish will create a world-class facility. I think it will be outstanding both on the interior and the exterior; and I think it will attract money from both inside the Old Line State and from elsewhere. His track record makes me believe he’s going to do a hell of a job.

On the opposite side, I also think the vote is an unquestioned blow to the state of horse racing in Maryland-at least for the short term. Immediate slots revenue at Laurel might not have been the BEST solution for the future of the sport in the state, but it was probably the best option right now.

The issue now is all about what the Maryland Jockey Club and MI Developments do moving forward. They’ve stated that this will mark the end of live racing at Laurel Park, with Pimlico instead hosting 40 days of live racing in the Spring.

While that might be a necessary move, it clearly isn’t the best option for the sport. The MJC (and MID) will have to go back to the drawing board and consider other options. Is it time to shift focus to a new track? Is it time to explore options for slots in Baltimore? Is it time to think about how the facilities could be better used?

I do not believe this has to be the final nail in the coffin for the sport in the state. But I DO believe it has the potential to be if the folks involved aren’t willing to immediately change course.

It’s going to be an interesting stretch over the next few months.

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says John Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome would be interested in Shawne Merriman if he clears waivers

Here we go…

I’ll say this much. If I was the GM of the Ravens, I’d pass on “Lights Out.” I think risking a roster spot in season on a guy whose career has been marked in recent years by injuries and ineffectiveness is a questionable judgment at best.

But I’m not saying that because I believe the team doesn’t have pass rush problems.

The team has MAJOR pass rush problems-there’s absolutely no question about that. I’m worried that there might not be an in season fix for the Ravens.

But I DON’T think the answer should include taking a risk on a player who is surrounded by more question marks than the book “Are You My Mother?”

Now-could Shawne Merriman end up in Charm City? Maybe. There’s almost no chance any NFL team claims him off waivers, so he’ll be available. If he passes a physical and is humble enough to understand that he isn’t the Pro Bowl player he was at the beginning of his career-maybe he’s a fit.

It certainly doesn’t smell like it though.

3. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens not interested in Randy Moss

We knew this-but now we don’t even bother having to mention it anymore.

The Ravens aren’t interested in Randy Moss…even if they should be. To me, this is one of those “right player, wrong time” situations.

Randy Moss would be the PERFECT compliment to Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and Donte’ Stallworth (I’ve never thought TJ Houshmandzadeh was a logical fit myself); but it’s not something that can be forced.

If the Ravens had an offseason to meet with Moss and discuss his role and what their expectations were for him-they might be in a place where they could feel more comfortable in adding him to the mix. But adding a player like that in the middle of the season is dangerous.

But then again…

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

4. National Football Post has Ravens 4th in power rankings

Which seems about right, considering Sarah Longbottom was ranked 3rd. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

longbottom

5. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark lists Haloti Ngata amongst NFL MVP candidates

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

-A reminder that we will be out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today, as the Ravens return to the practice field. John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco and others are scheduled to meet with the media following practice-you’ll hear from them throughout the day on AM1570 WNST and at WNST.net.

-Did you miss Greg Gumbel with Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? He’ll be at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday to call Ravens-Dolphins for CBS. Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out! Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault today include…

  • Lomas Brown (ESPN)-who went around the NFL with Drew Wednesday
  • Craig Calcaterra (“HardballTalk”-NBCSports.com)-who wrapped up the MLB season with Drew Wednesday
  • KC Keeler (Delaware Football Coach)-who previewed the Blue Hens’ visit from Towson Saturday and talked Joe Flacco with Drew Wednesday
  • Reed Harris (WEC GM)-who discussed the UFC/WEC merger and the future of both companies with Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo Tuesday on “The MMA Report”
  • Kirk Hinrich (Washington Wizards Guard)-who discussed the start of NBA season in DC with Thyrl Tuesday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”
  • Steve Johnson (Bowie Baysox Pitcher)-who talked about his former San Francisco Giants teammates winning the World Series with Rex Snider Tuesday on “The Afternoon Drive”
  • Nate Davis (USA Today)-who went around the NFL with Rex Tuesday
  • Jamey Eisenberg (CBSSports.com)-who talked Fantasy Football with Rex Tuesday

It’s all in the Audio Vault. See what I did there? I planned your day for you again. This is getting a bit ridiculous.

6. The AP says Orioles declined option on reliever Mark Hendrickson, give him $200,000 buyout

So long Mark, we’ll always have the memories…

Like….ummm….

In all honesty, Hendrickson was serviceable at times, and was downright EFFECTIVE for stretches against left handed hitters.

I don’t think anyone is crying for the guy when he walks away with $200,000 either. What a nice life that must be…

7. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Juan Samuel apparently coming back to Birds

I will admit that I’m surprised. I’m not stunned, but I’m surprised. I thought Juan Samuel made a statement about what he was going to do moving forward when Buck Showalter was hired-so I didn’t expect him to end up back in Orange and Black.

Of course, Samuel likely thought there was a chance he could end up filling one of the managerial vacancies around Major League Baseball. Clearly this news means that he’s not in the picture for the Pittsburgh Pirates job, and the Milwaukee Brewers decided to go elsewhere when they hired Ron Roenicke yesterday.

As it appears that he’s coming back, hopefully he’ll be able to make a contribution. Sadly, I don’t think that contribution will be 30 home runs.

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says corner infield power bat, shortstop, starting pitching biggest areas of need for O’s

Like Dan Aykroyd said to Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, “Great kid, you’ve identified it, the next step is washing it off.”

Andy MacPhail knows what the team needs-now he just needs to go get it.

No problem, right?

Can I add one more name to the Orioles’ shopping list this offseason? I’d like for them to add Jorgie Porter. (Thanks Guyism!)

jorgieporter

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland preparing for either Jacory Harris, Stephen Morris to be under center for Miami Saturday

This is a MAJOR question mark.

Against some teams, the dropoff from starter to backup wouldn’t be the most significant situation facing an opponent.

But if the Terps don’t have to face Harris when they play the Hurricanes Saturday, it is UNBELIEVABLY significant.

It doesn’t mean they’ll win. But it DOES mean they’ll have a chance, which I wouldn’t think they’d have if Harris played.

10. The Diamondback’s Conor Walsh says Terrapins women picked up double double from Alyssa Thomas en route to exhibition blowout over Gallaudet

The inappropriate joke of the day would be something along the lines of “Well-at least the Bison players didn’t have to hear any trash talk from the Terrapins at Comcast Center while they were losing…”

I wouldn’t say that though, because I’m not inappropriate.

Exhibit A: It would be inappropriate of me to NOT pass along this picture of Sofija Milosevic. (Thanks Totally Crap!)

sofija


And finally, I leave you with this.

This is the end of a real live Canadian Football League game. Honestly. I don’t understand any more than you do (Thanks Deadspin!)…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5BFaykcxGg[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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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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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 02 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a (semi) Happy Thursday for me, because the bad news is that Andy Roddick suffered his annual collapse last night at the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows. My alcohol consumption during the match was at an all-time high. As soon as Tipsarevic went up 0-40 on A-Rod’s serve to close the 2nd I knew something bad was happening.

BUT…it isn’t all bad news. For example, if you happened to poke over to MASN2 last night, you might have seen something more awesome than even WWE can offer…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKZk88o4ppw[/youtube]

For the record, Gaby Sanchez’s clothesline > Edge’s spear.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Orioles got to Jon Lester early, but Red Sox rallied to win at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

When the Orioles scored four runs in the first inning against Jon Lester, I thought to myself (and asked on via Twitter @WNST) if anyone had a weather report for hell. I was assuming freezing rain myself.

Sadly, Jon Lester turned back into Jon Lester at some point, and the Orioles bullpen that has been very good as of late turned back into the Orioles bullpen that wasn’t even a little bit good for stretches this season. Mark Hendrickson and Alfredo Simon were about as good as…Mark Hendrickson and Alfredo Simon.

(Edit from GMC: That’s not really fair. Mark Hendrickson was good for the vast majority of the season. But that doesn’t really help my point, so I won’t mention it.)

Remember August? August was really good for the Orioles. Maybe if we can find a Hot Tub Time Machine we could go back to then…

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

The good? Felix Pie had a pair of doubles and Adam Jones had a double, 2 RBI and scored a run. Also, Ty Wigginton went 2-3, scoring a run and driving in another.

The bad? While Jake Arrieta gave up just 3 earned runs on 6 hits and didn’t walk anyone, he was also pulled after 5 innings after having already thrown 95 pitches.

You don’t want to look at the numbers. Instead, check out Hope Dworaczyk. This will be much more fun. Thanks, The Smoking Jacket!

hoped

3. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says O’s called up Brandon Snyder, Nolan Reimold, Robert Andino

And for some reason, Reimold was in the lineup last night facing Jon Lester. Luke Scott was not.

(Edit from GMC: I know there was a “reason”. Spare me.)

Word is that Chris Tillman, Rick VandenHurk and Troy Patton are going to follow this group. If this doesn’t sell tickets for Sunday afternoon against the Rays, I’m not sure what will. In fact, I’m pretty sure Rick VandenHurk bobblehead night will be September 15th.

It will be good to see these guys on the field a little bit for the next few weeks, at least for as much as I’ll actually be watching. My guess is that I won’t really be watching that much. I’ve got tennis for the next 10 days and college football starts tonight. You really think I’m going to bother with baseball?

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Birds playing games in September that ‘almost’ matter

I don’t think “almost” is an appropriate term here. I think the more appropriate term is “sorta.”

The fact is, the Orioles are 34 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. They’re not even in the REALM of “almost.”

But there are some things about this September that make it “sorta” meaningful. Extending a good month into a strong close to the season helps in changing the culture in Charm City. Having a good month and then tanking again anyway makes fans think to themselves “same old Orioles.”

It’s “sorta” meaningful. The games are completely irrelevant in terms of baseball, but the end of the season could help in trying to cultivate a dead baseball environment in this area.

To REALLY change the baseball environment in this town, a team would have to win THROUGHOUT the season. Not just for a month-or even two.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Joel Guzman crushed 32nd home run for Bowie Baysox in win over Altoona Curve on farm

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

-The Birds and BoSox wrap their 3 game series with a rubber match tonight at OPACY. Brad Bergesen faces Daisuke Matsuzaka, first pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Adam Jones was forced to leave last night’s game with back pain still stemming from being hit by a Gavin Floyd pitch last week. It still doesn’t appear to be a long-term concern, but it’s still an issue a week removed.

-Multiple reports (including MLB.com) say David Hernandez is about a week or so away from returning. That’s good news. But you already knew that.

6. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens placed Mike McLaughlin on IR to make room for Josh Wilson on roster

And if he hadn’t ended up on IR, the practice squad would have been the other possible destination for McLaughlin. He was an undrafted LB out of Boston College who the Ravens decided to move to FB-which he hadn’t played since high school. He was AT BEST a longshot to make the roster, but will buy himself some time to continue developing over the next year now that he’s on IR.

Of course, if the Ravens were going to make room on the roster for someone-I sorta wish it had been Izabel Goulart. Thanks, Guyism!

izabelg

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Ravens’ game tonight big for bubble guys like Prince Miller, Demetrius Williams, David Reed

I will admit that I’d still be a bit surprised just to see Demetrius Willliams on the field tonight. I know he returned to practice this week and is sort of a “bubble” guy, but it looks more and more like he almost HAS to make the roster-and there doesn’t seem to be anything smart about playing a roster guy with a bad ankle on a terrible carpet.

Prince Miller’s road to the roster got much longer when the Ravens acquired Josh Wilson. Not only does Wilson give the Ravens necessary depth at CB, but he could free up Chris Carr to return punts. Miller will get the chance tonight, but Carr could very well end up being the guy in the regular season. Reed could be in trouble as well-as it looks like he’s behind both Williams and Marcus Smith on the depth chart.

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Troy Smith fighting for final roster spot

And you will see PLENTY of the former Heisman Trophy winner tonight. As I’ve said throughout the week on AM1570, expect 4 quarters of Smith tonight-similar to how John Beck went 4 quarters against the Atlanta Falcons last year.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a few things…

-The Ravens and St. Louis Rams get together at Edward Jones Dome tonight. Kickoff is at 8pm and the game can be seen live on WBAL11 locally. I’ll be joining Thyrl Nelson at 12:30 pm on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” and Rex Snider at 4:30 on “The Afternoon Drive” to preview the game.

-Did you miss Rams color analyst (and former Super Bowl champion) D’Marco Farr with Drew Forrester this morning 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. Some other stuff you can hear in the Audio Vault includes…

  • Brian Billick (Former Ravens coach and WNST part owner)-who joined Drew this morning to discuss his “man crush” on Aaron Rodgers (didn’t he have a man crush on another QB from Cal?) and all things NFL
  • Mark Mravich (SI NFL Editor)-who discussed the SI NFL Preview Issue with Drew, including Peter King’s choice of the Pittsburgh Steelers to reach the Super Bowl
  • Paul Azinger (former PGA Championship winner)-who discusses his new book “Cracking the Code” with Drew-a book about being the captain of the 2008 Ryder Cup winning US team
  • Peter Schrager (FoxSports.com)-who joined Drew to preview College Football season, which starts tonight.

It’s all in the Audio Vault. Get there today, and as always-YOU’RE WELCOME!

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens picks Navy to beat Maryland 31-24 Monday at M&T Bank Stadium

I haven’t decided exactly what my pick will be just yet (I’ll announce it tomorrow), but my guess is that I’ll end up picking the Mids by at least 10 points myself.

Speaking of the number 10, here’s a picture of Arianny Celeste from Maxim via NextRound.net….

celeste

10. TowsonTigers.com previews tonight’s season opener at Indiana Hoosiers

If this was Villanova or another good CAA team, the conference would have a real chance to score a major upset. However, it is not-so I’ll take IU at about a 31-6 clip.

The game can be seen live on the Big Ten Network. Matt Devlin, Derek Rackley and Stacy Paetz are on the call.

And finally, I leave you with this.

Via Deadspin, here’s a photo of Joakim Noah golfing. That’s all you need to know.

joakim

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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O’s swap Ohman for VandenHurk Before Deadline

Posted on 31 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Andy MacPhail and the Baltimore Orioles made one additional move before Saturday’s 4pm trade deadline, swapping left-handed reliever Will Ohman for Florida Marlins righty Rick VandenHurk.

Ohman posted a 3.30 ERA in 30 innings pitched this season for the Birds (51 appearances) and did not factor in a decision at all. VandenHurk went 8-4 with AAA New Orleans in the Marlins’ system, posting a 4.68 ERA in 98 innings pitched. For his MLB career, VandenHurk is 8-9 with a 5.96 ERA in a career spanning parts of 4 seasons. He’s pitched 155.2 innings at the big-league level, all with the Fish.

VandenHurk worked with Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz while the two were together in Miami in 2007. New manager Buck Showalter told The Sun this weekend he was hoping to keep the coaching staff in tact at least for the remainder of the 2010 season.

The O’s dealt 3B Miguel Tejada to the San Diego Padres Thursday for RHP prospect Wynn Pelzer, but were otherwise quiet before the trade deadline. Potential trade chips like Luke Scott, Ty Wigginton, Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Mark Hendrickson, Julio Lugo and Cesar Izturis remain on the roster. Players could still be dealt before August 31, but would first have to pass through waivers.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 29 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because the Bowie Baysox are celebrating “The Dude” tonight at Prince George’s Stadium. And I’m sure all other “Big Lebowski” fans are with me in thinking “Who better to celebrate???” (Edit from GMC: Video VERY MUCH NSFW.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ED4VL7W6VdQ[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Terrence Cody passed conditioning test, returned to Ravens practice

Like I said yesterday, “thank God our long civic nightmare is over.”

I’m not particularly worked up about a failed conditioning test. I am a BIT more worked up about the thought that we’ll have to worry about Terrence Cody’s weight/condition for the next few years.

I’m sure there are others (John Harbaugh comes to mind) that are even more concerned about it. Having Haloti Ngata give him a nickname like “Cheeseburger” doesn’t exactly bode well. Of course, it’s not like they didn’t know what they were getting when they picked him in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. It’s also not like the nickname doesn’t fit.

If I was more of a comedian, I’d have a better “hopefully he’ll be our Cheeseburger in Paradise” Jimmy Buffett-type joke to use here. Instead, I’ll opt to offer a picture of the Boston Blackie Burger from Blackie’s in Chicago-a spot I visited for the first time in my life on the 4th of July. It’s a winner…

blackies

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Texas coach Mack Brown believes Sergio Kindle may have fallen due to narcolepsy

Which could VERY WELL be a legitimate reason.

There were reports around the time of the NFL Draft that Kindle may suffer from narcolepsy and ADD, and had fallen asleep during meetings while he was with the Longhorns. We hadn’t necessarily heard that sleepwalking was an issue; but there is certainly at least a CHANCE it’s true.

If so, it’s probably a less concerning explanation than some other potential explanations that had been thrown around. We won’t know what REALLY happened until Sergio Kindle is able to talk to the media-and even then there will be some who will still wonder exactly what happened last week in Austin.

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Jared Gaither reported to Training Camp ‘on time’ Wednesday, Terrell Suggs reported ‘slimmer’

I understand that they’re going to say the right thing here; but John Harbaugh said on Monday in the lobby of the Westminster Best Western that he was “looking forward to seeing (Gaither) today.”

Maybe the team didn’t require Gaither to report to Camp early because of his foot injury, but Coach Harbs certainly suggested that he was expecting to see Jared on Monday. Could be a simple miscommunication, could be that the head coach wanted Jared in earlier in the week because he missed OTA’s and is expected to play a different position this year.

The reality is that it doesn’t really matter. Gaither’s in Camp, and as long as he’s on the practice field tomorrow-everything is fine. If he’s still battling the foot problem tomorrow, there will be one more recent drama the team will be dealing with.

You know, because they needed another distraction. Remember when they were having a fairly quiet offseason???

As far as “T-Sizzle” is concerned, it will be interesting to see what he looks like on the practice field as well. As far as defensive improvement is concerned, it is clear that all of it surrounds what type of season Suggs has, especially considering the help that was supposed to come on the pass rush from Sergio Kindle now may well not be there.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Ed Reed spouted off about Baltimore media on Cleveland radio station

I’m finding it hard to find much of anything else to say about Ed Reed right now. He can be as mad as he wants to be at Mike Preston or anyone else in the Baltimore media; but everyone heard his comments-and no one forced a microphone in front of his face in any of his radio interviews; including the first one he did July 2 with us that started this ball rolling.

I’ll leave it alone for now.

The Ravens are off today as they hold an “administrative day” with veterans now in the house. They’ll put the pads on and his the field at McDaniel College for the first full team practice of camp tomorrow morning at 8:45. Luke Jones will keep you updated at the bottom of every hour with Drew Forrester, Thyrl Nelson and Nestor Aparicio.

5. The AP says Brad Mills shut down Orioles in 5-0 win for Blue Jays at Rogers Centre

Remember when Forrester bet me that the Birds would win AND cover 2.5?

I hope lunch is at PF Chang’s.

If I was surprised that a pitcher making his only start before being sent back down to the minors baffled the O’s, I’d tell you. The thing is…I’m not surprised by it at all.

How could I be?

The Orioles are the absolute worst team in baseball, and one of the worst teams in the history of baseball. How could I be surprised by any of this?!?!?

0-12 against Toronto this season. 31-70 for the season. I can’t make these type of numbers up.

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

Jeremy Guthrie was actually pretty good last night. It probably won’t make you feel much better, but it happened. I’d like to think that it would improve his value at the Trade Deadline, but I saw what the Arizona Diamondbacks got for Dan Haren. Dan Haren is better than Jeremy Guthrie. The market just isn’t in the Orioles’ favor.

Despite Guthrie, you don’t want to look at the numbers-which include a combined 0-8 with 2 K’s and 5 LOB from Luke Scott and Adam Jones. Instead, look at Cameron Russell from Guyism. We’ll re-group after that…

cameronr

7. MLB.com’s James Hall says Juan Samuel will stick with Bergesen, rest of rotation this time through

Which means you’ll have to wait to see Zach Britton; not that you would have necessarily canceled your Saturday night plans to see him pitch anyway.

Clearly the Birds are hoping their roster decisions will be made for them with the trade deadline. Should they figure out a way to deal Guthrie (or Kevin Millwood), they could bring up Britton (or Chris Tillman) to replace them in the rotation. Should they deal Will Ohman or Mark Hendrickson, they could move Bergesen into the bullpen and move one of the others back into the rotation.

The problem with all of this is that I’m not even sure Andy MacPhail is going to be able to trade ANYONE. Guthrie is the best chip, but this is a year where the pitching market is top-heavy (Cliff Lee and Dan Haren already dealt, Roy Oswalt available); meaning the value for the secondary market is lessened. There have been years where Jeff Suppan and/or Sidney Ponson were the best pitchers available. If this was that type of the year, the market for Guthrie would be better.

The Birds will be lucky to get ANYTHING for Millwood; and the rest of their chips (Ty Wigginton, Miguel Tejada, Julio Lugo, Cesar Izturis, Ohman, Hendrickson) aren’t going to get them much more than a B-level prospect or player to be named at best.

The only real hope they have to get something is Luke Scott, who despite a tough night last night has been hot recently. The Orioles aren’t going to get a lot for him, but they might be able to get SOMETHING-which is more than they could get for much of anyone else.

8. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Josh Bell, Nolan Reimold homered in Norfolk Tides’ win on farm

Before we move on from the on-field Orioles, a couple of things.

-The O’s head to Kansas City to face the Royals tonight; with Brian Matusz going against Kyle Davies. First pitch from Kauffman Stadium is on MASN at 8:10pm. There’s no reason the Orioles couldn’t win this game…but I’ll pick KC. Sean O’Sullivan, Zack Greinke and the great Bruce Chen are scheduled to finish the weekend against Jake Arrieta, Bergesen and Millwood. With a mircale, they’ll split.

-Soren Petro from 810 WHB in Kansas City joined Drew this morning on “The Morning Reaction” to preview the Royals series. If you missed it, make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net to check it out. Other guests included:

  • Jerry Crasnick (ESPN.com)-who discussed the trade deadline, as well as surprising teams in baseball
  • Jason La Canfora (NFL Network)-who discussed Terrell Owens, the AFC North, Dez Bryant and more
  • John Perrotto (Baseball Prospectus)-who went around the world of baseball

It’s all up in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault as well.

9. Fanhouse’s Greg Couch says former O’s 1B Jim Gentile finally credited with winning 1961 RBI title

Which you would know if you heard my “Cheap Shots From The Bleachers” segment this morning on AM1570 WNST. It’s in the Audio Vault if you missed it.

Apparently Lee MacPhail had told Gentile that he would have gotten $5,000 more if he had won the RBI title-which Greg Couch thinks Andy MacPhail should offer to pay him as a kind gesture. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

As a kind gesture from myself to Jim Gentile, I will offer pictures of Daniela Freitas. (Thanks Busted Coverage/Totally Crap!)

freitas

10. UMTerps.com says WR/Specialist Torrey Smith, LB Alex Wujciak named All-ACC

Technically they have THREE all-conference selections, as Torrey Smith was named as both a receiver AND specialist. As I was reminded yesterday-Virginia Tech only had ONE all-conference selection (Ryan Williams), so take that Hokies!

The problem is that beyond these two, this Terrapins team has as many question marks as my Chapel Hill Elementary School 2nd grade English class. Of course, I rarely paid attention in my 2nd grade English class-as I spent more time paying attention to my “girlfriend” Michelle Hensley. Anyone know how she’s doing?

The joke I missed here was that Maryland only had two more wins than Chapel Hill last year. Damn! Sorry everyone…

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland to play William & Mary (in football) again in 2012

I remind you that it’s “in football” because it isn’t surprising to see the Tribe come back to Byrd Stadium. Now if Gary Williams were to invite them back to Comcast Center after what happened last year, I’d be absolutely stunned. In fact, I’m a little surprised Gary doesn’t have a “no-fly” zone for W&M over College Park entirely.

Maryland regularly plays one FCS (former 1AA) per year; and they have Morgan State this year, Towson next year, and Rhode Island in 2013. This year’s other non-conference games are Navy, West Virginia and Eastern Michigan; next year’s are Notre Dame, West Virginia and (I believe) Temple.

12. Sports Network’s Craig Haley says Towson picked last in CAA

I stopped by CAA Media Day yesterday, and I have to admit that the oatmeal raisin cookies and potato chips at M&T Bank Stadium were DELICIOUS.

It’s hard to pick Rob Ambrose’s Tigers anything BUT last considering the year they’re coming off and the strength of the CAA; so I doubt they’re particularly disappointed.

As a consolation prize, I offer a photo of Katherine Jenkins. (Thanks Don Chavez!)

kjenkins

And finally, I leave you with this.

I know I already named a “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” this week (“Cornbread” by Dave Matthews Band), but I’m sure there’s been a week where I forgot to name one; so I’m naming another. Hey, it’s my blog. Enjoy “Shutterbug” by Big Boi from Outkast…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWsvkW6rKkQ[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because for the first time in my life, I finally tried it…

trout

And of course…I loved it. I’m not sure that I PREFER it to a chicken box, but when it comes to dining with a Half and Half…I can get behind some lake trout.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP/STATS’ Brett Huston previews Orioles-Padres series starting tonight at Petco Park

There’s some real buzz in San Diego today about former Toreros pitcher Brian Matusz coming back to town.

There’s some real buzz in Baltimore today about having a baseball team that feels like being stung by a million bees over and over again.

I hope the players enjoy their weekend in one of the country’s best cities. I also hope they actually find a way to win a game (or more)…although I think their only real chance to do it is Sunday when Jake Arrieta faces Jon Garland.

Geez…the team didn’t even lose yesterday and I’m dejected talking about them.

Ugh.

Jack Cronin from XX Sports Radio in SD joined us today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST to preview the Pads. If you missed it, make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today and check it out. Other guests this morning included…

-A trip around MLB with our buddy Craig Calcaterra from HardballTalk at NBCSports.com
-An update of U.S. Open action at Pebble Beach from our buddy Rex Hoggard from The Golf Channel

It’s all up there in the Audio Vault here at WNST.net, make sure you check it out!

2. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Markakis thinks O’s “all bad right now”

Which simply means Nick Markakis has been watching Orioles baseball.

How many people sent a message to tell Nick he was being “too negative”, by the way?

Nick is really the only player on the team who can speak out when it comes to the organization right now. Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and David Hernandez haven’t performed nearly well enough-and are hoping that if they’re forced to deal with it, they’ll at least get good contracts.

Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott, Miguel Tejada, Kevin Millwood, Jeremy Guthrie, Mark Hendrickson and Will Ohman have all been merely okay this season-and wouldn’t want to piss off the guys that could actually deal them to a real team before July 31st.

Cesar Izturis, Lou Montanez, Garrett Atkins, Corey Patterson, Julio Lugo, Frank Mata, Craig Tatum, Matt Albers, Jason Berken, Alfredo Simon and Scott Moore aren’t relevant enough.

Jake Arrieta just got here. Brian Roberts is hurt.

Markakis is the only player who has MOSTLY (save for the power numbers) kept up his end of the bargain AND has a contract. In that way, he NEEDS to be vocal. He NEEDS to stand up. I know it’s not in his nature-but he’s the only guy who can do it right now.

Or…the team can just keep losing-and those of us who follow them can wonder if they really care. Hopefully this won’t be the last we hear from Nick, as the organization needs to be reminded by ALL parties (not just Nestor Aparicio’s blog this morning) that what’s happening here is NOT okay.

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Andy MacPhail not planning on unloading at Trade Deadline ‘for the sake of moving payroll’

If MacPhail is hoping to fleece someone in exchange for Kevin Millwood, he’s crazy. If these guys are going to be dealt, they’re probably going to be dealt for disappointing returns. The bulk of the guys that are available on this roster might as well have “for a player to be named later” attached to the end of their name.

That’s what happens when you have a bad team with bad players.

Hopefully Andy will go ahead and part with some of these guys despite the fact that he might not get the returns he wants. There’s no reason to force Ty Wigginton to suffer like this. He had a good month. Reward him for that.

But knowing the pace Andy works at, he’s probably still trying to figure out how much he can get for Sidney Ponson.

4. Virginian-Pilot says Nolan Reimold’s 2 run double lifted Norfolk Tides to win on farm

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

-The Birds ARE back in action tonight, with Matusz facing Wade LeBlanc and the Fathers at Petco Park. First pitch is at 10:05pm on MASN2.

-Congratulations to our “Apologist of the Morning”-Steve Melewski from MASN. Steve took the time to beat up Bobby Valentine for having a .510 winning percentage and only one playoff appearance. If the Orioles were .510 and had a playoff appearance in the last 13 seasons; we’d probably have a parade!

5. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens signed former Pro Bowl safety Ken Hamlin, unable to agree to deal with Walt Harris

Unless he just doesn’t think he can make the team out of Training Camp, I can’t FATHOM a reason why Walt Harris would pass on a chance to join this team in Westminster.

You’re unemployed, and a good team wants you. You say NO?

Maybe he’s holding out for an offer from the Kansas City Chiefs-a team that he would feel more comfortable about being able to stick with-but this still kinda boggles me.

Ken Hamlin provides the Ravens an insurance policy for Ed Reed, and could end up providing the team with some depth at safety-although I struggle to see how the team could afford to keep 5 safeties.

Of course, they might keep 55 Defensive linemen, so what do I know?

6. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says Ravens released Ashton Hall, Brad Jones, Courtney Smith, John Fletcher, Daniel Sanders

I’d say they’d be forgotten, but I’m not sure anyone was particularly aware they were here….other than the Cincinnati fans that tried to convince me Brad Jones was an impact player.

And with these players now gone, I once again implore Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh to consider making an addition. How about Jessica-Jane Clement??? (Thanks Guyism!)

clement

7. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Oher to receive Congressional Award Gold Medal

I really have nothing else to say about this other than “Congratulations” to Michael, who has been a tremendous representative to both the team and Charm City. We’re very proud.

You know who else deserves a Congressional medal? Roxy Louw. (Thanks Barstool Sports!)

louw

No, I DON’T care that she’s from South Africa. Why would I?

8. Inside Lacrosse’s Terry Foy says after declining interview at Maryland, Cornell coach Jeff Tambroni accepted Penn State job

Which really IS kinda stunning.

The easy assumption is that the folks in State College had a boatload of money to offer (whereas we know the folks in College Park have been dealing with some significant budget issues in recent years) thanks to the Big Ten Network TV money they’re getting. As my pal Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse on Twitter) pointed out to me, the Nittany Lions also recently hired the great Cael Sanderson as their wrestling coach, so they’re certainly taking more sports seriously.

Does it reflect poorly on the Terrapins that Tambroni wouldn’t even interview but then took a lesser job? Sure. But the relevance is only as significant as the performance of their own hire John Tillman. If John Tillman succeeds as head man for the Terps, it won’t matter that Jeff Tambroni didn’t interview.

If Tillman struggles-everything Tambroni, Paul Cantabene, Marc Van Arsdale, Don Zimmerman, Leland Rogers, Gary Gait, Scott Marr, Lars Tiffany, Lars Ulrich and Gary Larson does in the future will be an issue.

(Edit from GMC: Lars Ulrich was GREAT in “Get Him to the Greek” by the way.)

(2nd Edit from GMC: Patrick wrote something really good about new Gary Williams assistant Bino Ranson this morning. Read it. You’ll be better for it.)

9. The Towerlight’s Colin Stevens says Mike Hermann resigned as Towson Athletic Director

Which you would have already known had you been following us on Twitter (@WNST) or listening to Drew Forrester Thursday morning on AM1570.

I think Mike Hermann did a good job during his tenure at Towson; but the Hermann era will be remembered as a time when Pat Kennedy’s basketball team struggled, Gordy Combs’ football team struggled so much he had to be fired, and Tony Seaman’s lacrosse team didn’t necessarily live up to expectations. There was progress made at Unitas Stadium, but they never did get the new arena underway to replace the Towson Center.

That being said, I don’t think the Tigers are better without Mike Hermann than they were with him.

10. InsideMDSports.com’s Jeff Ermann says heralded freshman LB Javarie Johnson left Terrapins due to ‘academic and personal issues’

Which clearly reflects poorly on Ralph Friedgen, but sometimes these things happen.

To replace him…maybe Sophie Reade? (Thanks Don Chavez/Busted Coverage!)

sophie


And finally, I leave you with this.

I love interns. In fact, we have a great group of interns working with us over here at 1550 Hart Rd. this summer. One of my favorite games to play with interns is the “Formal Friday” game. When an intern comes in, I let them know that while some places of business have “Casual Fridays”, we do things the opposite way. During the week we’re allowed to dress casually (and trust me…we do), but on Fridays we look more presentable.

Our midday intern…we call him “Young Howard” due to his resemblance of Howard Stern from years past in the movie “Private Parts”…told me that he didn’t work Fridays. Therefore, I let him know he’d need to do it on Thursday. He did…

logan

And then of course we have our morning show intern “Ryan Dundee”, who even one-upped Logan this morning…

ryan

I couldn’t even IMAGINE having a real job.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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The Malady Lingers On: Orioles lose 7th straight, 9-1 at New York

Posted on 02 June 2010 by Drew Forrester

Umpire Jim Joyce had a bad night, costing Armando Galarraga a perfect game in Detroit, but at least he apologized for blowing the final out of the game.

Where’s Brad Bergesen’s apology?

His night was worse than Joyce’s, for sure.

Bergesen got smoked for six earned runs in 2.1 innings and the O’s bats once again failed to produce in key situations, as the Yankees put up a 9-1 win in game two of the 3-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Perhaps the only thing worse than Bergy’s effort was the 3-hour apologizing session on the MASN broadcast authored by ex-Oriole Brady Anderson, who took up for the team at every turn as the Birds lost their 7th straight to fall to 15-38 on the season.

I guess Anderson hears whispers of a $200,000 broadcasting paycheck and that $80 per-day per-diem and figures, “if I have to try to convince people that the team really isn’t that bad, by golly, that’s what I’ll do if it gets me a gig.”

At one point in the game, trailing 6-0, the O’s had 3 hits and Anderson opined, “You know, it doesn’t look real good right now.  The Orioles haven’t scored a run and they only have three hits.  But they’re battling every time they’re up at the plate.  It’s a real battle.”

I can’t make that up.

Oh, the game?

Hell, I don’t know…every single time I looked up at the screen, a Yankee was on base somewhere. Robinson Cano hit a HR that stretched the lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the 7th inning.

That home run, by the way:  Landed.  Just.  Now.

Nick Swisher was 3-for-5 and Curtis Granderson was 3-for-4.  They play for New York.  You know that, of course, based on the fact that those two actually had productive nights at the plate.

It was such a laugher on Wednesday night that the Yankees let Chad Gaudin and his 8.14 ERA pitch the last two innings and the Orioles couldn’t even scratch out a run or two off of that n’er do well.

The night, though, was about Brad Bergesen and his whopper-of-a-stinker on the mound.

Not only was it the shortest outing of the career, but it forced Dave Trembley to use Mark Hendrickson (2.2 innings) and Matt Albers (2.0) in fairly extensive relief situations.

That might not bode well for tomorrow in New York for the series finale, but my guess is both teams will put out “B” lineups (please, no jokes about the Orioles and the “B” lineup) and the two starting pitchers (Millwood and Sabathia) will dominate.  Just a hunch…

There was a funny scene early in the game on Wednesday night.  Ty Wigginton was called out on a strike 3 half-swing via first-base-ump appeal and sort of flipped out about it.  The first-base umpire briefly shouted back at Wigginton and it appeared as if some fireworks were about to begin.

Trembley jumped out to the top of the dugout to defend Wigginton, but instead of going out and raising cain and kicking up some dirt, the manager merely yelled out to the umpire, “Take it easy!  Come on, let’s play ball.”  He then clapped his hands two times and went back to the dugout.

I couldn’t make that up, either.

It was a funny moment in an otherwise dreadful night for the Orioles.

I don’t know much, but I know this:  The Orioles are 15-38 now, but they’re not going to finish the season with 15 wins.  They WILL win again. Maybe they’ll win tomorrow in New York. Someday soon, they’ll put it all together and come out on top.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to watch and suffer along with them.

I’m such an idiot, I’m getting on a bus at 7am on Thursday and going to the series finale in New York.  You know you’re sick when you’re willing to ride 4 hours to watch them get beat.

And then the Red Sox come calling this weekend — and the Yankees buzz into town next week for three.

Just what we needed, right?

More losing.

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Orioles lose 7-5: That didn’t just happen, did it?

Posted on 27 May 2010 by Drew Forrester

I saw it, but I can’t believe it.

The Orioles and their manager – plus a bad call and a bad bounce – put together one of the great late game collapses in recent memory tonight at the ballpark and for the first time all year, I honestly feel REALLY bad for the organization.   The Birds squandered a 5-2 lead and allowed five runs in the 8th inning to lose to the A’s, 7-5.  There are bad losses and then there are BAD losses, in all caps.  This was a BAD loss.

The sight of Adam Jones sitting on the dugout steps by himself after Garrett Atkins struck out to end the game…that one made me misty eyed.

The Birds led the game 5-2 in the 8th inning.  Oakland’s half-decent offense hadn’t even reached the half-decent level on Brad Bergesen through 7 innings.  He threw 93 pitches on the night and was in full command.  Adam Rosales led off the 8th with a single, but not before he looked at strike 3 that wasn’t called.  Mark Ellis came up next and drove one into left field.  And with that, Dave Trembley came out and yanked Bergesen, ending his evening.

It’s easy to second guess, now, of course, but I remarked right away on our live chat:  ”Bad move”.  If for no other reason, I thought the concept there should have been, “OK, kid, you got yourself into a mini-jam here…let’s see what you have under the hood.”

The team is 15-32 (well, now 15-33).  Just go out, settle him down, and let him try and wiggle out of the tight spot he put himself in.  Seeing how Bergesen handled the heat, there, would have been interesting and, perhaps, a good teaching lesson for the young pitcher.

Instead, Trembley went to Jason Berken.  And Berken delivered, getting a fly ball out.

That was the end of his night, though, as the manager brought in Mark Hendrickson.  Hendrickson gave up a single off his shin and then an inning ending grounder to Cesar Izturis took a wild hop off the infield dirt and the inning was still alive.

Time for Cla Meredith to come in with the bases loaded.

And when Kevin Kouzmanoff delivered with a 3-run double, that was all she wrote.

Well, almost.

The O’s put runners on 1st and 2nd in the 9th inning, but Adam Jones (fly ball out) and Garrett Atkins (strike out) couldn’t deliver in the clutch.

Everything that could have gone wrong in the 8th inning, went wrong.  A missed 3rd strike from the umpire.  The manager coming out and doing some managing.  A grounder off the shin of the pitcher.  A bad hop on an inning ending bouncer to the shortstop.  And a roped double off the wall.

I don’t know what else to say.

It’s pretty painful now.

And it’s evident, to me anyway, that everyone’s trying their best to win — but they’re just not good enough.  Or lucky enough.  Or…I don’t know…”something enough”.

You can’t lose games like the one the O’s lost tonight.

But they did.

To borrow a line from a great song by The Smiths:  ”Heaven knows I’m miserable now…”

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Trembley, Orioles point to bad breaks instead of making own luck

Posted on 27 May 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — As the Orioles fall further into the abyss of the 2010 season, Thursday night’s loss ranks near the top of the most painful defeats.

A 5-2 lead that appeared to be an almost certain victory transformed into an excruciating sequence of questionable decisions and bad luck in the eight inning. The final result was a 7-5 defeat and another sleepless night of asking how it went wrong for manager Dave Trembley and the Orioles (15-33).

The win-loss record plainly reflects how poorly the club has played over the first two months of the season, but the bad breaks once again manifested in the eighth inning on Thursday night.

A grounder deflecting off the leg of Mark Hendrickson led to an infield single and then a bad hop to Cesar Izturis kept the eventual five-run inning alive on two occasions. Later, a three-run double by Kevin Kouzmanoff sealed the Orioles’ fate as the club snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, a common theme as we approach the 50-game mark of the season.

“You hate to get a game taken away from a guy who has pitched as well as [Brad] Bergesen did and lose it under those conditions,” Trembley said. “It really is unfortunate that those things happen.”

Unfortunate? Very much so.

Preventable? It’s tough to say.

While the ball club reflected on its misfortune, two questionable decisions from Trembley certainly factored into the outcome of the game. The first being his choice to remove Bergesen in the eighth inning and the second the insertion of Mark Hendrickson for Jason Berken after only one batter faced.

There’s no way of predicting whether the Orioles would have met the same losing fate had Bergesen been allowed to continue after giving up back-to-back singles to begin the eighth inning, one a seeing-eye single beyond the reach of Miguel Tejada and the second a clean liner into left.

Despite having retired 14 batters in a row entering the eighth inning, Trembley removed Bergesen from the game with a 5-2 lead, citing Baltimore’s long bottom of the seventh in which it sent eight batters to the plate and scored two runs as the primary reason for taking out his young starting pitcher.

“It was a long inning, but again, something like that will happen,” Bergesen said. “You’ve just got to mentally stay strong and stay focused, and I felt like I did.”

Bergesen recovered from a shaky start in the first two innings, including a two-run homer from Gabe Gross in the second, to settle into a groundball groove that pushed the starter through seven innings with only 80 pitches. After the two singles to open the eighth, Trembley removed Bergesen at the 93-pitch mark.

“I don’t think the pitch count enters into it,” Trembley said. “He had a long inning to sit after the seventh. You certainly don’t want to put him in a situation where he’s going to lose the game.”

The move was certainly debatable and not unprecedented from Trembley. At some point, the training wheels need to be removed for these young starters—especially with a bullpen that’s far from dominant at the back end—but the long delay between the seventh and eighth innings was a reasonable factor in shortening Bergesen’s leash.

However, what transpired a batter later after Jason Berken came on to retire Rajai Davis on a fly out to right was far less defensible. Instead of sticking with Berken, Trembley again went to the bullpen for the lefty Mark Hendrickson against left-handed batters Daric Barton and Ryan Sweeney.

After retiring Barton, Hendrickson allowed three straight singles, opening the floodgates for the Athletics to take the lead on Kouzmanoff’s double off Cla Meredith later in the inning.

“You’re going to go left against left there,” Trembley said. “I think that’s really what you’re going to do. Berken hasn’t faced these guys a lot. Their two best hitters are their two lefties right there. Berken’s a flyball pitcher. You don’t want Berken to give up a home run there. He’s never been in that situation before. Hendrickson has.”

Trembley continues to go with the “by the book” situational matchups instead of sticking with the most effective option on any given night, regardless of what a deeper look at the numbers might say.

Left-handed batters are hitting just .194 against Berken this season but are batting .333 against Hendrickson.

Where’s that lefty against lefty advantage again?

The Orioles’ bullpen woes are well-documented with injuries playing the primary role in their inconsistency. Continuing to run pitcher after pitcher to the hill not only taxes the bullpen but increases the probability of running into a poor outing or two from a staff that lacks quality, proven arms.

If a pitcher is getting the job done on a given night, why take him out?

“I was confident that those guys were going to get it done,” the manager said. “I think we’d be talking a different story here if there isn’t a bad hop to shortstop. I would have put [Will] Ohman in the [ninth] instead of them putting Andrew Bailey in the game.”

We’d all like to be talking about a different story this season. If only it were that simple.

The eighth inning certainly played cruel tricks on Trembley and the Orioles—some of it out of their hands—but the management of the bullpen is within the skipper’s complete grasp, and it reeked of managing not to lose instead of playing to win and exuding confidence.

Would different choices have written a happier ending instead of a painful 7-5 loss?

We’ll never know for sure, but sometimes you need to make your own luck instead of dwelling on the events that are out of your control.

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

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***Join us in the Orange Crush chat right now***

BALTIMORE — After splitting the first two games of the series, the Orioles (15-32) will look to win their third(!?) series of the season tonight against the Oakland Athletics (24-23) at 7:05 p.m.

Brad Bergesen will take the hill in hopes of rebounding from his last two outings in which he allowed 24 baserunners over his last 11 2/3 innings. He pitched to a no decision against the Nationals on Saturday afternoon, allowing six runs in five innings. Bergesen was previously scheduled to start Friday night’s game in Toronto before the club elected to move David Hernandez to the bullpen and recall 22-year-old starter Chris Tillman from Triple-A Norfolk to start the opening game against the Blue Jays.

The A’s will send lefty Gio Gonzalez to the mound in search of his sixth win of the season. He pitched a gem against the San Francisco Giants on Saturday, pitching eight innings of shutout ball in a 1-0 victory. As if that isn’t impressive enough, Gonzalez also retired the last 20 batters he faced before being lifted for closer Andrew Bailey.

The Orioles are without Nick Markakis tonight, so he can be with his wife who will give birth to their second child today. Taking his place in right field will be Lou Montanez.

Luke Scott is once again out of the starting lineup with a strained left shoulder, but he is available to pinch-hit tonight and is expected to return to the order in Toronto on Friday.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Oakland
CF Rajai Davis
1B Daric Barton
RF Ryan Sweeney
C Kurt Suzuki
DH Jack Cust
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff
LF Gabe Gross
SS Adam Rosales
2B Mark Ellis

SP Gio Gonzalez (5-3, 3.46 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Corey Patterson
2B Julio Lugo
1B Ty Wigginton
3B Miguel Tejada
C Matt Wieters
CF Adam Jones
DH Garrett Atkins
RF Lou Montanez
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Brad Bergesen (3-3, 6.10 ERA)

Don’t forget to join us in the Orange Crush chat tonight at 7:00 p.m., as WNST personalities will discuss tonight’s action from Camden Yards. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and quips about tonight’s game.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 7:05 p.m.

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6:10 p.m. — The Orioles will go with a heavy balance of right-handed bats against Gonzalez. Corey Patterson is the only left-handed hitter in the lineup while switch hitters Matt Wieters and Cesar Izturis will obviously bat from the right side.

Gonzalez has struck out 46 batters in 54 2/3 innings this season, an average of 7.57 per nine innings. He has done a tremendous job of avoiding bats in his career, striking out 189 batters in 187 1/3 innings. However, patience can also reap rewards against the lefty, as he’s issued 24 walks in 54 2/3 innings, just under four per nine innings.

With the grounder-inducing Bergesen on the hill for Baltimore, inserting Julio Lugo into the lineup at second base with Ty Wigginton again playing first has to work in the club’s favor defensively.

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

Posted on 03 April 2010 by Luke Jones

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

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

6. Is the bullpen up to par?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. How good will Brian Matusz be?

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

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

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

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

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

Need we say more?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twelve years.

Twelve painful, long years.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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