Tag Archive | "Mark Teixeira"

Trading For Prospects Does Work .....

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Trading For Prospects Does Work …..

Posted on 09 June 2010 by Rex Snider

I’ll be the first guy to admit that Nick Markakis has no clue of my existence on this earth. But, if he did, what would his opinion of my OPINIONS be ???

While he seems like an aloof, free spirit, Nick also gives me the impression that he’s a straight-shooter and capable of an honest appraisal of his personal efforts.

Thus, I really do wonder how he sees himself and his overall contributions, as he settles into the thick of his fifth full season in the big leagues. Is he satisfied with his overall achievements? At 26, does he feel his game is still improving? Does he feel that he’s living up to the $66 million contract?

These are fair questions.

I’d bet his honest impression is that he expects more from himself. Indeed, this is one of those situations where the fans are less critical of the player’s contributions. But, as we know, Baltimore fans love themselves some Markakis !!!!

If he’s so indispensable, why hasn’t Nick been an All Star ….. on such a crappy team full of “stopgaps” and “never were’s” ??? Where are the Gold Gloves ??? How about the occasional vote for MVP ??? Better yet, has he led the American League in ANYTHING ??? Yep – games played, in 2009. Congratulations …..

Of course, I’m being sarcastic. Nick Markakis is a good, durable ballplayer. He is not the problem for this team.

However, I still stand by my argument that his value can be a marketable commodity for a team that must start taking chances and calculated risks.

And, no, I don’t buy into the EXCUSES regarding a lack of bats surrounding Nick Markakis. The whole “they’re pitching around him” argument is an overblown consideration.

If opposing pitchers were truly pitching around him, he would be piling up the walks, right? He undoubtedly has the best eye and most disciplined stick on the team. Yet, throughout his career he’s only walked 294 times in 2908 plate appearances (-37 SAC, HBP, etc.) …..

Yup, the math says that’s a blistering 10% of the time. But, to be fair, he’s walking in 14% of his plate appearances, in 2010.

What does this suggest? PITCHERS ARE NOT PITCHING AROUND NICK MARKAKIS. In fact, they’re pitching to him !!!! He’s seeing plenty of pitches to hit …..

He’s Nick Markakis ….. not Albert Pujols.

Got it?

Once again, he’s a damn good ballplayer. He’s a nice complimentary member of a lineup. But, he’s far from being untouchable. His value should be gauged during the upcoming off-season.

In last week’s blog, I was clear on my feelings – any deal for Nick Markakis must yield “Major League Ready” prospects, not kids getting their feet wet at the AA level.

A few remarks by readers suggested that acquiring PROSPECTS “equates to setting the ballclub back.” Really? Are they on the verge of contention?

the common thought among many fans is trading for prospects is a GREAT UNKNOWN. While I think that’s partly true, the risk is certainly minimized by ensuring the prospective players have utilized tools and succeeded at every level.

No, I’m not gonna drop the “Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee” trade, again. But, here’s a few more STARS FOR PROSPECTS deals that worked out …..

2005 – Josh Beckett & Mike Lowell for Hanley Ramirez & Anibal Sanchez

This is one of those deals that has certainly benefited both teams. Beckett and Lowell helped deliver a World Series Championship and have been part of making the Red Sox a consistent contender.

Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez has quietly become one of the game’s best players.

And, Anibal Sanchez is one of the National League’s most impressive young pitchers.

Who got the better end of the deal? In the long term, and if they keep the players, it looks like the Marlins probably realized the greater return. But, the Red Sox have their World Championship trophy. Regardless, the Marlins clearly benefited from dealing Beckett and Lowell.
1991 – Glenn Davis for Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch & Steve Finley

Still hurts, huh? Some folks actually wonder about the long term damage this deal had on the Orioles. Imagine Curt Schilling spending his career in an Orioles uniform. Sorry, the vision we’ll all remember is far for damning …..

Glenn Davis is still a bad topic for discussion in this town.
1992 – George Bell for Sammy Sosa & Ken Patterson

Regardless of all the drama surrounding Sammy Sosa’s steroids usage, he became a bonafide slugger with the Cubs. He put hineys in the seats and made the Cubbies a contender.

On the flip side, the White Sox wanted a slugging outfielder and Bell seemed to fit the bill. Umm ….. bad move.
1982 – Ivan DeJesus for Larry Bowa & Ryne Sandberg

When the trade occurred, DeJesus was one of the best shortstops in the game. Although, he was the prototypical “Pre-Ripken” player. But, the 22 year old kid with “Sandberg” across his back would end up being the steal of the deal. He switched to 2nd base and today, he’s got a plaque in Cooperstown …..

Do you think Phillies fans stil regret losing Sandberg? Well, just ask “Mike in Chase”.
2003 – AJ Pierzynski for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano & Boof Bonser

The Twins swallowed their pride and traded the 26 year old Pierzynski, following three full seasons of a compiled .301 batting average and 30+ doubles. Not bad for a young backstop, huh? Pierzynski did not disappoint and he’s had a very solid Major League career.

Nathan and Liriano, on the other hand, have become dominating pitchers. Joe Nathan saved ONE GAME before joining the Twins. And, Francisco Liriano, is now fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and nearing the explosive arsenal witnessed during his rookie campaign, in 2006 ….

How is the TRADING FOR PROSPECTS idea working out for the Twinkies ???
2008 – Erik Bedard for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler & Kam Mickolio

The O’s parted ways with one of the American League’s best starting pitchers during Andy MacPhail’s first off-season. At 28, Bedard has lived up to his fragile makeup and “soft heart” while spending most of his Seattle tenure on the disbaled list.

Meanwhile, Adam Jones has emerged into a starting centerfielder for the Orioles. Yeah, say what you want about Jones, but he’s exhibited the characteristics of a formidable big leaguer. Sherrill was an All Star for the Orioles, and Tillman is still regarded as a prime prospect. Of the handful of players, I still think Jones will have a very nice career …..

2007 – Mark Teixeira for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus & Matt Harrison

On the surface, you might think “the Braves HOSED the Rangers”. Well, if you’re just considering Saltalamacchia, who appears to be a BUST, I can see the point. However, the Rangers hauled in much more …..

Neftali Feliz has emerged as the Rangers closer, converting 15 saves, with a 2.73 ERA and ultra impressive 0.94 WHIP, along with 28 strikeouts in 26 innings. Feliz throws extremely hard (has hit 100+) and benefits from a power breaking ball and nice changeup. Oh yeah, he’s 21 years old.

The other prime contributor from the trade is Elvis Andrus. He seized the starting shortstop job as a rookie, in 2009. He’s currently hitting .311, with 18 stolen bases. Like Feliz, Andrus is only 21 years old, as well.

When this trade took place, Rangers owner, Tom Hicks, defended it by insisting he couldn’t afford to re-sign Teixeira. Well, just 3 years removed, the Rangers are bankrupt and being operated under the domain of Major League Baseball. I guess Hicks wasn’t lying, huh?

As for Teixeira, the Braves turned around and dealt him before the 2008 non-waiver deadline. And, the Angels let him walk after the 2008 season. While I don’t argue his legitimate presence in a lineup, the Rangers got a good return for him.

So, what do these trades have to do with Nick Markakis? Well, they represent PROOF that acquiring legitimate, blue chip prospects for proven Major League players does work more often than on an “occasional” basis.

Once again, I don’t want to do anything rash regarding Markakis, but he might just bring a nice package of young guys (and I don’t mean Josh Bell types) to play here for years to come. Then again, a proposed deal might fail – plenty of those trades exist, too.

But, the Orioles are a miserable 16-42 – NOTHING should be off the table.

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 09 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because Bleacher Report (and this is DEFINITELY an example of knowing what you do well) put together a list of the “Top 25 Hottest Blondes in Sports.” The list features most of the names you’d imagine (Anna Kournikova is #2), but UNBELIEVABLY the #1 on the list is someone I’ve never heard of-Ana Paula Mancino…


Apparently she’s some sort of volleyball player from Brazil. Not that it matters. How does “Ana Paula Clark” sound?

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Kevin Millwood, Orioles hammered by Yankees

The Orioles are so bad that even Mark Teixeira figured out a way to get healthy in this one.

If there was ever a game when the score was not really an accurate portrayal of what happened, it was last night.

New York ran up the score, then at least had the decency to put in the backup QB and call nothing but run plays so as not to embarrass Juan Samuel’s crew. I don’t like Joe Girardi, but he’s done that a couple of times this season-and I thank him for it.

That being said, apparently some folks in town don’t understand that when Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena and Chad Gaudin come into a game; nothing that happens after that point really matters.

It’s with that in mind that I congratulate our “Apologist of the Morning” as selected by “The Great Arbitrator” Drew Forrester this morning. Roch Kubatko’s recap of last night’s game over at MASN’s website was headlined “When 7 Runs and 15 Hits Aren’t Enough”, and the first line of the write-up read…

“The Orioles’ offense has been the subject of ridicule and scorn for much of the season, so it’s only fair to point out that it did plenty to deliver a win tonight.”

Look, the O’s did a heck of a job to scratch 3 runs across against Phil Hughes in 2 out situations when the game was still (kinda) in the balance. I’m not trying to take that away from them. But to say that scoring 4 runs after the game was already over means the offense did enough to “deliver a win” is basically admitting that you didn’t really pay attention to what was happening.

Or you’re just trying to apologize for another embarrassing loss.

Congratulations Roch!

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

The remarkable thing about last night’s performance is that EVERYONE in the Orioles lineup had at least one hit…except of course Cesar Izturis. That’s significant because Drew bet me yesterday that Izturis would figure out a way to get 5 hits during the Yanks series.

I always appreciate free money.

Of course, the strangest thing about last night was how many times Yankees players decided to just let a ball drop in front of them instead of diving to make a play. I understand that Curtis Granderson’s slam meant the game was basically over before it had ever started; but the effort was at times downright Oriole-like.

3. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Bobby Valentine, Eric Wedge early candidates to replace Dave Trembley

I don’t like anything about Eric Wedge as manager. In fact, I’d prefer Eric Matthews to Eric Wedge…


I don’t think I’d like Bobby Valentine either. I just don’t know that he’d be as interested in being ORIOLES manager as he would be in bring ANY team’s manager.

Bob Melvin is still my 1 seed, I’ll put together a Top 3 list at some point of guys I’d like to see get the job. Of course, I’d really just like to see someone who can WIN get the job, but it’s hard to force that amongst the qualifications.

4. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Brian Roberts’ status for rest of season ‘very much in doubt’

Thanks to our buddy Kris Cumberland for forwarding me over what Roy Firestone had to say about B-Rob over at OriolesHangout.com…

“Its not just the injury..its the stop and start of any attempts at the rehab.
Im not even suggesting that Brian isnt a “gamer”. He is one of the toughest and most durable players this organization has seen in many years.
But if its not one thing ..its another.Its delays and pneumonia, and intermittent pain..I am very very worried and Im not talking about just this year.
This is very serious stuff.
I heard a very reliable source in the Orioles organization fretting about possible major back surgery..and even possible retirement.
This is not something I take as “loose talk.” Not if you knew who said it.
I hope I am 100% wrong, but I have serious doubts as to whether Brian will back at all this year.Really, what is the upside? To win a few games and risk even more serious setbacks?
Its just such a major loss to this ballclub, its almost incalcuable.

I’ve been VERY concerned about Brian since the news first came down during Spring Training, and the club began posturing after that.

There has be at LEAST a concern that in a worst case scenario this could lead to the end of Brian’s career, and at LEAST there is a chance that this could make a significant impact on the rest of his career.

5. MLB.com’s Noah Rosenstein says UCLA closer Daniel Klein highlighted 2nd day haul for Birds in MLB Entry Draft

And after making the pick, Andy MacPhail called Klein and said to him “the good news is that we play the Yankees and Mets this week. We won’t be needing anyone for a save situation for the next few days. But if we somehow able to get a lead against the Giants next week, how quickly can you get to San Francisco?”

Worth pointing out from the group of players selected yesterday is 5th round pick Connor Narron, son of former Reds and Rangers manager Jerry Narron. I say “worth pointing out” because you might recognize the name, not because I think you’d know anything about the player.

But I hope he’s good!

6. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Chorye Spoone, Robert Andino impressed last night for O’s on farm

Before we move on from the Orioles, a reminder that they continue their series against the Bronx Bombers tonight; first pitch from Oriole Park at Camden Yards is at 7:05pm. The good news is that Stephen Strasburg isn’t pitching on MASN2, so there might be some people who are actually interested tonight!

CC Sabathia brings a 12-1 career record against the Orioles into the game against Chris Tillman, who has made 14 career starts. But I’m sure Tillman will do just fine! Our own Luke Jones will be at OPACY, you can join him for our “Orange Cush” chat here at WNST.net.

7. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Jared Gaither absent from Ravens Passing Camp Tuesday, John Harbaugh says absence not due to injury

Gaither was one of 10 Ravens not out at 1 Winning Drive, the list also included Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Willis McGahee, Matt Birk, Le’Ron McClain, Oniel Cousins, Trevor Pryce, Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson. Some players missed for health reasons (Cousins had a throat procedure), others were more puzzling absences (Gaither comes to mind).

You can hear from some of the guys who WERE there in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today; including John Harbaugh, Chris Carr, Todd Heap, Haloti Ngata, Shayne Graham and Derrick Mason. The Ravens are back at work in Owings Mills today and tomorrow; with tomorrow being the final OTA practice and the last chance for us to see the Ravens before Training Camp.

8. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says CB Chris Carr doesn’t see any ‘animosity’ between players, coaches after Ravens forfeited OTA’s

As I’ve said a few times, the only real “issue” in all of this is whether or not John Harbaugh has “lost” some or all of the locker room due to working them too hard, or forcing them to work longer days than expected. While clearly there are players who aren’t exactly thrilled with the amount of work they’ve been forced to do, it does not appear as though the locker room has been “lost.”

That being said, Harbaugh has to walk a delicate line moving forward, as he needs to continue to be tough with the team yet not offend them or cross the line. Hopefully he learned from this experience, and things will be fine moving forward.

Hopefully moving forward we will also see more pictures of Emily Scott from Ralph Magazine posted at Guyism…


9. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Ravens released OLB William VanDeSteeg

And as I said yesterday via Twitter (follow us @WNST), this is a shame because it means the team will no longer have anyone on the roster with lower case letters on the back of their jersey.

Ravens rookie TE Dennis Pitta isn’t going to be released any time soon; he joined “The Morning Reaction” today on AM1570 WNST. Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Other guests on the show included Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith (who previewed the Baltimore County World Soccer Festival), Rich Dubroff from the AP & Carroll County Times (who was at Nats Park last night and recapped “Strasmas”) and Baltimore Blast head coach Danny Kelly, who went around the World Cup.

10. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says QB’s, rookies to start Training Camp practice July 27 in Westminster

Everybody head on over to the Best Western! Let’s get excited!

The first full squad practice is Friday, July 30th. Alert the folks at the Chick-Fil-A right down the street from McDaniel College, as a certain Glenn Clark will be there frequently. Especially now that they’ve added pickles to the Spicy Chicken Sandwich…


(Edit from GMC: I’m not cheating. My preferred Chick-Fil-A remains the Chick-Fil-A in Nottingham Square. In fact, I feel like I’ll be in the White Marsh area today…)

11. Inside Lacrosse’s Danielle Bernstein says Johns Hopkins’ Tucker Durkin, Maryland’s Jesse Bernhardt named to All-Freshman team

As a secondary honor, both the Blue Jays freshman and the Terrapins freshman get to have their name mentioned in the same post as a picture of Kelly Brook in lingerie they had over at Busted Coverage…


And finally, I leave you with this.

While I’m disappointed that they didn’t bring back Robert Randolph, I am excited that Wale will be headlining Artscape. In celebration, here’s a track he did with John Mayer…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…


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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 04 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because…well…because it’s Friday. Sure, I got kicked out of Yankee Stadium yesterday just for being an Orioles fan…which SHOULD be an “ejectable offense” the more I think about how silly it is to root for this team.

Before we get to “Trembley Watch 2010”, how about we start this thing on a positive? Deadspin posted a soccer goal the other day that makes me think even I could participate in the World Cup…

I can play goalie AT LEAST as well as that guy.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s Mike Fitzpatrick says A-Rod homered, Rivera closed out solid Sabathia start as Yanks finished sweep of Birds

Well, the few innings that I got to see of it-it looked just like Orioles baseball to me.

It was hard to even be excited when Luke Scott and Adam Jones homered, as we knew it meant a rally wasn’t coming. Kevin Millwood wasn’t up to the level of effectiveness that we’ve come to expect from him this season, but who can blame him?

Plus, the Yankees ARE really good. Alex Rodriguez wasn’t even TRYING to hit a homerun when he did. They have a lineup that is so good that a guy who would quite possibly be the AL MVP right now (Robinson Cano) is hitting 5th! They have a lineup that is so good Mark Teixeira is barely hitting better than Mark Wahlberg thus far, and the team is mostly unconcerned.

It doesn’t make it unfair that the Orioles have to compete against the Yankees in the AL East. It makes it unfair that the Orioles don’t TRY to compete against the Yankees in the AL East.

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

Three hits again yesterday. Or in other words, fewer hits than Third Eye Blind had…ON THEIR FIRST ALBUM.

(Edit from GMC: Of 3eb’s hits, my personal favorite was “How’s It Gonna Be”…)

And by the way, don’t take a look at the MLB standings at any point (unless for some strange reason you absolutely have to). The only thing you’ll see is that the Birds are currently 15.5 games back…of FOURTH PLACE.

Can’t we just start Training Camp tomorrow?

3. ESPN.com says Trembley to be fired, Juan Samuel to take over as manager

So…get excited!

In the end, there will be no crying over the end of Dave Trembley’s tenure, as no one REALLY thinks Dave Trembley is a good manager. That being said, he was never given a respectable group of players capable of actually winning…anything.

No sadness today for Dave Trembley, who might well be a nice guy (as Roch Kubatko said), but never really showed himself to be capable of managing.

As far as Juan Samuel is concerned…umm…okay? I know this isn’t a permanent move, but it isn’t inspiring long term OR short term. The Orioles will presumably start looking for a manager in the Bob Melvin/Buck Showalter/Tom Kelly/etc. crowd, although there is an argument that they should let Samuel finish the season and then actually conduct a FULL search in the offseason.

For the record, I’d sign off on Bob Melvin being hired. Having covered him in Phoenix when he managed the Arizona Diamondbacks, I’ve seen him take a team to the NLCS whose best players were Chris Young and Eric Byrnes. That being said, no one should have any reason to believe the team will get any THIS season under any manager. They’re not a good team, and some of the players who HAVE performed may well be shipped elsewhere.

Hopefully there will be both a respectable manager in the dugout and a respectable team on the field come Opening Day 2011. In the meantime, this remains hopeless no matter who’s managing.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says if Trembley fired, Andy MacPhail replaces him on hot seat

And I had him on my hot seat even before now.

The blood is on MacPhail’s hands. He’s in charge, and he didn’t give the manager a REAL chance to win-despite the fact that the manager really wasn’t any good.

MacPhail’s “plan” looks almost laughable at this point, with only the young pitchers (and Nick Markakis) looking like actual major league players right now. This is a CRUCIAL offseason for MacPhail, as the team HAS to be better next season for there to be any reason for any of us to believe that MacPhail actually does know what he’s doing in Baltimore.

Yes, I’m talking about the offseason 54 games into this season. What else would I do?

It’s like a broken damn record, but GOD does it ever suck to be an Orioles fan right now.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says night on farm headlined by Tides’ Brandon Erbe falling to 0-9

And before we move on from the Orioles…

-Congratulations to “Apologist of the Morning” Peter DiLutis, who we have decided that we will also “fire” from AOTM consideration today. Peter has toed the line of “Apologist” and “Idiot” for the better part of the season, and today’s thoughts that the Trembley firing would “spark fan interest” went down the “idiotic” role. Drew Forrester “The Great Arbitrator” selected him over Roch Kubatko AND Dave Trembley, and I will apologize to both of them for being mentioned in the same sentence as the kid.

-The Orioles actually DO play again tonight, but only because they have to. They’ll open a weekend set with the Boston Red Sox; with first pitch on MASN from Oriole Park at Camden Yards at 7:05pm. Chris Tillman makes the start for the Birds, Clay Buchholz opposes him for the Sox. I’ll assume a sweep-but I would probably assume a sweep against just about anyone.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens sign kicker Shayne Graham, give him $1.5 million base salary


As I said yesterday via Twitter (follow us @WNST), it is safe to call Graham the favorite in his competition against Billy Cundiff this summer in Training Camp; but he’ll have to show that he’s moved past the issues that lead him to miss two big kicks in the Cincinnati Bengals’ Wild Card loss to the New York Jets. If he struggles, Cundiff will still have a chance to leave Westminster with NFL employment.

Graham has the chance to make up to $2.5 million this season via incentives. Hopefully those incentives include NOT MISSING KICKS.

And with all of this said, there’s still another part of the equation here. Matt Katula HAS to have a better season snapping the ball. If he struggles again, this could look very similar to the Steve Hauschka – Graham Gano competition from a year ago.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says John Harbaugh believes ‘pass coverage’ Sergio Kindle’s “Achilles’ heel”

Which is sorta why my expectations (FOR THIS SEASON) are higher for Terrence Cody than they are for Sergio Kindle. He has to learn a new position (as he was mostly a pass rusher at Texas) that is particularly complicated. I think Sergio Kindle is going to be a very impressive player, I just don’t know that it’s going to be at the Rookie of the Year caliber level that he is hoping to perform at this season.

By the way, if you missed Sergio Kindle (and Terrence Cody and Ed Dickson and Arthur Jones) at our Miller Lite Purple Rookies Show Wednesday night at Casey’s in Towson; you can hear from ALL of them in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here at WNST.net.

8. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says Texas State QB Brad George tried out Thursday at 1 Winning Drive during Ravens Rookie Camp

Brad George’s chances of making the team?

Let’s just say I have a better shot at getting to know Karina Flores (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…


9. Inside Lacrosse’s John Jiloty says Gary Gait not a candidate to replace Dave Cottle as Maryland lacrosse coach

Not that he ever really WAS a candidate this time around. Gait has done a nice job coaching the women at Syracuse, but his coaching experience just really doesn’t fit the bill of what’s necessary for the Terps as they look to replace Dave Cottle.

Also cross Rick Sowell off the list, as the Stony Brook coach received a contract extension to stay put there.

The list is still LONG. Kevin Corrigan, Mike Pressler, Jeff Tambroni and Don Zimmerman are still probably the most likely candidates…probably. At least maybe.

You know…who knows???

10. UMTerps.com says Terrapins senior Caitlyn McFadden claimed Women’s Tewaaraton award

And Duke’s Ned Crotty won the award on the men’s side. Crotty was clearly the best player in the game this year, I just couldn’t have voted for him because I am particularly opposed to the 5th year Blue Devils.

That being said, both are very deserving honors for the best players in college lacrosse.

And we’re very deserving of looking at pictures of Rose Byrne from GQ, as posted by Guyism…


11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland-Morgan State will kickoff at 6pm on ESPN3.com, Maryland-West Virginia will kickoff at 12pm on ESPNU

Effing ESPN3.

I understand why ESPN3 if good for the ACC and company, but the league needs to work out a way that games shown on ESPN3 can also be shown over the air in local markets. For example, if the game is on ESPN3 (the old ESPN360)-there should be an option for Comcast SportsNet to carry the ESPN broadcast.

ESPNU is good for no one…unless of course you have ESPNU. I do not. And I’m the most important person here.

12. WNST.net’s G.Q. picks Fly Down to win tomorrow’s Belmont Stakes

For a differing opinion, Rick from Reisterstown selected the favorite (Ice Box) to win when he called the race this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. I’ll pick Make Music For Me, mostly because he has the best name in the race.

If you missed Rick this morning, you can hear it in the Audio Vault. It will be available later via WNSTv. Other guests from this morning you can hear in the Audio Vault include Baseball America’s Jim Callis, NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra (HardBallTalk) and NESN Sox pre-game host Tom Caron.

I prefer Rick myself.

And finally, I leave you with this.

“Get Him To The Greek” opens today. I have fairly high hopes…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…


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Axes To Grind

Posted on 03 June 2010 by Erich Hawbaker

I spent today out on the farm cutting firewood, which is my little side income for my days off. Typically, I will park my truck nearby, roll down the windows, and listen to talk radio all day as I’m sawing and splitting. Then, in the evening, I’ll flip it to the baseball game and leave it there until it gets too dark to work anymore. Tonight I listened to the entire O’s pregame radio show (I usually don’t, even though I really like Dave Johnson and remember him fondly from when I was a kid), and I heard that the Mets are apparently interested in trading for Ty Wigginton and/or Kevin Millwood. I hadn’t thought of it until today, but I guess it is time to start considering what moves the Orioles might make in terms of trades. I know I don’t have to tell anybody this, but our season is over; dead and buried. Despite all the hype about having turned the corner (which I even bought into, regrettably), the Orioles’ stay in the basement of the AL East has been extended to a 13th year.

So, how should they approach this? Wigginton is the easier of the two to analyze. He’s the only pleasant surprise the Orioles have had this year. On the outset, he wasn’t even meant to be a starter, but between Roberts’s injury and Atkins’s ineptitude, he found his way into the lineup every day and wound up being our best hitter. I snagged him for my fantasy team, for that and for the fact that he can be played at 1B, 2B, or 3B. But in the real world, he’s certainly not irreplaceable. His contract is up this year, so he may or may not be here after 2010 anyway. Hot-hitting position players are always being sought after by contending teams, and multi-position players are that much more valuable. He may or may not keep hitting like he is now (in fact, I’d bet that he won’t), but if we trade him, that’s not our problem anymore. The front office needs to shop him; and if they let him go, make sure that buyer is paying full price. There have to be at least two teams out there who’d be interested.

Millwood is a tougher one to decipher. He too is in the final year of the contract he brought with him from Texas, which includes a no-trade clause. I remember at the end of last year, he was one of the durable starters I was hoping the front office had their eye on. With him, we knew exactly what we were getting, and he seemed to be one of those Kevin Millar types who was amenable to being the ‘papa bear’ of the clubhouse and guiding the younger pitchers. He’d certainly be worth hanging on to if we were really on the upswing. But we aren’t, and the poor guy has clearly been pushed to his limit. He’s made 11 starts so far this year. He’s pitched 74.0 innings, struck out 58, walked only 17, and has an ERA of 3.89 (below his career ERA of 4.02). And what does he have to show for it? A record of 0-5. Perhaps he’s been hanging out with Jeremy Guthrie too much, because he too now has the plague that causes his teammates to forget how to hit whenever he’s on the mound.

When I got in this evening, I flipped on the TV and saw that Brad Bergesen only needed the ten minutes it takes me to get back to the house to give up four runs in the second inning. As the game went on and it became clear that we were headed for yet another loss, Gary Thorne and Brady Anderson (Angelos’s new professional buttkisser) started talking about Millwood. Apparently, he’s interested in being dealt to the Mets. And then, one of them said it. “I guess he wants to hit again.” I almost fell out of my chair. Is that what I’m paying extra on my cable bill for?! MASN propaganda?! Does your boss really think that the handful of Orioles fans he hasn’t managed to alienate are that stupid?!

As Judge Judy says, “Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining.” Millwood doesn’t want to hit again, he wants to WIN again. The man has talent and he’s a hard worker. Thusfar, this team has given him zero rewards for his work. He wants to go elsewhere so his talent can go toward something productive. And he probably wouldn’t be so anxious to get out of Dodge if the front office had been serious about rebuilding instead of half-assing it. Instead of expecting Millwood to carry the rest of the inexperienced rotation by himself, they should have brought in at least one other veteran starter to share the load. Instead of gambling on Garrett Atkins to rebound, they should have ponied up for a real firstbaseman.

But that’s the bottom line. The reason Millwood wants to leave is the same reason Mark Teixeira didn’t want to come here in the first place. The Orioles aren’t interested in winning. They haven’t been for quite some time now. But they’ll go so far as to hire Brady Anderson to convince you that they are instead of actually doing it. So… good luck to you, Kevin Millwood. I hope that you get traded to a contender and get the chance to shine. Maybe we’ll put Mike Gonzalez in the rotation to replace you. I seem to remember somebody telling me that we’re not paying him $6 million a year to be a middle reliever…

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Orioles 2010  -  It's Not Just About Wins & Losses

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Orioles 2010 – It’s Not Just About Wins & Losses

Posted on 06 April 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, as I’m posting this latest blog, we’re just hours away from another Orioles season. And, after such a tumultuous decade-PLUS of baseball drama, it’s hard to criticize the resounding feelings of any Baltimore baseball fan.

Heck, I’ve found an array of opinions between media members – and we supposedly know the games and workings of the Orioles, more closely than the common fan. I’m not so sure about that …..

In fact, in many cases it’s just not true.

Combine media and fans together, and we’re still likely to find a diverse dose of the ills that “plague the Orioles.” That said, I think such opinions are divided into three distinct classes …..

Kool-Aid Drinkers – this is the group that avoids accountability, while making excuses for the franchise. Some of this group’s members work for the team, directly or indirectly. And, some in this group just choose to believe the Orioles can attribute their long, bad stretch …. to LONG, BAD LUCK.

Pigs Don’t Fly – this is the group that chooses to see both sides of the issue, while admitting they don’t have the vital insight to diagnose the Orioles core plight. Although, this group is educated, the members don’t mind admitting their lack of front office experience in dealing with the BUSINESS OF BASEBALL. But, they’re not naive, either …..

Conspiracy Theorists – this group is not much different than the Kool-Aid Drinkers …. they’re simply at the other end of the spectrum. They’re convinced the Orioles problems and solutions are easily discernable. Members of this group can fix the problem – just ask ’em. They’re 100% convinced the Orioles don’t really care about winning. They can also build a space shuttle, out-invest Warren Buffett and solve any riddle.

(Sorry, I don’t have a photo of Wayne In Timonium)

Where am I among these groups? I think I’m closest to the “Pigs Don’t Fly” group …..

Yep, that’s my ugly mugg.

I’ve lived through the lean, rather meaningless seasons of dysfunctional baseball. To an extent, I consider myself a VICTIM …. along with thousands of similar Baltimoreans. At times, I’ve felt betrayed – beyond the customary untruths teams tell the common follower. And, I’ve certainly disagreed with many organizational decisions.

I’ve always suspected Peter Angelos shipwrecked the Orioles organization by chasing Davey Johnson and Pat Gillick away. In fact, I think his undermining of Gillick, during the 1996 non-waivers trade deadline was really the defining dagger in the heart of the team’s long-term future.

And, we didn’t even realize it. Heck, most of us embraced it ….. without considering the true ramifications.

As July neared an end, the Orioles hovered around .500 and Pat Gillick wanted to start reloading for the FUTURE. This meant parting with a couple veterans …..


Mr. Angelos nixed the deal and it looked like the right decision – in the short term …..

The Orioles got hot and made the playoffs. And, they continued winning, in 1997. Heck, the Orioles went to the American League Championship Series.

But, the resulting damage was obvious. Davey Johnson left. A year later, Pat Gillick left. And, twelve seasons later, a short stretch of losing has resulted in a dynasty of disappointment.

When Mr. Angelos commanded that short-term fix, in 1996, he obviously developed a miscalculated sense of shrewd baseball intellect. Pat Gillick wasn’t worthy. Frank Wren wasn’t worthy. And, Syd Thrift ….. well, he was willing to accept MEDDLING.

Better yet, lets be honest ….. Syd was a FRONT and that’s it. That’s what I sensed.

He didn’t know the inner workings of the organization, and he LIED to cover his tracks. I still recall Syd’s appearance on a WBAL radio show, during the 2001/02 off-season. A caller asked about the status of prime Orioles prospect, “Gary Dell’abate” …..

I almost wrecked my car, as Syd lauded praise on the youngster. I don’t recall the exact words, but he emphasized that he knew of Dell’abate and the club was very interested in the prospect’s future.

If you’re still wondering about the punchline, Gary Dell’abate is the producer and faithful sidekick of Howard Stern. Disciples of Stern are known for pulling pranks just like this one – and Syd Thrift took the hook.

He wasn’t around much longer.

But, Syd Thrift is remembered as a guy who was really obliged to acting at the whim of his boss ….. CONFEDERATE MONEY, or not.

And, to a lesser extent, it looks like Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie were bound to accept the same conditions. The Orioles storied reputation – which developed over decades, was destroyed in a mere matter of a few years time.

I don’t feel Mr. Angelos has really been personally accountable to the damage caused by his actions and decisions. It doesn’t matter if he OWNS the team. He has minority partners – and THOUSANDS of stakeholders.

I think Mr. Angelos, while probably acting in the best interest of the Orioles franchise, made alot of bad moves that virtually crippled the organization.

But, I do think the hiring of Andy MacPhail was a huge step in the right direction. While Mr. Angelos hasn’t really expressed any true contrition towards the Orioles faithful, he has indicated that MacPhail has full autonomy over the Baseball Operations of the franchise.

Have we heard that before? Maybe, in a roundabout form. Yet, unlike the small group of men who preceded him, Andy MacPhail hasn’t echoed a single syllable of frustration over his 33 months on the job.

And, he’s made tangible changes ….. for the BETTER.

Regardless of how I feel about Mr. Angelos’ actions resulting in the diminishment of the “Oriole Way,’ I care far more deeply about Baltimore Baseball. The team is bigger than the owner – period.

The Baltimore Orioles can be reconstructed. They are being reconstructed. But, it’s not a quick fix. It’s not a kinda-quick fix. It’s a plan and a prolonged one …..

I will choose to judge the Orioles development from the day Andy MacPhail seized daily control …..

Digging up bones is unproductive, pure and simple. That’s just how I see it.

When MacPhail took over, what or WHO did he have?

Better yet, in his nearly three years on the job, who has arrived?

Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Luke Scott, Matt Albers, Josh Bell, Brian Matusz, Justin Turner, Felix Pie and Kevin Millwood …..

These players arrived via trade or draft. Of this group, six of them are arguably integral pieces of the long-term future of the organization. They’re talented and YOUNG.

Yet, aside from Jones, none of the half-dozen talents are on the doorstep of their prime years. That’s right, Matusz, included. They still have alot of “rookie mistakes” to make.

I’m buying BIG TIME on Brian Matusz. But, if you really don’t think that kid is gonna get distracted by a couple baserunners and throw the wrong 2-2 pitch to Alex Rodriguez, in a close game this year, you’re fooling yourself.

Patience and refusing to compromise a dedicated plan to development is key for me.

I wanna believe this is how an organization builds from the foundation. And, I don’t see how the franchise can fast-track the revitalization effort. Young hitters are still developing at the major league level. And, young pitchers typically develop, even longer, at the major league level.

I doubt Andy MacPhail believes Matt Wieters is ready to exhibit a champion’s pedigree at the highest level ….. yet. And, I’ll imagine he feels the same way about the younger guys, listed above.

I get it – fans are fed up with losing. That’s a natural reaction, especially in this situation. What do you want Andy MacPhail to do? Spend exuberant funds on free agents? Will it make a difference at this point?

Tell me how …..

For every veteran who is signed, a kid usually ends up getting blocked and ultimately buried, in the minors. It can happen with a team’s own players.

Justin Turner has performed at every stop in his minor league career. But, there is no spot for him on this Orioles team. Brian Roberts plays 2nd base. Yeah, that Brian Roberts.

I understand Orioles fans wanting a star or two to support. But, the expense is in denying an opportunity to the “Justin Turners” of the baseball world. And, why? We all know ….. to suffice the fan base.

I won’t be a hypocrite, by contradicting my “Pigs Don’t Fly” description. But, I’d be willing to bet Andy MacPhail would’ve preferred to trade Brian Roberts, prior to last season. I’d wager every last dollar on it.

But, he caved.

No, I don’t think MacPhail looks at Roberts as a player who will be part of the planned return of the GLORY DAYS. He’s just a short-term investment to keep fans happy and the promotions department busy.

That’s how I see it. But, I could certainly be wrong.

I’ve always said the “Andy MacPhail Orioles” appear to be built for contending in 2011 and beyond …..

I’m not just taking a stab in the dark. The 2011 season will mark a point where 2 or 3 of the prized pitching prospects will have a season of big league turmoil under their belts. And, the batting lineup will most likely include 5 young hitters (28 yrs. and under) who’ve spent a full season together, as well.

If that’s the case, the Orioles will need plenty of cash in a few years. No need for paying off contracts of overpriced, aging veterans, right?

A common topic for discussion is always the amount of money dedicated to the Orioles player payroll. Everybody has an opinion and most fans would like to see more money devoted to this area.

I would usually agree. But, not in this specific era.

Most fans are deeply in the dark when it comes to the inner-workings of professional sports franchises. Heck, I’ll raise my hand – I don’t know how the Orioles or Ravens actually run their organizations. I don’t think any “outsiders” really do.

If you’ve been to a BOARD OF DIRECTORS meeting for the Orioles or Ravens, stand up. If not …..

But, I’ve been part of a collaboration that spends money by the MULTI-MILLIONS ….. and they plan well ahead time – years ahead of time.

The Orioles have forecasted budgets that include proposed long term deals to Wieters, Matusz, Reimold and Jones. I’ll guarantee it.

In fact, budgets for 2011, 2012 and beyond already exist. Here’s the figures in COMMITTED payroll …..

2011 – $28 Million – Roberts, Markakis, Gonzales, Matusz (+ 3 buyouts)

2012 – $23.5 Million – Roberts, Markakis

That’s a GOOD problem to have, right? Right now, there is not a penny devoted to DEAD MONEY, going forward. Ask ’em ….. Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, George Soros; I wonder what they would think of spending money on fruitless or unproductive investments?

And, don’t say Mark Teixeira. He wasn’t coming here. And, I don’t blame him – he’s 30 years old and wants to win for the remainder of his career, while making alot of money.

Makes sense, huh?

The 2011 & 2012 budgets will include players who are arbitration eligible. I’d like to see the Orioles give Adam Jones a Pedroia-like, 6 year/$40 million deal. And, if Andy MacPhail has ANY shot of tying up Matt Wieters, beyond 2015, it will most certainly come no later than 2012.

If Brian Matusz lives up to the hype, he too, is gonna require one of those generous deals that buys the team long term security, while affording the player early wealth. Toss in a similar pact with Reimold or Pie ….. or both, and the committed budgets really start to increase.

The Orioles gotta plan on paying Wieters, Jones and Matusz – before they reach free agency. They’d better plan on it.

Yeah, I know Wieters is represented by Scott Boras. And, he might not negotiate before testing the market, following 2015. If so, there’s a decent chance he rivals “Mauer Money.”

That’s baseball OUTSIDE of New York, these days …..

Tying up this handful of players, and extending Nick Markakis, could land the Orioles in the neighborhood of $50 – $60 million, by 2013. And, that’s just a half dozen players. Throw in an Adrian Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki-caliber duo, and the payroll is now surpassing $90 million, annually.

And, this is prior to inking every other contributing player in the lineup, as well as a respectable veteran arm. No, I’m not referring to the Kevin Millwood’s of the baseball world, either.

I can envision the Orioles topping $100 million, in payroll, very soon. But, it will occur at the optimal time.

2010 is not the time.

It’s baseball season.

After 3 blizzards and a hellish winter, the Orioles are back on the field.

Regardless of what others say, I still don’t believe the Orioles are in a spot where WINNING or LOSING ballgames is the primary consideration of where the organization stands.

I want the stupid baserunning blunders to stop. I want the goofy Sunday lineups to stop. And, I want the mid-summer meltdowns to stop.

I want the Orioles to continue promoting youth. I want the core group to continue learning and growing, at the big league level. I want good basic baseball skills and fundamentals on display.

But, most of all, I want Andy MacPhail to continue doing his job.

This is just one guy’s view.


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O’s lose out on LaRoche; 1st base try-outs open to the public

Posted on 14 January 2010 by Drew Forrester

Adam LaRoche joined an elite club on Thursday when he signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

He etched his name on a long list of available players who have kicked sand in the Orioles’ face over the last 12 months or so…and this one stings more than most others because the Birds really could have used LaRoche.

Oddly, LaRoche’s signing – reportedly for $5 million although I find that number hard to believe – would normally fit in perfectly with the O’s wish-list:  Cheap and short-term.

I wonder why they didn’t sign LaRoche?

Oh, I know:  They didn’t make a decent enough offer, that’s why.

Meanwhile, opening day is less than 11 weeks away and the team still doesn’t have a reputable, proven first baseman on its roster.  LaRoche would have been that guy.

Who’s left?

They can sign brittle, aging Carlos Delgado.  He’ll probably give them at least 40 games at first base until he needs a knee replacement or his arthritis medication turns up on baseball’s banned substance list.

Russell Branyan is available as well.  The only problem there?  You have to add 20 feet to the dugout at Camden Yards so all those strikeouts Russell brings to town can sit next to him on the bench.

Branyan is likely to be the guy the O’s sign.  He’s 34 and he doesn’t have a team.  That makes him ultra-attractive to the O’s, who can probably offer a combination of a monthly stipend and free dry cleaning to woo the K-Machine to Charm City.

Branyan might be the first guy the O’s ever pay by the hour.

Hey, don’t laugh.  I’m sure they’ve thought of it.

Wait, maybe they should just bite the bullet and pay a bunch of money to Mark Teixeira.  He’s a high quality player…equally adept in the field and at the plate.  He’ll want a lot of money, but you have to pay the best players the most money if you want to win.

Never mind…I forgot, the Yankees scarfed him up LAST winter.

So the off-season rolls on and the O’s are apparently going to leave runners stranded on the corners once again.

Andy MacPhail’s late September promise of “we’re going to buy some bats” is looking more and more like either an outright fib or a “shucks, we just missed the guy we wanted” tall tale.

Either way, the O’s are without a first baseman.  Or, at least, one that can actually handle the position professionally for 162 games.

They do have Garrett Atkins in the fold and despite the fact he’s not REALLY a true first baseman, they can always shove the big mitt in his locker in five weeks and tell him to “make us proud” on opening day.

If that happens, who plays third base? Never mind, we can’t worry about that right now.

FanFest is just around the corner.

Bring your first baseman’s mitt.

The position is still open.

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The 1st Day Of Christmas .....

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The 1st Day Of Christmas …..

Posted on 15 December 2009 by Rex Snider

Yesterday, I laid out my plans for the next 12 days …..

It’s Christmas, and I’ve got some “WISHES” to hand out. Deserving souls? I’d like to think so ….

There are some good deeds and decent people that need recognition. And, yeah, there are notable folks on the other end, too. We’ll all get our DUE, thru next Friday.

As promised, I plan on including EVERYBODY.

Today, it’s those who need a little bit of LUCK for Christmas – and as we greet 2010 …..

GOOD LUCK – Arthur B. Modell


The former Ravens/Browns majority owner is back on the list of finalists for Hall of Fame induction. This has been Art Modell’s plight for the 6th time in the past 7 years. Obviously, the NFL pioneer needs a little bit of luck – and he needs it very soon.

The current list of finalists will be paired down to 15, on January 7th. And, the 2010 inductees will be announced prior to the Super Bowl, on February 6th, in Miami. Thus, it’s about to get very tough for Art.

As we know, Tony Grossi, is getting ready to mount his high horse, in Cleveland. He’s been successful in soliciting opposition to Modell’s enshrinement in football’s class of immortality. Here’s to hoping Art Modell finally avoids the ill-will and personal disparities of the past.

He’s Hall of Fame worthy and I hope he’s lucky enough to realize it – SOON. I wish Art the very best of luck, this holiday season – and early, in 2010.

BAD LUCK – Tony Grossi

Whenever he gets a chance, Tony Grossi puts the BAD MOUTH to Art Modell. He can say it’s not a “personal mission.” Bullsh*# …..

Tony Grossi is a ONE MAN GANG and his bullying is themed at depriving Art Modell of a serious whiff at election into the Hall of Fame. At some point, Tony, you’ve gotta let it go. Trust me, you’ll feel better.

Everybody knows your stance. We’ve heard it more times than Mycheal Miller’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. What gives, Tony? Has something changed? Can the committee just listen to your recorded remarks from a couple years ago?

Or, has Art Modell done some additional heinous acts to Cleveland and YOU, since his last stint as a finalist?

I understand Tony Grossi’s frustration.

I think P. Thomas Shanahan singlehandedly squashed the immediate future of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. The agency is worse off, because of his 8-year stewardship, as Chief. It’s my opinion and I’ve been vocal about it. But. I’ve also let it go.

Heck, I hope he Facebook’s me.

And, I hope Tony Grossi gives it a rest, when Art Modell’s name gets bantered around be committee members. If he doesn’t, then I’ll simply wish lots of bad luck on him …..

GOOD LUCK – The Soprano’s Cast

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than two years since we last saw Tony Soprano fading from our TV screens to the sound of Journey’s, Don’t Stop Believin’ …..

I’ll be honest, I’m a junkie for anything connected to The Sopranos. Thus, I was really disappointed to see the show end. Personally, I felt more storylines existed – and this was really just about James Gandolfini’s reluctance to take the show any further.

And, Tony always gets his way, right?

Meanwhile, the careers of most of the mob-cast have gone nowhere – and, I mean NOWHERE.

Where is AJ, these days? Hmmm ….. how about Meadow, Janice and Carmine? A fair number of the show’s actors have been pretty scarce since the finale’. Ahh well, I guess that’s the way this biz goes …..

Michael Imperioli (Christopher) and Vince Curatola have realized some mild success with roles on ABC’s Life On Mars – which was canceled earlier this year. Drea De Matteo is enjoying some sitcom credibility, with a part on Desperate Housewives. And, Edie Falco is portraying a micro-managing, pill addicted health care provider, in Nurse Jackie, on Showtime.

Yeah, I’m being selfish. I wanna see the cast back together, in a MOVIE or a renewal of the series. Yeah, I know it’s not happening. But, I can always hope. Meanwhile, I wish good luck for all these actors.

BAD LUCK – James Gandolfini

Yeah, I’m being selfish. But, I figure the only way I’ll ever see a reunion of The Sopranos will be if Jim Gandolfini needs it. If he doesn’t, we won’t …..

As with many TV actors, I think Ole’ Tony got way too big for his britches. He’s in Hollywood, now. And, as a result, we’re absolutely STUCK on Sunday nights.

Thus, I’m wishing bad luck on Gandolfini’s career. I’m being extremely selfish – and, I’m hoping he doesn’t see this blog. I don’t want my bullet-riddled body unearthed at the Glen Burnie landfill …..

GOOD LUCK – The Baltimore Ravens

They need LUCK. And, they need better clock management …..

Heck, they need fewer informal coaches on the sideline, and more STARTERS back on the field.

The Ravens have put themsleves in this spot – 3 games to go and they still must hope for help from the Dolphins and Broncos. We’re a far removed distance from that #1 ranking on the ESPN polls, huh?

Bears – WIN

Steelers – WIN

Raiders – WIN

And, lets just cross our fingers. Then again, if we lose just one more game, we can start talking about baseball – and how nice it would’ve been to see this guy in an Orioles uniform …..


BAD LUCK – See Below ……

Get the picture ???

GOOD LUCK – A Few Underdogs

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – The luster is starting to wear off. It’s abasolutely “PUT UP” time. Junior’s doubters are increasing and it’s starting to look like he might not be among NASCAR’s elite talents. I wish him luck and hope he has a GREAT 2010.

Erin Andrews – She’s had a very tough year. Nobody should have their privacy invaded – especially to the extremes Erin Andrews was subjected. Lets hope she has a good 2010 – God knows I’d like to see more of her on ESPN.

Brian Billick – I wouldn’t say he’s an “underdog,” but this is the most fitting place to express my wishes for The Coach. Before he ever became affiliated with WNST, I was one of Brian Billick’s staunchest supporters. I’m a fan …..

Since his departure from the Ravens, I think many Baltimoreans have enjoyed access to the “Real Brian.” He’s approachable, modest and generous with his time and shared thoughts. I really hope we see him on the sidelines, again, soon.

Here’s to wishing Brian Billick good luck, in 2010. But, if he gets another coaching gig, I’m gonna really miss those Coors Light commercials …..

Samari Rolle – Aside from football, I hope Samari is doing well. I wish him the very best and hope he has a great 2010. I wish him luck in whatever he does …..

Steve Johnson – This kid has seen baseball’s impersonal, business side way too many times in the past couple years. Honestly, I think he really needs some stability and a single zip code, for an entire season.

I hope he proves the Dodgers wrong. I hope he makes the Orioles think twice about not protecting him. I hope he makes it BIG TIME, in the “City By The Bay.” Good luck, Steve.

BAD LUCK – These Guys Need It

Jimmie Johnson – No offense, but I’ve had my fill of Jimmie Johnson. He now has 4 consecutive NASCAR Championships and he’s tied with Jeff Gordon for career titles. NASCAR’s “Chase For The Cup” program stinks. Jimmie Johnson is a good racecar driver – but, he can’t carry Jeff Gordon’s jock ….

Kanye West – If I had to burn every bit of BAD LUCK on one person, it would be Kanye West. He deserves it. He’s beyond being a bumbling buffoon. He’s an idiot and a radical, hateful dude. I can picture him with Vanilla Ice and Jose Canseco, on a reality series in a few years. I’m wishing him luck to start that downfall – NOW.

New Yankee Stadium – The Steinbrenners should be ashamed of their “Bronx Bandbox.” There’s nothing like homefield advantage, huh? Now we know why they insisted on breaking bank with Mark Teixeira’s LEFT HANDED STICK.

Here’s a surprise, the newly acquired Curtis Granderson throws righthanded, but he bats LEFTHANDED. Wow, say it ain’t so !!!! I’m wishing bad luck on Yankee Stadium – I’m hoping the ghost of ANYBODY jinxes the joint …..

Daniel Snyder – I don’t think the guy really GETS IT. He’s bad for the game and his core values really undermine what’s decent and good. But, this generally happens to the “silver spoon” generation.

I think rich dudes who really worked for their fortune possess a humility rarely found in the tycoons who inherit or luck into their wads. Heck, it’s the determining difference between these people …..


Dan Snyder is a trainwreck owner. His teams will never succeed, because they’re led by a man who doesn’t really lead. Mark my words, Jim Zorn will be a successful head coach, in the NFL. But, it won’t come in Washington.

I don’t need to wish Dan Snyder bad luck – he screws things up on his own accord. But, what the heck, he’s getting a bad luck wish, anyway.

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (11/19/09)

Posted on 19 November 2009 by Jack McManus


Sean Salisbury is next up. He first talks about the Cowboys-Packers game. He believes the game showed more about the Cowboys. He states that we are seeing history repeating. The Cowboys often end up collapsing at some point in the season. Sean does not think the Ravens will be able to defeat the Colts this weekend. He also thinks that Peyton Manning has now made a case to be the best quarterback in NFL history.


We are joined now by the great Bobby Bowden. He states that he has not thought about the possibility that this weekend could be his last game at home coaching Florida State. He next talks about the competitiveness of the ACC. Top to bottom, the teams will be in close games with each other. He explains that his offense has continued to develop during the season. Many of the players will return as starters next season. The defense on the other hand has lost many players to graduation and has had to rebuild during the season.



Ben Reiter of SI.com is on with Drew to talk some baseball. He recently ranked the top 50 free agents in baseball. You can check that out here. He starts off by talking about his #1 ranked player, John Lackey. He compares Lackey to Mark Teixeira because both were linked to hometown teams. Lackey has been rumored to be interested in the Rangers. However, Reiter points out that in these situations players will often take money over location. On the topic of the Yankees, Reiter believes that team will resign Johnny Damon and make a move for Carl Crawford next year. He next talks about the Orioles’ offseason. Adrian Beltre has been called a good fit for the team. Beltre is still an elite defensive 3rd baseman. He could also improve in a smaller ballpark. Regardless, Reiter explains that with a strong free agent market, the Orioles will find someone to fill that role.



Head coach of the Loyola basketball team, Jimmy Patsos is the next guest. The Greyhounds defeated UMBClast night at the RAC Arena. He talks about how two local playerswent head-to-head in the final minutes of the game. Jamal Barney scored 21 points for Loyola, while Chauncey Gilliam put up a career-high 22 for the Retrievers. He also discusses how local programs have been able to keep basketball talent in the area. This has allowed for the growth of many Baltimore-area teams. Continuing with this idea, Patsosputs forth the idea that each local team play each other and compete for some sort of Baltimore championship. He explains that the biggest need for an event like this to take place is a new arena. Finally, Drew tells Patsos that he now thinks the Greyhounds will finish better than his intial prediction of 9-9 in the MAAC.



A couple of callers bring up the even line for the Ravens-Colts game. They do not see how many people will bet on the Ravens. One caller states that the Ravens only two chances are “slim and none.”


Brian Billick joins Drew to talk some football. Brian will be in Green Bay for the Packers game against the 49ers this weekend. Brian weighs in on the Bill Belichick decision. He states that controversial decision such as this not only rely on the coach’s philosophy but also the current makeup of the team. He also agrees with Drew that Belichick believed that if the Colts scored, they would do so much more quickly. Moving on, Brian calls the Larry Johnson signing an interesting move by the Bengals. He explains that Johnson is on thin ice in Cincinnati. One wrong move would result in a trip back to free agency for LJ. Brian next talks about the impact of Terrell Owens on a football team. Some are calling the firing of Dick Jauron a side-effect of having TO on the squad.



A very complimentary caller tells everyone at the station how good a job everyone is doing. He is proud to be a listener.


A call discusses the issues with Baltimore/Indianapolis and the Hall of Fame. HE problem is that at the Hall players are listed to have played for the Indianapolis Colts. To solve this the NFL could simply list the team nickname and not the city.



We welcome in Ed Hottle, the coach of the new football team at Stevenson University. He compares coaching a new football team to having a child. He will always be associated with the start of the program. Hottle is a Frostburg State grad, and he states he would be very interested in soon playing against his alma mater. He calls the decision to take the job a “no brainer.” He also talks about his previous experience at Gallaudet University. Gallaudet is known as one of the best institutes of higher learning for the deaf in the world.

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (11/4/09)

Posted on 04 November 2009 by Jack McManus


Jackie MacMullan is next up. She is a well-known sports writer who is a regular on the ESPN program Around the Horn. She recently wrote the book When the Game Was Ours. The book chronicles the careers of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The two of them wanted the book to be written to set the record straight about their relationship. She talks about the players’ relationship with Michael Jordan. Bird and Jordan eventually became close. Magic never formed a solid relationship with Jordan because of a bad All-Star Game experience. She believes that Michael Jordan is the best player to ever play the game. She also talks about Shaq’s legacy. She hopes that he is successful in Cleveland so that he can put some of his recent bad experiences behind him.



Corey Masisak of the Washington Times is on to chat with Drew about the Capitals. He talks about how the Capitals have committed too many penalties this season. He also comments on the Caps’ need for a quality veteran defenseman. On the topic of Alexander Ovechkin’s injury, Masisak states that since the team classified his injury as week-to-week, he may miss a significant amount of time.



Olympic speed skater Allison Baver is the next guest. She will be the Comcast Morning Show’sadopted Olympian. She has already visited the city of Vancouver and calls it a great city. She moves on to a touchy subject for her. She broke her leg at the Samsung ISU World Cup in a nasty crash. (See video below). Baver mentions that she used to skate in Baltimore. Her coach drove her to Baltimore when she was learning to skate because of the lack of rinks near her home. She next talks about her daily routine. Every part of her day is focused on skating. Her day normally begins at 7 in the morning and leaves the rink at 7 at night. If you want more information on Allison visit her website.


Ken Davidoff is on with Drew to discuss the World Series.  He starts off by saying that New York fans are becoming anxious after the team’s loss in Game 5. He next talks about how Joe Girardi has handled himself during the Series. Girardi has been the subject of much criticism following the losses. Davidoff next comments on Mark Teixeira’s struggles. He calls Teixeira “lost” at the plate. He also talks about the Yankees’ decision to go with a three man rotation. He believes that the decision will pay off and the Yankees will win the Series. Davidoff names Johnny Damon as the one of the front runners for the World Series MVP Award. If the Phillies win, then Chase Utley will almost surely win the award.


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The Wednesday Word – Tex not the apple of NY’s eye

Posted on 04 November 2009 by Drew Forrester

Those sports page headlines are either frame-worthy and proudly displayed in your trophy room — or — they make you shiver with tension and fright.

The one that Mark Teixeira saw in the New York Daily News on Tuesday morning won’t be going up in his house anytime soon.

The photo:  Teixeira flailing at a shoetop change-up from Ryan Madson for strike 3 – and the final out – in Monday’s Game #5.  The caption summed up a city’s opinion of his post-season play to date:

“$181 million for this?”

Yep, it ALWAYS comes back to the money.

Especially in New York, where everyone makes more, spends more and brags about it more.  

In Tex’s case, he earned his salary in the regular season with some mammoth offensive numbers. But they don’t give out big trophies and rings in the regular season.  This — the playoff season — is where you earn your own money in New York.

C.C. Sabathia deserves a raise, in fact.  He’s earned every bit of his $21 million this month…and then some.

But Teixeira’s post-season work at the plate has been nothing short of futile.  He did have a game-winning HR in the Minnesota series and had a big round-tripper in Game 2 of the World Series, but to say his bat has been quiet this Fall would be an understatement.  In medical terms, Teixeira’s bat had its jaw wired shut about three weeks ago.  It continues to starve.

His only saving grace, and it certainly doesn’t make up for his woeful production with the lumber, has been an out-of-this-world fielding display at first base in the 14 games of the 2009 post-season to date.  He has literally saved a post-season game or two with his handi-work at first base. That has to account for something, I suppose.

But Game 6 tonight could be his final chance to make an impact at the plate.  If the Yankees go on to win the World Series, some of the sting will be diminished simply because the New Yorkers will be world champions and everyone’s shortcomings won’t be nearly as memorable.  Robinson Cano, for example, has been horrible at the plate throughout the World Series but no one will remember that – or care – if the Yankees win one of the next two games.  Then again, Cano doesn’t make $23 million a year like Teixeira.

While others in the lineup are seemingly enjoying the spotlight in this post-season, Tex appears overwhelmed by it all.  He continues to swing at anything even remotely close to the plate and, particularly from the left side, he looks out of sync and more interested in hitting a 5-run homer than just making good contact.  He’s trying to make up for a month’s worth of bad swings in one trip to the plate.  

Mind you, it’s probably easy to get overwhelmed with the New York throng watching your every move.  Fans and media equate every at-bat to cash — “how much money was that strike-out worth?” — and when you make $20 million or more, the odds are pretty decent that you’re never going to give everyone their perceived money’s worth unless you go 13-for-25 with 5 HR’s and 11 RBI in 6 games. 

That’s the chance you take when you sign on the dotted line. 

Make that:  That’s the chance you take when you sign in NEW YORK.

If Teixeira would have signed in Baltimore for $23 million, his ’09 would have included 33 HR’s, 121 RBI’s, 73 wins and a regular 9:40 am tee-time with his dad at Chartwell Country Club starting on Monday, October 5.  Everywhere he went, folks would say, “Helluva season Mark, if they just get some other players like you, they’ll be fine.”

In New York, he IS “the other player”. 

He’s the guy they signed in the off-season to take some of the heat off of A-Rod, and Jeter, and Cano, and Posada.  He’s the hand-picked bonus baby, the guy they plucked away from the Red Sox and Angels during last winter’s version of “The Price Is Right”.  

For $181 million, “the other player” better be able to deliver with the game on the line in October.

Instead, at least in the post-season, he’s looking more suited for a last-place team like the Orioles, where he can put up brag-worthy regular season numbers and then head to Cancun for some R&R instead of playing post-season baseball. 

In Baltimore, where almost every player has a morning coffee and bagel in complete obscurity, Tex wouldn’t have this problem of gagging in the post-season because, well… – “they don’t play baseball in Baltimore in October”, according to the Director-of-Facts, Ian Eagle of CBS Sports.

Last December, the pride of Severna Park inked his mega-deal with the Yankees because he wanted a handful of opportunitites to win the World Series over the next decade.  He wanted to be the toast of the town.  He wanted to be the team’s new “Mr. October”.

Be careful what you ask for, kids, cuz’ you just might get it.

It’s not going to get any easier for Teixeira, no matter the outcome of Game 6 and/or (possibly) Game 7.  Unless he hits the game-winning grand slam in one of the next two affairs at Yankee Stadium, his ’09 playoff campaign will go down as dreadful…the subject of much off-season discussion on talk radio and the world wide web.  And no matter what he does in the 2010 regular season, all they’re gonna say in The Bronx is “Yeah, but remember what happened last year?  He was great in the regular season and then he s**t the bed in the playoffs.”

It can take a while to get that playoff monkey off your back.  Just ask A-Rod. 

Yankees broadcaster Ken Singleton was with me on The Comcast Morning Show last week and he said Teixeira is “the nicest kid in the world.”

That might be true.  I trust Ken’s opinion.  Good, solid people – like Singleton – are generally adept at judging the character of others.  

But in New York, right now, Mark Teixeira’s not being judged on whether or not he’s a good kid. 

He’s being judged on making $23 million and not delivering a product worthy of that kind of money.

And he only has 7 years left to prove himself.   

And he has 7 years to prove the Yankees were right – or wrong – for taking him into their home.

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