Tag Archive | "Melvin Mora"

#WNSTSweet16 – The 16 local athletes who never won a title, but deserved to win one

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#WNSTSweet16 – The 16 local athletes who never won a title, but deserved to win one

Posted on 28 January 2014 by Drew Forrester

Finally, it’s my turn.

Well, sort of.

I’ve been assigned the duty of compiling our latest edition of WNST’s Sweet 16 list.  This one — “the top 16 local athletes who never won a championship but deserved to…” — was so uniquely different that I created my own formula for compiling the relative level of “deserving” and went with it throughout the process.

I awarded points to each candidate based on their longevity/career length, their quality of play and their contribution to the community in terms of charitable/foundation work and their dedication to improving the quality of life for people in their city.

Admittedly, if the formula produced a tie or a close margin, I gave the benefit to the player who contributed the most to the Baltimore community via their civic/charity work.

So…let’s get to it, shall we?

rosie

 

#16 is jockey Rosie Napravnik, who cut her teeth in Maryland as one of the state’s most successful jockeys in the mid 2000′s, leading the local horse racing circuit in victories in 2008 with 101.  A winner of 1,689 career races heading into 2014, the only missing ingredient on her outstanding professional career is a victory in a Triple Crown Race.  She finished 3rd in the 2013 Preakness aboard Mylute, the highest finish for a female jockey in either the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont since Julie Krone won the Belmont in 1993.  Although not as successful locally as someone like Mario Pino, Napravnik spending a great deal of her childhood in the Baltimore area and later becoming one of the state’s most successful jockeys got her the nod here.

(Please see next page for #15)

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Roberts set to return Tuesday, leaving questions about Andino’s role

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Roberts set to return Tuesday, leaving questions about Andino’s role

Posted on 10 June 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — With Sunday’s 5-4 win in 10 innings over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Orioles brass will now meet on the off-day to discuss the future of veteran second baseman Brian Roberts prior to the start of a three-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates beginning Tuesday.

The 34-year-old’s 20-day rehab assignment ends on Monday, and Baltimore is expected to activate Roberts, who will be making his return to the major leagues for the first time since May 16, 2011. However, manager Buck Showalter still wasn’t ready to risk jinxing the impending move prior to Sunday’s game.

“Let’s talk about that when it happens,” Showalter told reporters Sunday morning. “I don’t want to — not jinx it — but it’s been such a long road for Brian, and more importantly, I really don’t want to address it yet to be honest.”

Roberts went 0-for-4 for Norfolk in the Tides’ 4-2 loss on Sunday and is 5-for-21 (.238) in five games at Triple A. In his combined rehab time with Delmarva, Bowie, and Norfolk, Roberts has gone 10-for-42 (.238) with one home run, five doubles, four runs batted in, and seven walks in 14 games.

While many have wondered what Roberts’ return means for current second baseman Robert Andino, Showalter has been clear in his belief that Roberts will be an everyday player who can hopefully fill the lead-off spot that’s been an albatross for the Orioles since left fielder Nolan Reimold went down in late April. However, there’s little doubt that Showalter will continue to find regular at-bats for Andino, whose average is down to .243 after a 1-for-5 performance on Sunday.

Andino will likely assume a super-utility role similar to that held by Melvin Mora in the early part of last decade before he became the regular third baseman in 2004. The 28-year-old is capable of playing all infield positions and could become a factor in left field as well, though he has limited experience there.

“Robert’s been a guy that I’ve always felt comfortable playing anywhere,” Showalter said. “If Brian had been a little further along than this, I was going to try to play him a lot in the outfield in the spring. We talked about it. But we’ll continue to make use of Robert’s skills.”

Many have debated the merits of whether Roberts should simply retake the job, but Showalter will make sure each player gets regular at-bats. The Baltimore manager takes any opportunity he can to offer praise for what Andino brings to the club, so Roberts’ return shouldn’t be viewed as a negative unless he proves unable to play anymore. Whether it’s spelling Roberts and allowing the veteran to serve as the designated hitter once or twice a week or filling in at other positions, Andino will likely find his way into the lineup at least four or five games a week depending on the pitching matchups.

The question remains who will be sent out to clear room for Roberts. Despite a big day with a three-run homer on Sunday, infielder Steve Tolleson appears to be a strong candidate to go with utility player Ryan Flaherty being a Rule 5 selection the club must keep on the 25-man roster. With the club being so shorthanded in the outfield, veteran Steve Pearce has a stronger case for remaining with the Orioles for now. A darkhorse candidate could be first baseman Nick Johnson, who brings less versatility than either player and has made just one start since May 27, though Showalter likes having his left-handed bat off the bench in late-inning situations. .

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Counterpoint: Bordick not amongst Orioles’ best, but I’m fine with induction

Posted on 20 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

Upon hearing that former SS Mike Bordick had been elected to the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame Saturday morning, I will admit that at first I thought to myself, “huh?”

But after a few minutes of thinking about it, it struck me that Mike Bordick is a fine choice for what isn’t a particularly significant honor.

Many Baltimore sports fans are particularly disappointed when they look towards the Baltimore Ravens’ Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium and see the name Earnest Byner listed with the young franchise’s best players (Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Michael McCrary); the man who returned football to Charm City (Art Modell) and the players who represented the Baltimore Colts franchise that captivated this city for over 30 years.

Earnest Byner was a marginal contributor for two seasons and an assistant coach for a few years after that. It is well known that Modell wanted to honor Byner and decided the Ring of Honor was the way to do just that.

When Ravens fans in ten years see the names of Ray Lewis, Todd Heap, Jamal Lewis, Chris McAlister, Matt Stover and Brian Billick honored at their “Purple Palace”, Byner’s inclusion will seem out of place at best, but could be somewhat embarrassing when opposing fans visiting town ask “Byner? Why don’t you go ahead and put Kyle Boller up there too?”

The reality of Bordick’s induction to the Orioles Hall of Fame is that the honor itself isn’t significant enough to warrant such opposition. The Orioles honor their greatest players in franchise history by retiring their numbers and featuring them with figures outside Orioles Park at Camden Yards and commemorative signs inside OPACY as well.

As an organization, the O’s do a good job of separating the all-time greats (Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken) from those who simply warrant a “thank you” for their time in orange and black (BJ Surhoff, Harold Baines, Rick Dempsey, Mark Belanger).

Make no mistake. Mike Bordick does not deserved to be remembered in the same way as some other Birds who have received Hall of Fame status. Ken Singleton, Boog Powell, Dave McNally, Mike Flanagan and others had a much more significant impact on the franchise than Bordick.

Instead of being featured prominently at The Yard, Bordick will only receive mention on a small Eutaw Street wall plaque. The Orioles will hold their annual luncheon and pre-game ceremony for fans to thank Bordick, then he will mostly be a name on a list.

They’re not trying to compare Bordick to Ripken-even if Bordick was the player to replace the “Iron Man” at shortstop.

With the only criteria for induction being that the player must have played for the team for at least three seasons, Bordick (parts of six seasons) qualifies. He’ll be remembered for his All-Star Game appearance in 200 and a stellar defensive season in 2002. He’ll be remembered by myself as being the piece that brought Melvin Mora to Baltimore from the New York Mets.

For these reasons, I applaud Bordick’s election. It will be nice for me to clap for one of the few players I have enjoyed watching during these dreadful 13 seasons of Orioles baseball.

-G

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Orioles Steal Thunder from Ravens, or At Least Try To

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Orioles Steal Thunder from Ravens, or At Least Try To

Posted on 29 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Two weeks ago, my executive producer, Glenn Clark, in the midst of the Orioles in discussions with Buck Showalter to become the next Orioles manager, said that the Orioles were going to wait till the start of Ravens training camp to announce the decision.

He said the Orioles have done this before. In 2006, they announced the resigning of 3B Melvin Mora, who had actually signed his deal weeks before the news broke.

Angelos wants this team as the top dog in the city even if fans aren’t going to Oriole Park at Camden Yards anymore. He knows baseball season has ended in the last week of July for at least the last ten years.

Well lightning struck twice Thursday, as Tim Kurkjian of ESPN has reported that the Orioles have hired Showalter as manger of the team.

Buck Showalter

Showalter reportedly will take over the team from interim manager Juan Samuel on August 3rd when the Orioles take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to start a six-game home stand.

The Ravens open full-team practices on Friday morning at 8:45 at McDaniel College, with all veterans reporting and suiting up for hitting, tackling, and running routes.

We’ll have to wait and see what the water-cooler talk is tomorrow, and who is the Baltimore manager we should be paying the most attention to. Showalter or John Harbaugh?

John Harbaugh

Showalter and his 882-833 career record managing in the big leagues will fit right into the driver’s seat of the Orioles, and will try and stop the bleeding when it comes to this year’s Orioles team (31-70), which is off to its worst start in franchise history and is veering itself dangerously close to the worst teams ever to suit up and hit the field.

Showalter will be the third man in the manager’s seat this year for the Orioles, as he replaces Samuel (16-31) and Dave Trembley(15-39).

Showalter had been named AL Manager of the Year twice in his managerial career, once with the Yankees in 1995 and then with the Rangers a few years ago.

He has proven to turn teams around fast, as every one of the organizations he has managed-the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Rangers, all were terrible before Showalter took charge. He also has a hand in the front office aspect of the job, as he helped in the player personnel department with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and most recently had a small role with the Cleveland Indians before taking the broadcasting job at ESPN.

The Diamondbacks and Yankees both won World Series titles because of Showalter’s work; the only problem is that they hoisted the trophies one year after giving Showalter his walking papers.

He spent four years as Yankees manager (313-268), three seasons in Arizona (250-236), and (319-329) with Texas.

But with that, he eventually wears out his welcome. He has also had issues with the front office, as he is known as quite the control freak. That has been the main cause of his quick exits over the last dozen of years, and we’ll have to see if those problems arise again with the most meddling of owners in Peter Angelos and a attention-to-detail man like Andy MacPhail.

I would assume that Showalter would at least get three or four years on his contract to fix this team, because this team is not anywhere close to being competitive for at least two more seasons.

What Showalter does bring to the table is a man who has been around the league, and has garnered a lot of respect from players, coaches, and front office personnel.

He is the first high-profile, experienced managerial candidate the Orioles have introduced since the hiring of Mike Hargrove back in 2000.

With 13 straight losing seasons, talk around the league is that the Orioles are too deep into the cellar to attract any high profile free agents.

Having a big name like Buck Showalter in charge could put some of those doubts-not all-to rest.

It could maybe attract a player, like first baseman Adrian Gonzalez of the San Diego Padres, who played under Showalter from 2004-2005.

The players in Texas really like Showalter, and we should see soon how Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz, and Matt Wieters all warm up to Buck.

But as said above, now we as Baltimore sports fans have a dilemma on our hands.

As the Orioles have put themselves on center stage (or at least tried to) yet again, we must ask ourselves. If we have a chance tomorrow to spend some time watching the Buck Showalter Introductory Press Conference, or the Ravens practicing, and we only have one choice…what’s it going to be?

The Orioles continue to show their selfishness by wanting you to choose baseball. Showalter could be the answer, but for now, let’s keep saying that John Harbaugh is still the top coach in town.

Tune into WNST and wnst.net as we continue to follow this new hire and hopefully a turning new page in Baltimore Orioles history!

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 12 April 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because Tina Fey hosted Saturday Night Live. And when they weren’t bust trying to shove Justin Beiber or Kristen Wiig down my throat (Wiig is TERRIBLE by the way), the show was actually very funny. Especially this…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgE8QsB_HHU[/youtube]

…if she runs for President, they have to bring her back as a permanent cast member, right???

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Blue Jays got to Kevin Millwood late to finish off weekend sweep

So…how was YOUR weekend?

To call a weekend sweep at the hands of Cito Gaston and the Jays “frustrating” wouldn’t do justice. To call it “unthinkable” would be much more appropriate.

I don’t know how else to say this. When you don’t REALLY try to put together a winning team, you’re not going to get a winning team. They don’t just come together by accident. When you decide that instead of going out and getting a REAL third baseman to replace Melvin Mora-you’ll just go get a stop gap to fill time until Josh Bell is ready, you get a converted SS who gobbles one up every now and then.

Should Miguel Tejada have made that play in the 8th inning? Probably. But it was a very hard hit ball and left him in a tough spot. It is forgiveable if it happens in the 2nd inning-but in that spot, it turned the entire game.

Not that Chone Figgins would make the Orioles winners (or even that he would have been a good signing for this team), but would he have been able to make that play there? Probably. Would other third basemen have been able to make that play there? Probably.

But when you just sign SOMEONE and assume they can play the position, or hit at a certain spot in the lineup, or fill a certain role in the bullpen or rotation-this is what you get.

“Woefully incomplete.”

Just knowing that Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Brian Matusz are pretty good is good enough for some people. I want a team that is WINNING, or is trying damn hard to do just that.

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

Alex Gonzalez hit 2 home runs yesterday.

Alex FREAKING Gonzalez hit 2 home runs yesterday.

On in other words, as many as this guy hit in his CAREER…

quiroz

(Edit from GMC: You’re thinking to yourself, “that’s a strange Guillermo Quiroz reference”…and it is! But I literally thought to myself “what former O’s might only have 2 career home runs?”, and my 1st guess was Guillermo Quiroz. Unbelievably, I was right. Do I get some sort of medal for that?)

3. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Birds continuing to lose ‘game of inches’

You know what else is a game of inches?

hungry hippos

It means a lot to a lot of people that the Orioles have been fairly close in some of these games. As if “near misses” might somehow count as half of a win, or a third of a win. It’s as if by losing 4 or 5 close games early in the season, they actually get credit for an extra win or 2.

I mean seriously, what kind of lame; 2nd rate sport would give a team credit for LOSING, just because it was a close game and maybe tied late?

nhl

Oh. Right.

4. Fanhouse’s Andrew Johnson says Brian Roberts likely headed to DL, Justin Turner to come up from Norfolk

What’s that quote again? The rich just keep getting richer?

Julio Lugo was asked for his thoughts on the Roberts injury, and he was rumored to have said “this is the best news that has ever happened.”

(Edit from GMC: He may or may not have actually said that. But you KNOW he was thinking it.)

Look, NO ONE is crying for ol’ B-Rob; considering THIS is what he’ll be doing for the next 15 days…

videogames

You thought I was going to post a picture of his wife in some form of undress. I love to keep you on your toes.

5. The Sun’s Kevin Cowherd says Dave Trembley shouldn’t be blamed for Orioles’ problems

But he’s going to be. If 1-5 balloons to 9-23 through this brutal stretch to start the season, you better believe that Andy MacPhail will have to think about walking into Dave Trembley’s office and saying “sorry skip, we just have to do something to shake things up.”

Look, I don’t REALLY think Dave Trembley is much of a manager. I think he was the guy that would work for a cheap and be a good soldier while the team sold this “2011 plan” to fans. I don’t know how ANY player in the clubhouse can really take him seriously, considering the ORGANIZATION doesn’t take him seriously enough to commit to him and extend him moving forward.

If he tried lighting a fire under one of these guys asses, there’s no reason for that player to not start chuckling. “Really, skip? I’m Adam Jones. I’ll blow gum if I want to. Haven’t you seen my t-shirt?”

Before I move on from the Orioles, a reminder that they’re back in action tonight (mostly because they have to) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. First pitch against the Rays is at 7:05pm, and the game can be seen on MASN2. Jeremy Guthrie faces Matt Garza, meaning we’ll get to see more of that strange growth on Garza’s chin…

garza

And congratulations to Damon Yaffe from The Fan for winning today’s “Apologist of the Morning” award. Damon said Sunday that despite the 1-5 start, he “can’t divert (his) attention from some of the positives.” Noble. Those positives you ask?

-”Camden Yards is still a gem”

Okay, sure…

-”Orioles fans are still passionate and hungry”

Right…

-”Matt Wieters”

Now we’re talking…

-”The Young Arms”

Would like to see some more…

-”MASN really taking flight”

And NOW is where I spit out my Vitamin Water.

“MASN really taking flight?” We’re talking about a network that spends a better part of their day simulcasting ANOTHER network that I already have on my Comcast or Xfinity or whatever the hell it’s called these days.

“MASN really taking flight?” This is a network that is so dreadful, a simulcast of Scott Garceau’s radio show is considered the best programming they have to offer!

As I was saying to Drew Forrester this morning on AM1570 WNST, I was watching the “East Carolina Basketball Show” and then a lacrosse game between Denver and Quinnipiac over the weekend on MASN and thinking to myself, “you know, this network is really starting to take flight.”

Christ.

6. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says California (Pennsylvania) CB Terrence Johnson visited 1 Winning Drive

The Ravens have also looked into Indiana (Pennsylvania) CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah; so if you’re a Cornerback playing at Kentucky (Pennsylvania), Kansas (Pennsylvania) or Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania), be ready for a call from Ozzie Newsome. Corners from California, Indiana, Kentucky or Kansas need not apply.

Being serious, Johnson is a 5’9″ CB who most NFL Draft analysts don’t believe will hear his name called. Just because the Ravens have hosted a player, it doesn’t mean they’re going to take him. And on the flip side, just because the Ravens haven’t shown too much interest in a player, it doesn’t mean they won’t pick him (Lardarius Webb says hello).

The biggest thing Terrence Johnson has going for him is that he was teammates with former Maryland QB Josh Portis at California PA. If anything about Portis rubbed off on him, he’ll be REALLY GOOD in every game that doesn’t count.

7. The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Steelers helped Ravens by trading Santonio Holmes to Jets

The “Santoniowastradedfor _____” hastag thread on Twitter last night (follow us @WNST) was HILARIOUS. Before I saw the thread had started, I wondered why the Ravens hadn’t offered Frank Walker for Holmes.

(Edit from GMC: I KNOW Walker isn’t under contract. This is shtick. Please work with me people.)

After seeing that the thread HAD started, my suggestion was…”#santoniowastradedfor Mike Gonzalez.”

It would have been worth about as much to Pittsburgh as a 5th round pick, right?

I’m not sure why the Rooneys just decided to give up on Holmes-who is a HELL of a talent. I know he’s a bit of an ass-clown, but, um…..have they seen their quarterback or their kicker???

8. Waterbury Republican American’s Kevin Litten says those who knew Jordan Williams in Connecticut didn’t all expect his success in College Park

In a (semi) related story, I heard there were new pictures of Heidi Montag in a bikini linked in over at Busted Coverage, and I thought “you know, she’s probably not that good looking…”

heidi

Sometimes, we’re all wrong about certain things.

To be serious, this is a great read. It includes stories about racist threats Williams’ family received during his high school career in Torrington, and how the community has sort of rallied around him now that he’s had success with the Terrapins. Definitely worth the read.

9. Inside Lacrosse has Terps 4th, Loyola 9th, Hopkins 16th in Nike/IL Top 20 poll

Here’s a look at my “OldLineLax7 Poll”, since I feel as though everything I do is more important than everything everyone else does.

1-Maryland
2-Loyola
3-Johns Hopkins
4-Towson
5-Navy
6-Mt. St. Mary’s (I get it. They’re 6-3 and 2-0 in the MAAC. But do I REALLY think they’re better than Towson or Navy???)
7-UMBC

This all builds up to Loyola-Geogetown, Army-Navy and Maryland-Hopkins Saturday. I’ll be wandering around Charm City with Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) watching the games. This is fun to us, people.

10. The Sun says Baltimore Mariners improved to 5-0 with win over New Jersey Revolution

It’s not that I’m NOT interested in this. It’s just that I’d be MORE interested if it involved “J-Woww” from “Jersey Shore.”

jwoww

And finally, I leave you with this…

“The Greatest Song of All Time This Week” for this week? Probably not a popular choice, but “Bumpin’ Fresh” by Virginia Coalition. It’s a WIN.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q96A4eWFN_A[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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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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Vitamin B12 is Back

Posted on 31 January 2010 by Tom Federline

Miguel Tejada is back in town and……….that’s a good thing. For the most part, he was a fan favorite while he was here. I know he’s 52 years old, has a mis-conception on the effects of steroids and has been known to distort the truth at times, but he is a ball player. A 37 year old, Melvin Mora out. A (35) year old, Miguel Tejada in. Not a bad swap. Apparently this Josh Bell kid is not ready. You have to wonder – why not? Mora has moved on, I believe he has signed with the Colorado Rockies. As a part-time player, the Rockies will be better for it. I was a big  fan of Melv-eye, but he was breaking down. It looks like Tejada still has something in the tank and hopefully it is not B12. The O’s need his bat, his glove and yes, an experienced presence in the Clubhouse.

Even though, Tejada has a history of being tops in the majors for grounding into double plays, the line-up just got better. I say bat him 9th. Minimal damage at that position with potential for keeping an inning alive. He will be good at third and he may even still be able to fill in at short. Former and present teammates only speak highly of Miggy. Most of the time it appears  he is trying and involved in the game. Although there were times when he looked like Albert Bell jogging down to first. Come on – we’ve all had rough days on the job. It’s just that most of us do not get paid tens of thousands dollars a day. Therein lies (whoops – better not use that word), Therein exists the working individuals (our) distaste for laziness and cheating.

Tejada’s  integrity was damaged. His playing career and achievements…….questionable. Is that so different than probably 65% of the baseball players from the late 80′s – present? He came up in the A’s organization, where ‘roids were rampant. Which means he may have been “juiced” for quite some time. Maybe the “juice” left him, “Dazed and Confused” – Led Zep. Not able to comprehend greed vs. acceptance or truth from lies. He is another product of a tainted era in sports. We all make mistakes. It’s what you do, to avoid making that same mistake again. Maybe he has learned to pay off the right testing lab?

What I do know is, when Tejada was here, the Orioles were better for it. If this young kid Bell, needs another 1/2 or full year……..nice timing. If Miggy still has that spark, anticipation for a winning season grows. Welcome back, Miguel Tejada. The potential for a good season is in process.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 05 January 2010 by Glenn Clark

Thanks for your feedback on our new format for Crabs and Beer. I’m having a Happy Tuesday because our own Barry Aparicio decided to stop at Bojangles yesterday in Prince George’s County to bring me a gift…

bojangles

Out.Standing.

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Ravens already in “playoff mode” before playoffs open

I don’t take much from this. I’d rather be a good team than a team that’s won “must win” games coming in. I guess if there was a way to be both (sorta similar to the Cowboys maybe), that would be ideal. I really don’t think a “must” win in Oakland helps out much when a team has to go to Gillette Stadium to beat Tom Brady and company.

2. The Sun’s Ken Murray says Harbaugh will stick with Katula Sunday in Foxborough

I think this is a mistake. I know the Ravens are continuing to say that Katula’s issues are NOT due to his elbow injury, but this is getting to be about a 50-50 proposition with Katula regarding whether or not his snap will be on target. The Ravens wouldn’t have to sign someone “off the street” as they have a snapper (Nick Sundberg-a rookie out of Cal) who has been working with Billy Cundiff and Sam Koch in practice. The Ravens would have to let go of a player like Keith Fitzhugh or place Katula on IR to make this move-but I don’t think they can afford to just keep trusting Katula at this point.

If “Ice Box” from Little Giants was available, I’d take her….

iceboc

3.  Ravens Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens will host Denver, visit Houston as 2010 opponents finalized

Here’s how the opponents list shakes out for 2010…..

Home:
Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Cincinnati
Buffalo
Miami
Denver
New Orleans
Tampa Bay

Away:
Pittsburgh
Cleveland
Cincinnati
Houston
Atlanta
Carolina
New England
New York Jets

The best news there is that the only trip that absolutely REQUIRES a flight is Houston. The bad news is there are 11 games on that schedule that look particularly difficult right now-and who knows how that might play out next season.

4. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Harbaugh hasn’t heard from Bills about Cam Cameron

John Harbaugh is right to want Cam Cameron to stick around. Of course, if he doesn’t; why wouldn’t John just hire Jack Harbaugh or Jim Harbaugh to take the job?

Additionally, in an interview with Drew Forrester on AM1570 WNST Tuesday morning, Ravens Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta wouldn’t confirm any discussions with other NFL teams about GM openings (we’ve heard rumors about Seattle specifically), but instead said “I believe in this team” and “I want to bring many Super Bowls to Baltimore.”

And with rumors swirling regarding our own Brian Billick being a candidate for the job in Buffalo, the coach said the following yesterday on NFL Network, per ProFootballTalk.com:

“I’ve not had any contact with the Bills as of yet”

If you want to ask Coach Billick about the rumors yourself, make sure to come on out to Chick-Fil-A Nottingham Square on Thursday night. I’ll be the guy with 8-10 Spicy Chicken sandwiches and a gallon of sweat tea in front of him.

5. Boston Globe’s Monique Walker says Julian Edelman expected to make playoff debut for Pats with Wes Welker hurt

Bill Belichick will of course not confirm anything….ever….but with New England’s only other option being Sam Aiken, I think this is a pretty safe bet that Edelman will be the guy. I know a lot of Ravens fans have been celebrating the Wes Welker injury this week, but don’t downplay Julian Edelman. The guy can play.

6. Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver says Ravens expect to ‘grind’ opponents in AFC playoffs

Of course, they HAVE to expect to “grind” opponents, because Joe Flacco hasn’t played well enough against good teams for them to expect to do much of anything else. I’d be pleasantly surprised if that changed Sunday though…

7. The Sun’s Dan Connolly says three teams interested in former Orioles 3B Melvin Mora

I will be rooting OPENLY for Melvin Mora wherever he ends up next season. His agent told Connolly that none of the teams that are interested are in the AL East or NL East, which means Melvin won’t be able to stay close to his family in Bel Air-which is unfortunate. Melvin Mora was a class act in a time when nothing baseball-wise in Baltimore was really even worth noticing.

8. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Gerald Lee did Towson in as Old Dominion cruised to victory

Old Dominion is a pretty good team (remember, they have a win over Georgetown already), but the Tigers HAVE to be able to win home games in the CAA-or this is just going to be the same old story for Pat Kennedy and company. It seems like the Tigers can’t put together a solid effort from both Robert Nwankwo inside and one of their guards outside. Towson is back in action Wednesday night at Hofstra.

9. Loyola Official Site says Hounds couldn’t hang with Siena without Brett Harvey

Clearly, this is a mix of the Saints being REALLY good, and the Greyhounds being in a really bad spot without Brett Harvey. Jimmy Patsos’ team wouldn’t have been the only team to lose to Siena in those circumstances, but certainly they missed on an opportunity to make a statement in the MAAC. Clarence Jackson (24 points) is a PLAYER for Siena. Loyola is at Fairfield Friday night, that game is on ESPNU.

10. The AP says Kevin Thompson’s 19 not enough as Morgan State fell at Robert Morris

It’s hard to tell if these are games the Bears should be winning. Obviously a 78-75 final means Todd Bozeman’s crew was in it until the end (it was the final minute when RMU pulled away), but you would think Robert Morris would be the type of team Morgan should beat. I guess we have to temper the fact that they’ve won a lot of big games with the fact that they’re still in the lowly MEAC; but it does feel like a game they should have won. Tough schedule for Morgan-they’re at Baylor Wednesday night.

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Gary Williams not happy with Terps having to open ACC play with 2 games in 3 days

I guess there’s an argument to be made that playing at Wake Forest just 48 hours after playing Florida State at home is a bit unfair, but ACC teams will all have to do this at some point. Having a bye to open conference season probably is less than helpful as well, but it’s just scheduling. Gary does love to point these things out though. Somewhere today, he’s reminding someone that the Terrapins beat both Michigan State and North Carolina last season…..

12. Korea Times’ Yoon Chul says Jin Soo Choi to leave Maryland, hopes to play professionally in Korea

And thus ends a noble experiment that just didn’t pan out. Jin Soo was going to have academic struggles in a place like College Park no matter what-as he barely spoke the language to begin with. Gary Williams’ hope was that he’d turn out to be a good enough player to make the extra work they’d have to do with him worthwhile. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way.

And as Patrick Stevens mentioned on Twitter, I appreciate Jin Soo’s honesty…

“Studying causes me a lot of stress. I only want to play basketball, I don’t want to have to think about studying.”

Well said.

-I leave you with the moment I will admit I had no idea would ever happen. If you’ve ever been a fan of pro wrestling, I think you had to get goosebumps watching Bret Hart return last night on RAW and seeing Vince McMahon turn on him to set up whatever might happen in the future…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV3tcnU8P4o[/youtube]

Awesome. Talk to you tomorrow.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Comcast Morning Show “Best of the Decade”

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Comcast Morning Show “Best of the Decade”

Posted on 30 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Instead of making a list-here’s nothing more than a “popcorn” type of look at some of the “Bests” of the decade….

Best Oriole: Drew-Brian Roberts, Glenn-Melvin Mora

brob

Best Baseball Player: Drew-Alex Rodriguez Glenn-Albert Pujols

pujols

Best Raven: Drew-Ray Lewis, Glenn-Ray Lewis

ray lewis

Best NFL Player: Drew-Tom Brady, Glenn-Tom Brady

brady

Best Washington Capital: Drew-Alex Ovechkin, Glenn-Alex Ovechkin

ovechkin

Best NHL Player: Drew-Martin Brodeur, Glenn-Martin Brodeur

brodeur

Best UMBC Basketball Player: Drew-Jay Greene, Glenn-Jay Greene

greene

Best Towson Basketball Player: Drew-Josh Thornton, Glenn-Gary Neal

thornton

Best Loyola Basketball Player: Drew-Gerald Brown, Glenn-Andre Collins

brown

Best Morgan State Basketball Player: Drew-Reggie Holmes, Glenn-Reggie Holmes

reggie

Best Coppin State Basketball Player: Drew-Tywain McKee, Glenn-Tywain McKee

mckee

Best Maryland Basketball Player: Drew-Juan Dixon, Glenn-Juan Dixon

juan

Best College Basketball Player: Drew-Tyler Hansbrough, Glenn-Tyler Hansbrough

tyler

Best Single Season College Basketball Player: Drew-Carmelo Anthony, Glenn-Carmelo Anthony

melo

Best Towson Football Player: Drew-Sean Schaefer, Glenn-Sean Schaefer

schaefer

Best Maryland Football Player: Drew-Vernon Davis, Glenn-EJ Henderson

ej

Best College Football Player: Drew-Tim Tebow, Glenn-Tim Tebow

tebow

Best College Football Program: Drew-USC, Glenn-USC

usc

Best Female Athlete (Locally): Drew-Shay Doron, Glenn-Kristi Toliver

toliver

Best Female Athlete (Nationally): Drew-Annika Sorenstam, Glenn-Serena Williams

annika

Best NBA Player: Drew-Kobe Bryant, Glenn-Kobe Bryant

kobe

Best Local Coach: Drew-Todd Bozeman, Glenn-Gary Williams

gary

Best National Coach: Drew-Pete Carroll, Glenn-Phil Jackson

phil

Best Local High School Football Player: Drew-Tavon Austin, Glenn-Tavon Austin

tavon

Best Local High School Basketball Player: Drew-Donte Greene, Glenn-Sean Mosley

mosley

Best Golfer: Drew-Tiger Woods, Glenn-Tiger Woods

tiger

Best Golfer (Locally): Drew-Chris Bologa

bologa

Best Tennis Player: Drew-Roger Federer, Glenn-Roger Federer

federer

Biggest Disappointment/Letdown (Locally): Drew-Lee Mazzilli, Glenn-Ravens/Colts Playoff Game

mazzilli

Biggest Disappointment/Letdown (Nationally): Drew-JJ Redick’s NBA Career Glenn-Andy Roddick

redick

Most Underappreciated Athlete (Locally): Drew-Jamal Lewis, Glenn-Derrick Mason

jamal

Most Underappreciated Athlete (Nationally): Drew-Donovan McNabb, Glenn-Kurt Warner

mcnabb

Most Overrated Athlete (Locally): Drew-Steve McNair, Glenn-Erik Bedard

bedard

Most Overrated Athlete (Nationally): Drew-Chad Johnson/Ochocinco, Glenn-Gilbert Arenas

ochocinco

Best Upset (Locally): Drew-Hasim Rahman knocks out Lennox Lewis Glenn-Hasim Rahman knocks out Lennox Lewis

rock

Best Upset (Nationally): Drew-Giants beat Patriots Glenn-Boise State beats Oklahoma

tyree

Best Blast Player: Drew-Denison Cabral Glenn-Denison Cabral

denison

Best Soccer Player: Glenn-Thierry Henry

henry

Best Swimmer: Drew-Michael Phelps, Glenn-Michael Phelps

phelps

Best Uniforms (Locally): Drew-Orioles (with Baltimore), Glenn-Orioles (with Baltimore)

orioles

Best Uniforms (Nationally): Drew-Throwback Patriots, Glenn-Chargers (Powder Blue)

chargers

Best Play-by-Play Voice (Locally): Drew-Dave Johnson (Wizards), Glenn-Johnny Holliday

johnny

Best Play-by-Play Voice (Nationally): Drew-Jim Nantz, Glenn-Jim Nantz

nantz

Best Color Analyst (Locally): Drew-Jim Palmer, Glenn-Buck Martinez

palmer

Best Color Analyst (Nationally): Drew-Phil Simms, Glenn-Jeff Van Gundy

simms

Best College Lacrosse Player: Glenn-Kyle Harrison

harrison

Best Personality (Locally): Drew-Trevor Pryce, Glenn-Todd Heap

heap

Most Entertaining Athlete (Nationally): Glenn-Shaquille O’Neal

shaq

Best Single Game Atmosphere (Locally): Drew-2008 America East Championship, Glenn-2005 Navy/Maryland

navy

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983……

-G

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Top 25 Local Sports Figures of the Decade

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Top 25 Local Sports Figures of the Decade

Posted on 23 December 2009 by Glenn Clark

Others Considered: Todd Bozeman, Randy Monroe, Steve Bisciotti, Kimmie Meissner, Fang Mitchell, Dave Trembley, Katie Hoff, Brenda Frese, Kevin Plank, Jimmy Patsos, Lee Mazzilli, Sam Perlozzo, Todd Heap, Barbaro, Carmelo Anthony, Terrell Suggs, Joe DeFrancis, Rafael Palmeiro, Sammy Sosa, Mike Flanagan, Pam Shriver, Haloti Ngata, Derrick Mason, Scott McBrien, Matt Stover, Steve Blake, Melvin Mora, Steve McNair, Michael McCrary, Ray Rice, Erik Bedard, Sidney Ponson, John Rallo, Shawne Merriman, Pat Kennedy

25-Joe Flacco

flacco

24-Nick Markakis

nick

23-Ed Hale

Hale

22-Kyle Boller

boller

21-John Harbaugh

harbaugh

20-Trent Dilfer

dilfer

19-Cal Ripken Jr.

al

18-Chris McAlister

mcalister

17-Dave Pietramala

petro

16-Brian Roberts

brob

15-Paul Johnson

paulj

14-Ralph Friedgen

fridge

13-Art Modell

modell

12-Hasim Rahman

rahman

11-Ed Reed

reed

10-Jamal Lewis

jamal

The greatest offensive skill position in Ravens history-a former Rookie of the Year, NFL Player of the Year, 2,000 yard rusher, Super Bowl Champion, and single game rushing record holder. He’ll be in the Ring of Honor in the next 12 months too….

9-Juan Dixon

dixon

He’s from Baltimore. He carried Maryland to a NCAA Championship. He’s Top 3 in Glenn Clark’s book…..

8-Brian Billick

billick

He won the Super Bowl as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, but became a polarizing figure until his firing due to his inability to groom a franchise quarterback. I’m not sure I could have stomached hearing the words “offensive genius” again however….

7-Debbie Yow

yow

Her place on this list is based on a mix of her accomplishments as Athletic Director (national championships in men’s and women’s basketball, new arena, and somehow managing to balance the budget in College Park) and how many people despise her due to her testy relationship with a fella who is still to come on this list……

6-Ozzie Newsome

ozzie

Jamal Lewis. Todd Heap. Ed Reed. Terrell Suggs. Haloti Ngata. Ben Grubbs. Joe Flacco. Michael Oher.

Unfortunately, this decade also included Kyle Boller and Travis Taylor…..

5-Jonathan Ogden

jo

He will soon be the first player to go to Canton AS a Baltimore Raven, and some would argue he’s the most important player in franchise history. Those people have a legitimate argument.

4-Michael Phelps

phelps

He’s won 14 gold medals in Olympic competition. No one else ever has. I’d explain more-but if you don’t get it, you never will.

3-Peter Angelos

angelos

Not since Bob Irsay has there been a local sports figure so universally disdained by the entire town. If this were pro wrestling, Sgt. Slaughter would have looked like a babyface during his Iraq support days in compared to the level of seething hate directed towards the city’s baseball dictator. He’s killed an entire sport in a city where baseball was king. His failures are so epic I’m not certain ANYONE could have accomplished anything similar.

2-Gary Williams

gary

If it weren’t for the necessity of corporate sponsoring, it would be Gary Williams Arena-not Comcast Center. The guy will find himself in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and only Earl Weaver is ahead of him in the list of the greatest head coaches in local sports history. And while some might accuse me of blasphemy, he may be greater than even Earl.

1-Ray Lewis

ray

When #52 does something, says something, thinks something, etc…..it is ABSOLUTELY more meaningful than when anyone else in town does. He will eventually have a statue at M&T Bank Stadium-somewhere in the neighborhood of Johnny Unitas I assume. Do I need to explain further?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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