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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 01 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because as of right now, I still haven’t had to eat any hot dogs yet. That’s a win.

I apologize for my tardiness with this, but here’s John Isner reading the Top Ten the other night with David Letterman…we’ll re-group after that.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KSuK-OH7opg[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Orioles belted 5 home runs in win over Athletics

So much for it being the season of the pitcher…

At the beginning of the season, Kevin Millwood pitched well-but the Birds couldn’t score, and it usually ended up leaving the team doomed to another loss.

Now that Millwood is struggling, the team is finally figuring out how to win. I’ll take that.

Adam Jones, Corey Patterson, Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott and Miguel Tejada all homered last night (we’ll get back to Scott’s later). Where the hell has that been all season?

The Orioles will now have a chance to win back to back series tonight, which is almost as good as playing meaningful games. Small victories, right?

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

I guess we DO need to address that Millwood went just 5 innings last night, giving up 6 runs (5 earned) on 8 hits against an Oakland team that’s roughly as capable of hitting as some of my young cousins. Granted, there was unbelievable trouble in the field-but Millwood wasn’t good.

Will it significantly hurt his trade value moving towards July 31? I doubt that. I was never convinced that Andy MacPhail was going to be able to fleece another organization in a Millwood deal, unless somehow Millwood had stunned everyone with a 10-0 start and sub 3 ERA.

There will still be teams who will want a veteran starter to try to help their run to the playoffs. Plenty of teams in fact. Someone is going to give up SOMETHING for Millwood-and I’m guessing it might be a LITTLE bit more than Chris Ray. Not MUCH more, but a little bit more.

Trading Millwood is not going to improve the future of the franchise in Baltimore. But it will get them SOMETHING…hopefully something that matters at least a little bit.

I’m personally hoping we can trade him for Susan Coffey (Thanks Barstool Sports!)…

susancoffey

3. MLB.com’s Noah Rosenstein says Luke Scott hurt running bases after go-ahead HR in win

How does this always happen to us?!?!?!?

It was a little funny listening to Juan Samuel say that Scott was going to try to leg it into a triple if it didn’t leave the yard. Funny because we all know Luke Scott isn’t going to be confused with Pete Rose any time soon when it comes to “hustle.”

There’s good news. Felix Pie is apparently going to be ready to go if Scott ends up on the DL. So…did you see the mistake Corey Patterson made last night? Expect more of that soon!

(Edit from GMC: Hopefully not. But I’m way to realistic to be too hopeful.)

4. The Sun’s Steve Gould says Frederick Keys pitcher Nathan Moreau threw no-hitter on farm

Did you miss Nathan this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net NOW to check it out! Other guests this morning included:

-Great American Champion Joey Chestnut, who gave me some hot dog eating tips ahead of his pursuit of a 4th straight Nathan’s Famous 4th of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest title Sunday in New York.
-Dan Steinberg from the Washington Post’s “DC Sports Bog”, who re-hashed the John Riggins MASN commercial controversy I stirred up last week.
-Baltimore Blast Coach Danny Kelly, who went around the USMNT and all things World Cup.

A few other O’s-related notes before we move on…

-Congratulations to our pal Steve Melewski, who claimed another “Apologist of the Morning” title today, as selected by “The Great Arbitrator.” I’m still convinced that Brian Matusz is going to have a bright future in Charm City myself; but to say his season hasn’t been “disappointing” is absolute apology.

-The O’s are back in action tonight, trying to wrap up back to back series wins against the A’s. First pitch at Oriole Park at Camden Yards is at 7:05pm, the game can again be seen on MASN2. Trevor Cahill goes for the A’s against Jake Arrieta and the O’s.

5. ABC2′s Lamont Williams says Cal Ripken and Bill Ripken broke ground on new youth park at Memorial Stadium site

What an awesome day to be out at 33rd Street yesterday. Kudos to Ripken Baseball, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and everyone else involved with the groundbreaking event.

If you missed any of our coverage at WNSTV, here’s your chance to catch up. First we bothered Cal Ripken, who is clearly much too important to be talking to myself, Luke Jones OR Nestor Aparicio…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9j6SfO2N9ok[/youtube]

Brooks Robinson was hanging out, and took a small shot at what’s going on these days at OPACY…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbQP7Z5Uq-I[/youtube]

And then Brady Anderson reminded us that he’s much better looking than we are…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPvE3FZcELY[/youtube]

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens LB Terrell Suggs not concerned about missing OTA’s

As long as “T-Sizzle” has a good season, none of this will matter. If he struggles; his failure to report to Owings Mills will be something that fans and analysts alike will bring up all year.

John Harbaugh clearly wasn’t happy Suggs wasn’t there; but he handled it the best way possible. Suggs should have been at 1 Winning Drive; at least for SOME of the OTA’s. It’s a simple gesture. Maybe he’s doing enough work in Arizona that it won’t matter, but maybe he isn’t. We just don’t know.

Hopefully it won’t be an issue.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Sergio Kindle, Ravens rookies thought NFL symposium ‘great experience’

You know what else is a good experience? Checking out pictures of the cheerleaders for the Oregon Ducks over at Busted Coverage…

oregon

8. USA Today’s Skip Wood says Ravens popular preseason Super Bowl choice

Like I said then, when Ozzie Newsome and company acquired Anquan Boldin; it IMMEDIATELY made them a contender to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

But as I’ve also tried to remind in the months since then, there are other teams in the AFC that are legitimate Super Bowl contenders, including the Cincinnati Bengals right in the AFC North.

The Ravens aren’t the “favorites” to win the Super Bowl in my book; but they are AMONGST the favorites. Now they just have to go get to Dallas. No pressure there or anything…

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says 6 future lacrosse Terps, 4 future Johns Hopkins Blue Jays playing in Saturday’s Under Armour All-America Game

I have a pair of tickets for Saturday night’s game at Unitas Stadium in Towson; for the first person that emails glenn@wnst.net with “I want tickets” in the subject.

If you don’t have plans for Saturday night-it’s worth going over and checking out the game. The girls play early evening, followed by the guys. These are the best high school lacrosse players in the country; and they will be stars of the college game for years to come.

I’d be there, but I DO have plans Saturday night. Sadly, nothing more than looking at pictures of Paula Prendes from FHM Spain over at Guyism…

prendes

10. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says interim Maryland AD looking to keep Terrapins going in ‘same direction’

I’m hoping it’s the “RIGHT direction” myself. And cue Robert Randolph…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kABK_CDZal8[/youtube]

And finally, I leave you with this.

The R. Lee Ermey GEICO commercial? Awesome…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFgiUm4lQig[/youtube]

Maybe even better than the Andres Cantor spot. Maybe.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fXsfAeqimY[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Orioles Classics – Good For the Soul

Posted on 29 March 2010 by Tom Federline

For Oriole fans over the age of 35, there are many Oriole “Classics”. For the unfortunate younger generations, “Classics” have been to few and far between. We all know the last time a World Championship Year was experienced in this town (1983 for those younger than 35). There have been a few “Classic” games – (a 30 -3 loss comes to mind, Ouch). There have been a  few “classic” moments, i.e. the last weekend at Memorial Stadium, the first game at Camden Yards, a couple of playoff years, Cal’s run to 2131 and that’s about it.

That is why you MUST catch the “Orioles Classics” tapes being shown on MASN. This has been going on for some years now. It’s nice to see that they have picked it up a bit, since it is Spring Training and another year of baseball approaches. MASN appears challenged at times, but they do have these old Oriole broadcasts nailed down. Somebody is thinking or did have some intelligent thoughts at some time. Whatever the case…….It Is Good! MASN lets the rebroadcast tape of the game speak for itself. While interjecting commentary between innings from old Oriole players who were part of those games. The original broadcasts of the games are “classics” within themselves. From the primitive video production, the camera angles, the announcers, to scans of the crowd – fans attire, men wearing hats (not ball caps) and people smoking in the stands. The entire production and quality of play, can be classified as “Classic”.

I had the pleasure of stumbling onto the “Orioles vs. Reds – 1970 World Series – Game One – from the New Riverfront Stadium - with synthetic turf”,  the other night. I haven’t been glued to the set like that since ESPN’s 30 for 30 Series or the last time I caught an Orioles Classic. How does afternoon baseball, second week of October, with Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek calling the game? Let’s throw in…….the game(tape) is in black & white, the players are not wearing batting gloves, they are all under 200 lbs. (except for Boog), no evidence or talk of steroids and the predominant camera shot is from behind the plate. Bowie Kuhn throws out the first pitch, the “Jackson Five” sing the National Anthem. Still not intrigued? Are you breathing? How about this for a line-up: Buford, Blair, Powell, F. Robinson, B. Robinson, Hendricks, Johnson, Belanger, Palmer and some guy named Weaver as manager. I shouldn’t of even had to type that line-up, you all should know it………but it just felt good, doing it. Classic!

MASN has played all the O’s World Series games and their associated playoff series. Along with other sporadic “Oriole Classic” moments. Yes youngsters, the Orioles were good, real good. Throw in the announcing teams of Chuck Thompson, Bill O’Donnell, John Lowenstein, Mel Proctor and some guy named Jon Miller………I get chills. The game and stadium affair seemed to have a different pageantry. The game seemed more innocent. A more “baseball purist” approach, which we all know is, “Long Time Gone” – (Crosby, Stills and Nash).

Do yourself a favor. Catch an O’s Classic. It’s worth your time. It’s worth your effort to research and find out when one is coming on. Get with your dad or mom. Get with an old friend. It’s an excuse to soothe the soul. Of course, I wish they could play classics from within the past 5/10/15/20 years, but those are limited. Anyway, baseball was laced with 75% steroid use, (don’t get me started). The old stuff, is the good stuff. Especially if you experienced it.

T-minus 11 days to Baltimore’s Opening Day!

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 11 March 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because I’m getting ready to head to Greensboro tomorrow morning (I know many of you will be devastated-practically unable to listen to “The Comcast Morning Show”-but Chris Bonetti will do an adequate job in my place), where I would LOVE to meet up with any Maryland fans who are making the trip. I would be MORE than willing to allow you to buy me 4-627 beers.

But also, I haven’t had a chance to talk about the Iron Man 2 trailer that debuted Sunday night on Jimmy Kimmel’s show. It was GLORIOUS…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siQgD9qOhRs[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST’.net’s Glenn Clark says Derrick Mason agrees to new 2 year deal with Ravens

Which gives the Ravens at LEAST a formiddable trio of receivers at the top of their WR depth chart. When they go 3 wide (which they usually do under Cam Cameron), they’ll have one of the toughest receivers in the league with Anquan Boldin, one of the most reliable receivers in the league with Derrick Mason and a receiver that they expect to be amongst the quickest receivers in the league in Donte’ Stallworth.

It’s a much more impressive group than most of the trios we’ve seen in Baltimore. In fact, it’s almost as impressive as Tiger Woods’ favorite trio…

howardstern

(Edit from GMC: With no offense to Howard Stern’s crew, I probably would have gone with Jamie Grubbs instead of Jamie Jungers myself.)

Is this one of the Top 3 receiving trios in the league now? No. I still think the Cardinals (Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet); the Steelers (Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Mike Wallace/Antwaan Randle El); the Colts (Reggie Wayne, Anthony Gonzalez, Austin Collie/Pierre Garcon) and others still have better groups-but there’s legitimate argument that the Ravens have a Top 10 group.

Of course, maybe some fans who have already decided that they need to book hotel rooms in Arlington for next year’s Super Bowl should try to somehow temper their excitement. Teams have had really good offseasons before. In fact, there’s a certain team south of here that did it regularly….

skins

2. Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ravens were out in full force to watch Devin McCourty at Rutgers Pro Day

I’ve had the chance to talk to Devin McCourty a couple times-he was hanging around Ft. Lauderdale the week of the Super Bowl and at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. He clearly has a relationship with former Scarlet Knights teammate Ray Rice, who was hanging out in Piscataway yesterday as well.

The Ravens will ABSOLUTELY be looking for CB help in April’s NFL Draft. We know they at least LIKE McCourty, and they will likely bring him out to 1 Winning Drive for a look in the coming weeks.

3. ProFootballTalk.com/NBC Sports’ Gregg Rosenthal says Ravens/Steelers could be one of this years’s season opening Monday Night Football games

Which has to be the first time….ever….that a reputable reporter has sourced this man in his reporting….

bachman

Ray said via Twitter (@WNST) that Ron Jaworski (who is part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football broadcast team) told a business group that the network wanted the game to help their season opening coverage.

As we know, NBC and the NFL wanted the Ravens to open last season at Heinz Field against Pittsburgh-but the brass at 1 Winning Drive requested they not have to play another primetime game in Pittsburgh.

It certainly would be better for these teams (who we expect to again be fighting atop the AFC North and/or for an AFC Wild Card spot) to play once during the middle of the season and again near the end of the season. BUT-having the league’s new “sexiest rivalry” in primetime would be good for both the league and their network partners.

For the sake of the Ravens, I just hope the game would be at M&T Bank Stadium.

4. The Diamondback’s Jakob Engelke says CB Nolan Carroll impressed NFL scouts at Pro Day in College Park

Obviously Bruce Campbell was the head turner, but NFL scouts were certainly in town yesterday looking to see what Nolan Carroll might be able to bring to the table. Carroll hasn’t been on a football field since breaking his leg in Week 2, and he was unable to get on the field for the Senior Bowl (or another All-Star Game) or at the Combine in Indy.

He’s expected to be a mid-to-low round choice, but has a higher ceiling than some may have expected. He’s a LITTLE bit taller than Domonique Foxworth or any CB on the Ravens roster-so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make a visit to Owings Mills in the upcoming weeks.

5. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Greivis Vasquez could use ACC Tournament finals appearance, trip to Elite 8 to have realistic shot at tracking down Juan Dixon’s school scoring record

As Patrick has pointed out before, there really is something poetic about Dixon being the all-time leading scorer in Terrapins history. But if an ACC Tournament title and a trip to the Elite 8 are in the future, there probably would be something poetic about Vasquez passing him.

If they play 7 more games, it will take roughly 22 points per game for the senior from Venezuela. If he goes off for 40+ again at some point again like he did in Blacksburg, there will be a greater probability of this happening.

It will certainly be an interesting subplot to follow as the Terps move towards the NCAA Tournament.

Patrick also pointed out (after Paul in Hawaii asked me yesterday) that the Terps DID bring the gold uniforms with them to Greensboro, although they did not confirm whether or not they would be wearing them Friday night when they take on the Georgia Tech/North Carolina winner.

6. The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Gary Williams doesn’t feel like Greensboro a ‘neutral’ site

And obviously, it isn’t. BUT-no matter where they played the event, it wouldn’t be a “neutral site.” There’s an argument that maybe it could be moved around a bit more, but certainly Greensboro has been a solid “home” for the event.

Things didn’t necessarily work out for Gary’s team the one time they did get the event near here-as they bowed out to Clemson in the first round of the ACC Tournament when it was at the “MCI Center” (now the Verizon Center) in Washington, DC back in 2005.

7. Morgan State Official Site says Kevin Thompson lead Morgan State with 20 points, 16 boards in MEAC quarterfinals win over North Carolina A&T

The good news for the Bears is that they’ll now get a day off before having to face Hampton or Norfolk State tomorrow night in Winston-Salem. Especially seeing as how the Spartans took them to Double OT at Hill Field House just about 11 days ago.

If Kevin Thompson plays well, no one is beating Todd Bozeman’s team this weekend. There just isn’t a big man in the conference that can match up with him when he’s on his game.

8. The AP says Kareem Brown’s 16 not enough as Coppin State’s season ended with MEAC Tournament loss to UMES

It was a tough season for Fang Mitchell’s gang. Hopefully they will be able to move forward with the return of Jordan Lee and with the development of guys like Brown and Michael Harper. They’ll have to get some more reliable scoring, and they’ll have to get some real leadership, but Fang isn’t going anywhere-and the CSPEC should help them improve their talent.

And for any Eagles fan who is depressed about the season ending, I offer you a new picture of Megan Fox from Harper’s Bazaar, thanks to Guyism.com. This MIGHT be NSFW.

meganfox

9. MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch says red hot Luke Scott tallied 2 more RBI as Orioles topped Pirates in Spring Training action

Insert your own gun joke here.

It is good for the O’s to get a win. Not really important, but you never want a team to get caught up in any sort of familiarity of losing-even if it is just during Grapefruit League play.

The Orioles return to action tonight in Fort Myers as they face the Twins. Kevin Millwood takes the mound against Scott Baker.

10. Examiner Jay Trucker says Mike Flanagan to join MASN broadcast booth

But apparently they’re still going to use the Eddie Murray/Brady Anderson/Mike Boddicker/Bill Ripken rotating color analyst group as well. AND Jim Palmer.

I guess they’re just going to give about any former Oriole a shot behind the mic this season. Which series do you think they’ll use this guy for???

jaygibbons

11. The Sun’s Peter Schmuck and Jeff Zrebiec say Ernie Tyler won’t return as Birds’ “ballboy”, instead choosing to remain in umpire room

Certainly the end of an era.

Tyler’s consecutive games streak at Memorial Stadium/Camden Yards ended in 2007 when he attended Cal Ripken’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony; but he’s continued to be one of the most recognizable figures at OPACY since then.

Congratulations to Tyler on 50 great seasons as “ballboy”, and good luck to him as he transitions into his new role.

12. SI’s Tom Verducci pens next Monday’s cover story about Matt Wieters

Which you should read, with or without pants.

Interesting note from “The Comcast Morning Show” this morning, as former MASN analyst and new Blue Jays TV PBP voice Buck Martinez told Drew Forrester that he believes Brian Matusz has “better stuff” than even Tom Glavine.

Wow.

And finally, I leave you with this.

I know it was a building full of history and whatnot, but seeing Yankee Stadium look like this can’t help but make me smile a bit….

yankeestadium

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…..

-G

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Purple And Blue – And No Horseshoe

Posted on 15 October 2009 by Mark Suchy

Memory can be a real bitch. 

For all the good, happy things we recall, there’s always, always the counter-balance of painful, ugly things we’ve lived through.

As pleased as I was watching Barry Levinson’s “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” the other night, there were moments that brought back what true agony and heartbreak felt like.  It was alternately uplifting and tremendously saddening.  Anyone reading this who was old enough to remember those days from 1972 to 1984 knows what I mean.

It’s way beyond time that someone with local roots chronicled the city of Baltimore’s journey through the NFL.  Levinson was accurate and pointed and fair to all the parties involved.  One touch I really enjoyed was the lack of former player’s commentary.  The story was told through the memories of the people who lived it most painfully, the fans.

Which led me to thinking one question: After all this city and its people endured under the mismanagement of Robert Irsay, why were we so anxious to court a league, and a group of owners, and a commisioner, who so clearly didn’t care that we were without a team?  It’s a question I’ve asked myself since 1984, really, when I watched despondently as the Indianapolis Colts hosted the New York Jets in the Hoosier Dome.  And I don’t know that there’s any answer, right, wrong or indifferent.

Nobody ever interceded on Baltimore’s behalf.  Not as they watched Irsay ruin a relationship between a town and its team, not as they watched the Mayflower vans pull out of Owings Mills, not as Baltimore tried every method conceivable to lure the league back.  It never happened.  Was it cowardice?  Apathy?  Greed?  Simple neglect? 

I imagine we’ll just never know.

One image, among so many from the film, really stuck with me.  It was a simple shot of two men outside Memorial Stadium prior to a Baltimore Stallions game.  On the front of their shirts it read “Screw The NFL”.  On the back, “We’ve Got The CFL”.  As inane and ridiculous as that notion seems today, it summarized perfectly my feelings that had accumulated over a decade or so without the league here.  I think all of us would be wise to remember our contempt for the league during our “orphaned” years.

Perhaps the most important scene to remember was Irsay at a podium saying, “It’s not your team, it’s not the city’s team, it’s my team.  I paid for it with my money that I made.”  While Irsay was obviously a callous, blowhard drunk, those words echoed more to me than even the infamous press conference at BWI that was so well chronicled.  Because, like it or not, it’s the truth: It’s not our team.  Doesn’t matter what sport, what city, what time.  Loyalty in professional sports is always strictly a one-way street.

I’m not writing to bemoan the loss of the Baltimore Colts.  I’m perfectly content with the realties of being a fan in these times.  What is done is done.  Nothing and nobody can change that.  And maybe now, after numerous regular season games and one truly excruciating playoff loss, it will be easier to accept that they were never our team.  But I somehow doubt it. 

Because I see that horseshoe, and it still means something very special to me.  It symbolizes a part of my life that was cherished and meaningful.  It’s a part of my life I’ll never get back, just like youth.  And it brings back pain too.  Of a snowy night when the reality of being a fan in a rich man’s game hit home permanently.

As I said, memory is a real bitch sometimes.

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Ravens Loss to Bengals Had Nothing to do with Officiating

Posted on 11 October 2009 by Glenn Clark

The Bengals beat the Ravens 17-14 at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday.

Let me repeat, the BENGALS beat the Ravens 17-14 at M&T Bank Stadium.

I have checked the official game summary, and even double-checked with an NFL source; and all have confirmed that the OFFICIALS were not involved with the game’s final outcome.

Let me get this out of the way before I go any further; as I am sure a few of you will want to be quick to point it out. Jeff Triplette’s crew did not have a perfect day. In fact, the spot of the ball after the Mark Clayton “fumble” made me wonder what game they were watching.

However, the officials had NOTHING to do with the outcome of Sunday’s game.

There were many reasons why the Ravens lost the football game.

Reason Number 1: The Ravens were dominated statistically.

The Ravens gained 257 net yards; the Bengals 403. The Ravens rushed for 82 yards, the Bengals 142. The Ravens threw for 175 yards, the Bengals 261. The Ravens gained 5.3 yards per pass play, the Bengals gained 8.2.

I’ll stop there. Numbers-wise, this game should have been a blowout. The Ravens were particularly fortunate to have even kept it close. They never had any sort of offensive consistency, and they allowed Cincinnati to move the football for big chunks at costly times.

Reason Number 2: The Bengals Converted when it Counted.

The Ravens held the ball for 25:41, the Bengals 34:19. The Ravens converted 25% of their 3rd and 4th down attempts (3/12), the Bengals converted 42.8% (6/14). The Ravens had just one scoring drive and failed to attempt even a SINGLE field goal; the Bengals put together three different scoring drives.

On the Bengals’ final drive, Carson Palmer and company faced a crucial 4th and 1 from their own 34. A maligned Ravens secondary gave Palmer no where to throw the football, and yet he managed to convert, as the middle of the field gave him plenty of running room. Those are the types of plays where games can really be won and lost, as teams will not have many opportunities to get an opposing offense off the field. If you give a team extra chances, they tend to figure out ways to win.

Reason Number 3: Decisions made by the coaching staff were wrong because they didn’t work.

I have always preached the mentality that there is one way to determine if a coach made the right or wrong call. If it looks like the wrong call but it was effective-it was the right one. If it looks like the right call but it fails-it was wrong. While a team can’t coach execution, a game’s questionable decisions often come down to preparedness for the call, and comfort level with the call.

The call to throw a deep ball to Mark Clayton on 3rd and 10 from the 49 yard line with 2:28 to play LOOKED like the right call. The Ravens caught the Bengals napping, and Joe Flacco had Clayton wide open down the sidelines. Unfortunately, the ball sailed over Clayton’s head, and the Bengals were able to get the ball back without having to call another timeout. And while the play LOOKED like the right call, the fact that Flacco had never really gotten any rhythm today meant it was probably the WRONG call. The Ravens had success with short passing plays in space to Ray Rice. While the Bengals may have expected one in that situation, they also probably expected one on the previous drive on 2nd and 24. The play on the previous drive went for a 48 yard TD.

Reason Number 4: Carson Palmer did a HELL of a Tom Brady impression.

The Bengals’ final drive of the game didn’t look as “effortless” as drives by other NFL quarterbacks have looked, but it looked like he was about as comfortable as you could be asked from an opposing quarterback against the Ravens’ defense on the road down the stretch.

He never panicked. He never lost faith that his receivers would be in good position. He had early success, and go the Ravens’ defense frustrated-which lead to a boneheaded penalty on a certain future Hall of Fame LB. The Bengals never had to spike the ball, and they never had to rush to get a play off. They were comfortable knowing their quarterback would make plays, and their quarterback rewarded them for their trust. It was an impressive display.

Reason That You Won’t Find On My List: The Officials Let the Ravens Down.

There is an argument that Frank Walker didn’t deserve to be flagged for a pass interference on the final drive. There is an argument that Chad Ochocinco DID deserve to be flagged for a pass interference on the final drive. There is an argument that the Ravens didn’t appear to be so undisciplined that they should have been flagged for 37 more penalty yards than their opponents.

But there is certainly NO argument that these things cost the Ravens the football game.

Terrell Suggs said “we gotta play football” and referenced the plays that happened directly after questionable calls. He said that when things weren’t going their way, the Ravens “still could have won the game.” Frank Walker (who didn’t agree with the pass interference call) said “we’ve just got to start (being more) disciplined” and admitted that games are close because the team “let(s) them be close.” Trevor Pryce said “if you dominate, calls don’t matter.” John Harbaugh admitted that “the idea is to play so well that (questionable calls) become irrelevant…….we didn’t do that today.”

Ed Reed actually ADMITTED “It’s supposed to be a 50/50 equal playing field for both teams. At points…it just didn’t seem like it.” But he ALSO admitted “you’re got to play your game….not put it in anybody else’s hands.” He added “It’s not about them, it’s about us playing sound football.”

That was maybe the most important thing he said all day. “It’s not about them, it’s about us playing sound football.”

Or as Terrell Suggs followed up, “We better start playing some good football, and we better start doing it like RIGHT NOW before too many of these get away from us.”

The RAVENS need to improve their game.

Not the officials.

-G

————-

3:59-Leon Hall INT makes this one official. I predicted the Ravens to finish undefeated at home this season. I was wrong. This one makes the win over San Diego almost irrelevant.

Costly loss. Be back shortly.

3:57-Chris Carr was back there because whatever happens, you CANNOT afford a turnover. Ravens have MAYBE two plays to set up a field goal attempt.

3:54-REALLY not sure about that call. I think Frank Walker was trying to make a play on the ball.

AND WOW. WOW. Carson Palmer just finished an unreal drive. Wow.

3:53-Well……that was particularly fortunate. Credit the fans here for the noise, which I believe had something to do with that fumble.

3:52-Carson Palmer looks really good in a pressure situation.

3:51-Did Ray Lewis just lose his mind there? Everything about that just helped the Bengals; and he will almost certainly hear from the NFL office about that one.

3:49-The Bengals did the right thing there by calling two plays instead of spiking the ball. Worth taking a shot downfield; as they could have possibly come up with a pass interference if nothing else.

3:48-I actually liked Cincinnati’s 3rd down call. Make everyone think you’re throwing, then run the ball.

Ravens had their chance to get off the field and didn’t.

3:46-The Bengals have plenty of time AND still have two timeouts. The Ravens HAVE to make a stop. It’s all 4 down territory from here.

3:41-That catch HAD to feel good for Kelley Washington against his former team.

A Mark Clayton catch would have felt good for EVERYONE ELSE IN THE STADIUM.

I might need something to settle my stomach/start breathing again.

3:35-Feels like a WORLD of difference to be able to say that this team has the chance to put this one away……

3:28-What a HUGE run by Ray Rice there. Wow. Just, wow. It goes into the books as a receiving TD; but that was a RUN. BIG TIME STUFF.

3:24-Ray Rice ran like a MAN on that one. Ravens now in field goal range-which is relevant to discuss in a 3 point game. Hauschka could get the chance to make the first big kick of his career today.

3:23-Mark Clayton really needed a positive 2nd half today; and he’s done some really good things.

3:20-Great safety help by Dawan Landry on the 3rd down play. Also, where was the flag on the punt???

3:18-Apparently Carson Palmer hurt his wrist; as he is now wearing a glove. He looks like he’s uncomfortable even when he hands the ball off. The Bengals are playing like last year’s Ravens. Get ahead and then try to grind the game away.

Diagnosis on Palmer: sprained left thumb.

3:11-Down by 3, the Ravens will go to the 4th quarter facing a 2nd and 17.

Do you think there’s a chance someone changed the sign in the locker room to “Play Like an Oriole”?

3:06-That’s why the Ravens made the move to Webb for kickoffs. They needed the explosiveness.

3:01-I’ve actually been just as impressed by Ed Reed’s tackling as his other plays today.

WOW THAT HURTS. Antwan Barnes fails to wrap him up, and Cedric Benson will surpass 100 yards. Color me stunned.

9 plays, 84 yards, 6:19 and the Bengals will get a gift here after Trevor Pryce is called for an illegal formation. 10-7 Bengals.

What the hell is going on today? And are the fans at M&T Bank Stadium booing the Ravens?

The Ravens hadn’t allowed a 100 yard rusher in 39 games-Larry Johnson was the last back in 2006.

2:58-Another week until we get to the point where Samari Rolle might be able to return? The secondary could really use the help…..

2:56-I was getting ready to praise Greg Mattison’s defense for the effort they’ve given on 3rd down in the 2nd half. Good thing I didn’t.

2:54-I’m trying to get excited when the Ravens have the football, but I haven’t been able to thus far. Of course, nothing about this game has really gotten me excited to be honest.

2:47-Rosburg and company tried to get cute there; but there was nothing going. Not sure I liked the play call to be honest.

For the record-I have been looking for Derrick Mason up here, but have not found him.

2:46-Brian Leonard has been a really nice player for the Bengals. I know that play ended up 2-3 yards short; but he has REALLY made an impact for them.

2:45-That’s 3 delay of game calls on the Bengals, right?

2:42-Add Sam Koch to the list of the few Ravens who are playing at a very high level today. It’s a short list today.

2:22-Why would you NOT throw a Hail Mary here?

Spencer Folau says you don’t want to risk Flacco fumbling and the Bengals returning.

Guess John Harbaugh and company had a change of heart.

2:20-Thought they were doing EVERYTHING right on this drive until they called their final timeout. But they must not trust themselves to convert a 3rd and short.

That sack will just about end this.

2:18-Ed Reed is playing at his all-world level today; and thank God he is. Great play.

We’re all in agreement that Triplette just screwed that up; right?

2:13-Okay, can ANYONE explain to me why the ball was spotted at the 20 yard line on the fumble play? I know it didn’t end up meaning anything, but this is PUZZLING!

Nice return by Quan Cosby on a nice punt by Sam Koch.

2:06-Looking at the replay, I think it was a fumble. Marvin may get this overturned; but it wouldn’t be a TD. They can get possession; but they can’t get anything on a return. We’ll see.

2:04-McGahee had no chance on the 2nd down with Maualuga coming in like that. And after a great play to Heap, the Robert Geathers sack has the Ravens working backwards again.

2:01-Apparently Daniel Coats is no Ben “Winter” Coates; as that was a VERY bad drop.

Ed Reed is in the game here because this is a “safe” return unit. The Ravens are not trying to incorporate him as an explosive returner. Even a reporter screwed this up this week when talking to Jerry Rosburg.

2:00-I was informed that comments weren’t working on the blog; so I decided to pick up and move. Let me know how this works.

Hopefully the Bengals will STOP moving on the Ravens.

1:55-I can’t say I’ve agreed with Cam Cameron thus far. I know this team likes having the ball in Ray Rice’s hands; but that was questionable.

Sam Koch with the game’s first punt; almost halfway through the 2nd quarter.

1:51-7 plays, 70 yards, 2:06 on the FG drive for the Bengals.

The Bengals will get into the red zone today. The Ravens just have to keep them from getting out of it.

Lardarius Webb doesn’t do anything with the football on his first kick return chance. Chris Carr MIGHT have tried to bring that one out.

1:50-Seriously, Jarret Johnson has played at a Pro Bowl level this season. Not everyone else on the defense can say the same.

1:45-Some pressure; but not nearly enough. And Chris Henry made Domonique Foxworth look BAD there. That’s rough.

Ravens have to stop the Bengals in the red zone. They didn’t a week ago.

1:41-From my friend Justin Karp (a colleague of mine at KDUS-The Fan 1060 during my tenure in Phoenix):

“What a perfect throw by Carson. He hit Reed right in stride! That’s what I want out of a quarterback: accuracy.”

1:39-Sixth INT return for a TD in Ed Reed’s career. Every time he does it, he’s strengthening his case to make the Hall of Fame-which is relevant to discuss because Ed might not play as long as you think.

Hauschka’s XP makes it 7-0.

1:38-Just as I say it……

1:35-Just because Cedric Benson might not run for 100 yards today, it doesn’t mean Cincinnati failed in running the football. The Bengals just need him to run the ball enough to keep the Ravens honest. Then, they are plenty capable of moving the ball downfield through the air.

Two good tackles from Ed Reed early on. He hasn’t made an immediate impact on the football this season, but he’s been in position to make plays.

1:30-Carson Palmer has had TONS of time to throw the ball thus far. If Cedric Benson can keep getting decent gains; the Bengals’ offense will open up more. That’s scary.

Two early penalties on Terrell Suggs. That isn’t so good.

1:27-Maybe Todd Heap is the right guy to throw a jump ball to, but jump balls are supposed to be passes that ONLY your receiver can come down with. Jonathan Joseph made a nice play; but that ball should have been up higher.

1:23-For the record, credit Kelly Gregg with blocking Shayne Graham’s FG attempt.

Did Cam Cameron really just call an option with a forward shovel pass? Not a fan.

1:20-Okay, blocked field goal, Flacco to Todd Heap, Flacco scaring me to death by running-sorry I missed it.

Seriously; can Adam Jones or someone teach Flacco better sliding technique? Okay, maybe not anyone who plays for the Orioles.

What a block by Oher to free Le’Ron McClain up on the swing. This team can be even more dangerous with all backs going. And Ray Rice is apparently going too.

1:13-Do you think every time Haloti Ngata makes a play like that in the backfield he just hears “Cha-ching” knowing he has a paycheck coming?

1:11-As my friend Rich Dubroff (of the Carroll County Times) pointed out to me, teams don’t usually do a good job of taking timeouts to stop the momentum of a team who is driving. Of course, having Chad Ochoinco on the sidelines should also help slow momentum.

1:08-Great protection for Carson Palmer on 3rd down thus far. And the Bungles are 2-2 on 3rd down already.

1:06-The Pats beat the Ravens by extending drives on 3rd down (sure that had a lot to do with penalties) and by scoring in the red zone. The Bengals are 1-1 on 3rd and long early.

1:03-Andre Caldwell is a major X-factor today. We all know about the abilities of Chad Ochocinco, Chris Henry, and Laveranues Coles; but Caldwell is dangerous with the football, as you saw on the opening kickoff.

12:56-This stadium REALLY is more electric when the defense is introduced. I start to wonder how things would be different if Ray Lewis had ended up signing in Dallas or elsewhere.

12:49-Rachel Nichols is here. I know she’s got a bit of an Ice Princess vibe; but I’ve always had a thing for her. Should I tell her? Your vote counts.

12:47-As it remains Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ravens and Bengals players are again incorporating pink into their gear. Also, there are pink ribbons painted on the field; and the goal post stands are again pink.

12:41-The Ravens are 15-11 all-time against Cincy, including 10-4 at home (M&T Bank Stadium/PSINet Stadium/Memorial Stadium/I’m pretty sure it was just called Ravens Stadium for a minute too).

The Ravens have won the last two games in the series with last year’s sweep. You’ll remember the season opener with Joe Flacco running for a long TD; and you’ll remember Mark Clayton throwing for a TD in Cincinnati.

12:36-Did anyone catch the “Mayne Event” on ESPN this morning? What was Christine Taylor doing talking to Scott Van Pelt? I mean, BESIDES leaving me starting at the TV. We don’t have the sound on in the press box.

12:00-Ravens inactives:

QB John Beck (3rd QB)
RB Jalen Parmele
LB Prescott Burgess
OT Oniel Cousins
OT Jared Gaither
TE Tony Curtis
DT Kelly Talavou
LB/DE Paul Kruger

Michael Oher will start at LT; Marshal Yanda at RT. Tony Moll is the reserve OT; and may have to play a few snaps. Tavares Gooden is still listed as starter at JACK LB; despite rumors this week that Dannell Ellerbe or Jameel McClain would.

The Bengals waived CB Geoffrey Pope this week and signed LB Dan Skuta to active roster.

11:36-Bengals inactives:

QB Jordan Palmer (3rd QB)
DT Tank Johnson
OT Andre Smith
WR Jerome Simpson
TE Chase Coffman
S Tom Nelson
LB Rashad Jeanty
OT Scott Kooistra

DT Pat Sims will start for Tank Johnson. Evan Mathis is starting for Nate Livings at RG.

10:57-Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com and NBC Sports is reporting that Jared Gaither is OUT today. This is not surprising in the LEAST bit, considering Jared could not even MOVE his neck when we talked on Thursday. Michael Oher would start at LT, Marshal Yanda at RT. Either Tony Moll or Oniel Cousins would be active as a reserve OT.

10:38-Both teams will be playing with obvious heavy hearts today; due to the tragic events of the past week. Former Ravens LB Tony Fein (who was with the team in Training Camp) passed away Tuesday; with word coming that he apparently took his own life. On Friday we learned that Vikki Zimmer (wife of Bengals DC Mike Zimmer) had also passed away. I was just given the gameday schedule; and there is no video tribute or moment of silence scheduled; although I would imagine something will be done during the day to recognize the unfortunate events of the week.

10:09-Greetings from M&T Bank Stadium in Downtown Baltimore, where we are 3 hours away from kickoff; as the 3-1 Baltimore Ravens square off with the 3-1 Cincinnati Bengals for first place in the AFC North. The Ravens are coming off a tough 27-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Foxborough; while the Bengals are coming off a 23-20 win in Cleveland over the Browns that should have ended in a tie-at least according to Rob Ryan.

The Bengals are a wild, deflected Brandon Stokley touchdown (we all remember the play) away from being 4-0 this season; and have been vastly improved defensively to go along with their always high-powered offense. The Ravens have been vastly improved offensively to go along with their always dangerous defense. Having two very balanced teams has certainly made for an even more interesting division battle.

If anything as interesting as that Brandon Stokley TD happens again today; we have just the man in the booth to call it. Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker have the call for CBS; the game can be seen locally on WJZ 13. If you are NOT in the Baltimore area and your CBS station is showing another game-you may be able to hear today’s action on the Sports USA Radio Network-where Larry Kahn, Ross Tucker and Laura Okmin have the call.

Luke Jones will be chiming in with me via Twitter-make sure you are following us (@WNST); and we will be texting out the inactives shortly; so MAKE SURE you have signed up for the WNST text service.

-G

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Downplaying National Attention

Posted on 23 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

4:45-Injury report:

RAVENS-
OT Jared Gaither-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Illness
LB Jarret Johnson-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Shoulder
CB Fabian Washington-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Illness
DT Justin Bannan-LIMITED-Knee
TE LJ Smith-FULL-Hamstring
S Tom Zbikowski-FULL-Head (Concussion)

BROWNS-
OL Rex Hadnot-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Knee
RB Jamal Lewis-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Hamstring
OL Floyd Womack-DID NOT PARTICIPATE-Ankle
LB David Bowens-LIMITED-Knee
DL Shaun Rogers-LIMITED-Foot
RB James Davis-FULL-Shoulder
OL Alex Mack-FULL-Knee
WR Mohamed Massaquoi-FULL-Shoulder
RB Cedric Peerman-FULL-Thigh
DL Ahtyba Rubin-FULL-Toe
P Dave Zastudil-FULL-Right Knee

2:51-Tuesday is former Ravens LB O.J. Brigance’s 40th birthday. When asked about what O.J. means to this Ravens team, John Harbaugh said “OJ is the core….of the spirit of the football team.”

As I mentioned this morning in Crabs & Beer, please head to bcf.org to purchase tickets for Tuesday night’s “2 Rings for O.J.” event at M&T Bank Stadium. WNST is NOT affiliated with the event, but we are FULLY supportive of O.J.

2:49-OT Jared Gaither and LB Jarret Johnson were also absent from the part of practice open to the media. We will await further word when the injury report is released this afternoon.

2:32-Brady Quinn is meeting with the media right now. Here are some highlights:

-Quinn believes the “biggest” thing the Browns have to do moving forward is “correct (their) mistakes.”
-on how difficult the 2-0 Ravens will be: “this will be an uphill battle.”
-on how he’s played so far this season: “not the way I’ve liked to.”
-on whether a change in systems has affected how he’s played in ’09: “We’re not going to make any excuses” for our struggles
-on Browns: “We have a lot of confidence as a team in our ability. We know when we play well, we’re as good as anyone.”
-Quinn also believes the Ravens will try to force HIM to beat them, but the Browns cannot afford to abandon the run.

2:29-Coach Harbaugh and the guys on the offensive side of the ball all commented on the fact that that they’re sure they’ll see some similarities between Cleveland’s defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s scheme and that of their own former d-coordinator, Rex Ryan, his twin brother.  Sons of Buddy Ryan, who master-minded the “46″ defense of the Chicago Bears in the mid-1980′s, both Rob and Rex’s defenses heavily showcase the pass rush and multiple disguised formations used to confuse opposing QB’s at the line.  Joe Flacco added, “they’re gonna try to mix things up on 3rd down.”

1:55-Coach Harbaugh also noted he believes that between former Raven Dave Zastudil punting, 11-year veteran Phil Dawson place-kicking, and the electrifying Josh Cribbs returning punts and kicks, the Browns stack up favorably with any team in the league in terms of specialists.  Coming from a former long-time special steams coordinator in the league, that should really say something.  Special teams play helped Kansas City stay close until the 4th quarter against the Ravens in the opener… if Cleveland is to have any chance that late on Sunday, that trio will have likely played a large role.

1:40-In his post-morning practice meeting with the media Coach Harbaugh was somewhat candid when asked about the playing status of L.J. Smith and yesterday’s signing of free agent TE Tony Curtis.  He said it’s “no mystery” that Curtis was brought in for depth and insurance at the position and that it’s still in doubt whether or not Smith’s sore hamstring will be enable him to suit up Sunday against Cleveland.

1:31-I am joining Bob Haynie momentarily. Chris Bonetti (from the “Mobtown Sports Beat”) is here with me, and is going to jump on and throw up a thought or two. Also, head over to the Audio Vault at WNST.net right now to hear from:

Coach John Harbaugh
QB Joe Flacco
RB Ray Rice
WR Derrick Mason
WR Kelley Washington
TE Todd Heap
LB Ray Lewis
LB Jarret Johnson
CB Frank Walker

1:26-Quick notes from the part of practice open to the media:

S Tom Zbikowski (concussion) and TE LJ Smith (hamstring) were both practicing
CB Fabian Washington (concussion) was not seen during the part of practice open to the media
I also noticed Lardarius Webb was taking a few more punt return reps. That could just mean that Chris Carr took more after I left practice. But I thought I would pass it along.

12:57-I think what jumped out most about this morning’s podium and locker room session was the recognition players made about their status as the #1 team in power rankings released by national media outlets like ESPN and SI. What makes it interesting is how it appears as though John Harbaugh is trying to use it as a motivating ploy.

Both Todd Heap and Ray Lewis mentioned that the team had been made aware that they were ranked 20th in the (ESPN) poll at this time a season ago; but the team managed to go 11-5 and reach the AFC Championship Game. This means Harbaugh is both trying to downplay the significance of the ranking for the Ravens and ALSO convince his team that the Browns (power ranked 29th by ESPN) are much better than they are perceived to be.

Heap on how much the ranking means: “not much, especially at this point in the season.”
Heap on the Browns being ranked 29th: “We believe they’re a lot better than that.”
Mason on the ranking: “That’s the NFL, one week you’re winning and everyone loves you; (then) you’re losing and everyone hates you.”

I’m headed out to watch practice right now; I’ll be back with more shortly.

11:12-Brady Quinn is scheduled for a teleconference around 2:30 this afternoon; in the meantime we’re expected to hear from John Harbaugh and several Ravens players (Ray Lewis included). I’ll be back with more when we get out of the locker room.

10:55-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where the Ravens begin prep for their game with the Cleveland Browns Sunday. Eric Mangini is meeting with the Baltimore media right now, here are the highlights:

-on the ’96 season he spent with the Ravens: “I have a lot of great memories”; including meeting his wife, drafting Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis, and getting stuck in the Memorial Stadium elevator during the game against the Patriots. “Baltimore is a special place.”
-on Browns’ 0-2 start: mistakes are “very correctable” but margin for errors “is very very small” against teams like Baltimore
-on Ray Lewis: “He’s passionate…..has an incredible work ethic…..has great instincts……plays faster than he is… a natural leader from Day 1.”
-on Browns’ fine system: “I have no interest in taking players’ money.”
-on Ravens: “I think (they are) a balanced team… big plays come now from the offense and specials, not just the defense.”
-on Ed Reed: He can “ruin games in a heartbeat.”
-on DC Rob Ryan: He “is a creative guy”, “similar to Rex (Ryan)”, “great with the players.”

-G

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Terps shelled by Cal in opener, 52-13

Posted on 05 September 2009 by Luke Jones

The Maryland Terrapins traveled to Berkeley to face No. 12 Cal as 21-point underdogs, and they looked like it on Saturday night.

The Golden Bears crushed the Terps, 52-13, handing head coach Ralph Friedgen his worst opening-game loss at Maryland.  Kevin Riley threw four touchdown passes and Jahvid Best ran for 173 yards and two touchdowns, as Cal accumulated 542 yards of offense compared to only 303 for Maryland.

Terps quarterback Chris Turner was sacked seven times and could not ignite a Maryland offense that fell behind early in the first quarter.  Maryland’s lone touchdown came on a 39-yard rush from Da’Rel Scott in the third quarter.

The young Maryland offensive line failed to provide adequate protection, and new defensive coordinator Don Brown had no answers for Jeff Tedford’s explosive attack.

Maryland (0-1) will now return to College Park to take on James Madison in the home opener.

You can browse the ugly box score here.

1:16 a.m. – This one mercifully comes to an end as Cal crushes the Terrapins, 52-13.  I’ll be back with a brief wrap-up in a few minutes. What is there to really say about this one?

1:14 a.m. – Robinson and the offense picks up the first down, as Morgan Green runs for a four-yard gain.

Under a minute to go.

1:12 a.m. – The Terps take over on downs after Cal runs a dive on 4th-and-long.

Jamarr Robinson is now in the game at quarterback.  I figured we’d see him a little sooner, but it makes sense to give him some playing time.

1:07 a.m. – I’ll go on record right now and say California will be the best team the Terrapins play this season—by far.

While Maryland is not expected to be a factor in the ACC by any stretch of the imagination, it’s hard to envision any ACC opponent looking better than the Bears have tonight.

1:06 a.m. – The Terps go three-and-out.  6:51 to go.

The only positive from tonight’s game is that it’s almost over.

1:00 a.m. – Turner is 16/28 for 169 yards.  Friedgen talked about a desire to throw the ball down the field more often during summer practice, but it’s difficult to do it when the offensive line does not provide the time.  The Maryland quarterback has been sacked seven times.

Unless we see substantial improvement in the pass protection, Turner will have no choice but to stick with the short passing game.

12:55 a.m. – Quarterback Brock Mansion takes over for Riley.

Riley finishes the night 17/26 for 298 yards and four touchdowns.

12:52 a.m. – It’s obviously tough to pinpoint a specific area of concern after tonight’s embarrassing performance, but the play of the offensive line HAS to be a MAJOR concern.

With only two returning starters—Bruce Campbell and Phil Costa—the line was clearly a concern entering the season, and tonight will only make it worse.

The group has done a poor job protecting Chris Turner all night.

12:48 a.m. – Five touchdown drives of less than two minutes for the Bears.

At least the Maryland defense is being time efficient.

12:44 a.m. – Through three quarters, Cal has 172 yards on the ground.  The combination of Best and Vereen has been incredible.

Vereen takes the pass out of the backfield and gallops 15 yards for the touchdown.

52-13.  If you’re still watching this one, I hope you have a few adult beverages to dull the pain.

12:42 a.m. – We’ve reached the end of the third quarter, and the Terps trail 45-13.

Let’s just hope the Terps can get through the final quarter with no injuries.  Not much you can do but put this one behind you and get ready for James Madison next Saturday.

12:38 a.m. – Cal continues to throw the ball despite leading by 32 points with a minute to go in the third quarter.

The Golden Bears are driving again inside the Maryland 30, as Isi Sofele picks up eight yards on a gadget play.

The Maryland defense simply has no answer for Tedford’s offense.  Keep in mind, Cal is ranked No. 12 in the country and is expected to challenge USC for the Pac-10 title.  Clearly, Maryland has played very poorly in all phases of the game, but give the Bears some credit as well.

12:36 a.m. – Jeff Barker reports McCollough’s injury is a sprained ankle.  No word on his status for next week’s game against James Madison.

12:34 a.m. – Turner finally connects to Smith through the air for a 29-yard pickup.

Smith is supposed to be the big-play threat in the passing game, but if you can’t get him the ball until late in the third quarter, it doesn’t bode well for the passing game.

It almost reminds you of the team’s inability to get the ball to Heyward-Bey last season.

12:33 a.m. – The Terps get to Riley on third down, as Masengo Kabongo picks up the sack.  Definitely one of the best names in college football.

However, punter Bryan Anger pins the Terps inside their own 10.

12:32 a.m. – Riley hits Alex Lagemann for a 24-yard gain, as the Bears continue to pick on Anthony Wiseman.

The Cal quarterback has connected with eight different receivers tonight.

12:25 a.m. – Da’Rel Scott busts a 39-yarder to the end zone, giving Maryland its first touchdown of the night.  It’s good to see the all-conference back get going in the second half, but it’s a bit too late.

Cal 45, Maryland 13

12:24 a.m. – Turner hits Cannon for the first down.  Cannon is one of the very few bright spots tonight, as he’s made five catches.

Scott picks up 15 yards on first down.

12:22 a.m. – Don Brown has to be disappointed with the way his defense has played tonight, but what can you really say at this point?

The team has played poorly in all phases of the game so plenty of blame to go around.

Maryland trails 45-6 early in the second half.

12:20 a.m. – Kevin Riley with another first-down completion on third down.

On the next play, Riley hits Marvin Jones for a 42-yard score, beating Nolan Carroll.  He is absolutely CARVING UP the Maryland secondary.

Riley has now thrown for three touchdown passes and 236 yards.

12:14 a.m. – I’d like to wish WNST’s Glenn Clark a happy birthday, but I’m guessing he’s not in the mood to celebrate with the way this one is shaping up.

On 3rd-and-3, Turner’s pass is tipped at the line of scrimmage, but the Terps will obviously go for it.

On fourth down, Turner is sacked for the sixth time, as Mike Mohamed and Owusu combine for the sack.  The Maryland offensive line continues to have a terrible night.

12:12 a.m. – Torrey Smith returns the ensuing kickoff to the Maryland 40.

You’d like to see some positives in the second half, as the Terps would like to make this one respectable at this point.

Scott picks up a first down as his helmet goes flying.

12:08 a.m. – And there goes Jahvid Best again, taking it 40 yards inside the 15.  Riley throws a nice block to help spring him.

Unfortunately, the 21-point spread was looking quite conservative at this point.

Vereen scores on the 11-yard run.

Cal 38, Maryland 6 with 13:42 to go in the third quarter.

Ouch.

12:03 a.m. – Cal will receive to begin the second half.  Cal coach Jeff Tedford talked about this game being a revenge game for the Bears after last season, and they have played like it.

Vereen takes the kick all the way back to the 47-yard line.

12:02 a.m. – It’s been a difficult day on the local front as Navy and Towson fell earlier in the day, though the Midshipmen should not hang their heads after nearly knocking off the Buckeyes in Columbus, falling to Ohio State, 31-27.

In the ACC, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Duke, and NC State all dropped their opening games of the year this weekend while Georgia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina, and Clemson all won today.

At least we can take satisfaction with Virginia losing to William & Mary, 26-14.  Don’t laugh too hard at the Cavaliers, however, as the Terps must take on defending CAA champion James Madison next week in College Park.

11:46 p.m. – Quite a difference from last season when the Terps were the ones to jump all over the Bears early.

The running game has only picked up 33 yards, but it’s hard to establish the ground attack when you fall behind by 14 early in the game.

11:42 p.m. – Turner throws incomplete on fourth down, as Cal takes over on downs with 2 ticks on the clock.

Ralph does not look very happy, and why would he be?  A very disappointing effort.

Maryland trails 31-6 at the half in Berkeley.

Can anyone get Frank Reich on the phone?

11:41 p.m. – After Furstenburg drops what would have been a huge completion, Turner is sacked again.

Again, Maryland is simply not playing well enough to even make this one respectable.  Too many mistakes.

11:40 p.m. – Maryland has the ball in Cal territory and has a slim chance to get some points before the half.

The Terps take a timeout with 17 seconds to go.  While the ESPN2 crew is talking about a field goal try, you would like to see if Franklin can find a huge explosion in the playbook.

11:36 p.m. -Well, there’s not much to say at this point.

Nyan Boateng absolutely toasts Wiseman—who lost his footing—for the touchdown catch.  That’s not going to get it done.

Cal turning this into a blowout, and the Bears lead 31-6 with :25 to go.

11:36 p.m. – On 3rd-and-1, Riley hits Tucker on the out pattern for the first down with :38 to go.

The Terps CANNOT allow Cal to score before the half.

As I type this, however, Best picks up 18-yards on the screen pass.

11:32 p.m. – Meggett with the nice run and Galt makes a 12-yard catch to move the chains on consecutive plays.

But once again, Owusu gets to Turner for the sack.  Someone needs to block him.  On the next play, Jerrod Price sacks Turner as this offensive line is showing its inexperience.

So much for that drive as Turner keeps it on 3rd-and-30 and only gains four yards.  The Terps must punt, and Cal takes a timeout with 1:35 to play in the second quarter.

11:25 p.m. – On 3rd-and-9, Riley throws high, but Marvin Jones makes a leaping catch.  Once again, the defense cannot hold Cal on third down.

On first-and-goal, Jared Harrell whiffs trying to pick up the sack, and Riley finds Skylar Curran for the touchdown.

Not good.  Cal leads 24-6 with 3:42 to go in the first half.

11:23 p.m. – Jahvid Best is having a great night, but it’s never a good idea to leave your feet in traffic.  It wasn’t quite Kevin Barnes’ hit last season, but the Terps stuff him for a loss.

However, on 3rd-and-4, Riley gets it to Vereen for a 16-yard completion, moving the chains.

Another score by Cal would be a major blow as we approach the end of the half.

11:20 p.m. – McCollough is on crutches, so you’d assume he’s done for the night.  A big loss for the Terps’ secondary.

11:18 p.m. – The Terps try a little razzle-dazzle, giving the ball to Smith on the reverse, but the speedy receiver can only pick up four yards.

On 3rd-and-6, Turner cannot find anyone down field and compounds the problem by coughing up the football as the pocket collapses.  California ball and another crucial turnover for Maryland.

Ralph Friedgen is not going to be happy with that one, as Cal takes over at midfield.

The Terps simply are not playing well enough to win, regardless of how their talent matches up with Cal’s.  Too many mistakes.

11:15 p.m. – It’s good to see the Terps get the ball to Smith on the end around.  With Darrius Heyward-Bey in the NFL, Smith is the team’s biggest chance for a “home run threat.”

Ronnie Tyler with a beautiful 17-yard catch, giving the Terps another first down.

11:11 p.m. -Riley’s bullet to the end zone falls incomplete on third down, and Vince D’Amato hits the 31-yard field goal, putting the Bears up by a score of 17-6.

Adrian Moten getting the sack on first-and-goal killed the Bears’ momentum, and the Terps’ defense buckled down to hold Cal to three points.

11:08 p.m. – On 3rd-and-1, Maryland initially stuffed fullback Brian Holley, but the second effort gives him the first down.

Anthony Wiseman is called for pass interference as Verran Tucker makes the 39-yard reception.  Wiseman was in position but did a poor job playing the ball.

Vereen with a 14-yard catch gives the Golden Bears a 1st-and-goal situation—exactly what you didn’t want after cutting the early lead to eight points.

11:03 p.m. – Maryland is dominating the time of possession so far, holding the ball nearly 10 minutes longer than Cal.  This could pay dividends in the second half.

11:00 p.m. – On third down, right tackle Paul Pinegar is beaten badly, freeing up Devin Bishop to pressure Turner and force the incompletion.

Ferrara hooks the 42-yarder inside the right upright, and the freshman is 2-for-2.

Maryland now trails 14-6.

10:57 p.m. – Turner is sacked by Ernest Owusu on third down.  The Terps will go for it from the 34.

Lansford Watson makes the catch and keeps moving his feet, picking up the first down after it looked like he’d be stopped.  Great effort by the backup tight end.

No surprise that the Terps would go for it there considering the uncertainty at the kicker position.

10:54 p.m. – Scott ALMOST broke a long one before narrowly being tripped up by Cal’s Josh Hill on the outside.

At the end of the first quarter, Cal leads Maryland, 14-3, but the Terps are driving to start the second quarter.

10:53 p.m. – Franklin calls a quarterback draw on third down, and Turner picks up the first down.  The Terps are at the Cal 36 as we near the end of the first quarter.

If Maryland can get points on this drive, you have to be pleased considering how terribly this game started.

10:51 p.m. – Turner is not sharp in the early going, throwing behind his receivers and not looking comfortable in the passing game.

After an offside penalty on Cal gives the Terps a manageable 3rd-and-2, the Golden Bears will take a timeout.

10:48 p.m. – We saw the Terps use the no-huddle offense in the preseason, and it’s definitely a nice wrinkle to James Franklin’s offense.

However, false start penalties cannot happen if you’re going to use it.

10:48 p.m. – Cannon has made a couple of very nice grabs in the early stages, but the offense needs to throw the ball down the field.

A huge third-down catch by Scott gives Maryland a first down.

10:44 p.m. – On 3rd-and-12, Riley is pressured by Travis Ivey, forcing the incompletion.  This was the kind of series the Terps needed after finally getting on the board in their last drive.

After the Cal punt, Maryland will take over at the 18-yard line.  Maryland trails, 14-3, with 2:56 to play in the first.

10:43 p.m. – Someone finally tackled Best, as Jamari McCollough makes the tackle for a loss of two.  However, McCollough is shaken up on the play.

He got cut-blocked on the play but still managed to make the tackle.  Kenny Tate is in for McCollough.

10:42 p.m. – The Maryland defense needs to make a statement here, but Shane Vereen picks up seven yards on first down and picks up a first down on the following play.

You have to be impressed with Cal’s combination of Best and Vereen in the backfield.

10:39 p.m. – Turner throws a touchdown pass to Matt Furstenburg, but the play is called back by an ineligible man down field penalty (Cannon was covered up at the line of scrimmage).  The Terps are simply making too many mistakes.

Turner’s third-down pass is batted down at the line, and the Terps will have to settle for a field goal.

Ferrara hits the 26-yard attempt, but you have to be disappointed not to get seven points on that drive.

10:35 p.m. – After the offside penalty, Maryland has first-and-goal from the seven.  The Terps HAVE to score a touchdown after the big return.

Cory Jackson takes it to the four on first down, but Meggett is stuffed on second down.

Huge third down play here.

10:32 p.m. – Smith immediately tries to make up for the fumble by returning the kick 48 yards.

Turner completes passes to Adrian Cannon and Tommy Galt, moving the chains for the offense who badly needs to cash in on this drive.

10:28 p.m. – After a first-down completion to Marvin Jones, Best hurdles into the end zone for an apparent touchdown.

After the officials review the play, the touchdown stands.  Best has two touchdowns in less than six minutes.  You cannot fault the defense too much on that one, but it’s 14-0 already.

10:26 p.m. – Well, that wasn’t good.  Torrey Smith fumbles the ensuing kickoff, and the Bears have it.  If Maryland doesn’t come up with a big play here, it could get out of hand early.

Friedgen talked throughout the preseason about taking care of the football.

10:25 p.m. – Jahvid Best immediately puts Cal on the board with a 73-yard touchdown run.  I would say that’s a pretty good opening statement for a player with Heisman aspirations.

Wiseman appeared to have a chance to trip him up at the line of scrimmage but missed the tackle.

This is definitely not the kind of start Maryland needed being 21 point underdogs on the road.  The offense will need to respond immediately to keep the Cal crowd under control.

10:18 p.m. – Adrian Cannon picks up 8 yards on the first-down reception, but Scott fails to move the chains on second down.

A delay of game call makes it 3rd-and-6, another tough penalty that will hurt your chances on the road.

Turner’s first-down scramble is wiped out by a Bruce Campbell holding call.

Ronnie Tyler makes the third-down catch, but again, the Terps cannot get anything going.  Another Baltz punt.

10:13 p.m. – Best beat Terrell Skinner badly but luckily the pass falls incomplete.

Kevin Riley throws incomplete, and Cal goes three-and-out, a great start for Brown’s defense.

First punt return by Kenny Tate—not Wiseman—nets a positive return.

Slow start offensively, and we have a TV timeout.

10:09 p.m. – After being called for an illegal snap, the offense digs a 3rd-and-14 hole on the opening series.  Penalties on the road will kill you.

Turner picks up six on third down but is well short of a first down.

Travis Baltz boots it to the Cal 29 yard-line, and we’ll see the Maryland defense for the first time tonight.

10:06 p.m. – Maryland will receive to begin the game after Cal defers to the second half.  Torrey Smith returns to the 30, and the offense will have their first series of the 2009 season.

With Jordan Steffy no longer in the picture, Turner is the man.

10:03 p.m. – Though the Terps are 21-point dogs, remember they are 6-2 against Top 25 teams over the last two seasons.  Turner seems to rise to the occasion in the big games, and he will need to have a strong performance to give Maryland a chance in this one.

9:56 p.m. – New defensive coordinator Don Brown makes his Terrapin debut tonight, and the new 4-3 defense will be on display.  The unit gave the Maryland offense fits during summer practice, showing different looks and bringing the pressure.

Cal running back Jahvid Best will provide a challenge to the Terps defense, but he has to be glad he will not have to deal with Kevin Barnes this season.  If you need a refresher, here you go:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAJGmVY48rs&feature=fvw[/youtube]

9:53 p.m. – With the Terps having such an inexperienced offensive line (returning only two starters), expect them to establish the running game with All-ACC running back Da’Rel Scott and Davin Meggett.

Cal’s defense is one of the finest in the Pac-10.  The Maryland offensive line will need to contain defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Tyson Alualu and keep them away from quarterback Chris Turner.

9:49 p.m. – Punt returner Tony Logan is out with a shoulder injury and did not make the trip to Berkeley.  Anthony Wiseman will take his place and will feel the pressure to hold onto the ball in a hostile environment.

9:46 p.m. – The Golden Bears are 21-point favorites and return 17 starters from a year ago while the Terps return only 10 starters from 2008.

Cal is considered to be USC’s biggest threat in the Pac-10 race while Maryland has been picked to finish fifth or sixth in the Atlantic Division by most national pundits.

9:40 p.m. – We’re about 20 minutes away from kickoff as the Maryland Terrapins begin the 2009 season playing the Cal Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium.  The game gets underway at 10:00 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.  The Terps will be wearing their white jerseys and black pants for tonight’s game.

The Sun’s Jeff Barker reports freshman Nick Ferrara will be the kicker for tonight’s game.  The kicking job was one of the biggest question marks during summer practice with Ferrara battling sophomore Mike Barbour.  Barbour appeared to have won the job  before missing three field goals during the team’s second inter-squad scrimmage a couple weeks ago, opening the door for Ferrara to win the job.

Cal will have revenge on its mind after traveling to College Park last season and falling to the Terps, 35-27.  The Bears went on to have a 9-4 season, defeating Miami in the Emerald Bowl.

The Terps come off an 8-5 season (4-4 in conference play), finishing tied for third in the Atlantic Division of the ACC.  Maryland faded down the stretch, dropping their final two regular season games to Florida State and Boston College before beating Nevada in the Humanitarian Bowl.

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Fathers playing catch with sons

Posted on 13 August 2009 by dansoderberg

This is my first blog post.  Hopefully the first of many.  I will typically discuss baseball topics in this blog, but I will occasionally address life issues and other topics of interest.

It’s only Wednesday night and this week has already left me mentally exhausted.  My Wife is currently 12 days past due with our second child (first girl) and my Father had a triple bypass this morning.  Needless to say my brain is fried and my nerves are a bit frayed.

My Dad is recovering nicely, but he’s been on my mind a lot over the past 36 hours.  Many of the memories that came back to me were set in Memorial Stadium or Camden Yards.  I keep picturing the 2 of us walking into Camden Yards for the first time and the sense of awe that rushed over me.  We attended the exhibition game against the Mets before the 1992 Opening Day and the sight of that lush green grass with the Warehouse in the background is still vivid 17 years later.

In the years that have passed since that day the Orioles have spent most of those seasons in the AL East cellar.  The team that was once the soundtrack of Summer is now often nothing more than background noise.  The new memories that my Dad and I create are now most often centered around Ravens victories.

As I await the arrival of my daughter, cherish my little boy, and hope for the speedy recovery of my Father I look forward to creating new memories with the three of them.  The Orioles of my youth exist no more and life is simply too short to keep waiting for the team to matter.  In the meantime we’ll cheer on the Ravens and Terps, have a blast at Minor League ballgames, and hope that one day my children and I will have a memory of Camden Yards as vivid as the ones I have with my Father.

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Steve Hauschka Or Graham Gano Could End Up Being The “Loneliest Guy In Baltimore”

Posted on 11 August 2009 by Rex Snider

By reading the title of this blog, you’re probably thinking that I’ve suggested whoever loses the competition between Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano, as the Ravens kicker, will be the loneliest guy in town.

Not a chance.

In fact, the guy who gets a visit from the Turk could end up being in an enviable position, or at least a more comfortable spot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certain both kickers are trying mightily to be the CHOSEN ONE. It’s probably their sole respective purpose, in the near future.

Hey, it’s the lifeblood of a competitor.

But, be sure of this ….. the guy who wins the kicking competition will have some very BIG shoes to fill, even if Matt Stover only asks for a Size-9, when he orders new cleats. Ahh, Matt Stover – you remember him, right?

Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh and the remainder of the Ravens braintrust believed a change was needed as the team addressed its needs for the 2009 season, and beyond. Matt Stover was obviously not part of the plan.

I’ve never questioned the personnel strategies and decisions of Newsome, Harbaugh or anyone else with a “life tie” to professional football. These gentleman and their staff are dedicated to building a winning organization.

Their jobs and futures are dependant on it.

However, the prototypical Baltimore football fan is not as understanding, nor forgiving as me. As sure as the Hanover Street bridge is lined with chicken-necking crabbers, every summer day, rest assured “Joe Ravens Fan” does not see his opinion as anything lesser than Coach Harbaugh’s.

And, as soon as the new kicker misses his first 42 yard field goal – AND HE WILL – the supposed bar floor experts will bemoan the reality of someone other than Matt Stover kicking for the Ravens. Oh yeah, it’s coming.

Steve Hauschka or Graham Gano will be the Ravens kicker when the Kansas City Chiefs roll into town to celebrate the start of the NFL season. And, God help ‘em, because these fans won’t …..

We’re led to believe both guys are better suited than Matt Stover, when it comes to kicking duties. They have more range, which leads to longer field goal attempts and kickoffs. In fact, Hauschka covered these respective duties, in 2008.

While Stover was better than consistent from within 42 yards, a 4th down field position between the opponent’s 33 and 38 yard lines drew an uneasy and complicated situation for the Ravens coaching staff and faithful fans, alike. If the ball rested in this general area, 3 options existed …..

A) Give Stover a shot – while everyone holds their breath.
B) Give Hauschka a shot – while everyone holds their breath.
C) Punt

The typical fan hates to punt. And, I can imagine an offensive unit hates to punt, especially if they grind the ball nearly 50 yards and within plausible range of the uprights. And, it’s gotta be equally frustrating for EVERYONE to watch the respective opponent’s kicker knockin’ off 3-pointers, while the Ravens punt from the same spot.

Indeed, watching Jeff Reed, Phil Dawson, Rod Bironas and the kickers of other 2008 opponents kicking field goals from outside the 35 was frustrating, to say the least. Seeing these same teams covering the tasks of all field goals and kickoffs with one roster spot is an absolute disadvantage for the Ravens, as well, right?

Let’s be honest with each other, the Ravens needed to address their kicking situation. All 53 roster spots are coveted, crucial decisions. When a team carries a Matt Stover calibered kicker, the end result is an extra Offensive, Defensive or Special Teams player cannot suit up.

And, somewhere along the way, the decision to forgo a 48 yard field goal attempt will result in an eventual 2-point loss. Either way, eating two roster spots for overall kicking duties puts a team at a disadvantage.

However, there is one key factor to remember. It doesn’t equate into wins or overall success. But, this factor will greatly impact Steve Hauschka or Graham Gano.

The fans in this town LOVE MATT STOVER.

He is the last original Raven.

He lives here and calls Baltimore “home.”

He is an outstanding citizen and community activist.

Yep, the fans in this town really LOVE MATT STOVER.

So, when the winner of the Hauschka/Gano sweepstakes emerges and suits up in that season opener, he’ll have a lot of pressure on his shoulders ….. and foot. The Ravens will be certain to treat him with justifiable patience and in the best interest of molding a dependable NFL kicker.

But, the new kicker will miss. They all miss.

Any missed field goal attempts, on the HOME FIELD, will not be received warmly by the 68,915 Stover-loving maniacs. They might be understanding of a missed 50+ yarder. But, let anything less than 45 yards sail wide left or right, and the “boo birds” will come calling.

And, any subsequent misses will apply mounting fan pressure and criticism. It won’t be pretty.

If any failed field goal attempts figure into a close loss, even in an indirect way, Hauschka or Gano will hear about it. This includes the M&T seating bowl, message boards and the WNST airwaves ….. as well as every other sports talk station in town.

While professional athletes are “fair game” for criticism and hecklers, it can get overbearing. In Baltimore, I’m reminded of Kyle Boller and Glenn Davis. In a larger scope, the names of Kenny Rogers (New York), Scott Norwood (Buffalo) and Mitch Williams (Philadelphia) come to mind.

I hope the gentlemen vying for Matt Stover’s spot are ready for the fan ridicule and constant comparison to the predecessor, if their foot doesn’t measure as consistent as his. It can and will happen.

Perhaps, the blunt reality is BALTIMORE RAVENS football fans have been spoiled. That’s right, I said it. Since the NFL returned to this town, there has been little doubt about who would kick field goals. “In Matt, We Trust.”

Some Ravens fans are too young to remember how the faithful in this city handle a poor kicking resume’. I was 16 years old when the Colts relocated to Indianapolis. Yet, I can vividly recall fans disparaging Colts kickers in effigy, as they struggled with horrendous stats.

You want a prime example? Google “Tony Linhart.” Without searching out the respective numbers, I can tell you he failed ….. and failed a lot. He took a beating in the News American, The Sun and in every tavern and bar, in Anne Arundel County. I can only imagine his detractors, in Locust Point, Highlandtown and areas closer to Memorial Stadium.

Upon checking Tony Linhart’s stats, I found he converted 70% of field goal attempts, ONCE during his six years, in Baltimore. During this time, Linhart averaged slightly above a 50% conversion rate. Indeed, it was a difficult time for football fans in this town.

Matt Stover’s leg has proven to be a substantial lift to the accustomed success remembered by “Old School” Baltimore fans. And, trust me, they’re gonna remember just how good they’ve had it over the last 13 years.

Those who don’t really recall Baltimore’s football history will simply exert the frustration of a customer who enjoys the spoils of success. Some fans haven’t known a kicker other than Matt Stover. These same fans will not be very understanding of anything less than Stover’s overall impressive 85% conversion rate. That’s a far call from the days of Tony Linhart and Mike Wood, huh?

On September 12th, Steve Hauschka or Graham Gano will become the Baltimore Ravens kicker. This town hasn’t endured a “kicker dispute” in more than 30 years. But, if the new guy on the block fails to live up to the Stover-Standard, we just might see one.

The treatment Kyle Boller endured could end up looking like a mild case of hazing. Watch and see …..

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Some Worthless Observations On A Worthless Night For Baseball ….

Posted on 10 August 2009 by Rex Snider

I’m not about to double-talk or spew words out of both sides of my mouth. That’s right, no politics for me …..

I’ve been a staunch supporter of Andy MacPhail’s renovation project. I’m still a supporter. In fact, this is the easiest time to jump ship and join the masses of those who believe Baltimore will not host a baseball game, in Mid-October, before Barack Obama’s presidency ends.

With my optimism intact, tonight is hard to take. The Oakland A’s ??? Are you freakin’ kidding me ??? They’ve got the worst offensive attack in the game, and most of the team’s original power (Holliday, Giambi, Cabrera) has exited, since they last visited Baltimore, a couple months ago.

Yet, this watered-down version of the A’s is laying an ass-kickin’ on the Orioles. THANK GOD for thunderstorms, huh?

Let’s look at it this way …..

I could devote the remainder of this blog to my thoughts on how the Orioles played another lackluster game, but who really wants to read that? We all know it. Instead, I’m gonna mention a few things that came to mind while watching the game.

I hope you enjoy …..

• Is there anything worse than sitting in humid, blistering heat, while watching a horrible baseball game? The MASN broadcast showed plenty of fans, whose shirts were drenched in sweat. And, how about the little kids going shirtless? It reminded me of the Memorial Stadium decorum – one of the night’s lighter moments.

• It’s official, Aubrey Huff, Danys Baez and Melvin Mora have cleared waivers. All three players are free agents following the season (Mora has a buyout option), and contenders still don’t want ‘em.

• For some reason, Jason Jubb had a devout interest in personally observing tonite’s game between two very bad baseball teams. During the NASTY thunderstorm, he sent me a text message, wishing the formally-attired dude who held Snoop Dogg’s umbrella at Ravens Camp, last week, was nearby.

• Why would anyone go to an Orioles game during this series? I’ll bet the casual Orioles fan cannot name a single player in the A’s starting lineup.

• If I was the Orioles equipment manager, I’d bend the visor portion of every new hat before issuing them to players. I really HATE that stupid, flat look.

• Last week, Drew Forrester jokingly suggested the Orioles should hold a “reverse jerseys” night and wear the road grey uniform for a home game, against the Red Sox. Honestly, after attending Orioles games for 35 years, I can say I’ve never seen the grey roadies, in person. Yes, I would go to a game against the A’s, if they wore these uniforms.

• Speaking of GREY, someone needs to get Jim Palmer’s attention. No offense, but 63 year old men don’t have full heads of brown hair. It’s time to work in a little bit of grey.

• I watched Dave Trembley’s postgame news conference. I looked for something to exploit, as “worthless” for this blog. But, I didn’t have a problem with any of his answers. His team gave a worthless performance and there is no way of defending it.

• The announced attendance was 14,688 (30% full capacity), which must have included the 10,000 fans at Ravens Camp ANY DAY, last week. Do the Orioles really think we’re so STUPID ???

• I can think of worse things than an Orioles vs. A’s game. Doubt it? Perhaps, I’ll remind you, next January, when we’re cleaning ice off our windshields in the pre-dawn hours.

HAVE A GOOD NIGHT …..

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