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Twelve Ravens thoughts from 2018 NFL combine

Posted on 04 March 2018 by Luke Jones

With the 2018 NFL scouting combine winding down, I’ve offered a dozen Ravens thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Ozzie Newsome didn’t drop any bombshells speaking at his final combine as general manager, but he was accountable and expressed much urgency to get back to the playoffs and finally get it right at wide receiver. The latter would be a fine demon to exorcise to complete his brilliant run.

2. Newsome’s job title and responsibilities after 2018 remain unclear, but Steve Bisciotti telling him he wants his golf game to improve should ease concerns about his “significant” position potentially clashing with the transfer of power to Eric DeCosta. It needs to be the latter’s show to run.

3. Jeremy Maclin remains on the roster for now, but Newsome only saying that no decision has been made on his future should be pretty telling. The general manager’s desire to “change that room” wouldn’t seem to bode well for free agent Mike Wallace’s chances of returning either.

4. On the other hand, Newsome’s praise for the play and leadership of Brandon Carr leads you to believe he’ll remain on the roster. Jimmy Smith is apparently progressing well with his Achilles tendon rehabilitation, but there’s no way to know yet if he’ll be ready for Week 1.

5. Some balked at Newsome saying Breshad Perriman would be part of spring workouts, but this shouldn’t be a surprise with the lack of bodies at receiver and the organization’s desire to salvage any bit of value from a first-round pick. This hardly guarantees he’ll be part of the 2018 team.

6. Only preliminary talks have been held with the agent of C.J. Mosley about a contract extension beyond 2018, but that’s not a major surprise as it wasn’t until late April of 2015 that Jimmy Smith signed his deal, the last time Baltimore extended a first-round pick.

7. Newsome predictably praised the emergence of Alex Collins, but adding a running back to be a dangerous factor as a receiver out of the backfield should still be a goal this offseason. I don’t believe Danny Woodhead, Buck Allen, or Kenneth Dixon is that guy.

8. Maryland wide receiver DJ Moore made a statement to be in the conversation as a first-round pick with his strong showing in Indianapolis. His workout numbers mesh very well with his production for the Terps despite never benefiting from consistent quarterback play.

9. Penn State’s Mike Gesicki is another prospect the Ravens should covet. He isn’t a blocker, but he checks the boxes you want in a pass-catching tight end and was very impressive at the combine. Gesicki also caught 14 touchdowns and had almost 1,500 receiving yards over the last two seasons.

10. Re-signing Brent Urban to a cheap contract with incentives is fine, but injuries have plagued him throughout his football career. It would be unwise to give him any real money or envision him as a “Plan A” guy.

11. Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown, the son of the late former Ravens lineman, was impressive during his press conference, but his disastrous workout numbers will be difficult to overcome. Talk of him being a first-round pick became a distant memory in a matter of hours.

12. Newsome has never basked in the spotlight — Friday was the first time he’d answered questions at a press conference since last April — but he deserves the farewell recognition he’ll receive from peers, fans, and media over the next calendar year. Where would the Ravens have been without him?

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Fang Mitchell Goes For Win 400 As Coppin Visits Charlotte

Posted on 19 December 2011 by WNST Staff

Charlotte (6-2) vs. Coppin State (4-5)

Mon., Dec. 19 at Halton Arena (9,105); Charlotte, N.C.; 7:30 p.m.

The Game:

Charlotte (6-2) vs. Coppin State (4-5)

All-Time Series Record:  Charlotte leads 1-0

Lone meeting:  CHA W, 82-65 (1st rd 2005 BCA Invitational; Laramie, Wyoming; Nov. 13)

About Coppin State:

Coppin State has won 3 of its last 4

Coppin state is 4-0 at home; 0-5 on the road

Last game: Coppin State scored a 71-57 home win over Towson

The Eagles have lost to: Illinois, Purdue, Connecticut; Oklahoma and Loyola Maryland

Tony Gallo (27 pts vs. Towson) leads Coppin State with a 19.1 scoring average

he is shooting .366 from long range (30-82)

Coppin State hits 35% of its three-pointers and scores 42% of its points from distance

Coppin State averages just 11.3 turnovers

Opponents shoot 45% against Coppin State

Charlotte vs. COPPIN STATE  (1-0)        N:  1-0

Nov. 13, 2005          W      82-65           Laramie, Wyo.                                    HC: Lutz

MAJOR vs. MEAC  (2-0)        H2-0

Nov. 11, 2011          W      73-57           NC Central

Nov. 13, 2010 W                     90-81               SC State

THE HEADLINES

The Charlotte 49ers (6-2), winners of four straight, host Coppin State (4-5), Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the second of three straight home games.  Charlotte toppled Davidson, 84-61, to open the homestand and will host Miami (5-4, vs. Fla. Atlantic, Saturday), Thursday night.

The 49ers continue to be led by junior Chris Braswell (17.0 ppg; 8.6 rpg; .631 FG%).  Braswell, who was named to CollegeHoops.net A-10 all-November team, is among the league leaders in scoring, rebounding and field goal pct. and owns three double-doubles.  DeMario Mayfield (10.5 pts; 5.8 rpg) has a pair of double-doubles.

Four-Game Win Streak: The 49ers have won four straight, matching last year’s longest win streak.  Charlotte is shooting .476 during the four-game win streak, while holding opponents to .332 shooting.  The 49ers are led by Braswell (17.0 ppg; 8.5 rpg) and Mayfield (10.5 ppg; 5.8 rpg) during the streak.  Deuce Briscoe has pumped in 10.5 points during the last four games. Briscoe and Javarris Barnett have combined to hit 12-of-27 threes (.444) over the last 4 games.  Starting point guard Pierria Henry owns a 2.6 A-TO ratio over the last 4 games (13 a; 5 TO).  Each of the four opponents were held to 66 points or less and under 37% shooting from the field.

Execution: Charlotte has 117 assists and 192 made field goals, a .609 assist rate.   The 49ers had a season-high .741 rate  (20 assists; 27 FGM) at ECU.  Charlotte has shot over 50% in two of the four wins, including a .692 FG% in the 2nd half v. Davidson.

INSIDE BRASWELL’S NUMBERS: Look close inside Chris Braswell’s numbers:  He’s leading the team in scoring and rebounding — and shooting .631 in doing so.  He also tops the team with a .745 FT pct., while averaging 6.7 FTA/gm.  On the defensive end he has blocked a team-high 15 shots (His season-high is 21, last year).  In addition, he has played a key role in fouling out 8 of the 9 opponents that have been sent off against the 49ers this year (Davidson’s Jake Cohen, De’Mon Brooks; Radford’s Tolga Cerrah; Wright State’s AJ Pacher; Central Michigan’s Andre Coimbra, Zack Saylor, Olivier Mbaigoto; NCCU’s David Best).  Braswell has not fouled out.

LAST TIME OUT:

W, 84-61 vs. Davidson

49ers had .510 FG% (2nd time over .500 this year; .558 at Wright State)

Decisive second half:

49ers shot .692 from the field

49ers scored 54 points (most pt in a half under Major)

Chris Braswell 19 pts; 10 reb double-double (3rd year; 18th career)

Javarris Barnett 15 pts (5-6 3FG; hit 4 threes over 4:49 span that

pushed a 5-pt game to a 15-pt game)

Niners 7-0 vs. Davidson all-time at Halton Arena

2nd time that Charlotte had more assists (16) than turnovers (12)

12 turnovers are a season-low for the 49ers

Niners improved to 5-0 when scoring 70 or more points

A LOOK INSIDE THE STATS:

Charlotte has a +29 rebounding margin in its 6 wins; a -30 margin in its 2 losses (one of which (Lamar) came with Braswell sidelined with illness).

The 49ers have assists on 61% of its field goals (117 of 192)

Charlotte has held its last four opponents to 66 points or less and the last two (Radford, 49; Davidson 61) to the lowest point totals allowed this year.

Charlotte shot a season-high 69% in the second half vs. Davidson, scoring 54 second half points (most ever by the 49ers under Major)

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Towson Visits Coppin Wednesday Night on WNST

Posted on 13 December 2011 by WNST Staff

Tigers Travel To Cross-Town Rival Coppin State Wednesday

Towson has won four straight verse the Eagles

TOWSON, Md. – After a three-game homestand, Towson returns to the road Wednesday, but only for a short trip to cross-town rival Coppin State. The Tigers will be looking for their first win of the season as the Eagles welcome them for a 7:30 p.m. tip at the Physical Education Complex in Baltimore.

The game can be heard locally on WNST-AM 1570 with Spiro Morekas and Vince Angotti calling the action.

Towson (0-9) has won four straight verse Coppin State, including an 89-74 home victory over the Eagles a year ago. Senior Robert Nwankwo has been outstanding in five games away from the Towson Center this season, averaging a double-double with 14.8 points and 10.2 rebounds.

Coppin State (3-5) has played the nation’s toughest non-conference schedule thus far according to the Pomeroy Ratings. The Eagles have played road contests against Oklahoma, UConn, Purdue and Illinois.

The Eagles are led by senior Tony Gallo’s 18.1 points and 4.3 assists per game. The point guard has drilled 24 three-point field goals on the year, including four in Sunday’s loss to Illinois.

Towson leads the all-time series with Coppin State, 6-3, and both squads have won once in the two games played in Baltimore.

-TowsonTigers.com-

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Orioles select HS pitcher Dylan Bundy with 4th overall pick of MLB Draft

Posted on 06 June 2011 by WNST Staff

With many options available and the No. 4 pick ready to go, the Baltimore Orioles turned in a card with high school standout right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy of Owasso High School in Oklahoma.

A big, 6-1, hard-thrower, Bundy was considered the best high school talent in the MLB Draft.

Orioles director of amateur scouting Joe Jordan said, “We got the guy we wanted.”

He joins his brother Bobby, who pitches for Frederick in the Orioles organization.

Here are some fun videos:

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Here are 5 ways to improve the MLB draft ....

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Here are 5 ways to improve the MLB draft ….

Posted on 06 June 2011 by Rex Snider

Tonight, when the clock strikes 6pm, Major League Baseball’s Studio-42 will become abuzz with excitement as the first player selected in the 2011 edition of the amateur draft is announced.

And, for sporadic moments shortly thereafter, some emphasis of attention will re-focus to the MLB epicenter, in Secaucus, New Jersey, as subsequent “high profile” players are awarded to a collection of the worst teams in the game.

Sounds compelling, huh?

Perhaps, you can already assess the problem, or perceived problem of relevance, by simply recollecting what you’ve already read. Indeed, if we’re searching for a way to improve or publicize Major League Baseball’s version of ushering in tomorrow’s superstars, some of the clues can be found in the above text.

Where is Secaucus? It’s located just few miles outside Manhattan, between the Lincoln Tunnel and Meadowlands sports complex. But, don’t think you’ll ever be making a roadtrip to personally observe a draft unfold.

After all, Studio-42 has a measly capacity of 95. That’s right, under ideal circumstances, only 95 patrons, contest winners or special invitees would be able to attend the annual event. So much for fans making a pilgrimage, huh?

By the way, who are those “high profile” players I cited a few paragraphs ago? I know the names of the prime prospects atop the rankings, but I wouldn’t criticize your expertise for not knowing such personas.

Yet, from a public exposure perspective, the reality attached to the sport’s fanbase not knowing, nor really caring about the names of top amateur talents is a fundamental problem, when trying to solve the indifference fans feel toward the draft, or in remedying this non-event.

I understand the challenge and by all means, I concede Major League Baseball will never rival the coverage and celebrations regarding draft-day hype enjoyed by the NFL and NBA communities.

Gerrit Cole cannot claim the intramural stage dominated by Cam Newton, and the same applies to Anthony Rendon and Greg Odon. The same can be said about the nation’s best high school prospect, Dylan Bundy, as nobody outside Oklahoma knew his name just a few months ago.

We know the deal; NCAA football and basketball are much more popular than baseball, as part of the American sports scene. The game of baseball has a genuine appeal that is uniquely limited to the very highest talent, in the big leagues, or if we have a loved one playing at a lesser level.

That’s the truth.

To be blunt, I don’t know if Major League Baseball can transition its draft day festivities into a product most fans and insiders would wanna witness. But, I can think of five distinct ideas that would make the event more appealing.

You can find my five ideas on the next page …..

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (61-80)

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With Sports Illustrated releasing its list of all-time best NFL players by jersey number recently, we continue to look back at the 15-year history of the Baltimore Ravens to construct a list of the greatest players for Nos. 1-99.

Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 covered jersey numbers 1 through 60 if you missed them.

Part 4 (61-80) mostly looks at the trenches of the offensive line, with a few obvious choices and several where we need to look long and hard to find a representative.

61 Casey Rabach (2001-04)

Though in the shadow of Mike Flynn for three seasons before finally getting an opportunity to start at center in 2004, Rabach was a solid backup who has become one of the best centers in the NFC while playing for the Washington Redskins.

62 Mike Flynn (1997-2007)
Flynn

Flynn made 115 starts in his 11 seasons with the Ravens, most of them at center. He was the starting right guard on the Super Bowl XXXV team and moved to center after Jeff Mitchell’s departure for Carolina the following season. Undrafted from Maine, Flynn is one of the great underdog stories in franchise history.

63 Wally Williams (1996-98)

A versatile interior lineman who played center and both guard positions in his time with the Ravens, Williams became the team’s first franchise player in 1998 before departing for the New Orleans Saints in 1999.

64 Edwin Mulitalo (1999-06)
Mulitalo

In addition to coining the term “Festivus” for the playoffs in the Charm City, Mulitalo combined with tackle Jonathan Ogden to form an impenetrable left side of the offensive line in their eight seasons together.

65 Chris Chester (2006-present)
Chester

Though Chester came into the league undersized, he has made himself into an invaluable reserve with his ability to play all three interior positions on the offensive line. The former Oklahoma Sooner has made 33 starts in his career.

66 Ben Grubbs (2007-present)

1996 tackle Tony Jones and former guard Bennie Anderson both wore the same number, but Grubbs is the clear choice for No. 66. Though he has yet to make a Pro Bowl, Grubbs’ 44 career starts in three seasons puts him on the cusp of receiving the honor.

67 Quentin Neujahr (1996-97)

A backup for two years at center, Neujahr wins the honor, because there are no other candidates to consider.

68 Keydrick Vincent (2005-06)
Vincent

Largely considered a disappointment after coming to Baltimore from the Steelers, Vincent made 21 starts at right guard over two seasons and is the only legitimate player to have worn the number.

69 Jeff Blackshear (1996-99)

Though a forgotten name from the early years of the franchise, Blackshear made 60 starts at right guard in his four seasons with the Ravens and had a productive nine-year run in the NFL.

70 Harry Swayne (1999-2000)

The recently-departed long snapper Matt Katula can stake a legitimate claim to this number, but it is hard to overlook Swayne’s 13 starts during the Ravens’ championship season, even if he was past his prime by the time he came to Baltimore.

71 Jared Gaither (2007-present)
Gaither

Gaither’s work ethic has always been in doubt, but his raw size and talent makes him the obvious choice for the number. A fifth-round selection in the 2007 supplemental draft, Gaither has easily outplayed expectations, even if he has caused a few headaches on the Baltimore coaching staff.

72 Damion Cook (2002-04)

Fans would much rather have seen Leon Searcy as the choice here had he actually played a snap for the Ravens in 2001. As a result, Cook and his 13 games over three seasons earn the distinction.

73 Marshal Yanda (2007-present)

Despite suffering a devastating knee injury in 2008, Yanda has rebounded quickly to regain his right guard spot and is versatile enough to slide to right tackle in a pinch, where he started 12 games as a rookie in 2007.

74 Michael Oher (2009-present)
Oher

Already a celebrity before ever taking a snap in Baltimore, Oher amazingly had the ability to switch back and forth from right to left tackle as a rookie when filling in for the injured Gaither. He will now be in charge of protecting Joe Flacco’s “blind side” for many years to come.

75 Jonathan Ogden (1996-2007)

The indisputable choice for second-greatest Raven of all time behind linebacker Ray Lewis, Ogden anchored the left side of the Baltimore offensive line for 12 seasons and would have played longer if not for a toe injury. In addition to mauling defensive linemen every Sunday, Ogden also had an incredible amount of athleticism at 6-foot-9, 340 pounds, catching two touchdowns in his career.

76 Jarret Johnson (2003-present)
Johnson

Yes, Johnson is more commonly known for wearing No. 95, but he wore a different number his rookie season when he played 15 games and started once, good enough to grab the honor for this jersey number. A past-his-prime Erik Williams and defensive tackle Amon Gordon barely warrant a mention here.

77 Orlando Brown (1996-98, 2003-05)

Though his temper rivaled his massive size, “Zeus” was a powerful force on the right side of the offensive line in two different stints with the Ravens. His comeback from an injury that nearly left him blind in one eye—thanks to an errant penalty flag—is worth mentioning, and his career trumps reserve Ethan Brooks and only one season from current veteran center Matt Birk for the distinction at No. 77.

78 Adam Terry (2005-09)

Brown wore this number in the first two years of his second stint with the Ravens, but Terry did just enough in a disappointing career with the Ravens to grab the honor. Though he would never stabilize the right tackle position as the organization hoped, Terry proved to be a viable backup to Ogden at left tackle despite battling injuries throughout his time in Baltimore.

79 Larry Webster (1996-2001)

Right tackle Tony Pashos earns serious consideration here, but Webster was a key member of the defensive line rotation in his time with the Ravens. Though he faced multiple suspensions for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, Webster gets the nod over Pashos and Willie Anderson’s one-year stint in Baltimore.

80 Brandon Stokley (1999-2002)

He struggled to stay healthy and never realized his full potential until moving on to Indianapolis, but Stokley is famous for ending the 2000 team’s five-game touchdown drought with a touchdown catch in Cincinnati and catching the first score in the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV victory (see the 1:00 mark below).

Next up: We wrap up our list of the greatest Ravens by jersey number by looking at Nos. 81-99 and an impressive group of players in the history of the franchise.

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Who will the Ravens pick this weekend? Some clues here…

Posted on 24 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

You gotta love the NFL. The league hasn’t snapped the football in almost three months and the buzz is as strong for the draft as it is for Week 7 of the regular season. It never ends this love of American football. So much enthusiasm and energy and talk about the 26th pick on Saturday for the Ravens.

Amidst that, there are all sorts of stories and storylines:

What will happen with Anquan Boldin and are the Ravens really involved?

My gut AND my sources tell me that it’s not very likely. The notion that Ozzie Newsome would trade a No. 1 and a No. 3 and then have to back up a brink’s truck for Boldin is highly unlikely. Plus, the cap issues of taking on another superstar making a super premium salary seem daunting. If the Ravens had that kind of money, they should’ve kept Bart Scott, right?

Who are the players the Ravens really like and would select at No. 26?

It’s always a crapshoot on draft day when you pick so low. The Ravens were greatly affected by the Atlanta trade for Tony Gonzales yesterday because it’s clear that the Falcons won’t be taking tight end Brandon Pettigrew with pick No. 24. Every name that comes off the board in the first 25 spots – and every trade up or back, and we expect a few – will affect what’s left when the 26th pick hits the clock.

So, when people ask me today and all day tomorrow, “Who will the Ravens pick?” I tell them the same thing every year: “Even Ozzie Newsome has no idea who they’ll wind up getting with a pick so low.”

That said, I’ll take a low pick on draft day every year into perpetuity. The joy of a single-digit pick is far outweighed by the agony of dealing with 16 weeks of bad football during a 6-10 season. Let Cincinnati and Cleveland pick early every year from now until the end of time.

All of these weeks and months of mock drafts are just that: a mockery. One unexpected trade on draft day – and with lunatics like Al Davis, Mike Brown and Daniel Snyder running drafts there’s always somebody doing something – not to mention other legitimate trades for more picks or value, it’s more impossible to predict a mock draft correctly than filling out a perfect March Madness pool. I think you’d have a better chance of hitting the lotto tonight for $150 million.

And once one team or one player goes awry, the whole draft changes. Everyone tries to handicap it but it’s a futile effort.

But this much I know: The Ravens would LOVE to trade a few times over the weekend, which is all the more reason to be on our text service. They only have six picks. They’d rather have seven or eight.

Here are some names of guys — and some key positions of need for the Ravens — that you should keep an eye on over the weekend as the names come off the board:

Center – Alex Mack, California. The Ravens brought him into town and checked him out thoroughly. He’s a tough, smart “Raven” kinda guy. If they trade out of No. 26 to move backward (and I still think this is VERY likely because they really want more picks), Mack would be a early 2nd rounder that will help the team. The only question is whether he can help the team at guard because the team already has a two-year solution at center in Matt Birk.

Tight end – A “dream” scenario for the team would be if Brandon Pettigrew fell to them at No. 26. The Philadelphia Eagles at No. 21 would be the one team to tie them up but that’s looking less likely. Again, the Falcons deal yesterday to acquire Gonzales helps the Ravens if they indeed covet Pettigrew, who is a beast at 6-6 and could help the pass protection and provide a safety valve for Joe Flacco.

Wide receiver – While the whole universe seems to think the Ravens are desperate for a wide out, I’m not convinced they’ll take one in the first round. Perhaps they’d select Kenny Britt of Rutgers if he’s still on the board but I don’t think Hakeem Nicks will be their choice. I’ve been saying for two months that WR is not the team’s most acute need nor should they burn a first-round pick on the riskiest of all positions on draft day.

Defensive back – Vontae Davis and Darius Butler. You can never have too many cornerbacks. They’re like pitchers in baseball. If you don’t get one in the first round you’re probably not getting one you feel comfortable in calling a starter. It’s the toughest role this side of QB to fill in the NFL. Davis comes with some immaturity and a little bit of baggage, but he’s the closest thing to a poor man’s Chris McAlister in this draft.

Defensive line/LB – Rey Maualuga. He’s probably the only player in the No. 26 range that the Ravens would consider and this isn’t their greatest need. If they were to take a LB here it would tell you a lot about how highly rated this player would have to be on their overall board. Honestly, all of the USC linebackers look attractive and will almost certainly be gone by the time the Ravens get on the clock in the second round with pick No. 55.

Here’s my hope: Brandon Pettigrew

Here’s my “prediction”: Rey Maualuga

The real story of the Ravens’ drafts and their relative success since 1996 has been tied to what happens AFTER the first round. Between Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Phil Savage and their staffs, over the years the Ravens have become the best team in the league on the last weekend of April. It’s how Newsome and this department has survived so long in one place. It’s an absolute anomaly.

Think about it: What were the odds that in 1996 when Ozzie Newsome passed on Lawrence Phillips and selected Jon Ogden and then went on to take Ray Lewis instead of Leland McElroy at the No. 26 pick that he’d STILL be here in April 2009 making decisions for Baltimore’s football team?

Newsome is still here because he’s really, really great at evaluating talent. He’s got a gift. He’s not always right but he’s been right more than virtually anyone on the planet at doing this.

And most experts say this draft is NOT deep for starting talent beginning Sunday morning. For whatever reason, most scouts aren’t feeling great about finding the next Adalius Thomas or Jason Brown late in the day on Sunday.

It’s a great weekend to be a football fan. It’s a great weekend to be a draftnik. Or just a nerd, like me.

I’ll be bellied up to the bar at Padonia Station at 3 p.m. drinking $2 Michelob Ultras and watching the draft and sending texts to everyone on the text service.

We’re having a “Textathon” weekend because this is the one weekend when we know we’ll be sending you a lot of stuff.

We hope if you’re not on the service you consider joining. And, if you are, we hope you’ll forward our texts to your PSL, purple-loving friends so they know the news and know about WNST.net and our cool text service.

Thanks!

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Friday Morning's Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 27 March 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

Late night hoops.  Well, that was annoying wasn’t it?  The fact that the Missouri-Memphis and Villanova-Duke games both tipped off after 10pm Eastern Time is inexcusable.  I’ll be blatantly honest with a sentiment heard from everyone still awake close to 1am last night… I don’t care AT ALL if people on the west coast have to rush home from work to see the beginning of some of these games.  It’s way more important to have EVERYONE SEE THE ENDS OF THESE GAMES!  Simply put, CBS and the NCAA have screwed this up royally.  It’s especially frustrating that the games were yawners as well… which has probably made me even more ornery this morning.  Something needs to change.  This is my first year out of college as a “professional” – a term I use very loosely – and maybe that’s another reason why I’m more outraged than I’ve ever been about these late night tips.  But c’mon, how in the world does it makes sense that ‘Nova and Duke, schools in Philadelphia and North Carolina for those geographically impaired, are tipping if in Boston, Massachusetts later than games in Phoenix!  I could go on for days, I swear, but I won’t.  Instead, I’ll just resort to a good ol’ fallback of mine… posting pictures of Duke fans being miserable so we can all laugh at their misfortunes!

Friday Must See TV.  More “evening” basketball is slated for tonight, as the NCAA Tournament will be down to the Elite 8 by the end of the night… or I mean the end of the morning, or whatever… by 4am I guarantee we’ll know the final eight!  Action gets underway shortly after 7 with a Midwest Regional Semifinal pitting the Tourney’s #1 overall seed Louisville and the lowest remaining seed in the field, Arizona.  Then at 7:30ish in the South will be Syracuse-Oklahoma.  The night double-dip has Kansas-Michigan State and North Carolina and Gonzaga.  As for the picks, give me the Cards, Orange, Sparties, and Heels.

Scanning the Blogosphere

Camden Chat takes an in-depth look at the Orioles current roster and speculates who might be potential trade candidates and who might actually still be around in the future when they might win in a few years.

Big League Stew tells us the O’s aren’t the only amateur organization in the A.L. East who cares more about “service time” than winning.  This Super Two Status stuff really ticks me off; does anyone outside the front offices of the Rays and O’s think David Price and Matt Wieters aren’t major leaguers… RIGHT NOW!

Rumors and Rants:  If you had Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, San Diego State, and Baylor in your Final Four, you’re right!  The problem for Irish, Gael, Aztec, and Bear fans is that… it’s the NIT Final Four.

Faceoff Lacrosse Blog has three things to watch in the Loyola-Syracuse game tomorrow on the Evergreen Campus in North Baltimore and speculates about the Greyhounds goalie situation.

CMS Video of the Day

CBS has floated out an excerpt of their upcoming ’60 Minutes’ interview with Lebron James.  The spot was filmed at Lebron’s old high school, St. Vincent St. Mary, in Akron, Ohio and will air nationally Sunday evening after the Final Four is all set.

Anyways… the video.  Here’s LBJ nonchalantly flipping up an underhanded half-court shot on a whim, and of course, sinking it.  He’s ridiculous – that’s 75 FEET!

The Morning’s Final Thought

Via The Sporting News and Sports by Brooks, Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks is a pretty funny guy.

Now whether he’s intentionally funny or not… that’s questionable, but either way, funny nonetheless.

In a basic, very simple Q and A session with TSN, Jenks revealed these interesting tidbits… and no they are not Ray Bachman’s answers, they’re Jenks’.

“What I’m reading:  Read?  I don’t even read the newspaper.

Favorite Physical Attribute:  I have a nice butt.

What’s on my I-Pod:  Anything 80’s rock.”
Niiiice.

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Friday Morning's Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 20 March 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

Maryland marches on!  Gary Williams, Greivis Vasquez, and the rest of the Terps are headed to the 2nd Round of the NCAA tournament.  That’s an amazing statement considering where this team has come from this season to get to this point.  The entire season has been one giant thrill ride, with ups and downs around every turn.  Maryland never threatened to crack the top-25 after their home loss to Morgan State in the first week of January and now is 1 of the final 32 teams still competing for a national championship.  It really is an amazing credit to Gary and his guys, that every player on the team is maximizing their talent levels.  As Glenn would say, “Don’t worry, Gary gets it.”  If nothing else, this team has certainly quieted the critics!

OV’s stick is too hot!  In last night’s Caps’ 5-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Alexander Ovechkin became just the third player in NHL history to register 50 goals in 3 of his first 4 seasons in the league.  However, what seems to have gotten the most attention is what The Great 8 did to celebrate hitting the half century mark.  He laid his stick down on the ice and proceeded to fan it off with his hands as if the stick was on fire.  Mental images of track star Maurice Green taking a fire extinguisher to his running shoes after winning a 100 meter dash.  Personally, I didn’t think it was too much, I liked it.  I’m a casual 23-year old hockey fan and Ovechkin is by far my favorite player in the league… a sentiment shared by many of my friends.  Whether people like it or not, he’s got the best chance for making the NHL as mainstream as it possibly can be, and whether it’s premeditated goal celebrations or the flare he plays with every night… he’s electric and charismatic, and the MAN.

Scanning the Blogosphere

College Hoops.net continues their outstanding coverage of the NCAA Tournament.

Vent about Sports has a very accurate list of 10 things we learned from Day 1 of the NCAA Tournament.

Men’s Journal says Alexander Ovechkin is one of the ugliest athletes in professional sports.

CMS video of the Day

Last night Oklahoma Sooners dominated Morgan State by 28 and were led by soon-to-be named National Player of the Year, Blake Griffin’s 28 points and 13 rebounds.

Don’t worry though Morgan State and Ameer Ali took care of business… BY GIVING GRIFFIN A BODY-SLAM TO THE FLOOR!

Look for an Ali-Griffin rematch at Wrestlemania XXV… ooooohhhhhhh yeeeeeeah!

The Morning’s Final Thought

Manny being Manny … on the cricket pitch?!?!  That was a wicked googli!

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Monday Morning's Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 16 March 2009 by Chris Bonetti

The Swinging Bunt

Here it is the 2009 NCAA Tournament Bracket!  Selection Sunday, College Basketball’s most anxious day of the year, has now come and gone and two local schools will representing Baltimore in the Biog Dance.  Congrats to the students, alums, and fans of University of Maryland and Morgan State and especially to the players and Coach Williams and Coach Bozeman.  If your such a fan of local college hoops the people over on the selection committee set up a convenient potential road-trip… both Maryland and Morgan will play in Kansas City on Thursday.  The Terps will tip against Cal at 2:55 in the afternoon with the Bears closing the night session against Oklahoma getting underway at 9:40, both times being Eastern Standard of course; it’s my favorite time zone.

The Gus Johnson Watch is officially ON!  The most underrated part of the NCAA Tournament is, none other than… my boy, Gus Johnson.  He could make any game feel and sound like the most exciting one you’ve ever heard in your entire life.  Unfortunately, CBS is shipping Gus out to Minneapolis with Len Elmore, his esteemed color analyst tag-team partner and former Terp legend.  I’m not sure where his gem will come from, but in case you’re wondering the match-ups they’ll be calling are West Virginia-Dayton, Kansas-North Dakota St., Boston College-USC, and Michigan St.-Robert Morris.  My money is on a potentially dramatic 2nd round West Virginia-Kansas game.

Really, Cal?  The University of California at Berkeley is a worldwide leader as an institution of higher learning and let’s just say has always been a safe haven for ‘alternative’ views.  Remember those annoying ‘tree-sitters’ outside of the football stadium?  Well they’ve been forced to get down, perhaps to go to their classes, like ‘Arguing with Judge Judy: Popular Logic on Judge TV Shows’, or ‘The Strategy of StarCraft.’ The west coast, man… far out!

Scanning the Blogosphere

The Baltimore Sports Report has an article on Scott Boras’ role as an agent in the development of Matt Wieters.

The Loss Column has notes from Fort Lauderdale on Jim Johnson, the rotation, and Roberts leaving for the WBC.

Awful announcing has the NCAA Tournament Announcers’ Schedule.  The Opening Round games in Kansas City will be called by Tim Brando and Mike Gminski, definitely not a bad listen for Maryland and Morgan State fans.

Golf.com has a round-table discussion featuring the topic of Tiger vs. Phil, as ‘the tradition unlike any other’ approaches.

Tirico Suave has video of Bill Belichek and Charlie Weis singing with Bon Jovi on-stage at a charity event, and of the hysterical Jimmy Rollins commercial for Dick’s Sporting Goods.

College Hoops.net… Cheerleader + Bracketology = Cheerleaderology… enough said.

CMS Video of the Day

When I came across this link I realized it was such a slam-dunk to be today’s feature.

Here’s a collection of 11 classic CBS ‘One Shining Moment’ videos as compiled by Cuzoogle… including the Maryland highlight package from ’02, their national title year.

The Morning’s Final Thought

Perhaps the most ridiculous comment I’ve read in a long, long time…

This nugget from Bugs & Cranks and Julian Tavarez about why he signed with the Washington Nationals to try to compete for one last roster spot in the twilight of his career:

“Why did I sign with the Nationals? When you go to a club at four in the morning, and you’re just waiting, waiting, a 600-pounder looks like J. Lo. And to me this is Jennifer Lopez right here. It’s four in the morning. Too much to drink. So, Nationals: Jennifer Lopez to me.”

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