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Chapter 4: Ravens always begins with Ray

Posted on 14 January 2018 by Nestor Aparicio

 

“”It’s simple: when God is for you, who can be against you?”

– Ray Lewis (February 2013)

 

 

 

 

CONFETTI. THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALWAYS been about for Ray Lewis. When researching anything related to football, winning the Super Bowl, or why he made it through 17 grueling seasons in the middle of the Baltimore Ravens defense, it all comes back to the sight of confetti.

Ray Lewis is obsessed with confetti.

The thought of standing once again amidst a storm of showering colors and happy teammates, while hoisting the glittery silver Lombardi Trophy one more time before riding off into the NFL sunset motivated one of the greatest linebackers of all time morning, noon, and night.

“I look at that face [against] the backdrop of the confetti,” Lewis said before Super Bowl XLVII of his old pictures from Tampa in 2001. “That’s the only thing that makes that face. I promised that I’d do everything in my power to see that confetti drop again.” And he never stopped telling his teammates about that image, about that feeling they would have when it happened for them.

You can’t tell the Ray Lewis story in one chapter. It’s worthy of a book all its own, and the story continues to be told and will be told for years to come as the Ravens try to replace an irreplaceable rock in their existence.

Ray Lewis came to Baltimore a fractured man child, whose best friend and University of Miami roommate Marlin Barnes was murdered just seven days before he was picked by Ozzie Newsome with the 26th pick of the 1996 NFL Draft. He was 20 years old. He leaves the Baltimore football field 17 years later as a living legend, a civic hero whose storybook journey has some sordid stories, bloodstains, pain, drama, redemption, passion as well as a pair of World Championships and parades. It is a story nothing short of a fairy tale with a storybook ending shared by his fans and the entire community on a cold day in February 2013.

Murders. Pain. Eternal search. Death. Championships. Women. Failure. Success. Leadership. God. Orange jumpsuit. Incarceration. Leadership. Charity. Football. Passion. Fire. Dominance. Hall of Fame. Mentoring. Winning. Losing. Crying. Parenting. Owning. Preaching. Praying. Dancing. Triumph. Lifting. Running.

The World According to Ray is not an easy story to tell…

He walked into the Ravens complex on his first day of work with a black and white jersey, reminiscent of the Mean Machine in the movie “The Longest Yard” – no logo, no markings, just like a Penn State warm up — to do pull-ups and asked “What’s the record?” Lionel Vital, then a Ravens scout, told him “Forty six.” Lewis took off his shirt, did 47 pull-ups and asked what the record was for the next exercise.

Less than four months later, wearing purple for the first time, he was clearly the best player on the field at Memorial Stadium on 33rd Street when the Ravens played against the Oakland Raiders in September 1996. You can measure his greatness by the stats, the games played, the two Super Bowl championships, and his first-ballot Hall of Fame induction that will no doubt fill Canton, Ohio with Ravens fans in August 2018. All of it would’ve been a story that Hollywood would never buy because it wouldn’t be believable, but to see Ray Lewis holding the Lombardi Trophy as his swan song in Baltimore was not only believable, but it was Ray’s final act of redemption on the field.

How rare and unique was it to see the greatest athlete in the history of his franchise, the greatest defensive player of his generation, end his career with the same team and do it winning a Super Bowl championship on the way out of Baltimore?

Even though he told head coach John Harbaugh months earlier that he was walking away from the NFL at year’s end, his teammates had no clue when he entered the Owings Mills facility on January 2, 2013 what was about to transpire. Ray Lewis was going to tell his team that he was done. Based on the reactions that day, they were as shocked as most of the media witnessing it

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Carlson Scores Twice as Holtby Blanks the Bolts

Posted on 23 December 2016 by Ed Frankovic

John Carlson scored twice in the first period and Braden Holtby stopped all 23 shots he faced as the Washington Capitals snapped a two game losing streak to defeat the depleted Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-0, at the Verizon Center on Friday night.

Let’s be honest, given all of the injuries the Bolts have, including starting goalie Ben Bishop, top goal scorer Steven Stamkos, top point earner Nikita Kucherov as well as Ryan Callahan and Ondrej Palat, it was going to be very difficult for Tampa to knock off the Caps. Add in the fact that Coach Jon Cooper’s crew played in Tampa on Thursday night and then had to fly to Washington in the wee hours of the night for the game and it was a recipe for a Capitals rout.

That pretty much was the case as Washington raced out to the lead just 55 seconds into the contest when Karl Alzner made a nice cross ice pass to Carlson at the offensive blue line. With Jay Beagle screening in front, the Carlson blast went off of Tampa goalie Andre Vasilevskiy’s glove and into the cage. It was a simple goal, but that type of shot and net presence is how you best beat NHL goalies these days.

The Capitals would dominate the first 10 minutes and the Bolts struggled to get a shot on goal, garnering just a total of two for the period. With 4:18 remaining in the opening frame, Nicklas Backstrom (two assists) made a strong play along the boards in the left wing corner and fed the puck to Marcus Johansson behind the Bolts cage. From there Jojo spotted Carlson all alone creeping in from the right point and #74 tattooed the pass past Vasilevskiy into the net to give Washington a two goal cushion.

That first period by the Caps was what they needed, although the Lightning did get two power plays, and Washington did a good job of making the hill very hard for Tampa to climb early in this one on Friday.

In the second period, the Capitals continued to throw pucks at the Bolts backup goalie, who had played well in the past two post seasons when called on, but they struggled to solve him further. Finally at 10:48, they connected when Dmitry Orlov made a strong defensive play in his own zone to steal the puck and then he flipped it over the Bolts D to an all alone Alex Ovechkin, who snuck on behind the Tampa D when Brett Connolly changed. The Gr8 skated in and when Vasiliveskiy went for the poke check, Ovi went to his backhand and beat the net minder like a rented mule to make it 3-0 and pretty much end this affair.

The Bolts lost forward Jonathan Drouin to injury along the way and their best defensemen, Victor Hedman, also missed time due to an ailment. It was a bad scene for Cooper’s crew, who has to be thrilled that they have reached the NHL’s three day Holiday break.

The Capitals ended the scoring in the final frame when Johansson came out of the box and Backstrom sent him in all alone on Vasilevskiy with a sweet cross ice pass. Jojo made no mistake about the shot for his 13th tally of the season to end the scoring. At that point, Cooper cried mercy and put in Kristers Gudlevskis in goal to get him some work.

Overall, this was a workmanlike victory for the Caps and the Holtbeast didn’t need to do a whole lot to earn a shutout. However, the way Braden has been bailing the Capitals out so much lately, including earning them a point in Filthy on Wednesday in a shootout loss to the Flyers and keeping them in the game with the Habs last Saturday in a 2-1 loss, he deserved an easy win.

Up front, Caps Coach Barry Trotz had to be pleased with the play of the Brett Connolly-Beagle-Tom Wilson line since they were on the ice to set up two of the goals (Carlson’s first and the Ovi breakaway) and the play of the Johansson-Backstrom-TJ Oshie unit, who were responsible for the two other goals. The third trio, Jakub Vrana-Lars Eller- Andre Burakovsky, that was so dominant in notching the only two goals in the terrible shootout loss in Philadelphia on Wednesday, was just okay on this night. They were a bit sloppy.

On the backend, all three defensive pairs played well and since the switch up of Orlov and Carlson in early December, both have drastically improved their respective games. It’s not surprising, given that you now have an offensive minded blue liner paired with a defensive minded one. The third pairing of Brooks Orpik and Taylor Chorney was good, as well.

The Capitals penalty kill continues to roll on and Tampa had the equivalent of John Blutarsky’s grade point average in terms of shots on goal with the man advantage, Zero Point Zero!

Now, in honor of Festivus, it’s time to air the grievances.

Let’s start with the Ovechkin-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams line. This group is just out of sync. Williams works his rear off, but #92, who pretty much was the reason the Caps lost in Philly on Wednesday due to his horrible defensive zone giveaways, is just making all kinds of wrong plays. That has led to long shifts in their own zone and Ovechkin’s uneven play hasn’t helped either. Like another famed Seinfeld episode, they have “low flow” right now and they are giving up too many good chances against because of poor decision making.

Finally, I’m not sure what game referees Kelly Sutherland and Ghislain Hebert were watching on Friday? Somehow, despite the fact that the Caps dominated possession and the overall play, the Bolts received three power plays to just two for Washington. It was ludicrous how many infractions those two missed on Tampa, including a blatant high stick on Orpik in the third period that led to Coach Trotz unloading with a mighty string of harsh words and likely expletives for Sutherland, who was clearly checking his unfinished shopping list throughout this one. It was a poor performance from the guys in stripes and they’re lucky that they weren’t victims to the feats of strength. The good news is the Caps played well enough that the clowns on ice didn’t matter.

At the end of the night, with 50 games to go, the Capitals did what they had to do, get two points. They are now 20-8-4 (44 points) and are six points behind the Metropolitan Division and NHL leading Columbus Blue Jackets, who have won 12 games in a row. On that note cue Bob and Doug Mckenzie’s Twelve Days of Christmas. Somebody get me a beer and a jelly donut…and take off you hosers!

Notes: the Caps scored all four of their goals at even strength…Carlson led the team in ice time with 23:50…Kuznetsov only played 13:40 and he was 3-8 on draws. He needs a “reset” so maybe this Christmas break will do that for him…the Caps won the faceoff battle, 31-28. Eller was 6-1…Orlov played 18:24 and was outstanding…Oshie turned 30 on Friday night. It’s too bad he didn’t get a contract extension for his birthday. He’s a tireless worker and there is no replacement for him in the entire organization. Sign the man!…Daniel Winnik, Zach Sanford, and Nate Schmidt were the scratches…next up for the Caps are the Islanders in Brooklyn on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm.

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Ira Kaufman: Bucs will go defense with ninth overall pick

Posted on 25 April 2016 by WNST Staff

Ira Kaufman covers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the Tampa Tribune, and the Bucs have undergone some major changes this offseason as they promoted Dirk Koetter to offensive coordinator, and hired former Ravens coach and Falcons head coach Mike Smith to be their defensive coordinator.

The Buccaneers also have a Top 10 pick in next week’s draft as they prepare to select ninth overall. Which side of the ball are the Bucs targeting, and who does Ira think they will ultimately select?

To hear Nestor’s full conversation with Ira Kaufman, listen here:

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If the Caps Stay the Course, They’ll Be Fine

Posted on 02 November 2014 by Ed Frankovic

The Capitals lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night, 4-3, their fourth loss in their last five games, to drop to 4-4-2 after 10 games.

If you go by the pulse on twitter from many Caps fans afterwards you’d think the sky is falling and the team is doomed.

I’ll admit this, I didn’t watch the Caps game in its entirety live, I had tickets to take my wife and kids to Frozen On Ice in Baltimore so I came home and watched the contest after the fact.

My first impression: how the heck did the Caps lose this one?

They out shot attempted the Bolts, 57-46, and more importantly, they had close to double the number of chances Tampa had.

Some of the pulse on twitter was to blame Braden Holtby.

Seriously? If not for some ten bell saves by #70 at crucial times, the Caps could’ve been down two pucks on several occasions.

Watching the four goals against closely, he was not the primary player at fault on ANY of them. The first goal was a defensive turnover that led to poor coverage. Note that noone is on Ryan Callahan as he deflects that shot home. On the second tally, the Caps blow coverage and the Tampa player has an empty net. The third goal was a deflection in front where the Caps defense fails to box out or at least tie up the stick of the Bolts forward. Finally, on the game winner, the Capitals cleanly lose a d-zone draw and the puck hits a Caps player on the way into the net.

That’s three deflections and an empty net goal. I counted at least six huge stops by Holtby in this game so blaming him is just wrong, in my book.

If there is anything to criticize, it is the Capitals inability to protect their own net well and they also have been prone to the deadly turnover in their own zone.

At the other end of the ice, Washington basically stormed the castle. If not for missed shots and some fortuitous saves by Ben Bishop, the Caps could’ve had AT LEAST six goals. They hit four posts in this one and missed the cage on some great open looks.

Bottom line is the Caps dominated this game and should’ve won. They lost because of bad PDO as ace analytics man Neil Greenberg would call it, or crummy puck luck, in layman’s terms.

This 2014-15 Capitals club is a way better puck possession team than those from the last several years, the statistics bear that out. Unfortunately they are struggling to finish their chances right now. But that should change and the number of critical turnovers will likely decrease. If there is something Coach Barry Trotz may want to rethink, it’s how the defense plays opposing forwards around their own net. The Capitals need to be stronger on the opponent there and not give them free reign to the cage for deflections or rebound chances. It’s harder to achieve in the modern NHL because of the rules, but it is doable.

Overall, they’ve been in every game but from a points standpoint are a .500 club. The schedule has been tough, Tampa has the most regulation or overtime wins in the conference and Detroit is rolling right now. The Caps carried the play against both of them this week, and lost.

Tough stretches happen and good teams work their way out of it and become great teams (see the 2000 Baltimore Ravens who went five weeks without a TD but ended up winning the Super Bowl). The Capitals have a lot of talent on their roster, some of it extremely young. But they have a super blue line and that is why you are seeing the strong puck possession numbers.

So to me, the key for Coach Trotz, Alex Ovechkin, and the rest of the team is to stay the course. Just because you lost four of five games don’t go crazy and make drastic changes. Keep the overall plan and make some minor tweaks.

If they do that and keep dominating possession, then the biscuit will start bouncing their way and the wins will come, in bunches.

I predicted this team would win the Metropolitan Division and I still believe in that, if they stick with the game plan and keep working hard to get better.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

We are 10 games in and this team has been right there in every tilt. That hasn’t been the case in the last few years.

It’s a long season and the best team in October rarely wins the Stanley Cup.

Patience everyone, patience!

Notes: The Caps are home against the Arizona Coyotes at 7 pm on Sunday night…Ovechkin had his first point in six games when Marcus Johansson buried the Gr8’s rebound in the first period…Washington was 1 for 2 on the power play and they killed off both Tampa man advantage situations.

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Orioles/Rays game Thursday cancelled due to rain

Posted on 06 March 2014 by WNST Staff

TODAY’S ORIOLES-RAYS GAME AT ED SMITH STADIUM CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN

                                                                                                                                     

Today’s Orioles-Rays game at Ed Smith Stadium has been cancelled due to rain. There will be no makeup date. Fans holding paid tickets for today’s game may exchange their tickets for any of the remaining Spring Training games at Ed Smith Stadium, subject to availability, or obtain a refund.

 

Additionally, today’s OriolesREACH Food Drive to benefit All Faiths Food Bank has been rescheduled for the Thursday, March 27 game at 7:05 p.m. vs. Tampa Bay.

 

On non-game days, tickets may be exchanged at the stadium box office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On the day of a game, beginning two hours prior to game time, tickets may be exchanged for that game only at the ticket windows. Fans who would like to exchange their tickets for a prime game will be required to pay the difference in cost.

 

To obtain a refund for paid tickets, fans should send the original game tickets via certified mail to:

 

Baltimore Orioles

March 6 Spring Training Rainout

Ed Smith Stadium

2700 12th Street

Sarasota, FL 34237

 

The refund check for the face value of the tickets will be mailed from Baltimore within six to eight weeks. Tickets must be postmarked no later than thirty (30) days after today’s date.

 

–orioles–

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Ovechkin’s 4 Goals Rallies Caps Past Bolts in Shootout

Posted on 10 December 2013 by Ed Frankovic

There is something about snow that tends to bring out the best in Alexander Ovechkin, so it’s no coincidence that one of his nicknames, besides the Gr8, is Snovechkin.

On Tuesday night, in a game the Capitals really had no business winning, Alex Snovechkin scored four goals, including the game tying tally with just 33 seconds left in regulation.

Washington would go on to win in the shootout, 6-5, and steal two points from a hard working and undermanned Tampa Bay Lightning club.

Ovechkin had the four markers and his center, Nicklas Backstrom, had a goal and four helpers for a five point night. Those two guys, along with rookie Philip Grubauer in net and some good fortune, are the reason the Caps scraped out two points after trailing 3-0 early on.

The Caps looked nothing like the team that manhandled the Rangers on Sunday at the Garden as the Lightning, without top players Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman, came out flying while several Capitals coasted through their early shifts. Most notable was defensemen Mike Green who had the worst period I’ve ever seen #52 play. He took four minors, a 10 minute misconduct, and badly misplayed the two on one break that gave the Lightning a 3-0 lead and chased starter Braden Holtby. #70 wasn’t that bad, but clearly Adam Oates wanted to wake his sleep walking team up, at that point.

The move eventually helped and Ovechkin would get yet another goal this season off of a face off in the opening frame to give the Caps some life. Then when the Bolts Richard Panik took a major for boarding Karl Alzner late in period two, the Gr8 scored twice on the power play to send this one tied, at 4-4, to the third period.

At that point one would think the Caps would take over and win this one against a depleted Tampa squad, but the Bolts are well coached by John Cooper and they carried much of the play. They grabbed the lead when Martin St. Louis, who is one of the smallest but also one of the best players in the NHL, set up Ondrej Palat in the slot at 8:36 of the final period. St. Louis is a Caps killer and he had three points in this game. His work ethic is amazing and several Capitals could learn a lot from watching him.

Work ethic was something that was not there for many Capitals in this tilt. Washington was too fancy and made many bad passes. Martin Erat had a hat trick of giveaways, one of which led to a goal. It should have been three for three if not for Grubauer’s great goaltending on the other two occassions. The Capitals forwards did a mostly lousy job of helping out their defense in this game and Oates will have plenty of video to show of their mistakes.

But the good news is this Capitals team is resilient. They don’t quit and they keep scrapping. It really helps to have skill and talent and Ovechkin and Backstrom took over to save the day on a night when many Washington players just didn’t bring their better performances to the rink.

On Tuesday the Caps did just enough to win, they should be thankful that snowstorms, even an over hyped one like the area had today, brings out the best in their captain.

It was the Alexander Ovechkin show on Tuesday. That’s now 26 goals in 29 games this season. To quote the Gr8, that is “Sick, Unbelievable…”

Notes: Eric Fehr, who is playing super and brought his game on Tuesday, Mikhail Grabovski, and Troy Brouwer all scored in the gimmick for the Caps…Grubauer got his 2nd NHL win in his 1st career NHL shootout…because the Caps were trailing the fourth line played sparingly and Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson played less than five minutes each…the Caps are now 17-12-2 (36 points)…John Carlson played an all worldly 34:48 in this one…the Caps won the face off battle, 36-22 and Backstrom was 15-7…Washington was 3 for 5 on the power play while Tampa went 2 for 5…Green was a lot better after his misconduct and had an assist. The referees were not the problem for him in the opening frame, it was his lack of skating and too much reliance on using his stick. Lazy hockey, plain and simple.

 

 

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 06 August 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: MLS-DC United @ Philadelphia Union (Saturday 8pm from Chester, PA live on NBC Sports Network); MLL: Charlotte Hounds @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on ESPN3.com); WNBA: Connecticut Sun @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 4pm from Verizon Center live on NBA TV/Monumental Network)

10. Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z (Thursday 7pm M&T Bank Stadium); Peter Frampton/B.B. King/Sonny Landreth (Thursday 7pm Pier Six Pavilion), Dark Star Orchestra/The Bridge (Saturday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion), Slightly Stoopid/Atmosphere (Sunday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Keith Urban (Thursday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), The Killers (Saturday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); American Idol Live (Friday 7:30pm Patriot Center); Matchbox Twenty/Goo Goo Dolls (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Under The Sun feat. Gin Blossoms/Sugar Ray/Smash Mouth/Vertical Horizon/Fastball (Tuesday 7pm Wolf Trap), Don McLean (Friday 8pm Wolf Trap); Matt and Kim (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Jason Isbell (Sunday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Todd Rundgren (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Angie Stone (Friday 8pm & 10:30pm Howard Theatre); Jimmy Eat World (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Star & Micey (Saturday 9:30pm Hill Country Barbecue); The Civil Wars “The Civil Wars” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I just found out I’m free Thursday night. So you know, if you have an extra ticket.

I should be ashamed of how much I enjoy Keith Urban. But since we already established I’m free Thursday night, I will also accept tickets to this.

I saw The Killers at Merriweather after Hot Fuss came out. They had three songs that had been on the radio at that point. The place was a mob scene and was whipped into a frenzy when they proclaimed they had soul.

There’s a new Civil Wars record out today. Act accordingly.

9. Havre de Grace Seafood Festival (Friday-Sunday Downtown Havre de Grace); Howard County Fair (Tuesday-Saturday Howard County Fairgrounds); The Gathering: Food Truck Rally (Friday 5pm Baltimore Museum of Industry); We’re The Millers (Wednesday) and “Elysium (Friday) out in theaters; Oblivion“, “Mud” and “Community Season 4” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

I’m sure their seafood festival is nice and all, but it’s not as good as The Clark Family’s annual seafood festival. No chance.

And reminder…the movie where Jennifer Anniston looks like this comes out this week.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Your Monday Reality Check: I told you I’d be excited and now I’m excited

Posted on 17 June 2013 by Glenn Clark

After the Orioles took two of three from the Detroit Tigers two weeks ago at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I could sense a particularly significant level of satisfaction in Baltimore.

Fans took to social media to make statements along the lines of “biggest series win of the year” and “proof the O’s are the best team in the American League” and many more.

It was a fun series and a nice series win against a potential playoff opponent. But on that Monday’s edition of “The Reality Check”, I ruffled a few feathers by suggesting I wasn’t as enthused as many others were. My reasoning was simple. It was a nice series victory, but whatever the Orioles do against the Tigers wasn’t nearly as important as what they do against AL East opponents.

As always, there was a minority who said “this is typical. Someone at WNST is trying to marginalize the Orioles.” The rest of us know how idiotic that group is, but are forced to accept their existence.

I made sure to fortify my statement a few days later when the Orioles were crushed by the Astros on a Wednesday night in Houston. Before we knew the Birds would go on to win the series Thursday afternoon, I made sure to clarify that I wasn’t concerned if the Orioles won the series or not. What the Orioles did against an AL West opponent simply couldn’t carry the significance of a series against AL East opponents.

I didn’t waiver on those opinions the following weekend, as a series loss to the Tampa Bay Rays (even if they avoided a sweep) lead to me offering critical comments this past Monday afternoon on “The Reality Check.”

I said then that the Birds couldn’t just beat teams elsewhere in baseball and assume they would be able to make a run in the postseason. Callers told me things like “the whole division is just going to beat each other up” but none had much of a response when I said back “in order for that to happen, the O’s have to beat up SOMEONE.”

So I made it clear on Monday’s show-“if the Orioles spank the Boston Red Sox this week there will be no negativity. There will be no downplaying. I might well throw a parade!”

It’s with that in mind that I ask you to collect some ticker tape and meet me on Pratt Street at 3:30 or so. But if I’m running a bit late, feel free to start without me.

Kidding aside, I’m absolutely THRILLED with the results of the Orioles’ series against the Sox this weekend at OPACY. The second base debacle aside, it was a very important weekend for the Birds-easily the most significant series they’ve claimed in 2013.

There are currently four teams in the American League who have records over .500 (the Orioles, Rays, first place Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees). There are only three others in the entire American League (the Tigers, Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers) who similarly find themselves with more wins than losses at the moment.

We’re far enough into the season to now that none of the four teams in the AL East is simply going to go away, no matter how many times we’ve tried to justify the potential in our own minds. The Yanks have done it despite injuries, the Rays have done it without David Price actually being David Price and the Red Sox have somehow managed to forget 2012 ever happened. For what it’s worth, the Toronto Blue Jays linger just four games under .500. But we won’t include them in the conversation until (and more likely “if”) they need to be.

All of these teams are going to be in this thing. The Orioles will not be guaranteed a postseason berth even by playing above .500 ball in the AL East. As some had wondered aloud before the season, there is a CHANCE all of these teams are finishing the season above .500. It’s far from a likelihood, but it is most certainly a possibility.

It’s with that in mind that I continue to tell everyone just how important it will be to win the games against the teams you’re competing against for the AL East crown and/or two Wild Card spots.

The Orioles play nearly half of their games (73) against division opponents. Coming into the four game set against the Sox, they had played 21 games against the three other teams above .500 in the division; holding a 10-11 record in those contests. A simple math lesson from Perry Hall High School’s Mr. Radcliffe will tell me that that record could have been anywhere from 14-11 to 10-15 after the weekend.

Follow up with Mr. Radcliffe about this, but I’m reasonably certainly 13-12 is a good bit better than 10-15…or even 12-13.

The Orioles didn’t wrap up their first division title since 1997 over the weekend. They most certainly didn’t guarantee they’d make a second consecutive trip to the postseason either.

What they did is take another significant step in that process with three gutty victories over the team sitting at the top of the standings.

That simply cannot be understated and I will not even remotely attempt to do that.

In fact, I’ve already got my “Chris Davis’ monkey” float parked outside the ballpark. It’s exactly what you think it is.

-G

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Bovada gives O’s, Yanks, Rays same odds to win World Series

Posted on 04 June 2013 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).

 

Odds to win the 2013 World Series         

Detroit Tigers                            13/2

Atlanta Braves                           8/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    8/1

Texas Rangers                          17/2

Cincinnati Reds                         12/1

San Francisco Giants                12/1

Washington Nationals               12/1

Boston Red Sox                       15/1

Baltimore Orioles                       18/1

New York Yankees                   18/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       18/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              20/1

Oakland Athletics                      22/1

Cleveland Indians                      25/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      25/1

Los Angeles Angels                  28/1

Colorado Rockies                     33/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                33/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     33/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   40/1

Chicago White Sox                    75/1

Kansas City Royals                   75/1

Minnesota Twins                        100/1

San Diego Padres                     100/1

New York Mets                          150/1

Seattle Mariners                        200/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    250/1

Chicago Cubs                           300/1

Houston Astros                         1000/1

Miami Marlins                            5000/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 AL Pennant          

Detroit Tigers                            3/1

Texas Rangers                          4/1

Boston Red Sox                       7/1

New York Yankees                    8/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       9/1

Baltimore Orioles                       10/1

Oakland Athletics                      10/1

Cleveland Indians                      12/1

Los Angeles Angels                  14/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     16/1

Chicago White Sox                    40/1

Kansas City Royals                   40/1

Minnesota Twins                        60/1

Seattle Mariners                        100/1

Houston Astros                         500/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 NL Pennant          

Atlanta Braves                           4/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    4/1

Cincinnati Reds                         5/1

San Francisco Giants                6/1

Washington Nationals                6/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              9/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      11/1

Colorado Rockies                     15/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                15/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   20/1

San Diego Padres                     50/1

New York Mets                          75/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    125/1

Chicago Cubs                           150/1

Miami Marlins                           1500/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 AL East   

Boston Red Sox                      2/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       11/4

Baltimore Orioles                       13/4

New York Yankees                    13/4

Toronto Blue Jays                     15/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 AL Central           

Detroit Tigers                            1/3

Cleveland Indians                      4/1

Chicago White Sox                    12/1

Kansas City Royals                   15/1

Minnesota Twins                        15/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 AL West  

Texas Rangers                          1/2

Oakland Athletics                      2/1

Los Angeles Angels                  7/1

Seattle Mariners                        50/1

Houston Astros                         300/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 NL East   

Atlanta Braves                           1/3

Washington Nationals                2/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   18/1

New York Mets                          50/1

Miami Marlins                            1000/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 NL Central           

Cincinnati Reds                         11/10

St. Louis Cardinals                    11/10

Pittsburgh Pirates                      9/2

Chicago Cubs                           66/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    100/1

 

Odds to Win the 2013 NL West  

San Francisco Giants                6/5

Arizona Diamondbacks              3/2

Colorado Rockies                     13/2

Los Angeles Dodgers                8/1

San Diego Padres                     15/1

 

Who will be the first manager to be fired?

Don Mattingly                7/4

Mike Scioscia               9/4

Ron Roenicke                5/1

John Gibbons               7/1

Eric Wedge                   7/1

Charlie Manuel               10/1

Terry Collins                  12/1

Ned Yost                      12/1

Bud Black                     15/1

Ron Gardenhire             15/1

Joe Girardi                    15/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 AL MVP   

Miguel Cabrera (DET)                            1/1

Chris Davis (BAL)                                  3/1

Mike Trout (LAA)                                   7/1

Clay Buchholz (BOS)                             10/1

Robinson Cano (NYY)                           10/1

Adam Jones (BAL)                                15/1

Prince Fielder (DET)                              25/1

Evan Longoria (TB)                                25/1

Joe Mauer (MIN)                                    25/1

Mike Napoli (BOS)                                 25/1

Adrian Beltre (TEX)                                33/1

Yu Darvish (TEX)                                   33/1

Albert Pujols (LAA)                                33/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 NL MVP   

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)                         5/1

Carlos Gonzalez (COL)                           6/1

Troy Tulowitzki (COL)                             6/1

Joey Votto (CIN)                                   7/1

Bryce Harper (WSH)                              10/1

Jean Segura (MIL)                                 10/1

Justin Upton (ATL)                                 10/1

Adrian Gonzalez (LAD)                           12/1

Andrew McCutchen (PIT)                        12/1

Buster Posey (SF)                                 14/1

Ryan Braun (MIL)                                   15/1

Domonic Brown (PHI)                            18/1

Carlos Gomez (MIL)                               18/1

Yadier Molina (STL)                               18/1

Carlos Beltran (STL)                               25/1

Dexter Fowler (COL)                              25/1

Carl Crawford (LAD)                              33/1

Starling Marte (PIT)                                33/1

Pablo Sandoval (SF)                             33/1

Shin-Soo Choo (CIN)                             33/1

David Wright (NYM)                               33/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 AL Cy Young        

Clay Buchholz (BOS)                             7/4

Yu Darvish (TEX)                                   4/1

Justin Masterson (CLE)                          7/1

Matt Moore (TB)                                    10/1

Justin Verlander (DET)                           10/1

Felix Hernandez (SEA)                           12/1

Hiwashi Iwakuma (SEA)                         12/1

Max Scherzer (DET)                               12/1

Jon Lester (BOS)                                   20/1

C.C. Sabathia (NYY)                              20/1

Anibal Sanchez (DET)                            20/1

Chris Sale (CWS)                                   20/1

Alex Cobb (TB)                                     25/1

Derek Holland (TEX)                              25/1

Mariano Rivera (NYY)                            25/1

Doug Fister (DET)                                 33/1

Hiroki Kuroda (NYY)                              33/1

Joe Nathan (TEX)                                  33/1

Ervin Santana (KC)                                50/1

Bud Norris (HOU)                                  100/1

R.A. Dickey (TOR)                                 250/1

 

Odds to win the 2013 NL Cy Young        

Clayton Kershaw (LAD)                          4/1

Patrick Corbin (ARI)                               5/1

Adam Wainwright (STL)                          5/1

Jordan Zimmerman (WAS)                     7/1

Shelby Miller (STL)                                15/2

Lance Lynn (STL)                                   9/1

Cliff Lee (PHI)                                       10/1

Matt Harvey (NYM)                                12/1

Mike Minor (ATL)                                   12/1

Madison Bumgarner (SF)                       15/1

Mat Latos (CIN)                                     18/1

Craig Kimbrel (ATL)                               20/1

Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD)                               20/1

Stephen Strasburg (WAS)                      20/1

A.J. Burnett (PIT)                                   33/1

Jaime Garcia (STL)                                33/1

Jason Grilli (PIT)                                    33/1

Tim Hudson (ATL)                                  50/1

Sergio Romo (SF)                                 100/1

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Caps Win on Green OT Tally After Losing 4 Goal Lead

Posted on 13 April 2013 by Ed Frankovic

The most important thing happened for the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. Mike Green lasered one in on the power play in overtime to give the Caps a 6-5 victory over Tampa Bay and now they lead the Southeast Division by four points over Winnipeg with just six games to go.

It was two much needed points but what looked to be a laugher in the second frame with Washington up 5-1, turned into a horror show as Tampa rallied to tie the game with three third period tallies. But Adam Oates’ team can breathe a big sigh of relief after this one thanks to Marcus Johansson drawing a key penatly in the extra session followed by Green’s game winner.

Speaking of Oates, he has a ton of video, good and bad, to show his club the next time they reconvene at Kettler IcePlex (either Sunday or Monday).

The good was the Caps offensive zone passing, which led to some very pretty goals over the first 26 minutes of this contest. Tampa isn’t exactly known for defense and goaltending but the Capitals were playing well and with confidence. Alexander Ovechkin pumped in his league leading 27th tally and also added an assist. Mathieu Perreault’s line scored twice on pretty passing plays in the middle frame with both Eric Fehr and Jason Chimera finishing via tap-ins. Even the fourth line got on the score sheet as Jay Beagle fed defensemen Jack Hillen for a goal while Aaron Volpatti did a super job of going to the net to create traffic. Troy Brouwer notched the first marker on the power play on a sweet feed from Mike Ribeiro.

However, the bad is what the team seemed to be focusing on after the game and that could turn out to be a positive. Washington’s defensive zone was horrible over the last 30 minutes and it primarily had to do with players not moving their feet. When you stop skating suddenly the other team is quicker to the puck and massive open ice appears for the opponent. The high slot was vacated by Washington defenders nearly the entire third period while the wingers were caught down low too often. This made it easy for the Bolts to get point shots with traffic. It was a recipe for disaster and Braden Holtby fortunately made some big saves late otherwise the Caps would have lost. This wasn’t really about X’s and O’s in the final frame, it was all about effort and the lack of skating. That’s easily correctable.

Two points are two points though, and this victory gives the Caps seven wins in a row. They are a hot hockey club and hopefully they don’t lose any confidence from the blown lead and realize this was an effort problem, not a lack of skill or system problem.

If they focus on the effort issue and maintain their confidence level, they’ll be all right going forward.

Notes: Volpatti went down injured after blocking a third period shot and didn’t return…Martin Erat played his first game since being injured last Saturday in Florida. #10 had 15:11 of ice time…the Caps won the faceoff battle 39-29 but were outshot 40-38 and the shot attempts were 67-57 for Tampa….the Caps power play went 2 for 5 while the Bolts were 0 for 2 with the man advantage…Washington held Steven Stamkos without a goal, he trails Ovechkin by one in the goal scoring race…Martin St. Louis, a Cap killer, had two goals for Tampa…the Capitals next five games are against Canadian teams (home vs TOR on Tuesday, then at OTT on Thur, and at MTL on Sat, before coming home to face WPG and OTT the following week). The last game of the year is home against the Bruins on Saturday, April 27th. Only Winnipeg isn’t in playoff position right now but they are playing well so this final stretch is going to be tough for Washington…congratulations to former Capitals assistant Coach Keith Allain on winning the NCAA Hockey Championship as the head coach at Yale.

 

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