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Live from Camden Yards: J.J. Hardy returns to lineup as O’s begin four game set against White Sox

Posted on 08 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis

BALTIMORE – The Orioles open up a four game set against the Chicago White Sox on Monday as Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound against John Danks.

The good news for the Birds, and they sure needed a bit of positive news, is that J.J. Hardy is back in the lineup batting leadoff and playing shortstop. Hardy arrived at the ballpark and declared himself good to go for Monday’s game.

“I went outside and tested it, doing all the things that hurt me in Kansas City, and it felt fine,” Hardy said.

Hardy is looking forward to rebounding from what many consider to be one of his worst stretches as an Oriole.

“It was a rough road-trip depending on how you look at it,” Hardy said. “I know I only got eight hits but they were good hits. Something I already forgot about, thanks for reminding me, but I feel like it will be good to get back in there. Glad it was only three days.”

The O’s other main injury concern, Chris Davis, was in good spirits today as he seems eager to get back on the field and show the O’s brass what he can do. While not in the lineup on Monday, it seems likely that Davis will return by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.

“I feel good today,” Davis said. “I feel like I could have played today. I’m going to take BP and I’m going to hit in the cage. I think they’re just being cautious, like I said yesterday. I haven’t done anything in the last couple of days so I’ll do some stuff today and see how I’m going to feel, see if I’m going to be sore. I’m going to go take some BP and try to hit some balls on Eutaw Street, so it will be fun.”

Davis was asked if he tried to coax his way into the lineup for the series opener.

“I’ve tried,” Davis said. “I literally actually put my name in the lineup before anyone else did, and when I came back it said I was pitching so I moved it back out of the lineup. I would love to pitch, but I just don’t want to subject these guys to that.”

Izturis update

Cesar Izturis left Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Buck Showalter said that Izturis felt worse Monday than he did on Sunday, adding that it “doesn’t sound good right now.”

From hearing Buck, I think another DL stint for Izturis is highly likely.

Jo-Jo a go

Buck Showalter confirmed Monday that Jo-Jo Reyes will start Tuesday’s game. Showalter made it a point to stress how important it was for Reyes to take advantage of this opportunity, implying that Zach Britton will be back soon which could put Reyes’ brief rotation spot in jeopardy if he fails to pitch well for the Birds.

Speaking of Zach Britton, Showalter confirmed with reporters that with his stint in the minors, his abbreviated outings against the Yankees and Red Sox, and now his DL stint, there is now no need to think about shutting Britton down early in an attempt to limit his innings. At this point, when Britton returns, he’ll be back for good, assuming good health and performance.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Baltimore

SS: Hardy
RF: Markakis
CF: Jones
DH: Guerrero
1B: Reynolds
LF: Reimold
C: Wieters
2B: Andino
3B: Bell

SP: Guthrie

Chicago

LF: Pierre
SS: Ramirez
DH: Konerko
RF: Quentin
C: Pierzynski
LF: Rios
1B: Dunn
2B: Beckham
3B: Morel

SP: Danks

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Indians April 15th- April 17th

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Orioles Series Preview: Away vs. Indians April 15th- April 17th

Posted on 15 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

The Baltimore Orioles (6-5) travel to the ‘The Forest City’ and face the Cleveland Indians (8-4) Friday for a 3-game weekend series.

After a disappointing loss to the Bronx Bombers in extra innings Thursday night, the Orioles have to re-group and focus on the next opponent. This should be a test for the Birds and Buck Showalter to see how they rebound from a crushing 2-game set in New York.  

Welcome to the AL East.

Now the Birds will be challenged day-in and day-out for the rest of April taking on the red-hot Cleveland team this weekend and up-coming series-sets at home against the Twins, Yankees, Red Sox and away versus the White Sox to round out the month.

On the other hand, Manny Acta’s ball club has shocked the league so far by jumping out to an early lead in the AL Central, already compiling a 7-game win streak. The Tribe are led by the arms of Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA), Mitch Talbot (1-0, 1.46 ERA), & Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.63 ERA), all of whom are scheduled to start against the O’s this weekend.

Due to the unconvenient weather during the O’s and Yankee’s series, decisions have been made to include the first ‘WNST Weather Predictor’. This will give fans, who live in Cleveland or plan on traveling there to dress accordingly.

Friday: Partly Cloudy- High 59, Low 48 – Chance of Cesar Izturis hitting a HR 30%.

Saturday: Rain/Thunder/Wind- High 55, Low 41 – Moderately to heavy K’s for Jeremy Guthrie.

Sunday: Partly Cloudy- High 54, Low 45 – Sunshine breaking through in the afternoon cause Buck Showalter called for it.


(6 -5 )                                                                                  (8 – 4)

 

Friday, April 15th 7:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Zach Britton (2-0, 0.66 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (2-0, 1.35 ERA)

 

Saturday, April 16th 1:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Jeremy Guthrie (1-1, 0.64 ERA) vs. Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.63 ERA)

 

Sunday, April 17th 1:05pm EST

Orioles @ Indians- Progressive Field

Brad Bergesen (0-1, 3.18 ERA) vs. Mitch Talbot (1-0, 1.46 ERA)

 

 

Baltimore Orioles Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Brian Roberts- 2B

.213 AVG / 1 2B / 3 HR / 10 RBIs

2. Nick Markakis- RF

.268 AVG / 2 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

3. Derrek Lee- 1B

.195 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 2 RBIs

4. Vladimir Guerrero- DH

.283 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

5. Luke Scott- LF

.211 AVG / 2 2B / 0 HR / 0 RBIs

6. Adam Jones- CF

.195 AVG / 0 2B / 2 HR / 5 RBIs

7. Mark Reynolds- 3B

.250 AVG / 5 2B / 1 HR / 9 RBIs

8. Matt Wieters- C

.212 AVG / 2 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

9. Cesar Izturis- SS

.300 AVG / 0 2B / 0 HR / 1 RBIs
 

Cleveland Indians Projected Lineup and 2011 STATS

1. Michael Brantley- CF

.311 AVG / 4 2B / 0 HR / 6 RBIs

2. Asdrubal Cabrera- SS

.286 AVG / 2 2B / 4 HR / 10 RBIs

3. Shin-Soo Choo- RF

.200 AVG / 0 2B / 1 HR / 4 RBIs

4. Carlos Santana- C

.205 AVG / 0 2B / 1 HR / 6 RBIs

5. Travis Hafner- DH

.282 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

6. Orlando Cabrera- 2B

.295 AVG / 1 2B / 1 HR / 7 RBIs

7. Travis Buck- LF

.136 AVG / 2 2B / 0 HR / 0 RBIs

8. Matt LaPorta- 1B

.189 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

9. Jack Hannahan- 3B

.235 AVG / 1 2B / 2 HR / 6 RBIs

 

 

 

 

 



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Let Me Be The One To Say It-Orioles Better With Guerrero, But We Might Be Getting Carried Away

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Let Me Be The One To Say It-Orioles Better With Guerrero, But We Might Be Getting Carried Away

Posted on 07 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

I was sitting at Love Field Airport in Dallas when I got the news.

Like so many stories in these past 18 months, I got the news from Twitter. Enrique Rojas from ESPNDeportes.com Tweeted that the Baltimore Orioles had finally signed free agent Designated Hitter/Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero to a one year deal worth eight million dollars.

guerrero

I smiled when I saw the news.

As an O’s fan-particularly an O’s fan who has seen my favorite team reach the playoffs only three times during the 27+ years I’ve been on this planet-one of which was a World Series win when I was only a month old-it’s easy to get carried away by any good news at all.

We just haven’t gotten much of it in Charm City during the regime of owner Peter Angelos, especially since 1998.

I will admit that after the Guerrero rumors didn’t produce a deal by the team’s annual Fanfest celebration January 29th at the Baltimore Convention Center-I had a bad feeling this was going to be another swing and miss for the organization and Birds fans alike.

That’s why the news of the deal was most exciting.

Not only did President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail come through to add a nine time All-Star and borderline Hall or Famer we’ve all enjoyed watching for years as a Major League Baseball fan, but he did it at a price some five million dollars more than we were told the team had originally offered.

In a few moments, it felt as though the organization had gone through a complete change. If felt as though we could finally mark the turning point in what I heard MASN’s Tom Davis call “The Rise of the Orioles” over the weekend.

Hell of a lede, huh?

Reality set in for me sometime around 2pm Saturday as I was sitting at Comcast Center in College Park watching Maryland blow out Wake Forest.

The reality in the acquisition of Guerrero is that the Orioles are a better team today than they were a week ago-but that nothing has REALLY changed organizationally.

The Birds invested $8 million dollars in their current and future on-field product Friday.

The $8 million they invested might well solidify them as a favorite to finish third in the American League East; and will lead to more MLB talking heads picking them to finish at or slightly above .500 this season.

Despite his age (35) and having missed nearly half the 2009 season with a torn pec (he played in just 100 games); there’s fair reason to expect Guerrero to equal his 2010 production (.300, 29 HR’s, 115 RBI) at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in 2011.

For those reasons, there is an understandable excitement surrounding the acquisition of Guerrero-myself included.

But the Orioles didn’t change the course of their organization by signing Guerrero.

They signed a player for ONE season and gave him $8 million.

They didn’t make an annual investment of $8 million in a player in his prime who will be around for five seasons.

They made a one time investment of $8 million in a player who is nearing the end of his career.

They DIDN’T spend $56 million over four seasons to acquire Adam Dunn-which is what the Chicago White Sox did this offseason.

They DIDN’T spend $96 million over six seasons to acquire Adrian Beltre-which is what the Texas Rangers did this offseason.

Some folks will say the Orioles exercised fiscal responsibility. Unfortunately, fiscal responsibility still hasn’t replaced “wins” in determining who wins the AL East and AL Wild Card.

The Orioles gave Vlad Guerrero $3 million more this season than they gave P Koji Uehara a season ago. (The team actually made more of an “investment” in Uehara than they did Guerrero-as he was originally given 2 years, $10 million.)

As CBS’ Ian Eagle would say, “that’s not a low blow…”

Guerrero makes the Orioles better, but most folks willing to take an impartial look at the general scope of the American League would agree that they’re still not approaching a place where they can legitimately compete with the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

It doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have added Guerrero. They ABSOLUTELY did the right thing in making the addition. They should be commended for the decision to upgrade their team this way.

But as fans, we should have a little more IQ than to respond by saying things like “the confederate money era is over” or “they’ve finally decided to change their financial ways” or the one a caller named Aaron dropped on Drew Forrester and I Monday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST…

“Now the Orioles are set up to go out and get Prince Fielder this offseason.”

None of those things have changed.

For whatever reason, the team decided to make an $8 million upgrade that will help them win a handful of additional games this season. On paper, they will send a lineup to the plate that might end being in the top third of the league after finishing 13th in runs scored a year ago.

But adding Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero in an offseason puts them in good shape to win the 2005 NL East, not the 2011 AL East.

And it certainly doesn’t show that they’ve suddenly changed their ways in terms of spending money.

One eight million dollar payment does not suddenly enter them in the Albert Pujols discussion.

Hopefully things will go well for the Orioles in 2011.

Hopefully Guerrero will match his 2010 output.

Hopefully Lee and SS JJ Hardy will stay healthy and return to their 2009 productivity.

Hopefully 3B Mark Reynolds will keep his power numbers up even if his batting average and strikeout numbers are less than desirable.
Hopefully C Matt Wieters will reach the levels we thought he would reach a season ago.

Hopefully RF Nick Markakis and 2B Brian Roberts will be Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts.

Hopefully CF Adam Jones will look like the 2nd half of 2010 Adam Jones and not the 1st half of 2010 Adam Jones.

Hopefully the starting pitching will continue to develop.

If those things happen, the Orioles could be interesting to watch this season. It could be especially important to sports fans in the state of Maryland as we have no guarantee the Ravens will be reporting to McDaniel College in Westminster for Training Camp in July-or at all.
But can we all agree to not get carried away? Can we all agree to be able to react at an appropriate level?

The Orioles aren’t suddenly an expected contender because Guerrero is in tow. And they’re certainly not a team that has suddenly changed their business model in a way that will allow them to add players and compete on an annual basis.

They’re simply a little bit better than they were a week ago.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

-G

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because tonight is my annual Fantasy Football Draft; or as I like to call it-”August Christmas.” Thanks to my buddy Chris Appel for arranging the event at Mountain Branch for our “Full House League”, where I’m assuming these things will be on the menu…

wingsandbeer

I have the 6th pick in this year’s draft. I’m mortified. Clearly Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew will be gone; with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson likely behind them. That will likely put me in an uncomfortable spot where the best options are Frank Gore, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Michael Turner.

I have no idea what I’d do in that situation.

I guess Team “Jesse and the Rippers” probably end up having to take this guy…

BOLLER

And as a quick personal note; my condolences go out to Chris Appel (and former WNST.net blogger BJ Appel-the Commish in our league); whose grandfather “Big” Will Appel passed away last night. Big Will was an amazing dude who will be missed. Thoughts and prayers all around, it certainly weighs heavy on an otherwise glorious day.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Terrence Cody (knee), Demetrius Williams (ankle) missed practice again Thursday ahead of Ravens-Giants game

Neither are major concerns, and neither have ruled themselves out for tomorrow night-although it would surprise me if either were on the field after missing practice for all (Williams) or the majority (Cody) of the week.

The Ravens will almost certainly be without O-Linemen Jared Gaither (back), Oniel Cousins (concussion), David Hale (tailbone) and Daniel Sanders (shoulder) tomorrow night; as well as CB Marcus Paschal (leg).

WR Eron Riley (back) and DT Brandon McKinney (knee) are question marks having missed a few practices this week; and I would be surprised if CB Lardarius Webb played on the turf at “The Bank” after returning from the PUP list just this Monday.

It sorta feels weird to talk about injuries before a game and not mention LJ Smith. I hope he’s doing well…

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says ‘ball security’ very important for Cam Cameron, Ravens against New York

And after 8 fumbles in the first two preseason games against the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins, it seems like a pretty logical thing to work on.

You know what else seems pretty logical? Posting this picture of Ninel Conde from Don Chavez….

conde

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome to be inducted in Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor

I’m not sure if the Browns are planning on inviting guys to town to be honored the weekend of the induction, and it likely wouldn’t matter; as the Ravens visit the Cincinnati Bengals that day and I’m sure Ozzie will be in The Queen City, not The Comeback City.

But hypothetically, imagine the Browns holding an event on a day where Newsome had been able to attend. I am certain there would be at least a level of awkwardness at Cleveland Browns Stadium. I don’t think the majority of fans would be foolish enough to-say-boo the man whose Cleveland career made him a Hall of Fame TE. But I do think there would be a handful of fans (especially younger fans who might not remember Newsome on the field) who would be uncomfortable with honoring the GM of the team that abandoned Cleveland and now regular comes back to kick the Browns in the ass.

And there’s also the whole “he works for Art Modell” thing.

They’re doing the right thing. And it is probably best that it will happen on a day where they can avoid any level of awkwardness.

4. New York Daily News’ Ebenezer Samuel says G-Men center Shaun O’Hara to miss tomorrow night’s game

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-The Ravens are holding a walkthrough today that is CLOSED to the media out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills. They’ll kickoff against the Giants at 7:30 tomorrow night at M&T Bank Stadium. The game can be seen live on WBAL11.

-Did you miss Ravens LB Jason Phillips with Drew Forrester today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Jason discussed his road to making the 53 man roster after missing last season. You can hear it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here at WNST.net. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Howard Cross (New York Giants sideline reporter/former TE)-who previewed tomorrow night’s preseason showdown with the Ravens
  • Domonique Foxworth (Ravens CB)-who joined Drew to talk about his recovery and preview the Maryland-Navy get together at M&T Bank Stadium on Labor Day
  • TJ Rives (Tampa Bay Buccaneers sideline reporter)-who previewed the Bucs with Drew as we continued to look at all of the Ravens’ 2010 opponents
  • Roger Lodge (Host of “The Sports Lodge” on AM830 in Los Angeles and the former host of “Blind Date”)-who joined Drew to preview the Angels
  • All sorts of audio from Owings Mills Thursday-including Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison, Jerry Rosburg and Ray Rice
  • Steve Hauschka (former Ravens, now Detroit Lions kicker)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”
  • Joe Maese (former Ravens Long Snapper)-who joined Rex Snider Thursday on “The Afternoon Drive” to talk about Matt Katula/Morgan Cox as well as his new career as a Howard County firefighter
  • Len Pasquarelli (CBSSports.com)-who checked in live from the NFL Owners Meetings in Atlanta with Rex Thursday

Plus much much more. It’s all in the Audio Vault, so once again I’ve planned your day completely. I’m getting sick of carrying you like this.

5. The AP’s Jay Cohen says Edwin Jackson masterful as Orioles lost to Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field

Not a whole heck of a lot more that can be said about this.

Jackson was TREMENDOUS last night. The type of tremendous that sorta makes you wonder how he can ever be bad.

I almost said “I’m glad Edwin Jackson doesn’t pitch for my team, because it would be frustrating to watch him.” But I don’t mean that. I’d take Edwin Jackson my team 10 times out of 10. He’s better than anyone we have.

Nights like these happen sometimes. They’re frustrating, but they happen. Hopefully there will be fewer and fewer of them in 2011.

Hopefully.

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

Jackson’s line: 8 shutout innings, 3 hits, 10 strikeouts

Jake Arrieta’s line: 4 IP, 4 ER, 7 hits, 3BB, 2K

You REALLY don’t want to look at these numbers.

Instead, look at Olivia Wilde. She’s much more pleasant to look at. Thanks Guyism!

oliviawilde

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Armando Gabino optioned to Norfolk after loss, Jim Johnson expected before tonight’s game in Anaheim

And when it comes to Gabino, we’ll always have the memories. Like…

I’m happy for Jim Johnson to finally be getting back. I think there was a real chance of him having his spirits dampened after such a dreadful season thus far.

You know what tends to help me when my spirits are dampened? Robert Randolph…

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

8. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Chris Tillman roughed up, but Norfolk Tides managed to beat Charlotte Knights on farm

And before we move on from the O’s, a couple of things…

-The Birds left the Windy City last night for Anaheim, where they’ll open a weekend series with the Angels tonight. First pitch between Brad Bergesen and Trevor Bell is at 10:05pm, and the game can be seen on MASN2. Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie face Scott Kazmir and Jered Weaver the rest of the weekend.

-Adam Jones missed another game last night, but was available in an emergency situation. Still not considered a longterm issue.

-While Tillman still seems to be a guy who will be headed to Charm City next week, it does not look like Buck Showalter and Andy MacPhail will be giving Zach Britton the call. Might be the right move, but still kinda disappointing.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says LaQuan Williams, Justin Lewis, Matt Furstenburg now listed as starters for Terrapins

And yet somehow Shannon James STILL isn’t starting. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN COLLEGE PARK?!?!?!? (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

shannonjames

10. ESPN.com’s Wayne Drehs says Michael Phelps has rededicated himself to Swimming after visiting this year’s Vancouver Olympics

Thank God, as I can’t take seeing Michael Phelps lose anymore.

I mean, if Phelps is losing-I’m pretty sure THIS man defaults back to being the face of Baltimore sports…

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

And finally, I leave you with this.

The Maryland State Fair is underway in Timonium. It means plenty of wonderful things all around. Amongst them? DEEP FRIED POP TARTS! (Thanks Fox 45!)

poptart

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Thursday!

It’s a Happy Thursday for me because they have Moosehead on tap at the new Tilted Kilt in White Marsh, which is about 2 minutes from my house…

beer

They are going to get so sick of seeing me there.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens LB Brendon Ayanbadejo expected to start season on PUP list

Which wouldn’t surprise you at all if you had checked out my “Mocking The 53″ post Tuesday here at WNST.net. I took Brendon Ayanbadejo and Matt Lawrence out of the equation to make the roster, as I expected both to end up either on PUP or off the roster.

I don’t have anything definitive yet on Lawrence, but it remains a safe assumption.

The hope now is that Ayanbadejo can return to play sometime after the first 6 weeks. I’m still not totally convinced of that either, and wouldn’t be stunned if at some point the team was forced to come to an injury settlement with the LB/Special Teams whiz.

Special Teams will be where someone earns a roster spot with Ayanbadejo missing. Jason Phillips’ chances grow significantly; but David Reed, Edgar Jones, Davon Drew, Prescott Burgess, Prince Miller, KJ Gerard and Demetrius Williams could also stand to benefit by separating their special teams abilities.

Defensively, the Ravens will be without a player who had really settled in as a nickel LB and was very good at playing the pass. If you watched Donovan McNabb and Santana Moss Saturday night when the Ravens faced the Washington Redskins; you’d understand why that’s significant.

2. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says rookie DT Terrence Cody dealing with swelling in knee

And as I mentioned during one of our Ravens reports yesterday, there is no question that a man of Mount Cody’s size would be putting a significant amount of pressure on his knees.

The good news is that it isn’t necessarily structural damage (John Harbaugh pointed out there was a small cartilage issue) and Cody already told us he didn’t expect to miss a game because of the injury.

The bad news is that it is totally possible that the swelling and amount of pain COULD continue for Terrence as the season goes on.

It’s a little concerning, but certainly not frightening. You know what’s frightening? The look on Ray Lewis’ face in this ESPN The Magazine “Faces of the Game” photo…

raylewis

3. Sporting News’ Dennis Dillon says back end of Ravens’ defense ‘shaky’

Anyone interested in arguing this point? Didn’t think so.

You know what DOESN’T look shaky? Karissa Gilham. (Thanks Maxim via The Smoking Jacket!)

gilham

4. The Sun’s Edward Lee says Demetrius Williams, Terrence Cody missed practice again Wednesday

And before we move on from the (on field) Ravens, a couple of things:

-The Ravens return to the practice field at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills today, with coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg scheduled to meet with the media. We will have coverage throughout the day on Twitter (@WNST), right here at WNST.net and with Ravens Reports at 12:30 (with Thyrl Nelson) and 4:30 (with Rex Snider) on AM1570 WNST.

-Did you miss Tavares Gooden’s OUTSTANDING chat with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • Jason La Canfora (NFL Network)-who went around the league with Drew this morning
  • Andy Behrens (Yahoo! Sports)-who got Drew and I ready for our own Fantasy Football Drafts this morning
  • Our Morning Reaction “Cheap Shots From The Bleachers”-as I took a shot at the new Bud Selig statue in Milwaukee and Drew took a shot at the Dave Trembley interview in The Sun this morning
  • Plenty of Audio from Owings Mills Wednesday-including John Harbaugh, Marc Bulger, Terrence Cody, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Cory Redding, Jarret Johnson and Tony Moll.
  • Frankie Piliere (Fanhouse/Former Texas Rangers scout)-who went around MLB with Thyrl Wednesday
  • Howard Balzer (Sports Xchange)-who checked in with Rex Snider Wednesday from the NFL Owners Meetings in Atlanta

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so once again I’ve planned your day for you. You can send Thank You cards right here at 1550 Hart Rd.

5. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says team introduces “The Baltimore Fight Song” to the tune of old Baltimore Colts song

Here’s the song-as posted by WBAL on YouTube…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55X44bYiXjI[/youtube]

And here are the lyrics to the song…

Baltimore Ravens Let’s go

And put that ball across the line

So fly on with talons spread wide

Go in and strike with Ravens pride

FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT

Ravens dark wings take to flight

Dive in and show them your might

For Baltimore and Maryland

You will fly on to victory

It doesn’t come off as the type of song that will inspire a new generation of football fans, but it will CERTAINLY appeal to those who care about the legacy of football in Charm City.

There are some folks that would just as well have “I’ve Got a Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas played after the team scored. If it were “I’ve Got a Feeling” by The Beatles, I might not be opposed…

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

6. The AP says Matusz tossed gem, Brian Roberts homered as Orioles topped Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field

I’d love to sit here and tell you that I was gripped to MASN2 to watch every pitch from the South Side last night, but I wasn’t.

Of course, during the pitches I was poking my head at on the screen in the corner of my eye-I was impressed. Maybe I should have been gripped to the TV.

Former WNST producer Chris Bonetti once printed out a Tweet from Ken Rosenthal (of FOX Sports fame) that still hangs on our bulletin board. It reads…

“A scout who caught his first look at Orioles LHP Brian Matusz: ‘I would trade virtually any guy on our staff for him. Boy, is he good.”

The guy who pitched last night…he was that guy.

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

Incredibly, you actually DO want to look at these numbers. Matusz went 7 innings, giving up just 1 run on 3 hits. He walked 1 and struck out 5.

Besides B-Rob’s homer, Matt Wieters went 2-3 with a double, 2 RBI and a run scored; and Felix Pie went 2-3 with a run scored.

Good things all around.

Of course, I can’t allow my system to be ruined-so go check out the numbers and then come right back to check out Miss Mexico Jimena Navarrete, who apparently won the Miss Universe pageant. I say “apparently” because there’s no chance in all hell I actually watched the thing. (Thanks Guyism!)

mexico

8. The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Mark Buehrle accused Felix Pie of stealing signs during Birds’ win over Pale Hose

And if he is….I DON’T CARE!!!

I just want Felix Pie to keep playing well. If stealing signs is somehow part of that, STEAL AWAY!!!

Obviously I’m just saying that-but in reality I’d take just about anything for Felix Pie to consistently play well. Whether it’s Buck Showalter, sign stealing, steroids or a deal with Rumpelstiltskin like in Shrek Forever After; just do it.

And maybe do it at the beginning of the season when the games still count…if it isn’t asking for too much.

9. Baysox.com says despite Joel Guzman’s 29th home run, Bowie fell to Akron Aeros on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-Adam Jones was held out of last night’s game after being hit by a Gavin Floyd pitch Tuesday night. He’s not expected to miss an extended period of time.

-After a rehab stint in Bowie, pitcher Jim Johnson is expected to rejoin the O’s this weekend when they face the Angels in Los Angeles or Anaheim or Rancho Cucamonga or wherever the hell they play.

-He told me he was going to wait until after the season to talk, but Dave Trembley talked to The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec this morning. Nothing earth shattering, but might be worth the read. I’m sure he’ll talk to us soon…

-The O’s and White Sox play the rubber game of their weekday series tonight in The Windy City; Jake Arrieta faces Edwin Jackson. First pitch is at 8:10pm and the game can be seen on MASN2.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland having TE troubles, as Devonte Campbell now hurt as well

With Will Yeatman and Lansford Watson already hurt this preseason, this is troubling news for Ralph Friedgen’s team.

Of course, it ISN’T necessarily troubling news for Perry Hall High School alums like Glenn Clark, as this could very well pave the way for former Gators TE David Stinebaugh to see the field on Labor Day against Navy at M&T Bank Stadium.

Matt Furstenburg remains ahead of him, and Patrick would point out that walk-on Ryan Schlothauer is probably ahead of him as well-but I don’t care. If Stinebaugh somehow manages to catch a TD in Baltimore, I’m going to get kicked out of the press box for yelling GAAAATOOORRRSSSS!!!!! at the top of my lungs.

11. UMTerps.com says Terrapins RB Da’Rel Scott named to Doak Walker Award Watch List

And if I were Da’Rel Scott, the first thing I would do is call Krystal Forscutt and find out if this was the type of thing that impressed her. (Thanks NextRound.net!)

krystal

And finally, I leave you with this.

Deadspin (via Gawker) posted this yesterday, and it was pretty funny. It’s a horse race at Monmouth Park featuring horses named “My Wife Knows Everything” and “My Wife Doesn’t Know.” It’s a pretty good call…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQRlZw4Rad0[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 25 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I’ve been waiting days to name our “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” They couldn’t be more different. The NEW version of the “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” is a song that has been popularly passed around on Facebook (add me as a friend by searching “Glenn Clark” and click on the guy drinking Orange Kool-Aid because he lost a Buck Showalter-related bet to Ed in Park Heights), and is so good I might have to stop this segment altogether.

Note: Cee-Lo uses a LOT of naughty language in this song. It is VERY NSFW! Unless of course you work somewhere like the Gold Club. In which case, you should really stop by the studio when you get the chance…

[dailymotion]http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xeidub_cee-lo-green-fuck-you_music[/dailymotion]

Now for something COMPLETELY different. The CLASSIC “Greatest Song of All Time This Week” is a song I once sang on my knees to a young lady in Mexico, I once sang to a dude for free drinks at The Big Bang in Tempe, Arizona and I most recently sang in barbershop quartet form this weekend at a shindig in Towson. If you don’t like the Righteous Brothers (or at least Top Gun), there’s really something wrong with you…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhs3Rj71gpo[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Ravens LB Sergio Kindle headed to Charm City for evaluation; John Harbaugh won’t rule him out for season

Don’t bother with the “wouldn’t the Ravens have to give him a contract?” comments. The Ravens have ALWAYS planned on giving their 2nd round pick out of Texas a contract. Once he’s been cleared by the doctors that will look at him in Baltimore, the Ravens can move forward with the process of getting a contract done and getting him to Owings Mills.

Kindle will start the season on PUP, but if he were to be able to return by Week 7 it could be a great benefit to this football team. While Antwan Barnes has had a decent preseason, the team could use as much help as they could get from outside backers and in the pass rush area in general.

Kindle would be unable to practice-but could greatly benefit from classroom hours and team meetings after having missed Training Camp. Once activated, he would likely be a scratch the first few weeks as he gets back on the practice field. If at that point he could back on the football field and make some level of impact-that’s a help.

It isn’t a “bonus” necessarily, as NFL teams always expect 2nd round picks to make an impact. But it is MUCH better than what could have been after Kindle was hurt in an accident at a friend’s house in Austin.

I say “if” in all of this, as I also wouldn’t be completely surprised if it didn’t work out the way John Harbaugh and company are hoping it will.

2. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says ‘no quarterback controversy” between Joe Flacco, Marc Bulger

The frustrating part here is that we even have to address this. It is typically Baltimore to wonder about the other quarterbacks on the roster, as there is a history of having quarterbacks of similar value stacked up. The difference between Kyle Boller and Chris Redman or Elvis Grbac and Randall Cunningham or Scott Mitchell and Tony Banks was just never that great.

I understand this city’s obsession with backup QB’s.

But it’s time to stop.

Hell, it’s long PAST time to stop.

The Ravens have a quarterback. He’s THE guy. He’s the FRANCHISE quarterback. He’s the only quarterback that gives them a chance (if he can improve to “elite” status this season) to win a Super Bowl.

Don’t worry about what other QB’s do against backups in preseason games. It’s completely irrelevant. In fact, don’t worry that there’s even a backup QB on the roster unless (knock on wood) Joe Flacco were to get hurt.

He’s the guy. End of story.

Can we PLEASE agree to stop talking about this moving forward?

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Jared Gaither has ‘no timetable’ for return from thoracic disc injury

And after talking to Jared yesterday, I have NO gut feeling as to whether or not he will be available September 13 when the Ravens face the New York Jets.

I DO have a gut feeling that I will be spending too much looking at Anya Monzikova today courtesy of Busted Coverage/NextRound.net!

monzikova

4. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Lardarius Webb ‘unlikely’ to get involved with return game this year

And before we move on from the Ravens, a few things:

-The Ravens are back on the practice field today at 1 Winning Drive, and John Harbaugh will speak to the media at 11:30(ish). Make sure you follow us on Twitter (@WNST), and listen to Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider throughout the day as we keep you updated LIVE with everything happening in Owings Mills.

-A number of Ravens were not present during the portion of practice open to the media yesterday, including Terrence Cody and Cory Redding-who are not known to be hurt. Hopefully we’ll get some clarification on that today.

-The Ravens will hold their annual Countdown to Kickoff Barbecue tonight at M&T Bank Stadium; and Team President Dick Cass will hold a press conference at 7pm to announce a new fight song for the team-which is expected to be to the tune of the old Baltimore Colts fight song.

5. The AP says Gordon Beckham homered, Gavin Floyd dazzled as Chicago White Sox topped Orioles at US Cellular Field

And with that, the O’s have officially clinched their 13th straight losing season! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!

Traditionally, the gift to give on the 13th anniversary is lace. The modern gift to give on the 13th anniversary is textiles or furs. In this case, I’m thinking THIS is a more appropriate gift…

crap

Last night’s game was actually fairly entertaining to watch. Felix Pie and Ty Wigginton made some spectacular defensive plays, and the Birds actually put together a decent 9th inning rally before falling short at the end.

But being excited about a loss is usually only something that happens when you’re watching a team that is mired in a 13th straight losing season.

Ugh.

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

The good news? Luke Scott crushed a BOMB-his 25th of the season; and Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis collected 2 hits and 1 RBI apiece.

The bad news? Over 6.2 innings, Jeremy Guthrie gave up 6 earned runs on 10 hits; walking 2 and striking out 3.

You know you don’t want to look at these numbers. Instead, look at Erica Fabjan and Simona Fabjan-courtesy of Don Chavez. They’re from Slovenia and they play volleyball. What else do you need to know???

fabjan

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Adam Jones forced to leave Pale Hose game with shoulder contusion

Which he apparently doesn’t believe to be serious. In fact, here’s what he had to say about it via Twitter…

“All goodie bmore. Imma be back in no time.

And while we’re on the subject of Adam Jones’ Twitter account, I will be forced to admit that his profile picture is pretty freaking awesome…

adamjones

8. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Jim Johnson threw two scoreless innings for Bowie Baysox win over Akron Aeros in rehab appearance on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things:

-The Birds and White Sox get together again tonight in the Windy City, with Brian Matusz facing Mark Buehrle. First pitch is at 8:10pm and the game can be seen on MASN2.

-Did you miss Baysox pitcher Richard Zagone with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today at WNST.net to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Dannell Ellerbe (Ravens LB)-who woke up early to chat with Drew this morning
  • Rich Lord (KILT 610 Houston)-who previewed the Texans (Ravens Week 14 opponent) with Drew this morning as well
  • All sorts of audio from Owings Mills yesterday, including John Harbaugh, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Jared Gaither and Matt Birk
  • Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (UFC Fighter)-who joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo on “The MMA Report” Tuesday
  • Allen McCallum (WNST Baseball Analyst)-who joined Rex Snider on “The Afternoon Drive” Tuesday

and even more. It’s all in the Audio Vault, so check it out today. Oh…and…you’re welcome for planning your day for you.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens mocks Navy to Poinsettia Bowl, doesn’t think Maryland reaches bowl game

And in fairness, not much of anyone really thinks Ralph Friedgen’s team is going to find their way to the postseason this year. Of course, one win over the Midshipmen could change a lot of that. Maybe.

Navy is tied in to a trip to San Diego unless they somehow run the table and get themselves in the BCS picture. It’s not impossible either. The tough games on their schedule are Notre Dame (in East Rutherford), Wake Forest, Duke and Maryland. There isn’t an impossible game to win in the mix.

Now-Navy is also a team that has lost some inexplicable games in past years. A loss to Delaware comes to mind-but that was a Delaware team that had a pretty decent quarterback. Fella with eyebrows if I remember right…

10. UMTerps.com’s Shawn Nestor says Dexter McDougle has ‘slight edge’ over Trenton Hughes to start opposite Cameron Chism at CB for Terrapins

Damn! I was really hoping Jo Garcia would win the job. (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

jogarcia

And finally, I leave you with this.

As posted by Deadspin, this is the worst thing I have ever seen from a Little League World Series player…

miley

This kid should be ashamed of himself. Heck, his whole country should be ashamed…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Monday!

It’s a Happy Monday for me because I was out of town yesterday-but had an outstanding experience. I poked my head into a random farmers market (for security reasons, I’ll leave the location undisclosed), and it was a magical experience. A friend of mine (I think for future reference we’re going to call her “Boomer Sooner” here) made a delicious concoction of beeksteak tomatoes, feta cheese, a multigrain baguette, lemon basil and pepper.

Seeing as how my meals are usually made up of frozen pasta or Chick-Fil-A, it was a refreshing change of pace. Unfortunately my phone was dead, so I failed to Twitpic the experience. I’m sorry everyone!

But as I pointed out yesterday on Facebook (search “Glenn Clark” and add the guy who is drinking orange kool-aid and shaking his head because he lost a bet to Ed in Park Heights), the highlight of the event was the fact that this vision of food took place in direct earshot of a group called the Second String Band. I wish I had their version of “If I Had a Boat” available, but instead you’re going to have to settle for Dave Matthews’ version. No offense to Lyle Lovett, it’s just that everyone else does his song better…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ap1ruVdAwl8[/youtube]

And while we’re here, let’s go ahead and post Dave Matthews (& Emmylou Harris) covering “Long Black Veil”-most famously from Johnny Cash. I mean, as long as we’re here…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCLqphW77aA[/youtube]

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net says Peter Angelos directly involved with Ravens, MASN divorce

My initial response? “Surprise, surprise.”

It’s frustrating to read this story, but it is by no means stunning. MASN has been nothing short of a trainwreck since it’s inception (that’s not a low blow), even when one Glenn Clark was briefly part of the programming. In fact, if you ever needed proof that MASN was a trainwreck from the go, the fact that Glenn Clark was ever part of it has to be absolute proof!

The good news that comes from the MASN/Ravens divorce? We’ll NEVER have to watch Tom Davis have to talk about a franchise he so clearly despises. The guy was almost comical in his snide comments regarding the organization-which was a bit interesting considering his over-the-top love affair with the Major League Baseball team in town. You know, the Major League Baseball team that employed him.

There was a sense that the Orioles finally came around to working with the Ravens out of necessity. The Ravens pep rally and giveaway nights at Camden Yards would attract the biggest crowds of the season; and it was always fun to see the likes of John Harbaugh, Steve McNair and Willis McGahee throw out the first pitch at a game.

I hope the Orioles don’t really think they don’t “need” the Ravens anymore. I hope they’re not foolish enough to think that they’ve fixed their problems and don’t need the help. I’m as excited as anyone else about the 5-1 start under a new manager, but this is still a desperate situation.

2. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Tavares Gooden, Chris Carr amongst Ravens who missed practice Sunday

The good news? Tavares Gooden returned to practice Monday, according to our own Luke Jones-who is reporting from the practice field at McDaniel College.

The bad news? Chris Carr did not practice again Monday morning. He wouldn’t answer questions about the injury (believed to be his hamstring) after practice Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium, and John Harbaugh dismissed questions as well.

I’m not sure what there is to know, but I know that an injury to Chris Carr is reason for concern. With Domonique Foxworth out for the year and Lardarius Webb on PUP, Chris Carr is a very important part of this football team. Hopefully the injury is not significant.

Luke passed along a few more notes from this morning-as OL’s David Hale & Stefan Rodgers as well as safety KJ Gerard WERE practicing, while Ramon Harewood, Tony Moll and Marcus Paschal were again NOT practicing.

Talking about football is just so great…

3. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says ‘cutting down penalties’ area of concern for Ravens in Training Camp

An area of concern for Glenn Clark? Finding more pictures of Nikoleta Rali (Thanks Don Chavez!)…

nikoleta

And a few more Ravens notes before we move on…

-Remember, today and tomorrow are the only days this week you can go watch the team practice at McDaniel College. The team will have a walkthrough Wednesday that is closed to the public, and are off Friday following Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

-Our own Luke Jones is back out in Carroll County all day today, keeping you updated with Thyrl Nelson and Rex Snider every hour on AM1570 WNST.

4. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Jeremy Guthrie out-dueled Mark Buehrle as Orioles topped White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Who in the hell are these guys?!?!?

I had a TERRIBLE feeling when Ramon Castro crushed the home run in the 9th off of Alfredo Simon to make it 4-3. But much like when I had a terrible feeling as the team tried to blow a 9-1 lead against the Los Angeles Angels last week, the team managed to hold on.

And with that in mind, I say “Buck Yeah!”

koolaid

It doesn’t REALLY matter what happens in these games the rest of the way as the season ended before even Memorial Day; but it is nice to actually win some of them anyway. What happens from April-June of NEXT year will be significantly more important, but I’ll continue to enjoy it for now. It certainly beats the alternative.

5. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of another win

And once again, I’m left without my tag line here.

Guthrie was absolutely stellar, allowing one run on 6 hits and just one walk over 8 innings. Felix Pie homered, and just about everyone in the lineup (including Cesar Izturis) had a double.

I CANNOT figure out who these guys are.

But just to keep up appearances, take a look at the numbers and THEN take a look at this picture of Shanna McLaughlin hanging out in the Central Florida locker room. I don’t know why she did it, but I’m glad she did. Thanks Busted Coverage!

shanna

6. The Sun’s Steve Gould says Troy Patton optioned to Norfolk, Craig Tatum expected to take his place on O’s roster

Apparently Buck Showalter went to Andy MacPhail and said he wanted another position player for the bench. I’m sure Andy MacPhail was happy to have someone offer him thoughts about personnel.

When Tatum officially gets called back up, make sure you’re signed up for the WNST Text Service. You’ll find out the news as soon as it happens.

I’m guessing Jake Fox will be happy to not have to catch anymore. Or at least I am…

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Buck Showalter wants to give Jason Berken ‘a break’

And given how he’s struggled recently after lighting the world on fire earlier in the season, it is apparent that his workload (leading the league in innings pitched) has caught up with him.

Now it is a bit strange that the team would option Troy Patton at the same time that they’re giving Jason Berken a break-but I will admit that the starting pitching has been pretty good recently. When Kevin Millwood wasn’t hammered in the first inning Saturday night, I thought it a minor miracle.

That doesn’t mean that I’m convinced that the starting pitching is somehow “fixed.”

I have a bad feeling that the team will end up getting at least a few rough starts soon (maybe not against the Cleveland Indians-they’re terrible; but possibly against the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend despite the fact that everyone else has no-hit them this season). It is probably a risk worth taking though, and hopefully Berken will be ready to go before too long.

8. NorfolkTides.com says Zach Britton roughed up in Tides’ loss to Louisville Bats on farm

And a few things before we move on from the Birds…

-They’ll close up their 4 game series with the Pale Hose tonight at OPACY, Brian Matusz takes the hill against Edwin Jackson. First pitch is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Did you miss Jay Jaffe from Baseball Prospectus this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today to check it out. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Mark Kelso (Buffalo Bills Color Analyst)-as Drew continued to preview the teams on the Baltimore Ravens’ schedule this season
  • Rex Hoggard (Golf Channel)-who broke down Tiger Woods’ struggles in Akron and previewed the PGA Championship this weekend
  • A live check-in from Luke Jones this morning from Westminster at Training Camp
  • John Harbaugh’s Sunday press conference
  • Lomas Brown (ESPN Analyst and former NFL O-Lineman)-who joined Eric Aaronson to look around the league.

Now you have your day planned. You can thank me later.

9. UMTerps.com says 22 Maryland freshmen reported to College Park Sunday before practice begins Tuesday

Overheard from Ralph Friedgen’s tour of the area Sunday…

“This is Route 1. Never go here. I know you will anyway, so when you do-don’t act like an idiot. Don’t let me find out how stupid you are. Don’t get arrested at Cornerstone. Don’t bother women at Bentley’s. PLEASE and Thank You.”

Hopefully the young Terrapins were listening.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terps trying to break streak of 6 straight seasons scoring 25 or fewer points per game

You know what would help this team offensively? A little photographic inspiration. May I suggest Pia Muehlenbeck? (Thanks Guyism!)…

pia

And finally, I leave you with this.

As I said yesterday via Facebook, I’m not sure if it even technically counts as a board game, but I know what the greatest board game of all time is…

connect4

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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An Opening Day Greeting From Andy MacPhail: Competition is “Insurmountable”

Posted on 09 April 2010 by Glenn Clark

I was working on Crabs & Beer this morning; celebrating a big Orioles win, preparing for Opening Day, and salivating over the Harborque that is on the way in to the studios at 1550 Hart Rd. when everything came to a screeching halt.

As I was preparing this morning’s “Apologist of the Morning” segment for Drew Forrester, I came across a story written in today’s USA Today by Bob Nightengale. The story is headlined “Parity? Yankees, Red Sox loom large for smaller market teams.”

Like most things Bob Nightengale scribes, it is a pretty good read. Unfortunately for Orioles fans, “pretty good” isn’t the only way I’d describe it. I’d also describe it as particularly “troubling.”

“Troubling” because of a quote in the story from Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail.

“There’s no baseball executive that thinks things should all be even,”

I’m with him there…

“but when payrolls are three times yours, it can become insurmountable.

As some callers this morning attempted to point out…maybe Andy MacPhail wasn’t necessarily talking about the Orioles, but in greater baseball context. Maybe he meant that the Pirates couldn’t necessarily compete with the Cardinals, or the Royals couldn’t compete with the White Sox.

However, in looking at 2009 MLB payrolls (via ESPN.com), I think I know exactly who Andy MacPhail was talking about…

New York Yankees $201,449,289
Baltimore Orioles $67,101,667

Hmm…one of these numbers appears to be almost EXACTLY 1/3 of the other. While there are other teams that are also competing with 1/3 of the payroll of a division competitor (including the Washington Nationals in comparison to the New York Mets); the O’s ARE one of those teams. Andy MacPhail WAS talking about the Orioles.

“Insurmountable.”

On a day that embodies the most hope baseball fans have felt in Baltimore in 10 or more years, the team has let you know that getting competitive is “insurmountable.”

Not “difficult.”

Not “tough.”

Not “something that we will have to diligently work through in a trying offseason.”

“Insurmountable.”

To make sure I fully understood what “insurmountable” means, I visited Dictionary.com to get a full definition. Here’s what I found…

“incapable of being surmounted, passed over, or overcome”

Incapable or being overcome.

Impossible.

On Opening Day 2010-the day that fans in Baltimore WANT to celebrate a new direction, with arguably the best roster the organization has fielded in some 10 years, the team is saying they can’t compete.

On the day fans in Baltimore are donning Matt Wieters, Brian Matusz, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts jerseys and high-fiving friends with the knowledge that baseball relevance is advancing rapidly, the team has said that it is impossible.

Happy Opening Day, Baltimore!

The team has said publicly that the 2010 team will be judged by “wins and losses.” For years, those near the organization have pointed towards 2011 as the year that the team will again be competitive.

In order to do so, most baseball fans believe that the team will need to acquire both one more power bat and one more front of line pitcher.

Players who will or could become free agents this offseason amongst the power bat corner infield crew include Victor Martinez (if he moves to 1B), Adam Dunn, Derrek Lee and Carlos Pena. Amongst the pitching crew; Javier Vasquez, Cliff Lee, Jorge De La Rosa and Brandon Webb will be available.

Should those players all have solid 2010 seasons, the hitters can be expected to make somewhere in the range of $15 million per season; while the pitchers can be expected to make somewhere in the range of $20 million per season.

Certainly not ALL of those players are going to cash in at that level. But given recent free agent history (which included a 7 year, $120 million deal for Matt Holliday last offseason to STAY with a franchise like the Cards), it will take an average of roughly $35 million for the Orioles to obtain a power hitting corner infielder and a front of the line starting pitcher.

That alone doesn’t guarantee that the team will win the AL East and run to the 2011 World Series; but I don’t think the team will be able to get there without it. For the Orioles to continue to compete beyond that, they would need to be able to retain their own talent; meaning that on top of the money already spent on Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts; they will need to invest future money in Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, etc.

Before I get to far ahead of myself, I have to stop and ask…do you believe that a comment like the one Andy MacPhail made today leads you to believe that the team is willing to spend AT LEAST the $35 million average per season THIS offseason to make the team a REAL contender again?

Or do you believe that a comment like this one sets the team up for a future statement that “we believe we made the team greatly better in 2011, but the lack of balance in baseball has prevented us from actually being able to be competitive?”

I think you know how I feel.

The problem ISN’T that the Orioles have decided that they don’t want to overpay for players. In fact, it’s practically admirable. For every person who walks down the street and says “why do baseball players make so much money while teachers and police officers make so little?”, I AGREE.

Baseball players DO make too much money. Baseball (and all other sports) have become a ridiculous business to a level that is borderline shameful.

I’m personally thankful that they have, as the ridiculous business of sports has allowed a young man from Perry Hall High School like me to make a living doing nothing more than TALKING about sports. But I digress.

The problem facing the Orioles is that if they wish to do the ADMIRABLE thing-and try to limit their spending and encourage others in baseball to do the same thing is that they probably WON’T be able to compete.

The CBA isn’t changing for baseball this offseason. A salary cap isn’t likely to implemented now-or likely anytime in the future; as owners like George Steinbrenner aren’t likely to capitulate to their counterparts, and the MLBPA doesn’t appear to be particularly interested in making the change either.

While limiting salary remains admirable and probably a sounder financial model; it does NOT promote the ability to be competitive with teams who WILL be willing to spend money-like the teams the O’s will need to overtake in the AL East.

If they’re going to choose to do what we believe to be admirable and just NOT compete, they just need to tell us that (as Andy MacPhail has started to do this morning.)

Instead of allowing their bloggers to go on MASNSports.com and talk about how the team is building for 2011, have them go on there and say “it’s a shame we’re never going to be able to compete-but I hope you’ll support the team anyway.”

In fact, hang a banner at Oriole Park at Camden Yards today as fans enter the stadium that says “we know we can’t compete now or in the future.”

Just be honest and upfront about it. There are still fans in Kansas City despite the fact that the Royals have all but admitted that they’re not trying to win; and there would still be fans here in Charm City if the Orioles organization did the same thing.

But the issue is for the family of 4 who has to decide how to spend their money. Should they spend $100 to come out and watch David Hernandez face Dana Eveland tomorrow night at OPACY-thinking that they have a chance to see the players who ultimately made up the team that returned the organization to glory? Or should they take their $100 and head over to 1st Mariner Arena to see the circus, buy a couple t-shirts, and pick up some popcorn?

If that family knew in advance that the organization DIDN’T believe they could compete in the future, wouldn’t it be easier to make the decision to head over to the circus?

No one thinks the Orioles should just blindly throw money at ANY player who becomes available, but it ISN’T unfair to see that the team will NEED to be willing to spend money in order to compete.

It ISN’T “insurmountable.”

But apparently the team thinks so.

I just hope you know that before you decide how to spend your own money.

-G

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Dye, Vlad could offer RH pop

Posted on 22 September 2009 by dansoderberg

That headline would be a helluva lot more exciting if this were 2003. Last week Orioles Manager Dave Trembley mentioned his desire for the club to acquire a right handed power to hit behind Nick Markakis in the lineup and allow Adam Jones, Matt Weiters and Nolan Reimold to develop without the stress of hitting cleanup.

The White Sox are unlikely to exercise a hefty club option for RF Jermaine Dye. When Alex Rios was claimed off waivers from Toronto Dye became expendable. After a fairly productive early season, the 35 year old Dye has fallen on hard times. He is currently .248 with a .778 OPS and 25 home runs. Depending upon his asking price, in both dollars and years, Dye could be a solid right handed DH and part time outfielder. As a bonus Dye has played in 44 career postseason games. Sadly, that number is unlikely to change after a season or two in Baltimore.

Vladimir Guerrero is also a free agent after the season. The Orioles pursued Guerrero in the Winter of 2003. Vlad will turn 35 in February and he has been hampered by chronic knee problems over the past few years. He has been sapped of virtually all of his speed and is now a liability in the OF. Quite a pretty picture huh? The reason I mention Vlad’s shortcomings is that he is now essentially limited to DH, and with about half of the AL teams set at DH, he has a limited free agent market. Guerrero has hit when healthy this season, posting an .817 OPS, though his Slugging percentage his dipped nearly 50 points. As a DH on a short contract Guerrero could provide some pop in the middle of the Orioles 2010 lineup.

Don’t get too excited about 1b Michael Aubrey. In limited duty Aubrey has hit fairly well and played a solid first base, but he shouldn’t be considered a long term option at the position. In 96 career ML at bats Aubrey has 2 home runs and a career .352 slugging percentage. In 407 AAA at bats this season Aubrey posted a .759 OPS and 8 home runs. Those numbers would be passable for a middle infielder, but the Orioles need much more production from the corners than Aubrey can offer.

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Don’t Underestimate the Power of Thome

Posted on 01 September 2009 by dansoderberg

The Chicago White Sox dealt DH and future HOFer Jim Thome to the Dodgers before yesterday’s MLB trade deadline.  Thome will be eligible for LA’s postseason roster.  The move may seem peculiar on the surface as Thome can’t DH in the NL and the Dodgers have a productive young first baseman in James Loney.

Thome will serve almost exclusively as a pinch hitter over the remainder of the regular season and the NL playoffs.  The Dodgers currently hold a 5.5 game lead in the NL West.  The Phillies and Cardinals each feature hard throwing right handed closers in Brad Lidge and Ryan Franklin.  Thome has an .897 OPS this season against right handers and gives Dodger Manager Joe Torre a valuable bat off the bench.  Should the Dodgers make it to the World Series Thome could serve as the DH, a much better option than Mark Loretta or Juan Pierre. NL teams often play at a disadvantage in AL ballparks because they don’t have someone on their roster that is worthy of the DH at bats.  Thome would level the playing field much like Matt Stairs did last year for the Phillies.

Thome will be a free agent at the end of the season and given his lack of a position it is highly unlikely that the Dodgers would offer him arbitration, meaning the signing team would not have to give up draft pick compensation.  Thome would be an excellent fit for the Orioles next season.  He could serve as the full time DH, sitting against tought lefties.  He would also offer some veteran experience and a much needed power presence in the middle of the lineup.  On a one or two year deal I think he would be an excellent fit.

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