Friday
August 7
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#2174



penn state knows customer service


You have to hand it to the Penn State Athletic Department.

The Covid-19 pandemic hasn't zapped them of their audacity.

In an e-mail to their athletic supporters and ticket holders yesterday, Penn State outlined the details of the upcoming athletic season. In short, right now, the Nittany Lions aren't sure any spectators will be allowed to attend PSU football this fall. So they've outlined what the process will be for those who have prepaid for their 2020 tickets.

Don't you dare have the nerve to ask Penn State for your money back...

Here's the first thing you need to know about Penn State. They'll do nothing at all to make the whole situation go smoothly. If you want a refund for your unused tickets, you can have it. But -- are you ready for this? -- by claiming and receiving a refund you will not be guaranteed your same seats or parking for the 2021 football season.

You read that right. You are punished by the Penn State Athletic Department if you ask them to give you your money back for a product you will not be able consume.

There's more.

Penn State essentially wants you to let them keep your money and have it serve as a donation to the school's "Levi Lamb Fund", whatever that is. If you're willing to do that, Penn State will like you. They'll like you a lot, in fact. Here's what you receive for that generosity: You will not be subject to a ticket price increase in 2021, should one occur.

So let's say you've purchased $5,000 worth of Penn State football tickets for 2020. Before even doing that, of course, you have to be a "donor" to the athletic department. That's another $5,000. Or $10,000. Or, perhaps, even $25,000. All for the privilege of seeing Penn State football. But if you bought $5,000 worth of tickets for 2020, your "gift" for donating that money back to the school is you won't face a ticket price increase next year.

There's still more.

If you decide to just let Penn State keep your money but roll it over to your 2021 seats, they're still going to convert your football "seat contribution" (seems like a dopey way to say "Personal Seat License") into a donation to that aforementioned "Levi Lamb Fund".

So, you have three options if you're a Penn State football season ticket holder.

One, you can just tell them to keep the money and convert the whole thing into a tax deductible donation to ----- themselves...

Two, you can tell them to keep the money but roll it all over to next year's season tickets. They'll do that, but the 2020 seat contribution you gave them will become a donation to ------ themselves...

Third, you can ask for your money to be refunded. But if you do that, you are no longer guaranteed those same seats in 2021. And that parking you've loved for all those years you supported Penn State football? That won't be guaranteed, either.

Here's what Penn State's Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Sandy Barbour, had to say in an e-mail to ticket holders on Thursday:

Penn State Athletics has always and will always put the health, safety and education of our students as our top priority. The current COVID-19 environment is no exception. Your support and generosity have always been the cornerstone of our ability to provide our coaches, staff and students with the resources necessary to meet our students' needs in those areas. You have ALWAYS supported our students at our times of the most acute need. This is one of those moments.

Editor's note: Now Sandy, I guess I'll be the one to remind you -- Penn State Athletics hasn't always put the health and safety of its students as a top priority. You see, there was this football coach...

Regardless of whether we play or don't play, our revenue losses will be in the high eight figures, reaching nine figures in the case of no competition. We cannot let this pandemic stall or wipe out all of the incredible work and progress that, with your help, our students and our programs have been able to achieve in the classroom, in our community and, of course, in our competitive venues.

Editor's note: You have revenue losses because of the pandemic? Welcome to the club. Lots of us belong.

On March 12, 2020, when the NCAA Winter Championships were cancelled and our spring sports were halted, your Nittany Lions were in position to complete one of the best years in our history. All this with record-setting academics as the backdrop. We need to be in position to come out of the pandemic with a running start, and we need your support to do that.

Editor's note: Thanks for the reminder and the gentle nudge you provided, re: the on-field success of the Nittany Lions in '19-20. I guess we probably should just donate that money after all.

We have taken many steps to minimize our potential losses by implementing salary reductions across the department for this fiscal year, restricting travel and reducing operational budgets, and pushing some projects and initiatives to a later date. These steps have allowed us to avoid the tough decisions other schools have already had to make, like eliminating sports or laying off employees. But our financial challenges will be immense, and I know as proud Nittany Lions, you will show your pride and support in as many ways as your individual, family and business situation will allow. We Are…grateful!

Editor's note: Yep, they sure are grateful. They're so grateful, in fact, they're not going to make easy for you to renew your seats in 2021 if you have the nerve to ask for your money back.

It's seeing things like that e-mail that make people dislike college athletics.

And it's seeing that Penn State logo on one of those e-mails that tells us the Nittany Lions have already forgotten about that story from a few years ago where they asked their longtime supporters to stand beside them during a horrific situation within their athletic department.

Short memories in Happy Valley.

Really short.

But at least you won't face a price increase in 2021 if you let them keep your money.

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pga championship: day one notes


The value of the early-late tee-time rotation was very evident on Thursday, as nearly every player on the first page of the leaderboard was out in the morning wave, playing in calm, mostly sunny conditions.

Those who did play early on Thursday will have the advantage of a lazy morning on Friday before heading to the golf course around noon (PDT) for their round two tee-time. Of course, the weather could be good this morning and get unsettled in the afternoon, and the greens will definitely be a little chewy for the afternoon players today, but on day one, at least, those who played early received a big advantage.

The projected cut is +1, but if conditions start off benign and get tricky as the day goes on, +2 for two rounds might be good enough to make the weekend.

Jordan Spieth continued to struggle off the tee in round one of the PGA Championship and later spent the better part of four hours on the practice range after his opening round of 3-over par 73.

It's all over but the shouting for Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, who both shot +3 on Thursday and will need some stellar round two play just to make the cut. Spieth went out in the morning, Fowler played in the afternoon, and both were wild off the tee.

It's not a complete shock that Spieth stunk it up, particularly with the driver. He's been out of sorts for a couple of years now, although he rallied to have a decent performance in Memphis last week. Fowler, though, had enjoyed great success in round one of majors in recent years, so his Thursday play was somewhat surprising. In seven straight majors prior to yesterday, Rickie had posted an under par score on day one.

So unless there's some sort of historic turnaround from either of them, Spieth will have to wait until next year to chase down that elusive fourth and final major win to achieve the career grand slam and Fowler will wait a month before teeing it up at Winged Foot in the U.S. Open in search of his first major victory.

Four years ago -- with Tiger out of the picture due to injury -- those two were the face of American golf. Now, guys like DeChambeau and Wolff and Morikawa are moving up the ranks while Spieth and Fowler continue to tumble.

Tiger Woods was one of those players who went out early yesterday and he was able to put together a 2-under round of 68.

Don't kid yourself, though. Despite shooting in the 60's in round one of a major for the first time since 2014, Woods did not play all that well on Thursday. He managed to hit just 7 fairways. He did, however, putt the lights out of the ball, making 115 feet of putts over 18 holes. And since putting has been his biggest issue over the last two years, Tiger followers had every right to be enthused after his 68 on Thursday.

But it's very unlikely the 15-time major can putt like that again today. If he somehow does, and if he can straighten out his play off the tee, Woods could be hanging around the leaderboard through 36 holes.

TPC Harding Park wound up playing easier than the experts figured it would on Thursday, but don't let all of those -4's and -3's lull you into a false sense of security. The golf course is going to wind up playing like a bear over the weekend, particularly the greens. You'll hear all about it by Sunday, I assume, as the TV broadcasters are going to make a big deal about how difficult the San Francisco public course can play.

You can expect the winning score to be somewhere in the 10 under to 12 under range, as long as it firms up and stays dry over the next three days.

Brendan Todd actually out-putted Tiger on Thursday, as he made 124 feet of putts to share the first round lead with Jason Day at 5-under par.

Todd is an interesting story. Three years ago, he hit a 4-iron shank at an event in Hawaii and essentially lost his golf-game for the better part of two seasons. But he's led or co-led more rounds in 2020 than any other player on TOUR, which is quite a feat for someone that no one really knows anything about. He won twice in late 2019 and was in the hunt last week in Memphis as well...so his play on Thursday at the PGA was not a shock at all.

Oh, and for all the talk about TPC Harding Park playing into the long hitter's hands, Todd is one of the shortest guys on TOUR in terms of driving distance.

When you make 120 feet worth of putts in one round, how far you hit it off the tee doesn't matter. But, as earlier suggested with Woods, the possibility of Todd putting like that for the next three days is very unlikely.

But...it's the PGA. And some other guys no one had ever heard of before figured out a way to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy, including a guy named John Daly in 1991, plus Rich Beem, Shaun Micheel and Keegan Bradley. "Brendan Todd" would be as unlikely as any of them, but he is certainly have a season worthy of competing for a major championship.

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#dmd comments








Adrian M.     August 07
The new comment section should be sponsored. No-Doze, Monster Energy Drink or Chock Full of Nuts. You need all of these to get through this boring stuff.

"No more fun of any kind". Dean Vernon Wormer Faber College 1962.

"It just doesn't matter". Tripper and the management of DMD.

Adios.


Bill     August 07
People still whining about Cruz are hilarious! Now we're gonna whine about Bundy too? Lol x 1,000

Jason M     August 07
Kudos to Brian Koppelmann and the team at the local pro football franchise for handling the same situation vis a vie season tickets, PSL's, this season vs next season, etc., about 100 x better. As a long time PSL owner I read the letter, said some thing like 'makes sense to me', and filed it away along with my hopes for a full season and a return to all that we love about Baltimore Football, in Fall of 2021. I'm not a robot!

David Rosenfeld     August 07
The "Levi Lamb Fund" is just the name of the annual fund for Penn State athletics. Every school from Calvert Hall to Penn State needs people to donate to annual giving. At the end of the day, PSU is asking you to make a one-year extra gift to the annual fund. In return, they'll throw you a couple bones. Is there chutzpah there? Sure. Will people be willing to do it? Sure.

There's a lot more chutzpah to the refund policy, especially since they are still keeping the seat license for the annual fund. In this climate, it's pretty unfair.

By the way, all those charitable donations and the seat licenses aren't refundable. Those are mostly for scholarships (not just for football players, btw) that have ALREADY been distributed for the upcoming year.

unitastoberry     August 07
First thing I would do is investigate this Levi Lamb fund at Penn St. And bring in DAs from a different part of the state or even the FBI otherwise they may vanish from the face of the earth their car parked next to the Susquehanna River with their laptop minus the hard drive in the back seat. I live up here and just can't wait to hear the faithful spin this one in a positive way. They still think the Freeh report is bogus and Joe Pa is a god.

James-Dundalk     August 07
I'm still waiting to hear from UMD about the money I paid them for my 5 football seats. Go ahead , say it A fool and his money ....

Rick     August 07
How bout ANGELS BUNDY (remember him) now that he's not an ORIOLE. Remember CRUZ?

Chuck Z     August 06
Isn’t there a statue of of some dead disgraced enabler that disgruntled Happy Valley ticket holders can tear down in protest? If most Nittany Lion fans acted like the ones I know personally after the scandal, they deserve to get fleeced for their 2020 ticket “contribution”. Never met a group of more like minded people in denial.


Chris in Bel Air     August 06
I watched the end of the Pens/Habs game last night and you could feel the energy coming from the play on the ice. Both teams were scrapping. However, without the fans, it is still not at a true hockey playoff level for excitement. For the major sports that have returned, I've enjoyed watching golf the most. NHL is 2nd and MLB 3rd. I'm not an NBA fan, even prior to COVID, so can't comment on that one. I understand why they are doing it but their SJW messages certainly aren't helping to lure me, that's for sure.

@Butch - I have seen Bruce 3 times and the 2009 show at the Arena as my favorite of them all.

Daveinlutherville     August 06
For goodness sakes, can we please put Chris Davis out of his misery and just release him already? He seems like a very nice person who hit the $ jackpot. Clearly, for whatever reason, he cannot hit major league pitching any longer. At this point, It seems cruel to put him on the field. Enough! Let him go and move on with his life.

Jeffwell     August 06
@ Butch; There is no defense for Drew on that topic. None, zero, zip, zilch, nada.

Unitastoberry     August 06
The Orioles will dump Cobb if there are takers imo. To bad the bats died last 3 games. Its just exhibition anyway.

Butch     August 05
Concerts - I have been to over 500 in person. At the Baltimore Civic Center I have seen: The Beatles; Dave Clark 5; Rascals; The Yardbirds; Bee Gees; Bruce Springsteen; Elton John; Johnny Cash; Ferlin Husky; L.C. Smith; George Jones and others. At UMBC's old field house I saw Chicago. At Towson Burdick Hall I saw: The Association. At Pier 6 I have seen: Journey; Steppenwolf; Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; The Association; The Guess Who; KC and the Sunshine Band; The Fifth Dimension; The Spinners; Kool and the Gang and others. At Merriweather: Rod Stewart; Barry Manilow; Chicago and others. At Painters Mill I saw: The Temptations; 4 Tops; Bobby Vinton and others. At the Tent in Ocean City I have seen: Three Dog Night; Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons; The Village People; KC and the Sunshine Band; Eric Paslay; Parmalee; Neil Sedaka; Wayne Newton; Eddie Money; STP; ZZ Top; Gary Puckett; Christopher Cross and others. At the OC Convention Center I saw: Rare Earth; The Tramps; KC and the Sunshine Band; Beach Boys and Kenny Rogers. Out of state concerts: Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs; Toby Keith; Brad Paisley; Weird Al; Chicago; Doobie Brothers; Village People; KC and the Sunshine Band (at least 5 times) and many many others.



My personal reviews: The Beatles at the Civic Center Sept 1964 - I went with 3 girls from my class at Herring Run Jr High - I could not hear a note - nothing but screaming. So for excitement it was a 10, music a 2 or 3.



Best concerts live: Bruce Springsteen at the Civic Center in 2009 and Journey at Pier 6 in 2002. At the tent in OC - Neil Sedaka and Gary Puckett.



Worst concert was Wayne Newton in Ocean City at Sunfest - he was terrible.



In Drew's defense - he was not a teenager during the 60's for the Beatles.

such     August 05
Thanks everyone for your warm welcome.

@SRJ - I can't find Crowley's pinch hitting BA, but he ranks 13th in MLB history with 108 pinch hits. The all-time leader is Lenny Harris with 212. Manny Mota, who I always paired with the Crow, is now 3rd all-time with 150. I used Baseball Reference to look up his career stats and it's pretty hard to sort by pinch hit ABs.

@Fireball - C'mon man, I can't give up that kind of valuable info! I will say he spoke highly of some of the young arms.

krf82     August 05
Thank you, Such. And a very warm welcome.

SRJ     August 05
Good story on the Crow. I couldn't find it, but I wonder what TC's average was as a pinch hitter only. I asked a couple guys in the office to guess TC's career HR and RBI. Everybody guessed way higher on each. I suppose Terry's legend as a hitter is greater than the reality.

Jeff “Fireball” Roberts     August 05
Come on Such you left us hangin’. What did the Crow think of the young O’s. I always loved Terry Crowley, Jim Dwyer and Benny Ayala. Those names take me back to a time when life seemed easier.

Rick     August 05
Watch video of JOHN DALEY winning 91 PGA. Drove his car to tournament as 9th inline to get in. Other day playing OSPREY..there he is 1 hole in front of us playing. We couldn't concentrate from watching him hit unbelivable drives. He must have put on 50 pounds. The loudest clothes.

Jason M     August 05
Today's Thing: 14 innings of Orioles baseball against the Corona Kids!

unitastoberry     August 05
The Crow may have been the all time Unsung Hero of Baltimore pro sports certainly the Unsung Hero of the Orioles to this day imo. For the Colts it may have been Alex Hawkins. And for the Ravens it might be Jermaine Lewis or Jacoby Jones tough choice there.

C.J.     August 05
@Jake, The cost of the fantasy golf team isn't $50,000, that's the salary cap you have to use to make your 6 man team. You can play games for $3.00, $5.00, $33.00, $200.00 or more. I have no idea which games @DF plays but I usually enter the $33.00 games.

Vince Fiduccia     August 05
The PGA has had terrific TV Ratings since they returned from the pandemic. This coupled with booming business that courses are doing since the shutdown puts the game in a very good place. Looks like beating the the other sports back was a smart move. Should be a fun few days.

Steve from Cape Coral     August 05
Drew, What would you tell Spieth he needs to change in order to get back to his winning ways ???

HERMAN     August 05
With the NBA jamming Woke down our throats with every jam, and the baseball season appearing to make things up as they go along, it's nice to have a major, in prime time no less, which feels "real". The absence of fans doesn't take away from the competition, there will be no asterisk for the win at Harding Park.

It's going to be a real diversion from the polarized political hate beaming in from every cable channel and website, and will take our minds off the Covid monster lurking outside the door.

If we are fortunate enough to have a leaderboard like last week we may be able to suspend reality for a few hours this weekend and forget living in a plague ridden mad, mad world of riots and economic despair.

George     August 05
@Pat Mitchell Jr. – Great stats compilation! If Rickie’s your choice to win this week, you can profit. He’s 45 to 1.

I say yet once again, I’m not a Rickie Fowler-hating guy. Some folks here don’t comprehend well, and I hope you’re not one of that herd. I object to the extensive media coverage he gets, and have repeatedly suggested it is far greater than his proven history merits.

There’s a debate over whether professional golf is competition or entertainment. There was never any sympathy generated for the guys bumped from tournaments when Michelle Wie or Annika was given an exemption into a Tour event. The Tour wanted to make money and the lady-oddities sold way more tickets and generated way more TV time than whoever was World Number #157 at the times. And neither ever had a snowball’s chance.

Fowler is a likable and personable TV character. He sells tickets and draws viewers. But he’s dogmeat when matched on a course against Koepke, Johnson, Thomas, Woods, Rahm, McIlroy, DeChambeau, Morikawa, and a half dozen others. [See last week, for a typical example.]

I prefer to think that golf is a competition and not merely entertainment. Maybe that’s foolish. The Tour wants to sell it both ways, and commentators help them by giving Rickie air time, with the notable example of Johnnie Miller, who tried to insist that the best players get the most coverage.


Jake     August 05
Business at the Dish must be doing pretty well if you have $100,000 to throw away on fantasy sports.

CJ     August 04
Is @DF picking Tiger Woods to win the PGA tomorrow?

Steve E. (White Tee Golfer)     August 04
I see where Drew just noted on his Twitter page that Tiger got the early tee time on Thursday and late tee time on Friday. Golf Channel guy (Bregay?) says that's a big deal for Tiger's chances because of the weather.

Eric     August 04
JohninEssex: there is good aggressive base running when thrown out. Namely if there are 2 outs and you have struggling hitter up next you have better odds on a poor throw or catcher dropping throw

Rick     August 04
What's happening up there with the hurricane?

Kramer     August 04
Beatles were the most over rated musical group ever. They edged out REO Speedwagon for the award.

Gary S     August 04
Well said Herman. Couldn’t agree with you more about the Beatles. Don’t understand Drew on that one. But different opinions okay. I’ve been enjoying the Os smacking the cover off the ball. Imagine if Mancini was in lineup. Caps overtime was thrilling last night, even though the Caps lost in shootout. I got my 76 year old Mom into the Caps. She hasn’t missed watching a game in 3 years. A lot of fun to see her waving her arms and yelling at the tv. Ice hockey is the best sport to watch on tv. Especially playoff hockey.

Pat Mitchell Jr.     August 04
Here's some fodder for the Fowler Hater George guy on why this might be Rickie's week.





Fowler has eleven top-10 finishes in major championships, the most of any player without a victory since the start of 2011. Now 31 years old, Fowler is still two years younger than Phil Mickelson was when he broke through at the 2004 Masters for his first major. People forget that Phil didn't win right away either.



Since the start of 2014, only five players have a better scoring average than Fowler in majors (70.6). All five of those players are major champions. That's not a stat from last year or two years ago. That's over a six year period.



Only two players in the world have averaged two or more strokes gained per round in the majors since 2017: Fowler and Brooks Koepka. Strokes gained tells you how one player compared to the rest of the field. Fowler and Koepka have been better than everyone else since 2017.

Tom J     August 04
Love the Q and A today. Please include this more often. Great advice for the kid in the golf tournament. Actually, great advice for just about any life situation. Always a lesson. And I know this isn’t a “Major 4” team but one of the best logos in all of sports ever is the Baltimore Clippers logo. Top 3 for sure.

JohnInEssex     August 04
Random thoughts:

-- Beatles playing live were too hamstrung by screaming girls and the lack of technology to counteract it. I'm sure there are PLENTY of today's acts that would sound atrocious if it wasn't for technology whitewash.

-- Scott Garceau made a comment on Sunday that it was good aggressive baserunning by the Orioles, when our runner was gunned down at the plate for the third out. WHAT???

-- A BIG fan of Ben McDonald on the mike, and he said something that even my wife caught - opening night, describing a guy on Boston as a 23 year old, the next sentence he says, last year, as a 22 year old...well, YEA! Made us both laugh. Still REALLY glad that Ben got added to the broadcasting team. He has enthusiasm, knowledge, and a fun delivery.

-- Mike Bordick made a comment on a radio broadcast from Cleveland 4 years ago that was "classic", while batting, he said Matt Wieters sees the ball with his eyes first. Am still wondering what he sees it with second!

-- Baseball TV broadcasts finding more ways to litter the screen with ads.

-- Baseball giving us distractions from the COVID, when there aren't COVID stories withing baseball!

-- If you are looking for something fun to do with the family, go to Parkville Lanes for some duckpin bowling, and WEAR YOUR MASKS! Call before going to verify store hours and lane availability.

dave hughes     August 04
@Howard @UnitastoBerry My mom loves to tell the story of seeing The Beatles at the Baltimore Civic Center in 1964. She was on Paul's side of the stage and didn't hear a single song because the screaming of the girls around her was so loud.

unitastoberry     August 04
@ Howard thats a good point you make with the Beatles live and all the screaming girls. Sound systems to day have come light years since then. The Shea Stadium gig I would bet no one could hear past the dugouts. Hence the men giving them a thumbs down live.

Jason M     August 04
I saw 311 play at Bayou Blues Cafe in DC in 1995 before they really were a hit and man those guys were just amazing live, plus it was a small venue no more than 100 or so people in the club. Also, the Police at the Virgin Fest at Pimlico blew me away with the sound quality and musicianship at an outdoor festival. Like 311, the were 3 guys on a stage making a lot of great, precise music that sounded awesome.

HERMAN     August 04
Beatles-bashing makes the site owner the ultimate DMD troll. They profoundly influence Rock more than any group in history and altered the genre beyond measure. Their transition from mop-top's playing three chord fifties style love ditties, in four short years to LSD influenced leaders of the counter-culture, and the music that transition produced was seminal, earth shattering. Dropping "Sgt. Pepper" into the world of Rock in 1967 was no less than the equivalent of lobbing a vinyl atomic bomb into rock music.

Beyond the bubble gum hype and screaming teenage girl was a talent and influence still reverberating today.

For those too young to have experienced the 60's, even as a youngster, there is no describing the times, or what it was like when The Beatles were unleashed on the world. There is no modern day equivalent even close. Sad to see them disparaged by one who claims some appreciation of rock.

Howard     August 04
To be fair, it is hard to play music when you cannot hear what you are playing. This was one of the reasons why the Beatles stopped touring. If you watch the impromptu concert on the roof of Apple Records in the late 60s, you will see their talent shine.

HERMAN     August 04
Haven't seen much of Patrick Reed on the leaderboard or in conversation of late. He seems to have disappeared over the last six weeks or so. He definitely gets pumped for the majors, and has that ability to maintain focus at a difficult course. "The most hated player on tour" loves to shine when the spotlight is brightest, no one is mentioning his name, he may just spoil the party this week.

Jeff P.     August 04
Norman over Faldo and Els?

Unitastoberry     August 04
I never saw the Beatles but talked to several who did and never a good live review. Best live rock concert I did not expect was Journey back in the 70s with Perry. Man he could sing then and Neal Schon wow. Worst live concert was Van Halen with Dave reunion. Eddie was great as usual Roths voice is GONE.Reminded me of a cat howling in heat.

Tommy Shelby     August 04
Drew, thanks for allowing Randy Morgan to contribute to the site. His articles are always well written and informative. His information about the various American players in Europe is especially valuable.

I agree with Dave Hughes about the Chargers having the best uniform in the NFL.

Dave Hughes     August 04
@DF If you enjoyed seeing a race at Dover, you'd be blown away by the Daytona 500. The sheer size of the track is something that TV doesn't do justice. Also, nice pick with the Carolina Hurricanes but their previous iteration, the Hartford Whalers, has, in my opinion, the best NHL logo of all time. It's hard to touch the powder blue uniform combo of the San Diege/Los Angeles/Hollywood Park Chargers too.

George     August 04
What’s up with this preposterous fixation you and other moon-eyed media members have with that journeyman golfer Rickie Fowler? As pointed out many times before, he wins less often than once in a blue moon -- an expression meaning to most reasonable folks that something doesn’t happen very often. And even after he crashed and burned over the final 27 holes last weekend, you somehow – and who knows why – suggest that this is an indicator that he will do well this week. This is crazy!!! Reasonable and rational sportswriters understand that the best predictor of what someone will do in future is what he’s done in the past.

My sense is that reps from Puma, Mortgage Rocket, Rolex, and a host of other Rickie sponsors pick up dinner checks and find other ways to enrich the TV talking heads to give Rickie some air time and sing his praises. A few weeks ago, they talked about how missing three of the last four cuts showed that Fowler was “right there.” Lord knows what that means.

The only one they couldn’t get to was Johnnie Miller, who said that if Fowler was as good as everyone says he is, why didn’t he win more?


Howard     August 03
I have enjoyed watching Orioles games despite the fact I am familiar with only a few players.

Also, Scott Garceau and Ben McDonald have done a great job.

Marc Serio     August 03
Hey Drew, hoping you can help with a coaching question. My 14 year old played in his first junior tournament at our club on Saturday. He shot 41 on the front and was leading by 4 or 5 shots and then imploded on the last five holes. He shot 53 on the back nine and wound up finishing third. Needless to say he was really crushed after and didn't say a word on the car ride home and was really quiet yesterday. I was wondering if you have any fatherly/coaching advice I could pass along to him after that collapse?

DF     August 03
@Ian -- I'm not sure what you expect me to say.

Ian     August 03
You're right, everybody in the world does use 5.2.

But 5.2 means 5 2/10. When we say a pitcher lasted through 2 outs in the 6th inning, that's 5 2/3 innings -- not 5 2/10 innings.

Thursday
August 6
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#2173



thursday thoughts


This thing* the Orioles are playing is going to leave them in quite a quandry if the starting pitching continues to shine. Alex Cobb and John Means were both excellent against the Marlins and even Wade LeBlanc has looked decent thus far through a couple of starts. If you're Mike Elias, do you hold on to those three -- Cobb and Means in particular -- and hope they can be part of the "getting better" team we expect to see in a couple of years? Or do you ship them off on August 20 and try and stockpile more young prospects and "players to be named later"? Means has picked up 5 MPH on his fastball from a year ago, and mixed with that nasty change-up of his, is blossoming into a potential top of the rotation guy if he continues to progress.

One inning of work from Max Scherzer on Wednesday night was quite deflating for fantasy baseball enthusiasts.

Talk about a bad fantasy baseball beat, the author experienced one of those and then some last night. Heading into the slate of night games, I was sitting in 30th place (out of 12,300 entries) after getting some good production from several Phillies and Yankees in their doubleheader opener. First prize in the game was $25,000. As it was, 30th was netting me a $200 prize (on an $8.00 entry) and if I could just move to 20th, I'd be looking at $1,000. I had two players left to perform for my team. Carlos Correa of Houston was one of them. He went 2-for-4 in Houston's 14-7 loss to Arizona. I just needed the other guy to have a big night. And that was a slam dunk...his name was Max Scherzer. And ----------- Scherzer left the game after one inning with hamstring troubles. My take when the night ended? $44.00. If Scherzer would have gone 5 innings, recorded 15 outs, and struck out 8 batters without allowing more than an earned run or two (both of which are "routine" for him), I probably would have won somewhere around $5,000. But hey, I won $44, so I have that going for me, which is nice. Thanks, Max.

Since the NBA and NHL started playing actual games in their bubble(s), the two leagues have not had a positive Covid-19 case. Baseball, meanwhile, has a mess on its hands with the Marlins and Cardinals both causing a major ripple in the truncated 2020 campaign. Football is back at it right now, with training camps taking place all over the country. So far, so good, but you just know it's a matter of time before someone has to shut down their camp because of one or more positive tests. I think the cosmetic appearance of the two "bubble" sports is lousy. They can cover up the seats or put cardboard cut outs in them, but the whole thing looks bizarre. But at least they're playing. And all games are going off as scheduled. I still say the NFL would be best served to create a "bubble season" of its own, perhaps in Dallas, Arizona and Detroit, maybe?

Speaking of the NHL and its bubble, the Capitals play the Flyers today at 4:00 pm. I don't care much for the Flyers, you might have heard. And even though this game doesn't really mean anything except for seeding purposes for the next round, the Flyers are vastly improved from a year ago and have been gaining confidence all year. Despite the five month hiatus, they picked up right where they left off in the first "seeding game" by beating Boston, 4-1. Dare I say it? The Flyers are potentially a real threat in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Yikes. That's far, far worse than the Yankees winning the A.L. East or the Steelers winning the AFC North. Far worse. The Flyers are the worst franchise in all of sports. In the world. C'mon Caps, humanity needs you today.

The Orioles entered Wednesday's series opener with the Marlins sky high after a weekend sweep of the supposedly-really-good Tampa Bay Rays. And with the Marlins coming to town for their first live baseball in nine days, the Birds were on track to perhaps start the thing* at 9-3. Heck, after that 3-game sweep of Tampa Bay, ESPN's computer said the O's had a 36% chance of making the expanded MLB playoffs in 2020. 36% chance!! And -------- they've now lost three straight to the Marlins, scoring only one run -- one run -- in those 3 games. From 5-3 to 5-6. Of course, a 30-30 record at the completion of the 60-game thing* will likely get a team into the post-season, so the O's are still on pace for a playoff run, but you have to make your move against teams like the Marlins. Or so we thought, right?

One of the on-going aggravations on Twitter is watching Baltimore football fans constantly defending Lamar Jackson whenever others around the country troll the Ravens quarterback for being 0-2 in the playoffs. It's hilarious to watch the back and forth from folks. Kansas City people making fun of Jackson's 0-2 mark and Ravens fans bragging about Lamar's MVP award. I never involve myself in those threads, but I do amuse myself by reading them. And while I'm not a huge fan of internet trolls, those Chiefs fans know they have the upper hand right now as both the defending Super Bowl champs and owners of (arguably) the best quarterback in football. Meanwhile, Ravens fans have to live with Jackson throwing up duds against the Chargers in 2019 and the Titans in 2020. There's nothing we here in Baltimore can say to change that. It is what it is, to borrow that term that drives people crazy. Until Jackson wins a playoff game, he's going to hear and read that stuff.

If you believe in golf gods, and I most certainly do (how else can you explain Nicklaus at the '86 Masters?), one of three things will happen at this week's PGA Championship. Tiger will win and capture not only his 16th major, but his 83rd career win, giving him the all-time record. I always said Woods could truly start thinking about catching Jack's mark of 18 majors once he got to 16. Until then, it was still a far-reaching accomplishment. A win at Harding Park would put him there. The golf gods could also reward Jordan Spieth for three years of hanging in there and fighting his swing and his game by giving him a win and completing the career grand slam. Spieth has been on a real downturn since winning the British Open in 2017, but one win at a major could potentially get him back on track. Surely the golf gods have seen the way Spieth has handled himself over the last three years. How about a win for the Texas kid? And finally, it would be great to see the golf gods usher Rickie Fowler into the winner's circle. Even if he winds up winning just one major, a victory at the PGA Championship would be a career statement for Fowler and might allow his golf game to "free up" a bit in the second half of his career. As someone noted in the Comments section recently, Phil Mickelson didn't win his first major until he was 34. So Fowler could win one here and then win one next year and then, who knows, he too could win up with four or five by the time he's 50. Or......he could win zero, which would be a shame. C'mon golf gods. We know you're watching. Tiger, Jordan or Rickie. Any of those three this week, please.

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


my day at the pga


I met my friend Greg Parassio at the scenic Metropark train station in that part of New Jersey that gives the state a bad name. No worries, since we were headed to a slightly more bucolic place. In 30 minutes or so, we’d be at Baltusrol Golf Club, home of the 2005 PGA Championship.

This was a good deal, the VIP treatment. My colleague Michael Cross, now an athletic department bigwig at Penn State, had a bunch of tickets to give away. His sister worked for the PGA of America (1), which runs the tournament. I chose Friday, the second round, to make it a long weekend.

There was no offsite parking at a commuter station five miles away next to the town diner (every town in New Jersey has a diner) and then a shuttle bus to the course. Not for us. We pulled off the main road, then a side road, then made a couple of turns in a tree-shaded neighborhood. At a dead end, we were ushered through an open gate to a parking space that was literally on a golf course.

Phil Mickelson was the winner of the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol, the second major title of his career.

Turns out it was the adjacent Upper Course at Baltusrol, the one they weren’t using for the tournament. I wondered how much a week of parking cars ruins a golf course, and how much the PGA paid the club for the damage. I told Greg to remember that we were parked in what appeared to be the middle of the 12th fairway, maybe 165 out. A big 7-iron for me (2). Off we went.

The other good news? Our tickets were special ones, with access to one of those corporate tents. In our case, it was the PGA of America’s own monstrous tent, located in a prime spot next to the 17th hole. The tent was air-conditioned, and the outside temperature reached close to 100 degrees at one point. Get the drift? Also they had food. I believe I remember crab cakes and some excellent buffalo wings. Anyway…

The 17th at Baltusrol is some kind of spot. In 2005, it played at 630 yards. In 2020, the club lists the championship tee yardage at 647 yards. The green is on a hill. 99 percent of the field, assuming they hit a good drive, attempts to hit a good second shot to the bottom of the hill, about 110 yards from the green.(3)

I actually saw Tiger Woods go for the green in two shots. He was annoyed after shooting 75 on Thursday, I think. Or maybe he was suffering from heat stroke. I didn’t have a great view, but he took a mighty lash at it. I lost sight of the ball, and wasn’t interested in chasing his next shot with thousands of my new friends. We bolted back into the tent, where we saw on the broadcast that his shot had actually finished behind the green in a bunker.

Woods, you probably don’t recall, finished his tournament at -2 on Sunday. Thunderstorms forced the conclusion until Monday morning, but he didn’t stick around for a potential playoff even though he’d end up only two shots off the -4 winning score of Phil Mickelson (4).

This was close to the height of Tiger-mania. He’d won The Masters in April, the one with his famous chip-in from off the 16th green. Just a few weeks before the PGA, he’d gone wire-to-wire in winning the Open Championship at St. Andrews. He wouldn’t turn 30 until December of that year.

And I must say, as fan attending a golf tournament on a scorching day, I found the whole thing annoying. I could barely see him. The only time I got close was when he was walking up a fairway after hitting a tee shot. Steve Williams, his caddie, was eating an apple, and he was nice enough to toss the core into a trash can as opposed to the ground. Good on him, mate.

Chris DiMarco, the guy who Tiger beat in a playoff at Augusta that year? There was nobody watching him. We followed him for a couple holes. Michael Campbell (5), who had won the U.S. Open in June, finished a shot behind Woods at Baltusrol with very few people watching.

The crowd control seemed a little lax, actually, with the exception of Woods and Mickelson and a couple others. Greg and I traversed a fairway on one of those crosswalks that was wide open. As we reached the center, we were approached by the Australian golfer Geoff Ogilvy, who had apparently just teed off. He was surprised to see us, I think. We said “g’day, mate” and headed back toward the tent.

Ogilvy neglected to tell me that he would win the U.S. Open the following year, thanks to double bogeys on the 18th hole at Winged Foot both by Mickelson (6) and Colin Montgomerie. If I were a betting man, I could have won a few quid on him. The Open returns to Winged Foot this year, by the way. As the crow flies, it’s only about 50 miles from Baltusrol. In typical New York traffic, allow three hours.

The Lower Course at Baltusrol is one of those annoying layouts where the 9th green does not come back to the clubhouse (7); in fact, the par-3 9th is about as far away from the first tee as any other point on the course. I’m not sure how the PGA shuttled players back to the clubhouse or out to the 10th tee for the two-tee start; they might have used some of the closed-off neighborhood roads to avoid the crowds. No worries for DiMarco, though…he and his caddie could have walked the two miles back to the practice green with no bother at all.

I’ve written this before, but it comes back to me every time a big golf tournament returns, which thankfully is happening today: going to the course isn’t really a great way to watch the golf. I can appreciate wanting to be right next to Justin Thomas to hear what it sounds like when he makes contact with the driver, or maybe being a few feet away from Mickelson when he hits some kind of ridiculous short-sided flop shot. But I’m 47 years old, and I can barely see my own tee shots after about 125 yards (8). Being at the course among thousands makes it difficult to actually follow the ball, and the narrative of the entire tournament gets lost when you are but a speck on hundreds of acres.

Certainly there’s the actual setting of a famous golf course, but Baltusrol isn’t Pebble Beach. I’d certainly like to be invited to play there one day (9), but it wasn’t a place I walked around gaping at the scenery. It’s an old, traditional club for really rich people; I think it was only within the last 10 years or so that you were allowed to wear shorts on the course.

That Friday at the 2005 PGA remains the only time I’ve been to major championship round that counted; the #DMD Monday at the Masters in 2018 doesn’t count, though it sure was great. I suppose I was fortunate to be there during the prime of the Mickelson-Woods “rivalry,” and I certainly appreciated the VIP access. On some level, simply being on a golf course with so many people is a unique experience, the exact opposite of the typical golf experience.

When they play the PGA starting today in San Francisco, there won’t be anybody there watching. For lots of reasons, that’s a shame. Those players make money because they are public performers, not just great golfers. As for me, however, I’ve been fine with the television broadcast ever since I had the chance to be there.


Notes --

(1) - The PGA of America is the organization of club professionals, not to be confused with the PGA Tour. They also help run the Ryder Cup.

(2) - Ok, maybe a 6. Smooth.

(3) - As great of a hole as it is, it’s also sort of boring. Everybody hits a shot to the same spot, and then tries to hit a wedge as close as possible. It’s basically the longest par-3 in the world.

(4) - Mickelson won by making a birdie on the par-5 18th hole, hitting a great chip/pitch from heavy rough next to the green to about two feet from the cup.

(5) - Campbell, who is now 51, played the British Masters a few weeks ago and was only one shot out of the lead after the first round. He said after the round that he hadn’t played in eight months and only started practicing two weeks prior.

(6) - Said Mickelson. “I still am in shock that I did that. I just can’t believe that I did that. I am such an idiot.”

(7) - The Black Course at Bethpage State Park, site of the 2019 PGA, is also like that.

(8) - When I had to get progressive addition lenses about five years ago, it took a while to figure out how to hit a golf ball with them.

(9) - Jim Nantz grew up in New Jersey; I think I once heard that he was (still is?) a Baltusrol member. Drew, you know Jim, right? Help me out…

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champions league preview


The flagship European club competition, the UEFA Champions League, resumes play this Friday. When the COVID shutdown went in place in March, half of the round of 16 had been completed, leaving four teams qualified for the quarterfinals and four more matches to play to determine the remaining quarterfinalists.

That is where it will pick up, with two quarterfinalists determined Friday and two more on Saturday. The quarterfinals will begin Wednesday August 12th and the competition will be a single elimination tournament from there with all games being played in Portugal.

The US TV rights for the competition have been transferred from Turner to CBS, however it appears they will not air any matches on the main CBS channel, instead airing most on CBS Sports Network or their CBS All Access streaming service.

American Christian Pulisic (left, in red) will miss the Champions League quarterfinals for Chelsea after suffering a leg injury last week.

Friday’s headline match involves Spanish champions Real Madrid visiting English Premier League runners up Manchester CIty. Man City are currently the betting favorites to win the entire competition. They won the first leg in Madrid back in March 2-1 and thus have a sizable advantage coming into this home match. They will have their work cut out for them however, as Real Madrid have been one of the best clubs since the return from shutdown, storming through La Liga to overtake Barcelona for the Spanish title.

The other Friday match sees Lyon travel to play Juventus. The Italian champions lost the first leg 1-0 to the French side and will need to overturn that score to advance. Despite the deficit, Juventus are the slight favorites to win the match and advance. Juventus are coming fresh off the conclusion of their season while Lyon has played only one competitive match since the French league shut down in March.

The winners of the two Friday matches will play each other in the quarterfinals next week in Portugal. Likewise the winners of the two Saturday matches will meet each other next week.

Saturday sees Spanish runners up Barcelonaat home against Napoli. The teams drew 1-1 in the first leg so Barcelona will need a win or 0-0 draw to advance while Napoli can advance with a win or higher scoring draw. Barca are the heavy favorites to advance from the match despite their lackluster finish to the Spanish season. Napoli suffered a potentially devastating loss on Saturday when top attacker Lorenzo Insigne went with a leg injury that could keep him out.

The other Saturday match has Chelsea traveling to Bayern Munich. Bayern is another of the heavy favorites to win the competition, having destroyed the German Bundesliga post-restart. There is a good argument that Bayern has been the best club throughout the 2019-20 season. In addition to that, Bayern carry a 3-0 win from the first leg, meaning Chelsea will require a colossal comeback to overturn the result. If that weren’t bad enough, Chelsea will likely be without their top attacker, Christian Pulisic, and their captain, Cesar Azpilicueta, who were both injured in last weekend’s FA Cup Final.

The two quarterfinal matches already set for next week are Atalanta vs Paris SG and RB Leipzig vs Atletico Madrid. Paris were one of the top clubs before the shutdown, but have only played two competitive matches since March. This draw has done them a lot of favors by placing all of the other favorites (Man City, Bayern, Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid) on the opposite side of the bracket. On talent alone PSG would be heavily favored over Atalanta, but the Italian side have been one of the hottest teams since the restart and play a high energy game that could disrupt a rusty PSG.

In the last matchup, Atletico Madrid are slight betting favorites against Tyler Adam’sRB Leipzig. Atletico are always tough in cup competitions due to their organized and diligent defending. This isn’t a great matchup for Leipzig since they like to press teams high and force turnovers to create scoring chances. Atletico will force Leipzig to have more possession and the German team will need to find ways to break down the difficult defense while preventing quick counter attacks.

The quarterfinal draw has produced quite an unbalanced bracket. On one side the teams have a combined 25 Champions League trophies compared to zero on the other. This sets up a good chance of seeing a Cinderella team in the final as well as some drama filled matchups of Europe’s biggest clubs in the upcoming rounds.

About the contributor: Randy Morgan was born and raised in the Baltimore area graduating from Dulaney HS and then University of Maryland. His day job is software development. He's an avid sports watcher and recreational participant. A devoted Ravens, Orioles and U.S. soccer supporter. he also follows many soccer leagues around the world as well as the NBA and college basketball. Randy played soccer, basketball, and baseball growing up and still plays soccer and basketball recreationally as well as the occasional round of golf. His commentary on mostly sports, but sometimes music and other miscellany can be found on twitter @jrmorgan16.

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Wednesday
August 5
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#2172



is it tiger's time?


When the PGA Championship begins tomorrow at Harding Park in San Francisco, Tiger Woods will be bundled up like it's a late January day at Torrey Pines.

And, well, if you follow golf you'll know he's had a pretty nice run at that course on the outskirts of San Diego.

He played well at the Presidents Cup back in 2009 when it was held at Harding Park.

Oh, and when the PGA Championship released their tee-times for this Thursday and Friday, Woods got the favorable end of the draw, playing early (8:33 AM PDT) on day one and 1:58 pm (PDT) on day two.

It's all shaping up well for Woods, huh?

No...it's not.

Patrick Cantlay, from Long Beach, California, is #DMD's pick to win this year's PGA Championship at Harding Park in San Francisco.

While it's true he's played well in California throughout his career, his brief record at Harding Park is good, and he got the preferred tee-time rotation on Thursday and Friday, you won't be seeing Woods holding the Wanamaker Trophy on Sunday evening.

I'd be surprised if Tiger finishes in the top 10, honestly.

The course doesn't set up well for a guy with a bad back who will have to face 4 to 6 lashes out of four inch rough, per-day, assuming he hits 8 (or so) of the 14 fairways, which is roughly what we've come to expect from him in the latter stages of his career.

And while it would be silly to write him off completely, the thought here is this is not the venue, weather or "time" for Tiger to claim his 16th major title and 83rd career win.

So, to answer the headline question...no, it's not Tiger's time.

But it very well might be time for Patrick Cantlay to finally break through and win the first major championship of his career. He's our predicted winner at Harding Park this week.

As we wrote here yesterday, several key statistics come into play when evaulating this week's event and Cantlay checks most of those boxes in a big way.

He's top 60 in nearly every "shots gained" stat, including 4th on TOUR in what might be the most important piece of the data heading into the week: shots gained, approach the green. That statistic basically shows where a player ranks against the rest of the field in getting his ball on the green AFTER his tee-shot. Only 3 players on TOUR rate higher than Cantlay in this all important statistic.

Cantlay hasn't won a major championship, but he's been in the hunt enough to know what it's like. He briefly led the 2019 Masters before making a bogey at the 16th hole on Sunday and he finished T3 at Bethpage in May, 2019. This year, he's 9-for-9 in cuts made.

And if you put any stock in "California kids" knowing how to navigate their way around California courses and handle the bentgrass greens, then Cantlay is a good fit.

As you'll see in our fantasy lineup(s) below, we are touting a number of big name players this week. 16 of the last 20 PGA champions won an event earlier in the calendar year and 18 of the last 20 finished T-30 or better in the most recent event they played leading up to the PGA. While Cantlay doesn't fit either of those formulas, it's worth remembering he's only played in 7 events all year due to the Covid-19 shutdown.

More than anything, though, we think the time is right for Cantlay to finally show that he's one of the game's best players. The stats point in his direction, for sure. Now, all he has to do is follow through on what the data says he's capable of doing.


handicapping "others"


So what about the big names we aren't favoring this week? What do we think about those guys? Glad you asked. Look, any of the top 50 players in the world could win, but the stats and data numbers don't favor some of those players. As in...

Dustin Johnson -- It all depends on how his putter behaves. Tee to green, he's having a terrific year. And it looks like - based on his play in Memphis last week -- that he shook off the dismal performance at Muirfield Village. But his "shots gained, putting" stat for 2020 is lousy, as he ranks 139th on TOUR at (-.112) in that category. You can't win a major championship putting poorly. Odds of a win this week: 25-1.

Can Patrick Reed hit enough fairways to be a threat at this week's first major of the 2020 PGA Tour season?

Jason Day -- Much like Tiger, a guy with a bad back in cool, fall-like temperatures doesn't figure to prosper very well. Like Tiger, though, he did get the favorable early/late tee-time draw. But his driving accuracy and greens in regulations numbers are lousy in 2020. Unless those change drastically starting Thursday, he'll be hard pressed to make the cut. Odds of a win: 30-1.

Patrick Reed -- Not surprisingly, his best stats are all connected with his fabulous short game. Always one of the best putters, he'll only be in the hunt if he drives it better than he has in 2020. Could sneak up the leaderboard if he finds 70% of the fairways or more, but that's probably out of his reach this week. Odds of a win: 30-1.

Adam Scott -- Some folks are thinking the sweet swinging Australian could sneak up on people this week, but it's hard to think a guy who hasn't played a golf tournament in 5 months could suddenly "find it" at a major championship. He does have a win, back in February at the Genesis, but he's hit just 54% of the fairways this year. That stat alone should scare away anyone looking to wager on him. Odds of a win: 35-1.

Jordan Spieth -- Nothing about Spieth's 2020 campaign says he's closing in on a return to form, but it's fair to note his scoring has improved over the last month. Still, his stats are all so-so. Doesn't drive it straight and, not surprisingly, doesn't hit a lot of greens in regulation. And his putting -- once other-worldly -- is just "good" these days. It would be awesome to see him complete the career Grand Slam this week but it's highly unlikely. Odds to win: 45-1.

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fantasy golf lineup - pga championship


Because there hasn't been a PGA Tour stroke play event at TPC Harding Park in 17 years, there aren't really any "horses for courses" to consider at this week's PGA Championship.

Make sure Xander Schauffele is on your fantasy golf roster this week at the PGA.

Rory McIlroy won the Match Play Championship there five years ago and most of the quarterfinalists and semifinalists are still playing this week, but this isn't a tournament where there are years of history to look back on when putting together your fantasy golf lineup(s).

Most of the people who take fantasy golf seriously are using stats to put their team(s) together for the first major of the PGA Tour season. And that's the way we've done it as well, although we do lean a little more in the direction of recent form and who played well in July rather than who hits more fairways or greens in regulation.

Here are two teams we'll be playing this week, plus another twelve players you can fiddle around with and piece together into a team that gets in under the $50,000 salary cap. We'll be playing all 24 players you see below, in some way, hoping to get a handful of teams go 6-for-6 in making the 36-hole cut.

Team 1 - Justin Thomas, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Henrik Stenson, Lucas Glover, Jason Kokrak.

This team costs $49,800.

Thomas is almost a must-play on any team you put together. We love Morikawa's chances this week as well. He's played the course a couple of hundred times, he says, going back to his college days. Stenson is a terrific long-iron player, which should be an important attribute at Harding Park this week. Glover and Kokrak are long enough off the tee to make some noise and are strong "back end" guys that are always necessary, especially when you go top heavy with three big (expensive) names like we did.

Team 2 - Brooks Koepka, Xander Schauffele, Webb Simpson, Harold Varner III, Nick Taylor, Denny McCarthy.

Koepka might have us all fooled, but he played great in 3 of 4 rounds in Memphis last week and looks like he has a legit shot at winning a 3rd straight PGA this week. We love Schauffele's chances. Big time. Webb Simpson was #3 on our Top 7 this week and we wouldn't be at all surprised to see him win. Varner III was #6 on his list and might be ready to atone for last year's final round meltdown at Bethpage. Taylor is a very talented Canadian player who won at Pebble Beach earlier this year. And McCarthy, the Bethesda, MD product, is the TOUR's leading putter in the 2019-2020 season.

This team costs exactly $50,000.

Others we'll be playing: Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry, Matt Wallace, Rickie Fowler, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Chez Reavie, Sungjae Im, Richy Werenski, Max Homa, Joel Dahmen.

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SUCH
a sports fan

MARK SUCHY is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan, youth basketball coach and father of three athletic sons. A former weekend sports radio host in Baltimore, "Such" offers his memories and insights on sports related topics each Wednesday here at #DMD.


be ready


What’s the most difficult role for an athlete to play?

I’ve been pondering this question lately as sports has returned to our viewing landscape (thank the Gods above - I’m pretty burned out on Guy’s Grocery Games and Simpsons reruns and Blue Planet, as much as I enjoy those diversions). Watching the return of basketball, hockey, golf and baseball, even in their empty arenas and stadiums, makes me feel like there’s some sense of normalcy to my summer routine. I need my fix.

So while my sons and I were watching the Mavericks and Rockets play, and set defensive basketball concepts back about 30 years in the process, we began discussing that question. Almost unanimously we agreed that the hardest role for an athlete in any sport is that of a backup (or a benchwarmer if you prefer).

Think about it: You put in all the same work, always at practice, always competing, yet not starting. At the highest level in any sport, surrounded by the best athletes in the world and considered one among them, you’re just not…quite…good enough to be considered a regular. Yet you must remain ready at all times for that call from the coach to get in the game and produce, usually at critical moments.

That’s a lot of pressure. It requires a deep reservoir of physical, mental and emotional strength to perform at the level of the starters. It takes a lot of patience and humility to handle that kind of role.

Whether it’s a bench player in basketball, a second or third string lineman in football, or the backup goalie in hockey, the mentality and the strain are the same. Always ready at a moment’s notice to get in the game, but sometimes never getting the opportunity. At the professional level it’s a tough way to make the team and keep a roster spot.

But for me, the most difficult backup role in all of sports has to be a pinch hitter in baseball. Those men are usually called upon in late inning situations of close games to deliver a crucial hit. Typically the pitcher they have to face is a reliever throwing mid-90’s fastballs who has been called upon because he’s fresh and he throws harder than anyone else on the team.

Is there anything more difficult in sports than hitting a baseball? You’re swinging a round bat at a round ball and the coaches tell you to hit it square. To say nothing of the velocity and movement that major league pitchers impart to the ball.

And for a lot of pinch hitters, they only get a few plate appearances a week, but they’re still expected to produce in the clutch like a cleanup hitter would. The pressure has to be immense.

Here in Baltimore, there has never been a longer tenured or more successful pinch hitter for the Orioles than Terry Crowley. Over the course of 12 seasons as an Oriole, Crowley hit .253 with 40 homeruns and 194 RBIs. For an everyday position player, those kinds of numbers can be compiled in 2 seasons ( hold all steroid and HGH jokes, please). But for a player like Crowley, who had an uncanny ability to stay ready to be called upon in the clutch, they’re a testament to his longevity as one of the premier pinch hitters of his generation.

His manager, Earl Weaver, certainly trusted in him and believed in him. If he was worthy of that respect from Earl, he earned it through his performance. Nobody ever played for Weaver if they couldn’t perform.

Consider that in an average major league season, a regular position player will accumulate somewhere around 550 at bats. The Crow, as Crowley is fondly nicknamed, never had more than 247 at bats in a season, coming in 1972. Perhaps hinting at what he might have been able to produce in a full-time role, Crowley had 10 doubles, 11 homeruns and 29 RBIs in that campaign. In 1980 he accumulated 233 at bats and rewarded Weaver’s faith in him with a .288 batting average, 12 homeruns and 50 RBIs.

But those years were outliers. Crowley usually averaged between 90 to 125 at bats a season. That averages out to playing once every 8 games or so. That’s a hard way to earn and keep a roster spot in the big leagues.

Terry Crowley was a damned good major league hitter.

Just as the Baltimore Orioles under Earl Weaver were loyal to Crow, he was loyal to the organization. He spent 16 seasons as the team’s hitting coach, from 1985 to 1988, and again from 1999 to 2010, serving under 11 different managers. Quick sidebar here - 11 managers? Is it any wonder the franchise has struggled for so long? He was also a roving minor league hitting instructor for the organization until 2018.

Several years ago I was at Sunday Mass at my local parish with my three sons (I know, I know, I can’t really believe it either). As we were exiting the church a familiar looking gentleman was in the lobby. He looked at me and extended his hand and said, “I’m Terry Crowley. I was sitting behind you and your sons and I wanted to tell you how much they reminded me of my own sons at that age.” Suddenly I was a starstruck 13 year old Orioles fan again. I gathered my composure and introduced my sons. Terry was gracious and sincere and talked with the boys at length about their studies and their sports. Of course, on the way home I subjected the boys to my stories and memories of all those great Orioles teams and seasons of my youth. They seemed to humor me. They know when their old man is reverting back to his childhood and they do a nice job of tolerating those moments.

That chance introduction has led to several meetings over the past few years. The Crowleys live in my area and from time to time I’ll see Terry and he always gives me some time to chat. He calls me Such, which makes me feel like we’ve been lifelong friends. We talk baseball, of course, but also about our families and our children’s lives. The last time I saw him my sons and I were shooting hoops at the local school playground. The Crow was walking his dog and it was approaching dusk. I skipped out on shooting and went over and talked with him. He gave me his thoughts and insights on some of the Orioles minor league prospects. Then he told my boys to keep working on their games.

After all, you never know when the coach will call your name. You better be ready.

Note from DF: It's my pleasure to announce that Mark Suchy is joining our #DMD writing staff and will contribute a weekly piece here every Wednesday. Mark knows as much about the history of Baltimore sports as anyone I know. Not only that, he's an outstanding writer. And I think you'll quickly grow to enjoy his unique look on the world of sports. He's a former athlete, he's coached high-level basketball, and he remains an ardent follower of the Orioles, Ravens and Terps. Welcome to #DMD, Mark! We're very excited to have you on board with us.

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Tuesday
August 4
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2171



your questions, my answers


J.R. asks -- If you could take any one athlete from the four major sports and put him on your team, who would be your overall #1 selection?

DF: -- Great question. Holy cow. No one from hockey stands out, really. I'd throw a basketball wild card in there and say I think James Harden is the one guy I'd consider for this question. All that guy does is play great basketball and help his team(s) win. Everyone is going to point to Mahomes in football, naturally. And in baseball there's Trout, Bellinger, Yelich and Betts, I suppose. This is a tough question! I'll go chalk here and pick Mahomes, but I almost feel guilty doing it. But that kid is just so good.


Rob Maravich asks -- As I write this, the Orioles are 5-3. You picked them to go 21-39 in the regular season. After eight games, are you ready to amend your original prediction?

DF: -- No, not yet. One big reason I'll stick with 21-39 is because if they continue to play well and get to 13-7 at the 1/3 mark of the thing*, they'll probably trade away Cobb, Nunez, Ruiz, Alberto or anyone else halfway responsible for their success. But I would say, at this point, they'd have to really fall apart to not win at least 22 games. They have 5 wins already. They have to be able to win 17 more between now and the end of September, right?


Could you stop a penalty kick from Messi?

Cabbie Mike asks: -- Settle a bet between friends please. Rank these things in terms of their difficulty for an amateur athlete to do: kick a 40-yard field goal, hit a golf ball straight 275 yards, hit a baseball thrown at you 90 mph or stop a penalty kick by Messi.

DF: -- This gets our "question of the day" award! I'll be back in 15 minutes with my answer. OK, I'm back (15 minutes later). All four of them are incredibly difficult. Each one could be #1, honestly. I mean, people have no idea how hard it is to kick a football 40 yards. Remember, it has to get up in the air and stay up there for a few seconds. Hitting a golf ball straight 275 yards is nearly impossible for a non-golfer to do and 30% impossible for golfers to do. 275 yards is a long way. If you've never seen a baseball thrown at 90 mph, you won't understand how difficult it is just to make contact, let alone hit the thing. But if you time it right, you can at least make contact. Stopping a penalty kick by Messi is nearly impossible for the best goalkeepers in the world, let alone an amateur just standing in the goal. Wow. OK, here goes. For just your "average Joe", I'll say stopping the penalty kick by Messi is #1. He could take 20 and you'd never get a finger on one of them. #2 is hitting the baseball. #3 is the football field goal. #4 is the golf shot over 275 yards. I've seen 20 handicap golfers with no idea at all how to play hit one 100 yards off the tee and then on the next hole, hit one 275 yards. It's rare, but it happens.


Kevin asks: -- What's the one sporting event you've seen in person that you believe everyone should see at least once?

DF: -- Finally, a lay-up! This is the no-brainer of all no-brainers. I went with my dad to see a NASCAR race in Dover circa 1980 or so and I was blown away by the whole thing. If you've never been to a live NASCAR race, you are missing one of the greatest "spectacles" you'll ever see. It's beyond description how fast those cars are traveling and how close they are to one another. Dare I say it? Auto racing drivers are among the best athletes you'll find anywhere.


Marc Serio asks -- Hoping you can help with a coaching question. My 14 year old played in his first junior tournament at our club on Saturday. He shot 41 on the front and was leading by 4 or 5 shots and then imploded on the last five holes. He shot 53 on the back nine and wound up finishing third. Needless to say he was really crushed after and didn't say a word on the car ride home and was really quiet yesterday. I was wondering if you have any fatherly/coaching advice I could pass along to him after that collapse?

DF: -- Good question. And an important one. Here's what I tell all of my tournament players. If you start a golf tournament, finish it, and post a score -- no matter what it is -- you have already "won". Tell your son this: Never a failure...always a lesson. If he played, finished and posted it, that was not a failure. But I'm sure he learned a lesson or two along the way. Ask him what he learned. Ask him how he felt when he started to struggle on the back nine. Did his breathing change? Did his pace of play quicken? Was he fully focused on the next shot or was he still fretting over the most recent shot he played? Just tell him to remember this: Never a failure...always a lesson."


Tom asks: -- You mentioned a few weeks ago that your most surprising concert experience ever was Duran Duran. What has been your worst?

DF: -- Well, I didn't get to see The Beatles live, so that rules them out. I saw Red Hot Chili Peppers live once and they were dreadfully awful. I like some of their studio stuff -- not a lot of it, but enough to appreciate them -- but in concert, they were really bad. They were just overly loud, Anthony Kiedis couldn't hit a note, and they were "off". Maybe it was a bad night, but they were lousy. Note: I just texted a friend who saw The Beatles and he said they were terrible. As I figured.


Craig Pelhke asks: -- Other than Tiger winning the PGA and getting his 16th career major win and 83rd victory, what would be the biggest "winning story" this week at the PGA?

DF: -- Good one. There are three really strong options for this question. In no order, Fowler winning his first major, Spieth completing the career grand slam, and Mickelson winning a major at age 50. I mean, one of the PGA club professionals in the field winning would be one of the biggest stories in the history of golf, but that's not going to happen. Of those three, though, Spieth winning and completing the career "slam" would be the biggest story. And, honestly, it would be the most surprising, too.


James asks: -- Is there any Oriole you wouldn't trade?

DF: -- I'm pretty sure the answer is "no", but I'm not even 100% sure I know all the players. In fact, I know for sure a couple of guys played against the Rays and I had NO IDEA they were on the Orioles roster. I'm not as trade-hungry as Elias is, but I don't think there's anyone on the team I'd be afraid to trade. I do like the make-up of their roster though, and wouldn't be shipping off guys like Alberto and Nunez for a bag of peanuts or anything.


B.P. asks: Give us an underrated NFL team for 2020 and an overrated NFL team for 2020.

DF: -- Overrated, for sure: Pittsburgh. They're just about ready to be flipped over and seasoned. In terms of underrated: I'll go with Buffalo. The road is paved for them to win the AFC East now that New England is finally going to stink.


Frank asks: -- I know you're a uniform and logo freak. What's the best logo/uniform combo in each of the 4 major sports?

DF: -- The Milwaukee Brewers logo that's a baseball glove AND a "M" and "B" is unbeatable. Their colors are good, too. In hockey, I've always liked the Carolina Hurricanes uniforms and logo. It's simple. Their logo is a hurricane-whirling-thing and a hurricane warning flag flapping in the wind. In football, nothing beats the horseshoe and the blue and white of the...Colts. I don't really know all the logos in the NBA but I would say Boston's is pretty good.


Corey asks: -- Name the five best golfers of your lifetime and put them in order of how they would finish in a horse race.

DF: -- This will be fun. Nicklaus isn't really "in my lifetime" so I won't include him. I mean, I was 16 or so when he was at his peak. He'd be #2 if I counted him, but I won't. For purposes of this exercise, "my lifetime" is any player whose peak was from roughly 1985 and beyond. #1 is Tiger and he wins by 10 lengths. Here are the rest and how far behind Tiger they finished. 2. Mickelson (10 lengths), 3. Ballesteros (15), 4. Singh (17), 5. Norman (20).



new comments protocol


As I noted in the Comments section this past Saturday and posted again here yesterday, there is a new policy at #DMD.

Anyone publishing a comment must use a name or initials of some sort or their comment will be removed.

You may use your first name or your last name. You may use both your first and last names. You may also use your initials. You may identify yourself from whatever part of town you reside if you so choose.

But the days of "Anonymous" or "Some Guy" or "Casual Observer" are over here, I'm sorry to say. For that you can blame the funny guys (or gals, maybe) who insisted on putting offensive names in their comment(s) on Friday and Saturday.

So from here on out, use a name or initials when you post or your comment won't stay up. Easy peasy.

If you don't want to do that or simply can't go along with it, we'll miss you.

We are grandfathering one "nickname" in because he's been here since day one using "UnitastoBerry". So he can continue to use that moniker. Otherwise, all others are to use names and/or initials.

You can be mad about this if you want and that's fine, but it's the way it's going to be moving forward. Please don't litter the comments section below with your objections or snarky thoughts. If you're hot and bothered about this change in protocol and want to lash out at me, here's my email: 18inarow@gmail.com

As Brian Billick used to say..."have at it". I'll happily reply if you craft a reasonable note and send it off to me.

I guess this is also a good time to remind everyone that your comments will be edited and/or deleted if you insist on writing derogatory things about the owner of the radio station where I worked for 12 years. I will not allow those posts to remain up.

Just come in, tell us who you are, offer something fairly sensible about the topic(s) of the day, and -- as the Ravens remind you prior to every home game -- do your best to not be a jerk. If you can manage to do that, I'll be thrilled.

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pga championship - top 7


Six down and one to go.

We're at #2 on our list of #DMD's projected Top 7 at this week's PGA Championship. Tomorrow we'll provide two 6-man fantasy lineups for you, plus another handful of players to consider playing in your teams this week.

Our PGA projections have been as follows thus far: #7 was Jim Furyk, #6 was Harold Varner III, #5 was Collin Morikawa, #4 was Rickie Fowler and #3 was Justin Thomas.

Could Webb Simpson add the PGA Championship to his already stellar career?

We've been relying heavily on some key statistical data in preparing our fantasy lineups for this week's PGA Championship. Four categories are vitally important at the 7,400 yard TPC at Harding Park. Strokes gained, approach to the green. Strokes gained, putting. Strokes gained, around the green, and Proximity to the hole, 200+ yards. Those four categories represent the complete player at this week's course. How close you can hit it, how many strokes it takes you to get the ball in the hole, how quickly you can get it in the hole if you miss the green, and where you hit it if you're 200+ yards away from the green.

Our #2, Webb Simpson, is in the top 50 on TOUR in all four categories.

If he can control his occasionally balker driver this week, he has a great chance to win. And with several of the par-4 holes at Harding Park playing under 400 yards, that's where he'll be able to feast. The longer holes figure to be treacherous for all players, but Simpson is not one of the longer hitters on TOUR, so that's where his short game and putting will have to separate him.

As he showed when he won the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in 2012, Simpson can grind it out on the tough courses with the best of them. If the weather holds form and the rough doesn't get cut, 12 under par could be the winning score, which is a perfect four day setting for Simpson.

We love, love, love his chances this week in the PGA.

In fact, there's only one guy in the field we think will beat him. And we'll tell you his name tomorrow.

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euro soccer recap 8/4


FA Cup Final --

With the major European leagues concluding their seasons, the English FA Cup Final took center stage this weekend. The final featured Christian Pulisic’s Chelsea against Arsenal in a showdown of London clubs.

Chelsea took an early lead via a Christian Pulisic goal in the 5th minute. Pulisic received the ball on the turn in the center of midfield and fed a perfectly weighted pass into the box for Mason Mount. Mount cut the ball across the box and found Olivier Giroud who touched it on to Pulisic continuing his run into the box. Pulisic was able to quickly gather the ball, evade a defender and then chip the goalie to open the scoring.

The lead did not last long, as Arsenal equalized in the 28th minute. Arsenal left back Kieran Tierney lofted a long ball for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who sped past Cesar Azpilicueta and was pulled down in the box for a penalty. Aubameyang calmly converted the penalty to even the score.

Pulisic produced two more solid chances for Chelsea, forcing a good save from the Arsenal keeper in the first half and then racing past the defense for a shot early in the second half. Just before shooting, Pulisic pulled up with a hamstring injury and placed the shot wide. He was forced to leave the game with the injury. Hopefully the injury is not too serious and he will be able to return for the start of the new season in September.

Without Pulisic, Chelsea struggled to generate attack and Arsenal grabbed the game. In the 67th minute right back Hector Bellerin burst through the midfield to set up Aubameyang in the box. Aubameyang was able to juke the Chelsea defense and chip the ball over the keeper to put Arsenal up 2-1. Shortly after the goal, Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic picked up his second yellow card and was ejected from the game. Playing a man down and without their top attacker, Chelsea could not mount a comeback and Arsenal was able to hold on for a 2-1 win to take the Cup.


USMNT Roster Overview - Fullbacks --

This week we take a look at the full back position for the USMNT. This position poses one of the biggest lineup questions for Coach Berhalter due to the wealth of options at right back and the relative dearth at left back. Among this group there is only one sure starter. Beyond that, Berhalter will have to decide whether to favor getting the best talent on the field or the best fits for his system.

The sure starter at fullback is 19 year old Sergino Dest. The Ajax right back is the best option for the US at both right back and left back, where he has occasionally played for Ajax. Dest had a meteoric rise this season, from the Ajax youth team to regular starter for the perennial Dutch champions. He has been linked with a move to some of the biggest teams in the world this offseason with Bayern Munich and Barcelona both showing interest. The best spot for Dest is right back, where he can provide a dynamic attacking option both up the flank and drifting into the midfield.

However, Dest may end up at left back since the second best full back option is right back Reggie Cannon and the left back pool is the weakest position on the team. The biggest issue with starting Dest at left back is that he is right footed and likes to cut inside into some of the same spaces that Christian Pulisic occupies.

If Dest starts on the left then Cannon will likely be the starter at right back. Cannon has been a standout for FC Dallas in MLS and has shined in his appearances for the USMNT. He has been rumored with a move to several different Bundesliga teams for next season. One possibility to get both Dest and Cannon on the right side would be a 3-4-3 formation with Cannon at right center back and Dest at right wing back, but this is not a formation we’ve seen from Berhalter before.

If Berhalter decides to keep Dest at right back and opts for a left footed left back there are several options. The top current option is Antonee Robinson, who just completed a very successful season in the English second division. He has interest from several Premier League teams and is likely to move before next season. Robinson brings pace and crossing ability that would give the US a similar attacking option down the left flank that Dest and Cannon provide on the right. The additional benefit of Robinson is that he can overlap down the flank into the area Pulisic vacates when cutting inside. This keeps the defense honest, forcing them to account for Robinson’s crossing ability as Pulisic cuts in to create chances.

If Berhalter wants a more defensive minded left footed left back he may look to Tim Ream. Discussed in the center back overview, Ream has played left back at times for the US, but he does not have great pace to match up with speedy wingers and does not provide much in attack.

The next two options are Colorado Rapids 21 year old Sam Vines and Minnesota United 24 year old Chase Gasper. Both are left footed options that are solid defensively but don’t offer much in attack. FC Dallas left back, Ryan Hollingshead, has been a consistent performer in MLS, but has never received attention from Berhalter.

On the right side, there is a depth of quality options behind Dest and Cannon. Deandre Yedlin had a down year for Newcastle United but is still talented enough to deserve a spot on the US roster as a backup option. Timmy Chandler has been out of the US picture for some time but delivered some impressive performances for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. Several others have been solid MLS performers and could find a spot on the roster if others aren’t available: Kyle Duncan (NY Red Bull), Hasani Dotson (Minnesota United), Nick Lima (SJ Earthquakes), and Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy).

About the contributor: Randy Morgan was born and raised in the Baltimore area graduating from Dulaney HS and then University of Maryland. His day job is software development. He's an avid sports watcher and recreational participant. A devoted Ravens, Orioles and U.S. soccer supporter. he also follows many soccer leagues around the world as well as the NBA and college basketball. Randy played soccer, basketball, and baseball growing up and still plays soccer and basketball recreationally as well as the occasional round of golf. His commentary on mostly sports, but sometimes music and other miscellany can be found on twitter @jrmorgan16.

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Monday
August 3
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2170



one week in...


Lots of things stand out after a week (OK, technically 11 days) of the 2020 baseball thing*.

And here they are...

Calling it a thing* instead of a season (thank you, Mark Viviano) is more than spot-on. Not only is the thing* 60-games instead of 162, but MLB has already said if a team doesn't play all 60 games, their winning percentage will be used to determine their final resting spot in the standings.

There's no telling how many games each of the 30 MLB teams will actually wind up playing, but it would take a miracle of sorts for every club to play the entire 60-game thing*. And you just know, sadly, that another MLB team will come down with the team-wide coronavirus this week or next. It's as inevitable as a Chris Davis 3-strikeout game sometime in the next 7 days.

I'll just keep reiterating what I've been saying for the better part of two months now. I hope they get the entire thing* in, but I just don't see how it's going to happen. I'd love, love, love to be wrong.

In case you didn't know, the Phillies and Marlins have both played just 3 games thus far. Several teams have played 10 games. Miami has yet to play a home game, while the Phillies haven't played on the road.

The Marlins (2-1) should just stop playing now, finish .667, and move right into the post-season in October.

Cleveland's Shane Bieber will make his third start of the season tomorrow night in Cincinnati.

Clayton Kershaw made his first start of the thing* yesterday and it was a good one, as he went 5.2 innings and allowed just 3 hits in a 3-0 Dodgers win over Arizona. There was a time when Kershaw was undeniably the best pitcher in baseball. But the future Hall-of-Famer no longer owns that title. It belongs to Cleveland's Shane Bieber, who is off to a 2-0 start with the Indians and has recorded 27 strikeouts and a 0.57 ERA in those two outings. He was 15-8 a year ago with the Indians and had 259 K's in '19. The 25-year old is the real deal, sports fans.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati's Sonny Gray has an impressive under-the-radar-screen streak going. He has gone 34 consecutive starts allowing six hits or less. Yes, Sonny Gray. I couldn't believe it either.

The extra-innings idea is actually pretty cool and I'm not just saying that because the Orioles won a game in that fashion on Saturday night.

Look, no one really likes extra-inning baseball in the first place. Sure, it's kind of like overtime in football and there's a certain amount of intrigue when a game goes past regulation, but baseball is already slow and tedious enough without making us sit there for another 30, 60 or sometimes 90 minutes.

So, just putting a guy on second base and forcing both teams to figure out a way to get a run or runs across is a good way to handle extra innings. If professional baseball players and managers were willing to use the bunt more, there'd almost never be a 10th or 11th inning where runs weren't scored.

Bunt or no bunt, the new extra-inning format is one MLB should consider keeping for 2021 and beyond.

Baseball being a thing* in 2020 instead of a real, legitimate season, maybe these 7 inning doubleheaders aren't such a big deal after all. It will drive stat nerds nuts, of course. What if a guy throws a 7-inning perfect game in the opener or the nightcap of a doubleheader? Still considered a "perfect game" or no?

But if you think 7-inning doubleheaders are goofy (and they are), here's a thought: While MLB is already busy changing the way the game is played in the middle of the thing*, why not use something akin to the Elam Ending for the second game of the doubleheader? Play 9 innings for the opening game and thereby make it a "real" baseball game...then use the Elam in the nightcap and say the first team to score 5 runs wins (with the home team getting a final at-bat, of course), unless the game reaches 6 full innings. Once the game enters the 7th inning, you then use the "extra innings" formula.

Trust me, the Elam Ending will be the new hot thing in basketball (and maybe even hockey) over the next year or two. Baseball should consider using it, even if only temporarily, in an effort to get teams to try and score runs in the nightcap of doubleheaders.

The teams everyone assumed would be good are off to solid starts. The Yankees are 7-1 after rallying to beat Boston last night. Minnesota (7-2), Atlanta (7-3) and the Dodgers (7-3) are rolling along as expected. The surprise team thus far is probably in Chicago, but it's not the team some folks thought would be moving up the leaderboard this year. It's the Cubs (7-2) who are off to a great start, while the White Sox are only 5-4, albeit winners of four straight.

The Astros were wrong for cheating in 2017. There's no doubt about that. But these pitchers still throwing baseballs at Houston players is clown shoes stuff. Enough already. Joe Kelly of the Dodgers was suspended for 8 games last week and he didn't actually hit anyone, but there was no doubt at all he was trying to "send a message" to the 2017 champions.

Oddly enough, Kelly wasn't even with the Dodgers in '17 when they lost 4-games-to-3 to Houston in the World Series. He was, though, part of the Red Sox staff who lost to the Astros in the ALCS.

Other than getting lit up on opening night in Boston back on July 24, the Orioles bullpen has been really good in 2020. On Sunday in the 5-1 win over Tampa Bay, Castro, Phillips and Sulser (quick quiz: without Google, what are their respective first names?) retired the final 12 Tampa Bay hitters in succession to make a winner out of Tommy Milone. The team might not have a legitimate, dependable closer, but when you're only slated to win 20-25 games, who cares about a closer?

The Birds' starting pitching has been pretty decent, too, other than Milone's opening night 3-inning dud and Wojo and John Means stinking it up vs. the Yankees last week in Baltimore. Alex Cobb and Wade LeBlanc have both been very sharp in their two starts. There's no telling if they'll each finish the 2020 thing* in a Baltimore uniform, but they're certainly creating valuable trade interest if nothing else. Cody Carroll's shocking 162.00 ERA notwithstanding, the O's have pitched fairly well through 8 games.

Speaking of the "Baltimore" Orioles, what's the deal with the away uniforms in 2020? They didn't wear them once during the Boston series, if I recall correctly.

Is the team not going to use the familiar road gray jerseys with the Baltimore script across the front in 2020? I thought I heard Scott Garceau mention something on one of the broadcasts recently that the pitcher making the start gets to choose the team's uniform combination for that day/night? Is that true or did I dream that? That would be cool to do for a weekend or something. But it's not cool to do for the whole season, especially if the gray "Baltimore" away jerseys aren't going to be put into rotation.

Aaron Judge homered in his 5th straight game last night, becoming the first Yankee to do so in 13 years. I can't even believe I'm going to say this, but is it possible that Judge isn't getting the attention and media coverage we'd expect the game's top slugger to receive?

His second homer last night traveled 468 feet, a mammoth shot that had the ESPN broadcasting crew in need of an underwear change. I mean, that thing was absolutely clobbered at Yankee Stadium.

I assumed after his 2017 Home Run Derby eruption that we'd be "Aaron Judge'd out" by 2020. But we're not. Or, at least, I'm not. Now maybe it's because baseball isn't very good at marketing their elite performers (see: Trout, Michael), but it sure seems to me like we don't hear or know all that much about Judge and he's not crammed down our throats the way you'd expect a superstar who plays for the Yankees would be.

I don't know. I just feel Judge doesn't get his due. As I wrote above, I can't believe I'm even writing that.

Note: Those Orioles relief pitchers we mentioned above? Their first names are Miguel Castro, Evan Phillips and Cole Sulser. Don't feel bad, no one else knew them all, either.


new comments protocol


As I noted in the Comments section this past Saturday and posted again here yesterday, there is a new policy at #DMD.

Anyone publishing a comment must use a name or initials of some sort or their comment will be removed.

You may use your first name or your last name. You may use both your first and last names. You may also use your initials. You may identify yourself from whatever part of town you reside if you so choose.

But the days of "Anonymous" or "Some Guy" or "Casual Observer" are over here, I'm sorry to say. For that you can blame the funny guys (or gals, maybe) who insisted on putting offensive names in their comment(s) on Friday and Saturday.

So from here on out, use a name or initials when you post or your comment won't stay up. Easy peasy.

If you don't want to do that or simply can't go along with it, we'll miss you.

We are grandfathering one "nickname" in because he's been here since day one using "UnitastoBerry". So he can continue to use that moniker. Otherwise, all others are to use names and/or initials.

You can be mad about this if you want and that's fine, but it's the way it's going to be moving forward. Please don't litter the comments section below with your objections or snarky thoughts. If you're hot and bothered about this change in protocol and want to lash out at me, here's my email: 18inarow@gmail.com

As Brian Billick used to say..."have at it". I'll happily reply if you craft a reasonable note and send it off to me.

I guess this is also a good time to remind everyone that your comments will be edited and/or deleted if you insist on writing derogatory things about the owner of the radio station where I worked for 12 years. I will not allow those posts to remain up.

Just come in, tell us who you are, offer something fairly sensible about the topic(s) of the day, and -- as the Ravens remind you prior to every home game -- do your best to not be a jerk. If you can manage to do that, I'll be thrilled.

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pga championship - top 7


We're now down to our predicted top 3 in this week's PGA Championship and the names are starting to look more and more familiar.

While the leaders fizzled on Sunday, Justin Thomas raced to the top of the leaderboard with a final round 65 to win $1.8 million in Memphis.

Rickie Fowler was at #4 yesterday, and although his final round 73 (what's new?) at TPC Southwind was a downer, it was exactly the kind of ho-hum performance Fowler needs heading into this week's first major of the year.

Jim Furyk was #7 and he just won yesterday on the Champions Tour, where he was making his debut as a 50-plus professional.

Harold Varner III was at #6, still looking for his first win, but ready to tackle TPC at Harding Park this week. We like his chances.

TOUR hotshot Collin Morikawa was at #5.

And here we are at #3...

It's really hard to win back-to-back weeks on the PGA Tour, but we loved Justin Thomas before his win yesterday in Memphis and we're not changing our tune now. Thomas most certainly can win this week's PGA Championship.

He's 13 wins into his career now and the time has come for Thomas to prove that #1 world ranking isn't just a statistical feat. He really might be the best golfer in the world today. A few weeks back when Jon Rahm ascended to the top of the world ranking, I said, "He might be ranked #1 but I'm not so sure he's the best player in the world, yet." Thomas is the opposite. He might be the best player in the world who also happens now to have the #1 ranking to go with it.

Other than the back-to-back wins thing, which is hard to do, there's no reason at all why he can't claim his second PGA and second major this week in San Francisco.

Oh, and here's one other reason to love Thomas this week at Harding Park. Phil Mickelson's elite, former caddie, "Bones" MacKay, was on J.T.'s bag in Memphis and will stay on it this week at the PGA Championship. "He's worth at least one shot a round," Thomas declared after Saturday's third round in Memphis. Four shots in a golf tournament is the difference between T20 and 1st place. Bones is definitely a major asset -- no pun intended.

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"The Keen Eye" of
David Rosenfeld

DAVID ROSENFELD is a former sports publicist who still keeps his eye on the game. Looking at the game, the news or the players on an in-depth level is what he likes to do. Follow his work here at #DMD every Monday & Thursday, brought to you by Glory Days Grill.


consider this…


The NBA and its “bubble,” the NHL and its dual Canadian tournament sites, MLB and the question of whether the shortened season continues. These are interesting stories, in many ways some of the most fascinating ones in the long history of these historic American sports leagues. There must be a million tidbits in there, and they go way past the story of how a guy added velocity since March or what the Utah Jazz do to fill up their time on Tuesdays.

You know what’s not an interesting story? People standing up for the national anthem, or not standing up for the national anthem, or locking arms with teammates, or what LeBron James wears during warmups, and how that might be different than what Kawhi Leonard is wearing, or whether teammates can really get along if they decide to do different things. I could go on…

We’ve come to a certain point now. Maybe it’s just enough time passing. Or maybe there’s too much else about which to worry. Whatever it is, it’s time to move on. These seasons have (re)started. Things that go on off the field, off the court and off the ice are back to meaning what they used to mean, or at least they should.

Somebody stood up, though most didn’t. Some referenced the Gospels, and others referenced Black Lives Matter. Players wore whatever they wore on their jerseys. To sum it all up, everybody exercised their right to make a statement, or not make a statement. Or whatever.

Great. Let’s move on. I say that to everyone, including “the media” who get blamed for everything, as if asking a question about a player’s motives is grounds for a lashing. Even they should know better, though. The story is over.

Like on the playground, the sides have been chosen. Some say that you must not vilify a man for not doing what everyone else is doing, while others say that you ought to be vilified if your statement is clearly the wrong one. Some choose to do the exact opposite thing as another person even though they give the same reason behind it.

That’s what this is, or has become. Unlike the games themselves, this story doesn’t change from night to night. There really isn’t much new ground to cover. We get it, and we know what it’s about by now. And we’re tired of it.


Whether the season is 60 games or not, Orioles’ manager Brandon Hyde has an interesting job. To put it frankly, his bosses do everything they can to make his job as difficult as possible, and he can’t do anything about that.

The Orioles play in the Majors, last time I checked, yet have no current interest in becoming a better Major League team. In fact, any proven Major League player is high on the list of those about to be sent away.

It all leads to paradoxes such as reliever Richard Bleier, who was traded to Miami for the proverbial player to be named. Bleier, noted Hyde, “was our only arm in the bullpen who could reliably throw strikes.”

But, you know, we’re happy to lose him and everything. We wish him well and hope he stays away from the virus down there.

Let’s assume this season goes on as planned. It’ll be interesting if the Orioles keep winning enough to be in playoff contention, which you’ll remember this year means more than half (8 of 15) of the teams in each league.

The team will get to 10-6, let’s say. Well, it’s time to trade Mychal Givens, right? What about when the record gets to 15-11. Exciting times. Well, it could be for Alex Cobb, who will likely get traded after a good start.


It goes without saying that this year’s Major League Baseball season is different. But that really masks a real difference that has nothing to do with COVID.

Everything is a transaction now, isn’t it? There is a small group of star players, the Mike Trouts of the world, who operate on a distinct level. Otherwise, players are pawns in a game where the present day, no matter how successful, cannot get in the way of the future. Ever.

The Orioles will play the Marlins four times this week. Miami will feature minor leaguers and some pretty rusty veterans. By Friday, Hyde’s team could easily be 9-3, having won seven games in a row. That would already be 20 percent of the season gone. Maybe his team will finally have some luck, any luck at all, against a Yankees team to whom they’ve now lost 18 times in a row.

But none of that matters to the bottom line. Right now, what’s happening on the field isn’t as important as what’s happening in Mike Elias’s office.


Oh by the way…the Ravens are in training camp, just like they’d always be this time of year. Something does feel a little different, I guess. Can’t put my finger on it…

Anyway, the biggest news from preseason camp, if you ask me, came from the NFL offices on Park Avenue. Thankfully, and properly, the league and the players’ association came to an agreement to officially cancel all preseason games.

Not surprisingly, the team spun the news in the best way possible. “The Ravens’ preseason winning streak will remain intact until at least next year.” Touché, fellas.

For a minute, I’m going to imagine that training camp just started as normal, and fans have made their way out to Owings Mills already, and the NFL Network is visiting every camp for some non-distanced interviews, and the Orioles are 35-65 with two months left in the season. Put yourself in that place too. I’m sure many of you have already.

Are you there yet? Good. Here’s all you need to know. This Ravens team is special.

When the Ravens demolished the Houston Texans last November at M&T Bank Stadium to move to 8-2 on the season, they unofficially cemented themselves as the league’s best team. In the following six weeks, they did nothing to allow anyone to surpass them. In the offseason, the general consensus is that they got better, even with the retirement of Marshal Yanda.

The Ravens have won the Super Bowl twice and made the playoffs 12 times since the turn of the century. They became known for being a defensive-oriented unit fighting against the rising tide of the modern game. Then, they took a chance at developing an offense that might change the game, thanks to a game-changing player.

What does it all mean? Now, for the first time ever in August, the consensus is that the Ravens are probably the league’s best team, even though a team they haven’t beaten recently just won the Super Bowl.

The Ravens, for whatever reason, didn’t handle the prohibitive favorite role very well in January. It’s not an easy place to be, especially when your franchise is so used to playing the opposite role. That has to change one day, and I believe it will.

In the meantime, I’ll bring you back to the real world. We have no idea if any of this will matter in 2020 or not.

I Am Catholic
Sunday
August 2
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2169



standing for the anthem is now a headline


It was definitely a headline worth giggling over. That is, if you could avoid throwing something at your computer screen.

As seen on ESPN's website last night:

Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard chooses to stand during national anthem

Hilarious, right?

Orlando's Jonathan Isaac stood during the national anthem on Friday night and was labeled a "protester" by Yahoo! Sports.

ESPN made a headline out of an NBA player choosing to stand during the Star Spangled Banner.

They also noted that Leonard wasn't the only NBA'er to have the audacity to stand during the anthem. Orlando's Jonathan Isaac stood on Friday night.

In case you care or it matters -- which, to me, it doesn't -- Leonard is white and Isaac is African American.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and his assistant, Becky Hammon also stood during the anthem on Friday night.

Those two had some nerve, huh?

Leonard had to go to great lengths to explain himself after the game. Imagine that. A citizen of the U.S. having to answer questions about why he stood for the national anthem.

"I think I can be a beacon of light ... not only for my voice or platform and action, but in everything I'm doing," Leonard told Marc J. Spears of ESPN's The Undefeated after the game. "I certainly support Black Lives Matter. ... I am very aware of what is going on. But I can be both. My patriotism runs deep."

Leonard, who has a brother who served two tours in Afghanistan, continued to explain himself when pressured about the potential for criticism as a result of his decision to stand.

"I was aware of some of the backlash that could happen. I understand. However, I believe in my heart that I did the right thing," Leonard said. "I understand that [kneeling during the anthem] is not about the flag and the military, but to me, it is. Based upon real-life experiences and real raw emotion that I've had in my life, that is what that means to me."

Isaac talked about his faith when peppered with questions after Friday's game where he stood for the anthem.

"I believe that for myself, my life has been supported by gospel, Jesus Christ, and everyone is made in the image of God and that we all forge through God's glory. I believe that Black Lives Matter. A lot went into my decision, and part of it is, I thought that kneeling or wearing the Black Lives Matter t-shirt doesn't go hand-in-hand with supporting Black lives," Isaac said.

"So I felt like I wanted to take a stand on, we all make mistakes, but I think that the gospel of Jesus Christ is that there's grace for us," Isaac continued, "and that Jesus came and died for our sins and that if we all come to an understanding of that and that God wants to have a relationship with us, that we can get kept all of the things in our world that our messed up, jacked up."

Naturally, with a significant portion of the American population afraid of Christianity these days, Isaac was roasted in the media.

Yahoo! Sports crafted this nifty headline:

Jonathan Isaac's protest could have been applauded if his explanation wasn't nonsense

Yes, they really wrote that and published it.

His protest? The man stood up for the national anthem. How on earth is that a "protest"?

And his explanation was...nonsense? You mean the one where he interjected God, Jesus and the gospel? That explanation?

Nonsense, eh?

Little by little, right before our eyes, the cracks in our country are widening. And here's the deal. More than the people, it's the media responsible for the cracks. They're the ones who continually fan the flames and write/broadcast idiotic stuff.

Two men stood for the national anthem. They weren't "protesting" anything. They weren't "against" anything. They were merely standing up for the national anthem, the way anyone should in our country.

And for that, they were singled out and their efforts publicized as if they were somehow in the wrong.

The whole thing is just incredibly sad.


new comments protocol


As I noted in the Comments section late yesterday afternoon, there is a new policy here effective today, August 2nd, 2020.

Anyone publishing a comment must use a name or initials of some sort or their comment will be removed.

You may use your first name or your last name. You may use both your first and last names. You may also use your initials. You may identify yourself from whatever part of town you reside if you so choose.

But the days of "Anonymous" or "Some Guy" or "Casual Observer" are over here, I'm sorry to say. For that you can blame the funny guys (or gals, maybe) who insisted on putting offensive names in their comment(s) on Friday and Saturday.

So from here on out, use a name or initials when you post or your comment won't stay up. Easy peasy.

If you don't want to do that or simply can't go along with it, we'll miss you.

We are grandfathering one "nickname" in because he's been here since day one using "UnitastoBerry". So he can continue to use that moniker. Otherwise, all others are to use names and/or initials.

You can be mad about this if you want and that's fine, but it's the way it's going to be moving forward. Please don't litter the comments section below with your objections or snarky thoughts. If you're hot and bothered about this change in protocol and want to lash out at me, here's my email: 18inarow@gmail.com

As Brian Billick used to say..."have at it". I'll happily reply if you craft a reasonable note and send it off to me.

I guess this is also a good time to remind everyone that your comments will be edited and/or deleted if you insist on writing derogatory things about the owner of the radio station where I worked for 12 years. I will not allow those posts to remain up.

Just come in, tell us who you are, offer something fairly sensible about the topic(s) of the day, and -- as the Ravens remind you prior to every home game -- do your best to not be a jerk. If you can manage to do that, I'll be thrilled.

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pga championship - top 7


Our look at next week's PGA Championship at Harding Park has thus far yielded three pretty unlikely candidates; 50-year old Jim Furyk, who is playing his first-ever Champions Tour event this week, at #7.

Harold Varner III, who is still looking for his first PGA Tour win, at #6.

Collin Morikawa already has two PGA Tours in a little more than one full year as a professional.

And the oft-maligned Rickie Fowler at #5, he of the five career wins and no major titles.

Following form, we're taking another major-less player at #4, although this guy certainly has the game to get the job done at one of golf's four major championships. If any of the TOUR's young guns are going to compete next week, and we suspect they might, look for Collin Morikawa to be the one who rises to the first page of the leaderboard by Sunday.

Like Fowler, Morikawa is playing a semi-home-game next week, as he grew up in Los Angeles.

His stats and data from 2020 make him a credible choice, despite only playing in his second season on TOUR. He lost in a playoff in Fort Worth last month and then won the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield Village a few weeks ago.

This kid can do it all. He's long off the tee, his iron play is impeccable, and his putter is more cooperative than most. He's going to win major titles on the PGA Tour. It's not "if" but "when".

And we're thinking next week at Harding Park might be "when" for the 23-year old.

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Saturday
August 1
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#2168



it's the same old ocean city...


In another lifetime, perhaps, I'd live in Ocean City.

And I'm not even all that fond of the beach and the water.

But I do love the ocean air and the breeze and the sun and the hustle and bustle of a 3-month "season" followed by the downtime that lets you catch your breath.

I've always loved Ocean City, even with all of its bits and pieces that expose her flaws.

My family just returned from a week "down the ocean" and I'm equally thrilled to be home and sorry to have departed. It's almost always a conflict like that.

Ocean City, Maryland.

I ran into old friends this time around, which, it seems, becomes more and more a highlight of the 130 mile trip. It's one thing to talk to Mark Suchy over a coffee at our Tuesday morning men's faith group in Baltimore. It's another thing entirely to be sitting on a deck 70 yards from the ocean and sharing a burger and Gatorade with him as we catch up on sports, current events and life in general.

Give me the deck and the beach view every time. For some weird reason, the breeze enhances the conversation.

I got to tee it up with friends on successive days while we were down there. A lifelong friend, Bill White, was in town for a few weeks before returning home to Myrtle Beach. Steve Crum, whose son, Evan, played for me at Calvert Hall, set up a round of golf at Glen Riddle on Tuesday and our foursome toured the War Admiral course. I hadn't played it before, so I was excited to see a new layout in Ocean City. The verdict? Good golf course. Design wise, the front nine was OK, but the back nine was outstanding, with a variety of different holes and looks off the tee. It was a little worn out in some areas, but the friendship and fun was far more important than the condition of the course. And the cold beer afterwards was, well, very cold.

On Wednesday, one of my good Baltimore friends, Jesse Roberts, offered an invitation for me and my son to join him and his Calvert Hall-bound son at Lighthouse House. I hadn't played that golf course in 20 years, probably. I didn't remember just how great it is. Much like War Admiral, I thought the front nine was OK, but the back nine, in terms of playability, difficulty and shot value, was borderline spectacular. The front nine views were remarkable, but for playing golf, the back nine was as good as any you can play anywhere.

And playing golf with your son...at the beach...on vacation...well, it also doesn't get any better.

The trip started off in grand fashion last Saturday when we barely made it on to I-95 before my 10-year old daughter said, "Dad, can you put in Bruce Springsteen's Western Stars CD?" Sometimes, as a parent, you wonder if you're raising them right. Hearing that request made me realize we're doing OK with her.

We made a one-day trip to Chincoteague to relive some of my wife's childhood memories at Tom's Cove campground and to spend the afternoon on the beach there. Chincoteague is Ocean City at 25 MPH. It's slow and slow and, well, slower. But it's a nice getaway for a day and the spirit of the people who run the stores and shops in Chincoteague takes you back to the 1970's. You know, back when folks were actually pleasant to one another.

Because it's just something you do, I guess, we ventured down to the Boardwalk yesterday before departing for home. There were flashing streets signs everywhere imploring visitors to wear a mask on the Boardwalk. Every store had a "Wear a Mask" sign situated at its entrance. It couldn't have been more clear to people on the Boardwalk -- Wear a Mask.

At one point, my family and some friends from back home shared a stroll through a candy store, I got bored and decided to count the next 100 people to walk past me and see how many were wearing masks. The number? 37.

Some of the 63 who weren't wearing their mask had one on, fixed around their neck, but not in use. Others, though, had nothing resembling a mask on their body, anywhere. One guy had a tee shirt that read, "Real men don't wear masks". I wondered why someone would wear a shirt in public that so clearly identifies them as goofy, then I remembered that people wear Beatles tee shirts all the time.

The Boardwalk, for the most part, is still the same Boardwalk that it was in the 70's, 80's, 90's and so on. You see all slices of life on the Ocean City Boardwalk. And I do mean all.

We shall return, as the saying goes.

My family loves Ocean City and, as I wrote in the opening sentence above, in a different life, I'd own a family-run coffee shop in Ocean City or even Dewey Beach and try to make ends meet while raising my children to appreciate the breeze and the sunshine and the "work hard/play hard" lifestyle that typically accompanies a resort town existence.

For now, though, we're back home. And happy to be here.

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pga championship - top 7


You might have noticed something with our first two players in the PGA Championship Top 7. Both were sorta-kinda longshots. 50-year old Jim Furyk was #7 on the list and #6 was Harold Varner III, who not only doesn't have a major win, he has yet to win at all on the PGA Tour.

We won't be listing any longshots in the top 5, I can assure you of that.

Could Rickie Fowler finally break through and win a major next week in San Francisco?

It's a home game of sorts for Rickie Fowler, who grew up between Los Angeles and San Diego, some 500 miles from Harding Park in San Francisco. If ever a player fit the mold of winning his first major at the PGA, it's Fowler, who is #5 on our list.

Let's get all of the reasons why he won't win out of the way first.

1. He's never won a major.

2. Prior to this week's event in Memphis (which he still could win, mind you), he was playing lousy.

3. Fowler isn't known as a "closer", which doesn't bode well for a guy in major championships. Why has Tiger won 15 of them? Because he's a closer. Why hasn't Fowler won one yet? Because he's not a closer.

But then there's this.

If you go back in history and look at players who were once situated in the Top 10 of the world rankings for any significant length of time, nearly all of them won a major title, particularly the American players. Worldwide, you'll have guys like Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood, Hideki Matsuyama and Luke Donald who will stand out as Top 10 guys who never won a major. Americans with the same "accomplishment", if you will, include the likes of Fowler, Matt Kuchar and Steve Stricker.

The guess here is that Fowler is going to win one, and perhaps only one, and the PGA Championship seems like the one he'll win, although he's actually fared well in all four majors at some point in his career.

Next week could be the week he sneaks up on everyone, particularly if he continues to play well in Memphis and finishes up in the Top 5 there. My history with golf is that players typically "find it" for three weeks. Fowler might just be in the beginning stages of his "finding it" period.

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O's SCOREBOARD
Thursday, August 6
Orioles
7

Marlins
8
WP: M. Morin (1-0)

LP: E. Phillips (1-1)

HR: Nunez 2 (3,4), Sisco (1), Smith Jr. (2), Villar (1)

RECORD / PLACE: 5-7 (T-2nd)

breakfast bytes

Bats come alive, but woeful O's lose fourth straight to Marlins, 8-7, at Camden Yards.

NHL playoffs: Caps fall to Flyers, 3-1, will finish either 3rd or 4th in Eastern Conference.

NFL: Brady says learning new playbook in Tampa Bay is "much harder than I thought."

PGA Championship: DeChambeau breaks driver, but is allowed to replace it mid-round en-route to 2-under par 68.