Wednesday
April 24
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#1703



hockey game 7's, yankees and attendance in baltimore


What do they all have in common?

Think before you jump in. The wrong answer disqualifies you from the million dollar prize we're offering.

What do the following all have in common? Game 7 of the NHL playoffs. The current state of the New York Yankees. And attendance at Oriole Park at Camden Yards thus far this season.

Think hard.

Ready?

They're all amazing in their own way.

Yeah, you probably didn't get the right answer. It wasn't as easy to figure out as you thought, right?

Hockey game 7's are amazing.

Somehow, with a patchwork lineup of half-a-dozen no names, the Yankees are actually staying afloat in the A.L. East. It's amazing in its own way.

And the attendance in Baltimore this season has been amazing. As in, "amazingly awful". Not just "off a little bit". But just downright awful.

The Capitals will host Game 7 tonight in D.C., as they try and finally eliminate the pesky Carolina Hurricanes, who trailed in the series 2-0 at one point but battled back to tie the series at 2-2 and 3-3 after Monday's 5-2 win in Raleigh.

If the Caps are going to repeat this "look" from last season, they'll have to at least win tongiht's Game 7 against Carolina.

The Caps have one thing going for them. If they paid attention to the playoffs thus far, and I'm sure they have, both Game 7's played on Tuesday night ended with the home team coming out on top. Boston beat Toronto, 5-1, and the San Jose Sharks used a wildly controversial third period power play to come back from a 3-0 deficit and turn back the Las Vegas Golden Knights, 5-4 in OT.

Dice players would probably tell you the Caps should be concerned about a different outcome tonight, but it seems reasonable to think Ovechkin and Company will put away the Hurricanes in the win-or-go home affair.

Game 7 in the hockey playoffs is definitely amazing, though. Even last night's 5-1 Boston win was a 2-1 game in the third period, before the Bruins scored early to make it 3-1 and then added a couple of other tallies to put the game away and send the Maple Leafs home to listen to their RUSH albums for the next five months.

In San Jose, bedlam was the word of the night after Vegas built a 3-0 lead, only to see the officials call a 5-minute penalty midway through the third period that completely changed the game. And in the ensuing five minutes, the Sharks scored four goals to erase the 3-0 lead and jump ahead, 4-3.

Predictably, Vegas players complained afterwards about the 5-minute penalty "changing the game" and to that end, they were right. But what changed the game even more than the penalty was the fact that Vegas allowed four goals within that five minute span. Is it unheard of for the refs to call a 5-minute major with 10 minutes to go in Game 7? Generally, yes. Is it also unheard of for a championship caliber team to give up four power play goals within 300 seconds? Indeed it is.

Vegas also has this to ponder while they head home to play blackjack over the summer. They had Game 6 on their racket as well, at home, only to give up a shorthanded goal in double overtime on Sunday night. They have no one to blame but themselves.

Hockey Game 7's are amazing.


We all know the Orioles roster is littered with guys we've never heard of. On any given night, 6 of the 9 field players are completely unfamiliar names to Baltimore baseball fans. But that's by design. Mike Elias isn't really all that interested in putting good players on the field at this time.

But the Yankees? They're cut from a different cloth, obviously. Intentionally losing for three or four years -- the sexy term for it is "rebuilding" -- would never fly in the Bronx. So, they forge ahead every year intent on winning because that's how they've been built.

The start of this season, though, has really challenged them in New York.

With their full lineup intact, they're a threat to win every single night. They wouldn't, of course, but a healthy Yankees squad would likely win 100 games with their eyes closed. But instead of having a full lineup, they've been wrecked with injuries all season. And by wrecked, we're talking about completely totaled, with nothing but a few spare parts being useful once the insurance company comes along, takes pictures, and gives you your check.

Here are the names of their players from last night's 7-5 win over the Angels in Los Angeles. Play along and see who you know.

LeMahieu (yes), Voit (yes), Gardner (yes), Torres (sort of), Ford (nope), Tauchman (nope), Romine (yes), Estrada (nope), Wade (nope).

Bird, Judge, Stanton, Andujar, Sanchez...those are the guys you would know, except they're all injured. Sanchez might actually come off the I.L. tonight, but the others are gone for a while.

And yet, the Yankees are somehow 13-10 on the season and hanging around. It helps that Boston is experiencing baseball's version of senioritis, as they're now 9-15 after being swept by the Tigers in a doubleheader last night at Fenway. But with only the Rays playing good baseball in the East thus far, the Yankees are primed for one of their 30-30 starts, followed by a 68-34 finish to nudge their way past Tampa Bay in the final week of the season.

I have no idea how they're winning 13 of 23 games thus far with this lineup. Sure, they have some "decent" starting pitching, but nothing more than that. Heck, C.C. Sabathia is still hanging around getting people out with with his 92 mph fastball and favorable calls from the home plate blue.

It's amazing that the Yankees can win with the lineup they've employed.


A friend sent me a picture of Oriole Park at Camden Yards last night around 7:45 pm. It's impossible to make a completely accurate assessment of the number of folks in the stadium, but if you just take what you can see from the vantage point of the photo and double it, there's no way there were 2,000 people in the stadium in the 3rd inning.

The "attendance" last night was 8,953. The crowd on Monday night in the series opener with the White Sox was 8,555.

This was the crowd on Tuesday night in Baltimore during the 3rd inning of the Orioles-White Sox game.

Those are, per American League rules, the tickets sold numbers, not the actual people in the stands. Monday night was "family and friends", as Monday crowds tend to be. There might have been 4,000 in the place to see Chicago's 12-2 win. Last night, though? 2,000 people, tops. Oh, and the Orioles won, in case you aren't following along.

The attendance horse has been beat to death, buried, exhumed, and beat a little more just to make sure it's indeed dead.

But these crowds...are...well...amazing.

2,000 people went to a major league baseball game last night in Baltimore? On a glorious, 80 degree spring night? Something's wrong. And I don't know that it's all about the team stinking on the field, either. If the team is terrible on the field, 8,000 people go to the games no matter if it's 60 degrees or 80 degrees.

2,000 people? That's how many folks would show up for Tori Amos and Suzanne Vega at Pier Six this Friday night. Heck, who am I kidding? They'd probably draw 3,500.

Here's a funny story from last night. Because it showed up on Twitter, there's always a consideration that it might not be true, but it seems like a legitimate story at the very least. Someone passed along that he moved into Section 68, near the back of the section (not down by the field), in the 3rd inning of the game and an usher came over and asked to see his ticket. When he showed him that he was supposed to be sitting in Section 384, the usher told him to move out of the lower deck seat and head back upstairs.

If that's a true story, it's pretty funny.

That usher could be an outlier, of course. My guess is the O's operations folks have gently reminded ushers not to make a fuss over people moving down during weeknight games. It's one thing if you and three buddies go parading down to the front row right behind home plate so you can act like a fool and get on TV. But just moving down from 384 to 68 because you want a better view of the game that only 2,000 people are watching with you? Seems benign enough for me to ignore.

I don't know the answer to these amazing attendance woes, by the way.

I've said for a while now that I think the Orioles front office has done a terrific job of planning and promoting their home games and offering some valuable promotional incentives to get people to come down to the ballpark. They've certainly made it more enticing for season and mini plan holders to come out and enjoy the games. They have easy exchange policies. You can still bring food into the ballpark. I can take my 8 year old daughter into most home games free of charge.

I don't know that all of this is on the Orioles, honestly.

Something else is going on.

The juicy rumor about the expiring OPACY stadium lease and the O's dangling the Las Vegas carrot in front of the Maryland Stadium Authority won't go away. I imagine these crowds are going to be brought up along the way by the Angelos boys.

Attendance in Baltimore -- "real" attendance, meaning butts-in-seats -- has been slightly decreasing over the last few years. I think we all know that. We've seen it ourselves.

But what we saw on Tuesday night was amazing.

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and the ravens select...


This is a futile exercise, but a fun one nonetheless.

As it stands now, the Ravens have eight picks in this week's NFL Draft. One thing almost for certain is this: They'll somehow wind up with more than eight selections when all the dust settles.

Needs? The Ravens have gobs of them. You can anticipate they'll probably take one of everything except quarterback. And they might not draft any tight ends, either. Other than that, anything is possible.

Erik McCoy, center, Texas A&M.

My guess is the Ravens will trade a couple of times and wind up with nine picks, but for the purposes of this exercise, I'll stick with the current chart of eight.

Let's start at the end and work backwards, just to be different.

6th round - #193 -- Isaiah Buggs, DL, Alabama

6th round - #191 -- Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo

5th round - #160 -- Shareef Miller, Edge, Penn State

4th round - #123 -- Terry McLaurin, WR, Ohio State

4th round - #113 -- Bobby Okereke, LB, Stanford

3rd round - #102 -- Connor McGovern, OL, Penn State

3rd round - #85 -- Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis

1st round - #22 -- Erik McCoy, C, Texas A&M

There you go. Eight picks. All of them pretty much a slam-dunk to be wrong, I'm guessing.

I'm not buying that the Ravens are desperate for an edge rusher in the first round. They picked guys like Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser for precisely this kind of moment. As the likes of Za'Darius Smith and (next off-season) Matthew Judon chase the big free agent money, the draft picks from a few years ago get their opportunity to shine.

Why draft another project like Williams or Bowser when you have those two already in the fold at bargain basement prices?

I also don't think the Ravens are going with a wide receiver in the first round. Sure, they need them, but I think the Ravens realize their biggest threat to the team's success in 2019 would be an injury to Lamar Jackson. Keeping him upright all season is more important than finding him a wide receiver.

They could probably use a cornerback, too, with Jimmy Smith likely playing his final season in Baltimore. If they could somehow find another Marlon Humphrey...

And they could use some help on the defensive line, too.

I don't know how much stock the Ravens put in what the rest of the AFC North does, but it's pretty clear that chasing -- and catching -- Baker Mayfield two times a season is going to be critically important for the next decade. If McCoy is already gone by the 22nd pick and one of the "edge" guys is available (Clelin Ferrell, anyone?), perhaps they'll go in that direction. But I don't think they're reaching for one of the linebackers, not with Williams and Bowser already on the roster.

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#dmd comments


Radio Radio     April 24
@Truth

It is so funny. Just keep saying it...kind of like cloistered monks chanting.

It was promised to start in March, now it is promised in May. What ever happened Thursdays are for the Community Discussions???....highlighting the good things going on in our city sponsored by a bank that bailed out on sponsoring something that never occurred. I am sure that he rails about that sponsor as selling out to corporate radio. His record on promises is staggering, he never follows up on anything. I can only imagine all of the ideas he spewed out in those weekly meetings at the Radio station that sounded great, but died due to laziness.

The LF is all about the city and his incredibly delusional belief that he can solve things as Mayor. He calls for honesty and integrity....and yet his work and dealings with people??? None of that is apparent. Every sales call starts off with a lie "I have listeners".

Delray Rick     April 24
Worked inner city for 15 years 25 years ago and I laugh when some say it's in your head downtown. SURE...I could tell a lot of stories bout east,West and all town. How bout the wonderful mayor they or on suspension.

The Truth     April 24
Everyone needs to B-More Positive.......Help is on the way for the beleaguered city....Just wait...and wait...and wait and see.

Jason M     April 24
Fear is a powerful force. My family owns a business in Ellicott City, and we have head many times from former patrons that they are afraid to come to Ellicott City because of the deadly floods of 2016 and 2018. We try to reason with these folks, but once they have the fear, we can't do much. I won't give up on either Baltimore or Ellicott City, but both need work.

Monks Ghost     April 24
Herman is correct. When I was a young salesman, one of my last calls on a particular day was on MLK BLVD in southwest DC. I had a 2 hour job to do and I parked my car on the guys lot. I go there at 130 and when I came out there were 5 guys sitting on my car drinking. I scurried back into the account and asked for help. All of the products were behind bullet proof glass. It was a retail store with nothing on the floor. A huge lazy susan dispensed the products after money was collected.

I learned a valuable lesson that day from my customer that I use to this day. "if you have to go into a bad neighborhood, get there early, BAD GUYS SLEEP LATE". I was able to buffalo my way to get the guys off the car because I was dressed like an FBI agent and I had a basic boxey company car. Early 80's.



These days I still go the Lexington Market. Faidleys is almost always packed. The rest of the market is pretty bad. I get there at 11 AM....and I'm out of there by 1.

I will go to the O's game...but my MO has changed. I used to use the light rail. Now I drive and pay extra to park. It sickens me that THEY have won and I have to change my behavior. The city isn't safe. You have to be real careful of your surroundings.....and I am 6'5. Be wary of teenagers....not 30 year old guys. I could write a book on how to be safe in Baltimore.





But Herman's main point is solid. Lower attendance breeds less safety in FEELING. Doesn't matter if some folks tell you "it's safe". It is all about perception. If people are scared of the city no amount of "talk" can change their minds. The O's need to try to mount a campaign about trying to change that perception.....BUT the Brien's of the world would paint that campaign as racist.



You see the fallacy of PC speech? Truth gets lost....and nuance is lost.

Radio Radio     April 24
@Media Observer

You outed the game. Guys writing off the back of their lawnmowers are not "doing media". And people who run "organizations" with one or two employees are not CEO's. And CFO's of companies that have to sell cars of a sponsor are not really CFOing anything.



I see hundreds of resumes a year. Pro tip....don't pad a resume. It gets tossed really fast. A 25 year old is not a CEO of anything. NO BOARD no CEO. Pro tip for media wanna bees.....DO NOT WRITE for zero money. Never fall for the "you will get exposure" BS. Thank goodness our host here actually cuts a check to his guys.



There have been loads of media companies and guys writing on the net. Most have zero following or next to none. It boils down to the tree falling in the forest analogy. It can be implanted on the net for decades.....but if 3 people have read it, was it really a part of a real resume? Only in the minds of the self deluded. Those mowers can mess with your mind. And if you never made a real living as a media member as a stand alone thing....you are just padding.



From a few quick glances on the for sale pages. The LF might be cashing in his chips. His CONDO is for sale. Not sure if it will become a historic landmark....but you can pick up a 2 bedroom place for 550k....and 1000/month condo fee.

And it seems that a combo radio station/house on 5 acres is up on the market for 275,000. Not many AM radio stations would be sold as a Mom/Pop small station that has a house. In fact there are not many AM radio stations in Baltimore. No mention of an FCC license included in the deal. I guess that is the reason for the low price. For the 5 acres it seems a steal.



Maybe Swami can raise the money from the aluminum cans he collects as he lives his life under the JFX. Since the LF fired him for getting a ratings point, his life has been hardscrabble.

Delray Rick     April 24
I think 75% of the people I meet here ask where I'm from and right away they say "YOU DON'T GO IN THE CITY DO YOU. That's another reason PIMLCO is dead.

Brien Jackson     April 24
Best thing you can say about the O's attendance is that at least they're bad. With the way the Ray's are playing their attendance is way more embarrassing.

Bob     April 24
@Drew, the story about the fans being moved from the lower deck is not new. My wife an I had a 13 game plan right after the Yard opened. While attending a weeknight game in the early 90's, we looked down to see the whole section behind the O's dugout nearly empty, so at the end of the 7th inning we ventured down to see the end of the game from the lower level probably 20 rows from the field. The usher asked to see our tickets and when we showed upper reserve seats he told us to move on...these seats were EMPTY all night. Didn't leave a good taste in the mouth , but I bet if I had a $10 with he ticket he would have walked away.

HERMAN     April 24
If the extremely weak attendance is due more to the fear of crime in Baltimore City, as opposed to the horrible product being put on field then the O's are in some real trouble.

It wasn't that long ago that just going to the new park was seen as a worthwhile experience, forget the on field display. Getting some Boog's Bar-B-Que, walking Eutaw Street, taking in the architecture, was all part of experiencing the best park in baseball. Just being at that park felt like a great night out.

If crime, or the perception of crime, is keeping people from venturing forth mid-week to this extent, last one out please turn off the lights. The city is completely done and gone. I guess you could write a children's book about it.


media observer     April 24
Lol @ Davey. #Brien claiming he “covered the Yankees” is like the LF saying “I was a national syndicated radio show”, as if he did it for years, as opposed to about a week and a half before he got canned.

One blog does not feel like resume material to me. In fact, if you pull up this “one” article, ESPN picked it up from something called “Its About The Money”, which appears to be something posted on twitter and facebook, ie public access sites.

“Brien Jackson is a contributor to It’s About The Money, a SweetSpot Network member. Brien can be followed on Twitter. IIATMS can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.”

So yea, if you think this makes Brien a credentialed member of the media, well not sure what to tell you.

Although he might be right about having a better chance of getting O’s press pass than certain other people.

BTW, aren’t all DMD articles “musings”?? Not saying that’s a bad thing, on the contrary, it’s why we come here. Just not sure of the distinction being made here


Idiot Caller     April 24
The O's attendance woes don't surprise me. A big part of it is that a lot of people really don't feel safe going downtown for lightly attended weeknight games anymore. Me included.

Used to be a 13 game plan holder, but gave them up. Don't really like taking the family down there on weeknights anymore. Still enjoy the games. Mostly go only to day games or on a Friday or Saturday night when there are more people around. It may be an illusion, but it just feels safer leaving the park with more people around.

I would like to see exactly how much the O's actual butts-in-the-seats attendance has dropped since the riots.

Neutral Observer     April 24
Good writing today, Drew. I like when you do your "musings" as you call them.



Didn't see the hockey game but I agree about the Yankees lineup. It's patchwork at best but they still figure out how to win until their stars get healthy.



As for the Orioles and their attendance, there are also rumblings about another city being interested in our Birds. Think AFC South.

Davey     April 24
Looks like Brien shut up the haters with that ESPN link. Crickets since then.

JohnInEssex     April 24
Watched period 3 of the Sharks/Vegas game - what a wild last 10 minutes! Vegas had the game in hand, up 3-0, 10 minutes remaining. From a faceoff in the Sharks offensive end, somehow the guy for the Sharks that took the faceoff gets cross checked into the ice by two Vegas guys delivering separate hits (one was a cross check and the other was a finishing push). The Shark lands on the ice first on his shoulder then on his head. An opponents skate may have gotten him too. After the replay showing the aforementioned landing, along with the announcers saying there was blood on the ice, the 5 minute major was an appropriate punishment (I think there also was a game misconduct there too...).

The Sharks on the ice were ready to bash some Vegas skulls before play was restarted, but somehow cooler heads prevailed and they channeled their anger into getting FOUR power play goals!

All along I was thinking how STUPID Vegas was to draw such a STUPID penalty. Then they tie it up with less than 2 minutes remaining.

Between the long intermission and it being well after midnight, I went into a deep slumber and missed the OT.

PLAYOFF HOCKEY RULES!!!

The long arm     April 24
@Brien

I was right. Context was important, but race baiting libs got their panties in a bunch about the possibility of Jay Z. using his song lyrics as names for his Brooklyn basketball operation.

No apology needed nor expected.


Delray Rick     April 24
If anybody forgot it's called "FREEDOM OF THE PRESS".Like all the crap that NY TIMES AND WASHINGTON TIMES put out. It's just another opinion folks.

Brien Jackson     April 24
http://www.espn.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/7689/no-debate-if-a-closer-can-start-make-switch

clayton     April 23
Hey Barnie, you've been asked before but could you cite just one article you wrote for ESPN, CBS, or NPR. And "every" reader knows you don't care about them anyway because that is shown by your writing.

Brien Jackson     April 23
Sorry person who does not use their real name on the internet but thinks I care about them anyway: As much as I would like to give you credit for a valiant attempt at an analogy, it fails because I could actually get a press pass at Camden Yards.

Truth teller     April 23
"I was covering the Yankees at the time" is like LF saying "I've been a media savant for going on 35 years now" lol

Brien Jackson     April 23
@Long Arm



I was covering the Yankees at the time and vividly remember it. No, he wasn't.



Also too, who cares if he was?

The long arm     April 23
@Brien

Context.... something that your writing clearly demonstrates you lack. Along with grammar,syntax and clarity.

He was quoting others, such as rappers using that word.



Wrong again.

Brien Jackson     April 23
@Long Arm



You um, do realize that Mushnick actually used the N-word in that column, right?

Poppa Joe     April 23
Anyone defending Mushnick has a screw loose. Just my OPINION.

cayton     April 23
Mushnick is just copying the Howard Stern style of getting attention by doing shocking things. Its like Brien Jackson, false credentials and all, acting the part of a real writer, like Barney Fife acted the part of a real deputy sheriff.

The Long Arm     April 23
Mush connects the dots in a NON PC way. Dopey libs call out dog whistles, racism and other invectives. IF YOU THINK THAT WEARING ALL BLACK is NOT a "gang" thing.....you are just talking. Of course it is....the guys have even said as much. That action deifies the gang mentality. PERIOD.



Now I would say, it is all just play acting and non tough guys trying to be something they are not...well that is just OKAY. Who gives a hoot? Mush just points out the obvious. He feels that it is wrong. OPINION.



Believe it or not Phil Mushnick was a fan of the LF when he briefly was semi-national. Called him "not nasty at all". He

has a real feud with known blow hard Francesa.....and

has been the source of missing statements that Francesa has striken from the record on his radio show. Francesa will say "I never said that, produce the tape" and the tape of it leaks.



Sad to say he has full time security as he gets weekly death threats for HAVING an OPINION. In a world where Kate Smith's statue gets taken down for her recording some songs 80 years ago[BTW THAT is the epitomy of cultural arrogance and historical insanity]...a columnist who chronicles the sports culture and has opinions on noted fraudsters and over the top arrogance....you can call it racist....but that is just plain lazy.



Full time security for a sports columnist. Think about that.

Brien Jackson     April 23
The really fun thing about Mushnick's infamous Nets column is that it was provoked by.... the announcement that the team's uniforms would be black. And this wasn't even the first time he'd devoted column space to complaining about (mostly football) teams wearing all black alternate jerseys. I think he might have even taken issue with the Ravens all black outfit on a SNF game against the Jets, but I'm not 100% sure of that.

The Short Arm     April 23
Mushnick is nothing but a pot-stirrer. His job is to get people to read and discuss his columns, nothing else. He basically did what he is paid to do.

What I'm still waiting for, and will probably always be waiting for, is one of these sacred truth-tellers of the press to actually question just how exactly is Tiger Woods accomplishing this? A 43 year old, injury prone guy coming off of several fairly recent back (!) surgeries just doesn't go out and almost immediately start competing in and winning majors again. I suspect PED's. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm right. Who really knows. But I'm sure I'm not the first to suspect this. Just Google Tiger and PED's and you'll find out. I would certainly like to see someone in the press address these questions.

That being said, I'm sure that if Tiger is using it will just be covered up. Tiger Woods is just too good for business. The golf and the golf media business.

Mark in Perry Hall     April 23
@Herman is nuts. But regulars here have known that for a while.

Chris     April 23
I think Herman makes a good point. Why go through life being fair and even handed when you can just as easily make a name for yourself by being a racist a-hole?



Makes sense to me.

HERMAN     April 23
The beautiful part about Mushnick's column is that a week later, and in a town far, far, away, it's still being discussed. Clearly it garnered a bunch of out-of-town clicks for the website, and has become part of the national discussion.

I'm sure his employer is pleased with all the attention to the website, added traffic equals greater ad dollars. It would appear that Mushnick is earning his keep.

And I recently read where Stephen A. Smith, love him or loathe him, is about to become the highest paid personality at ESPN. It's possible that being grating pays off more than milquetoast. Certainly going all the way back to Howard Cosell that is true.

When you have them counting stroke views to debunk your column you've not only hit a nerve, you've done your job.

Tom     April 23
I think the Ravens are going edge rusher at #22. If Zach Allen is there I think that's who they'll take.

PB in Philly     April 23
Mushnick sucks. Ask anyone in New York. He's their version of Stephen A Smith.

J.J.     April 23
The Mushnicks of the world should have done their homework.

CBS showed more Molinari than Tiger on Sunday during the final round.



CBS covered 69 of the 70 strokes from winner Tiger Woods (skipping only a tap-in putt on hole #1). Francesco Molinari actually received coverage for 70 shots. His final score of 74 included two penalty strokes, so CBS only bypassed two of his shots (a layup on 15 and his tee shot on 17). Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau were spotlighted for 59 shots each. Those four players accounted for 57% of the televised shots.

Neutral Observer     April 23
Rumor I hear from a friend at the Castle is that the Ravens have two WRs on their list and if either of those are available at 22 they'll take them. Otherwise they are trading back.

Jeff Silverman     April 23
Daily reader here but first time contributing a comment.



I agree with you about Mushnick's column. I've been reading his work for 15 years and he is just a s*** stirrer up there. He's perfect for NYC. Never has a nice thing to say about anyone.



Look forward to your draft board tomorrow. I think they are trading out of #22.

Delray Rick     April 23
DREW...JACK won in 1986!!

Eric     April 22
Muschnick was on the money. It was a predictable embarrassing disgrace. As for the O's, Drew is only guy in town who doesn't know this team was designed to get the 1st pick in 2020. Meanwhile playoff "choker" Ovechkin now has the most playoff goals of anybody either active or since he came into the league...and he accomplished it in 35 fewer games. Amazing how having better teammates changes a narrative

Rip     April 22
You guys are still following the Orioles? LOL

Brian M.     April 22
Can we work CD as a reliever and use him out of the bullpen?

He could pitch better than he is hitting.

Talk about being multi-purpose and might work.

Pitching depth will surely be an issue.


That Guy     April 22
@Drew



I'm just curious if you had any thoughts on the hatchet job on CBS by Phil Mushnick last week?

H     April 22
You're a better man than me. I already gave away all of my tickets in my B plan. I thought I'd be interested in this team but it turns out I'm not. It's an awful product. I don't know what I was thinking shelling out money to watch it live 13 times a year. Went to one game in the Oakland series and said that's enough for me.

Jason M     April 22
Let's Go Caps, I think a showdown with Trotz is coming!



1-9 at home...just dreadful.

HERMAN     April 22
I'd like to see the Caps put this series down tonight. Number one seeds have dropped like flies so far, and even Pittsburgh has been eliminated from their path to glory. The same Pittsburgh that had them something like 1-9 prior to last year in the playoffs and being the real impediment to their winning the Cup.

If they can take care of business tonight the road to repeating has been eased for them.

They looked like World Champion's this last game, let's hope they can continue the journey.

Seeing Ovechin's pure joy at winning last season was refreshing in a sports world gone cash crazy. It'd be nice to see it again.

Unitastoberry     April 22
The draft can't come sooner for the Orioles.

Tom J     April 22
Chris Davis may be one of the O's best relief pitchers this year.!!!! Only one run out of the pen Saturday. If they would have used him instead of Mike Wright this year, they may have a few more wins.



This staff is nothing more than batting practice pitchers. There may be 300 home runs hit at The Yard this season.......

Mark in Perry Hall     April 22
Drew, I said the exact same thing to my neighbor on Saturday night. We were talking about the team and I had just watched the first game of the DH and I said it might be a little different if they were at least O.K. at home and terrible on the road. Great minds think alike!

edward     April 21
Happy Easter to you and your family Drew ,,always have enjoyed you ,,and now even more with the Christian Element you bring us .. I have always thought you could do a religion blog to Drews morning prayer or inspiration ..Happy Easter and Passover to all of your readers He is risen rejoice !!!!

unitastoberry     April 21
Please come back soon Lord.


Tuesday
April 23
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1702



tuesday musings


I read the Phil Mushnick piece from last week, where the cantankerous New York Post writer took CBS Sports to task for their coverage of Tiger Woods during his win at the Masters two weeks ago.

What do I think about it? A couple of you asked in the comments section.

I think it was a pretty stupid thing to write, if you'd rather I be direct instead of pussy-footing around with a "correct" way to say it.

Mushnick must have been on Pluto throughout the last decade. What other possible explanation could he have for writing something so dumb?

And, yes, he most certainly has been involved in the occasional racially charged piece over the years. His awful hot take on the Brooklyn Nets back in 2012 was way over the top and it's something that he still lives with today.

NY Post writer Phil Mushnick somehow thought Tiger's win at Augusta earlier this month wasn't worth "gushing over"

I'm not sure what he wrote about Tiger had anything to do with race, although perhaps it did. More than that, I just think Mushnick is dumb when it comes to golf.

It's important to keep in mind that the story at hand is more about CBS than Woods. But it's impossible to ignore Mushnick's past, too, just like Mushnick took it upon himself to remind everyone of Tiger's past when, according to him, CBS was the real guilty party.

For years, as Woods slid further and further down the world golf rankings, sports enthusiasts whined about how much coverage the then-14 time major champion was receiving any time he teed it up.

Then he nearly won the British Open last July. People still cried about the coverage, even though he was in or near the lead throughout most of the back nine on Sunday.

He finished 2nd at the PGA Championship last August. More whining. More bellyaching. More people harping on how much coverage Tiger got despite not winning.

Then, he won. It was "only" the Tour Championship, of course, but even then, people still bristled at the over-the-top nature of NBC's coverage. Yep, NBC got beat up for giving too much coverage to the guy who won.

But Mushnick's column last week was the cake-topper.

CBS is in the business of broadcasting live events and selling "stories" to their audience.

Unless Jack Nicklaus came back to win his 19th major at this year's Masters, there was no story anywhere that would have been as earth-rattling as a Woods victory.

You can whine and sing the blues all you want about Fred Couples winning a 2nd green jacket or Ian Woosnam hitting 250 yard drives and somehow winning his 2nd Masters title, but no story, none, was bigger than Tiger winning.

Anyone remember the way CBS covered Jack's win in 1986? Ben Wright nearly had a stroke calling the Golden Bear's eagle putt at 15 and Seve's water-ball 45 minutes later. In Butler Cabin afterwards, Brent Musburger fawned over Jack like he was a Florida State cheerleader.

And guess what? CBS and Musburger were right to bow to the greatness of Nicklaus, even though Seve gift-wrapped the tournament for him on a silver platter. It was his 6th Masters and 18th and final major championship. That was the story CBS was selling, and rightfully so.

I kind of think Mushnick knows all of this stuff and his column was nothing more than a sad attempt at trolling the folks at CBS. He can't be that stupid, to think that a Woods win wasn't exactly what they wanted at CBS. Of course they wanted Tiger to win. They're in the story-selling business.

Anyone crying about CBS providing too much coverage or even one-sided, favorable coverage to Tiger Woods when he won his first major championship since 2008 is just not very smart.

Or trolling...

Those are the only two options, as I see it.


Because everyone does it, I guess I should as well, so I'll have the official #DMD NFL mock draft here in this space tomorrow.

I'm no draftnik, by any means. I actually think the whole thing has become way overblown over the last few years.

But I'll still throw some thoughts out there tomorrow and make a call on the various picks I think the Ravens might make this week.

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta will pull the trigger on the Ravens' first pick in the draft this Thursday night.

Much like baseball and their nerdy over-reliance on data, the NFL has become too enthralled with the late February combine, players running around in shorts and a tee-shirt, and the ever not-so-important "personal interview" phase of the whole ordeal.

Earlier this week, an anonymous scout discussed a potential first round pick and offered this gem: "One of my concerns is that he was raised in a home full of women. That might make him soft."

Yeah, I'm sure all that impressive football he played in high school and college -- to get ready for the NFL -- was just a fluke.

So, the draft being what it is and all, I give it the respect it deserves but laugh at the way it's been analyzed-to-death over the last decade or so.

I'll say this about the Ravens on Thursday: I think they're taking someone at #22.

I know there's widespread speculation they'll trade out of the pick, as they've done numerous times in the past, but I think they have too many real needs to pass on a guy in that spot who can step right in and help, potentially.

They need a sturdy center. One or two of those should be available in the first round.

They could use a couple of wide receivers. Good ones, too. And there are going to be several of those available at 22, although, yes, I'm aware they can only select one of them in that spot.

The Ravens definitely need to improve at chasing the quarterback. There are a handful of edge rushers and linebackers who can go at 22.

I'm sure Greg Roman would like to add a legitimate running back, too.

I've never been a fan of trading out of the first round drafting spot, frankly. I think you put in 12 months of work to get ready for the draft and then, suddenly, you decide you'd rather not put all that work to good use in the first round.

I think the Ravens are taking someone at #22 on Thursday night. Tomorrow I'll tell you who that might very well be.


While chatting with my buddy Dean Johnson from Primary Residential Mortgage yesterday, the subject of Alex Ovechkin and his career possibilities came up. Ovechkin is 33 years old. He has a lot of wear and tear on his body, but there's still plenty of tread left on his tires at the same time.

Oh, and because someone will ask, here's what I thought of Monday night's "no-goal" call involving Ovechkin in the Caps' 5-2 loss at Carolina. I thought, begrudgingly, that it was the right call. Ovechkin definitely made contact with the goaltender before he shoved the puck into the net. Bummer. But that's not why the Caps lost.

Can Alex Ovechkin chase down Wayne Gretzky's career goal scoring mark of 894?

So here's the question: Can Ovechkin eventually pass Wayne Gretzky and his 894 career goals?

Here's the math: The Great Eight currently has 658 goals.

For the Flyers fans out there, I'll do the work. That means Ovechkin needs 236 goals to tie Gretzky's career mark.

236 goals is a lot of goals, friends. But not when you're Alex Ovechkin, who just poured in 51 of them this past season.

Five more 50-goal seasons would give him the goal-scoring crown, but that's probably a tad ambitious. So, how can he get there, you ask?

Let's try this: We'll give him 48 next season.

He'll add 44 more in 2020-2021. He'll be 35 years old then, remember.

How about 36 in 2021-2022? If he goes 48-44-36 over the next three seasons, that would total 128, leaving him 108 shy of the record.

108 goals for a guy who will be 37 years old in 2022? That seems like a lot, actually. When I was chatting with Dean on Monday, I carved out a way for Ovi to reach 894. Now, I'm not so sure.

Here's the other thing to remember. This all takes into account that he never gets a serious injury that derails him for a half-season or more. If, say, he "only" scores 21 goals in one of the upcoming seasons, his chase for 894 is pretty much over.

So let's do this for a second...

What about 3rd place? Or, maybe, even 2nd place?

Gretzky might unattainable, but what about Jaromir Jagr, who currently sits in 3rd place with 766 goals. That one seems almost easily reachable for Ovechkin. He only needs 108 more to tie Jagr.

Gordie Howe is second on the list with 801 goals. That one also seems within reach for Ovechkin.

And last, while this one is more "opinion" than stats, here's something else to ponder. Could Ovechkin finish his career as the second greatest player ever behind Gretzky?

Most people believe it's Gretzky at #1 and Mario Lemieux at #2. Could Ovechkin go down as better than Lemieux?

He'll pass Lemieux on the goal scoring list next season. The former Penguins star scored 690 times in his career. But Lemieux was considered more of a "complete" player than Ovechkin has been throughout his career, although 800-and-some-goals to 690 would go a long way towards narrowing the margin on that narrative, I'd guess.

It's probably too much to expect Ovechkin to catch Gretzky, but remember this: Every goal gets him a smidgen closer since Gretzky can no longer add to his totals.

Having a few more 50-goal seasons and staying injury free are the two keys for Ovechkin in his pursuit of the record. It ain't over 'til it's over, folks.

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It's almost hard to remember that the Ravens went through a foundational change just a few months ago, moving on from a franchise defining figure and elevating the understudy who was obviously the team's future.

No, not that one.

For all of their history as a team in Baltimore, the Ravens have been Ozzie Newsome's team. His first draft brought the city Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis, and ever since The Wizard of Oz was synonymous with the team this time of year and, for a while, questioning his judgment in roster building was borderline sacrilege in Charm City.

Newsome stepped down from the role of GM this offseason and formally passed the title on to his long time protégé Eric DeCosta, but you could be forgiven if you'd forgotten that even happened. With the possible exception of losing franchise legend Terrell Suggs to his hometown Arizona Cardinals, it's hard to imagine that the Ravens' offseason thus far would have gone any differently at all if it was still Ozzie making the decisions rather than DeCosta.

That probably shouldn't be surprising, DeCosta functioned as the GM-in-waiting here for years and passed up multiple opportunities at a promotion to stay with the Ravens, which he probably wouldn't have done if he and his superior weren't operating on the same wave length. So the fact that a change at the top of the personnel department hasn't led to any major changes in the way the Ravens approach free agency, or team building in March in general, isn't shocking anyone.

But the draft is a different animal. The Ravens have had some distinct tendencies when it comes to selecting collegiate players over the years, most of which seemed to stem from Ozzie himself. There has even been some very nebulous talk over the past few years, granted most of it coming from guys like Mike Preston, that DeCosta wouldn't conduct the selection process in exactly the same manner that Newsome did. So when this year's draft commences on Thursday night we may, for the first time, start to see a real divergence in the way that DeCosta and Newsome went about their business. Here are three major things to look for:

Wide Receivers: No sense burying the lede, the Ravens have been absolutely dreadful at drafting wideouts under Newsome, and of all the things Ravens fans would like to see change under new management this is at the very top of the list. It's not only that the Ravens have picked some bums when they've dipped into the receiver pool, it's that they've been pretty reluctant to even take receivers despite the fact that the position has always topped their shopping list.

The best example of this has to be the 2014 draft when they picked Timmy Jernigan (we'll get to this in a second) over Davante Adams, Allen Robinson, and Jarvis Landry despite a) all three receivers being very well regarded (and ultimately Pro Bowlers) b) an obvious need at the position c) the fact that they'd just taken Brandon Williams last year. Jernigan was fine, but not as good as any of the receivers the Ravens passed on, and none of them would have even needed to make a Pro Bowl to represent a good selection for the Ravens given their needs. But that's not where they went, as was too often the case in the 2nd and 3rd rounds during the later Ozzie-years.

This year wide receiver isn't just a need for the Ravens, it's a huge gaping wound on the roster. Willie Snead is currently the team's number one option, and even with a very deep tight end group that's simply not enough. Does that mean that they'll reach for a wideout on the draft's first night? Probably not, but it could push them to be more aggressive in selecting a wideout on the second day. And we may even see 2 or 3 receivers on the Ravens' draft list come Sunday. Hopefully they even pan out at the professional level!

Defensive tackle: The flip side of the Ravens hesitance to pick receivers has been their eagerness to gobble up defensive linemen, particularly defensive tackles. And to be fair, they were generally quite good at it!

If the Ravens couldn't draft a productive receiver in the first round to save their lives, they could seemingly draft any 7th round defensive lineman and see him making a real contribution by year two before heading off somewhere else on a big free agent contract. Which ended up being a real paradox of sorts: They were so good at identifying value on the defensive line, it made all of the picks (including 2nd and 3rd rounders) they spent adding more defensive linemen much less valuable.

Mostly it felt like the Ravens were defaulting to a comfort zone of sorts, falling back on a position they'd shown an obvious strength in scouting and developing, but at the same time loading up on lottery tickets as well. They might miss on a Bronson Kafusi or a Chris Wormley, but they could hit on a Jernigan or Willie Henry, or Matt Judon, and Brandon Williams could even become a star. It was exactly the opposite approach that they took with receivers, and it always seemed as though the dichotomy reflected what Ozzie was good at and comfortable with as much as anything. A new GM could lead to a change on that front.

Trading Down: But if there was anything Newsome excelled at, it was getting value out of the draft board. No one could match Ozzie for moving up and down the board, picking up extra selections, and getting good players at the slots they were drafted at. It often aggravated fans when the Ravens would move down the board, but as often as not those moves proved worthwhile.

For example, as I saw someone point out on Twitter the other day the much derided at the time decision to pass on Myles Jack with the 36th pick in 2016 ended up bringing the Ravens the picks that became Judon and Chris Moore, which is not a bad swap even accounting for the fact that Kamelei Correa was a bust. And the Ravens weren't immune to moving up either, particularly after the first round.

This year the Ravens are scheduled to pick 22nd, and the possibilities at that spot are wide open. If four quarterbacks go before then, a top tier talent might fall into the Ravens' lap. Or maybe multiple players the Ravens really like will be available to choose from.

Alternatively, if one or two of those quarterbacks fall, the Ravens could go looking for a team who really liked those guys in workouts and try to gin up an aggressive offer to jump up and grab them.

Fans would probably moan, but despite nabbing a third in the Flacco trade the Ravens still lack a second round pick after moving up to get Lamar Jackson last year, and if they can fetch a deal for a QB-hungry team looking to move up who knows what they could get in return.

We know Ozzie would have been hunting for the best value out of the top of his draft board, whatever that may have been. Will DeCosta follow the same gameplan on draft night, or will he want to make a first round mark in his first draft that might at least hold a candle to his mentor's all-time great first draft in Baltimore?

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Monday
April 22
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#1701



it would be nice to win a home game...


I get it. The Orioles are supposed to be bad. And before anyone flips out and starts ranting and raving about how I've already bailed on the rebuilding project, stay in your lane, please.

I'm not bailing. I'm still on board.

But this is getting to be embarrassing.

I know, I know, it can't possibly be any more embarrassing than last year, right? I mean, that was the worst of the worst. The team basically quit by mid-May.

This, though, is starting to get on my nerves and we haven't even reached May.

While watching bits and pieces of yesterday's 4-3 loss to the Twins, it hit me. It's not that the Orioles are losing, per se, and it's not even that they're getting blown out once or twice a week. It's how they're 8-15 that's an issue.

Alex Cobb got clobbered on Saturday night by the Twins and then complained about the baseballs afterwards.

The Orioles are 1-9 at home.

More than anything else, I think that's what rattles me the most. If they're 8-15 on the season and 6-5 at home, I don't think it would be as damaging. But when you're 8-15 and have one win in ten home games, that makes it difficult to "like" anything about the rebuilding project to date.

I also understand that the majority of the guys we're seeing these days aren't going to be around in two years when, God willing, the team actually starts to look a little bit better. As it stands right now, there are three players playing every day that any other major league team would take; Trey Mancini, Jonathan Villar and.........

Make that two players.

I guess we can eventually add Mark Trumbo to that list if he ever gets healthy, but he hasn't exactly been Christian Yelich at the plate over the last couple of years.

The rest of these guys, while curiously adept on any given at bat, are just that: guys. Rio Ruiz was once a 4th round draft pick of the Astros back in 2012. So far he's hitting a robust .217 on the year. Some guy named Hanser Alberto (I swear, I sorta-kinda thought it was Alberto Hanser so I had to google it) looks like he knows what he's doing every sixth game or so.

Renato Nunez has actually acquitted himself well in the first month of the campaign. He's hitting .293 on the season. But I can't imagine anyone will be beating the Orioles door down in late July to snag him for the pennant race.

Quick, name the Orioles catchers. Don't be upset. No one else can, either.

I've been excited about Dwight Smith Jr. through the first 23 games, but then I watched him play outfield yesterday and that excitement started to wane. No wonder no one else wanted him.

I could go on, but you get the picture.

Where are the young guys we're rebuilding with? I guess Cedric Mullins is one of them but he's worse at the plate than Chris Davis, if that's possible. Davis, by the way, is on quite a tear. He's 7 for his last 17. Pretty soon he might even be hitting .200 again.

Mancini and Villar both seem like reasonable trading chips at this point, which is awfully tough to imagine given that Mancini is a home grown product and Villar was the key piece in last year's Jonathan Schoop trade. Without those two, the Orioles would have five wins so far instead of eight.

I keep waiting for the team to recall Ryan Mountcastle just so we have someone new to get excited about, but so far, he just keeps mashing minor league pitching.

Speaking of mashing pitching, this Orioles starting rotation...holy cow.

Dylan Bundy was actually decent yesterday, but that's probably an outlier for him. He's exhausted any real trade value he once had, unfortunately.

Alex Cobb got torched on Saturday in the second game of the doubleheader, then had the nerve to complain about the baseballs after the game. They must not be using the same baseballs when the Tampa Bay Rays play. Either that or Tyler Glasnow (4-0, 1.13 ERA) is just more lucky than Cobb.

I could go on but I won't. The pitching stinks. The bullpen -- other than John Means thus far -- is minor league'ish.

Chris Davis pitched on Saturday night. He wasn't very good, but he wasn't all that much worse than anyone else we would have trotted out there to clean up the 16-7 loss. I think that's the second time this season the O's have used a field player on the mound. I suspect there will be more occasions in the next few months.

I'm starting to sound like a broken record. I knew the team was going to be lousy, but I was hoping for something more than this. I guess that's my fault in the end.

True story, I took a yellow sticky note this morning and wrote, "Stop complaining about the Orioles" and stuck the note on the top of my computer table where I write #DMD each day.

You're probably just as frustrated as I am.

The winning-home-games thing is the only issue that has me really worked up these days. If the team goes 60-102 but somehow wins 34 home games, I think we'd all be OK with that. But winning 24 of 81 home games is going to make for a long summer downtown.

Who am I kidding? We're in for a bunch of long summers downtown.

Maybe I'm the one who needs to stay in my lane.

I will, I promise. I have a sticky note to remind me.

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yesterday, today and tomorrow


This Week’s Subject: The Ravens’ schedule

Yesterday…

There were two immediate “whoas” from most fans in Baltimore when the NFL announced every team’s 2019 schedule last week. One was the unusual alternating away-home nature of the Ravens’ schedule (more on that below).

The other was the fact that neither game against the Steelers will be played in primetime. Barring a “flex” move in Week 17, when the teams play each other in the regular-season finale, it’s the end of an era.

Unless there's a TV schedule change, Big Ben won't face the Ravens in prime time this coming season for the first time since 2007.

12 consecutive seasons, so every year of the John Harbaugh era and the final year of the Brian Billick era, if you remember him. Joe Flacco played in every one of the games besides the first, when he was still at Delaware. The same can’t be said for the often-spectacular yet injury-prone Ben Roethlisberger.

In 2007, when the stretch started with a blowout win for the Steelers on a Monday night in Pittsburgh, Lamar Jackson was 10 years old.

For a while, it seemed like the game became the property of Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya and the crew of NBC’s Football Night of America. The teams played at night on NBC for six consecutive years, from 2009-2014. Five of those games came on Sunday night, while the 2013 matchup took place on Thanksgiving night; you may remember Mike Tomlin causing a bit of an issue for Jacoby Jones near the sideline.

The 2011 Sunday night game between the teams, in Pittsburgh, remains one of my favorite games in Ravens’ team history. Flacco led the Ravens on a surgical 92-yard drive in the final minutes, culminating in a 26-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith that won the game 23-20.

The following year, the Super Bowl season, the Ravens again won a close one in Pittsburgh, though that came against a somewhat-decrepit Byron Leftwich and lacked almost all of the good play from the game the year before. Hey…a win’s a win.

For what it’s worth, the teams were supposed to play on NBC at night for the seventh year in a row in 2015, but that Week 16 game was “flexed out” thanks to Baltimore’s poor season. After a one-year hiatus, the teams once again played on Sunday night in both 2017 and 2018.

There’s a thought that the Steelers might have a poor season in 2019, and there’s also a thought, perhaps, that the Ravens-Steelers rivalry may have lost a little juice. Something tells me, however, that the game might be back on Sunday nights sooner rather than later. Hopefully that won’t be this season because Pittsburgh really is terrible.


Today…

So, about that back-and-forth schedule for the Ravens in 2019…I like it.

NFL teams are slaves to routine, perhaps more than any other organizations in any business anywhere. The home and away repetition should be a good thing for the team as far as that’s concerned.

Sure, it’s nice to have a couple home games in a row, maybe followed by a bye week and then a relatively short road trip. It’s even nicer to have three consecutive home games, which hardly ever happens, and probably shouldn’t happen very often for fairness sake.

There’s something to be said, however, for consistency, and Harbaugh’s team will have it this season in a way that few teams have ever had it. Perhaps the biggest challenge will come after Week 12, when the Ravens play in Los Angeles on a Monday night and end up with a serious red-eye flight back to Baltimore.

Four years ago, the last go-around for Baltimore against the NFC West, the Ravens got a particularly bad schedule, one that I’m sure had local conspiracy theorists complaining about Park Avenue and its disdain for the local football team. What made it especially bad was that, on the three-year AFC cycle, the team also had to play the AFC West.

The Ravens’ began the year in Denver, then played in Oakland the following week. Instead of flying home from Colorado, Harbaugh took his team to San Jose State, where the Ravens practiced before playing the Raiders.

In October, the team was planning to do something similar in between games at San Francisco and Arizona, practicing in the desert at Arizona State prior to the Cardinals’ game. That plan was scrapped, however, partially because of the lack of success the first time around, and partially because the game against Arizona wasn’t until Monday night.

Harbaugh’s team got off to a terrible start that season, and the schedule most certainly had something to do with it. Eventually, injuries took their toll, but the season was already over by the time the team came back from Arizona with a 1-6 record.

This season, besides the away-home order, the three-year AFC cycle has Baltimore playing its friends in the AFC East, with quick road trips to Buffalo and Miami. And the first of the team’s West Coast road trips, to Seattle in Week 7, is followed by a Week 8 bye. So no conspiracy theories are in order. I’m sure they’ll return next year…


Tomorrow

Ok, I guess it’s time for predictions, of a sort.

I’m not going to predict every game, which is a cute diversion every NFL beat writer and pundit plays the morning after the schedules are released every year. Hey, it fills up column inches (sorry for the old newspaper reference) and air time.

And of course, every game in a 16-game season is worthy of an intense analysis in the days prior to the game, yet nearly impossible to predict even a week earlier than that. Injuries are too prevalent, and the football too much of a prolate spheroid, to look too far ahead.

The Ravens get another crack at Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in Kansas City this season.

But a few comments, if I may…

Seemingly, the Week 4 matchup with the Browns looks like it could be interesting. The Ravens begin the year with Miami and Arizona, games that make you think the season could begin well. Amazingly, the Cleveland game (!) could be a harbinger of how good the team can be in 2019.

Certainly, the Sunday night game in Week 9 at M&T Bank Stadium against the defending Super Bowl champs is one that everyone has circled in red, and maybe twice. The Patriots haven’t been to Baltimore in six years.

In a span of five calendar years, beginning on January 10, 2010, and ending on January 10, 2015, the teams played seven times. Since that 2014 AFC Championship game, as the Ravens headed toward mediocrity, the teams have only played once, in Foxboro in December 2016. Fact is, you gotta finish in first place if you want to play the Patriots a lot.

Meanwhile, Wink Martindale’s defense will certainly be challenged, not just by Tom Brady and the Patriots but also with road games against both Patrick Mahomes’ Chiefs and Jared Goff’s Rams. The Ravens came oh-so-close in Kansas City in 2018, but it was a game that truly made you believe they could go on the road and beat the Chargers a couple weeks later.

With their first-place schedule, the Ravens will also play Houston, on Week 11 in Baltimore. Barring injury, it will be the first appearance against the Ravens for Deshaun Watson, who was injured when the teams played in 2017, his rookie season.

In Week 15, the Ravens host the Jets on a Thursday night. I’m looking forward to the Jets’ uniforms, which this year will come in a new “Gotham Green.” Do I believe that the Jets will be in the playoff mix on December 12, as everyone seems to think they will be? I wouldn’t count on it.

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Sunday
April 21
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#1700



happy easter!


You won't find much sports coverage here today.

We'll be back at it on Monday.

Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and his promise of eternal life for those that walk with him as their eternal savior.

By now, you know the story of Jesus' life and death.

Turned over to Pontius Pilate by one of his own, Jesus was crucified on Friday and placed in a tomb. On Sunday, the tomb was empty. Jesus would later show himself throughout the area for 40 days before ascending into heaven.

This Easter Sunday marks his resurrection from the dead.


On Holy Thursday, I posted this about Jesus:

He is the greatest man in history.

He had no servants, yet he was called Master.

He had no degree, but they called him Teacher.

He had no medicines, but he was a Healer.

He was part of no army, yet kings feared Him.

He had committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.

He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today. His name is Jesus.


I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter!

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Saturday
April 20
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#1699



about that oshie hit...


I didn't know you guys cared so much.

Several commenters checked in on Friday and asked about my opinion on the T.J. Oshie hit from Thursday night's 2-1 Caps loss at Carolina. I do have an opinion on it.

I'm not sure you'll like it, but that never stopped me before.

In situations like the one we saw on Thursday night, I try and let a day or two pass before I render a "final verdict". I take into consideration what I thought happened "in the moment", then wait to see if there's any sort of announcement on an injury or long-term impact, and also give myself more time to simmer down and see the event from 35,000 feet rather than make a knee jerk, over-the-top reaction.

Here's what I initially thought on Thursday night: "It wasn't all that bad."

As I watched the play, it looked to me like two guys pretty much going at full speed and Warren Foegele of the Hurricanes clearly crosschecks T.J. Oshie in the back as he nears the boards. The Caps broadcast team went nuts in calling out Foegele -- as they're paid to do -- and social media lit up with fans of the defending champs calling for Foegele to be suspended. That's also a very normal reaction.

Carolina rookie Warren Foegele has been a pain in the Caps' side in the four games thus far, scoring goals and injuring T.J. Oshie on Thursday night.

But it didn't look to me like Foegele "lined him up", the way, say, Tom Wilson has done numerous times in his career. I don't bring up Wilson to compare the two. In fairness to Wilson, a lot of his head-hunting moves take place in open ice, not along the boards. I mention Wilson because time and time again I've seen him get a guy in the crosshairs from 20 or 30 feet away and then level him with a hit to the head or upper body area.

I don't think Warren Foegele lined up Oshie. Did he crosscheck him from behind? He did. Should it have been a 5-minute major rather than a 2-minute minor? I thought so when it happened and still think so now.

But today, like Thursday, I don't see it as a reckless hit that warranted a suspension.

It's playoff hockey. Guys are going to get hit. Some of those hits are going to be punishing. Some, unfortunately, occasionally result in injury.

And to put all of this in context, I also didn't think Nazem Kadri's hit on Alex Ovechkin back in the 2017 playoffs was suspension-worthy, either. Maybe I'm just a guy who thinks your head has to be taken off your body in order for the offending player to be suspended. I'll wear that merit badge if that's the case. But I thought Kadri's hit, while punishing, wasn't worthy of a suspension.

Warren Foegele played 77 games for the Hurricanes this season and had 20 penalty minutes.

He doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would intentionally injure another player. At the very least, the stats don't support that sort of behavior.

It's one thing if he has a long rap sheet or has, say, 128 penalty minutes in 63 games like Tom Wilson does. Wilson gets in a fight every week. Foegele basically got a penalty every tenth game he played in this season.

I just don't see a pattern of behavior with Foegele that suggests he was intentionally trying to injure T.J. Oshie on Thursday night. Bad hit near the boards? Definitely. Penalty? Most certainly. Suspension? Not in my book.

There's no doubt the Oshie injury could be a turning point for the Caps, even if they're fortunate enough to skate past the Hurricanes in this series. They'll have to man-up without Oshie, who has been one of the team's best offensive players over the last two seasons. But Caps enthusiasts will also remember they won a couple of playoff series' a year ago without Nicklas Backstrom. It can be done, in other words.

Oh, and if I'm Warren Foegele, I have the equipment guy put my head on a swivel before tonight's Game 5 in D.C.

Tom Wilson's not happy...

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coughlin lights up ramsey over missed workouts


Jacksonville Jaguars Vice President Tom Coughlin knows how to prepare for national "420 Day". He lit up Jalen Ramsey on Friday afternoon without even mentioning his name.

The Jaguars had a week's worth of "voluntary workouts" that started last Monday and ended yesterday. "Voluntary", of course, is just that. It means the team is holding a workout and would like you to attend but because the Collective Bargaing Agreement protects the players in matters such as these, a player not attending a voluntary workout can not be punished.

But that doesn't mean a player not attending can't be called out and criticized by the team, either.

So, Coughlin did just that, without mentioning either Ramsey or linebacker Telvin Smith, who were the only two signed players to not show up in Jacksonville for the workouts.

Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey fired back at the Jaguars on Friday after the organization questioned his work ethic after he missed a week of voluntary workouts.

"We're very close to 100 percent attendance, and, quite frankly, our players should be here building the concept of team, working hard side-by-side, constructing our bond of togetherness, formulating our collective priorities and goals," Coughlin said. "Success in the NFL demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish and insensitive to the real values of team. The hard work that many try to avoid is the major building block for the development of an outstanding football team."

Coughlin then added, "It's not about rights and privileges. It's about obligations and responsibility, and the question is: Can we count on you?"

That's the one that probably set Ramsey off. It took him a couple of hours to fire back on social media.

Ramsey went to Twitter and explained: “Fully aware” & “voluntary” meaning I don’t HAVE to be there BUT they know the EXACT REASONS I am not. My teammates know it’s ALL love & know I’ll be ready when it’s time!"

Someone needs to give Ramsey a refresher course. Just because the team is "fully aware" of why you aren't in attendance doesn't make it right in their eyes. If you sleep through your alarm on Monday and call the office to tell them you're going to be an hour late to work, just because you "made them aware" doesn't mean they're happy with you.

I don't know how Ramsey doesn't understand that.

Now, he's right about the workouts being voluntary. That clearly means his attendance is not mandatory.

But Coughlin didn't ease up on his criticism of Ramsey, even though he never mentioned his name. And it was a full blast that Coughlin gave, too. He didn't mince words, calling the two who missed the workouts "lazy, selfish and insensitive".

The issue facing the football team seems to be one connected to leadership. If Ramsey is the leader of the team (and I don't know that he is, hence the word "if") he should have taken it upon himself to be in Jacksonville for the workouts. Nothing does a team more good to have the leaders there leading the charge. And nothing harms a team more than the leader saying, "You guys go ahead and put in the work, I think I'll skip this one."

And let's face it. Football players don't really want to be running around in shorts and tee shirts in mid-April when the season is still four months away. But the team sees value in having them all under one roof for five straight days. And Coughlin's right in the sense that everyone should put forth their best effort for those five days.

Perhaps Coughlin and the Jaguars are still bristling at Ramsey for his comments about opposing NFL quarterbacks last year. All that did was put a bullseye on the Jacksonville defense in 2018, and on Ramsey as well, and neither party played up to expectations last season.

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Friday
April 19
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#1698



defending champs in trouble


It seems like winning a championship only really guarantees you one thing. The next season will be a dogfight. And then some, perhaps.

The Washington Capitals are now deadlocked at 2-2 in their playoff opening series with Carolina after the Hurricanes beat them last night in Raleigh, 2-1. The Caps won the first two games at home -- including one in overtime -- but weren't able to extend their series lead on the road.

Making matters worse for the Caps is a significant injury to T.J. Oshie, who was checked into the boards with five minutes left in Thursday's game and did not return. Afterwards, coach Todd Reirden was upset with the play in question and said Oshie would be out for an undetermined amount of time.

"It was a defenseless player that was quite a distance from the boards," Reirden said. "It's an extremely dangerous play, and he will not be with our team for a while."

How will the Caps respond with T.J. Oshie out for an extended period of time?

Caps fans took to social media to express their outrage at the play, naturally.

The series now shifts back to Washington for Game 5 on Saturday night.

Carolina is one of those teams you'd rather not face come post-season time, but someone has to play them. After spending most of the season's first half in last place in the Eastern Conference, they won 27 of their final 40 games to jump over several teams and finish the campaign with 99 points, just five points shy of the Capitals.

On paper, the Hurricanes are no match for Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and company. But the games aren't on paper, and the Hurricanes have now chiseled the series down to a best-of-3 affair. Anything can happen at this point, particularly with the Carolina goaltender -- Petr Mrazek -- standing on his head throughout most of the series.

I've said this a lot over the years and it bears repeating now. The team that thinks it's really good is often more dangerous than the team that actually is really good.

Carolina is starting to think they're really good. And they are, indeed, dangerous.

And if the Caps are fortunate enough to get past the Hurricanes, guess who will be there waiting for them on the other side? Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders, who disposed of the Penguins in four quick games.

The Boston Red Sox are finding out that no one cares all that much about what they did last season. Boston is off to an awful 6-13 start and head into a road series with the Tampa Bay Rays sporting one of the worst starting pitching ERA's in all of baseball.

Nothing much has gone right for Boston so far this season. They started the season playing 11 straight road games and won just three of those. Then they came home and split two games with the Blue Jays and somehow lost 2 of 4 to the Orioles. Two more losses in New York to the Yankees leave them in last place in the A.L. East.

It's early, of course, and you know all about the fact that it's a marathon, not a sprint, but the Red Sox have some serious pitching issues.

Chris Sale is 0-4 to start the season with an 8.50 ERA. Rick Porcello is worse, if that's possible. He's 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA. David Price had a nice outing against the Orioles last Saturday, but he's been laboring through the season's first three weeks as well.

And if you think the Orioles bullpen is lousy, you haven't watched Boston much this season. Their bullpen is just as bad.

The Red Sox can hit, but at this point they're going to need to score 6 or 7 runs every game in order to have a chance to win.

It's tough when you won the title the year before and no one gives you a morsel of respect. Such a shame, huh?

And even though they won last night in L.A., the Golden State Warriors are also finding out that it's a long way to the top, if you wanna rock-n-roll. Golden State won the series opener over the Clippers, then collapsed in Game 2 and squandered a 31-point lead to lose, at home no less.

And with DeMarcus Cousins now out for the rest of the playoffs with a torn quad, the Warriors' run to a 3rd straight title seems shaky.

True, they've won 3 of the last 4 NBA crowns without Cousins on their team, but he was going to be the "X factor" this time around. The Warriors waited patiently until after the New Year to bring him in the lineup after an achilles injury sidelined him in 2018. He looked like a difference maker when the games mattered in April and Golden State tried to lock down the #1 seed in the Western Conference.

And then came the Game 2 collapse at home. And the injury to Cousins. And, suddenly, there were questions about Golden State.

They shouldn't have any trouble getting past the Clippers now that they're up 2-1. But Denver, Portland and Houston won't be post-season pushovers and the Jazz, should Golden State meet them, have always played well against Steph Curry and company.

The Capitals, Red Sox and Warriors. All three are in a fight to stay at the top. Everyone wants to beat the champ.

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BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports-media work with ESPN, CBS, and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.



As Drew highlighted on Thursday, it didn't take long for baseball's first beanball brouhaha to develop, as things got heated when Kansas City hurler Brad Keller plunked emerging star Tim Anderson of the White Sox after the former tossed his bat in celebration after a home run earlier in the game.

Benches cleared, implausible denials as to intent were issued after the game and, of course, Anderson was ejected along with Keller. Oh, and the White Sox manager as well, though not Kansas City's Ned Yost.

A lot of that is rote and expected at this point. Earlier in the season, Chris Archer threw a fastball at a Cincinnati hitter for showboating a home run, despite Archer's own bombastic displays of pride after strikeouts in the very same game at that, and MLB suspended him for a mere 5 games, requiring him only one additional day off in between starts. Whoopee.

That the league doesn't do nearly enough to police pitchers' misconduct when it comes to deliberately hurling the ball at another player at upwards of 100 MPH is a column I could write, and probably have written, roughly half a dozen times per season. So consider that point made once again for this season and let's move on to discussing another bad actor here who gets quite a bit less attention than they should on the matter.

The player's union.

The Major League Baseball Players' Association gets a lot of things wrong, and has gotten a lot of things wrong at least since Donald Fehr left his leadership position in the group, and their complete lack of leadership on what should be a very straight forward topic may well encapsulate the basic reasons why they fail at obtaining so many other priorities.

Because ultimately, this is a matter of workplace safety for the union members who are being thrown at. Having a baseball thrown at you at high velocity is a very dangerous thing. It hurts, obviously, but it can easily cause injury, time out of work, and in theory could even be fatal in the worst case scenario.

In any other workplace you would absolutely expect the UFCW, UAW, etc. to be very proactive in addressing any kind of similar behavior from employees, union members or not, that similarly endangered the safety of co-workers on the shop floor, and they would.

What role does the player's union have in diminishing the amount of in-game skirmishes and beanball incidents that could threaten the safety and livelihood of the players?

But the professional sports unions seem paralyzed to act on player safety matters when at least one group of players feels like they're being targeted by the rules or insists that acting in a dangerous manager is right and good. The NFLPA went through the same thing when the league wanted to crack down on blows to the head and excessive roughness from defenders, but even they have moved on at a faster pace than baseball players have, which is probably best explained by the fact that so many baseball players think that this particular bit of nonsense is an integral part of the fabric of the game itself.

But a good union requires leadership who bridge these gaps and keep players onside and working together, and that's something that's been totally lacking from the baseball union since Michael Weiner took over. On the one hand, MLBPA has been all too happy to play the role of company union when dealing with ownership, and other the other hand union leadership has been excessively pliant in following the membership and the players' leadership, and far too reluctant to steer them on a different course when they're acting foolishly or undermining their own position.

The result is a players' union beset with various groups of players often working at cross purposes, for different goals, and even trying to make gains for themselves at the expense of fellow players or future members. That's the antithesis of how an effective union conducts themselves and, surprise surprise, the result has been back to back collective bargaining agreements that have been disastrous from the players' standpoint and now have many veterans openly musing about a future strike.

And while the beanball issue isn't the biggest problem in and of itself, it's a good encapsulation of why the union is failing. If the post-strike period was a boon for players, it was because the business of baseball was dominated by a split between big market clubs and small market clubs, with a huge amount of focus on leveling the playing field for the small market teams while large market teams were at least trying to guard as much local revenue from revenue sharing as they could. With the teams split and players mostly united, things went pretty darn well for the players.

Now the dynamic has shifted. Increasing central revenue shares have made revenue sharing less important from the league's perspective, and the owners are presenting a united front while the players are fighting amongst themselves. The most consequential case of such came during the 2011 negotiations when players put a big priority on limiting the amount of money newly drafted amateurs could receive in signing bonuses.

And as a cherry on top, because they also put a high priority on not agreeing to "hard slotting" because they'd previously taken a strong rhetorical stance against that, they agreed to an ostensibly soft slotting system that penalized teams for going over slot amounts while rewarding them for signing players for below slot value, which meant that high draft picks found themselves with absolutely no leverage to even demand that teams pay them the full value of the slot. Oh, and after they made draft picks and slot money more valuable than they'd ever been before in baseball, they then agreed to penalize teams for signing free agents by forfeiting those super valuable picks.

The short terms results were predictable: The free agent market collapsed for second tier free agents who rejected one year qualifying offers, while taking away those pools of signing bonus money had no appreciable impact on overall Major League compensation. Which should have been expected given that even the teams that were breaking records on draft spending were still only plopping down $10-15 million for their entire draft class. At the end of the day the players' motivation was purely about resentment that these guys hadn't "earned" seven figure bonuses yet while run-of-the-mill big league backups "deserved" it, and in trying to create that they obliterated the market for those veterans just like their NFL counterparts did when they agreed to the current rookie wage scale.

And now we're seeing the long term impact. Star players who came up without ever having a chance at those contracts are going into their first negotiations with less cushion than guys like Bryce Harper and Manny Machado had, and as teams are using the rules to create as much leverage as possible for pre-arbitration they're rushing to unbelievably team friendly extensions. That's fine so far as it goes, and to be sure we're still talking about the kinds of money that will leave the players, their kids, and their grandkids set for life.

But we're also looking at a reality where the players are going to continue getting a smaller and smaller share of the league's total revenue, perhaps the smallest amount they've won in three decades as soon as five years from now. And in the interim, there's a big pool of 30-somethings caught between eras, so to speak, who won't have gotten the big contract on either end and will probably continue agitating for major labor action by the union.

But they'll be backed up by fellow players who probably won't care about them, the same way those veterans didn't care about them 8 years ago, or 4 years ago, or still mostly don't care about them now.

The players can muse about a strike if they want to, and people who want to see the end of things like service time manipulation can hold out hope that that will change the game for the better just like the last strike did. But the truth is that the union simply doesn't have the united front they'd need to whether any strike, and the owners will almost certainly crush them in short order unless they get their act together. That's going to require a major shift in leadership, and a willingness to tell the players, especially veterans, hard truths about their situation and what it will take to win the victories they want.

And above all else it will take a union that's at least as committed to the priorities and interests of young players as it is to those of players over 30.

That just simply doesn't look like it will happen in the foreseeable future, and until it does the players have no one to blame but themselves for the state of their labor situation.

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Thursday
April 18
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1697



about once a year, we remind you...


It seems like once every baseball season, I come here and remind you that Major League baseball players are (mostly) a bunch of childish jerks. Here's that annual reminder for you.

If you didn't see what happened yesterday in Chicago, it went like this.

Tim Anderson of the White Sox launched a mammoth home run off of Kansas City's Brad Keller in the 4th inning. Anderson threw his bat in the direction of the White Sox dugout as he started to make his way to first base.

Manny Machado got hit with a pitch a couple of years ago and decided to punch the pitcher in the face. That's one way to send a message.

Keller apparently took exception to Anderson's reaction. I assume the K.C. pitcher just wanted Anderson to carefully lay his bat down at home plate. The next time Anderson came to bat, he was hit with a Keller pitch.

A fracas ensued, which, if you watch baseball, isn't really much of a fracas at all. It always turns out to look the same, no matter the city or teams. A couple of guys get overheated and have to be "held back" by their teammates. The managers hop around like Kevin Bacon in Footloose to show how angry they are. And the umpires do what they do best, which is to completely overreact to the situation and throw a few people out of the game because, well, that's what they enjoy doing more than anything else.

It's amazing that we as a sports-loving nation take baseball seriously for seven months when players act the way they did on Wednesday. The K.C. pitcher was so mad at another player throwing his bat in the direction of his own dugout that he endangered him in the next at-bat with an intentional "wild pitch". I can't get over how stupid pitchers are. They're the dumbest of the dumb.


Every spring, I watch playoff hockey and marvel at how great it is. No sport has a better playoff "season" than hockey, end of story. They play (basically) every other day for a couple of weeks and then if they're fortunate enough to move on, they take a few days off and then do it all again. If they win that series, they do it again. And if they're fortunate enough to advance to that fourth series, they're playing for the championship of the hockey world.

It's funny to think of playoffs like this, but here goes. In hockey, for instance, you can win the first series 4-3, the second series 4-3, the third series 4-3 and the fourth series 4-3...and you're the Stanley Cup winner. For those Flyers fans out there, don't panic. I'll do the math for you: That means you can go 16-12 in the post-season and still win it all.

The intensity and enthusiasm for playoff hockey is unrivaled. If ever the term "warrior" was applicable, it's with hockey players. Those guys are absolute warriors.

Speaking of the Flyers, they missed the playoffs again this year. Just thought you should know.


In mid-April every year, the NFL releases their schedule for the upcoming season and everyone then does the prediction thing for a day or two. The Ravens' 2019 schedule came out yesterday and in a truly odd scheduling quirk, they simply alternate home and away games throughout the 16-week season. A team will typically play a couple of home games in a row, then a couple of road games in a row, etc., but not this year. Not for the Ravens, anyway.

With Mike Tomlin and the Steelers set to battle for the AFC North basement in 2019, the NFL will not feature a Baltimore/Pittsburgh prime time game this coming season.

They open with an automatic win in Miami on Sunday, September 8. They then come home to beat up on the hapless Cardinals on September 15. That's a friendly gift from the schedule makers for sure.

For the first time in a long time, the Ravens and Steelers do not play a prime time night game this season. That said, the final game of the season in Baltimore (12/29) could easily be flexed to Sunday Night Football on NBC if it decides the division or a playoff spot. I can't imagine that's going to happen, though. Not with Pittsburgh primed to stink it up this season.

If you're a Ravens fans looking for a road trip option this season, the schedule folks didn't do you many favors this year. Forget the three divisional games...no one wants to go Cincinnati, Cleveland or Pittsburgh. What about the other cities?

Miami on September 8? Have you been to South Florida in September? It's scorching freakin' hot.

September 22 at Kansas City? That's a good one, I think. K.C. is a nice place to visit anytime, but it's really nice there in the fall months. That's a potential winner.

Seattle on October 20? That also seems like a good one. The Pacific Northwest is gorgeous in the fall.

How about a post-Thanksgiving trip to Los Angeles for the November 25, Monday Night game vs. the Rams? That's a good one, too, but you'd have to miss two days of work to see it.

And then there's Buffalo on December 8. Let me think about that one. Buffalo. In December. Nope...

So, if you're looking for an official #DMD suggestion, I'd say get yourself out to Seattle for a long weekend. Leave Baltimore on a Friday morning flight, get to Seattle around 12:00 noon Pacific time, enjoy yourself all day Friday and Saturday, take in the game on Sunday and come home on Monday morning.

Oh, and in case you need to make Thanksgiving Day viewing plans in April, here are the four turkey day football games you'll be watching.

Calvert Hall vs. Loyola, 10:00 am.

Bears at Lions, 12:30 pm.

Bills at Cowboys, 4:30 pm.

Saints at Falcons, 8:30 pm.

By the way, I have the Ravens going 9-7 after that 2-0 start. Sorry...


Today is the official beginning of Easter weekend, with Holy Thursday, Good Friday and then Easter Sunday coming up over the next four days.

Holy Thursday is important because it marks the "last supper" in the life of Jesus, where he announced his imminent death to the disciples who were seated at the table with him. The following day, of course, Jesus was arrested and crucified.

For those looking for a simple, solemn Holy Thursday prayer, this is for you:

Lord God

You sent your Son into the world,

And before his hour had come,

He washed his disciples’ feet. You had given all things into his hands.

He had come from you, and was going to you,

And what did he do?

He knelt down on the floor,

And washed his friends’ feet.

He was their teacher and their Lord,

Yet he washed their feet.

Lord God, help us learn from his example;

Help us to do as he has done for us.

The world will know we are his disciples if we love one another.

Strengthen our hands and our wills for love and for service.

Keep before our eyes the image of your Son,

Who, being God, became a Servant for our sake.

All glory be to him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

One God, now and forever. Amen.

I hope you have a great Easter weekend.

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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.


you’ve got to know when to hold ‘em??


For entertainment purposes only (of course), the subject of sports gambling comes up occasionally here at #DMD, whether above the fold or in the comments section.

I’m not typically the one that brings it up. There’s a big reason for that; if you ever have the pleasure (because I’m an awesome person) of sitting down with me for an adult beverage, I can tell you more.

Suffice it to say, I don’t think that gambling on sports is really that much fun, or much of a way to make a life for yourself, even if you have lots of other things in your life. In fact, it’s a great way to create a difficult life for yourself, even if it’s only a small part of your life.

The last couple weeks, however? Even I have to admit that it’s been a real triumph for sports gambling.

First, there’s a 34-year-old guy named James Holzhauer, who grew up outside Chicago and now lives in Las Vegas. Holzhauer, as Jeopardy! announcer Johnny Gilbert has noted each of the last 10 days during that show’s introduction, is a professional sports gambler.

James Holzhauer has taken Jeopardy! by storm over the last few days, winning a whopping $131,127 in a recent show.

In those 10 games, Holzhauer has won nearly $700,000. He obliterated a single-game record by earning more than $110,000 on one day last week, then won six figures again for the second time Tuesday before doing it again on Wednesday, winning a new record $131,127.

Then, there was another James…James Adducci, 39, who identifies as a self-employed day trader and lives in rural Wisconsin. When Tiger Woods holed his short bogey putt on the 18th green at Augusta National Sunday afternoon, Adducci had somehow won a life-changing sum of nearly $1.3 million…by betting on the greatest winner in golf history?!

Meanwhile, another bettor came agonizingly close to a huge win on very long odds. He would have won $400,000 combined on two separate tickets if Texas Tech had won the men’s basketball national championship, having placed a total of just $2,300 in wagers.

Why, exactly, did three Texas Tech players converge on Virginia’s Ty Jerome in the final seconds of regulation in the NCAA title game, leaving De’Andre Hunter wide open in the corner for a game-tying three-pointer? I bet that guy would like to know.

Somewhere, Kenny Rogers is rolling over in his grave. Oh, wait…Kenny’s not dead yet. He just kinda looks like it.

I have no idea how good of a sports gambler Holzhauer is, in terms of wins and losses, though if you’re willing to call yourself a pro, you must be doing all right. I do know that his profession, if you want to call it that, is a big reason why he’s on the way to becoming the richest contestant of all-time.

Holzhauer is great at trivia, for sure. He’s very quick on the buzzer, as are most Jeopardy! champions, even ones that only win a couple games. What he’s taken to a new level, however, is playing the game. And only a sports gambler would play the game the way he’s playing it.

His strategy is to pick the clues toward the bottom of the board first, trying to get a big lead with the higher-priced clues. Besides getting the correct answers (er, questions), obviously, he’s mainly searching for the clues that are “Daily Doubles.” And when he gets them, Holzhauer puts his hands together, as if he’s holding chips in the vein of his poker-playing friends in Vegas, and goes “all in.” Said Holzhauer, recently. “I don’t have a mental block about betting $38,314 on one trivia question. It’s only money.”

Oh, and in case you want to know what he thinks about sports, he’s not exactly a fan of the prevent defense, I would guess. When talking about his aggressive game strategy, Holzhauer said that he “often sees sports teams playing to force overtime instead of trying to win in regulation, and it makes me shake my head.”

Jeopardy! isn’t just a collection of trivia and knowledge questions that you hope to get right, like it seems at home when you’re trying to impress someone. It’s a game—there are others competing against you, there are more than a few good strategies, and there are consequences to being wrong.

Holzhauer might not get anywhere near Ken Jennings, who won 74 games in a row. He might not be the most knowledgeable contestant in Jeopardy! history. But he plays the game better than anyone I’ve seen, and he does it with a surgical aggression. He got that from betting on sports, a game that’s far less predictable than a 30-minute game show.

Adducci, meanwhile, is the opposite of Holzhauer. He may be a speculative day trader, but he insists that his large bet on Tiger Woods was, quite literally, the first time he’d ever bet on a sporting event in his life.

He took all the money he was willing to part with, about $85,000, and headed to Las Vegas to find a sportsbook willing to take his action. He actually had to get the cash from banks in Nevada, and was carrying it in a backpack on his way to the casinos. Seriously.

After striking out at two venues, he headed to William Hill, where he found a group willing to take the bet. Adducci, remember, wasn’t some kind of sharp, or somebody looking to play a game. He wasn’t even James Holzhauer, who says he bets mostly on baseball and hockey. He was really just a tourist who honestly thought Tiger was destined to win.

William Hill probably thought it would be good publicity for them if the bet materialized, even if they took a big loss. They weren’t the only book around the world to take a big hit when Eldrick won the tournament, but they came out ahead in the reputation department. On Monday, Adducci cashed in his winning ticket, and the news photographers were there to take a shot of the smiling winner with an oversized check, as if he was Happy Gilmore winning the Waterbury Open.

Tiger, you may have known, was a 14-to-1 shot to win The Masters. So, $85,000 turned into $1.275 million. When Tiger is 58, having faced three more back surgeries, and playing the tournament for the last time, I wonder if the oddsmakers will make him anywhere higher than a 5-to-1 play.

Sports gamblers, like any segment of the population, run the gamut of the human condition. I suppose a large percentage of them are men, and I also suppose that most of them don’t have the capacity or life situation to think that $38,000 is “only money.” More than a few, who don’t have that kind of money to play with, play with it anyway. On the whole, there’s no reason to root for them.

It turns out that’s the case with Adducci who, upon further review, has a criminal past filled with domestic violence convictions and allegations. I wish he wouldn’t have won.

It also turns out that a sports gambler is the best kind of Jeopardy! contestant, at least if money is the main object. It’s now been proven, and not just by a bet on a lark from a guy in Wisconsin, that you can never count out the great Tiger Woods. And hey…even the Texas Tech aficionado is only out a couple grand on the deal…he could easily have spent that in Vegas in a couple hours without any of the fun.

Sometimes, at least for a short time I guess, every hand’s a winner.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner


#dmd comments


Radio Radio     April 24
@Truth

It is so funny. Just keep saying it...kind of like cloistered monks chanting.

It was promised to start in March, now it is promised in May. What ever happened Thursdays are for the Community Discussions???....highlighting the good things going on in our city sponsored by a bank that bailed out on sponsoring something that never occurred. I am sure that he rails about that sponsor as selling out to corporate radio. His record on promises is staggering, he never follows up on anything. I can only imagine all of the ideas he spewed out in those weekly meetings at the Radio station that sounded great, but died due to laziness.

The LF is all about the city and his incredibly delusional belief that he can solve things as Mayor. He calls for honesty and integrity....and yet his work and dealings with people??? None of that is apparent. Every sales call starts off with a lie "I have listeners".

Delray Rick     April 24
Worked inner city for 15 years 25 years ago and I laugh when some say it's in your head downtown. SURE...I could tell a lot of stories bout east,West and all town. How bout the wonderful mayor they or on suspension.

The Truth     April 24
Everyone needs to B-More Positive.......Help is on the way for the beleaguered city....Just wait...and wait...and wait and see.

Jason M     April 24
Fear is a powerful force. My family owns a business in Ellicott City, and we have head many times from former patrons that they are afraid to come to Ellicott City because of the deadly floods of 2016 and 2018. We try to reason with these folks, but once they have the fear, we can't do much. I won't give up on either Baltimore or Ellicott City, but both need work.

Monks Ghost     April 24
Herman is correct. When I was a young salesman, one of my last calls on a particular day was on MLK BLVD in southwest DC. I had a 2 hour job to do and I parked my car on the guys lot. I go there at 130 and when I came out there were 5 guys sitting on my car drinking. I scurried back into the account and asked for help. All of the products were behind bullet proof glass. It was a retail store with nothing on the floor. A huge lazy susan dispensed the products after money was collected.

I learned a valuable lesson that day from my customer that I use to this day. "if you have to go into a bad neighborhood, get there early, BAD GUYS SLEEP LATE". I was able to buffalo my way to get the guys off the car because I was dressed like an FBI agent and I had a basic boxey company car. Early 80's.



These days I still go the Lexington Market. Faidleys is almost always packed. The rest of the market is pretty bad. I get there at 11 AM....and I'm out of there by 1.

I will go to the O's game...but my MO has changed. I used to use the light rail. Now I drive and pay extra to park. It sickens me that THEY have won and I have to change my behavior. The city isn't safe. You have to be real careful of your surroundings.....and I am 6'5. Be wary of teenagers....not 30 year old guys. I could write a book on how to be safe in Baltimore.





But Herman's main point is solid. Lower attendance breeds less safety in FEELING. Doesn't matter if some folks tell you "it's safe". It is all about perception. If people are scared of the city no amount of "talk" can change their minds. The O's need to try to mount a campaign about trying to change that perception.....BUT the Brien's of the world would paint that campaign as racist.



You see the fallacy of PC speech? Truth gets lost....and nuance is lost.

Radio Radio     April 24
@Media Observer

You outed the game. Guys writing off the back of their lawnmowers are not "doing media". And people who run "organizations" with one or two employees are not CEO's. And CFO's of companies that have to sell cars of a sponsor are not really CFOing anything.



I see hundreds of resumes a year. Pro tip....don't pad a resume. It gets tossed really fast. A 25 year old is not a CEO of anything. NO BOARD no CEO. Pro tip for media wanna bees.....DO NOT WRITE for zero money. Never fall for the "you will get exposure" BS. Thank goodness our host here actually cuts a check to his guys.



There have been loads of media companies and guys writing on the net. Most have zero following or next to none. It boils down to the tree falling in the forest analogy. It can be implanted on the net for decades.....but if 3 people have read it, was it really a part of a real resume? Only in the minds of the self deluded. Those mowers can mess with your mind. And if you never made a real living as a media member as a stand alone thing....you are just padding.



From a few quick glances on the for sale pages. The LF might be cashing in his chips. His CONDO is for sale. Not sure if it will become a historic landmark....but you can pick up a 2 bedroom place for 550k....and 1000/month condo fee.

And it seems that a combo radio station/house on 5 acres is up on the market for 275,000. Not many AM radio stations would be sold as a Mom/Pop small station that has a house. In fact there are not many AM radio stations in Baltimore. No mention of an FCC license included in the deal. I guess that is the reason for the low price. For the 5 acres it seems a steal.



Maybe Swami can raise the money from the aluminum cans he collects as he lives his life under the JFX. Since the LF fired him for getting a ratings point, his life has been hardscrabble.

Delray Rick     April 24
I think 75% of the people I meet here ask where I'm from and right away they say "YOU DON'T GO IN THE CITY DO YOU. That's another reason PIMLCO is dead.

Brien Jackson     April 24
Best thing you can say about the O's attendance is that at least they're bad. With the way the Ray's are playing their attendance is way more embarrassing.

Bob     April 24
@Drew, the story about the fans being moved from the lower deck is not new. My wife an I had a 13 game plan right after the Yard opened. While attending a weeknight game in the early 90's, we looked down to see the whole section behind the O's dugout nearly empty, so at the end of the 7th inning we ventured down to see the end of the game from the lower level probably 20 rows from the field. The usher asked to see our tickets and when we showed upper reserve seats he told us to move on...these seats were EMPTY all night. Didn't leave a good taste in the mouth , but I bet if I had a $10 with he ticket he would have walked away.

HERMAN     April 24
If the extremely weak attendance is due more to the fear of crime in Baltimore City, as opposed to the horrible product being put on field then the O's are in some real trouble.

It wasn't that long ago that just going to the new park was seen as a worthwhile experience, forget the on field display. Getting some Boog's Bar-B-Que, walking Eutaw Street, taking in the architecture, was all part of experiencing the best park in baseball. Just being at that park felt like a great night out.

If crime, or the perception of crime, is keeping people from venturing forth mid-week to this extent, last one out please turn off the lights. The city is completely done and gone. I guess you could write a children's book about it.


media observer     April 24
Lol @ Davey. #Brien claiming he “covered the Yankees” is like the LF saying “I was a national syndicated radio show”, as if he did it for years, as opposed to about a week and a half before he got canned.

One blog does not feel like resume material to me. In fact, if you pull up this “one” article, ESPN picked it up from something called “Its About The Money”, which appears to be something posted on twitter and facebook, ie public access sites.

“Brien Jackson is a contributor to It’s About The Money, a SweetSpot Network member. Brien can be followed on Twitter. IIATMS can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.”

So yea, if you think this makes Brien a credentialed member of the media, well not sure what to tell you.

Although he might be right about having a better chance of getting O’s press pass than certain other people.

BTW, aren’t all DMD articles “musings”?? Not saying that’s a bad thing, on the contrary, it’s why we come here. Just not sure of the distinction being made here


Idiot Caller     April 24
The O's attendance woes don't surprise me. A big part of it is that a lot of people really don't feel safe going downtown for lightly attended weeknight games anymore. Me included.

Used to be a 13 game plan holder, but gave them up. Don't really like taking the family down there on weeknights anymore. Still enjoy the games. Mostly go only to day games or on a Friday or Saturday night when there are more people around. It may be an illusion, but it just feels safer leaving the park with more people around.

I would like to see exactly how much the O's actual butts-in-the-seats attendance has dropped since the riots.

Neutral Observer     April 24
Good writing today, Drew. I like when you do your "musings" as you call them.



Didn't see the hockey game but I agree about the Yankees lineup. It's patchwork at best but they still figure out how to win until their stars get healthy.



As for the Orioles and their attendance, there are also rumblings about another city being interested in our Birds. Think AFC South.

Davey     April 24
Looks like Brien shut up the haters with that ESPN link. Crickets since then.

JohnInEssex     April 24
Watched period 3 of the Sharks/Vegas game - what a wild last 10 minutes! Vegas had the game in hand, up 3-0, 10 minutes remaining. From a faceoff in the Sharks offensive end, somehow the guy for the Sharks that took the faceoff gets cross checked into the ice by two Vegas guys delivering separate hits (one was a cross check and the other was a finishing push). The Shark lands on the ice first on his shoulder then on his head. An opponents skate may have gotten him too. After the replay showing the aforementioned landing, along with the announcers saying there was blood on the ice, the 5 minute major was an appropriate punishment (I think there also was a game misconduct there too...).

The Sharks on the ice were ready to bash some Vegas skulls before play was restarted, but somehow cooler heads prevailed and they channeled their anger into getting FOUR power play goals!

All along I was thinking how STUPID Vegas was to draw such a STUPID penalty. Then they tie it up with less than 2 minutes remaining.

Between the long intermission and it being well after midnight, I went into a deep slumber and missed the OT.

PLAYOFF HOCKEY RULES!!!

The long arm     April 24
@Brien

I was right. Context was important, but race baiting libs got their panties in a bunch about the possibility of Jay Z. using his song lyrics as names for his Brooklyn basketball operation.

No apology needed nor expected.


Delray Rick     April 24
If anybody forgot it's called "FREEDOM OF THE PRESS".Like all the crap that NY TIMES AND WASHINGTON TIMES put out. It's just another opinion folks.

Brien Jackson     April 24
http://www.espn.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/7689/no-debate-if-a-closer-can-start-make-switch

clayton     April 23
Hey Barnie, you've been asked before but could you cite just one article you wrote for ESPN, CBS, or NPR. And "every" reader knows you don't care about them anyway because that is shown by your writing.

Brien Jackson     April 23
Sorry person who does not use their real name on the internet but thinks I care about them anyway: As much as I would like to give you credit for a valiant attempt at an analogy, it fails because I could actually get a press pass at Camden Yards.

Truth teller     April 23
"I was covering the Yankees at the time" is like LF saying "I've been a media savant for going on 35 years now" lol

Brien Jackson     April 23
@Long Arm



I was covering the Yankees at the time and vividly remember it. No, he wasn't.



Also too, who cares if he was?

The long arm     April 23
@Brien

Context.... something that your writing clearly demonstrates you lack. Along with grammar,syntax and clarity.

He was quoting others, such as rappers using that word.



Wrong again.

Brien Jackson     April 23
@Long Arm



You um, do realize that Mushnick actually used the N-word in that column, right?

Poppa Joe     April 23
Anyone defending Mushnick has a screw loose. Just my OPINION.

cayton     April 23
Mushnick is just copying the Howard Stern style of getting attention by doing shocking things. Its like Brien Jackson, false credentials and all, acting the part of a real writer, like Barney Fife acted the part of a real deputy sheriff.

The Long Arm     April 23
Mush connects the dots in a NON PC way. Dopey libs call out dog whistles, racism and other invectives. IF YOU THINK THAT WEARING ALL BLACK is NOT a "gang" thing.....you are just talking. Of course it is....the guys have even said as much. That action deifies the gang mentality. PERIOD.



Now I would say, it is all just play acting and non tough guys trying to be something they are not...well that is just OKAY. Who gives a hoot? Mush just points out the obvious. He feels that it is wrong. OPINION.



Believe it or not Phil Mushnick was a fan of the LF when he briefly was semi-national. Called him "not nasty at all". He

has a real feud with known blow hard Francesa.....and

has been the source of missing statements that Francesa has striken from the record on his radio show. Francesa will say "I never said that, produce the tape" and the tape of it leaks.



Sad to say he has full time security as he gets weekly death threats for HAVING an OPINION. In a world where Kate Smith's statue gets taken down for her recording some songs 80 years ago[BTW THAT is the epitomy of cultural arrogance and historical insanity]...a columnist who chronicles the sports culture and has opinions on noted fraudsters and over the top arrogance....you can call it racist....but that is just plain lazy.



Full time security for a sports columnist. Think about that.

Brien Jackson     April 23
The really fun thing about Mushnick's infamous Nets column is that it was provoked by.... the announcement that the team's uniforms would be black. And this wasn't even the first time he'd devoted column space to complaining about (mostly football) teams wearing all black alternate jerseys. I think he might have even taken issue with the Ravens all black outfit on a SNF game against the Jets, but I'm not 100% sure of that.

The Short Arm     April 23
Mushnick is nothing but a pot-stirrer. His job is to get people to read and discuss his columns, nothing else. He basically did what he is paid to do.

What I'm still waiting for, and will probably always be waiting for, is one of these sacred truth-tellers of the press to actually question just how exactly is Tiger Woods accomplishing this? A 43 year old, injury prone guy coming off of several fairly recent back (!) surgeries just doesn't go out and almost immediately start competing in and winning majors again. I suspect PED's. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm right. Who really knows. But I'm sure I'm not the first to suspect this. Just Google Tiger and PED's and you'll find out. I would certainly like to see someone in the press address these questions.

That being said, I'm sure that if Tiger is using it will just be covered up. Tiger Woods is just too good for business. The golf and the golf media business.

Mark in Perry Hall     April 23
@Herman is nuts. But regulars here have known that for a while.

Chris     April 23
I think Herman makes a good point. Why go through life being fair and even handed when you can just as easily make a name for yourself by being a racist a-hole?



Makes sense to me.

HERMAN     April 23
The beautiful part about Mushnick's column is that a week later, and in a town far, far, away, it's still being discussed. Clearly it garnered a bunch of out-of-town clicks for the website, and has become part of the national discussion.

I'm sure his employer is pleased with all the attention to the website, added traffic equals greater ad dollars. It would appear that Mushnick is earning his keep.

And I recently read where Stephen A. Smith, love him or loathe him, is about to become the highest paid personality at ESPN. It's possible that being grating pays off more than milquetoast. Certainly going all the way back to Howard Cosell that is true.

When you have them counting stroke views to debunk your column you've not only hit a nerve, you've done your job.

Tom     April 23
I think the Ravens are going edge rusher at #22. If Zach Allen is there I think that's who they'll take.

PB in Philly     April 23
Mushnick sucks. Ask anyone in New York. He's their version of Stephen A Smith.

J.J.     April 23
The Mushnicks of the world should have done their homework.

CBS showed more Molinari than Tiger on Sunday during the final round.



CBS covered 69 of the 70 strokes from winner Tiger Woods (skipping only a tap-in putt on hole #1). Francesco Molinari actually received coverage for 70 shots. His final score of 74 included two penalty strokes, so CBS only bypassed two of his shots (a layup on 15 and his tee shot on 17). Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau were spotlighted for 59 shots each. Those four players accounted for 57% of the televised shots.

Neutral Observer     April 23
Rumor I hear from a friend at the Castle is that the Ravens have two WRs on their list and if either of those are available at 22 they'll take them. Otherwise they are trading back.

Jeff Silverman     April 23
Daily reader here but first time contributing a comment.



I agree with you about Mushnick's column. I've been reading his work for 15 years and he is just a s*** stirrer up there. He's perfect for NYC. Never has a nice thing to say about anyone.



Look forward to your draft board tomorrow. I think they are trading out of #22.

Delray Rick     April 23
DREW...JACK won in 1986!!

Eric     April 22
Muschnick was on the money. It was a predictable embarrassing disgrace. As for the O's, Drew is only guy in town who doesn't know this team was designed to get the 1st pick in 2020. Meanwhile playoff "choker" Ovechkin now has the most playoff goals of anybody either active or since he came into the league...and he accomplished it in 35 fewer games. Amazing how having better teammates changes a narrative

Rip     April 22
You guys are still following the Orioles? LOL

Brian M.     April 22
Can we work CD as a reliever and use him out of the bullpen?

He could pitch better than he is hitting.

Talk about being multi-purpose and might work.

Pitching depth will surely be an issue.


That Guy     April 22
@Drew



I'm just curious if you had any thoughts on the hatchet job on CBS by Phil Mushnick last week?

H     April 22
You're a better man than me. I already gave away all of my tickets in my B plan. I thought I'd be interested in this team but it turns out I'm not. It's an awful product. I don't know what I was thinking shelling out money to watch it live 13 times a year. Went to one game in the Oakland series and said that's enough for me.

Jason M     April 22
Let's Go Caps, I think a showdown with Trotz is coming!



1-9 at home...just dreadful.

HERMAN     April 22
I'd like to see the Caps put this series down tonight. Number one seeds have dropped like flies so far, and even Pittsburgh has been eliminated from their path to glory. The same Pittsburgh that had them something like 1-9 prior to last year in the playoffs and being the real impediment to their winning the Cup.

If they can take care of business tonight the road to repeating has been eased for them.

They looked like World Champion's this last game, let's hope they can continue the journey.

Seeing Ovechin's pure joy at winning last season was refreshing in a sports world gone cash crazy. It'd be nice to see it again.

Unitastoberry     April 22
The draft can't come sooner for the Orioles.

Tom J     April 22
Chris Davis may be one of the O's best relief pitchers this year.!!!! Only one run out of the pen Saturday. If they would have used him instead of Mike Wright this year, they may have a few more wins.



This staff is nothing more than batting practice pitchers. There may be 300 home runs hit at The Yard this season.......

Mark in Perry Hall     April 22
Drew, I said the exact same thing to my neighbor on Saturday night. We were talking about the team and I had just watched the first game of the DH and I said it might be a little different if they were at least O.K. at home and terrible on the road. Great minds think alike!

edward     April 21
Happy Easter to you and your family Drew ,,always have enjoyed you ,,and now even more with the Christian Element you bring us .. I have always thought you could do a religion blog to Drews morning prayer or inspiration ..Happy Easter and Passover to all of your readers He is risen rejoice !!!!

unitastoberry     April 21
Please come back soon Lord.


Wednesday
April 17
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1696



at the 10% pole, here's the deal


OK, 18 games is a smidgen more than 10% in a 162 game season. Blame it on Tiger Woods. I was ready to do this on Monday and then the sports world stopped around 2:28 pm on Sunday and, well, we're a day or two late now.

With last night's 4-2 loss to the Rays, the Birds are now 7-11 through 18 games. Honestly, they probably have two more wins than I assumed they'd have at this point. I'd have bet the "under 5.5" for wins through 18 games.

So let's look at where things stand now that the O's have completed 10% of their schedule.

I wrote this after the first week and it bears repeating now. Dwight Smith Jr. looks like he might be a keeper. I'm not saying he's going to turn into a 550 AB, .285 hitter or anything like that, but he's certainly MUCH more useful than Joey Rickard. MUCH is in all CAPS for a reason. He has a little bit of power, does Smith, and his speed certainly doesn't hurt. The more I see him in the lineup, the better I feel about him.

Not really getting any better, five years later.

I can't say the same thing for last night's starter, Dylan Bundy, who looked good for three innings and then unraveled once the Rays got a second and third look at him. Bundy threw 88 pitches in five-plus innings of work. I never won a Cy Young myself, but I know enough to say that 88 pitches in five innings isn't very good. I don't think Bundy cares all that much. I said the same thing last year. I think he's happy to be in the big leagues and really happy to be earning a nice salary but I'm not sure he cares all that much about winning. The O's would be wise to try and make a beneficial deal for him at the deadline and send him on his way.

This one's on repeat, too. It's not new news, by any means, but the Orioles bullpen is as unpredictable as a Morrissey international tour. I'm really fearful of what we're going to see in June and July. Who's the closer, by the way? I get it, we don't really care who closes out the games because winning and losing doesn't matter in 2019, but who actually is the closer on the team?

I like Brandon Hyde and his way of doing things. I still don't understand the fascination with playing an automatic out at first base, but my guess is the Chris Davis situation is above Hyde's pay grade. I liked that he got tossed out of the game in Boston this week while trying to make the umpires understand they missed the call entirely on that over-slide at second base. I like seeing him on the bench chatting with a young player. Every time they showed Buck on the bench, he was standing on the top step spitting our sunflower seeds. Hyde seems to be more involved in-the-game, which I like.

Cedric Mullins is overmatched. They can keep him up with the big league club if they want, but Mullins isn't getting any better at this point. As long as his confidence isn't getting shattered by going 2-for-15 every four games, I guess it's OK to keep him around. But there's no way he's a Major League ballplayer right now. He's just not. Get him back to Norfolk or Bowie and give him some more development time.

Not sure what they continue to see in Rickard, but to each his own. Like Mullins, he's mostly overmatched by big league pitching. He'll occasionally make a contribution with the bat, but it's not nearly enough to warrant any kind of lengthy or extended playing time. If he somehow settles in as the 4th outfielder on a 60-win team, I guess that's OK. But if he gets 450 AB this season, that's a problem.

You have to wonder what seeing 7,000 people in the stadium at 45 of the team's 81 home games is going to do to the psyche of the players by July or August. Maybe they just trot out there and play hard no matter if the crowd is 7,000 or 27,000, but my guess is playing in front of those minor league hockey crowds three or four times per homestand will grow old very quickly.

Please let Mancini play first base regularly. If you insist on playing Davis, throw him in there every third or fourth day, max. Give Mancini the first base job, and that's that. And please don't tell me Davis helps the team win games with his glove. The O's don't care if they win this year, remember?

If I'm Hyde, I run with reckless abandon whenever we get a guy or two on base. It has to be the right guy on base, obviously, but once we get someone to first base, we should be trying to get him to second base within four or five pitches. Run, steal bases, keep the other team unsettled. That's the mantra for 2019.

This team is far, far, far more interesting than last year's group of imposters. In some ways, I like the make-up of the current roster, minus the likes of Mullins and Rickard. This is a 55 win team, at least. Maybe even 60. They stink, but at least there's something seemingly brewing here. I don't see anyone jogging down to first base or pimping a home run that bounces 12 feet short and leaves them standing at first base instead of third. Are there are a bunch of 4-A players on the roster? Sure. But they're not jaking it. I can deal with the losing as long as they're not wearing clown shoes.

My RideMyCause banner ad

final masters wrap-up with no mention of you-know-who


Some guy won The Masters for a 5th time on Sunday but some other things happened, too.

Like these things...

As I wrote here last week at #DMD, the 5th hole was lengthened and made extremely more difficult and it paid immediate dividends for the folks at Augusta National. That hole was hard, hard, hard. The winner made bogey there all four days, in fact. There's not much room to do that sort of thing on the rest of the property, but don't be shocked to see other small design changes over the next decade as the membership at Augusta tries to keep the course relevant and a tough test of golf in the wake of these 330 yard drives that are almost routine on TOUR now.

Still looking for that very elusive first green jacket.

Franceso Molinari will be heard from again but this one probably stings a little bit, even a few days later. Easier to write than do, obviously, but all Molinari needed was not to make a big number on the inward nine and birdie the two par 5's and he was a winner. A two-shot lead in golf is nothing, of course, but after pars at #10 and #11, a simple par at #12 would have put one of the nails in the coffin. Failing to birdie either par 5 on the back nine was just as much his undoing as the wind-aided brain fart at the 12th. But that kid is one heckuva player. He can putt his ball, that's for sure.

Hats off to The Golf Channel's David Duval, who called the winner on Wednesday and stuck with him all week, even when pressed by other show hosts to pick someone else. There was a distinct sound of confidence in Duval's voice on Wednesday when he announced his choice. It was almost as if he knew the end result before the first ball went in the air.

Tony Finau is a terrific player, but at some point he needs to win a golf tournament. Finau is starting to develop a reputation out there as a bit of a check collector, putting himself in great position to win but coming up short on every occasion. He led the field in driving distance for the week at Augusta but couldn't parlay that into anything except more money.

There has been talk about the Masters someday going to a "distance-restricted ball" in an effort to combat the prodigious length we see from TOUR players these days. I think the Augusta members are smart enough to not disrupt what already is the greatest golf tournament in the world. Even this year, with players bombing it out there 330 yards, the winning score was still only 13-under par for four days. The course is plenty long enough and plenty difficult enough. Leave it alone. A tweak here or there isn't bad, but there's no reason to do something ultra-stupid, like put a ball in play that only flies 250 yards.

What happened to Rory McIlroy? Another Masters comes and goes without McIlroy donning the green jacket, so he'll have to wait another year to complete the career grand slam. While his game looks better now than it did, say, two years ago, there's still something missing from Rory's arsenal. He's just not consistent enough. And with you-know-who back at top form, McIlroy isn't even Nike's best golfer anymore. My how the mighty have fallen, huh?

When our #DMD group was at Augusta last Tuesday, I bought a turkey and cheese sandwich, two bags of apple slices and a sweet tea. The total was $6.00. LOL.

As the 18th green celebration roared on around him the winner found his caddie for the first time since holing the final putt that gave him his 5th green jacket. The two came together, clasped hands, and the winner said, "We did it!". I thought that was a great moment. "We" did it. The caddie often plods along with his player and is the forgotten part of the team, but this duo seems different. They seem like they really are a team. For the winner to say "We did it!" is a sign that he gets it, too. The caddie is part of it after all.

JERRY'S TOYOTA banner

Tuesday
April 16
r logo#DMDfacebook logoIssue
#1695



in the end, golf was the real winner


The jacket and the trophy and the headlines went to Tiger Woods after his Masters victory on Sunday.

But golf wound up being the real winner. Again. And that's a good thing.

There's no telling what happens with Woods now that his career, somewhere around the 15th tee, perhaps, is apparently back on track. Can he win three more major championships and tie Jack's record of 18? It seems more reasonable now, with that one victory on Sunday doing wonders for his chances if for no other reason than he simply showed he can still win under the most intense pressure the sport has to offer.

Assuming he can play in them all between now and age 50, Tiger still has 27 majors remaining over the next six-plus years. When broken down like that, it seems reasonable to think he can win three times along the way. Remember, Nicklaus once finished 6th at the Masters at age 58. 6th isn't winning, obviously, but superstars often do unthinkable things, like winning the Masters at age 43 after four back surgeries, for instance.

Tiger has two children now, ages 10 and 11. Is there a new generation of junior golfers waiting to sprout in the wake of his win at Augusta on Sunday?

He's already being presented with two chances to win in the next two months at courses where he previously captured major championships. Tiger won the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage and the 2000 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Granted, that was almost a lifetime ago for Woods. So, too, was the 2005 Masters, which before this past Sunday was the last time he won at Augusta National.

All of this just goes to say the obvious: There's nothing Woods can't do.

I mean, would you be at all shocked if he wins at Bethpage next month when the PGA Championship is played there? Of course not.

Would it stun you in the least if he goes to the Monterrey Penisula in June and wins the U.S. Open? Not a bit.

But no matter what happens in those two events, golf is once again winning because of Tiger Woods. The generation of golfers I coach at Calvert Hall were between the ages of six and eight years old the last time Woods won a major championship. That little note dawned on me this past Sunday afternoon when a half dozen of the players on my team showed up for a late afternoon practice in red shirts.

"Honoring Tiger," one of them said to me when I asked why so many of them were in red, as if I didn't already know.

It hit me at that point. They hadn't ever seen Tiger Woods in his glory -- real glory -- until he rolled in that two foot putt on the 72nd hole on Sunday. They were barely able to walk and chew gum at the same time back in 2008 when Tiger fended off Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines. They knew about Tiger, sure, but they didn't really know what he was all about. Now, they do.

I took some time to tell them about Tiger's life. I broadly discussed his personal mistakes, just to make sure they knew his road wasn't all peaches and cream. I mentioned the back surgeries and the pain killer issue and the rest of the "real life" stuff that got in the way of his golf starting in 2009. I did that just to remind them that life is filled with ups and downs along the way. Some of those downs you create yourself, some of them are just the way the dice turn up for you. In the end, I reminded them, the key thing is to simply "stay in it".

That's our theme for the 2019 at Calvert Hall Golf: Stay In It. And if anyone ever exemplified that as a life lesson, it's Woods.

Perhaps Tiger's re-entry will do now what it did twenty years ago when he started winning major championships at a record pace. Maybe it gets more people to pick up the sport. Perhaps it gets folks who once played and gave it up to clean up their clubs and give it a go again. I'm sure more sponsorship dollars will roll in. Who knows, maybe more golf courses get built again, another sign of progress back in the old days when Woods was on his first career roll, circa 2000.

But the most important thing that can develop from Tiger's win was right there for all of us to see on Sunday afternoon after he met his family behind the 18th green.

Everywhere you looked, there were children. Junior golfers. 10 year olds, now, who might someday want to be Masters champions themselves. And all because they were there on April 14, 2019 when Tiger Woods did it once again.

If more children get involved in golf at a younger age, the sport prospers. Did you catch Tiger's post-round stroll to the clubhouse? The throng of patrons was littered with young children, smiling, shouting, hands clapping. That's how those who are now in their early 20's reacted a dozen years ago when Woods was still at the peak of his career. He was a superstar then, and the sport picked up all the benefits from it.

Not surprisingly, the nation's interest in golf waned over the last decade while Woods moved out of the picture. He was always the premier needle mover. Others came along with their good looks and solid swings and winning ways, but they were nothing at all like Woods when it came to generating interest in the sport.

We're a country that adores winners.

We always have.

We're also a country that loves a great redemption story.

It's in our blood, as a nation.

Tiger is both, of course. A winner and a great redemption story, all rolled into one.

And now the sport of golf gets to benefit from it.

I'm excited to see where it goes from here.

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from the desk of
brien jackson

BRIEN JACKSON's work at #DMD promises to provide some of Baltimore's best sports insight and commentary, brought to you by SECU, the official credit-union of Drew's Morning Dish. Brien has done sports-media work with ESPN, CBS, and NPR. His contributions to #DMD will focus on the Orioles, the Ravens, and national sports stories.



Our long national nightmare is over: On Saturday April 13, 2019 Chris Davis got a hit. As you know, that snapped an historic 0-54 streak, an all-time "accomplishment" for the Orioles $161 million first basemen.

In addition to just cracking the hit column for the season, Davis was arguably the MVP of the Orioles win in Boston on Saturday, collecting three hits and four total RBI, the first time he's cracked that mark since July of 2018. On Monday, he even hit his first home run of the season in an 8-1 victory for the Birds.

Will this change anything for Davis and the Orioles? Not really.

One big game and one decent series is nice considering all that Davis has gone through over the past few seasons, but there's no comeback story in the making. Davis is an aging slugger with skills who don't age well and, on a night in night out basis he just can't handle big league pitchers.

He's not going to suddenly start hitting like, he may well go back into another extended funk, and calls to hand him a one way ticket out of Charm City aren't going to abate. If anything, as the losses almost certainly pile up for Baltimore, the question of when to acknowledge the inevitable and finally cut Davis loose is likely to dominate this town's baseball focused conversation.

How many more days will the Orioles stick with Chris Davis? Or could it be months? Or years, even?

This does beg the question: Why haven't they done that already? Everyone knows it's coming, eventually. Everyone knows that Davis is not going to be a part of the next Orioles team that has even an outside chance of making the postseason, and that Mike Elias is unlikely to allow him to hang around and take a roster spot away from any young, big league ready player who will be a part of that future mix.

So knowing that Davis's fate is only a matter of time, why drag out the inevitable and force everyone, Davis included, to endure the farcical spectacle of putting him in an MLB lineup everyday?

The simple answer is that there's nothing to gain by waiving him sooner rather than later.

If the Orioles cut Davis right now (approximately 4:03 PM on Sunday) they wouldn't save a penny on his salary, they wouldn't increase their postseason odds by even a single percentage point, and there's no one else in the organization that Davis is holding back by occupying first base every day. That will change at some point: Either when Ryan Mountcastle transitions into the first basemen of the future or when Mark Trumbo is healthy and there's a 1B/DH/OF logjam to resolve.

At that point Davis's continued presence may become a real problem but, for now, there's no problem for the organization other than the fact that Davis's ever increasing depths (heights?) of failure are a bit embarrassing even for a team that Rachel Phelps would struggle to assemble.

And on another level, there's another variable in play here: Everybody just likes Davis. Beat writers recounted that Davis's big game on Saturday was met with a raucous celebration in the clubhouse, which Davis participated in as a good sport. At the time, Davis acknowledged Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello tipping his cap after the slump busting hit, and actually asked officials to remove the ball for him to keep as a career memento.

Those are the actions of a man with perspective and a sense of humility, and when you add in Davis's charitable work and the hard work he puts in on a daily basis, as is pretty much universally attested to, it's easy to see why his peers and bosses would like him. And they seem to like him a lot.

Fans don't see things the same way, of course. To fans, the players, coaches, executives, etc. aren't much more than commodities to be acquired, cast aside, bought, sold, and moved around however is most convenient. And that's fine: To those people, the fans are just the marks, er, customers. But to everyone who works for the Orioles, in any capacity, Davis is a colleague, a co-worker, or a loyal, hardworking employee. That means something, as well it should.

And while it's easy to forget considering how bad things have been since 2017, there was a time when Davis was decidedly not a bum. In fact, from 2012-2016 Davis was a premier slugger who meant a lot to a franchise that won a lot of games and took a franchise from the very bottom of the league to a consistent playoff contender. In 2013 he hit .286/.370/.634 with 53 home runs and finished 3rd in MVP voting. In 2015 he hit 47 home runs.

Those two teams didn't make the playoffs, but in 2012 he hit 33 home runs in only 562 plate appearances for one of the most surprising playoff teams in history, and even in 2016 he hit 38 home runs and was worth 3 fWAR for a wild card team. Take Davis away, and the Orioles probably don't make the postseason in 2012 or 2016. And for as much as the current commentary focuses on money, and the notion that Davis isn't earning his contract, Fangraphs estimates his monetary value to the Orioles from 2012-2016 at a total of $137.8 million (and these numbers probably underestimate the value of his 2012 season). Davis's problem isn't so much that he isn't earning the money that the Orioles are paying him, but that the seasons that are worth those salaries and the years that they're being paid out don't match up.

And finally, let's acknowledge one simple truth. When the Orioles do pull the trigger on releasing Davis, that's the end of the line for "The Crusher."

No one is picking up Davis, even after he clears waivers and can be had for the prorated minimum salary. He's just that bad. When the Orioles cut him, Davis has played his final game as a big leaguer, period. And when you put that all together, the totality of the situation, the impact Davis really did have on this franchise's recent period of success, and the fact that his colleagues and bosses just flat out like the guy, it's not hard to see why they let him stick around rather than cutting him just to cut him.

Things will probably change when there's actually something to be gained from doing so, but until that point the organization seems content to let Davis keep going out there and enjoying what are clearly his final days as a major league player.

And that's fine.

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breakfast bytes

Cashner sharp, Davis homers as Birds wallop White Sox, 9-1.

NBA playoffs: Trailblazers eliminate OKC on buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Lillard.

NFL: Marshawn Lynch plans to retire.

High school lacrosse: #1 Calvert Hall improves to 6-0 in MIAA with 19-3 win over Mount Saint Joseph.


O's SCOREBOARD
Tuesday, April 23
Orioles
9

White Sox
1
WP: A. Cashner (4-1)

LP: I. Nova (0-3)

HR: Davis (2), Rickard (2), Nunez (6), Smith Jr. (5)

RECORD / PLACE: 9-16 / 5th


PLAYOFFS SCOREBOARD
Monday, April 22
AT HURRICANES 5
CAPITALS 2
CAPS GOALS: Connolly, Ovechkin

GOALTENDER: Holtby

SERIES: Caps: 3 – Canes: 3

GAME SIX: Wednesday, April 24 at Washington



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