Sunday, April 3, 2011

OPENING SWEEP! - Countdown to WINNING! - 79

The Orioles are now 3-0, on the road, against the defending AL East Champs. This is not only the best possible outcome, but in my mind the most outrageous. The Orioles are in sole possession of first place in the AL East. I believe right now they embody WINNING! I can't even remember the last time I was so excited about the Orioles.

The Orioles pitching has been spectacular! The defense has been great. And the offense is getting it done. I know this is a small sample size, but this team looks really good. I feel validated in my ridiculous off season hopes and dreams of winning season. It's early, but I'm giddy and even more in love with Buck then I was at the end of last season. This is a man who does not tolerate losing. He makes ridiculous comments to fire up the team and the fans. Really, he says everything I want to hear.

Actually, right now the pretty much every Oriole is making me fall in love with them. We need to revel in this winning. If being an Orioles fan has taught me anything, it's that you have to savor the good times. This is a team we can cheer for. I can't explain how excited I am for tomorrow.

For me, the home opener is a holiday of sorts. It means baseball is really here. I don't have tickets this year but will definitely be getting in on the celebratory atmosphere and will be getting in my first game of the season later this week. It was much harder than usual to get a ticket this year. I'm guessing I'm not the only one filled with an intense feeling of hope and goodwill. I hope everyone out there will be cheering hard for our O's tomorrow. Let's see how far this we can go on this wild ride!

Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm Back and Ready for Opening Day and Countdown to WINNING!

Hi All -

I'm not even sure anyone checks this site anymore but I figured that since the Orioles are about to start a season where people are thinking they could actually win games maybe I should bring back the Countdown to Relevance. Last year that countdown ended as quickly as it started since the O's were so abysmal at that beginning of the season. However, this year looks more promising. Also, I have more time on my hands so I actually believe that this year we will have a successful countdown. However, because last year's was such a failure, I'm changing the name to Countdown to WINNING!

Orioles fans were promised a team that wouldn't embarrass us this year. I team to be proud of, a team that would win enough games to not be a laughing stock and inspire us to believe that the turn around was real. It was team to restore our trust in our beloved franchise and give us legitimate hope for the future.

Somehow WINNING! seems to fit the Orioles perfectly. If they actually put together a winning season I will probably not be able to talk about it without screaming in a manical Charlie Sheen way. If they turn out to be a hot mess, well then it really will be Charlie Sheen's version of WINNING! Only time will tell which type of season this will turn out to be. I'm hoping for the kind of crazy that makes me believe we will not have another terrible losing season. But we'll see.

I'm not sure if anyone reads this anymore, but if you do then feel free to give me your thoughts on the season. I have read so much that my brain can't even process it all and I can't even hope to make an accurate prediction. But feel free to leave on in the comments below.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Countdown to Relevance: 80 O's Notch First Win and the Home Opener

So the O's were able to get their first win of the season last night. It's great they avoided being swept and that they are managing to keep games close. That bodes well for the season. There are a few areas that really need improvement though. First, let me admit that I did not watch all of last night's game, only the 9th inning. But I can tell you one thing from the games I've watched. This closer, Gonzalez, needs to step up and step up fast. Some fans, including me last night, are calling for his head. I was nicely reminded that it was only the third game of the season so maybe I should give him a little more time before trying to rush the field and remove him.

Maybe I should give him time. But as an O's fan, it's especially hard to be patient with erratic pitchers. I'm incredibly optimistic about the Orioles, but years of sloppy relief pitching and terrible bullpens have worn my patience thin. Giving a young star, like Wieters, time to mature was pretty easy. He slumped when he first got to the majors, but not for long and you could see the talent was there. I'm having a hard time seeing that talent in Gonzalez, and trust me I'm looking. I cling to even a glimmer of talent with the hope it will grow into something great. Now, I trust Andy McPhail to make good selections and find the right talent for the team. But everyone misses sometimes, right? I'm hoping I'm wrong and Gonzalez settles down and becomes a great closer, but right now his erratic throwing makes that hard to believe. On the other hand, you can't say he isn't exciting to watch. I've been on the edge of my seat both times I've seen him play.
The other major problem has been hitting with runners on base and in scoring position. The O's are getting the hits but not capitalizing on them. But with consistent hitting, I think this will improve as the season goes on. I'm not too worried about this only three games in. Ask me about it again in June. The Orioles have kept all the games close so far. And if they can improve here, the future of this team will be very bright.

Now onto a happier topic, the Home Opener. Yes, it's not technically Opening Day, but it still deserves to be celebrated as such. The beginning of baseball season in Baltimore is a glorious time. Everyone is excited for the game and the team. Many people still believe that this year, it will be better. The hope and enthusiasm is palpable. This is traditionally a holiday in Baltimore. Sadly, I have to work in the morning but will be attending the game. Bergesen will be returning to the mound and after a promising start last season before his injury, I'm excited to see what he can do. Hopefully the offense will light it up and hit in the clutch we won't have to rely on our closer.
Countdown to Relevence: 80 wins, 159 games remaining

Monday, April 5, 2010

Countdown to Relevance

Welcome back to baseball season. The days leading up to Opening Day are some of the best for rebuilding teams. For a few days we can truly believe we will contend in our division, that great things will be in store this year. This is a time of hope. Tomorrow will be a time for reality to start again. But this year, that hope seems less starry eyed and a little more realistic. I'm not saying that the O's will be contenders this year, not by any means. I'm hoping for relevance. Therefore, I'm starting a Countdown to Relevance. A non-losing season would make the O's relevant again. Right now the team is 81 wins away from that relevance.

Last year the O's got off to a fast start, followed by a terrible decline which led to a pitiful end to the season. This year the Orioles look well equipped to become relevant again. Youngsters like Wieters, Markakis, Bergesen, Matusz and Jones make this a team with some up and coming stars. Yes, the AL East is stacked as always.

This countdown will try to focus on the positive, the things the Orioles are doing right, the great moments, the great plays, the games they win and the players who play their hearts out to make the game worth watching. This is a countdown devoted to giving hope to Orioles fans. Yes, I'm sure it will be tough at times, but I'm willing to take on this challenge. I'm hoping this is not as futile as my countdown last season. Yes, I did abandon it due to shear desperation. Whatever, I have a good feeling about this season. You should too.

Countdown to Relevance: 81 wins, 162 games remaining

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Basketball Season In Full Swing

I am so happy for college basketball season to be back. The Terps got off to a good start and even broke into the top 25. They then fumbled in the Maui invitational to Cincinnati and Wisconsin. Both of those teams look poised to do good things this season. And the Terps managed to persevere against the Indiana Hoosiers in the ACC-Big Ten challenge. Overall, my Terps are looking good this year. I've heard naysayers talk about how in a month the fans and Washington Post will be calling for Gary's head. But I'm not so sure.

First of all, I want to enjoy the success while it's going on. Why assume bad things are going to happen? I'm trying to be positive. Maryland has a good mixture of young and experienced players. The new big freshman will need to grow as players to make Maryland great, but I think they have done well so far. The defense is playing well so far.

For that reason, I think Maryland can do well. The Terps tend to rely on their star shooters, like Vasquez and when he doesn't come through, the Terps are lost. But this year they have the defense working for them. The shots will start to fall more. They will struggle on Vasquez off nights, but I don't think it will kill them. There shouldn't be any games like last season's Duke blowout loss. I think that will bode well for Maryland.

This team also looks like a group of hard workers. They seem to have a drive early in the season that Gary's teams sometimes appear to lack. Even in their lackluster performances, the team did not give up, they always looked like they were working hard. This is good. I don't want to watch a team that doesn't try, even in the pushover games. In recent years, Maryland has lost to some cupcake team and then started to spiral downward. I think that can be avoided this year.

I don't want to be waiting anxiously on Selection Sunday, I don't want to be strung along throughout the season and have my emotions played with again. I don't want to mourn Maryland and I don't want to call for Gary's head. So I'm hoping the experienced Terps are teaching the freshman and that Maryland continues to improve over the season.

I have high hopes, here's hoping the Terps don't let me down.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stupid Sports Bet

So before the college football season started I made an imprudent bet with another blogger about Maryland football. I had this crazy idea in my head that Maryland might actually be decent or even good at football this year. I was wrong. Very wrong. Maryland is terrible, but I'm not one to go back on a bet. So here's the wager that I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose.

The Maryland - Virginia Tech game is this weekend. I bet the fine people at College Game Balls that whoever won would get to redesign the other blog's banner. CGB is a VT blog, just in case you were wondering. They do good stuff, you should check them out either way. Honestly, I have even learned how to use any of the software to design a banner. So I'm guessing next week my banner will be a little obscene.

Maybe Maryland will pull some type of magical upset similar to what they did over Clemson. But they've lost to pretty much everyone else, so I'm not particularly hopeful. I've pretty much given up on this season of football. Maybe next year will be better, but for now I'm focusing on basketball season, which starts tomorrow for Maryland.

Don't be thrown if my banner looks different on Sunday. If I can fight off this I'll be at the game on Saturday cheering on the Terps. Maybe I'll see a miracle. But I'm think its more likely I'm going to see a train wreck.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Beaten By the Bungles

The Ravens were terrible this weekend. Just awful to watch. They lost 17-7 to the rejuvenated Bengals, but the game wasn't even that close. Cincinnati dominated every aspect of the game. They stalled every aspect of our offense, the picked off Flacco, they sacked Flacco, they stopped the run and the Ravens seemed powerless to stop them. And with the Ravens' defense not playing up to it's reputation, the game was just painful.

The Ravens managed to mount some offense in the 4th quarter. But at that point it was too late. And any hope of a comeback was killed when Hauschka missed that 38 yard field goal. It would have put the Ravens within one touchdown with a little over 6 minutes left. But no, wide left, and the life that was starting to come back into the team was extinguished just like that. This is the second critical 4th quarter field goal that he has missed for the Ravens. I know Raven's fans have been spoiled by Matt Stover and his great accuracy. But still, I'm starting to worry about Hauschka's mental toughness.

Next week, hopefully the Ravens' can bounce back against the Browns and regain some of their swagger. The rest of the season is going to be hard. The schedule is unforgiving and the Ravens need to take next week and make a statement. They are going to struggle to catch even be a wild card team right now. They can't afford to give up the easier games. Here's hoping they can bounce back.

Photo: ESPN/AP/David Kohl