Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Orioles Magic for Guthrie

Sorry for the delay in posting. I was in Italy and then dealing with jet lag, I get all messed up with daylight savings time so a 6 hour difference really screws with me. And I've been busy sleeping, playing softball and obsessing about and over analyzing things I have no control over. So really I have no good excuse for not writing, but I thought a short explanation was in order.

When I left for my trip the Orioles were 32-33 and had just lost two games to Boston. And that nagging fear that there was an inevitable slump coming started eating at the edges of my mind. So imagine my delight when I came home to find them sitting nicely at 38-35 last Sunday. As of today, they are 39-36. And last night, they faced the team with not only the best record in baseball, but the best home record in baseball, and they won. So in my mind this series has already been a success. If the Orioles have finally decided to score runs for Jeremy Guthrie at the hardest park to win at in baseball then maybe, they'll start scoring runs for him at home as well.

I really feel for Guthrie and am glad the O's decided to preform for him. He leads the team with an ERA of 3.64 and 70 strikeouts. But he also leads the team with 7 losses. Somehow all those amazing come from behind wins just don't seem to happen when he's on the mound. But in what seems to be the fashion of the Orioles this season, maybe they needed the really tough atmosphere to make it happen. Otherwise it would have been too easy. This team seems to thrive during adversity. It truly has captured some Orioles Magic.

Hopefully, this Orioles Magic will stick around and Guthrie will be keep getting support. It's a little embarrassing when your Ace has one of the worst records even with the best ERA. It reminiscent of the no decision and loss streak that Bedard had last year while leading the team in ERA and strike outs. But this year is a totally different team with a totally different dynamic. Suddenly Orioles Magic seems possible again. So Brian Roberts and the rest of the gang need to keep coming through with the hits. And Sherrill has to keep up those great saves. Because our Ace deserves a winning record and some share of the new Orioles Magic.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I've Been a Slacker

The last week has been full of great things to talk about. But I have been super lazy and that combined with celebrating my birthday weekend(yes, my birthday was Sunday, so I celebrated the whole weekend) have left me a little behind with the posts. So to make up for it, I'm going to try to cram everything into one longer than average post. So without further ado, here are the top five sports stories I should have and wanted to talk about.

5. Apparently the NBA finals are going on. I can't get up any enthusiasm to watch them. From the office gossip about them, I believe Boston has the lead in the series. I only feel obliged to mention this story because other people seem to really care about it.

4. Tampa Bay Rays are one game out of first place in the AL East and 12 games over .500. Ok, maybe you think the NBA finals are more exciting than this. But I dare you to find one person who predicted or expected this. Not possible. Not even the people in Tampa Bay were willing to hope to be doing this well (38-26) over a third of the way into the season. While I haven't actually talked to anyone in Tampa, I have talked to a lot of people who root for perennially losing sports teams. If at the beginning of the season someone told me the Orioles would not lose 100 games, I'd have been really happy. (My preseason prediction was that they would struggle to win 50 games, so I'm pretty excited we're hovering around .500 right now.) If the Orioles were to have a .500 or winning season I'd be ecstatic. I have to assume that the Rays, unprecedentedly good season, has fans through the roof. Or maybe it has people actually becoming fans. Either way, it seemed like something worth mentioning. And definetly more interesting to me than the NBA.

3. Big Brown comes in last in the Belmont. WHAT HAPPENED? A horse with 38-1 odds led wire to wire. Was it a conspiracy? Did Big Brown get clipped by another horse when they were so close? Is it all the jockey's fault? Big Brown was just cruising and all of the sudden he's being pulled back. Da'Tara went on to win. Who knew the horse had it in him. I was sure he was going to fade. No one seems to really have any idea what happened to the magnificent horse that was poised and ready to win a Triple Crown for the first time in 30 years. Supposedly the quater crack in his hoof was healing fine and not the source of the problem. I have a theory. Hooters and horse racing shouldn't mix. Yes, I'm for advertising the sport and doing anything to keep it from going under. But the UPS endorsment was the perfect match. How does Hooters relate to Big Brown, horse racing, the Belmont, or the Triple Crown? By messing up the most perfect advertising scheme to ever happen in horse racing, they somehow jinxed Big Brown. Call me crazy, but if somehow a goat can prevent the Cubs from winning a World Series in over a 100 years, why can't a botched advertising scheme prevent a horse from winning a single race. Either that or the Kent Desormeaux bet big on Da'Tara.

2. Red Wings win the Stanley Cup. I meant to write about this last Thursday. I really did, but I felt compelled by office chatter to instead address my hopes that both teams could lose the NBA finals.(See previous posts) Then my birthday weekend came and all of a sudden its a new week with so much work to do. Congrats, Red Wings, four Stanley Cups in 11 years. That is truely impressive. The Cup is back in Hockeytown. And if the Caps can't have it then I guess I'm glad its you and not the Penguins. You fought a valiant series and let them hang in there a little longer than necessary, but you finally closed it out. With a lot of skill and a little luck you were able to have the first European captained team win a Cup. Hopefully, this will end the debate about American players being better suited for the NHL than Europeans. While this might have been true 20 years ago, and again I stress, might, it definately is no longer the case. I think we should be encouraging more Europeans to come to America for any reason. I personally would like to find an attractive one to help me on my quest to acquire an EU passport.

1. Ken Griffey, Jr. hits his 600th career home run. In the most exciting story this week, "The Natural" has finally reached 600. He joins an elite group of five other player to reach this mark. Yes, it took longer than most people expected, but is an impressive milestone nonetheless. Furthermore, he is the only one in the modern era to do it without being tainted by talk of steriods. Bonds and Sosa both have major credibility problems and might have so problems when it comes time for them to be voted into the Cooperstown. Junior doesn't turn up in the Mitchell Report or on anyone's allegation list. He also is not known just for his slugging ability. Griffey, Jr. is one of the best all around players of all time. If not for an injury plagued career, we might be looking at 700 career home runs right now. But regardless, he'll be a first ballot hall of famer. So take a moment to appreciate the outstanding career of someone who has kept baseball pure and still excelled. America's Pastime is better for him having played.

I will try to be more diligent about posting but I'm going on vacation to Italy Friday and not sure how frequently I will have internet access. Plus, I'll be in Italy, so posting will not be my first priority. So I apologize in advance if I don't update next week.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Is It Possible for Both Teams to Lose?

While I normally try my best to ignore the NBA, it seems that the finals are here are clamoring for attention. I understand the historic rivalry between these two cities. Combined they have won 30 of 61 championships. And there was the whole Bird-Magic rivalry that just intensified the hatred these two teams have for each other. But try as I might I just can't get energized for this match up.

I understand its the finals, which I will usually watch in any sport because the level of play tends to be so much higher. And to be honest, I will probably watch tonight, maybe I'll even enjoy it. But with the NBA, I have a hard time getting excited even when the Wizards are in the playoffs, and they're the team I support. And with these two teams I really can't decide who I want to lose more.

In general, I tend to have an East Coast bias. Which in this case means I should root for the Celtics. But I'm sorry, Boston has just been too good lately. With the Pats and Red Sox recent dominance is it really fair to give the city another championship to inflate their already annoyingly big ego and give the fans another reason to be obnoxious.

However, the Lakers aren't exactly the most lovable team. They also have plenty of championships, and a bunch in recent years. How many rings will Kobe have if they win? 50? I mean, he is really good, but I just have a hard time rooting for him, especially after the whole rape thing. No means no, and yes to one thing does not mean yes to everything. I'd like to believe she just made it all up and it was all consensual, but either way it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Also, like I said earlier, I have a pretty extreme East Coast bias and rooting for a California team, especially and LA team just doesn't sit well with me.

So is there any way both teams could lose? I guess it could happen if terrorist were to bomb the arena and blow up both teams. But barring some colossally tragic event, it doesn't seem very feasible. (NOTE: I do not want terrorist to blow up or in any way injure anyone, or for that matter, have anything besides losing befall either of these teams, not even injuries.) Which means I have to pick a side because, lets face it, its more fun to watch sports when you're cheering for someone.

So I'm going with Boston and the East Coast. I'll admit I'd like to see Kevin Garnett win a ring. He seems like a decent guy who has worked his ass off and deserves one. I don't really want to see Kobe win another one. (Let his legacy be tied to Shaq for all time, I'm ok with that.) Plus, when all else fails, I pick the mascot I like better. And being Irish, I like the leprechaun and the shamrock.

So, Go Celtics, I guess.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Daniel Cabrera, I Think I Love You

Daniel, I know what your thinking. What could a Major League starting pitcher who only speaks a little English and a third year law student possibly have in common. Well, more than you might think.

Yes, you were born in the Dominican Republic and I was born here in the US, but that would work out well for us. I love to travel and all things international, and if we got married it would be a lot easier for you to get American citizenship. Also, we're both trying to establish ourselves in our fields. True you look like you have finally turned a corner and are making $1.8 million a season, while I'm interning trying to find a good job doing policy, but by next summer we could both have secure jobs. You'll be a baseball ace and I'll be a policy ace. Also, I will have a law degree, and lets be honest, at some point you will probably need a good lawyer for something. I mean you are a professional athlete with a bit of a temper. (You were once suspended for throwing a pitch at a guys head)

Also, while you are over a foot taller than me, (I'm 5'3" and you're 6'9") thats not a problem. I like tall guys. I'll buy some bigger heels and it'll work out fine. Plus, I'll never have to worry about not being able to reach the stuff on the top shelf again.

Furthermore, you came up through the Orioles farm system. I grew up as an Orioles fan. The O's are the only professional team either of us has ever known. And while I would still root for you if we were dating and you got traded, I think you would understand that the Orioles will always be my team.

Also, I can deal with your inconsistencies. If you approach dating anything like you have played out your career thus far. You started out your career with the Orioles by pitching a one hitter. Then you finished third in votes for rookie of the year. I would compare this to the beginning of a relationship. You'd be awesome and I'd totally fall for you. But then over time you'd drop off. You'd mean well but you wouldn't always show up. Like in your second and third years with the Orioles where sometimes you'd be dominant and strike out 10 but other times you'd walk 9. As long as you throw in that dominant performance from time to time, I, like the Orioles, would be unwilling to give up on you. I know you're trying, you just need some time. I would think back to that wonderful beginning and write off those bad times as not the real you.

And finally you would come around and validate my waiting. This year, you finally seem to have it together. You've pitched great. (Everybody is allowed to have a few bad days.) You seem to have control and poise on the mound. You're calm, you get the outs and you win. And right now it seems like you can only get better. So after all the time waiting and supporting you, you are finally ready to commit and do what it takes to win. And I'm ok with that. I'll give you the time you need. It might take a little while with the language barrier and all.

So, if your interested, let me know. I think it could really be great.