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

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mascot Halloween Costumes

As Halloween quickly approaches, a lot of people are still scrambling for costume ideas. Don't worry, as a sports fan there are always a bevy of ideas to be had. Grab a jersey and some eye black and you can be pretty much any player. But there is a great untapped resource of Halloween costumes in the sports world. Yes, the Mascot, these are people dressed up in costume every game and are a great way to support your team and have a fun costume or even better mock another (rival) team.

I personally am going as a penguin for Halloween this year. I do hate the Pittsburgh Penguins, but love there cute Antarctic counterparts. So I will do my best to be completely non-threatening and no way a fierce rival a capital. I'm more of a penguin from one of those cute animated movies they keep making. However, I thought about it and decided some other fun/easy mascots to dress up as.

First, there are any mascots that are people, Steelers, Patriots, Volunteers, you get the idea. Grab a hard hat and some overalls and you too can be Steely McBeam, preferably some parody of. For some reason the idea of a pirate carrying home plate is particularly funny to me. Probably because the Pirates were so terrible, actual pirates would probably have had more luck steeling bases.

Generally, I think some of the best mascot costumes are probably those creature that doesn't exist and aren't based on anything in particular. A prime example is the Western Kentucky Hilltopper. It's a big red blob. Also, though it pains me to say it, the Philly Phanatic would be a good one as well. These costume goers must make sure that their costumes are somewhat relative. The Hilltopper probably doesn't work outside of Kentucky and many people outside of Philadelphia probably want to punch the Fanatic so beware.

I personally would like to see people as Terps or Ninja Turtles or any type of turtle one might fear. I think that would be great. But seeing someone wander around in a Raven outfit would also be nice. Even an Oriole would be nice to see. Maybe one with a short leash being held by Peter Angelos.

Overall, if you are still searching for a costume, think local, everyone wants to buy there teams mascot a drink. Plus minor league teams have some crazy names and mascots. Show your support for your favorite team or taunt a rival. It's a win -win situation.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Oh, this title could refer to so many things. The Terps routing by Virginia, the Ravens coming back in the 4th quarter only to shank a 44 yard field goal. The miserable seasons both seem to be having now. My complete and utter lack of blogging for the last two weeks. So many things I wanted to write and just got caught up being distracted. I guess this might happen occasionally when someone starts a new job. So forgive me for the slacking. I promise to try and write more again, if there is still anyone out there reading.

I'm not going to talk about the Terps, I'm only going to say that tailgating in the cold rain sucks. And if possible, Maryland should try figure out a way to schedule homecoming for a day when it's not miserable out. This is two years in a row it's been terrible weather. If we are going to lose to a terrible team, I'd like to at least enjoy the tailgating. Come on now.

I also don't have many words for the Ravens right now. After an amazing start where there was talk of them being possibly the best team in the NFL, they seem to have fallen apart. Yes, they found their offense in the 4th quarter, but it didn't matter because of that lousy field goal attempt. People were calling for Stover, who is now a Colt. Something is just wrong in the world. I believe luck plays a big part in any season. And this season, it's against us. I don't know why, but we are not clutch this year. We just can't seal the deal. If you needed more proof than the Mark Clayton missed catch during the Patriots game, now you have it. A missed 44 yd field goal in a dome. No wind, no snow, not even any cold. A dome. Inside. I can't stop shaking my head every time I think about it. It's pathetic.

The Ravens have a bye week next week where hopefully they can regroup and come back strong. Unfortunately, their schedule remains much harder than expected at the beginning of the season. They face the surprisingly good Broncos and Bengals before playing the dismal Browns again. I hope that the Ravens are not relegated to the bottom of the AFC North with the Browns by the time they play again. This Ravens team has a lot of talent. But they need to step up and play every week.

There are some serious concerns about the defense. The cornerbacks can't seem to keep up and we need a real threat receiver, yes, Mason is good, but there is no fear there. Give Joe Cool someone to throw to and and Mason will get more looks by default. It all just makes me want to throw my hands up in the air. The AFC is too good as a whole to drop this many games so early and expect to make the playoffs.

Photo: ESPN/AP/Jim Mone

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Never Say Never

I had given up on the Terps. It was just too painful to watch their games. So I was shocked when my friend looked up the Maryland score on Saturday to find out they beat Clemson 24-21. I'm still not really sure how they did it. The clip on ESPN mentioned something about stellar defense and quarterback Chris Turner aka Napoleon Dynamite playing really well. I now wish I had watched this game because I can't really believe either of those things without seeing them.

I'm not sure if this is the Terps getting better or if it's just the classic Maryland is going to beat a few teams they shouldn't every season with absolutely no way to predict when they are going to show up and when they are going to get blown out. I hope it's the former, but realistically I think it's the latter. The Terps have played some ugly football games this season and while they probably are getting better, I don't expect them to show up and get lucky every week.

A big part of the win was Clemson missing two field goals in the fourth quarter. That's lucky, and I'll take it. But I'm quite ready to believe there is a big turn around. I will however actually make an effort to watch the game next week. And I might try to get an actual ticket to homecoming instead of just going to hang out with friends and tailgating.

I'm not going to get too excited. But it's good to know there is some life in this Terrapin team. We'll see what happens this weekend against Wake Forest. Will Maryland turn this season around and become respectable or will the Clemson game just be an unexplained high point of an otherwise lousy season? I guess we'll know soon.


Also, I know the photo says 2008, but how awesome is that maze. And since October is the official month of corn mazes, I felt that the picture was totally appropriate.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Ravens Domination

Last week had some of the most dominating play ever by the Ravens. They totally destroyed the Cleveland Browns. They outplayed the Browns in every aspect of the game. The 34-3 win was so overwhelmingly one sided it almost didn't seem worth writing about. But then I thought about how depressing the Terps season is and how depressing the O's season is and I thought wow, not only do I need to write about this, I need to boast about this. The state of Baltimore area sports is a little sad right now. So back to the Ravens.

What can I say except wow. That is one balanced game. Yes, it was against the Browns who I believe have a good chance of matching Detroit's amazingly sad feat of last year. There is no way this team wins more than 2 games unless something drastic happens. And I only give them two because they do actually play the Lions.

The Ravens look really good this year. And for the first time in a long time, maybe ever, other people are going to know this because they are watching the games. Yes, other years people have known they were good. But now that the Ravens have an offense, other people are interested in watching their games. They are exciting. People are picking up Ravens players for their fantasy teams. People are paying attention in a way they normally don't. People respect a good defense, but they want to watch offense. And now the Ravens have that appeal. I believe this is why the Ravens have topped the power rankings for two straight weeks.

Yes, they have a tough schedule coming up. But I don't care, I still see them doing well. It's a little early to declare them a playoff team, but I think they've gotten off to a solid start. And at this point will own a tiebreaker over San Diego for a wild card spot or seed. I also have to give some love to the Bears. I believe the Steelers are going to rebound and that while the Bengals may be good or at least better this year, the Steelers are still going to be the biggest source of competition in the AFC North. As a result, I have to thank the Bears for their win over the Steelers. And as anyone who has read this blog regularly over the last year knows, I kind of love Jay Cutler. Not because he's hot, though some recent modeling pictures surfaced and he is kind of hot when put in the right clothing, but because he is a constant source of entertainment. So I'm glad to see him do well which means he'll be in the league for a while to entertain me. So thank you Chicago.

This week the Ravens take on the Pats who have struggled but seem to be finding their stride. I'm hoping we catch them before they have found it completely. It's going to be a good game and I'm excited to watch them. And for the first time, I think a lot of people outside of Baltimore are too.


Photo: ESPN/AP/Gail Burton

Friday, September 25, 2009

Young, Struggling Terps

The Terps lost a heart breaker last weekend. I don't think it will be the last of the season unfortunately. After being blown out by Cal and barely beating JMU it wasn't that hard to see a game like this coming. But it's still hard to take. This season is going to be terrible. Really, really terrible. But I don't care, I love my Terps. It's really early in the season but I've already started the wait til next year talks. They're so young, there are are so many freshman, next year this team will be better. I keep telling this to myself. It's the only way I'm going to survive this season.

Luckily I was spared from watching the game on Saturday because my computer was acting up and wouldn't let me access ESPN360 which was the only medium broadcasting the game. So I put on the gamecast and took a nap. I woke up to find that Maryland had won 31-29. My gamecast must have not registered the last second field goal. I was surprised and perturbed when I went to read the recap of the game. But I think this is somewhat symbolic of how the Terps season is going to be. Any hope I have of them winning will be squashed by reality.

But it doesn't matter. I'll continue to root for them and hope for the best because it's the only thing I know how to do. Meanwhile, I'll be telling myself it has to get better and keep hoping that by the end of the season we will look like a promising young team with everything starting to come together.

Here's hoping they can pull it together against Rutgers tomorrow. GO TERPS!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Ravens Win, Top Power Rankings

So normally I scoff at power rankings. At the end of the regular season it's about who wins the most games, not what some experts think. And at the end of the playoffs it's still about who won. Screw the odds makers and expert picks. Power rankings are basically something for people to talk about during the week between football games. Oh, ESPN says they're the best, whatever. In college football the rankings only matter because the BCS is worthless and ridiculous. But in the NFL they are completely and totally pointless. Except for this week.

This week I'm taking the chance to tell everyone that the Ravens are ranked No. 1 by ESPN and Yahoo! I don't care that it's two weeks into the season. I don't care that the Ravens can't seem to stop the pass. Right now there are impartial experts out there saying the Ravens are the best in league. And I like that. So whatever, I'll shelf my basic belief that the rankings are worthless for a week. (They are worthless.) But they do serve as a reason to bring up the Ravens and gloat about them.

The Ravens beat the Chargers, another AFC perennial powerhouse, 31-26 on Sunday. The game was exhilarating to watch with one of the best hits I've seen Ray Ray make in a long time. It was timely, hard and a game winner. Say what you will about Ray Lewis loosing a step or piling on but this hit was nasty.

This year's team is determined to win. Whether through the air or with a stifling defense. Yes, they have to improve against the pass. But the gains they've made on their own offense are startling. Watch out this week when the Browns come to town for a divisional match-up. The Browns look to under preform against everyone this season. Even the Bengals have already beaten what was supposed to be a good team, the Packers. Next week the Ravens will look to improve their play and wash away any doubt that they are a team to be reckoned with.

The thing I believe most contributed to the Ravens topping the rankings this week is the emergence of Joe Flacco as a legitimate passing threat. Two games into the season and I heard him being called the best deep passer in the NFL on ESPN a few days ago. Ok, so I guess that was one week into the season. Regardless, not since the one great season with McNair have the Ravens had a legitimate threat at quarterback. That year they won 13 games. Last year, with a rookie, they went to the AFC Championship game. This year it looks like the pieces are coming together and great things should be expected of this team.

On that note, GO RAVENS, and here's Lewis's hit on Sproles:

Photo: ESPN/AP/Denis Poroy

Monday, September 14, 2009

Football Season Is Here!

The Ravens won! The Terps won! Even the Orioles won 2 out of 3 against the Yankees! It was a great weekend to be a Baltimore/MD sports fan. So what if the MD win was ugly. And who cares if the Ravens special teams leaves a little to be desired. It's still early in the season and there were a lot of good things that happened.

First of all, MD is going to struggle for any wins they can get this season. And for that reason, I don't care if it's ugly. This is not a national championship team. This is a young team trying to figure out what it's doing on the football field. I have faith that this team will continue to get better over the season. And since MD is always tumultuous to watch, I think they will still be able to finish with a decent, but not great record.

As for the Ravens, they won the opening game. That's whats important. At the end of the season, it's really all about wins and loses. Flacco looked good under center and the Ravens are undefeated right now. All of the sudden the Ravens have a passing game. So while the defense and special teams might not have shined yesterday, the Ravens have a new element to their game. And the special teams might be a bit rusty. But I'm happy with the play. If we can consistently pull out wins, I'm not that worried about how we get them.

Overall, it was a good weekend. And it's now football season. I can hardly contain my glee. I love everything about it. So exciting. Cheering on my team, tailgating with friends, talking trash about fantasy teams. Yeah, this is a great time of year.

Photo: David Bergman/SI

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Heartbreakers....Countdown 28

The Orioles have been up and down all season. And every time I want to give up on them, they come back with a great performance and convince me to give them another chance, convince me that they really are worth my time, that they really will get better and not break my heart all the time. Last night was one of those nights. After a heartbreaking loss in the 9th two nights ago, they come back with a 13-4 rout and all of a sudden I'm hopeful again. This season is done. But its good to see that the young O's aren't giving up. Maybe that means they'll work hard in the off season and next year will be better.

It looks like the foundation is coming together and next season will be better. But I'd like for the rest of the season to be bearable to watch. I live a block from Camden Yards and I like to go to games last minute since tickets are always available. But I'd like to think we have a chance of winning some of those games. This is an old story. I'm not sure how many times this summer the O's have had a good night and I'm praising the young players and fawning about how it's about to come together. I'm tired of writing it.

But that's the way it goes being a fan of a losing team you foolishly believe is on the cusp of getting better. I think I'm a pretty good barometer for the average fan. I want to give up on my team when they lose. I want to forget about this season and move onto the next sport. But as soon as they show signs of life I forget all that and just want to see them do well. I'm happy football season is here. But I'm sad this is another losing season for the O's. Technically they could go on a crazy tear and wind up with a winning season, but the odds of that are astronomical. Oh well, maybe next year.

By the way, I now have a blogger bet going for the Maryland - Virginia Tech game with College Game Balls, more details to come later. But if you are a blogger interested in a fun wager about competing teams. Let me know.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let the Trash Talking Begin

On of the best things about sports is being able to taunt your friends about the superiority of your team. While the teams might not be rivals, it's always nice to see your team win and get to rub it in your friends faces. Do I actually have any strong feelings about JMU? No. Not at all. But I know a couple of people who went there and as a result, will be giving them a hard time as the Terps pound them in their home opener. I don't get to have a lot of fun doing this during baseball season. Because even when the O's have a win over a friend's team, they can usually counter with something pathetic about my long suffering O's. But during football season, NFL and college, offer a new opportunity to compete with friends.

The season is so short that one game really does make a difference. And even if your team goes 1-16, if you beat your friends team, you can still make fun of them ruthlessly. You just have to take it for the rest of the season. Most of this is all in good fun and is a way to get more excited about the game and make it more interesting. I'm going to be looking for random sports bets this season with other bloggers. Though I personally think this will be more fun during college basketball season. Any bloggers interested in this. Or just some general fun back and forth banter let me know.

The trash talk has already started at College Game Balls, a Virginia Tech site I really enjoy. But to be honest, I'm not ready to fight back yet because this Maryland team is so young and so full of unknowns. Also VT was ranked 7th in the AP preseason poll despite some supposedly crippling injuries. I'll wait until a game or two into the season to start boasting about how our young offensive line is improving and shaping up to be awesome. Also, we are not playing at night this season and at College Park. Which drastically improve our chances.

Right now I'm going to focus on the beating we are going to give Cal. Basically we seem to beat them every chance we get. Whether it be in football or the NCAA tournament, we always seem to have their number. And by doing no research into their team this year. I will continue to believe this until I am proven wrong. Sure Cal is ranked 12th and Maryland didn't even warrant a vote in the "Others Receiving Votes" category, but what does that have to do with the actual game. Maryland will come through. I have a feeling. And I have history on my side. How could this possibly go wrong?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pie Hits For the Cycle....Countdown 33

Last night I had two different friends ask me if I wanted to go to the game. I was kind of tired so I decided to just watch it from my couch. Big mistake. Not only did the Orioles rout the Angles 16-6 but Felix Pie hit for the cycle. That's an amazingly rare feat, though it seems to have become somewhat commonplace this season. It is one of my dreams to see this in person. It was an all around good game for the O's.

Tillman got his first major league win. It seemed his nerves were calmed after a the Orioles 6 run first inning. The Orioles seemed determined to get him his win as they went on to score another 10 runs and tying a record with 9 doubles and 12 extra base hits. It was a good night to be an O's fan.

The team has been struggling a lot lately, only having won 8 games since the All Star break. Which is just depressing to think about. So to see an offensive explosion like last night gives a fan a little hope that the rest of the season isn't going to be so terrible. That they will occasionally give us something to watch and cheer for.

Overall the O's were great last night. But Pie was the star. He hasn't been playing regularly but really took this opportunity to step up and show that he belongs in the Majors. He is only the 4th Oriole in the club's history to hit for the cycle, the others being Cal, Brooks, and Huff. That in itself is pretty amazing. Congrats Pie. And watch out Reimold, Pie is gunning for your spot.

Photo:AP/Rob Carr

Friday, August 14, 2009

Pre Season Fun

Yes, in general preseason games are meaningless and just excuses to get excited about football while nothing is really on the line. They give us something to talk about and analyze when it comes to rookies and free agents and the final roster. Remember that catch he had in that preseason game? He's got so much potential. That type of thing. But last nights preseason game was extra fun. The Ravens got to beat up on the Redskins.

Generally watching your team's second or third string beat up on another team's second or third string is not all that satisfying. Sure, it's fun, but not as good as watching your first string team pummel another team during the regular season. But in Baltimore there is not really a rivalry between the Ravens and Redskins fans, but at least a mostly friendly competition between fans of two team that almost never play each other during the regular season. And it is really satisfying to watch the Redskins get beat up. Even if it is their third string, because honestly, their first and second strings didn't look so hot either.

I'm not going to read too much into the 23-0 victory for the Ravens, but it was nice to watch. It made me feel a little better about our possible receiving options. I already felt good about our quarterback situation and our defense. Ray Rice and Willis McGahee both looked good. It's too early to form too many expectations. But overall it was a good showing for the Ravens. It's always fun to watch you team win. And also to watch them beat the Redskins.

Photo: AP/Nick Wass

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Top Ten Reasons I'm Ready For Football Season

10. More than one sport I care about is going on. Time to get excited about something other than a losing baseball team and hope the Terps can play well enough to avoid giving me an anxiety attack.

9. It means I can stop paying attention to the terrible end of the Orioles season and actually start cheering for a team with a possibility of finishing with a winning record be it the Terps or the Ravens.

8. Hope. There is nothing better than the beginning of the season before any games are played when you can believe anything is possible and your team has a real chance of winning it all.

7. Fantasy Football. Any friendly competition is a good thing in my mind. Drafting a great team, making good trades, deciding to play and sit the right players all so you can rag on your friends makes football season even more enjoyable. Plus, you can get interested in games you otherwise wouldn't care about at all.

6. Trash talk. All of a sudden everyone's teams are going to have great years, of course, yours will do the best. Oh no, that guy from VT is out for the season, now Maryland will dominate them for sure.

5. Great rookies and big busts? Will Flacco shine again this year? Will Cutler help the Bears become a competitive team? Who will be a surprise super star and who will be an over hyped bust? The suspense is killing me.

4. Tailgating. Drinking outside and playing games like corn hole, beer pong and ladders while eating delicious, unhealthy food. Does life get any better?

3. Rivalries. In football so many of the games are in your own division in the NFL and in your conference in college. So even if the other team is not a true rival, it's always fun to beat up on someone else in the division. And hoping the Ravens will take some revenge and pound the Steelers this year is going to be fun.

2. There are entertaining college and/or NFL games to watch up to four days/nights a week.

1. The Ravens and the Terps are going to be awesome. Watch out.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Optimism Killers

Before the All Star Break I had a lot of hope for the O's. They were playing well and I thought things were starting to look up. I guess I was wrong. It was a lie I told myself so many times I started to believe it. But it has become painfully obvious that it'll be at least another year before we can enjoy a winning or even a .500 season.

There was a lot to look forward to this year. Lots of young new players and prospects including Matt Wieters. There have been surprisingly good young pitchers like Bergesen and Tillman is looking good as well. The O's seem to have a stocked farm system and keep adding to it with trades like the Sherrill one. It appears with that we are banking on having out third baseman of the future. Which means Mora will probably be gone as soon as his contract ends. While the future is looking brighter and the next few seasons should be ones where the O's are improving, this season looks lost.

Yesterday the Orioles lost 18-10. That doesn't even sound like a baseball score. Even when they get their offense going, they let up more runs than they can score. It's embarrassing and I'm fearing that by September or even in a week I'll be too distracted by upcoming football seasons to even care about the O's any more. The Ravens are already starting to take over headlines and soon the Terps' season will be in full swing. And the O's losing season will be a distant memory.

I don't want to give up on the O's every August. But they leave me no choice. They are not only competing at baseball, but with the other sports teams that start playing in the fall. I love the O's. But sports is about hope and it's easier to get excited about teams that actually have a chance of winning something. The O's are on the right track. But they're not there yet.

In other random news, I've finished taking the Bar exam and I'm now living in Baltimore again. This really just means I'll be able to write more and hopefully be able to have more access to Baltimore sports. It'll be a lot easier for me to go to Terps games and whatnot. Sorry for the brief hiatus but the Bar basically consumed all of my time and energy. I hope to be writing more regularly from now on.

Oh... in case you still care, the O's are wins away from a .500 season.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Why I Hate The Wave

Yes, I hate the Wave. I think it's dumb. Not only that, I think it's counter productive to sporting events. People almost always insist on starting the wave during baseball games when they are bored. And during Orioles' games, fans often need distractions. But that does not warrant the wave. It's dumb. And it seems to always happen when our team is pitching. This is extremely stupid. If you insist on doing the wave, do it when the opposing side is pitching, then it can at least be distracting to their pitcher and maybe help us some.

The problem seems to be that even when the wave starts when the other team is pitching, it never really seems to get going until the O's are up to bat. And after going around again and again and again it only seems to stop when our pitcher manages to give up a hit does it stop. Well, this is my plea to everyone...STOP THE WAVE.

Do we really need another way to put our team at a disadvantage? Even if you think I'm crazy, and that the wave is just idle fun. Think about it for a moment, does it ever actually help the team? Isn't that why we go to games, to support the team? Sure, drink beer, have fun, but there are plenty of obnoxious things you can do without the wave.

On top of everything else, if you are actually trying to watch the game, people standing up and down in front of you is the last thing you want. At least, it's the last thing I want. If you don't believe it's bad for the team, it at least has to be bad for the fans. Cheer, shout, spell out the team name. But please, please, stop the wave. For the team or your own good.

Quick apologies to any regular readers I might have left. I'm studying for the Maryland Bar Exam. The test is in about a week. I'm spending about 60% of my energy studying, 30% of my energy remaining sane, and 10% for everything else. It's cause me to neglect this blog for a bit. But I'm looking forward to having the time to blog again soon. Sometimes real life gets in the way. Thanks, everyone, for your patience.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Second Half Hope...Countdown 44

The Orioles are now into the second half of the season still with a less than .500 record. This usually means terrible things. And in recent years past we fans have had no reason to hope that the O's would keep steady or even improve during the second half. Usually we'd wait until after the All Star break to write them off, but definitely by August our interest was waning and by September, did anyone even realize they were still playing baseball?

But this season, I have hope. Maybe not that we'll be better than we were that first half. I think streaky how the O's are going to continue the season, but then again, I don't think we are going to collapse at the end either. At least this is my hope. We have so many young players and even more potential players to bring up from the minors I'm hoping we can avoid a September full of loses.

While this countdown is probably futile now, I'm still going to continue with it. There is still the entire second half of the season to go and anything is possible. We have a legitimate outfield or young players. We have a what looks to be a solid infield and our pitching is somewhere around passable, but it's mostly young and hopefully that means improving as the season goes on. I mean this is the team that had the largest comeback in franchise history. And it was against the Red Sox. That is something to be happy and hopeful about.

Yes, we are going to blow games with dumb plays and bad base running. But whatever, they're the O's. And for the first time in a while, there's hope again.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nationals, The Cure For Any Slump...Countdown 48

I really do feel bad for the Nationals. When they first moved to DC I worried they would take away from the Orioles already struggling fan base. But instead, I think they might have done the opposite. They are so bad, they make the Orioles look good by comparison, and therefore have solidified some of the borderline fans. No one really wants to switch from a losing franchise to an even worse one. Maybe a few people, but overall, I really doubt there presence has hurt the Orioles much, and the Nats have managed to become the punchline of the league. Like I said, I do feel bad for them.

But when they play the Orioles, I can't help but be a little happy. I don't need to see the O's clobber them like they did last night 11-1. But I do like the O's to get every win they can. And playing the Nats is possibly the most perfect remedy to three game sweep by the Marlins before a series against Boston. At least I can be in good spirits this weekend before a week of Boston and the Angels. It seems this season that when the Orioles can get on a roll, they can win 5 or 6 out of seven games before they begin to slump again. So hopefully, they'll be able to steal a few from the Red Sox.

The Orioles were on fire last night with pretty much everyone being productive and scoring a season tying high of 8 runs in one inning. Melvin Mora seemed inspired by his move down to 7th in the batting order and was able to contribute 4 RBIs to the effort. And while Bergesen struggled, he was still able to get out of innings only allowing one run over 6 innings. Yes, I'm a huge fan of this rookie and I would greatly appreciate someone updating his Wikipedia page. Right now it only says he pitches for the Orioles and he went to high school in California. So will someone please get on that. Also, if anyone knows if he's single, please pass that on to me.

If the Orioles could find some consistency this season, it'd be great. So far their streaky play vacillated between great and gut wrenching. I'd just like to see some consistently good baseball. Yes, they are bound to have good days and bad days. But do they all have to come in row?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

O's Are Clutch, Sweep Phils...Countdown 49

Yes, the Phillies have been slumping at home and were without some of their key players, including Ryan Howard with the flu, but wins are wins. With the Orioles having such a dismal road record this season, I'm still happy when the O's can win anything on the road. A sweep of team away from home is music to my ears. And even a slumping Phillies team is still dangerous, they are still the defending World Champions, and they have the hitters to make any young pitching staff tremble.

But the Orioles manage to pull off the three game sweep by coming up with clutch hits late in the games and not allowing Philly to run away with any lead. The O's are now on a 5 game winning streak and playing some good baseball right now. The man of the moment has to be Robert Andino. In the 20 minute of the game I was able to stay awake to watch, (I know I'm lame) he just made all the plays. It's going to be hard for Izturis to come back and just reclaim his spot. Andino is seizing his opportunity and making terrific plays and even hitting in clutch situations.

I feel like the team is enjoying the winning and is starting to remember how fun baseball can be. They are in much better spirits and its showing while they are playing. This team has been nothing but streaky this season and right now is no exception. But something has changed. The Orioles are no longer winning based solely on their slugging. Now they are preventing teams from scoring runs and are winning close games. And that's something to look at with enthusiasm and hope it continues.

While a .500 season is still a long way off, 49 games to be exact, every little sign of hope is something to be happy about. And if for the first time in years, the O's could have a better record the second half of the season, it's possible. I'm not ready to count them out yet.

Photo: #49 Jason Berken

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Orioles Win Series, Wieters Finds His Bat...Countdown 52

After weeks of speculation as to what was happening with Matt Wieters bat, he finally did it, he hit his first home run and drove in his first couple RBIs. Now everyone can stop worrying and just let the kid play the game. He's been really good defensively and been calling good games. But now hopefully he'll be hitting home runs on a regular basis, hitting in the clutch and living up to all his hype. He came through tonight with a lead off double in the bottom of the 9th.

Hopefully the clubhouse has settled down and gotten back on track. After the error filled game a few nights ago, it's good the O's could pull one this series. Especially with a bottom of the 9th rally. It was a great way to end a series. I'm hoping they can keep this streak going over the weekend in Philadelphia.

It's good to see us winning and the countdown continuing. The O's are now a mere 52 wins away from a .500 season. So let's continue to cheer them on. Some of you may have noticed that I'm not updating this as often as usual. Part of that has to do with the rate the Orioles are winning games, but mostly it's because I'm studying for the Bar Exam and that takes a great amount of my time and energy. So sorry if I'm not keeping all you O's fan's updated as much as either of us would like. I hope all of you will bear with me through this next 6 weeks of studying and sparse updates. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

O's Stop Skid...Countdown 56

The Orioles managed to stop there there slide and get back on track last night despite the terrible weather and win 3-1 against Seattle. Though I'm going to have to say I'm not a fan of this instant replay thing. I know its supposed to make the game better. But so far I've only seen the O's get screwed by it. And yes, I don't care if its more fair, I want my team to win. There is no review for other crucial parts of the game, calls of safe or out or catches. I'm tired of out home runs being taken away. Why doesn't it happen to the team we're playing. We give up enough home runs, some of them should be called back.

It's terribly annoying to me when a person is called safe or out and they are clearly not. Why can't the umpire review those plays. Getting into balls and strikes would be a little tedious and would drag the game on far too long. But maybe the MLB could set up a system like the NFL. Each team gets 2 or 3 challenges a game. Set up guidelines for what can be challenged and then add that to the managers job. It just makes more sense. At least to me.

Luckily last night the O's were able to overcome their lost home run and still win the game. I would just like to point out that I love Brad Bergesen. He pitched a great game last night. I also think another rookie deserves a fair amount of attention and praise, Nolan Reimold. The kid is batting .385 in his last five games and .295 for the season. He also gives us a legitimate out field that does not involve Pie, yes he still makes some mistakes, he's a rookie. But if we are able to keep bringing up guys like him in our farm system the future looks bright for the franchise.

Right now the O's are struggling and the countdown to .500 is looking more and more like it not going to happen this year. But it's nice to see the team putting the pieces in place for next year and the future. We just have to wait for it to all come together.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wieters Debuts, Orioles Roll...Countdown 58

Last night it seemed like I had gone back in time. Fans braved and waited out the pregame rains to stay around and watch the O's play. The stadium was full of fans wearing orange and cheering on the home team. Everyone seemed excited and happy and hopeful. And it was loud. It was awesome, the way Camden Yards was when it opened and the Orioles were winning and making the playoffs on a regular basis. It was awesome.

The big story of the night was the debut of top prospect Matt Wieters. While he had a slow offensive night, going 0 for 4, he played solid defense and managed to call a good game. Brad Bergesen pitched a solid eight innings and only allowed two runs. He was treated to a standing ovation when he left the game in the bottom of the 9th. It's the second time I've seen him pitch this season and truly believe his is the real deal. A solid starting pitcher on a team that sorely needs quality pitching. And even if Wieters bat was a little quiet, the rest of the line up more than made up for it.

Luke Scott hit a grand slam and followed that up with another home run his next at bat. The crowd went wild and Scott stole the show. It was just a great game. I traded an extra ticket to a friend in return for a home made sign (pictured above) and had the awesome opportunity to meet John Harbaugh while trying to get on the Jumbotron. He was very nice and is way hotter in person than on TV.

The O's have now won 5 in a row and 7 of the last 8. Hopefully people keep coming out to see this team. This young team is giving O's fans something to be hopeful about again. And right now, they're playing really good baseball. They are now only three games below .500 and only wins away from a .500 season.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Orioles Start the Series Off Right...Countdown 61

The Orioles have now won the first two games in their series against Toronto. So now they have won their last two series and 4 out of there last 5 games. Things seem to be looking up for the O's. Guthrie pitched an amazing game yesterday and Jason Berken won his Major League debut today only letting up seven hits and two runs in five innings. The Orioles found their bats and supported him with seven runs. The Orioles pulled off a win despite the miserable weather two days in a row with a 9-2 victory today and 4-1 victory yesterday.

But the turn around in wins isn't the only exciting thing happening with the Orioles right now. Hot prospect, Matt Wieters, is scheduled to make his major league debut on Friday against Detroit. He's been tearing up the minors and Andy McPhail seems confident that he will be able to call a game. He can learn a lot from veteran catcher Gregg Zaun and hopefully will be able to deal with the young, frequently changing pitching staff.

It's something to get excited about. A winning team and a new, young, switch hitting, power hitting catcher. The next couple of days should be fun. Yes, we've been winning agianst losing teams. But in order to get closer to having a winning season, the O's need to win the games they're supposed to win. Only 61 more wins to a .500 season.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Behind Enemy Lines: Yankee Stadium

A few nights ago, my brother and I made the trip to Yankee Stadium. After scouring Stub Hub a week ago for reasonable tickets, and moving him into his new apartment we were ready to go in our Orioles' gear. In the end we were able to get cheap tickets, about $15 a piece including fees for decent seats behind the 3rd base dugout in the highest level. But overall we had a good view of the field. Maybe it was because it was a Tuesday night, maybe it's because the Orioles were playing, but we definitely got reasonable tickets at a very reasonable price.

We arrived at the stadium and saw it was littered with Orioles fans. Little orange dots amongst a sea of blue and white and pinstripes. It was nice to see some friendly faces. And actually, most of the fans were pretty nice to us. A few rowdy obnoxious Yankee fans got kicked out of our section. But they were quickly bored of taunting the Orioles fans and moved on to fighting amongst themselves. I have to hand it to the stadium officials, because they had no problem kicking out the idiots who were fighting or even the guys going overboard on the taunting.

Sadly, I think one of the reasons all the O's fans were able to handle the "you sucks," to the point the Yankees fans got bored and turned on each other is that it's the truth. Yeah, we know our team has been bad for over a decade. Yeah, you telling us is old news. We have to live the pain of cheering for a losing team. But we know when they finally do turn this ship around we'll be better for it. We stick with our team no matter what. So what if we've been losing for a decade, any sign of promise or hope is enough to excite us. I'll be ecstatic if we can finally have a winning season, a feat that is looking further and further away each game. Yankees fans are upset if they don't win a championship. There's something to be said for the happiness that comes with lowered expectations and hope.

After Brad Bergesen pitched a great game through the 6th inning, only letting up one two run home run in the first and pitching masterfully. At that point the game was still close, 2-1. We began to get excited at still being in the game against Sabathia in the 7th inning. But that was when all hell broke lose. The Yankees scored seven runs that inning off of three different pitchers including most off of reliever Chris Ray. When the inning finally ended, the guy sitting next to us, who had been very pleasant all game, turned and told us that his 10 year old son said he felt sorry for us. That it must be hard to watch your team blow it like that. We quickly responded that he shouldn't feel bad. We were used to it. If anything, I brought away from that game the Bergesen is a reasonable starting pitcher. And that makes me happy. Sure, it does suck to watch your team get blown out. But I also got to see Adam Jones make and incredible diving catch that topped the Sports Center highlights the next day. I got to see some great pitching for a while. And I got to see Yankees Stadium. All in all it was good trip.

It was a beautiful stadium and I'd be happy to go back and see another game there. I didn't really eat at the restaurants or special bars. Mostly it was a good game worth watching, spent drinking expensive domestic beers and eating some overpriced french fries. Maybe I'll go back to watch a team I care less about and actually do some exploring of the stadium. But what I saw of it, I enjoyed.

: I didn't get around to uploading the pictures we took and now they are with my brother, still on his camera. So I borrowed a picture from someone else.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Too Much Drama in Caps Playoffs

The Caps are now down 3-2 in a series they once led 2-0. They've had two overtime losses and now need to win the last two games of the series to advance. Otherwise, the hated Sid Crosby and his whiny batch of Penguins will advance. My theory on this series, the Caps need the drama to motivate them. After coming back from being down 3-1 to the Rangers, they were still riding high enough to win the first two games of the series against the Pens. Yes, the Caps have been playing hard. But they haven't been quite clutch enough.

Now that they face elimination, I think they will step it up again. They will not go down easy on Monday. I expect hard hitting, passionate play and an overwhelming offensive output. The Caps have played their best hockey in the playoffs with their backs against the wall. And hopefully they will do it again. As a fan though I could do without all this drama.

Ideally, the Caps would have completed a clean sweep of the Pens or maybe let them win one game on an off night. But this comeback has me and a lot of other fans on edge. While this is the type of series that the NFL brass have been hoping for, superstar vs. superstar, comebacks, overtimes, controversial plays and exhilarating goals, I don't really care what it's doing for hockey as a game. I want my Caps to advance. They have already gotten farther in the playoffs than any Caps team in over a decade, and I appreciate that. But these games are close. And with a little luck, the puck will bounce their way in the next two games.

The Penguins are managing to get an amazing number of shots off. And its unrealistic to expect this rookie goalie, Varlamov, to block over 40 shots a game. The guy has been great. And usually I'd call for the offensive powers of Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin to step up. But now I'm calling for the defense to kick it up a notch. Help this kid out. The offense is trying and scoring. Help prevent a few of these shots on goal.

Really everyone needs to play their hearts out these next two games. Otherwise there will be a long offseasons with even larger expectations looming next season. But right now, I just want to see a little more hockey.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Happy One Year Birthday, Blog

On this day last year I put up my first post, A Letter to O's Fans. Over the last year, I've managed over 100 posts and had thousands of visitors from every state in the Union and a few other random countries. I'd like to thank everyone who has come to read my stuff at this site.

Over the last year, I've written about many different sporting events, on several different sites. I'm honestly a little surprised I've managed to stick with it this long, as I have a tendency to get bored or distracted and give up on hobbies.

I'll get back to the countdown after the next O's win, yeah, it's down to 70 now. And I'll hopefully be talking about the Caps beating the Penguins again soon.

I just wanted to thank everyone who's come here, read, emailed me, given me tips, given me opportunities to write on other sites, linked my site and commented on posts. I appreciate everyone's support and hope you continue reading.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

O's Snap Losing Streak, Countdown Continues at 71

The Orioles have been struggling lately. They had lost six consecutive games and won only 3 of the last 18 games. But last night they found their bats and were able to hold of the Rays with an 8-4 win. Markakis started the O's off early with a three run home run. And from then on the O's were able to keep creating offense and get the win.

Hopefully this win boosts morale and confidence among the team. They needed this win and hopefully a lot more. There hot start was a surprise to everyone, but this slump has managed to erase all of that early enthusiasm. No one likes to watch their team lose. And the O's have been losing for over ten seasons. I've decided to stop counting the number and just refer to it as over ten. Really it's just depressing.

I love baseball, but I understand why the O's struggle to get fans in the seats. While they do actually have a lot of good discounts and specials, $6 student tickets on Friday. It's hard to rationalize that when you have to spend more on a beer than a ticket. For all the O's promotions, they still are not putting out a winning product. While I appreciate the efforts and the discount tickets that are readily available, I'd rather have a winning team.

Though I am pretty happy about the free ticket to a game for your birthday. That's pretty solid Orioles.

Let's hope this game gets some momentum going and I can throw up a countdown post more than once a week. Oh, by the way, sorry for the brief blogging hiatus. I was finishing up papers and exams for my last semester of law school. It's possible I will disappear again next week due to excessive celebration of being done. Just a warning.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Maybe It is All Starting To Come Together...Countdown 73

Last night Adam Eaton stepped up and managed to allow only four hits and no runs in 7 1/3 innings leading the Orioles to a 6-2 win. The White Sox have a powerful offense so it's not as if he was pitching against the Nationals. After two lousy starts maybe he finally found his groove. The big question this season has been pitching? Can the Orioles' starters eat up innings? Can they prevent the huge hemorrhaging of runs? Will the bullpen be able to preform in a close game? The first few games the Orioles bats were able to keep all those questions at bay. But now it is starting to look like a starting rotation is coming together.

Maybe last night was a fluke. But I hope not. Maybe Bergensen isn't ready for the majors. Again, I hope not. I think that after the first few weeks the talent is being assessed and the pitchers are starting to feel more comfortable in their roles. They are starting to settle in and step up. Maybe after all the times the O's have traded pitchers only to have them finally start reaching their potential, it's the O's turn.

The offense of the Orioles has not been in question this year. Everyone seems to have a hot bat. Yes, they have had some down nights, but that's to be expected. I think they understand they have to carry a lot of the weight for the team. Seven different Orioles were able to get hits last night including a couple of doubles by Huff and Scott. Only five other teams have scored more runs than the O's. Which is a good sign. If our pitching really is coming together, the Strive for .500 countdown can be a success. Only 73 more wins!!
Let's go O's!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Young Pitching Pans Out...Countdown 74

After a week of loses and injuries and inconsistencies on the mound the Orioles finally won another game. They beat the White Sox 10-3. Now they are back at .500 and only 74 wins away from a .500 season on the year. And games like last night's are the kind of games that give you hope for the future. The O's called up Brad Bergesen from Triple A and he was able to tame the big bats of the Chicago White Sox by only letting you three runs in 5 2/3 innings. That's a solid start and Orioles are looking for.

It's amazing that we seem to have a farm system once again. Woo hoo! The Orioles also gave this young started the run support he needed and more to gain his first major league win. If he works out the O's could have four decent starting pitchers. Guthrie, Uehara, Hendrickson and Bergesen. All have now had at least one solid start. Yes, there have been some bad games in there, but honestly, if I told you before the season that the Red Sox would sweep the O's in the first series against them would you have been surprised. No. The big surprise would have been the start.

Hopefully, the pitching is beginning to settle and the bats are staying hot. Hope that Strive for .500 actually makes it to zero is alive again. Don't burst my bubble. Last night was a good night.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Caps Step Up in Game 3, Ovie's Turn in Game 4

The Caps played last night and stepped up their game. They beat the seventh seeded rangers to put themselves back into the competition. The Rangers lead the series is now 2-1 and the Caps play again tomorrow in an attempt to tie the series and show that the slow start in the first two games was not such a big deal. The Caps managed to find their offense last night and their young goalie stayed strong and allowed no goals for a final score of 4-0.

While the Caps came on strong, their star player still isn't living up to all his hype. Alex Ovechkin has yet to record a playoff goal. He had two assists last night. Which is good to see he's not trying to put all the pressure on him and let the team do some of the work in the win. A good leader should be willing to let others help.

But obviously a good leader also needs to lead. He's the top scorer on the team. Now that the Caps have won a game without him scoring he needs to step up and lead this offense. He is a viable threat and should be seen as one. Sure, I'm all for spreading the wealth and doing what it takes to win games. But I don't know how successful the Caps are going to be if Ovechkin can't get his swagger back. He is the spirit of this team.

Hopefully tomorrow he'll find his shot and truly lead his team. I'm not really sure they can win this series without his scoring. But then again, a win is a win. And I'll take it no matter who scores. I just want to see the Caps move on in the playoffs.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

O's Win Again Despite Pitching Woes (Countdown 75)

The Orioles managed to pull off another win last night with a 7-5 showing. They now sit atop the AL East and have won their first three series of the season. They've take two out of three from the might, spend happy Yankees, and two out of three from the AL Champion Rays. And they have a chance to sweep Texas tonight. The bats of the Orioles seem to be on fire. They've scored 50 runs already this season and the offense has showed little sign of slowing down anytime soon. They even have a chance to sweep the Texas Rangers tonight. If you had told me all those things before the season started I'd be ecstatic.

But looking at all that doesn't really show what's going on with this team. Just focusing on the positive paints an overly rosy picture of this team. Usually I like to focus on the positive. As an O's fan it's what you have to do to stay sane and keep caring. But I can't do that right now. Which is a shame because who knows how long we're going to be able to keep winning and be in first place. I really want to just focus on the positive but our pitching is in such bad shape that I just can't.

The Orioles used six different pitchers last night. SIX! Ok, so Simon is apparently injured and only lasted four outs. And our bullpen did step up and hold the Rangers off until Sherrill let up a two run homer in the 10th. Even Sarfate didn't allow any runs. But this is not a viable solution. The O's need starting pitchers. At this rate the bullpen will be worn out by June. Is it a possible game plan to just have a bullpen and have each pitcher pitch one inning every game? Could that work? Because it seems like the O's are working with something like that.

Hopefully, this is a minor injury for Simon and he will come back and be a consistent starter. I'm not asking for greatness here. I'm just asking for an average starter that can pitch more than two innings without blowing the game. Hendrickson is up tonight. His last outing was exactly what I was looking for in a starter. He pitched 5.1 innings and with one earned run. That is what a pitcher at the bottom of the rotation should be doing. I'm not looking for complete games. I am looking for more than one time through the line up. I'm hoping he brings his consistent game back tonight. I don't need flashy or dominant. I just want consistent wins.

Adam Eaton struck out six in four innings in his start against the Rays. He also allowed four runs. I'd like to focus on his ability to pitch strikes but I was at the game and he got blasted. Hopefully, he'll start pitching more strikes the other team can't hit. I'll cut him some slack because it was against the Rays. And they were in the World Series last year. But he wasn't that great for the Phillies last year. And it just makes me wonder what Baltimore is thinking.

With an offense and a start like this I want to be celebrating. Instead, I'm just worrying about when the other shoe is going to drop. I'll take the wins where I can get them. It's still early and there is still time for things to fall into place. But if the starting pitching doesn't improve, I'm not sure the countdown will make it to zero. Even though we seem to keep winning, I already feel like Strive for .500 is in jeopardy. Oh yeah, the Orioles are now only 75 wins away from a .500 season.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

O's Win Slugfest in Baltimore Jersey Debut.....(Countdown 76)

Yesterday the Orioles out scored the Rangers 10-9 to win their fifth game of the season. I'm incredibly superstitious. So I'm not only happy for the win, but happy that the O's were able to win their first game with Baltimore back on the jersey. I'm glad the long awaited jerseys got a good start. Otherwise, it's possible that these jerseys would be considered jinxed. Returning Baltimore to the jersey should only be viewed as a good thing and a win helps that. At least in my mind. The Orioles did their best to return to old form at the end of the game and try to blow it. But they were able to hold on and win.

The pitching is looking more and more questionable, but as long as the O's bats stay hotter than their opponents I guess we can still hope the pitching comes together. I'm not going to give up on Uehara yet. He's had one good game and one bad game. I just hope he has more good games than bad this season. And when you can walk away from a bad game with a win I guess you have to look at it from the positive. In general the Orioles have problems with the Texas Rangers. Some of their most embarrassing games have come against them. However, he's still 2-0. So if he can get the run support than I guess I can't complain too much. Hopefully, this was just an off game. (I'm going to keep saying this until I have a definitive reason to believe otherwise.) The Orioles really need to have more than one consistent starter. I love Guthrie, but we really do need more.

At least the top of our batting line up, Roberts, Jones, and Markakis, are all batting over .350. I'm hoping the bats stay hot to help out the pitching as much as possible. Even without pitching huge offense is going to win us some games. And big bats and solid defense should help to lure free agents to the Orioles. If it looks like they are only a few pitchers away from being contender, which I'm not saying they are, that makes them more desirable to play on. After what the Rays did last year, it's hard to count any team out. The O's are now 76 wins away from a .500 season. Let's keep striving for .500.

Monday, April 13, 2009

For the Love of the Game (Countdown 77)

Last week, I was talking to my friend about Opening Day. He's a Yankees fan and I was asking if he had watched it and what he thought. I said a couple things about how the Yankees looked pretty off and how he felt about all the big money deals and how they would work out this season. He didn't even know the Yankees had played and lost. He said his main problem with baseball is that the season is so long, that it's hard to care about any particular game. On one hand, I guess I kind of agree with that but on the other hand I think it's a total cop out.

Part of the beauty of baseball is the ridiculously long season. Sure, I don't get excited for every game, but I am excited while watching any game. It's true that you don't get a week to celebrate any particular victory, but you also don't have to spend much time dwelling on a terrible loss. A great part of baseball is there's always next time. And next time is usually pretty soon.

Yesterday the Orioles got blown out by the Rays 11-3. I went to the game and really just watched inning after inning of the Orioles' ineptitude. I usually don't see games like that until August. But I stayed the whole time. We put our caps upside down in the bottom of the ninth and managed to spur a three run rally. Not enough to come back, but enough to prevent a shut out. And the good thing is that there is another game today. Another chance to win and a reason to watch.

Streaks and momentum and all other sorts of intangibles that make it fun to watch sports come into the baseball rhetoric more than any other sport. I have no idea if it's real in the clubhouse, but I don't really care. I like that there's always another chance in baseball. I like that there are so many opportunities to watch games and even attend games. Baseball is probably the most accessible sport for fans. (Unless you're a Yankees' fans where I believe the cheapest tickets still run about $6 million.) But in general, there are specials and there are deals and there are ways to get affordable tickets. Well, maybe that's just the Orioles. But still, the long season is part of what makes baseball America's pastime. It really is always there for you to watch.

The countdown to a .500 season is still at 77 right now. And overall, the Orioles have been playing decent baseball. So far it looks like they have three starting pitchers and hopefully will be able to fill in the rest of the rotation as the season goes on.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Strive for 5(hundred)....79 games

Yes, the third game in the season is starting in a few minutes. So it is possible that in a few hours the Orioles will no longer be in first place or be undefeated. However, they will still have a winning record. But I ask everyone to just enjoy this nice start to the season. I feel that there is an actual possibility that the Orioles could have a winning season this year. Or at least not a losing season. So in an attempt to jinx them, I'm starting a countdown that I'm calling the Strive for 5 as in a .500 winning percentage. The Orioles are now only 79 games away from this mark.

I have no idea if I'll be able to keep up this countdown. I might forget about it. I might give it up in disgust and dismay sometime in July. I might go a few weeks without posting about it if anything else happens in sports that I might care about. I seriously doubt I will make one of these posts after every win. But I will give it a decent shot. There are just so many baseball games that it might be hard for me to keep up. Occasionally real life does get in the way of blogging.

Right now I'm going to focus on the positives of this seasons so far. We seem to have two capable starting pitchers. That is good to know. Our bullpen is a little shaky but Sarfate isn't the most solid reliever and that the O's were just trying to gauge his progress with a large lead. For the Orioles to be successful this year they need a competent bullpen. The jury is still out on what's going to happen there. I prefer to be optimistic about this.

I'm also happy about the Orioles outfield. They are young and fast with strong arms and a lot of range. I expect to see them make a lot of great plays this year and hopefully make the job easier for any of our young pitchers. And improvement in defense is an improvement for the team. Especially since the pitching is the biggest question mark this season.

I don't know how this season is going to turn out in the long run. And we'll see how Simon pitches this afternoon. Keep your fingers crossed. This has already been a great couple of games to start the season. And any time the O's beat the Yankees is good by me. So let's go O's!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

O-pening Day

This is the best time of year to be an O's fan. Well it's probably good for any fan of a baseball team with a not so winning past. It's the beginning of the season and anything is possible. Yesterday it rained for all morning and I was a little worried. It looked as if the the game was going to get postponed. But fans still showed up to see the O's take on the Yankees.

It didn't seem like the best match-up to start the season. C.C. Sabathia was on the mound and the Yankees spent what seemed like a limitless amount of money this season to stack their team including hometown boy Mark Teixeira. But Baltimore fans showed up in droves to support the O's and boo the Yankees. And today, the Orioles are 1-0 after beating the Yankees 10-5.

The team played solid all day. Everyone seemed to contribute and the defense looked solid. It was reassuring to see a shortstop that didn't have any errors, let alone the kind of errors that make the blooper reels. It seemed like the day just got better and better. The rain stopped, the sun came out and the O's offense showed up ready to play.

I know its early in the season. But I'm hopeful. I think the O's could be over .500 this year. Yes, I think they can have a winning record. Well it's a tall order and a lot of it falls on young pitching. But I don't think its impossible. Who knows, the Rays went from never having a winning season to playing in the World Series. It's no less ridiculous to think that if the Orioles play solid defense all year full of good fundamentals and lacking in flashy, showy plays, that it could be a good year.

Don't talk to me about flaws and shortcomings right now. I'm all about hope.

Photo: AP/Susan Walsh

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Ridiculous Jay Cutler Saga Continues

I love Jay Cutler, he might not be the greatest quarterback ever, well, he's definitely not, but he's so entertaining. He's constantly running his mouth, comparing himself to other quarterbacks and saying how much better he is then them. There are drunken pictures of him playing beer pong floating all over the Internet. He's diabetic and yet was in a McDonald's commercial. He whines and cries and fights with the new coach and anyone who will listen. And he still managed to put of ridiculous fantasy numbers.

I'm excited to see how this whole Chicago deal works out. Chicago gave Denver the football equivalent of a small fortune to get Cutler. Some people might think this is a bad trade, since Cutler's team only went 8-8 last year and missed the playoffs in a very weak division. But Cutler was very good at moving the ball. His team had almost no defense and no running backs. So his performance was solid. I don't know if he's worth every first round draft pick for the rest of eternity for the Bears, but I think it was a solid move on their part. At least they got rid of Kyle Orton. Plus now he has a whole new division's worth of players to feud with.

I might have to root a little for the Bears. If only so Cutler stays in the league longer to entertain me. Seriously, if his beer pong skills are any good I might love this guy. It's the kind of drama I need.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Just Post It

I know I should be talking about the final four. I mean, that's the big thing happening in sports right now. But I'm just unmotivated. I feel like I should write something. Maybe it will get me in the mood. Instead I'm going to write a little about the stuff I should have been writing about.

I should have written something about the 25th anniversary of the Colts leaving. But after 25 years, a new football team, a Superbowl, and a new image for the city, I still don't know what to say. I don't remember the Colts being in Baltimore. I grew up in a city that was bitter about the way they left. Baltimore was like a spurned lover, they embraced there new team but still get angry and bitter every time the Colts come to town. And likewise, the team always seems to fall apart against the Colts. Like an ex the city is not quite over. We talk a big game, but it still hurts. It's been 25 years but Baltimore is still not over it.

The final four is happening this weekend. I have no clue who is going to win. Right now it's any one's game. I had Michigan State losing in the first round. But they man handled Louisville, the number 1 overall seed. If you've been reading this blog for any period of time you know I suck at predictions. So I'm not going to make any. Any team could win this thing. You're guess is as good and probably better than mine. I won't tell you which team I like, I don't want to jinx it.

Yeah, there's a lot of other stuff going on in the sports world. But sometimes real life gets in the way of blogging.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shameless Self Promotion

I just wanted to give anyone checking this site a quick heads up. I was asked to add content to Total Pro Sports. This sounds like a fun opportunity for me but as a result it means I will probably update this site even more erratically. I still plan to update regularly, but wanted to you all to know why posts might start to lag. Hopefully, it will not have a huge impact. I already am subject to the demands of school and other things happening in my life and I still plan on making time for this. But if you need a fix of my writing you can also check there. Here's the link to my first article. The Lady Terps Will Eat Your Children. Hope you enjoy it.

I also write pretty regularly for the Friday feature on Deadspin called Waxing Off. Most you probably stumbled across my site this way but I figured as long as I'm mentioning other places you can find my writing, I might as well make a note of it.

I also wrote a review of Camden Yards area restaurants and bars a while back for Fan Foodie. This is a great collaborative site to check out if you are traveling or going to any sports venue and want a feel for the local fair to prevent you from getting sucked into the local tourist trap or eating some terrible stadium food.

As always, thanks for reading.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Good for Hockey, Good by Me

A lot has been made recently of Alex Ovechkin's 'excessive' celebration of his 50th goal. Yeah, this was a few days ago, but I've been like the most people and spent the last week obsessing over college basketball. Now that my team is out and my bracket is totally busted, I can start going over the sports news I've been missing out on. One such piece of controversy, was Alex Ovechkin pretending to start a fire over his stick after scoring.

Ovechkin has always been known for his celebrations. Every goal he or a teammate scores he jumps up and down like a crazy person. He scores a lot of goals, third season in a row over 50, and he celebrates a lot. So far, this has been lauded as great for the game. An explosive player who shows great enthusiasm and truly enjoys playing the game. It has made hockey more fun for people to watch. People who nothing about hockey know who Alex Ovechkin is. He brought personality to the game. And it seems that he has done it for the love of the game, not for his own personal glory.

So why all the criticism? Yeah, maybe it was a bit of dick move, but it was fun. What's wrong with some celebration. I'm not saying he should start whipping out Sharpies and signing pucks, but an occasional over the top celebration is not a terrible thing. Not every goal celebration should involve antics or props, but an occasional clip is ok. It brings attention to the league. Suddenly people are watching hockey for something other than fights. And maybe, they'll be like me, they'll watch a little hockey for some other reason and realize that hockey is actually pretty fun to watch.

Purist will decry any change. But the league should embrace some fun. That's the point of the outdoor game right. To bring in new viewers. A star gets press and some interest and some fans. So let the guy play and have fun. The NBA just took out a huge loan and is still considered a run away more popular sport than hockey. Let the league address excessive celebrations if or when they get out of hand. Until then, enjoy the star power.