Friday, February 27, 2009

Duke Loss Not All Bad

Yes, it was heartbreaking. Maryland played well for most of the game but let Duke get away from them in the end. There is still a glimmer of hope for Terp fans but I'm not going to go into that. Instead, here is my favorite highlight from the game. This helped me survive through several mind numbingly boring classes yesterday. In general, I'm not in favor of people getting hurt, and I hope this guy is ok. But man, that screen was nasty. The moral of this clip is Dave Neal = Brick Wall.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fans Regain Swagger, Hopefully Team Follows Suit

Maryland fans have a reputation of being mean, rude, crude, obscene, profane, and obnoxious. They have been repeatedly warned against wearing F*UCK DUKE shirts, scrawling inappropriate signs and making J.J. Redick cry. Maryland fans also like to riot after even minor upsets. Well, at least they used to. Over the past few years though Maryland has been riding the bubble every year and mostly been on the wrong side of it come March. I feel like the current Terps are missing out. The fans had lost some of their swagger.

But then the Terps beat UNC and the fans responded in kind. First came Operation Scheyerface. A student organized fans to print out black and white photos of Duke's Scheyer and wave them during the game. This should be entertaining. Then somehow some fans got hold of the hotel that Duke was staying at. Yes, prank calls ensued. This one if true, is probably the funniest:

“Hello, this is ****** with the Washington Times, sorry to bother you at this hour Mr. Paulus, but we are running a small piece tomorrow and I was hoping to take 2 minutes and ask you a question?”

Him: “Uhhh, sure”

“If you had to choose between Deron Washington, Danny Green, and Dwayne Collins, who’s nuts would you say tasted the best?”

Him: …click.

I don't care if it's juvenile, I still love it.

ACC fans are known for being terrible sports. But Maryland seems to get most of the bad wrap. Other teams used to chant "Crackhead parents, clap, clap, clap, clap, clap" when Juan Dixon played. Talk about classy.

But I'm glad Maryland fans seem to be back on their game. I mean, what's the fun of being a college sports fan if you can't get ridiculously obnoxious from time to time. That's part of the point of going to a school with a good program.

Hopefully the team will be inspired by the student's show of support, asinine as it may be, and play well. It would be nice to post a win over Duke this year. And they have looked beatable this season, just not the last time they played the Terps. But maybe this game Maryland can buckle down and play two great games in a row, something that has escaped them all season. Maybe Vasquez can find some consistency. I'm not really sure how the game will turn out tonight. But regardless, I'm glad the fans get to experience some old school Terps taunting.



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal

Yesterday afternoon a graphic kept flashing across the bottom of the Maryland-UNC game. It was every major win by an ACC team over a top 10 ACC opponent. Even UVA had one. But next to MD there was a question mark. Every time it came up I felt the need to just shake my head. It was a huge gaping hole in an already very questionable resume for a NCAA bid. Maryland wasn't even on the bubble before yesterday. Then it all changed with a yellow clad, red hot Greivis Vasquez.

With the first triple double for Maryland since 1987, he kept the Terps in the game in the first half until someone else managed to hit a shot. The Terps who hadn't led all game managed to tie it up and send the game into overtime with 76 points. But Maryland managed to step it up in OT. And walked away from the #3 ranked UNC with a huge win 88-85.

All of a sudden Maryland is back to 6-6 in the ACC. Two of their next four games are very winnable, with UVA and NCST coming up. If they can win those, they become a legitimate bubble team by finishing 8-8 in the ACC. If they can also pull an upset against Duke or Wake Forest, a tourney bid becomes a real possibility. This erratic season is killing me but I have no intention of complaining if they can come back from the dead and make something happen.

Less than a month ago I was mourning the death of the Maryland season, Gary Williams and Debbie Yow were having a very public feud about recruiting and the Terps had suffered there worst loss in years against a hated Duke team. They couldn't hold onto leads in the second half, and everyone just seemed demoralized. But somehow this team made it through all that and started working its way back to .500. I keep giving up on them and they keep coming back and giving me hope. This is why no matter how bad they are I can't seem to abandon them. I can't stop watching.

This undersized team seems to have a big heart. Next year with a legitimate big man hopefully they will be a force to be reckoned with. But this season might have renewed my faith in Gary. Let's see if they can continue to rise to the challenge and maybe even make the tourney. I'm giddy with anticipation.


Photo: AP/Rob Carr found at

Friday, February 20, 2009

Hope for the O's

I'm starting to get excited for the beginning of baseball season. For the first time in a long time I have hope of a winning season. Not a playoff team, don't be crazy, but a solid team that finishes around .500. Last season, I worried the Orioles would struggle to win 50 games, this year, I'm very hopeful.

The O's just signed Brian Roberts to a 4 year contract extension which should quell the trade rumors and lock him up for a long time. Hopefully, he will continue to be a productive second baseman and a team leader. He's one of the faces of our franchise now and I'm glad to see him staying in Baltimore.

The team has a lot of potential this year. There are a lot of young pitchers who are going to try and prove they can be legitimate options. There is also an experienced bullpen filled with long relievers. There will be a lot of shuffling in the rotation as the season progresses, but I think it will work out ok. And for the first time in a while I feel like the Orioles have prospects in the Minors. Yes, prospects. Some of which should come to fruition this season.

Matt Wieters, a great draft pick looks like he will be ready to play this season. The Orioles signed veteran Gregg Zaun to help ease the transition. Andy McPhail has been making smart move after smart move and hopefully his hard work will pay off this season.

I love the time before the season starts when you can hope for a different outcome. It's been a while since I've really felt the O's were turning around. It feels really good.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Time to Dream the Impossible Dream

The Terps are 5-5 in the ACC. I hope you took the last few days to dream that they could make the NCAA Tournament. I didn't look at their upcoming schedule. Didn't think about the flaws. Just reveled in the comeback they've made. They are now only 3 1/2 games out of first on in the ACC. Yes, they are 8th, but one more win and a couple key losses and they are in the thick of the competition. Beating Virginia Tech might have been the rallying point they needed to go on a great run.

Hope springs eternal, and suddenly the hope is back. It might dry up again tonight but for now I'm enjoying a few more hours of it. Four out of five of Maryland's next games are against top 15 schools. Tonight it starts with Clemson. But I'm hopeful. I'm not going to analyze the schedule for a couple days. I'm not going to think about it all. I have class during the game tonight, so I won't even be watching. But I think its better that way. I'll watch the gamecast sporadically but won't be able to focus too much on the game. If we win, I'll feel we're one step closer to an amazing comeback season, if we lose, at least I didn't have to watch.

I really want this to be more than a little glimmer of hope. The students seemed to have rallied around Gary and there seems to be a new sense of purpose with his coaching. Maybe that big Debbie-Gary feud is what the Terps needed for extra motivation. I'd like to think something good came out of all that embarrassing infighting. The recruits for next year are looking good, with one shattering the backboard at his high school game last week.

Hope has returned to College Park. Here's hoping it lasts.



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In McPhail We Trust

Andy McPhail has not made any blockbuster moves this off season but I'm ok with that. He has worked to fill needed holes in the infield and outfield. He ventured overseas to Japan to find a starting pitcher, Uehara. He found a solid short stop in Izturis to fill the most glaring infield need and picked up a few utility players while he was at it. While the starting rotation is still very much in the air the O's look like they are going to have a solid bullpen with hopefully some players maturing into a starting material.

McPhail is slowly and quietly making this a legitimate team. He has no intention of rushing minor league prospects. And it seems after being terrible for so long we might actually have prospects in our farm system. Maybe this year the O's will manage a winning season. I'm hopeful. I've come a long way from last year thinking the O's would be lucky to win 50 games. They managed to win a few more than that and I think this team has only gotten better. I don't see playoffs in their future for a couple more seasons, but I'd be happy still watching good baseball in August and September.

So far McPhail needs to be given a lot of credit. He is not looking for a big name player to be a quick fix. He really is trying to rebuild the team. He has made good moves so far. Take Miguel Tejada for example. He was traded right before his value dropped markedly. He was named in the Mitchell report only days later. Then it came out that he had lied about his age and was actually two years older. And now he is facing time in a federal prison because of the steroids and lying to Congress. In the course of one season he has lost a considerable amount of trade value. McPhail managed to get rid of him and take some of the bad press spotlight off of the Orioles and their players.

He also negotiated the steal that was the Bedard trade. So what if he didn't get Teixeiria, it would have been nice but he is only one player. The Orioles have made that mistake too many times. I'm happy to see a team being developed. Maybe I'll be cursing this team again in April. I'm fickle and I admit it. But I think McPhail has earned the fans' trust. We need to support his efforts to stay away from the big blockbuster names and find solid players to help win games. New uniforms, new season, new hope.

Here's hoping for some Orioles Magic.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Topsy Turvy Terrapins

Maryland managed to hold off Georgia Tech last night extending their winning streak against the Yellow Jackets. It was a close game but a win is a win. And an ACC win is even better, even if its against the cellar dweller of the ACC. I didn't actually watch the game. I remembered how terrible the first GT game was and saw no reason to punish myself like that. I guess I was right since the Terps barely sneaked by with the win, 57-56, and only shot 35% from the field.

Regardless, I'm feeling optimistic. The infighting in the between Gary and Debbie is back to being private. The recruits for next season actually look promising. One recruit, Jordan, is 6'9 and has broken all sorts of records at his high school. We will actually have a legitimate big man next year. Maybe this means Gary has finally changed and his recruiting will get better. The Terps played pretty well against UNC even though they got beat. They still scored 91 points. Not a bad game at all.

So even after barely winning I am hopeful for the rest of the season. I'm in full on delusion mode right now. I believe Maryland could go on a ridiculous run like two seasons ago and still salvage this season. Maybe its the recent spring like weather. Maybe I just can't abandon my team no matter how painful it is or how much I want to. I don't care. I'm going to enjoy this brief respite from wishing the season was over. False hope is fine with me.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few days you are aware that Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl last night bring a record six Lombardi trophies to Pittsburgh. I hate the Steelers so I was kind of rooting for Arizona by default. Mostly I was not paying attention, to the game or the commercials. Mostly it looked like Pittsburgh was going to win, which was not really surprising at all. After the interception for a touchdown at the end of the first half I figured the game was over. Was there a worse possible way for Arizona to end the half? Instead of throwing a short pass for a touchdown to go into the half with the lead there's an interception and a touchdown.

At the half I declared the game over. Then somehow Larry Fitzgerald put the Cardinals back in the game. Everyone else in the room was cheering and excited. It was a Cardinals crowd by default. Some Kurt Warner fans, some Steelers haters, some lovers of the underdog story. I just shook my head. There was too much time left. I've watched the Steelers beat the Ravens three times this season. Big Ben is good at comebacks. The man has barely half a brain but this is where he thrives. I knew it was over.

People doubted me. But if I had been in Vegas I would have laid a ton of money on this. I just knew it. And it happened. Santonio Holmes comes up big in situations like this. He caught the 'touchdown' pass on the last drive against Baltimore to win the game. He managed to stretch his body further than I thought possible, but after watching the replay again and again it was a touchdown. I didn't really care that much about Arizona. I was just one of the many bandwagon fans who were ready to hop off as soon as the game was over regardless of the outcome.

Actually the loss didn't bother me that much. And I felt vindicated by my correct prediction. It also meant more shot of a smiling Mike Tomlin. Who knows, maybe they'll make a movie now about the Steelers. Omar Epps can play Tomlin. Yes, the resemblance is uncanny. Whatever, Tomlin is hot.