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.