Friday, December 30, 2005

Bowls and Hoops

I've gotta admit, this bowl season is taking me away from college hoops. Through the genius of Tivo, I'm watching more and more of the bowl season then ever.

An underdog hadn't won a bowl game until Nebraska did the other night. You figured that might open the floodgates and sure enough Utah and Oklahoma came through with upset wins last night.

Obviously, USC is pretty confident in their abilities. But you have to think that the way the Big 12 is playing early in the bowl season, and the way the PAC 10 has sort of struggled is making them think Texas might just be pretty darn good. I've always felt the Horns were the better team that was more battle tested. They are still my pick.

I've flipflopped back and made Illinois my #1 team. Its Illinois, Duke, Washington, Florida, and UCLA. That's right the Bruins jump into my Top 5. I've always been a Ben Howland fan, and he's got them rolling. I can't wait to see them matchup with Washington later this year.

There isn't a lot on the agenda for college hoops today. Friday is usually a pretty dead day. And this is probably the last Friday with anything resembling a full schedule. There are some ranked teams in action, but the only two that play each other are NC State and George Washington. I think the Pack wins at home.

An interesting matchup with West Virginia hosting Canisius. John Beilein used to be the head coach for the Griffs. Nice to see them get that opportunity.

And a pretty nifty mid-major matchup as Wisconsin-Milwaukee travels to Montana. We have the Grizz all the way upto #24 in my rankings. But I wouldn't be shocked to see the Panthers win here.

And if you want an upset for the bout George Mason at Mississippi State? I think that fits.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Almost Lunch time

You've heard me say how good the CAA is. And you maybe questioning that after the league sort of laid an egg last week. Old Dominion off their pounding of DePaul lost a pair. One an overtime loss at Richmond and at UAB. And Northeastern lost by 20+ at Providence. The Northeastern loss was strange. They allowed the Friars 31 straight points at one point. An 8-0 run to close the first half, and a 23-0 run at the start of the second. Makes it tough to win.

I know I'm getting old. Seems like everybody who I remember playing sports as a kid has a son playing somewhere now. But I had this discussion with a friend the other day and they said I was exaggerating. So everytime I think of someone, I'm putting them in here. How bout Joakim Noah, son of Yannick Noah to start, and while were with the Gators, they also have the sons of Sidney Green and Tito Horford on their undefeated squad.

Northwestern State started five freshmen four years ago. Now as seniors they are making a difference. Playing pretty well, a couple of nice upsets. And they probably should have gotten another one in Hawaii. But Iowa State was credited for two points when they made only one, in a double overtime win. Anyhow it seems like sticking with that group has paid off for NW State. I remember another team that started all first year players four years ago. None of them start anymore. And they are 2-8. Coincidence? You decide.

I may tend to overate the undefeated teams at this time of the year. I think Clemson and Pittsburgh are both worthy of top ten rankings. But I don't understand the argument that because they haven't played anyone makes them no good. And as bad as Pitt's schedule has been, you've got to remember that they play South Carolina and Wisconsin this week. That's a total of 4 BCS non-conference games, plus a team in the Final 32 last year in Vermont. That is respectable enough. I can't believe I'm defending the Panthers. It goes against my being.

Speaking of the Panthers schedule. Coppin State was on it recently. And that bothers me. Bothers me because Eagle head coach Fang Mitchell is taking a cut of some of Coppin's guaranteed money from their ridiculous schedule. A couple of big money and big name games are commonplace for a small D-I school. They need them to make athletic budgets in most cases. But Coppin's is murderous, games at Clemson, UCLA, Xavier, Illinois, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Michigan and Michigan State. Again those are money games. But Fang getting a cut just doesn't seem right.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Holiday Return

Took a few days off as there wasn't much going on. At least that is what the Orioles thought. Meanwhile, another potential trade target got dealt. Troy Glaus moved to Toronto. And Kevin Millwood, not a front office target, but a fan target, signed with Texas.

Credit me with bonehead fan move. I turned the Hawaii Bowl off when Nevada scored to go up two scores with three minutes left. UCF came all the way back, forced OT. But then that missed extra point ended it in OT. Tough one for them. The announced attendance was like 26000. But it couldn't have been that many. Isn't this why the Aloha and Oahu Bowl's folded the other year? They became the San Francisco and Seattle Bowls. But then the Seattle Bowl moved back to Hawaii, I think. Seems like maybe there are too many games.

Speaking of turning the TV off too soon, is that what Tommy West did in Detroit today? Water shower and all, the Tigers were lucky they recovered Akron's second onside kick. The first guy dropped it, only to have the next tight end dive on top. They then proceeded to run out the clock with Memphis all-time leading rusher Deangelo Williams on the bench with the Tigers needing a first down and the Roo still had all their Time Outs left. Then Memphis fumbled a snap and Akron recovered, but Akron was ruled offsides. All this and it was 38-17 with 1:47 left. Even that blonde next to West was getting worried.

Monday Night Football went out with a bang tonight. Anybody else starting to think the Patriots might just make a run through the AFC playoffs.

Anyone else care if Bill Parcells retires again? I mean just get out and stay out. You can even do TV if you like, but I'm sick of hearing about whether he will coach, its the same whether he is coaching or not.

I like Clemson and Arizona State tomorrow. Not too surprising. Colorado could be scary in Orlando, but it just seems too much bad has happened down the stretch, and the Tigers were playing pretty well.

Pretty crazy that Arizona State and Rutgers are playing again. I mean the Knights only ever played in one bowl, the Garden State Bowl back in like 1978. The opponent ASU. This time the Sun Devils host the game in their home state. Crazy.

Gonzaga vs. Memphis in hoops tomorrow night if you've had enough of Capital One Bowl Week. Another chance to see Morrison, and another opportunity to try to guage just how good Memphis is. I'm starting to believe.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Lunchtime Litterings

First off, we want to offer our deepest condolences to Tony Dungy and his family. Dungy's 18-year old son, James died early this morning in his apartment in Tampa. Anyone who has experienced the horror of losing a child knows what Dungy is experiencing right now. The rest of us can only imagine. Personally, I wish God's strength upon Dungy and his family right now.

I'm keeping Duke number one right now. Illinois is as close as you get in second, but for now I'm staying with the Devils.

Niner is back in Baltimore. It isn't the type of deal that is going to make most Oriole fans stand up and cheer. But it is a positive move and one that if everything else would have gone right, would be applauded louder now.

Kenny Rosenthal is reporting the Cubs are offering a blockbuster package for Miguel Tejada that includes Mark Prior. I've been saying for days that Tejada isn't going anywhere. But this has me thinking. And thinking for the better. Prior, Patterson and Ronny Cedeno for Tejada. That fills some needs for the Orioles. But doesn't seem to be what they are talking about. Instead, the Cubs want a replacement for Prior if they deal him and are insisting on Eric Bedard. But the Orioles can't afford to give up pitching. They need it in return. I think the Orioles might part with a Bedard if they got a ML pitcher and a prospect in return, ie Prior and Felix Pie. But the Cubs seem unlikely to go that route. That means this deal probably stalls.

Can't believe the Canadian National Team included Todd Bertuzzi on its Olympic Team.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Bedtime Blatherings

Not much to talk about tonight.

Clemson did win in San Juan. Not exactly sure what that means, other than they are 11-0. We'll find out more about them later.

The Mount had another bad loss. Bad in the way it went down. An overtime loss to Chattanooga isn't a terrible thing for an NEC school. But blowing a 14-point lead with 13 left and five with 1:40 left is unacceptable. I said going in, winning two on the island would be a major stepping stone. Just missed.

I might have to go find the end of the Fiesta Bowl Classic somewhere. Western Kentucky is keeping it close with Arizona. The Cats just aren't the Cats yet.

You had to be thrilled with the Steve Finley for Edgardo Alfonzo trade. Blockbuster. I remember when Finley was traded for Glenn Davis. Davis smacked a double off the wall in that old corner at Memorial Stadium on opening day. Then I had to goto Hagerstown just to say I saw him play after that. Oh yeah, the Orioles also included Curt Schilling and Pete Harnisch in that trade. No wonder they won't deal young pitching.

Online poker can be a lot of fun. But just because you get good online. You have to remember a lot of the guys you play against are pretty bad. And the other half are busy typing their blog.

Got my Christmas shopping done tonight. Thanks to those of you who reminded me. My daughter was so cute buying stuff for her mom. That makes the season.

And the Mount loss a whole lot easier.

And the Orioles doing nothing a whole lot better.

That was really Carson Palmer's brother quarterbacking for UTEP tonight.

Check back with me on who I want to make #1. Illinois was surely more impressive tonight. But maybe after a night's sleep I'll stay with Duke.

Somebody cheer for Princeton tonight. They scored 34 points. Speaking of that game. Does anybody else think Stanford might still be around when it matters.

My Orange rolled again. A good RPI building win over UIC. Nice to see Terrence Roberts have a big night. Actually it would just be nice to see the Orange. This December schedule although good for the RPI isn't good for the Alums who count on the Orange to be on TV. GMAC is a great player. 18 points 12 assists. But again he shot poorly, that can't happen against good opposition. Darryl Watkins had 7 of a team 16 blocks. That number set a new school record.

All that and I watched Dawna win Martha Stewart's Apprentice. The beauty of TIVO. I have KK right now (Lunky Doodle doesn't know what he's in for)

Morning Cup of Coffee - Things I forgot last night

ESPN2 had a show called MaddenNation on last night. It is like a reality show with a large Madden 2006 or whatever the game is called tournament on. And people wonder how the World Series of Poker gets good ratings.

I'm learning new things with my blogging like links - here are two - one about a former Oriole who is now again an Oriole, and one about a former Oriole, who was then again an Oriole, and then again a former Oriole and now has a new home. http://,1,2980430.story?coll=bal-sports-baseball
Call me a blogging genius

I don't think I said enough about how much Johnny Damon going to the Yankees really bothers me. I mean really bothers me. These things happen at Christmas time and I become Scrooge. Or is it the Grinch. One of them.

Good job by the Midwest Airline pilot and crew last night. I mean how many times do we say good job to the pilot. In this case he deserves it.

The Mount won. The Mount won. The Mount won. And on a side note, Liberty is still winless.

I got 28 points for the So Miss win last night. I already complained the pool operator hasn't sent out standings. I want to see myself in the lead.

Kobe had 62 last night. 30 in the third quarter. And the Lakers won. I think all of that is more than my high school career.

I'm of the belief that Ponson will have a good year in St. Louis. Somebody remind me to draft him in my fantasy draft.

Speaking of reminders. Somebody remind me to start my Christmas shopping.

Joe Paterno was named AP coach of the Year. I'm happy for him. And I think he probably deserved it. But I was shocked he beat out Greg Robinson. Because if it wouldn't have been for the superb gameplan against Buffalo, the Orange would have gone 0-11.

Tough one tonight versus Illinois-Chicago. I'm serious. The Flames won by 20 in Atlanta earlier this year versus Georgia Tech. I'm hoping that GMac's shooting flurry the last time out was a sign of things to come. Note to SU fans, the Orange's game with Kent on Dec 30 will be covered on Altitude. I think that is 644 on the DirectV dial. But it may be blacked out for Full Court Coverage.

The Red Sox have already begun shopping (no not for Christmas) but for a new Centerfielder. Word is they are after Coco Crisp, Jeremy Reed, Joey Gathright, Corey Patterson or may goto the FA market for Preston Wilson, Terrence Long or Juan Encarnacion. Long-term, I'd take Reed. But for next year I'd go with Wilson.

Media out of Chicago reports that Patterson won't be back in Chicago. That despite the Cubs offering arbitration.

Forget about the Scott Olson for Joey Gathright trade. Its not going to happen. The Marlins determined they don't pay Olson enough to trade him.

The Dodgers who have been busy of late are my front-runner to resign Jeff Weaver, despite the fact that he rejected arbitration.

IF and notice its a big if the Mets are able to get rid of Kaz Matsui and Anna Benson - then expect them to make a big run for Barry Zito. But it seems at the moment that they are tapped for cash and can't take on Zito without clearing some space.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Bedtime Ramblings from a night in sports

The New Orleans Bowl plays on in Lafayette and it could be an exciting final ten minutes. I'm sure somewhere someone is watching. I have the USM or is it SMU, definitely USM for 28 points in a confidence pool. They lead 24-19. That could put a damper on my hopes if they don't hold on.

Big News out of New York. The Yanks have signed Damon. Raise your left hand if you didn't know this was going to happen. The good news. It only makes it more satisfying when they don't win.

Good game in the Mid-Atlantic tonight. Richmond beat Old Dominion in overtime. Monarchs never led all night, in fact came back from an early 19-point deficit to force the extra session. Then scored first four points of overtime, but lost from there.

Speaking of overtimes....Lasalle played another one. After Sunday's 4 OT win, the Explorers needed only one tonight to down Florida International. Oh and Northern Illinois beat K State in an extra session. Both of those teams have started extremely well.

I finally decided that Duke deserves to be #1. But if Illinois beats Missouri tomorrow night, as I suspect they will the Illini may move back to the top. Or what about Clemson. The Tigers can move to 11-0 with a win over Akron in the San Juan Shootout tomorrow. Biggest problem for the Tigers is they only have two decent wins, Penn State and South Carolina if they count. But if they win tomorrow 11-0 and go .500 in the ACC, you have to figure they dance in March.

Would have been a good story if the Doctor, Tom Davis could have won in Iowa tonight. His Drake Bulldogs led late, but the Hawkeyes won it in the final minutes. I swear I saw Dr. Tom in the clubhouse at Penn National a few summers ago.

Adam Eaton traded to the Texas Rangers. CBS Sportsline's Scott Miller says it fills a void for the Rangers. Actually Miller's opinion just filled some space. Eaton, always noted for his promise, has never posted a sub-4 ERA, and moves from a pitchers park to a hitters haven. Plus Eaton spends a good bit of time on the DL, evidenced by his ability to never top 200 innings. Padres get former Princeton center Chris Young and former #1 pick Adrian Gonzalez. Like Miller, I like the deal. But I like it for San Diego. I also like it for my Orioles, sort of. Baltimore was thinking about trading for Eaton. Now they can't. And that's a good thing.

Ray Allen moved to third all-time in the NBA in three pointers. That was shocking to me. Seems like his career hasn't been long enough to be third all-time in anything. But he passed Glen Rice. Still ahead of Allen. 2. Dale Ellis and 1. Reggie Miller - now that makes sense.

Jay Bilas contends Texas' chances at a national title might be over after laying eggs against Duke and Tennessee. Well the truth is their chances are over when they lose in March. Obviously though, you've got to like their chances a lot less right now.

No booze at the Jets/Patriots game on Monday night. Now how in the world is that going to bearable. Thankfully, my wife hasn't banned the Yuengling from our fridge.

Happy Winter tommorow. It arrives for real. All that cold weather has just been a mirage. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Weekend observations on a Sunday Night

So Reggie Bush is leaving USC. I am the only one who expects Pete Carroll to follow. I don't think he'll stick around to see if he can rebuild/reload in LA. Instead, he'll take an NFL job, fail miserably (again) and then return to the college game in five or six years.

Told you I wasn't convinced about Louisville.

But still how about January 5 in terms of basketball matchups? The night after USC/Texas for the title. You get Illinois/Michigan State and Villanova/Louisville. Not a bad way to endure bowl withdrawal.

Was pleased with the Orange's win over Davidson today. And look GMac got hot, just in time for his homecoming game with Towson. My concern is, he was so hot and they still only beat Davidson by 8 or whatever it ended up.

You didn't really think the Colts would go undefeated did you? At 17-16, shaking off the 16-0 deficit, I certainly did.

Paul Westphal looks extremely old on the Pepperdine sideline. He also seemed one of the more dapper coaches in the NBA. But I thought he looked old on the late FSN feed last night.

Actually watched most of it this morning. TIVO is absolutely phenomenal.

What was your shocking moment in the NFL this weekend? Mine was the the throttling the Skins laid on the Cowboys. The Boys have a must win in Carolina next weekend. Uh-Oh.

Met up with 3 college friends this weekend. 10 years since graduation. We used to sit around and watch NBA games together. Now nobody cares.

I wanted Nomar to end up in Baltimore. The fact that he is not a Yankee makes it pretty much ok.

Something tells me Notre Dame didn't really talk to Hawkins last year when they had their coaching vacancy. Or at least they didn't offer him. When it was rumored the Domers were knocking last year, he was busy re-upping with Boise State. But when Colorado, in the midst of as big of inner turmoil as a program gets into, shows up with an offer, he bolts. Pretty much a given that Notre Dame didn't offer.

San Juan Shootout starts tomorrow and the Mount is there. The Mounties have been horrible thus far, and maybe three games in three days will give them some momentum. Kiel Butler returns after his academic difficulties and could provide some offensive spark. If he's allowed. Akron is a tough opener for the NEC conference squad, but winnable. Still even with a loss bouncing back for two wins after that would be possible and a good accomplishment. Somehow I doubt it happens.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Weekend Preview: Games I've got my eye on - NFL

Saturday games start in the NFL and that means we are that close to the playoffs. It also means some teams have mailed it in. While others are just trying to stay healthy as their place is secured. So unless you've got some sort of Fantasy playoff going on, or unless you've picked 14 straight winners in a Survivor pool, some games don't matter.

Here are the ones that least for me.

Tampa Bay @ New England - The Patriots were supposed to have it locked on Cruise Control by now. But last night when I said, "All that I care about this weekend is the Dolphins winning", I got a nasty stare from a Pats fan. Still, Tampa might need it more. Might make for a good plot. But there is that Tampa Bay temperature factor.

Kansas City @ NY Giants - Vermiel said a few weeks ago, that you'd have to finish 11-5 to make the playoffs out of the AFC. Well with 5 losses the Chiefs are at the max. (Although I still think 6 might sneak a team in). The Giants are a game up on the Cowboys in the NFC East and can't afford to give it back here.

San Diego @ Indianapolis - My heart wants the Colts to play for perfection. I don't know if that is wise or not. LT has been struggling for San Diego. I think they need him to play big in this one.

Pittsburgh @ Minnesota - Come aboard, this could be the game of the week. Both of these teams need W's. The Vikes have been the hot team in the NFL of late. Oh except for the Colts, they've always been hot. Pittsburgh might wave good-bye to the postseason upon departure.

Jets @ Miami - See above note about 14 straight winners in a Survivor pool.

Dallas @ Washington - Does this have that old-time Cowboys-Redskins feeling? I hope so. That is what made me hate them both so much

Atlanta @ Chicago - Bears seemed a virtual playoff lock not too long ago. Not so certain now are they on the Midway. I didn't think so. Falcons survived one must-win situation last week, but this isn't the Saints.

Friday, December 16, 2005

NCAA championship in December

There is a new Fox Sports column out by Jeff Goodman that lists the top 5 contenders and top 5 pretenders for the NCAA basketball championship. Its early but the non-conference season can give us an idea about who will be pretty good during the madness.

Goodman's Contenders
UCONN - hard not to list them in this group. The Huskies won the Maui Invitational versus the toughest field the island has ever seen. I said a year ago, that if Rudy Gay stayed four years, UCONN would win at least one title in that stretch. Maybe this is it.

Duke - Well they were everybody's preseason pick and they are unbeaten. So I guess they have to still be a contender. My usual practice is to pick against the favorite. And with the quality of teams I have seen in December, I'd do that here if I was filling out my bracket now. But with K on the bench and their past history, it wouldn't be a shock if they cut down the nets come March.

Washington - As Goodman notes, nobody has really given the Huskies any notice. I have. I think Washington has played just about as well as anyone this year. Their win over Gonzaga the other Sunday night was as thrilling of a game as you'll see. Lorenzo Romar has proven to me that he can flat out coach. If I was making a hire right now, he'd be on my short list.

Louisville - Getting David Padgett back is going to make them better. But I just haven't been impressed enough, yet, to make them a true title contender. That could change in the upcoming weeks. But for now I say pretender.

Michigan State - I'm already pumped for their January 5 matchup with Illinois. And with Izzo's track record, you have trouble discounting their chances. I was really impressed with how they handled themselves against Wichita State this past weekend. A week ago, I'd have said not strong enough to win 6 in a row. Right now, I'd seriously consider them.

Goodman's pretenders
Villanova - Goodman contends that the Cats need more out of Fraser or an injury return from Sumpter. Well I don't think Sumpter's coming back. But 'Nova hasn't shown anything on the floor yet, that keeps me from thinking they don't have enough to win it all. Sure we know they could be better. But maybe this is good enough. I'll be watching closely how they handle the rigors of the Big East.

Memphis - Goodman's concern is the youth. But college basketball is a younger game now. Syracuse won with 3 freshman and a 2 sophomores the other year. It can happen. But my concern is does the watered down C-USA keep them sharp enough come March. I'm guessing not.

Florida - Right now, I've got the Gators as a major player in the whole mix. I think their inside/outside balance will be a major benefit in the tourney. Maybe they need the go-to guy that Goodman speaks of. We'll see.

Gonzaga - Adam Morrison. Adam Morrison. Adam Morrison. Adam Morrison. Danny Manning. It doesn't happen often but sometimes one player wins the NCAA championship. I'd probably bet against Morrison and the Zags. But they have already provided three classic games this year, Michigan State in Maui, Oklahoma State and Washington.

Texas - One loss has made everyone sour on the Horns. I still think they are pretty good. Might not be solid enough to win it, but let's check back when that torching Duke put on them isn't so fresh in our minds.

Goodman ignores
Illinois - If you're a friend of the Fan, and their need to be more of you, you know I love the Illini right now. Right now, they've proven the most to me.

Clemson - The Tigers are still unbeaten and may surprise in a watered down ACC. I'll be interested in their showing in San Juan next week. But right now they are a pretender.

Wisconsin - The Badgers have been consistent, and their style gives teams fits in March. Probably not offensive enough to win it all. But they are a major sleeper for me right now.

Michigan - Are the Wolverines any good or have they just not played anyone yet? We'll find out soon enough?

Pittsburgh - The Panthers are quietly going about December business. They are getting better. Their defense makes it tough on people. Come March this team could be a force.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

21 points for Princeton - Are you kidding me?

Granted the Tigers have never had a run and gun offense, but on Wednesday night they took slowdown to the extreme. Princeton scored just 21 points in an embarrassing 41-21 home loss to Monmouth.

I've been shocked by the number of teams scoring single digits in a half this year. Its happened five or six times that I can remember. So I was interested to see what low level Princeton sunk to. Well the facts beared out that the Tigers hit double digits in each half. Almost an impossibility for a team that managed only 21 points. Still the Tigers managed to score 11 in the first half when they fell behind 21-11 and managed but 10 in the second half.

Woeful shooting keeps you from scoring. And the Princeton offense, which relies too much on the outside jumper, is going to have bad nights when you don't shoot well. Because the key to a slow scoring night for any scorer has always been get to the free throw line. If you're struggling shooting the ball, get in a rhythm at the line. Well, Princeton shot 2 free throws, making only one.

On the night, the Tigers shot 22%, including an atrocious 2-20 from behind the arc. However, the real crime was that 20 of their 41 shots were from behind that line.

The box score is ugly enough.

Thankfully, I wasn't at Jadwin Gym.

College basketball pauses for Exams

Not much going on in the college basketball world right now. Most teams are taking a few nights off so their players can concentrate on exams. Also it gives coaching staffs the chance to evaluate the early season and put some new things in at practices during the game breaks.

But two games caught my eyes the last two night.

Depaul upset Wake Forest last night. The Deacons had seemed to recover nicely from an early season loss to Florida and appeared ready for ACC action. But a loss to DePaul, expected to be in the bottom half of the gargantuan Big East, doesn't bode well. Skip Prosser isn't the greatest coach in the world in my opinion and without a point guard it could be a troubled season.

On Monday night, UNC-Wilmington nearly pulled the upset in Madison. But the Badgers rallied late and gave Wisconsin the win. The Seagulls have been one of the teams I've been impressed with early, and you've have to say that the Colonial Athletic Association is one of the top mid-majors in the land. Wilmington won an early season 8-team tourney at Wyoming, Old Dominion handed Georgia its only loss in the Virgin Islands, Drexel made the Preseason NIT Final Four in New York. Meanwhile, George Mason, Virginia Commonwealth and Northeastern have all had good starts to the season. That's a pretty tough six.

I'm sticking with Illinois as my #1 team right now. The Illini have done more than anybody else thus far. Its hard to say anybody is better than Duke, but Illinois has accomplished just a bit more thus far. I have the Dukies 2, Florida 3 and Washington 4.

Its no question who the best player is though. Gonzaga's Adam Morrison is sensational - and he's played like it early.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Stay or Go?

That is the question.

And right now it seems that the Orioles will hold onto Miguel Tejada. I'm sure that was their preference the whole time. In fact, I wouldn't be the least bit shocked, if Tejada's apparent demands, shocked the Warehouse FO when the first heard them after arriving home from Dallas.

Miggy is the foundation of this team. And there is no doubt that the offseason has been slow. Only SD C Ramon Hernandez has arrived. This on the heels of owner Peter Angelos promising a busy offseason. Well it hasn't materialized.

The Orioles are in a funny spot. One that shows them with enough potential that they were baseball's best team for two months last year. But also one with enough holes, that they might have been its worst for the other six. So now what to do? Especially when it seems the fruits of the farm rebuilding project are about to be reaped. But also when you've told your fanbase that you are ready to compete. And now your star has said he wants to compete or leave town?

Well it means compete. Plain and simple.

Do what it takes to get there. Even if it means tossing away one or two of the top prospects that you know might help you in two or three seasons.

Your star wants it now.

Your fans want it now.

You must make the moves.


Thursday, December 08, 2005


See, I go and say that things are sort of looking up in Baltimore and.....BAM! The next headline I read is "Miggy wants Out". Well that wasn't actually the headline. But that is what he said.

You had to figure that after Rafael Furcal signed with the Dodgers for more money per season than the former MVP he might have a grievance. But you didn't really think this would happen.

Despite the fact that the Orioles stink, watching Tejada makes every game exciting. Now he wants out of Baltimore. Seriously though even if the Orioles were willing to part with their best player, where could he possibly land. Those that have the $$ to pay the remainder of his six-year deal are pretty well set at the SS position. Aren't they?

Of course the Red Sox did ship their SS to Atlanta today. Maybe the Sox would be interested in a Ramirez and Clement for Tejada deal? Would that make any sense for the Orioles? I don't really think so.

The best thing for the Orioles is to somehow make Miggy happy again. That probably means trading one of their young pitchers for more protection in the lineup. Or maybe it means trading for a big-time pitcher. Are there any available?

Anyway, Miggy is not happy because the Orioles are not reacting to this market. Its tough to blame him. When he arrived two offseasons ago, along with Lopez and Palmeiro, it seemed the Orioles were on the verge of being competive again. But two years later it seems they are in more of a holding pattern than ever.

The future looks promising as young pitchers like Penn and Loewen and position players like Majewski, Fiorentino and Markakis are close. But apparently Tejada has gotten tired of waiting.

And who can blame him?

Hernandez - an Oriole

Been a slow offseason in Baltimore. But what do you expect after eight straight losing seasons. Now, one of the top targets of the offseason for the Birds has agreed to a 4-year deal. Hernandez, along with pitching coach Leo Mazzone, should help the young Orioles pitching staff.

Getting excited about the Orioles is tough at this point, but today is certainly a start.

Now the Orioles have the flexibility to move Javy Lopez if given the opportunity. Many Oriole fans think that Javy will bring a big prize in return. But seriously its tough to imagine him fetching too much in return. Lopez just turned 35 after the season, and is in the final year of his contract. He'd command something in return, but its hard to believe it would be much more than a second-tier prospect or an everyday regular without star potential. Eric Hinske's name was floated earlier today. Not saying he'll be the guy, but someone of that level might be just about right.

College Hoops - Who is the best team?

Duke and Texas play this weekend. And they might actually be the best two teams.

But right now its hard to argue with the way Illinois has played. The Illini are unbeaten and have a road win over UNC. In addition, the Illini have wins over Rutgers and Xavier, as well as handing Wichita State its only loss. Dee Brown was expected to carry the team, but its been James Augustine who has really stepped up. The 6-10 senior has averaged nearly 16 points a game in the Illini's first 8 wins.

Illinois takes on Big East foe Georgetown tonight, before traveling to Oregon this weekend. A pair of victories gets them to double digits on the season and further solidifies my contention that they've accomplished the most of anyone right now.

The beginning

Wow a web blog. My own. It's pretty simple too. Anyhow, I'll post more exciting stuff, some other time. Probably.