Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Mountaineers

Mt. St. Mary's officially announced today the signing of two more players to join the defending NEC champion in the fall.

Point guard Lamar Trice from Philadelphia and Jacolby Wells from Emporia Virginia are the two recruits who signed letters of intent on April 16th.

http://www.mountathletics.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=10900&ATCLID=1450407

The details above from the Mount's official website.

Trice is a small but extremely quick point guard. By all accounts he controls the basketball game from that point guard position. He is crafty and clever and can score when needed.

Wells is a 6-7 forward who continues the recent infusion of players to the Mount from the Commonwealth. The Mount's run at the end of the season apparently convinced Wells to join in. He was all-state Virginia and he will be looked upon early to contribute to the Mount's interior offense and defense.

Both of these recruits are interesting pieces for the Mount and welcome additions. Wells continues to show the Mount's ability to recruit into Virginia for some of its quality talent and is impact could be felt quickly on campus. Trice is a guard who can lock up the opposition's point guard and continues to show that the Mount will force the game from the defensive side of the floor.

Best of luck to both of them as they get ready to join the Mount. We look forward to watching them over the next few years.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Can't hit a Clemens fastball

Roger Clemens has been linked to Mindy McCready (above) in a story in today's New York Daily News.

It's probably not really a big deal. Other than she was supposedly 15 when the relationship, whatever type of relationship it was started. And I just wanted to post the picture. And, I don't like Clemens, and always thought he was a jerk. This doesn't definitely confirm it. But it does help the case.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Olson likely to start Tuesday

If you were unsure of the Orioles' plan to replace the injured Adam Loewen in the starting rotation the next time his turn comes up in the rotation, you got an indication last night at AAA Norfolk.

Garrett Olson, who is believed to be the potential minor league callup, was lifted after two innings in the game. He allowed one earned run, while walking four in the two innings.

But based on the fact that Olson didn't go beyond two innings and that the Orioles have used both of the potential replacements in their bullpen in Matt Albers and Jim Johnson, I think you can expect to see Olson back in the big leagues on Tuesday. I would expect to see Olson recalled and Brandon Fahey optioned out after Monday night's series finale in Chicago.

The Orioles and White Sox are set to play game three of the series this afternoon in Chicago.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nightcap

A little bit of a live blogging action here for the next half hour or so....

9:54: The Orioles have rallied to tie game two at 5 in the seventh. Now they are batting in the top of the eighth. Luke Scott just blooped a one-out single to left. Adam Jones hit it a lot harder, but he's retired for the second out. Gary Thorne informing us that according to Major League baseball rules this isn't really a double header, it's two games in one day, as Ramon Hernandez bounces out to short.

9:57: Joakim Soria is on in relief at Kauffman Stadium in KC trying to close out the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays spoiling a good effort by Shawn Marcum tonight as they trail 2-1. KC starter Luke Hochevar looked good early. The youngster has some good stuff and might be another solid young arm for the Royals to keep in the rotation. The Royals are my team that I expect to kind of surprise some people this year. But they had lost seven in a row earlier this week. They got a big 8-4 win last night to break the streak. David Eckstein is aboard with one out. But Dave Dejesus catches Aaron Hill's flyball in his shadow for out number two. Hochever one out away from his first major league win. And he'll get it, as Alex Rios skies (very high) out to left.

10:05: Chad Bradford retires the Sox 1-2-3 in the bottom of the eighth. The Orioles are in first place by themselves as the Rays have beaten the Red Sox. Fourth loss in a row for Boston, so the O's need a win here to remain on top by themselves.

10:07: Bobby Jenks is on for the White Sox. The Orioles gave Jenks his only blown save back on April 17th. Need a run here. Luis Hernandez to leadoff. Great story about Eider Torres (Hernandez has singled) and his pinch running experience in game one. Torres scored while pinch running. That was his first major league run. So after the game, manager Dave Trembley told Torres that they were trying to get the plate for him. Pretty good practical joke.

10:15: The Orioles just left the bases loaded in the top of the ninth. After the Hernandez single, Brian Roberts popped up a bunt attempt for out number one so Hernandez promptly stole second. Then Melvin Mora got an infield broken bat single, and moved to second on a pitch in the dirt. That allowed the White Sox to walk Nick Markakis. Kevin Millar promptly bounced to third and Joe Crede threw Hernandez out at the plate. The inning ended with Aubrey Huff bouncing back to the mound.

10:19: Jamie Walker is in to start the ninth for the Orioles. He's facing Jim Thome. This can't possibly end well, can it. Full count. Big Swing. Big Contact. Foul Ball into the upper Deck. Walker wins the battle. He struck him out. Randor Bierd is warming in the pen.

10:23: Bierd is now in the game, and has promptly gone 3-0 against Paul Konerko. He walked him and the Sox have a runner on with one out. Alexei Ramirez will pitch run for him. I'd pitch out on the first pitch.

10:34: The Sox have now loaded the bases. Brian Anderson is in the box. I've had one computer issue. Bierd is trying to get out the jam. There are two outs. The count is now 2-2 on Anderson. A base hit for Anderson and the White Sox win it 6-5. Bierd surrenders his first run of the season.

Everyday there's a different Star

Saturday afternoon it was Brian Burres and Guillermo Quiroz as the Orioles moved back into a first place tie with the Boston Red Sox courtesy of a 5-1 win at the New Commiskey Park in Chicago.

Burres went 8 scoreless innings and Quiroz broke a scoreless tie with his first career homer, a two-run shot in the sixth.

Too many more outings like this from Burres and I'm going to have to start to believe that he can be a serviceable major league starter. A great outing from the lefthander today.

The Orioles and Sox play the nightcap of the day-night doubleheader at 7 EST from Chicago.

Friday, April 25, 2008

O What a Night

If you stayed up late last night and caught the Orioles rallying in Seattle for an 8-7 win good for you, you were the winner. If you went to bed when they were down 5-1, too bad for you. It was one of the best regular season Oriole wins in recent memory. Once again, it was a good day to be an Oriole fan. Here is what went right.....



....Randor Bierd, the Rule V draftee, kept the team in the game while they tried to desperately rally from the deficit they had fallen into early. Good solid work by him.



....Despite the fact that the Orioles left runners on base early, they kept battling finally taking the lead in the top of the seventh, when Adam Jones bases-loaded blast to left somehow stayed in the yard but went for a two-run double.



.....Chicago Cub prospect Brian Roberts (just sign him to an extension already) homered to lead off the the eighth after the Mariners had tied the game at 7. Not sure if this team is really any good, but they do have resilency and I like that.

.....George Sherrill picked up his eighth save. The guy comes into the game and throws strikes. Generally they don't hit the strikes either or at least they don't hit them very hard. So a good job by him.

.....The Orioles took 2 of 3 in Seattle and its onto Chicago for a four-game weekend set. The O's continue to fare well in series and to me that is always the sign of a good team. Brian Burres gets the ball tonight and he'll oppose Mark Beuhrle. I never have a lot of confidence in Burres, but he has been getting the job done to start the season. Let's hope it continues.

.....Radhames Liz struck out 10 in seven innings of work at Norfolk. Eider Torres was recalled after the game as the O's were forced to put Adam Loewen on the DL. Not sure Liz will ever be a quality Major League starter, but I do think he could get guys out at the major league level. So he might be a quality bullpen guy.

.....Nolan Reimold went 4-for-4 at New Hampshire for the Baysox. The Orioles top outfield prospect is starting to rebound from a slow start. EDIT - There was a change in scoring overnight and Reimold's fourth hit has been changed to an error. So he went 3-for-4 last night. Good friend Mike Murphy provided the news during the first inning of tonight's game on the Fishercat Radio Network. The Baysox did score three times in that first inning, which should help Brad Bergesen who is making his first start in AA tonight. We'll keep our eye on that. He retired the leadoff hitter on one pitch.

.....Tony Butler got his first win with the organization. The big lefthander acquired in the Bedard trade beat West Virginia for Delmarva. He did allow four runs in six innings, but he continues to show good control as he has walked just two in 23 innings.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tidbits

Lunchtime baseball at the Great American Ballpark.....the Astros and Reds starting early and I'm getting the chance to enhance my lunch hour and check out Johnny Cueto the young pitcher who's had a good start or two for the Reds.

Ken Griffey needs 3 homers today to reach 600. Doubt he gets it today, but in time it will come. Junior was a dominant player at the start of his career, but has now just become an average player with age. Injuries have had something to do with it. Still one of the best players of this generation and one who deserves everything he gets. We're rooting for him as he approaches the milestone.

Speaking of dominant. Anybody else notice just how good Hanley Ramirez is? I don't think the casual fan has any idea that the best player in baseball might well be on the Florida roster. His leadoff homer last night in Atlanta was an absolute shot. 425 feet on a line to straight away centerfield. His seventh bomb of the year. Do yourself a favor, take in a Marlins game.

Nick Markakis' eighth inning homer won another close game for the Orioles last night. Markakis maybe my favorite Oriole right now. He should be the face of the franchise right now and for many years to come. The Orioles need to do the right thing and lock him up longterm, right now. Make a statement like other teams have done and secure this superstar longterm.

Interesting article in the Daily Orange today about how the SU football team is losing money. That's what losing games does ya. The athletic department has had to dip into the athletic reserve fund to balance the budget as a result. Totally Gross made a comment about how things had been healthy for awhile and that's why we build that up. So basically what he's saying is Paul and Jake won games ran the department on the plus side and then I can come in here and spend the money they've built up as I bury the athletic program. Can you tell I don't like the guy? Get rid of him and let's get back to winning some games. Oh, and maybe we could make the NCAA tournament or a bowl game as well?

Minorleaguebaseball.com has a current poll that wants to know who has the best pitching rotation. The Frederick Keys one of the five choices. Good stuff for the Orioles organization. Beato, Arrieta, Erbe, Renshaw and Bergesen the current five. Look for Tim Bascom to join that mix soon.

Chris Tillman pitched pretty well again in Bowie last night. The Orioles have some arms on the way.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thanks for the Memories....Chris Vann


I'll never forget the first conversation that I had with Mt. St. Mary's head coach Milan Brown about Chris Vann. At the time, Brown was working through preseason practice and headed towards his first game as head coach. He told me I was going to love Chris Vann.


I'm not sure I ever fell in love with the sharpshooter from Gar Field High. But over time, I did gain a respect for Vann and his abilities on the basketball floor. The truth is, I don't think he was nearly as gifted as many of the players who have donned the blue and white over the years. But he sure accomplished a lot in his time at the Mount.
I think that the biggest thing that bothered me about Vann was that he played as if he was a scorer instead of as a shooter. Therefore, I think that his efficiency was clearly hampered. However, as I think back on his time as a Mountaineer I think he might have been forced into trying to be more than simply a shooter. And it was his mental toughness and his ability to keep his teammates focused on the task at hand that led to my respect.
He finished with more than 1000 points, so he certainly could score the ball a little as well. He scored 20 or better 15 times during his career. He led the Mount with 16 points in the NCAA tournament loss to North Carolina and it was great to see him finish his career on such a high note. It certainly looked like he was having fun playing the NCAA tournament and we felt good for him.
Chris Vann always represented the Mount with class and his public comments after the tragic death of classmate Dustin Bauer around the time of the NCAA tournament made me a bigger fan.
He was the team's leading scorer his junior year, and second on the team his senior year, yet it seems like the Mount may have some players who performed well down the stretch to fill in for his departure when he graduates in May. Still no matter what, Vann will be missed when practice starts again next October.
Good luck to you #2.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The O's at Mile Marker 3

Since the fourth week of the season starts about as late as possible for the Orioles, 10:10 on the West Coast, I've taken the opportunity to wait on the evaluation after three weeks until now.

If you're an Orioles fan and you've got a realistic approach to what is going on, you've got to be pleased by what you've seen thus far. This team has shown that might not be the 100 loss team that everyone was expecting. The reason, the pitching hasn't been bad.

The starters have done enough to keep the Orioles in game, and for the most part the bullpen has been fantastic.

As far as the rotation is concerned, Jeremy Guthrie hasn't really pitched as well as he did in his first season with the Orioles, but he's given the Orioles plenty of chances to win. Steve Trachsel has filled innings, and Brian Burres is flat out scary out there but somehow he wiggles out of trouble. Daniel Cabrera has continued his routine of providing enough promise every second or third start to think that someday he might be a star. The difference this time is the bad starts haven't really been that bad. Adam Loewen has been rusty, but I was impressed with his curve ball the last time. If he regains his command of the fastball, and I suspect he will soon, he'll continue to mature as a major leaguer.

The promise has come from the bullpen. It appears the Orioles picked up some fine arms in the offseason. George Sherrill has shown he is capable of serving as the closer. Dennis Sarfate's stuff is quality and he's had many more good outings than bad. Matt Albers has been the team's most consistent pitcher and he even gave them one quality spot start.

Meanwhile, Jim Johnson has transitioned to the bullpen and has been better than ever imagined. All of that has allowed Jamie Walker and Chad Bradford to pitch in more accustomed roles and the manager has confidence in them in those roles.

The young outfield has been the real bright spot for the position players. Luke Scott is probably the only player who has really played above his head right now. He's had an average hovering around .400 all season and has shown the ability to hit lefthanders as well. Nick Markakis is budding on superstardom and despite the fact that team's are trying to avoid pitching to him, he has remained patient at the plate. He's on pace for a 315-26-90 type season. He's the reason to believe in this team. Adam Jones has been above average in centerfield and shown glimmers of true promise at the plate. It's exciting to think about the future, when you think about these guys.

The reality is there probably aren't too many parts of the infield that are going to be around when the team has the ability to truly contend in several years. I've wavered back and forth on whether they should trade Brian Roberts or hold onto him. I think he could be the type of player who yields the Orioles four or five more parts in the rebuilding process just as Bedard and Tejeda did. And passing that up, might not be worth it. The other guys have hit enough and in spurts to help the Orioles score enough runs. I think that Fahey and Hernandez are currently auditioning for the backup shortstop job. I wouldn't be surprised to see Alex Cintron join the team in Chicago or at home next week.

The next 17 of 20 games are on the road. The six this week (the Orioles also play in Chicago next Monday) are against two teams that are now thought of as contenders. Seattle will certainly like to avenge some of the damage the Orioles did in the big sweep the other week, and the White Sox are a team that has started hot and will look to take advantage of the team that is supposed to be at the bottom of the AL East on its home field. I'm a big believer that taking a season, series by series is a key for any team, and especially a young team. The Orioles have fared very well in series baseball this year. I'd love to see them get two of three in Seattle and then split the four games in Chicago.

As an Orioles fan, our expectations have been lowered. The first few weeks of the season have been exciting and they've done something to raise our expectations. Right now, I believe that this team could find a way to win 83 or 84 games, and I'd be upset if it lost more than that. But the reality remains that this franchise is headed in the right direction and I'm on board to continue to remain patient and watch it develop.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday Night Baseball

There were a few day games today, the typical Patriots Day game in Fenway and some healing for the Tigers in Toronto. Now the Cubs and Mets are on the Network tonight and Derrek Lee is still hot. His single preceded Aramis Ramirez' bomb and the Cubs lead the Mets 2-0 in the top of the fifth.

But let's take a look at some of the early questions in baseball....

Another good start for Ervin Santana yesterday, can he keep it going? Santana has always been one of those guys that I've really liked. Thought he had the chance to be a longtime solid starter. He certainly struggled quite a bit last year. I don't think he was rushed, but his focus hadn't caught up with his talent. That was obvious from his home road splits. He was atrocious on the road. Now he's getting a break or two to go with everything and the talent has caught up with the stuff. He's a bonus for the Angels at the moment, and I expect it to continue.

How bout Luke Scott, how long can he stay hot? I've really been impressed with Luke Scott's approach at the plate and his desire to be good. He has some experience and he's not going to just go away. However, he probably isn't going to keep hitting .400 too much longer. At some point, I think we'll start to see more power from the outfielder and less average. Still, I'm one who believes that with the approach he's shown, he would be the perfect #2 hitter in the Orioles lineup right now.

Is Cliff Lee more of the ace in Cleveland than CC Sabathia? Well he certainly has pitched like it thus far. But not sure how long that will continue. He won 18 games in 2005 and another 14 in 2006 even though he had a high ERA. He is not going to be this dominant the rest of the way, and I'd be surprised if he's in the Cy Young talk at the end of the year. But at 29, and with some injuries last year, it makes sense to see some improvement. If you voted for AL Pitcher of the Month right now, it'd be hard not to vote for him.

How bout another lefthander with a hot start, Randy Wolf. Is he finally living up to his potential? That's one way of saying it. Or maybe saying, he finally isn't hurt. His last full season without an injury he was 16-10 and an all-star. At 31, his best years may have been lost by injury but he's certainly not over the hill. He's pitching in a pitcher's haven and sometimes it takes more than one year to fully recover. I expect him to post solid numbers all season.

Shawn Marcum struggled today, but with him and McGowan do the Blue Jays have enough pitching to challenge the Yanks and Sox in the East? Obviously for the Jays, the ace is Halladay and a key is keeping Burnett healthy. But I like both Marcum and McGowan. And if I was the Yankees and maybe even the Red Sox, I'd rather have the Jays starting rotation. Many may think that getting rid of Frank Thomas shows they want to be younger. I think it just shows they want to be better and they think they can compete and are expecting to. Ultimately, I'm not sure they have the pitching depth to really challenge for the East crown.

Even with all the young pitchers are the Pirates just going to be bad forever? The Pirates have more pitching depth than a lot of teams. But they are still young. I thought this year, and it might still happen was going to be the year that some of them went to the next level. Ian Snell has always been the guy that I liked the most, but he's not really an ace, but could be a solid #2. Maholm hasn't been as good as he can be, and Gorzellany has really struggled at the outset. Not sure there is a lot of pitching help on the horizon, but the Buccos do have an emerging Nate McLouth in the outfield and the young prospect at AAA, Andrew McCutchen, who is probably a year away but has a chance to be special on the horizon. They have enough talent to be .500 right now with a little bit more consistency, but its easy to get frustrated in Pittsburgh.

Boston Marathon

I'm not much of a runner, not a lot of fun for me, but I'm always impressed by someone who can run a marathon. 26 miles, 285 yards or whatever it is is something else to me. So, here is a group of local folks, including my paperboy, that are running the Boston Marathon today. We don't expect them to win, but they've won our admiration nonetheless. Some are battling injuries and still going forward.

Click here to follow their progress.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Fan's Choice


After losing a Split Decision to Joe Calzaghe, Bernard Hopkins says the fan's really decide who wins a boxing match.

And that the fans know exactly who won this fight. And that is wasn't the same person that the judges determined was the victor.

Certainly it's true that Hopkins demonstrated why he was such a great champion and he made Calzaghe work hard to remain undefeated.

But Calzaghe hit Hopkins more times than Hopkins had ever been hit and after the third round of the fight he seemed to control things. So in the eyes of this fan, and I think in the eyes of many, the judges got the decision right. I had the scorecard 116-111. I gave 9 rounds to Calzaghe and 3 to Hopkins and Hopkins got an extra point for knocking Calzaghe to the canvas just short of the bell in the first. It was a clean knockdown. But not the type of knockdown that really hurt Calzaghe. Hopkins came close to knocking Calzaghe off his feet later in the fight, I believe it was round nine, but Calzaghe survived. In the end, the Welshman hit Hopkins almost 100 times more. And even though none of those punches ever seemed to hurt Hopkins the cumulative effect was more than enough.

Hopkins gave a valiant effort. And truly I think he executed his gameplan to near perfection. The problem for Hopkins was that Calzaghe adjusted to Hopkins' plan and dodged and blocked the right hand that had caused some problems for him early in the fight. Consequently, even though Hopkins may have been throwing the bigger punches, he was throwing far to few of them.

Even the fans had to recognize that. This one did.

It's always fun....


....to goto the Yard. Made my first live showing at Camden Yards last night. I was seated about 288 rows behind Cal Ripken, but I enjoyed it just as much. Going to a ballgame and being able to watch everything that is going on.

....to beat the Yankees. And the more I look at this Yankee team, the more I'm not convinced they are not very good. And as usual, I think its the pitching. The Yankees have things taken care of at the back end of the bullpen, Chamberlain and Rivera will serve the purpose that is necessary. Rivera isn't what he once was, but he'll get the job done. I've watched Phil Hughes last three starts, I saw him in person two years ago at Trenton and I saw him live at the Stadium last year. I believe he has good stuff, I believe he will be a very good major league pitcher someday. But I'm not convinced he's ready to consistently get major league lineups out for seven innings every fifth day.

With that said, what I saw from Ian Kennedy last night, he isn't ready for the major leagues. He's not an overpowering type. Nobody expects that he ever will be. But he needs to have command and throw the ball where he wants to. Otherwise teams are going to hit him around. Last night, he threw 60 pitches in the first two innings. The Orioles had managed only one run, after running themselves out of a rally in the second inning. But when he can't ahead in the count he is incredibly hittable. And with that said he is going to struggle. Which it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out as his ERA nears 10.00.

The rest of the Yankees rotation consists of seasoned veterans Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and the growing ace Chien-Ming Wang. Those guys will do enough allow a declining Yankee lineup the opportunity to win more than they lose. But it is a declining and aging lineup and there doesn't seem to be much help on the way. Although, both Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano are youngsters who have moved into the starting linuep, you have to wonder if either will ever become an All-Star at this level. Cabrera's best asset is his defense and Cano has struggled mightily after seeing his average plummet 36 points last season.

They just spent 5-10 minutes talking about the AL and its depth and competitiveness on ESPN's The Sports Reporters. There is a lot of it, and its quite possible that the Yanks, who haven't missed the playoffs since 1993, but haven't won the series in seven years and have become the Atlanta Braves or the Buffalo Bills of the 2000's, might not even get to the postseason this year.

Sure its April, and sure we're just approaching the three-mile mark of the marathon. But the Yanks have a lot of questions. A lot that there may not be answers for, and it very well could be a very disappointing summer in the final one at the Stadium.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Yanks are in Town

The Orioles and Yanks are scoreless through three inning tonight at the Yards. Daniel Cabrera versus Phil Hughes.

The O's coming off that scintillating win at home over the White Sox last night. The Orioles scored three times in the final two innings last night to force the extra innings. Then they won it in the tenth, when Adam Jones collected the game-winner. The short bench almost cost the O's but they won with Melvin Mora at shortstop and Aubrey Huff at third in the tenth. Lenn Sakata wasn't catching, but I expected to see Tippy warming in the pen last night. If I were Dave Trembley I might have tried to save the DH for at least one more inning. But that would have meant playing Kevin Millar at third and one of the two catchers at first. But it also would have meant that he wouldn't have been getting Steve Trachsel or Adam Loewen ready in the cages in case they needed to bat in the tenth.

At least they didn't go 22 innings like they did in San Diego last night. The game finally ended when Troy Tulowitzki drove in his first run in the 22nd. By the way, we're not talking about first RBI of the game. We're talking about first rbi of the season. Both teams had to travel after the marathon game that lasted 6+ hours.

Still nothing official from the Mount. We're anxiously awaiting word on the signees.

Nick Markakis just threw out Bobby Abreu at the plate to end the top of the fourth inning as he tried to score on Hideki Matsui's single. Great throw from Markakis, who is quickly becoming one of the best right fielders in the game. His 2-run bomb last night was one of the keys to the O's comeback. He's now the leader in outfield assists.

Luke Scott is up now. He's hitting pretty well at the moment. Entered the night second in the league in hitting and he just doubled. But doesn't he look like he should be teeing it up on the PGA Tour. He just doesn't look like a baseball player. But happy to have him in Baltimore.

Pat Flannery retired at Bucknell today. Great guy who once recruited my brother to play when he was winning national championships at Lebanon Valley. He's had some health issues of late and at 50, we figure that might have had something to do with his decision. Either way, he did a great job for the Bison, taking them to the NCAA tournament and beating Kansas in the first round a few years ago. We wish him the best.

Cubs held off the Pirates 3-2 today at Wrigley Field. Another decent start for Ian Snell for the Pirates. He gave up the three runs in the fourth though and his offense couldn't bail him out. He gets his first loss.

Evan Longoria inks a long-term deal with the Rays today. It's an interesting situation, because the Rays had Longoria start the season at AAA-Durham assumedly so he'd be one more year away from free agency. Now they turn around and guarantee him the six years on this contract and have options for three more years. The kid ahs played all of six games in the majors, but he's hitting pretty well, and everyone is expecting him to become a superstar.

Take the Wizards in their playoff series with the Cavs. Gilbert is back and playing well and I think the Wiz win the series.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Still Waiting

No official confirmation from the Mount today as far as who they've inked to National Letters of Intent. However, we've heard nothing that leads us to believe there will be any surprises. Lamar Trice and a big guy from Virginia. Read between the lines and wait for the confirmation.

Some respect for the Mountaineers as well. Check out Joe Lunardi's first bracketology for 2009.

I like the announcing duo of Daron Sutter and Mark Grace. They work the DBack games for FSN Arizona. Highly entertaining.

The Yankees and Red Sox back at it tonight. The Sox have moved a half game in front of the Orioles and the Blue Jays in the East. The Yanks are just a game back. And yes it's still early. Erin Andrews is at the Stadium tonight. What is this? The Play-In game? (But she's still hot)

The Diamondbacks have won 11 times in that early start as they've wrapped up a 4-1 win in San Francisco. That's the second or third time I've watched the Snakes and I've got to say they are pretty good. Last year, they simply defied logic in winning the way they've won. This year, they are simply are hitting much better, although today they needed a 2-run single from Brandon Webb to really produce.

The loss moves Barry Zito to 0-4. First time in his career that he's lost four straight decisions. Still, Zito seems to be getting better. He had no command early but battled through it, and minus giving up the big hit to Webb, he might have avoided real trouble. His curveball isn't consistent yet, but when its good, its still the real good one. I think he could get better and get back to his old form.

The Giants lineup will not strike fear into too many and its hard to imagine them finishing out of the cellar in the NL West. However, with Lincecum, Cain and Zito, if he regains the form, they shouldn't be out of too many games.

Sounds like Travis Ford really is leaving UMass. He's ticketed to be the next coach at Oklahoma State. So who replaces Ford in Amherst? We really have no idea, but wouldn't the name of Howie Dickenman from Central Connecticut State? No inside information on that, but it wouldn't surprise me.

We're not sure that Joe Calzaghe could beat Bernard Hopkins in his prime. But Hopkins is no longer in his prime. We expect Calzaghe to take the fight to Hopkins right from the outset. Maybe even knock him down in the opening moments. Hopkins may have his offensive moments. But we expect the Pride of Wales to constantly batter and bruise him until the referee brings the bout to a close. Let's say near the end of the seventh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Retiring Numbers and other Tuesday afternoon thoughts

Sitting at home on a Tuesday afternoon and I'm thinking about the following....

All the Oakland A's and 6 of the Chicago White Sox are wearing Jackie Robinson's #42 this afternoon. Doesn't that do more to honor the great ballplayer than not seeing his number on the back of a jersey in a baseball park the rest of the year?

Who will Mount St. Mary's ink to a National Letter of Intent tomorrow? Lamar Trice the point guard from near Philly seems like a definite. Expect a front line player to be the other. I wouldn't be surprised if the pipeline from Virginia continues for the Mounties.

Is the announcement of the NFL schedule really that big of deal? The sports leader had a special sportscenter for it all. And watching this ballgame all they keep talking about is find out the Bears schedule on Sports Tonight later tonight. I mean the teams are going to play every Sunday. Just seems a little bit of overkill to get too excited about the schedule right now. Although, at least it broke the momentum of two months of NFL draft coverage.

Great outing by White Sox hurler John Danks this afternoon? He just left after 7 and two thirds strong innings. He's another of those pitchers who came to the Majors early and seemed to be given up on by someone and now is having some success at a more mature age.

Monday, April 14, 2008

How bout them Orioles

Yeah you're right, it is early, and it probably isn't going to last. But, if you're an Orioles fan and you aren't excited about the future, you haven't been watching.

Right now, the Birds are 9 outs away from getting sole possession of first place back. Adam Jones stands at first base after picking up his third hit of the night. That comes one day after striking out four times. Good for the young kid. He's one of the ten players the Orioles picked up in the offseason while trading away Miguel Tejeda and Erik Bedard.

Jones is the marquee player the Orioles acquired. He's the five-tool prospect that the Orioles have planted in centerfield. They expect him to grow roots and be there for some time. He's hitting .268 after his perfect night tonight. He stole his 2nd base tonight and he's shown some pop in his bat.

Matt Albers picked up the win in his first start tonight. He has pitched very well in relief this year and earned his second win. His ERA is 0.79 thus far this year. The knock on Albers entering the season, was that he didn't throw enough strikes. He certainly has shown good command for the Orioles as his walk tonight was the first he's issued in 11 and a third innings this year. At just 25 years old, he could be part of the O's plans for quite some time.

George Sherrill got his sixth save in six opportunities tonight. Tonight was the first time, he's given up any runs, surrendering Alex Rios' two-run homer in the ninth. The lefthander may be better suited in a setup role or as a situational lefty, but he's been closing the door quite nice for the first-place Orioles.

Luke Scott has been the type of hitter the Orioles need right now. He's been consistent and he's getting on base when he isn't getting hits. His average is at .375 and while nobody expects that to continue, he just might provide more power than what he's shown early on. Personally, I've been impressed enough with Scott early to think that he could hit up in the line up. Maybe in the second hole if the Orioles ever wanted to drop Melvin Mora in the order or give Scott Moore a more profound role.

Dennis Sarfate seemed like a throw-in in the Tejeda deal, but his stuff is just flat out filthy. He's pitched some as a starter in the minors, and the Orioles are trying to stretch him out a little and get more than an inning in relief out of him. But for now, he seems best served in the shorter roles. He suffered somewhat of a meltdown Saturday night in Tampa, when the Rays caught up with him for three runs in just an inning of work. He walked four in that outing as his control seemed to be lacking for the first time this year. Still the other four times he's been on the hill, he's looked like he's a keeper.

Troy Patton is the other member of the ten who is on the Major League staff. It was believed that of the two starters the Orioles got from Houston, that Patton might have the most potential. He breezed through the early minor leagues and had some success in Houston late last year. But he's had some arm problems and a shoulder injury has him on the Disabled List this year. Don't expect to see Patton until next season.

Mike Costanzo is the minor league offensive player that the Orioles got from the Astros in exchange for Tejeda. He is a big basher, who has a lot of power, but doesn't really have a postion. He plays the corner infield slots and the Orioles have experimented with him behind the plate. Thus far at AAA-Norfolk Costanzo hasn't really had a lot of success. He's scuffling along at .171 with one homer. But it wouldn't shock me if we see Costanzo in Camden Yards sometime this summer.

Chris Tillman might be the guy that you look back at and say that Erik Bedard deal really worked out well for the Orioles. The young righthander, turned some heads in spring training, and then was fantastic is his second start at AA-Bowie. He threw five no-hit innings before being removed due to reaching his pitch count. He's just 19 (for at least another couple hours) so I'm not sure you'll see him in Baltimore regardless of how well he pitches this year. But if he continues to progress, you would think he could be fighting for a roster slot next spring.

Kam Micklio is a teammate of Tillman's with the Baysox. The huge lefthander, and we mean huge at 6 feet 9 inches, has a 2.70 ERA in four outings with Bowie while working out of the pen. He turns 24 midway through the summer and he might be someone the Orioles want to see later in the summer at the Major League level as he's in his third professional season after a college career at Utah Valley State. However, he does need to get more consistent with his mechanics and might still need some more seasoning.

Tony Butler is another big lefthander the O's plucked from the Seattle system. At 6-7, I thought he might have been the hidden gem of the deal. He pitched very well down the stretch at Wisconsin in the Midwest League. He's repeating that level at the moment, which might say something about the Orioles pitching depth at the lower levels, starting the season at Delmarva. He made one relief appearance before starting his next two times out. At the moment, he's 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA. But the promising side of the stat sheet shows 9 strikeouts in 12 innings with just one walk issued.

So those are the ten guys the Orioles got for two this winter. In addition, the Orioles added three players when they traded Steve Trachsel last season, after Andy MacPhail had arrived.

At that point, they acquired Scott Moore, who interestingly enough the Orioles are getting some innings at shortstop for in Norfolk. Watch that closely. Moore is a former number one pick, who has shown he can play second base and the corner infield positions as well as taking some fly balls in spring training. Now the Orioles are experimenting at short. We'll see how that fits in the plans. I think Brandon Fahey's time in Baltimore may be limited if Moore fits the role of being able to handle short at Norfolk.

Rocky Cherry, the reliever the Orioles acquired is currently on the DL.

I don't know what type of ceiling Jacob Renshaw has. He didn't become part of the Trachsel deal until the Cubs made the playoffs, but he's 2-0 at Frederick in the Carolina League. He'll turn 22 later this month, so just being at Adv-A Frederick is questionable, but opponents have hit just .114 against him and he's fanned 11 in 13+ innings. We're watching him closely and hope to maybe get a chance to see him in the upcoming weeks.

The O's are in first place, they are exceeding expectations at the moment. It's a long summer, and it might not be time to get too excited about the current season. But there might be more reality than fluke to what they are doing right now and certainly the future looks more promising than anything we've seen recently.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Saturday night Boxing Live Blog - Antonio Margarito vs Kermit Cintron and Cotto vs. Gomez

A pair of interesting fights coming up from Atlantic City tonight. We'll bring you the action as it gets underway. Miguel Angel Cotto vs. Alfonso Gomez in the opener and then Antonio Margarito vs. Kermit Cintron in the rematch to close things out. Cotto tries to remain perfect, while I'm sure Cintron and Margarito will provide some exciting action. We'll be bringing you the action via the live blog.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Greene to the League

The DO was kind enough to send me an email, so I'm kind enough to pass along the link.

Just as we've said all along, Donte is not coming back.

Too bad, we hardly knew you. Good Luck, young fella.

Apparently, he has yet to hire an agent so maybe there is a chance he returns to the hill.

Donte declares

Monday, April 07, 2008

Magic, Magic, Magic, Magic

The frontrunning Baltimore Orioles ralled for three in the bottom of the ninth to beat Seattle 3-2 yesterday at the Yards.

Baltimore had very little offensive success against Mariner starter Felix Hernandez, but when the M's removed him to start the ninth, the Birds got hot. Key to the rally were a pair of hits by lefthanded swingers, Nick Markakis and Luke Scott against the Mariner situational lefty Eric O'Flaherty. Markakis began the rally with a lead-off single and Scott provided a two-out hit. The outfielder acquired in the Houston trade for Miguel Tejeda had three hits for the second straight day, and is hitting .538 on the young season.

Luis Hernandez won the game with a single to right-center, his first hit of the season.

The season is a marathon and the Orioles are ahead at the first mile-marker. It's a season with no expectations and in a funny sort of way the Orioles have already exceeded them.

Daniel Cabrera starts today versus Carlos Silva as the Birds try for a rare 4-game sweep of the M's.

In other stuff.....

Jim Phelan got into the College Hall of Fame yesterday. He deserves it as much as anyone. He'll officially be inducted the weekend before Thanksgiving in Kansas City. Should be quite an event. Along with it, the CBE Classic is played at the Sprint Center. Tournament organizers are hoping that Syracuse, Kansas, Florida and Washington advance out of the regional field to give them a great tournament field. That's right, my Orange, in the field on the weekend Phelan gets inducted. Who is up for a road trip?

Speaking of the Orange. Expect to hear final decisions from those who are considering departing the Hill this week. That means Paul Harris and Donte' Greene. If what I am hearing is true, both won't be back, but its highly likely that one returns. I maintain that as I've said all along, Greene is finished.

I like Kansas tonight. They were my pre-tournament pick, so I'm going to stay with them. Which basically means that you should go take Memphis and win some coin. The Tigers have been playing extremely well the last two weekends and could easily take the title.

And finally, Detroit is giving us more and more hope on a daily basis. The Tigers were humiliated on national TV last night, falling to the ChiSox 12-3 or something along those lines. A poor performance, of which we need 16 more, to permanently remove the Orioles from the record book. The Tigers have today off, before starting a series in Boston. Can we really root for the Red Sox?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Congratulations Coach; Phelan to be enshrined in KC this November



The Call came for Jim Phelan earlier this week.




The fact that it was no April Fool's joke was confirmed at a Press Conference at the AlamoDome in San Antonio today.

Phelan, the legendary head coach of Mt. St. Mary's, is going to be enshrined in the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame at the College Basketball Experience in Kansas City, Missouri this November.

The wait was way too long but it doesn't sour any of the joy of a great moment for a great man and caps what has truly been a glorious few months of basketball for the University.

For those of you who aren't Mount fans and don't know the Phelan story. It goes something like this. After playing at Lasalle, Phelan left the streets of Philadelphia for the hillsides of Emmitsburg, Maryland. Originally, he signed a one-year deal because he didn't expect to be around long. 49 years later, he ended a tremendous career at the school in Western Maryland, just across the Pennsylvania border with 830 wins, the 1962 College Division National Championship, two trips to the NCAA Division I tournament, several other trips to the Division II Final Four, and the respect and admiration of so many within the basketball community.

For those of us who have had the pleasure of watching Jim Phelan coach, or more importantly knowing the person he was away from the basketball floor, we know there is so much more to him that makes him deserving of induction into any Hall of Fame than the credentials listed above. Finally, and justifyibly, he and his family will get to share this moment.

Phelan has said numerous times that being the Jeopardy answer (or question I suppose) to the statement, "The only coach with 800 wins not in the Hall of Fame" was his claim to fame and he was fine with that.
But it hurt those around him. It hurt his family, it hurt his former players, and it hurt those of us who are fans. Not only was the HOF saying no to Jim Phelan, it was saying no to Mt. St. Mary's. Simply because the accomplishments had occured at this little catholic school just south of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania playing most of its games in the Mason Dixon Conference and later the Northeast Conference. Other coaches have accomplished less at far larger schools and have gotten the recognition. But until today the Hall of Fame had refused to make way for this great man.

It didn't bother Jim Phelan, because's that the type of guy he is. And frankly because he knew he was good enough.

And now the rest of the world knows it as well.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

What were you Thinking?

....when Carolina was down 40-12 in the first half? Me?.....I was kinda glad the Mount played Carolina.

....when it was 40-22 Kansas? Me?....After laughing at the missed dunk followed by the dunk and the steal. I was thinking this is the best Final Four first half since the Orange ran away from the Jayhawks five years ago.

....when Adam Loewen gave up the second two-run homer after the Orioles had just tied it? Me?.....I was thinking there was no way they'd have enough to get back into the game two nights in the same week.

.....when Carolina came out of the locker room down only 17? Me?.....That there was no way the Heels could play enough defense to win the game.

.....when Memphis won the opener? Me?.....two things....a) that Kansas would probably win the nightcap and b) that Memphis would probably win Monday night.

....when the Orioles rallied? Me?......That maybe the summer wouldn't be such a bad thing. Or that they would at least play a game after the 15th that might mean something. Although, I won't hold my breath. Still, I reiterate, I look the total movement and where this team is headed. And as of right now, I wouldn't trade Brian Roberts unless the deal is really sweet. I did see Eric Patterson homer tonight though.

....when you heard that Justin Upton homered for the third time in three games? Me?.....That my rebuilding project with my fantasy team might have been a year ahead of schedule. And that the Diamondbacks might be the favorite in the NL. If they get some more offense, and Upton is one of the possibilities, then they might be the favorite in the West and maybe the whole NL.

....when Bill Self called time out with just under 15 minutes left? Me?....That Kansas had better stop playing not to lose. And that somebody might want to guard Danny Green.

Good Day to Be in An Orioles Fan

The Birds haven't finished above .500 in ten years, but they are 2-1 right now. We'll take what we can get. And at 2-1 tied atop with the AL East with the Tampa Rays, percentage points (and lots of them) ahead of the Red Sox. Again I remind you, we take what we can get.

But there are other reasons to be happy for the Orioles. The Tigers are closing in on the Orioles season opening losing streak record. Only 18 more to go. We're clearly rooting against Motown at the moment.

And now is when the more serious part of the post begins.

Matt Wieters hit two home runs in his professional debut last night in Frederick. Last year's first round pick is the Orioles star catcher of the future, and it appears more and more like the future isn't that far away. http://web.minorleaguebaseball.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080404&content_id=380724&vkey=news_milb&fext=.jsp

You may have also heard that Jake Arrieta struck out nine in that game. In just four innings. He's one of the young arms the O's are accumulating. Good news for O's fans, Tim Bascom another of the college arms drafted in last year's entry draft is set to join the Keys rotation soon. He had some back issues that delayed his return north.

At Norfolk, the Tides dropped a 4-3 setback to Buffalo. Mike Costanzo got his first official organization hit and Oscar Salazar who made a name for himself this spring was 2-for-4. Expect to see Salazar in Baltimore sometime this summer.

Our expectations are lowered. But the Birds are headed to that big party in 2011, we can wait for that. And if they win one more this weekend, we'll call it a good week.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Brown earns contract extension

Mt. St. Mary's head coach Milan Brown and the University agreed to a five-year contract extension recently. I believe that extends Brown's deal through the 2014 season, but it may actually take it through 2015. I'll try to check on that for you.

The Mount under the direction of Brown won the NEC Championship this year and an opening round NCAA playoff game, before losing to North Carolina in the first round.

Brown has brought some fine talent to the school since taking over for the legendary Jim Phelan. He finally turned that talent loose this year and the results were rewarding. He deserved the extension and has this program moving in the right direction.

Seven of the top eight players from this year's championship team will return next season, with the majority of those having at least two years of eligibility remaining.

Four Days, Four Surprises

The baseball season is four days old, so let's answer some of the questions that are out there.

What to make of the Red Sox and the A's series? David Beckham just scored for the Galaxy so all is still right in the world. But the Red Sox are just flat out better than the A's. Oakland could have won both games in Japan, and they were close games at the Coliseum. Obviously, its a strange way to start the season. But I don't really expect the A's to be very good. And if the Red Sox get that type of pitching they are going to be tough to beat. But they won't have the top guys starting every night.

What to make of the big time prospects who are starting the year in the minors?
The game is changing. Really changing. And teams are very concerned about contracts and when they have to pay players. So when teams have the opportunity to send guys down at the start of the year, they are going to. That is why you see guys like Colby Rasmus, Chase Headley, Evan Longoria, Cameron Maybin and Jay Bruce down on the farm. Maybin might need some time, he was definitely rushed to get there last year. But he did homer for Carolina tonight. Rasmus is 3-for-5 tonight and will be in the St. Louis outfield before too long. I think Cincy made the decision that Bruce might need some more seasoning so they signed Corey Patterson. If he plays well, I'm sure when you'll see Bruce. Longoria should up soon, like today. But we'll wait. Headley is learning a new position. He might be better than Kouzmanoff right now, but the Friars have made the decision that they are better off with Headley in the outfield and Kouz at third longterm.

What did you think of the Dodgers and Giants both starting their bullpen last night? Obviously it was because of the weather. But they really blew it didn't they. The idea was to avoid having the starters have to sit during the rain delay. Didn't work. Tim Lincecum and Chad Billingsley had both thrown before the rain came. Lincecum, who might need a haircut pretty soon, did earn the win with four decent innings of relief work but he was never sharp.

Do the Tigers really have the best lineup in baseball? Not without a leadoff hitter. Curtis Granderson is one, Edgar Renteria isn't. A lot has been made of the Tigers and all the offseason acquisitions and the great lineup and solid pitching. But they've still got some things to prove to me. Especially with the way things have started. Kansas City though will be a surprise this year and is better than most would expect. They are not the soft Royals that some remember. And I will win a double cheeseburger because of it.

Is Clayton Kershaw the best pitching prospect in the minors? I think he's the best pitcher who is semi-close and maybe the best overall. If he's still in Jacksonville in August, I may be tempted to try to take a look. But I doubt he'll be there that long, and I doubt my wife would allow it. However, it wouldn't shock me if they left him in AA for the season and then promoted him to LA for September if the Dodgers are in the race to help out of the bullpen. But yeah, I think he's a keeper.