Saturday, October 31, 2009

This is what it is all about

Read this great post from WFAN Yankee beat reporter Sweeny Murti. It truly captures all the feelings about what having a team is all about.

Sweeny Murti

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tids and Bits

If we've confirmed one thing after a game and a half in the World Series its that Tim McCarver is still an idiot. He just claimed that Pedro Martinez quick-pitched Derek Jeter. Because the mighty Yankee shortstop had just struck out for a second straight time. And that couldn't possibly happen. I counted a three second pause.

The pickoff of Jayson Werth seemed to have a momentum swinging feeling to it. Was anybody surprised when Mark Teixeira homered in the bottom of the inning?

I read a report that Jacolby Wells would redshirt this season. I don't think that is going to happen. Wells redshirted last year, so without a medical hardship in both seasons, it won't happen. The story I heard was that Wells was ineligible until the second semester. That could give Danny Thompson some time to establish himself on the frontline for the Mount. After two years of injuries, let's hope the kid finally gets a chance.

Is it just me or are there a number of really bad teams in the NFL this year? St. Louis at Detroit this Sunday might be painful.

Good win for the US U-17 at the U-17 World Cup today. But be honest, did you have to look up where Malawi is?


The NEC announced its TV schedule recently.

Three Mt. St. Mary's games are set to be aired, including the conference opener - a rematch of last year's championship game at Robert Morris. We sort of expected that would be the case. And we like the fact that the NEC has highlighted that game to kick off the schedule the last two years.

Also on tap for TV are home games with CCSU and Robert Morris. Those don't get me quite as excited. It's always nice to have road games aired.

We are still hopeful that some of the other games, including the American game could get picked up. We'll pass along any information as it becomes available.

Mount O'Links

All-time Top 30

Boston University once again the America East fave

The Snap

Lawsuit over Video Games

Greg Paulus leading the Orange

Big East football Weekend preview

Still Bowl Eligible

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Pitch

We all know that offense sells tickets but defense wins championships. In baseball that is clearly pitching and defense that wins championships.

So as we look at the two World Series combatants, the Phillies and the Yankees, we are certain that the Series between two great offensive teams, will be determined by which team gets the most out of its pitching. Essentially which team does the most to neutralize the offensive production of the others.

#1 Starters - CC Sabathia and Cliff Lee. Both of these guys are strong lefthanders who can do the job for their teams. Yet both have some questions heading into the World Series. Lee was atrocious early in the season, settled into a groove, was traded to Philly, and was superb early for the Phils. He's been somewhere better than mediocre recently, but the Phillies might need more. Sabathia was rocked, as a member of the Brewers, by these Phillies last year. Many point to overuse and say CC hasn't had the same type of usage this season as he did last year. I think that is fairly accurate, but his innings are very similar to where they were last year, so can he survive three games in a little more than a week if he's needed?

#2 Starters - AJ Burnett and Pedro Martinez. I think Pedro is going to go in Game 2 for the Phillies. I think they are doing that to have Hamels for Game 7 if they need him. Pedro used to be a power pitcher. Now he's just a pitcher. He's somewhat fresh having only pitched half the season. Burnett has struggled at times, but pitched well down the stretch. The Phillies have had success against him in the past.

#3 Starters - Andy Pettitte and Cole Hamels. Pettitte has the experience but Hamels was tremendous in last year's postseason. He hasn't been as good this year. But he has the type of stuff that could be dominating in a short series. I think Pettitte will give the Phillies trouble.

#4 Starters - Joba Chamberlain or Chad Gaudin and Joe Blanton or JA Happ. I don't think the Yanks are going to use a fourth starter. Philadelphia will unless it is in real trouble. Blanton has been a better pitcher in the National League than he was with Oakland in the AL, but I'm not sure how much he can be trusted in the World Series likely against Sabathia. Happ beat the Yanks earlier this year, but has been very shaky in the postseason.

Bullpens - Both pens have been creaky at best. Brad Lidge had the most dominating season of any closer ever last year. But he has struggled (to say the least) this year. Mariano Rivera is the best postseason pitcher in the history of the game. Bar none. However, bridging the starters to Rivera has been a problem for the Yankees and could easily rear its head here.

Ultimately, I think the Phillies are going to get to Sabathia at least once. But I don't see that happening in Game seven. So I think the Phils have to gain control of the Series in Philadelphia and win a Game six in the Bronx. That is the way I see the Series falling. Phils in six.

Mount O'Links

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blue White Recap

Wow. That wasn't what I expected.

Based on previous year versions of the Blue White Scrimmage, I figured that there would be three ten-minute segments. I figured that the Blue would be more of the first unit for the first segment, there would be a switch or two for the second segment, and the third segment would be with all players mixed together.

That is what we got.

The result is what surprised me.

The White - consisting of six players you would expect to come off of Coach Milan Brown's bench ran the Blue with the anticipated five starters ragged in that opening segment. A 27-10 beatdown that left me almost at a loss for words.

Credit senior Will Holland and sophomore Lamar Trice with providing much of the damage. Holland knocked down three open threes, and Trice ran the offense with efficiency consistently getting into the paint and making wise decisions. He finished when he needed to and dished when he should have. All in all, the offense that the white employed worked a lot more than that of the blue. The Blue had some shots that normally would go down, but the white was crisper and got more open looks. And they made the shots when they had them.

The Blue recovered a little bit in the second stanza. Jeremy Goode handed out four or five assists during that segment and knocked down a three-pointer to boot as the Blue controlled that segment. His behind the back pass that Kelly Beidler finished with a soaring left-handed slam was the highlight of the night.

During that second segment, the Blue got everyone involved a little bit more. And the let the basketball do a lot of the work, moving it quickly around the floor, and seeming to make that extra pass. It was during that segment, that I thought Goode could lead the nation in assists this season. He has the game and the teammates to do that. And the team seems to play better when he is a playmaker and not a scorer. Now don't get me wrong, he can still score the basketball. But this is the type of team that can have four or five guys in double figures and anyone of them having a big night. Goode is the catalyst to make that all happen.

And his backup sure proved that he seems much better suited to handle the role than he did during his freshman campaign. Trice played hard. He played with a confidence and a passion that we never really saw in his freshman season.

Holland shot the ball extremely well. He knocked down the jumpers that weren't falling a year ago. He seemed to look for the shot and was ready to catch and shoot. He has the ability to be a key component for this team and tonight proved that he should not be forgotten about.

I also liked the play of Danny Thompson. The post player is still a little rusty, but two years of injuries will do that. Still he flashed a little bit of ability offensively and I think he may become a key factor in the team as the season develops.

The freshman Kristian Krajina made one open three-pointer, he missed his other attempt. But he has a great looking shot and gets rid of it fairly quickly. He also showed some good post moves. He is still trying to get back to full strength after his knee injury of last year.

Dave Golladay the other recruited freshman to suit up seems to have the ability to do a lot of things. He is very athletic. I was impressed with him, and figure this could be a good year for him to learn the college game and work on his jump shot.

I know many Mount fans have been concerned about what type of depth this team will exhibit. I came away from today's scrimmage encouraged by some guys who I hadn't seen before in the past.

We all know that Goode, Beidler, Cajou and Shawn Atupem can play. We weren't sure what contribution would come from Thompson, Krajina and Trice off the bench. We knew that Holland would play hard and could be counted on for solid minutes, but when he makes those jumpers he adds an extra dimension. It was good to see them go in today.

The regular season starts two weeks from Saturday in Norman against the Sooners. Coach Milan Brown and his staff got to see plenty in today's intra squad scrimmage to work on between now and then. You can be sure they'll get to work on it tommorrow afternoon.

Other reports on the scrimmage:

Frederick News Post

Blue White Scrimmage

Headed to the Blue White Scrimmage at the Knott Arena. Full report after the Gettysburg Halloween Parade.

Mount O'Links

College football capsules

The World Series hasn't even started and already the Where is Halladay headed game has begun

Monday, October 26, 2009

Search for the Missing FHM Latvia

For a long time on the Fan Blog, there have been searches looking for Dita Krumberga, the former Mount player, and the Latvian Olympic player and her apparent appearance in FHM Latvia. We've noticed that those searches have increased again recently, forcing us to go back to work. We found the September 2008 cover of FHM Latvia online. Now our Latvian isn't very good, and Google Translate doesn't translate the magazine cover, but we're are fairly certain that Basketbola diva, Dita Krumberga Olimpiskais Nr 12....translates to something like basketball Diva, Dita Krumberga Olympian #12. We'll even be 100% honest and tell you were not even sure in that is Krumberga on the cover, we can't tell without the pony tail. But it came down to the fact that we really didn't care.

My Position

The teams are set. The World Series will begin Wednesday night at the New Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

The Yankees are 1/2 favorites to win the whole thing. Not a real big surprise, but the Phillies are the defending champions. Of course, the Yankees have 10 more wins this season, and their pitching has done well in the postseason.

I expect it to be a good series. I think there is the possibility of either team winning the title. And I don't think we'll know the champ until at least game six or game seven after the series returns to New York in November.

Here is how I see the two teams stacking up, position by position...

Catcher - This seems to be an obvious edge for the Yankees. Jorge Posada has plenty of playoff experience and had a nice year in NY despite an injury. Carlos Ruiz has done well in the playoffs and is the better defensive catcher, but the pendulum definitely swings to the Yankees who will use Molina or Cervelli as a late inning defensive replacement if needed.

1st Base - Wow, talk about a heavyweight matchup. Mark Teixeira is tremendous defensively, and his diving stop in the eighth inning of game six might have prevented an Angel rally. But Ryan Howard is an MVP, who has been red hot in the playoffs. Overall, I think Howard is slightly better at the plate. Tex hasn't done it in the postseason, but showed signs in Game six of the ALCS. Howard must out hit him. He has thus far, and we give the edge to the Phillies based on that.

2nd Base - There wouldn't be too many teams where Robinson Cano wouldn't even be considered. But in Philadelphia he'd be looking for a new position. Chase Utley is just that good. However, we've heard rumblings that Utley isn't fully healthy. That could make a difference, but Utley is the pick here.

Shortstop - This is one of those positions where the fans of each team wouldn't trade their guy for the other. I mean how could the Phillies give up Jimmy Rollins. Could the Yankees even fathom being better without Derek Jeter? Rollins had an off year. He never fully kicked it into gear. But he was much better in the second half when the Phillies were better. Jeter was sensational this year. Maybe his best year ever. That gets him the nod.

So after four positions I'd say you have to call it pretty even....Obvious edge to the Yanks behind the plate, similar edge to Philly at second and then close calls at 1B and SS. Tough to seperate if you looked at just these four.

Third Base - This is the one slot that isn't close. Alex Rodriguez is quite possibly the best player on both teams, Pedro Feliz maybe the worst offensive player. Feliz does have a nice glove and he does come through with some clutch hits. But he isn't anywhere near the quality of ARod. Rodriguez' past failures have been well noted, but he's been great this postseason and is a threat to change the game in so many ways. Big advantage for the Yanks.

Left Field - I think this another slot where people will disagree. Johnny Damon has the name recognition for the Yanks. Raul Ibanez has the much better year for the Phillies. Much of that was in the first half of the season. Ibanez might not be a great leftfielder, but I like him out there. But the Phils may use Ben Francisco in the field in the DH games - and have Ibanez DH. Damon has no arm but covers some ground in the outfield. Damon is on the south side of his career but is still capable of making a difference in this series. The Phils need to make sure that doesn't happen. If they do, it's an advantage for them.

Center Field - Melky Cabrera was beaten out for this job in spring training. So it's no surprise I give the advantage to Shane Victorino and Philadelphia. Victorino does a little bit of everything. Cabrera actually had a good season after winning the job back. But he's not the player that Victorino is. Probably the biggest advantage for the Phils.

Right Field - Actually maybe right is the biggest advantage for the Phils. Jayson Werth has been absolutely fantastic and has been hot in the postseason. Meanwhile, his counterpart for the Yanks, Nick Swisher brings power but not a high average. Until game six with the Angels he hadn't really been involved in the postseason. Werth is the better, much, of the two.

Designated Hitter - The Phillies didn't make the deal for a DH late in the season like other NL teams did. See Jim Thome (LA) and Jason Giambi (Colorado). But the Phils have Stairs and Francisco who they seem comfortable using. Greg Dobbs might also get some consideration depending on matchups. But the Yanks have an advantage with Hideki Matsui. He hasn't hit with the same power he once had, but he's starting to get some of it back.

Ultimately, these teams on the field are pretty even. It probably comes down to pitching, and we'll take a closer look at all of that before the first one.

Mount O'Links

Toughening Up

Big East Power Rankings

Mount O'Links

Mount falls on Senior Day

Preview from the opener opponent

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Season Tipoff

They are playing basketball in the Carrier Dome this afternoon. It's NFL Week 7 and I'm watching the Orange take on Cal State University at Los Angeles. The visitors coached by former SU great Stevie Thompson.

It is an exhibition game. It doesn't count, but it may start to answer some questions about the Orange. Not much being thought of from SU this year, as the top three scorers from last year are gone. Jonny Flynn, Eric Devendorf and Paul Harris are all gone, so many expect that it will be hard for the Orange to duplicate its Sweet 16 showing of last season.

Still, the Orange has plenty of experience returning. With Andy Rautins, Arinze Onuaku, and Rick Jackson back, the Orange brings back three players who started plenty of games a season ago. Onuaku and Jackson should be one of the top inside combos in the country. Kris Joseph, who gained some experience last year, and 7 foot freshman Deshonte Riley should provide some depth up front.

Rautins is the sharpshooter the team will need. He will have to be a bit more consistent with the jumper this season. And how he performs without the outside shooting of Devendorf and Flynn on the floor remains to be seeen.

The Orange will look to either freshman Brandon Triche (he started today) or Scoop Jardine (back after last year's injury) to handle the point guard duties. Jardine looks in much better shape than he did two years ago, and has looked good in the playmaker role in this first half. Triche, the son of former Orange star Howard, comes with the reputation as a big point guard, who can score and run the show. These two might not have the flash or the flair of Flynn, but they will be adequate replacements.

The fifth starter will be Wesley Johnson. The transfer from Iowa State may actually be an improvement on the floor for the Orange. A 6-7 wing, he's got great athleticism, and a good jump shot with range. He needs to shake off the rustiness after the year off, but he averaged 12 points a game during his two years with the Cyclones.

Overall, I think there are a lot of people who are discounting this bunch, simply because the top three scorers from last year are gone. But examination beyond the "Who left" category shows that this could be a pretty good Syracuse basketball team. Certainly with the talent capable of getting through the first weekend of the Big Dance if not beyond. However, how they develop in the next several weeks will be a key. I'm excited to see how things transpire. There seems to be a sense of cautious optimism surrounding this group and after seeing one half of action (the Orange leads 44-19 at the break) its easy to see why.

Recapping the Akron Win



Around the Big East....

West Virginia/UCONN

Pitt living up to Preseason expectations

Signal Caller

Mount O'Links

NEC Preview

Tayvon and Danny sit down with Will

Preseason accolades are nice

Fox Sports on the Mount

Jazz get through the preseason

Pike could play next week

Huge Day for DC

Friday, October 23, 2009

Recruiting Efforts

The Mount seems to be doing another good job of locking down players for the future, having netted three verbal commitments for next season.

The staff at the Mount isn't allowed to comment on the players or any recruits until after a letter of intent is in hand. The early signing period for basketball isn't until November, so we won't hear anything from the Mount until at least then.

But word does tend to get out. Sometimes through local news accounts from the players and sometimes through internet recruiting sites. (formerly caa Insider) does a real nice job tracking recruiting info for the Mid-Atlantic states.

The first Mount commitment came from point guard Justin Burrell. His height probably kept many schools away, he's only 5-8, but the Mount has proven that small guys can succeed in the NEC. Burrell will push Lamar Trice for the starting pg position next season when 5-9 Jeremy Goode departs. All reports show Burrell as a quick guard with good range on his jump shot.

Next up the Mount nabbed a committment from 6-4 guard Jeff James. James spent the end of his junior season and Bowie High School and will compete their this winter, but it one of those under the radar guys. He's got good athleticism and an ability to score the ball and should fit well into Milan Brown's scheme at the Mount.

The final commitment came from Donte Morales. The 6-5 wing will likely remind many of current Mountaineer Kelly Beidler. He comes from the same Virginia Beach area, and has some of the same athletic abilities. Morales is prepping this year Fishburne Military after opting not to attend the Air Force Academy. He graduated from Landstown High School in the spring, where he averaged nearly 20 points and nine rebounds a game during his senior season. He has good range on his jump shot and the ability to get to the basket. Along with the offer from Air Force, he had an offer from Radford, and interet from VMI, Old Dominion, James Madison and Western Carolina. It seems he will be a good fit for the Mounties.

Mount O'Links

Random 44 Topics

Mount on Navy baseball schedule

Mount women laxers on the road in Denver this spring

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tids and Bits

The first, of what we hope is a lot, Mt. St. Mary's Men's basketball TV games was announced recently. The Mount at Georgetown will air on MASN.....Don't expect the Old Dominion game to make it to the TV. The CAA announced a composite TV schedule and the battle in Norfolk is not listed.....

ESPN announced better than 1100 games on its schedule when it was released recently. That is like 7 games a day. Now that does cover the whole family of networks, which I believe includes ESPN.360. But still that is a lot of games.

So what do you think about instant replay in baseball? I'm not a fan of instant replay in anything. At least I haven't found a system I like yet. Because I don't like the fact that some plays are reviewable and others aren't. What makes one play more impactful than another? Why can't penalties be reviewed in football? Buster Olney says we have to get it right. I don't think we have to, but if we're going to go with instant replay, it should be available for all calls. And then let a replay official make the decision, or give a coach/manager the right to challenge a certain number of calls during the game and make the decision whether it is impactful or not. I just don't think the way it goes on right now works in any situation.

Mount O'Links

The Preseason has started so that means preseason rankings...Mid Major Madness

Friday, October 16, 2009

Season Started

Balls were bouncing at Knott Arena earlier today.

Rims were rattling.

Jump shots were floating through the air.

The Mount was back in action.

The college basketball season officially started today with the start of practice around the nation. Some schools have the Midnight Madness deal - sort of delaying the getting down to business part of the whole thing.

No such waiting for the Mountaineers. It was all business.

The Mounties are in Norman Oklahoma - four weeks from tomorrow - in the finale season for Jeremy Goode, Kelly Beidler and Will Holland.

I can't wait.

Monday, October 05, 2009

The Mailbag

Can Florida win without Tim Tebow on Saturday? Yes, they most definitely can. Florida's defense is good enough to beat anyone, including LSU without Tebow. Plus, who are we kidding, Tebow is playing. It's a concussion. Of course they are being precautious. And I don't think they'll let him take a hit until Saturday. But as someone who knows a thing or two about head injuries, I'm guaranteeing he'll play. And that Florida will win.

Why no love for Greg McElroy? I wouldn't say there is no love for McElroy. But the 'Bama signal caller didn't enter the season with all the preseason hype. Truly that is really necessary in college football, especially if you start talking Heisman. He was on nobody's preseason radar for All-SEC QB, let alone bigger things. But as he has played well and the field begins to weed itself out through injury and poor performance, McElroy will continue to get noticed. Assuming he deserves it.

Let's say LSU beats Florida and then loses to 'Bama. Would they have a chance at the BCS if they were 11-1? Under that scenario, yes, a slim chance. But a better chance then they have of beating Florida, so why are we even worried.

All of a sudden the Auburn/Arkansas game is a pretty big game? What are your thoughts? The Fan loves Houston Nutt. Loves him. He doesn't like Bobby Petrino. He also loved Tommy Tuberville. So I was not a big fan of the Gene Chizik hiring. But Chizik has made things work in Auburn quickly and this is a great matchup. I think the War Eagles win, because there is a better chance they make some defensive stops.

What about the matchup in Columbia between South Carolina and Kentucky? They play this weekend? I hadn't noticed. It might be one of those games where Carolina is caught looking ahead, and you can't do that in the SEC. So the 'Cocks better be wary.

What if we end up with a bunch of one-loss teams again? Then what happens?
You know that I always believe the season will work itself out. It usually does. And I've always said the BCS wouldn't have problems with too many unbeatens, but trying to decide who is the best of the one-loss teams would be the biggest issue with the BCS. It happened last year, so I'm guessing it might happen again this year. But we are really a long way from that. There are way too many scenarios to evaluate, but my guess is, that if there are a bunch of one loss teams at the end of the season, USC will be one of them and the early loss will help them get back to the top quicker. The only teams that I see as maybe being able to squeeze the Trojans out with one loss would be an SEC team (provided another SEC team isn't already in), Virginia Tech or Texas.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

View from my Couch

Lots going on - on this Thursday night. The NHL season has started. College football has a neat non-conference matchup from Morgantown. And baseball is wrapping up its regular season. So here are some random thoughts as I take it all in.

7:55: Not sure about the fashion sense of Bill Stewart. Is he trying to be Jim Tressel? Not sure the all yellow is really a good thing either. I think it might stay close for awhile in Morgantown. The 'Eers are huge faves but 17 seems like a lot

8:00: I've got to give Boston some credit. I didn't think they'd have the pitching to hold off Tampa or maybe even Texas down the stretch. But they have gotten hot down the stretch (minus the struggles against the Yankees) and might have enough to make things interesting in the AL playoffs.

8:05: Ok, maybe it isn't going to be close in Morgantown - but Colorado just scored as I was typing that. After a huge Noel Devine touchdown run had me second guessing my earlier statement, Stewart ran one in from 36 yards for the Buffs. It's under review now, but it should stand.

8:17: I taped Dinamo Bucharest and Panathiakos in the Europa League earlier today. I've been watching it on and off. And I am just annoyed by those horns.

8:20: The Capitals have added to their lead in Boston, and equally important just killed off a Boston power play. It looks like the Caps are on their way to an opening night win.

8:33: I'm in the 76th minute of this game and it appears it is going to end scoreless. Certainly Panathiakos will take a point on the road. But I would have to think if that is all they get, that they are going to look back at this and think they should have gotten more.

8:43: Of course as soon as I typed that the visitors in Green got a goal from the edge of the area. So now it looks like they will go back to Greece with a deserved three points.

8:47: Anybody know who the player to be named later was that the Orioles got from the Red Sox for Joey Gathright?

8:53: Bucharest was just awarded a penalty in the 88th minute. And Niculescu who had subbed in just moments before, and it might been his first touch, hit the outside of the bar. So Panathiakos survives the silly penalty and should now escape with the win. Crazy finish.

8:58: The Caps have struck for two quick goals at the Fleet Center. Rough opening night for the Bruins. It's now 4-0 and doesn't look good. Meanwhile, Panathinkakos on the goal from Karagounis has won in Bucharest.

9:01: Aric Goodman has given Colorado a 10-7 lead. And I would think the folks in Morgantown might be starting to get a little bit worried. There are just over 3 minutes to play in the first half and this isn't what they had in mind.