Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Friday, September 3, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
In the month of August, the Orioles – under new manager Buck Showalter -- have become one of the hottest teams in the league.
MASN is getting its best rating all year, and fans are already starting to tune back in. However, the recent buzz in the big leagues has masked the success of a familiar name in AAA Norfolk: Nolan Reimold.
After a tremendous rookie season was shortened by an Achilles tear, many thought Reimold would come back strong and be amongst the team leaders. Unfortunately for the organization, Reimold found it more difficult to come back than was expected and once he did, he was not even close to the same guy fans watched last season.
Reimold was eventually sent down to AAA to work on his issues, but it only got worst there. In May, Reimold batted .122 and questions of whether he would be able to rebound were floating around Baltimore.
Through the season, the Tides tried just about everything, including trying him out at first base. Reimold now switches back and forth from the outfield to first. However none of that mattered until August.
Since August 1, Reimold has turned it on and is looking a lot like the guy that was on pace to be the AL rookie of the year in 2009. He is batting .333 with two home runs and nine RBIs this month and is starting to get back into the discussion of being called up.
Although there are tons of theories on why he struggled in May, June and July, the best explanation is that he was rushed back after his surgery on the torn Achilles tendon. Throughout Spring Training, Reimold was seen limping and was shuffled in and out of the lineup to help his foot rest. He was so focused on being able to play on opening day, that he didn’t realize that it was in his best interest to wait until he was truly ready.
While getting sent back down is never a good thing, there is a silver lining in the situation. With the emergence of Cory Patterson, the O’s now have four solid outfielders (Patterson, Felix Pie, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis). With that big of a log jam, finding a spot in the outfield for Reimold would be tough. By being in AAA, Reimold has been able to work on switching to first base and might be able to avoid further cluttering the Orioles outfield.
The original hope of the Orioles was that Brandon Snyder would be the guy to fill that void, but Snyder has been up and down this year and the certainty of him contributing to the big league club has diminished. If Reimold can learn the position, then he can provide another option for the team’s future at first base.
Assuming Reimold stays this hot throughout August, there is no doubt that he will be one of the first people called up when rosters expand on September first. When that happens, it will be interesting to see if he can be the player we all thought he could be.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Depending on who you are, to say that this summer was taken over by the Heat may or may not be too punny. Regardless, Miami’s offseason has been one of the most amazing that any sports organization has ever had.
By now, everyone has their favorite nickname “Big Three,” as well as how they will work together. However, while seemingly everyone is in agreement that the trio consists of LeBron, D-Wade and Chris Bosh, I argue that it is Mike Miller-and not Bosh- that will complete the “Miami Thrice.”
Bosh was talked about so much as the perfect compliment to either Wade or LeBron, but is he really? Both Wade and James have similar styles -- they are superb slashers with average to above average shooting. With that in mind, why would having an inside presence help? If anything, it clogs the lane when LeBron charges in.
People keep asking how you guard all three at the same time, but it isn’t that complicated. Double team Bosh inside and go man-on-man on Wade and LeBron. That way, when one of them drives the lane, there are already people there to help.
The only thing foiling that scheme is Mike Miller and his ability to snipe from beyond the arc.
With the two best slashers in the game, Miami’s best offense will involve spreading the floor and keeping the lane open for when Wade or James wants to drive. Teams will try to collapse their defense to stop this from happening, but with Miller and his career .405 three-point-percentage, the Heat won’t lose a beat. If teams are truly set on keeping the middle cluttered, then the Heat can bring in a guy like Eddie House with Miller and have the two of them help LeBron shoot from mid-range to downtown. It becomes a pick your poison scenario.
You see, it is the ability to spread the floor and not low-post-efficiency that will get results for the Heat.
Not only is Miller one of the best shooters in the game, he is amazingly versatile. He can effectively play shooting guard and both of the forward positions, and has some of the best court vision you will see in someone his size. If he had played on better teams, he could be a household name.
While Miller doesn’t have the talent of Bosh, his skill set is much better suited for what the Heat are building. In fact, LeBron knew this and that’s why it is rumored that James had already called Miller and told him to join him in Miami BEFORE he made “The Decision.”
If Bosh knows what is good for the team, he will be content with 10-15 points per game off of rebounds and putbacks- That is where he is crucial.
Between Bosh, Ilgauskas, and Udonis Haslem, the Heat will need great low post defense, especially when playing a big team like the Lakers. They will also need to be huge on the offensive glass when LeBron or Wade has a bad night.
I’m not saying Bosh won’t be an important piece of the puzzle – I’m just saying that if the Heat want multiple championships, the ability to do that lies with Miller.
Alright, who else is confused?
Over the past week, the Orioles’ team that we have seen show up hasn’t been what we have become accustomed too. Granted, I’m not complaining, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not intrigued by the change.
The reason is simple: Buck Showalter. However, the recent success has nothing to do with any changes he has made or even anything he has said to his players. It is the players’ collective fear of his reputation that has turned the Orioles into one of the hottest teams in baseball.
Before Buck arrived in Baltimore, the Orioles were struggling in just about every department. In spite of this, the mistakes that seemed to be the most obvious were those of a team with poor baseball IQ.
Completely preventable things like terrible fielding and dumb base running have cost the O’s 5-10 games this year alone. Add in the inability to hit with runners and scoring position and you have a basic understanding of why Baltimore is no longer seen as a baseball town.
Despite watching this all season, are we to believe that the Orioles have somehow learned to fix these things in a week? Not quite.
Players in Baltimore know what Buck Showalter is about. He believes in clean baseball as the way to turn around an organization. If they want to keep their jobs, they need to stop making the mistakes that made Baltimore the worst team in baseball, and start playing like the team that was predicted to win 80 games this year.
No longer do they have Dave Trembley to coddle them or the idea that Juan Samuel is an “interim manager” to hide behind. Showalter will be Baltimore’s general for the next three years and if you get on his bad side, you can be sure that you will be back down in Norfolk before the next day’s game.
With “fear” motivating the O’s to succeed, they are the team that they should be. The question of how long it lasts is a different subject. Will it last the rest of the year? More importantly, what does Buck do when the players become comfortable again?
I’m not sure anyone can answer those questions, but regardless, have fun watching the Orioles until this string of good performances is over. We haven’t seen good, clean, fundamental baseball like this in a decade.
Monday, August 2, 2010
For those fans still holding on in Baltimore, tonight will be the beginning of yet another “new era” for the organization, as the team plays its first game under manager Buck Showalter.
While the looming hire of Showalter was perhaps the worst kept secret in all of sports over the last month, the fact that the deal is finally done now means that the (re)rebuilding process can begin now rather than come spring training.
This difference is rarely felt in other sports, but baseball is one sport where it isn’t just helpful, it is vital.
The reason that baseball is unique in this way is that baseball teams get to expand their rosters every Sept. 1 to basically call up anyone in they like on 40-man rosters.
The ability to call these players up and see how they do against top-level competition can give managers an insight into their potential before next year’s Spring Training.
For Showalter, this opportunity to see what he has in his farm system could possibly shave off a year in his rebuilding plan.
Although there is certainly no doubt that Showalter will want to use the rest of the season to assess talent, there is one thing that could prevent a blown up roster – Is Andy MacPhail really willing to have the 2010 Orioles to go down as one of the worst teams in baseball history?
At 32-73, the Orioles are on pace to lose 111 games. To put that in perspective -- only four teams since 1940 have tallied that many.
Accumulating that many losses in a season would be an even bigger shot to the reputation of MacPhail and his so-called “plan.” The question now becomes, “Will the Orioles risk entering that realm in order to try and better their future?”
Either way, guys like Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, and Matt Weiters will all stay staples of the rest of the Orioles’ season. The people whose playing time could be sacrificed will be the veterans like Kevin Millwood, Ty Wigginton, and even Luke Scott.
If the Orioles are smart, they will give this season to the dogs in order to look at younger guys. If it works, then the season will be forgotten (the Detroit Tigers 119-loss 2003 season was quickly forgotten when they made it to the World Series three years later).
In this scenario, don’t be surprised to see guys like Brandon Snyder, Chorye Spoone, Chris Tillman and even recent acquisition Rick VandenHurk getting some time in Baltimore for strictly scouting purposes. Even Zach Britton (who is not currently on the 40-man roster) could get brought up from triple-A – he is certainly deserving of it.
Those names are all in addition to Josh Bell and Troy Patton, who were both called up as a result of the Miguel Tejada and Will Ohman trades.
However, in an age where records rule everything, the Orioles could very well decide to play the older vets and try to scrape one or two more wins out of the season. If they do, they could manage to sacrifice the 2011 season before it even starts.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Coming into this week’s British Open (or The Open Championship for any European readers), one of the biggest stories on the Tiger Woods front was the decision to use a different style putter because of the speeds of the greens at St. Andrews.
This decision was criticized by analysts, who thought that abandoning a putter that had won him 14 majors and 80+ million in earnings was a mistake.
Then, in a span of the tournament, we heard them go from that view, to Tiger’s new putter is the next piece of technology that will revolutionize golf, back to the idea that he should make the switch back because he isn’t putting well.
I have a better idea about why he is struggling with his flat stick: he isn’t a good putter.
This might be a foreign concept to most, but that is because we spend all of our golf watching with Johnny Morgan in our ear telling us how amazing of a putter Tiger is the instant he makes a simple five or six foot putt.
Take a look at his rankings amongst his peers on putting the last six years:
2008: didn’t play enough to qualify for stat
Would you say those are the rankings of one of the best putters in our generation? I don’t think so.
As you can see, the lack of quality putting over the past tournaments isn’t a recent thing. It has been mediocre his entire career. What separates Tiger from the rest of the field is his amazing ball-striking. Putting is the wild card in the winning equation.
In all three majors this year, Tiger has hit the ball well enough to win-that goes double for the Masters, where he was playing as well as I have seem him play in years. Despite this fact, Tiger doesn’t have a Major Championship this year because of his failures with the putter.
Hell, it only makes sense that he change his putter…his old one wasn’t working for him.
Morgan would like to make you think that he “is having a tough day with the putter” every day that you see him, but the statistics that I have shown say otherwise.
Remember the scene in Happy Gilmore where Chubbs takes Happy to a miniature golf course to work on his putting? We might not be there quite yet, but we are close.
Woods seems to be struggling with reading putts, speed, and even having a consistent stroke. He is zero-for-three in putting skills.
Now, before I get struck by lightening for criticizing Tiger, I must say that I do believe Tiger Woods is still the best golfer in the World and that I do think that he will pass Jack Nicklaus in career Majors.
That being said, if he wins the five more majors he needs, it won’t be because of his putting, it will be in spite of it.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
For two years now, basketball fans all over the country have been waiting for the free agency period that we are currently in.
They braced themselves for the max-exodus of seemingly every major player in the NBA and that it would surely mean that the power in the league would be turned upside-down as a result.
However, now that we are actually in the midst of it, the one question that is starting to form in many minds is whether or not anything will actually change.
So much time has been given to LeBron James leaving Cleveland and joining the like of the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls or even the New Jersey Nets, but here we are in July and most analysts are saying he will stay in Cleveland because of loyalty.
Dwayne Wade has also flirted with the Bulls, but as of right now, ESPN’s Chris Broussard has him returning to Miami.
When you add those names to the list of stars that have already resigned with their respective teams (Dirk Nowitski, Paul Pierce, Rudy Gay and Joe Johnson), the question I ask is whether or not this free agency period was completely blown out of proportion.
Yes it is true that Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer are still on the market and that Amare Stoudemire signed with the Knicks, but are any of those guys the type to put a team over the likes of the Lakers, Celtics or the Magic?
Chicago, Miami, New York, and New Jersey all blew up their teams in preparation for this month and it is possible that New York is the only team that got any better by doing it. (Even if the Knicks can’t lure anybody else to them, they can resign David Lee and have a great front court with Eddy Curry’s contract coming off the books at the end of next season).
That all-or-nothing strategy is going to get someone fired…especially in Chicago where the Bulls actually made the playoffs with a fairly young team.
The only scenario where a shift in power could happen is if Cleveland and Toronto work out a sign and trade to unite Bosh and LeBron for the Cavaliers. LeBron would have the Pippen to his MJ and could overthrow the Lakers (maybe) as the NBA supreme.
Other than that, I honestly don’t see the status quo of the NBA changing all that much.
Even if Miami were to get Wade and Bosh, they wouldn’t have the funds to sign a decent supporting cast around them and beating a deep team like Boston in a seven game series would be a joke.
In conclusion, let me help make the rest of this week very anti-climactic for you; there will be no max-exodus of superstars, the balance of power will not be shifted, and all of this excitement was for nothing.
Sorry to be Debby-Downer.
Monday, June 14, 2010
In a disappointing finding, scientists have come to the conclusion that what appeared to be the first documented black hole in the history of Earth, was in actuality, Ron Artest.
The black hole, which was first sighted in early November, only seemed to take place when the Lakers had the ball and appeared to be wearing a jersey with the number “37” on it.
“I can’t explain it,” said Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.” Every time I pass it to what I think is my teammate, the other team has the ball.”
This is what started to spark the interest of astronomers across the nation. If there was indeed a black hole that seemed to be traveling with the Lakers, huge educational gains could be made by studying it.
However, what was thought to be the mystical disappearance of the ball turned out to be nothing more than Artest being a ball-hog and a momentum-killer on offense.
“At first I chalked up the turnovers to just Artest being inept at running an offense, but the more and more it happened, I began thinking there might be something to this ‘black hole’ story,” said head coach Phil Jackson. “I don’t know whether to be relieved or disappointed. Either way, he is still killing us on offense.”
As the Lakers enter game six of the NBA Finals, Coach Jackson’s game plan is starting to factor in Artest’s knack for handing the other team the ball – whether it be via terrible shot or turnover.
“Coach [Jackson] has told us to treat him just like another defender on offense because giving him the ball is just like turning the ball over,” said Derek Fisher. “Unless he is in the paint, giving him the ball is just a detriment to the team.”
While there is no doubt of Artest’s negative impact on offense, he will most likely remain in the rotation because of Los Angeles’ lack of a back-up plan in guarding Paul Pierce.
“Did you see Luke Walton try to guard me when Artest wasn’t in? Wasn’t that hilarious?” Pierce said. “I didn’t even have to flop like a little girl to score like I usually do.”
Thursday, June 10, 2010
When the Jake Arrieta takes the field tonight against the New York Yankees, it will not be the ideal scenario for a youngster making his debut.
He will be making his MLB debut on one of the biggest stages in sports.
Even though it is at Camden Yards, calling it a home game is somewhat of a stretch. The stadium will be two-thirds Yankees fans and he will also have to go up against the most powerful team in the history of baseball.
Simple put, this isn’t the scenario you would like to put one of your top prospects in as his first start.
Arrieta is the last of the recent swarm of pitching prospects that will be brought up by the O’s over the last year. The list includes Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, Jason Berken, Chris Tillman, and Brian Matusz. While, there is yet another wave available in class A and AA, they are a few years off—these are the players of now.
Tonight’s game should be a happy occasion for Baltimore; one that should have been the Orioles showing off the last piece of an already impressive stockpile.
Instead, Arrieta joins a group of pitchers that are 31-52 with a combined 5.09 ERA and make up the majority of one of the worst pitching staffs in baseball.
It is true that not all prospects turn into stars, but what the Orioles seem to have in the pros could turn out to be a prospect graveyard. There is still hope for Matusz, but Hernandez, Berken, Bergesen, and Tillman all seem to be struggling and in danger of turning into duds.
Considering how badly the Orioles need Arrieta to be a success, they don’t seem to be helping him out at all.
Look at how the Nationals handled Stephen Strasburg. They not only waited patiently until he was ready, but they waited until they could play a beatable opponent (the Pirates), and could fill the stands with Nationals fans. Every fan in that stadium was rooting for him.
Instead of doing that, the Orioles are calling up Arrieta because it happens to be convenient for them and are risking his chance of being a successful pitcher in the process.
The Orioles have the worst record in baseball. The idea of calling up a player on the organization’s time instead of when it is best for the player is ludicrous and is quite possible one of the reasons the Orioles can’t succeed in cultivating their talent.
Bringing up Arrieta is reminiscent of the Tillman and Matusz call-ups last year; it is nothing more than a publicity stunt.
The O’s are terrible and can’t get fans to come to the ballpark any more. MacPhail is just using Arrieta as a pawn to get Orioles fans to stay interested. He will probably do the same thing with Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder at the end of the year.
These aren’t the actions of man building a dynasty; they are that of a man who is trying to buy himself some time.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Considering it was my first radio appearance, I thought it went great.
My segment starts at 34:50 and goes on for 15 minutes or so. Enjoy!
I took this video off because it started by itself whenever you opened the page and was getting quite annoying. If you are still interested in listening to it, the link is:
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
In what is being called one of the most intriguing medical mysteries in recent history, Glen Davis seems to have become smarter after the concussion that forced him to be removed from game five of the Eastern Conference Finals.
The concussion was suffered in the third quarter when Dwight Howard hit Davis in the face with an elbow, sending Big Baby to the ground. Davis was able to get up after a moment, but then immediately stumbled into referee Joey Crawford.
Though he experienced minor headaches following the game, Davis seemed noticeably more intelligent by his teammates the next morning.
“Big Baby normally has issues with words longer than two syllables, but he correctly used the word ‘excruciatingly’ this morning. It was like something out of the twilight zone man,” said Celtic guard Rajon Rondo.
While doctors from all over the globe are flying to Boston to theorize how one could experience an increased IQ as a result of a concussion, Dr. Avery Schmidt has an idea that is being accepted as the most logical explanation.
“When someone suffers a concussion, he usually experiences a loss of memory and at least temporary loss of intellect,” Schmidt explained. “However, I believe that Mr. Davis possessed so little brainpower, that he experienced an increase because it was not possible to suffer a loss of any kind.”
This theory is being accepted not only by many doctors currently studying Davis, but also by most fans of the Celtics.
“I love Big Baby, but look at the guy. I haven’t seen a dimmer-looking face since Vin Diesel. The fact that he can speak English at all kind of surprised me,” said Boston native Sean McIntyre.
According to Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Davis remains a game time decision for tomorrow night’s game six in which Boston hopes to close the door on the Orlando Magic and advance to the NBA Finals.
As to whether or not Davis’ new and improved brain is just a temporary side affect or a permanent matter, no one can be certain.
“I am obviously not able to hypothesize how long my newly acquired acumen will last, but I can only hope it is a permanent fixture,” Davis said. “I just read a book for the first time in my life, and it was truly an exhilarating experience”