Orioles Baseball… Its Still Early

oriolesThe Orioles finished the first full month of the season a disappointing 12-12.  The schedule was tough, but the team dropped home series to the Blue Jays and Royals.  It’s far too early to say that any particular series has importance in the long run, but the O’s will have to do better against that caliber of team at OPACY.  Of course, the team split a four game set in Boston and took two of three in the Bronx so it wasn’t all bad.
The Birds were slightly above the league average in runs scored, but find themselves 13th of 15 teams in the AL in homeruns.  That might actually be good news.  The team has enough power to know that the longballs will come in time as the weather heats up, so it’s good that they’ve found other ways to score.  The team’s core has almost universally struggled early.  Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and JJ Hardy are off to incredibly slow starts.  Chris Davis hasn’t hit poorly, but just two homers before being placed on the DL wasn’t what the team wanted to see.  Manny Machado is due back imminently, but he’s yet to even have an at-bat in the bigs.
New acquisition Nelson Cruz has been everything the front office could have hoped when they signed him with seven homeruns, and Matt Wieters, now 28, had a better month by far than any during last year’s mediocre campaign, but they’ll need help.
The pitching has continued to be a sore spot for O’s fans.  The bullpen in particular has disappointed.  In 2014, strikeouts are at a premium, especially out of the pen.  Guys that throw gas and miss bats are the best relievers, and striking out more than a batter per inning worked is a standard of excellence for a reliever.  So far the O’s have no relievers meeting that threshold.  On the other hand, Boston and New York have four apiece.
On the starting side, Ubaldo Jimenez was the big acquisition in the offseason, costing the team $48M in salary over 4 years and a first round draft pick.  He’s shown little of the form that he had last year in Cleveland, let alone the Cy Young-caliber work he did in Colorado a few years ago.
The season is still young, and the AL East is wide open.  Tampa Bay has had pitching injuries aplenty, something a team in their financial position can ill afford.  Toronto is expected to be a nonfactor, and Boston is off to a slow start.  The Yankees have played the best, but at some point their age and weak infield will slow them.  They may win the division, but they won’t run away with it.
“Something magic happens, everytime you go….”

Guest Post – NCAA Mens Basketball 2013-14 Ten To Watch

Guest Post from blog Steveste.wordpress.com, this guy really knows his College Basketball and is a hard core University of Maryland fan. His posts have a UM flavor to it… … check out his blog! With March Madness over, Steve provides us a look into what we should expect next year.

NCAA Mens Basketball 2013-14 Ten To Watch

 

dukeDuke – It pains me to admit as a Maryland fan, but Duke will be good once again. Sure they lost to a 14-seed a few weeks ago, and sure, they lost Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood early to the draft. But there’s still plenty enough talent to compete, possibly led by #1 overall recruit, Jhalil Okafor, who should finally give Duke a legitimate inside presence.

uncNorth Carolina – Things started out sour this year for the Heels with the loss of PJ Hairston followed by plenty of on court losses. UNC salvaged a 1-4 ACC start to have a fine season, if not a vintage UNC one. James Michael McAdoo will get paid to play next year, forfeiting his final season, but point guard Marcus Paige is a star and Brice Johnson could emerge as one inside.

u of vaVirginia – Losing Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell off of the ACC champions seems like a tough hurdle to overcome, but Virginia returns everything else and should once again play its stifling pack-line defense to perfection. Malcolm Brogdon could challenge for first-team All-ACC and London Perentes is the point guard Tony Bennett has lacked until now. Whether Anthony Gill can step up on a thin frontline for Mitchell could decide if the Cavs repeat.

u of lLouisville – We heard it last year, but the ACC really should be loaded this coming season with Louisville joining the league. The Cards lose All-American Russ Smith and former Final Four MVP Luke Hancock, but Pitino’s club won’t fall too far. SR Chris Jones is a Smith clone, and when Montrezl Harrell announced his return for a third year, immediate expectations were for the dunker extraordinaire to turn into a bona fide star.

u of wiscWisconsin – The Badgers finally broke through to the Final Four under Bo Ryan, a shot away from going to Monday night as the favorites to win it all. Ben Brust, the school’s all-time three point leader, departs, but every one is back, led by seven-footer Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, another future NBA player. Wisconsin’s pace fools fans into seeing them as a defensive team, but they may well be the best offensive team in college basketball next year.

u of kentKentucky – Before the team’s heart stopping tournament run, it was the second straight disappointing season for the ‘Cats, losing ten games and falling out of the rankings heading into the tournament. Next year’s roster is still in flux, but Willie Cauley-Stein has already announced his return, and Alex Poythress, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee are expected back to join another stellar recruiting class. If the Harrison twins also opt-out of the draft, watch out.

u of azArizona – Losing Brandon Ashley late in the year was one disappointment. Losing to Wisconsin in OT to fall short of the Final Four was another. Now the Wildcats must go on with super freshman Aaron Gordon or Pac-12 POY Nick Johnson. No matter. Sean Miller’s club reloads rather than rebuilds. Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and point guard TJ McConnell anchor a great two-way team which will be augmented by a fine recruiting class.

u of kansasKansas – Joel Embiid’s injury was one of the biggest in the tournament, and without the future top-5 pick, the Jayhawks lost to Stanford. Embiid and fellow freshman Andrew Wiggins will now head to the NBA, but Kansas will still have perhaps the best sophomore class in the country, led by Frank Mason and Wayne Selden, plus Cliff Alexander on the inside, leading Kansas’ second straight elite recruiting class.

mich stateMichigan State – This one takes a leap of faith with Adrian Payne, Keith Appling and Gary Harris all out the door, but Tom Izzo can coach them up and has a lot of returning players who have shown flashes in limited minutes. Whether they can step up – and whether Branden Dawson can be a star player – will push this team’s direction, but don’t be surprised if the Spartans are in this group by March.

villanovaVillanova – Jay Wright’s team made it back among the elites, but upsets caused them to have only one postseason win to show for it. Plenty of talent is back, and with an outflux of talent around the Big East (Doug McDermott, Bryce Cotton, Semaj Christon…), Villanova should easily win the league in its second season post-realignment. They’ll face the Terps early in the season in what could be a good marker for both teams.

Best Places To Take Your Sports Enthused Kid…

The best places to take your sports enthused kid to get a better understanding of sports history, or places that will leave you and him/her in awe.

10 – Superdome – New Orleans

9 – Madison Square Garden – New York

8 – Notre Dame Stadium

7 – Fenway Park – Boston Redsox

6 – Pro Football Hall of Fame. Canton, Ohio.

5 – Michigan University – The Big House

4 – Augusta National – The Masters Wrigley Field

3 – Cooperstown (Baseball Hall Of Fame)

2 – Wrigley Field – Chicago Cubs

1 – St. Andrews – The Home of Golf

 

This is my list… What is yours?

2014 Masters: The A-Z Guide

An outstanding post on the in’s and out’s of the Masters. Adam covers everything you need to know about the Masters in his A-Z guide. Enjoy the Masters everyone!

AdamSarson.com

My latest Masters preview piece for theScore went up yesterday, and I took a look at the Masters and Augusta National from A-Z. You can check it out right here, and hey, we’re only one day away.

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Tiger Tiger Tiger Woods Y’all….

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The Masters.org

As the saying goes… Its not Spring until the Masters… So, We are coming up on the golf seasons first big tournament. Its the first major of year…. Its the MASTERS! There is no other tournament like it. Going to the tournament is a once in a life time opportunity for some of us… and I had that opportunity… and haven’t had another… The flowers, the freshly cut grass, its simply amazing… the one thing that I could not believe was the lack of weeds as I was walking the grounds, in and out of the trees, or rough area… its simply immaculate. I was younger when I went, but the high light of my day was Tiger Woods responding to my “Hey man” with a “Hi”…. thats all it took for me to be a Tiger fan…. then there were all the other stuff that happened in his life and he dropped a few notches in my list of favorite golfers…

Tiger Woods TWIts at the same time every year, …around the time of the Masters, Tiger gets all of golfs attention… He hasn’t won a major in some time and everyone asks the question “When is he going to win his next major?” Is he going to break Jack’s record?… who knows… But one thing is for sure… He IS NOT the same golfer as he was in the late 90s and early 2000s. For two main reasons… 1) The world was let into his private life… and that wrecked his life forever. With all the millions of dollars in the bank… He will not and can not fix this… that is one massive chink in the armor. 2)… Oh I don’t know …maybe… age?… It happens to every great athlete, they get older and they can’t do the things they once did, unless they are named Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens… cough Steroids cough.. But seriously… its been 17 years since he won his first major… he is 38 years old… father time is catching up to him… Do I think he will win another Major… yes… When? Who knows… Will he break Jacks record… NO…. The thing about it is… if he does win another Major, or another Masters, the hype and questions about records will only get worse…

nike-tiger-woods-ad aging