Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Juan Dixon, Back Where He Belongs

Dixon signed with the Wizards, here's the report from the Post.

Juan Dixon Needs a Squad

The all-time leading scorer in Maryland basketball history, the man who led the Terps to their greatest glory and has proven himself to be a reliable, if underestimated, scorer in the NBA ... is a man without a team right now.

Chris Wilcox has a long-term deal with the Sonics; Stevie Blake is a favorite son in Portland, it's Dixon that has had a harder time establishing a relied upon role with an NBA team. There were some great games in D.C., and a nice run as a the starting 2 in Portland for a while, but after bouncing from Toronto to Detroit last season, Dixon has not exactly been a hot free agent. There's been some talk of a return to the Wizards, but the only offer is a non-guaranteed contract at the veteran minimum, according to a report in the Post.

Dixon just needs the right opportunity. He has always put up points when given an opportunity, but his opportunities are growing more elusive.

Here's hoping there's a GM with the roster spot and vision to put Juan in a position to succeed pulls the trigger. Soon.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Top 10 Reasons to Continue Watching the Orioles in 2008

Now that football season has started and the Orioles are on pace to lose almost every game in September, there seems to be little reason to watch them play.

I beg to differ.

Without further adieu, here are the top 10 reasons I still (truly) watch Oriole games in September:
10. Morbid curiosity.
9. You visit relatives in the hospital don't you? Even if they've been in a coma for 10 years, you'd still check them out once in a while, wouldn't you?
8. Aubrey Huff's chase for the Triple Crown.
7. Dave Trembley's inability to hide his contempt for his own pitching staff.
6. To hear Jim Palmer talk about Jim Palmer, mixed in with an anecdote about a guy who just so happens to go by the name of Jim Palmer.
5. Because you just never know when Brandon Fahey might slap a single to left, providing inspiration for every 5-10, 150 pounder who thought the majors were out of reach.
4. To see if Daniel Cabrera "finds it," or be-heads a hitter.
3. Because it's baseball and baseball is good, even when it's really, really, really bad.
2. To try to catch instances when the camera is forced to show how empty the stands are.
AND the number one reason to continue watching Orioles baseball is:
1. The heroic optimism of Jim Hunter.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Your Football Team Might Stink If...

I'm not saying that the Maryland football team stinks and isn't worth your attention this season just because they lost at Middle Tennessee State; but I am saying that losing by 10 at Middle Tennessee State is a reliable indicator that the Maryland football team might stink and might not be worth your attention.

Under Armour: Good or Bad for Maryland Football Karma?
Ralph Friedgen came back to College Park in 2001 to run the Maryland football program. He brought a Midas touch his first three years:
2001: 10-2 (Orange Bowl)
2002: 11-3 (Peach Bowl)
2003: 10-3 (Gator Bowl)

Prior to the 2004 season, Fridge signed an apparel deal with Under Armour. Away went the swoosh, in came the interlocking "we bad" UA thing. Here's the record since:

2004: 5-6
2005: 5-6
2006: 9-4 (Champs Sports Bowl)
2007: 6-7 (Emerald Bowl
2008: 1-1 (the we just lost to Middle Tennessee State and probably aren't going to a bowl)

Fridge's record at Maryland before the Under Armour deal: 31-8 (.795 winning percentage)
Fridge's record at Maryland since the Under Armour deal: 26-24 (.520 winning percentage)

No wonder Fridge wasn't smiling at the press conference.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

We Mus Protek Dis Hows

The University of Maryland and Under Armour announced this week that the Baltimore company will supply gear and footwear (where available) to all 27 sports teams.

Immediately my thoughts raced to the competitive cheer squad, perplexed as to whether or not the most aggressive brand ever created yet made shoes designed specifically for the needs of those who cheer competitively.

Maryland's excellent school paper, the Diamondback, answered the question in its report on the deal, here's an excerpt:

While most teams will sport Under Armour jerseys in the near future, many will need to wait on footwear. According to (Md Associate AD Chris) Boyer, the company does not yet make athletic shoes for volleyball, wrestling and competitive cheer, and men's and women's basketball, soccer, track and field, tennis, golf and cross country and won't provide footwear for those sports for the coming school year. Additionally, the company does not yet manufacture uniforms for competitive cheer, gymnastics, swimming or water polo.

The teams for which Under Armour does not provide footwear or uniforms will continue making deals for those products individually with providers, Boyer said, as teams did prior to this agreement. Under the contract, however, Under Armour retains the right to begin outfitting those teams with footwear or uniforms once Under Armour starts making them.

So as you can see, Under Armour does not yet make competitive cheer or basketball shoes, or tiny swimsuits for that matter. So I guess this means we'll see that interlocking U logo on the basketball uniforms, but the fellas will wear Nikes on their feet.

As for Gary, if he has any sense of humor at all, I'm sure he and UA could get together to make or at least joke about a moisture wicking suit, but what we'll probably see is one of those little lapel pins.

As for the water polo team, they are just going to have to wait for Kevin Plank and company to start manufacturing a moisture wicking banana hammock.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

On Second Thought, Maybe Don't Put Baltimore on the Road Jerseys

Apparently we have reached the now inevitable and annual point in the baseball season when the Orioles don't just lose, they regularly embarrass themselves. Tonight's debacle, was Boston 14, Baltimore 2. This isn't a road trip, it's a sure thing for the home team. The Orioles in September have become the baseball pennant race's version of a homecoming game.

The Orioles started Rad Liz Tuesday night and he went 3 and a third and gave up 9 earned runs. His ERA is almost 8. To borrow from Lewis Black, "I will repeat that!" His ERA is almost 8! (picture Lewis ranting about this and wriggling his fingers is horror).

So here we are, after a season of early, sustained optimism, some great comeback wins and an offense that is one of the most prolific in the game -- one of only five to put up more than 700 runs -- and once again the Birds have become a late season laughingstock. I don't feel angry or frustrated, I feel duped. I let myself think this year was different. It ain't. Well, it is on one account. The Orioles have a pretty good offense, even a great one. Aubrey Huff would be an MVP candidate if he played on a team anywhere near contention. Dude is batting .312 with 30 HRs, 43 doubles, and 98 RBI.

He leads the league in hotel incidentals and total bases. Aubrey Huff!

I could go on and talk about the ridiculous second half Mora was having until he pulled a hammy; or the all around excellence of Markakis and Roberts, but what is the point?

The Orioles starting rotation, right now, is not just bad, it has to be the worst collection of wanna-be starters on a major league roster since Cal Ripken needed a comb. Who could possibly be worse? I know they've sustained lots of injuries, and endured career flameouts, and all manner of bad luck, but wouldn't Rodrigo Lopez would look like Jim Palmer in his prime on this team? Speaking of Palmer, what's he doing this weekend?

There isn't a single guy in the rotation who... Wait, there really isn't a single guy in the rotation. They have no rotation. Guthrie announced he's hurt; Cabrera is out, and the rest of them are total bums. Bums! They barely belong in Bowie, much less Fenway Park. Guess what major league hitters do to pitchers who aren't very good? THEY CRUSH THEM! They 14-2 them.

Chris Waters? Brian Burres? Garrett Olson? Rad Liz? The ERA of those four are, dis-respectively, 5.45 , 6.08, 6.53, and 7.91.

Those aren't ERAs, they are good scores in the floor routine.

I love when MASN flashes to the dugout for in-game shots of Dave Trembley after a string of walks or yet another tape measure home run and he is so blatantly disgusted that you can almost see him consciously trying not to have a temper tantrum. Don't get me wrong, Trembley deserves none of the blame here, but he's carrying all of the burden.

The Orioles' skipper has developed a permanent squint-scowl that might be the maddest face I've ever seen. It's like the face of an 8-year-old after you say, "make a mad face."

That's Trembley right now. Every game. And can you blame him? He doesn't have a starter WHO CAN MAKE IT OUT OF THE THIRD INNING.

This guy toiled in the minor leagues for 20-some years for this? Wouldn't you think that after all that time, once you got a chance to manage in the majors, they'd give you, oh, I don't know, A FEW MAJOR LEAGUE PITCHERS??!!

I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.