First, Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers and moms out there…
My Mom will be 89 on July 26th so I’m always grateful for another May Sunday with her. And yes, she spent the day watching the Orioles game, same as I did.
By the way, it’s nice to see MLB get into the spirit of things and doing the “pink bat” thing on Mother’s Day. It was also a nice touch seeing the MASN crew work to get “shout outs” from all of the players to their moms and the mothers of their children today.
Mark Viviano is working hard for Mr. Angelos’ money today from Kansas City, which is still my favorite AL ballpark. (I didn’t know he worked for MASN?).
Good to see this Orioles Reach program actually reaching out with Chick-Fil-A appearances for Daniel Cabrera and Sports Boosters speeches by Dave Trembley this week. It’s almost as though the team has started taking WNST’s advice regarding how to treat the fans.
Now if only they had some people watching or coming to the games…
A few random thoughts from watching the game today:
In the second inning, Buck Martinez actually started a praising rant about Guillermo Quiroz with this gem: “If you discount his batting average…”
Seriously…he’s hitting .194. What can possibly be said about his defense that trumps .194 in the big leagues?
At times the Orioles have run the bases like Jeff Stone. And for the youngsters reading, that’s ain’t a compliment.
With just one hit on the board in the 6th inning and down 2-0, Melvin Mora got nailed for the third out on an aborted steal on a 3-2 pitch. It’s just sloppy, bad baseball.
Knowing Dave Trembley’s attention to detail, that’s gotta burn him up!
Right now, it’s the seventh inning and they only have one hit…
For those of you who do NOT read B, here’s my Monday column…
It probably hit most of the Ravens players right around the time the first raindrops pelted their helmets and blinded them during their first mini-camp practice last Friday morning: “The times they are a’ changing.”
John Harbaugh has been in the purple power seat for just three months but no one seems to be doubting his autonomy. For many veteran players (and maybe even some rookies), the mere notion of practicing in the cold slop in May might’ve previously come as blasphemy. Former coach Brian Billick would’ve had the Ravens inside the “bubble,” dry and protected from any possibility of injury.
But, Harbaugh is now the unquestioned new sheriff in Ravenstown and has delivered on the promises of “major change” that owner Steve Bisciotti and the fanbase were looking for when Billick was axed on New Year’s Eve.
The first moves of the Harbaugh regime come almost orchestrated to provide immediate impact and a “wow” factor as to who’s in charge. But even with new discipline come old problems. There were two, in-team, on-field skirmishes over the weekend, but that might be chalked up to “boys being boys.”
With all of the locker room drama and division of camps that brought on a 5-11 record and a coaching overhaul in the offseason, the real questions being asked by football fans are these:
1. Who will be the quarterback of this team?
2. If Jon Ogden isn’t coming back (and that feels like a fait acompli at this point), who will protest whatever neophyte signal caller new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron sends out there.
3. This is a contract year for Ray Lewis. What will No. 52 look like this season as a 33-year old linebacker in a veteran defense that led the team to a 13-3 record two years ago (an eternity in the NFL)?
4. Can the offense be even markedly more imaginative and productive under Cameron?
5. What is the impact of the coaching change on the bottom line: wins and losses?
Training camp begins in earnest the week of July 20 (earlier than usual). And Harbaugh expects the players to be in Westminster for nearly a full month.
The faith, energy and enthusiasm that a new staff and new faces always seems to bring in the NFL is alive and well in Owings Mills. The wins and losses always seem to stem from the off-season dedication and the productivity and desire to prepare is obvious right now.
Harbaugh keeps preaching the virtues of “team, team, team.” It’ll take some time to see whether all of these changes equal wins this fall.
It’s a strange scheduling week for the Orioles. After a seemingly endless string of games on the road, the team returns home this week but has a rare pair of days off (today and Thursday) sandwiched by a two-game series with Boston at Camden Yards.
It’ll be interesting to see how many folks are in the stands, especially with the Red Sox fans not traveling nearly as well for the mid-week games. And stranger yet, the Sox come back to Baltimore on May 30 for three more games.
The pitching matchups are fantastic: Josh Beckett vs. Jeremy Guthrie on Tuesday night (7:05) and Jon Lester vs. blazing Daniel Cabrera on Wednesday (3:05).
This weekend it’ll be MASN fever as the Washington Nationals return to Camden Yards for what Peter Angelos surely hopes will be an annual “grudge match.”
Right now, it’s a perennial two-city yawner and hasn’t inspired any hate and dread amongst our rival burghs, the way Ravens-Redskins will on Dec. 7. The Nats swept the Orioles in a three-game series at the Yard last June, which led to Sam Perlozzo’s dismissal.
I’m sure Mr. Angelos is hoping for a better result this weekend. Of course, he owns a significant amount of the profit center of both teams, so it’s hard for him to lose either way as long as we watch.