As I am writing this the Red Sox season has just ended. Watching soaking wet Sox fans sadly and quietly empty out of Fenway Park for the last time this season gives me a moderate feeling of satisfaction. Other fans misery, especially really annoying fans, brings me joy. Joy is elusive, so however I can get it, I won’t argue with my brain. There was this kid in my middle school who always pulled the chair out from under other kids and would randomly come up from behind people and kick the back of their legs really hard. We will call him Craig. One day, the class was on a field trip to the dumb ass Science Center. We were having lunch when all of a sudden Craig started choking on a Friendly’s hotdog. He fell out of his chair while he was flailing around looking like a total spaz. One of the chaperones went over to him and did the Heimlich maneuver on Craig. Fortunately for Craig, it worked and the piece of hotdog flew out of his mouth.Unfortunately for Craig, he peed himself while all of this was happening. This brought me joy. The Red Sox fans leaving Fenway today reminded me of Craig.Continue Reading …
Is it possible to write a Baltimore sports blog without mentioning the baseball and football team? I could write about the upcoming Blast season but I’m not sure when that starts, if it already started, if they are still a team, or if it’s even legal to write about indoor soccer. So, that’s not going to work. I think the Bayhawks are still a thing. I’m not sure why or how but according to Google, they exist and there is still a functioning professional lacrosse league in the world. But I’d rather eat my own dog than write another word about professional lacrosse and I quite like my dog so that idea is out. Damnit.
Sunday’s game was miserable. The day started with such promise. I woke up early and walked outside to find a crisp fall morning that felt like football. It was October 1st, the Steelers were in town with first place on the line, I was on my way to tailgate, all was right with the world. By 5pm, I was drunk, broke, sunburned (only on the right side of my face), had some bad indigestion, was questioning my life trajectory and was physically ill from watching the Ravens offense attempt, but miserably fail, to function at any level resembling an NFL team. The day was basically a metaphor for my twenties. I started with such promise and enthusiasm and I’m closing them out being a bitter, out of shape, self loathing waiter/sports blogging intern. And holy hell do I hate Steelers fans. Has anyone ever seen an attractive Steelers fan? I’m not judging people solely on their looks ( Steelers fans have horrendous personalities as well) but seriously, has anyone ever seen a Steelers fan and dreamt of being between the sheets rolling around blissfully on a cool weekend morning? I don’t think so. When I see a Steelers fan I usually either fantasize about framing them for murder or I estimate how many bratwursts they could eat while they are on the toilet. Sometimes both. Sometimes I think of ways to frame them in a toilet, brat related murder. It’s a fun game that I highly recommend.
For all of you Ravens’ fans that booed the team when they knelt for a prayer before the national anthem, well done. You are all brilliant, woke, pillars of society. I’m going to follow your lead and start booing everyone I see that is either kneeling or praying. Look, I don’t mind a good prayer booing every once in awhile and I’m no fan of kneeling because it’s quite uncomfortable so I do understand, somewhat. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that’s not why you were booing. It was a really good representation of the city so I’m very proud of all of you. I’m pretty sure Steelers’ fans don’t want to make babies with you guys either. Thank god. A baby with the looks of a Steelers’ fan and the intelligent social awareness of some Ravens’ fans couldn’t possibly contribute much to society. Best case scenario they could grow up to be president.
I still have hope for this Ravens’ season. I’m not sure why and I can’t really attempt to convince anyone to join me in still believing but it’s only been four games. There is still time for this offense to figure something out. Or, there could be 12 more games that resemble the last two weeks which sounds as appealing to watch as a mother duck giving birth into the mouth of an alligator. I guess some people might be into stuff like that. No judgement here. I’m into some really weird stuff too. For example, I put salt in my toothpaste before brushing.
The Orioles’ season mercifully came to an end on Sunday. September was a complete disaster for the birds going 7-20 in the month and finishing in last place in the A.L. East. I can’t really think of many, if any positives from this season. Obviously Schoopy had a great year, but that’s about where it ends. I’m not sure what the offseason will look like of for the birds but clearly, in the most obvious statement of the year, the O’s need some new humans on the team that can throw the ball from 60 feet 6 inches resulting in the other team’s players being retired and not scoring as many runs. Regardless, I’ll be there on opening day next year excited for a new season of baseball. Maybe the Orioles can resign Ubaldo for two more years because according to Jim Hunter’s brilliant theory of, ” the law of averages,” Ubaldo is due for two straight Cy Young’s. God, Jim Hunter is awful. No matter how badly the Orioles’ season goes, he is always the least valuable member of the organization. I’d rather listen to Gary Thorne drunkenly call a can of corn, that dies in front of the warning track, a home run any day.
My homework for this week was to write some type of “Ode,” to Jerry for his 50th birthday. I’ve only known Jerry for a couple of months so I’m not sure what happened in the 49 previous years but if I know one thing, he loves a clean carpet. This is not a sexual reference, at least I don’t mean for it to be. He is just literally obsessed with the carpet in his house being clean. The first time I went to his house he had a post-it note on the front door requesting to remove your shoes upon entrance if they were not completely clean. If that wasn’t enough, he had another post-it note on the bottom stair leading up to his first floor requesting the same. Luckily my shoes were clean because I don’t think the guys would have liked to smell my feet for the two hours while recording the show. Jerry also freaked out at Jason for eating a cookie at his house because he possibly could have gotten a crumb on the floor. He also made Danny eat a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich over the sink. Just like I have stories from inside the Orioles’ locker room, I have stories from inside the BMore Opinionated podcast recordings. The guys did not make me sign a non-disclosure agreement so if you want any inside info, just ask. Maybe you can give me 20 bucks for info and I’ll let you have a boomboom t-shirt as a prize.
“Ode To Coleman.”
Jerry is fifty, that’s pretty old,
So here’s a poem before he goes stiff and cold,
Jerry always knows the scoop,
Jerry follows John Harbaugh into the bathroom when he poops,
Jerry works with Rob and Ed,
Unlike them, Jerry has a normal-ish sized head,
I’ve heard Jerry doesn’t like to pay,
If you are lost, call Jerry, He’s The Lantern and will guide the way,
Jerry is friends with Adam Jones,
They share laughs, hugs, pies and talk all night on the phone,
Jerry got called out on Pardon My Take,
Jerry, clean your dining room table for God sakes,
Jerry knows his Baltimore sports,
I’m not positive but if I had to guess, Jerry used to wear Jorts,
Happy birthday Jerry, and here’s to 50 more,
You are the best boss an intern could ask for,
I hope you like your birthday rhyme,
When are you going to start paying me, man? It’s time.
I woke up early Sunday morning excited to have a few morning beers and breakfast with the family as we watched the Ravens have the awesome opportunity to play at Wembley stadium. But, once the national anthem started and I saw a large portion of the Ravens team doing the disgusting act of exercising their right to protest inequality and our nation’s “leader,” calling their mothers “bitches”, I immediately turned off the TV, spit my beer out, yelled at my mom for the eggs being cold, called Comcast and told them to remove all channels from my cable plan that show the NFL, put my PSL on Craigslist, took off my Ravens jersey, peed on it, tried to poop on it but I had too much dairy the night before, called my congressman, went outside and angrily glared at my black neighbor’s house, went to Facebook to post articles penned by Ex-military personnel that I’ve never met, and finally got completely naked and wrapped myself in my silky, slightly tattered American flag and wept until there were no tears left.
To be honest, I kind of wish I had at least turned the TV off. I could have gone apple picking or lit my face on fire instead. That game sucked in every way possible. There isn’t much to discuss. I’d say that I’m glad I didn’t go to London to witness that atrocity, but I’m sure Ravens fans that made the trip had a lot more fun than I did this week while waiting tables for grumpy, old farts that swore the kitchen must have made a mistake and put mayo on their pancakes because that’s all they could taste. The Ravens did absolutely nothing right. The defense,that looked so dominant the first two weeks, let Blake Bortles throw for four touchdown while barely getting touched and the gave up 161 on the ground. The offense…holy pregnant goat…the offense. The best play of the game for the Ravens was the opening kickoff when the Jags’ kicker kicked the ball out of bounds. There was hope at that point. It didn’t last long. By the time I was on my fourth mimosa, the Ravens were already down two scores. By the time I was on my tenth, the first quarter was over. The good news is, everyone else in the AFC North lost and the Ravens are still in first place as they host the Steelers next week. Hopefully they can burn the film and move on. If the Ravens can beat Pittsburgh next week, we can all forget about the trip to London. Well, except for those who are no longer watching the team play. You will always remember the day the Ravens lost you forever. You can tell your grandkids all about the time you stopped watching your favorite football team play because some of your fellow citizens protested injustices and found themselves somewhere between standing and sitting for two minutes. I’m sure they’ll understand.
The Orioles apparently played a series against Tampa this weekend. It was nice to hear that J.J. got a warm reception and hit a homer in probably his last game in Camden Yards as an Oriole. J.J. has been a very important piece to the Orioles resurgence. J.J. was an extremely reliable, gold glover at short, a steadying influence for Manny and Schoopy and a guy who had a lot of pop in his bat in his first few seasons as an Oriole. Unfortunately after he signed his contract extension he has been plagued by injuries and seemingly lost most of his power at the plate. Overall, I’m sure most Orioles fans will look back on his tenure in a very positive light. When his left hand slid over the outside of the plate in the bottom of the 8th in game two of the 2014 ALDS, miraculously scoring from first and giving the O’s the lead on Delmon Young’s three run double, he became a key piece in my favorite baseball play of my life. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I’ve also seem him naked. More goosebumps.
In other news, it’s almost hockey season again. It feels like yesterday that the Caps were ripping my heart out for the 9th straight year, laying an egg in game 7 against the Penguins. I remember my Dad texting me as time expired saying, That’s the last time I get emotionally involved with this team.” I responded, “Yeah me too, until October.” Well here we are. Almost there. The masochist part of my brain is getting really excited. Could this be the year? Where there is hope there is utter despair. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. Donald Trump recently announced via twitter (obviously) that the Penguins, unlike the Warriors, are accepting his invitation to the While House to be honored for winning the Stanley Cup. I’m sure Donnie and Evgeni Malkin can swap stories of being showered with golden devotion while in the Motherland.
The Cristo Rey series is a collection of seven pieces written about the Cristo Rey Jesuit Baltimore boy’s basketball program through the lens of their coach Eddie Healy. Cristo Rey Jesuit Baltimore serves students who from low income families in Baltimore City. Every player has endured some hardship in their life, be it victim of violence, emotional trauma, broken family structure or any other afflictions that stunt the growth of many in poverty. This series is the story of unknown kids, on an unknown team from an unknown high school, finding a way to become the team and people they have the potential to be.
Unlike my first season at Cristo Rey, I was able to get a full offseason of practice in with the team. The ability to install our core schemes for the upcoming season well in advance of our official November start date was going to make a major difference on the 2016-17 season. However, as of July, I still hadn’t really nailed down what kind of team I wanted to build.
One night in July, I went out to one of my high school coaches John Bauersfeld’s house to talk about the upcoming season. As we talked about my team’s personnel and makeup (all small, athletic guards), he made the suggestion that we should trap everywhere on defense to kick start our fast break offense. This made even more sense once I thought about how small our court was and that we could use that to create an even greater home advantage with constant pressure. Coach even offered to come down to one of our practices and install the man-to-man traps he uses with his Calvert Hall team now. In shock that Coach (a 3-time Baltimore Catholic league coach of the year, who also has 3 kids) offered his time to come down and take over one of my practices, I quickly accepted the offer and we made plans for him to come down in the fall.
Just before Halloween, coach Bauersfeld made it down to one of our fall workouts. Over a one-hour period, he put in three variations of his half court man trap defenses. As he introduced the first trap, he looked towards senior forward Tim Peterson and asked, “When you come from the back side to take away this passing lane, what are you looking to get?” Tim answered with what seemed obvious, “A steal.” Coach Bauersfeld shook his head and emphatically responded, “You’re getting a dunk!” Everyone else in the gym, knowing there was no player over 6’1” and that we had never seen anyone dunk in practice, shrugged off the comment. Little did we know what the season had in store.
This style of play we would be unleashing on the MIAA C conference in the upcoming season was uncommon for our league and would be a nuisance for opponents to deal with all game if we executed. With that in mind, we continued to practice the traps each week up until our first league game in January but I only used them in three games we played in Philadelphia just in case other teams were scouting us or swapped film with our local opponents. We ran two of the traps from the get-go in our league opener at Concordia Prep, a school that had beaten us out for a playoff spot the previous season. Though they were caught off-guard, we only lead by three at halftime. However, the constant trapping clearly wore on them and we outscored them by 15 points in the 3rd and the game was never close again.
We kept winning, in large part due to the constant swarm of pressure and trapping. One day amidst our 7-1 start to league play, a thought popped in my head – “Chester St. Chaos.” It was the perfect brand name for our style of play, using the school’s address and a little alliteration. I knew I had a golden phrase but waited to unveil it at the right time. In the 2nd quarter of a tight game at home vs. Park, I called a timeout and said with a grin, “OK guys, let’s run 23 and trap from the back side. It’s time to give these guys a little Chester…Street…Chaos.” The boys all reacted like I had just dropped a hilarious line from one of their favorite rappers – you could just see they’d been infused with some swagger by that phrase. Moments later, Tim Peterson came from the backside and easily snagged a pass that would lead to an easy layup. As he approached the hoop, I had already counted the two points in my head and was about to make the next switch of defenses. But then all of the sudden – BOOM – Tim dunked the ball! I’d never been more caught off guard as a coach– I actually jumped in amazement like a fan in the stands. It was bedlam in that gym. The funny thing is, I have never seen Tim dunk before that or since but he proved coach Bauersfeld to be a very wise man.
All in all, our “Chester St. Chaos” defense forced our league opponents to average 23.9 turnovers per game against us, with an average of 13.4 coming off of steals. It wasn’t always pretty and it lead to some high scoring games, but there is no way we would have finished in 2nd place and with the best conference record in school history without employing that style of play. It’s funny to think that in my best season as a coach, I had my team use a style of play that I would not have liked playing or been good at as a player. However, I couldn’t have had more fun unleashing Chester…Street…Chaos.
Two birds fly together from Baltimore to Ohio. When they hit the state border they go their separate ways. A couple days later they find themselves flying together again on their way back. One bird looks at the other and asks, “How was your trip?” The other replies, ” I went to Cleveland and it was horrible, but the good news is I probably won’t have to come back to this dump in October. How was your trip?” The other bird replies, “I’m sorry to hear that, I usually love Cleveland this time of year. I ended up in Cinci, met this guy whose hair looks a lot like yours and he showed me a fantastic time.”Continue Reading …
Yeeeee-Haw! What a weekend for the O’s! After last week’s mediocre 3-3 home stand, the Birds were three games under .500 and four games out of the second wild card heading to Beantown to play a Sox team that had won 8 out of 11 and had a comfortable cushion atop the A.L. East. You kind of got the feeling that this quick roadie up north could potentially break the birds once and for all. Welp, that’s why feelings are stupid and should be avoided at all costs. My therapist has told me time and time again that it is better to feel nothing than feel sad. But, damn, after Friday night’s 20 hit 16 run demolition, Saturday’s gem from “Gausy,” aided by an awesome at-bat culminating in a 3-run-homer by,”Swaggy T,” and Sunday’s stressful, gritty 2-1 win, it was hard not to feel some excitement. The O’s return home for a ten game home stand only two back of the second wild card.Continue Reading …
We have a few of these tee-shirts left that we would like to distribute to some hardcore O’s fans. If you are interested, shoot an email to email@example.com. You can wear one with pride at OPACY or Bowie or Frederick or Aberdeen or anywhere else this should-be rookie of the year has played.
For those of us who are still holding on to hope that the Birds can make a charge towards the playoffs, this has been a great week(minus the last two nights after this was written). For those who(won’t mention any names) think the Orioles made a huge mistake by not unloading at the trade deadline, this five game win streak has been a mere mirage to distract the delusional from the inevitable fate of the team. I’ll just say this ; As I’m heading to the yard tonight I’m happy that I still get to watch Manny, Adam and Zach play for the good guys. This may be shortsighted but with our commander in chief stearing us towards a potential nuclear war, this might be the last season of baseball any of us get to see and if I’m about to be blown to smithereens, I’d like to see one last playoff push. Also, say what you want about the Tim Beckham trade but personally there are few things that bring me more joy than a bat flip after hitting a single up the middle, so I’m happy. Make baseball fun again. The birds certainly added more swag.
With football season quickly approaching I would propose that the Ravens cancel the rest of training camp, forfeit all of the preseason games, make sure all of the players do not leave their bedrooms for the next month and reconvene at 1pm on September 10th in Cinci. Players are dropping like Under Armour stock. There are few things as a football team or fan more disheartening than serious, potentially season ending injuries happening in practice or meaningless games. Losing Pitta, Tavon Young and Kenneth Dixon(plus many more) just flat out stinks. I was excited to watch Tavon Young progress this year after showing beastly flashes last year . Kenneth Dixon was another guy I was looking forward to watching this year especially because he was roiding in the offseason so he was definitely going to improve drastically. Preseason injuries are like sharting in the car on your way to your first day at your new job. It happens, there is nothing you can do about it because you’re almost there, but it seems like it should have been avoidable and leaves you in a sticky situation.
Ok, so, who else is tired of the Colin Kaepernick to the Ravens talk? Either sign him or don’t. The truth is, if Joe is hurt for an extended period of time then the Ravens are boned no matter what. But, can we please stop a few things? Can all you lying morons out there please stop threatening that you are going to stop being a Ravens fan if they sign Kaep. First of all, no you’re not. Second of all, no-one cares if 51- year- old contractor, John from Linthicum isn’t going to be a Ravens’ fan anymore. The stadium will still sell out without you and everyone from your section will breathe a huge sigh of relief because I guarantee you are the same turd who starts booing after the first offensive series because, “Joe sucks. What is Matt Cavanaugh callin dem plays?” The only people that will be upset about your decision are your wife and kids because that’s one more day of the week they have to spend with your miserable ass. Also, can Steve Bisciotti stop saying absurd things like, “We’re very sensitive to it, and we’re monitoring it, and we’re still, as Ozzie says, scrimmaging it, and we’re trying to figure out what’s the right tact. So pray for us.” No I will not pray for a billionaire to make a minor business decision about possible signing a guy that will hopefully never play. What an absurd request. If I’m going to waste my time praying I’d like to at least spend it on something worthwhile like praying for a study to come out confirming Skoal is actually healthier than flossing. I like Bisciotti for the most part but come on, man. I can see John from Linthicum getting his kids together before bed and making them all kneel down in the living room under his “All lives matter,” poster with the lights dimmed holding hands in a circle, “Please Lord almighty, creator of the greatest country in the world, give our Ravens’ organization the wisdom and courage to not give that giant afro wearing, police and America hating, tattoo ridden kneeling rat a place on our otherwise immaculate, God fearing roster of men including Mr. Sizzle who was nice enough to wash his wife off with bleach. In Jesus’ name we pray, God bless America and no place else.”
The first thing my Dad said to me when I saw him on Sunday night was, ” It’s football season.” While I’m not one to give up on things easily, (After 29 years, I’m still trying to win People Magazine’s sexiest man alive) things clearly aren’t looking so hot for the birds. This past weekends’ drubbing at the hands of the defending world champs was about as enjoyable to watch as a Justin Tucker, Royal Farms commercial. It was painful. If there was any hope of an Orioles’ second half turnaround, this 10 game home stand following the All-Star break was crucial. Starting 0-3 while giving up 27 runs and 41 hits in the process wasn’t exactly inspiring. So, if you are giving up on the O’s season but aren’t quite ready for football, here are some sports viewing options to get you through the next couple months.
Orioles’ 22-year-old, 2016 third-round draft pick, outfielder Austin Hays joined the guys today to talk about his quick rise to Double-A along with some stories about the oddities of minor league baseball including monkeys riding dogs.
Hays started the season in Frederick and after going to town on Single-A pitching he was promoted to Double-A Bowie where he has continued his torrid pace. In 64 games with Frederick, Hays hit .328 with 16 dongs, 41 RBI and a slugging percentage of .592 while hitting mostly in the two hole and occasionally leading off. Since his promotion to Bowie, in 14 games Hays has hit .339 with three homers, 16 RBI and slugging .571. He recently had a season long 17 game hit streak snapped and has hit safely in 20 of his last 22 games hitting .340 with 7 HR, 14 XBH and 20 RBI over that span. Maybe most impressively, Hays is second in all of the minor leagues in total bases with 187 trailing only former Orioles dud Christian Walker (190). Hays has proved to be a versatile outfielder playing center field in Frederick and then moving to the corner outfield positions in Bowie with Cedric Mullins in center.
Screw it. Call him up now.