Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Humility is for Pansies or the Conference Affiliated

Side Tracking on Baseball

(ed note: There is little if any new Michigan news so I kinda went off on a rant on something totally off topic. Michigan related information can be found at the bottom of this post.)

There are few things in life that bring me more joy or pure frustration that Michigan athletics. One of those things is Baltimore Orioles baseball.

You have to understand my family in full of rabid Orioles fans. My grandmother lived and died with the birds. My father goes to about half the O's home games a year. I was born in Baltimore during the hey-day of the Orioles. My parents had season tickets. I attended my first Orioles game at 4 months. I was sitting in my Dad's lap during the 1979 ALCS, and to this day, still have the banner hanging in my home. I was in the stands for Cal Ripken's first game. I cheered like mad when they won the Series in 1983. I had a Cal Ripken poster on my wall till I was 17. I cursed till I was blue in the face when that little duechbag leaned over the Yankee Stadium outfield fence and helped propell the Yankees to the World Series over the O's. I have, in fact, broken a television over an Orioles (post season) loss. I still, quietly, emphasize the "O" in the Star Spangled Banner. I teared up when Ripken passed Lou Gehrig. Jim Palmer is still a God to me. Even if he did sell Jockeys for ten years. Eddie Murray is still the greatest first baseman ever, and I don't care who else played there and was "better", he's still the best to me. I will tolerate David Segui's existence, despite how much we overpayed him and how crappy he was, because he wore the Baltimore uniform. By that same rationale, Albert Belle wasn't really that bad of a guy. This is the level of my mania.

I sit here in Chicago, 11 to 12 hours car ride away from Baltimore, perplexed as to what has become of my beloved team. I am well aware of the fact that Peter Angelos is by far the worst owner in professional baseball. I would say sports, but my favorite hockey team is owned by Bill Wirtz. He is in fact the worst owner in sports, hands down. The O's front office would be better managed by a pack of spider monkeys making decisions by throwing their poo at a major league roster. How Mike Flannagan and Co. managed to f-up this team as badly as he has should get him indicted by the Hague. Corey Patterson patrols centerfield. The same Corey Patterson who led the league in fewest pitches seen per at bat. Overspending. Stupid spending. Lowballing free agents. Underdevelopment of prospects. Overhyping bad prospects. Trading the good ones for a can of 4-in-1 oil and a pat on the ass. This is my team.

Yet, there I was last night. Glued to the TV as I watched Josh Beckett dismantle the Birds. Beckett completed the sixth inning with six pitches, despite giving up a lead-off base hit. One thing you will always notice about bad baseball teams, they never go deep into a count. If they take first pitch, its usually because they were fooled. That was the case last night. The Orioles are a bad team.

With Leo Mazzone taking over as the pitching coach this year, I felt pitching might become one of the Bird's strong points. The jury is still out on that. In Atlanta, Mazzone got to work with Hampton, Maddux, Glavine, Smotlz, etc. Here he's got Bruce "Gopher Ball" Chen and a bunch of third starters. Right now Benson's the only reliable pitcher the O's have. And that's not enough to be competitive in the AL East.

The Birds are bad. Yet I still watch them. I still go to Camden Chat and read the game day write ups. They know my pain. I pray. I look for trends. I try to see positives. I say things like "he's coming around", "he's due", "yeah, but he had good movement on his fastball", and "you'll see." Yet there is nothing to see. Even so I will continue to watch them and hope.

Maybe things will turn around. Maybe in a month or two I'll be proud of their progress. But right now I'm forced to look at them like dog with no nose.

It can't tell its ass from a hole in the ground and it doesn't know why.

Basketball Recruiting

GBW is indicating that PG Scottie Reynolds is getting close to a decision. The headline does not inspire a lot of confidence:

Are the Wolverines Still Alive With Reynolds?

The answer no. GBW article is subscription only, so I haven't seen it. However, the fact that GBW and Rivals have been this quiet on Reynolds for the past two-three weeks indicates he's looking elsewhere. Plus, the fact that he getting recruited by Nova and LSU pretty much rules Michigan out. Somehow, methinks Jarrett Smith will be doing the majority of the point guard work next year. If I'm wrong, I'll happily eat my words. But barring a Carlos Brown type out-of-the-blue commitment, Reynolds will be playing elsewhere.

Drew Sharp Strikes Again!

He got me earlier this year. He got Brian once too. Now he suckered in Blue-Gray Sky. Word to the wise Domers, Drew Sharp Sucks (scroll to bottom).

However, Mr. Sharp's antagonizing use of the English language did provide the good folks over at BGS a sizeable soapbox from which to decry conference affiliations and the Big Ten in general. I found the column to be self-serving and inflamatory. But hey. Most conversations with ND fans that involve joining a conference go that way, and it is their blog. Try talking to Mississippi State fans about changing the SEC.

Even so, Johnny took exception. Oh boy, did he take exception.
I have found that no one needs to be told to hate Notre Dame. There are plenty of reasons you should hate them on your own.

Love it. MnB and RBUAS reader Ben took on the Irish hordes himself in the comment section too.

All because of Mr. Sharp. He may be a jackass, but he did spark some good writing on Johnny's part.


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