Archive for March, 2008

2008 NFL (Mock) Draft, Vol. 5

March 14, 2008

The 2008 NFL Mock Drafts continue, in all their glorified speculation, and we’re here to keep you updated!

We came across 2 more mock drafts posted this week, with’s Don Banks forecasting the Ravens to pick Troy CB Leodis McKelvin, while CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco has the Pats taking McKelvin at #7 and the Ravens going with Brian Brohm at #8.

Prisco thinks it is a “mistake” that Brohm is dropping on most boards, and calls him “the next Jim Kelly.” We take that to mean more that Brohm will be a smooth operator in the pocket and a whiz at running the no-huddle offense, as opposed to a bridesmaid in 4 consecutive Super Bowls. Still, Brohm is no longer seen as a top 10 pick by most experts, even factoring in what should be a strong performance at the combine. Add in the Ravens’ already crowded quarterback situation, and it seems unlikely that Brohm will land in B-More.

Let’s see what NFL Draft Scout (our usual go-to, Scouts, Inc. has no write up on him) has to say about Leodis McKelvin:


2007: All-Sun Belt Conference first-team choice…Started all twelve games at left cornerback, coming up with 60 tackles (50 solos), including 2.5 stops for losses of 6 yards…Caused three fumbles and recovered another, advancing that turnover 36 yards…Deflected nine passes and intercepted two others for minus 9 yards…Led the league and ranked fourth in the nation with 436 yards and three touch-downs on 25 punt returns (17.44 avg)…Finished third in the Sun Belt with 33 kickoff returns for a school season-record 765 yards (23.2 avg), topping his own mark of 634 yards in 2006…Led the team and ranked eighth in the conference with 1,228 all-purpose yards…Had 70 passes targeted into his territory, as the opposition caught 34 of those tosses (48.57%) for 407 yards (11.97-yard average per completion/5.81-yard average per attempt), no touchdowns and eleven first downs, as he prevented the receivers from getting to 25 throws while breaking up eleven others (nine deflections/two pass thefts)… Made fifteen of his plays on third-down and two more on fourth-down snaps…Turned the ball over once on three fumbles. First team All-Sun Belt honors as a return man by averaging 25.8 yards per kickoff return and 12.6 yards on punt returns in ‘05.

02/12/08 – All-Star Game Risers Team: CB Leodis McKelvin (Troy): McKelvin finally got his due as both an ever-improving corner prospect and explosive return specialist after displaying his wares in practices at Mobile. He has the hips and quickness to stick with receivers and has learned to read the quarterback and react to the play off his man. A hamstring injury kept him from playing in the Senior Bowl itself, but he did enough during the week to secure his place in line.


Cornerback would make a lot of sense for the Ravens at #8, and if Ozzie & Co. feel that McKelvin is the best one out there, they will probably snatch him up. The wild-card here is New England. Should they fail to re-sign Asante Samuel and lose him to free agency, they could look to address CB early in the draft. If they go with McKelvin, the Ravens may not feel that the next best CB on the board, South Florida’s Mike Jenkins (by most accounts) is worth such a high selection, in which case they could address DE or possibly trade their pick. Speaking of trading picks, New England is always very shop-happy on draft day, so they may not even end up picking above the Ravens. Ahhhh! Speculation! Where is Cajun Boy when you need him?

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2007 Season (The MURPHY’S LAW Season) Part 2: Defense

March 14, 2008

The snake-bitted-ness extended to the defensive side of the ball in 2007. 

Defensive Line

The defensive line was the standout group of 2007. Perhaps the most disappointing part of their season was that neither Kelly Gregg nor Haloti Ngata, both deserving, were voted to the Pro Bowl. These two were absolute monsters inside, as good as any defensive tackle duo in the league, and as good as we’ve seen in B-More since the days of “Goose” and Sam Adams. “Buddy Lee” had 80 tackles, tied for most in his career, and Ngata had 63, as the Ravens were 2nd in the NFL in rush defense, allowing only 79 yards per game. Backups Justin Bannan and Dwan Edwards also played well.

Unfortunately, there is another side to playing defensive line: pressuring the quarterback. Pass rusher extraordinaire Trevor Pryce broke his wrist in week 2 and saw action in only 5 games. As a result, his sack total dropped from 13 a year ago to just 2 in ’07. His absence also allowed opposing offenses to commit more blockers to any Ravens blitzers. The Ravens had only 32 sacks in 2007, just over half their 2006 total of 60 – don’t underestimate the importance of one man, Pryce, to that stat.

Gregg is 31, and probably has 2 or 3 seasons of high-level play left if he stays healthy. Ngata is entering just his 3rd season, and will be a staple on the line for years to come. Pryce is 32 and may have a good year or 2 left, but we will have to wait and see if the new coaching staff considers his age and health issues worth the risk, as he also suffered a torn pectoral muscle this season.

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Bart Scott 2006
Bart Scott 2007

This Ravens success against the rushing game also indicates a solid year by the linebackers. However, the big plays we have come to expect from this group just weren’t there to the extent that we are used to seeing. After picking up 9.5 sacks each in 2006, Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott saw their numbers plummet this season, to just 5 and 1, respectively. Ray Lewis had a strong year and showed he still has more than a little left in the tank. His sack total dropped to 2 from 5 last year, but he had 2 interceptions for the second straight season, one of which he returned for the 3rd touchdown of his career, and first since 2003. Some may point to the loss of Adalius Thomas as the reason for the sub-par play of the Ravens’ LBs, but we think it had much more to do with all the injuries around them. While the ‘backers stayed fairly healthy throughout the season, the injuries to Trevor Pryce, Chris McAlister, and Samari Rolle really hobbled what Rex Ryan was able to do with this bunch. Backups in the secondary meant that the LBs had to drop into coverage more, and blitz less, and when they did rush, they were picked up more often than not by the blocker that didn’t have to worry about double-teaming Pryce.

This group was also responsible for their share of controversy in 2007. Ray Lewis publicly called out Brian Billick on his radio show after the Buffalo game, questioning Billick’s playcalling. It is widely speculated around town that Lewis had more than a little to do with the firing of Billick. Bart Scott had his well-documented breakdown/temper tantrum at the end of the New England game, where he threw an official’s flag into the stands, which resulted in the squashing of any iota of hope the Ravens offense had to march down the field for a quick score to tie or win that game.

Terrell Suggs is an unrestricted free agent, and it will be very interesting what the new coaches decide to do with him. Personally, I’d like to see him locked up to a long term deal, but the Ravens may decide to slap the franchise tag on him, or just let him walk.


Finally we come to the unit that probably had the MOST to do with the Ravens dismal 2007 campaign. Injuries decimated the secondary, as Chris McAlister was limited to 8 games with a knee injury, and Samari Rolle to 6 games due to problems stemming from epilepsy. These two combined for 9 interceptions and 32 games started in 2006, and just 2 INT and 13 games started in 2007. For all the complaining that Ravens’ fans did about Rolle in ’06, and that they have done about McAlister for his entire career, we saw first hand this year what happens to our defense without them, and it was not pretty. When you can’t count on your corners to cover receivers one-on-one it severely limits everything you do on defense. The Ravens’ lack of depth in the secondary was exposed, as Corey Ivy, David Pittman, and Derrick Martin got burnt time and time again filling in for Rolle and C-Mac.

On the back end of the secondary, safety Ed Reed had his typical season, and was named as the Ravens’ only All-Pro. He started all 16 games for the 5th time in his 6 year career, and picked up 7 interceptions, while also serving as the Ravens’ punt returner in critical situations. He played more disciplined this year than he has in years past, not gambling for the big play as often. However, this may have been more out of necessity than out of maturity on Reed’s part, as he suddenly found himself as the most experienced member of the group, and he was often charged with covering the butts of the young corners. Second year man Dawan Landry seemed to suffer a bit of a “sophomore slump.” After picking up 5 interceptions in his rookie season, he was shut out in ’07, and we hardly ever heard his name called on broadcasts. As Stephen over at RavensTD points out, it may be a good idea to have Landry watch video loops of Bob Sanders for the entire offseason.

Cornerback should be a top priority for the Ravens going into the draft, and they may even be able to trade down a few slots to get their guy, should they choose to go that route. To us anyway, a solid young CB makes much more sense than any of the QB prospects that may be on the board.

Special Teams

The Ravens special teams had an OK year. Matt Stover again found himself the Ravens main offensive weapon for a while there. He he had one game winning field goal as time expired, but missed another in OT that would have saved the Ravens a lot of face (and perhaps Brian Billick his job) in Miami. His 27 field goals made and 84.4% FG percentage were both his lowest since 2002. Punter Sam Koch upped his average net to 43.6 from 43.0 last season, good for 13th in the NFL.

In the return game, B.J. Sams was lost for the season in week 1, and rookie Yamon Figurs showed some good things. He was 14th in punt return avg. and 10th in kickoff return avg. (among players with at least 30 returns), with 1 touchdown coming on a punt return. Ed Reed also returned a punt for a touchdown.

Season (The MURPHY’S LAW Season) – Part 1: Offense

March 14, 2008

“Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” – Murphy’s Law

That about sums up everything that happened with our Ravens this year, no? After the charmed 2006 (regular) season, in which they won some games they probably shouldn’t have, 2007 proved that, at least in football, the universe does indeed work itself out. We’ll try to rack our brains and painstakingly remember ALL the things that went wrong here…maybe doing it by category will make things easier.

QuarterbackSteve McNair stumbled out of the gates and never got on track. He showed none of the pocket presence or big play making ability of 2006, and his days as a Raven are probably over. He was never healthy, as he injured his groin in week 1, sat out several games with a stiff back, and was ultimately placed on IR with a shoulder injury December 3rd. For the season, McNair turned the ball over 11 times in only 6 starts, while throwing just 2 touchdowns.

His replacement, Kyle Boller, showed some promise early on, but in the end just showed that his is nothing more than a capable backup in this league. He threw 9 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 12 games, and showed that he still has not developed the pocket presence or passing touch needed to be anything better than average. He had perhaps the best game of his career against the New England Patriots, only to revert back to his old erratic self the very next week against Indianapolis. Boller also continued his historically awful play on the road, and his record as a starter outside M&T Bank Stadium is now an abysmal 5-15. He saw his last action in week 15 when he suffered a concussion in Miami.

The Next Man Up, rookie Troy Smith, played reasonably well in his 2 starts. He showed better pocket presence than Boller ever has, but still made a few throws in the Steelers game that should have been intercepted, and probably would have lost the game for him. His 79 yard touchdown pass to Derrick Mason in Seattle was the Ravens’ longest pass of the season. Smith should get a fair shake in training camp in 2008 to seize the starting job, but he will have to improve his decision making. Many in B-More are ready to anoint him the franchise QB, but not so fast, we say. He was a 5th round pick for a reason, and his Heisman Trophy is by no means an indicator of NFL stardom (recent Heisman trophy winners: Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart, Jason White, Carson Palmer, Eric Crouch, Chris Weinke, Ron Dayne, Ricky Williams, Charles Woodson, Danny Weurffel.)

Running Backs

Willis McGahee was the lone bright spot on offense for the 2007 Ravens, running for 1207 yards and 7 touchdowns, and adding 43 receptions for 231 yards and a TD. Often times you’ll hear about a RB buying his offensive lineman expensive dinners or watches after a good season, but the Ravens OL should be the ones giving Willis gifts. He made them look much better than they were playing at times, picking up yards where there were none to be had. McGahee needs to work on his ball security in the offseason, as his 3 lost fumbles were the most of his career.

Backup/3rd down back Musa Smith appeared in all 16 games for the first time in his career, and averaged 3.5 ypc. Smith is an unrestricted free agent, and the new head coach will have to decide whether or not to bring him back. We say “Yay.” Smith is a quality guy, and showed great work ethic and commitment in coming back from his grotesque broken leg suffered in 2004 thanks to Roy “What do you mean I can’t tackle like that?” Williams.

Wide Receivers
This group regressed from 2006, thanks to both injuries and poor quarterback play. Mark Clayton was slowed by injury early and saw his numbers dip significantly compared to last year, with 20 fewer receptions, 400 fewer yards, and no touchdowns. He is still the Ravens best YAC player, and the new offensive system needs to get him involved much more.

After complaining about being left out of the offense last year, Derrick Mason, set a personal and Ravens record receptions total with 103, while breaking 1000 yards for the 2nd time in B-More. Mason showed he can still find open space, especially on 3rd down, as he led the NFL in 3rd down receptions. At times it seemed like Kyle Boller must have had Mason on his fantasy team, as he wouldn’t even look at the other receivers. Mason had plenty of complaints about a 13-3 team that relied on him only marginally, but very few of a 5-11 team that featured him heavily. One can’t help but question his priorities.

Other wideouts Demetrius Williams and Devard Darling had polar opposite seasons. Williams, who established himself as a deep threat in 2006, suffered from the poor play of the offense, which either had a quarterback to weak to throw the deep ball, or an offensive line unable to protect long enough for deep routes to develop (or both!), and saw his last action in week 10 due to an ankle injury. Darling, relegated to special teams for most of his tenure in B-More, emerged in place of Williams, averaging 18 yards per catch and hauling in 3 touchdowns. Perhaps he will finally start to live up to his 3rd round draft pick, should the Ravens choose to resign him (unrestricted free agent).

Tight Ends
The injury bug decimated this group as well. Todd Heap played in only 6 games, the last in week 10, due to a hamstring injury. Prior to this season, he had played in all 16 games in 2 straight seasons, and 4 of the previous 5, so don’t be so quick to label him “soft,” as many in town have taken to lately. He will only be 28 at the start of the 2008 season, and we fully expect the “Stormin’ Mormon” to regain his status as one of the league’s elite tight ends.

Daniel Wilcox had a laundry list of injuries, and only played in 5 games, after playing in 16, 13, and 14 the past 3 seasons. These injuries forced 2nd year man Quinn Sypniewski into extended duty, and he played reasonably well. His hands and blocking improved throughout the course of the year, and the experience he gained makes this one of the strongest positions for the Ravens going into 2008.

Offensive Line

Pains of two types here: physical and “growing.” Jonathan Ogden missed weeks 2-6 with his sprained big toe, then took a few more games to round into “game shape,” before finishing up the season as his old, reliable, immovable, bulldozing self. He certainly has a few more NFL games in his tank, if he so chooses. Third year man Adam Terry also missed 4 games, and was only marginally effective when he did play. Word on the street is that he lacks the “mean streak” necessary to be an effective NFL tackle, and rookie Marshal Yanda supplanted him at times. Yanda showed some good things, but seemed to hit the rookie wall towards the end of the season, as did Ben Grubbs, who had a solid debut year. Jason Brown had a good year at guard, and may move to center next season, as Chris Chester had a disappointing 2007 campaign, and Mike Flynn looks set for retirement.

The line had trouble opening holes for running backs, and protecting the passer. After giving up only 17 sacks in 2006, Ravens QBs were constantly running for their lives and absorbing crushing hits this year. The poor pass protection contributed greatly to the Ravens finishing out the year with their 3rd string QB. As mentioned previously, Willis McGahee often pushed the pile 4 or 5 yards, as opposed to finding daylight. The youth of this group gives it a promising future, despite their tough year

Will Baby Ben Get What he Wants This Holiday Season?

March 14, 2008


Refs May Not Have Done Enough to Help Steelers Win Playoff Game

March 14, 2008

After Jacksonville’s 31-29 Wild-Card Playoff victory over Pittsburgh, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the league will be investigating the officiating from the game, amidst speculation that the referees did not do enough to help the Steelers win.

Some Steelers seemed upset after Saturday’s loss, and pointed to the officiating as a culprit. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

“Linebacker Larry Foote intimated that a huge hole in the Steelers’ defense that quarterback David Garrard ran through for 32 yards on fourth down to set up Jacksonville’s winning field goal came about for reasons other than good blocking.Foote complained to officials on the field and it was the only topic he broached briefly in the locker room before leaving.

‘You’ll see a big old hole open up, and you’ll see the reason why. That’s all I’ve got to say. Thank you.’

Steelers linebackers were upset by what they felt were non-calls, particularly holding by the Jaguars.‘I’m the wrong person to interview,’ Clark Haggans said.

‘You might want to interview the referees. Plain and simple, that’s it. I don’t have anything else to say besides that.”

Referee Tony Corrente expressed regret over the outcome of the game. “We really did do everything we could to try to help them win. Especially on that last 4th down play for Jacksonville, the pivotal play – Carl was supposed to toss the flag for holding if they picked up the first down, but he couldn’t find his flag. We all waited for him to throw it, but he just choked. I really hope the league shows him some mercy on this one, he has kids to feed.”

“The NFL has a long history of favoring the Pittsburgh Steelers, and doing all that we can to help them win. Ever since the 1970’s it has been our tradition. My predecessor Paul Tagliabue carried the torch before passing it to me, and I plan on upholding the status quo. There will be a full investigation.” said Goodell.

It was clear throughout that the referees were doing their job well, helping Pittsburgh as much as they could up until that critical 4th down conversion in the final minutes.

Said Umpire Carl Paganelli, “I’m really disappointed in myself for not coming through for the Steelers on that play. However, I really think I deserve some leniency. I mean, look at that pass interference call I made on Jacksonville in the 4th quarter. Hines Ward practically dragged the defender through the end zone by his facemask, but I did my job and threw the flag on Jacksonville.”

“I stand by the work of my crew,” said Corrente. “We did everything we could to help the Steelers win, but in the end, not even we could overcome the play of that big dumb quarterback of theirs. I mean did you see those interceptions he was throwing? That guy is terrible. This one is on them.”

2008 NFL Draft, Vol. 4

March 14, 2008

With the 8th pick secured, all that is left is to speculate on what the Ravens, as well as the teams above them, will do based on off-season acquisitions and losses, needs at certain positions, and performance of the prospects at their pre-NFL Draft workouts. The most recent mock draft by Scouts, Inc. (subscription req’d), has the Ravens going with USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis at #8.

Draft Expert Todd McShay:
“Baltimore would like to use this pick to put an end to a seemingly endless pursuit for a franchise quarterback. Unfortunately, there isn’t one worth selecting here with Ryan off the board. Instead, the Ravens could go with the best value on the board (Ellis) or fill a hole at either cornerback (Mike Jenkins) or left tackle (Ryan Clady). Knowing the Ravens’ draft-day discipline, Ellis will be the pick in this scenario.”

Ellis’ pre-senior season scouting report:
Strengths: A disruptive, penetrating interior defensive lineman. At his best in a one-gap scheme but has some versatility due to experience as a nose tackle and three-technique. He is extremely disruptive versus the run. Displays outstanding initial burst and wins most of his battles with first-step quickness. Uses long arms to keep separation and does an excellent job of disengaging from blocks and keeping on the move. Recognition skills are very good and he’s athletic enough to change directions and pursue once he penetrates the backfield. He consistently generates pressure as a pass rusher. Shows upper-echelon closing burst for his position and also does a good job of batting down passes once he realizes he’s not getting to the QB. Plays with a great motor and works very hard on and off the field. Never gives up on a play and his effort is infectious.

Weaknesses: Undersized; lacks ideal height and bulk. Not a good fit for schemes that require two-gap ability. Plays with a narrow base and will get overwhelmed by bigger blockers in the phone booth. He struggles to anchor when teams run at him and he really needs to be on the move in order to be successful. Durability has been somewhat of an issue; redshirted in 2003 due to injury that required surgery and missed three games in 2006 (Nebraska, Arizona and Washington State) due to right knee injury that required arthroscopic surgery.

Overall: Ellis arrived at USC in 2003 but received a medical redshirt after suffering a midseason left ankle fracture which required surgery. During his first three seasons (2004-’06) he saw action in 34 games making 86 total tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and nine sacks. Ellis missed some time in 2006 after having arthroscopic knee surgery. Ellis is a one-gap defensive tackle prospect that isn’t for everybody but can be effective in the right scheme (see: Colts, Buccaneers, Eagles, etc.). If ranks among the elite prospects at his position and can solidify a spot in Round 1 with a healthy and productive senior season.

And Ellis’ stats from his senior season at USC:
Games: 13
Tackles: 58 (29 Solo)
Tackles for Loss: 12.5
Sacks: 8.5
Passes Defensed: 7

Our take:
With Kelly Gregg still having several productive years left, and Haloti Ngata coming into his own as one of the best DT’s in the NFL, this would be a puzzling pick on the surface. The Ravens’ base 4-3 fits Ellis’ 1-gap ability, but as just stated, we seem to have that position secured. However, even though the Ravens have had zero problem stopping the run with Ngata and Gregg up front, Ellis’ ability to generate pressure on the QB from the DT position is intriguing, as that is not something that the Ravens have been able to do lately. The scouting report also says he “gets overwhelmed by bigger blockers” (NFL O-lineman aren’t exactly small) and is a bit injury prone, so all things considered, this doesn’t seem to be the best fit for the Ravens. If Ozzie and Co. determine that Ellis is indeed the best player remaining on the board at #8, perhaps trading down with a team desperate for his services would be a wiser move.

What do you think, Nestgoers? Sedrick Ellis a good fit in B-More? Please, share your thoughts on this in the comments.

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More on Bedard Trade

March 14, 2008

Eric “I live with my parents” Bedard is now officially a Seattle Mariner, and the following 5 players are now Baltimore Orioles:

Adam “Don’t call me Pac-Man” Jones – 22 year old centerfielder. Compared by some to Torii Hunter, Andruw Jones, Mike Cameron. We hope for the Hunter-Jones comparisons to be more accurate than the Cameron one. He is said to have a very strong arm, having been a pitcher in high school, and above average speed, although he has never been much of a base stealer. The current knock on him is plate discipline, as he struck out 21 times with only 4 walks in 2007. This has led one blogger we read to give him the early nickname of “hack-man” Jones. Bravo.

Chris Tillman – 19 year old right handed pitcher. At 6’5”, he will have to put a lot of work in the coming years into his mechanics, so as to not become the next Daniel Cabrera. Tillman is highly thought of in baseball circles though, and his youth gives him tremendous upside.

George Sherrill – 31 year old left handed pitcher. Sherrill is the only one in the trade that doesn’t really fit with the O’s rebuilding plans, being older than even Bedard. However, he will likely be the solution in the short-term to the Orioles’ no-closer problem, with Chris Ray out for the year after having Tommy John surgery.

Tony Butler – 20 year old left handed pitcher. Butler is another one that looks like a basketball player, at 6’7”. According to Keith Law of, Butler “was 90-93 with a sharp two-plane-breaking curve out of high school, but he battled a sore back through all of 2007 and his velocity and numbers took a step back. Should he return to full health in 2008, he’s worth a revisit, as he was a legitimate third-round pick in 2006 who still has upside.”

Kameron Mickolio – 24 year old right handed pitcher. Again we will quote Law: “Mickolio is close to big-league ready with a solid-average fastball and slider; his ceiling is as a capable 11th or 12th man in the big leagues.”

There you have your introductions to the players the O’s received in Andy MacPhail’s second 5-for-1 this offseason. Most baseball writers around the country seem to agree that the O’s made out on this one, and are moving in the right direction. For instance:

Law: “Giving up six years of Jones for two of Bedard when Jones is already ready to contribute to a big-league club is a poor deal for Seattle.”

CBS Sportsline’s Scott Miller: “In dealing Erik Bedard to Seattle on Friday and Miguel Tejada to Houston in December, Baltimore president Andy MacPhail acquired 10 different players, and even if the Orioles now may have to summon Charlie Brown to be their opening day starter, this is exactly the kind of thinking this decrepit organization needs. Amassing young players — not sending Snoopy’s master to the hill.”

Spencer Fordin of “The moves won’t make the Orioles better in 2008, but they should make the organization healthier moving forward.”

That last one speaks loudest. The Orioles very well may lose 100 games in 2008, and will probably finally be overtaken by the Tampa Bay Rays and fall into the basement of the AL East, a position they have been flirting with for years. However, the stockpile of young talent they are amassing could bode very well for the team’s future. Anyway, won’t it be more exciting to see the O’s lose games with these young, hungry, talented players than it has been to watch them lose games over the past decade with stop-gap, high-priced, non-hustling veterans like Marty Cordova? Especially given the newfound hope for the future? We say yes. What say you?

The Same Old (Short) Story From the Warehouse

March 14, 2008

With all the “questionable” goings on in Raven-ville over the previous month or so, there had been much talk around B-More of Steve Bisciotti becoming a sort of Peter Angelos-in-training, what with meddling around with the team rather than letting the people he pays to run it actually do their jobs. Add this to the already disappointing 5-11 season on the field, and sports fans here in Charm City were actually starting to turn an eye, albeit a timid one, to the upcoming MLB season. Across the parking lot at the Warehouse, those with “O’s” logos on their paychecks had a golden window of opportunity to seize upon the purple disarray and regain at least some of this city’s collective heart. A new man was (supposedly) in charge of the baseball operations, and although he assured us it would not be an overnight process, his vision for the future of Baltimore Baseball was one that we were ready to embrace, along with any painful rebuilding years it may come with.

However, the Greedy Ol’ Petey-monster caught wind of the discontent rising from the city for that “other” team’s young owner, and it’s almost as if he felt he had to reestablish himself as the Worst Sports Owner in Baltimore.

“Peter G. Angelos takes a back seat to no man!” he roared.

And with that, he marched right on down to the offices of his newly appointed “Man in Charge.”

“Why, what are you fellas up to, Mr. McPhail?” the lawyer innocently pondered.

“Oh, hello there, Mr. Angelos! We are working on a deal to bring some very talented young players to Baltimore! We are very excited about them, and we feel these prospects will be able to help the Orioles win. Maybe not this year, and perhaps not even next, but rest assured, I am confident this is the right move for our team at this point in time!” said Andy McPhail, proud of what he was about to accomplish.

“Very good, very good, Andy. And what, pray tell, will we be giving up for this stable of young talent you hope to acquire?” said Peter.

“We will be trading away our best pitcher, Mr. Angelos. I know it seems unorthodox, but he has already assured us he will not resign with us, so we think we should act now to get as much in return at his departure as possible, lest he leave us empty handed in 2 years. Also, his unhappiness with losing has turned him from a little rough around the edges to downright surly and unpleasant to work with. This move makes the most sense for us, as well as for him.”

“I see….Hmmmm,” said Peter, rubbing his chin. “No, no. I don’t think I much care for that. So you go ahead and call that other team and tell them the deal is off. And while you’re at it, get on the horn with that pitcher and tell him to put on a smile, because he isn’t going anywhere as long as I have a say in it.”

And with that, the crotchety old man turned on his heel and exited the room, leaving Mr. McPhail and his staff stunned, jaws agape, and staring at one another blankly.


Its that same old story in Oriole-land, we are sorry to report. At least, that is, if what Fox Sports is reporting is true, that Peter Angelos has stepped in to block the trade of Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners for several prospects, including Adam “Pac-Man” Jones.

In case you had forgotten, the BIRDS NEED TO BE FREED!!!!

Roid Ragin'

March 14, 2008

This was a post I wrote on my old blog last February.  I was reminded of it with all the Mitchell Report news last week, and again today with the news that Brian Roberts admitted to using steroids, and I wanted to share it with my now broader audience.  Just some food for thought.  Comments appreciated. 

Barry, Barry, Quite Contrary

Spring training starts this week. And while opening day is still another six weeks away (a fact only reinforced when looking at the weather forecast for this week), the reporting of pitchers and catchers serves to turn my thoughts toward the diamond and all that comes with it. The nights at the ballpark with friends, the various fantasy baseball games to play, and, in all likelihood, another season of Baltimore baseball ineptitude. Ah, but that can be a topic for another time, as hope remains for all at this point.A bigger issue has caught my attention for the moment. This week, MLB commissioner Bud Selig was asked if he planned to start attending Giants games if and when it appears that Barry Bonds is on the cusp of breaking Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s all time home run record of 755.Bonds is currently sitting at 734, so he would need only 22 home runs in 2007 to become baseballs all-time home run king. Barring any significant injury, it seems extremely likely that he will do this, as the last time Bonds hit fewer than 22 home runs in a season in which he remained healthy throughout was 1989 (he hit 5 in only 14 games in an injury-plagued 2005 campaign).

Selig did all he could to sidestep the questions, remaining very noncommittal in his responses. David Steele of the Baltimore Sun wrote a great column about Bud’s day with the media.

Barry Bonds, fairly or not, has become the epitome of the steroid problem in baseball, and all sports for that matter. When the words “performance enhancing drug” cut through the air, there is nary a person around who doesn’t immediately picture a syringe with a San Francisco Giants cap atop the plunger. But all the hub-bub over this sort of thing really warranted? Lets examine the issue at hand.

Baseball “purists” (and purists of all sports, for that matter), cringe at the idea of the record books being rewritten by players who are artifically juiced up. The problem with this sort of thinking, which is predicated on the idea that the ghosts of baseball past will somehow fade away as a result of their names being pushed down the lists, is that it doesn’t take into account that the entire world has changed since many long-standing records were first set. The modern professional athlete is dedicated to his (or her) craft to an extent never before seen. Elite athletes train their bodies year-round, putting into those bodies only (for the most part) substances that will help them perform at their absolute best.

Steroids? Who said anything about steroids. Im talking, for the moment, about FOOD. Personal nutrionists, chefs, meal-planners, and grocery shoppers all contribute their knowledge and skills to help fuel professional athlete clients, making today’s athlete a beacon of health and fitness. Team doctors, trainers, physical therapists, rehab specialists, yoga instructors, and who knows what else (hot tub technicians?) all have a hand in the regimen of todays athlete. Babe Ruth’s diet, by all accounts, was based mainly around hot dogs and whiskey, and Id bet the farm that he never attempted a “downward facing dog.” In my opinion, this only makes his accomplishments all the more impressive.

We applaud scientific progress in bascially all areas of life. From modern medicine to new communication technologies, people agree that progress has made their lives better. So if we can all agree that a) vaccines that prevent diseases are GOOD things and b) being able to send a “hawaii is gr8″ text message to your friends in Charlotte while on vacation is a GOOD thing, then why can’t we agree that c) a little dietary supplement that makes Mr. Bonds or McGwire’s at bats that much more entertaining to us, as fans, is a good thing?

Is that not what professional sports are in the first place? Entertainment? Why are we so quick to place limitations on just how entertained we think we ought to be by telling our athletes what they can and cannot do in the name of performance?

I say, great athletes are entertaining to watch, regardless of whether or not some drug is enhancing just how great they appear. When I shell out my money for tickets to a professional sporting even, I want to be entertained. 500 ft home runs are entertaining. So are 70 yard touchdown strikes. If it was the “purity” of the game I was interested in seeing, I would head down to my local high school for the afternoon.

So, when Barry Bonds becomes baseball’s all-time home run king later this summer, he should be applauded. No boos. No asterisks. Just his name atop the list. Regardless of how you may feel about him as a person, none of that should take away from an amazing accomplishment. And in the future, when somebody looks at the record “book” (on a computer screen, most likely), they should be able to differentiate between the eras during which a particular player’s stats were accumulated. It should come as no surprise that as the science of athletic performance advanced, so did the numerical outputs of those athletes reaping the benefits. In turn, the performances of a Mr. Ruth, Dimaggio, or Aaron should seem no less impressive, considering the era in which they occurred.

T-Minus 6 Hours Until Mitchell Report (Fake News)

March 14, 2008

As the public release of Major League Baseball’s steroid investigation AKA “The Mitchell Report” nears, we thought we would join the party and do some speculating as to what names will be on it….

Mitchell Report names 60 MLB Employees – All in Baltimore Orioles Organization
Baltimore, Md – As expected, Senator George Mitchell’s steroid investigation did indeed reveal the names of close to 60 Major League Baseball employees. What was not expected, however, was that all of those named are employed by the Baltimore Orioles. Players, of course, but also outed were front office members, grounds crew staff, and even a peanut vendor.

The news comes as yet another blow to a team mired in a decade-long streak of losing seasons. The poor play of the team is what drove him to the performance enhancing drugs, said V.P of Baseball Operations Mike Flanagan.

“The fan base always complained about us not making enough strong moves in the off-season to contend. I had hoped, foolishly, that by adding to my physical size, I would both become more aggressive with my signings, as well as appear more intimidating at the negotiation table. Unfortunately, a nasty case of bacne was my only result.”

The O’s grounds crew was also fingered by the report, with all members being found to have used anabolic steriods. When asked to explain the actions of his team, head groundsman Paco Martinez had this to say:

“The storms in the B-More summertime just pop up so quickly – almost as quickly as O’s designated hitters with runners on! We wanted to be able to get the field covered faster, and regretfully, we turned to modern science to help us get the job done.”

Perhaps most surprising of all the names in the report was Oriole Park at Camden Yards peanut vendor Guy Roasted, a fan favorite. Guy claims that throughout the years, his trademark peanut-bag tosses have been getting progressively shorter, and he was only trying to extend his career.

“Ya know, these people come to expect me to hit them right in the hands from 20 rows away. I make most of my tips because people love watchin me chuck those nuts. ‘Further, further, further,’ they’d say. My old arm was just gettin worn out, and I thought I had found the answer.”

It is unknown how the O’s plan to respond to the report, but if we were you, we wouldn’t count on them making like the New England Patriots and setting the league on fire in light of cheating accusations.