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Observed and Soon to Be

Observed:

Kevin Millar - Baltimore Orioles - Baltimore Sports All signs point to the Orioles going with Jay Payton in left, Aubrey Huff at first, and a left/right DH tandem of Jay Gibbons and Kevin Millar. This is obviously the most sensible scenario, and seeing it come to frution is a very good sign. It says that Sam Perlozzo and club officials are committed to winning, and if that means bruising an ego or two along the way then so be it. On top of that, neither Gibbons nor Millar are grumbling, even though they can’t be happy. We might have a bona-fide team on our hands for the first time in years.

A lot of folks have been suggesting that the play-in “first round” game of the NCAA tournament is unfair and a joke. Those folks are right. And as it happens, I know how to handle it.

Instead of one game, have four. But rather than taking those eight spots and doling them out to small conference tournament winners and mid-majors, give those spots to the large conference bubble teams. Make Syracuse play Florida State or NC State play Syracuse to get in, and reward the winners with 13 seeds. This would immediately solve two problems: the fact that nobody really respects the play-in “first round” game, and the yearly arguments about “bubble” teams.

Can anyone give me a good reason not to do this?

The UMBC women made the NCAA tournament, the first Retrievers basketball team to ever do it. Mad respect to my alma mater.

Roger Federer - Baltimore Sports It got lost in the shuffle with the Madness, but Roger Federer lost to a guy named Guillermo Canas, ending his consecutive wins streak at 41, just five wins short of the record. Consider how crazy this is: Federer is so good that the simple fact that he lost a match makes headlines.

Soon to Be:

Maryland will reach the Sweet Sixteen and fall to Florida. But, since there is a higher power, the Gators will not repeat.

Federer will promptly begin a new streak, and win the Grand Slam this year, becoming the first player to do it since Rod Laver in 1969.

5 comments to Observed and Soon to Be

  • Zak

    Glad to hear you’re a Retriever, Neil! In terms of famous alumni, I guess it’s pretty much you and that guy who bakes cakes on Food Network.

    As a current student here, I can tell you this is easily the most publicity our 40-year old university has ever experienced. I’m sure my fellow Retrievers would be wildly excited, but, unfortunately, I don’t think half of them know what a basketball looks like.

    Regardless, perhaps deserving even madder respect, the UMBC women upset the #1, #2, and #3 seeds in the America East tournament to earn that trip to the NCAAs. (UMBC was seeded #7.)

    The Huskies of UConn are a tough draw, though. Tune in to ESPN2 Sunday at 9:30 to see if we can topple the giant!

    UM . . . BC!

  • Dan The Man

    Kudos to Shifty Sammy for having the balls to cut off the Gibbons 1B experiment and also to state, a good amount of time before the season, that it is, in fact, a good idea to put your left fielder in LF, your first baseman at 1B, and your DH at DH. Millar could be one of the better bench guys out there, but I worry about his ability to keep his swing fresh without playing time. But it’s great to see no one complaining about anything right now, for sure. It seems to be a solid, cohesive team with an overall focus on winning. Now they just have to win. I think this team could compete in any other division out there, and it’s a shame that baseball has let the AL East get so out of hand.

  • Dan The Man

    I went to UMBC too for a couple of years because somehow the orientation convinced me that there was an actual music/liberal arts program. Props to them for somehow convincing me of this when it quickly became obvious that that wasn’t in the least bit true. Ah well, good times nonetheless. Erickson Hall. Brand new at the time and glaringly so, with purple walls, bright sickly flourescent lights, and sterile furniture. To it’s credit, there might be more of an arts program there now, as I know they’ve been feverishly building and improving.
    But I just remember there being this really gross hole in the wall in the guys bathroom in the “Liberal Arts” shack.

  • Ryan

    Aww, c’mon Dan. You’re not into glory holes? Back when I played water polo…

  • Neal_S

    Glad to hear you’re a Retriever, Neil! In terms of famous alumni, I guess it’s pretty much you and that guy who bakes cakes on Food Network.

    Heh…I don’t know if my modest achievements in the publishing arts land me on that level, but give it time.

    UMBC is a very different place now from when I left in ’99, but I loved it there. I’m always pulling for the Retrievers to do well.