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The Sports Latitudes, Vol. 2

Gary Williams Maryland Terrapins basketball coachExpect to see more and more of these. Of course I said that last time, too.

The Indians are up 9-3 in the sixth!

The Rockies lead their series 2-0, and the Cubs play game two against the Diamondbacks later tonight.

By now you’ve probably heard the troubling news: the Maryland men’s basketball program ranks dead last in graduation rate at…zero.

Gary Williams, predictably, defended his program and his guys:

“These people are very successful people,” Maryland coach Gary Williams said. “If you go to school to improve yourself economically, where have they failed? They make more than the average college graduate. Far more. If you’re judging them just based on getting a degree, then OK, they haven’t gotten a degree.”

I like Gary, and his “close the ranks” mentality has probably helped a few talent-challenged Terps teams win games they shouldn’t have won. But, really, he couldn’t graduate even one guy? I get that everybody covered by the stats went on to play professionally in one capacity or another, but this just looks bad.

And, as a side note, can anyone really say that Lonny Baxter — who just tried to FedEx a gun to himself — is a “very successful” person? He played in the NBA, yes, but come on.

Those who know me well know that my issues with the Ravens come down, basically, to Brian Billick. I’ve got other issues, but everything pretty much starts and ends with Billick. Specifically, disrespecting Trent Dilfer was as low-class a move as I’ve ever seen in sports. I know it’s a subject of much debate but that’s where I stand.

So it was nice to see that Dilfer has buried the hatchet. I’m not ready to do the same, but it was nice to see.

Nobody’s paying much attention to it, but Dario Franchitti‘s move to NASCAR is huge news. Coming one year after F1 star Juan Pablo Montoya made the same jump, Franchitti’s decision serves notice to the international auto racing community that America either already has or will soon have the premier circuit. The money’s here, the media’s here, the sponsors are here, and pretty soon all the drivers will be here, too.

The perception of NASCAR as a “good old boys” circuit won’t hold for long, and we’re going to be able to look forward to some exciting races in the near future. Keep an eye on it.

Let’s take a moment to applaud our neighbors the Washington Nationals. Before the year started more than one pundit predicted them to be the worst team in history. Not only did they avoid that particular notoriety, they managed to scrap their way to a respectable 73-89 (four games better than the Orioles).

There just might be exciting baseball in the mid-Atlantic region next year after all.

All that and anything else on your mind in the comments…

19 comments to The Sports Latitudes, Vol. 2

  • Joe The Guy

    Kenny Lofton ties Ricky Henderson’s postseason stolen base record!

    Wait……

    Sabathia chums, Kenny Lofton leads the Indians in RBI tonight and the Indians STILL win?

    I can’t stop laughing.

  • neal s

    Here’s an item of interest that should perk up Drew’s ears in particular: the Lions have told a (non-flagship) Detroit station to stop using the world “Lions” in describing their postgame show.

    Is this moronic? Yes, it is. But it’s also proof that the Orioles aren’t the only team out there trying to micromanage their brand. Teams will eventually wake up and realize that this approach will not fly, but not before more and more of them try it first.

  • neal s

    Here’s another one worth a look: there might be some quality back-end bullpen help available this winter.

    Cordero would look pretty good in an O’s uni.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    The way I see it, Maryland basketball is the most successful if they have a 0 grad rate…because these guys are going into the NBA, which is kind of their goal. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but that’s how I look at it.

    Furthermore…ARMANDO!!! Definitely my favorite heavyweight boxer.

    Lastly, Jobu has spoken. The Yanks remain Cursed by the Moose.

  • neal s

    You tryin’ to say Jesus Christ can’t hit a curveball?

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    I have too many beers in front of me to drink right now but tomorrow I will present the definitive list of reasons why Brian Billick is a better coach than Bill Cowher. And sadly for Bill Cowher, I think Billick has slipped in the last few years.

  • dan the man

    Latitudes!

    Excellent wrap-up of the major sports news going on right now, and I especially appreciate the inclusion of the Nats’ relative success this season. Not that I’m a fan, per se, but it should not go unmentioned, especially while we are drooling over other such underdogs like the Rockies.

    TRIBE. Hell yes. Looks like WANG doesn’t have the BALLS to pitch in the post season and really, was that ever a question? God, would I love nothing more than to see the Yanks succumb to the Indians, Major League style.

    Meanwhile, I have no idea why I picked the Cubs over the D-Backs. The Cubs’ big bats clearly are under too much pressure and Lou Piniella will probably out-manage himself in the end. Screw the curse, I’m rooting for my boy Eric Byrnes.

    You could defend MD basketball if the rate was 50% and lowest in the nation. But yeah, come on, not ONE guy? Shameful.

    Classy move from Dilfer. But I don’t really agree with Ravens fans calling for Billick’s head when he’s the winningest coach in the team’s history. But dude really needs to learn how to call the right plays.

  • downyoshunhon

    Hey Neal would you like to let me know just when Brian Billick “disrespected” Trent Dilfer please??? It has been DILFER who has been holding the grudge this whole time and anytime Billick has been asked about it he has had nothing but positive things to say about Trent.That is why DILFER apologized for acting like a 5 year old the past 7 years in case you missed that one.

  • df1570

    Actually, Neal, there’s nothing really that moronic about the Lions telling a non-flagship station they can’t use the word “Lions” in the title of their post-game show. The Ravens do the same thing. Every team does. You can’t use a team’s logo, name, etc. in anything that you “SELL”. We’ve been called on the carpet a few times for stuff that we did – unintentionally – that involved using the Ravens name, logo, etc.

    The Orioles’ stance on not allowing any of their personnel on any other station in town IS, I’m sure, the only stance like that in the entire country.

    No marketing person in America is that stupid.

    Well, there is someone that stupid, unfortunately.

    They’re in Baltimore.

    Carry on…

    Happy Friday.

  • Ryan

    “I don’t really agree with Ravens fans calling for Billick’s head when he’s the winningest coach in the team’s history.”

    Dan, come on, man! He’s one of only TWO coaches in the team’s history.

    It’s hard NOT to be the winningest coach in team history if you’re one of two coaches and you have the longest tenure by six years. That’s not much of a claim to fame.

  • neal s

    @ downyoshunhon: that’s a fair enough point as far as the war of words is concerned, but the “disrespect” I refer to comes in the form of sending him packing in the first place.

    I know what a hot button issue this is and I respect that not everyone sees it like I do. I’m just letting folks know where I stand.

    @ Drew: still moronic regardless of who else is doing it.

  • df1570

    Neal, not allowing someone to generate revenue by using your name, logo, trademark – without paying for it – isn’t moronic at all.

    Are you serious?

    Try slapping an Orioles or Ravens logo on the front page of your site and top that off with something that reads: Official fan discussion site of the Orioles/Ravens — u will get a registered letter before Lindsay Lohan gets arrested again.

    Maybe I’ll start hawking some “The Loss Column” t-shirts wit your logo on the front for $20 a pop and put all the proceeds into Ethan’s bank account.

    I need $200 to buy a Derek Jeter autographed ball on EBay.

    Anyone need 10 t-shirts?

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I get it Drew, you’re rooting for the Yankees. I don’t know why. Making Angelos mad ain’t gonna do shit – and you ought to know it.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Hats for bats, keep bats warm.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    1. He played a huge role in winning the Superbowl, while referees had a huge hand in the Steelers winning theirs.

  • neal s

    words words words billick words words ravens words purple words referees words words words

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    I was wondering how much bait I’d have to use to finally reel in a fish. I won’t comment on Tomlin for now – other than that dude looks like Omar Epps!

  • neal s

    The thing is that I’m no particular fan of Bill Cowher. I could go the rest of my days without having to ever see ever seeing him again and that’d be OK.

    (rotten, lazy writing)

  • neal s

    I totally missed your last comment, Drew. You might not even catch this response so late in the thread, but here you go.

    Well, actually…I just had a long-ass post written where I broke down the new media environment and how smart marketers recognize where things are going and position their brand accordingly. But then I realized…nobody wants that. If I’m wrong, you can email me privately to have that conversation.

    Bottom line is this: the Lions (and Ravens and Orioles and the rest of ‘em) are engaged in stale, old-world thinking with regards to their brands. It hasn’t caught up to them, but that’s only because they enjoy de facto monopolies. And just because they can get away with it doesn’t mean it’s not moronic.

    They gain what with this move? Name one tangible benefit. Meanwhile, as you pause to consider (good luck), the negative effects play themselves out as the team becomes a punchline.

    That’s smart business, huh? Not in this day and age it isn’t. Twenty years ago maybe.

    As far as the legalities, my research indicates that the law is fairly murky. You obviously can’t use images or names to imply a relationship or an endorsement, but you can use them for purposes of discussion. I’d be willing to bet that “The Unofficial Lions Postgame Show” would hold up in court, if WDFN wanted to fight that fight.

    (by the way, selling merchandise with unauthorized logos is a completely different issue)