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Memorial Day Weekend Offers an Impressive Sports Smorgasbord

I love that word, “smorgasbord.” So exotic yet somehow…relatable. When I was a kid in Ohio we used to drive, somewhat inexplicably, literally hours out of everyone’s way to go to San-Dar, as true a smorgasbord as I can imagine ever existed. The food wasn’t very good but the desserts were and they had a store upstairs selling various kinds of toys and trinkets — the highlight of every trip.

This weekend is a smorgasbord of its own for sports fans with no less than three major auto races, the continuation of Grand Slam tennis at the French, and all the baseball you can handle. Not that I’d recommend sitting inside all day watching TV when it’s as nice as it is outside, but should you find yourself in spitting distance of a remote you’d do well to consider your options.

The Orioles dropped back below .500 on Friday with a loss out in Oakland but, in fairness, they were kind of due. Five wins in a row before that was a pretty impressive feat and they are, on the whole, playing well. I have a hunch we’ll like where they sit on Tuesday. Meantime, the comments below look like a nice place to keep a running tally.

Three major auto races dot the schedule Sunday, any of which is worth at least a check-in or two.

You’ll probably have to watch in on tape delay, but the Monaco Grand Prix is one of the more entertaining stops on the F1 schedule. Dan asked about this in the comments, saying that a friend recommended it as the one F1 race to watch if you’re going to dabble. I’d say that’s accurate. It’s a glitzy affair off the track and the course itself is a fun one to watch.

F1 has been all Sebastian Vettel, all the time this year. He’s on the pole and it’s more than safe to call him the favorite.

Then there’s the Indy 500, the crown jewel race of American open-wheel racing. Beyond that, it’s one of the most iconic annual events this country has. The Indy 500 is America. This brand of racing has lost some of its luster in recent years but the shine will never come off of Indy.

Indy tends to be fairly wide open so I’m not sure who I’d pick here. And, really, it doesn’t matter.

Finally, the longest race of the NASCAR season, the Coca-Cola 600, closes out the day. I don’t recommend watching the whole thing but maybe tune in for the end if you’re around. This is a prestige race for these guys and things usually get pretty intense towards the end.

As I guessed it would be, the French Open has been great so far. What I’ve managed to catch, anyway. We’ve already seen Tomas Berdych go down on the men’s side, along with #1 Caroline Wozniacki on the other. Anyone can beat anyone at the French. Except Novak Djokovic. That dude’s on a potentially historic run. It’s nuts.

There’s probably some Arena Football or beach volleyball on, too, and I can’t recommend against those things.

All that, and: it’s summer, folks. Kick it off in style. Have fun and be safe.

15 comments to Memorial Day Weekend Offers an Impressive Sports Smorgasbord

  • ryan97ou

    Ncaa lax final four anyone? Not out

  • Sci

    Man, what a freaking infuriating team…

  • neal s

    I’m not even sure what to say about these O’s…”infuriating” isn’t quite right for me. I’ll call it “fascinating” and “frustrating” in equal measure.

    Meanwhile, anybody catch the Indy 500 today? Here you have a rookie driver needing only to make one last turn before victory is his and bam, he crashes into the wall. Then he keeps going on three wheels only to get overtaken by a past champion who doesn’t even have a full-time ride for the season. Crazy and awesome stuff.

    Meanwhile, the Djokovic run at the French Open continues. Dude is playing out of his mind right now and is on course for a potential semifinal matchup against Federer.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    i can’t believe you don’t agree with “infuriating”.

    for the first time in…. many years i’ve been following this team. never remember a more inconsistent, win 3, lose 5, win 6, lose 5 team IN MY WHOLE OLD-ASS LIFE.

    it almost seems impossible?

  • Andrew

    @ Big Ben’s Motorcycle:
    I agree. “Infuriating” is perfect. Even when they win, they rarely seem to do so with confident gusto. It seems like it’s always win 2-1 with Kevin Gregg loading the bases on three walks in the ninth before giving up a would-be home run that Jones has to catch to end the game.

  • neal s

    @ Andrew: Always nice to see new voices in the comments.

  • death spiral thy name is Orioles

  • Andrew

    @ neal s:
    Feels pretty weird only seeing my name up there once on the side, gotta admit. Been busy at a new job.

    The thing that is really starting to bother me about this year is that it’s become very revealing of just how little the Orioles have built up positionally. I count as solid long-term pieces Wieters, Jones, and Markakis. Nick’s having an awful year that might scratch him off that list, and who knows if this is just the beginning of stardom for Wieters and Jones, or their ceilings, or just a flukey good year for them, or if they’re just on a hot streak through April and May.

    And that’s it. The rotation looks chock full of promise, and after three plus years of “real rebuilding” we’re looking at being the east coast version of the Mariners, struggling awfully to reach .500, while not once feeling like (to me) a team that could seriously give even the Wild Card contenders a run for their money.

  • Vlad to Meet You

    I was and still am pretty excited about the Orioles this year. I mean, we really get a full season to watch our young rotation mature which, for me, is pretty exciting. I am, however, already thinking about 2012 and when I look at what we need to do in the offseason this year, it’s a little depressing. We’re in the same boat as the offseason that just passed. we will need (in no particular order) DH, 1B, 2B, 3B (I hope) and who knows about shortsop. That’s a whole infield or we won’t be contending again. Ouch! Oh well, enjoy the arms I guess.

  • sci

    @ Andrew:
    Well put. Jones and Wieters are definitely building blocks, but Markakis’s struggles are really baffling. I hope it’s temporary, but his performance is really alarming. As far as other positions, I think we should play Reimold as much as possible in left to see if he is a longer-term possibility there. Pie is what he is, a decent player with high energy and a really low overall baseball IQ, so use him sparingly. Scott needs to be phased out. He’s hurt so no one will trade for him, so it may come down to the ugly option of basically forcing him to get surgery and shut down for the year. So that’s the outfield.

    Infield – Have to sign yet another 1B free agent after the season, hoping Lee at least lasts through this season. Re-sign Hardy for another two years — he’s a decent stopgap to get to Machado. I have no idea what to do with Reynolds at this point. He’s not good, so I guess developing or signing a third baseman is another necessity.

    So yeah, the positional development is quite depressing.

  • dan the man

    I’m back to being utterly bored of this team. They’re exciting for a minute, and then they tank and can’t hit. I dunno. It ain’t happening this year, I don’t think. I have to laugh at the thought that putting solid hitters around Markakis was supposed to help him. Sigh, baseball. Now we need 4 straight wins to get back to .500.

  • dan the man

    Interesting matchup tonight. Current ace Guthrie vs. old ace Bedard. But we all know how this ends, right? Ex-Oriole lefty shuts us down a la Bruce Chen earlier this year. Either way, it’ll be kind of cool watching the Fisherman pitch.

  • dan the man

    Interesting stat: O’s are .500 in their last 130 games dating back to last season.

  • Jack

    Are you kidding? French Open? Arena football? Frickin NASCAR?

    Did anyone else besides Ryan97 and I adjudge the lack of mention of the NCAA lacrosse final four very, very weird, especially for a Baltimore, MARYLAND-centric sports blog?!?!?

    UMD was in the FINALS, people!!! The National Championship, versus ACC nemesis UVA, and not a single freaking word written about it…

    Further evidence, if any was needed, that super hardcore baseball guys, which I think many of you are, remain unaware of the appeal of lacrosse, or actively hating on it…Perhaps a post about this topic of baseball versus lax?

    Seriously.

  • neal s

    @ Jack: Fair point. Lacrosse isn’t my thing but I probably should have at least mentioned it.