Weekend Review

NCAA LACROSSE

In an effort to make the NCAA lacrosse tourney smarter, or maybe just help the image of the sport since the Duke Scandal, the selection committee gave Harvard an at-large bid. (look at the bracket here). Trying to figure out if it was the 6-6 record (the bare minimum for an at-large bid), or the Crimson’s limping home in the regular season by losing three of four that swayed the committee.

And with Harvard in, that leaves Towson out. The Tigers had a better record at 8-6, plus the same number of wins against tourney teams (2). The Tigers also had the heartbreak of four losses coming by one goal. Towson clearly owns a better resume. Maybe there’s an unwritten limit of four teams from Maryland. 2nd seeded Maryland, 4th seeded Johns Hopkins, Navy, and UMBC all made the field.

THE SURE THING

Any doubts on Barbaro at Pimlico? The Preakness favorite has won the last five years, and Barbaro reminds us of Smarty Jones in 2004. Both went undefeated through the Derby and smoked the field at Churchill Downs. Smarty Jones of course went on to dominate at Pimlico, but fall short at Belmont.

But before we anoint Barbaro as a sure thing for the Triple Crown, I remember a conversation with NY Times columnist William Rhoden in 2004 during Preakness week. I asked him for some historical perspective on Smarty Jones, was this one of the all time great horses? He looked at me, laughed, and said “You young people and your hype. Let the horse win first, then talk history.” Now I just wonder at what point will I no longer be a young person. Nobody has called me that since. Sad.

Anyway, keep the e-mails coming on favorite Preakness memories. e-mail Pete. A grand sharing to take place on Friday.

SOMETHING MAGIC HAPPENS

A thick, penetrating depression has kidnapped the Orioles season. Watching them lose an 11th straight to Boston, a 5th straight overall, and their 12th in 15 games is tough. But the way in which they lose, without passion, and usually blown out by the 5th inning, to quote Ron Burgundy in Anchorman “it stings the nostrils”.

No doubt, injuries have played a role. With Brian Roberts on the DL the Orioles have just one win. But losing David Newhan and Javy Lopez to the disabled list, should that really cripple a team?

And what about the pitching? Todd Williams returned to the bullpen giving the O’s basically what they planned on having this season on staff. Yet the team E.R.A is ranked 29th out of 30 teams. I wholeheartedly believe Leo Mazzone will build a good staff in Baltimore, but exactly why the staff has to get worse before it gets better escapes me.

Ultimately, there is one huge problem with this team. No, a rant on Peter Angelos is not on the way (although that is the most common e-mail I get from fans). This team has the depth of a Hollywood agent. When they put their best lineup forth, it’s not bad. But every single piece must be in place for success, and over 162 games that rarely happens.

Is there a bright light at the end of the tunnel? Probably not, but the optimist can take a gander north up I-95 and see that things can turn around quickly. A week ago they were ready to string up Charlie Manuel in the City of Brotherly Love then the Phillies reeled of seven straight wins and now sit three games over .500. It’s not much, but it’s something.

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