Orioles: The combined powers of Stephen Strasburg’s bat and Stephen Strasburg’s arm still cannot ruin how much fun it is to be an Orioles fan right now. Even with Washington’s narrative-spoiling Sunday win, the Orioles split or won every series they played in this week so I’m willing to ignore the possibility that the league might have finally figured out Wei-Yin Chen and instead will focus on Adam Jones doing a great Mickey Mantle impersonation. Statistical evidence has pretty much rendered “clutch-hitting” analysis moot (except for the very vocal flat-earthers who prefer their PretendStats) but watching Jones crush clutch homer after clutch homer this week (his extra inning one in KC just landed in my in-laws New York backyard), one could not help but enjoy the future of the Orioles finally becoming the present. And while some of the key players have come back to earth or slumped, others have picked it up (JJ Hardy for instance).
One thing that should still concern Orioles fans is that they are winning a lot of one-run games. Sure, a win is a win but when a team wins/loses one-run games, it’s usually seen as an omen for things to come. The theory is that one-run games are tossups that essentially (but not always) balance themselves out. Run differential is a popular way of telling if a team is underperforming or playing over their heads. The Orioles aren’t exactly playing over their heads but their pythagorean record (a fancy math way of balancing out a team’s run differential with their record) has them at 23-18 instead of 27-14. Meaning that the Orioles are slightly not as good as their record indicates. The Texas Rangers, for example, have a slightly worse winning percentage than the Birds but their run differential is a staggering +84 which suggests a record three games better than they’re playing. The two-time defending league champions are the current barometer the Orioles are hoping to meet (and have a long way to go).
Still, I remain resolute in what I wrote last week. This isn’t as strong of a division as it has been in year’s past and even though every team has talent, none are invincible juggernauts. Plus, unlike the loathsome 2005 Orioles, this team has fun guys who play hard with nothing to lose. Heed the warning signs that there may be trouble ahead, O’s fans but treat them as a YIELD and not a STOP. We’ve waited so long to watch quality baseball that, even for a fleeting moment, we should be allowed to peek behind the curtain of glory instead of peeking through our fingers at the horror of the past 14 editions.
Ravens: Ed Reed might play football this year! But he might not! But he will think about it! Let’s see!
By the way, anyone who scoffs at Ed Reed’s “Not 100% committed” comment and thinks he “doesn’t have the necessary dedication to the game” or some such nonsense can stop reading this right now and go find some neanderthal sports blog where you and your bros high five each other and talk about manly men and watch Men At Work. Ed Reed has his personal health and well being to worry about. Shoulder and neck injuries don’t heal naturally. This is a guy who sells out on every play. Did you see that last TJ Yates pick he had in the playoffs where he defied his ailing body to grab the ball out of mid-air, landing painfully on the ground? And he did all this while his brother was missing and found dead shortly thereafter. If Ed wants to play, he’ll play and he’ll play as hard as possible. If he doesn’t, stinks for Ravens fans but more power to him. It’s his life. Goodness knows, he owes us nothing.
Can I just say that Saturday was an awesome sports day? Rangers beating the Devils (I’ve been a Rangers fan since I was 8 and if you don’t like it, I don’t care), Spurs rallying from 22 (!) down to fell the Clippers, the Preakness where I’ll Have Another won by a neck to set up a Triple Crown run at Belmont and the UEFA Champion’s League Final (basically the Super Bowl of Europe) with a go-ahead and game-tying goal in the final minutes and Chelsea finally ending their Miami Heat-esque run in Champion’s League competition by winning one for their Russian oligarch owner?And for night owls (I had to get up early Sunday a.m.) the Lakers dropped a classic to OKC to fall into a 3-1 hole. As a huge sports fan, it was seriously some of the most enjoyable five hours of my life. I realize that its only tangentially related to Baltimore-area sports (Preakness) but I had to share that. So.
EdsallWATCH: Unemployment rates dropped in April. Awesome. Sadly, the employment rate for head coach of Maryland football holds steady at 100%. That 100% is still Randy Edsall. I will remain vigilant.
Have a good week, everyone!