Published on May 14th, 2012 | by Jake0
Orioles off to a hot start
Hey there. I’m Jake and I’ll be posting on this site every Monday about the local sports teams. Ravens, Orioles, Terps and Caps, you can get news and analysis here. We’ll start with the…
Capitals: In a way, the Caps unlikely playoff success masked a very disappointing regular season (usually, it’s the other way around). A horrendous start led to the firing of the foul-mouthed Bruce Boudreau. Everyone claimed that it took awhile for the players to buy into Dale Hunter’s proverbial system, which is usually a cliche for “this team is underperforming and we’re looking for a cheap excuse as to why.” They snuck into the playoffs despite failing to win the easiest division in hockey (seriously, the Florida Panthers?). Most thought the Bruins would sweep them off the planet.
But then they played awesome against Boston, winning a huge first round upset against the defending Stanley Cup Champions, including a Game 7 triumph in Beantown. And although they were felled by the top seeded Rangers, it was a series in which a few lucky bounces would have put Washington in the conference finals. Setting the hackey age old “truisms” aside like “they just didn’t have it” and “they weren’t clutch enough,” Washington did everything they possibly could have to win that series against a superior opponent. They should feel no shame.
But factoring in the continued Cup-or-bust hype, what to do in the offseason after another disappointing conclusion? I keep hearing “Fire Hunter!” or “Trade Ovi!” but I think those are knee jerk reactions that often happen when a team with championship aspirations gets bounced in the playoffs. I’m of the opinion that both should stay and the Capitals should give it another run with their defensive-minded squad. They still have a solid young core in place and Holtby might finally be the answer at goalie (seriously, the Caps go through goalies the way the Billick-era Ravens went through QBs). The Southeast will probably be tougher next year but Washington should compete for the playoffs. And as Caps fans have learned (the hard way), anything can happen come playoff time.
Orioles: Frequently in the post-winning Angelos Era, the Orioles have gotten off to hot starts where people wonder if this is the year they get better followed by everyone being reminded that “Hey, they’re the Orioles!” after the Yankees or Sox and their bandwagon fans blow through town in time to sweep three games. This year, it was supposed to be the Rangers, the new superpower of the American League (from a talent stand point, Rangers-Angels is a much better rivalry nowadays than Yanks-Sox) and they did indeed spoil some of the fun as Josh Hamilton and his hammer-of-Thor bat slammed Texas to three wins in four games. But then our heroes turned around and took two of three from Tampa (and should have swept them), the real favorite in the East this year, continuing to play good baseball.
As much as we all want to, it’s still too early for everyone to celebrate an Orioles Renaissance. The East isn’t as strong as it has been in recent years and some players (I’m looking at you, Robert Andino) will come back down to earth. Nevertheless, looking at the standings, there is a tug on my birdland psyche that won’t let go. I want to tell Orioles fans to lower expectations but this is such a transition year for the whole League that I don’t reasonably know what should be expected. So let’s just enjoy the ride, and if it crashes (I’ll leave it at “if”), hopefully it won’t be long before we turn our attention to the Ravens training camp.
Although no amount of early season goodwill is going to make me forget that Dan Duquette is the GM of the Baltimore Orioles. It’s my “Remember the Maine!” battle cry for how much of a numbskull Peter Angelos is.
Ravens: The Ravens were the first NFL team to sign all their draft picks. So…yay?
With no first rounder, this really wasn’t a surprise. Now onto replacing the irreplaceable Terrell Suggs.
EdsallWATCH: A weekly feature in which I will analyze the comings and goings of Randy Edsall and wonder, in vain, why the man still has a job.
This week in EdsallWATCH, “The Sporting News” took on the rather confounding task of ranking all 125 college football coaches. Clearly, this came from a bored editor throwing darts at an idea board. At any rate, Randy Edsall came in 65th. 60 coaches were considered worst than Randy Edsall. That’s probably about 59 too many.
Have a good week everyone.