The opening line, posted a few hours after the Ravens punched their tickets to Super Bowl XLVII, has the 49ers as 5 point favorites. Somehow that doesn’t sound quite right to me.
Oddsmaker Benjamin Eckstein of America’s Line says he set the line at 4 1/2 to encourage betting action on both sides. Even if that response makes sense, it still feels like more of a popularity contest than anything based on logic.
It seems like that contest is quickly shifting in Baltimore’s favor. Within a matter of hours, the line has already changed to 4 even. I could honestly care less whether my boys are considered the underdog in New Orleans. Just ask Tom Brady what he thinks about those odds. Zing!
First it was Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, favored to beat the Ravens by 9 1/2 points. Then it was Princess Brady and the New England Patriots, favored to win by 8 1/2. Baltimore won 38-35 and 28-13, respectively.
Now it’s San Francisco’s turn. According to Bill Cowher, the ex-Pittsburgh Steelers coach, the Ravens will have trouble with the 49er-offense because ‘we have never faced a quarterback like Colin Kaepernick.’ *dramatic pause*
ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!
We haven’t faced a quarterback like a 2nd year player with 9 total starts?! Oh I’m sorry, our team was too busy beating 3-time Super Bowl champion, 2-time Super Bowl MVP, 8-time Pro Bowl Quarterback Tom Brady last night. Did I mention his two regular season MVP awards or that he currently holds the record for most playoff wins in NFL history? What a load of crap.
What about the quarterback we beat in the AFC divisional round, 4-time regular season MVP, Super Bowl MVP, Super Bowl-winning, 12-time Pro Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning?! I know Bill Cowher used to be the Steelers head coach but come the fuck on, you can’t be serious. Colin WHO???
I get the feeling that it doesn’t matter who the Ravens beat to get to the Super Bowl. Insert quarterback’s name here, Bill Cowher will find a way to tell the public the Ravens can’t handle ‘him.’ All I have to say is, “we’ll see about that.”
Consider this. No rookie quarterback has EVER won a playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens. Not Andrew Luck, not Ben Roethlisberger, not T.J. Yates, NOBODY. Technically, Colin Kaepernick isn’t a rookie quarterback but since he hasn’t even played a full season, for all intents and purposes he’s still a rookie to me.
Who really cares about the wildcat/pistol offense? Does anyone really think a few gimmick plays or a quarterback who can run the ball effectively is going to fool a defense led by Ray Lewis at linebacker and Ed Reed in the secondary? We’re not talking about scrubs or even Pro Bowl players here. We’re talking Hall of Fame-caliber defensive stalwarts, each with over a decade of experience.
That’s plenty of time to get acquainted with every little offensive nuance and gesture. The only way to win against experience like that is to beat them physically; to out muscle the other team. Not that there’s a chance of that happening. Nobody can match Lewis/Reed or even Bernard Pollard’s intensity. Just ask Stevan Ridley.
Dubbed the “Patriot Killer,” by his loving teammates, Safety Bernard Pollard has slayed 4 New England players since 2008. His hit last night on Ridley caused a crucial 4th quarter fumble, helping the Ravens limit the Patriots to a season-low 13 points. Luckily, the referees forgot to flag Pollard.
How I feel about the many legal-yet-flagged hits by Baltimore players is a topic for another day. Suffice it to say that nobody will ever mistake Baltimore for a finesse team. Anyone who knows anything about the AFC North teams can attest to that. We love to play defense and run the ball through our opponent’s guts here in the Charm City. So is anyone around here worried about a “dual-threat QB?”
We feast on them. The Ravens will come hungry on February 3rd. Paul Kruger, Terrell Suggs, Haloti
Ngata, Ray Lewis, Courtney Upshaw, Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe, Corey Graham and all the other members of the vaunted Ravens defense will be chomping at the bit come Super Bowl Sunday.
As Terrell Owens once said, “Getcha’ Popcorn Ready.” After 12 years of waiting, Ravens fans are ready. Trust me.
SUPER BOWL PREDICTIONS:
Ravens(-6) defeat 49ers: 30-24 (54 total points)
The thing that most people don’t realize is that fried chicken, in all its greasy glory, isn’t the same everywhere you go. It’s not even the same across your state. Southern fried chicken has a thicker crust, uses rendered pork fat/lard, and is sometimes served with gravy. Gravy goes with everything in my opinion. Southwestern chicken or South American chicken often has a hint of spices & pepper. But my favorite chicken is probably ghetto fried chicken, accompanied by waffles, fried lake trout/whiting/catfish, and either hot sauce or mambo sauce.
So what’s the difference between good chicken and bad chicken. KFC is NOT good fried chicken. Actually it’s not even chicken. It’s some sort of genetic cross between a polar bear and a cloned embryo of a chicken. These mutant monster birds are specifically designed to appeal to the largest possible consumer base, and are therefore completely tasteless, unappetizing and disturbingly disproportionate.
Popeye‘s is better than KFC by far but is still made for the the average consumer. They use the same mutant chickens but at least the chicken is usually fresh and juicy. If you really need a fried chicken fix and there isn’t anything else around, I’m not gonna fault you for picking up a 8 or 12 piece box of Popeye’s.
Good chicken is very hard to come by. Whether it’s fried chicken or chicken wings, there are so many horrible variations out there that most people don’t even know the difference anymore. We’re all guilty of eating chicken wings out of a freezer bag or getting a box of greasy over-sauced wings with our pizza delivery. Fried chicken drummies from 7-11 shouldn’t even be considered a food. Unless you’ve spent the time to search through countless online reviews, delivery sites and restaurants, you’ll probably never stumble across the perfect piece of juicy, crispy, golden fried chicken.
Well not anymore! It’s time for you to taste the difference. For your consideration I’ve chosen a few choice locations, all located within 10 min of Columbia, Maryland. If you live somewhere else… too bad, I can’t help you. The best advice I have for you is to imagine the differences I’m about to list, taking the time to remember what things you like and dislike about each variety of delectable poultry. Then try to find something similar in your area. On to the list!
BonChon Chicken: If you haven’t caught on by now, Korean fried chicken is the new KFC. It’s awesome. I thought it was all a gimmick when I first heard about their chicken wings but was an instant devotee the second I bit into a fresh, juicy, crispy, aromatic, perfectly seasoned chicken leg. Instead of flash frying the meat to death like most other bars/carry-out restaurants, they slowly and carefully cook their wings at a relatively low temperature in order to get the meat to separate from the skin. This process causes the skin to blend with the batter to create a puffy, crispy, slightly greasy crust that protects the meat inside from drying out. This is just in preparation for final cooking. The wings are then lightly dunked in very hot oil before serving, and quickly basted with a brush in either a sweet soy-garlic sauce or a combination chili oil. Amazing.
Either flavor is explosive, without being TOO greasy or making the skin soggy. The delicate puffy skin even manages to stay crispy after being tossed in the refrigerator a couple of times. That’s the biggest thing isn’t it? Don’t you hate when your leftovers become mushy and tasteless after going into the microwave? I do, and these don’t. BonChon is relatively new to our area, with the only location in a 50 mile radius being in a terrible location in Ellicott City. Stuffed in the corner of a lonely strip mall behind the Crab Shanty, next to Sarafino’s.
Try them and let me know what you think. I would easily rate these as the best chicken wings in the DMV.
Chick n’ Friends: If you’re looking for fine dining, this definitely ISN’T it. Located in the Long Reach Village Center area of Columbia, Maryland, this is by far the worst village center in the area. It looks like a vacant strip mall in the middle of Baltimore, with boarded up windows and closed businesses. Your probably still trying to wrap your mind around it so here’s a little help.
Wilde Lake Village Center has tennis courts, indoor swimming pools, the Melting Pot, an organic grocery store, the Bagel Bin, some ghetto Chinese restaurant (Emperor Tso’s Hunan Warrior???), and Omaha Steaks. King’s Contrivance Village Center has an absolutely delicious family-owned Italian restaurant, Rita’s Ice(!), Harris Teeter‘s and a very classy wine/liquor/cigar shop. Harper’s Choice has a family-owned Mexican restaurant (Zapata’s), Safeway, the Athletic Club gym, Papa John’s, a family-owned Afghan-restaurant (Maiwand Kabob), Bank of America and a locally-owned Korean dry cleaners.
Long Reach has nothing of the sort. The sole saving grace of the entire shopping center is Chick ‘n Friends, a place so ghetto the R in Friends stopped working months ago and they haven’t fixed it. So it’s now called Chick ‘n Fiends. Which I think is a reasonable assumption. Basically, the normal clientage of this restaurant include drug dealers, drug addicts, and South American/Asian immigrants.
But who cares what the outside looks like, that’s only thinking skin deep. The true beauty of this little fried chicken shop is the fact that the chicken is melt in your mouth tender, like Colonel Sanders used to make it. The heart and soul of the restaurant is it’s reasonable prices, hand-cut, fresh-as-hell chicken pieces, delicate, flaky fried fish and homemade sides. They make Belgian waffles too, and there are few things as good as a bite of sweet syrupy waffle, mixed with salty greasy broasted chicken.
Ah, the wonders of broasted chicken. Fresh chicken cooked at just the right constant temperature in a Henny Penny with a pressurized cap is the mountain top of fried chicke.n. The holy grail of Friolated Arts. This is known as broasted chicken. When done right, it will not even resemble those awful chain restaurant concoctions, it will crunch beneath your teeth as you bite through the paper-thin delectable skin. Juice will drip off your chin and mouth, and that’s perfectly ok. The aroma of gently seasoned chicken will flood your nostrils as your teeth melt through the steaming meat.
If it sounds like this is too good to be true, you haven’t even tried their sides. There is such a stark comparison between homemade sides and regular packaged crap that you won’t even know there was such a difference until you bite into a mouthful of porky, salty greens or crunchy coleslaw. They even make handmade sweet potato/pumpkin pies, served stark naked and quivering. They also make fresh southern-style sweet tea in a large Styrofoam cup, or by the gallon.
Trust me, there is nothing better in the area. So either park in the parking lot and order it directly from the counter, or now you can actually order this simple good thing and have it delivered by using Carryoutmenu.com. I don’t usually like using this service since they not only charge you 5 dollars a delivery, they also charge 20% to the restaurant in question. Per order. LivingSocial.com’s fees are even worse to the small business, but there are places like Grubhub.com or Delivery.com that give you more bang for your buck. AND a pick-a-card game every few orders that gives away discounts and FREE FOOD!
By now you’ve realized that I am completely insane for food. I have probably ordered every type of possible food in my life, from Ethiopian to Cambodian and everything in between. Nothing is more satisfying than stuff from my mom’s house(a professional chef), or great fried chicken. If you live in the area and you enjoy finding little gems that can rival fine dining, without the price tag, I’m your guy. You can reach me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/kyarnboy or on Twitter at http://www.Twitter.com/kyarnboy. Feel free to drop me a message anytime.
Onto my final recommendation of the article. Sometimes the places I mentioned will be closed. I’m pretty sure Chick n’ Fiends is closed by 10pm daily, while BonChon stays open til 12am (Until they get their bar license. It’s BYOB Btw.) So what can satisfy that craving for good fried chicken at, let’s say, 3 in the morning?
Royal Farms: Don’t look at me funny. I’m almost positive that if you live within 300 miles of Columbia, there’s gotta be a Royal Farms nearby. Yes, the same place you can buy gas at sometimes, or cigarettes or magazines. Even though there are hundreds of these convenience stores, and even though some convenience store clerk is going to serve you your fried chicken, there’s no denying it. Their chicken is DAMN GOOD.
The key is that they fry their chicken in peanut oil. They have automated Henny Penny-fryers, so even the convenience store clerk can’t fuck up your order. Don’t even bother wondering if you can get a healthy-version, I promise you there is no such thing. It’s bad for you, but oh so good. For around 12 dollars you can grab an 8 piece chicken with 2 wings, 2 legs, 2 thighs, and you guessed it, 2 breasts.
Did I mention the western fries? These bear no resemblance to those nasty little dry sticks you get from most drive-thrus. They are real potatoes cut into wedges, boiled and finally fried quickly. They use very little batter, so the outside is crispy and aromatic while the inside is hot, starchy and comforting. As long as your calling a Mulligan on your diet for the night, you might as well grab these with a side of gooey cheddar cheese sauce. Eat both the chicken and the western fries while they are still hot, they won’t taste nearly as good after hitting the fridge. Grab a milkshake/smoothie from the Royal Farms-automated milkshake machine and your set. (The ones with fruit flavors are a WHOLE lot healthier than the ones with cookies or smores or candy in them. Just FYI.)
You can’t really beat that in the middle of the night without taking a lot of time to drive to a diner. If you live in my area, you realize there’s only a few choices at that time of night anyways:
Simmies aka: Airiang Hill Cheese Steaks (In the Harper’s Choice area, next to the hospital),
Double-T Diner(15 minutes away in Baltimore County, off Route 40),
Denny’s (In Laurel, off Route 1, or In Arundel Mills, go left off route 1 instead of towards the mall),
or Honey Pig(24/7 Korean BBQ in the Centennial area, also off Route 40).
They all have their merits, especially Simmie’s Ehson’s Special, a 6-inch cheese steak or cheeseburger sub and 5 mambo wings w/ fries. I can’t even begin to tell you all the nights I got drunk as hell after going to the bar/club, and had to make an emergency stop at Simmies for an Ehson’s Special. The mambo sauce is a guarded secret, and good as hell. Simmie stacks paper to the ceiling off those wings. Honey Pig is the best Korean BBQ your going to get at 3am without cooking it yourself. Denny’s is, well, Denny’s, and Double-T has the hugest selection of random food you’ll ever find, and fresh baked goods. All of these are also open 24/7 except Simmies, which I believe closed at 2 or 3am.
For me, however, nothing beats fried chicken, and nothing tops the 3 choices I wrote about above. I’m so sure you will enjoy them that I would be willing to bet them against fried chicken from any other region of the country. Yes, Bojangles and Church’s Chicken included. There’s only one way you’ll ever know though. Go grab a piece and send me a comment when you do.
Are you one of those people who feel a twinge of sympathy when you read/hear about a story on the news about mentally handicapped children? I know I am. I’m constantly seeing commercials on late-night television about the miracles being performed on kids born with some form of genetic trait, struggling to handle a spoon in their cereal. I read about celebrities in gossip magazines… well, I hear about people reading gossip magazines filled with stories about this or that charity supporting people with disabilities. Cancer-research, Leukemia, Down’s Syndrome, Asperger’s Disease, Cerebral Palsy, etc., the list could go on forever.
The point I’m trying to get at is wouldn’t it make you extremely mad to know that people in your own country are trying to cheat the people who teach these handicapped children how to read, write, eat, put on clothes and even just communicate with their parents?
Well that’s exactly what’s going on now. At this very moment, a large majority of the insurance companies supposed to pay for these extremely specialized special-needs teachers are doing exactly the opposite. They take your insurance premiums and are happy to do so, but when it comes time to pay the teachers, they are making up dozens of excuses or reasons why they shouldn’t have to pay them. Does that sound fair? It’s not like this is the easiest job in the world. Trust me, you and I are not as patient, kind, caring, understanding, constantly frustrated and under-valued as these people are. How do I know this? Maybe your asking yourself, in what way is this author qualified to speak on the subject?
To put it bluntly, my fiancée is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (ABA therapist). Her name is Joyce, and she is currently one of the foremost experts on children with learning disorders. She has lived and worked in the Maryland/Virginia area( GO DMV!) for basically her entire life, and above all else, gets barely any credit at all for doing a tremendous service to humanity.
If you’re imagining an overweight, middle-aged, primary-school special-ed teacher, you’re not even close to getting it right. She has multiple degree’s in psychology, sociology, child psychology, as well as master’s degrees specializing in behavioral science/early mental development. She was the dorky asian girl in the front of the classroom with straight A’s and a too-big pair of glasses, destined for scientific research. She has published countless papers, has apprenticed dozens of other board-certified therapists, and generally speaking, is the first person I would EVER think of calling if my kid had a learning disability.
She is also being ripped off, so to speak. The worst thing about this whole situation is that this isn’t just some random third-rate insurance company we’re talking about here. She works as an independent contractor for TriCare, aka: the Insurance company that provides for most members of the US Military. We’re talking every branch of the US Armed Services. These are the men and women of our country that are out there everyday, protecting our country from threats both domestic and foreign. Think about it, these brave soldiers and their loyal families will soon be unable to find anyone to take care of their mentally handicapped children.
They wont find anybody because of the hush-hush, recently-adopted policy of TriCare to continually refuse payment to special-needs therapists/educators. This is how it usually works: A potential client with some form of insurance looks online or gets a referral to her by other means. This family calls Joyce and asks if she has any time slot available to help their child/children. Depending on whether or not their insurance covers special-needs education/learning disabilities education, they either have to pay a small co-pay, just like going to the dentist/doctor, or completely out-of-pocket. The cost of these sessions can cost between 100-300 dollars an hour or more, depending on their reputation, experience and level of education or certification.
Depending on the child’s ability to learn, most of these teachers insist on between 5-10 hours a week at minimum. Ask yourself, how many people do you know that can afford to pay that amount of money on their own? Without the help of a “respectable” insurance company, very few people can afford to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars a week on top of their other necessary bills. Children with developmental disabilities CANNOT be cured, regardless of any drugs, surgery or any other modern forms of medicine. The only treatment with proven empirical results is Applied Behavior Analysis, otherwise known as Behavior Therapy.
If insurance companies such as TriCare, United Healthcare and Cigna refuse to pay for ABA therapy, claiming it isn’t a medical necessity, these children with developmental disabilities have a 0% chance of becoming a fully functional individual, capable of independent-living. The goal of all behavioral analysts is to integrate their patients into society, improving the quality of life for their families and teaching them critical life skills. In return for all this hard-work, TriCare has chosen instead to cancel ALL BCaBA(Bachelor-level Behavior Analysts). They have not cut out all BCBA(Master-level Behavior Analysts) work-compensation yet, but they have already begun to delay, deny, or refuse their weekly payments.
For the past 6 months, TriCare has accepted and verified Joyce’s weekly sessions, authorizing her claims and yet refused to pay her out except in the most minimal increments. Their claim is that they have to do “further research” on what is ABA therapy, choosing instead to have them starve, or suffer for no reason whatsoever. Remember that they are still collecting insurance premiums this entire time. Just for example, a colleague of her’s was held without a single payment for 6 whole CONSECUTIVE months! She still contracts part-time for TriCare, but is now forced to take on private clients or risk total financial collapse.
So what good reason could these insurance companies have for refusing to pay these honest, hard-working people? In my opinion, they are just making excuses so that they can line their own pockets. The economy is bad for everyone, but even worse for these analysts who are barely getting paid at all. For all the research, all the success stories, all the good-natured charities working to further the cause…
Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more damaging or damning to Autism Awareness, or developmental disabilities in general, than refusing to pay the researchers and analysts in the field. Hopefully something is done soon, before the US falls behind in yet another category, due to corporate greed, deception and lies.
Usually at this time of the year, my fiancée would be thinking about what presents to buy for her clients and where she would be going for the holidays. This year she has to worry about anxiety-issues, trouble sleeping, and how she’s going to pay the bills. All we can do is hope and pray that my paycheck and her leftover savings will be enough to pay the rent this month. Things would probably be different if a TriCare official had a child with Autism.
Something stinks in Baltimore, Maryland.
I’m not talking about the discarded crab shells, Domino sugar factories, or boarded-up row houses. The Baltimore Raven’s defense reeks of something terrible this year. This is the Baltimore defense, for god’s sake. The heart and soul of our team, the cause and reason for our lone Super Bowl win, the one thing we could always count on. Through all the years with Vinny Testaverde, Chris Redman, and especially Kyle Boller at QB, we always knew one thing. Our defense would bail them out, or at least keep the score respectable so we didn’t have to hang our heads in shame. Even after we drafted Joe Flacco, our defense was as good as advertised, helping the rookie QB guide our team to the AFC Championship Game. So what exactly changed this year?
I mean it’s not like Ray Lewis isn’t roaming from sideline to sideline, pounding running-backs into the dirt. Ed Reed is relatively healthy, still destroying wide receivers too stupid to stay off his side of the field. Haloti Ngata‘s still smacking offensive linemen left and right, while Lardarius Webb is blanketing receivers and pressuring the quarterback. So why is our defense, perennially ranked in the NFL’s top ten, suddenly ranked 22nd out of 32 teams?
Sure we’ve had a few players leave during the free-agency period or get injured, but every team has the same problems. Losing Terrell Suggs, the reigning defensive MVP, definitely hurt our defensive front. We’re also still trying to replace a couple of our more talented defensive backs. S Haruki Nakamura and S Tom Zbikowski were unsung heroes in our aggressive 3-4 defense. So was our slot-corner Chris Carr. Cary Williams doesn’t get physical enough and our 1st-round pick CB Jimmy Smith seems a little lost sometimes.
Playing solid defense depends on knowing the plays, recognizing offensive formations and reacting instinctively, all in the span of a few seconds. Our defense has been so successful over the years for being more physical and by playing sound, fundamental football. You just can’t do that when your always thinking about what position to be in, or whether or not you have coverage help down field.
Just as an example, MLB Ray Lewis has been with Baltimore for 17 years now. Most players have retired by this age, spending most of their time doing guest-appearances on ESPN, or making commercials for a charity fund. When a player gets to his age, the cumulative effects of a football career start to take their toll. Joints hurt, old injuries throb, ligaments, muscles and tendons become worn down. Memory fades, the result of years of concussions and helmet to helmet tackles. A nearly 40-year old football player shouldn’t be able to keep up with players barely half their age. What it comes down to is a form of premonition, otherwise known as being able to see into the future.
I’m not talking about magic or psychics here. Combining a knack for play-recognition with superior instincts and muscle memory makes it seem like Ray-Ray knows where the ball is going and how long it will take to get there. This allows him to make split-second decisions, moving and utilizing his considerable strength to blow up the opponent’s play before it even has time to develop. To a true football believer such as myself, seeing these moments are what we live for.
Getting back to the point, I believe our major deficiencies lie solely upon the Raven’s defensive players stopping the run. Since we can’t seem to stop anyone from running on us this year, offenses aren’t making nearly as many mistakes as normal. Usually our defense forces teams into 3rd and long situations, which is a lot easier to handle than 3rd and 2. Our single loss this year, to Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles, happened because our defense allowed Vick to run and pass his way straight down the field. At the end of the game and under 2 minutes no less.
Against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, we nearly lost again due to defensive issues. The problem was not the replacement officials. When the defense gives up 31 points, you’re gonna have a hard time winning games, unless your Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers. I don’t think the Ravens will give up that many points on a regular basis but you never know.
Luckily our offense is holding up it’s side of the bargain for once in like, ever. Maybe that’s the problem with our D, they aren’t playing as hard now that they think it’s no longer necessary. A man can only hope that’s all we have to worry about. Then our season wouldn’t depend on Paul Kruger, Sergio “My Mind is Somewhere in Texas” Kindle, Courtney “Things were Easier in Alabama” Upshaw, Pernell Mcphee, etc.
The author has written articles on the Baltimore Ravens, Baltimore Orioles, and Philadelphia Eagles for Bleacherreport.com. He also scribbles sporadically, either on WordPress.com, or on Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace(note: a long time ago).
Even though I wanted to watch every second of this first round match-up, I was busy getting the urine scared out of my bladder. Instead of my usual run-on rhetoric, I figured I’d make this entry short and sweet.
Just about every sports announcer, MLB expert, Tom, Dick and Larry predicted the All-Powerful Texas Rangers would squeeze the life out of the Baltimore Orioles. The Rangers had the advantage in starting pitching, with Yu Darvish pitching for them. Supposedly, Darvish is the hottest thing to come from Japan since Hello Kitty and colorful hair.
The Texans were also supposed to have the advantage in hitting, slugging, and on-base percentage. The have Josh Hamilton! The same Josh Hamilton who crushed four home-runs in a game against Baltimore earlier in the season. They also have Adrian Beltre, as well as a bunch of other hitters; Actually it seems like everybody on their roster has a .300 batting average.. Maybe it’s just me? The Orioles hit home-runs, and not much else. The birds have Adam Jones, Chris Davis, The immortal Jim Thome and the on-and-off again Matt Weiters. Manny Machado seems to have some potential but he’s a rookie, I don’t know what kind of impact he’ll have in his first ever playoff-game.
As if they needed anymore help, they are playing in Arlington, the Rangers home turf and a VERY hitter-friendly baseball stadium. That’s just wonderful, I mean these guys are coming off back-to-back appearances in the World Series! That doesn’t seem very fair, especially since both teams have the same record. Sure we lost a bunch of games head-to-head with them. Whatever, I’m just saying. About the only thing the Orioles had going for them was the bullpen. Basically it seemed like the stars were all aligned against the East Coast underdog.
Well now I’m watching the game. The MLB Playoffs Wildcard Round started around 8:35 EST. It’s currently the bottom of the 9th inning, and this is what I’ve noticed so far:
1. Joe Saunders pitched a phenomenal 5 and 2/3rd innings. He gave up one run, more than a couple hits but always pitched his way out of trouble.
2. Saunders outplayed Yu Darvish, contrary to popular belief. Even though Darvish struck out more hitters, he also gave up more runs(one unearned) AND more hits. So much for Saunders not being able to handle Rangers stadium.
3. While listening to the radio on the way home from the Maze of the Undead, Firecrackers, and Heads on Meat Hooks, the ESPN announcer kept saying “Bloop single,” whenever the Orioles batters hit a single. Biased much?
4. The Orioles looked seasoned, more than even the home team. It must have been all the one-run and overtime games they won, I mean that puts a lot of pressure on a young, unproven team.
5. Texas had 9 hits, including having the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning. For all those hits, they got one total run. Author very happy.
6. Orioles Manager Buck Showalter completely out-coached Ron Washington, the talented manager of the Rangers. The pitching change at the end of the 5th inning, going from Saunders to Darren O’Day was crucial in keeping Texas from rallying.
7. Does anyone else think O’Day has one of the weirdest looking pitches? It’s not too far from being a women’s softball pitch.
8. The Orioles made a few unusual fielding errors tonight. That could have lost them the game if the Rangers were hitting better tonight. Luckily they weren’t, especially Josh Hamilton.
9. Speaking of Hamilton, he wasn’t just bad. He was REALLY bad. He looked indecisive at the plate, even lost at times. His strikeouts and pop-ups had a visible effect on the morale in the Texas dugout.
10. The road team played solid defense throughout the game, forcing three double-plays on the team from Arlington.
11. How exciting was this single-elimination playoff game?! It seemed like the stakes were a lot higher than usual, similar to a playoff game in the NFL. Usually the Rangers would have just been able to shrug it off as a bad start. Instead, their fate is sealed with another run given up in the 7th inning.
12. Likewise, i really felt like the MLB umpires are not quite used to making calls in a sudden-death situation. A bad call isn’t nearly as bad when the team looking at the short end of the stick has a chance to even things up later.
13. ORIOLES WIN!!! ORIOLES WIN!!! FUCK YOU to Josh Hamilton & the Rest of the Texas Rangers!
14. A small percentage of people predicted the O’s would win at LEAST 85 games.. Including the author. I’d now like to take this moment to say, “Naah-Naah, I told you so.”
15. If the supremely dangerous Texas Rangers didn’t rattle this team, playing in their first playoff game in 16 years, not much else will. In a single-elimination, winner-takes-all contest no less.
16. Texas vs. Baltimore regular season winning percentage, 70%+. Texas vs. Baltimore playoffs winning percentage, 0%.
17. The Baltimore Orioles join the Baltimore Ravens as playoff-caliber sports teams. We’ve been patiently awaiting for this day all those long, lonely nights. Between the Orioles, the Washington Nationals, the Ravens, the Washington Redskins,the Baltimore Blast, and the Washington Capitals, this area is finally living up to expectations. We’re still waiting on John Wall, Nene, Trevor Ariza and the rest of the Washington Wizards to step up. Shout-out to the DMV, as well as I-495, I-295 and the Baltimore-Washington Area.
17. You Can’t Spell Orioles Without… OLE!!! Bullfighting is so appropriate for the beating we put on Texas.
Parting Thoughts: Reynolds and Macho Machado HAVE to hit better if we expect to go deep into the 2012 MLB Playoffs. We showed a ton of heart tonight on the green grass of Texas Stadium. We’re going to need every bit of heart, hitting and patience to make it through the second-round. Next up, those damn Yankees.
The Author has been a Orioles fan since 1995, the first time his family brought him to Camden Yards. He became a Ravens fan that first year after the Browns left Cleveland for Baltimore. In the NBA, he’s a Heat/Wizards fan, in the MLB, a Capitals fan. His main passion, however, lies with the NFL and MLB. He hahandss lived in the Baltimore-Washington Area for the past 2 decades, with his fiancee, adopted daughter and Maximus the Rat Terrier.
I am, when compared to an average fan, a bleeds orange, die hard Orioles fan. I have loved them ever since I was a toddler, even before I knew about Cal Ripken Jr. and his record-setting career. I don’t even think it was a choice, seeing as how I was born at Johns Hopkins, like all of 5 blocks away from Camden Yards. If your not from the area, which I’ll generously set as somewhere in the state of Maryland, you probably have no idea how fiercely we protect anything about our city. This goes double for our sports teams, the Orioles, the Ravens and heck, even the Blast. There is not a person in this world that I wouldn’t humiliate, destroy, insult or shank if it meant one more win for one of my beloved teams.
Ok, Maybe that’s going a little too far. Just as a disclaimer for legal purposes, ignore the words, “destroy” and “shank.” Damn right I’m passionate, it’s been 15 years since our last winning season and every year it’s been the same old thing. Either a). They start off the season going something like 15-3 and end up being 21 games out of a playoff spot by the end of the year, or b). They stink up South Baltimore until right around the All-Star break and then all of a sudden play over .500 baseball the rest of the way. This has the dual-effect of causing us to wonder WHY we couldn’t do that through an entire season and basically tossing us a shriveled tasteless bone to chew on. We’d say, “At least the latter-half of the season looked promising, hopefully next year.,,”
Well No Longer! Somehow someway we have for the most part put together a season of dreams. As of tonight, 9/7/12, after shelling the New York Yankees(77-60), ie: our most hated rival, with 6, count ’em, 6 home-runs, not only are we 17 games over .500 but the Orioles are also tied with the Yankees for the best record in the AL East! Now how about we actually make some noise??
To the people in the national media, our beloved Orioles are nothing but an aberrant statistic. They point to their fancy run differentials and the fact that our team as a whole is hitting only .247, tied for 21st in the league. How many times have I read articles about the Pirates, Angels or especially Tampa Bay(75-62) stating how well positioned these teams were to earn a playoff spot based on their expensive free-agents and strong starting pitching?
All I’ve heard about the hard-charging Orioles is that our team won’t last and that we’re just getting lucky in close ball games. Everyone knows about our record in games decided by 1 run but look at our record in games decided by 2 runs, which is still a respectable 46-20. Our main hitters, as in Mark Reynolds, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Matt Weiters, have all posted superior numbers over the past 32 or so games. Even some of our supplementary players, such as Ryan Flaherty, Chris Davis, JJ Hardy and star rookie 3rd baseman Manny Machado are all currently hitting near .280. You want run differential? Over the past month, the Orioles are +45 and are averaging 4.88 runs/game while giving up only 3.47runs/game. Those numbers only get better if you look at the past two months. Reynolds alone has 7 HR in the past 2 weeks while tonight Jones hit his 28th HR of year.
To get this kind of production and this many wins out of this piecemeal band of brothers, Manager Buck Showalter must have sold his soul to the Devil or turned into a Bokor, otherwise known as an evil practitioner of Voodoo. All jokes aside, even if we don’t win the AL East he still has my vote for Manager of the Year, if only for taking 50 different mismatched players and turning them into a team that’s currently 18 games over .500.
With the best record in all of baseball over the month of August, this gritty Orioles team has already exceeded all expectations and have quieted all critics and doubters. Quietly outplaying teams that spend twice as much money as the Orioles, our team has managed to continue to stack wins by getting solid run support behind dependable if not great starting pitching. The bullpen has been for the most part sensational and somehow we have managed to play well against everyone. Well, everyone except for the Texans.
Most of these statistics you can find on every Tom, Dick and Harry’s blog or sports website. What seems to be missing is the pulse of excitement running through the veins of every Orioles fan in a 100 mile radius of Baltimore. It’s been so long since the Orioles last winning season that an entire generation of kids and teenagers have never been to a playoff game. For the first time since the mid 90s, the coming of Autumn foretells possible playoff victory… and not just for the Baltimore Ravens.
The only thing even close to bringing home the Lombardi Trophy to Baltimore would be to win the World Series. It’s funny how my expectations have changed over the season, from having a .500 season to having a winning season, to earning a wildcard spot to becoming first in the division and finally winning some playoff games. What’s to say this already magical season can’t end with a World Series victory? I know, I know, it seems far fetched but there are some solid statistics behind that line of reasoning.
I’m aware that, at least logically, the playoffs in professional baseball aren’t quite as random as in professional football. As in professional basketball, MLB playoff format is in a “best of” series format. Instead of having to win one game to advance, you have to win 2 of 3 or even 3 of 5 games. Even so, the playoffs aren’t about who had the best regular season record, it’s about who becomes hot at the right time, exactly like the other American professional sports. The Texas Rangers(82-55) had the best regular season record last season but we’re defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals(74-63), by the skin of their teeth. Even so, there are only 4 other teams in baseball with a better record than the Orioles, only one being in the American League. Add in the fact that the Washington Nationals, with the best record in baseball THIS season, are shutting down their ace in the hole pitcher Stephen Strasburg this Friday and the Orioles probably have as good a shot as anyone to make it to the World Series!
I mean think about it for a second. The usually dangerous Boston Red Sox(63-75) are close to firing their manager, The Yankees are 20-26 since July 18th as injuries and weak hitting have conspired to leave our hated rival to the North nearly impotent. If EVER there was a chance for the Orioles to make a play for the AL East pennant it would be right now.
Despite the 13th lowest payroll in MLB, despite the fact that our team is primarily made up of misfits, washed-up free agents and home-grown talent, despite every critic, talking head and newspaper outside of Baltimore writing us off, we have continued to out-think and out-play teams with far more resources and more recognizable players. We aren’t looking for hand-outs and slowly but surely our fans have trickled back into Camden Yards(43,000+ showed up tonight!). If we continue to take care of business by winning the games we’re supposed to win, the national media will be forced to take us seriously. Until then, how about all of us who live in Maryland or Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia, make as much noise as possible. Already they hear us in New York.
Michael and most of his friends have been tailgating and going to games at both Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium since before the current Camden Yards was built. There was a time when it seemed his group of friends were the only ones sitting in the bleachers, drinking foamy beer and eating cheap hot dogs while cheering every time a Yankee or Red Sox player got injured.
How can I make this story short…
I was taking out the trash, early Tues. morning when out of nowhere my roomates started arguing. I chased them to the car and begged them not to leave. They said GET OUT OF THE WAY. I said WHY, U GONNA HIT ME?
They gunned their engines and I started to move out the way. They hit me directly in the leg anyways. I screamingly asked them to stop and help me. They didn’t. They hit and ran away from the scene.
My leg is now destroyed and I am on a lot of medications because of it. They WILL be involved in a major lawsuit.
Now I don’t know if I will ever walk correctly again. I hope the Nissan that hit me and its passengers get their just desserts.
There, now everyone knows what happened to me.
Don’ t feel sorry for me…please.
“Goodbye, dear king of men.
Farewell, oh, favorite son of Baltimore. We will miss you in the days to come and hopefully when your journey is complete, you will find the meandering path back to the Garden of Eden from which your NFL career sprung.
I for one will not be the same as I gaze upon the familar purple and black of M&T Bank Stadium, the familiar numbers 5 and 2 reflecting brilliantly in the afternoon sunlight nevermore. The proud stance with which the Ravens’ defense carries itself, knowing that it’s stallwart captain is near, forgotten and lost to Father Time.
One day soon, too soon it seems, a man who seems to be made of the same material as legends or myths will disappear into the comfortable and well-deserved archway of retirement. Knowing that our time together runs short, the grains of sand forever climbing walls of glass, brings chills and shivers from out of the blue.
In our many vivid memories is where we Ravens’ faithful will find solace in times of need, remembrance of places and plays long past climb ever closer to the surface of the mind. Hopefully reciprocation will be felt on the end of the purple titan, aching mentally for the sound and touch of those who gazed upon him with wonder and admiration.”
If you didn’t really understand that, the point of this semi-poem was to show the world exactly how collective Ravens’ fans, including and especially me, feel about losing our Pro-Bowl/All-Pro Linebacker.
We know that time is slipping away from us and we also know the best player on our team since it’s rebirth will NEVER be cut. He will retire on his own terms, of this I am 100% sure.
When the day comes for us to be apart, I will continue to go to the Blue Moon BBQ…Ray-Ray’s famous BBQ restaurant. I will never forget him, even when I am 90 years old, hard of hearing and wheeling around with a colonoscopy bag hanging from the back.
I don’t know about you…but personally I have had not a single good dealing with the Howard County animal police.
These completely self-serving bastards are fully content in the knowledge that they can abuse and flaunt there powers-even above the law-to justify their every actions.
I’m here to you today to BEG and PLEAD for some sort of justice; Anything that will bring these mockeries of the american justice-system to light.
Put in a nutshell, I don’t see why my dog and my family have to suffer through the endless hounding and predation these so-called harbringers of “justice” attempt to force upon my household and my beloved puppy.
Yes, I have watched the Animal Cops television-show, even the ones involving cities other than mine, such as Houston, San Francisco, Dallas, Baltimore and even Michigan.
If you have ever seen even one episode of this series, one full episode, you probably came to a similar conclusion to the duties and responsibilites of this “Enforcement-Agency.”
The things I have seen are sometimes so atrocious that certain images have to be blurred or blacked out all together, such as the dead horse(which starved from years of neglect/mal-nutrition) who died while the animal police were standing near it.
The animal was quickly surrounded by the stench of death, the release of it’s suddenly relaxed bowel muscles and a staggering number of horse-flies/green-bottle flies.
I have seen countless other animals who were completely abused, and/or never felt the comfort of human companionship for their entire lives.
Dog-fighting, refusals by the horrid owner(s) to provide even the smallest amount of sympathy and/or medical care for their run-down animals… even to the point where the animals appear to be nothing more than caricatures of their former selves.
In most of these instances, I completely agree and side with the animal police, I mean come-on! These are certainly some of the most drastic cases of animal abuse ever recorded.
Which brings me to shed some light on the majority of supposed ‘Animal-cruelty’.
In the past year and a half, the Howard County Animal Cops have shown utter disdain fo the well-being of both the animal-owners and their pets, going so far as to sneak in and check on animals(especially my 2-year old beagle named, “Cha Siu Bao”) over the slightest report that the animal is being abused.
I’m just gonna level with you, my readers and possible supporters who have ties to Howard County, MD or live close enough to care.
My two-year old male beagle lives a very happy life, being fed better than most humans do, has no known ailments -such as: fleas, worms, heart-worms, malnutrition or anything on the sort- and above all else is given weekly loving showers and brushings that IMO make him one of the healthiest Beagle specimens on the face of the planet.
So why is it that the basic job of the Animal Police supposedly is to keep pets from being abused, malnourished and/or abuse from their current owners, yet time and time again, pick on someone such as myself who have a limited income in what I believe is an attempt to seperate my fiance and I from our loved own… Cha Siu is perhaps closer to family than even some of my own flesh and blood.
I’m not that rich. I hold down two jobs and my fiance holds down one full-time job, just to make enough to survive and perhaps add just enough to our savings so that hopefully we will eventually save enough to live at least a comfortable life, years down the road.
In the past year, thanks totally to the unyielding, power-hungry Animal Police, our family has spent well over 10,000 dollars in fines/yard maintenance/labor and income loss due to the time off needed to right our affairs, in terms of appeasing the Animal police.
Not once have I been allowed to go to court to rectify the situation and even if I were allowed to proceed to court in order to deny the allegiations, it would cost me even more to hire a lawyer to condemn these power-hungry mockery of the Justice System.
So basically, the Animal Police stole my beloved Cha Siu Bao the Beagle without a search warrant, grounds for removal or even a legitimate basis for removal.
Their reasoning consisted of this. A single empty lighter-fluid container was found on the entire premises, as well as a small amount of shattered glass, in no way harmful to our beloved animal, was found after extensive searching of the grounds.
Let me remind you that there was absolutely NO search warrant involved, nor were any pictures taken of so-called evidence found on the scene.
I am sick and tired of the Animal Police harassing us at least twice a month, over nothing more than a dubiously placed lighter-fluid container which probably was placed there by someone else.
The minute amount of glass is neither sharp nor in quantites that could in any way possibly harm my most beloved animal.
And here’s the catch…The glass, which neither I nor the previous Animal Police inspector even bothered to document as evidence, is now a significant hazard to the well-being of our healthy-as-an-Ox, beagle puppy.
In this day and age, a HUMAN has the right to a fair trial to contest these allegations. Instead, I or my roomate were cited and fined over 800 dollars, told that we either pay these fines(before court hearings of course) or within 10 days our dog would be put up for adoption.
Is this just? Doesn’t this in every was devalue or basic justice system by giving the Animal Cops immunity from being held responsible for their abusive and harassing actions?!
I want, not just for myself but for all the other owners who have been treated like rubbish, some sort of recourse and justice!!!
If you live in the MD area, please let me know what can be done.
In order to get my dog back, I will have to pay these trumped-up fines without the benefit of consul, or my dog will be given away in adoption way before the court date is set in early July.
I’m BEGGING you guys. Please help me figure out a way to punish these arbitrary dealers of questionable justice… I just don’t seem it’s fair that even with legal consul, I will lose my dog withn the next week…. unless I pay the 800 dollar fine they just decided I needed to pay.
If you have any words of wisdom or advice on what to do next, PLEASE don’t hesitate to respond. I really could use some advice on how to bring these corrupt and self-righteous enforcers of animal law… TO JUSTICE!
Honestly, do any of you really like Kabobs. Like “REALLY” like kabobs, not just “meeeeh, they aite.” Look at it this way, a kabob, by definition, is some variety of meat/vegetable or both typically skewered on the end of a long pointy metal or wooden stick. Some mundane Afghan versions of the kabob include: 1. Kofka ‘bab – ground beef mixed with assorted spices. Hurray, that’s out of the ordinary. 2. Chicken ‘bab – zomgz zomgz, chunks of “chicken” on a stick. Similar to a satay except imo the satay tastes better and is smaller. 3. Lamb ‘bab – I bet you can guess whats on this stick. 😀
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t HATE kabobs. They are just generic food. Like you eat them when you have nothing better to eat. It’s also pretty expensive to eat kabobs, for some nasty rice with raisins in it, some salad with questionable sauce on it and kabob, it costs like 9-11 bucks. I can eat MAD food at some other place for 9-11 bucks. Or feed a family of 5 at Mcdonalds.
Now I know that in certain places in the world, the kabob is probably a blessing from the gods, especially when you and your family have been starving for 9 months out of the year, and you sacrificed your only pet goat to feed your family. Can you guess what they call that dish? “Goat ‘bab.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you put the chunks of meat on a pointy stick you won’t burn your hands as you pull the prehistoric delicacies out of the fire.
Let me cite you a few examples.
Italian food, in the form that we know it, ie. Pasta, Olive oil, Artisan bread and cheeses, has been around for at LEAST 800 years. Probably closer to 1000 years. That is 1000 years that they have used to make any and all of their favorite dishes into culinary masterpieces that are beloved around the world.
Chinese food, NOT in the form that we know it (here in the US), ie. Spectacular sauces and flavor combinations that are easy to make and even easier to eat, has existed for well over 2500 years. I’m not talking about the sauce you get on your General Tso’s Chicken, exactly, but you get the point. Ever go eat dim sum at a chinese restaurant? I’m talking about marinated chicken feet, buns stuffed with curried chicken or roast pork, tender pan-fried radish cakes and so many different dumplings, each with it’s own special sauce.
So let’s recap. Meat and the occasional small chunk of onion or pepper on a stick or……. AMAZING DUMPLINGS WITH THEIR OWN SAUCE. Which one would I rather eat? Unless your a barbarian with a club wearing some stinkin’ animal rags, your probably gonna pick choice b.
Now, just for the record, right next door to where I work there is a kabob place and we are very good friends with them. They are not bad people, they are very nice. I have nothing but good things to say about them as friends and people. But ANYONE, EVERYONE, little kids, retarded people, monkeys, whoever knows how to make a kabob. They just don’t call it a kabob, they call it what it is, meat on a long stick. It’s not so much a cuisine as a tool so you do not hurt your fingers in the fire that you use to cook. I think every race and culture has made something like that, close to when we used to have fur and could not speak. The only difference is that with time, over thousands of years, they seem to be the only race that takes pride in not evolving.
I am sorry my friends, if you are reading this, I ❤ you. No hard feelings, maybe you should think up new ways to cook.