Saturday, August 23, 2008

Free Kicks

Your Free Kicks are coming a day late this week, but I figured y’all had to hear about the Bowie trip before it was no longer relevant. They won again last night, so I suppose one of the Orioles teams is headed to the playoffs. As for the one in Baltimore, well we know that is a slightly different story. The hype over the Ravens quarterback situation continues to balloon out of control to the negligence of defensive questions, the US took bronze in their last Olympic game until at least 2016, and all I want to do is line up for the kick.

If My Word Processor Sees the Word “Bullpen” One More Time, it will Explode.

Not that the O’s are playing badly, but last night’s loss was a giveaway. The Orioles consistently had opportunities to score early in the ballgame and simply did not put up the numbers they would need to overcome an exhausted bullpen. Moreover, Trembley made a key error in taking Radhames Liz out of the game with 2 outs in the 5th inning. Let Liz finish the inning, especially as Alex Rodriguez was 0-2 so far that game. Despite giving up the two consecutive solo shots, Liz was still utilizing different pitches in different places in the count, particularly with his 3-1 changeup. Last night’s performance should be considered a step forward for Radhames, who might perform just well enough to be the band aid the pitching staff needs for the rest of the season.

Keep Your Eye on Fabian Washington…

…because he will be your starting cornerback at some point this season. Much is being made of the offense, which has been riddled with injuries along the offensive line, tight ends, and even wide receivers, not to mention hampered by inept quarterback play (I am still a Troy Smith fan, but no one will save this offense). However, not enough is being made of the problems on defense. Remember, we have been saying that Samari Rolle is on his last legs for the past two years now, and Chris McAlister sat out half of last season with various injuries. As we saw last year, Corey Ivy is not the answer. Fabian Washington is the most likely candidate to step up, and Coach Harbaugh will have to hope that he finally can live up to first round status. The defense lacks much depth and with a few injuries (caused partially by the exhaustive time they will have to play with an offense unable to hold onto the ball) they could crumble down the stretch.

Best in the World? Not Quite.

I am one of those who threw my hands up in anger and anguish when baseball and softball were voted out as Olympic sports, but now looking back I can understand why baseball went that way. Frankly, the Olympic committee knew they weren’t getting the best talent in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing Jake Arrieta out there, but he is the best America has to offer? No. Give me Michael Young tossing to Brian Roberts who fires to Mark Teixeira for a double play on Ichiro Suzuki and Kosuke Fukudome. But you won’t see that because the Olympics take place in the middle of baseball season. What is out there is simply not an accurate representation of the best team in the world- which the Americans would not necessarily win.

As for softball, this will be rectified sooner rather than later, especially with the US loss this Olympics to the Japanese. It seems as though the US dominance had doomed Olympic softball, with critics claiming there was no competition to the American squad. Ironically, the loss by the best team in the world might have saved the sport in the long run.

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