What do 1090 AM radio, Baltimore Used Appliances, and Pat’s Pub have to do with sports? We usually talk about the major sports and major sports teams, but what about going down past the minor leagues, past college, past high school to when we were really young, to elementary school.

We had different local businesses sponsoring our local little league baseball teams. The team I played on was the 1090s, sponsored by 1090 AM radio station which broadcast all the Orioles games and probably the Colts games as well. Continue reading Amateurs

Maryland Women’s Basketball Winners

The University of Maryland Men’s basketball team which has been ranked in top 5 for part of the season and the top 10 for almost all of the season seems to be in free fall at this point. They are now ranked 14 and could go lower still. The women’s team on the other hand is on a roll and doing great.

Maryland Women Win Big Ten

The other teams in the Big Ten are probably sorry that Maryland was asked to join the conference. The women have dominated since joining the conference. Maryland is now has 30 wins and only 3 losses on the season. They won the Big Ten regular season last year and this year. They won the Big Ten tournament last year and this year.

Although they were behind by 2 at half time, Maryland ended up beating Michigan State 60-44. This is their night win in a row and they are looking forward to continue winning and getting at least to the Final Four if not the Championship. Their only losses in the Big Ten were both to Ohio State. However, Ohio State didn’t make it to the finals of the tournament so Maryland didn’t have to deal with them again.

Maryland was Questioned at Beginning of Season

Because Maryland had several dominant players graduate after last season, some wondered how they would do this year. However,  Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, Brene Mosely and others stepped up and the team has done just as well or better this year than last.

Michigan State came out strong and Maryland was on a cold streak for parts of the first half. They stepped up their defense in the second half and that made the difference. The defense was so good that Michigan State only shot 2 for 11 in the fourth quarter.  Maryland won despite scoring less than in any other game this year, shooting only 35% and having 19 turnovers.

Maryland Ranked #5

Although Maryland is in first place in the Big Ten, it is ranked 5th nationally, with Connecticut once again being ranked in first place. So getting to the Final Four is not a given by any stretch of the imagination. We wish them the best of luck though.

Maryland Basketball Number 1?

Women’s Team Stronger than the Men?

The University of Maryland has a chance to dominate in both men’s and women’s basketball. The men’s team made it to the NCAA tournament last year for the first time in a number of years and surprised a lot of people. The women’s team were national champions last year. They have lost some good players, but they still have a strong nucleus and it is possible they could repeat. They won back to back championships several times in the 1970s and 1980s. They have been national champions 3 times over the last 6 years, so the women actually have a much better record than the men.

Maryland Men to the Final Four or the Championship?

The men’s team has been selected to be anywhere from number 3 to number 1 this year. That depends on the poll and what day of the week because even the same polling source changes things a bit from week to week as to how they rank teams. And the Terps have a young team, so if the pollsters are right and most of the team doesn’t depart early to the NBA, they look to be good next year too.

It will be interesting to see how things play out. Rankings will change after the season starts and the games start to count. It would be nice if the forecasts are right because the coaches, Mark Turgeon and Bino Ranson seem like good guys.

Stone Has Moves

One player everyone is very excited about is Diamond Stone. He is 6′ 11″ and is vying to be their starting center. Everyone assumes he will be there very shortly although, having just come out of high school, he has a lot to learn, especially on defense. However, according to everyone his natural skills are amazing.

Last night the Terrapins played their first game of the season. It was really more of a warm up because no one expected Southern New Hampshire to have much of a chance against them. The final score was 91-55.

Big Men Got Bigger, Better

Whereas last year Maryland was a bit thin under the basket, they are very strong there this year. Last year there was a lot of perimeter scoring. This year they have the luxury of passing it inside and looking for a shot there. If there isn’t a shot inside, it can be kicked back outside. The great thing is that the big men can shoot and also are good passers so they can get it back out to the shooters. This should take a lot of pressure off the outside shooters and open up the opportunities for everyone because everyone is dangerous this year.

Damonte Dodd is the other center and by all accounts he has improved quite a bit from last year and is in better shape. Then there is Robert Sharp who had to sit out a year after transferring from Georgia Tech. He’s got skills. Then there is Rasheed Sulaimon who transferred from Duke. He is a really good player but hopefully doesn’t get any trouble. He is the first person expelled from the basketball program in Coach K’s 35 years at the school. There were charges of sexual assault against two women although no legal action was ever taken against him.


Lumberjack Competitions

If you like Lumberjack Competitions then you will love Tree Services Annapolis. They can put on a show in your own back yard for the right price. Its one thing to drop a tree in the middle of a forest where you don’t have to worry which way it falls too much as long as it doesn’t fall on your or your equipment. Try doing it in an urban or suburban setting where you can’t damage any other trees nearby and you have to worry about houses or other buildings and you can’t drop it on shrubbery or flower gardens or ponds. It takes a different type of skill.

Continue reading Lumberjack Competitions

PGA Championship 2015

The major golf tournaments have been really exciting this year. Although as with most sporting events on TV I only watch bits and pieces of the game or match here and there and hopefully catch the end if it seems exciting. Who has the time to watch four days of golf? I would rather be out playing golf or another sport or getting work done or work in the garden, whatever.

Day’s Day

In any case, Jason Day played lights out. He was just unstoppable and set an all-time record for the lowest score in any major throughout  history with a 20 under par. What a way to win your first major! He has been so close so many times and has been so frustrated.

On the last tee, he closed his eyes to visualize the shot. It is something he does fairly regularly to help him visualize what he is going to do. I can understand this because I often close my eyes to be able to concentrate better on the music when I am at a symphony concert. (No, I am not sleeping.) He hit it 308 yards and then finished it off ending the day with a 67. Over the four days he hit 68, 67, 66, 66. How is that for consistency.

He has been making strong efforts throughout this year. He could barely stand for part of the US Open due to headache induced vertigo. He fought through it and managed to finish. Then, he came so close in the British Open. He left the final putt short (so in actuality it was the next to last putt) and missed a playoff by 1 shot. He was not a happy camper and practiced even harder. In the PGA championship he was just in a zone the entire time and unstoppable.

DJ Dusted Again

Once again Dustin Johnson was in the thick of things but once again he couldn’t hold on, ending in a 3 way tie for seventh place.

Spieth the New Tiger?

But perhaps the most amazing player of the year has been Jordan Spieth. He won the Masters and then won the US Open. Then in the British Open, he was in it until the very end. Despite bogeying different holes, he kept coming back with birdies. Unfortunately he mishit his tee shot on the last hole and got a 4 when he needed a three to make the playoffs. His playing partner Louis Oosthuizen did manage to make a 3 and made the playoffs, only to lose by 1 to Zach Johnson.

So Spieth wins the first two majors of the year, then misses the playoff by one shot at the British Open and then is close all the way through the PGA Championship, finishing second. That seems like a pretty dominant year and we would be surprised not to see a lot more of Spieth in the future.

Phelps Regains Dominance

Michael Phelps is back! Phelps went through a rough stretch. He seemed to have lost focus and was no longer dominant as a swimmer. He had retired and came back and then retired and came back again, but without the same drive that took him to such heights originally.


He also collected two DWIs or DUIs (whichever you prefer). The last one was this past fall and the powers that be in the swimming world decided he needed to learn a lesson and banned him from major competitions for 6 months. We wonder how many other swimmers who have had similar problems have met similar punishment? It is most likely part of what comes along with being famous and very visible.

Rehab Seems to Have Worked

However, Phelps may end up thanking them. He went to rehab and he seems to have come out focussed and with a passion for swimming again. He has been training like he did in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics and hasn’t done since. However, that training hadn’t been translating into performance in the swim meets he was allowed to take part in. Either his turns were off or something else would go a bit wrong.

But it was also because he wasn’t tapering and was probably tired at some of these meets. Tapering is when you shorten your practices and ease up some as you approach a meet. This allows your body to recover and you have more energy for the meet.

Sending a Long Distance Message

So they just had the World Swimming Championships in Russia. At the same time they had the US National Championships in San Antonio. Normally this would have our top swimmers but this year it was like the JV team because the top swimmers were all in Russia. Except for Michael Phelps because of the ban. But, they felt his presence all the way from San Antonio. On the women’s side, Katie Ledecky was in Russia and she made quite a statement as well. She won five golds from 200m to 1500m which is unheard of to win at such different distances.

There are three events that Phelps is likely to swim in the Olympics, 200m butterfly, 100m butterfly and 200m IM. In all three Phelps put up the best time in the world this year. First he swam the 200m butterfly in his best time since 2009 and faster than the gold medal winner at the world championships in Russia who had won the event earlier that day.

In Your Face

Then there was the 100m butterfly. Chad le Clos won this event at the world championships in a very fast time and then mouthed off, saying Phelps could keep quiet because le Clos’ time was faster than anything Phelps had swum in the last 4 years. le Clos had also been a surprise winner over Phelps in the 200m butterfly at the 2012 Olympics. Wrong move. Don’t taunt Phelps. A few hours later, Phelps put up a faster time than le Clos.

To make it a trifecta, after the 200m IM was swum in Russia, Phelps went out and beat that time as well. Not only were the wins impressive, but so was the rest of the factors that go into leading up to a win. You can’t swim multiple events and go all out every time because there is a lot of swimming over the swim meet. You don’t just swim in the finals. You have to swim in preliminary heats in order to get to the finals and you have to do that in all the events you are swimming in. So you can’t expend all your energy in the preliminaries but you still have to swim fast enough to get to the finals. For the first time in a long time Phelps managed all these aspects very well.

The swimming events in the upcoming Olympics is starting to look very interesting.


British Open Exciting Finish

Jordan Spieth is definitely going to be the talk of the town in the years to come the way Tiger Woods was if Spieth keeps playing this way. He was in it to the very end of the British Open and almost was able to become the first person since Ben Hogan in the 1920s to win the first three majors of the year.  Unlike the US Open, this time we didn’t hear any griping about the greens but wow was that a lot of wind they had for a while.

It looked at first like Dustin Johnson was going to make up for missing the putt at the end of the US Open that would have given him the win or at least a tie and a playoff. He was playing incredibly well and in the lead. But it seemed like as the weather improved, he faded.

The story of the third round could have been Dustin Johnson fading, but instead it was the lights out playing of Paul Dunne. He is a amateur from Ireland who goes to college in the United States. Last year he was able to do well enough to be invited to play in the British Open but didn’t make the cut. This year, he not only made the cut but by the end of the third round was tied for the lead. Even more amazing, his score was 3 strokes lower than the lowest score by an amateur in British Open history after three rounds.

Tied with Dunne were Jason Day and Louis Oosthuizen. Jordan Spieth was one stroke back, Padraig Harrington was two strokes back and nine people were three strokes back, including Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Zach Johnson, Mark Leishman and Justin Rose. So it was still anyone’s tournament.

On the last day, unfortunately Paul Dunne fell apart. He was way over par and you had to feel for him. He almost looked like he wanted to cry by the time he got to the last hole. Here he was, in the final pairing, and was stinking up the course. On the final hole with the whole world watching he chipped past the green and onto the rough on a steep little hill that  then ended in a fence/building. He finally got it in the hole. But, he should be proud of what he accomplished through three rounds and the amazing improvement from the year before. For the first time in a long time, if he had scored one less on the last round there would have been 4 amateurs in the top 20 finishers.

Zach Johnson plugged away steadily all day and finished with 15 under and then had to wait and see what other people did. In the next to last pairing, Day also came in at 15 under but Spieth finally cracked slightly. He pulled his tee shot way left where he and almost no one else had been during the tournament. He ended up missing the playoff by one stroke so his chances of winning the first three majors was dashed. But it was an impressive attempt.

In the last pairing, while Dunne was imploding, Oosthuizen finished at 15 under as well. There was then a 4 hole playoff and Leishman quickly fell by the wayside. Zach Johnson was able to eek out the win over Oosthuizen. A very exciting tournament and finish.

Spieth Rules

Jordan Spieth and the US Open

What an amazing US Open. A lot of people panned it because of the conditions of the greens and the crazy slopes, but that made it interesting.

By winning the US Open at the age of 21, he became the youngest man to win the US Open since Bobby Jones in 1923. That is almost 100 years. Quite the feat. And that ain’t all folks. He is only the sixth person in history to win the Masters and then win the US Open as well. The last person to do it was naturally Tiger Woods in 2002.

Chambers Bay

The Chambers Bay Golf course became as much of a story as the competition. It took a lot of heat for the condition of the greens and the layout of the course. It was also interesting having trains going by the golf course. We  don’t remember ever seeing that before.

Morning vs. Afternoon

It was also interesting that the entire course played differently in the afternoon than it did in the morning. The grounds crew would water the course overnight and they would get the wetness such that the ball rolled at a certain speed designated by the person from the USGA who set up the course each day. However, the course was built on a sand and gravel quarry and the moisture would drain away during the day and by the afternoon, the ball moved considerably faster and the surface didn’t grip it as well.

Poa annua

The greens also ran differently in the afternoon. Apparently the greens are supposed to be fine fescue but poa annua invaded some of the greens. By afternoon it grew some and people said it was like playing on broccoli or cauliflower.  One woman commentator said she had grown up playing on Poa annua and preferred it to Bermuda grass. But a lot of others had a lot to say about the conditions. One person said it was the first time in history that people were happy to miss the cut and go home and not have to play the course anymore. Sounds a bit like sour grapes, but to each his own.

Roll on

Other people complained about the slopes. One person said it wasn’t reasonable to hit the ball within a yard of the hole and then watch it roll 50 yards away. There were some dramatic slopes, there is no doubt about that.


The commentators kept talking about how the fairways were much wider than usual. It didn’t seem to matter. A lot of people still missed them and hit into bunkers, of which there were a lot, (why not make use of the sand from the quarry?) or they hit into the rough. And what a rough it was with tall grass that you wanted to take a scythe to.


The course was also unusual because of the elevation changes. On several par 3s, the tee was 50 to 90 feet above the green which made judging the distance and what club to use that much more difficult.

Complaints bogus?

But, we ask ourselves, if the course was really all that bad, how did Louis Oosthuizen manage to tie for the lowest 9 hole score in US Open history on the back nine?

Fascinating Finish

So Oosthuizen finishes with four under par, but it seemed it wasn’t going to be quite good enough with the people still left to finish. Spieth had a birdie on the 16th hold and that put him 3. But that vanished on the next hole which he double bogeyed. That put him even with Oosthuizen who had just birdied the 18th hole. Dustin Johnson who was also in the last pair birdied the 17th hole. Then Spieth birdies the 18th putting him at 5 under. But, Johnson hits a great tee shot and has a chance to win with a putt for eagle. He misses and the ball rolls 5 feet past the cup. So everyone assumes that he will sink it and tie at 5 under and have a playoff the next day. But he misses the putt, makes the tap in and ties Oosthuizen for second. And Spieth makes history. You feel bad for Johnson, but it was compelling viewing.

Wizards Disappear

I feel sorry for Ted Leonsis. He seems like such a nice humble guy unlike some owners. His hockey team, the Washington Capitals, for the last several years seems about to win it all and then they don’t. This year going to Game 7 and into overtime. Heart rending. (Don’t you hate how people say heart rendering? What are they doing, cooking down the heart?)

Wizards Woes

Of all the people to get hurt, your star player crashes to the floor and breaks his hand and wrist in five places in Game 1. Yet, the Wizards had a chance in Game 4 without him. They trailed most of the game but at the very end, they passed to a wide open Paul Pierce to tie the game and take it into overtime.  He is usually a sure thing from that position. He lives for this sort of moment but this time it didn’t happen

Wall Returns

John Wall must be one tough dude. After missing one game with the broken wrist and hand, he comes back and plays in game 5. He played well, but it looked like this time Paul Pierce was going to be the hero after looking like the goat. It was looking good with the game tied and the ball in the hands of Paul Pierce with less than a minute to go. With 32 seconds left he got stripped of the ball and Atlanta gets a fast break and goes ahead by two points. Washington comes back down the floor and after several passes, Bradley Beal gets the ball to Pierce in the corner who drains the three point for the Wizards to go ahead by 1 with only 8 seconds left. Game over, right? Wrong. Atlanta gets a shot off that misses. There are Wizards all around but Horford crashes through, gets the rebound and puts it in to win the game at the buzzer.

Game 6 Heartbreak

Despite John Wall being out games two, three and four, the Wizards were only down 3-2 in games. If they had protected their 9 point lead at the end of game 5 or boxed out and not allowed Horford’s last second shot, they would be in the lead and looking to close out the series. It didn’t help that Marcin Gortat was sick and couldn’t play much. Atlanta went after the 37 year old Paul Pierce to see if he could keep up with the younger guys. Washington was down in the third quarter and fought back. Then it came down to Paul Pierce once again. He hits a three pointer from way downtown as time expires and Washington and Atlanta huddle for overtime. BUT! The refs review Pierce’s shot and determine his fingertips were still barely touching the ball as the shot clock went to 0 and they nullified the shot. Atlanta wins game and series. Unfortunately the Wizards have an uncanny ability to pull off losses like these. Hopefully next year will be the year they truly break out.


Triple Crown Fever

American Pharoah – Next Triple Crown Winner?

It has been 47 years since a horse won the triple crown. Yet again, we have a horse that has won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. (Love those Mint Juleps) The Kentucky Derby was exciting with the three horses expected to be in the top three finishing one, two, three and it being a tight race the whole way. But then there was the Preakness. It was a beautiful day and then the heavens opened and the track became a soggy mess and it was still raining at start time. American Pharoah had the number one post position and with all the mud, didn’t want to get boxed in and eat mud the whole way. He bolted out into the lead and stayed there the entire way, finishing an impressive 7 lengths in the lead in all that muck.  The  jockey Victor Espinoza was spotless during his post race interviews, not a trace of mud.

Why no Triple Crown Winners?

There are many theories. Some people feel the horses are pampered too much and don’t build up the muscles and stamina while they are two year olds.  American Pharoah ran 3 times as a two year old and most other horses these days don’t race much more. Before starting the Triple Crown attempt, Affirmed had started races seven different times with only one or two weeks rest. Before Secretariat went for the three Triple Crown races he had raced three times in five weeks two different times plus he ran four races in under six weeks.

Also, horses have gotten so expensive that people want a fast payback so the theory says that horses are bred more as sprinters now and less for distance. And because they don’t run as much as two year olds, they don’t have the conditioning for the longer Belmont.

You also have horses that race in the Derby, sit out the Preakness and then race in the Belmont, so they are much fresher. You even have horses who only race in the Belmont. So it isn’t exactly a level playing field.

Not much talked about, but drugs could also be a factor. Many medications such as Lasix are now commonly given to the horses. Lasix is a diuretic that is given to control bleeding. But the drug has side effects. Many old timer trainers feel that it is affecting the durability of horses and should be banned.

Belmont Jinx?

And sometimes, shit happens. Spectacular Bid is considered the best horse to have not won the Triple Crown. Just before the race he stepped on a pin that went into his hoof. He had a large lead but was caught. Some people don’t think it was the pin but a poor ride by his jockey, who took him out too fast and hard in the beginning of the race. Then there was Big Brown who also looked promising. He cracked his hoof while winning the Preakness. During the Belmont his jockey pulled him up saying he “had no horse left”. You think that wasn’t second guessed.

And What About American Pharoah?

American Pharoah was the top two year old and the last 4 Triple Crown winners were also as well as two earlier Triple Crown winners. None of the other horses going for the Triple Crown over the last 47 years except Spectular Bid had that distinction. Also, he won the first two races in entirely different conditions. One reason American Pharoah raced so little as a two year old is that he injured his leg in one race and was recovering. Some people think the may just be peaking now. If horses are stressed or worn out, they lose weight. That is why Firing Line was pulled from the Belmont after doing well in the Derby and Preakness. American Pharoah has been in good spirits, eating well, hasn’t lost weight and in his last workout had really fast times. We may have a winner here.