Baltimoron in DC
When You Get Caught Between Charm City and Chocolate City

Sep
02


no-hit last night by Clay Buchholz, in his second major league start.

One more week until the Ravens’ season begins. It’s only a week. I can wait that long, right?

Right?

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Aug
23


Rough, rough day to be an O’s fan…

When I saw the score “TEX 27 BAL 3” on the TV, I thought the Ravens were getting crushed by the Texans.

The fact that there was no football game on TV left me saddened, and shocked.

It’s a good thing Wild Bill didn’t live long enough to see this.

Jun
28

…but suddenly, I’m digging Alyssa Milano. This picture helps.

Plus, this quote from ESPN.com:

ALYSSA MILANO: [Laughs] There’s absolutely no pink. Pink offends me. It’s the man’s misguided answer: “If you make it pink, women will buy it.” I’m a traditionalist.

Just say no to Pink.

Jun
18

The picture of Sam is from happier days, when he was announced as the new manager of the O’s. His dream job.

And, like many dreams, you wake up to reality before the dream is over.


ESPN.com, The Baltimore Sun – they’re all saying the O’s just fired manager Sam Perlozzo. Andy MacPhail is coming in to oversee baseball operations, and will persue former Marlins’ manager Joe Girardi to replace Perlozzo. The Two Headed GM of Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan of previous years, and now Flanagan and Jim Duquette, probably won’t be around much longer.

On one hand, this is a very good thing. Perlozzo’s almost automaton-like devotion to bullpen roles cost them nearly a dozen games, as Danys Baez and Chris Ray have proven to be unable to reliably close out games. You don’t earn a nickname like Per-LOSE-o by punching all the right buttons.

And Beat-agan was far too fascinated by slow 1B/OF types (Jeff Conine, BJ Surhoff, Kevin Millar, Jay Gibbons) instead of getting a true 1B with a real, working bat. So, Duquette-agan got Aubrey Huff. *sigh*

At least he has a third-baseman’s glove, too.

However, I’m not sure if this is such a great move. I was in Baltimore Saturday night, hanging out in Federal Hill after the loss against the D-Backs. The town has gotten so bloody depressed over the team that they have a fatalistic sense of dread, kinda like a Cubs fan. Ravens’ training camp can not start soon enough.

Personally, I think the whole team and city needs an enema.

To the average fan, there’s nothing positive going on with the team, and these losses from the bullpen are just crushing the whole organizations’ morale. They’ve had leads in 21 of the past 22 games – partly the starters give up the lead immediately but so much of it has been a crappy bullpen…and a fan base ready to commit hari kari over yet another blown save.

Perlozzo gets canned, but pitching coach Leo Mazzone has not done the job expected of him. Can anybody say “overrated?” He can’t reach Cabrera, can’t cure Ray, and kicked Baez’ dog or something.

Terry Crowley has been awful, at best. This team seems unable to take a walk or work a pitch count. The O’s seem to lead the league in first pitch outs.

And, Beat-agan counted on Corey Patterson to build on last seasons’ success. Corey Patterson crushed the Cubs with his on-again, off-again talent. The guy can play…just, not reliably. Corey Patterson is this season’s Gary Matthews, Jr., who’s career is very up-and-down as well. Sometimes brilliant; often maddening. You guys might remember Patterson and Matthews when they played under the monikers of “Mike Devereaux,” “Ken Gerhart,” “Chito Martinez” and “Pete Stanicek.” What must they think in the Warehouse? “Oh, they had one good season after a career of nothing spectacular? Chalk them up for a big year next season!”

Meanwhile, former O Jack Cust is tearing up the league, with 31 hits, 20 RBI, 9 home runs in 113 at bats. So…yeah. He’s hitting better than any other OF the O’s have. Great judge of talent there. Other than Nick Markakis, the O’s outfield is yet-again a joke.

It’s an organizational issue. I think Flanagan and Beattie were doing well as far as rebuilding the talent base in the minors, and the draft picks of the past couple of seasons seem solid so far. But the major league team has too many 1B/OF types and can’t keep pitchers healthy. Bad, bad combo.

It’s not Perlozzo’s fault the O’s chucked cash at Jaret Wright and his balky arm. It’s not Perlozzo’s fault the O’s chucked cash at Danys Baez and his flaky psyche. It’s not Perlozzo’s fault the O’s chucked cash at notoriously slow starting Aubrey Huff. It’s not Perlozzo’s fault that Chris Ray loves giving up game-losing grand slams.

However, Perlozzo lost Patterson. Lost Gibbons. And when you can’t keep Kevin Millar happy, something’s up.

Best of luck to ya, Perlozzo. Shame you had to manage Team Dysfunction.

May
24


So, it’s pretty obvious from my Myspace page that I am a fan of Lost. I was a little concerned as the first few episodes from this season were fairly mediocre. However…after tonight’s season finale, the writers could devote an episode to reading telephone books in Esperanto. This was, simply, television at its finest.

More twists and turns than L’alpe D’ Huez (Tour De France thing, Google it you lazy bastards. I don’t have time to explain all of my witty references.)

I won’t give anything away as a courtesy to those who haven’t seen it, or are waiting for the Season 3 DVDs to come out, to get caught up. I will say this – The Sopranos *was* the best-written show on TV.

“Lost” used this episode to say “uh, not so fast, HBO.”

In other news…The Milltown Brothers and Power of Dreams have Myspace pages. Two of my favorite Britpop bands from college…wounded, but not forgotten. PoD has disbanded, but Milltown’s still kickin’, and I downloaded their newest album from iTunes. I’ll give it a listen, but I have to use this to point out the absurdity of the label system. Both of these bands had college rock/alt rock hits here in America. Both bands got caught up in label issues, and were regulated to smaller status in the U.K. 15 years later, I can listen to them online, see where and when they’re performing and buy their newest music without one hint of label interference.

Not to get all Agent Smith on your ass, but that ticking you hear in the background, RIAA and your kin spread throughout the planet, is the sound of your impending doom. Record sales in `07 are off 20% from last year’s dismal sales figures.

Evolve into promotion, not distribution companies, if you want to live.

(Heh, that was kinda Terminator 2-ish there…had to spell out that witty pop culture reference.)

Oct
10

So, my beloved Ravens got whupped last night in Denver, amid sleet and snow and 70,000 screaming Denverians…Denverites? Denverns? Coloradoans?

In any event, a 13-3 loss in Denver is usually nothing to be ashamed about, but it really looked like the Ravens’ were not prepared to play. I don’t want to mimic one of my favorite writers, Gregg Easterbrook, too much, but if there was ever a game that screamed “Tuesday Morning Quarterback,” it was this one.

East Coast Ski Reports Do Not Make Good Football Weather

This loss can firmly be placed on the equipment manager.

The Ravens were slipping and sliding more than B.J. Sams on 695.

The icy conditions clearly affected the Ravens more than the Broncos. One team isn’t really more manly than the other – in fact, they’re both pretty similar squads, though Denver’s OL is clearly better and the Raven’s LB are amazing – but because the Broncos had better traction than the Ravens. I counted at least 5 plays in which the Ravens were falling down while the Broncos were able to cut and pivot.

If a Running Back Can’t Catch and Doesn’t Run Well, Is He A Lineman?

It’s been over 20 years since the San Francisco 49ers’ pioneered designed passes to the running back. Being able to catch a quick 6 yard pass is something taught to every back from the pee-wees to the pros.

Jamal Lewis couldn’t catch crabs in a Thai brothel.

And yet, the Ravens had him out there on three passing downs.

That he dropped two of the passes was not surprising.

“Preposterous Punt?” Try “Pathetic Punt.”

One of Mr. Easterbrook’s favorite subjects is the punt; specifically those times when punting is the stupid, cowards’ choice.

The Ravens had two such occurances last night.

Once, the purple-and-black were near midfield, playing against an offense that had been doing nothing, and they punted. The Broncos returned the ball to midfield. Horrible punt coverage, but a bad call started it.

Second, the Ravens were in Bronco territory, and attempted to aim the punt out of bounds.

The ball travelled about 10 yards. The 5 Paragraph Bitter (insert thing to be bitter about here) Critic wrote “game over” in his mental notebook, just like Easterbrook would…and probably did.

I’m not even IN the NFL and I can punt 11. Maybe 12. In the thinner air of Denver, I might be able to punt it 20 yards.

Pathetic punt. Two bad decisions, and they cost the Ravens the game.

6’5″ is Taller Than 5’10”, Right?

Clarence Moore is one of the tallest receivers in the league. Champ Bailey is a fine cornerback, but he’s not going to be confused with Shaquille O’Neal anytime soon. That interception in the end zone was killer. Sure, Moore made almost no attempt to come back to the slightly-underthrown ball, but McNair has to be able to follow the simple physics involved with a seven inch height advantage.

So, the Ravens are 4-1, which is nothing to sniff at. They could be 5-0, but Denver did outplay them last night…almost as much as they out-thought themselves.

Jul
31

Woman Claims Bacardi Rum is Dangerous

MIAMI (AP) – July 26, 2006 – A woman who says she was severely burned at a Miami night club four years ago is suing Bacardi, claiming the company’s rum is dangerous and defective.

The lawsuit says a bartender was pouring shots when a customer lit a menu on fire and placed it in the stream of alcohol. A bottle of Bacardi 151 that was being used to pour the shots turned into a flame thrower.
The woman says she suffered second and third degree burns and was permanently disabled and disfigured.

Miami-based Bacardi USA hasn’t commented yet on the suit.

*********************************************************

*sigh*

Damn Bacardi for making yummy alcoholic things and damn chemistry for making alcohol flammable.

I’m amazed she didn’t also sue Mr. Wizard, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Smokey the Bear.

Let me see – she’s at a bar that is full of alcohol which is, by nature, flammable. That a bartender happened to be pouring alcohol is not important – that’s his job. However, what was a customer doing setting a menu on fire?

And a bar that uses paper menus is pretty much asking for it.

My question is this – why didn’t she sue the dude with the fire fetish?

May
17

angelinasfrontweb.jpg
All this Mary Prankster talk inspired me to grab some friends and run up to the Land Of Pleasant Living and eat a genuine Maryland-style crabcake. Much like the beloved-yet-retired Mlle. Prankster, we ignored the
Blue Skies Over Dundalk
last night and headed straight to the Hamilton neighborhood to Angelina’s. Angelina’s has been on the short list of top crabcake joints in the region for years. The place has won Best Crabcake Awards from many of the Baltimore-area critics, and in Charm City, that’s more important than a lobbyist’s Blackberry.

Long-time owner Robert Bufano sold the restaurant in 2005, and the new owners swore that they would maintain Angelina’s high standards. They definitely maintained Angelina’s high prices. Crabcakes are seldom cheap, usually about $14 for a sandwich and $25 or so for a two-8oz cake platter. That’s the going rate for the crabcakes found at G&M, Gunning’s, Olive Grove and Timbuktu near BWI Airport, the current gold standards for Baltimore crabcakes. Angelina’s charges “market price” of $22 for the sandwich, $30 for a two 5 oz. cake platter, and $40 for two 8 oz. cake platters.

That’s a damned expensive market. Like, that market makes Wegman’s, Balducci’s and the Gucci Giant in Potomac look like a bargain. But in the search of le crabcake parfait, no price is too high.

I was more wrong than Jessica Simpson at a spelling bee. The $29 Steak and Cake Combo seemed the best deal – an 8oz filet, a 5oz crabcake, and a couple of side items. For that kind of money, I was expecting a transcendent marriage of delicate crab, Old Bay and non-intrusive, yet unique filler. What I got was a dried-out piece of fishnet that happened to have some crab and boiled carrots in it. It had all the taste and consistency of a musty dish sponge. The filet, while cooked to the proper requested temperature of medium-rare, was barely above room temperature and had no discernible taste. The side items of wild rice and green beans were lousy, at best, and tasted like they just emerged from a can or boil-in-bag. The only saving grace of the meals was the above-average Maryland Crab Soup, but $4 soup ain’t savin’ no $29 meal in Balmer, hon.

All of us who schlepped up to Baltimore from the District had the same complaints. The service, while friendly enough, was slower than a little kid trying to tell a long story. It took over an hour to get our entrees, and 30 minutes to get soup. We were the only diners in the restaurant, save for two lone women in search of a late snack. I wish I could say it was just a bad night at the restaurant, but the empty dining room, lousy food and an outdated website hawking their mail-order crabcake business more than the restaurant itself, indicates that Angelina’s best days are behind them.

*************************************
10 Whammies! out of 355. 3 Whammies! were awarded to the 3 cups of good Maryland Crab Soup, and 7 Whammies! were awarded to my courageous friends who survived this crap. The 355 potential Whammies! represent our bill, not including gas, tolls and the overall general feeling we shoulda gone to the Old Ebbitt Grill.
*************************************

Jan
13

Subject: Game Recap – 11-13-2004

with apologies to Jim Rome….

“Good afternoon, clones. Welcome to the Jungle. I am
the pimp in the box, Jim Rome. First off today, we
need to talk about the Debacle in Dundalk. I’m
talking, of course, about the Baltimore Sport and
Social Club. Extreme social football. Rhymes with
Orange versus…well, we don’t know their name. They
had a name with a certain group of players. The
players they had this past week, well, that’s not
their name. The Orange versus the Sandbaggers. The
Rhymers with the ‘We Don’t Know Each Others.’

First off – great job by the Oranges to actually get
more than three women to a game. About time that a
girl in an orange shirt could take a play off. I knew
they could do it. Of course, I thought that they were
going to have to hire hookers to do it. I thought
they’d resort to hiring common whores.

‘Hi, are you a street walker?’
Yeah I am, baby
‘What would you do for money?’
Anything for you, baby
‘Great. Wear this shirt, and run a post pattern.’

But they had legitimate non-hookers show up.
Girls-next-door types. Great job, Orange.

And about the women who showed up. Christy – made a
great play. Refused to be touched with one hand and go
down.

No phone calls on that statement, either, clones. I
don’t want an email saying ‘I get touched with one
hand and go down – sincerely, Monica Lewinski.’ I
don’t need another ‘I don’t need a one hand touch to
go down, I’ll do it my own’ signed ‘Slutty Chick on
Joe Millionaire.’

Now, for the Sandbaggers – nice job bringing in the
Philadelphia Eagles’ scout team for beer league
football. You were as familiar with your
Baltimore-area teammates as Anna Nicole Smith is with
high school – you’ve heard about it, but you’ve never
been there before.

I’m not going to say those guys were ringers…but
those guys were ringers. Lords of the Ringers. Great
catch over the middle, Terrell Frodo. Way to intercept
the ball, Samwise Taylor.

Having said that, great game out of the Oranges. And I
do mean that sarcastically. What happened to this
team? Evan Kreitzer, the Franchise, gone. Too busy
selling cellular phones to drug dealers.
Franchise….right. He went over as well as a burger
joint in India. Ken…too busy playing sucker…I
mean, soccer. Great job, Ken – playing a game that
cows can theoretically play. They don’t have hands,
you don’t use hands. Perfect match.
The Attmans? Went off on a paper-product bender, no
doubt. And Bloomie? Where was Bloomie? Great job,
Bloomie – your friend Tully shows up, basically
tried to tackle every guy on the field, and you’re not
there to get his back. Great job, Wingman of the Year.
I’m going into battle with you.

It also did not help the Oranges that their
quarterback picked the wrong day to become Chris
LaTestaverde. 3 picks on the day. First throw, run back
to the house, two to the same Samwise Taylor, the Lord
of the Ringers. Memo to LaTestaverde – where that guy
was, don’t throw there. The first pick, you got baited
like you were on Bassmasters. Hook, line, and sinking
feeling in your stomach. Nice throw, LaTestaverde.

Lock-down cornerback Ray Bradley…..right. The only
thing he locked down was a 200 dollar dry-cleaning
bill with his swan dive into Lake Spontaneous, there.
Great job, Caveman. Lived up to his name. Looked like
Captain Caveman when he got up out of the biggest mud
puddle this side of Woodstock. Mud in the ears, nose,
belly button – excellent. What’s up, Pig Pen?

Gotta say, though – he got jobbed on the sack that
wasn’t. Homeboy’s knees were down like a porn star,
the line judge says the QB is down, but the ref, 15
yards away with glasses on, says it’s not a sack.
Great going, Magoo. Another fine mess.

That mud – that was the toughest opponent on the
field. Other than Ray looking like he spent a week at
a Phish concert, the mud also claimed the knee of
Lauren. That was serious. It’s no Willis MaGahee or
Robert Edwards – kind of shredding, but she did get
smacked down like Nancy Kerrigan. Great job, Jeff Mud
Gilooly.

Will say one thing incredible, though – that guy Dave
– what is he, like, 80? – making amazing catches all
over the field. He made catches that would have been
amazing for a man 1/17th his age. Amazing job, John
Glenn. Most men in his age group gripe about Knute
Rockne and main-line Cialis. Not Dave – he was intent
on becoming the beer league football version of Julio
Franco.

War Propecia and tonic on the rocks. War Scott
Kreitzer not yelling at anybody. War Laura Luca,
possession receiver.

Out.

YEAR END AWARDS –

(for those who attended most games)

Offensive MVP – Chris LaTestaverde (sorry, I love that
line). Last game notwithstanding, if he wasn’t our QB,
we wouldn’t have done nearly as well.

Defensive MVP – Ray Bra…no, there’s no way. I’m not
that cocky. Or delusional. I’d go Sauce, though Bloom
would have been close, too.

Defensive MVP with Girl Bits – Lauren. Her routine
smackdowns of thrown footballs were highlight reel
material.

(for those who attended a few games)

Offensive MVP – Ken. Kid’s just got wheels.

Defensive MVP – Bloomie. No doubt. Dude was
pick-central.

Best Overall Player with Boy Bits – Sauce. Played well
both defensively, offensively and never complained.
Great teammate.

Best Overall Player with Girl Bits – Tough call. All
the girls played very well this year, under some
insane situations, too. My gut tells me Shannon with
her touchdown catches and cool belly button ring and
dog take this award. Though a case could easily be
made for Christy, or Laura.

Best Hair Awards – Ray (boy bits), Lexi (girl bits).
(had to give us something, you know…)

Dec
16

Earlier in 2005, a scandal broke out in Maryland politics. Over the course of a few months, an aide to Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich was caught discussing rumours about Democratic Mayor of Baltimore Martin O’Malley’s alleged extramarital affairs. Since these two political heavyweights appear to be the front-runners for the next Governor’s election, no amount of mudslinging would be too small or too soon in such a battle.

The scandal was that this Republican aide, Joe Steffen, was contacted on the public discussion boards and private messages of Freerepublic.com and discussed the allegations about O’Malley and a female TV reporter in Baltimore, Sade Baderinwa. The rumour was that O’Malley o’impregnated her, and she mysteriously ended up in a New York City station. You may recall that she was hit by a car while reporting a story on flooding in New Jersey in 2004. Same woman…

Now, as a former radio/tv guy, the part about Baderinwa moving to New York City from Baltimore makles sense – as a reporter, there is no beat quite as prestigious in local broadcast news than working in US market #1, New York City. Some people work their whole broadcasting career just for a shot in NYC, where the visibility, money and pace are pretty much unmatched. It simply makes sense to move from market #18, Baltimore, to New York City.

What doesn’t make sense to me is how this rumour still has legs. Mayor O’Malley is a Cool Guy. He’s smart. Emotional. Muscular. Plays in an Irish rock band. He seems to be quite a hit with the ladies. I Believe I unknowingly drank a pint of a particular stout with the man – when I first moved back to Baltimore in 2000, I couldn’t pick the Mayor out of a lineup of midget porn stars. As we sat next to each other at Mick O’Shea’s, I asked his name, and he said “Martin. I’m in the band O’Malley’s March. We’re playing tonight.”

Hmmm….it took me a little while to figure out that the two Baltimore City police officers outside weren’t there to just check IDs.

But, to that effect, when you need a pickup volleyball game in Baltimore County, then-US Representative Bob Ehrlich is no slouch, either. A former two-sport athlete at Princeton, The Gov can spike like a beast. He’s a Republican version of O’Malley, but without the guitar. Both men care about their jurisdictions, and both men tend to speak clearly before thinking like a politician – a surprisingly refreshing trait in an elected leader. Neither one is afraid of calling a reporter to task about a story or even allowing an emotional outburst on something they feel strongly about.

That’s what makes the whole original scandal so strange – neither O’Malley or Ehrlich shy away from a good fight, so the back-channel subterfuge seemed so out-of-place. Why would a relatively-anonymous Ehrlich aide slander the handsome young mayor almost two years before the election? But, that’s exactly what Steffen did. In his posts and messages with the user “MD4BUSH,” he revealed the rumours and the potential strategy of the Republican’s against O’Malley. The posts then go public, revealed by MD4BUSH, the firestorm develops, and Ehrlich fires Steffen.

However, along comes this story from WBAL in Baltimore. Here’s a snip.

“According to a source familiar with the MD4Bush postings, the e-mail address used in October 2004 to open the MD4Bush account is: ryanrock2004@yahoo.com.

Sources said that e-mail address was later changed to rodoherty@mddems.org, then changed for a third time to brianwaverly@yahoo.com. That third e-mail address remains as the address registered on the Free Republic account, which remains open.”

Take a look at that second address – rodoherty@mddems.org – and here’s what the article has to say about that.

“The rodoherty@mddems.org address is the same address listed to Ryan O’Doherty, who used to work for the Maryland Democratic Party.”

Interesting. Could it be that the Dems began hanging out at the known conservative site Freerepublic.com trying to bait somebody? Sure looks like it on first blush.

What’s sad is that this storm might taint the upcoming election towards the other powerful Democratic challenge, Montgomery County executive Doug Duncan. There is no denying that Baltimore is a better city since O’Malley came to office. There’s also no denying that Maryland is better off since Ehrlich came to office. Both are young, active, engaging Catholics in a rather Catholic state, but neither have a hotline to the Vatican. These two guys, who have a lot more in common than the respective R and D after their names on the television captions, could have engaged in some great “Balmer” dialcet while arguing about who’s better – the Ravens or the Colts.

Hmmm…the plot thickens…