Baltimore Sports Thoughts And Observations From Afar
Guest contribution to BSR by Andrew Holly.
Reporting from Tampa… Um, what?!?
Greetings from sunny Tampa, FL! I know what you’re thinking… “Wait, what…?!? There is a contributor to the BSR who lives in TAMPA? Why is some joker who watches the Bucs, Rays, and Lightning writing for the BALTIMORE Sports Report?”
It’s a two-part answer:
A) Like 90% of the people that live here I DON’T follow the local teams and B) I moved here for my day job. As added bonuses, living minutes from the pristine beaches of the Gulf Coast of Florida is pretty freakin’ awesome and I can’t tell you the last time I shoveled snow…
With that said, let me give you a quick personal bio to prove to you that I bleed Orioles’ orange and Ravens’ purple: I’m a proud Towson U grad (who else is fired up for Rob Ambrose and the 2-time defending CAA Football Champs?), a former Orioles ticket/promotions rep and tour guide extraordinaire (Fun Fact Time: I met and became great friends with fellow BSR contributor Jabby Burns while plying away in the Warehouse), I was the original Public Address Announcer for the Aberdeen IronBirds at Ripken Stadium (’02-’07), and my dog, Murray, is named after O’s HOFer, Eddie Murray.
So even though I’m living in the land of Early Bird Specials, Snow Birds, and terrible sports fans (Exhibit A: Attendance at the Trop & Exhibit B: The number of blackouts the Bucs have yearly), I rep the Land of Pleasant Living.
During O’s season you’ll find me glued to my MLB.TV subscription and every time the Ravens are kicking off, I’m on a bar stool at the closest sports bar with the NFL package. While I may touch on the O’s from time to time, I’ve been asked to mainly focus on our defending Super Bowl Champions, so I’ll be doing my best to add to the great Ravens coverage that BSR is already churning out. So without further ado…
Well Baltimore, September is upon us and there is arguably no better time to be a fan of both the Orioles and Ravens. The Orioles will be playing games that matter, as they try to ignite their push towards the playoffs, and the Ravens will be kicking off their Super Bowl title defense.
Throw in College and Fantasy Football and there isn’t too much else that rivals this time of year. Sure, the NCAA Tournament is a blast, but I’ll take September over March any day of the week…
I have to admit that, like many fans, I was not happy with the apparent direction of the team and I didn’t have high hopes for the playoff run. I wanted to believe that the return of Ray Lewis would provide a spark, but figured reality would set in once the Ravens faced off against the Broncos in the Divisional Round. Then it happened… The miracle play. Joe Flacco heaves the prayer to Jacoby Jones and the Football Gods answer that prayer with a highlight Ravens fans will never forget. The Ravens were able to get hot at the right time and make a great run to the title.
So where is the comparison with the ’13 Orioles? There might be a bit more than 44 seconds left in the Orioles season, but, in my opinion, our Birds are going to need about 92-93 wins if they plan on playing into October. That means they are going to have to get really hot, really soon. It may just come down to a last second heave to keep Oriole Park rocking late into the Fall.
Since I’m fast approaching my word count limit, here are some quick hit thoughts on the Ravens and one on the Orioles:
O’s acquire Michael Morse for Avery
Time will tell whether Morse’s right-handed power bat does anything to spark the team, but I have to give Dan Duquette major kudos for not sitting on his laurels. He’s been on it all year trying to improve the team every way possible. The cost of Xavier Avery for Morse (a soon to be free agent) wasn’t prohibitive either.
Ravens Pitta likely for IR-Designated to Return
I’m torn on this… I love Pitta and his return would likely be a huge boost to the Ravens offense. However, I like the idea of holding onto the IR-Designated to Return spot for someone else. I’m obviously not privy to Pitta’s medicals and he may be legitimately on schedule to return at some point. I just don’t want to see someone like Rice, Suggs, or Flacco lost for the year due to false hope that Pitta might return.
Brown & Mellette Together On Roster?
I was pumped to read yesterday that Coach Harbaugh admitted both Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette have just about locked up their spots on the roster. I can’t remember any Ravens rookie wide receivers performing as well as these two have.
Unless something unforeseen happens with the roster later today, I’m excited to see how these two will fit in the offense. I imagine we’ll see them worked into the Red Zone packages first, with their playing time increasing based off their production.
Who is the 3rd Running Back?
With Delone Carter and Anthony Allen getting their walking papers, it looked like Bobby Rainey had earned his way onto the roster as the third running back. The versatile Rainey showed some skills as both a KR/PR and had some good moments as a ball carrier. I thought Rainey looked like he could provide a spark if called upon, but the Ravens seemed to have disagreed with Rainey being one of the final cuts as of this morning. Who ends up as the third running back?
That’s it for now. Have a fun and safe Labor Day weekend. Can’t wait for kickoff on Thursday night…
Follow Andrew on Twitter, @AndrewDHolly.