Well, Brian Matusz finally has his ERA under 5.00.  Of course, the flip side is that we actually had to wait for the O’s “Ace of the Future” to get his ERA under 5.00.  After all the lofty expectations for him entering this season perhaps he will be able to end the season on a positive note.  However, I won’t use this space to write a homily to his greatness or how Matusz’s 8 scoreless innings of 5-hit ball are a sign of things to come.  He has teased on other nights this season before falling apart in his next start.  String together 4 more good starts then we can get excited.  And while I love the O’s racking up hits, they still aren’t getting enough men past home plate relative to all the hits they are getting.  Whether it is still RISP problems or just not tying the hits together, they seem to leave a lot of runs on the table (or on the basepaths).  Whatever, I am just glad they got a W.  As for me, I have been running around all week and would rather line up for the kick…

Roger Clemens Indicted for Lying to Congress

I think it is old news at this point to think that Roger Clemens lied to Congress about not having used performance enhancing drugs or HGH, even though I wonder about Brian McNamee’s integrity the same way I wonder about Jose Canseco’s integrity.  They might be telling the truth, but they just seem to have a hidden agenda (or in Canseco’s case, an extremely transparent agenda).  Do we need it decided in a court of law whether or not Clemens used PEDs?  It certainly would help put the nail in the coffin for Clemens as far as whether he belongs lumped in with the Mark McGuire’s or Barry Bonds’ of the world, but the Mark McGuire’s and Barry Bonds’ didn’t need a court of law to get into that category.  In fact, for all the bluster around Barry Bonds’ trials nothing substantive was ever determined (yet).  McGuire, for his part, was just a matter of speculation until his recent confession.  It isn’t that I don’t think it is important to know who used PEDs, but I wonder whether we are perhaps making too big a deal over Clemens being taken to court.  I doubt we will hear any new damning evidence we hadn’t heard before when we all already made up our minds about him.  The court of public opinion is all that matters here, and no legal court can override that.  Just ask O.J. Simpson.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to Miss Chase Again

I know, I am trying to talk NASCAR on Baltimore Sports Report.  Maybe I spent too much time away this week and my head is getting mixed up.  No, I am just trying to use Junior to make a larger point about expectations.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn’t been an elite driver in years.  Moreover, he hasn’t even made the chase in years, and has only finished in the top 10 in the final standings once in the past 6 seasons.  Yes, he had a few solid years in ’01, ’03, and ’04, but that was a very long time ago in the world of sports.  His name is a big reason why we keep expecting greatness, but it might be time to consider that a driver on the best team with the best resources to win might not be winning because… he isn’t that great a driver anymore.  For whatever reason, he doesn’t have it and we keep sitting back and expecting greatness to emerge from him.  It is the same problem we fall into with all kinds of players, from waiting for that 1st round QB to develop into a star and taking each TD pass as a sign of future glory or watching that veteran hit a home run and convincing yourself he will return to his past form for “one more year.”  In each of these cases the final determination is rather simple- he just isn’t that good.  It may be time for NASCAR fans to wonder just that about the sport’s most popular player.

Dungy-Ryan Flap Much Ado About Nothing

Ah, leave it to Rex Ryan to stir things up.  Or was it Tony Dungy who stirred things up.  Either way, I found myself catching up on my listening to the Dan Patrick Show when I came across Monday’s show (I am a bit behind) in which Tony Dungy made his initial comments about Rex Ryan’s language, and I wondered what the big fuss is about.  As the interview went on, Dan Patrick asked about how coaches and get their point across without cursing, to which Dungy elaborated on his approach with players, which led to Patrick following up with a question along the lines of “Would you hire someone who cursed that often to join your staff?”  Dungy explained that he wouldn’t for personal reasons, and honestly I can expect that.  My boss certainly wouldn’t let it slide for me to curse at work but some bosses in some jobs would.  No, Dungy wouldn’t hire Ryan unless he cleaned up his act, just as Ryan probably wouldn’t hire a coach he considered to be too strict or straight-laced (not that Dungy is, but the point stands) because it doesn’t complement their styles.  After hearing the controversy before listening to the comments, I found myself astounded at the amount of coverage for a comment that essentially said “We have different styles and his style wouldn’t work well with me.”  Ah, you gotta love the national media.