Well, I’ve been out of town the last couple days, and missed another gaffe-filled Baltimore loss, but at least Nick Markakis delivered a dose of reality to fans and players alike.  I trust Nick and admire the way he has stepped up and defended Terry Crowley, told fans exactly what the problem is with the offense, and is acting like a leader.  Fans have been waiting for a veteran presence, an example of professionalism to step up and force the hand of the other players.  Well, you  have one, even if you don’t like what he has to say.  However, fortunately for O’s fans, there are other sports to distract us from the Orioles’ plight.

Lakers Repeat as NBA Champions

I hope you’ll excuse me since this article will read about the same regardless of whether the Lakers or Celtics won.  Either way we knew that the rich were going to get richer.  I hope you will excuse me if I don’t shed a tear that Boston couldn’t bring home yet another title.  I know how much the Boston fans have suffered, going two years without winning something in one of the major sports, but I hope they can struggle through it.  As for the Lakers, I found myself feeling uneasy yet happy that Ron Artest finally won a title.  When exactly did Ron Artest become a sympathetic figure?  He has gone from Terrell Owens, tough dominant player but team cancer to Chad Johnson, goofy, arrogant, but essentially harmless diva.  From the Malice at the Palace to last night’s title ceremony, it seems like a whole lot has changed.

I won’t be cheering that Kobe Bryant is inching closer to getting himself in the Michael Jordan conversation.  Regardless of Jordan’s attitude and demeaning spirit towards teammates, coaches, and the press, I have still never seen as dynamic a player as Jordan, who, at the height of his career, could do anything on the court.  Kobe is incredible, but he also sported one of the best supporting casts in the NBA.  Jordan had Pippen, but Kobe has had Shaq (at his prime), Pau Gasol, Derek Fisher, and Lamar Odom.  But either way, the conversation can’t start until Kobe matches Jordan’s rings- until that happens, it is all semantics.

Oh Yea, the U.S. Open is Happening. And No, Tiger Won’t Win.

In the Stanley Cup finals and NBA Finals it was easy to lose sight of the year’s second major creeping up on us.  While all eyes will be on Tiger, I don’t expect him to do much of anything.  Until Tiger Woods wins a tournament or even comes dangerously close to winning a major (or comes close to the fairway), I will not be one of those people who goes predicting victory for Tiger in every tournament he enters.  Right now he is human, just another golfer trying to work things out after a long layoff and a lot of changes in his life.  So keep your expectations low.  Even at his best it was a bad bet to take him over the field- he hasn’t won anywhere close to 50% of his tournaments, so why would anyone take him over the field?  Luckily his early struggles have convinced some viewers that there are other golfers worth watching.

Utah Accepts Pac-10 Offer

Consider this the last move (this year) in conference expansion, and while it was largely anticipated it saddens be a little bit.  The Mountain West conference had just become a much stronger conference with the addition of Boise State to go along with TCU, BYU, and Utah (I would take that group over anything the ACC or Big East can give me), and now one of their best teams jumps over to a major conference.  The bottom part of the conference will have to improve now, to avoid becoming the punching bag it is been for most of the conference’s existence.  If not, the Mountain West will never get the automatic bid or the respect that it deserves as an excellent football conference.  The Mountain West did have a net improvement I suppose with the addition of Boise State, but it is definitely not the conference they wanted to have at this point.