Okay, so maybe that wasn’t Jake Arrieta’s best performance, nor was it the best outing this lineup has ever had.  There isn’t much to glean from an 8-0 loss except that this team has a long way to go, as if you didn’t know that already.  However, it is good to see Felix Pie continue to rake- he went 1-4 last night but his average still sits at .304, by far the best on the team ahead of Nick Markakis at .287.  He still isn’t drawing enough walks (just 6 in 51 games this season), but he has been a welcome addition to this team, particularly considering that MacPhail picked him up for next to nothing.  He may be a late-blooming player, and with his defense continuing to improve, the O’s may have one more position that they won’t have to shop for in the offseason.  But thankfully for Baltimore fans, there is a lot more going on in the sports world to cover.  So on this lovely Friday (which may be lovely for no other reason than that it’s Friday), let’s line up for the kick…

Tiger Delivers His Best Round of 2010

It seems like an odd coincidence that two days after his divorce as finalized, Tiger Woods put together a 65 to take the lead at the Barclays after the first round.  His game has been atrocious this year, as anyone who turns on ESPN when they aren’t talking about Brett Favre well knows.  However, like Brett Favre, I don’t think we can jump to conclusions about what may have spurred on the improvement in his game.  It is just one round of golf after all, and assuming a relationship between the divorce being finalized and him suddenly becoming more focused is just as shortsighted as assuming that Brett Favre’s ankle was or wasn’t hurt, guessing if he wanted more money from the Vikings, or trying to divine the rhyme or reason behind any of his moves.  Woods, like Favre, is an incredibly private person.  The divorce being finalized didn’t suddenly give Woods the practice time he needed to be prepared, it didn’t make him figure out his swing, and while it may have been a weight off his shoulders, we should know enough about Tiger to know that we can’t get inside his head.  He fooled a lot of people for a long time that way.  We want to like him, and most people want him to win, deep down inside- that’s why they watch.  We just need to realize that his game is affected by more than we will ever know.

NCAA Investigation into UNC Football Deepens

Butch Davis had one heck of a squad coming into 2010, one that reminded many of Virginia Tech in its stout defense and struggling offense, but one that had a decent shot at winning the ACC.  He might still have a great squad, depending on who will actually be able to play.  What began as an investigation into players having improper contact with agents has become one that encompasses academic integrity and could sideline some of the Tar Heels’ best players for a long stretch of this upcoming season.  If they are anything like USC they will drag their feet and hide everything, and get hammered in the end for concealing the truth as much as they get punished for whatever actually transpired.  If they are anything like Michigan they will open their books and records and throw themselves on the mercy of the NCAA.  As embarrassing as it can be to do the latter, I would recommend that UNC go that route and get it over with- there is a definite difference between “cooperating” with the NCAA and actively giving them anything they might need to nail you to the wall.  The only way to get past the NCAA on these issues is to just become completely transparent- and hopefully your organization hasn’t done anything worse than poor record keeping and mismanagement of training staffs.  If there is active knowledge of impropriety on the part of UNC, this will get stickier for everyone involved.

Off the Fantasy Football Wagon

And no, I don’t mean the bandwagon.  For the past 4 years, I have avoided having a Fantasy Football team for a number of reasons.  I hated being disappointed when one player on the Ravens scored a TD because he was on another fantasy team, or being upset when my running back didn’t get the score.  I didn’t like rooting for Heath Miller of the Steelers to score because he was on my fantasy team, and it was changing the way I watched the game.  I wasn’t watching football for the game, I was watching for the scores and hoping for high-scoring or low-scoring games without caring who won.  Frankly, while I learned a lot about the players on every team I was just overwhelmed with being unable to truly enjoy the games themselves.  I would help my friends draft their teams, but then I would step aside for the season, and I felt better for it.

Then my sister got married and I was invited to join her new husband’s family’s league.  They take this stuff very seriously, and you know what, I decided to give it another shot.  I am trying not to get too into it though; I haven’t made up charts or rankings or anything like that and am just planning to go in more or less cold.   Any suggestions for a fantasy football guy in recovery who just wants to stop at one drink?