Well, so much for that.  Brad Bergesen’s problem has always been that if he loses his delivery for just a second, he is a batting practice pitcher.  When he has his location down, he is almost unhittable.  Unfortunately, that is not particularly reliable, at least not this season.  The 5 runs he allowed in the second inning doomed the O’s, though it was nice to see the team battle back.  Seeing Josh Bell strike out with runners at 2nd and 3rd was painful- you expect it from Cesar Izturis (there was no one else on the bench to take that at-bat?) but you hope that maybe Bell will use this as a breakout moment.  Alas, he instead continues to struggle.  He needed a lot more time at AAA, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start the season at Norfolk in 2011 if he doesn’t start pulling it together over this last month.  Now football season is officially upon us, and so I am more excited than ever to line up for the kick…

Some Mandatory Immediate Reactions from Last Night’s College Football Debut:

-I think people want Terrelle Pryor to be great more than he actually is a great quarterback at this point.  Remember, Ohio State was playing Marshall, which just changed coaches after a miserable run.  Yes, he looked the part of a polished quarterback last night, but I will reserve judgment until he actually has to face adversity against a decent defense.

-I am not sure we can call the Utah win over Pitt an upset, as Utah is a team with all of three losses in the last two years, and Pitt is waiting to take its spot atop the Big East.  What did impress me was the way Utah was able to hold its own in the trenches against a dominant Pitt defensive line.  People always talk about Mid-Major conferences as though they are all finesse and can’t stand up to punishment, but teams like Utah should start to turn that perception around

-I hate watching these tomato can opponents, with Rutgers going up against Norfolk State, Wake Forest against Presbyterian, and Indiana thumping the poor Towson Tigers.  College football has just accepted that every team gets at least a game a year to pump up its record and try to make a bowl game, and the 1-AA schools (no I won’t go FCS) have accepted a paycheck in return for watching their teams get their brains beaten in.  Look, I was at App State-Michigan, I know it can happen, but most of these teams go out of their way to schedule the worst 1-AA team they can find, not the National Champion.  Something has to be done to curtail this sad practice.

Nyjer Morgan is Pathetic… but so are the Analysts

Nyjer Morgan is one of those players who seems to care more about sending a message than actually winning the game.  Twice he went out of his way to hammer the catcher like he was Pete Rose (or worse, Ty Cobb) without ever even bothering to touch home plate.  Then, just to follow it up, he charges the mound in retribution for being thrown behind, promptly getting himself clothes-lined by Gaby Sanchez of the Marlins and beaten down until the fight is broken up.  He follows this embarrassment by taunting the crowd.  Has this guy learned nothing? 

However, Morgan has been criticized for stealing two bases with the Nationals down by 11 runs in the 4th inning, and I actually have no problem with that.  I would never expect the Nationals or any other team to bow down and stop fighting no matter what the deficit is.  In football we don’t ask a team to stop trying to come back even if they are down 30 points before halftime.  Well, the 4th inning is decidedly before half-way through a baseball game.  Maybe his reasoning was more out of spite than anything else, but the action itself I agree with.  Let’s not forget, Morgan scored after stealing third, and the game ended 16-10.  That isn’t close, but it is close enough to show that fans should never criticize a team for continuing to fight, no matter how far behind they are.

Revis and Jackson are Right to Hold Out the Season

Every year players hold out of OTA’s and training camps, and their agents swear they really will sit out the season without an contract extension or a pay raise.  In this uncapped season, there is really no excuse for the teams to say they can’t afford to pay them.  Every year it ends with the player begrudgingly reporting right after training camp or right before Week 1, and it is all forgotten by the next December when the player gets almost what they wanted.  This is the first year I can remember however when not one but two marquee players actually seemed as though they would sit out the entire season and prepare for the work stoppage expected in 2011. 

Vincent Jackson, breakout receiver for the Chargers, and the much-publicized Derrelle Revis are both threatening to do just that, and I think they might actually pull it off.  I used to feel bitter at players who weren’t appreciative of what they had and tried to force their way into a new contract.  They were obligated, I believed, to stand by their contract as they signed it.

But in the NFL, teams can dump a player whenever they want.  If the player has one bad season, management could cut them and throw them out on the street.  There is no obligation, nor any expectation of obligation from the team’s side to uphold its end of the contract.  Fans are more likely to be mad at the player because if the player holds out, it hurts their team.  Presumably if the player is cut, it is addition by subtraction.  So I will be the bad guy and tell Revis and Jackson to do whatever they feel they need to do to get their money before their team cuts them or reneges on their contract with two years left on it.  Teams back out of more contracts than players do, so let’s keep that in mind before being critical of a so-called Diva.  Loyalty means nothing to teams, so they cannot and should  not expect it from their players.