No predictions this week, as I will be doing everything I can not to gag while watching this weekend’s AFC and NFC title games.  Well, that’s not true.  The Packers are a feel-good story right now, an incredibly talented team that, if they continue to play the way they did last weekend, could be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Jerry-world in a few weeks.  Despite the Ravens being knocked out last week, things have been busy- Greg Mattison is off to Michigan, which seems to be a win-win from reading Michigan fans who are ecstatic to get him and Ravens fans who are ecstatic to have him gone, the Terps were crushed in their first non-competitive loss all season, and the Orioles buzz is starting to pick up in volume, though I doubt it will hit the levels it did before last season’s disaster.  So without further ado, lining up, kicks, and all that…

Nets Forced into Smart Move, Back Out of Trade Talks

Mikhail Prokhorov wisely backed out of trading for Carmelo Anthony rather than risk being publicly shot down or trading away every asset that the hapless Nets have left.  But nevertheless, Carmelo wants out of Denver, and his team of advisors led by “Worldwide Wes” are hell-bent on getting him out by the February 24th deadline.

Personally, I don’t get it.  If you are a superstar player who wants to join a contending team, why would you have your current team swing a trade to get you there?  When that happens you usually wind up on a team that is far worse than it was before because of the assets they traded away to get you.  If I am Carmelo, I’m not having my people push me to go to Chicago, Houston, Dallas, or even New York this season.  There is no point in it.  I am sure Anthony can manage to string together a few more months on a team that, by the way, is a playoff team right now.  Maybe if Melo decides to tell the Nuggets he will wait until the end of the season to decide (whether that’s true or not), his team will actually have a chance to make a run.  When that’s over, I hope he plays wherever he wants, be it New York, Chicago, or (who knows?) Denver.

Orioles Raise Single-Game Ticket Prices for 2011

I understand where the Orioles are coming from, I really do.  There are a number of factors that likely went into their decision to raise ticket prices for 2011, and I am sure some of it had to do with declining revenue from last season.  But why was revenue falling last season?  Because Camden Yards posted the lowest attendance in its history, spanning almost 20 years of Baltimore Orioles baseball.  I believe the front office when they say that it isn’t just about what the product is on the field, but when it is 13 years of product, raising prices shows this organization is completely out of touch.  Not only is this a losing team, but fans aren’t even showing up anymore.  Now I know that $3 here and there won’t be prohibitive for most people if they decide they really want to see a game, and I am certain that the Orioles hope that the minor uproar this has caused dies down quickly. 

All of that aside, an organization ought not compound its poor public relations and declining attendance with higher costs to see a losing product.  It’s not the money that bothers me, it is the increasing mountain of evidence that the Orioles organization is out of touch with a fan base that has been far more loyal than they deserve.  In any other city, for any other team, this organization would barely be able to support a payroll of $35 million and would have no buzz whatsoever in the area.  Without the undying loyalty of Baltimoreans, this team would be the Marlins or the Pirates.  But there is something about this team that keeps Baltimore coming back- and the organization knows it.  If they (and the team) continue in that direction, their fans’ patience may finally run out.