Good morning, sports fans. You are looking LIVE at—well, at a post I wrote yesterday and put in the can in advance.
"Quite literally cinematic!" - Bob Costas
I'm Tom, your guest editor for the day. Sometimes I write about sports for Slate and other publications, some of which still haven't gone out of business. I used to write a sports column for City Paper in Baltimore. One time I got a piece in the Best American Sports Writing. Another time I got invited in by the late Syd Thrift for a stern talking-to his office in the Oriole Park warehouse. (You know that voice-and-motion-capture stuff they do to turn human actors into animated characters nowadays? Do that to a Foghorn Leghorn cartoon in reverse, and you'll get the irate Syd Thrift.)
My sports loyalties, which deform everything I write, are as follows: I root for the Baltimore Orioles, first and foremost and for my entire conscious life. My first home was a short walk from Memorial Stadium, and I was cheering for Mark Belanger and Lee May by the age of three. I remember Reggie Jackson showing up as the new guy when I was four and leaving when I was five. Bastard.
I also root for the University of Maryland men's basketball team, an ever-shifting collection of NBA teams that depends on where particular players are, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Baltimore Colts.
(What? They where? Look, everyone handles childhood abandonment differently. I turn on my TV, I see a team with blue horseshoes on white helmets. The [inaudible] Colts! Fight on, you Colts!)
I despise the New York Yankees.
I also root against Duke men's basketball, Notre Dame football, the Washington [ethnic slur redacted], the Baltimore Ravens, Phil Jackson, the Dallas Cowboys, Rick Pitino, John Calipari, Bob Huggins, Tony La Russa, and Bob Knight. Now that I put it all down like that, maybe I should simplify things and say I root against anyone who has ever coached or managed a team. Except Earl Weaver and Buddy Ryan.
Last time I appeared here, I believe I was 1. ripping the Orioles for trading Erik Bedard for a raft of players including the unproven Adam Jones, 2. disparaging the Tampa Bay Rays, and 3. implying that the Orioles would continue their decade-plus string of failure, particularly their habit of quitting in the second half.
Well. Tampa has won a pennant and is admired throughout baseball for its talent. Erik Bedard has been a fixture of Seattle's disabled list. Adam Jones looks like he will be a superstar in center field and a heart-of-the-lineup slugger for years to come.
And the Orioles—with Jones and Nick Markakis anchoring an all-around delightful outfield, with a collection of thrilling young pitchers beginning to break into the majors, with the most highly regarded prospect in baseball behind the plate—are deep in last place, on an 11-22 second-half death spiral. Told you so.