icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

"Tomorrow Is Your Best Friend": The Prince of Paranoia Tries To Remind Himself After Orioles Hit Bump in Road & Columbia Season Ends Abruptly

"Tomorrow Is Your Best Friend" is a line I heard first from Bobby Valentine when he was managing the Mets.  "The sun don't shine every day on the same dog's head" is another comforting adage I have heard from players after a tough loss. 

 

You can go crazy playing every game over and over in your head, micromanaging every pitch selection.  Especially nowadays since MLB has expanded to 12 teams eligible for post-season.  The basic truth remains.  It is better to be comfortably over .500 by Memorial Day than under it. 

 

I started drafting this edition of my blog when the Orioles lost three in a row in St Louis a week ago. The Orioles' regular season streak of not being swept in a series for two years ended with a thud. But the Cardinals are an improving team after their horrible start.  Before games on Memorial Day May 27 they were only one under .500. 

 

First baseman-outfielder Alec Burleson looks like the real deal and so does shortstop Masyn Winn. Another youngster Mike Siani is looking good in center field. They still have a ways to catch front-running Milwaukee and I'm rooting for former Oriole infielder Joey Ortiz who was packaged with lefthander DL Hall, now on the IL, for Corbin Burnes in the off-sseason. 

 

That sweepless Oriole streak was always a bogus kind of streak anyway - you could keep it going by winning only one out of three. And every Oriole player and fan knew that they were swept in the biggest series that mattered last year, the divisional series against the the eventual World Series-winning Texas Rangers.  

 

Happily, the Orioles have rebounded in the next series to sweep the woeful White Sox in almost equally rainy Chicago.  Unfortunately, the Birds do keep losing starting pitchers to injury, southpaw John Means most seriously.  Yet there is a chance than a Big Three of starters can be counted on as Birds try to catch the Yankees - Corbin Burnes (free agent after this season), Kyle Bradish, and Grayson Rodriguez. 

 

Bradish is a particular favorite of mine, coming from New Mexico State, an unheralded school and a prize pilfering from the Angels by the Mike Elias

administration in a trade for now-retired Dylan Bundy.  I was fearful that Bradish's sprained ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) might lead to Tommy John surgery but so far the prescription of rest and a platelet-rich injection has been successful.

 

On Sunday May 26 in only his 5th start of the season, Bradish threw 7 no-hit innings and 103 pitches against those struggling White Sox. He really emptied the tank striking out the last two batters in the 7th.  It is a measure of how rare no-hitters will be in the future that even I, who loves the drama of that rare accomplishment of a no-hit game, accepted his removal after 7 innings.  So did Bradish.

 

Tomorrow for Columbia baseball won't come until late February.  Seeded first in the second annual 4-team Ivy league post-season tournament, they got swept for the second year in a row over the weekend of May 17-19.  They led the eventual champion Penn Quakers in the top of the 8th at our home field in northern Manhattan, but the second-seeded Phladelphians would not be denied.  They boast the Ivy League Player of the Year senior third baseman Wyatt Henseler from Hackensack, NJ.

 

Penn will represent the Ivy League in the Charlottesville regional facing top seed Virginia at noon on Fri May 31.  St. johns will face Mississippi State at 7p. All games in this first round of the NCAA tourney will be broadcast on ESPN+.

 

Other games of interest to fans in the Northeast are in top seed North Carolina going against Long Island at 6p with Wofford & LSU playing the earlier

 

At the U of Georgia in Athens, the Bulldogs will face Army at 1p followed by Georgia Tech v UNC Wilmington at 7p 

 

At Oklahoma State in Stillwater, the host team will face Niagara 7p.  Earlier Florida meets Big Ten playoff champion Nebraska at 3p.

 

At U of Oklahoma in Norman, UConn meets Duke and host Sooners play Oral Roberts.

 

In local high school playoff news, the PSAL quarter-finals are set for Tu May 28 at 330p.

Inwood v Richmond Hill, Forest Park Victory Field in Queens on Woodhaven and Myrtle Aves, Diamond #1

Beacon v John Jay, Parade Grounds in Bklyn, Diamond #3

Monroe v West 50th St Campus at Randalls Island, Field #48

Luperon (slayer of #1 seed Tottenville) vs Grand St Campus, American Legion Field #1 in Canarsie, Brooklyn

 

Semis will start on F May 31 at sites TBA, best of 3 series. Final for all three divisions will be either M June 10 or Tu June 11 at tentatively Yankee Stadium.  Check psal.org for the latest information. 

 

Before I close, here's a tip of the hat to MASNsports.com reporter Roch Kubatko for his informative interview on May 22 with former Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini.  He's living in Miami now. Only 32, he hasn't been signed by any team after not making the Marlins roster after a good spring training. He is not ready to retire but the best news is that he is cancer-free.  All his checkups have been positive.  

 

That's all for now.  I'm off to Cooperstown to give a talk at the annual Symposium on Baseball and American Culture.  My topic this year is "Remembering Birdie Tebbetts (1912-1999); Baseball's Last Idealist".  More on that adventure when I check in again early next month.

Always remember:  Take it easy but take it, and Stay Positive, Test Negative.

1 Comments
Post a comment

Mid-May Reflections on Orioles As I Await Big Columbia Baseball and Tennis Weekend + TCM Tips

I have long believed that you shouldn't make prognostications about a season until Memorial Day at the earliest. But, after all, this season started in Korea before winter was over and already the White Sox, Marlins, and Rockies are not likely to ever glimpse .500 all season. 

  

As an Oriole fan, I like their record, solidly more than 10 games over .500 and perhaps the best is yet to come. But they remain very streaky offensively and the pitching staff remains a work in progress. 

 

Temporarily at least, closer Craig Kimbrel has lost his spot because of inconsistent performances.  He did give a refreshingly original explanation for his wildness and his penchant for giving up big hits: "I lost my lanes," he said, making a comparison to bowling.

 

I know that the Dodgers' Mookie Betts is a great bowler but I have never heard him connect the two sports. In this past weekend's series win over the Diamondbacks, the defending National League champion,  Kimbrel's two appearances in non-closing roles were far better. We'll see if he returns to the pressure-packed closing role soon.

 

During the series against Arizona, Anthony Santander, the switch-hitting right fielder from Venezuela, began to show signs of offensive consistency. He hit a 8th inning tying HR in Sat's extra-inning win and blasted an opposite field double in the Sun loss to Dback ace Zac Gallen. (Slumping 2023 NL rookie of the year Corbin Carroll came to life in that victory stroking the ball all over the field and running wild on the bases - he even beat out a relatively routine grounder to shortstop when in a rare lapse Gunnar Henderson, last year's AL ROY, took too much time throwing to first base.)

 

Santander (pronounced with emphasis on the "der") is a quiet but imposing leader of the Orioles and he is so easy to root for. (I wrote this before I saw his YouTube Mother's Day greeting to his mother which made him even more endearing.)   

 

His emergence as a run producer and underrated outfielder has been a longtime in coming. He was signed as a teenager by Cleveland and after six years in the minors, many of them plagued by injuries, the Orioles under the previous Dan Duquette administration plucked him out of the Rule 5 Draft. He doesn't turn 30 until Oct 19.

 

He will be a free agent after the season and there has been no indication that the current adminstration under Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal want to re-sign him. When the duo was running Houston, they let even more talented Carlos Correa and George Springer walk. 

 

This may be my wistful thinking but perhaps new owner David Rubenstein will see Santander's value to the team and take an active role in keeping him around long-term. Certainly Rubenstein's first moves as an owner have been deservingly well-received.  He has spoken genuinely about his love of the Orioles from his earliest days as a native Baltimorean who remembers the team coming from the moribund shell of the St. Louis Browns before the 1954 season. 

 

He is very versed in media performance from his longtime work as a Bloomberg News talk show host. During the Friday game against Arizona, he even took a turn in the Dr. Splash Zone in the outfield seats, joining fans in watery celebration of big Baltimore hits. 

 

Budding ace Corbin Burnes will also be a free agent after the season but I'm willing to let his and Santander's contracts play out after a deep run into the post-season and ideally through a World Series parade. 

 

As for the AL East race this season with Boston perhaps a surprise third right now, it looks likely that the Yankees are here to stay especially if Gerrit Cole returns to form after his elbow injury. And Juan Soto has certainly made a difference in the Yankee lineup and the team's overall upbeat presence. 

He has to be an early favorite in the MVP race.

    

On the college baseball front, more than a few people have expressed surprise to me about Columbia's excellence in baseball that I highlighted last post. It is no sudden emergence but dates back to 2008, the third season with Brett Boretti at the helm when the Lions won their first of six championships in his reign.

 

The field is set for the double-elimination tourney that begins Fri May 17 at 11A with 2nd seed Princeton taking on 3rd seed Cornell. At 3P top-seeded

Columbia faces defending champion Penn who got in when to no surprise to yours truly, Harvard eliminated Yale last weekend.  (Nothing like an ancient rivalry of the super blue-bloods and misery loving company! Yale had to sweep the 3-game series and the Crimson won the second game, 3-2.)   

 

The winners on Friday play Sat at 3P and the losers fight for survival at 11A.  The Friday winners play at 3P.  On Sunday at 11 the survivor of the early Sat game plays the loser of the 3p game.  The winner of that elimination game plays the undefeated team at 3P. 

 

If the undefeated team loses, there is a winner take all match at noon on Mon Feb 20.   All games are at Satow Stadium Robertson Field just north of the football field NW of Bway/2018 Street.  On Mon May 27 at noon, ESPN will announce the 64 teams going to the tournament that winds up in the College World Series 8-game tournament in Omaha in mid-June.  And what does Omaha stand for? 

Opportunity

Makeup

Attitude

Hustle

Always put the team first! 

 

Meanwhile Columbia tennis has earned its first entry into the Elite Eight of NCAA men's tennis.  The Lions will meet #1 seed Ohio State on Th May 16

at 12N on the campus of Oklahoma State in Stillwater Oklahoma.  Like baseball, Columbia tennis has built a winning culture for years, first under coach Bid Goswami and now under his successor Howard Endelman, a former star Columbia player. 

 

Other matches on Thurs will feature Kentucky v Texas Christian U followed by Tennessee v Texas and finally Virginia, trying for a three-peat v Wake

Forest.  Semifinals will be on May 18 and the final May 19. 

 

Here's TCM Tips on sports movies: 

Th May 16 9A  "The Set-up" (1949) one of the great boxing movies with Robert Ryan as a battered but proud pugilist

 

Sa May 18 930A "Rookie of the Year" (1955) directed by John Ford/with John Wayne, his son Patrick Wayne, Ward Bond, Vera Miles

  originally a Screen Directors Guild half-hour TV show - aging sportswriter finds a story in son of banned ballplayer playing the game

  Script co-written by W. R. Burnett (who wrote among other classics "Little Caesar" and "Asphalt Jungle")

 

Th May 23 4p "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" (1949) with Sinatra/Gene Kelly/Esther Williams as owner of an early 20th century team

 

That's all for now.  Always remember:  Take it easy but take it, and Stay positive, test negative.  

Be the first to comment