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At Least Fans Got To See The Orioles' Opening Day Roster

Pain.

That's what I felt when I read MASN's Roch Kubatko's tweet about the postponement of the Orioles' Opening Day tilt with the Red Sox this morning. Imagine waking up on Christmas morning and your Dad saying, "Nah, we're opening presents tomorrow."

Gee, thanks.

But at least Kubatko shared the Orioles Opening Day roster on his Twitter shortly thereafter, so we've got some fat to chew on until Friday. Here are three things that stood out to me.

Youth Abounds In The Outfield

I'm 26 years old and I'll be 27 in July. One of the problems about my age is that I'm still getting used to players I root for and follow be younger than me. It's weird.

What isn't weird is that every single active Orioles outfielder is younger than I am. Both Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander were born three months after I was. Austin Hays is a year and a few days younger than I am. And baby-faced Ryan Mountcastle is 24 years old.

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The Transfer Portal: UVa Needs To Take As Much As It Gives

More than four months have passed since Virginia opened the 2020-21 men's basketball season in "Bubbleville" at the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The Cavaliers used 17 players that November day in an 89-54 rout of Towson.

Although it wasn't in the post-game notes, that might be the all-time, one-game UVa high for participation.

The group included 13 scholarship players, which is the Division I basketball limit, and four walk-ons.

Most were underclassmen and it appeared that Virginia was set with the addition of a recruiting class that was ranked No. 19 in the country by rivals.com.

That was then and this is now. In a matter of days, top 2019 signee Casey Morsell and top 2020 signee Jamir Abdur-Rahim entered the transfer portal, as did a second 2019 signee, Justin McKoy.

Of the eight players who logged more than 200 minutes or more, leading scorer Sam Hauser has applied for the NBA Draft and 7-footer Jay Huff is headed in that direction.

Who's left?

Honorable mention All-ACC performer Kihei Clark should be back for a fourth year in 2021-2022, but who else is there?

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Disgusted

The current college basketball culture across the board disgusts me. Sad that such a large percentage of players are not student a... Read More
Thursday, 01 April 2021 21:11
Dave Scarangella

It's Different, That's For Sur...

I have a feeling it's become such a wild, wild west sort of atmosphere, this will be the last year you see such unfettered movemen... Read More
Thursday, 01 April 2021 21:33
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College Notebook: VMI Season "Greatest Story In All Sports"

VMI has received few tributes to rival the recent comments passed along by former Keydets football coach Jim Reid this past weekend.

Reid also was the head football coach at Massachusetts and Richmond, where he was the head coach from 1995-2003, including a 10-3 season in 2000.

He served as the VMI head coach for two seasons, 2006-2007, where his teams went 3-19. He later was an assistant with the Miami Dolphins, Virginia, Iowa and Boston College.

Clearly, Reid knows his way around the Mid-Atlantic, and has followed a current five-game VMI winning streak under head coach Scott Wachenheim and a No. 10 spot in the Football Championship Subdivision poll that is headed by James Madison at 4-0.

"This is the greatest story in all of sports; not just this year, but perhaps in a decade," Reid posted on Twitter this weekend after VMI's 36-31 victory at Wofford.

It was one of three VMI victories on the road and marked the fourth time VMI has scored 30 points or more. With 31.8 points per game, VMI ranks 20th out of 95 FCS teams in scoring offense.

Wachenheim's background has been on the offensive side of the ball, including stints as the offensive coordinator at Liberty and offensive-line coach at Virginia.

Parham To Arkansas State

Greg Parham, who averaged a team-leading 18.4 points per game for VMI's basketball this season, has chosen to spend his final season of eligibility at Arkansas State.

Parham, who goes by his middle name of Alden was redshirted early in his career at VMI  but could not play for the Keydets in 2021-2022 because VMI does not have a postgraduate curriculum.

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For Orioles, Time To Stop Tanking, Time To Start Winning

A line from The Athletic's Joe Posnanski really struck me this offseason.

"Tanking," Posnanski wrote "depletes the soul."

Tell me about it. Watching the Baltimore Orioles deliberately lose in an effort to stockpile young talent through the MLB Draft has nearly depleted my baseball soul.

Nearly.

Once again, another Baltimore Orioles season awaits in which the win and loss totals don't actually matter. The O's are likely to finish in the AL East cellar for the fourth time in five seasons. The pitching isn't there, whether it be in the rotation or the bullpen. There are too many questions on offense, too.

So for the average Orioles fan, what is there to look forward to? How can you look forward to the beginning of a 162-game slog that will surely end in a losing record?

Keep your baseball soul.

First things first: it's ok to cheer for wins. Far too many O's fans have spent the last three seasons cheering L's because they think a higher draft pick is an assured way to secure more W's in the future.

If you're in that crowd, I've got the Dodgers on Line 1 for you. And the Rays on Line 2.

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Nationals Have A Puncher's Chance At Winning The Division

In 2019, the Washington Nationals brought home a World Series ring.

Last year in a COVID-shortened season, the team didn't make the playoffs, and just went home early.

So where is the 2021 edition of the Nationals going, starting with Opening Day tomorrow?

Although their core remains largely the same, the Nationals have gone through their fair share of roster turnover since the end of last season, not to mention their World Series championship season in 2019. They’ve lost veterans like Anibal Sanchez, Kurt Suzuki, Howie Kendrick and Adam Eaton; but also added thumpers like Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber, along with a potential Hall of Fame pitcher in Jon Lester. And don’t forget about that savvy veteran who wears No. 11 and played his college ball in Charlottesville! He’s back too, after taking a year off.

The team appears on the surface to be stronger than it was for most of last season. So where should fans’ expectations fall in 2021, and what will be some of the key factors towards how successful the season will be?

State Of The Division

There’s no way around it; the NL East has improved since the Nationals’ title run. The Braves remain a powerhouse of the division, the Phillies and Mets have each added one of the best players at their respective positions (J.T. Realmuto and Francisco Lindor), and the Marlins are very much on the rise, even earning a Wild Card bid last year, thanks in part to rookie flamethrower Sixto Sanchez.

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Recent Comments
Doug Johnson

Very Useful Summary Report

I really enjoyed this article a lot! It provides the casual Nat's fan like me a whole lot of pertinent facts about this year's ro... Read More
Thursday, 01 April 2021 21:24
Stephen Newman

Thank You!

I greatly appreciate your generous feedback. I'm looking forward to keeping you and all fellow Nats fans informed about the team t... Read More
Thursday, 01 April 2021 22:03
Dave Scarangella

Stephen's An Excellent Writer

We're lucky to have his contributions. Plus he's a Hokie
Thursday, 01 April 2021 21:35
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Avoid The Lines: Build A Concession Stand In Your Home

Thursday is opening day for the Washington Nationals, as well as just about every other team in Major League Baseball.

Because of this, I have some investment advice for you.

Let’s face it, going to a major league game and truly enjoying the experience involves a couple of factors. One is obviously good baseball.

But another is the food, as I cannot go to a baseball game without getting a hot dog at the stadium. A hot dog, a cold beverage and a bag of salted in the shell peanuts constitute the holy trinity in the cathedral of baseball, and it is a mandatory purchase, where you can expect to pay at least $20 for those materials at a concession stand at Nats Park.

The hot dog, to truly be a baseball hot dog, has to be cooked a certain way to create its unique taste. At home, you’re probably going to fry it in a pan, boil it if you’re not all that serious about hot dog taste, or microwave it if you’ve given up on life in general. But a true baseball hot dog is cooked on steel rollers, constantly cooking it to maximize the melting of all that fat and other ingredients in there that will probably shorten your life.

You probably see these machines on the counter behind the staff taking your order without ever giving thought to “hey, I should get one of those.”

The other part of the ballpark experience is a steamed bun. Properly stationed in a contraption allowing a low level of steam to soften the bun into a heavenly pillow sliced in the middle to allow this juicy all-beef concoction to rest comfortably, and you have the food of kings.

I invested in these two devices years ago, and it may have been a better investment than Microsoft, Apple or Amazon when it comes to living life to its fullest. When the Nats or Hokies play, I put a few Nathan’s natural casing Coney Island style hot dogs on the rollers, some buns in the steamer, a little chili and sauerkraut in two small crock pots I set on low, then chop up some onions and leave out some condiments. It’s an all-day concession stand in my kitchen without having to pay $8 a hot dog.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Contraption

You better get one of those vendor contraptions that would allow you to carry your concession items to parts of the house that mig... Read More
Tuesday, 30 March 2021 21:21
Dave Scarangella

I will look into that

But the crowd watching those "some man did some woman wrong" movies tends not to be big consumers of chili dogs with extra onion a... Read More
Tuesday, 30 March 2021 21:42
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Where's The Beef? Maybe Finally Returning To VT DLine...

I'm here to talk about Virginia Tech's 2018 football season.

Yes, I'm aware that season brings back a lot of anger and despair for Hokies fans, but humor me for a moment.

The 2018 season happened to be Ricky Walker's final season in a Virginia Tech uniform. It also happened to be Vinny Mihota's final season in a Tech uniform. Both graduated and moved on after the season.

Mihota had an odd career — he started it at defensive end opposite Ken Ekanem and served his purpose as an edge-setting end that allowed Ekanem to rush the passer on the other side. Mihota would later move inside to defensive tackle out of necessity, forcing the injury-prone 270-pounder into the slog that is the interior.

Unsurprisingly, Mihota struggled. He played in just six games, registered 11 tackles and zero sacks.

Defensive tackle has been a sore spot for the Hokies for the last several seasons. Woody Baron was the last uber-productive tackle to play in a Hokies uniform, though Walker was more than respectable during his tenure. 

But Woody Baron doesn't come around often. You don't find 260-pound defensive linemen who can dominate the interior very often. You need bigger bodies in there and you need a lot of them

For the first time in what feels like forever, Virginia Tech might have the beef.

Among those returning are DaShawn Crawford, Norell Pollard and Mario Kendricks, all of whom have flashed at various points. Josh Fuga is also back, as well as Jaden Cunningham and Maxx Philpott. Oh, and Clemson transfer Jordan Williams is in town too.

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Recent comment in this post
Guest — John

Check the numbers...

Ricky's numbers better than Barron. Barron had one huge year. Ricky's numbers were better than Settle. ALL-ACC Preseason AA.... Read More
Tuesday, 30 March 2021 15:53
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This Is One Opening Day I'll Never Be Able To Forget...

Since it is a dark, gray day, and Opening Day is later this week, allow me to share a memory.

It is of an Opening Day 9 years ago that had me filled with excitement. It later turned to one of my darkest memories, and something I think about every year. In light of what’s been going on with younger people during this year-plus of being out of school and staying at home due to COVID, I think about it even more this year.

I’ve been blessed with friends who are baseball fanatics. I like baseball, don’t get me wrong, but these friends absolutely love it. One friend, whose name was Paul, insisted that I always go with him to Opening Day. From the first year the Nationals came to DC until 2012, he never asked whether I wanted to go. He just said he’d gotten the tickets and what time he was coming by the house.

He was that way with the last game of the season, too. Missing either in a season was like a religious person missing church on Easter Sunday. It was important to him, and you had to be there.

Every year on the drive to at first RFK, then Nats Park, the conversation was the same. We’d ask each other if this year would be the season the Nationals finally broke through and made the playoffs, and despite evidence to the contrary, would convince ourselves the answer was “yes.”. We’d endured the beginning of some bad 100-loss seasons in the past, but we always rationalized about the next season and how changes made in the offseason would somehow mean this coming season was OUR year.

Thursday, April 12, 2012 was no different. We convinced ourselves this would be the year the Nats made the postseason, and like every year, we believed it. Because of traffic that day, we’d spend 7 hours together between riding in the car to the stadium and watching the game while debating all this.

It ended up being a very good game. Paul was not a fan of Jayson Werth, and after riding him all day every time he came to the plate, Werth repaid the criticism with a single in the bottom of the 10th to move Ryan Zimmerman to second. A ground out moved both over a base, and with two outs, Zimmerman would then score the winning run on a wild pitch.

We all went home happy.

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Recent Comments
Dave Fulton

Inexplicable

My best friend since kindergarten and partner in racing & all the Richmond minor league baseball games we could attend came home f... Read More
Sunday, 28 March 2021 12:18
Kimberly Teglas

Hit Home

I taught middle school for 36 years before retiring 3 years ago. In my 7th grade class the year I retired, I taught a beautiful, b... Read More
Sunday, 28 March 2021 14:58
Dave Scarangella

To be honest

I may have had a towel nearby as I wrote the story. Some emotions never go away....
Sunday, 28 March 2021 15:16
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Rest In Peace, Coach Schnellenberger

If you follow sports for a long enough time, you end up with 4 or 5 moments that seem to stay permanently etched in your memory. Some are due to last-second heroics, while others are just the confluence of several interesting people at a particular point in time.

The passing this morning of legendary football coach Howard Schnellenberger brought back one of those for me. At the time, Schnellenberger was at the University of Miami before it was “The U”, and he was in the process of creating that transition for the Hurricanes.

He took over Miami in 1979, and in year 2 got his team to a bowl game, beating this group of upstarts from Virginia Tech in the Peach Bowl to finish 9-3. Three years later, “The U” was born, as Miami and Schnellenberger went 11-1 and won a national title by beating Nebraska.

The year before winning the national title, Miami faced Virginia Tech for the second time in three years in Blacksburg. It was a warm September afternoon, and Miami was favored due to a high-powered offense led by quarterback Jim Kelly. The Hokies were a typical Bill Dooley team, with a strong running attack led by players like Tony Paige and Cyrus Lawrence, and a stout defense with the likes of Bruce Smith and Padro Phillips.

Miami did win that day, 14-8. But some things also happened I doubt anyone expected.

The moment I remember took place shortly after the game. Back then, there were no formal press conferences or restrictions on who you could talk with after a game. If you wanted to ask a question of a player, you went in the locker room and asked.

For Miami, the visitor’s locker room was just under the East stands down near the corner of the South end zone. The question of the day regarded an injury to Kelly, who was sacked midway through the game by the Virginia Tech defense and had to leave the game. Since he didn’t return, we all wanted to know how bad the injury was.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Johnny Hurst

Memories

I was at that game and I'm 63 and can't remember if I ate breakfast or not but remember the sack. Some of my favorite memories of ... Read More
Monday, 29 March 2021 12:24
Dave Scarangella

Always amazes me too

I can remember that moment in 1982 clearly. But don't ask me what I did last week ... Read More
Monday, 29 March 2021 12:51
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J.C. Price Quickly Having An Impact At Virginia Tech

That didn't take very long.

Just a few weeks after accepting a position at his alma mater, J.C. Price is already impacting Virginia Tech's roster decisions.

C.J .McCray is an intriguing addition. The 6-foot-4 linebacker enrolled at Marshall as a 2020 recruit with academic issues that kept him ineligible last season. McCray took care of those issues, and now is following Price to Blacksburg.

Time will tell if McCray impacts Virginia Tech's program. Any time you can add a linebacker at that height, you're adding someone who could realistically grow into a solid outside backer. He wasn't a highly sought after prospect, but his eligibility issues could have affected that.

More importantly, McCray's decision to transfer shows that Price is being taken seriously inside those coaches' meetings. And that's encouraging.

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they take over a management role is hiring only people that they're familiar with and people that think like them. It creates an echo chamber of thinking with almost no dissent or creativity to be found.

Justin Fuente has done this throughout his tenure. His offensive coordinator has followed him around for years. His defensive coordinator coached under him for two seasons. Most, if not all, of his assistants have some prior connection to Fuente's past stops.

Familiarity is helpful, but so is a diversity of thought. That's what Price offers.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Turkey Ball

Price is Right!

Listen, Fuente may not know Price like his right hand, but Blacksburg knows Price! Several members of the coaching staff know Pric... Read More
Friday, 26 March 2021 13:45
Dave Scarangella

Agree

He's what they need on the coaching staff...
Friday, 26 March 2021 14:16
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Jalen Cone Latest Player To Enter The Transfer Portal

When I heard the news Monday that Joe Bamisile had entered the transfer portal, my first thought was “I’m surprised it wasn’t Jalen Cone.”

Today, it was.

Cone tweeted that he was leaving, saying “I don’t even know where to begin…Virginia Tech has become my second home. I have built relationships that will last a lifetime and learned so many things here. I’ve gained new family and made memories that will never fade. There is no place like Blacksburg and nothing can replace it.

“I want to thank the staff for giving me tremendous opportunities and helping me through this journey. I want to thank my teammates for always pushing me, the great memories, and becoming my brothers for life. To the basketball program as a whole, y’all can never be replaced. To the students and people of Blacksburg, thank you for believing in me and being the best fans ever.

“After prayer, giving it long thought and conversation with my loved ones, I’ve decided to reopen my recruitment and enter the transfer portal.”

It would appear Cone looked at the same stats Bamisile did when looking at potential minutes he might get next season. A week ago, Virginia Tech had 9 guards on its roster when including transfers and signees, and assuming Wabissa Bede doesn’t come back and Bamisile leaving, the number was still 7. Cone’s departure moves it down to 6, assuming the Hokies don’t acquire anybody else from the transfer portal.

Cone played in 15 games this season and started four before missing the final four games of the season due to an ankle injury. The handwriting was on the wall for him, however, in watching the NCAA Tournament game against Florida, just as it was for Bamisile. In that overtime game, 95 percent of the minutes played went to just six players for Virginia Tech, and four of them were guards:  Bede, Hunter Cattoor, Tyrece Radford and Nahiem Alleyne.

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They Finally Did It...

They Did It

After a long and bumpy road, The Washington Nationals finally won the World Series. And made an old man in Ashburn cry...

Never Grow Old...

Never Grow Old

A trip to Spring Training reminded me we're all still kids at heart, and no matter how old, you keep playing until they get you out.

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