Memorial Day Picnic

Break out the back yard grills it’s Memorial Day – the unofficial beginning of Summer. Ah yes, I can smell the ‘dogs and ‘burgahs sizzlin’ on da grills. Someone gimme a brewskie; I’m headin’ for the hammock. Little history note: Memorial Day, as we know it, originates in Waterloo, New York – jes’ a li’l stretch down the road from my humble abode. Actually this day goes back to the late 1800’s when mothers and widows decorated the graves of our fallen heroes. LBJ officially designated the last Monday
in May as Memorial Day, and Waterloo was officially named its birthplace in 1966.

Spent the first part of the weekend traveling to the daughters’ soccer tournament in Columbia, Maryland; any chance we get to travel south of the Mason-Dixon Line, I look forward to. While there the better half requested that we attend the O’s game on Saturday night. Far be it from me to keep the wife from doing what she wants. After a couple of youth soccer matches we headed for the Inner Harbor. Our first stop inside Camden Yards was Boog’s Backyard Bar-B-Q. Mmmmmm…..great eats. Yes, the price is a little steep, but what can I say. The old boy greeted us in line, and yes I now have an O’s ticket with a Boog Powell autograph. I just put it on display with my other ticket stubs. We paid $15 for section 87 seats in left-center field: great view of the field. As it has been said so many times, Camden Yards is a jewel. If you haven’t been there, you gotta put it on your short list. Miggy said: “Hola! Hasta la Vista!!!!!” in the first inning and the Birds were off to 2-0 lead. Tejada and Roberts are no Belanger and Grich; Mora is no Robinson, and Patterson is no Blair, but the Orioles played some good defense the other night. Bringing up those names causes me think: Is the countdown on for when the O’s return to the cartoon bird, who could pass as Daffy Duck’s cousin, as opposed to the present-day Audobon Society representation they have on their current lid? I get a little sad when I think of all the great players that went through Rochester on their way to Baltimore, and then to consider the state of affairs with Orioles now. They had such a great tradition. For all the wild spending that Peter ‘Devil’os likes to boast of, one would think they could have a team that makes ends meet.

Downtown Baltimore was bustlin’ Saturday night as M & T Field hosted the National Lacrosse Semi’s. Almost some stinging irony for Duke University: their women’s team held a nine-goal lead before losing to Virginia. The men’s team watched an eight-goal lead disappear before eliminating Cornell to advance to today’s National Final against Johns Hopkins.

Obviously, it has been a tumultuous year for the Blue Devil Men’s Lacrosse program. Twelve months ago the Blue Devils watched the lacrosse finals as they forfeited their season, and head coach Mike Pressler was forced to resign amid a storm of legal controversies. One year later, all charges have been dropped, Duke has returned to the top of Men’s lacrosse, and Pressler is now the head coach at Bryant University. Pressler’s forthcoming book about his experiences last year should be an interesting read.

Something’s gotta give when the Cleveland Indians and the Boston Red Sox play at Fenway Park tonight. The Tribe swept the Tigers this past weekend while the Sox did some of their own broom work in Arlington. Hey Wally! What were you saying ‘bout the Tigers? Oh yeah, that’s right it’s May. Just thinking you were touting the Tigers as the AL’s team last week and all. Tonight marks Trot Nixon’s first return to Boston since signing as a free agent with the Indians. Wish I was there to join the Fenway Faithful as they give Trot a standing ovation.

On the topic of baseball – how good is John Lackey? He has a 2.36 era in eleven outings this year. Thankfully, the Angels are competitive because I am sure he is on Steinbrenner’s radar.

Now that the ping pong balls have fallen, and Portland and Seattle have a chance to rejuvenate their teams, let’s consider what the rest of the draft could hold for the remainder of the league. Everyone is completely focused on Greg Oden and Kevin Durant…and rightfully so. Let’s not forget about the likes of Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Jeff Green, and Brandan Wright. For that matter let’s not forget Chris Richard. He is my sleeper. The guy came off the bench for the Gators, but don’t confuse him with a bench-warmer. Chris Richard is a ball-getter. When you consider that Tony Parker was chosen 28th in the 2001 draft, Carlos Boozer was taken in the second round of the ’02 draft, and Tayshaun Prince was chosen with the 23rd pick in the ’02 draft, players can be found late in the draft. It is time for the front offices to get busy (Hello Danny, Billy, and Isaiah) and bring the NBA back to the East Coast.

On another note – the hotel we stayed at this weekend required us to pay thirty cents per minute of internet usage. Needless to say I did not even consider reaching for the wallet.

The Ottawa Senators open their quest tonight to bring the Cup back to Canada after a fourteen-year drought. Does it matter that there are more Canadian-born players on the Anaheim roster than the Ottawa roster? With the NHL and Versus in mind is anyone else intrigued by Bodog fighting? Is Michael Vick somehow involved?

Spring football practices have ended, and Charlie Weis is mum on his QB selection for next year…as he should be. Much could happen between now and September 1st when the Irish open against Georgia Tech. Weis used the Spring regimen to give equal opportunity to Evan Sharpley, Zach Frazer, Demetrius Jones, and the much-heralded Jimmy Clausen. Now he is reviewing the tapes. When was the last time a battle for a college position received so much scrutiny? After losing all of his skill players (Brady Quinn, Jeff Samardzija, Rhema McKnight, and Darius Walker) Weis received some good news: this year’s roster will include nine fifth-year seniors. That marks only the second time an Irish roster will include as many fifth-year players. Uncle Charlie will need to call on the likes of Tom Zbikowski, Travis Thomas, and John Carlson to lead his squad. The rest of the roster consists of forty-six players (68%) that will be freshmen and sophomores.

When you get a chance, thank a vet for your freedom. Enjoy the picnic!!!!!!

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