Kevin Cowherd: It's the Fourth, but Baltimore sports scene has few sparklers

July 03, 2011|Kevin Cowherd

It may be the Fourth of July, but if you're a sports fan in this town looking for emotional fireworks, you're definitely out of luck.

Let's look at how things are going for the big players around here.

The Orioles are dropping in the win column with all the restraint of a safe thrown from a 20th-floor window.

The NFL lockout grinds on, to the point where the Ravens have canceled training camp in Westminster, depriving their fans of the annual summer ritual of baking in 95-degree heat to watch their heroes and fantasize about the coming season.

And from College Park comes news that Maryland's football program has been hit with penalties for NCAA violations that occurred when former coach Ralph Friedgen was running the show.

Welcome to Terps Nation, Randy Edsall!

How do you like the new job so far?

I know, I know … I'm a regular Mr. Sunshine here. Hey, you wouldn't be in such a terrific mood if you just had shoulder surgery either.

This is how bad things are for sports fans in this town: A hot topic of conversation recently was Joe Flacco's talking about his honeymoon.

Apparently, the Ravens quarterback went on "The Dan Patrick Show" and made two stunning revelations.

The first was that he was still in love with his new wife, which I'm sure made her extremely happy, seeing as how they've been married for, what, 10 minutes?

The second bombshell was that he doesn't plan to throw her any passes on their honeymoon.

As if the two lovebirds were going to check into a luxury resort, throw their suitcases on the bed and Flacco was going to say: "OK, run a skinny post over by the wet bar and I'll hit you."


Flacco also told the listening audience he had invited his offensive linemen to the wedding, potentially ticking off all the Ravens who didn't make the guest list. (I can see Ray Rice now: "And I'm killing myself blocking for this guy every Sunday?")

Finally, Flacco revealed that, while he had taken to the dance floor during the reception, he "cannot dance a lick."

Tell me something. Is anybody out there shocked by this?

I can't imagine that anyone who has watched Flacco lurching from the pocket after his protection breaks down has thought: "I bet he's terrific doing the Electric Slide."

Yet Flacco's remarks were treated like a huge deal because there was nothing else to talk about except gloom-and-doom stuff like the Orioles, who seem to be going into another one of their catastrophic swoons.

Sure, there's plenty of time for this team to get it together. And Sunday's 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves broke a five-game losing streak going into the All-Star break. And, at least recordwise, the Orioles are doing better at this point in the season than they did last year.

But some of the stuff happening to this team actually defies belief. It's why baseball fans — well, some of them, anyway — believe in curses.

How do you explain second baseman Brian Roberts still being sidelined after all these weeks with concussion symptoms — which might have originated when he whacked himself in the head with a bat after striking out last season?

How do you explain left-hander Brian Matusz losing the giddy-up on his fastball and looking so lost when he was projected as perhaps the marquee name in the Orioles' rotation for years to come?

How do you explain righty Jeremy Guthrie getting such horrible run support the past two years that you wonder why he's not banging his head against the dugout wall after every start?

Three wins and 10 losses this season — I think I'd want a concussion if I had pitched as well as Guthrie (3.93 ERA) and had so little to show for it.

Still, this being the Fourth of July, the day we celebrate this great country's Declaration of Independence, we are not going to end this column on a down note.

No, sir. That would be un-American.

So congratulations to Matt Wieters for making his first All-Star Game on Sunday.

The Orioles' young catcher is having a fine season behind the plate, having committed just one error and leading the major leagues in runners caught stealing (22) and fielding percentage (.998).

He has also hit seven homers and driven in 33 runs. And he finally seems to be coming into his own after being called up by the Orioles two years ago amid the kind of hype that could crush the soul of even the most talented phenom.

Look at that — I'm in a better mood already.

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