Sunday, April 18, 2010

Let's Go Streaking!

As much as I love the silliness of the blog's title (and the picture to the right), I'm talking about baseball. My Orioles ended quite a terrible streak - nine straight losses. Brian Matusz pitched well, and super-sub Ty Wigington knocked the ball over the yard in the win over Oakland.

This streak reminds me of a previous awful Orioles streak - in July of 2008, the O's ended a streak of 15 consecutive losses on Sundays. The streak was so bad, team management tried this ploy:

In an effort to reverse their struggles in Sunday games this season, the Orioles have announced the first-ever "We Win, You Win" promotion at Camden Yards. The team is encouraging fans to come out to provide extra support for the ballclub at the Sunday, July 6 game vs. the Texas Rangers at 1:35 p.m. If the Orioles defeat the Rangers that day, all fans in attendance will receive a complimentary ticket in the same seating category to any future non-prime game.

The O's lost on July 6, July 13 and July 20 before beating the Angels on July 27.

That season through June 30, the Orioles were 40-27 ... in all games not played on Sunday. The team's 1-12 mark on Sundays was bad. That season, the Orioles had a final record of 68-93. Yuck.

Speaking of streaks, the Orioles are on their way to their 13th consecutive season of missing the playoffs. After back-to-back appearances in 1996 and 1997,the O's have not played baseball after the first weekend in October. Maybe they signed a non-compete clause with the Ravens and Art Modell.

What a fall from grace. The Orioles won 100 games in back to back seasons in 1979 and 1980. They won the Word Series in 1983, and missed out on the playoffs on the last day of the 1982 season - Don Sutton and the Brewers outlasted the O's and Jim Palmer. After the historically bad season of 1988 (remember 0-21?), the "Why Not?" Orioles of 1989 nearly made the playoffs before being edged out the the Blue Jays during the season's final weekend.

The O's moved into Camden Yards in 1992, and after a few years of mediocrity, landed in the post season in 1996 and 1997. Then, Davey Johnson was run out of town, Jon Miller was run out of town, and you already know the rest of the story.

Good bye for now.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Anybody know what a gaucho is?

What better time than Spring Break than for me to once again to re-enter the Blogosphere as a credible, reliable web journalist?

So, as I type here from Sea Colony in Bethany Beach, DE, it is my hope to get back into the swing of things.

Here goes nothing:

I must say that I am quite jealous of the school systems that still have a Break of at least five school days. It would be splendid to be able to enjoy the warm weather, watch an endless amount of baseball, and take in The Masters on TV, not in-person), but it is not to be.

That being said, Frederick County says goodbye to students on June 11 … other systems head into the third week of June. I suppose I can rub it in then.

Speaking of baseball, your fearless blogger spent a weekend in Tampa, FL taking in Spring Training (not to mention NCAA basketball on big TVs, and a Capitals-Lightning hockey game). I met a college friend for festivities that commenced on Thursday evening - we were seated at our table and eating Buffalo wings in time for the Ohio-Georgetown tip-off. That upset was the beginning of a compelling evening of game viewing, pub fare, and cold beverages.

Friday kicked off in style - at the Waffle House. Our scattered and covered adventure next took us to Kissimmee, FL for a Grapefruit League contest between the Astros and Blue Jays. Not even the poor quality of the baseball or the sleepy state of the crowd could take away from the experience of watching baseball from the sunny bleachers.

Saturday would be a double feature - Orioles / Pirates from Sarasota, followed by Alex Ovechkin's return from suspension for the Washington Capitals. As the official were dropping the puck for that game, Northern Iowa was completing its upset win over Kansas. The arena in-house TV people were wise to show the game on the screens around the concourse.

You are probably wondering about the other dining experiences from the trip ... well, that very topic leads me to this:

Is there anything better than a Brazilian Steakhouse? I mean, seriously ... a dining patron starts and stops the delivery of food with the flip of a red / green disc. Waiters dressed like gauchos
rush to your table offering one of the fourteen or so meets that a grilled in the kitchen. Before the parade of meats, you can choose from many selections at a salad bar that is the size of a Starbucks. While you are eating the meats, traditional side dishes that include plantains, cheese rolls and mashed potatoes are delivered and served family-style.

We hit just such an establishment on the Friday of our Tampa trip, and I had been to one in Baltimore about a month prior to that. While the excursion is not cheap, I capitalized on Baltimore's "Restaurant Week" the first time, and there happened to be a discount in Tampa too.

Did I mention that the whole premise is all-you-can-eat?

Simply stated, "dee-lish."

There are other all-you-can-eat places out there - some are good, and some not so much. I enjoy an occasional AUCE crab experience. You can't go with kids, or with any company that loses interest in the work involved. But if you find the right place that happens to offer this deal and has a good ball game on the TV that faces your table, go for it.

IHOP has an all-you-can-eat pancake deal. I've never had it, so I can't comment except to say that I'd like to have it - like, now!

Olive Garden offers a seasonal "never-ending-pasta-bowl," which is a neat idea. Not for the quantity factor - you can ask for another bowl of pasta and try a different sauce each round. So for the diner that like a variety of flavors, this might be up your alley.

Pizza is fun in an AUCE setting. Pizza Hut has offered for quite some time (at least since I was in college, so 15 years or so) a lunch buffet of salad, breadsticks, pizza and dessert items. For about $7.00, it's decent. One warning - don't go on a day that the school's are off ... the buffet gets over-run by kids, and their use of tongs is imperfect.

You can also get pizza at CiCi's pizza buffet - there's one in Catonsville that Lilly loves because the buffet is just the right height for her, and there is an arcade inside. I think there's a daddy-daughter date night headed there next week during her Break.

And finally (and briefly) ...

Go O's ... thanks, Terps ... poor Wizards ... keep making moves, Purple Birds.

Happy Easter