Archive for March, 2010

Loving The New “Birdland” TV Spots

Alright so last week I caught a glimpse of the TV and there was commercial on featuring my favorite Oriole: center fielder Adam Jones. But this Oriole ad was different. You see, when it ended, I was pumped, excited, and ready to buy season tickets!! 

Ok maybe I got a little carried away. But let me walk you through the ad in case you haven’t seen it. 

It has Jones in the weight room doing squats, curls, and agility drills. He’s sweating like crazy and looks pissed off. While all of this is being shown you hear him saying: 

Last season, I earned the title: All Star.
So what??
I’m not working to be called Gold Glove winner or All Star.

I’m working for the title: World Champion. 

And when I earn that, I’ll rest 
…Well, probably not. 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Yes! This is a commercial I can be proud of! Who wouldn’t want to support the team after seeing this? 

There are two more spots that are currently airing that are very similar to this. One is with catcher Matt Wieters and shows him swinging away in the batting cage talking about how games are won and lost in the offseason. The other is with pitcher Brad Bergesen throwing some heat and claiming he can’t wait to attack 2010. 

Once again, I’m probably getting a little carried away here. These are only commercials. But when you contrast these to some of the commercials of last year…what a difference. 

Here are just two of the 7 or so ads that were running last year: 

 

First we have two young ladies at the game. The one on the left mentions how every game they attend, the one on the right just stares at “him”. She asks if she will ever say anything to “him”. We then see the Oriole Bird dancing on the dugout and find out who “he” is. Finally they get his attention and the one on the right blushes. “THIS IS TRUE LOVE” pops up on the screen. 

It’s cute, and I get it. But come on!! Clearly they are marketing the fun part of the game, and there is nothing wrong with that. But when it airs half a dozen times per telecast, it gets to be a little too silly for me. 

Continue reading ‘Loving The New “Birdland” TV Spots’

A Look Back: Greivis Vasquez

How do I begin to describe this young man??

It keeping with the theme of the other two posts of Hayes and Milbourne, I’ll describe him the way he was introduced for four years at Comcast Center…a 6’6″ guard…from Caracas, Venezuela…#21…Greivis Vasquez!!

I’ve seen countless nicknames for him. Tim Brando called him the Vivacious Venezuelan. Others have called him the Venezuelan sensation. There are signs and posters that say VIVA VASQUEZ.

Whatever you call him, you have to respect his game and the mark he left on the Maryland basketball program. Let’s take a look.

It was evident from his freshman year that Vasquez had very real talent. He was an extension of coach Gary Williams while on the floor: Emotional, passionate, and hard-working. At times he took ill-advised shots and made careless turnovers, which was a cause of concern for some. But he contributed a great deal as a freshman and helped Maryland reach the second round of the NCAA tournament.

In his sophomore year he increased his numbers across the board in rebounds, points, and assists. However his turnovers per game nearly doubled and the inconsistent Terps failed to make the Big Dance.

In Vasquez’s junior year, he once again put up very solid numbers. Although the team fell to Duke three times, including a 40 point loss in Durham, the high point of the season came on Feb. 21, 2009.

Facing the third ranked (and eventual National Champion) UNC Tar Heels, Greivis placed the team on his back and put up one of the most impressive single game performances in school history. He dropped 35 points, grabbed 11 boards, and had 10 assists: The first Maryland triple-double since 1987.

Maryland went on the reach the second round the NCAA’s once again. But just like in his freshman year, Vasquez couldn’t do enough as a talent filled Memphis squad rolled over the Terps 89-70.

There was much speculation as to whether or not he would forgo his senior year and turn pro. I inaccurately predicted (see last paragraph) that he would go pro. It seemed inevitable. There had been some tension between him and the fans earlier in the season…and if you are good enough to go professional, why wouldn’t you?

Vasquez went to a few pre-draft workouts to see how he stacked up against the competition and how high he might get picked. He never signed an agent which meant he was still eligible to come back and play his senior season if he wanted to. And once the workouts were over, that is exactly what happened. There would be a senior year for Mr. Vasquez after all.

And what a senior year it was. In averaging 19.6 ppg, 6.3 apg, and 4.6 rpg, he never scored below 10 points in any of the team’s conference games. He led the team to seven consecutive victories to close out the season including two memorable games: at Virginia Tech and senior night vs. Duke.

The game at Blacksburg was wild for many reasons. The start time of the game was delayed nearly three hours because a beer truck ran over a fire hydrant and broke a water main. The game itself was thrilling. Back and forth with numerous ties and lead changes in the second half. It took two overtime periods to decide this one. But the Terps emerged victorious behind a career high 41 points from Vasquez.

The Duke game was big as always because Maryland fans just despise the Blue Devils. But for the first time in almost a decade, the stakes were high…a share of the regular season ACC title was on the line. Just like the Tech game, this one had a great flow. Back and forth it went in the second half. And with 39 seconds left to play, with his team up by two, Vasquez hit an extremely difficult fall away runner that helped seal the win for Maryland.

Just like in ’07 and 09′, the Terrapins’ 2010 season ended in the second round of the NCAA Tourney. Against Michigan State, Vasquez put the Terps up by one with 6 seconds to play, but a buzzer beater by the Spartans’ Korie Lucious ended Greivis’ season, and his career.

The career numbers for Vasquez are quite amazing. He is the first Maryland player to ever record 500 rebounds and 500 assists and the only player in ACC history to amass 2,000 points, 700 rebounds, and 600 assists. In his final game he surpassed the late Len Bias as the Terrapins second leading scorer all-time. Only Juan Dixon compiled more career points.

Greivis Vasquez…A Terrapin Forever…Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Look Back: Eric Hayes

Now we take a look back at the career of…a 6’4″ guard…from Woodbridge, Virginia…#5…Eric Hayes!!

Hayes got a very good amount of playing time as a freshman, averaging just under 23½ per game. He seemed to fit into Gary Williams system quite well, rarely turning the ball over and running solid offense.

He was almost automatic from the foul line…finishing his career as the Terrapins all-time leader in free throw percentage at 86.9%. In his four years he never missed more than 10 free throw attempts in any season.

Hayes was just as dangerous from beyond the arc. His career three-point shooting percentage was a very respectable 40%. And his 196 three pointers ranks him fourth in school history.

In dishing out 513 career assists, he ranks sixth on Maryland’s all-time list.

I will always remember Hayes’ quiet demeanor and that same expression on his face all the time, no matter what the score or situation.

What a tremendous playmaker…Thank you Eric Hayes!!!!!!!!

A Look Back: Landon Milbourne

 

So over the next few days I’m posting a little reflection piece on each of the three Terp seniors from this year’s squad.

Let’s begin a 6’7″ forward…from Roswell, Georgia…#1…Landon Milbourne!!! 

I don’t remember much of Landon during his freshman year. He didn’t get much playing time because MD was all set with Bombale “Boom” Osby, Ekene Ibekwe, and James Gist playing the forward positions.

But with the graduation of Mike Jones, D.J. Strawberry, and Ikene Ibekwe, it opened up a spot for Milbourne to get significantly more playing time in the 2007-08 year. He went from playing in 16 games to 33. His minutes shot up from just under 5 a game to 24.7. And although averaging just 8.2 ppg, he was a very solid 79% from the foul line and 39% from beyond the arc.

It was that year that he had a very impressive dunk against Florida State that I will always remember. He got the rock and from the triple threat position hesitated left and then zoomed left as Osby set in what in all honesty look like a moving screen. But nontheless Milbourne went along the baseline and slammed it in right over a helpless Uche Echefu. The Comcast Center just erupted after that dun. Here is a link to a video of the slam.

Even more improvement came in his junior year as well as an increased role helping out Dave Neal in the post. With the loss of Gist and Osby Landon naturally increased his rebounding totals. He averaged 5.2 over the course of the season and grabbed 11 total in a winning effort at Wake Forest.

Once again a certain dunk of his stands out in my mind from this season. It was a home game on Valentine’s day vs. Virginia Tech. This dunk originated out of a fast break. Milbourne was running down the court parallel to the ball handler, Cliff Tucker. Tucker dishes it and Landon gets it right around the foul line. He rose up and as he was flushing with his left arm extended, Hokie senior A.D. Vassallo attempted to get a body on him but ended up getting sucked into the wrong end of a thunderous finish. Check out the vid.

And this past season he started out ACC play with a very consistent scoring output. He scored in double digits in 7 of the Terrapins first 8 conference games. However Mr. Milbourne’s point totals took a dip down the stretch run of the regular season but he was still was a major factor in the team finishing the season winning 9 of 10 and claiming a share of the regular season conference championship.

He grabbed 7 boards, and scored 19 while going a perfect 7-for-7 from the charity stripe in the team’s first round NCAA tournament win over Houston.

Congrats Landon Milbourne on a fantastic career as a Maryland Terrapin!!!!!!

Michigan State 85 – Maryland 83

Michigan State's Korie Lucious celebrates his game winning shot against Maryland on Sunday

Well that was certainly an abrupt end to a stellar season by the Maryland Terrapins.

The first thing that ran through my mind as Korie Lucious drained his buzzer beater was “So this is what Georgia Tech felt like back on Feb. 20 when Cliff Tucker hit his crazy game winner.

If you are a supporter of the Terps I do not see how you can’t be proud of this year’s team. They far exceeded the expectations most had for them going into this season and did so in the most exhilarating fashion possible.

I read some comments online regarding the game and the naysayers and nitpickers are all saying the team played like garbage for most of the game and deserved to lose. And that is their opinion and they are entitled to it.

However the way I see it, looking back at how yesterday’s game concluded…you really could not have asked more in terms of effort.

Lucious made a layup with 2:09 left in the game to extend the Spartan lead to 9. The Terps then proceeded to go on a 10-0 run over the next 1:47. They did so by forcing turnovers with the pesky press and capitalizing on them by hitting big shots.

It looked as if the game was in hand when Greivis Vasquez hit a short jumper with 6.6 seconds remaining. But it wasn’t meant to be as Lucious hit the shot of the day to advance Michigan State to the Sweet 16.

Check out the gameflow chart (right) from ESPN.com. If you show me that chart without me ever seeing the game I would say the red team refused to accept defeat and had a never say die attitude. Going back to what I said earlier, that is the kind of team I want. They didn’t pack it in or start sulking when the chances of winning looked slim. They gave it their all and I will always remember that about this year’s team.

Check back this week for a look back at the careers of  seniors Greivis Vasquez, Landon Milbourne, and Eric Hayes.

Let The Madness Begin

Today marks the beginning of what is, in my opinion, the best sports weekend of the year.

The opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament. March Madness is officially here.

I always look forward to this time of year because the games, the excitement and the drama always seem to live up to the hype.

There are so many things to love about this great event. The upsets, the lost productivity amongst the American workforce due to time spent filling out/tracking brackets, and the passion of college basketball all make this weekend special

And how can you not love Gus Johnson of CBS calling these games with a type of enthusiasm that cannot be rivaled.

Let’s face it, nothing beats having the good part of a Thursday and Friday afternoon DOMINATED by college hoops. Don’t worry, the primetime coverage is still there for those who are not able to witness these matinée games, but you got to love having meaningful sports on during the time slots that 96% of the year are occupied by soap operas and Dr. Phil.

So sit back, grab a drink and your bracket, and enjoy the pure madness that is about to ensue.

Could there be a preview of the Terrapins first round matchup right here on this blog!?!?! Check back tomorrow for an update

Comcast goin nuts in the 2nd half


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