I try to write these sports columns as though I were talking to a woman with whom I was out on a first date. That means, unless something crazy has just gone down, like a blizzard or a hurricane, do not talk about the weather, and try at all costs not to keep jumping back on subjects just because you're comfortable with them (i.e. I've got this rad collection of Nintendo cartridges in my basement, and I bet I can recall every single title. Oh, I already mentioned that?). Sounds easy enough, yeah? Well, it's hard to do when the girl sitting across from you is yawning, and when your deadline is looming, so I'm going to break both of those rules in this column, starting with the weather (which I wrote about three weeks ago, I'm pretty sure).
It's April, folks, and I don't think the athletes of this county, or any county for that matter, should have to suffer through temperatures in the low 40s and 20 mph winds, as they did on Tuesday and Wednesday. I still have traumatic memories of standing in the outfield during early spring baseball games, whacking my ungloved hand against my thigh to keep it from going numb. Hopefully, my writing will strike a nerve with the sports gods and they'll ease up on frosty weather.
If you read this column regularly, you might have noticed I quit doing power polls, wish lists, fun-with-numbers, and also stopped doing the "upcoming games I'm excited about," pieces. Quite simply, someone pointed out that I was returning to the well much too often with those subjects, and I agreed. But, I would like a to do a spring predictions-wish list, just once while I still have wiggle room in the early part of the season. I will check back in a few months to see if I was right (hopefully), or full of beans (usually). Here goes:
1. The Chesapeake Division boys baseball race is a down-to-the-wire dogfight: I laughed when I wrote that out, because the Chesapeake Division's baseball race is awesome, every single year. Monday's game between C. Milton Wright and North Harford, which CMW won, 2-1, was a perfect indicator of the competition level. There you had two of the state's proven public school powerhouse squads duking it out in their first matchup of the season. My prediction is that the Chesapeake's top three teams, whichever order they finish in, will all be within two games of each other. There will be no runaway winner.
2. An UCBAC team (preferably from Harford County) wins a state softball title: C. Milton Wright won the Class 4A championship in 2006, the year before I started at The Aegis, but since then UCBAC softball teams have been blanked in the state title department. CMW and Perryville both made it to the finals in 2010, but were handed fairly sizable losses by bigger, badder teams (Northern and Allegany, respectively), and since then no one has made it back to the championship round. I would love to see that change this year, and, judging from the early-season action, I'd point to the aforementioned CMW and Perryville squads to be the ones to do it. As always, I'm pulling for the Harford County squad.
3. Orb wins the Kentucky Derby: If you read my feature story on the thoroughbred horse Orb, which won the Florida Derby last week and is going to run in the Kentucky Derby, you'd know that he was sired by Malibu Moon, a horse that used to reside at Bel Air's Country Life Farm, and is half owned by Mike and Josh Pons. Usually, I don't care one bit which horse wins the Kentucky Derby. I'm only interested inasmuch as the winning horse will go on to win the next two stages of the Triple Crown. But, since Orb has a Harford County connection, I'm rooting for him all the way.