Get unlimited digital access to baltimoresun.com. $0.99 for 4 weeks.
Sports Blitz
News and analysis on the Ravens, Orioles, Terps and more
Amid talk of change, Orioles one-batter bullpen usage not among league's highest

With spring training just a few weeks away, the onslaught of ideas on how to make this baseball season better than the last is beginning to trickle out.

The baseball Twitter community is buzzing about a proposal, which FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reported was floated by Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein this fall, that relief pitchers be required to face more than one batter in a game.

That would all but eliminate the hyper-specialization of bullpen arms that Tony La Russa introduced nearly a quarter century ago, and produce the two-fold result of more offense (with less specialists brought in for a single batter) and increase the pace of play a bit by theoretically reducing the number of pitching changes and mound visits.

The proposal is getting good early reviews by fans and analysts, and based on how the Orioles have used relievers in the last few years, might even get support here.

Even with his (deserved) reputation as a master strategist, Orioles manager Buck Showalter...

Read more
Cal Ripken Jr. surprised Pocomoke High students who campaigned for him to speak at graduation

During the Orioles' playoff run in October, students at Pocomoke High School in Worcester County launched a #WeWantCal social media campaign to get Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. as their 2015 graduation speaker.

They posted Vine videos of themselves with Ripken’s iconic No. 8, tweeted at local and national media outlets to gain attention for the campaign and formed themselves in a giant “8” at midfield of their soccer field to show their commitment.

The efforts got on Ripken’s radar, and though a scheduling conflict kept him away from commencement this spring, Ripken paid the 340-student school a visit Wednesday.

The Ripken Baseball twitter account was providing updates of the event, which appeared to include a meet-and-greet with Ripken and a question-and-answer session.

Principal Annette Wallace tweeted that it was the “coolest day ever.”

I bet her students agree.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jonmeoli

Read more
John Harbaugh was top choice for Super Bowl coverage, NBC executive says

When NBC Sports executives began planning their Super Bowl XLIX pregame show before the season even began, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was their top choice as a guest analyst.

It turns out the Ravens’ 35-31 AFC divisional round loss to the New England Patriots was NBC’s, and the Super Bowl viewers’ gain.

“John Harbaugh was our target from before the season began because he’s got Super Bowl experience, and he is an engaging personality,” NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood said on a conference call Wednesday. “It’s an easy selection. After they got knocked out in the divisional round, that was our first thought, to reach out to John.

“Obviously, having just played the Patriots three weeks prior, it gives us an incredible insight on this team and in this time frame,” Flood added. “There’s a real relevance to this, and that’s why we think it’s an extra-good add to the team.”

Flood said Harbaugh will be part of several aspects of the show, including segments with host Bob Costas and the...

Read more
ESPN, Pro Football Focus study says Ravens' roster among NFL's best

While the two lucky teams who actually made the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, prepare for the game Sunday, a recent analysis shows just how close the Ravens’ roster was to carrying them that far.

ESPN and Pro Football Focus collaborated on a study that found the Ravens were among the closest teams, in terms of number of above-average players, to making the Super Bowl. The study found that Super Bowl teams have an average of 40 percent of above-average players among their top contributors, and the Ravens who finished with a 10-6 record, had just more than 36 percent of their players rated that highly.

The Dallas Cowboys had the requisite amount of players, while the Ravens, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles are all tied at two players away from a Super Bowl-caliber roster. That’s not terrible company to be in.

It’s a neat exercise by those involved, and features much more in-depth analysis than what can be provided here, but the...

Read more
Terrell Suggs may have to say Tom Brady's name as NFL Network analyst

Terrell Suggs famously refuses to say New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s name, but now, he might have to. The Ravens outside linebacker has been appearing on the NFL Network as part of its Super Bowl coverage, and Brady is basically the star attraction.

Suggs, a former Arizona State star, has plenty of reason to be in Arizona, where the Super Bowl activities seem to be spread out around Phoenix and Glendale, Ariz. He’s even hosting a party this week. And according to this tweet, he just showed up at their Arizona home base and said he was working for the NFL Network this week.

In the two clips available online, in which Suggs and an endless panel of former players and coaches discuss Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s Media Day shenanigans and readjusting to football preparation after Media Day, Suggs takes a couple of shots at the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick. But he never mentioned Brady’s name.

When the two teams played in the playoffs, Suggs feigned shock...

Read more
John Harbaugh will be an analyst on NBC's Super Bowl pregame show

Ravens coach John Harbaugh will have a role in NBC's coverage of Super Bowl XLIX.

Harbaugh, whose team finished two victories shy of their second Super Bowl appearance in three years, will appear on NBC’s pregame, halftime and postgame show, a team spokesperson confirmed Tuesday. His involvement was first reported by Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch.

Harbaugh, fellow Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy, former All-Pro and Super Bowl winning safety Rodney Harrison and host Dan Patrick will be part of a "Coach’s Clicker" segment where the two coaches analyze film and schemes of the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

The features will be part of a pregame show that starts at noon and features, among other things, minute-long hometown visits to players’ homes, segments on their wives, and an interview with Katy Perry, per Deitsch's rundown.

And yes, they’ll also touch on Ballghazi, and whatever recent developments arise from the investigation into claims that the Patriots'...

Read more
Loading