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Orioles open final bobblehead giveaway to fan vote

Five Orioles who have never been represented in bobblehead form are up for this year's AT&T Fans' Choice Bobblehead vote, with the winner to be featured as a giveaway during Fan Appreciation Weekend on Oct. 4.

Starters Wei-Yin Chen and Bud Norris join relievers Darren O'Day and Zach Britton, and first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce as this year's choices, with fans selecting a worthy winner by the April 30 deadline.

Each nominee has his own merits. Chen can tap into the international market and stack the ballot box in his favor through that. Norris has over 32,000 Twitter followers, so can most easily tap into that vein of voters.

O'Day isn't far behind in his social media reach, and has the added benefit of being a borderline cult hero among the fan base. Britton, too, is popular, and Pearce's emergence last year made him a 

So there's plenty of good choices, and only about a month to vote. Fans can vote via text message, or online on the team's website. Fans who vote using text...

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Hogan bets Maryland crabs against Memphis ribs

Gov. Larry Hogan and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam didn't mess around when it came to a friendly wager on tonight's women's NCAA tournament game between No. 1 seed Maryland and No. 2 seed Tennessee in the Spokane region final.

Hogan, confident the Terps will advance to the Final Four, called Haslam and bet a bushel of Maryland blue crabs against ribs from the world-famous Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous restaurant in Memphis.

“The Lady Terps are going to the Final 4; it’s that simple,” Hogan said. “Don’t forget the barbecue sauce, Governor Haslam!”

The game airs tonight at 9 on ESPN.

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Forbes values Orioles at $1 billion, gives fans high marks

Forbes Magazine's annual franchise rankings this year rate the Orioles as having the 10th-best fans in baseball, while the franchise value climbed over $1 billion for the first time.

According to its franchise valuation rankings, the Orioles are the 15th-most valuable franchise in the sport at $1 billion. The Orioles, like every other team, saw their franchise value skyrocket this year, due to the general buyers market when it comes to professional sports franchises and baseball’s booming media value.

In 2014, just five teams were valued by Forbes at $1 billion. Ten more teams, including the Orioles, joined that club in this year’s list.

This year’s “best fan” rankings, which appear to have replaced the most loyal fan rankings of old, are decided by five separate criteria.

From Forbes:

“Hometown crowd reach (defined by Nielsen Scarborough as a percentage of the metropolitan area population that watched, attended, and/or listened to a game in the last year), three years worth of...

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Maryland women celebrate with Barack Obama cutout after win over Princeton

The Maryland women’s basketball team faced an undefeated Princeton team last night with the knowledge that President Barack Obama had picked against them, and the Terps didn’t forget it after the game.

After dispatching the Tigers, 85-70, the Terps decided to let Obama, whose niece Leslie Robinson plays for Princeton, know that there were no hard feelings.

“Sorry, man, but we had to bust your bracket,” coach Brenda Frese said in a video of the postgame locker room scene, which set off a celebration among her players. She was holding a cardboard cutout of the president in a Maryland jersey.

They also posted a picture on the team's Twitter account  that featured team members posing with the cutout.

Given all the ugliness surrounding Robinson’s visit to Maryland, what with the unsubstantiated threats, it was nice for the Terps to add a little levity to the situation. It helped, of course, that they won handily.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jonmeoli

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Michael Phelps projected to win two more gold medals at 2016 Olympics

A projection system run 500 days before the start of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero has the world's most decorated Olympian, Michael Phelps, picking up two more gold medals in what would be his fifth trip to the Games.

The projection system, run by the Dutch company Infostrada Sports and posted by NBC Sports, has Phelps winning the 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter butterfly — both events he’s won gold medals in for the last three Olympics.

The Rodgers Forge native already has 22 total medals, including 18 golds (11 individual golds), and 13 individual medals. These two individual medals would give him 15, the all-time record for individual medals by a male or female.

Of course, Phelps has to go to Brazil and compete for these to either be a possibility. He hasn’t officially said one way or another whether he would compete in what would be his age-31 summer. But since he returned to competition, most everyone thinks he will.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jonmeoli

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Bears guard Matt Slauson endorses Marc Trestman to bolster Ravens offense

Chicago Bears guard Matt Slauson earlier this week endorsed his former head coach, Marc Trestman, to do great things in Baltimore ahead of Trestman’s first season as offensive coordinator.

“I think he is a really good fit,” said Slauson said Monday at an Ed Block Courage Award event. “I think it’s going to help him a lot to be back at the offensive coordinator level. Every place he’s been in the NFL as a coordinator, he has had tremendous success and I think he’s going to fit in really well here. The Baltimore offense is so powerful and explosive, the players on it are great. He can do whatever he wants with it.”

Trestman went 13-19 in two seasons with the Bears, following up a successful offensive campaign in 2013 with a disappointing 2014 season. Trestman came under fire at times for throwing too often at the expense of star running back Matt Forte. But he has said he’ll adapt his philosophies to the Ravens' run-first tendencies with one of the league’s top offensive lines and...

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