Every Monday, Baltimore Sun blogger and reporter Matt Vensel will rank the most significant athletes and events in Baltimore sports that week based on accomplishments on and off the field. Because, well, why not?
Today, I debut this fun weekly feature, which like any list of power rankings shouldn’t be taken too seriously. The timing isn’t great, as the Ravens are done and the Orioles are not yet playing games that matter, so there will be a heavy focus on off-the-field endeavors this week. But there was a lot going on in that realm, so much that an eventful week for Olympic legend Michael Phelps couldn’t help him crack my top five.
100. Preakness InfieldFest: Preakness organizers announced Monday morning that Pitbull and fellow rappers Macklemore and Ryan Lewis would headline InfieldFest at Pimlico on May 18. I get that the Maryland Jockey Club wants to appeal to a younger crowd. But while I may sound like an old curmudgeon for saying this, I don’t think of the sport of kings whenever I hear Pitbull spit out lines like “Mami got an a** like a donkey.”
99. Alex Len: Maryland big man Alex Len played one of his best games of the season in the upset win over Duke, but the potential NBA lottery pick had five points and four rebounds in the loss to Boston College and chipped in just nine points and eight boards against Clemson on Saturday. After that win, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon suggested that Len should treat every game as if he is playing Duke’s Mason Plumlee. Oomph.
5. Ed Reed: The safety will soon become a free agent. But while the Ravens were checking out potential replacements at the scouting combine, Reed was at the Oscars working the red carpet for Rich Eisen of NFL Network. I can’t wait to check out the footage from Reed’s interviews when they are aired Wednesday night.
4. Pat Skerry: The Towson men's hoops coach has the Tigers in second place in the CAA (though they are ineligible for postseason play). And after winning six of their past seven games, the Tigers can complete the largest single-season turnaround in DI college basketball history by winning their final two games.
3. Kevin Gausman: Gausman, the Orioles' first-round pick last June, made his first spring training appearance of his career Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, allowing one run in 1 2/3 innings. He allowed a double and walked two batters, but his fastball topped out at 98 miles per hour. He faces an uphill battle to make the Opening Day rotation, but if he continues to progress as expected, we should see him at Camden Yards at some point.
2. Tavon Austin: The Baltimore native and former Dunbar star stole the show at the NFL combine, running a 4.34 in the 40-yard dash. There will be plenty of buzz surrounding the versatile West Virginia wide receiver from now until April’s draft. Austin likely solidified himself as a first-round pick with his combine performance.
1. Jacoby Jones: After dancing in the end zone after three huge touchdowns during the run to the Super Bowl, the Ravens wide receiver said that he wanted to be on “Dancing with the Stars.” The folks at ABC were listening, and on Sunday night it was revealed that Jones would be a contestant on the dance competition TV show. Current or former NFL players have won the show three times, including former NFL wide-out Donald Driver last spring.