The Baltimore Sun

NCAA bubble has already burst for another mediocre Terps team

On the bubble? Are you kidding me? Maryland's bubble burst when Clemson hit the three-pointer to put the Terps away last Sunday.

Maryland is a team with mediocre players and generally poor outside shooting that coach Gary Williams has managed to make competitive.

This is kind of a trademark of his. The downside is that, ultimately, talent prevails. In two recent losses, Bambale Osby has been a nonfactor. This ensures a loss.

Greivis Vasquez is a star, but his decision-making at the end of games is terrible. The perimeter defense frequently breaks down, and the Terps give up far too many driving layups in a half-court setup.

The fact that the Terps are among the nation's leaders in blocked shots is testimony, in part, to their poor defense against the drive or their failure to box out on the defensive boards.

The Terps also are vulnerable to the press. They struggle to advance the ball against pressure, while good teams beat pressure and score easy layups.

Maryland did work hard and got to a "bubble position." As for now, as the crowd at Dunbar in Baltimore used to chant when an opponent was vanquished: "Get your hat, your coat ... and LEAVE!"

Or, more aptly for the Terps: "Put a fork in 'em, they're done."

Dennis Sirman

Selbyville, Del.

Orioles' wait-and-see approach has been a bust for too many years

It is my hope that Andy MacPhail will not only change the Orioles' losing ways but also the way they conduct business, because the wait-and-see approach on signing players has cost the team dearly over the years.

A few examples: Brady Anderson could have been signed for $18 million for three years. Instead, the Orioles waited and signed him for $31 million for five years - and that was a total bust.

B.J. Ryan also could have been signed for $18 million for three years. Instead, they waited and he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays for $47 million for five years.

So the Orioles took the money they should have given to Ryan, who had come up through their farm system, and instead gave it to free agent Danys Baez. Ouch, that's going to leave a mark!

And don't even get me started on the Mike Mussina fiasco ...

The Orioles need to start locking up core players earlier and cheaper instead of waiting for the price to rise. It just makes good business sense.

Michael Block


Alienating your best players? That's the new 'Oriole Way'

Dan Connolly wrote in an article about Nick Markakis' contract situation ("Risky business," Wednesday) that the Orioles' organization cannot afford to alienate its best player, in reference to Markakis' paltry restructured contract for 2008.

To that, I must ask Mr. Connolly: Isn't that what the "Oriole Way" has been all about the past decade?

Patrick R. Lynch


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