Each morning, Monday through Friday, I'll hook you up with reading material to skim through as you slug down coffee and slack off at the start of your workday -- that way I'll have an excuse to do the same at the start of mine.
Running it back:
The Orioles, who got a short outing from starter Chris Jakubauskas and another punchless performance by the offense, are a season-high seven games under .500 after a 5-1 loss to the Cardinals. ... Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail touched base with J.J. Hardy's agent this week to begin talks about a potential contract extension for the hot-hitting shortstop. ... The inability of the Baltimore rotation to go deep into games led to the release of reliever Clay Rapada on Wednesday. ... All signs point to the NFL and players inching closer to a labor agreement that would not only save the season but keep training camps and exhibition games intact. ... Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom won't race again this season.
Hitting the links:
1. Peter Schmuck: It's gotten to the point where Vladimir Guerrero needs to be moved out of the cleanup spot [Baltimore Sun]
2. John Eisenberg: The clock is ticking on Vlad [CSN Baltimore]
3. The Orioles are reaping the rewards after taking a risk on J.J. Hardy [Carroll County Times]
4. This is becoming another Groundhog Day baseball season in Baltimore [Orioles Insider]
5. What if the Orioles never win again? [Loss Column]
6. Chris Jakubauskas talks about facing Lance Berkman for the first time since his trip to the hospital [Orioles Insider]
7. Dylan Bundy was honored by USA Today [Tulsa World]
8. Looking at the Ravens' worst moments [Pro Football Talk]
9. Ray Lewis is the NFL's best leader [ESPN]
10. John Harbaugh is the NFL's best ego manager [ESPN]
11. How will Chad Ochocinco be remembered? [Cincinnati.com]
12. Public records offer a glimpse into the Maryland men's basketball coach search [Tracking the Terps]
13. Maryland football wants you to refer a friend [D.C. Sports Bog]
You said it:
"He is such an amazing athlete in left field, I question whether or not he was born on this planet." -- reader LittleMugsy06 has some fun with Luke Scott about the left fielder's nice catch Tuesday
Video of the morning:
Analyst-on-analyst violence: Eric Byrnes lays out Harold Reynolds on MLB Network [via Hot Clicks]
Send me your funny and/or interesting links, photos, YouTube videos, blogs, Tweets, comments, emails, ideas, etc. If I deem them to be worthy for the blog, I'll give you a plug. You can reach me at Matt.Vensel@baltsun.com and twitter.com/mattvensel.