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Greetings from The Booth!
Just some random thoughts that have been swimming around in my brain this week…
Is there any fan base that would be unhappy with 4-1 at this point in the season (with the exception of the “blue bloods”)? Apparently, there is a segment of Mountaineer Nation at WVU that is miserable over it’s team’s surprising start (West Virginia was picked to finish dead last in the Big 12). Two reasons for the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth: the contingency that wants Head Coach Neal Brown fired doesn’t want him to do well enough to stay beyond 2023. And many don’t think the Mounties are winning pretty enough. This is the same fan base that didn’t think three straight 9-3 seasons under Bill Stewart were good enough. I have had a long-time seat on the “Fire Neal” Bandwagon, but geez, let’s enjoy the wins, no matter how ugly they are.
Speaking of hot seats, two coaches that should be sitting on them right now are Washington Commanders’ Head Coach Ron Rivera and Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio. All was wine and roses after a 2-0 start, but after three straight losses, the natives are getting restless. A supposed “elite” defense is on pace to give up over 500 points, which would be a franchise record. That starts with Del Rio, who seems clueless, despite having what should be multiple playmakers on the D-line. As for Rivera, he looks totally detached from his team when he’s on the sideline. When asked what he said to the team at halftime of last Thursday’s blowout at the hands of the Chicago Bears, Rivera said he let the players hash it out. If that’s the case, what do we need Rivera for?
By tonight, the Baltimore Orioles’ magical season may be over. At the time of this post, the O’s are down 2 games to none in the best-of-five ALDS against Texas. No matter what happens tonight, this season has been a success. Just 2 seasons ago, the Orioles were 52-110 and dead last in the AL East. In 2022, they were a pleasent surprise, finishing 83-79, 31-game improvement from 2021, and way ahead of the rebuilding curve. This season, no one could have predicted a 101-win campaign and an AL East Division Championship. All that being said, the Birds probably have a 2-3 year window to win a League title or World Series. These young, exciting players are going to want their money at some point, and small market teams like Baltimore can’t pay everyone. Enjoy this run while it lasts…
Finally, there are the Nationals. Their improvement in 2023 is overshadowed by the team just 40 miles away, but their 71-91 finish this season was a 16-game improvement over 2022. Their rebuild seems to be on schedule, with a fun nucleus of players, and a restocked farm system. Build the pitching staff and add some power to the lineup (the Nats had a respectable team batting average, but a low home run total), and this team may be ready to contend by 2025. Patience, patience…
Those are my weekly tidbits…from The Booth!