As you probably know, the Ravens did sign a FA during the week- Marcus Spears, a career-backup OT who started 16 games for the first time in his 8-year career last season with the Chiefs.
You probably know about this because, at last count, there's about 19 articles written about the guy on the RavenInsider front page.
Not too hard-up for Ravens tidbits, are we?
(Greg informed me he's pitching in later this week with a series of Wes Pate-related Haiku for The Windbag Report. Look for it!)
ex: "Wes Pate. Drafted very late. Whatever."
You go, Greg-san!
Not that Spears is a trivial signing, mind you- The "late-bloomer" originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 1994 draft by da Bears will most certainly will be penciled in as a starting OT for the Ravens in 2002, and rightfully so. He did a pretty stellar job last season blocking for "some guy who led the NFL in rushing whose name will not be mention here for fear of (sniff) public displays of inconsolable blubbering" and may turn out to be an excellent pickup for Baltimore.
It's just that it's not that "BIG-TIME" free agent signing spoiled Raven fans have been accustomed to every off season.
(Come to think of it- Sam Adams at the time wasn't considered a "big" FA acquisition when we nabbed him relatively late in the 2001 off season. Almost an afterthought really, with Green Bay the only other team in the bidding for him)
And of course, the last true "headliner" we did land is now retired from football on account of sucking ass like an Oreck XL, not to mention being a erstwhile clowny saboteur who single-handedly gift wrapped two wins for his crap hometown team that miserable Ohio-bred couldn't wipe Dilfer's ass piece of..
..ahhh.. He didn't work out so hot.
Hell, it's probably a good thing we can't afford any big-ticket free agents as we enter "The Re-tooling." We seem to do better sifting the bargain bins for unpolished diamonds anyway.
Shine, Marcus. Or at least just avoid getting consistently lit up like a charred Vickers briquette. That'll work.
VIVA LOS ORIOLAS!!!
Grover's Heroes have bounced back from a shaky 4-11 start to one game over .500 at 16-15 thanks to solid starting pitching, an amazing young bullpen, and an amazingly rank KC Royals squad whom the birds just finished sweeping a season series from.
Even if this current foray above .500 turns out to be illusory, the O's have some talented youngsters who look like they'll be around doing some damage for years to come..and we owe it all to some deft and astute scouting in the Latin Americans!
Or rather, raping the teams doing the astute scouting, namely the Dodgers and Expos.
You don't truly think for one second I was referring to the O's Latin American scouting, do you? Por favor!
Our Latin America track record is el stinko. Drunk sailors in Tijuana whorehouses fare better.
Manny Alexander, anyone? How ‘bout Rickey Guttierez, currently tormenting the Cleveland Indians after a successful tour of duty punishing the Padres, Cubs and us. Even "cant miss" prospects like Armando Benitez end up missing low and outside once they take off the Red Wings cap and don the funbird sombrero. Ay yi yi...
What was poor Senor Sid to do? Start hitting up the boys who know what the hell they're doing south of the border, that's what.
The Dodgers and Expos are the El Jefes (last spanish reference, I swear..don't know any more) of harvesting the fertile Latin American baseball soil, and have been for ages.
Fireballing closer Jorge Julio was shoplifted from the Expos for Cal Ripken's heir apparent(ly not) Ryan Minor.
Doink!! Thanks yeeeew! (In truth, Sidney shouldn't brag about this- everybody rips off the ‘Spos. It's a baseball tradition, like bobble-heads.)
Gorgeous Jorge has the 97+ cheese of Armando Benitez (minus the yips and the glass-fragile emotional state of said) plus a monster-ass slider, and both are thrown for strikes. Could be the first bonafide stud closer the birds have had since Doug Jo...um, Greg Olson.
Less of a sure thing but gifted nonetheless is rookie starting catcher Geronimo Gil, who was obtained from the Dodgers for Mike "Trembler" Trombley. Gil has a cannon for an arm but was lacking in the power dept thus the Dodgers figured him expendable.
In a month with the birds, Gil has 5 dingers. Not too shabby. And, more importantly, up until he pulled a muscle in his leg a week ago he'd kept Brook Fordyce's wimpy bat on the bench. Bonus.
Add to these boys walk-on camp invitee Rodrigo Lopez (4-0) and O's fans had every reason to celebrate Cinco De Mayo.
And no, they don ned no steeking badges.
ARRRRRRRIBA!!!! (I lies...sue me)
(R.Maniac, Rant Legend can be found at http://ravens.theinsiders.com and moderates Rant 4 at http://citadel.ezboard.com/fnflfrm2)