Archive for May, 2010


Mishap in Canada

By Jesse Jones

Thursday, Baltimore Orioles’ outfielder Adam Jones was detained by immigration officials in Toronto shortly after landing.  Officials believed that Jones had a criminal record, and according to Canadian authorities, and players with a past criminal record may be detained and not allowed to enter Canada, resulting in a player missing games.

Jones was released around 5 AM, and has been allowed to play in this weekend’s series against Toronto, including last night’s 5-0 loss.  Canadian officials mistook him for somebody else, which is understandable as there are many “Adam Jones” in the world.

One other Oriole player was detained as well, but Jones did not say who.


Caps-Penguins in 2011 Winter Classic

Picture from Winter Classic in 2008 between the Sabres and Penguins

By Ben Linton

Ovechkin and Crosby. Capitals and Penguins. Two of the biggest player/team rivalries in the sport of hockey will collide on New Years Day at Heinz Field. This will be the fourth installment of the Winter Classic, where teams play an outdoor hockey game, ad element that has been recently implemented to get some buzz growing about the sport.

I really think this is a great thing for the sport of hockey. Recently the sport has gained a lot more notoriety with its superstar players like Ovechkin and Crosby, underdog stories like the (gulp) Canadiens and Flyers (down 3-0 in playoffs, came back to win series), and with this Winter Classic. It seems like hockey is on the rise and headed in the right direction, which is a good thing to see.


Look At All The Love We’ve Found: Bradley Nowell Tribute

By Ben Linton

Hey everyone. So today I felt in the mood to write about something different besides sports to give this blog a little change of pace and switch things up a little. I’ve decided to write a tribute to one of my favorite musicians and influences, Bradley Nowell, who died 14 years ago on this exact date.

Music always played a prominent role in Bradley Nowell’s life from the beginning. His mother Nancy was a singer that had perfect pitch and his father Jim played folk songs on the guitar. On holidays, Bradley would play and sing songs with his Dad, grandfather, and uncle for hours and hours at a time. From the beginning, Bradley and those around him new that music was his gift and he would one day share it with the world.

Bradley James Nowell was born February 22, 1968 in Long Beach, California. At age 10, his parents split up and Bradley went to live with his mom for four years. Bradley’s life was forever changed when he went on a trip to the Virgin Islands and discovered reggae music at age 11. When he moved back to Long Beach with his Dad, he was able to blend the music he heard in Jamacia with the surrounding genres that were present at the time and created a beautiful sound.

At age 13, Nowell started his own band, Hogan’s Heroes. This was how he met bassist Eric Wilson. Then when Nowell went to Cal State Long Beach for college he met drummer Bud Gaugh. In 1988, one semester before graduating from school, Nowell dropped out to chance his dream. The trio formed a band and Sublime was born.

Sublime from left to right, Bud Gaugh (Drums), Eric Wilson (Bass), Bradley Nowell (Guitar/Vocals)

At first the band just played at a couple clubs and house parties around Southern California. They had become very popular along the campus of Cal State Long Beach and were well known from San Diego to Santa Barbara. The band created a perfect blend of ska, dub, punk, funk, rap, and reggae that was easy on the ears but at the same time very emotional and powerful.

In 1992, Sublime released their first album, “40 oz. to Freedom” under Nowell’s record label of Skunk Records. Nowell would sell copies of the CD from the trunk of his car after every show. The album sold 60,000 copies and although Sublime was very popular among the inhabitants of Southern California, they had not landed a deal with a major record label.

Sublime-Date Rape

Due to his frustration and rejection from major record companies, Nowell began to experiment with drugs like Heroin and Cocaine. He felt justified in his abuse, arguing that it aided his artistic creativity, which would increase the chances of Sublime attracting major labels. Part of Nowell was never satisfied, because he was never able to achieve the mainstream success that he so greatly desired. In 1994, Sublime’s second album, “Robbin’ the Hood” was written at the peak of Nowell’s heroin abuse, which is prevalent in many of the tracks. In the song “Poolshark,” Nowell foreshadows to his own demise with the lines “Now I got the needle, and I can shake/ But I can’t breathe/ I take it away but I want more and more/ One day I’m gonna lose the war.”

Poolshark (Acoustic-Sublime)

About a year later, a Los Angeles area rock station KROQ began playing the single “Date Rape” from 40 oz. to Freedom. This eventually led to Sublime being signed to the Gasoline Alley label of MCA Records by Jon Phillips, who subsequently became the band’s manager. Due to this success, Nowell decided to clean up and went to rehab. In 1995, Sublime co-headlined the Vans Warped Tour. Also around this time, Nowell began to start dating Troy Denkker.

Brad and Troy met in 1993 at a Sublime show in San Diego. Troy was somebody that Nowell could confide in about his abuse, and she was there to nurture him and take care of him. When Nowell went into rehab to clean up, Troy found out that she was pregnant. They had a beautiful baby boy named Jakob, who was born 11 months prior to release of the self-titled album. The two decided to get married and buy a house and start a family and begin a new chapter in their lives. But Bradley decided to regress into his old habits and began doing drugs again. He figured that he had everything he needed; a Wife, a Son, a House, that he should be able to reward himself for his accomplishments with no harm done.

Bradley signing to his son Jakob, inside cover of the album "Sublime"

In 1996, Sublime began recording their final album “Sublime.” His drug use was so bad that it led him to pawn off his instruments, influencing the song “Pawn Shop.” On May 25th, 1996, seven days after his marriage to Troy, two months before the release of Sublime’s next album, Bradley Nowell overdosed on Heroin at the Oceanview Motel in San Francisco and died at age 28.

When Nowell died, he was tired of letting people down, including himself. He was tired of trying to stay clean. Everything had just taken its toll and eventually this led to his downfall. When Bradley Nowell died, Sublime died.

When “Sublime” was released, the band just began to get famous, which Brad would never live to see. They entered the Billboard Top 20 with the single “What I Got.” The song went to No. 1 on the Modern Rock Charts. In 1997, Sublime continued to churn out hit after hit, followed by “Santeria,” “Wrong Way,” and “Doin’ Time.” The album has sold 2 million copies to date.

In light of this success, Bradley Nowell can finally rest in peace. His lifelong dream had come true, even though his short-lived time on earth was never able to see it happen. Most people don’t realize that he is dead, I constantly find myself reminding people that there will be no more Sublime albums with Bradley on vocals or guitar.

I truly believe that Sublime would have become one of the most popular rock-reggae bands of all time, and enjoy the success of bands like Green Day and The Offspring. They played a critical role in reviving punk music in the 1990s, and even gave birth to ska-punk in Southern California. Their music was such a perfect fusion of dance-hall, fun-loving vibes with rock-steady reggae rhythms and an aggressive punk edge. Their ability to switch between these different grooves, sometimes in the same song like “Seed,” was truly uncanny. They paved the way for so many other bands like No Doubt, Slightly Stoopid, and Pepper. Eric and Bud have tried other projects such as Long Beach Dub All-Stars and have recruited Rome Ramirez to become the new frontman of their band Sublime with Rome, but nothing will ever come close to sounding like Sublime or Bradley ever again.

So I leave you all with quotes from Nowell:

“Livin with Lou Dog’s the only way to stay sane, Let the lovin’, let the lovin’ come back to me” –What I Got

“Just let the lovin take ahold, cuz it will if you let it,” –Boss D.J.

“All that I need, Look at all the love we’ve found” –S.T.P.



Washington, Webb Receive Good News

fabian washington lardarius webb

By Jesse Jones

Last season the Baltimore Ravens lost corners Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb to season-ending ACL injuries. Washington injured his in Week 11, and Webb got injured in Week 15.

Recently, they both visited Dr. James Andrews, one of the most visited doctors for sports injuries. Washington was told great news, and tweeted it saying ” Dr.Andrews told me I was doing great and I’ll be ready for camp” (@FABEWASH31). Webb got news that he is also on track, and has been doing cuts and backpedaling in his work outs.

The Ravens have very limited depth at the corner position.  Washington was starting on the other side of Domonique Foxworth until his injury, and Webb, who took over for Washington, played exceptionally well for a rookie and has shown a lot of potential.

With Washington returning to camp, and Webb on track for the start of the season, Baltimore has less worrying to do about their secondary.


Questionable Decisions

Picture from today's game between the Orioles and Nationals

By Ben Linton

The Washington Nationals used a four-run sixth inning to come back and defeat the Baltimore Orioles today at Nationals Park. With the bases loaded and one out, First Baseman Adam Dunn hit a two-RBI single off of Mark Hendrickson to put the Nats up 7-6 for good. But this all could have been avoided if it weren’t for a lack of managerial decision making.

In the top of the sixth, the Orioles has gained a 6-3 off of a Ty Wigginton two-run homerun, and had runners on first and third with two outs. Pitcher Brad Bergesen was up, who had given up 3 runs in his 5 innings of work and thrown 87 pitches, which was relatively high. Instead of pinch hitting for Bergesen and trying to add to the lead, manager Dave Trembley decided to let Berg hit, and of course he grounded out to end the inning.

It would be a decision that would cost them when in the bottom of the same inning, the Nationals would rip Bergesen for three consecutive hits and two runs without getting an out. Mark Hendrickson would go on to relieve, but due control issues would not fare any better and blew the lead.

This lack of judgement and a managerial lapse cost the O’s this win and a possible series victory. It makes me start to wonder if Trembley is the problem with the O’s failures right now. He is a very fiery guy that seems to be great with the players, and I respect and admire that. But you would like to see him make smart baseball decisions out there, and today he messed up.

Hopefully the team and manager can redeem themselves tomorrow as the O’s and Nats wrap up part one of the Beltway Series tomorrow.


The Expendables: Album Review

By Ben Linton

Now that summer time is almost here, a lot of good ska bands that play great music for those summer days are releasing new material. The Expendables are ska band from Santa Cruz, California that has a unique blend of styles, playing anything from metal to reggae, sometimes even switching back and forth between songs. On May 11th, the band released their newest album Prove It and did not disappoint, giving fans exactly what they expected and wanted. However, as noted by the title, with this album (the band’s fifth), the guys felt like they had something to prove. They wanted to show that they have grown as a band, and can expand out into new musical territories and succeed while doing so.

This can be shown in the first track How Many Times when the vocals hit you right in the face as the song starts. But if you listen closely, somethings sounds different from the typical Expendables song. Singer Geoff Weers’  changes his voice to a lower sound, rather than the more unique and distinct style that we were used to hearing. Many times on the album he changes his signing voice depending on the song, because in the following track “Get What I Need,” he goes back to his old singing ways. Just another exampleof the band experimenting with something new on the album and still sounding solid.

Since this the same band that gave you “Bowl for Two,” you know that there will be a track about a certain green substance on the album. This time, it is Come Get High. But don’t underestimate the song even if you are rolling your eyes at the meaning. This is actually a very well put together track and has more dimensions to it then previous Expendables songs. Another highlight of this album is “Positive Mind,” a song with a catchy guitar licks, a relaxing vibe, and very happy, inspiring lyrics. The following track, “Night Mission” may be one of the band’s best musical tracks; you really feel like you are on a night mission when you listen to it.

One thing that really impressed me with this album was the growth of drummer Adam Patterson. Not only are his drum beats better from previous albums and fills more advanced than before, his vocals are superb. Adam has never been the main singer on any of the Expendables hit songs, and frankly some of his songs were boring, but this time around all of the songs he sings are very well put together. For example, “I Ain’t Ready” is a groovin’ song with jazz instruments, which is the first time The Expendables have implemented brass instruments on any of their songs. “One Drop” is an upbeat, happy, and fun song with a very catchy chorus. Coming from one drummer to the next, I give him lots of props because people often underestimate how hard it is to play the drums and sing, let alone do both at the same time while still sounding good.

With this new album, the Expendables have kept the rock/reggae scene alive and running and have definitely proven their point. I highly recommend that you hit up your nearest CD store and check this album out.


Evaluating The Options For Number 1

john wall
evan turner demarcus cousins

By Jesse Jones

John Wall is the sure pick to go number one in this year’s NBA Draft.  But there are some other players that the Washington Wizards could use, and choose with their first pick.

One alternative is the reigning player of the year, Evan Turner.  Turner, Ohio State’s start shooting guard, averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 6 assists last season.  If the team decides to keep Gilbert Arenas as their starting point guard, which they have claimed they would do, Turner would be an excellent fit as Arenas’ number two.

Another option is Kentucky forward/center DeMarcus Cousins.  Cousins is 6-11, 270 pounds, a huge body that Washington does not have.  He averaged 15.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks last season.  Next to Andray Blatche and/or a free agent, Washington’s frontcourt could be pretty solid.

But these two options does not mean that the team is considering not taking John Wall, they are just some possibilities.  Wall has Derrick Rose quickness and skill, something that is not easily passed up on.  He was the number one recruit in the nation, and is the projected number one pick in this year’s upcoming draft.  If Wall is chosen, there’s an extremely high chance he will be the starting point guard next season in Washington.

Drafting John Wall would also be the equivilant of drafting Alexander Ovechkin.  Ted Leonsis, who is the owner of the Washington Capitals, is very close to reaching a deal in June to become the owner of the Washington Wizards.  Ovechkin has changed the culture of the Caps, and has brought great success for the Caps.  Wall can do the same for the Wizards.

So where does that leave Gilbert Arenas, who still has that huge contract?  Put Arenas at the two, as we have seen that he is a prolific shooter.  This backcourt would be deadly in the NBA.

These are just suggestions for the Washington Wizards, and by no means what is going through their heads.  However, none of these options would be a bad choice.


Wizards Win Lottery, Get First Pick In 2010 Draft

Irene Pollin Stunned After Wizards Win Lottery

By Jesse Jones

After two consecutive seasons of failure, countless injuries, gun problems inside the locker room, and poor attendance, the Washington Wizards have finally caught a break.

Tuesday night the NBA Draft Lottery took place in Secaucus, New Jersey.  The Washington Wizards had the fifth best (10.3%) chance of winning the lottery.  Despite this, the team was in the final three, which also concluded the New Jersey Nets and Philadelphia 76ers.  After New Jersey was called, followed by Philly, Washington was called as the winner.  Representing the team was Irene Pollin, part owner of the team.  Her husband, Abe Pollin, who founded the team, passed away in November.

With this first pick, Washington is expected to chose Kentucky freshmen sensation John Wall.  Wall averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 assists, and 1.8 steals in 37 games last year.  He helped Kentucky earn a record of 35-3, and the number one spot in the college standings for the majority of the season.

The 2010 NBA Draft will be help June 24 in New York.


Backstrom Signs Huge Deal

nicklas backstrom

By Jesse Jones

Nicklas Backstrom had a huge year for the Washington Capitals this season.  He had career-highs in goals, 33, and assists, 68.  These 101 points propelled him into fourth in the league in points.  He has also played in every game for the past three seasons.

Backstrom’s performance helped the Caps to a record setting regular season (yes, the playoffs were a complete dissappointment), and he was rewarded with a 10-year, $67 million contract with Washington.

This signing is the second huge deal from the Capitals and general manager George McPhee.  Three years ago, Alexander Ovechkin signed a 13-year, $124 million contract.  Ovechkin and Backstrom are the Caps two best players, and now they are with the team for the next decade.

Yes, the regular season success has not been rewarded with much success in the playoffs, but the front office is doing a great job.  They are bringing in guys that want to win, and have the talent to do so.  Washington was so close to having a championship this year, but couldn’t win when it counted.  Now that they have secured the best two players on the team, maybe other stars from the NHL will see the committment from the front office, and help Washington get its first ever Stanley Cup.



By Ben Linton

Down 5-1 in the 8th inning, it seemed as if the Orioles were on there way to another loss by the hands of the Mariners. Even when newcomer Corey Patterson belted a solo homerun with no one out just seemed like a meaningless stat. But the O’s made more noise when they loaded the bases for Luke Scott, who came through with a grand slam to put the O’s ahead 6-5.

But the fun did not end there. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, runners on first and second, Ichiro Suzuki singled to left and Josh Wilson circled around third heading for home. Corey Patterson, who was in left field, threw a strike to Matt Wieters at home, tagging him out just in time to seal the victory.

It was arguably the best win of the season, as the O’s win the series two games to one. A great way to grab some momentum heading into the next few series’, which are against beatable opponents in Cleveland (13-19) and Kansas City (12-23). It was also nice to see Corey Patterson come up big today, and to see Luke Scott get out of his slump. It looks like everything is starting to fall in place for the Orioles.

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May 2010