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It’s that time of the year to be teased.

We will be teased with semi-professional football games (but charged full price to go see them) all month long.  Roger Goodell hasn’t yet come up with a way to reduce the preseason games, so every team will endure at least 4 games this preseason.

I have returned from my hiatus, although I haven’t traveled too far.  I’ve once again come to the yearly conclusion that it is hard to follow other sports without obsessively following them.  

As Baltimore has no basketball team, the many people here that do watch basketball try to pick a favorite team they can lay claim to.  My choice (since the 2004-2005 Season, before the playoffs) is the San Antonio Spurs, and I have gotten over game 6 of the Finals

I was so ready to put up gloating messages on Facebook with 30 seconds left in the game, and instead the game went to overtime and the Heat won, along with the following game.]

I have tried my best to follow along with both the Orioles’ box scores and any major MLB news, but that is also tough.  I will root for my Orioles and watch whenever I can, but I just do not have the same passion as I do for the Ravens and football.

I think I’m finally at the point where I can name more Orioles starters than starters on any NFL team other than the Ravens.  For some reason however, reading that Vonta Leach has resigned with the Ravens is way more interesting to me than the Orioles shutting out the Red Sox 6-0 at Camden Yards.

If baseball had, say, half of the games they currently play year round, they’d have close to the same number of games as both basketball & hockey.  I will never be able to follow all 162 games of the Orioles in a given season, nor do I think I will ever watch 162 baseball games completely in my lifetime.  For football teams, every game matters (except preseason, but more on that later).  For baseball, it’s the only sport in perhaps the entire world where a team can lose 60 games and have the best record in the league.  (For those of you keeping score, that would be a record of 102-60)

Yesterday, the Orioles had a chance to reach the 60 win mark.  Sadly, they lost to the Astros 11-0.  Although, here’s the twist:

The day before, the Astros scratched starter Bud Norris and the Orioles beat their unprepared starter.  So yesterday, which was the MLB trade deadline (which really means non-waiver trade deadline), the Orioles traded for Bud Norris!

In baseball, it is very common for teams to make late in the year trades in order to get ready for the playoffs.  For some other teams, they accept they won’t make the playoffs anytime soon and trade for prospects

Although I have been following the recaps/box scores of the Orioles more so than the actual games, I am not worried about their playoff chances.  If you recall last year, they started hot, cooled down quite a lot midway through the season, and had a very hot streak for the last two or so months and made the playoffs.  So, for the Orioles to be 59-49 at this point and still in the running for the 2nd wild card spot, what’s there to worry about?  They’ve just hit their hitting slump, scoring slump, HR slump, & unlucky patch in July and should be able to move past all of that in August & beyond.

Also, August is the official return of football to our televisions.  The first preseason game will be this Sunday between the Cowboys and Dolphins in the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.  Speaking of which, former Ravens great Jonathan Ogden will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame as well.  He is the first Baltimore Raven player to be selected, and likely in 5 years Ray Lewis will join him.

The Ravens have their first preseason game on Thursday the 8th against Tampa Bay.  The Ravens have some history with the Buccaneers:

– In their first Super Bowl win, the Ravens beat the Giants in Tampa, FL.

– Two seasons later, the Buccaneers beat the Ravens 25-0 in week 2 and later went on to win their first ever Super Bowl.

– Of course, the Ravens got their revenge for the 2006 season opener by beating Tampa 27-0.

– The two teams had a more evenly matched game in 2010 which the Ravens got the better of.  Both were 7-3 at the start of the game.

When you watch the game this Thursday, expect to see the Ravens wearing their home jerseys, even though the game is in Tampa.  The reason becomes obvious when you consider that it’s early August and in Florida.

The first two games of a preseason will have so many players that will not make the final 53 player roster.  The third game, which is the most important one, will have the starters playing for about 3 quarters.  The fourth game will have the starters play maybe a possession or two, just to make sure they have their play calling in sync before the 1st game of the regular season the following week.

I’ll come back on Tuesday or Wednesday with more on the football front.

Until then, go O’s!