1. Chris Davis hits two home runs…or not.
It’s been a rough week for the Baltimore Orioles (as in, lost 5 of their last 6 games rough), but no one had it worse than Chris Davis. On Saturday, July 4 he had a home run snatched out of the air when White Sox right fielder Avisail Garcia jumped high and made a spectacular (and can we say a little lucky?) catch. That one really smarted, because it would’ve tied the game. The very next day, Sox outfielder J.B. Schuck made an only slightly less spectacular catch, robbing Crush of yet another homer, this one over the left field fence. That one didn’t hurt quite as badly, though. The O’s went on to win the game, 9-1.
2. Four Orioles named to the All-Star team. Jones to start; Machado in Home Run Derby.
Fan voting was nearly sabotaged by those incredibly annoying Kansas City Royals but, nonetheless, four Orioles were named to the All-Star team: Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Zach Britton, and Darren O’Day. Jones and Machado were selected by player vote and O’Day and Britton, both first-time All-Stars, were selected by American League All-Star skipper Ned Yost. Thanks to their voting hijinks, Royals managed to vote in four starters, but outfielder Alex Gordon is injured and will be replaced by—hooray!—Adam Jones. In another surprising and fun twist, Machado is also participating in the Home Run Derby. We’ve always thought Machado, who gets stronger every year, will one day be a legitimate slugger, but he’s not there yet. On the other hand, it’s Manny Machado. Are you voting against him?
3. Ravens picked to win AFC North by The Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly and to be the best team in football by SI’s Peter King.
Okay, this makes us nervous. We prefer our Ravens to live under the radar—a hilarious place for them to live, when you think about it, since they’re recent Super Bowl champs and make a strong playoff showing pretty much every year. But this year, the writers at both The Sporting News and Pro Football Weekly are onto us, having predicted that the Ravens will win their division. And worse still, Peter King from Sports Illustrated predicts the Ravens to be the best team in football! Uh oh. But all hope is not lost! Pro Football Weekly thinks the Ravens will take the AFC North with a weak 9-7 record. Better still, The Sporting News picked the dreaded New England Patriots to come out of the AFC. Whew! We can still play the underdog card, after all!
4. Joe Flacco doppelgänger wanted by Anne Arundel County Police.
The Anne Arundel County Police posted a photo of a suspect in a car robbery to their Facebook page and anticipated the response. “We know how you all are, before you start, it isn't Joe Flacco. But who is it?”—they said of the fit looking white dude in a blue jersey sporting Flacco-esque facial hair. “It’s his brother, Moe Flacco,” one wag offered. As of today, the Not!Flacco bandit has yet to be found.
5. Women's World Cup final, most watched soccer match ever in U.S., was awesome.
It just wouldn’t feel right to do an overview of this week in sports without offering a hearty congratulations to the amazing, inspiring, we’ve-run-out-superlatives-to-describe-them U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer team. With the U.S. team scoring four goals against Japan in the span of 15 minutes, the game almost seemed tailor made to shut up all those naysayers who think soccer is “boring” or that women’s sports aren’t as exciting as men’s. (Ha!) And the ratings don’t lie. The match—which the U.S. won by a final score of 5-2—was the most-watched soccer match in this country ever, with Baltimore as the 7th biggest market. We know a great team when we see one here in Baltimore.