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O's 'O' in three words - 'POW! WHAP! BAM!'

February 10, 2005|by ANDY MASON

Landing Sammy Sosa is a home run for the Baltimore Orioles.

Actually, Sosa should be worth at least 40 homers for the O's this season, maybe even 50 if he stays healthy - and uncorked.

I've been an O's fan for a long time, and I can't remember them ever fielding a lineup quite like this one.

Just think about it.

Miguel Tejada led the major leagues in RBI last season with 150. Brian Roberts led the American League in doubles with 50. Melvin Mora was second in the AL in batting with his .340 average. Javy Lopez batted better than .300 (.316) with some power (23 HR, 86 RBI). Rafael Palmeiro added his 23 homers and 88 RBI. And Jay Gibbons, who struggled to stay healthy last year, is just two seasons removed from his 100-RBI season.

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Tejada and Sosa are both former league MVPs, while Sosa and Palmeiro will be the first 500-homer-club teammates and, who knows, maybe even the first 600-homer-club teammates.

Home runs are a big deal, which is why the trade for Sosa is such a big deal for Baltimore. If chicks do indeed dig the long ball, Camden Yards might be the place to be this summer for many reasons.

"It's a beautiful ballpark," Sosa recently told MLB.com. "We have a great lineup. It's going to be a beautiful year because I am happy and I am hungry."

But will Camden Yards be the place to be this fall? Most people, even O's fans, would say no, because the O's still can't pitch or compete with the Yankees or Red Sox in the East.

But wait. If team ERA means anything, the young O's staff - which did in fact win of 10 of 19 games from the World Series champion Red Sox last season and should only improve - was just above the fold last year, finishing seventh out of 14 American League teams with an ERA of 4.70. The Yankees were sixth at 4.69.

Getting back to home runs, the Orioles only gave up 159 of them last year. No AL team allowed fewer.

Hey, this time of the year I can bend any stat to reflect positive light on the O's. Sosa only makes my job easier this year.

Dodgeball

I saw the movie "DodgeBall" for the first time the other night and loved it. I've always been a sucker for a good underdog sports story.

Maybe that's why I also was pleased to learn that the Clear Spring girls basketball team finally snapped its 84-game losing streak last weekend. These certainly haven't been the easiest of times for the Blazers.

For the 2004-05 school year, here are the combined records for football, boys and girls soccer and boys and girls basketball (through Tuesday) for the Washington County schools that offer each of these sports:

North Hagerstown is 49-26-2, Boonsboro 46-35, Smithsburg 43-36, Williamsport 31-46-1, South Hagerstown 19-55-2 and Clear Spring 3-72.

Maybe the Blazers should consider adding dodgeball to their varsity schedule. After all, the sport did save Average Joe's Gym.




Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at andrewm@herald-mail.com

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