Nationals

No. 10 Oklahoma aims for more after Texas blowout

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No. 10 Oklahoma aims for more after Texas blowout

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) At Oklahoma, there's no feeling quite like plopping the Golden Hat trophy on your head and walking off the Cotton Bowl field with a victory against rival Texas in hand.

Even so, the 10th-ranked Sooners (4-1, 2-1 Big 12) know it can get much better than that. When Bob Stoops has his teams playing at their best, a Red River Rivalry win often means there's a championship in store when the end of the season comes.

It didn't happen that way after last year's Red River Rivalry blowout, with the Sooners scuffling through a win at Kansas that foreshadowed three losses in the second half of the season. They want to reverse that trend when the last-place Jayhawks (1-5, 0-3) visit Norman on Saturday night after this year's Red River rout.

``This year, we're not just peaking. We're going to continue to work,'' safety Javon Harris said. ``We're not going to stop doing what we've been doing.

``I don't think that we're done. We're really just getting started.''

Under Stoops, the Sooners have never suffered enough of a letdown after the emotional Texas game to lose their next time out. They're a perfect 13-0, including five wins against Kansas. But last season, the 55-17 blowout of the Longhorns ended up being the high point of the season. Losses to Texas Tech, Baylor and Oklahoma State spoiled a promising start and Oklahoma settled for a trip to the Insight Bowl after holding the preseason No. 1 ranking.

``You can look back on that and just learn from your mistakes and learn that one game doesn't determine your season,'' quarterback Landry Jones said. ``Each game will determine where you want to go at the end of the year.''

The Sooners provided a strong response after losing to Kansas State last month, bouncing back with consecutive wins against Texas Tech and Texas. Now, they're dealing with the return of high expectations and even talk that the national championship could be a possibility if a handful of teams lose.

But will that atmosphere have an adverse effect?

``I don't know,'' Stoops said. ``I guess it all depends on the team or the person. In the end, it shouldn't. Hopefully when you have a mature team, they understand what they're doing correct, they understand what they're not doing as well as they should, regardless of what anyone else says about them.

``Hopefully our guys will do that, continue to improve in the areas we feel we can and keep pushing for more. The mature teams do that.''

Part of that maturity will be require keeping the same standard of preparation for Kansas, which has lost 15 straight conference games and 26 of its last 27, even with No. 5 Notre Dame next on the schedule.

``You can't think that now that we've had some success, we've made it and we don't have to work anymore and we don't have to go out and practice hard anymore,'' Jones said. ``Those are the things that have got us to this point, so we have to keep building on the way we're practicing.''

The Jayhawks have been pulling out all the stops to stay competitive in games, faking punts and field goals and last week replacing starting quarterback Dayne Crist with redshirt freshman Michael Cummings. With Cummings taking the snaps, Kansas scored 14 straight points and had the ball with the chance to take the lead late in a 20-14 loss to Oklahoma State.

First-year coach Charlie Weis wouldn't say who would start against Oklahoma.

``Dayne's a competitor,'' quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus said. ``He wants to play. He doesn't want to come off the field. If he's not on the field, he'll be supportive, he'll be engaged - which he was on Saturday - and anything other than that, I would be disappointed if that was the case.''

``There is a drastic difference between Dayne and Michael, there's no doubt about it, but Michael has come a long way.''

Whoever gets the call will face an Oklahoma defense that came up with eight three-and-outs, three takeaways and a safety while overwhelming the Longhorns.

``They're going through a lot of different schemes, trying to find an identity and that's always going to be the case with an offense starting for the first year,'' Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops said. ``They show a variety of different looks. They change it week in and week out.''

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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

For a long time, Major League Baseball had the best, most exciting trade deadline among the four major sports. In recent seasons, that excitement has been eclipsed by the popularity of the NBA, but baseball still stands ahead of football and hockey in terms of in-season movement.

In an effort to shake things up a bit, baseball’s trade deadline underwent some changes in the offseason.

Notably, while July 31 has always been deadline day, in past years it was a bit of a misnomer. July 31 was technically just the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline in years past. The month of August has always allowed trades to be made as long as players pass through waivers. If a player is claimed off waivers, his team can either pull him back, let him go for nothing, or negotiate a deal with his claiming team only.

This obviously made for much more limited movement in August, but it was always an option. 

Not anymore. Now? July 31 the *only* deadline.

The August revocable waivers trade deadline was always a bit convoluted, and it never made much sense to have more than one deadline. So it’s logical to think the powers that be would want to simplify things for the league.

Reportedly, Major League Baseball is hoping the change will not only help simplify in-season moves, but also help jumpstart offseason activity. The thinking is if teams have even just one fewer option to improve their roster midseason, then contenders will be forced to get aggressive in the offseason.

It remains to be seen if that will come to fruition, but one forthcoming change does seem pretty obvious. The singular trade deadline should make for a much more active July.

Both buyers and sellers have to commit to a direction earlier in the season now. Last year, for example, the Nationals executed their mini-firesale in mid-August, once it had become clear they were not going to compete for the postseason. At the end of the July they were still undecided, which is why they held onto Bryce Harper.

Considering how long it can take major deals to come together, teams have to essentially decide by the All-Star break if they are in or out on competing for October. It will be especially difficult for teams to read the writing on the wall when they are hovering around .500.

As of this writing, there are 10 teams within six games of .500 in either direction, and that doesn’t include organizations like the Red Sox, Nationals and Athletics who have quality records but are way behind runaway division leaders. Will they want to trade away controllable assets for a shot at a one-game Wild Card berth?

General Managers who can forecast their team’s likelihood of competing, and respond accordingly, will be rewarded under the new system. Orioles GM Mike Elias already began his team’s sell-off, trading Andrew Cashner away weeks before the end of July. By contrast, in 2018 both Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman were moved by the Orioles with under an hour to go on deadline day.

It’s hard to perfectly predict all the ways rule changes can affect a sport, but in the case of the singular trade deadline, it’s obvious that teams are now required to commit earlier, with fewer games of information from which to work.

That’s exciting for a sport that could use some more player movement-related excitement.

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Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that detailed the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and FIFA World Cup. Earlier this summer we gave you some spots around Nationals Park too.

With summer 2019 halfway through and baseball in full swing, it's time to highlight the go-to spots to eat and drink around the ballpark that forever changed baseball. 

In no particular order, consider these: 

Pickles Pub, 520 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Across the street from Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  • Always packed, it's the number one go-to bar for Orioles fans before and after the games 
  • A dozen beers on tap, both local and national brands
  • Great deals throughout baseball season

Sliders Bar and Grille, 504 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another bar adjacent to Camden Yards
  • Less crowded than Pickles, but just as good when it comes to snacks and drinks
  • Bottle, canned, and draft beer options
  • Gameday specials built around the Orioles season

Abbey Burger Bistro, 1041 Marshall St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • A bit further (about a mile walk) but well worth it
  • Famous for, you guessed it, their wide selection of crafted hamburgers
  • Endorsed by Oriole legend Adam Jones, who even created a burger for their menu
  • Also make spiked milkshakes for adults looking to cool off with a tasty treat

The Yard, 110 S Eutaw St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Inside the Marriott Inner Harbor 
  • Quieter, less-crowded option compared to more popular pregame locations
  • Crab-based breakfast options for fans looking for an early start

Camden Pub, 647 W. Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Two blocks from Camden Yards
  • Special discounts with game tickets
  • Variety of food options, including well-known wings

Quigley's Half Irish Pub, 633 Portland St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Federal Hill location, a block away from the stadium
  • Another less-crowded option, with standard bar fare
  • Just as likely to host baseball fans and neighborhood regulars alike

Pratt Street Ale House, 206 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Three blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards 
  • Dozens of beer options, plus signature cocktails and wine choices aplenty
  • Well-known nightlife spot for postgame celebrations

Seafood Options:

L.P. Steamers, 1100 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Have to drive instead of walk (9 minutes by car)
  • Considered a go-to spot for Maryland-style seafood 
  • Mentioned specifically by Manny Machado upon his return to Baltimore

Phillips Seafood, 601 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minute walk to Camden Yards, right in the heart of the Inner Harbor
  • Huge letters outside the building a part of the local skyline
  • Famous for their crabcakes, but serve all kinds of seafood and non-seafood options

Rusty Scupper, 402 Key Highway, Inner Harbor Marina, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another slightly further, pricier option for local seafood
  • Beautiful view right on the water
  • Live patio entertainment
  • Happy hour from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Monday through Friday

Postgame Dessert Options:

Insomnia Cookies, Federal Hill, 1059 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • 20-minute walk from the stadium
  • Wide variety of deluxe cookie options, plus brownies, ice cream, cake and dessert sandwiches
  • Open until 3 a.m. every night

Polar Roll Creamery, 600 E Pratt St Suite 105, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minutes from Camden Yards, on the Inner Harbor 
  • Rolled ice cream
  • Watch yourserver roll the ice cream in front of you

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