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The 15: Baltimore Sports Landscape In 10 Years

April 15, 2016
As PressBox celebrates its 10th anniversary, our staff got together to come up with 15 outrageous predictions for what the city's sports landscape may look like in 10 years.  
1. Michael Phelps' 10-year-old son wins gold at the Junior Olympics.
With the 18-time Olympic gold medalist having moved to Arizona, we're not certain if Spawn Phelps will be a "local" athlete we'll be covering much for PressBox. The little fella is due this summer just before his father is slated to participate in (for real this time) his final Olympic Games. Also, there's a "swimmer" joke to be made here, but someone else is going to have to be the one to do it. 

2. The NFL's safety rules become so stringent that games are played entirely inside bouncy castles.
Which, when you think about it, might actually be a lot of fun. It would neutralize speed a bit, but it would do wonders for guys like Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta, who just can't stay healthy. Obviously, it will be tougher for receivers to plant and cut -- but health comes first. The Ravens spent 13 years playing on turf before making the switch to grass this year. Ten years seems about right before converting to plastic and processed air. 

3. Royal Farms Arena is still the arena in Baltimore, but there's been an upgrade.
This will be great for the city, which has waited for an arena upgrade for some time. Now it won't exactly be a major structural upgrade, nor will it do anything about the peculiar "box" seating arrangement that leaves corner seats with rather undesirable angles. You see, the upgrade will actually be just converting the entire building into a half arena/half Royal Farms store. There's absolutely nothing that can bring the entire community together quite like Baltimore's best fried chicken. This is a major victory for everyone. 

4. The Orioles-Nationals MASN Dispute is still ongoing … and the Orioles will never be awarded an All-Star Game.
To echo French novelist Alphonse Karr, Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw and also great American poet Kenny Chesney, "The more things change, the more they stay the same." 

5. Manny Machado is in the seventh year of his 15-year, $600 million contract with the New York Yankees.
Insert your own sad face emoji here. We hope to be wrong about this one, but since the Yankees didn't spend a single penny this past offseason, we can't help but think they might be preparing to dish out roughly a billion bucks to obtain Machado and current Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper in the coming years. By the way, if both Machado's performance and the current pattern of baseball economics continue, there's some argument that the deal will be viewed as a bargain. Or at least better money than what the Yankees spent on third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

6. The Ravens regret giving general manager Ozzie Newsome a crimson parachute as part of his retirement package. What's a crimson parachute, you ask? It's that thing where you agree to select nothing but Alabama players for an entire draft.
The only thing we can't figure out is if Newsome, an Alabama graduate, will have already pulled off the feat even before reaching the agreement. The risks the team took on former Crimson Tide stars like nose tackle Terrence Cody and linebacker Rolando McClain may have backfired, but Newsome got the free pass after running back Trent Richardson reached his fourth straight Pro Bowl in 2019. We never saw that coming.

7. Despite Ozzie Newsome's retirement, Eric DeCosta retains his job as assistant general manager. He says "he's grown too comfortable" in the position.
We're pretty sure this was a simple mistake, though. DeCosta's phone rang with the question: "Are you ready to be a GM?" from a voice on the other side. Instinctively, he just said no, not realizing the offer was coming from Baltimore. After being made aware of the situation, DeCosta admitted it would just be tough to have to clean up everything he's gathered in his office during the last 17 years to move across the hall. 

8. Mark Turgeon celebrates his third straight national championship … and says returning to Kansas three years ago was the best decision he ever made.
You win some, you lose some. Maryland's eight straight trips to the Sweet 16 hadn't yet resulted in a Final Four berth, but Turgeon did haul in an incredible 25 high school All-Americans in recruiting through the years. While it's been tough for Terps fans to see Turgeon succeed elsewhere, it has been nice to see coach Greivis Vasquez bring back the tradition of sweating through a jacket before the end of the first half . 

9. Everyone agrees the advent of the 4-point shot was brilliant for basketball. Particularly as Under Armour spokesman Stephen Curry averaged 75 points per game at the age of 38.
The 4-pointer was actually introduced to the NBA back in 2018. The only bad news is that then-Washington Wizards rookie forward Robert Carter Jr. was run out of the league due to his unwillingness to do anything other than slip outside and chuck them up. 

10. Speaking of Under Armour, Kevin Plank is re-elected as mayor of Baltimore and the company celebrates its 30th anniversary by replacing the Maryland flag with the UA logo.
The move was certainly controversial at first, considering the overwhelming popularity of the historic flag. Of course, when we realized that UA campus now took up about 60 percent of the state and that the overwhelming majority of Maryland residents now worked for the company, it was hard to argue that the move was a mistake. We also have to admit that Mayor Plank's decision to build a brand new City Hall in Port Covington has proven to work brilliantly. The dirt bike park that replaced the old building downtown has been a smashing success. 

11. Jake Arrieta retires after a Sandy Koufax-esque 10-year run, which included 200 wins, 20 loses, a 1.60 ERA and five Cy Young Awards, all while leading the Cubs to five World Series titles.
And sitting at a 43-year drought since winning their last World Series, the Orioles are now viewed as the most cursed franchise in all of baseball. Making matters worse, the players the Orioles received in the deal have also gone on to great success. Right-hander Scott Feldman won 20 games to help the Houston Astros to the 2016 World Series, while catcher Steve Clevenger crushed 25 home runs to help the Mariners to the 2017 title. 

12. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco retires as the wealthiest quarterback in NFL history, having made $500 million in contract extensions alone.
The zeroes in his bank account are only dwarfed by the amount of awkward commercials he made during his Ravens career. In a related story, we did appreciate President Donald Trump passing an executive order in 2018 banning anyone from questioning the quarterback's "eliteness." 

13. Despite retiring three years earlier, Chris Davis receives $6 million annually in compensation from the Orioles, making him the third-highest paid player on the Orioles' roster.
Davis largely lived up to the money during the seven years of his $161 million deal. The team just wasn't able to keep spending big on players because, as we've already covered, the MASN dispute remains unresolved. 

14. Boog Powell decides to hang up his apron after selling his 26th millionth sandwich and passes the spatula to "What's Cooking With Kirby."
This was a logical move. Former first base coach Wayne Kirby actually managed the team for five years following Buck Showalter's retirement, but his heart was just more into food. Menu co-designer Adam Jones announced he would be opening a pie stand right next to the eatery following his retirement that season. 

15. After a nine-year run in Boston, the Grand Prix returns to Baltimore. Director of business development for the city Stephanie Rawlings-Blake says the city will really embrace the event this time. 
And we all talk about how great it will be despite the fact that, once again, none of us plan to attend, even though we could probably get free tickets. 

Issue 220: April 2016