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The 15: Potential Horrors For Baltimore Sports Fans

October 16, 2017
Many of us will choose to spend the better part of October reveling in horror. We'll watch terrifying movies, visit haunted houses, maybe even re-live a Ubaldo Jimenez start while MASN re-airs Orioles games from the past season. Others will avoid these types of things because we're not certain our friends actually believed we spilled Dr. Pepper directly on the front of our pants the night we saw "It." 

With horror in mind, The 15 this month looks at the biggest potential horrors for Baltimore sports fans. Some of these (find your safe space now) are actually rather likely to occur. 

1. Orioles third baseman Manny Machado wears pinstripes in 2019.

The best thing we can do is start preparing for this now. Perhaps you should purchase a puppy so you'll have something to pet softly while you suffer through the 2018 offseason. You know how you look away from that one scene in "Rosemary's Baby?" Maybe after next year you should delete all baseball-related apps from your phone. 

2. The next college football program that needs a head coach scoops up Terps head coach DJ Durkin.

This is a nightmare I've actually had recently. I'm watching a news conference in which Durkin is wearing a pumpkin-colored polo shirt as he's introduced as Tennessee's next coach. It's even more frightful than the one in which I realize I showed up to work naked. Again. 

3. The Ravens don't take any offensive players during next year's NFL Draft, either.

Only six of the 20 players the Ravens have selected during the first three rounds since 2012 have been offensive players. There's no way this trend can continue, right? Then again, I didn't think they could come up with enough material for an eighth "Saw" movie, either. 

4. Not only does Preakness leave, but Pimlico remains and continues to age poorly.

Would it remotely surprise anyone if within a decade the historic facility was covered in cobwebs? I remain hopeful there is salvation to be had for Old Hilltop, but there's probably about as much reason for that hope as there is reason to be hopeful those kids running through the woods won't be massacred by the guy with the chainsaw. 

5. Ray Lewis' off-field transgressions lead to him not being elected into the Hall of Fame next year.

This one seems impossible, but you just never know. It would be all too perfect for Lewis to be elected to Canton, Ohio, during the festivities for Super Bowl ... 52. (I know, it's Super Bowl LII, but the effect is much better this way.) But what if the voters decide they want to clean up the logjam of players who have been waiting and use the events of Atlanta in 2000 as their reasoning?

6. Both Orioles manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette are gone after the 2018 season.

Issues between the Orioles' manager and general manager have been well documented during the past couple years. Both of their contracts are up after next season. Whatever your opinion is of the duo, they've done an awful lot of winning together since 2012. There's no certainty either can be as successful without the other. There's absolutely no certainty the franchise can succeed with both gone. The only certainty is that if it happens, I'll spend all of 2018 stress-eating bags of candy corn at a time.

7. Baltimore native Michael Phelps decides to swim in the 2020 Olympics after all but doesn't win all the gold medals.

Look, I'm not going to suggest something insane like he doesn't win any gold medals at all. That would be as ludicrous as the killer in a movie being the guy you thought it was all along. But what if he only wins like two golds in Tokyo? That would be such a letdown. 

8. Now that Maryland’s men's lacrosse team has finally ended its national title drought, it takes Maryland lacrosse another 42 years to win its next championship.

It would be like a dream in which you just keep falling forever only to finally land on the most comfortable bed of high-end pillows. But then all of a sudden you just keep falling for four more decades. We can only hope it doesn't happen. 

9. Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman becomes the dominant pitcher we've always expected him to be ... right after the Orioles trade him to the Chicago Cubs.

Which would of course be compounded by the Orioles finally spending big money on free-agent pitching this offseason -- re-signing right-hander Jake Arrieta and having him become 2012 Jake Arrieta all over again. How about instead we have Gausman wear a "second-half Gausman" costume during the first half of next season?

10. After New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady finally retires, backup Jimmy Garoppolo proves to be even better and wins six more Super Bowls with head coach Bill Belichick.

Perhaps we can put some sort of spell on the city of Foxborough, Mass., instead. The Ravens already have their own issues. They could use a post-Brady lull from New England to help their chances of winning the AFC championship any time soon. 

11. The year is 2048. A new sports franchise announces they're going to give it a go at Baltimore's indoor sports facility, the still-standing Royal Farms Arena.

How great would it be if the city could build a gorgeous new waterfront arena within the next decade, and then could instead convert Royal Farms Arena into an incredible haunted house attraction to get more people downtown after baseball season ends? Instead, I'll just assume that my sons will end up seeing Beyonce and Jay-Z's daughter Blue Ivy Carter at the former Baltimore Civic Center some 30 years after I first saw her dad play there. 

12. After 10 years with Mark Turgeon as the head coach of the Maryland men's basketball team, the Terps still haven't advanced past the NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.

This timeframe would put us at the end of the 2020 season. And for what it's worth, it took Hall of Famer Gary Williams 12 seasons to get the Terps past the Sweet 16. But you just kind of expected more after Turgeon was hired. It's kind of like how you expect that at least one of your friends will come to your Halloween party this year as something other than Pennywise the Clown. 

13. Baltimore native and current Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony buys an NBA team and moves it to his hometown. His first player acquisition is Carmelo Anthony.

Hopefully things get turned around for the former Towson Catholic star now that he's in Oklahoma City. But the guy we've seen with the New York Knicks the past couple of seasons would be about as much fun to build a franchise around as five movies worth of "Paranormal Activity."

14. Camden Yards finally gets another All-Star Game. And while it's a nice tribute to Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., it seems like it should have happened before the year 2131.

It was one thing to get passed over for an All-Star Game in favor of an extra National League city. But over the course of the next century we might start seeing Baltimore passed over for cities like Woodsboro, Calif. (That joke is more effective if you remember Woodsboro is the fictional town where the "Scream" movies were set. I wouldn't have known that without Siri, either.)

15. And for the next Royal Farms commercial, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker yodels.

I love Royal Farms. I love Justin Tucker. I wouldn't love this. I'd rather have "The Exorcist's" Father Lankester Merrin read me Bible verses while I lie in bed.

Issue 238: October 2017