Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports on the O's minor league system and myriad NFL issues

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Think Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports is just an NFL Insider?

On this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast, La Canfora joins host Greg Swatek and sports editor Josh Smith and offers a detailed breakdown of the Orioles’ minor league system and why he is so optimistic about the team’s future.

The guys also discuss myriad NFL issues regarding the NFL. Why is the officiating so bad and what can be done to fix it? How will the league address the preseason? Are the Redskins about to turn the franchise over to Dwayne Haskins? What makes the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes such special quarterbacks?

La Canfora also paints a picture of what a typical Sunday looks like for him, as he juggles his television responsibilities with "The NFL Today," with staying on top of all of the breaking news across the league, particularly when it comes to injuries.

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NFL Week 1 Reaction

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Overreacting to NFL games is commonplace, especially after the first week of the season. So, sports editor Josh Smith and host Greg Swatek try not to do that on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

Greg shares his experience of his trip to Cleveland to see the Browns much-hyped season-opener only to see them fall flat on their face in typical fashion.

The guys talk about the Antonio Brown saga and how it wound up with him joining the New England Patriots in predictable fashion. They also discuss why they feel it’s going to work in a major way.

Plus, Greg offers his Bad Look of the Week, while Josh shares his Good Look of the Week. And a journeyman quarterback and the coach of one of the regional NFL teams is tossed onto the Boat to Nowhere.

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Previewing the NFL season

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With the NFL set to begin its 100th season this week, sports editor Josh Smith, sports writer Joe Ferraro and host Greg Swatek offer their best and otherwise meaningless guesses as to how it might unfold.

The guys offer predictions and analysis for every division and surmise who might reach the playoffs and Super Bowl 54.

Plus, Greg shares his experience attending the U.S. Open in New York and seeing Roger Federer and Serena Williams play in person, as well as a couple of bad looks from the final tennis grand slam of the year.

Josh debuts his Good Look of the Week, and the guys throw more people on the Boat to Nowhere, including a beloved sportscaster and one of the greatest basketball players ever.

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What's it like to cover an NFL team? Vikings reporter Matthew Coller talks about his job

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With the NFL season nearing, Just Another Sports Podcast welcomes a guest that makes sports editor Josh Smith's journalism geekiness overfloweth, as he and Greg Swatek are joined by Matthew Coller — the Minnesota Vikings reporter for Skor North 1500AM and skornorth.com in Minneapolis.

Coller talks about what it's like covering an NFL team day to day. What's the best part of his job at this time of the year, even as preseason grinds through four largely meaningless exhibitions? How often does he get a chance to have coach Mike Zimmer break down a scheme with him? Why does Coller engage so many kooky Vikings fans (Josh included) on Twitter?

Coller discusses his desire to develop unique angles and grind game tape for analytical pieces that are adored by fellow football nerds — a group to which he unabashedly belongs, given his penchant for burning three hours watching 1990s Buffalo Bills games (he swears he was researching fullback Sam Gash) on YouTube and gushing over journeyman quarterbacks like Gus Frerotte or Ryan Fitzpatrick.

How does he view Andrew Luck's premature retirement? Will the Ravens or Redskins finish with a better record? Should Josh waste his money on NFL Sunday Ticket for the 15th straight season or just give up on the Vikings? Coller and the guys touch on these and many other topics.

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Is Orioles rebuild on track? Should Skins start Haskins?

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In the midst of another miserable season with hope barely visible on the horizon, are the Orioles on track with their admittedly lengthy rebuild?

That’s a question sports editor Josh Smith, sports writer Joe Ferraro and host Greg Swatek ponder on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

With recently promoted No. 1 overall draft pick Adley Rutschman playing well and some talented arms in the lower levels of the minor league system, the first signs of the future Orioles are starting to come into view. But hanging over the franchise is their inability to identify and develop an ace starting pitcher. Will the new front office be able to change that? Can the Orioles win consistently without that pitcher on the mound?

Also, should the Redskins start rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins right away, especially with a capable veteran like Case Keenum on hand? Why are good kickers becoming harder to find in the NFL? Greg calls out a cheap shot in his Bad Look of the Week, and Joe fires another loathsome individual into the Black Hole. And why does Larry King keep getting married?

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Anniversary of the '94 baseball strike

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What if the baseball strike in 1994 never happened? Would the Montreal Expos have won the World Series? Would Tony Gwynn have batted .400? Would Matt Williams and Ken Griffey Jr. have taken down Roger Maris’ home-run record?

On this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast, sports editor Josh Smith, sports writer Joe Ferraro and host Greg Swatek take on some of these questions to help commemorate the 25th anniversary of the strike that nearly ruined baseball.

Plus, the guys talk about Antonio Brown’s ridiculous week and take Orioles pitching and NFL rule-makers to task.

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Baseball Pennant Races

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As the season gets ready to enter the home stretch, sports writer Joe Ferraro and host Greg Swatek take a closer look at the baseball pennant races on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

Can anyone get in the way of another Astros-Dodgers World Series? Who are some of the other top contenders in the American and National Leagues?

Plus, Chris Davis goes after Orioles manager Brandon Hyde. Antonio Brown is missing training camp with the Raiders due to frostbite on his feet. The NCAA requires agent to have college degrees.

Greg offers up his first ‘Bad Look of the Week’ segment, and the Boat to Nowhere gets a little more crowded.

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Questioning Saints fans, Trevor Bauer and LeBron

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Why are Saints fans still hung up about their loss in the NFC Championship game? How impressive was Trevor Bauer’s frustrated heave over the center-field fence? And why is LeBron dancing and prancing around because his son happens to be really good at basketball?

Sports editor Josh Smith, city editor Allen Etzler and host Greg Swatek dive into these questions on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

Plus, it’s time for a surly NASCAR driver, a couple of NFL running backs and a television production team to join the loathsome crew on the Boat to Nowhere. Is it even possible to be a better writer than Steve Rushin or Wright Thompson? And the sharks are out on Discovery Channel.

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Epic Wimbledon final and no-hitter

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What sort of impact will another epic men’s final at Wimbledon have on the careers and legacies of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic?

Sports editor Josh Smith, sports writer Joe Ferraro and host Greg Swatek dive into that discussion on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

The guys also talk about the remarkable combined no-hitter the Los Angeles Angles threw in tribute to teammate Tyler Skaggs, a former first-round pick who died suddenly on July 1, and whether the Washington Nationals are now among the top contenders in the National League.

Plus, are LaVar Ball’s 15 minutes of fame finally over? And do we really need a Space Jam 2?

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New NBA lanscape, MLB homer binge

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Back from a week away and playing shorthanded without the vacationing Josh Smith, FNP sports writer Joe Ferraro joins host Greg Swatek on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

In the span of a couple of weeks, the NBA landscape has shifted dramatically. The guys talk about how wide-open the league now feels and how the NBA has finally achieved the parity it has wanted for so long. And are the Los Angeles Clippers, the laughingstock of the league for so many years, now the prohibitive favorite to win the championship?

The guys also talk about the All-Star Game and some of the hot-button issues floating around Major League Baseball, such as the home-run surge that has taken over the sport. Is Commissioner Rob Manfred to be believed that MLB did not “juice” the baseball to promote home runs and that owners are actually concerned about the number of home runs being hit?

Plus, what will be the last impact of the United States’ latest victory in the Women’s World Cup and who is being banished to the Boat to Nowhere?

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The what-could-have-been athletes

What-if and what-could-have-been scenarios have driven sports conversations for decades. And this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast follows that course, as sports editor Josh Smith, sports writer Joe Ferraro and host Greg Swatek wonder how much different, and even how much better the careers of certain prolific athletes would and could have been had they not gotten injured.

What if Mickey Mantle didn’t injure his knee and shoulder in Yankees’ World Series games? What if Bo Jackson had a good hip for the duration of his career? What if Monica Seles didn’t get stabbed? How much differently would their careers have played out, and what sort of impact would that have had on sports, in general?

The guys talk about a number of different athletes from a variety of different sports whose careers were never quite when they could have been.

Plus, the Boat to Nowhere gets a little more crowded, and Greg shares his experience with former Frederick High football star Chuck Foreman over the weekend at a youth football camp.

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O.J.'s new Twitter account, the Raptor's surprise championship and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach

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With Josh Smith on vacation this week, city editor Allen Etzler and sports writer Joe Ferraro pick up the slack on this week's episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

Allen and Joe join host Greg Swatek to discuss O.J. Simpson's emergence on Twitter. What does it say about our society and culture that a disgraced public figure like O.J. can attract a large following on a social media platform like Twitter? And how must the Brown and Goldman families feel about this?

The guys also discuss the end of the NBA Finals and the Toronto Raptors' surprise championship, the Anthony Davis trade to the Lakers and how the upcoming free-agent period might shake out.

Plus, since Josh isn't around, the guys get a chance to talk about golf and Gary Woodland's inspiring triumph in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

And who is banished to The Boat to Nowhere this week?

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Durant's injury, shifting NBA Landscape

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The NBA landscape is shifting dramatically with Kevin Durant’s serious injury, the possible trade of Anthony Davis and the conclusion of the NBA Finals.

That dominates the discussion on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast, as sports editor Josh Smith and host Greg Swatek are joined by the FNP’s resident IT and craft-beer guru Chris Sands, the host of The Uncapped Podcast.

The guys also talk also touch on the Women’s World Cup, the French Open final, the difficulties that college athletes face, and the ways that Twitter annoys them, especially its tendency to make things way more than they actually are.

Chris also shares his insights on the craft-beer scene and bringing a drink to market with his face on the label.

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Chewing the fat about a huge boxing upset

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Quickly dismissed for his appearance, Andy Ruiz Jr. stunned the boxing world Saturday by upsetting unbeaten British heavyweight Anthony Joshua, whose chiseled physique stood in sharp contract to his own.

On this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast, sports editor Josh Smith, city editor Allen Etzler and host Greg Swatek discuss the ramifications of Ruiz’s victory and whether boxing could enjoy a bit of resurgence in this country with a group of talented and outspoken heavyweights leading the charge.

They also discuss how rich they would have to be to feel good about dropping six figures on NBA Finals tickets, as some people in Oakland are doing, and whether the Warriors are more vulnerable now with key injuries piling up?

Plus, who is banished to the Boat to Nowhere, and does the Dice Man (Andrew Dice Clay) still have it?

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A sports/life hypothetical

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Here's the scenario: You have the opportunity to take 10 3-pointers from behind the NBA line. If you make one, you are awarded $1 billion. If you don't make one, you are sentenced to a year in maximum-security prison. Would you accept this challenge and the risks associated with it?

That's a hypothetical question that sports editor Josh Smith, FNP managing editor Chris Kinsler and host Greg Swatek tackle on this week's episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

The guys also touch on the NBA Finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors and the life and career of Bill Buckner, a solid major league player who is wrongfully blamed for costing the Boston Red Sox the 1986 World Series against the Mets.

Plus, they throw more people on the Boat to Nowhere, discuss why the College World Series is an underrated event on the sports calendar and mention the worst first pitch anyone has ever seen.

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Contemplating the Great Dubs, awful O's and Nat's

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Are the Golden State Warriors one of the most underappreicated teams in sports? Are the struggling Orioles even worse than people thought? And are the Nationals already out of contention in late May?

These are among the questions sports editor Josh Smith, sports writer Joe Ferraro and host Greg Swatek tackle on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

Even without arguably the league’s best player in Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors still seem to be the best team in the NBA by a considerable margin. As they play in the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive season and go after their fourth championship in that span, do Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson get enough credit for rising above any obstacle that is thrown before them? Will it even matter if Durant decides to leave in free agency?

The Orioles, meanwhile, are giving up home runs at a record pace, having already surrendered more than 100 this season. Even with minimal expectations this season, their level of play has been alarmingly bad. Will the rebuilding of the franchise be a longer and more challenging process than even people within the organization thought? And who should the Orioles be targeting in the upcoming draft?

The Nationals, on the other hand, have one of the worst bullpens in baseball and a manager on the hot seat. Are their issues too significant and too numerous to overcome or do they still have time to save their season?

Plus, how entertaining was the riderless horse in the Preakness? And why wasn’t Maximum Security running in the race? And who is being thrown on the Boat to Nowhere this week?

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NBA draft lottery/a game 7 buzzer-beater

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With Kawhi Leonard’s Game 7 buzzer-beater and the draft lottery, there are no shortage of NBA topics to discuss on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

Sports editor Josh Smith and host Greg Swatek are joined by FNP sports writer Joe Ferraro. They talk about the New Orleans Pelicans winning the NBA lottery and how good of a pro that the presumed No. 1 pick, Duke’s Zion Williamson, figures to be. They also talk about the absurd improbability of Kawhi Leonard’s game-winning shot dropping in to lift the Toronto Raptors over the Philadelphia 76ers in a second-round playoff series and, of course, who will make the NBA finals.

In addition, how much trouble are the slow-starting Washington Nationals in? Why is Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers so good despite not looking a day over 16 years old? And who is being thrown onto the Boat to Nowhere?

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Security Breach: Was the correct decision made at the Kentucky Derby?

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On the heels of a stunning Kentucky Derby, horse racing takes a rare turn in the spotlight on this week’s episode of Just Another Sports Podcast.

Sports editor Josh Smith and host Greg Swatek discuss Maximum Security being taken down as the 145th Derby champion after impeding the path of other horses during the race.

Was the correct decision made? Is all of this extra attention helping or hurting horse racing? And how close was the sport to ending as we know it?

The guys also return to a familiar theme: Who will be playing in the NBA Finals? The question is a little more relevant now that the The Finals are a lot closer and the Golden State Warriors dynasty is showing some subtle signs of waning. How much of a threat are Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, quietly the best team in the league all season, to their throne?

Plus, Branden Kline’s recent outing with the Orioles are discussed, including the first major-league victory for the Thomas Johnson High graduate. And are Josh and Greg simply too reasonable? Are they missing out on fame and fortune by not shouting at each other more with inane and irrational sports opinions?

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Ron Snyder, author of "A Season to Forget: The Story of the 1988 Baltimore Orioles"

With the Baltimore Orioles fully ensconced in a rebuild after a historically awful season, this week's episode focuses on an equally horrific Birds campaign from an earlier era. Sports reporter Greg Swatek and sports editor Josh Smith are joined by author Ron Snyder, whose book "A Season to Forget: The Story of the 1988 Baltimore Orioles" was released last week.

Snyder, who has been a journalist in Maryland for the past 20 years and graduated from Towson University with Josh, discusses what prompted him to revisit in detail a year in which the Orioles — once a model franchise in MLB — went 0-21 to start the season.

How did the team, which still had a core of players from the 1983 world championship roster, get so bad? What was it like for the players, who were part of a squad that became a national punchline and drew hordes of media to cover their train wreck of a start? In working on the book, what was it like for Snyder to reach out to former players about such a negative experience?

Snyder also touches on the moves Baltimore made that led to a surprising 1989 season — in which the upstart Orioles suddenly had baseball fans statewide asking "Why Not?" — and touches on the organization's current state.

Later, Greg and Josh provide tickets to some more worthy passengers for The Boat to Nowhere, including an entire NBA team and a certain rapper who can entertain the vessel's crowd.

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O's Call Up a Local, NFL Draft and NBA Playoffs

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In a momentous week for our hometown sports scene, sports editor Josh Smith, sports writer Joe Ferraro and host Greg Swatek react to the major-league call-up for TJ High School graduate Branden Kline.

Needing some insurance arms for Saturday’s doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, the Orioles called up Kline, a 27-year-old right-handed pitcher, from Triple-A Norfolk, making him the 14th player born in Frederick County to reach the major leagues.

The guys react to Kline’s debut, which featured a 1-2-3 first inning of work and a bumpier second inning that saw him surrender a pair of home runs. They talk about why Kline’s physical and mental makeup make him ideally suited to be a major-league pitcher and what it might take to earn a more permanent spot on the Orioles’ roster.

They also talk about the NFL draft and the NBA playoffs, which offer some really appealing second-round match-ups. Plus, more people are banished to the Boat to Nowhere and maybe even a black hole.

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