Baltimore's Big Move

675806.jpg

Baltimore's Big Move

It's been a while since the Red Sox (or their fans) have had any reason to fear the Baltimore Orioles.

In fact, you probably have to go all the way back to 1997 the last season Baltimore finished with a winning record to find a time when a visit from the O's garnered anything more than chuckle, or indifferent shrug.

"Oh, the Orioles are in town? That's cool. But I think I'll watch something else."

Anything else.

But despite all that, there's no question that the Orioles are getting better. That Buck Showalter has instilled a competitive spirit into the clubhouse. That younger guys like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are finally starting to realize their potential. That, for the first time in a long time, there's reason for optimism in Baltimore.

They arrive at Fenway tonight with a 16-9 record. They're 8-2 in their last 10 games. And you know there's nothing in the world this team wants more than to pile on Boston's baseball pain and embarrass the Sox in front of their home crowd.

Make no mistake, the Orioles hate Boston. They're to the Sox what the Buffalo Bills are to the Pats. The lovable losers that, over time, have built up so much jealousy and rage over, that they live for Boston failure. That's why they celebrated after knocking the Sox out in Game 162 of last season, and why they're no doubt getting a kick out of the way Bobby V and company have started this one.

In the past, an Orioles team would come into Fenway feeling over-matched and intimidated, and the result was predictably ugly. The worst stretch occurred between 2006-2009, when the Sox amassed a 55-11 record against the O's. But in recent years, Baltimore has narrowed the gap. In 2010, the teams tied the season series 9-9. Last year, the Sox eked out a 10-8 advantage.

Is this the year Baltimore finally gets the best of Boston?

Can't say it would be a surprise.

Then again, the last time the Red Sox lost a season series to the Orioles

Thing didn't turn out so bad.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Brady hears from Manning and Favre on wins record, but not Goodell

brady_patriots_rams_12416.jpg

Brady hears from Manning and Favre on wins record, but not Goodell

The congratulatory messages rolled in for Tom Brady following win No. 201 on Sunday. He heard praise from his teammates and coach Bill Belichick and he received a game ball from Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Two of the guys he recently passed on the all-time wins list reached out as well.

Both Brett Favre (199 career wins) and Peyton Manning (200) touched base with the new record-holder after he surpassed the two retired quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks. 

Favre posted a video online to show his support for Brady, which Brady saw after a friend sent it his way, he told WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show.

"We were in touch this week a few times just with a couple of things that we were talking about football-wise," Brady said of Favre. "We exchanged some text messages, too. He’s a great guy. He’s someone I’ve always looked up to . . . There’s nobody physically or mentally tougher than that guy and endured the streak that he had. It was incredible. I’ve always really looked up to him. It was really cool."

Manning checked in, as he's wont to do, with something a little more traditional.

"I did hear from Peyton. He's someone that I've always been in touch with for a long time. I've known him for 16 years. He sent me a very nice note," Brady said. "I have a lot of respect for him and all that he accomplished, too. He's a great guy. We share a lot of things in common and I just always appreciate him as well."

Kirk and Callahan co-host Gerry Callahan acknowledged that the NFL sent out a tweet recognizing Brady's achievement, but he wondered if Brady had heard anything from commissioner Roger Goodell. Brady laughed when he heard the question initially. When he didn't respond at first, Callahan circled up again.

"I don't hear anything from the league," Brady said.