To anyone who truly respects ‘FREEDOM OF SPEECH’..

April 20, 2007 | Nestor Aparicio

This morning I formally requested a one-day credential from the Orioles for Friday night’s game against Toronto…to replace my beat reporter Casey Willett for the night.

This afternoon, I was AGAIN, wrongfully denied a working press credential for tomorrow night’s game, even as the “official” ballpark reporter. They’ve essentially said anyone BUT me can cover the team. And they’ve made it very clear that it’s PERSONALLY me.

It took them a little more than one hour to respond to my request. If they handled EVERY request so diligently, we wouldn’t all be having the problems we are and they’d be a better franchise.

For the record…

I did a VERY formal pre-game report from Tampa on Tuesday evening. The blogs are a click away (right above my head) if you care to be updated on my day with the Orioles on the road. I wrote five rather massive missives about Tampa and baseball and the Orioles and the history of the Orioles in St. Petersburg. I hope you read them in order! Lots of cool memories!

Devil Rays PR man Rick Vaughn has ALWAYS credentialed me –dating back to his years with the Orioles in the late 1980’s — and being a pro, did so on Tuesday night…so I flew off to Tampa to “document” that I’m still in good standing with MLB…and I also bought a VERY pricey ticket and raised some hell, because what’s happening here in Baltimore is WRONG!

And, the Orioles DON’T return phone calls or emails from my company, except for handling credential requests…the pass basically gives us the right to walk in, sit down and walk the halls…they refuse to comply in any way with having members of their organization on the air for questioning for any reason. I will NEVER walk away from that without kicking and screaming!

And, on Tuesday, we did OUR job at WNST: reported what was happening with a surprisingly decent 2007 Orioles team and start from Tampa…Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon came on the air live with my midday host, Rob Long, to talk about blowing a 7-1 lead…Meantime, we flew to Tampa to cover the Orioles, whose stadium is empty and hurting the city’s tax base, and they will not provide us any player or management official or member of their organization for interviewing…they no longer “accept questions” from WNST?

And again, Comcast and WBAL are also being “embargoed.”

Where is the accountability in that? Where are the civic ethics in that?

You might want to read Drew’s blogs as well on my site, if you want more “background” on how the Orioles do business with the media and with people who are HUGE fans of the team and franchise…we would ALL be season ticket holders ourselves (like we all are PSL holders with the Ravens) if they simply treated us with a little dignity and respect…but they don’t!

But this is how they’ve treated a LOT of real businesses — not media businesses — PAYING CUSTOMERS and those sponsors are NOW GONE! Those skyboxes are EMPTY! Those seats throughout the ballpark are empty!

No one goes on the record as to why they got rid of their tickets and boxes, but they’re ALL GONE!

The real story here isn’t Nestor or WNST…the story is the “cover up” that’s going on about how our city is being done massive damage because of this…and the money and businesses that are struggling because of it…and, as I wrote in my book, the generational bond that baseball previously provided families in Baltimore is now slipping away…and the more than 2 million people who aren’t coming downtown to spend money this summer…and the previous five years of deterioration…and the welcoming the Red Sox and Yankees fans are given downtown because they are the only source of revenue for “Joe Downtown Business Owner.”

Again, I LIVE here…and I see the lack of action and financial exchange and commerce in my city and as a citizen, and I’m voicing my concern…

That’s what I’m SUPPOSED TO DO: stand up for people in the community and point out what I see…I’m a local business owner, too! And I see sometimes 10,000 or more “no shows” show up in the attendance figures but I can’t find the unused tickets?

JUST WHERE ARE THOSE THOUSANDS OF UNUSED PIECES OF PAPER???!!!

So far this season, my eyes have seen almost 50,000 “no shows” at Orioles games. And it’s only one home stand!

The two major, local newspapers — The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun — both wrote that what the Orioles are attempting to do is DEAD WRONG! Here are both stories…

The Washington Post

The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore Sun has NEVER, EVER backed me or supported me in ANYTHING I’ve ever done since I walked out their doors as a six-year employee on Jan. 15, 1992. This is truly monumental for me!

Some “legitimate” journalists have been calling around town this week — after 15 years of me doing this for a living and 23 in this industry (this is ALL I’ve EVER done to feed my family) — and asking people if this is a “real” story or whether I’m a “whack job SHOCK JOCK” or someone who is “legitimate.”

Whether this is a “publicity stunt?”

I’ve absolutely WECLOMED them to call ANYONE — ANYONE — I’ve ever done business with or whom I’ve come into contact with in the sports world…

I’ve offered them a HUGE list of people who see me as a very reputable and dignified person and business owner and an accountable and trustworthy media person…in every walk of the sports world, people who know what I’m all about.

I even offered all of their cellphones:

Brian Billick

Marvin Lewis

Ed Hale

Phil Savage

Mike Nolan

Jack Del Rio

Steve Bisciotti

Rex Ryan

Jim Schwartz

Brian Baldinger

Art Modell

Cal Ripken

Sean McManus

Dick Cass

Peter King

Ernie Accorsi

Almost ANY NFL media relations director in the league…

Or Pat Courtney at MLB public relations who credentialed me for 12 World Series and 10 All Star Games

Or local PR people like John Maroon, Kevin Byrne, Edie Brown…

Or civic leaders and industry movers and shakers like John Moag, Bob Ehrlich and others…

Or several NHL head coaches…Barry Trotz, Doug MacLean, Terry Murray…

I told the media people to call ANY of them…and get a second opinion on what I’m all about!

(I have two people who actually OWN part of the Orioles — partners of HIS — who correspond with me privately about how helpless they are to fix any of this!)

And, you know, the money he will deliver them upon a sale of the franchise will almost justify his actions…

That company is worth $850 million now!! He’s MADE the group $675 MILLION while destroying the franchise for the community!!!

What bothers me is being lumped in with Howard Eskin after his brawl with Phillies manager Charlie Manuel the other night. I know Howard a little bit — but I don’t listen to his show. So I honestly don’t know what he says. But I KNOW I’m not a guy who gets in fistfights in locker rooms or who EVER went on the radio and went on rampages calling for guys to be hired, fired or questioning their general competency…and I saw the “treatment” the “legitimate” media gave him — espn.com and other media entities refused to even MENTION HIS NAME IN THE REPORTS…and HE WAS THE ONE WHO WAS ASSAULTED!!! I actually heard ESPN “media” personalities saying things like “he got what he deserved” and that “they’d get in line to get a piece of him.”

I have no idea what that was all about, but I WAS NEVER, EVER a “SHOCK” jock!!!

Maybe I’m paying the price for nicknaming myself  “Nasty” Nestor 15 years on a lark — just something to set me apart and have some fun. It was a name Mike Ricicliano’s kids used to call me for “fun.” I figured if I called myself “Nice,” who would listen, right?

And I get accused by the legitimate ” journalism media” people of being “self-promoting?”

You’re DAMNED RIGHT I WAS…If I didn’t promote my show WHO THE HELL WOULD’VE?

It’s easy to sit at a desk and work for ESPN or The Washington Post or The Baltimore Sun (billion-dollar entities with marketing departments) and throw darts at me for trying to get my business established.

But when Roch Kubatko sits in my with competitors or when Peter Schmuck takes money from WBAL, that’s NOT self-promoting, right?

Look, we’re ALL trying to feed our families…

But, honestly, I think our little radio station is pretty damned good at what we do. And ANYONE who would compare our body of work — in media, in sports, in community involvement — with ANY of our competitors would be foolish! We’d win HANDILY!

I was raised as a “working” media member who had some entrepreneurial interests, a background in legitimate journalism (I worked at The Sun for six years and The News American for two with John Steadman — who would be rolling over in his grave if he knew about this crap going on!) and a passion to report the “real” news with sports teams in Baltimore.

Steadman ALWAYS encouraged me to keep my integrity by reporting what I saw.

Somehow, in 2007, that hasn’t translated into falling in line with the deceitful business practices of CBS Radio and others, who “roll over their coverage” so they can stay in business with a sports franchise. So-called “legitimate news organizations” report the “news” in the ‘A’ section, and then “sell away” so-called “coverage” in the sports section, or toy department.

And, by Peter Angelos and the Orioles denying me credentials, it “reaffirms” or “causes some doubt” in some people’s minds as to the facts or whether or not I’m a “legitimate” media entity, personality and/or business…but that The Sun and CBS Radio and other competitors somehow ARE because he lets them in?

That Tom Davis is a legitimate radio host, but I’m not. Or that Fred Manfra is a journalist, but Drew Forrester isn’t.

THAT’S DAMAGING not only to my soul, but to my business!

What if my sponsors jumped ship? What if my listeners heard that and said, “Yeah…Peter Angelos doesn’t recognize Nestor’s voice, so why should I.”

He’s discrediting 23 years of sweat equity I’ve put into running a legitimate and publicly accountable media organization that has now blossomed into WNST.net.

So, action is forthcoming if they continue to be deny me; my rightful place in the accredited media and in their locker room asking questions about everything from a “called third strike” to “how and why” they set policies that affect the public and other publicly-financed entities and/or businesses.

Maybe we’d even as ask why, we as a community, publicly finance their very existence through stadia and tax breaks, and why they, then in turn, can’t be good community partners and just treat the public with some dignity and respect?

And maybe we’d bring up “anti-trust” law and “little” things like that…?

And maybe we’ll see just what a team can and cannot “legally” do in terms of “Castro-izing” coverage of their sports teams from the public while they take the public’s money, civic generosity and love. Because if that’s the case, we’ve opened a whole new can of worms in the local sports media business, haven’t we?

And EVERYTHING I’ve ever said or written about my feelings about the situation are on my website…I’m very-much on the record…and VERY accountable…unlike Mr. Angelos.

I haven’t called Peter Angelos names or made it personal beyond saying that he’s mean-spirited and he’s a lousy baseball owner — that’s the worst I’ve ever said about him. And he proves that with every lawsuit he files against people who honestly are only IN business to help him! And the record on the field and in the stands speaks for itself!

He has destroyed baseball and much of its heritage in Baltimore for this generation of people. Sometimes it’s so apparent, it feels like he does it ON PURPOSE! Like he’s trying to “get even” with the public who he started the pissing match with (like me!)!

WNST.net is DESIGNED to promote his ballclub, in one shape or form. We’re a magnifying glass for you to see your sports team in a real life and we’re here to educate and inform listeners about what we see and hear and know.

We’re a sports media entity that rises and falls, to some degree, on the success of the local teams. And how we feed our families is dependent on us having access to ask questions and cover the local sports teams. And to have some level of “equal” access.

But unlike others, we aren’t going to take a check from him, “rollover” our coverage and watch him slaughter the team any more than he’s already done and not comment from our hearts about the situation.

The Orioles are a mess here because of mismanagement. That’s just a FACT!

And for those who only seem to care about ERA and HR’s while lamenting the fall of the Orioles need to understand that their poor business tactics and their unprofessional treatment of most everyone has led them to fourth place almost every year on the field.

And to be punished for simply pointing out what is OBVIOUS to EVERYONE who hasn’t sold their soul or their voice or their integrity is nothing short of scandalous.

And NOW, we’re gonna find out if it’s illegal. I honestly don’t know, but I know that it SHOULD be! In any sort of free society involving the media and integrity and honesty.

Every journalist in town AND around the country knows what’s happening here is not only wrong — the suppression of free speech — but really kinda DANGEROUS.

Don’t you see what’s next?

If he cuts me off — and I have others in the media who are worried about being cut off as well (I’ve received phone calls and emails of “very” private/anonymous supporters who are worried their passes and, perhaps, their jobs are next) — then WHO IS NEXT?

This could be the first rock in the avalanche!