Today’s kickoff marks end of a Wacky Week at WNST

September 12, 2009 | Drew Forrester

These are the final hours before the football season begins in Baltimore and that means two things.  One, we have six months of great day-to-day activity and conversation in front of us as the Ravens look to play one more than they did a year ago.  Two, baseball season ends when the Ravens and Chiefs kick-off sometime shortly after 1pm at M&T Bank Stadium.

Lord knows we all WISH baseball season didn’t today.  I’m insanely jealous — openly, insanely jealous — of the people in Boston, New York and Philadelphia, who have football to root for on Sunday and baseball to follow on Monday. And, in October.  It drives me batty that we don’t have meaningful baseball to follow in September around here.

This has been a wild week at WNST.  For me, personally, it’s been quite eye-opening given the turn of events that have transpired since Tuesday morning.  It’s been four days of learning.  What have I learned?  Glad you asked.

I learned on Tuesday morning that WNST can still galvanize people to attend baseball games.  In less than six hours on Tuesday, we had pledges and monies turned in to purchase over 500 tickets to a completely benign, unimportant baseball game in Baltimore next Tuesday night.  In all fairness, that’s more tickets than the team itself could sell for the very promotion we tried to help them effectively execute.  Talk about weird, huh?  We sold more tickets than the team.  And, had the powers-that-be at The Warehouse and MLB allowed us to continue with it, there’s literally no telling how many seats we might have filled next Tuesday night.  Honestly?  We could have done at least 1,000 and, probably, upwards of 1,500.

Alas, it all fell apart on Tuesday night when the stuffed suits at MLB stepped in — that is, after the even stuffier suits at OPACY got their feathers ruffled and decided not to cooperate with us.  And that’s something else I learned this week.  Actually, I already knew this before the “See The Birds” incident but it’s now been indelibly etched in my mind.

I learned – once again – that baseball and its teams don’t want help promoting their game.  Wait, scratch that…they DO want help promoting their game — but only when they’re either getting paid for it…or they REALLY, REALLY need the help of the media or a promotional partner.  When it helps a team – like the Orioles – to have the media involved, they become as flexible as Gumby.  But if you’re not stroking a check to someone, they quickly forget how helpful you’ve been when they called on you and wind up pitching a fit and sending long-winded, big-word-filled letters otherwise known as the very formal “cease and desist” memorandum.

When MLB has a day to honor Jackie Robinson, they send so many press releases out about it you have to get extra batteries for the shredder.  When their players use pink bats to create breast cancer awareness, every media member in town is reminded of it more times than Brett Favre retired.  You see, we’re supposed to mention that stuff, write about that stuff and blog about that stuff when MLB and the Orioles (for example) send out that information and show off their good side.

When it’s good for them, they use you like a 22-year old at the Bunny Ranch in Nevada.

When they don’t want to deal with you, they either don’t return your phone calls and e-mails (the Orioles make you get a Masters Degree in that subject before you’re allowed to be a “Director” there) or they simply ship a “C&D” letter off and bully you into thinking you’re wrong.

For the record, we lead the league in C&D letters from MLB this week…we received TWO of them.  I think that’s more wins than the Orioles had, but who’s counting?

When the O’s want to give away a free bobblehead, poncho, lunch box or t-shirt, I get e-mails out the wazoo from them.  It’s so weird, isn’t it?  They have my e-mail address and have the balls to reach out to me when they need ME for something.  But when I have a question for them, they suddenly forget how to be professional.

As for Major League Baseball, they should be ashamed of themselves for pestering us this week.  No one is going to the games in Baltimore and the interest level here in Charm City is at an all-time low for anything even remotely connected to the game itself, and yet they take time out of their day to send out these laughable C&D letters to try and squelch one company in the city still trying to create interest in the team.

And, by the way, we weren’t making a dime off the “See The Birds” event.

They’re chasing us now with their briefcases and blackberrys because we’re trying to take fans in Baltimore to see a baseball game in New York and Boston to close out the season.  Isn’t that amazing?  Baltimore hasn’t had a baseball game that mattered here since 1997 and we have a couple of hundred baseball-starved people who want to go to a game in New York and Boston to see what it’s like to have a double off the wall in the bottom of the 8th inning send a city into a frenzy and those vipers in the league office want us to put and end to those efforts.  We’re buying tickets to baseball games in New York and Boston and MLB wants us to stop doing it.

WTF?

This Sunday, the Ravens season begins.  I had Steve Hauschka and Tony Moll on the show with me this week.  That’s two more players than the Orioles had on with me in the last 36 months.

But, according to some folks, the demise of the baseball franchise is WNST’s fault.

I learned, once again, that money talks and bulls**t walks.  If you’re PAYING Major League Baseball, you can talk about them at your leisure, promote them at your discretion, and be part of their world whenever you want.  If you’re not paying MLB or one of their teams – like the Orioles – you’re not allowed to promote them.  Well, you can promote them when they want you to promote them.  ”Free bobbleheads on Tuesday night to the first 10,000 fans, please mention that for us.  We’d be soooooo grateful.”  Yeah, right.

Baseball’s theory:  When we need help, help us.  When we don’t, you need to stay away.

For some strange reason, that formula doesn’t exist with the National Football League or its teams.  And they’re hotter than Jay-Z’s new CD (just barely, actually…).

I also learned this week that people in Baltimore who are in the anti-WNST camp are venomous, rabid, angry people.  Most of those folks are, obviously, die-hard Orioles fans (I am too, by the way…) and feel like it’s their duty to the team to protect them whenever the club’s character is called into question.

There have been lies written about me, WNST and other station personnel at web-sites like Orioles Hangout this week, but those people live in this weird fantasy world where the truth never comes home from the ballpark.  There was one particularly interesting thread on the OH where a member of their staff remarked that he had been “banned” from appearing on WNST Radio.  ”Oh, the hypocrisy of those bastards at WNST!” was the follow-up comment from a handful of OH regulars.  What someone failed to mention was the TRUTH.  And that is this:  I had a member of the OH on with me regularly throughout spring training this year.  I promoted the OH without asking for anything in return.  And on days when I had an O’s minor leaguer on my show, I would post a note on the OH advising all of their readers/members that “Zach Britton is coming on with me today at 8:45am”.  I figured some of those baseball fans over there would like to know that Britton, or Nolan Reimold, or Brian Matusz were scheduled to be on the air with me.  For that — because I was found guilty of “self promotion” – I was banned from the site.  The fine folks over there forgot to mention that in their little attack on WNST.  Why let the facts get in the way of some good old fashioned WNST bashing, right?  LOL.  And, naturally, everyone over there is petrified of being banned themselves if they were to actually endorse something WNST was doing.

“Oh the hypocrisy…”  – Whatever…

Last but not least, I learned once again that some people in town just don’t have the gumption to put up a fight like we do.  I was at Owings Mills this week and had two veteran media members come up to me independent of one another and beat up the Orioles for their treatment of us this week.  ”Those mf’ers are just clueless,” said one person.  ”You guys stay on ‘em and keep up the fight.  They’ll come around.”  The other offered this gem:  ”We need to put more pressure on them to do the right thing, not only with you guys but other stations in town.”

“WE need to put more pressure on them…” — I felt like saying, “Uh, excuse me my friend, ‘we’ don’t put any pressure on them…all I ever hear you do is speak glowingly about them.  I’ve never heard you take them to task for anything they’ve done wrong.”

I learned this week that WNST wants the baseball team to sell tickets more than they want to sell tickets.

I learned this week we actually CAN sell more tickets than the team.  Or any other media entity in town, for that matter.

I learned this week that Major League Baseball’s head office is filled with a bunch of imposters who would rather send out snarky formal letters than make a phone call to find out THE TRUTH about what’s going on with one of its teams.

I learned this week that people in town who have been brainwashed by the baseball team can’t be helped.  There’s no medicine available to remedy their disease.

And I learned this week — again, thankfully — that the Ravens are here, football season is upon us and everyone in town is invested in sports once again starting this Sunday at 1pm.

Which means, I’ve learned that this is my final baseball blog of the season.  Thank God for that.  Let’s talk football.  Let’s talk about a winning team.  Let’s talk about a franchise that treats people right.

Until the middle of next February when the circus moves to Sarasota.

Baseball has done all of this to themselves.

And, so has football.

That’s why one stadium in Baltimore will be packed on Sunday — and one stadium will be empty on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday next week.

That’s not a low blow — it’s just a fact.

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