On a morning when the coffee buzz is about Ray Lewis and Matt Birk getting signed and Terrell Owens getting released — and I can’t believe any serious or rational Ravens fan would think signing T.O. is a good idea — my thoughts have been about my father on what would’ve been his 90th birthday. As many of you know, I dedicate each March 5th broadcast on AM 1570 to my dad and in 2006 I wrote a book about my father and his influence on my life and what it’s become. I’ve said it many, many times: my father is really the one responsible for building WNST. My career and my passion for sports and Baltimore is all a result of those trips on the No. 23 bus from Dundalk through Highlandtown and the connection to the No. 22 over to 33rd Street.
It has now been 30 months since our “Free The Birds” march on Camden Yards. I’ll save the report card for the changes it enacted for closer to Opening Day. But I wanted to “reprint” the book here online over the next few weeks. There are 19 chapters about how I was raised, my love of baseball and more than anything, why all of this exists. Feel free to read it or ignore it (or re-read it). You can even “comment” on the chapters if you wish. I haven’t changed a word in it since I wrote it in September 2006. It’s presented “as is” (or in this case, “as was.”)
When we launched the new WNST.net back in October, I disbanded the www.freethebirds.net site because I felt like it had pretty much run its course. So, this book hasn’t been available and many people have asked me about it or dropped me an email and I really didn’t have the time or occasion to “re-present” it. On the day of my Pop’s 90th birthday and with the Orioles illegally having banned me from the franchise essentially because of this book and the actual Free The Birds event on Sept. 21, 2006, I thought the timing is right to honor my father and make the book public once again.
I’ll post a chapter every morning for the next 19 days. The pictures will be gone (I just don’t have the time to upload them all). Maybe one day, I’ll find the time to re-post all of those and put them back into the story.
Either way, it’s a tribute to my Pop on what would’ve been No. 90 for him. I lost my Pop on July 11, 1992.
I wonder what he’d make of the internet, every baseball game on TV every night and what WNST has become for Baltimore, a true open forum for free speech and sports communication. I wonder what he’d think of Brian Billick being my business partner and this site being the No. 1 place in Baltimore for sports news, information, audio and video.
But mostly, I wonder what he’d think of the Ravens because he loved football as much as he loved baseball. I can’t imagine how much fun we would’ve had over these last 13 years with the week to week drama of the franchise each fall and the Super Bowl win and the AFC Championship Game loss and the Colts games and the roadgames and all of the memories we’ve all created since 1996.
Hope you enjoy the book. I worked pretty hard on it!
And I hope you tune in at 2 p.m. today and contribute a good story or two about your dad.