While most of the work at WNST.net can always be labeled “solid”, I thought two recent entries were particularly worth high praise.
Matt Duggins wrote a piece (it’s here for easy clicking…) about Mark Teixeira’s 2009 season and his value to the Yankees and his “missed opportunity” in Baltimore. In his Wednesday blog, Duggins accurately points out that Tex has done yeoman’s work in New York through the first four months of the season and will undoubtedly play meaningful fall baseball in the Bronx in 8 weeks. It’s not our style in Baltimore to golf-clap for anything in New York, but I’ll man-up like Ethan Hawke did in Training Day and say it, just like Duggins did today. The Yankees paid their man and he’s giving them a nice return on their investment. Evidently, at some point last off-season, Brian Cashman muttered something to the New York fans and media about “buying the arms AND buying the bats.” Lo and behold, he followed through.
I thought Duggins’ blog today was spot-on. Teixeira is getting the last laugh on this one and he probably deserves it. So, then, do the Yankees. While everyone was pussy-footing around in the off-season talking about “buying bats” and such, the folks in NY simply paid the freight and got the man they wanted.
Unfortunately, it was also a nasty reminder of what has become a stark reality here in Baltimore. When pressed to action, the Yankees (and Red Sox, in all fairness) show time and time again the ONLY thing that matters to them is putting a representative, competitive, championship-caliber team on the field. Here in Charm City, we’ve shown time and time again the ONLY thing that matters is doing it OUR way, despite the futilities that would otherwise tell us maybe the other guys have figured out a better method.
On to Nestor’s “Art Modell” blog of earlier today (again, to save you energy, here’s the easy click-thru) where he asks, essentially, “who out there is going to join forces with WNST and put in some sweat equity on this Art Modell Hall of Fame issue?”
This is Nestor’s charge, but I’ll do my part because I’m a firm believer in Modell’s candidacy. And who gives a damn what Cleveland thinks, honestly? I don’t think Cleveland should have the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame but I’m not going to boycott the next Killers tour because of it. In other words, what’s right is right. Modell in the Hall of Fame is right. Period.
Now, I also admit that WNST leading the charge is potentially a recipe for disaster in Baltimore because of the jealousy and misplaced angst folks have for “us” in this city. I get it: it’s not cool to jump on a cause supported and/or produced by WNST. This, however, isn’t about WNST, it’s about Art Modell. We just happen to be the only people in town with balls-enough to wave the Modell flag.
That, then, is the point. Where is everyone else in town – media-wise – with a voice and when are they going to put their hard-hat on and get down and dirty with this issue? And I’m NOT talking about folks with fly-by-night websites, basement bloggers and amateur WNST.net impersonators. God Bless THEM for their 24/7 coverage of the Ravens and all, but we need clean-up hitters for this job, not minor leaguers getting a cup of coffee in the show.
We need Scott Garceau. He’s the guy with the vote in the room. What the hell good is a vote if you can’t go in that room and beat a few people up for their anti-Modell stance? Having a Hall of Fame vote means standing up for folks you believe are worthy. Time for Scott to stand up. Where’s Bruce Cunningham? He’s “been around Baltimore forever” and loves this place madly, so it’s time for him to get sweaty on this subject. It’s time for Jerry Coleman to man-up too. As he reminds us every day, he now works for Maryland’s “most powerful all-sports station”. Well, Jer, put some of that power to work and start campaiging for Art Modell. Is your station powerful because your antenna is bigger or powerful because what you say means something? Let’s find out.
I realize Anita Marks wasn’t around here in 1984 when football left Baltimore and she wasn’t around in 1996 when it came back and I don’t expect her to “get it”. I really don’t. But I expect her to understand that Art Modell is the reason she has a job today. True that. And with that said, she needs to step up and push for Art Modell in the same fashion she pushed for Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall in April.
And where are the writers in town on this subject? Where’s Schmuck? He should be taking some folks in Cleveland out to the woodshed on this Modell issue. How about Roch Kubatko? Baseball season’s over. He should be sinking his teeth into this Modell story and flexing his (frankly, impressive) muscles a little and asking folks to do the right thing for the guy who is directly responsible for just about every sports media entity in town still having a voice today.
This isn’t meant to sound threatening or critical. It’s more of a call-to-action, really. For this – Modell’s rightful entry in Canton – to happen, a lot of folks in the Baltimore media have to put their personal feelings for one another aside and do what’s right for Art Modell. Mark and The Bulldog need to sink their teeth into this one. So do Keith Mills and Gerry Sandusky at WBAL. In other words, all of the important people I’ve listed here need to make this a priority. And, yes, that might mean, *gasp*, aligning yourselves with the renegades on Hart Rd.
Without Art Modell, just about everyone in town who covers sports for a living would be doing something else. Without the Ravens, there is no WNST. There is no 105.7. There is no cushy mid-afternoon radio gig where you get paid to fawn over games, players and rumors. There aren’t any Ravens training camp reports for you to cover. No football in this town = no jobs for just about all of us.
I know first-hand that “campaigns” like this are combustible and potentially damaging. My relationship with the Orioles – once VERY decent – was ruined 3 years ago because I raked them over the coals on the subject of putting Baltimore on the road jersey. As one team associate told me a month ago when we were laughing at the bush-league treatment I’ve received… “the road jersey issue was your defining moment…maybe you’ll be in a MASN commercial.” That said, I also know that no one else in town was willing to ruin their relationship with the club if it meant that someday the word “BALTIMORE” would return to its rightful place on the front of the away shirt. I was willing to do that because I knew it was the right thing to do. And, of course, I was right. It just took the O’s a long time to figure out a creative way to prove THEY were right.
Some folks in town “talk” about loving Baltimore and preach the gospel when it comes to defending our heritage in both football and baseball — but this mission is about defending someone else’s heritage, even though a great portion of that legacy was established elsewhere on the sports landscape.
WNST’s “defining moment” as a sports media product is undeniably tied into our effort to have the Orioles return to glory and treat the Baltimore sports fan-base with integrity and spirit. We don’t hide from that — it is what it is. Why hide from it when we’re proud of it?
Well, the Baltimore sports media has a defining moment now too. It’s Art Modell.
Nestor’s leading the charge, so that’s probably going to scare folks away, because for some weird reason, they’re intimidated by the smallest guy in the room (actually, Coleman’s smaller, by an inch, I think…but you get my point).
I’m going to do whatever I can to help Modell’s candicacy, but I’m also smart enough to know Drew and WNST aren’t going to make it happen all alone.
Let’s see what the rest of the folks in town do about it.
Let’s see if they’re willing to put their heart and soul into it.
This is THEIR defining moment too.