This one will earn me a dirty look or two in the future.
Then again, it might also earn me a place in the heart of Washington Redskins fans who have been pissed off ever since I (rightly) stated that John Riggins shouldn’t be filming commercials at M&T Bank Stadium.
(Of course, these are the same fans that tell me they simply don’t care about the Baltimore Ravens but then lustily booed Head Coach John Harbaugh when he was shown on screen at Verizon Center before a Washington Capitals playoff game. Losers. But this isn’t about them. I’ll move on.)
No, this is about another brilliant move by CBS Radio Baltimore at 105.7 The Fan. And before you say “Glenn, why would you bother to write about what they’re doing on another radio station?”, let me point out that this is about much more than that.
Frankly, I’ve never actually heard former Skins executive Vinny Cerrato on the air at 105.7. I am aware that he is currently co-hosting a nightly football show on the station, but like EVERY OTHER SPORTS FAN IN CHARM CITY, if I’m in the car at night in Baltimore I’m either listening to the Orioles game or my Ipod. WBAL and Steve Jobs can thank me for the respective plugs later.
A minor controversy was started in Charm City when Cerrato told Baltimore Sun writer Ken Murray the following about the fact that Ravens 1st round pick CB Jimmy Smith did not attend last week’s voluntary player workouts at Towson University.
“That’s a red flag. He should have been here.”
As I said all week on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, the criticism was absolutely baseless. The workouts were offense intensive, with QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice and WR’s Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin using the time to get to know their new teammates and introducing them to the team’s offensive playbook. There were no Offensive Linemen in attendance and the defensive players in attendance were mostly locally-based, including Maryland native CB’s Domonique Foxworth and Josh Wilson.
Jimmy Smith is based out of California, making it at least slightly inconvenient to get to Baltimore. Rookie DE Pernell McPhee (the team’s 5th round pick out of Mississippi State) told the National Football Post he was not even invited to the workouts at Unitas Stadium. While Smith has not been made available for comment about the faux controversy, none of his teammates seemed to be upset about the fact that he wasn’t present.
In fact, fellow rookie Torrey Smith (the former Maryland WR who is also represented by Drew Rosenhaus) took to Twitter after getting word of Cerrato’s comments to say the following…
“folks need to leave Jimmy alone for not coming to workouts this week..It was mainly offensive players…he didn’t miss a thing”
I said two more things last week about this stupid fake controversy. One is that if there was a player who MAY have deserved criticism, it was FB Le’Ron McClain. Should this dispute between the National Football League and NFLPA result in the 2011 season being played under 2010 rules, McClain would not reach free agency and would be back in Baltimore. Given that he’s spent a lot of time in Charm City this offseason, it puzzled me that he wasn’t able to attend.
The other point I offered about the situation was that by exonerating Jimmy Smith for not being in attendance at Towson, I wasn’t trying to suggest that he might not be a bad guy. He certainly has a bad track record, and hasn’t gone out of his way publicly to rebuild his image in Baltimore since his initial press conference. In fact, I think Harbaugh made the most telling statement when he told Drew Forrester in a recent interview on AM1570 WNST, “It’s worth the risk. A lot of people had him off the board and I understand why. He’s gonna have to make wise choices.”
Jimmy Smith MIGHT be a bad guy. But he’s certainly not a bad guy because he didn’t attend the workouts last week. That really couldn’t have been more irrelevant.
This really isn’t about Jimmy Smith either though.
This is about Cerrato-who pointlessly generated traction with his meaningless comments. Comments that some of us in attendance last Tuesday at Unitas Stadium told him were baseless. Comments that Ravens LB Jameel McClain dismissed when Cerrato asked him about Smith’s absence that day.
And comments that absolutely no one in Baltimore should care about…at all. Ever.
Cerrato’s presence in Baltimore is ridiculous to begin with. As they’ve so often done before, CBS Radio has shown how little they understand about this sports market. Cerrato has absolutely no background in Baltimore and is best known for the decade plus he spent working for Dan Snyder in DC, an organization fans in Baltimore have absolutely no respect for.
What’s worse is the utter lack of success Cerrato had during his time with the Skins. The organization reached the playoffs just three times during his tenure, winning the NFC East only one-his first year (1999). They never finished with more than ten wins and were the subject of significant criticism for their failure to draft and develop talented players (three times the team had no first round pick, other picks included QB Patrick Ramsey and WR Rod Gardner) and their insistence on signing overpaid and/or aging veterans (Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders and a $100 million deal for Albert Haynesworth come to mind).
Cerrato was especially disliked by Washington fans because of the perception that his employment was based on a willingness to simply play the part for Snyder as the team failed miserably on and off the field. This was well documented in a 2005 column by the Washington Post’s Mike Wise, where Cerrato acknowledged the frustration of the fanbase. “People say I do nothing, that I only keep my job because I’m the owner’s friend” he told the columnist. “I do have a national championship ring and a Super Bowl ring, you know.”
Cerrato was accurate, as Wise pointed out at the time. He was the recruiting coordinator on Lou Holtz’s 1988 Championship staff at Notre Dame, and he was the Director of College Scouting for the San Francisco 49ers when they won Super Bowl XXIX.
That was 1994. His resume since that time is particularly unimpressive.
It’s all the more reason why Cerrato’s hiring by the folks at CBS here in Baltimore is questionable at best. Baltimore sports fans have absolutely no connection to Cerrato whatsoever, and his resume doesn’t demand for fans to respect his opinions about their beloved franchise.
Perhaps none of us should have been surprised when Sun columnist Kevin Van Valkenburg said the following about Cerrato Monday night via Twitter…
“On radio, Vinny Cerrato keeps calling Haloti Ngata: “Nuh-gah-ta.” Hard to believe the Skins weren’t better with this details man in charge.”
It isn’t Vinny Cerrato’s fault that the folks at CBS don’t understand why he shouldn’t be on the air in Baltimore. Their Vice President of Programming (Dave LaBrozzi) is one of the biggest Pittsburgh Steelers fans I have ever met in my life. He couldn’t know what Baltimore Ravens fans want to hear because he’s…well…the exact opposite of a Baltimore Ravens fan.
An admitted Washington Redskins fan called Drew and I last week and made a very legitimate point. Should Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome retire this offseason and choose to do local market radio in Washington, it wouldn’t be hard for Redskins fans to accept him. He had a Hall of Fame career as a Tight End for the Cleveland Browns and has had arguably another Hall of Fame career as an executive.
Cerrato was a forgettable QB/WR for Iowa State and a miserable executive for a team most folks in Baltimore have a particular disdain for.
There’s no acceptable reason for anyone in this town to care about anything Cerrato thinks or says.
I’m sorry Vinny. You seemed like a nice guy when we met. I bet you’d be really good working for ESPN’s Scouts Inc. or the Sporting News War Room or an outlet like that.
But for the role of a sports talk show host who is expected to give “expert” opinions about the Baltimore Ravens is concerned, you’re simply misplaced. As your fellow CBS employee Ian Eagle would say, “It’s not a low blow. It’s just a fact.”
I know some folks who I’ll eventually have to see in Owings Mills (or Westminster or wherever something football-related happens next) won’t like this. I’m sorry. A lot of you who understand this market know I’m right. Some of you have already told me that.
And someone will probably call me hypocritical for writing 1400+ words about a subject I’m suggesting no one should care about. Perhaps they’re right. I’ll promise to never spend another sentence writing about the subject again. Probably.
But otherwise I’ll assume we’re in agreement. Moving forward, no one cares about anything Cerrato says.
Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…