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President Obama Commits To Saving The Chesapeake Bay ….

Posted on 09 June 2009 by Rex Snider

Let’s face it, as Baltimoreans, Marylanders and Ravens/Orioles fans, we tend to focus on the things that have a primary purpose in our lives. All too often, things are taken for granted, right?

For years, the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries have fallen into this “taken for granted” column. Oh yeah, we love steamed crabs, the inner harbor and the view from the bay bridge, as we drive to Ocean City. But, most of us have blindly assumed the bay will take care of itself.

Count me as guilty …..

I’ve benefited from many life-defining moments on the Chesapeake Bay. I can distinctly recall times as a kid, when my dad and I would troll for bluefish under the main span of the bay bridge. While I’d certainly rather eat rockfish, nothing and I mean NOTHING fights like a 15-pound blue …..

I’ve also netted my fair share of crabs, while working a 1200-foot troutline, from about 5am til noon. Heck, when I was a teenager (early 1980’s) we could be limited out with 3 bushels by 10am, and home by noon.

I’ve swam in nearly every creek between the Patuxent River and Bodkin Point. I’ve had my photo taken while standing on the Seven Foot Knoll, when it was in the Patapsco, and NOT outside McCormick and Schmick’s inner harbor restaurant. I’ve camped on the callsway, at Point Lookout. And, I’ve watched the Blue Angels fly mere feet above the surface of the Severn River.

My childhood was every bit as entrenched in the pleasures of the Chesapeake Bay, as it was rooting for Earl Weaver’s Orioles and a very bad Colts team. I loved spending time on the water.

Yet, somewhere along this path of growing into adulthood, I’ve lost my way …..

Yeah, I still love the O’s, regardless of 12 years in the tank, and I consider the Ravens MY TEAM. But, I’ve neglected any interest in the Chesapeake Bay. It’s almost as if the trophy fish, bushels of crabs and countless boating excursions of my youth never happened.

So, a few days ago, I read an article detailing President Obama’s interest in resurrecting the Chesapeake Bay. And, it dawned on me ….. I’ve abandoned my roots !!!!

Going lengths to repair such misgivings is gonna be a personal endeavor. I want my daughter to see and experience some of the natural resources I’ve enjoyed, when I was her age. It’s summer and this is the perfect time.

In getting back to President Obama’s commitment – I am extremely pleased to see he is dedicating financial resources and personnel from federal agencies to the mission of saving the Chesapeake Bay.

President Obama’s 2010 budget includes $35 MILLION, which will be solely devoted to the “milestone” efforts of cleaning and reinvigorating the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The program will be overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency, with contribution from Maryland and Virginia.

While we live in an era and society that suspects partisan politics whenever we utter the names of elected officials, I can wholeheartedly attest that my gratitude is entirely tied to my love for Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay. I have no underlying interests or agendas.

Whenever crews for ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC or FOX come to Baltimore, they ALWAYS mention “crabcakes” and other seafood as the indigenous delicacies for visitors. Those same delicacies and the attraction of our inner harbor are tied to the health and vitality of the Chesapeake Bay.

In the coming months, I’ll be working on repairing my roots and involvement in the bay’s natural treasures. But, today I’m saying THANKS to the President for thinking of us….

We’re certainly living in tough economic times and he has an entire nation to consider in his budget. I’m glad to see a true treasure like the Chesapeake Bay isn’t being forsaken – even in the eyes of a recession.

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The Man The Myth The Legend John Madden

Posted on 17 April 2009 by Neal Bortmes

The retirement of John Madden brings the end of a chapter in the broadcast history of the NFL.  It is not a sad day because he walks away of his own will at the ripe age of 73 having commentated games for CBS, FOX, ABC, and finally NBC.  The team of Pat Summerall and John Madden will always be among my favorites because of their convivial relationship, one in which Pat routinely had to dress up dear John’s “color” commentary.


John Madden cut his chops as a linebackers coach for the Oakland Raiders in 1967, and after having impressed Al Davis, the notoriously fickle owner, he got his chance as head coach two years later.  Madden was the youngest head coach ever to reach 100 career victories and he did so in only 10 years of coaching.  The Raiders for a time however had the reputation as a team that couldn’t win the big one having been to multiple championships under Madden and not returning the victor.  Madden’s Raiders team was even stymied by divinity when on December 23, 1972 the “immaculate reception” stole away another shot at a championship.  Finally in 1977 the Raiders broke through with a Super Bowl win against the Minnesota Vikings.  Madden retired two years later due to problems with ulcers which could have been caused by Davis’ micromanagement, his many personal vices including overeating and alcohol, or a combination of the two.


John Madden had a long broadcast career spanning from 1979 to 2009, and he will forever live in the hearts of NFL fans because he was the icon of NFL broadcasting for the majority of his career.  Even individuals who are averse to sports know who John Madden is, and a generation of young people will forever remember him as the namesake of their favorite football videogame.  The game itself has even inspired the trash talking reality TV show Madden Nation, as well as the Madden Bowl contest held during Super Bowl weekend.  It is hard to believe how many Madden videogames there have been, the series is so wildly popular that it even has its own spin-off dubbed NFL Head Coach.  As an aside, to those Ravens fans who are unaware Ed Reed is being strongly considered as a candidate for the cover of Madden 2010.  “Whoa”, “Holy Cow” Madden is so popular that he even has a curse named after him which is associated with the cover of his videogame.  The legend says that whoever is featured on the cover of the game usually has a sharp decline in performance that year which is generally attributable to injuries.


It is fitting that Madden is retiring this year because it looks like retirement has finally stuck to his man crush Brett Favre, maybe Madden thought a year of not talking about Brett was more than he could handle.  I think John will do well in his time away from the booth because he has made himself into a cottage industry as the spokesman for “Boom” tough actin’ Tinactin, Ace hardware stores, and Outback Steakhouse.  Madden was an innovator during his time and is the first color guy that I can remember to use the now infamous telestrator where he drew unintelligible squiggles to explain certain plays on the field.  No one will forget that Madden charm and the eloquent way he would talk about things such as the number of Johnsons in the Cincinnati Bengal’s locker room.  So go out and fry a Turducken this weekend in honor of Hall of Famer John Madden.

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Blog & Tackle: ESPN cuts Preakness Day coverage

Posted on 13 April 2009 by Chris Pika

Pimlico Race Course and the Maryland horse-racing industry took another publicity hit late last week as ESPN confirmed that it will drop the showing of the entire Preakness Day card before NBC’s coverage of the May 16 race, according to a story in Thoroughbred Times

The day of horse racing on ESPN showcased both Baltimore and Pimlico in the hours leading up to the second jewel in the sport’s Triple Crown. No ESPN network will show any race during Preakness week from Old Hilltop in 2009.

The network had shown the pre-Preakness race card the past few years, and it also produced a feature-heavy live show called “Breakfast at Pimlico” on Preakness morning.

WBAL-TV will continue to have its’ three-hour local Preakness show prior to NBC’s telecast and will have post-race analysis after the national telecast ends.

It’s not the only reduction in horse racing coverage during the sport’s peak time, according to the Thoroughbred Times, as ESPN has also cut six hours of coverage from the Kentucky Derby in Louisville. Last year, the network showed 11 hours of coverage from Churchill Downs during Derby week, but has cut that number to five hours, including the pre-Derby card, on May 2. The Derby broadcast itself remains on NBC.

ESPN will also show five hours — the same number as 2008 — before ABC’s coverage of the Belmont Stakes on June 6.

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