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Your Monday Reality Check-Now We’ve Officially Gone From Full Throttle to Neutral

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Your Monday Reality Check-Now We’ve Officially Gone From Full Throttle to Neutral

Posted on 06 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

As the confetti dropped Sunday night at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis to punctuate the New York Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI win over the New England Patriots, a harsh reality set in throughout Charm City.

While the Baltimore Ravens were eliminated some 14 days earlier, the immediate hangover effect of an AFC Championship Game loss lingered into Super Bowl week. The significance of the Super Bowl even without the Ravens’ involvement prevented the malaise of the football offseason from setting in too quickly.

It’s here now though, and it absolutely stings.

Just as we’ve finally had enough time to get over the Ravens’ heartbreaking defeat in Foxborough, we’ve been forced to accept the fact that there really isn’t anything on the sporting horizon that we can deflect our purple energy towards. After working ourselves into a frenzy over the course of the last two months, we have basically no choice but to sit on our collective hands for the better part of the next seven months while we wait for John Harbaugh’s team to take the field once more for real.

Sure, we’ll all drink some beer and tell our favorite Earl Weaver stories on Opening Day. Most of us will throw down a few shekels on the Kentucky Derby winner on Preakness Saturday in May. We’ll be gripped to any rumors related to the Purple Birds.

The moments of excitement will be fleeting and there will certainly be no outlet for us to channel any level of sporting fervor.

Here’s the rundown on the “Reality” of the situation:

-Much of the country will immediately shift their focus to College Basketball season. In past years, an exciting University of Maryland has provided a level of excitement after football season concluded. Barring a miracle it won’t be the case this season, as the Terps sit at 3-5 in ACC play with no significant victory and none likely to come. This was to be expected in Mark Turgeon’s first season but it won’t help anyone in the area shake themselves awake from an “end of football season coma.”

One small shining light is Loyola University basketball, as the Greyhounds find themselves tied with Iona for first place in the MAAC at 11-2. This year’s team is the best Jimmy Patsos has ever had, and has a legitimate shot at the NCAA Tournament. The only cloud for the Hounds’ chances is that the Gaels certainly have more overall talent. It doesn’t mean Loyola couldn’t figure a way to a MAAC Tournament title, it’s just reality.

Coppin State entered Monday with a respectable 7-3 MEAC record and a legitimate crop of talent. Morgan State’s season has been mired by a mid-season suspension of head coach Todd Bozeman and has lead to a disappointing 3-6 conference record entering Monday. The Eagles have a semi-realistic chance of winning the MEAC Tournament, the Bears can’t be completely ruled out but have struggled.

Towson and UMBC have basketball teams. One has a first year coach (the Tigers’ Pat Skerry), one has a coach who might be in his last season (the Retrievers’ Randy Monroe). Neither are even a little good.

Before I leave the topic, the University of Maryland women (who provided us a pleasant distraction with their 2006 NCAA Championship run) have a nice team again under Brenda Frese. They’re not liking a team that could make a Final Four run, but they weren’t supposed to be that year either.

-Other fans across the country will turn their attention to the NHL and NBA. With no team in either sport (and no arena for hope of a team relocating here in either sport) Baltimore isn’t afforded the opportunity to shift attention to such areas.

A handful of sports fans in Baltimore are interested in the Washington Capitals, who have made the NHL Playoffs in each of the last four seasons. After firing coach Bruce Boudreau earlier this season, the Caps find themselves sitting on the outside looking in at the playoff picture now under Dale Hunter and aren’t likely to make a run longer than last season’s advance to the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

There are less than a handful of Washington Wizards fans in Baltimore, which might be good news because the Wizards are unthinkably terrible.

-College Lacrosse season gets underway in the next 10 days, and both Johns Hopkins and Maryland find themselves in the Top 10 of preseason polls. A run to the Final Four from either the Blue Jays or Terrapins would be pleasant, but with the National Semifinals and Finals back in Foxborough Memorial Day weekend is not likely to register the same way for any local sports fan.

-That of course brings us to baseball. The Baltimore Orioles play their first Spring Training games on March 5. They’ll hope to avoid being mathematically eliminated from the AL East race before their first game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards April 6. There’s no guarantee they’ll succeed.

That’s where we are. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s reality. I don’t write this to try to depress anyone. The good news (for you) is that you won’t have to talk about it for four hours a day. I’m not afforded the same opportunity. And it’s not as if I’m really telling you anything you didn’t know, I just felt as though Monday was the day everything sunk in.

We’ll still be here for you however…if for no other reason than to pass the time.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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I always had great Eck-spectations for my best pal and Dundalk wrestling hero Kevin Eck

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I always had great Eck-spectations for my best pal and Dundalk wrestling hero Kevin Eck

Posted on 24 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been an emotional week for me on many levels with more big news forthcoming about WNST.net and its future, so please allow me a little space today to write a very personal blog that comes from the heart.

Kevin Eck – you probably know him as the “Ring Post” guy at The Baltimore Sun — has been in my life since 1979 and for large swaths of time we were as close as any brothers could be. We met at the Games store at Eastpoint Mall (remember that place?) at an autograph signing for Billy Smith. We also both met Al Bumbry, Scott McGregor, Mike Flanagan and Rich Dauer (his favorite) there on the north end of the mall during that “Magical” summer. I was a legitimate “mall rat” at Eastpoint Mall in the early 1980’s – PacMan, soaping the fountains, that sorta thing.

As Bruce Springsteen once wrote so eloquently in the E Street Band classic, Bobby Jean: “We liked the same music, we liked the same bands, we like the same clothes.” That could’ve been the story of Nestor and Kevin. Except we liked the same girls, baseball, football, basketball, rock bands and, of course, professional wrestling of the WWWF and the land of Bob Backlund and George “The Animal” Steele.

This isn’t just a story about my lifelong best pal from Holabird Junior High and Dundalk Senior High. It’s not just a media or journalist story.

It’s really about a kid from Dundalk who dreamed of working in professional wrestling and next week is embarking on a journey of a lifetime.

I can say with all of the conviction in my being that Kevin Eck ate, slept, talked, walked, learned, researched, watched, critiqued, worked in and worked out of nothing but the world of professional wrestling.

The genesis of our friendship wasn’t born of the Orioles or Colts or any rock music band like Rush — and they’re all closer to the heart of our friendship. The truth: Kevin was the only other WWWF wrestling aficionado and wrestling magazine nut when I was in the 7th grade. It was our special bond – a love of the squared circle and the work of Bruno Sammartino, Superstar Billy Graham, Greg Valentine and Andre The Giant.

So, this isn’t just about another “Dundalk boy did well” story, it’s more like a Willy Wonka kind of story with imagination .

Look, I could tell Kevin Eck stories all night. Chasing girls in the 8th grade. Attending every middle school and high school dance. Girlfriends, births, deaths, jobs, journalism, careers, wives…we’ve done it all.  Crazy weeks in Jamaica. Long weekends in Ocean City. All-night benders in Las Vegas and San Diego. You name it. World Series games, crazy cab rides that I chronicled in “Purple Reign” when Eck was the first person in Baltimore to hear the news that the Browns/Modells were moving their NFL franchise to Baltimore.

Eck and I have been around the world together and have shared our lives together. If you want to see a bunch of crazy old, embarrassing pictures I posted them all on my Facebook page here. Please feel free to fan me and I’ll try to make you laugh more often.

And there’s nothing better in life than when your friends do well. Nothing!

Especially when your oldest friends succeed and thrive and live their dreams.

Kevin Eck’s life and dream came full-circle and into the squared circle a few weeks ago when he accepted a job to work on the WWE creative team with Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Dusty Rhodes in Greenwich, Ct. He’s packing up his family and moving to take a job a lifetime at Titan Tower.

In baseball, we’d say he got the call to “go to the show.”

And this must be what it feels like when your brother or best friend or son makes his first big-league start.

You almost want to pinch yourself for them, you know?

Our lives and our career paths have followed a similar, strange path – we’ve worked directly in the same industry as competitors for the better part of two decades and somehow have managed to keep our friendship (and that’s not always easy with two fiery personalities).

I got a job at The News American in September 1984. He soon followed.

I got a job at The Evening Sun in January 1986. He soon followed at The Sun.

I left The Sun in January 1992. He left a few years later to go to work for Ted Turner and WCW as a magazine editor in the last 1990’s and was there during a turbulent corporate time when Vince McMahon’s then-WWF empire usurped the entire industry and my pal came back from Atlanta having to start his local journalism life all over again.

Because of his immense talent and deep depth of knowledge of local sports, Kevin got his job back on the editing desk at The Sun, right back in the sports department. He began writing his passion – a little blog called “Ring Posts” a few years ago and it quickly became a viral hit. (As I told him it would be…)

So many times I talk about expertise in journalism, integrity in reporting and fairness in news judgment and I’m proud to say Kevin Eck has all of that and has for the most part been a “behind the scenes” guy at The Sun, who never had a high profile beat but has been a rock star in his department on the high schools and the dirty work that so many don’t want to do in the journalism business — editing, planning, managing people.

He’s kind of like that lunch pail rock star football player – a Jarret Johnson, Kelly Gregg kinda underrated guy. But a guy you’d never want to lose. And he’ll be the first guy in the clubhouse and the last to leave.

The Sun is taking a major hit losing a guy like Kevin Eck, especially given his deep knowledge of Baltimore sports, which I sadly never put to better use. I always thought Kevin would’ve been a star doing local sports talk radio and I told him that. But he already had a gig and one that both of us dreamed of having as kids, which is what took us into the newspaper business back in 1984.

We both watched “The Odd Couple” as kids and wanted to be Oscar Madison, truth be told.

Meanwhile, the WWE is getting a rock star – someone who is so dedicated to wrestling that it honestly baffled all of our friends, especially when it became apparent through his mom taping every single episode of every single match on VHS tapes for the better part of 25 years.

Kevin Eck has watched as much wrestling as Mel Kiper Jr. has watched college football tape.

Seriously…

This summer, as a hobby, I took it upon myself to work on one project outside of direct WNST sales and development business and that’s been collecting all of my pictures, memorabilia and boxes o’memories to use on my Facebook page and in an upcoming reality TV show I’m participating in with a friend. (I can’t tell you more about it until they let me.)

Two weeks ago, at the bottom of a box, I found this gem of a memory.

And even though it happened on July 25, 1981, I remember it pretty well. Kevin and I were crashing at his Mom’s house and we began working on a project to quietly unseat Vince McMahon from his kingdom by publishing our own Pro Wrestling magazine. We were gonna make millions with this partnership venture.

His mom Shirley, who has struggled with her health lately and was like a second mother to me, was the only person we knew who could type so she was our typesetter and we had to go to the library to make copies and we planned to sell them for 25 cents.

Kevin and I worked all night to make the inaugural (and only) edition of Wrestling, Inc. with Dusty Rhodes on the cover.

That was 30 years ago last month. I don’t think Kevin has missed a WWE wrestling match since 1981.

Other than Dave Meltzer and perhaps Alex Marvez, my pal Kevin Eck is as expert about all things professional wrestling as anyone on the planet outside of Vince McMahon himself.

There’s not much Kevin Eck doesn’t know about pro wrestling, except now he’ll be on the inside of the WWE kingdom helping put on the show and make it better.

He’s off to the WWE to make a difference to follow his dream.

He loved The Baltimore Sun. He loves Baltimore sports and has quietly dedicated his life to it the way I did.

I was the loud boisterous pal. He was always the quiet one in the shadows.

I traveled the world, got syndicated, did my thing and he was always so supportive – like a brother – through all of my victories and challenges.

Kevin did the family thing, came back home to Baltimore to be a factor at his dream job in The Sun sports department and now he’s gotten the job of a lifetime at WWE and one that he’s richly deserving of and one where he’ll thrive and be the best in the world.

You should follow him. You should root for him.

I’m so proud of him and so happy for him that I could explode.

I just wanted to brag on my pal, spread his great news and tell him “good luck” in the most public way that I can because I’m proud of how his hard work has paid off for him.

And I have a feeling I’ll be watching a lot more WWE and SmackDown in 2012 and pining away for the days of Lord Alfred Hayes and Captain Lou Albano.

And if somehow they could only bring Bruno Sammartino back into the ring for one night at the old Civic Center!

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Remembering Only “Magic” I’ve Known

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

I know just how frustrating the 2011 season has been for Baltimore Orioles fans.

I also know how frustrating the 2010 season was. And 2009. And 2008. And 2007. And 2006. And…I think you get the point.

I was born on September 6, 1983. Just over a month later (October 16) the O’s vanquished the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 to claim their third (and still most recent) World Series title. Despite being alive for 40 days when it happened, I’m ashamed to say I have no memories of the title.

The 1989 Birds were a special group. I’ve watched the “Why Not” video a number of times in my life, mostly thanks to my friends BJ and Chris Appel. While they finished short of winning the American League East crown, the team has left many folks in Charm City with special memories.

Unfortunately, I had just turned six years old when the season was cut short. My memories of the ’89 Orioles are extremely limited, and the team itself really didn’t mean much to me as a baseball fan.

I’ve made it quite clear that I am much more of a lacrosse person than I am a baseball person. I’ve made it obvious that certain things about baseball in recent years have made me turn from the game. That’s been made worse by the fact that the team here in Baltimore has given me almost nothing to enjoy for nearly 15 years now. Like many other fans in this city, the demise of our own team has lead to a lessened interested in the sport in general.

That wasn’t the case in 1996.

My 12th birthday was September 5, 1995. It was a special day to be an Orioles fan (like I need to tell you) as Cal Ripken passed Lou Gehrig by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game. My parents were kind enough to purchase me EXACTLY what I wanted for my birthday that year-an oversized Orioles “Starter” brand jacket.

(I know I wasn’t the only one who wore a Starter jacket at the time.)

I’m pretty sure I didn’t take that jacket off for two years-even in the summer.

Baseball was my most significant love in 1996. The Ravens came into existence during the offseason but wouldn’t “take over” the city for another three to four years. In fact, as rabid as we were in Baltimore for the return of the NFL, there were multiple games between Memorial Stadium and what was then known as PSINet Stadium in the early years of the Ravens’ existence that were “sold out”, but featured less than empty crowds.

It was a baseball town, and I loved the Orioles more than I even loved girls.

One of the most exciting moments of my life was the day I found out Home Team Sports (HTS) had been moved from the “premium” tier of Comcast programming in Baltimore County and instead became a basic cable channel.

I was that crazy about the Orioles.

In 8th grade, I was often caught not paying attention to teachers in class. While other kids were writing love notes, I was found to be drawing miniature baseball diamonds and impressing my friends with my ability to name the starting nine for every other team in Major League Baseball.

I was a complete and total nutjob when it came to baseball.

I’m not sure I can fairly explain how much those 1996 & 1997 teams meant to me as I hit puberty. My entire attitude was determined by what the Orioles had done the night before.

I still remember coming home from Perry Hall High School one late fall afternoon in 1995 to have my dad tell me the Orioles had signed Roberto Alomar. I didn’t believe him at first, but ultimately celebrated as if I had received straight A’s on my report card.

The 1996 & 1997 Orioles gave me some of the happiest memories of my life as a sports fan. They also of course gave me some of the saddest memories of my life, as they failed to advance past the ALCS in both years.

As far as “Orioles Magic” is concerned, the only thing I REALLY know about “magic” for the Orioles franchise happened during those two seasons.

I’ve explained my excitement about Alomar’s impending induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame many times. Part of my identity as a Baltimore sports personality is tied to my affection to the man who will take his place in Cooperstown next weekend.

I find it fitting that as Alomar enters the Hall of Fame, he will share the stage with the architect of those Orioles teams, former General Manager Pat Gillick. Gillick’s career is directly tied to Alomar, having brought the second baseman to the Toronto Blue Jays, where the pair would win two World Series titles. Gillick would go on to bring Alomar to Baltimore, where he would lead the O’s to their only Wild Card playoff berth and their first AL East crown in 14 seasons.

My guess is that most of the coverage surrounding next weekend’s induction ceremony will be about the time Alomar and Gillick shared with the Jays. But for Orioles fans, next weekend’s ceremony will be a reminder of a special (albeit short) era of success in Baltimore.

It’s with that in mind that I am happy to announce that Thyrl Nelson and I have come together to dedicate next Friday’s (7/22) edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

We’ll use the show to congratulate Alomar and Gillick on entering the Hall of Fame, as well as to honor the teams that were truthfully the most special in my lifetime.

We’ll talk to players, coaches, broadcasters and even fans who were around those teams. Some interviews will be live, some will be taped earlier in the week. As guests continue to confirm, I’ll do my best to pass them along.

Older Orioles fans might not look back on the ’96 and ’97 with the same fondness that I do. But this is all I’ve known of winning baseball in Baltimore…well…ever.

It’s going to be a lot of fun. I hope you’ll tune in next Friday to AM1570 WNST or online at WNST.net to join in the celebration. I hope you’ll chime in with calls, emails, Tweets (@WNST or @GlennClarkWNST on Twitter), Facebook messages and other memories of those teams.

It’s the only “Magic” I’ve ever experienced, and it doesn’t look like it will be changing soon.

(Eds. Note: A previous version of this post mistakenly stated the Ravens had experienced “multiple blackouts” in their early years.)

-G

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Trip to Arizona Reminds Me 2011 Orioles Just Need to Win

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Trip to Arizona Reminds Me 2011 Orioles Just Need to Win

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

When Nestor Aparicio told me Wednesday would be the day I would scribe my Baltimore Orioles preview piece, I chuckled a bit. I’m sure he had no idea of the symbolism involved.

If you listen to “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST (and you certainly should), you probably know that Wednesday marks the first time I’ve taken a vacation since returning to the Charm City airwaves in 2008.

I’m headed to Phoenix, which is where I lived and worked for two years after leaving CBS Radio here in Baltimore.

Just before departing CBS for the Valley of the Sun, I heard that Nasty was organizing an event called “Free The Birds”. I will admit now that upon hearing of the event, my thoughts (in my head and on-air) were along the lines of “what a blowhard.”

It wasn’t until I got to Arizona that I truly understood what Nestor was doing.

My only full season of MLB coverage in Arizona came in 2007. I was there for the end of the 2006 season and half of the 2008 season-but ’07 was my only full year of covering baseball-specifically the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It you’ll remember, 2007 was the year the D-Backs went on an improbable run to the NL West crown and a trip to the NLCS (where they would ultimately be dismissed by the Colorado Rockies).

The 2007 Diamondbacks were a special group. They were a young team (CF Chris Young, RF Justin Upton, SS Stephen Drew, 1B Conor Jackson and 3B Mark Reynolds were all at the beginning of their careers) with a few “journeymen” type veterans (1B Tony Clark, 2B Orlando Hudson and LF Eric Byrnes) sprinkled in.

Their pitching staff (led by stars Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson) was clearly what carried them to October, but even that group included some journeymen, as Doug Davis and Livan Hernandez held down rotation spots.

They were a fun team that found success from Opening Day until the postseason, and it made the entire summer in Phoenix sort of magical.

Every game in every series at Chase Field (and away from Chase Field) mattered. Every game had a story line. Every game had underlying drama.

Every game was discussed by sports fans the next day on radio, around water coolers and on social media accounts (MySpace was the most popular at the time) throughout the state.

chasefield

As someone who wasn’t from Phoenix (and who actually went to Chase Field for three games in June looking like the above and below pictures), I had no emotional ties to the D-Backs. Yet as the season continued, I found myself more and more emotionally invested as the city where I resided came down with a case of Diamondbacks fever.

os

I even found myself in a public fight with Diamondbacks President/CEO Derrick Hall before NLDS Game 1 against the Chicago Cubs-arguing with him that the team shouldn’t play “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th Inning Stretch because it would give too much encouragement to the Cubs fans in attendance.

I REALLY didn’t care in my heart whether or not the Diamondbacks won the series. My team (the O’s) had just polished off their 10th consecutive losing season. Yet for some reason, the magic of the Diamondbacks’ accomplishment had touched even a dyed-in-the-wool Birds fan like myself.

It was then…in October of 2007…that I finally understood what Nestor (and company) were trying to say.

I hadn’t experienced that type of feeling as an Orioles fan in a decade.

I haven’t experienced it since then of course either.

The last time a meaningful game was played in Baltimore was in October of 1997, when Tony Fernandez crushed both Armando Benitez and the dreams of every 14 year old kid at Perry Hall High School like myself.

I at least got to see a meaningful game as a high school freshman. We’re now approaching a time where area kids will enter high school having not been alive for a single meaningful baseball game.

It’s real.

After seeing the Diamondbacks’ magical run and the way even a transient city like Phoenix was carried away by a season of baseball-I knew that “Free The Birds” was about the desire to finally see the city of Baltimore again experience the same thing.

And we all know just how much the city of Baltimore really needs to experience something like that.

That brings us to the 2011 Baltimore Orioles.

What’s happened with this franchise since 1997 isn’t the fault of President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail, Manager Buck Showalter, DH Vladimir Guerrero or any other player, coach or front office member…with one glaring exception-but we’ll leave Peter Angelos alone this time.

Just because the past 13 seasons aren’t the fault of the overwhelming majority of the principles involved in 2011 season doesn’t mean that the issues surrounding the past 13 seasons can suddenly be ignored.

Whether they like it or not, the 2011 Baltimore Orioles carry the burden of the failures of recent teams.

Just as the 2010 Baltimore Orioles did…and the 2009 Baltimore Orioles did…and the 2012 Baltimore Orioles will if this team doesn’t succeed.

The team (and most notably CF Adam Jones, who recently made some colorful comments to the Baltimore Sun) will be reminded of that when they report to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday, April 22nd to open a six game homestand against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

It will be a somewhat painful reminder that what happened between 1998-2010 is still very much an issue to fans in Baltimore today.

The 2011 Baltimore Orioles will have to accept the desperation of a fanbase deprived of a winner for 13 cities every time they step on a baseball diamond.

We’ll find out over the next six months whether or not they can handle the responsibility.

The early returns have been questionable. Jones has popped off about the fanbase, Showalter took time in an interview to worry about the money Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is spending and how Yankees SS Derek Jeter stands at the plate.

The Orioles (and Orioles fans) cannot afford to waste their time this season worrying about anything other than winning baseball games.

They’re fighting a battle that won’t be easy. While most pundits agree this team is better than they have been in recent years-few believe they will be better than the Yankees, Red Sox or even the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. Few believe that meaningful games will return to OPACY after the All-Star Game this season.

The Orioles will look to do their best to prove those pundits wrong, and it won’t be easy.

In the meantime, they’ll have to try to win back an entire city. There will always be a group of hardcore fans that will support a team emotionally and economically no matter what the results are-but this team will look to re-establish a broader level of support beyond that group.

To do so-the only thing they can concern themselves with is winning.

In fact, the Orioles would be wise to channel Al Davis and consider a “Just Win, Baby” mentality for 2011.

If they do so-Jones won’t have to worry about who is in the stands when the Yanks come back to town this August. Showalter won’t have to worry about how much money any other team in Major League Baseball spends.

The 2011 Baltimore Orioles just need to worry about winning.

Nothing else.

If they can win even enough to have their name on the Wild Card race list when the Yanks visit this August-the feeling at those games will be even more special than what I experienced at playoff games in Phoenix in 2007.

-G

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Morning Reaction MLB Season Picks

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Morning Reaction MLB Season Picks

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

AL East:

crawford

Drew Forrester-
Boston (1)
New York
Tampa Bay
Baltimore (82 wins)
Toronto

Glenn Clark-
Boston (1)
Tampa Bay
New York
Baltimore (78 wins)
Toronto

AL Central:

adamdunn

Drew-
Detroit (2)
Chicago (WILD CARD)
Minnesota
Kansas City
Cleveland

Glenn-
Chicago (2)
Detroit (WILD CARD)
Minnesota
Cleveland
Kansas City

AL West:

bwebb

Drew-
Texas (3)
Oakland
Los Angeles
Seattle

Glenn-
Texas (3)
Los Angeles
Oakland
Seattle

American League Awards:

hellickson

Cy Young Award:
Drew-Jon Lester Glenn-Jon Lester

Rookie of the Year:
Drew-J.P. Arencibia Glenn-Jeremy Hellickson

MVP:
Drew-Joe Mauer Glenn-Josh Hamilton

NL East:

phils

Drew-
Philadelphia (1)
Atlanta
Florida
New York
Washington

Glenn-
Philadelphia (1)
Atlanta
Florida
Washington
New York

NL Central:

greinke

Drew-
Cincinnati (2)
Chicago
Milwaukee
St. Louis
Pittsburgh
Houston

Glenn-
Milwaukee (3)
Cincinnati
Chicago
St. Louis
Houston
Pittsburgh

NL West:

tejada

Drew-
Colorado (3)
San Francisco (WILD CARD)
Los Angeles
San Diego
Arizona

Glenn-
San Francisco (2)
Colorado (WILD CARD)
Los Angeles
San Diego
Arizona

National League Awards:

CarlosG

Cy Young Award:
Drew-Roy Halladay, Glenn-Madison Bumgarner

Rookie of the Year:
Drew-Freddie Freeman, Glenn-Brandon Belt

MVP:
Drew-Carlos Gonzalez, Glenn-Prince Fielder

American League Playoffs:

sox

Drew-
Division Series: Boston beats Chicago, Detroit beats Texas
ALCS: Boston beats Detroit, 4-2

Glenn-
Division Series: Boston beats Detroit, Chicago beats Texas
ALCS: Boston beats Chicago, 4-3

National League Playoffs:

philly

Drew-
Division Series: Philadelphia beats San Francisco, Cincinnati beats Colorado
NLCS: Philadelphia beats Cincinnati, 4-3

Glenn-
Division Series: Philadelphia beats Colorado, San Francisco beats Milwaukee
NLCS: Philadelphia beats San Francisco, 4-2

World Series:

Drew-
Boston beats Philadelphia, 4-2

Glenn-
Philadelphia beats Boston, 4-2

If you missed the explanation of our MLB Picks Friday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Crown the King…Felix Hernandez deserves the AL Cy Young Award

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Crown the King…Felix Hernandez deserves the AL Cy Young Award

Posted on 17 November 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

I just thought I’d offer my vote for the AL Cy Young Award before the league makes their choice official on Friday. There didn’t seem much point in debating the NL recipient, as evidenced by the unanimous vote for Roy Halladay, as although the NL Cy Young race appeared to be the more interesting and debatable argument as the season progressed, by season’s end, the choice became a no-brainer. Ubaldo Jiminez peaked too soon, Josh Johnson came up short, and Adam Wainwright’s team finished out of contention. The Halladay choice was too easy for this the supposed year of the pitcher. But the AL side of the equation will be a different matter altogether.

Much like last year’s races on both sides of the ledger, this year looks to shape up as a face off between the old school and new school, the traditional stats guys vs. the ever growing Saber-Metrics community. But unlike last year, it would seem that this year both sides will at least agree that over the duration of the season, Felix Hernandez, start after start was the American League’s best pitcher, arguably the best in baseball. The question, which seemed to be answered to some degree last season with the choices of both Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum, is whether pitchers whose teams finish out of contention, or more importantly those with modest win totals themselves should be penalized in the Cy Young voting.

 

In the true spirit of the man for whom the award was named, pennant contention, or even wins should certainly not be considered the gold standard. In Denton “Cyclone” Young’s 22 major league seasons, he won only a single World Series, and in addition to his record 511 career wins, he also enjoys the MLB career loss record at 316.

 

What’s working against Hernandez though is that his team wasn’t just bad, they were terrible, losing 101 games on the season. As a result, despite his own prolific stats this season, Hernandez finished his 2010 campaign with a record of just 13-12. One game above .500 while pitching for a team that plays 40 games below .500 overall, is an accomplishment nonetheless. Also working against Hernandez are the respective seasons put together by both CC Sabathia and David Price while competing for pennants in a much tougher AL East. I think we can concede at this point that it pretty much boils down to those 3. Jon Lester certainly merits mention, but in the end didn’t do quite enough, and any voter open minded enough to even consider Trevor Cahill seriously will certainly have to give his vote to Hernandez.

So here are the numbers:

 

Hernandez led the AL in innings pitched with 249.2, Sabathia was second at 237.2 and and Price 18th at 208.2 innings. (all stats taken from ESPN.com unless otherwise noted)

 

Hernandez’ 232 strikeouts was good for 2nd in the AL, 1 behind Jared Weaver, Sabathia was 6th with 197, and Price 8th with 188 strikeouts.

 

Sabathia led the AL in wins with a 21-7 record, Price was tied for second in wins with a 19-6 record, and as mentioned Hernandez finished at 13-12.

 

Hernendez led the AL with a 2.27 ERA, Price was 3rd at 2.72, and Sabathia 7th with a 3.18 ERA.

 

Hernandez finished 2nd to Cliff Lee in the AL in WHIP at 1.06, Sabathia and Price came in tied for 9th in the AL (with Colby Lewis and Carl Pavano) with a 1.19 WHIP.

 

Hernandez pitched 6 complete games (3rd in the AL) or more than Price (2) and Sabathia (2) combined.

 

Hernandez was 7th in the AL in strikeout to walk ratio at 3.31, Sabathia was 14th at 2.66, and Price was 21st striking out 2.38 batters per walk issued.

 

In the category or WAR (or wins above replacement, also called WARP it represents the value of that player in wins over an average AAA replacement….basically) Hernandez leads AL pitchers at 6.0, with with Sabathia in a 3-way tie for second with Weaver and Buchholz at 5.4 and Price finished 5th at 5.3 wins above replacement. (from baseballreference.com)

 

And in VORP, not to be confused with WAR or WARP, or value over replacement player, this measured in runs rather than wins again Hernandez finished 1st at 70.2, Price was 2nd at 54.9 and Sabathia came in 5th saving his team 51.3 runs over an average AAA replacement. (from baseballprospectus.com)

 

So other than wins, the stats all lean heavily toward Hernandez. He doesn’t however play in the AL East, and maybe didn’t feel the same type of pressure that the other two were subjected to as their teams competed in “pennant races”. The truth is, for most of the season, the AL East wasn’t much of a race for all intents and purposes. Despite their own prodigious records, the teams of both Sabathia and Price did enough on the days when those guys weren’t pitching to make their respective regular seasons overall rather enjoyable I’d think. While getting the job done in the midst of a pennant race shouldn’t be understated, it was mostly a foregone conclusion pretty quickly that either the Yankees or Rays were likely to win the East, and the other likely the wild card, it’s hard to say that either Sabathia or Price felt anywhere near the type of pressure either did in the post season, as the Yankees and Rays cruised into the playoffs.

 

Can that type of pressure be comparable to pitching for a team that you can be relatively sure will score few runs behind you, and who night in night out demonstrate a propensity for simply playing bad baseball? Or the pressure to push yourself, when only personal accomplishments can highlight an otherwise miserable season, in which the front office is cleaning house, or to try and keep the game out of the hands of a bullpen almost sure to blow a lead and break your heart? It’s hard to say really which is the tougher circumstance under which to take the mound start after start.

 

What’s not arguable, and that likely hurts Hernandez more than anything is this. He pitches in a hitting poor division, full of perceived pitcher’s parks, with seemingly none more favorable to pitching than his own. Yankee Stadium has quickly become known as a launching pad ranking 2nd in ESPN’s ballpark factor rankings, accounting for an extra 1.177 runs per game, Safeco ranks 29th in this stat at 0.813 runs, and surprisingly (to me at least) Tropicana Field is a relative safe haven for pitchers, coming in as the best pitcher’s park in baseball at 0.800 runs.

 

Lastly, and what may hurt Hernandez too, is that for the first part of the season, he wasn’t even arguably the best pitcher on his otherwise miserable team, as Cliff Lee was setting the league on fire in Seattle despite the same circumstances that surrounded Hernandez there. Lee left with an impressive 8-3 record, far better looking than Hernandez 13-12. What’s more, while pitching in front of a much better offense and in the midst of a pennant race, Lee proceeded to go 4-6 down the stretch for Texas, possibly reinforcing the notion that somehow pitching in Seattle is easier.

 

I can see the argument on both sides, that’s what makes this interesting, but at the end of the day, I’ll be disappointed if Hernandez doesn’t walk away with the hardware. How about you?

 

 

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Three on the 4th: What do Peter Angelos, Al Davis & George Steinbrenner have in common?

Posted on 04 July 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, since I’ve gotten your attention on the hot, sticky holiday here’s an amazing statistic that I think I sorta kinda knew, but could only be reminded of on the 4th of July.

On July 4, 1929 BOTH Al Davis and Peter Angelos were born. Yes, same day, same year!

And, just 365 days later, on July 4, 1930, Yankees tyrant George Steinbrenner was born.

Three of the biggest jerks of their respective eras. Three sports owners. Three wealthy men. Three widely unpopular men. And currently, all three are in various states of illusion, disillusionment and/or failure in their communities to some degree.

Of course, we could say that Steinbrenner — only after being banned and disgraced by his fellow owners — came out of the “dark ages” of the pinstripes with championships galore over the past 15 years. And, apparently his mental health is failing so we’ll try to be as tasteful as we can be about a guy who volumes of books were written about his eccentricities and temper over the years.

But this is some “club” huh, these three wack jobs…

Well just thought it was worth noting — other than comical efforts at public relations at various points in their lives and probably more lawsuits filed than any other three people on Earth — the mighty trio all share a birthday with the United States of America.

And in the land of freedom of speech, all three of these man have tried for decades to suppress free speech and all have at various points banned and attempted to intimidate members of the press and media.

Some fantastic representatives of America in this lot, folks…

Coincidence?

Or just dumb luck?

They will all have one thing in common into eternity on their tombstones: “Born on the 4th of July”…

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 04 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because…well…because it’s Friday. Sure, I got kicked out of Yankee Stadium yesterday just for being an Orioles fan…which SHOULD be an “ejectable offense” the more I think about how silly it is to root for this team.

Before we get to “Trembley Watch 2010″, how about we start this thing on a positive? Deadspin posted a soccer goal the other day that makes me think even I could participate in the World Cup…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p1Eq1AOoTo[/youtube]

I can play goalie AT LEAST as well as that guy.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s Mike Fitzpatrick says A-Rod homered, Rivera closed out solid Sabathia start as Yanks finished sweep of Birds

Well, the few innings that I got to see of it-it looked just like Orioles baseball to me.

It was hard to even be excited when Luke Scott and Adam Jones homered, as we knew it meant a rally wasn’t coming. Kevin Millwood wasn’t up to the level of effectiveness that we’ve come to expect from him this season, but who can blame him?

Plus, the Yankees ARE really good. Alex Rodriguez wasn’t even TRYING to hit a homerun when he did. They have a lineup that is so good that a guy who would quite possibly be the AL MVP right now (Robinson Cano) is hitting 5th! They have a lineup that is so good Mark Teixeira is barely hitting better than Mark Wahlberg thus far, and the team is mostly unconcerned.

It doesn’t make it unfair that the Orioles have to compete against the Yankees in the AL East. It makes it unfair that the Orioles don’t TRY to compete against the Yankees in the AL East.

2. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of sweep

Three hits again yesterday. Or in other words, fewer hits than Third Eye Blind had…ON THEIR FIRST ALBUM.

(Edit from GMC: Of 3eb’s hits, my personal favorite was “How’s It Gonna Be”…)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuAGVr-O-3E[/youtube]

And by the way, don’t take a look at the MLB standings at any point (unless for some strange reason you absolutely have to). The only thing you’ll see is that the Birds are currently 15.5 games back…of FOURTH PLACE.

Can’t we just start Training Camp tomorrow?

3. ESPN.com says Trembley to be fired, Juan Samuel to take over as manager

So…get excited!

In the end, there will be no crying over the end of Dave Trembley’s tenure, as no one REALLY thinks Dave Trembley is a good manager. That being said, he was never given a respectable group of players capable of actually winning…anything.

No sadness today for Dave Trembley, who might well be a nice guy (as Roch Kubatko said), but never really showed himself to be capable of managing.

As far as Juan Samuel is concerned…umm…okay? I know this isn’t a permanent move, but it isn’t inspiring long term OR short term. The Orioles will presumably start looking for a manager in the Bob Melvin/Buck Showalter/Tom Kelly/etc. crowd, although there is an argument that they should let Samuel finish the season and then actually conduct a FULL search in the offseason.

For the record, I’d sign off on Bob Melvin being hired. Having covered him in Phoenix when he managed the Arizona Diamondbacks, I’ve seen him take a team to the NLCS whose best players were Chris Young and Eric Byrnes. That being said, no one should have any reason to believe the team will get any THIS season under any manager. They’re not a good team, and some of the players who HAVE performed may well be shipped elsewhere.

Hopefully there will be both a respectable manager in the dugout and a respectable team on the field come Opening Day 2011. In the meantime, this remains hopeless no matter who’s managing.

4. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says if Trembley fired, Andy MacPhail replaces him on hot seat

And I had him on my hot seat even before now.

The blood is on MacPhail’s hands. He’s in charge, and he didn’t give the manager a REAL chance to win-despite the fact that the manager really wasn’t any good.

MacPhail’s “plan” looks almost laughable at this point, with only the young pitchers (and Nick Markakis) looking like actual major league players right now. This is a CRUCIAL offseason for MacPhail, as the team HAS to be better next season for there to be any reason for any of us to believe that MacPhail actually does know what he’s doing in Baltimore.

Yes, I’m talking about the offseason 54 games into this season. What else would I do?

It’s like a broken damn record, but GOD does it ever suck to be an Orioles fan right now.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says night on farm headlined by Tides’ Brandon Erbe falling to 0-9

And before we move on from the Orioles…

-Congratulations to “Apologist of the Morning” Peter DiLutis, who we have decided that we will also “fire” from AOTM consideration today. Peter has toed the line of “Apologist” and “Idiot” for the better part of the season, and today’s thoughts that the Trembley firing would “spark fan interest” went down the “idiotic” role. Drew Forrester “The Great Arbitrator” selected him over Roch Kubatko AND Dave Trembley, and I will apologize to both of them for being mentioned in the same sentence as the kid.

-The Orioles actually DO play again tonight, but only because they have to. They’ll open a weekend set with the Boston Red Sox; with first pitch on MASN from Oriole Park at Camden Yards at 7:05pm. Chris Tillman makes the start for the Birds, Clay Buchholz opposes him for the Sox. I’ll assume a sweep-but I would probably assume a sweep against just about anyone.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens sign kicker Shayne Graham, give him $1.5 million base salary

Finally.

As I said yesterday via Twitter (follow us @WNST), it is safe to call Graham the favorite in his competition against Billy Cundiff this summer in Training Camp; but he’ll have to show that he’s moved past the issues that lead him to miss two big kicks in the Cincinnati Bengals’ Wild Card loss to the New York Jets. If he struggles, Cundiff will still have a chance to leave Westminster with NFL employment.

Graham has the chance to make up to $2.5 million this season via incentives. Hopefully those incentives include NOT MISSING KICKS.

And with all of this said, there’s still another part of the equation here. Matt Katula HAS to have a better season snapping the ball. If he struggles again, this could look very similar to the Steve Hauschka – Graham Gano competition from a year ago.

7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says John Harbaugh believes ‘pass coverage’ Sergio Kindle’s “Achilles’ heel”

Which is sorta why my expectations (FOR THIS SEASON) are higher for Terrence Cody than they are for Sergio Kindle. He has to learn a new position (as he was mostly a pass rusher at Texas) that is particularly complicated. I think Sergio Kindle is going to be a very impressive player, I just don’t know that it’s going to be at the Rookie of the Year caliber level that he is hoping to perform at this season.

By the way, if you missed Sergio Kindle (and Terrence Cody and Ed Dickson and Arthur Jones) at our Miller Lite Purple Rookies Show Wednesday night at Casey’s in Towson; you can hear from ALL of them in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here at WNST.net.

8. WNST.net’s Ryan Chell says Texas State QB Brad George tried out Thursday at 1 Winning Drive during Ravens Rookie Camp

Brad George’s chances of making the team?

Let’s just say I have a better shot at getting to know Karina Flores (Thanks Busted Coverage!)…

karinaflores

9. Inside Lacrosse’s John Jiloty says Gary Gait not a candidate to replace Dave Cottle as Maryland lacrosse coach

Not that he ever really WAS a candidate this time around. Gait has done a nice job coaching the women at Syracuse, but his coaching experience just really doesn’t fit the bill of what’s necessary for the Terps as they look to replace Dave Cottle.

Also cross Rick Sowell off the list, as the Stony Brook coach received a contract extension to stay put there.

The list is still LONG. Kevin Corrigan, Mike Pressler, Jeff Tambroni and Don Zimmerman are still probably the most likely candidates…probably. At least maybe.

You know…who knows???

10. UMTerps.com says Terrapins senior Caitlyn McFadden claimed Women’s Tewaaraton award

And Duke’s Ned Crotty won the award on the men’s side. Crotty was clearly the best player in the game this year, I just couldn’t have voted for him because I am particularly opposed to the 5th year Blue Devils.

That being said, both are very deserving honors for the best players in college lacrosse.

And we’re very deserving of looking at pictures of Rose Byrne from GQ, as posted by Guyism…

rosebyrne

11. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland-Morgan State will kickoff at 6pm on ESPN3.com, Maryland-West Virginia will kickoff at 12pm on ESPNU

Effing ESPN3.

I understand why ESPN3 if good for the ACC and company, but the league needs to work out a way that games shown on ESPN3 can also be shown over the air in local markets. For example, if the game is on ESPN3 (the old ESPN360)-there should be an option for Comcast SportsNet to carry the ESPN broadcast.

ESPNU is good for no one…unless of course you have ESPNU. I do not. And I’m the most important person here.

12. WNST.net’s G.Q. picks Fly Down to win tomorrow’s Belmont Stakes

For a differing opinion, Rick from Reisterstown selected the favorite (Ice Box) to win when he called the race this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. I’ll pick Make Music For Me, mostly because he has the best name in the race.

If you missed Rick this morning, you can hear it in the Audio Vault. It will be available later via WNSTv. Other guests from this morning you can hear in the Audio Vault include Baseball America’s Jim Callis, NBC Sports’ Craig Calcaterra (HardBallTalk) and NESN Sox pre-game host Tom Caron.

I prefer Rick myself.

And finally, I leave you with this.

“Get Him To The Greek” opens today. I have fairly high hopes…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kbLFrbDeic[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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So long, Melvin, and hold your head up

Posted on 30 September 2009 by Luke Jones

As the Orioles fall toward the 100-loss mark with seemingly little resistance over the final week of the season, their elder statesman winds down his 10-year stay with an organization fixed in what feels like an endless era of losing.

Melvin Mora arrived in the Charm City after being traded with three others from the New York Mets for shortstop Mike Bordick in Syd Thrift’s infamous fire sale of 2000.  The 28-year old utility player was coming to a struggling team with a future Hall of Famer (Cal Ripken) winding down his career and its best hitter (Albert Belle) only months away from retirement due to a degenerative hip condition.  The Orioles were completing their third-straight losing season in 2000. Change was needed.

Mora’s addition, along with the 13 others acquired in the five summer deals, would pump youthful energy into an aging organization and eventually bring the Orioles back to where they belonged at the top of the standings, right?

If only.

Of course, we all know the story. Despite the quantity of players coming to the organization for veterans such as Bordick, Charles Johnson, B.J. Surhoff, and Harold Baines, Mora would be the only acquisition to contribute beyond the next couple seasons. Most would never contribute at all.

Mora debuted with the team as a role player on an 88-loss club and will take his final bow this weekend on a club trying to avoid becoming the third team to lose 100 games in the 56-year history of the franchise (1954 and 1988 were the others). In his 10 years, the Orioles averaged 92 losses a year, finished in fourth place seven times, and landed in the basement twice—one of those this year.

He played for four different managers, five different general managers (or whatever the organization was calling the job at the time), and saw the beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards transform from one of the chic places to be (3.1 million fans in 2000) on a summer night to a mostly desolate palace (less than 2 million fans in 2009) infiltrated by Boston and New York fans 18 times a year.

During Mora’s 10-year stay in the Charm City, the Orioles finished in third only once (2004), but the high-water mark came in the early stages of 2005.

The Orioles enjoyed a two-month reign at the top of the American League East, and the long rebuilding process appeared to be on the right track. However, Mora saw his team collapse in the second half with a disgraced teammate’s steroid suspension (Rafael Palmeiro), injuries, and management’s failure to improve the team down the stretch (trading Larry Bigbie for Eric Byrnes is going to get you over the hump?).

Needless to say, Mora has had little to smile about in his 10 years with the Orioles. You almost have to feel sorry for the guy.

As he is resigned to the reality of this almost certainly being his last season in Baltimore (the club will not use a $8 million club option for 2010), people will overstate the importance of his disappointing 2009 season—at age 37, mind you—and his mid-summer spat with Dave Trembley when judging his 10 years as an Oriole.

His disappointing final season cannot—and should not—shortchange his accomplishments playing in an absolutely miserable era of Orioles baseball.

The super-utility player that came to Baltimore flashing the leather at a variety of positions—left field, center field, and shortstop to name a few—steadily improved his game and eventually became an All Star, albeit for a bad club needing a representative in 2003. Mora would earn a second trip to the Midsummer Classic in 2005.

Ironically, Mora was excluded from the All-Star squad in 2004 despite being the best third baseman in baseball that season. Yes, before you ask, better than that guy wearing pinstripes in the Bronx.

It was the best season of his career and one of the finest seasons ever by an Oriole.  His .340 average was, and still is, the best single-season clip in club history. Mora also led the American League with a .419 on-base percentage and finished in the AL’s top 10 in batting average (behind only Ichiro Suzuki), slugging percentage, runs, hits, total bases, and doubles. His play earned him the Silver Slugger award (awarded to the best offensive player at each position) and solidified his status as an everyday player.

While Mora would never approach his tremendous 2004 numbers again, he would continue to provide solid numbers and steady defense in his remaining years in Baltimore, even throwing in an amazing second half of the 2008 season for good measure.

Regardless of the sour aftertaste created by his 2009 campaign, Mora is unquestionably an Orioles Hall of Famer, ranking in the franchise’s career top 10 in home runs, hits, doubles, runs batted in, and runs. And with apologies to Doug DeCinces’ fans, Mora may rank as the second-best third baseman in club history (The 1979 hero’s best years came with the California Angels).

Perhaps more important than his diamond achievements when pondering his legacy in Baltimore is the fact that Mora truly embraced the Charm City and adopted it as his home. Mora and his wife Gisel had their famed quintuplets in Baltimore—and chose to raise their six children right here.

While nearly every Oriole of the past decade waved goodbye to the city at the end of September and didn’t return until the new baseball season in April, Mora and his family stayed in Fallston—and plan to continue doing so.

Others wanted little to do with the community or even went as far as to demean the city (Aubrey Huff), but Mora thought highly enough of it to make it his home.

Make no mistake, the organization treated Mora very well financially (probably too well), but he understood the importance of sharing that good fortune with the local community through various charitable endeavors.

Simply put, Mora got ”it.”

It’s an idea not to be taken for granted in this modern age of so many high-paid mercenaries completely void of any pride, philanthropy, or connection for the city in which they play.

Mora’s role in the community was never more apparent than in late-December 2005. Longtime bullpen coach and leading community ambassador Elrod Hendricks had passed away just a few days shy of Christmas, yet Mora was the only active Oriole to attend the coach’s funeral on December 29.

It was more an indictment on the sorry state of the organization than a tremendous gesture, but at least Mora WAS there. It was something the 24 others could not say, regardless of the pathetic excuses claiming it was too close to the holidays.

As an Orioles fan, I chastised the missing players but also appreciated Mora being there to represent the current team, pathetic as it was. Mora understood not only what Hendricks meant to the organization but to the entire city.

One might say it doesn’t take much effort to embrace the local community, so why such praise for Mora? He was being paid millions, right?

Well, easy as it might be, he was one of the few to care enough to actually do it.

Even in his final weeks with the Orioles, Mora demonstrated one more example of understanding what it means to be a Baltimorean. When learning the organization planned to honor him for playing the second-most games at third base in franchise history, Mora requested the man ahead of him on the list, Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, to be present.

So, despite little publicity or fanfare (a different issue entirely), Mr. Oriole was there to celebrate the accomplishment with the Orioles’ current third baseman. Who knows if Mora can tell you how many Gold Gloves Robinson won at the hot corner or what year he even retired, but he knew enough to understand Brooks needed to be there. That’s saying something.

Unlike Brooksie, who played a large portion of his career in the Orioles’ glory days, Mora is likely to be remembered as the figurehead—along with another good player and nice guy, Brian Roberts—for the franchise’s miserable era of losing baseball that is yet to end here at the conclusion of the 2009 season.

“Mora had to stink, or the Orioles would have won while he was here, right?”

But let’s admit, save for the infancy of his career and a two-year window of fantasy baseball in 1996 and 1997, Ripken didn’t exactly play in the Orioles’ glory years either.

The truth is though Mora certainly wasn’t the type of player that could carry a winning team by himself, he also wasn’t the reason the team stunk for the decade he was with the organization. In his best years, Mora undoubtedly would have been a valuable member of a contending club.

No one will suggest that Mora belongs in the same stratosphere as the Orioles’ royalty of the Robinsons, Ripken, Palmer, and Murray. Not even close.

And even the casual fan would never confuse his baserunning prowess with the legendary Rickey Henderson, or even Willie “Mays” Hayes for that matter.

Mora may not have always said the right thing, but he was occasionally willing to speak up in a way so many frustrated fans could admire. His declaration that some Orioles didn’t know what it took to win in 2007 and his famed “Who is going to pitch for us?” query in 2005 may have ruffled some feathers in the Warehouse, but it was music to the ears of fans wanting a terrible organization to take accountability.

Ultimately, Mora should be remembered as a good player and one of the few to perform admirably through a miserable period of Orioles baseball.

He represented the city with pride and is one of the few I felt proud to cheer over the last decade.

So long, Melvin, but we’ll see you around town.

It’s a shame we didn’t have much fun at the ballpark.

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 14 September 2009 by Glenn Clark

My overall grade for the Ravens yesterday was a C+. They were really good at times. REALLY good in fact. But they let their guard down way too often. That can’t happen against the best teams in the AFC. It was a decent performance for a Week 1 game, but not brilliant.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say….

Best of Sunday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Ravens learned ‘every play-in every game-against every team-matters’ due to big plays in win over KC

Glenn Clark says Flacco set career highs in passing attempts, yards, and TD’s in win

Drew Forrester thought Chris Chester had ‘unheralded’ performance in win

Glenn Clark says Terps, ACC teams got ‘lucky’ over weekend

Ed Frankovic says Caps’ Fleischmann out until October with blood clot

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens put up team record 501 total yards of offense in 38-24 win over Chiefs

The Official Site’s Ryan Mink says Todd Heap made 5 catches for 74 yards and a TD in win

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ray Rice went over 100 yards rushing in win

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Larry Johnson fell well short of 100 yards in loss to Ravens

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Hauschka hit from 44, missed from 41 in win

The Official Site says Harbaugh thought Ravens ‘didn’t take advantage of’ opportunities in win

Kansas City Chiefs Official Site’s Luke Shanno says Derrick Johnson got Chiefs going in 2nd half with INT, 70 yard return

Kansas City Chiefs Official Site’s Pete Moris says Jon McGraw got Chiefs on board with blocked punt recovered in endzone

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Mark Clayton caught 31 yard ‘decisive’ TD

The Sun’s Childs Walker says 71,099 fans took in Ravens’ win at M&T Bank Stadium

The Sun’s Mike Preston gives highest praise to O-Line, RB’s, WR’s in win

The Sun’s Ken Murray says ST Coordinator Rosburg thinks Ravens have ‘lot to work on’

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Jarret Johnson had 2 sacks, bad personal foul

The Sun’s Mike Preston thinks Greg Mattison ‘might want to blitz more’ in future

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Cam Cameron may have been throwing Chiefs ‘curve’ with passing attack

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Ravens running backs ‘embarrassed’ veteran Chiefs LB Vrabel

The Sun’s Mike Preston thought Chiefs WR Mark Bradley looked like a ‘wimp’ in loss

The Sun’s Mike Preston wants to see success from WR’s against Chargers, Steelers, etc. before he proclaims them ‘weapons’

The Sun’s Mike Preston thought Ravens won ‘ugly’

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Ed Reed thought win ‘shouldn’t have been (that) hard’

Carroll County Times’ Bob Blubaugh says Le’Ron McClain added TD for Ravens in win

Carroll County Times’ Rich Dubroff says long snapper Katula thought he was ‘shaky’ in Ravens’ win

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Kelly Gregg, Ray Lewis tied for team lead in tackles in win

The AP says McGahee finished off win with late TD

Kansas City Star’s Adam Teicher says Brodie Croyle threw for 2 TD’s in loss

Kansas City Star’s Jason Whitlock saw impact of Al Saunders on Ravens’ offense

Kansas City Star’s Adam Teicher and Kent Babb say (would-be Raven) Succop drilled 53 yard FG for Chiefs in loss

USA Today’s Sean Leahy says Flacco ‘unlikely gunslinger’ in win

USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt says new Linemen Oher, Matt Birk contributed in Ravens’ win

SI’s Don Banks says Flacco found 7 different receivers in win

SI’s Peter King has Ravens 11th in power rankings

CBS Sports’ Clark Judge thinks Ravens 5th best team in NFL

CBS Sports’ Mike Freeman says Derrick Mason, receivers inspired by derogatory comments made by ESPN’s Keyshawn Johnson and Cris Carter

ESPN.com’s John Clayton says Flacco ‘looked more mobile than ever’

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Flacco ‘ready to carry’ Ravens offensively

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Haley held Cassel out of Chiefs’ loss to Ravens

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Guthrie stayed competitive through struggles, pen couldn’t keep Birds in loss to Yanks

The Official Site provides numerical evidence of loss

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says David Hernandez takes on David Price, Rays tonight at Camden Yards

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says MacPhail reports decision on Matusz likely to come today

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Birds weighing value of Moeller for future

Yankees Official Site’s Anthony DiComo says Hideki Matsui hit late 3 run homer to put O’s away

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Chris Waters, Bob McCrory struggled out of pen for Birds in loss

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Melvin Mora was a late scratch (sore right elbow)

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Jeremy Guthrie allowed 15 baserunners in 5 2/3 innings

The AP says Trembley thinks Pie might be able to take swings today

New York Post’s George A. King III says A-Rod, Girardi ejected from win over Birds

New York Times’ Ben Shpigel says Sabathia picked up AL-leading 17th win

New York Daily News’ Anthony McCarron says Melky Cabrera tallied 4 RBI for Bombers in win

Newsday’s Erik Boland says Alex Rodriguez thought Marty Foster ‘unprofessional’ with ejection in Yanks’ win

Newark Star-Ledger’s Marc Carig says Yanks ‘survived’ boneheaded play by Johnny Damon in win

Bergen Record’s Pete Caldera says Yanks prevented Orioles’ first sweep in Bronx since ‘86

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Cameron Chism expected to help replace injured Nolan Carroll

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Trenton Hughes also amongst players who will have to step up in Carroll’s absence

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Nolan Carroll had surgery to insert screw, stabilize bone in broken leg

Examiner Matthew Bouchard says Terps must ‘improve quickly’ before Saturday’s game against Middle Tennessee State

The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says Friedgen ‘able to joke about’ close win over JMU

The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel says Ralph thinks Jamari McCullough, Bruce Campbell probably won’t be ready for MTSU

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says teammate Derek Drummond caused Carroll’s injury

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps, Duke, BC, Wake most likely candidates to play in EagleBank Bowl

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says 14 play TD drive against Dukes amongst longest of season

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph also thinks Richard Taylor can help in Nolan Carroll’s absence

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph impressed with Nick Ferrara

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens thought Tyler Bowen ‘solid’ for Terps at RT

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Terps likely to burn CB Dexter McDougle’s redshirt with Nolan Carroll out for season (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Danny Miller gives Terps ‘C’ for ‘overall’ performance in win over James Madison

NAVY FOOTBALL:

Go Mids says Marcus Curry, Tyler Simmons, Kyle Delahooke, Jabaree Tuani best Mids in win over Louisiana Tech

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Losing Nolan Carroll will be a significant detriment for the Terps. If they are going to continue to pursue in the backfield, they cannot allow themselves to become vulnerable to teams who want to throw over the top. They don’t face a TON of teams with big play throwing capability, but not having Carroll against those teams will hurt them.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

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