Tag Archive | "Art Modell"

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Know What They’re Up Against Sunday

Posted on 13 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens (4-1) returned to work at 1 Winning Drive Wednesday, shifting their focus to Sunday’s visit to Foxborough to face the New England Patriots (3-1) at Gillette Stadium.

RB Ray Rice was amongst the Ravens players who met with the media Wednesday. Rice played a prominent role in the team’s 33-14 victory in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs in January, and understands what a matchup against an organization that has won three Super Bowls in the last 8 years means.

“We don’t want to single out the Patriots, but the success that they’ve had-you can’t forget that” said Rice. “They have a long-term history of success. This is the kind of game you really don’t have to ramp yourself up for.”

Ravens players went back and forth as to whether or not they thought the Pats would have January’s loss fresh on their minds when the teams got together again Sunday. Rice said “I think it has to be in the back of their heads because what we did last year was uncommon for that kind of team.” However, LB Ray Lewis said “every year is a new year and every game is a new game.” He added “I don’t think they’re going back that far to think about it that much. I just think the bottom line for them is to try to get a win, just like for us this week is to try to get a win.”

In a conference call with members of the Charm City media, Pats DT Vince Wilfork probably summed up his team’s feelings about Sunday’s game by saying the Ravens “are one of the best teams in the NFL right now and we’ve got our hands full.”

“BRADY RULE” NOT A CONCERN: The Ravens were 27-21 losers to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium last October, but the game was not without controversy. LB Terrell Suggs and DT Haloti Ngata were each flagged for questionable hits on New England QB Tom Brady, which lead many fans and analysts to claim NFL officials were working with some sort of “Tom Brady Rule.”

For their part, Ravens defenders seemed unconcerned about potentially beneficial treatment for the five time Pro Bowl QB.

“We don’t even think about that” said Lewis. “You can’t think playing this game, you’ve got to react. Whatever comes with it, comes with it. You just always hope the game is called fair.”

LB Jarret Johnson added “you can’t worry about it…you’ve just got to be more aware of your surroundings and you can’t be careless out there.” Johnson said he didn’t think Brady received preferential treatment, noting the league does “protect quarterbacks” and defensive players need to maintain control of their bodies when they’re in the area of QB’s.

HARBAUGH PAYS OFF A BET: Ravens coach John Harbaugh is the older brother of Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. When Stanford faced Oregon two Saturdays ago, Harbaugh was involved in wagers with two members of the Ravens roster.

Former Ducks defensive standout Ngata made a cash bet with Harbaugh, the terms of the bet went undisclosed. Rookie TE Ed Dickson (a fellow Oregon alum) instead made a wager that involved the loser having to don gear from the winner’s team during practice. Because Oregon rallied for a 52-31 win over the Cardinal, Harbaugh was forced to pay off the bet Wednesday…

harbaugh

…if you can’t tell, Harbaugh is wearing a t-shirt that says “I love my Ducks” and has a duck whistle around his neck.

“There are ramifications for losses that ring all the way across from coast to coast” said Harbaugh. “I’ve got to give the Ducks their due, they’ve got a heck of a club.” Harbaugh also joked that the Cardinals and Ducks could meet again in the BCS Championship Game.

PRACTICE NOTES
: WR Donte’ Stallworth (foot), OT Jared Gaither (back) and LB Tavares Gooden (back) did not practice Wednesday, all have been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

Also missing practice Wednesday was Ngata, who injured his knee on the Ravens’ failed 4th and goal play from the 1 yard line during the first quarter of their Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos. DE Paul Kruger (knee), FB Le’Ron McClain (shoulder/knee), Rice (knee) and CB Josh Wilson (hamstring) all did not participate in practice Wednesday either. Only Kruger is a known risk to miss Sunday’s game as of now.

LB Edgar Jones (thigh) and LB Jameel McClain (knee) were both listed as limited in practice Wednesday. S Tom Zbikowski had his ribs wrapped following Sunday’s win over the Broncos-but was not listed on the Injury Report.

Ravens majority owner Steve Bisciotti and former majority owner Art Modell were each spectators for practice Wednesday.

For the Patriots, RB Fred Taylor (toe) did not participate in practice Wednesday. Brady and CB Terrence Wheatley (foot) were both listed as full participants in practice. No other Patriots were listed on the injury report.

NOTES
: Hear from Harbaugh, Rice, Lewis, Johnson, QB Joe Flacco, CB Fabian Washington and WR Derrick Mason NOW in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……New OL Scott Kooistra is scheduled to join Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Thursday at 7:15am on AM1570 WNST……Suggs confirmed WNST.net’s Tuesday night report that he had not accepted money or inappropriate benefits from agent Gary Wichard or former Wichard associate Josh Luchs while in college at Arizona State. Suggs simply told Baltimore reporters “Gary didn’t give me sh*t.” Luchs said he and Wichard did not give money or benefits to former client/Ravens TE Todd Heap during his Sun Devils career either……The Ravens return to the practice field Thursday; coordinators Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison and Jerry Rosburg are scheduled to meet with the media following practice

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 08 September 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I get to name two new “Greatest Song(s) of All Time This Week.” There’s few things I enjoy this much in the world.

The Retro version? This is too easy. We went drunkpin bowling for my birthday Saturday night, and “Mo Money Mo Problems” nearly got me thrown out. Absolutely the greatest hip hop song of all time…

Here’s the NEW version of the GSOATTW…Lil’ Wayne & Drake…Language probably not safe for work…

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says new Ravens WR Houshmandzadeh ‘entertaining’ during introductory press conference in Owings Mills

Just go ahead and say it. “Championship”…

TJ Houshmandzadeh was plenty entertaining at 1 Winning Drive Tuesday-whether it was saying Cincinnati Bengals coaches were “nervous” before facing the Baltimore Ravens or saying his departure from Seattle had “nothing to do with football.” He was intelligent and engaging, and made a press conference interesting.

Unfortunately, an impressive press conference doesn’t count for any wins in the AFC North standings. What happens on the field will matter MUCH more than anything that happens in any press conference.

Unless of course something like one of these happens at a Ravens press conference this season. That WOULD be newsworthy…

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says LB Sergio Kindle believes he’ll be able to return this season

If the Ravens don’t get Sergio Kindle back this season, the decision to trade Antwan Barnes to Philadelphia looks more and more foolish to me.

I have a bad feeling that pass rush will be an area of concern within a month or so of the start of the season. Bringing in Josh Wilson improves the secondary, but the secondary will only be as good as the pass rush will allow it to be.

Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce are the most important puzzle pieces, but the team will need to be able to get a rush from elsewhere. The number of injuries the team could help Paul Kruger or Edgar Jones be active against the Jets Monday night, and if so they’ll need to show some ability to get to the quarterback to stay active.

I just feel like it’s going to be a concern. Getting Kindle back between Week 6 and Week 9 could help that.

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens worked out former Atlanta Falcons, LSU CB Chevis Jackson Tuesday

Jackson wouldn’t be a player they’d be looking at for the active roster (which could have something to do with why he didn’t join the team Tuesday), but instead to join the practice squad after Prince Miller signed with the New England Patriots.

The real question is-if the Ravens are conducting tryouts, why wouldn’t they give Alyssa Pallett a look??? (Thanks, The Smoking Jacket!)

pallett

4. The Sun’s Tim Smith says Lyric Opera House to be renamed after former Ravens owner Art Modell and wife Pat Modell

I know nothing about opera and less about donating millions of dollars. With that being said, I think this is an awesome story shared between two Charm City institutions.

The first performance at the new Modell Center? A Ray Lewis/Old Spice musical extravaganza…

5. Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer says Brian Baldinger, Steve Beuerlein, Ron Jaworski, Steve Largent, Joe Theismann, Marcellus Wiley amongst former NFL players who think Ravens will reach Super Bowl

A few things before we move on from the Ravens…

-As you already know, Jaworski will be part of the broadcast team Monday; as he, Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Suzy Kolber and Michelle Tafoya will have the call for ESPN from the new Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford.

-The Ravens return to the practice field today for a “bonus day” in Owings Mills. We’ll be out there live, and I’ll check back in with Thyrl Nelson at 12:30 on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” and Rex Snider at 4:30 on “The Afternoon Drive” to let you know what’s going on in Ravensland.

6. The AP’s Howie Rumberg says Orioles got to CC Sabathia early in win over New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium

Look-you don’t have to even bother asking if I watched last night. I played in my weekly Tuesday night Kickball/Ultimate Frisbee showdown in Bel Air, then I came home to watch Kim Clijsters and Rafael Nadal in Flushing Meadows.

And since I haven’t been watching the games, I will admit that I’m always skeptical when I check back to see the scores. I mean, the O’s can’t REALLY be on the verge of a sweep in The Bronx, can they? They couldn’t REALLY have beaten CC Sabathia last night thanks in part to a Nolan Reimold homer, could they?

There’s so much evidence that it almost HAS to be true, but I’ll continue to admit that I’m skeptical. Can you blame me?

7. The AP/WNST.net offer numerical evidence of win

So many good things to look at here:

-Jake Arrieta went 6 and a third last night, allowing just 2 earned runs on 8 hits. He walked 1 and struck out 3.
-Not only did Reimold homer, but Ty Wigginton went 2-4 with a double, run scored and RBI; Nick Markakis went 2-4 with a run scored and RBI; and Brian Roberts went 2-5 with a run scored.

So-as has become a new custom around here-I encourage you to ABSOLUTELY go look at the numbers, but then come back to check out Jodi Gordon courtesy of The Beer Goggler via Busted Coverage…

jodigordon

8. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Troy Patton, Pedro Viola called up; David Hernandez activated Tuesday

And before we move on from the Orioles, a few things…

-The Birds and Yanks wrap their 3 game series this week with a matinee showdown at Yankee Stadium. Brad Bergesen takes the hill against Ivan Nova, first pitch is on MASN at 1:05pm.

-Did you miss Bowie Baysox manager Brad Komminsk wrapping up the season with Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault today here at WNST.net to check it out. Some other things you can find in the Audio Vault include…

  • John Harper (New York Daily News)-who talked Orioles, Yankees and Buck Showalter with Drew Wednesday morning
  • Justin Gimelstob (Tennis Channel)-who went around the U.S. Open with Drew Wednesday morning as well
  • Lorenzo Neal (Former Ravens, Bengals FB)-who discussed his former teammate TJ Houshmandzadeh with Rex Snider Tuesday afternoon
  • Bob Glauber (Newsday/ESPN First Take)-who discussed the New York Jets before the Monday Night Football showdown with Rex Tuesday afternoon
  • Frankie Edgar (UFC Lightweight Champion)-who joined Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo on “The MMA Report” Tuesday
  • The entire TJ Houshmandzadeh press conference (with an introduction from WR Coach Jim Hostler) from Owings Mills, and the entire Kevin Anderson press conference (with incoming school president Wallace Loh and acting president Nariman Farvardin) from College Park

It’s all in the Audio Vault, make sure you check it out today. Then you can send me a card. Or a fruit basket. I’d love a fruit basket.

9. The AP says new Maryland AD Kevin Anderson wants to take Terps from ‘good to great’

There’s no question that Debbie Yow left the Terrapins’ athletic program in very good shape-both on the field and economically.

That being said, the school would clearly like to see their “money” sports competing at a more consistent national level.

That’s where Kevin Anderson comes in.

There are two pieces in place now with Dr. Loh established as President and Anderson as Athletic Director.

Now everything shifts to the football program.

A win over Navy was nice, but Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin know exactly what they’re up against. The leadership of the school and the department will have to decide what they’re looking for, and whether the current head coach and/or the head coach in waiting can meet those expectations.

They might not be coaching for their jobs-but I don’t think it’s unfair to say they very well could be.

10. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Terrapins DT Joe Vellano, S Kenny Tate amongst ACC Players of the Week

Trust me, I asked-this type of honor is nice but does NOT earn you a date with Tal Berkovich. (Thanks Guyism!)

berkovich

It really should though.

And finally, I leave you with this.

The Big Lebowski meets The Matrix. The Dude abides…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Friday!

It’s a Happy Friday for me because tonight is my annual Fantasy Football Draft; or as I like to call it-“August Christmas.” Thanks to my buddy Chris Appel for arranging the event at Mountain Branch for our “Full House League”, where I’m assuming these things will be on the menu…

wingsandbeer

I have the 6th pick in this year’s draft. I’m mortified. Clearly Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew will be gone; with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson likely behind them. That will likely put me in an uncomfortable spot where the best options are Frank Gore, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Michael Turner.

I have no idea what I’d do in that situation.

I guess Team “Jesse and the Rippers” probably end up having to take this guy…

BOLLER

And as a quick personal note; my condolences go out to Chris Appel (and former WNST.net blogger BJ Appel-the Commish in our league); whose grandfather “Big” Will Appel passed away last night. Big Will was an amazing dude who will be missed. Thoughts and prayers all around, it certainly weighs heavy on an otherwise glorious day.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Glenn Clark says Terrence Cody (knee), Demetrius Williams (ankle) missed practice again Thursday ahead of Ravens-Giants game

Neither are major concerns, and neither have ruled themselves out for tomorrow night-although it would surprise me if either were on the field after missing practice for all (Williams) or the majority (Cody) of the week.

The Ravens will almost certainly be without O-Linemen Jared Gaither (back), Oniel Cousins (concussion), David Hale (tailbone) and Daniel Sanders (shoulder) tomorrow night; as well as CB Marcus Paschal (leg).

WR Eron Riley (back) and DT Brandon McKinney (knee) are question marks having missed a few practices this week; and I would be surprised if CB Lardarius Webb played on the turf at “The Bank” after returning from the PUP list just this Monday.

It sorta feels weird to talk about injuries before a game and not mention LJ Smith. I hope he’s doing well…

2. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink says ‘ball security’ very important for Cam Cameron, Ravens against New York

And after 8 fumbles in the first two preseason games against the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins, it seems like a pretty logical thing to work on.

You know what else seems pretty logical? Posting this picture of Ninel Conde from Don Chavez….

conde

3. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome to be inducted in Cleveland Browns Ring of Honor

I’m not sure if the Browns are planning on inviting guys to town to be honored the weekend of the induction, and it likely wouldn’t matter; as the Ravens visit the Cincinnati Bengals that day and I’m sure Ozzie will be in The Queen City, not The Comeback City.

But hypothetically, imagine the Browns holding an event on a day where Newsome had been able to attend. I am certain there would be at least a level of awkwardness at Cleveland Browns Stadium. I don’t think the majority of fans would be foolish enough to-say-boo the man whose Cleveland career made him a Hall of Fame TE. But I do think there would be a handful of fans (especially younger fans who might not remember Newsome on the field) who would be uncomfortable with honoring the GM of the team that abandoned Cleveland and now regular comes back to kick the Browns in the ass.

And there’s also the whole “he works for Art Modell” thing.

They’re doing the right thing. And it is probably best that it will happen on a day where they can avoid any level of awkwardness.

4. New York Daily News’ Ebenezer Samuel says G-Men center Shaun O’Hara to miss tomorrow night’s game

Before we move on from the Ravens, a couple of things…

-The Ravens are holding a walkthrough today that is CLOSED to the media out at 1 Winning Drive in Owings Mills. They’ll kickoff against the Giants at 7:30 tomorrow night at M&T Bank Stadium. The game can be seen live on WBAL11.

-Did you miss Ravens LB Jason Phillips with Drew Forrester today on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Jason discussed his road to making the 53 man roster after missing last season. You can hear it in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here at WNST.net. Some other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Howard Cross (New York Giants sideline reporter/former TE)-who previewed tomorrow night’s preseason showdown with the Ravens
  • Domonique Foxworth (Ravens CB)-who joined Drew to talk about his recovery and preview the Maryland-Navy get together at M&T Bank Stadium on Labor Day
  • TJ Rives (Tampa Bay Buccaneers sideline reporter)-who previewed the Bucs with Drew as we continued to look at all of the Ravens’ 2010 opponents
  • Roger Lodge (Host of “The Sports Lodge” on AM830 in Los Angeles and the former host of “Blind Date”)-who joined Drew to preview the Angels
  • All sorts of audio from Owings Mills Thursday-including Cam Cameron, Greg Mattison, Jerry Rosburg and Ray Rice
  • Steve Hauschka (former Ravens, now Detroit Lions kicker)-who joined Thyrl Nelson Thursday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”
  • Joe Maese (former Ravens Long Snapper)-who joined Rex Snider Thursday on “The Afternoon Drive” to talk about Matt Katula/Morgan Cox as well as his new career as a Howard County firefighter
  • Len Pasquarelli (CBSSports.com)-who checked in live from the NFL Owners Meetings in Atlanta with Rex Thursday

Plus much much more. It’s all in the Audio Vault, so once again I’ve planned your day completely. I’m getting sick of carrying you like this.

5. The AP’s Jay Cohen says Edwin Jackson masterful as Orioles lost to Chicago White Sox at US Cellular Field

Not a whole heck of a lot more that can be said about this.

Jackson was TREMENDOUS last night. The type of tremendous that sorta makes you wonder how he can ever be bad.

I almost said “I’m glad Edwin Jackson doesn’t pitch for my team, because it would be frustrating to watch him.” But I don’t mean that. I’d take Edwin Jackson my team 10 times out of 10. He’s better than anyone we have.

Nights like these happen sometimes. They’re frustrating, but they happen. Hopefully there will be fewer and fewer of them in 2011.

Hopefully.

6. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

Jackson’s line: 8 shutout innings, 3 hits, 10 strikeouts

Jake Arrieta’s line: 4 IP, 4 ER, 7 hits, 3BB, 2K

You REALLY don’t want to look at these numbers.

Instead, look at Olivia Wilde. She’s much more pleasant to look at. Thanks Guyism!

oliviawilde

7. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says Armando Gabino optioned to Norfolk after loss, Jim Johnson expected before tonight’s game in Anaheim

And when it comes to Gabino, we’ll always have the memories. Like…

I’m happy for Jim Johnson to finally be getting back. I think there was a real chance of him having his spirits dampened after such a dreadful season thus far.

You know what tends to help me when my spirits are dampened? Robert Randolph…

8. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Chris Tillman roughed up, but Norfolk Tides managed to beat Charlotte Knights on farm

And before we move on from the O’s, a couple of things…

-The Birds left the Windy City last night for Anaheim, where they’ll open a weekend series with the Angels tonight. First pitch between Brad Bergesen and Trevor Bell is at 10:05pm, and the game can be seen on MASN2. Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie face Scott Kazmir and Jered Weaver the rest of the weekend.

-Adam Jones missed another game last night, but was available in an emergency situation. Still not considered a longterm issue.

-While Tillman still seems to be a guy who will be headed to Charm City next week, it does not look like Buck Showalter and Andy MacPhail will be giving Zach Britton the call. Might be the right move, but still kinda disappointing.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says LaQuan Williams, Justin Lewis, Matt Furstenburg now listed as starters for Terrapins

And yet somehow Shannon James STILL isn’t starting. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN COLLEGE PARK?!?!?!? (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

shannonjames

10. ESPN.com’s Wayne Drehs says Michael Phelps has rededicated himself to Swimming after visiting this year’s Vancouver Olympics

Thank God, as I can’t take seeing Michael Phelps lose anymore.

I mean, if Phelps is losing-I’m pretty sure THIS man defaults back to being the face of Baltimore sports…

And finally, I leave you with this.

The Maryland State Fair is underway in Timonium. It means plenty of wonderful things all around. Amongst them? DEEP FRIED POP TARTS! (Thanks Fox 45!)

poptart

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Greatest Ravens by jersey number (21-40)

Posted on 26 August 2010 by Luke Jones

With Sports Illustrated releasing its list of all-time best NFL players by jersey number this week, I decided to look back at the 15-year history of the Baltimore Ravens to construct a list of the greatest players for Nos. 1-99.

Numbers 1 through 20 included greats such as Matt Stover and Ed Reed as well as lackluster selections such as David Tyree and Wally Richardson.

Part two (21-40) provides a few interesting debates with a few more selections of attrition.

21 Chris McAlister (1999-2008)

The paradoxical cornerback’s exit under the new regime of John Harbaugh was unfortunate, but there was no questioning McAlister’s talent when his mind was focused on football. The three-time Pro Bowl selection (2003-04, 2006) is the best cornerback in franchise history.

McAlister will eventually be a part of the Ring of Honor, where he will become the second honoree to wear No. 21, but the only deserving one. Earnest Byner had a good NFL career in Cleveland (with the exception of “The Fumble”) and Washington, but he being the first member of the Ravens Ring of Honor is solely a product of Art Modell’s affection for the running back.

22 Duane Starks (1998-2001)

McAlister’s counterpart receives the nod in a close race with cornerback Samari Rolle. Starks lacked consistency in his four-year career with the Ravens, but his play reached new heights during the team’s postseason run that ended with the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa. Starks intercepted two passes in the AFC Championship and returned a Kerry Collins attempt the other way 49 yards for a touchdown in the Super Bowl (check out the 0:46 mark below).

23 Willis McGahee (2007-present)

McGahee’s career in Baltimore has declined after a 1,200-yard season in 2007, but the veteran runner easily tops the list of players to wear the number, which includes Moe Williams, Jamaine Winborne, Earnest Hunter, and Dameon Hunter.

Though no longer a premier back, McGahee can take consolation in a certain moment in Oakland last season.

24 Domonique Foxworth (2009-present)

Despite playing only one season with the Ravens so far (and missing his second with a torn ACL), Foxworth’s performance in 2009 trumps the likes of Corey Fuller, Donny Brady, Alvin Porter, and 2006 third-round bust David Pittman.

25 Chris Carr (2009-present)

Despite a number of players wearing the number, Chris Carr wins out over inadequate cornerbacks such as DeRon Jenkins, Evan Oglesby, and Clarence Love.

26 Rod Woodson (1998-2001)
Woodson

The veteran transitioned from cornerback to safety and earned three trips to the Pro Bowl during his four-year stay in Baltimore. Dawan Landry deserves a mention and Priest Holmes wore the number his rookie season, but Woodson is the unanimous choice here.

27 Ray Rice (2008-present)

Safety Stevon Moore was one of the few competent members of the Baltimore defense in the early years, but Rice’s breakout 2009 campaign makes him a slam-dunk choice for No. 27. Entering his third season, Rice hopes he can make the number as synonymous with Ravens football as No. 52 and 75.

28 Gary Baxter (2001-04)

McAlister wore the number his rookie season and Tom Zbikowski is making a name for himself, but Baxter was a solid member of the Baltimore secondary before ditching the Ravens for Cleveland, where his career was essentially ruined by patella tendon tears in both knees in 2006.

29 Chester Taylor (2002-05)

Taylor was a dependable backup in 2004 and 2005 when Jamal Lewis’ body began breaking down. His performance eventually earned him a nice payday in Minnesota before the Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson. Two players deserving posthumous recognition are safety Eric Turner and fullback Chuck Evans. Terry Allen also wore the number in the running back-starved season of 2001.

30 Obafemi Ayanbadejo (1999-2001)

With Eugene Daniel and Jamel White his only real competition, the man with probably the coolest name in the history of the franchise earns the honor despite spending the latter half of the Super Bowl season on Injured Reserve.

31 Jamal Lewis (2000-2006)

With a bruising style unlike any other, Lewis was an unstoppable force in 2003, rushing for 2,066 yards and a then-record 295 against the Cleveland Browns in Week 2. In his prime, Lewis was the type of runner defensive players were afraid to tackle. He is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.

32 Sam Gash (2000-02)

The veteran fullback led the way for Lewis in his rookie season and is the most deserving of a group of backs that includes Musa Smith and Errict Rhett. Gash was the epitome of an “old-school” fullback.

33 Le’Ron McClain (2007-present)

Some will argue Priest Holmes as a deserving choice for this number—the first back to have a 1,000-yard season in team history in 1998—but McClain’s two Pro Bowl selections and improbable 2008 season in which he rushed for 902 yards earn him the honor.

McClain

McClain’s running style reminds you a little bit of Bam Morris, another back to wear the number in 1996 and 1997. Unlike the troubled Morris, however, McClain has managed to keep his nose clean, literally and figuratively.

34 Ovie Mughelli (2003-06)

Though he was a late bloomer in Baltimore, Mughelli grabs the brass ring with his only real competition being Jay Graham and current return man Jalen Parmele. The latter still has an opportunity to stake a claim in the future, but Graham’s injury-riddled career fell off a cliff after rushing for an amazing 154 yards in his first career start in 1997.

35 Corey Ivy (2006-08, 2009)

Despite his small stature at 5-foot-9, Ivy was a steady nickelback with the ability to blitz effectively. His standout moment with the Ravens came during a dominant 27-0 win over the Steelers in 2006 in which the defensive back grabbed an interception, sacked Ben Roethlisberger, and forced a fumble. Ivy edges Robert Bailey, the nickel during the 2000 season, and fullback Carwell Gardner (1996).

36 Jim Leonhard (2008)

B.J. Sams was a good return specialist for four seasons with the Ravens, but Leonhard personified the Ravens’ underdog season in 2008 in which they advanced to the AFC Championship game with a rookie head coach and quarterback.

The undersized safety’s play was a major asset in place of the injured Dawan Landry and earned him a nice contract with Rex Ryan and the New York Jets the following season.

37 Bennie Thompson (1996-1999)

Deion Sanders earned the most attention with his two-year stint in Baltimore, but Thompson was a special teams standout during the infancy of the franchise. Thompson played the game with the crazed demeanor needed to launch oneself into the wedge of the opposition’s return team. Thompson earned a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1998 for his special teams prowess.

38 James Trapp (1999-2002)

Despite being an ordained minister, Trapp is remembered most for being ejected from a game in 2002 after stomping on the head of Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress, a move many in Baltimore didn’t mind a bit. Trapp was a quality backup in the Ravens secondary for four seasons and edged out the likes of Antonio Langham, Mike Anderson, and Raymond Walls.

39 Alan Ricard (2000-05)

After much painful debate, I decided against Daren Stone, the culprit of one of the dumbest penalties in franchise history, as the all-time No. 39.
stone

Ricard was the lead blocker and a Pro Bowl alternate in Jamal Lewis’ record-breaking 2003 season and was a great fullback for several seasons.

40 Cory Ross (2006-07)

Though he wore the number for just one season (switching to No. 34 in 2007), Ross filled in for injured return specialist B.J. Sams during the latter portion of the 2006 season, which was enough to earn the distinction for a very insignificant number in team history.

Cory Ross

The deceased Kenyon Cotton and current bubble defensive back K.J. Gerard are the only other competitors in an underwhelming group of No. 40s.

Next up: For numbers 41 though 60, we’ll find who grabbed the honors for No. 46 and 48 (Impressive if you have names off the top of your head), and I’ll end the suspense surrounding the pick for No. 52. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with Lay Rewis.

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sarasaco

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Wednesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 18 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Wednesday!

It’s a Happy Wednesday for me because I have some new rules to unleash for “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week.” Previously, I handed just one honor out per week-but I’m going to mix that up. I will now be handing out both “New” and “Classic” versions of the honor.

If you’re friends with me on Facebook (feel free to search “Glenn Clark” and add the man who is sipping Orange Kool-Aid after losing a bet to Ed in Park Heights), you know that this week’s “Classic” version (the rule is that the song must be at least 5 years old) is “Out of My Head” by Fastball…

This week’s new version of “The Greatest Song of All Time This Week” isn’t really even a song I like that much. Honest to God. Frankly, I find “The Boys of Fall” by Kenny Chesney to be a particularly insufferable song musically. BUT-the speech from New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton at the front of the video is so freaking epic that I’m going to give it the honor anyway.

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. The AP’s David Ginsburg says Luke French, Seattle Mariners shut down Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Yeah, but how are you expected to get anything going against a Cy Young Award candidate like Jeanmar Gomez Luke French?!?!? The Buck Showalter era has been very good in Charm City, but there have still been a few puzzling pitchers to shut the O’s down.

What’s weirder? The fact that the Birds were able to muster just 3 hits against some fella named Luke French or the fact that Josh Bell had two of them?

It all wasted the best start made by Kevin Millwood arguably all season. He gave up just 3 hits and 3 walks over 7 and 2/3 innings, allowing just one run to cross the plate. Armando Gabino sadly wasn’t quite as effective.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had to remind everyone of this-but after the Birds have lost 3 of 4 for the first time under Showalter; I think it’s important.

You can’t win them all. You just can’t.

2. The AP/WNST.net provide numerical evidence of loss

Rough night for Ty Wigginton-who went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts and left 3 men on base. Of course, it was a rough night for just about anyone else who was wearing orange and black too.

In one of those “at least it’s familiar” feelings; you REALLY don’t want to look at these numbers. Trust me. Instead, check out something else baseball-related. Sara Saco-Vertiz is the gall that got hit by a foul ball recently at a Houston Astros game down at Minute Maid Park when her boyfriend “Bo the Bailer” jumped out of the way. She’s also a very pleasant distraction from what happened in the Orioles game last night. (Thanks H8TORADE!)

sarasaco

3. MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli says MRI on Craig Tatum’s knee ‘shows no damage’

Good news!

Or at least “oh…okay” news.

You know what-if this is the most interesting thing going on with the Orioles’ roster, it IS good news.

You know what else is good news? The new Harvard Sailing Team video that Dave Carey linked to my Facebook page last night. Thanks Dave!

4. USA Today’s Paul White says O’s ‘soaring’ under Buck Showalter, but team still needs to improve roster

This is the unfortunate part about the reasonable success the Orioles have had recently. As solid as they’ve been, it just doesn’t REALLY matter.

The fact remains that it is MUCH nicer for us as fans to watch the team win a few games at the end of the season than to continue to lose games at a historic rate. I’m not trying to take away from the value of that, as it bothers me to watch losing as much if not more than anyone.

But this season has been over for some time. There was nothing to tangibly gain from a strong (or even semi-strong) finish to the season.

If the Orioles don’t make significant roster upgrades during the offseason and field a legitimate team come Opening Day; they’ll lose games in April and May of 2011 under ANY manager. Even Buck Showalter.

Wins this season are like “warm fuzzies.” They’re nice to have around, but they don’t actually help with anything. When you’re cold, you need a blanket-not something the size of pocket lint.

The Orioles don’t need warm fuzzies. They need a massive overhaul. It has started with the manager. Now they need more.

5. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Bowie Baysox OF Xavier Avery had 4 RBI in win over Trenton Thunder on farm

A few things before we move on from the Orioles…

-The O’s and M’s wrap up their 3 game set tonight at OPACY. First pitch between Jeremy Guthrie and David Pauley is at 7:05pm and the game can be seen on MASN.

-Did you miss Xavier Avery this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST? Make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net today to check it out. Other things you can hear in the Audio Vault include…

  • Rich Dubroff (Carroll County Times)-who discussed all things Orioles with Drew
  • Peter King (SI/NBC)-who checked in from Westminster to preview this afternoon’s “Tweetup” at Amicci’s in Little Italy (4:30-6pm…make sure you come hang out!)
  • Seth Everett (ESPN Radio New York/ESPNNewYork.com)-who checked in with Drew to preview the Jets as we finished the AFC East in our preview of every team on the Ravens’ schedule
  • Our “Cheap Shots from the Bleachers”, including Drew’s shot at all parties involved in the Renee Gork Arkansas/Florida debacle and my shot at the Ravens’ “You Make the Cut” game
  • Plenty of audio from McDaniel College Tuesday-including John Harbaugh, Jim Zorn and Oniel Cousins
  • Todd Heap-who checked in with Rex Snider yesterday afternoon following Ravens practice
  • Matt Bowen (National Football Post)-who discussed his former teammate Brett Favre with Rex Tuesday as well

It’s all in the Audio Vault, so go check it out. Your day is planned now. You can thank me in form of cash money.

6. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says David Hale, Matt Birk, Davon Drew, Marcus Paschal, Brandon McKinney, Daniel Sanders, Stefan Rodgers, Jared Gaither all missed practice Tuesday at Ravens Training Camp

When it comes to Birk and McKinney, my initial thought is “I bet they’ll be plenty healthy when the team is in Owings Mills next week.”

I’m not quite as laid back about David Hale; as the team doesn’t really have much interior line depth. Birk, Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda and Chris Chester are there to handle the Top 4 spots; but the team clearly doesn’t want to have to use Chester as the reserve center.

Now-they could be more flexible if they had better tackle depth. Should they be able to start Gaither and Michael Oher with Cousins behind them; it COULD allow Tony Moll to play guard and have the team use Chester in a pinch as a reserve center.

The thing is-they need these guys to be healthy to do ANY of that. That’s an issue as of right now.

7. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Ed Reed has visited rehab specialist in Atlanta recently to ‘accelerate’ hip healing

You know what else might help Ed ‘accelerate’ his healing? Showing him this picture of Miss USA Rima Fakih. (Thanks Guyism!)

fakih

8. BaltimoreRavens.com’s Mike Duffy says Tavares Gooden working with first team defense at JACK LB spot

And before we move on from the Ravens, a few things here as well:

-I have no idea what to make of the JACK LB battle. The job appeared to be Jameel McClain’s to lose, but both Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe have gotten their chances to run with the 1’s after McClain started against the Carolina Panthers. At this point, I’ll still leaning towards McClain-but it will be interesting to see who works with the first unit at FedEx Field Saturday night.

-A reminder that the Ravens hit the practice field today-if you missed the 8:45am practice, you missed it. There’s a special teams practice at 2pm today. Today and tomorrow are the LAST TWO DAYS that you can see the Ravens practice in person at McDaniel College; as they are closed to the public Friday before Saturday’s preseason showdown with the Washington Redskins.

9. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Maryland WR Emani Lee-Odai fractured pinkie during practice, Ralph Friedgen expects him to need surgery

This is a tough break for the senior; who was expected to play an important role in a surprisingly deep group of receivers.

Congratulations also to Terrapins LB’s Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten; who were both named to the Butkus Award Watch List; and to Terps WR/KR Torrey Smith, who was named to the Paul Hornung Award Watch List-given to the nation’s most versatile player.

And if Maryland needs some depth at WR with Lee-Odai out, may I suggest Ann French? (Thanks The Smoking Jacket!)

annfrench

10. UMTerps.com says Gary Williams to join Babe Ruth, Johnny Unitas, Art Modell, Jim McKay, Brooks Robinson in inaugural “Hall of Legends” class at Sports Legends Museum

We could debate the names that AREN’T part of that list (Cal Ripken, Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, Chuck Thompson, Jonathan Ogden, etc.); but that isn’t the point of this really. They’re going to have years to get all of these guys in this group, and this first group of 6 is absolutely outstanding.

The real question is…which year will it be when we see “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio inducted?

I’m sure it has to be soon, right?

And finally, I leave you with this.

The young lady in my life (whatever that means) is a Dallas Cowboys fan. I’m not proud, trust me. We call her “Boomer Sooner” around here. I hope I NEVER hear her singing this song. (Thanks Deadspin!)

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 29:  The band of the Baltimore Ravens performs before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 20-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

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Blog & Tackle: Sweet tune could return

Posted on 06 August 2010 by Chris Pika

A familiar tune, played with pride during some of Baltimore’s greatest football moments, and mournfully after one of the city’s darkest, could return to herald Ravens touchdowns in M&T Bank Stadium this season if fans have their way.

The Ravens through their website, are giving fans the chance to decide whether the current fight song, written in 1998, should remain, or if an alternate version rewriting the words of the old “Baltimore Colts Fight Song” to fit the current club should replace it — with the melody familiar to generations of Baltimore football fans.

According to Baltimore’s Marching Ravens band director John Ziemann, the fight song has been a part of Baltimore football history since it was written in 1947. “Six pro teams used it,” he said. “The 1947 (AAFC) Colts, the 1950 (NFL) Colts, the 1953-83 Colts, the USFL’s Baltimore Stars in 1985, the CFL’s Baltimore Stallions in 1994-95 and the Ravens in 1996.”

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 29:  The band of the Baltimore Ravens performs before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on November 29, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Steelers 20-17. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

When the melody was played by the Colts Marching Band, it was as familiar to Colts fans as “Fly, Eagles, Fly” in Philadelphia, “Skol, Vikings” in Minnesota and even “Hail To The Redskins” in D.C. The tune was recognized among football fans nationwide as almost no NFL Films piece on the Colts was produced without the melody playing in the background.

When the Colts left in 1984, the band played on — as they did when the original NFL Colts left after the 1950 season — and the fight song was performed wherever they traveled to play, especially in NFL cities for pregame and halftime shows, carrying the torch of a love lost and hope of a new start.

That bond between the city and the melody became even stronger when the band played it in front of the Maryland State House in 1987 before a key vote on stadium complex funding. The emotional response of seeing the band carry the tune helped the measure to pass.

The NFL did return in 1996 when the Browns moved to Baltimore, and the club, out of respect for the previous history, did not adopt the song as the Ravens played at old Memorial Stadium — but the band played the tune during the ’96 season to celebrate Baltimore’s return to the NFL.

“In 1998, the Ravens decided they wanted their own identity, and a great fight song was writen by John Modell (son of Ravens’ owner Art Modell),” Ziemann said. The same year, the name of the band changed to Baltimore’s Marching Ravens as the team moved to the new downtown facility the band had helped secure in a small but meaningful way almost a decade earlier.

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 22:  A band member for the Baltimore Ravens plays the tuba before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Colts defeated the Ravens 17-15. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

The organization did its best to ingrain the current fight song with the fans. But it never really seemed to fit in a city that reveres its history — especially when it comes to football. Over the years, fans contacted the Ravens about restoring the beloved melody.

The opinion of the organization changed when movie producer and Baltimore native Barry Levinson became part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” documentary series. Levinson chose to spotlight the band and its’ contribution to the city in great football times and especially in the years without the NFL. Just as Levinson had used the “Baltimore Colts Fight Song” to effect in his movie “Diner,” the ESPN movie, “The Band That Woudn’t Die,” gave new life to the melody in an unexpected way.

“The Ravens organization has always had a close ear to the needs and views of the fans,” Ziemann said. “And last year, when the premiere of the ESPN movie was shown at M&T Bank Stadium, the Marching Ravens did a pre-concert on the field. We played the ‘Baltimore Ravens Fight Song,’ and it got applause. But when the ‘Baltimore Colts Fight Song’ was performed, the place went wild. This started the Ravens rethinking about restoring the song.”

That was just the start. New words were needed to fit the melody, making the appropriate changes while keeping some of the historical aspect of the original. “New words were written by musical director Todd Clontz and myself, and focus groups were formed for opinions on it, taking all the necessary steps,” Ziemann said.

The “Baltimore Fight Song” was born, again. But the Ravens organization did not want to make the decision to restore the song on its own. It would be up to the fans to voice their opinions.

“The Ravens, to be fair to the fans, have put it up for a vote on their website,” said Ziemann. And if the song is restored, it will be performed August 12 at the first home preseason game (vs. Carolina).”

This potential switch in fight songs will not sell one more ticket or another piece of merchandise for the Ravens, but the change would return a sweet tune back where it belongs in celebration of a city and its football heritage.

For up-to-date Tweets on the NFL and the Ravens, please follow me on Twitter (@BlogAndTackle).

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Regarding LeBron: How Would We Have Felt?

Posted on 13 July 2010 by Glenn Clark

If I chime in on LeBron James, does that officially mean that EVERY columnist/blogger in the world of sports media would have dedicated print/type to the subject?

I will admit that I have much less moved by the LeBron James saga than the large majority of this country. I was unmoved by his free agent courting process, I was unmoved by ESPN’s “The Decision” special, I was unmoved by his decision to bolt Cleveland for Miami, and I was unmoved by Dan Gilbert losing his mind Thursday night.

I will also admit that rarely am I particularly moved in any way by a subject in sports that doesn’t garner any sort of emotional investment from me. With no offense to the Boston Celtics or Los Angeles Lakers, my level of involvement in the NBA Finals was minimal at best. If I was home and the games were on, I watched them. I certainly did not plan my month of June around making sure I was home to see Kobe Bryant go up against Paul Pierce.

I have no emotional investment when it comes to LeBron James. I have enjoyed watching him play at times (his masterpiece against the Detroit Pistons in the 2007 Eastern Conference Finals was special), but I have never been much too concerned about what he was doing on or off the floor.

Apparently I’m one of the few.

The most compelling thing about the LeBron saga for me has been the reaction-both in Cleveland and across the country. Be it fans burning LBJ jerseys in “The Comeback City” or Jesse Jackson forcing himself into the topic, I have been intrigued by all of the attention that has been placed on the subject.

Heck, even my partner on “The Morning Reaction” Drew Forrester has been inspired to talk about the NBA, a subject I couldn’t even ask him to discuss the other 11 months of the year.

Obviously the most irrational reaction has come from the shores of Lake Erie, where sports fans have not only burned jerseys; but have made much more dangerous threats and have compared the man they previously called “The King” to their other most despised sports figure-former Baltimore Ravens majority owner Art Modell.

Also amongst the reaction have been the inevitable comparisons to heartbreak-or potential heartbreak-in other cities. For example, Yahoo! Sports’ Les Carpenter (formerly of the Washington Post) wrote a column comparing James’ decision to depart Cleveland to the decision Cal Ripken made in 1988 to re-sign with the Baltimore Orioles.

It’s a fair comparison. Both were local products who achieved great success early in their career with their hometown team. There are also key differences.

Had Cal Ripken walked away from Charm City following the 1988 season, he would have been doing it in an era where fan reaction would have been much more difficult to gauge.

There were no sports talk radio stations in Baltimore in 1988. Blogging didn’t exist. Only the columnists at the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post would have REALLY had a chance to express the feelings about Ripken’s decision in a way that could have been knowledge to the man who would eventually become a Hall of Fame-caliber player.

There are also career differences-as Cal Ripken had helped lead the Birds to victory in the 1983 World Series, while LeBron James had never reached the mountaintop with the Cavs. Cleveland fans are starved for a championship at this point considering the many near misses of not only the Cavs, but also the near misses of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians over the last 25 years.

Part of the angst felt by Cleveland fans certainly has something to do with the fact that they had to be convinced James would be part of the solution to finally end the city’s title drought. In reality, it’s hard for fans in ANY city in the country to really understand the mental makeup of a fanbase that hasn’t claimed a major pro sports title since 1964. Heck, in Baltimore alone we’ve won 5 titles since then, despite having only two pro sports-one of which was missing for over a decade.

However, I don’t necessarily think it’s unfair to try to consider how we’d feel in the situation. It’s with that in mind that I offer this hypothetical, which may or may not have any real validity in the big picture.

Let’s imagine that the Baltimore Bullets never left town. Instead of moving the team to Washington, Abe Pollin was granted an expansion team in DC and sold the Bullets to local ownership. Let’s also consider that instead of the Bullets franchise winning the 1978 NBA Championship; the “Washington Wizards” expansion team won the title.

Stay with me.

Let’s continue with the hypothetical and say that the Baltimore Bullets franchise during the 80’s and 90’s had about the same success level as the team that ACTUALLY moved in the nation’s capital did. The Bullets/Wizards franchise made just one playoff appearance between 1988 and 2004-a 1st round sweep at the hands of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in 1997.

Now let’s consider that in the mid-1990’s, the team had moved out of the clearly defunct Baltimore Arena and into a new building, potentially where M&T Bank Stadium now sits. The building is now known as the “Under Armour Center”, but was previously known as “PSINet Arena.”

Still with me? I hope so. I’ve laid the groundwork for the “Baltimore Crabs” (the NBA still forced a name change due to the violent nature of the name “Bullets”); a team that has existed since 1963 without winning a NBA Championship and has at times struggled to survive given the organization’s struggles and the level of pro competition in both Baltimore and DC.

Now, let’s have that organization meet a significant player. Let’s say that Towson Catholic graduate Carmelo Anthony decided that instead of going to Syracuse, he would follow in the footsteps of fellow Catholic League star Juan Dixon and could commit to Maryland. During the ’02-’03 season; ‘Melo would join with Steve Blake and Drew Nicholas to lead Gary Williams’ Terrapins to a 2nd consecutive NCAA Championship and then bolt to the NBA.

Look, I said this was a hypothetical. I probably should have said “dream sequence.” But let’s not split hairs here. I know Carmelo was BORN in New York and has always been fascinated with The Big Apple, but let’s pretend he was MORE fascinated with staying home. It works better here.

Being one of the poorer teams in the ’02-’03 season, the Crabs obtained the #2 (or #3) overall pick in the NBA Draft; where they were able to select Carmelo after the Cavaliers selected LeBron James.

Suddenly, a franchise with no direction and no hope becomes a team with a local star player-a player that would quickly develop into a perennial All-Star and would lead his team to the playoffs year in and year out.

Games at the Under Armour Center are now sold out before the season after previously being attended at O’s-like rates. Businesses near the Inner Harbor boom 50+ nights a year when the Crabs are at home. Crabs jerseys with the Number 15 on them are as popular sellers as Ravens jerseys with the Number 52.

On top of all of that, the Crabs really put things together in 2010-2011, and Carmelo eventually leads the Crabs to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history-where they unfortunately lose to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Did you stay with me?

It’s the summer of 2010. The Baltimore Crabs have acquired some solid players, but were fortunate to get past the Miami Heat in ’11 because Chris Bosh was hurt early in the season. With a healthy Bosh teaming with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Heat are again viewed as the significant favorites to win the East. Amare Stoudemire had a stellar season for the Knicks, and rumors swirl that New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul will join him at Madison Square Garden to try to make a run at the Heat.

Carmelo Anthony is now facing free agency. He’s beloved in Baltimore, where his family and friends have enjoyed watching him play night in and night out. The people of Baltimore view him as an icon, but he’s not sure he can get over the hump and win a championship given the commitment level from ownership.

With all of that in mind, Carmelo bolts. He signs a max deal to join Amare and Chris Paul in New York, where a welcome party is held in Times Square and he’s given a key to the city by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Now here’s the question.

How do you feel?

Are you burning a jersey in the street?

Are you calling Carmelo a “coward” or a “traitor” or “Benedict Anthony”?

Are you ready to picket outside the Carmelo Anthony Youth Center?

Or are you willing to say “he’s still a hometown guy, and I’ll always be grateful for what he did here”?

I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer.

The reality is that I might be closer to “burning a jersey in the street” than I would be to “thanking him for the years he gave to the city.”

How would you react? How would Baltimore have felt if this were OUR star?

It’s worth considering.

-G

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Chris Tillman

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Friday on “The Morning Reaction”

Posted on 09 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Hey guys, Ryan Chell here filling in the big shoes, wearing the big pants for Glenn Clark today. I’m substitute teaching. I’m coming in from the bullpen. Off the bench. Just think of me as Chris Tillman, who most likely will be starting for the Orioles on Saturday in Kevin Millwood‘s spot in the rotation as he went on the DL earlier this week.

Chris Tillman

The phones are buzzing this morning, so I guess if I didn’t know how to answer phones here at WNST, I certainly know now. I wonder why they’re buzzing this morning…is it because the Orioles came back in the eighth last night to win against the Rangers, guaranteeing they have at least one pitcher with at least four wins before the All-Star break…?

Last night’s game had me worried at first. When Tommy Hunter had a number of strikeouts through three innings, it had the makings of an ugly game at the start. Good to finally see another team’s bullpen choke for once.

Tommy Hunter

And for David Hernandez to finally get four wins and have us escape history, it is a breath of fresh air to see that the Orioles will escape the bad side of the record books.

David Hernandez

But did you think that at this point in the season, David Hernandez would be leading the team in wins?

Ubaldo Jimenez won his 15th game of the season last night against Chris Carpenter and the Cards last night. A horrible series for the Cardinals to say the least, but man Jimenez has been outstanding this year.

Ubaldo Jimenez

He went 8 innings last night against the Cards in his 18th start of the year. He likely will get 14 more starts so he probably wont get to 30 wins, but he is likely to end the season with around 25, which would equate to half of the wins the O’s may have as a team at the end of the year-on his own. (Insert joke here O’s fans)

Baltimore Orioles struggling

And what’s even worse is that the rich get richer, as multiple media outlets are buzzing about the trade that might be happening between the Yankees and the Mariners involving Cliff Lee.

Cliff Lee

Lee pitches tonight against the Yanks, and given his track record lately, he is going to through a complete game. He’s already done it against the Yanks in the last couple of weeks. The proposed deal would be Lee going to the Yanks for top prospect Jesus Montero, who is slated to replace Jorge Posada behind the plate, and probably some other prospects.

That also may mean the end of the road for Javier Vazquez in New York (twice).

Javier Vazquez

Seriously though, with LeBron James making the decision last night to follow Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to Miami, another triumvirate has been built in the Eastern Conference. Miami’s Big Three is going to rival Boston’s Big Three in Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, and could immediately put Miami back on top, at least on paper right now.

The only issue is now, with these three max free agents coming in, the Heat are going to have to move some more payroll to fit under the cap. And it’s already begun, as the Heat are shipping local product Michael Beasley to the Timberwolves for a 2011 second round pick.

Michael Beasley

At this rate, Bosh, Wade and LeBron may be playing with this guy as opposed to top-5 draft talent like Beasley.

Bad Basketball

The buzz around the country, or at least in Cleveland, is just like it was 15 years ago, when the Browns left Cleveland to come here to be the Ravens in Baltimore. Art Modell is a curse word up there in Ohio now, and it’s a shame because that decision will probably keep Modell out of the Hall of Fame. Check out Nestor’s blog regarding the weight that may have just been lifted off Art’s shoulders…

Art Modell

I don’t think LeBron’s decision to go to Miami will keep him out of the basketball Hall of Fame though. And in reality, they are not the same. Modell moved the team out of Cleveland because he wasn’t getting support for the team; LeBron had all the support and backing from the fans.

Art did it for a money issue; LeBron left close to 30 million on the table by not signing with the Cavs.

But now we’re hearing it could be a money thing too, because Florida is one of seven states in the country with no state income tax.

And I’ll tell you what…talking about owners…Cleveland Owner Dan Gilbert’s letter to the fans regarding “King James” is some strong stuff, and it actually just popped up for me just trying to go to Clevelandcavaliers.com

Strong stuff. He’s got balls. The only issue is now, he doesn’t have any players.. We’ll see how good Moe Williams, Antawn Jamison, etc. are without James. It’s real simple. Without LeBron, the Cavs are just the Wizards up a little on the map latitude-wise.

Pete Caringi, soccer coach at UMBC, called into the show to talk about the World Cup Finale. He had Spain from the start, and to be honest, I think that’s the safe bet here.

David Villa

The game is on Sunday at 2:30. Tune into WNST and WNST.net for expanded coverage of the World Cup as this thing is almost done for another four years. Aww….

Walt Harris came on to talk with Drew about being around the league, and bringing his experience to the Ravens until Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington come back from their knee injuries. We are getting him at his best, as he is coming off a Pro Bowl year in 2006, when he had his first year with the Niners.

Walt Harris

Harris has actually been in the league for the same amount of time as Ray Lewis, and was actually drafted 12 picks in front of Ray in the 1996 Draft by the Chicago Bears.

Check the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault for his interview with Drew…it was a good chat…

We couldn’t get in contact with Len Elmore, but big props to Craig Calcaterra from NBC Sports-HardballTalk for moving around and being flexible with us. Good timing for him to come on, because he was able to give some light on this “maybe” trade of Cliff Lee to the Yankees that I eluded to earlier. Check the Audio Vault…

If this does happen, just hand the Yankees the trophy. I would say what a joke, but they are beating the system. If there was one team that I wanted to see get Lee, it was either the Rangers or the White Sox.

The Rangers have some good pitching this year( as evidenced by Tommy Hunter last night against the O’s) but a legitimate ace on the staff like Lee would probably give them an MVP candidate in Josh Hamilton, along with the Cy Young winner in Lee.

Josh Hamilton

And for the White Sox to be winning 23 out of their last 27 games or something like that, and now they’re losing Jake Peavy for the rest of the season, they needed someone like Lee to keep the ship afloat. Unless there is a big prospect to fill Peavy’s spot, the White Sox’s almost perfect pitching rotation took a big hit-at least until the trade deadline. Keep an eye out for what GM Kenny Williams is going to do-and what Ozzie Guillen will say about it afterward.

To wrap up the show, Sean Deveney from The Sporting News came on to talk with Drew and Thyrl about this shift in power in the Eastern Conference. He gave us a lot of insight regarding the Heat’s moves from this point on, including reaching out to Mike Miller as a shooter.

But he did believe this was premeditated by LeBron, Wade, and Bosh as far back as the All-Star break, and this was the only serious option for “The King”.

Glenn will be back here on Monday, and all will be status quo. I’ll be sent back down to the minor leagues of sports radio on Monday, probably just like Tillman over the weekend when they don’t need that fifth starter.

Have a good weekend sports fans!

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LeBron: The Decision….A Master Class in Self Promotion

Posted on 08 July 2010 by Tom Clayton

LeBronapalooza is heading towards its crescendo and it seems the tide has turned on the public’s opinion on “The King”. With his variety show debuting tonight it seems people have begun to view LeBron as an egomaniacal, self-indulgent brat and while that may or may not be true you have to give LeBron props in one area: self promotion.

LeBron’s special tonight may be over the top but give James credit; he has made his free agent signing an event. Think about it, when has a singular athlete ever used free agency to advance his brand recognition like LeBron has over the past couple of weeks? And yes I use the term brand when referring to LeBron because that is precisely what he is. He has built a business empire that employees hundreds of employees and generates more profit than a third world country with his skills on the basketball court.

I believe a major factor that has led to the decision of tonight’s proceeding other than LeBron’s enormous ego is that LeBron never went to college. He never had the excitement of having schools, championship coaches, and entire cities foam at the mouth for a chance to see him play for their team. On top of that LeBron never had the signing day special where he sat in front of the Duke, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland (just a joke, LeBron would be a one and done and Gary would have never recruited him) hats and then chose one on National television.

Tonight is going to be a spectacle but it will be world wide news; every news outlet will broadcast clips from the special and announce his decision from Cleveland to Beijing. Any broadcasting company would have been falling over itself to televise tonight’s event.

Has ESPN “jumped the shark”? Absolutely, but they are the first name any sports fan thinks of when they want national sports news. ESPN had no choice but to produce this circus because if they had passed LeBron and Company would have gone on to the next channel and ESPN would have lost out on programming that will triple the ratings for whatever program they had planned for that time slot.

I think the really sad part is that if the reports are correct and LeBron decides to create a “super team” he will become the Darth Vader of Cleveland; the city’s ultimate villain. If LeBron leaves Cleveland he takes with it the hopes of a city and will give a substantial economic hit to a city in financial disarray. I think LeBron’s situation in Cleveland could mirror a man that many Baltimoreans love, Art Modell. LeBron will no longer be welcome in Cleveland a city he was born, raised, and developed in. I truly believe that if LeBron shuns Cleveland tonight the city could break into hysterics that include looting and fighting as well as the vandalism of the homes of LeBron and his family; basically what could be considered a riot. I hope that he has already removed his personal property and family from Cleveland if he decides to make the jump to Miami because they will all be fair game for out of control, angry Cavs fans.

Overall LeBron has taken the target off his back and covered himself in it because every fan, player, and media member that is part of the NBA is going to want to shoot down the man who thought he was bigger than the game. It may not be kosher, but it is the way of the sports world, the bigger you become the more people are standing in the bushes waiting to shoot you down, ask Tiger Woods.

I personally believe that LeBron has gone about free agency in a new and interesting way but a way that has turned of many old school fans. Say what you want but LeBron has mastered the art of self promotion and that is something that any entrepreneur must stand up and applaud. The more frightening thought is that The Decision is so cutting edge that this isn’t going to be a one time thing but something that may become more common with superstar free agents from here on out. Next Week: Favre: The Choice; Sponsored by Wrangler and John Deere.

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Riggins MASN Commercial Is Absolutely Unacceptable

Posted on 25 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

I’m going to try to do this the right way, because there are a lot of elements to this.

The first time I saw the commercial for the new incarnation of the “John Riggins Show” on MASN, I felt uncomfortable.

Having seen it 4-5 more times this week, I’ve gotten to the point where it is absolutely stomach-turning.

Let me start by saying that I understand why MASN filmed a commercial with John Riggins in Baltimore. The point of the commercial was to put him on a football field. MASN has an official partnership with the Baltimore Ravens (Comcast SportsNet partners with the Washington Redskins), and John Riggins’ relationship with Daniel Snyder has frosted since Riggins was dismissed from Snyder’s Red Zebra radio operation.

Filming a MASN commercial for the John Riggins Show at FedEx Field simply wasn’t an option. Not after Riggins took to YouTube to put together a series of YouTube videos like this…

The simple solution may have been to take Riggins over to RFK Stadium and film the commercial there; but RFK doesn’t have football yardage painted on the field. They’d be filming a commercial at a soccer stadium. Still probably a better option, but not ideal.

And clearly, MASN hoped to promote not only The John Riggins Show-but also their Baltimore Ravens “coverage” by showing M&T Bank Stadium in the background. Seeing the stadium is also a reminder that Training Camp starts soon, and fans in Baltimore will be packing “The Bank” for exhibition games that can be seen live on MASN.

That’s where my defense of them will end.

The fact is, there’s nothing okay about filming a John Riggins commercial at M&T Bank Stadium. There’s nothing okay with mixing purple colors and Washington Redskins highlights. There’s CERTAINLY nothing okay with using an audio clip that is CLEARLY designed to sound like “Hail to the Redskins” on top of a commercial that includes a stand-in that just so happens to be a dead-ringer for Art Modell.

The fact is, no one in the District of Columbia will care or be offended by this commercial one bit. Mostly because the handful of real sports fans in DC are indifferent to the Ravens. The handful of real sports fans in DC hate the Dallas Cowboys, but don’t much care about other teams. The majority of sports fans in DC are transient; and root for more than one team. It isn’t particularly surprising to bump into a sports fan in the District that wears a Tigers hat and a Red Sox shirt.

That’s just the way their market works. Certainly, they care about the Skins much more than they care about any other franchise in their city-but there are a number of folks in the District, Northern Virginia and Prince George’s County that would admit that they probably follow the Ravens as their 2nd team, and pull for the Ravens after the Redskins season ends. (Not a low blow Redskins fans, just a fact.)

No one in DC is angry about seeing John Riggins walking around M&T Bank Stadium. It just doesn’t matter to them. It’s similar to the god-awful “Battle of the Beltways” marketing MASN does. MASN uses weekends like this to promote the fact that they carry BOTH of the area’s “home teams.” They mesh Bob Carpenter, Jim Hunter, Jim Palmer and Rob Dibble in a broadcast booth-send mascots for both teams to the games, and celebrate the two teams as if they were basically just the American League and National League versions of each other.

In DC, no one is bothered. A large number of fans in DC root for the Baltimore Orioles, whether they also root for the Washington Nationals or not. It isn’t offensive to Nats fans to see the Oriole Bird at Nationals Park. It isn’t offensive to hear Jim Palmer dissect John Lannan (or that Strasburg fella) in the broadcast booth on their home broadcast.

In DC, there’s a feeling that the two really ARE both “home teams.”

MASN has clearly capitalized on that, understanding that Washington is simply a larger market than Baltimore. With Strasburg mania making the Nationals suddenly more marketable than they’ve ever been before, MASN is clearly invested in Washington. They’re moving Scott Garceau’s show earlier in the afternoon to make prime room for Riggins’ show, which can only be heard on the HD3 signal of WTOP on a daily basis. They’re doing it simply to compete against “Washington Post Live” on CSN.

This isn’t about MASN putting John Riggins on the air. I think putting radio shows on TV is dreadful programming myself, but they’ve chosen to go that route. They’ve also chosen to market to Washington, as their network extends into Washington.

I’ve accepted all of that.

But what I WON’T accept is what a slap in the face the John Riggins M&T Bank Stadium commercial is to fans in Charm City.

We AREN’T transient. We DON’T root for the Redskins when the Ravens aren’t playing.

In fact, judging from the response to first annual “I Hate The Redskins” show on AM1570 WNST last year (we’ll be doing it again this year, trust me); I’m not the only man in town whose attitude of the team that wears Burgundy & Gold is one of absolute rage.

John Riggins is walking around M&T Bank Stadium in front of the purple seats that are owned by the people of Baltimore. Those are seats that are owned thanks to unbelievably hard work by folks in a blue-collar city. Redskins fans could never possibly understand that.

In Baltimore, we DO NOT HAVE TWO HOME TEAMS. Despite the small group of people that choose to root for the Washington Capitals (and do NOT count me amongst them), we DO NOT CARE for the Washington Redskins. It ISN’T okay to see the Washington Redskins celebrated in Baltimore. It ISN’T okay to see the Washington Redskins promoted at M&T Bank Stadium.

There is leadership within both MASN and sadly the Baltimore Ravens that won’t fully understand that because they AREN’T from Baltimore. They accept that the Pittsburgh Steelers are a rival, but they don’t understand that the Washington Redskins are despised at an almost equal level.

The sense of “why would Ravens fans care about Washington” previals amongst those who aren’t from this town.

Call it “little man syndrome” or a “Napoleon Complex” or whatever you want; but it’s just a fact. We aren’t okay with Washington or the Redskins here. They’re not welcome, and we will NOT celebrate them.

It’s why the majority of us stopped watching Comcast SportsNet some time ago. I will never be interested in what’s going on with Albert Haynesworth or Clinton Portis-unless they suddenly don purple and black.

Washington is a big market. It’s understandable for a Top 10 media market to look desirable to folks in the 22nd largest media market in the country.

But it HAS to be understood that if you want to reach out to Baltimore, you must accept that we hate the Redskins. It makes our stomach turn. Paul Tagliabue tried to keep the NFL out of our town and force us to watch the Redskins play the Phoenix Cardinals on a Sunday afternoon when we could have been watching the Green Bay Packers play the San Francisco 49ers.

Washington fans got over Peter Angelos trying to block MLB in the district. But Washington fans aren’t blue collar, diehard, live or die passionate fans. Folks who aren’t from Baltimore won’t understand that. There is no “getting over” our anger towards Washington. We’re reminded of it on a daily basis. When Jimmy Buffett comes to town this summer, I’m going to be told that I can see him “locally” at Nissan Pavilion in Bristow.

I’m not “getting over it.”

And if MASN is going to succeed and make fans in Baltimore, they’re going to have to understand that. It isn’t cute to put John Riggins next to someone who you obviously hand-picked for his resemblence to Art Modell. It isn’t okay to put together an audio clip that sounds an awful lot like “Hail to the Redskins” while you’re filming at the stadium that represents the best thing this entire city has going for it.

It works in Washington. It doesn’t work in Baltimore. In Baltimore, it is COMPLETELY unacceptable.

Film the next commercial at Wilde Lake High School, or in College Park.

Just don’t celebrate the Redskins at our Purple Palace.

-G

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