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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

Posted on 17 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

I honestly still can’t believe some of the things I read/heard/saw last week about Baltimore Ravens OT Bryant McKinnie.

If you missed it, McKinnie was not on the fall last week in Owings Mills during mandatory minicamp at the Under Armour Performance Center. When asked why McKinnie was not practicing, head coach John Harbaugh said “Bryant McKinnie is a guy that we held out just for conditioning purposes. We’re going to probably continue to do that and continue to try and get him in good shape. I think practice-wise, he’s just as well doing the conditioning part of it.”

Let me start this post by saying I fully understand a few things. One is that Harbaugh has never felt the need to share more information than necessary about any of his players. Another is that the information was new to reporters, so asking follow up questions might not have seemed pertinent. I wasn’t present at minicamp (media availability was scheduled during my radio show “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net each day) and was unable to fully grasp exactly what was going on.

With no media availability scheduled before the start of Training Camp, reporters felt it necessary to question Harbaugh later in the week for more information about McKinnie’s status. Unfortunately the coach was again vague, offering “we will leave that between us. That’s something that is an in-house type of thing right now. Bryant has done a good job, he’s worked hard. It’s not as simple as some of you guys want to make it. It’s just a situation where we are going to do what is best for the team, what is best for Bryant. We want him here; there’s no reason he wouldn’t be here. He has worked hard, so you try to do what’s most beneficial for every guy in every situation, and it’s always individualized.”

Now’s the part where I offer some examples of various stories I’ve read about Bryant McKinnie.

Here’s this from SI.com…

“Cut last season by the Vikings, Bryant McKinnie, who sat out Thursday’s practice, may be on the verge of extending an ignominious streak. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season. He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

And this from SB Nation…

“The Baltimore Ravens gave veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie a $500,000 roster bonus earlier this spring, but now might be regretting the outlay of cash. McKinnie came to Baltimore after the Minnesota Vikings cut him last summer for reporting to camp overweight. The Ravens rounded him into shape and he had a pretty solid year, allowing the team to shift Michael Oher over to right tackle and solidify that side of the offensive line.

McKinnie reportedly was on his way to getting in good shape earlier this year, but the most recent news was that the team held him out of the mini-camp this past week for “conditioning reasons.” This does not bode well for either the Ravens nor McKinnie.

Bryant is on the short end of a legal case where he defaulted on a $4 million loan he took out during the NFL Lockout last year and seriously needs a full season paycheck to pay it back. If he does not report to the Ravens Training Camp in six weeks in excellent shape, there is a very good chance that the team may decide to cut ties with him and let him go.”

Allow me to be fair again for a second. The SI.com blurb was a clear re-write with no author attached. While SB Nation does have a handful of experienced journalists and columnists, their sites are still largely made up of part-time writers/editors with no actual experience truly covering a team.

So perhaps CSNBaltimore.com’s veteran writer Ray Frager would be a better source.

“Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie’s conditioning issues have been a big part of the Ravens chatter over this week. There is speculation he is around that 400-pound summit that caused him to lose his job in Minnesota.”

Maybe even the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston would be a better option.

“The entire McKinnie episode is strange and you wonder if he is going to be around when training camp opens. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season.

He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

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Your Monday Reality Check-Umenyiora? Crabtree? Sure, make the call

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Your Monday Reality Check-Umenyiora? Crabtree? Sure, make the call

Posted on 07 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

As first reported by the NFL Network, the Baltimore Ravens hosted former Houston Texans WR Jacoby Jones for a visit Sunday.

Jacoby Jones became an interesting name for Ravens fans after the NFL Draft, as the Texans’ selection of DeVier Posey made it appear as though the veteran receiver could become expendable for the team. He obviously was, as the team took only days to part ways with Jones.

Perhaps adding Jones to the mix would be a good idea for the Ravens. He’s been in the league for five years, but has only spent the last three seasons getting significant reps as a wide receiver. His numbers aren’t spectacular (31 catches, 512 yards and two touchdowns in 2011), but they’re certainly serviceable for a complementary receiver. The Ravens clearly need depth, as behind starters Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin they have just four combined career receptions (all belonging to LaQuan Willams) from a group that also includes Tandon Doss, David Reed, Phillip Livas, Rodney Bradley, Patrick Williams and 6th round pick Tommy Streeter.

As much as the Ravens may have needed a playmaker type, they clearly needed depth at the position in general. Jones could bring that, and could also bring experience in the return game. Despite his two fumbles against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2011 NFL Playoffs, he has four TD returns (3 punt, 1 kickoff) in his career.

An even more intriguing name that has loosely been discussed amongst Ravens fans is the name Michael Crabtree. The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver has been a hot topic after the team drafted Illinois WR AJ Jenkins in the first round of the NFL Draft. In addition to Jenkins, the team has added veteran free agent receivers Mario Manningham and Randy Moss this offseason, leading to some speculation that the team could be prepared to move on from Crabtree after selecting him with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

I want to reiterate that the rumors surrounding Crabtree have been thinly veiled. While a National Football League source told me he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Ravens had interest in trading for Crabtree, no true source has been able to confirm that actual interest exists. However, in my chat with CBSSports.com NFL writer Clark Judge (who is honestly amongst the absolute best in his line of work) last Friday on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net, the Crabtree-Ravens conversation came up…

JUDGE: “Hey one other question for you, are you serious about taking that caller’s suggestion and trying to acquire Michael Crabtree?”

ME: “No, I don’t think that’s realistic at all. I was trying to play devil’s advocate.”

JUDGE: “The thing about Crabtree is that they would probably be willing to give him away because while he’s young, he’s an underachieving diva. A second rounder? I’d probably give him away for a fourth rounder.”

ME: “If they were willing to give him away for a fourth rounder, I’d be willing to have the conversation.”

JUDGE: “I wouldn’t want him on my team.”

It should be made clear that Judge didn’t report to me that the Niners were interested or willing to trade Crabtree away for a fourth round pick. He simply said that HE would be willing to do that if he were making the calls for San Fran. (The chat is available here in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.)

I’ll say again what I said to Clark Judge. If the San Francisco 49ers were willing to trade Michael Crabtree away for a fourth round pick, I’d have the conversation. I’m aware that Crabtree has yet to fully live up to his potential as a Top 10 pick and has certainly had “personality issues” that stem back to his lengthy rookie holdout. I’m also aware that the former Texas Tech standout has become more and more productive in each of his three years in the league and his best year (2011) coincided with the year his quarterback (Alex Smith) finally moved into the “credible” category of NFL signal callers.

Let me stress, I’d have the conversation. But it’s important to point out again that this is not a fantasy football league. This is the NFL.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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The inside Derby scoop from the men involved

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The inside Derby scoop from the men involved

Posted on 04 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

It’s been a great few days here at Churchill Downs in Louisville, as we’ve been broadcasting “The Reality Check” live from the track and preparing for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

On Friday morning, I ventured back to the barn area to talk to the connections of Derby horses, here are some of those conversations…

Optimizer trainer (and horse racing icon) D. Wayne Lukas…

Daddy Nose Best/Sabercat trainer (and two time Preakness winner) Steve Asmussen…

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The Reality Check Ravens Seven Round Mock Picks

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The Reality Check Ravens Seven Round Mock Picks

Posted on 26 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

Before the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Ryan Chell and I took a stab at who the next class of Baltimore Ravens might be on Thursday’s edition of “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net.

Here you go.

Glenn Clark’s Picks…

1st Round-Peter Konz (OL, Wisconsin)

2nd Round-Brian Quick (WR, Appalachian State)

3rd Round-Bobby Wagner (LB, Utah State)

4th Round-LaMichael James (RB, Oregon)


5th Round-Brandon Hardin (DB, Oregon State)

5th Round-Tank Carder (LB, TCU)

6th Round-Devon Wylie (WR/KR, Fresno State)

7th Round-Olivier Vernon (DL, Miami)

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We’d Take As Our Tag Team Partners

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We’d Take As Our Tag Team Partners

Posted on 28 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

Starting next week, “The Starting Nine (Ten)” will go from becoming about fantasy baseball topics to being about fantasy baseball. How about that?

Our final fantasy topic Wednesday on “The Reality Check” was “Players We’d Take As Our Tag Team Partners.” We did that because-as you know-WrestleMania 28 is this Sunday. Wait. You didn’t know that? I don’t think we’re really going to be friends.

These are “modern era” guys. But you knew that since you were listening to the show.

Glenn Clark’s Nine (Ten)…

Pitcher-Nolan Ryan

Catcher-Jason Varitek

First Baseman-Walter Young

Second Baseman-Luis Sojo

Third Baseman-BJ Surhoff

Shortstop-David Eckstein

Outfielder-Lenny Dykstra

Outfielder-Deion Sanders

Outfielder-Adam Dunn

Designated Hitter-Jose Canseco 


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The Reality Check Starting Nine Unlikely Heroes

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Unlikely Heroes

Posted on 14 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

For our sixth edition of “The Starting Nine (Ten)” Wednesday on “The Reality Check”, Ryan Chell and I decided to use the NCAA Tournament as encouragement.

The topic was unlikely heroes. I assume I’m telling you something you already knew because you’ve been listening every day since the show started back in 1874.

Glenn Clark’s Nine (Ten)…

Pitcher-Bobby Jones

Catcher-Francisco Cabrera

First Baseman-Aubrey Huff

Second Baseman-Jeff Reboulet

Third Baseman-Aaron Boone

Shortstop-David Eckstein

Outfielder-Dave Roberts

Outfielder-Andruw Jones

Outfielder-Tony Womack

Designated Hitter-Jim Leyritz


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The Reality Check Maryland Terrapins Season Ending Report Card

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The Reality Check Maryland Terrapins Season Ending Report Card

Posted on 09 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

After the Terps’ 85-69 loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, it is a safe assumption that the season is over. With that in mind, Ryan and I decided to take some time Friday to offer grades to each scholarship player (and the head coach) of the Terps after their 17-15 campaign.

Of course, you probably already knew that because you listen every day…

Backcourt…

Terrell Stoglin

Glenn Clark B, Ryan Chell B-

Nick Faust

Glenn B-, Ryan B

Sean Mosley

Glenn C+, Ryan B-

Pe’Shon Howard

Glenn B-, Ryan C

Mychal Parker

Glenn D-, Ryan D-

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We Really Thought Would Be Better

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We Really Thought Would Be Better

Posted on 07 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

Our Fifth Edition of “The Starting Nine (Ten)” Wednesday on “The Reality Check” discussed the subject “Players We Really Thought Would Be Better.”

If you were the type who wanted wordier explanations, you’d be listening to the show. You really should be. It’s fantastic.

Glenn Clark’s Nine (Ten)…

Pitcher-Brandon Webb

Catcher-Charles Johnson

First Baseman-Travis Lee

Second Baseman-Todd Walker

Third Baseman-Garrett Atkins

Shortstop-Rey Ordonez

Outfielder-Jeffrey Hammonds

Outfielder-Matt Lawton

Outfielder-Corey Patterson

Designated Hitter-Travis Hafner

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We Just Haven’t Liked For Whatever Reason

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We Just Haven’t Liked For Whatever Reason

Posted on 29 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Our fourth edition of “The Starting Nine (Ten)” Wednesday was perhaps the opposite of the previous week. This week’s edition was “Players We Just Haven’t Liked For Whatever Reason.”

If you wanted to know the reason you should have been listening to the radio show. It’s quite good.

Glenn Clark’s Nine (Ten):

Pitcher: Roger Clemens

Catcher: Brook Fordyce

First Baseman: Kevin Millar

Second Baseman: Jeff Kent

Third Baseman: Aubrey Huff

Shortstop: Travis Fryman

Outfielder: Manny Ramirez

Outfielder: Carl Everett

Outfielder: Gary Sheffield

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We’ve Most Enjoyed Watching in Our Lifetime

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The Reality Check Starting Nine Players We’ve Most Enjoyed Watching in Our Lifetime

Posted on 22 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Our third edition of “The Starting Nine (Ten)” Wednesday centered around the subject “Who are the players you’ve most enjoyed watching play baseball in your lifetime?”

Was I supposed to follow up with something else here? Umm…let’s dance! (Oh, and bear in mind that I’m 28 years old and Ryan is 24.)

Glenn Clark’s Nine (Ten)…

Pitcher-Randy Johnson

Catcher-Ivan Rodriguez

First Base-Frank Thomas

Second Base-Roberto Alomar

Third Base-Chipper Jones

Shortstop-Derek Jeter

Outfield-Kenny Lofton

Outfield-Ken Griffey Jr.

Outfield-Ichiro

Designated Hitter-Harold Baines

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