Posted on 23 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 23 April 2014 by WNST Staff
Baltimore sports fans are irrational, unrealistic, unforgiving, and hard-to-fool. Baltimore sports fans are unlike any other sports fans, because they’re–as Toyota used to say–“simply the best.”
Every Wednesday, over the next 40-years or so, I’m going to author a semi-regular feature entitled “How to be a Baltimore Sports Fan.” The idea behind this stems back to a conversation I had with some college students during my time as an English professor at a local community college.
The conversation went something like this:
Me: “This season might be another ‘Why Not’ year.”
Student #1: “Why not what?”
Me: The “Why Not” season in 1989; the year the O’s went from worst to ‘almost’ first.
Student #2: I was born in 1992.
Me: Don’t you know any Baltimore history?
Student #3: Ain’t this English class?
Me: It is. But you’re clearly struggling with speaking the Queen’s language–and you’re from Baltimore.
Student #3: How you know dat?
Me: I can tell by your accent. I’m from Dundalk. I could pick out a Bal-murr accent halfway around the world in a room full of people screaming Chinese expletives.
Alas, it’s this conversation that has sparked this column. Some people–local youth, sheltered stepchildren, non-local-Ivy-Leaguers-of-the-“local media”–need some help on understanding what it means to be a Baltimore sports fan.
Without further ado.
How to be a Baltimore Sports Fan…
#1 Be Irrational: Fire Dave Wallace and release the entire starting rotation.
Miguel Gonzalez went five-and-two-thirds last night. Wei Yin Chen went five the night before. Ubaldo Jimenez hurled five-and-a-third on Sunday. All three pitchers topped the 100 pitch mark. It’s impossible, yes impossible, to win more than you lose when your starting rotation consistently throws a full-game worth of pitches at the half-way point in the game.
Show me a team who has a rotation that consistently gives way in the 6th and I’ll show you a sub-.500 record.
Perhaps we’re starting to see why Dave Wallace has been away from the Major Leagues since 2007. Even though he’s still been around baseball, you have to wonder if his tactics and his style are working, some seven years later.
Think about it, what were you doing seven years ago? Me, I was finishing college and chasing girls around Canton and Fed Hill. If my wife ditched me tomorrow and I jumped right back into the bar scene, I’d be as effective as water-logged firewood.
#2 Be Unrealistic: The Wizards are 2-0 in the NBA Playoffs, build an arena and give Baltimore the ball!
The Wizards look legit.
Down in the fourth-quarter of both games in Chicago, the Wiz–coincidentally, that’s my name too–have come out on top and carry a 2-0 series lead back to the Mid-Atlantic region–Baltimore sports fans refuse to use the word that describes the area in which Congress meets to discuss their vacation plans and fantasy football teams.
All this Wizards’ success means that Baltimore should definitely build a new arena and focus on attracting an NBA team.
#3 Be Unforgiving: Jonathan Schoop doesn’t belong in the Big Leagues.
He can hit. He’s got some talent. But he doesn’t understand the game of baseball and desperately needs to return to a slower-pace at Norfolk.
#4 Be Hard-To-Fool: The Ravens aren’t looking for character guys, they’re looking for cheap talent.
Like it or not, the Baltimore Ravens have shifted their focus. There was a time when the organization steered clear of troubled players–think of all the receivers they passed on during a time when the roster was devoid of anyone with play-making ability. Brandon Marshall was a head-case, Chad Ochocinco-Martinez-Wong-Abdullah-Kazamakos-Johnson-Smith was a jerk, and so on.
If the flirtation with Rolando McClain proved anything, it’s that the Ravens have given in when it comes to looking past a players’ off-the-field issues or personal flaws.
Maybe it’s just the state of the NFL and society, but if you told me that this organization would have allowed itself to be yo-yoed around and attached to the negative press that Rolando McClain created, I’d have bet you’d first see Peter Angelos doing the Wild Bill O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheer atop the Orioles’ dugout in game seven of the World Series.
#5 Be The Best: Ubaldo Jimenez needs some love.
This Friday night, in Baltimore, Jimenez will make his fifth start as an Oriole. It’ll come against a spry and aggressive Kansas City lineup. He’s ranged from horrendous to decent thus far. If you’re at the Yard on Friday night, get behind Baltimore’s $50Million man. Give him some love.
But if he gets chased after giving up more than five runs in less than five innings, boo him like he’s the lovechild of Billy Cundiff and Mark Teixeira
Posted on 19 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 15 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 14 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 12 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 09 April 2014 by WNST Staff
Posted on 09 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 08 April 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 04 April 2014 by WNST Staff
By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
BK: Brett, I am THRILLED to finally get to talk baseball with you. There are very few things that I enjoy more than Opening Day, especially when it involves the Baltimore Orioles having a home game on this sacred occasion.
Perfect weather. Great company. An Orioles win. Brett, what makes Opening Day so special?
BD: You know Barry, everyone gets excited for baseball, for the start of a new season, the start of spring, the end of a miserable winter (especially this year). But there are certain intricacies of heading to Camden Yards on Opening Day that really begin the wonderment. We both had the luxury in enjoying some of the festivities on Monday and let’s just say it was a good day.
But there are portions of the day-long event that simply define an Orioles home opener. Of course it all starts with the day drinking around the stadium. Whether it is basking in sunlight outside or enjoying big ass beers or running into familiar faces and friends (or even ex and current Ravens players showing their Birdland pride), it is a spectacle that should make all baseball fans jealous. It is like the ultimate tailgate, that spans from the Inner Harbor to Federal Hill to Canton and beyond.
Though actually entering in the Baltimore cathedral on Front Street is where the ‘magic’ really begins (you see what I did there? HA!). There are few better sights in this world than the view from the flag court, towering over the right field wall. And the smells of fresh barbeque and sausages on the grill only intensify the sensory overload. And I beg for anyone to find a better taste combination than putting the Camden Yards staple, “Boog’s Mustard,” on your hot dog, pit beef, ice cream or any other food for that matter.
With all that being said, the Orioles have found their way onto the field. It is early in the season and there will still be a lot of tinkering with the roster. Barry, what are your thoughts on the first official week of the season for Baltimore? What are some positives and negatives you have witnessed after the O’s first series?
BK: Just three games into the season, it is easy for fans to get worked up after losing two out of three to the Boston Red Sox. Sure, it is difficult to see the team lose close games at home, but there is no shame in losing a couple of early season contests to last year’s World Series champions. The American League East is going to be an extremely competitive division, and the Orioles should find themselves in the thick of it. Starting the season 1-2 does not change that fact.
My biggest positive from the first series has to be the performances of Zach Britton as a multi-inning reliever. On Opening Day, Britton shut down the Red Sox lineup for the 6th and 7th innings, and earned the win following Nelson Cruz’s solo home run. Britton also pitched two scoreless innings Thursday night in the team’s 4-3 loss. If the Orioles can continue to get this kind of production from him, the bullpen can benefit from the streamline roles that each pitcher has.
On the negative, I will continue to bash Ryan Flaherty, until the club realizes that he simply is not an everyday major leaguer. In the seventh inning of the second game, Flaherty’s errant throw to first base on a weak ground ball to third made everyone miss Manny Machado that much more. The play was crucial, helping to turn a 4-2 Boston lead into 6-2. What’s worse is that Flaherty went hitless in the first series, starting all three games. If the guy can’t hit, and he can’t field, what is he doing playing the hot corner at Camden Yards? I know it’s early, but there are other players on this 25-man roster that should push Flaherty for playing time and at-bats. Give me Lombardozzi at 3rd, Schoop at 2nd, and an Alexi Casilla-type role for Mr. Flaherty.