Tag Archive | "baltimore sports"

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If Gausman shines, he should stay

Posted on 12 June 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

This could get complicated.

Kevin Gausman, long thought to be a cornerstone of the future of the Orioles’ pitching staff takes the mound tonight against the first place Toronto Blue Jays.  After earning his first Major League win as a starter just five days ago against the Oakland A’s, Gausman has a chance to put Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter in a tough spot.

Should Gausman pitch well tonight–let alone earn a victory against Mark Buehrle (10-2) and the Jays (39-28)–logic says he should remain a member of the Orioles starting rotation.  But the true question is, who is the odd man out?

Miguel Gonzales looks to return from the 15-Day DL shortly, creating a surplus of starters.

Initially, when Johan Santana was in the conversation, prior to tearing his Achilles, Showalter had kicked around the idea of an unorthodox six-man rotation; but after listening to WNST’s Luke Jones on yesterday’s Happy Hours show with Nestor, it doesn’t seem Showalter is leaning that way at this point.

When getting down to brass tacks, you’d have to think Gonzalez, who had started to finally find his groove before heading for a short trip to the DL, is a lock to return to the rotation.  In that same notion, if he has back-to-back solid outings against the two best clubs in the American League, it’s hard to imagine moving Gausman to the bullpen or sending him back to Norfolk.

Bud Norris is coming off of a combined shutout, as is Wei-Yin Chen who just recorded his seventh victory. They’re both safe.  Meaning, the true option, which is best for the ball club, is to move Ubaldo Jimenez to a long relief role.

Generally, when a pitcher struggles the way Jimenez has, it’s mechanical or possibly due to injury.  At seven losses and a ballooning ERA that’s now over the five-mark, it’s time to make some sort of change.

A change that isn’t a demotion, so to speak, but something that will allow Jimenez to spend time working out the kinks during bullpen sessions and contributing in non-critical game roles.

The other option is to find and injury and stick Jimenez on the DL; but that’s a short-sighted move, simply because like-it-or-not, he’s property of Baltimore for the next four years.  The time to figure out his issues are now, rather than shelf him and hope something magically changes.

Circling back, it’s impossible to take Gausman–who for all intents and purposes, has good enough stuff to finish the season as the ace of the staff–back to the minor leagues.

If he pitches well tonight, this should be it.  No more up-and-down, no more relief and spot start roles.  If Gausman looks anything like he did five days ago, he’s a mainstay that can be seen every fifth day in Baltimore.  Sure, it’s not really the best idea to send a $60 million pitcher to the pen, but sometimes you have to do what’s best for the club.

It’s complicated, but that’s a good thing.

 

 

Tony Wisniewski is the newest addition to the WNST staff.

Follow him @TonyWizTweets.

 

 

 

 

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Tony Wiz: The new guy at WNST

Posted on 04 June 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Um, yea, don’t you know who I am?

I’m Tony Wisniewski, or, as my friends call me, Tony Wiz, and upon winning the Baltimore Sports Media Superstar competition in May, I’m the newest staff writer and on-air personality at WNST.

When I walked into the station yesterday morning, I realized this wasn’t little league anymore.

I saw Drew Forrester, the wily old veteran himself, through the glass of the studio, stringing together poetic brilliance before the seven-o’clock hour.  Then I shook hands with the legendary Luke Jones–and it took all I had to avoid paying him homage with a hearty and somewhat fan-boyishly creepy “Luuuuuuuuuke.”

Shortly thereafter, I was face-to-face with Pete DiLutis and the King of Baltimore Sports Talk himself, the Nasty One.

This string of events comes on the heels of being promised a Green Jacket by last year’s BSMS winner, Barry Kamen, receiving emails from Glenn Clark, having Twitter Tweet-versations with Ryan Chell, and sharing late night text messages with Brett Dickinson–um, it’s not what it sounds like.

Alas, for me, nothing will ever be the same–I’m in the Big Show now, baby.

Throughout the tenure of my broken-road of sports media contributions, I never truly thought I’d make it to this point.  And, while I facetiously exaggerate the details of meeting and joining the WNST staff, the  feelings of appreciation and humbleness serve as the true backdrop to  my excitement.

The BSMS competition was tough to compete in due to the expectation of skill, knowledge and polish; even tougher to win because of the talent-level that fiercely competed for the crown.  Worthy competitors like Tony Thornton, James Revere, Ethan Stewart, Josh Murr, et al, deserve all the credit in the world for having the cojones to step up for a shot at what I previously noted as “the life of kings.”  It’s not a business that’s suited for everyone, but there were certainly guys in this year’s contest who have a future should they truly choose to pursue it.

While I’ve always known that I know sports almost as well as anyone in town and I believed I could hang with the aforementioned big dogs of Baltimore’s only truth-telling all-sports-all-the-time station and media outlet, I never truly expected that I’d be here, writing this post and introducing myself to you, the true Baltimore sports fan that I’ve known, loved, and respected.

I ask this of you, true and real Baltimore sports fan: let’s hangout more often and talk Ravens, O’s, Terps, and even Wizards or Caps (if you must).  Let’s hang and grab a beer at WNST events.  Let’s rap on the air.  Let’s debate on social media.

At the end of the day, we’re cut from the same cloth.

We’re Baltimore people.

We’re sports fans.

We’re like no one else, anywhere else.  And it’s because of this that I want you to know who I am–almost as much as I’m looking forward to getting to know you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Are you a real Baltimore sports fan? The Quiz-Answer Edition

Posted on 29 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Spoiler alert.

If you haven’t taken the quiz and jogged your Baltimore Sports Fan memory, go here now.

If you’re ready for the answers, here they come.

Before jumping into the answers, though, shout out to Will from Parkton, Paul from Middle River, and Justin from Dundalk for doing considerably well on the quiz.  Second shout out to Teddy from Dundalk, Stephie from Owings Mills, and Brian from Abingdon for essentially admitting defeat.

On a side note, when I gave the quiz to my wife, she was less-than-thrilled by the difficulty and considerably more aggravated by my reaction to her less-than-thrill-ed-ness; it ruined our entire weekend.

But, if you ask me, she should know these things.  Like I told her, at least I didn’t make her pass the prenuptial Baltimore Colts Exam that was featured in the classic Baltimore-based flick, Diner.

Here are the answers to the Baltimore Sports Quiz–straight from Tony, the Baltimore Sports Wiz…

#1  In what year did the St. Louis Browns move to Baltimore?

1954

#2  What was Rex Barney’s famous tag-line?

“Thank youuuuuuu”

#3  What is the significance of Cubs GM Theo Epstein to Baltimore?

He was a summer intern with the Orioles, starting in 1992.

#4  Who was the first player to enter the Ravens’ Ring of Honor?

Earnest Byner (nice guy, but years later, it’s clear that he probably doesn’t belong there)

#5  Baltimore had three minor league hockey teams, what were their names?

Clippers, Skipjacks, Bandits.

#6  Baltimore’s USFL team’s nickname was?

Stars.

#7  Which player won a Grey Cup with the Stallions and a Super Bowl with the Ravens?

O.J. Brigance.

#8  Who was the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Stallions during their Grey Cup victory?

Tracey Ham.

#9  Who owned the Baltimore Stallions?

Jim Speros.

#10  Former Maryland Terps Basketball Coach, Bob Wade, has what significance to Baltimore?

Prior to UM, he coached at Dunbar.

#11  Which former Orioles’ pitching prospect had vanity license plates that read “24KTARM”?

Matt Riley (what a waste of talent).

#12  Which Orioles’ third baseman won Sporting News’ AL Rookie of the Year Honors in 1989?

Craig Worthington.

#13  Cal Ripken Sr. wore which jersey number as a coach for the Orioles?

7.

#14  Which two former Orioles make up two of only four members in MLB history to record more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs?

Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro (joining Hank Aaron and Willie Mays).  Incredible that Raffy will likely never make it to Cooperstown. 

#15  Which movie was filmed at Camden Yards?

Major League II.

#16  Which movie was filmed at Ravens Stadium?

The Replacements.

#17  Which owner played a major role in Baltimore not being awarded an expansion team over Jacksonville and Carolina?

Redskins owner, Jack Kent Cooke.

#18  Who was the owner of the fashion store Merry-Go-Round, who also played a key role in the  ”Give Baltimore the Ball” campaign?

Boogie Weinglass–who was actually portrayed in the aforementioned Diner by Mickey Rourke.

#19  Which receiver holds the Ravens’ single-season record of 14 touchdown receptions?

Michael “He-He” Jackson.

#20  Who was “Zeus”?

The late Orlando Brown.

#21  Who was “Full Pack”?

Oriole closer, Don Stanhouse earned the name because it was rumored that Earl Weaver would smoke a full-pack of cigarettes as Stanhouse struggled to effectively close-out games without a good amount of drama in the ninth inning.

#22  Which Orioles’ favorite was known for eating Froot Loops before games?

Birds’ catcher, Mickey Tettleton.

#23  In the 1989 season, in the fateful series in Toronto to finish the season, what strange injury caused Pete Harnish to miss his scheduled start?

Walking back to the team hotel, he stepped on a nail.

#24  Which former Oklahoma Sooners basketball star was once thought to be the heir apparent to Cal Ripken?

Ryan Minor.

#25  Who was “Iron Hands”?

The late and legendary Ernie Tyler, who sat to the left of the on-deck circle and handed new mud-rubbed baseballs to the umpire during the games at Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards, every day from 1960 to 2007.

#26  Who returned the blocked Al Del Greco field goal for a touchdown in Tennessee, paving the way for the Ravens to move on to the AFC Championship in January 2001?

Defensive tackle Keith Washington blocked it, safety Anthony Mitchell returned it 90-yards to pay-dirt.

#27  Which Ravens’ defensive back fueled much of the Steelers-Ravens rivalry by stepping on Plaxico Burress’ head during a scuffle?

James Trapp.

#28  What is significant about the Esskay sign in right field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards?

It starts blinking when it’s hit by a ball.

#29  Who is Len Burrier?

The “Big Wheel.”  Essentially the Colts and Stallions version of fan-mascot “Wild Bill” Hagy.

#30  Which long-time NFL punter went to Towson University?

Sean Landeta.

#31  Which Dunbar standout played alongside of Joe Smith, Exree Hipp, Johnny Rhodes and Duane Simpkins?

Keith Booth.

#32  What number did Deion Sanders wear as a member of the Ravens, and why?

37.  It was his age at the time.  And, by-and-large, he played like it.

#33  What is it customary to hold up as visiting opponents’ lineups are being announced at the University of Maryland basketball games?

Newspapers.

#34  Which former O’s pitcher lost 21 games in 1954, and went on to throw the only perfect game in World Series history two years later as a member of the New York Yankees?

Don “Gooneybird” Larsen.

#35  Why would a true Baltimore fan despise the number that precedes this question?

Number 35 was worn by Mike Mussina, who defected to the Bronx Bombers in 2001.  In his defense, had owner Peter Angelos ponied-up and matched the money that the Yankees were offering, Mussina would have likely never left Baltimore.  

 

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How to be a Baltimore Sports Fan: Issue One

Posted on 23 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

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

 

 

 

 

 

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