Tag Archive | "Boston Red Sox"

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Is This The Beginning of the End?

Posted on 29 June 2012 by Robert Testoni

The best part about the baseball season is that because of its length, in most cases the cream rises to the top. Make no mistake, they could end the season a month earlier and accomplish the same thing. There are teams that have gone from last to first in a year, (1987 Minnesota Twins, 1991 Atlanta Braves) but those were good teams that came together and stayed around for a while because of a solid nucleus of players. The 2012 Baltimore Orioles have been fun, but this may be coming to a crashing end.

When the Orange Kool-Aid was spiked in May, I was the voice of reason. I have always thought August 1st was a good date, as at that point, the contenders and pretenders tend to sort themselves out. Although, I will not stick a fork in our birds right now, because they do have a month to right the ship. Let’s have fun a do a progress report.

In this look, I want to compare the Orioles of this year to the last 5 winners of the American League East. The 2007 Red Sox, 2008 Rays, 2009 Yankees, 2010 Rays, and 2011 Yankees tell an interesting statistical story of what it takes to win the division. Frankly, I know that statistics do not tell the whole story, but in baseball, which is ‘stats driven’ it lets you know where you need to be as a team.

Let’s start off with what I think is the most glaring issue with this team, the defense. In the last 5 seasons no division winner has committed more than 102 errors. That was the New York Yankees off last year. Right now, the Orioles our on pace to commit over 145 errors for the year. That means that Orioles would allow ¼ of an out more per game than the Yankees of last year. No division winner in this span has ranked lower than 4th in the league in this category. As of now, the Orioles are last.

The range for earned run average over the past 5 years is between 3.73 and 4.26. Although the Orioles team staff ERA is right in line with the range of winners at 3.85, there is more to the story. Looking deeper into the numbers the staff ERA has gone up every month of the season. After a wonderful 3.03 in April, they went to 4.16 in May, and 4.25 so far in June, which is the red flag.

Let us turn to the offense and simply look at batting average first. Taking the Tampa Bay Rays from 2010 out, no other team has hit at a clip less than .260. The Orioles are at a .244 team average right now, and as we have seen lately, it isn’t getting any better. Everyone remembers than Tampa team for having an excellent pitching staff, with no hitting. Even they hit for a .247 average.

Lastly, looking at the OPS the Orioles .716 is .20 points lower than lowly hitting Tampa team from 2010. Frankly, if you look at the class of the division over the time, the Orioles need to get the OPS up to the .800 range.

Obviously these numbers are not the, all answers to everything, but it gives you a start of where the Baltimore Orioles need too be to win the division. At this point they do not seem to be measuring up.

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Why are you mad that Phillies fans took over the ballpark? You knew it was going to happen…

Posted on 10 June 2012 by Drew Forrester

I wasn’t in Baltimore for most of this past weekend, so I didn’t get a chance to witness the Orioles and Phillies live and in-person.

But I read enough e-mails and saw plenty of Twitter outrage to know what happened Friday through Sunday.  Philadelphia baseball fans took over the ballpark in Baltimore for three days.

So…that surprises you?

It shouldn’t.

And, frankly, it shouldn’t even anger you.

For starters, there’s no way to keep them out.  Second, the Orioles themselves – the front office, that is – are thrilled to see upwards of 135,000 people make their way into the stadium.  The color of the t-shirt they’re wearing doesn’t bother the organization one iota.  If you think the Orioles’ brass is miffed with the overflow of Phillies fans in the house, you’re nuts.  Out of town fans spend American money just like hometown fans would if they bothered to show up and support the Birds.

I understand why it irritates the common fan.  It’s just not pleasant to have 27,000 of “their” fans in the place and 13,000 of your own on a Friday night.  I get it.  But I’ve stopped fretting over it.  This is the way it’s going to be here for a long time to come.  Sorry to be the guy delivering that dose of reality to you, but Boston, New York and Philadelphia fans will take over the ballpark when their team comes to town.  There just aren’t enough die-hard Orioles fans left to fill all 45,000 of those seats night-in and night-out.

The Orioles success on the field this season isn’t anywhere near enough to turn the tide on the situation involving visiting fans.  It’s going to take years and years of winning and “doing the right thing” from the desks of the front office folk before a new generation of Baltimore baseball fans start bleeding orange to the point that it gets them to the stadium 15-20 times a season.

The best thing you can do right now is the same advice I gave you back in early May when the club got off to that blazing start and we had a certain segment of the fan base up in arms over “bandwagon” Orioles fans who were suddenly back in the fold because the team was winning.

Stop worrying about who is a fan, who isn’t a fan, what fans are actually coming to the games and what fans aren’t…and just watch the team play good baseball and hope they continue to do so.

It’s been so long since we’ve actually had a decent team in Baltimore that I find myself on most nights just settling in to (hopefully) enjoy a team with a reasonable chance of winning.  I’m still looking smarter-than-ever because I’m the goof in town who said they’d win 78 games…but no matter how many they win, I know for certain this brand of baseball that we’ve watched over the first 60 games is far more pleasing than the garbage teams the organization has made us support over the last six years or so.

Just watch the games.  Cheer for the team.  And stop worrying about other team’s fans coming in and taking over the stadium.

It’s not going to change.

Not for a long time, anyway.

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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Posted on 19 April 2012 by Erich Hawbaker

As usual, the Orioles have started the season strong and have thusfar played well and been fun to watch. But unless I and every other casual observer are dead wrong, the Orioles will hang in there thru May, falter in June or July, and be completely out of contention by August. It’s a really good feeling to look at the standings and see your team on top, but the last time I did that in the month of September was before I even had my driver’s license. And now this year, my 30th birthday will come and go while the Angelos reign of terror continues.

That may be a corny segue, but reigns of terror are tonight’s real topic. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen put both feet in his mouth again last week by telling Time magazine that he admires Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The history in a nutshell: As a young man, Castro and his lieutenant Ernesto “Che” Guevara led the bloody communist overthrow of Cuba’s government in 1959. When it was over, Castro made himself Cuba’s President, and still holds the office to this day. Tens of thousands of Cubans were tortured and killed during and after the revolution, and many others fled to the United States and settled in Florida. Today, the city of Miami is the epicenter of Cuban exiles and their descendants, many of whom still dream of the day when Cuba is free again.

The Miami fans were furious, and Guillen subsequently apologized and was suspended for five games by the Marlins (not MLB). Granted, if Guillen were the manager of the Mariners or the Twins or the Brewers, there may not have been such a level of anger from the local fanbase. But should there be?

As I started thinking about this, the first person that came to my mind was Marge Schott. If you’re younger than me, you may not even recall who she is, as I barely remember her myself. Marge Schott was the owner of the Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1999, and is noteworthy as the first woman to buy a major league franchise. In many ways, she actually parallels Peter Angelos in that her legacy of philanthropy and community involvement is mostly overshadowed by her pitiful management of her team and other controversies. She was alleged to have frequently thrown around the n-word, said that she didn’t like her players to wear earrings because it “looked fruity” (apparently that’s a gay slur), and stated publicly more than once that Adolf Hitler had been a good leader for Germany but “went too far”. Schott and Angelos also have the commonality of firing manager Davey Johnson after a season in which he took their teams to the playoffs.

Schott was suspended by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for the entire 1993 season (that’s over six whole months) following her Hitler comments, which brings me back to Ozzie Guillen. If there is anything in this world that I hate, it is double standards. If Marge Schott had the book thrown at her for praising a genocidal dictator, why does Ozzie Guillen get a pass for doing the same thing?

Stop reading. Google up “Angelos Castro Selig” and click the images tab. Can it be? For those who don’t remember, back in 1999 Peter Angelos and Bud Selig arranged to have the Orioles play two exhibition games against the Cuban national all-star team, one in Baltimore and one in Havana (the visiting teams won both contests). The events were touted as gestures of good will and attempts to create more friendly US-Cuba relations, but another main goal was undoubtedly to get more access to Cuban players for MLB teams (which never happened). Peter Angelos, having been one of the top campaign contributors in the country to then-President Clinton and Congressional Democrats, had no trouble getting the government’s blessing to do all this in spite of America’s longstanding Cuban embargo. The aforementioned photograph is of Fidel Castro sitting in the stands in Havana and chatting with Peter Angelos and Bud Selig, who are seated on either side of him.

So obviously, Bud Selig doesn’t exactly have the standing to condemn Ozzie Guillen for kissing up to Fidel Castro, which is probably why he relied on the owners of the Marlins to do it. Now, I am not one who believes that we should run around punishing people for being offensive. By its nature, offensive speech is what the First Amendment was written to protect, and the second thing that I absolutely hate in this world is political correctness.

But I want consistency.

Back in 1999, Bud Selig armtwisted Marge Schott into selling her controlling interest in the Reds following her second round or pro-Hitler comments. And then last year, he oversaw the ugly removal of Frank McCourt as owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The big difference between the two was that while Schott’s ouster was purely personal, McCourt’s was due to shady business practices; specifically that he was “siphoning team revenue for non-baseball use and had completely alienated the Dodgers’ fanbase.” according to MLB’s court briefs.

Does that sound like somebody we know?

MASN pulled in $159 million in revenue last year, so you can do a little arithmetic and figure out about how much it has made since its creation seven years ago. We all remember the promises Peter Angelos made about using that money to improve the team and how this was finally going to give the Orioles the resources needed to compete with Yankees and Red Sox. And yet, since MASN was created, the Orioles annual payroll has averaged just $78 million- not significantly higher than it was before MASN and less than half of what New York or Boston paid in that same time period. Of course, operating expenses and lots of taxes accounted for some of it, but one still has to ask “That money wasn’t invested in the Orioles, so where did it go?”

Bud Selig was willing to kick Marge Schott and Frank McCourt out of the owners’ club for conduct that was immoral but not technically illegal. What Angelos has done with MASN isn’t technically illegal either; after all, he is a lawyer and he brokered the deal with Selig’s blessing. But now that we’ve had time to see it in action, there can be no question that what Angelos has done is highly unethical. He’s siphoned revenue away from not one but two teams for non-baseball purposes. He’s alienated the fanbase. He’s fixed it so that Comcast customers who aren’t even baseball fans are paying for his channels. And all the while, Bud Selig stood by and let it happen.

It’s the same thing that happens when the government plays favorites with private industry; different entities are allowed to play by different rules. This leads to a lack of true competition, and the end result is that the consumer is denied the full potential of what the free market could produce. Those who benefit from the unlevel playing field think that it’s just fine and are happy to leave it that way, while those who suffer because of it either accept it and work around it or just stop caring. It’s why less than half of America votes these days, and why Camden Yards is usually empty unless the Yankees or Red Sox are in town.

Bud Selig is too chummy with Peter Angelos to hold him accountable for getting rich by wrecking the Orioles, the same way he’s too chummy with Fidel Castro to say anything about Ozzie Guillen. Selig has failed to enforce his own standards equally, and we Orioles fans have suffered thru 15 years of pathetic losing baseball because of it. We all know that Cuba needs to be rid of Fidel Castro and the Orioles need to be rid Peter Angelos, but Major League Baseball also needs to be rid of Bud Selig.

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new year

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Friday Mud…please read responsibly

Posted on 30 December 2011 by Drew Forrester

That’s it for 2011, huh?

Over already?

Wow, seems like just yesterday (or so) when I was in Sarasota with Glenn Clark, hunkered down in an outrageously posh satellite-trailer that served as a de facto media workroom in the parking lot of the Orioles spring training complex.  And that was March.

Here we are now, brushing up against January and preparing for (we hope) a Ravens Super Bowl run and, within 7 weeks if you can believe, discussion about pitchers and catchers as they prepare for yet another (losing) baseball season in Baltimore.

Time sure flies when you’re having fun.

Well, for five months a year, anyway.

I hope you all have a safe, enjoyable New Year’s weekend.  We’re obviously all going to be glued to the TV at 4:15 pm on Sunday to see the Ravens take on Cincinnati.

I assume you’ll be hungover.

I hope the Ravens aren’t.

Consider this edition of Friday Mud a tasty start to your holiday weekend.

And you don’t even need to drink a glass of warm milk two hours before you read it.


>  Did you hear the great story about Oregon football player Mark Asper?  Wednesday night he and the Ducks were at a dinner as part of their Rose Bowl festivities and the father of one of Asper’s teammates started choking on a piece of meat.  Asper applied the Heimlich maneuver and dislodged the piece of meat and a health emergency was avoided because of his quick work.  Great story, huh? Anyway, several teams and colleges quickly sent along notes of congratulations and small gifts to show their appreciation for his life-saving work.  The San Diego Chargers sent a football signed by the entire team and a nice card with a personal message.  The Golden State Warriors also sent along a compliment-filled note and a team jersey with Asper and the number “1” on the back.  The Red Sox provided a card with the words “Congrats on knowing the Heimlich, please USE THESE as often as you can in 2012.”

>  So…a listener from Timonium named Theresa reached out to me via e-mail last week and offered me a scathing keyboard-tongue-lashing about a few of the pictures I’ve posted recently here on Friday Mud.  “I can’t speak for everyone,” Theresa wrote, “but I’m appalled at your continued inclusion of those girls from Central Connecticut State as part of your Friday blog.  These are college girls — and they don’t deserve to be objectified in the manner that you’re doing it.  I respectfully ask that you stop including photos of those young women in your Friday blog.”  Well, I must be getting old…and soft…because I’m going to agree to not include any Central Connecticut volleyball players here.  Seriously. I’ll link a photo and I guarantee — in fact, DOUBLE guarantee, that it’s not a girl from Central Connecticut.  (I know what you’re thinking…”Drew, come on, we’re going to click on that photo and it’s going to be a girl from Central Connecticut.”)  Nope.  Not a chance.  Here you go Theresa, THIS RIGHT HERE is just for you.

>  Did you like the Ravens uniform combination last Sunday…the black pants and the purple top?  I gathered that a lot of folks didn’t like it.  I did.  You know what other color combination looks great, to me, anyway?  Royal blue and black.  For some reason, I’ve always thought those colors went great together.  Here, let me show you what it looks like and you tell me.  CHECK IT OUT and tell me…do you think it looks good?

>  Hey Theresa, you like apples?

>  I’d love to pick the Ravens to win this weekend.  Really, I would.  But I don’t trust them on the road.  Just when I get ready to type the words “I think the Ravens are going to win in Cincinnati”, I get visions of Jacksonville, Seattle and San Diego in my brain.  Too many road stinkers for me…too many lay-up games turned losses for my liking.  Sorry — Bengals 24 – Ravens 10.  I hope to hell I’m wrong.

>  The Philadelphia police have been very concerned about female Flyers fans speeding recklessly as they enter Broad Street off of I-95 and approach the Wachovia Center.  They’ve even gone as far as placing THESE WARNING SIGNS up on the roads leading into the arena to give the female fans a chance to slow down.

>  There are two ways to identify a Steelers fan.  One is…they always wear a yellow top.  The other?  Well, as you can see RIGHT HERE, this guy is definitely a Steelers supporter.

>  OK, the time has come to unveil the two finalists for my “Top 10 Winners of Professional Sports ” in the last 20 years.  I’m doing this a little differently than originally intended.  I was going to just list my #2…and then the following week, the #1.  Instead, I’m going to reveal the final two — and you decide who you think is #2 and #1.  Obviously, just by the fact that he hasn’t been listed yet, Michael Jordan is one of the finalists.  What can you say about #23 (and #45 for a year)?  He’s just a great winner, period.  But is there someone else who MIGHT (and I say “might”) be a better winner than Jordan?  I think the answer to that is yes.  Maybe.  This man is a 3-time champion.  And a 9-time All-Star.  He won more games than anyone who ever played his sport. If you wonder whether or not this guy is a winner, you’ll want to take a look at his playoff stats — and then you’ll get it.  So, no more delay. You want a winner?  A great one?  RIGHT HERE he is, folks.  Don’t think he’s great?  CHECK OUT THE STATS.

>  I hear the Orioles had a big sale last week prior to the Holidays, where they put most of their merchandise and novelty items out for fans to buy as gifts.  A friend of mine went to the sale and sent me THIS PHOTO to prove he was at Camden Yards.  Yep, sure looks like an Orioles sale.

>  The Shoot Section (the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth)

I don’t want to go into all the details here — I’ll save that for Monday.  But starting next Monday, I’ll have a 4-part “interview” up at WNST.net that was conducted by a listener.  I think you’ll find it interesting.  We covered a lot of territory…my history with the Blast, my move to WNST, the Orioles, the Ravens, “the lawsuit” and much more.  I went into it a little apprehensive, because the person who interviewed me has been both a listener, reader and critic of mine over the years, but he handled it all fairly and I think you’ll enjoy the series next week and learn some behind the scenes things that maybe you don’t previously know.  It all starts on Monday at WNST.net.

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Duquette speaks out about the Orioles — on a Boston station

Posted on 19 November 2011 by Drew Forrester

Another day, another bizarre story from the wizards who make the public relations decisions with the Orioles.

The story isn’t all that unfamiliar, actually.

You’ll read it and say to yourself, “So, what’s new?”

Answer:  Nothing’s new.  And that’s the problem.

You’ll recall that Tuesday a week ago, Dan Duquette was introduced as the Orioles new General Manager at a press conference at The Warehouse.  If you listened to the Morning Reaction last week or read yesterday’s Friday Mud at WNST.net, you’re aware of the fact that during that press conference, WNST’s Luke Jones was intentionally ignored by the press conference moderator despite the fact that he sat in his chair and kept his hand raised for the better part of 15 minutes during the open Q & A session.

That’s bad enough.  It’s not only completely bush-league, it once again shows that nothing has changed with the ballclub, who continue to operate on the concept of “we decide what questions get asked of us” while the rest of the sports world simply says, “Does ANYONE have any questions?”

But the Luke Jones hand-in-the-air snub wasn’t the worst mistake the Orioles made recently.  Not even close .

This past Tuesday, Dan Duquette made an appearance on a Boston sports talk radio station, WEEI, and spent that time answering questions from the show’s hosts about the Orioles and his time as the Red Sox GM.

On the surface, the interview appearance looks rather benign.  After all, it’s Duquette talking to people in his old stomping grounds.  What’s so wrong with that, right?

Nothing, really.  Except for the fact that Duquette is not allowed to have that same conversation with the media in Baltimore.  He can, of course, have that talk with the two stations in town that pay the club, WBAL and 105.7.  But he’s not allowed to talk about his new job or the Orioles with WNST, WCBM, WPOC, 92-Q or anyone else in town.

Please understand this:  I’m not blaming Dan Duquette for any of this mess.  I’m about 99% sure he has no idea that his new employer is going to restrict him from talking to the Baltimore media.  He’ll find out at some point, I’m sure, but for now, 3 weeks into his job, he doesn’t really know how shameful his appearance was on WEEI.

I have no idea which member of the Orioles organization makes those decisions – you know, like the one two Tuesdays ago concerning Luke Jones.  I wish I knew…but you never, ever get any kind of straight answer from The Warehouse.  And I don’t really know which dinosaur over there who doesn’t have a clue about public relations would make a decision to NOT allow Dan Duquette to be interviewed by any Baltimore radio station that wants him…but yet an appearance on a Boston radio station is permitted.

Who makes that decision?  Is it Greg Bader?  Is it Bob Ames?  Is it Lou Kousouris?  I don’t know.  Bader is the guy that’s always quoted in the newspaper anytime something GOOD happens with the club, like new uniforms, a charitable donation or some other element of the organization that needs to be professionally polished for the public’s consumption.  He’s also the guy you NEVER hear from in matters like this, which clearly falls under his umbrella as “Director of Communications”.  Is it Bob Ames making the call to ignore Luke Jones and then, in the very next week, say “It’s OK” to have Duquette do an interview in Boston while ignoring the ticket holders of Baltimore?  Or was Kousouris the person who made that decision?  By the way, my Warehouse source tells me Peter Angelos is in no way involved in petty matters such as these…for those of you thinking this was all rubber stamped by the owner.

But no one over there will own up to the big question:  “Which one of you people thinks it’s good for your business to not allow your new General Manager to be interviewed in Baltimore…but yet you see the wisdom of allowing him to talk to the folks in the Boston media?”

Baseball fans in Baltimore deserve better than this.

They’ve deserved better for a long time.

Andy MacPhail had zero interest in getting involved in the whole fuster-cluck.  He told Nestor and I at the Nick Markakis (see next page please)

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A Vote of (Relative) Confidence in Dan Duquette

Posted on 09 November 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times…this 2011 baseball season in Baltimore.

Those still “on board” with the O’s (gluttons that we are for punishment) endured another season of dashed expectations and ineptitude and perhaps to an even greater degree than in seasons past frustration, because this Orioles team, the 2011 version looked capable (at least before the season began) of achieving the .500 mark that has eluded this franchise for now 14 years and counting. It seemed for once that as fans our embarrassingly modest expectations actually had a chance at being met.


Those of us who have simply accepted that what we are experiencing now is the new “Oriole Way”, those of us who have abandoned any realistic expectations of competitiveness and accepted the Orioles for the train wreck style of entertainment that they’ve now devolved into, those of us who have taken to the inherent drama and excitement unfolding season after season in other markets while hoping against hope that the O’s will someday be a part of it once again, were treated to perhaps the best baseball season in recent history.


The 2011 baseball season had a drama in spades. The Cardinals and Rays caught the Braves and Red Sox respectively to stage two of the greatest late season comebacks in the history of baseball. That episode in and of itself brought about 4 must see games to finish the season on its final day, and for O’s fan pining for some modicum of relevance, fortune involved our Birds, albeit indirectly at best, in the action.

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Friday Mud is the *true* Fall Classic

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Drew Forrester

Snow on Saturday?

They’re kidding, right?

Well, I’m heading to the Towson-Delaware game no matter what kind of weather arrives, but I certainly don’t fancy sitting at the stadium battling 35 degrees and a rain/snow mix.  But I wouldn’t miss this game, as Towson looks to continue their amazing run through the CAA schedule.  If you’re going out, “tweet me” (@WNST) and maybe I’ll let you buy me a hot chocolate.  Or maybe I’ll just stay in the press box where it’s warm.

Either way, I’ll be at Towson on Saturday night for the big showdown with the Blue Hens.

And, of course, I’ll be at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday to see if the Ravens can rebound from Monday night’s crusher in Jacksonville.

Just like you can count on Friday Mud, you can count on me to be somewhere in Baltimore watching and reporting on sports this weekend.  It’s what we do.  Better than anyone else in town.

Happy Friday.

Enjoy your Mud.  You don’t have to shovel it, either.


>  I can’t keep track of all these Presidential candidates who are coming out of the woodwork and putting their names in the hat.  My guess is I’ll wind up not voting for any of them when the time comes, but that’s neither here nor there.  I figured I’d see what you all thought about another man who is thinking about running for office.  He’s been a leader in the past, so experience is on his side.  He’s worked under duress, which is an obvious strength for anyone who lives in The White House. Like any great leader, he’s able to delegate — he’s had as many as 25 men working under him at any given time.  What would you think, Baltimore, if THIS MAN wanted your vote next November?

>  By now I’m sure you’ve heard that LSU football coach Les Miles brought back three of his players who recently tested positive for synthetic marijuana.  I know, it’s an outrage, I’m with you.  It’s a complete joke.  The day the kids returned to practice, Miles went up to each one and slipped THIS in their pants pocket as they were entering the locker room.  How appropriate.  My guess is Miles has a desk full of those for any other miscreants on his team who break the rules.  Jerk.

>  Lost in the excitement of playoff baseball has been MLB’s annual “Miss Baseball” pageant, which gives every team in the majors the opportunity to put one of their fans in the contest that combines looks, their knowledge of baseball, and their individual ticket-buying support of their favorite team.  The three finalists are in for 2011 and here they are:  “Miss Atlanta Braves” is a 25-year old PR professional who has owned Braves season tickets for the last 4 years.  I’d say THIS GIRL right here is definitely worthy of your vote.  “Miss San Diego Padres” certainly has that west coast look going for her, as you can see RIGHT HERE.  Then there’s “Miss Boston Red Sox” — give THIS WOMAN a haircut and clean her up a bit and she might have a chance, too.  I’d say it’s a dead heat.

>  Good Joe Flacco and Good Cam Cameron show up this Sunday in Baltimore.  Make it 29 – 10 — Ravens over Arizona.  The only way I’d get excited at all about the Cardinals playing well is if Larry Fitzgerald has some sort of monster day with 115 yards receiving and 3 TD’s.  He’s on my fantasy team.  I’m always looking for a silver lining, ya know?

>  I got into a great pub debate a week ago with a few friends.  The question was:  “If you could take one coach in the history of the University of Maryland sports and have that person coach one championship game – winner take all – who would you pick to coach the game?”  I didn’t hesitate.  I said, “Come on guys, you’d take the championship winning basketball coach…the best coach Maryland’s ever had.”  They disagreed with me, but I knew then I was right and I know now I was right.  You tell me. Wouldn’t you want THIS COACH RIGHT HERE on your bench?  Right.  Me too.

>  Poor Tim Tebow.  The dude has two wins under his belt this season and no one wants to say “well done”.  He’s so frustrated, he just got a personalized Colorado license plate.  Don’t believe me?  Well, HERE IT IS.  Believe me now?

>  This “Top 10 winners in team sports over the last 20 years” project has taken on a life of its own.  I started with a list of about 25, narrowed it down to 14, picked 10, then went back and thought of a few more…moved a guy out of the top 10, put someone else in, and now I just added another winner yesterday and had to remove someone else.  It’s tough.  So far, my #10 was Drew Brees and last week’s #9 was Greg Maddux.  Remember, there’s a difference between being a great player and “a winner”.  Alex Rodriguez will likely be in the Hall of Fame someday, but very few people would classify him as a winner.  I’m not 100% sure I’d classify Brett Favre as “a winner” but he’ll be in Canton someday too.  Winners are players you could remove from their team and put them in another city, on another team, and they’d help that new team win games.  Sifting through the names to come up with TRUE winners is more difficult than you might think.  But here we are…up to #8.  I thought long and hard where to put this next athlete.  Because his position isn’t over-analyzed with statistics, it’s not as easy to quantify his greatness, the way you might be able to with a quarterback or a pitcher.  But there’s no denying this man’s greatness and there’s absolutely no way you could ever say he was anything BUT a winner.  He’s the epitome of being a winner.  If you took him from his current team – in his prime – and dropped him off in 6-8 other cities, he’d immediately make them championship contenders.  Some will question his position in the rankings at #8, saying he belongs much higher, but this is where he ranks in my mind, fairly.  Take a look RIGHT HERE at one of the greatest winners of the last 20 years.

>  A bunch of Philadelphia Flyers season ticket holders have signed on to work part-time at McDonald’s.  Why, you ask?  Easy answer.  Good marketing on behalf of McD’s, as you can see ON THIS SIGN.

>  As you know, I’m a big fan of typing random phrases into Google search just to see what comes up.  So I typed in the words, “Are you freakin’ kidding me with this idiot coach of mine?” and THIS PHOTO APPEARED.

>  The Shoot Section (where I tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth…)

Starting next Monday, October 31, we’ll be starting our 2011 Holiday Charity Drive at WNST.  We’re calling it “Coats and Cans in memory of Fergy”.  Many of you who are longtime WNST listeners and supporters remember our friend Fergy Commodari from his countless calls to the show (“Fergy in White Marsh”).  He was not only an active caller/participant on the various WNST shows, but he was a major contributor to any of our charity fund-raising efforts.  Last December, for example, he brought 100 cans of food to our event at the Fullerton Pub.  Anytime we needed Fergy, he was there.  Sadly, Fergy was killed in a car accident back on July 5, 2011.  We at WNST have pledged to put this year’s holiday charity drive together in his memory.  There are THREE ways you can help us this holiday season.  From Monday, October 31 through Friday, November 18, we’ll be collecting canned food and non-perishable food items at WNST Radio (1550 Hart Road, Towson, MD 21286).  Those foods will be donated to the Canton Baptist Church for distribution to their network of food pantries in downtown Baltimore that feed the homeless — and to the Bea Gaddy Thanksgiving Day dinner.  Last year, we collected 2,400 cans of food.  This year, we’re hoping to do 5,000 cans and food items.  For those of you who can’t make it to the station to donate food, we’re asking you to pledge “a penny per can” (with a limit of 5,000…our goal) to a scholarship fund that has been set up for Fergy’s two young children.  If we reach 5,000 cans and you can spare $50.00 to go to their scholarship fund, we’d greatly appreciate it.  Then, from Monday, November 21 through Friday, December 16, we’ll once again be collecting coats and winter apparel that we’ll donate to the Helping Up Mission in downtown Batlimore, a facility that works with adult men who have encountered problems in their lives and are working their way back to their families through a wonderful program that is run completely by the men who are living in the facility. Last year, our listeners donated 400 coats and winter apparel items that were delivered to men at Helping Up just prior to Christmas.  We will take all of the items donated this year to the facility on Tuesday, December 20.  If you can donate canned food, coats and winter apparel this holiday season, we promise you they will all be put to great use.  And if for some reason you can’t donate any items but you’d like to help with the scholarship fund for Fergy’s children, we greatly appreciate ANY amount you can donate.  For more information or to have any questions answered, just email me (drew@wnst.net) or Glenn Clark (glenn@wnst.net) and we’ll get you all the details you need.  A special thanks goes out to Joe Enoch and his staff at Enoch Office Equipment for helping us with transportation for our canned food and coats/winter apparel delivery.  And thank you in advance to any of you can help us with our various charitable efforts this winter.  We can’t do it without you.

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What’s the hold-up with Orioles front office? MacPhail? Or could it be Showalter?

Posted on 05 October 2011 by Drew Forrester

October 5 has arrived and the Orioles, not surprisingly, are still plodding along without any formal announcement on the structure of their front office heading into the 2011-2012 off-season.

I know how it goes at the Warehouse.

Turtles move faster.

But there’s something going on over there — or, perhaps NOTHING at all going on over there.

It depends on whom or what you believe.  And what your gut tells you.

Here’s what I think.

First, let me reiterate what I said all the way back in early July.  It was then that I contended that Andy MacPhail wouldn’t return in 2012.  I suspected that Buck Showalter, frustrated at a number of things within the organization that have impeded the team’s progress both at the major league and minor league levels, would move into some sort of upper management position for 2012 and beyond.  I figured Buck would either try to double-dip and manage the club while being the team’s GM or perhaps he’d hand the managerial duties over to Willie Randolph.  Either way, I figured it was a near certainty that MacPhail wouldn’t return in 2012 and that Buck would INCREASE, not decrease, his duties somehow.

I kept asking the question:  Why would MacPhail come back?  What’s in it for him?

Other than a salary, why would Andy MacPhail return to the everyday grind of working for the Orioles?

He knows now, having seen it in hi-def for 55 months or so, that the team can’t win in the American League East.  They’re not BUILT to win in the American League East.  They’re not willing to operate in a manner necessary to compete in the American League East.  Surely Andy knows that, as he’s been one of the reasons why those limitations have been so obvious over the last 4+ seasons.

So why would he come back?

My answer:  He isn’t coming back.

Two weeks ago, I went on the air and offered another possible scenario, coming from a source directly associated with Showalter and the club who assured me that it might be Buck who wasn’t so sure he wanted to return in 2012.

“Some things will have to change for Buck to come back,” the source told me.  “He’ll need certain assurances that his voice will be more respected.  He’s been disappointed in some of the promises that were made to him and were never followed through on.”

I talked about that on the air two weeks ago…that Showalter might not be a slam-dunk to return in 2012.

Today, I’m still hearing that.

“Buck wants to see this through, but he needs 100% assurance that when he’s told something’s going to happen that it winds up happening that way.”

There have been some reports this week from several local journalists who cover the team — and to be fair, they aren’t really REPORTS per-se, it’s more like “simple speculation” – that perhaps Andy MacPhail might actually return for the 2012 season.

I’d be surprised if Andy returned.  I ask again:  Why on earth WOULD he?

I’ve heard the Orioles would be interested in talking with former team exec Scott Proefrock (currently with the Phillies) about assuming MacPhail’s position and that Andy would serve as a consultant until the season started next April and he was able to turn Proefrock loose on his own.  Proefrock worked briefly under MacPhail in Baltimore and the two have respect for one another that could make that sort of transition-process go smoothly.

All of this, though, needs Buck’s approval.

I don’t know what to make of it all, because in typical Orioles fashion, the season has been over for one week now and not a word has been uttered by the club about the future of the organization.

The Red Sox were eliminated last Wednesday night and by Friday they were looking for a new manager.

But we’re used to it here in Baltimore…the feet dragging, the pedestrian pace, the maddening, methodical decision making process that always takes much longer than it should.

The key player in this remains Showalter.

MacPhail, naturally, could create quite an interesting scenario if he simply decided to return for at least one more year and Buck would continue in his role as the field manager and nothing more.

I don’t think that’s what Buck wants.

In fact, I’m quite certain it’s not what he wants.

And I don’t REALLY think it’s what MacPhail wants.

He knows the truth.

He tried to change the culture in Baltimore since June of 2007 and it didn’t work.

Why press on now, knowing what he knows?

Buck, meanwhile, wants the opportunity to fix the club.

As usual, though, confusion reigns supreme.

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"O" - How Sweet It Is

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“O” – How Sweet It Is

Posted on 29 September 2011 by Tom Federline

The Baltimore Orioles are not going to the playoffs this year………….and neither are the Boston Red Sox. Hallelujah! What the Orioles did last night will go down in the annals of Oriole history as one of those “Oriole Classics”. The O’s played a part in one of the more historical nights ever in Major League Baseball. The O’s contributed positively by providing losses to the “Greatest Collapse” of a first place team in MLB history. Hallelujah! Nice choke Boston Red Sox. Thank Youuuuuuuuu – Orioles for putting the final game of the 2011 season, “…in the WIN column.” Especially in such dramatic fashion. In my book, the Boston Red Sox and their arrogant fans have surpassed the New York Yankees in rudeness and greed. Last night made the Orioles year.

Terps beating Duke, Ravens beating Steelers and as it has been for the past 5 years for me, the Orioles beating the Red Sox. Maybe it’s because they are winning and the Orioles are not. Maybe it’s because of Roger “Steroids” Clemens. Maybe it’s because they ruined a perfectly good song in “Sweet Caroline” – (Neil Diamond). Maybe it’s because all the bragging in the world about their supposed famous Clam Chowda will never come close to good ole Maryland Crab soup with Old Bay. Whatever the reason, I get more fired up when Boston is in town than the Yankees. Maybe their it’s just been a given for so long to dislike the Yankees – it’s old hat. The Orioles contributed in preventing the Red Sox to going onto Post season play. If that is not music to your ears, stop reading now and move on.

I thought the Birds were cooked at the rain delay in the 7th. Driving up 95 in the rainstorm, knew it was headed to the Yards, did not know how long it was going to last. Men on 1st and 3rd two outs, Adam “supposed Oriole MVP” Jones up to the plate – Struck out. Nice MVP move. All I kept saying to myself was, “Not at Camden Yards”, you guys can NOT let Boston in with a loss at our home park. You might as well just open up the wounds and pour the salt in. The winter just got longer.  More Oriole disappointment. My orange Kool-aid was going to go bad. Woke up this morning, saw something orange in the sky, I believe they call it a sun. I had forgotten what it looked like, so I thought it was a sign that the Orioles had pulled off the improbable, low and behold it was a great day in Birdland.

Now, how about a little controversy? You know how I feel about the “Fix”. How about that Tampa Bay/Yankees game? I thought the game was over early at 7 – 0. Six runs bottom of the 8th, pinch hit home run in 9th to extend it, wait for outcome of Orioles game, 3 minutes later “Let’s Groove Tonight” – (Earth Wind & Fire) – “Here’ s one for ya Evan Longoria, you is in the playoffs!” Coincidence? There are no coincidences. You go Tampa Bay! Anybody but the Yankees or the Phillies.

One down side of the past few days, Adam Jones – the Orioles MVP as voted on by the Baltimore media. Are you kiddin’ me? Every single one of those numbnuts that voted for Jones instead of JJ Hardy, should be fired. More proof positive, in your face – lack of baseball knowledge, minor league journalism that the Baltimore area has had to put up with for many a moon. Ninety percent (90%) of the Orioles print media and broadcasts are not worth your time. My opinion of 2011 O’s MVP: JJ Hardy (unanimous), Matt Weiters, Jim Johnson, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and I am a Jonesy fan.

The Orioles contributed  in preventing the Boston Red Sox from going into Post Season play. Seize the Moment – we don’t have many. The Birds did not fulfill expectations this year, below .500 and last place again. So what? They ended the year with the sweetest win of them all. It’s gonna get better.



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Orioles win wasn’t meaningful, but it was fun to watch for sure

Posted on 29 September 2011 by Drew Forrester

Maybe I’m just getting old, but I didn’t like seeing the Red Sox lose on Wednesday night in Baltimore.

I did, however, enjoy seeing the Orioles win.

If that makes any sense.

I have nothing against the Red Sox organization.  Lord knows we’d all give our left ear to have the Orioles run their club like the folks in Boston run theirs.  I’d take a half dozen of their players on MY team any day of the week.

So I wasn’t rooting against Boston last night.  I don’t really care who gets in the post-season and who doesn’t once my team is eliminated, which, of course, is usually around July 25 for those of us in Baltimore who still follow the Birds.

That said – I’ve been critical of their fan base at times because I think they tend to march around (our) town like their you-know-what-doesn’t-stink, so it wasn’t hard to do a little fist pumping in the basement last night when Carl Crawford couldn’t come up with Robert Andino’s soft line drive to left field in the bottom of the 9th.

By the way…what the hell happened there?  How did Crawford – an outstanding defensive player by every account – NOT come up with that ball?  What did the replay show, you ask?  I WOULDN’T KNOW, the fine folks at MASN forgot to show a replay of the final hit, instead focusing their cameras on the grounds crew doing high fives near the first base line.

I’m not sure how Carl Crawford wound up on the ground looking like Felix Pie with the ball at his feet, but it would have been nice to see exactly what happened on the play that ended Boston’s historic collapse.

Anyway, the outcome was quite polarizing for the Orioles faithful in town. Some took great delight in ousting the Red Sox and their band of well-traveled fans who once again made OPACY seem more like Fenway Park South.  Lots of people in Baltimore talked about how great it was to have “meaningful” baseball back in the Charm City.  And others, like me, just watched the game with passing curiosity, jealous as hell that our team was once again finishing in last place and the OTHER GUYS were playing for their post-season lives.

If you think Wednesday’s game really was “meaningful baseball”, you’re as wrong as Brad Pitt was for s**t-canning Jennifer Aniston.

The game would have been meaningful ONLY if the Orioles were heading to Texas today for a Friday night post-season opener against the Rangers.  Had Andino’s hit pushed the Birds to the playoffs…now THAT, my friends, would have been meaningful.

The game was ONLY important because Boston was a win away from going to the playoffs.  If last night’s game would have been a season finale between the Orioles and Twins, 1,835 people would have been in the stands.

Look, I completely understand that we haven’t played a game of importance in Baltimore – baseball wise – since 1997.  And I also accept the fact that we’ve been agitated beyond belief over the years by the Boston fans who have invaded our city and our stadium and gone out of their way to poke fun at our losing ways.

And I don’t really care for those people, a fact I’ve talked and written about a lot — so much so, in fact, that one Boston fan in town tried to sue me over it earlier this year.

So it was fun to see those folks slither out of the stadium last night with their tail between their legs.

But last night’s game wasn’t really meaningful baseball.

It was FUN baseball.

It was EXCITING baseball.

But it wasn’t an important game for the Orioles.  It was ONLY important for the Red Sox.

We still haven’t seen an important game for the Birds since October of 1997 in that ballpark.

Someday, perhaps, we will.

For now, we have to be satisfied with wins like we saw last night, where a 9th inning rally sends everyone home for the winter with a smile on their face.

See you next spring.

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