Tag Archive | "Brooks Robinson"

50 words or less .... Tuesday, April 26th

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50 words or less …. Tuesday, April 26th

Posted on 26 April 2011 by Rex Snider

After resting and licking the wounds of a couple losses at the hands of the Yankees, the Orioles will recollect themselves and begin a 3 game series against the Red Sox tonight.

The Yankees’ series certainly revealed some glaring weaknesses for Buck’s offensive attack; CC Sabathia’s 28-pitch count thru 3 innings and Freddy Garcia’s 2-hitter thru 6 innings serve as fresh reminders of the problems with the lineup.

Here’s to hoping things improve over the next few nights. And, here’s your Tuesday edition of “50 Words Or Less” …..
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Andino …. Out Or Safe ???
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It doesn’t really matter, so long as this current edition of the Orioles lineup continues to languish and squander opportunities to score runs. They made Freddy Garcia look like Roy Halladay, yesterday.

It won’t get any easier with seeing Josh Beckett and Jon Lester over the next few games.
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Shocking …..
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Of course, I’m being sarcastic. Say last Friday, Ryan Chell would’ve uttered “an NFL player will be stabbed this coming weekend, who will it be?” I can honestly admit Brandon Marshall would’ve been on my short list of probable victims.

Funny …. I have never really associated “victim” with Marshall’s name. Thus, there is probably much more to the story. Stay tuned …..
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A Proposal Of Sorts
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Last week, a Milwaukee Brewers fan and devoted follower of Ryan Braun decided to do something unique. “Robin” made a sign proposing marriage to the Brewers star outfielder, and she attached her personal PHONE NUMBER TO IT …..

You know the rest of the story, right? Every desperate loser watching that game – and probably drinking a 12 pack of Old Milwaukee decided to call her. Robin has temporarily turned her phone off …..
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Do You Feel Lucky?
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Perhaps, the more burning question is can the Ravens afford to risk being UNLUCKY? Several reports have Ozzie Newsome and his staff salivating over the temptation of grabbing highly touted Colorado cornerback, Jimmy Smith.

The problem? Well, Smith has allegedly failed a series of drug tests during his college career and he has some underage drinking issues. After last year’s Sergio Kindle situation, I’m betting on a more conservative approach, but we shall see in just a few days …..
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And You Thought I was Crazy
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When I officially swore to give up LION TAMING for Lent, many listeners shuddered with dismay and frivolous disbelief. Well, it can get crazier …..

J. Wilson, an Iowa newspaper editor decided to give up every nutritional fuel source, except BEER for the entire period of Lent. And, he did it. That’s my hero, baby !!!! Here is the STORY
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Good News On Brooks
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Many of us have watched Brooks Robinson’s health situation from a distance, while holding out hope for the very best. Well, the Orioles legend appeared at a weekend autographed show and he was looking rejuvenated.

Here’s to hoping he gets stronger in the coming days and weeks.

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 2

Posted on 04 April 2011 by Luke Jones

As the Orioles begin their 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

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Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds
11. Hoiles’ slam stuns Mariners
10. Game 6 of 1997 ALCS
9. 1993 All-Star Game
8. Moose misses perfection
7. Eddie comes home
6. Bonilla’s slam in first playoff win
5. The first Opening Day
4. Birds shrink Big Unit to win 1997 ALDS
3. No. 500 for Eddie

2. Farewell to Cal – Oct. 6, 2001

You know it’s not a typical game when your team is wearing special commemorative patches and the league ordered special baseballs for the occasion. Despite entering the night with 97 losses and closing out a miserable season on the field, the Orioles hosted the Boston Red Sox with all the glitz and hype of a postseason game, or at least Opening Day.

After all, it wasn’t going to be easy saying goodbye to Cal Ripken.

On June 19, Ripken announced his intention to retire at the end of the season, which led to a memorable farewell tour as the future Hall of Famer was honored in ballparks throughout the league, proving the entire baseball was just as appreciative to Maryland’s favorite son.

However, Baltimore was going to give Cal Ripken a farewell unlike any other after his 21 years with the club he grew up rooting for as a kid in nearby Aberdeen. Ripken was much more than a great player, a Hall of Famer, or one of the best to ever play the game. He was an icon, not just in the Charm City but everywhere.

The Orioles had originally been scheduled to play their final series of the year at Yankee Stadium, but the tragic events of September 11 had canceled a week’s worth of games as the nation mourned the many deaths in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa. As a result, the final game of the season would take place on a memorable Saturday night at Camden Yards.

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The flashbulbs popped with Ripken’s every move, reminiscent of the night six year earlier when Orioles fans showed more adulation for a professional athlete than had ever been witnessed anywhere else. The game itself was forgettable as Boston won 5-1, but none of that mattered as the 48,807 on hand wanted a final glimpse of their hometown hero.

Ripken went 0 for 3 against Red Sox starter David Cone despite fans trying to will the 41-year-old to one more memorable moment. In the bottom of the eighth, he came to the plate for the final time in his career, a moment Orioles fans will never forget as Ripken flew out to center.

last at-bat

As the game moved to the bottom of the ninth, the Orioles tried to get Ripken to the plate one more time as Brady Anderson — also playing in his final game as an Oriole — stepped in against Boston closer Ugueth Urbina. With Ripken waiting on deck and the fans firmly behind Anderson, Urbina struck him out to end the game and the career of No. 8.

A dejected Anderson walked to the dugout, but the dramatic finish made for intriguing theater. It was the epitome of the old adage of leaving the crowd wanting more.

The post-game ceremony was a made-for-TV event with the stadium lights extinguished and the spotlight on Ripken for a final curtain call on the last night in which he’d wear an Orioles uniform. His final words to the faithful at Camden Yards, “The House that Cal Built,” were heartfelt but unassuming. Typical Cal.

“One question I’ve been repeatedly asked these past few weeks is, ‘How do I want to be remembered?’ My answer has been simple: to be remembered at all is pretty special. I might also add that if, if I am remembered, I hope it’s because, by living my dream, I was able to make a difference.”

A difference made, indeed. For Orioles fans of all ages, but particularly those who grew up in the 1980s and 90s, Ripken defined what it meant to be an Oriole in the same way Brooks Robinson had done a generation earlier. Simply put, Ripken was the Orioles for fans too young to enjoy the glory days of three world championships, six league pennants, and the fruits of the Oriole Way.

His departure not only symbolized the end of an era and the last link to the franchise’s glory days, but it sparked feelings similar to the ones felt by fans who witnessed Robinson’s farewell in 1977.

It was never going to be the same.

Players come and go, hits and strikeouts fade from memory, but you never forget how the special ones made you feel.

Speech

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Great news on a Monday? Angelos could be priming Orioles for sale …..

Posted on 17 January 2011 by Rex Snider

It’s pretty fitting that Baltimore is blanketed by a grey, dingy skyline to begin the first Monday of the Ravens offseason, huh? If nothing else, it kinda sums up how most of us are feeling …..

Losing to the Steelers is a horrible reality that’s becoming way too common for those of us who love football. But, blowing a commanding lead, enroute to losing the BIGGEST GAME OF THE YEAR is one of the bitterest defeats in franchise history.

It’s created a hangover lasting a couple days …..

But, fear not, I may have some very optimistic words for the Baltimore sports fan. And, it regards the city’s “OTHER” pro sports franchise …..

According to celeb-O’s fan, Roy Firestone, he received some possible inside information that indicated Peter Angelos might be readying the Orioles for a sale to local investors. Better yet, the group is supposedly headed by Cal Ripken.

On Saturday night, Firestone attended an event with Orioles greats, such as Brooks and Frank Robinson. The event provided Firestone with his information on the possible upcoming sale of the ballclub.

Firestone has been quick to point out his “source” is confidential. However, he has also identified this same source as one of credibility in past dealings – and, one who has the connections to know such information.

But, don’t get ready for any transition to happen soon …..

According to Firestone’s source, the sale is supposed to be consummated within the next two years. Of course, such a period of time can lead to many hurdles, detours and dead ends. But, it’s still comforting to hear such a transition of ownership might be in the works.

In all honesty, I can envision such a situation. I don’t think any of us really doubts Peter Angelos’ love for Baltimore. We know he’s aging and probably approaching that time in life where his impending future must be planned out. And, we’ve heard his sons are not intimately involved in the operations of the ballclub.

Why not sell it to someone who can be entrusted to do the right thing – and usher the franchise in the proper direction? It makes sense to me. Regardless of how the Orioles have languished under the Angelos ownership, he must be mindful of the team’s ultimate ownership by an entity other than himself.

Hey, if nothing else, Roy Firestone’s news gives us something to talk about – other than Saturday’s loss, in Pittsburgh.

I’ll talk to you, this afternoon @ 2pm …..

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Ray Lewis past, present and future: Is it safe to say the Ghost of Ray has passed?

Posted on 26 October 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

I was sitting in a Canton restaurant six weeks ago doing a WNST.net sales presentation and out of the corner of my eye I caught a purple flash. There, larger than life was the familiar sight of Ray Lewis coming down on Darren Sproles on the San Diego turf last fall on all of the flat screens at once in a jarring HD highlight reel, then pounding more running backs, belting quarterbacks and creating that beautiful purple havoc that we’ve grown to love to watch on Sunday afternoons in Baltimore.

The volume was down but it didn’t take me long to realize that Steve Sabol and a series of former Ravens coaches were doing a roundtable conversation about the career of Ray Lewis and I realized this was the NFL Films special that was shot in Orlando back during the NFL Owners Meetings that I attended. It was the same day when I spent time with all of these same people – Jack Del Rio, Mike Smith, Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Mike Singletary – for a coffee table conversation book I’m working on about the lineage of Baltimore coaching and leadership.

In case you missed any of the segments on NFL.com from the Orlando conversation here’s a link…

But this wasn’t any restaurant I sitting in last month – this was Ray Lewis’ former Full Moon BBQ dream that is now The Fieldhouse next to the Canton Can Company.

On the same walls that served as a civic homage to all things No. 52, a place where Ray’s dream of being a successful restaurant owner and entrepreneur failed, it was sadly bittersweet to see Lewis flying on the walls

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Showalter and Harbaugh: Taking Baltimore Back to the Future

Posted on 10 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

The two main coaches in Baltimore right now are Buck Showalter of the Orioles and John Harbaugh of the Ravens. Both are with their respective teams for various reasons, both have different backgrounds and levels of experience, and both are at different stages of their lives. However they have one thing in common, and that’s Baltimore. To expound on that a bit, they’ve both inherited a rich tradition and lineage in that there’s greatness behind them. While the Orioles have been in a state of malaise for thirteen years, we all know the history and traditions that are associated with them. Showalter inherits the legacy of Earl Weaver, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, and Cal Ripken Jr. In the case of the Ravens, there’s a twelve-year span of time where there was no football in Baltimore, which stands in stark similarity to the most recent stretch of Orioles baseball. However Harbaugh is now taxed with stroking the legacy of Don Shula, Johnny Unitas, Alan Ameche, Raymond Berry, and Ray Lewis (who of course is still on the team).

Again, the common link between these two men is Baltimore, and thus the Baltimore fans. One of the reasons that I love Baltimore so much is because of it’s legacy as a survivor. Let us not forget that Baltimore was attacked by Brittish forces in August of 1814 (during the war of 1812). The resulting Battle of Ft. McHenry gave us our beloved Star-Spangled Banner, which essentially celebrates the fact that the city of Baltimore never fell to the Brittish forces that night. The city (and thus the nation) “survived.” How does that translate to the O’s and Ravens? Baltimore’s rich football legacy was hijacked in 1984 Robert Irsay and the Mayflower moving vans. However for twelve years the fans kept the legacy of Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts burning in their hearts, in hopes that one day the NFL might see fit to return to one of the places that helped to make it so great. Eventually those efforts paid off when in 1995 Art Modell announced that his Cleveland Browns were moving to Baltimore to become the Ravens.

The Orioles last contended in 1997 under the leadership of Davey Johnson, one of Earl Weaver’s former players. Since Johnson rode out of town on the heels of going wire-to-wire in first place and winning manager of the year, it’s been lean times in Birdland. Seemingly everything that this franchise has done has been wrong. We all remember the Albert Belle debacle, which might rank up there with the Glenn Davis trade as one of the worst moves in team history. Speaking for myself I’ll never forget the year that they lost Rafael Palmeiro and BJ Surhoff to free agency and/or trades, and then tried to market Delino DeShields as their big free-agent pickup the next year. They even tried bringing Palmeiro (who was always a fan favorite) back, however that blew up in their faces when he tested positive for steroids. Ultimately, a long series of poor management decisions by Peter Angelos and the people around him have led to these thirteen losing seasons, marred by embarassments and NY/Boston fans taking over our beloved stadium.

While some people would argue that Angelos is still mismanaging the team, I would tend to believe that through the hiring of Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter, this team is on the right track once again. In the past few seasons they’ve drafted well and made some good pickups (although they should have gotten a big bat this past off season, as has been admitted by Andy MacPhail). I suppose my point is that through all of that, the Baltimore fans still stand by the team. Some would laughingly say that drawing 9100+ on a weeknight is hardly having people stand by you. However anyone that’s attended a game since Showalter’s shown up in August knows what I mean. The fans are into and behind this team. When people think of suffering fans, those of cities such as Cleveland, Boston, and Philly come to mind. However not having football for so long combined with the Orioles’ rocky thirteen years has put Baltimore fans in a similar category. Yet they’re still there, as resiliant as ever. So Buck Showalter and John Harbaugh are tasked with taking the traditions and memories of the past, and turning them into the future. I suppose that I’m reminded of the closing scene of Back to the Future III; as he lifted off in his new time machine, the Doc told Marty and Jennifer:

Your future isn’t written yet. Nobody’s is! So make it a good one…both of you.

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How are area teams perceived nationwide?

Posted on 04 September 2010 by Domenic Vadala

In my pieces about bandwagon fans earlier in the week, I wrote about various teams such as the Boston Red Sox and Pittsburgh Steelers that have a lot of bandwagon fans. All of those organizations also have what we call national fan bases. You can go to any stadium around the country and see someone wearing a Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Steelers, or Dallas Cowboys hat. That aside, when I travel I’m always interested in seeing how the teams from my home region are perceived around the country.

No Baltimore or mid-Atlantic team has what you might call a national following. However depending upon where you go you’ll find mixed results in a sense. Obviously if you go to Cleveland you won’t find many people with any love for the Ravens. It also matters which sport we’re talking about. When it comes to baseball most people are very sympathetic to Baltimore fans. One of the best trips I ever took was to Fenway in 2009 to see the Orioles play. Most of the Red Sox fans were very welcoming, and a lot of them told me that they hoped to see things looking up soon for the Orioles. And I’ve seen that kind of empathy towards the O’s in most places I’ve gone, including the southwest and Colorado. Players such as Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken to this day have bought the Orioles a great deal of goodwill. I spoke with one fan in Denver during a trip out there who told me that he had never really followed baseball until he started paying attention to Cal’s streak, and when he found out that Denver had a team he became a fan. Occasionally you’ll find some sneering Yankee fan that’ll just laugh at the Orioles, but that happens across the board.

With the Ravens it’s a little different. Baltimore’s plight of losing the Colts and not having a team for so long still makes people very sympathetic. That, combined with the legends of Johnny Unitas generally makes people look approvingly on the Ravens. However there’s no doubt that Ray Lewis’ brush with the law and subsequent murder charge has taken its toll on the Ravens’ reputation. While I do understand that kind of mentality, I also have to call it into question. The fact is that Lewis was exonerated of the charges. However, there’s a certain stigma that comes with a murder charge that never goes away; I understand that. But doesn’t mean that the Ravens are a bad or thuggish organization? I would say that if you feel that way you should dislike the player, not the team.

Baltimore fans have a lot of bearing on how our teams are perceived. As Oriole fans, we’re unfortunately used to seeing out-of-town fans in our stadium. Speaking for myself, I’ve always thought that Boston fans were the worst of the bunch. (The visiting fans at Camden Yards that is; I’ve been to Fenway to see the Orioles play, and the fans there are some of the most accommodating and decent fans I’ve ever met.) Where do I begin?…I’ve seen Red Sox fans urinating in Oriole hats, Red Sox fans complaining that not enough Red Sox merchandise is sold in the stadium, Red Sox fans purposely getting Oriole fans tossed from the ballpark, and Red Sox fans booing an in-stadium feature on Cal Ripken while say that Yaz is the only #8 worth cheering for. Each time I’ve gone on the road with the Orioles, I’ve felt an obligation to be on my best behavior because I believe that in that situation I’m representative of the Orioles, the Oriole fans, and the city of Baltimore as a whole. So if I behave like a moron, people in that city are going to come away with a negative impression of all of us and our teams. Furthermore, if you need any more proof that the fans’ behavior counts towards what people think, look no further than Philadelphia fans.

All in all, in my opinion Baltimore teams have a decent reputation around the country. I haven’t been in every state or city, however I’ve seen a decent amount of places here in the USA, and I would say that Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. are the most high-profile Baltimore athletes. Johnny Unitas is up there as well, although I think that Baltimore not having football for so long probably puts him a notch below Brooks and Cal. It’s amazing where you meet like-minded people sometimes though. Last year I was walking through Milan’s Malpensa Airport waiting to board a flight to Paris (with Washington DC my ultimate destination that day). Since I was returning from a vacation at my family home in Italy, I decided to sport an Oriole polo shirt on the flight. Just as I’m getting in line to board the flight, this guy walks by me, raises his fist in the air and says, “Go O’s!”

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Happy 91st Birthday to the “real” creator of WNST

Posted on 05 March 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear Pop:

Happy 91st birthday!!! I know you might be used to me doing the radio show dedicated to you every year here on March 5th but this year I’m “off” the radio (the listeners call it “retirement” and I call it “sabbatical”) so I’m just gonna write you this letter and hope it gets to you. And instead of taking calls all afternoon, I’m gonna take comments from folks on this space-aged thing called the internet. (I’ll explain it to you later but there’s a lot of stuff in the world here in 2010 you wouldn’t really understand without seeing it!)

A lot has changed since you left us back in July 1992 and I just thought I’d check in and update you a little with this letter – just kind of catch you up a little bit because every single day I think “What would Pop think of this crazy place now?”

And I know how much you love to read, so I thought I’d put it in writing for your birthday – how much different this place is in 2010!

Yes, I still write “for the paper” occasionally, but they just don’t call it a newspaper anymore. The words kinda live on a little television set and you don’t have to print them. You just “click” and you can get almost any information in the world. It’s kinda like the radio, TV and newspaper worlds have all gone into one place, if you can understand that. It’s called the “internet” – and really, I’d probably have a helluva time trying to make you understand it but I’m gonna try.

These days I’m so freaking busy building this sports media business I’ve created that I don’t even get to write about sports or talk about sports as much as I’d like but I’ll be doing more this baseball season for you and keep you in the loop on the Orioles and stuff. I’m also doing a book that I’m gonna send you a copy of later this year. It’s about coaching and leadership – I think you’ll dig it because it’s a lot of the stuff that you were always trying to teach me only put into words and kinda organized with words of wisdom from all of the coaches that I’ve met since 1984 who’ve taught me about life through sports.

Pop, a LOT of these people really helped make me the person I am since you’ve been gone. You remember Gene Ubriaco from the Skipjacks? Well he kinda gave me the idea since he was the first coach I talked to back in the day and he visited me recently and inspired me. I remember introducing him to you back at the Civic Center when I first covered the team for The News American.

Anyway, I remember that summer back in 1986 when we coached that Little League baseball team at Eastwood together. (One of those kids is now my Facebook friend, but I’ll save explaining that for next year’s letter, OK?)

I think a lot about you managing the 1973 Colgate Pirates, when I was the batboy, and we won the championship. I’m gonna write a little bit about it in the book. Gus Kaplanges still calls me and I ran into Teddy Boccia at Pizza John’s in Essex a few weeks ago. Tom Duni always sends along his best when I see him on the mornings when I take Mom to the IHOP over on Merritt Boulevard. It’s the “International House of Pancakes” – right in Dundalk. I know how much you love pancakes. They even have all of the fancy syrups!

So when I heard they just got email up there where you are I thought I’d send you a birthday card with some updates here from Planet Earth instead of doing the radio show. (Wait’ll you get a load of these “smart” phones when they get there with the “internet” on them. And wait’ll you see this thing called “texting”!)

Look, some of this stuff you’re not gonna understand. You’re just not, no matter what I do or how I try to explain it. Lemme just start with this – we have a black President of the United States, so you KNOW things are little different but the changes these last 18 or so years have been incredible – especially the last few years. You wouldn’t believe what’s happened in Baltimore with sports media and sports in general.

You were right about ESPN – they’re still around and they have a monopoly on virtually every sport and they have this 24-hour a day newspaper that people read all the time. You can even listen to the radio and watch videos on a screen without an antenna! (It’s all on that “internet” thing I told you about. And it’s all in the palm of your hand on this thing that’s like a phone. I’d try to compare it to a “cell” phone but even that would be hard.)

You know me, I still love hockey and the NHL is fun. The Capitals are really good and I think you’d even get on this bandwagon, even though you always hated hockey and Washington, D.C. The Caps have this Russian kid named Ovechkin – he’s like Gretzky, only bigger and meaner. It’s a fun time and the Caps SUCKED big time for a long time, kinda like they did when back when I started dragging you down there to the Capital Centre in 1981. I’m really sorry you never liked hockey, but I really do appreciate you taking me down to those Clippers games back in the day! You have no idea how great those memories are for me and how much hockey still means to me!

The Terps are having a great year – they even won a BIG one against Duke the other night and they play in this shiny new building and Gary Williams is STILL the coach! They finally won the National Championship back in 2002 and it was a lot of fun. I know how much you loved March Madness around the house and it’s still pretty much the same although they wear these long pants these days. And people don’t play bracket pools on paper – they do it on this “internet” thing!

The NBA kinda sucks these days and nobody watches. I know you saw Abe Pollin up there a few weeks ago. I hope you guys made up – he really did do some good things, though that would be hard for me to explain to you. The new guy here who owns the old Bullets (they call them the “Wizards” now — again, don’t ask…really some of this s&%t is too crazy to even try to explain!) is a guy named Ted Leonsis. Good dude and now he owns the Caps. I know him a little through the radio show. They moved outta the Capital Centre into downtown D.C. back in 1998 and they play in this place that kinda looks like a mall with windows. It’s wild, man, the way the stadiums and the arenas have changed. It’s all about business now with sports – lots of money, but still a lot of fun most of the time. And people love it more than ever!

But there’s even these new sports like this “mixed martial arts” — where guys literally beat the s&*t outta each other like something in one of those weekend Roman gladiator movies on Channel 45. It’s crazy. It’s like boxing, kinda, without gloves. It’s kinda like WWF only it’s REAL. Swear to God! But people love it!

Oh, about “rassling,” one of your favorites. It’s now called World Wrestling “ENTERTAINMENT” these days. Vince McMahon is still running it and making money but they’ve admitted what you said along: “It’s fake.” But nobody seems to mind and they still sell a lot of tickets.

Stock car racing (they just call it NASCAR these days) is this HUGE thing – these fancy cars, crowds of over 100,000 and big TV ratings. They moved the Olympics into every two years – summer and winter alternate – and they have these skateboard kids who surf on the snow getting medals. It’s exciting – you might even like it!

The Preakness is a mess. They took the beer away last year and now nobody goes but no one here seems to care too much about horse racing. Kinda sad. I know you never liked it too much but it’s tough to see it die like this, especially in May when Baltimore used to rock for the Preakness. They’re doing this new thing this year – “Get Your Preak On” – we’ll see how it goes.

I know I haven’t mentioned the Orioles because, well, you really don’t want to know. I know when you left us back in July of ’92 you were sorta losing it a little for life and sports and I know you thought Camden Yards looked nice on TV. Sorry I never took you down there before you left but honestly you haven’t really missed much down there, Pop.

This guy from Highlandtown named Peter Angelos bought the team about a year after you left us. Hotshot lawyer, got involved with some union guys who died from asbestos and made a zillion dollars, bought the team in 1994 and, well, they’ve turned into the worst franchise in sports.

They lose every year. They lie every year. They’re really rather disgraceful! And nobody goes to the games anymore. Mom still watches – we all kinda do – but no one goes to the games and the owner is the biggest heel since Bob Irsay.

Pop, some people hate him even MORE than Irsay and I’m not kidding!

I know it sounds crazy, but he’s kinda at war with me personally because I have had the balls and the voice to do what you’d have done if you were me – I tell the truth about the losing and the sad state of the city on summer night. But you’d dig it that some of the old Orioles from when we were taking the No. 22 outta Highlandtown are still around and are really cool to me. Those old Orioles come up to me and tell me to continue to fight with him but, really, Pop, it’s not the same and I’m tired of fighting with these lunatics.

I don’t even wanna bore you with it. (I’d tell you to “Google it” but you’d have no idea what the hell that means but I think you’d really think it’s cool. Imagine one of those World Book encyclopedias you bought me combined with every library in the world and all available in one place and you’ll begin to grasp it. Yeah, I know, you’re a little confused…so is Mom, don’t worry.)

But more than ANYONE, you’d be the proudest of how I’ve stood up and fought for what’s right. I take a lot of heat. People write me hate mail, threaten my life on occasion – but I know I’m right. This Angelos guy can’t even get along with Brooks Robinson, who’s still alive and has battled some illnesses recently.

This spring, I’m going to get behind a big civic movement to get a statue built for No. 5. I’ve sorta gotten to know Brooks since you left us and he’s just as great of a guy as you always thought he was and he deserves it. So I’m gonna help these guys who want to do this and I want to do it in your honor, if you’ll let me. I always tell Brooks about how you took me to “Thanks, Brooks Day” way back in 1977 and how we spent the day together out in left field like we always did in those days on 33rd Street.

By the way – I’ve got some more bad news. They tore down Memorial Stadium about 10 years ago. It really PISSED me off. I drive by there, think of you and get all pissed off again. I can’t even turn the corner up by Lake Montebello without getting depressed. The old site was turned into a YMCA. You’d hate it — trust me! Some days, I think you’re better off where you are and I can’t wait to join you!

I’m writing you this letter from a plane tonight and I’m going to spring training – but it’s not Florida, it’s Arizona. I’m doing some research work on this book on coaching and leadership. I’m going to be interviewing over 100 coaches with Baltimore ties and writing about their feelings on life, leadership and sports. I’m in Arizona and because the Orioles don’t let me come to their spring training games (or any games, really) because I did this protest of their ownership back in 2006. I had a press pass for all those years after you left but they took my pass away for telling the truth. I know, it’s kinda what you’d expect in Cuba or Russia, but that’s the way it is these days in America when you tell the truth – people hate you, abuse you and fail to be accountable. Especially when they’re rich and they threaten people with lawsuits every day. It’s a sick world. The more I know, the less I want to know about a lot of this stuff.

But that’s OK. I’m happy standing for what’s right and not falling for anything. Like I said, I know you’d be proud of me!

So anyway, I’m on this flight to Phoenix and I’m writing to you (we do it on these fancy computers that are kinda like typewriters that sit on your lap) and there’s a guy from the Ravens sitting behind me. His name is Justin Green – he’s a running back who used to play on the NFL team we have now in Baltimore.

I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you about the Ravens. But I wanted to save the good news for the end!

The Ravens are our new NFL team!

I know, I know. You said we’d NEVER get another NFL team but we did. It was something like a miracle, Pop, this team that Art Modell brought to Baltimore from Cleveland back in 1996. No, the Browns colors and logos stayed in Cleveland where they replaced the team but those people are STILL pissed, kinda like you were with Irsay until you left us.

(I’m assuming if you’ve ever run into Irsay up there you’re in the WRONG place…so I’ll just tell you that he died a few years ago!)

But Modell was great for Baltimore! He even hired Ted Marchibroda to be the first coach! It’s been a LOT of fun since this football team came to town.

We have a young local owner named Steve Bisciotti, who does his best to not be the jerk that Angelos is and Irsay was. He’s interested in winning and making the team fun every year and Baltimore appreciates that!

The Ravens have the best defensive player I’ve ever seen – a guy like Butkus and Curtis and Singletary but only better! His name is Ray Lewis and he’s fun to watch. He was a rookie on the first team back in 1996 and he’s still playing but the Ravens have really had a lot of good players and they win most years and the games are fun and it kinda reminds everyone here of those fun days you had with the Colts back in the ’50s and ’60s with Mom and Johnny Unitas. (I hope you said hi to No. 19 when he dropped by a few years ago. He stood on the sidelines here for the Ravens on game days and people thought it was cool! I talked to him a few days before he came to be with you…)

I miss you the most on those Ravens game days in the fall because you’d LOVE this football team. They wear purple, your favorite color. The band still plays, they’re just called “The Ravens Marching Band.” People come to the games really early and have picnics and drink beer. They call it “tailgating” because they sit on the trunk of the car and dine on swine and wait for the game and play catch. We’ve got this new stadium down where the railroad tracks used to be on the other side of the harbor, right next to the baseball stadium. It’s wild driving into downtown now and seeing those giant stadiums and all of the purple.

But I really miss you on those days when the team plays. I think of you every Sunday. I really do!

Because of what I do for work, I even get to go to all of the road games and sometimes we even take people who listen to the radio station and read my columns (we call ‘em “blogs” now) on the internet with us and it makes it more fun. Beer drinking, good food, football cheers – Pop, you’d LOVE it!

So, even though I did the radio show for a long time, I’m still here doing my media thing on this “internet” contraption and some of the people haven’t really changed. You remember Tom Davis and Scott Garceau – they work for my competitor. Stan The Fan still does this magazine every month. And Phil Jackman is still my friend and he’s gotten even older and even crankier. It’s fun to watch!

But I turned the old radio station into this 24-hour-a-day “internet” sports place with radio, television and news all in one place. We even have all of the box scores and standings for you! I wish you could see it!!! It’s like the Sporting News back in the day only even more in depth. You’d be really proud, Pop!

I have these awesome business partners – led by a guy named Brian Billick. He was the Ravens coach back when they won the Super Bowl in 2001. (I’ll tell you more about that later!)

Billick is sorta like Earl Weaver was to the Orioles – only taller, but he does cuss just as much! I’d pay a lot of money to see you and Billick have a conversation about sports. You’d make him laugh for sure!

Billick is just a fabulous guy and I really wish you two would’ve gotten a chance to meet. He joined me about 18 months ago as a business partner but all of the money we ever make on his behalf goes directly back to the community through this charity called “Living Classrooms” which helps the kids in the city who are trying to stay out of trouble, learn and get jobs. One day, we’ll make a lot of money for the people of Baltimore together! You always taught me to give something back and that’s what I’m trying to do because people have really been great to me as I’ve gotten older and you’ve left us.

I just wish you could see it – even for one day, what my life has been like! The travel. The roadtrips. The time I’ve spent in Europe, South America and Asia. I went to China with Cal Ripken Jr., who just like you told me, wound up in the Hall of Fame. We even went to Cooperstown for the induction!

But I’ve done World Cups, a bunch of World Series, All Star Games, Stanley Cups, Final Fours, Kentucky Derbies, Super Bowls — you name it! I’ve really had a great life – a great time since you left me!

Oh – that’s right – I almost forgot. The Super Bowl!

Yep, Baltimore WON the Super Bowl back in 2001. I sorta forgot that you didn’t know that…

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Mom happier than she was when the Ravens beat the Giants that night. I was at the game that night in Tampa under the stars but she called me, bawling like a baby – she really loves the Ravens, Pop. I wish you could be there to watch those games with her on Sunday.

I took her to a game back in August to see the guys in purple play. I’m not sure if you get You Tube up where you are, but if you do here’s what it looked like:

She calls me every weekend and a lot of times I’m there at the games in all these far-flung places like Minnesota or Green Bay or New England and she wants updates. We have this tall quarterback named Joe Flacco who is her favorite. He wears No. 5 – just like Brooksie!

But sports and radio and Baltimore have been good to me all these years. All those things you taught me – fairness, integrity, working hard, practicing hard, being a good teammate, running out every groundball, looking for the cutoff man, playing by the rules – that’s all really helped me in the business world. Some days I feel like a success, some days I feel like the world’s biggest failure but I never give up. I never, ever give up!

And I always try to do the right thing…

And even though things are kinda crappy – the economy is worse than it was back in 1979, when you came home every day scared to death that you were gonna lose your job at ‘The Point – I’m in a good spot. I have a really good product and it’s growing every day but it’s hard work. Nothing I’m allergic to though. (Don’t worry…I never take a “scratch” either!)

But there’s lots of stuff you’d really like about the world in 2010 and stuff that reminds me of you every day.

They have Chick-Fil-A’s now where you don’t have to go into the mall. These computers have kinda taken over the world and you wouldn’t have to wait for The Sporting News or the Baseball Digest anymore. Heck, you wouldn’t even be pissed every morning at 5 a.m. because The Sun came late and you didn’t get to read it before work. You can read it ANYTIME on this device! Sounds kinda like a “dream,” doesn’t it?

You could even take your phone into the bathroom and READ on it while seated instead of taking the newspaper up there when you stink up the joint!

Ha!!! (Made you laugh!!!)

But we’re cool down here. Mom is fine, still feisty and nagging the hell outta me the way I like it. Barry is 25 now and helps me at WNST and is good guy. You two would be hell together watching Orioles games in high definition TV. (They call it HD – it’s kinda like 3D, just a little different. It’s just a really, really clear TV – everybody has them now and it’s kinda neat, makes you feel like you’re right on the field!)

I have an awesome wife that I met at a hockey game who likes sports even more than I do — most days anyway. She’s a Red Sox fan and she gets to have all of the fun in baseball season because the Orioles haven’t played a meaningful game since 1997. They stink every stinking year! It’s awful, really…but like I told you, google it!

Maybe I really just wish you were here from August through January every year — but you’re really not missing much from April through the summer…

So, I just wanted to say hi and share this letter. I’m gonna share it with the people who read my “internet column” and hope that they write me some neat stories about their lives and memories and emotions with their Pop. You wouldn’t believe what a big “celeb” I turn you into every March 5th!

People write me every year and ask me about my “radio show for my Pop.” Well, this year for your 91st birthday, I thought I’d do something extra special and write you a letter instead. Maybe this will be the new format every year, who knows?

But I hope you’re resting comfortably and that someone is watching over me down here.

Life is good. Times are tough. The world is changing. Sports is in a weird place in Baltimore but I have a good feeling about things and I’m even optimistic that one day the Orioles will be good and kind and honorable again and the games will be fun for me.

Give Steady my best if you see him. Tell all of my friends like Clem Florio and the other fellas that “Nasty loves ‘em and misses ‘em!” (OH…I almost forgot! I really hope you got to say hello to Ted Williams a few years ago. I know how much you loved him!)

In the meantime, I’m sure the Ravens will give me plenty to write you about and the business stuff and building this company has been a lot of fun and keeps me plenty busy.

And if you ever bump into Howard Cosell, you should apologize, Pop! You were really wrong about him! He really DID know what the hell he was talking about!

Have a great birthday, Mr. Pisces! I’ll have some strawberry shortcake out in Phoenix in your honor!

Strangely enough, I’m having breakfast with Frank Kush today at his office at Arizona State and lunch with a bunch of the San Diego Padres front office folks. (Aunt Jane would really dig it!)

I have a feeling your name will come up!

Happy Birthday, you old fart!

Ninety one would’ve been fun but, hopefully, you’re getting satellite up there so you can watch the Terps game this weekend.

And if the MASN feed doesn’t come in, don’t feel so bad. You’re better off with the VHS tapes you left with from 1983…

Love,

Me

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (10/27/09)

Posted on 27 October 2009 by Jack McManus

9:46-

Jerry Hairston is next up with Drew to talk about the upcoming Series. He talks about how his career had taken some unexpected turns. He talks about how he dreamed of playing in the World Series as a child. He also speaks on Alex Rodriguez. He explains how A-Rod has stepped up this postseason and reversed his usual struggles. Finally, Hairston states the importance of having CC Sabathia start Game 1. He jokes that CC would start every game if he was allowed to.

9:37-

Another caller talks about the Brooks Robinson celebration. He talks about the lack of current Orioles. He also mentions how Peter Angelos did not make an appearance. Drew puts out the idea of having the team pay to bring in some of the current players.

9:16-

Drew pitches his idea for the new Chicago Bears logo to Nestor. (The wind. Remember?) He isn’t a fan of the idea. He and Drew next talk about players who have been “overlooked” and their motivation.  

8:59-

A few callers talk about the Brooks Robinson event. They agree that the event went well and was a good celebration. One caller, who states that he is 28 years old, is upset that no current Orioles were present. He would like to be able to identify with players in his generation. 

8:37-

Ken Singleton comes on to talk with Drew and Nestor. Singleton currently is an announcer on the YES Network. He talks about the high-priced additions that Yankees made this offseason. Both Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia have made huge contributions during the postseason. He moves on to how the Yankees will matchup with the Phillies. The Phillies have a very high-powered offense that can keep pace with the Yankees. Singleton next describes the evolution of Pedro Martinez’s game. Now that he can no longer throw has hard, Pedro has changed the way he has pitched.

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8:29-

Nestor is in studio an starts to talk with Drew about the Phillies. Nestor has decided to root for the Yankees in the World Series due to his dislike for the Philadelphia fans. He also talks about the ceremony honoring Brooks Robinson last night. He reveals that no current Orioles were present at the event. He calls this “disgraceful.” He compares this to the Ravens. Ravens players often will show up to charity events in the area.

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8:07-

Patrick Stevens from the Washington Times comes on to talk about the Terps. He starts off by stating that while Chris Turner is not the team’s biggest problem, it may be time to look to the future. He explains that the team should take a look at Jamar Robinson because it is not worth burning a freshman’s redshirt for only a few games. He goes on to talk about the idea that the team just does not have enough talent to compete. This is the simplest explanation, and in this case probably the correct one. Stevens does not believe the team will take any major actions during its bye week, partly because of the injuries to key players.

turner

Moving on to basketball, Stevens says that Gary Williams seems much more excited for this season than he normally does. Stevens states that Maryland could rise to the top of the middle-of-the-pack ACC teams.

vasquez 

7:40-

The Comcast Morning Show is starting a contest this morning. Callers are able to call in and be selected for either a player or the outcome of the World Series. If the player wins the MVP Award or the series ends up in that way, the caller will win a “special fall package.”

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My 2010 Baltimore Orioles Promotions & GiveBACKS

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My 2010 Baltimore Orioles Promotions & GiveBACKS

Posted on 08 October 2009 by Rex Snider

I really enjoyed my Wednesday evening – sitting around watching another postseason baseball game, as members of the 2009 Baltimore Orioles are already undoubtedly spread across the United States and Caribbean …..

While I cannot inspire these idle hands to helping the Orioles’ on-field woes (for the record, I’m beginning to think Jesus, himself, might decline a shot at such a miracle …..), I do think I could help Andy MacPhail with promoting the product.

Uh-oh, my mistake …..Andy just finds ballplayers.

You know what that means ??? Yep, the radar is narrowing on the likes of Rocco Baldelli, Nick Johnson and Joe Crede …..

Indeed, what you get between the baselines might not change. But, I have some pretty bright ideas to ensure fans enjoy the overall ballpark experience. Who knows ….. my ideas might actually bring people back !!!!

And, they are …..

    Tuesday, April 14th vs. Tampa Bay – Scores Girls @ The Ballpark 

– special thanks to Anna Benson …..

Is there a specific group missing at Camden Yards? Well, that’s easy – it’s EVERYBODY. However, during my dozen trips, in 2009, I noticed a lack of college-aged fans, enjoying baseball.

I got news for the Orioles – guys in the 18-25 age range really love sports, including baseball. They also crave simple food, cold beer and GIRLS. It’s a perfectly tempting combination.

So, what’s the risk in bringing in a few dozen HOT GIRLS to run the bases between innings, sell concessions and replace every miserably downtrodden usher for the night?

Start the game at 9pm, and make the minimum age for entry at 18 years old. It would be a WIN-WIN. Trust me, I know COLLEGE KIDS – and if you mix sports, girls and beer (for those 21 and over), the joint will be packed.

And, who knows ….. maybe they’ll come back, just for BASEBALL.

 

    Sunday, May 16th vs. Cleveland – Preakness Sunday

It’s simple, the Orioles need to find a way to capitalize on Baltimore’s BIGGEST ANNUAL SPORTS EVENT. Find a way to collaborate with the Maryland Jockey Club, during the weekend of May 15th & 16th.

The O’s and MJC already share a common problem ……

Nobody cares about the product, and their venues are embarrassingly empty. Why not work together, with incentives, to bring people to Saturday’s race and Sunday’s game?

Some cities would kill for such an opportunity.

 

    Monday, June 7th (No Game Scheduled) – National Cancer Survivor’s Day

That’s right, there is no game scheduled during this Giveaway/Promotion Day. Actually, the Orioles are enjoying an off-day, in the midst of a homestand, and series’ against the Red Sox and Yankees.

No help or promotion needed, right?

WRONG.

Monday, June 7th is “National Cancer Survivor’s Day” !!!! It’s a day when people who’ve beaten the ultimate opponent rejoice and celebrate their life defining victory.

Do you realize how many cancer survivors LOVE BASEBALL? Why not open the ballpark to them?

It’s simple, eligible participants (and one guest) just need to present a ticket to an upcoming game (Yankees/Red Sox excluded) and a note from their doctor. Once inside, they can participate in batting practice (everyone gets 5 swings), shagging flies/grounders and conversations with Orioles players and coaches.

Okay, okay, getting the players might be a monumental task. I suppose we’ll see what the young birds are made of – including a heart.

Open the concession stands, and donate the profits to the American Cancer Society. It’s the right thing to do.

 

    Thursday, June 10th vs. New York Yankees – Kate Hudson Appreciation Night

A special promotion when the Bronx Bombers are in town ??? YOU BETCHA. And, it’s a very simple proposition …..

This an evening for BALTIMORE BASEBALL FANS to take their ballpark back – even if it’s just for one night. The Yankees are in the house and we’re gonna make it real freakin’ uncomfortable for them.

First, the Orioles hold on to every single ticket for this game. That’s right, it starts with the team coveting all 48,876 tickets. Season ticket holders will be provided their tickets – if they show up at designated gates for entry.

Yup – if you’re a season ticket holder, you’ve gotta attend the game – if you want your tickets. You can bring guests – but, you’re responsible for WHOMEVER you bring into the game.

All other tickets will be issued at remaining gates. And, it’s a very simple process …..

You wanna come inside? No problem – have a Maryland ID, birth certificate or report card. And, you MUST wear an orange or Orioles-themed shirt. The cost of tickets is $20 each – and they’ll be provided in groups of up to 4, together. It’s first come – first served.

And, yes, this rule applies to everyone. What’s that ??? Mark Teixeira’s mom and dad wanna come to the game ??? They’re more than welcome – just put on some orange and get ready to heckle your son for a night. We’ll expect nothing less.

This will be a very special evening, because the Orioles are gonna get off some of that piled-up MASN money. They might not be spending it on players – but they’ll spend it on a night of entertainment ……

And, it all begins with every fan in attendance proudly displaying their free giveaway – a poster of Jesus ….. umm, I mean Johnny Damon. Whoops, wrong again, it’s Chris Robinson – aka the former – MISTER Kate Hudson. Hold up those posters while the Yankees lineup is announced.

We’re gonna kickoff the night with a splendid rendition of the National Anthem by a LIVING LEGEND. Indeed, Pete’s gonna kickout a couple hundred grand to bring the “Material Girl,” herself (a former A’Rod friend), out to sing the Star Spangled Banner.

This is followed by the ceremonial first pitch by the great Owen Wilson. I hear he’s got a mean “split her.” No doubt, this little appearance is gonna cost a few bucks, too. But, the Good Lord and Mr. Angelos know we deserve it.

As the game progresses, some very fitting tunes will be played, between innings. And, I’m talking the good stuff – “Like A Virgin,” “Borderline,” “Crazy For You,” “This Used To Be My Playground,” “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “Jealous,” “She Talks To Angels,” “Remedy” …..

Of course, the 7th Inning Stretch will be a memorable occasion. The ultra-gorgeous, Mariah Carey, will perform “God Bless America.” And, the WORLD FAMOUS Black Crowes will take a prominent spot in front of the 3rd base dugout to perform “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.” Now, that’s worth the price of admission.

Will the Orioles need to do their part? You bet. If they win the game, every fan pledges to donate $10 to Nick Markakis’ “Right Side Foundation.” That’s nearly a half-million dollars. Is there any greater inspiration for Nick to finally get off his rear and start leading his team?

It can be a night to remember …..

 

    Monday, July 19th vs. Tampa Bay – 40th Anniversary of 1970 Orioles

Would you like to spend an evening with Brooksie, Boog, Cakes and The Crow? Toss in Don Baylor, Paul Blair, Andy Etchebarren, Dick Hall, Bobby Grich, Mike Cuellar and others, and it could be a very nice evening.

Maybe, this would be the only way to get Davey Johnson back in the house ….

It’s heartbreaking to see the special Orioles teams forgotten. Lets hope the Orioles do the right thing – honor the ‘70 O’s !!!!

 

    Wednesday, August 18th vs. Seattle – “Happy Birthday To LEGENDS” Night 

It’s 2010, and that means THREE Orioles Legends, who happen to also be Major League Baseball Hall Of Famers, are celebrating monumental birthdays.

In fact, these gentleman all share birthdays within a couple weeks of each other, during the month of August. I’ll guarantee you the folks at WNST won’t forget this momentous occasion. Lets just hope the Orioles don’t forget, either …..

In fact, I’m hoping the Orioles can get everyone together for a special night of celebrating – and with a HUGE BIRTHDAY CAKE. It seems like August 18th – in the middle of a homestand would be a perfect evening.

Without further delay, allow me to introduce the birthday boys …..

Earl Weaver – August 14, 1930 – 80 Years Old

The most decorated and beloved manager in Orioles history will be turning 80 years old. Along with a very public party, I think it would be fitting for the Orioles to present Earl with a customized version of the 1983 World Championship ring.

He was a year removed. But, he earned it.

Frank Robinson – August 31, 1935 – 75 Years Old

The man who hit the most famous homer in Orioles history is gonna be 75 years old. Extend that olive branch, and name the left field plaza, beyond the bullpens, in his honor.

Cal Ripken Jr. – August 24, 1960 – 50 Years Old

The Ironman conquers a half-decade of life. Is there anything he hasn’t already received? I don’t care if it’s 1% ….. give Cal a minority stake in the Orioles. It would be a tangible reason for him to take an interest in the team.

 

    Monday, September 14th vs. Toronto – Ravens Pep Rally

That’s right, it’s the Tuesday following the start of the NFL SEASON. I guess there is always a chance the Ravens will open the “Monday Night Football” season (LOL – yeah, right), so we’ll safely make this promotion on a Tuesday.

This is an opportunity for the Orioles to collaborate with the Ravens, again. And, the perfect fundraising opportunity exists. The Orioles will split the gate with the charitable endeavors of OJ Brigance, Lenny Moore and John Mackey. Fair enough, right?

Lets be blunt, it’s the Orioles and Blue Jays, on a September weeknight. Without any incentives, a matchup between two hapless teams might draw a crowd of 5,000 diehards.

However, if the likes of Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, John Harbaugh, Ozzie Newsome, Todd Heap, Jon Ogden, Artie Donovan, Raymond Berry, Don Shula, Mike Curtis, Tom Matte, Ted Marchibroda and others are willing to lend a hand, TO LEND A HAND, I’d be willing to bet the ball park would be packed.

Heck, such an event might even attract Mike Ditka (he can backup all the talking he’s doing), Frank Gifford, John Madden, Roger Staubach, Archie Manning, Jim Brown, Fran Tarkenton, Terry Bradshaw and many others.

Wow, Looking Good, Terry !!!!

This would be a night to TRULY GIVE BACK, and raise thousands of dollars for a few very noble causes …..

 

    Thursday, September 30th vs. Detroit – “Bob Haynie’s 10th Anniversary Party”

I know, I know, your first impression is “Rex is straight stoned,” especially given the fragile relationship between the Orioles and WNST …..

But, if you think about it, this is a perfect opportunity for the Orioles to recognize a guy who has carried their banner, on-air, for a decade. That’s right, he’s the guy who’s at least “sipped” the orange kool-aid, ON-AIR, for more than 3,650 days …..

And, the team didn’t pay him a dime, directly or indirectly, for his loyalty …..

Mark Viviano can’t claim this …..

Tom Davis can’t claim this …..

Pete Schmuck (I’m a HUGE fan) can’t claim this …..

Bob Haynie loves the Orioles. Bob Haynie could rightfully – and with unblemished integrity – hold their feet to the fire. Instead, he chooses the high road. There is something to be said for such affection.

Honor the man !!!!

And, this is how you do it ……

For Bob Haynie’s “10th Anniversary Party,” the Orioles can make Bud Light affordable. I’m talking $4 per beer. C’mon they’re making money on that !!!! Promote the product that promotes Bob.

To get things started, we’ll use the services of the visiting team …..

The Tigers’ Jim Leyland can meet Bob outside the Eutaw Street gate, where they can burn a couple “sticks” and chat about ANYTHING. While Bud Light will be available, Mr. Leyland will defer his decision on consumption to whether the Tigers have driven him to drink – during games, by that point.

And, this is a BIG PARTY – it’s Bob Haynie’s Anniversary. There’s no telling who might show up …..

The game will start at 4pm, with an early evening finish. Then, the celebration moves a couple blocks north, to 1st Mariner Arena …..

Recently, the namesake of Bob’s favorite band, Eddie Van Halen, announced the group plans on touring, in the Summer of 2010. Now, I know what you’re thinking …. the chances of Van Halen keeping all the wheels and collective egos intact, and on their tour bus has been a challenge, to say the least.

However, they did make it through the last tour, in 2007-08 and after only one hiatus and several rescheduled dates …..

Also, Peter Angelos owes the Van Halen brothers a SOLID. Remember, he backed out of a tentative deal that would’ve landed the band performing, at Camden Yards, in 2004. Pete owes Ed a gig – plain and simple.

Why not make it Bob Haynie’s Anniversary Party ??? I can imagine a lot of Orioles fans rockin’ out to “You Really Got Me,” “Unchained,” “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” and “Somebody Call Me A Doctor.”

There would certainly be a fitting video tribute to the last 12 years of Orioles Baseball, as Dave and Eddie grind out an impassioned version of “Where Have All The Good Times Gone” …..

There is just something special about seeing David Lee Roth and Bob Haynie, both sporting a pair of ass-less chaps, while sipping on some Jack Daniels and singing an “Ice Cream Man” duet.

Do it, Pete ….. DO IT !!!!

Well, there it is – my proposal for the 2010 Orioles Promotions and Giveaways. Feel free to add your own ideas, below …..

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So long, Melvin, and hold your head up

Posted on 30 September 2009 by Luke Jones

As the Orioles fall toward the 100-loss mark with seemingly little resistance over the final week of the season, their elder statesman winds down his 10-year stay with an organization fixed in what feels like an endless era of losing.

Melvin Mora arrived in the Charm City after being traded with three others from the New York Mets for shortstop Mike Bordick in Syd Thrift’s infamous fire sale of 2000.  The 28-year old utility player was coming to a struggling team with a future Hall of Famer (Cal Ripken) winding down his career and its best hitter (Albert Belle) only months away from retirement due to a degenerative hip condition.  The Orioles were completing their third-straight losing season in 2000. Change was needed.

Mora’s addition, along with the 13 others acquired in the five summer deals, would pump youthful energy into an aging organization and eventually bring the Orioles back to where they belonged at the top of the standings, right?

If only.

Of course, we all know the story. Despite the quantity of players coming to the organization for veterans such as Bordick, Charles Johnson, B.J. Surhoff, and Harold Baines, Mora would be the only acquisition to contribute beyond the next couple seasons. Most would never contribute at all.

Mora debuted with the team as a role player on an 88-loss club and will take his final bow this weekend on a club trying to avoid becoming the third team to lose 100 games in the 56-year history of the franchise (1954 and 1988 were the others). In his 10 years, the Orioles averaged 92 losses a year, finished in fourth place seven times, and landed in the basement twice—one of those this year.

He played for four different managers, five different general managers (or whatever the organization was calling the job at the time), and saw the beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards transform from one of the chic places to be (3.1 million fans in 2000) on a summer night to a mostly desolate palace (less than 2 million fans in 2009) infiltrated by Boston and New York fans 18 times a year.

During Mora’s 10-year stay in the Charm City, the Orioles finished in third only once (2004), but the high-water mark came in the early stages of 2005.

The Orioles enjoyed a two-month reign at the top of the American League East, and the long rebuilding process appeared to be on the right track. However, Mora saw his team collapse in the second half with a disgraced teammate’s steroid suspension (Rafael Palmeiro), injuries, and management’s failure to improve the team down the stretch (trading Larry Bigbie for Eric Byrnes is going to get you over the hump?).

Needless to say, Mora has had little to smile about in his 10 years with the Orioles. You almost have to feel sorry for the guy.

As he is resigned to the reality of this almost certainly being his last season in Baltimore (the club will not use a $8 million club option for 2010), people will overstate the importance of his disappointing 2009 season—at age 37, mind you—and his mid-summer spat with Dave Trembley when judging his 10 years as an Oriole.

His disappointing final season cannot—and should not—shortchange his accomplishments playing in an absolutely miserable era of Orioles baseball.

The super-utility player that came to Baltimore flashing the leather at a variety of positions—left field, center field, and shortstop to name a few—steadily improved his game and eventually became an All Star, albeit for a bad club needing a representative in 2003. Mora would earn a second trip to the Midsummer Classic in 2005.

Ironically, Mora was excluded from the All-Star squad in 2004 despite being the best third baseman in baseball that season. Yes, before you ask, better than that guy wearing pinstripes in the Bronx.

It was the best season of his career and one of the finest seasons ever by an Oriole.  His .340 average was, and still is, the best single-season clip in club history. Mora also led the American League with a .419 on-base percentage and finished in the AL’s top 10 in batting average (behind only Ichiro Suzuki), slugging percentage, runs, hits, total bases, and doubles. His play earned him the Silver Slugger award (awarded to the best offensive player at each position) and solidified his status as an everyday player.

While Mora would never approach his tremendous 2004 numbers again, he would continue to provide solid numbers and steady defense in his remaining years in Baltimore, even throwing in an amazing second half of the 2008 season for good measure.

Regardless of the sour aftertaste created by his 2009 campaign, Mora is unquestionably an Orioles Hall of Famer, ranking in the franchise’s career top 10 in home runs, hits, doubles, runs batted in, and runs. And with apologies to Doug DeCinces’ fans, Mora may rank as the second-best third baseman in club history (The 1979 hero’s best years came with the California Angels).

Perhaps more important than his diamond achievements when pondering his legacy in Baltimore is the fact that Mora truly embraced the Charm City and adopted it as his home. Mora and his wife Gisel had their famed quintuplets in Baltimore—and chose to raise their six children right here.

While nearly every Oriole of the past decade waved goodbye to the city at the end of September and didn’t return until the new baseball season in April, Mora and his family stayed in Fallston—and plan to continue doing so.

Others wanted little to do with the community or even went as far as to demean the city (Aubrey Huff), but Mora thought highly enough of it to make it his home.

Make no mistake, the organization treated Mora very well financially (probably too well), but he understood the importance of sharing that good fortune with the local community through various charitable endeavors.

Simply put, Mora got “it.”

It’s an idea not to be taken for granted in this modern age of so many high-paid mercenaries completely void of any pride, philanthropy, or connection for the city in which they play.

Mora’s role in the community was never more apparent than in late-December 2005. Longtime bullpen coach and leading community ambassador Elrod Hendricks had passed away just a few days shy of Christmas, yet Mora was the only active Oriole to attend the coach’s funeral on December 29.

It was more an indictment on the sorry state of the organization than a tremendous gesture, but at least Mora WAS there. It was something the 24 others could not say, regardless of the pathetic excuses claiming it was too close to the holidays.

As an Orioles fan, I chastised the missing players but also appreciated Mora being there to represent the current team, pathetic as it was. Mora understood not only what Hendricks meant to the organization but to the entire city.

One might say it doesn’t take much effort to embrace the local community, so why such praise for Mora? He was being paid millions, right?

Well, easy as it might be, he was one of the few to care enough to actually do it.

Even in his final weeks with the Orioles, Mora demonstrated one more example of understanding what it means to be a Baltimorean. When learning the organization planned to honor him for playing the second-most games at third base in franchise history, Mora requested the man ahead of him on the list, Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, to be present.

So, despite little publicity or fanfare (a different issue entirely), Mr. Oriole was there to celebrate the accomplishment with the Orioles’ current third baseman. Who knows if Mora can tell you how many Gold Gloves Robinson won at the hot corner or what year he even retired, but he knew enough to understand Brooks needed to be there. That’s saying something.

Unlike Brooksie, who played a large portion of his career in the Orioles’ glory days, Mora is likely to be remembered as the figurehead—along with another good player and nice guy, Brian Roberts—for the franchise’s miserable era of losing baseball that is yet to end here at the conclusion of the 2009 season.

“Mora had to stink, or the Orioles would have won while he was here, right?”

But let’s admit, save for the infancy of his career and a two-year window of fantasy baseball in 1996 and 1997, Ripken didn’t exactly play in the Orioles’ glory years either.

The truth is though Mora certainly wasn’t the type of player that could carry a winning team by himself, he also wasn’t the reason the team stunk for the decade he was with the organization. In his best years, Mora undoubtedly would have been a valuable member of a contending club.

No one will suggest that Mora belongs in the same stratosphere as the Orioles’ royalty of the Robinsons, Ripken, Palmer, and Murray. Not even close.

And even the casual fan would never confuse his baserunning prowess with the legendary Rickey Henderson, or even Willie “Mays” Hayes for that matter.

Mora may not have always said the right thing, but he was occasionally willing to speak up in a way so many frustrated fans could admire. His declaration that some Orioles didn’t know what it took to win in 2007 and his famed “Who is going to pitch for us?” query in 2005 may have ruffled some feathers in the Warehouse, but it was music to the ears of fans wanting a terrible organization to take accountability.

Ultimately, Mora should be remembered as a good player and one of the few to perform admirably through a miserable period of Orioles baseball.

He represented the city with pride and is one of the few I felt proud to cheer over the last decade.

So long, Melvin, but we’ll see you around town.

It’s a shame we didn’t have much fun at the ballpark.

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