Tag Archive | "Cal Ripken"

Chapter 7: Finally, a 1983 World Series crown for Baltimore

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Chapter 7: Finally, a 1983 World Series crown for Baltimore

Posted on 11 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published as a prelude to “Free The Birds” walkout in Sept. 2006, this is Part 7 of a 19 Chapter Series on How Baseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. Follow @FreeTheBirds12 on Twiter for updated information regarding our April 5th events.)

Life was percolating along very nicely for me at the end of the summer of 1983.

There was that awesome trip to St. Louis, the Orioles were doing extremely well, the Phillies (again, I was an idiot!) were busting up Montreal in the NL East, I had a new girlfriend and my junior year at Dundalk High was coming.

Despite this “long distance” romance I was having with the Phillies, I was still VERY involved in going to Orioles games. I didn’t get to as many as I had before (again, once girls came along, it was all downhill for sports!), but I still did about 20 games on 33rd Street in 1983. And, like 1979, all in Sect. 10 General Admission seats, some with my Pop and some with my pals. All of those nights on those long, gold, aluminum benches, complete with the jar-rattling volume when banged on.

And the Phillies and Orioles, it would later be proved, were on a destiny’s collision course for the World Series in October.

But en route there was the AL Championship Series against the vaunted Chicago White Sox, led by Lamar Hoyt.

My Pop landed some right field seats for Games 1 and 2 of the ALCS at Memorial Stadium and we were all set. Right before the series my Dundalk buddy John Rafalides (at whose wedding I would later be the best man) gave me a buzz and told me his Dad, Pete, had an extra seat in Sect 39, Row 19 right behind home plate upstairs and asked if I wanted it since I was such an Orioles nut.

So, my Pop actually took my Mom to Game 2 and I went with Mr. Pete Rafalides, who was just a super cool guy. He was a realtor and connected with the Greek community. He loved talking sports with me and would always feed me cool munchies when I came to his home. And I mean he FED me! He always had the coolest snacks — Doritos, Dolly Madison cakes, Tastykakes, those chocolate malt balls, all sorts of great stuff!

I caught on quickly and made sure I got to go there every year for Thanksgiving! And later in life, when John became my roommate, I got the residual effect — the baklava, pastitsio, spanakopita, the grape leaves — from every Greek holiday!

But, for whatever reason, John’s dad liked me and off went we to Game 2 — me, Mr. Pete and two of his work friends. And we hung on every pitch! And Mike Boddicker pitched his ass off, a five-hit shuout over the White Sox, and we had a paaaaaah-tttaaaay in Sect. 39 that night. “Wild” Bill Hagy was going nuts over in Sect. 34. We had binoculars and I could see my folks over in right field having fun, too. That was just one of the greatest nights, even 23 years later.
I remember the smell of the air that night, the lights in the sky, how bright the field looked from up in that perch in Sect. 39. The steepness of the seats, the people crowded into that cozy ballpark and trees lined up in the outfield.

I can’t imagine my life without that night.

It was just a beautiful thing, that night. Life was perfect!

Two afternoons later Tito Landrum hit a 3-run homer off of Britt Burns that sent me and my 64-year old Mom onto Bank Street banging pots and pans with the shot heard ’round the beltway, a blast at Comiskey Park that sent the Orioles back into the World Series for the second time in four years and the sixth time in 17 years. I’ll say that again: the Orioles were in the World Series SIX times

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Manning’s teary goodbye to Indy reminds us inevitable day for Lewis is coming

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Manning’s teary goodbye to Indy reminds us inevitable day for Lewis is coming

Posted on 07 March 2012 by Luke Jones

It’s never easy saying goodbye.

You sometimes see it coming — whether you want to admit it or not — as the fans of Indianapolis did before iconic quarterback Peyton Manning finally took the podium on Wednesday afternoon.

Other times, it comes out of nowhere to hit you like a Mack truck, with no possible way of preparing yourself.

Either way, you’re never truly ready when the moment comes.

Putting aside our city’s well-chronicled feelings toward Indianapolis and the quarterback that twice eliminated the Ravens from the playoffs, you couldn’t help but feel a lump in your throat watching a teary-eyed Manning bid farewell to the city and organization he called home for 14 years. In that moment, an option bonus, the No. 1 pick in the draft, and potential free-agent destinations took a backseat to raw emotion.

And it reminded us that day is coming all too quickly for Ray Lewis in Baltimore.

Of course, the circumstances are different. It appears — but I can’t stress enough that it’s far from a certainty — Lewis will have the opportunity to ride off into the sunset as a member of the same organization that drafted him out of the University of Miami in 1996. There is no $28 million albatross standing in the way over the final four years of Lewis’ current contract, but his cap number will grow annually (he will reportedly make just under $5 million in base salary and have a $6.85 million cap number in 2012) if Lewis holds on longer than expected and forces the organization to make a difficult decision.

But any way you slice it, the scene that played out in Indianapolis on Wednesday will be replicated with Lewis and the Ravens in some shape or form. And it will be difficult to accept.

Sports icons such as Manning and Lewis are a dying breed as time goes on, with fewer athletes sticking around for more than a handful of years in a given city. Their significance goes far beyond simple performance on the field. The former Indianapolis quarterback gave his city a real football identity detached from the stolen heritage of the Baltimore Colts while the Ravens have never played a snap of football without Lewis as a member of the organization.

That’s why it’s so silly to hear discussion of Stanford’s Andrew Luck “replacing” Manning in Indianapolis or the Ravens looking for the “heir apparent” to Lewis at inside linebacker. New players will assume their abandoned positions, but their presence remains in an almost spiritual sense in fans’ minds and hearts.

Make no mistake, the sun will rise in the morning as Indianapolis begins the first full day of the post-Manning era, and the Ravens will continue playing football in Baltimore long after No. 52 ceases dancing out of the tunnel and inflicting fear in the hearts of opposing offenses.

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Chapter 3: My Pop and Little League in Dundalk

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Chapter 3: My Pop and Little League in Dundalk

Posted on 07 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published as a prelude to the “Free The Birds” walkout in Sept. 2006, this is Part 3 of a 19 Chapter Series on How baseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. If you’re as upset about the demise of the Baltimore Orioles, please save Thursday, April 5th for some civic action.)

I think the biggest part of my Pop’s revitalization as a person in the 1970′s after his son’s death wasn’t that he found a little sports buddy in me — as a bat boy and an avid baseball, football and basketball watcher — but in the abundance of energy it must’ve taken to keep up with me.

Can you imagine the energy it took a 60-year old, overweight steelworker after a full 90-degree, eight-hour day at Sparrows Point to chase a rambunctious 10-year old boy down from Section 34 in the summer of 1979? That happened every single night! Forty-two games that summer, I swear to God!

My Dad took great pride in volunteering as a Little League coach in my neighborhood, Colgate, near Eastpoint Mall. He won two league championships as the coach of the Colgate-Eastpoint Pirates in 1973 and 1974. It was a four-team league with a great parade through the neighborhood on Opening Day Saturday. It was very a very typical American kinda thing, I thought. I was the team batboy. We had our championship picture and clipping from The Dundalk Eagle on the kitchen wall from the day it was published through my father’s death in 1992. He loved coaching those kids and winning! I liked just being the batboy and being a part of baseball.

All of those “older” kids kind of took me under their wing and made me feel good. They played catch with me, pitched to me — stuff like that. And when you’re 4 or 5, that’s a pretty big deal! These kids were like 12 and 13 years old.

My Pop was such a little league wacko that one time he had a really talented kid named Ted Boccia, who wanted to be a catcher. Only problem was, he was LEFTHANDED!

He was adamant about catching and catching was my Pop’s FAVORITE position, the one he played as a kid. So, clearly being unable to find a left-handed catcher’s mitt anywhere in the known universe in 1973, he wrote to the Rawlings factory, told the story of this boy’s dream to be a left-handed catcher and they had one made and sent it to my Pop. I even think my Pop might’ve paid for it himself. Needless to say, the Eastpoint Pirates had an outstanding left-handed catcher, the only one I’ve ever seen in my life!

As for me during those years, I excelled at the greatest game ever played: waffle ball!

We played in my backyard and alley. All the neighborhood kids did.

There were no “fantasy” leagues or video games. There was APBA and Strat-o-Matic (we honestly didn’t discover those until adolescence and I loved me some “Strat” in the days when I got a little older), but we opted for good old-fashioned “put the bat through the glove” kinda ball.
ANY kind of ball, actually — wallball, wiffleball, kickball, rundown, pitcher’s handout or just plain, baseball — we’d play!

We’d play with pinkies (those soft spongy balls), we’d play with superballs, but mostly we’d play with tennis balls and wooden bats on the pavement at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on the back side of Eastern Avenue. We’d play ANYTHING but softball,

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Brooks at 3rd

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Babe, Brooks or Cal

Posted on 21 October 2011 by Tom Federline

Tomorrow, Saturday October 22 at noon, there will be an unveiling of statue down at the Camden Yards Complex. A statue dedicated to Brooks Robinson has been sculptured and is planned to have a home in a small plaza in the median between Pickles Pub and the non-utilized NW Russell Street left field entrance to Camden Yards. Finally, someone made a sensible baseball/City of Baltimore decesion to erect a statue of a Baltimore Oriole at Camden Yards. In contrast to the blockheads who chose to erect a statue of the Red Sox/Yankee icon, Babe Ruth. It only took the Orioles and the City almost 20 years to figure that one out. Yet another display of the ineptitude of the Baltimore Orioles organization. Wonders never cease, the brainstorm to recognize a Baltimore Oriole Legend actually at the Baltimore Orioles home field.

Brooks Robinson was and will always be “Mr. Oriole”.  The “Human Vacuum”, finally getting recognition. A name synonymous with the Baltimore Orioles and  Greatest Third Baseman to ever play the game. Hopefully they didn’t hire the same numbnut that sculptured that misplaced Yankee statue out at the North Eutaw Street plaza. If so, Brooks may be fielding with a left handers mitt. For those of you who may not know, the statue of the Babe has him holding a right handers catchers mitt. Yeah, they done blown that one. Babe was a left handed pitcher/outfielder/first baseman. They try to save face by saying, the sculpture represents the Babe at St. Marys School. No, ya done blown it.

I have not seen previews of the Brooks statue, but I sure would like to see the statue of Brooks poised in his classic fielding position.

 

Does a statue of Brooks belong at the Camden Yards Complex? Absolutely. Brooks is in declining health and it is fitting this honor comes while he is still on this earth. He deserves to experience this. I like the location. It would be more fitting if they would relocate that Red Sox/Yankee statue at least over to the Babes namesake museum on Emory Street and get it off Baltimore Oriole territory! I say keep the north Eutaw Street entrance for the retired numbers deal only or potential site for the statue of future owner and Baltimore Iron Man icon - Cal Ripken.

Let’s “Lay It On the Line” here – (Triumph). What is a statue of Babe Ruth doing at the home of the Baltimore Orioles? Answer – he was born here. So what? As a child he lived in a house/bar on the grounds of the baseball field. So what? Was the great Bambino ever associated with the Baltimore Orioles? Answer – Yes, he played 3 months for the minor league Baltimore Orioles and then was traded to the Boston Red Sox. What numbnut decided to put that statue at one of the main entrances to the ballpark in the first place? What group of numbnuts decided that it was appropriate to put a statue up of a man who is clearly identified with the New York Yankees? Old Yankee Stadium was commonly referred to as – “The House that Ruth Built”. I am a fan of Babe Ruth. I have seen the movies. I have read the books. The statue belongs in New York or over at Emory Street.

Statue of Cal? To early? Has he obtain that status? Cal breaking Lou Gehrigs consecutive game record at Camden Yards will always be etched in the minds of all Oriole fans. Could you call Cal, the second Mr. Oriole? In my book - yes. Brooks and Cal - one team for their entire career while representing the organization with class. If Cal would buy out Angelos and turn this organization around……….I’ll sculpture the statue of Cal. Well maybe not, I may end up putting Rafael Plameiro and Brady Anderson in there, sneaking up behind him and injecting Cal with HGH. Whoops, let’s not go there with this blog.  

Finally a statue worth checking out prior to going to the ball game, Brooks Robinson – now your talking. For goodness sakes relocate that Yankee Saltan of Swat and just get it off the Baltimore Oriole grounds. Make room for the new sheriff. Congratulations Brooks. Congratulations Orioles organization – you may actually have done something right. We’ll see tomorrow.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Reactions to Passing of Orioles Great Mike Flanagan

Posted on 24 August 2011 by WNST Staff

Orioles Owner Peter Angelos:

“It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of my friend Mike Flanagan earlier this evening. In over a quarter century with the organization, Flanny became an integral part of the Orioles family, for his accomplishments both on and off the field. His loss will be felt deeply and profoundly by all of us with the ballclub and by Orioles fans everywhere who admired him. On behalf of the club I extend my condolences to his wife, Alex; and daughters Kerry, Kathryn and Kendall.”

Former teammate/Hall of Fame SS Cal Ripken Jr.:

“I am so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. He was a good friend and teammate and our thoughts are with Alex and his family. Mike was an Oriole through and through and he’ll be sorely missed by family, friends and fans. This is a sad day.”

Former teammate/Hall of Fame P Jim Palmer (via MASN postgame show):
“I’m not real good at this … because he was one of us. I guess, the first thing I want to say to his three daughters and to Alex, my condolences. We were a family. I think anybody that played for the Orioles in the eras that we played understood how lucky we were. It wasn’t just about what happened on the field. He was one of a kind. I’m sorry for the people that knew him. It’s devastating.”

Longtime Orioles Public Relations Manager Bill Stetka (via Patch.com):

“He bled black and orange. He was one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known. Just a quick, dry sense of humor. He made in all the years I was traveling in PR, whether he was broadcasting or pitching coach or the general manager, he made it bearable with all the losses. He kept his sense of humor. He was very introspective. I’m going to miss him.”

Former teammate Rick Dempsey (via Baltimore Sun):

“It’s just shock right now. I know everybody that played with him loved him to death. He was the backbone of that pitching staff. He never quit — this guy never quit. He was there for the duration. We had so many great games and so many great times. I just can’t believe it.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter (via MASN postgame show):

“He’s just impacted so many lives, including myself. Sitting in my office, drinking coffee with him, it’s tough. He made great use of his time on this earth. We’ll miss him.”

Former Orioles PR Director John Maroon:

“I had the pleasure of working with Mike Flanagan for several years and was sad to hear of his passing. Mike was always friendly, funny and kind. We are so sorry for his family and they are in our thoughts and prayers tonight.”

Orioles CF Adam Jones (via Twitter):

“O’s family, fans, supporters lost a great man today in Mike Flanagan. Learned alot from Flanny in my 3+ years in Bmore. Ur missed ALOT #46″

Orioles Pitcher Jake Arrieta (via Twitter):

“Deeply saddened by the loss of Mike Flanagan, devastating time for the entire Oriole family…”

Orioles Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (via Twitter):

“From day I was given #46 as Oriole,the fans always reminded me of the legacy Mike Flanagan left behind.This is a sad day for Orioles family. Mike Flanagan was an important person to me & touched the lives of countless people in the baseball family & especially in Baltimore. RIP”

Former teammate Ken Singleton (via The Morning Reaction on WNST – listen here):

“Flanny was a great guy, a great teammate. Always could crack up a clubhouse.”

“I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were going with the team. I’m sure it bothered him like it bothered everyone else.”

“Flanny had a way of keeping things loose. Fans could see that on TV.”

“This was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had and to have it end this way is not good.”

Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver (via WNST):

“He was a great pitcher. It was a player-manager relationship. I didn’t know Mike that well.”

“But when I retired and got to know Mike as general manager, he was very friendly.”

Orioles Pitcher Chris Jakubauskus (via Twitter):

“The Orioles Family lost a great man today. My thoughts and prayers Go out to the Flanagan family. He will be missed.”

Orioles Pitching Prospect Matt Hobgood (via Twitter):

“So sad to hear about Mike Flanagan. No words can ease the pain of losing a father, son, brother, uncle… It’s the worst feeling ever… RIP”

Orioles 1B Prospect Brandon Snyder (via Twitter):

“Flanny will be dearly missed by everyone in the orioles family. A great man and a great Oriole. #46″

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Celebrating Alomar and Gillick with Top 10 96-97 O’s Moments

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Celebrating Alomar and Gillick with Top 10 96-97 O’s Moments

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

On Friday’s edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST, Thyrl Nelson and I celebrated Sunday’s Cooperstown Hall of Fame inductions of Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick with a four hour tribute to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

During the show, I named my Top 10 moments during that special run in O’s history. As I explained last week, these Birds represented “The Only Magic I’ve Ever Known.”

(I didn’t include Jeffrey Maier or the season ending games in either season on this list. These were the memories we WANT to remember.)

10. Ripken passes Kinugasa (June 15, 1996)

ripkenkinugasu

When Cal Ripken played in his 2,216th consecutive game in Kansas City, he already owned the record for consecutive games played.

If he had stopped at 2,210 consecutive games, there would have been no argument that he didn’t hold the record.

With no offense to Sachio Kinugasa, but nothing that happens in Japan can be fairly compared to anything in Major League Baseball. When Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig in 1995, the record was his.

That being said, the fact that Kinugasa was able to attend the game at Kauffman Stadium made the warm June night pretty special. The evident connection between the two men made the night even more fun for baseball fans.

If you ever get the chance to chat with CSNBaltimore.com writer (and longtime Baltimore Sun columnist) John Eisenberg about this night, please do. The stories are a LOT of fun. I’d tell you myself, but they aren’t my stories.

9. Mussina NEARLY perfect (May 30, 1997)

moose

I have never been more captivated by watching a baseball game than I was that Friday night.

At the time, Home Team Sports (HTS) was still a premium channel on Comcast in Baltimore County. Friday night games however were regularly available over the air (most on WNUV 54), allowing 8th graders like myself to sit at home and watch the games instead of hanging out with our friends.

I’ll never forgive Sandy Alomar for the hit that he managed off Mike Mussina in the 9th inning that night. His brother is my baseball idol, but his name is evil in my mind.

There’s been only one Orioles no-hitter in my lifetime (a combined effort from Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson in 1991), never a solo no-hitter. I’ve seen the Orioles no-hit themselves a couple of times, but I’ve never seen an Orioles pitcher throw a no-no.

I really thought I was going to that night.

8. Wire to wire (September 25, 1997)

aleast

With their 9-3 defeat of the Blue Jays at the building formerly known as SkyDome, the O’s clinched their first AL East title since 1983.

More significantly, they became only the sixth team in MLB history to win the division title going “wire to wire”, in first place from Opening Day to Game 162.

It was a remarkable run for the Birds, although 14 year old Glenn Clark may not have fully realized how significant it was because he was too worried about playoff matchups and hoping to avoid the Yankees in the ALCS.

He got his way. Unfortunately it didn’t end up making much of a difference.

7. Brady gets 50 (September 29, 1996)

bradya

The legacy of Brady Anderson’s 50 home run season in 1996 can certainly be labeled as “clouded” at best.

That being said, whether the 50 home run campaign (which concluded with a dinger on the season’s final day in Toronto) was aided by substance or simply a result of a former leadoff hitter “reaching his athletic opus”, it still stands as the only time in Orioles history a player has reached the mark.

(Frank Robinson previously held the team record with 49.)

Despite the rumors, following Brady’s home run exploits in 1996 was fun for Orioles fans-especially the stretch were he lead off four straight games by going yard.

And no matter how we felt about it, there’s little chance the Orioles make a run to the ALCS in 1996 without those 50 home runs.

6. A walk off slam (May 17, 1996)

hoiles

Anderson’s “moment” was a season in the making. The Ripken “moment” was nearly 14 years in the making.

Hoiles’ “moment”? Roughly one swing in the making.

The Orioles trailed the Seattle Mariners 13-10 in the 9th inning. What happened next was something I had practiced in my back yard roughly 160,000,000,000 times.

With two outs, the bases loaded and a 3-2 count (of COURSE it was a 3-2 count), Chris Hoiles hit what can only be described as the MOST ultimate of “ultimate grand slams.”

Thank God I hadn’t stopped watching that night.

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Remembering Only “Magic” I’ve Known

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

I know just how frustrating the 2011 season has been for Baltimore Orioles fans.

I also know how frustrating the 2010 season was. And 2009. And 2008. And 2007. And 2006. And…I think you get the point.

I was born on September 6, 1983. Just over a month later (October 16) the O’s vanquished the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 to claim their third (and still most recent) World Series title. Despite being alive for 40 days when it happened, I’m ashamed to say I have no memories of the title.

The 1989 Birds were a special group. I’ve watched the “Why Not” video a number of times in my life, mostly thanks to my friends BJ and Chris Appel. While they finished short of winning the American League East crown, the team has left many folks in Charm City with special memories.

Unfortunately, I had just turned six years old when the season was cut short. My memories of the ’89 Orioles are extremely limited, and the team itself really didn’t mean much to me as a baseball fan.

I’ve made it quite clear that I am much more of a lacrosse person than I am a baseball person. I’ve made it obvious that certain things about baseball in recent years have made me turn from the game. That’s been made worse by the fact that the team here in Baltimore has given me almost nothing to enjoy for nearly 15 years now. Like many other fans in this city, the demise of our own team has lead to a lessened interested in the sport in general.

That wasn’t the case in 1996.

My 12th birthday was September 5, 1995. It was a special day to be an Orioles fan (like I need to tell you) as Cal Ripken passed Lou Gehrig by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game. My parents were kind enough to purchase me EXACTLY what I wanted for my birthday that year-an oversized Orioles “Starter” brand jacket.

(I know I wasn’t the only one who wore a Starter jacket at the time.)

I’m pretty sure I didn’t take that jacket off for two years-even in the summer.

Baseball was my most significant love in 1996. The Ravens came into existence during the offseason but wouldn’t “take over” the city for another three to four years. In fact, as rabid as we were in Baltimore for the return of the NFL, there were multiple games between Memorial Stadium and what was then known as PSINet Stadium in the early years of the Ravens’ existence that were “sold out”, but featured less than empty crowds.

It was a baseball town, and I loved the Orioles more than I even loved girls.

One of the most exciting moments of my life was the day I found out Home Team Sports (HTS) had been moved from the “premium” tier of Comcast programming in Baltimore County and instead became a basic cable channel.

I was that crazy about the Orioles.

In 8th grade, I was often caught not paying attention to teachers in class. While other kids were writing love notes, I was found to be drawing miniature baseball diamonds and impressing my friends with my ability to name the starting nine for every other team in Major League Baseball.

I was a complete and total nutjob when it came to baseball.

I’m not sure I can fairly explain how much those 1996 & 1997 teams meant to me as I hit puberty. My entire attitude was determined by what the Orioles had done the night before.

I still remember coming home from Perry Hall High School one late fall afternoon in 1995 to have my dad tell me the Orioles had signed Roberto Alomar. I didn’t believe him at first, but ultimately celebrated as if I had received straight A’s on my report card.

The 1996 & 1997 Orioles gave me some of the happiest memories of my life as a sports fan. They also of course gave me some of the saddest memories of my life, as they failed to advance past the ALCS in both years.

As far as “Orioles Magic” is concerned, the only thing I REALLY know about “magic” for the Orioles franchise happened during those two seasons.

I’ve explained my excitement about Alomar’s impending induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame many times. Part of my identity as a Baltimore sports personality is tied to my affection to the man who will take his place in Cooperstown next weekend.

I find it fitting that as Alomar enters the Hall of Fame, he will share the stage with the architect of those Orioles teams, former General Manager Pat Gillick. Gillick’s career is directly tied to Alomar, having brought the second baseman to the Toronto Blue Jays, where the pair would win two World Series titles. Gillick would go on to bring Alomar to Baltimore, where he would lead the O’s to their only Wild Card playoff berth and their first AL East crown in 14 seasons.

My guess is that most of the coverage surrounding next weekend’s induction ceremony will be about the time Alomar and Gillick shared with the Jays. But for Orioles fans, next weekend’s ceremony will be a reminder of a special (albeit short) era of success in Baltimore.

It’s with that in mind that I am happy to announce that Thyrl Nelson and I have come together to dedicate next Friday’s (7/22) edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

We’ll use the show to congratulate Alomar and Gillick on entering the Hall of Fame, as well as to honor the teams that were truthfully the most special in my lifetime.

We’ll talk to players, coaches, broadcasters and even fans who were around those teams. Some interviews will be live, some will be taped earlier in the week. As guests continue to confirm, I’ll do my best to pass them along.

Older Orioles fans might not look back on the ’96 and ’97 with the same fondness that I do. But this is all I’ve known of winning baseball in Baltimore…well…ever.

It’s going to be a lot of fun. I hope you’ll tune in next Friday to AM1570 WNST or online at WNST.net to join in the celebration. I hope you’ll chime in with calls, emails, Tweets (@WNST or @GlennClarkWNST on Twitter), Facebook messages and other memories of those teams.

It’s the only “Magic” I’ve ever experienced, and it doesn’t look like it will be changing soon.

(Eds. Note: A previous version of this post mistakenly stated the Ravens had experienced “multiple blackouts” in their early years.)

-G

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Orioles, Roberts wait on health, but is time running out for veteran?

Posted on 21 June 2011 by Luke Jones

Instead of receiving good news in Tuesday’s return visit to Dr. Michael Collins, a concussion specialist in Pittsburgh, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts was given the same message he’s received for over a month:

Wait and rest.

Roberts was not cleared to resume baseball activities in his third visit to Collins, meaning he will not return until after the All-Star break at the earliest. The 33-year-old hasn’t played since May 16 when he started experiencing concussion-like symptoms after sliding headfirst into first base against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The fact that this is Roberts’ second bout of concussion-related symptoms in less than a year causes more concern regarding the immediate — and long-term — health of the Baltimore leadoff hitter. Roberts missed the final six games of the 2010 season after whacking himself in the head — helmet on — with his bat in frustration. Those symptoms persisted into the offseason for weeks before Roberts declared himself ready to go several weeks before the start of spring training.

Counting the herniated disk in his lower back that sidelined him for the better part of four months last season, Roberts has experienced three significant injuries in a little over a year. Entering Tuesday, Roberts has missed 134 of the Orioles’ 232 games the last two seasons.

Even with two years and $20 million remaining on his current contract, is Roberts facing too steep a climb to get himself healthy and back to the impact player he once was? And dealing with head-related injuries, is it worth it?

To his credit, the 5-foot-9 infielder has fought back his entire life. From the childhood heart surgery that stunted his growth to his first few years in the big leagues in which he competed with — and ultimately bested — incumbent second baseman Jerry Hairston for a starting job, Roberts has always defied the odds and silenced those who said he couldn’t be successful.

But concussions and head injuries can be a different story altogether, as we’ve seen far too many times in contact-driven sports like football and hockey. Careers, even lives, can be severely impacted without taking the proper measures to ensure an athlete is fit to return to competition.

For a player of Roberts’ profile, that of a middle infielder utilizing his speed and often playing with reckless abandon, the increased risk of suffering subsequent concussions should make him take pause as he anxiously waits to resume baseball activities. And that’s not even taking into account the back issues that flared up again during spring training.

Last week marked the 10th anniversary of Roberts’ major league debut when he started at shortstop on June 14, 2001, Cal Ripken’s final season with the Orioles. Despite a forgettable decade in the win-loss column, Roberts has been the consummate professional, earning trips to the All-Star Game in 2005 and 2007 and being regarded as one of the best second basemen in all of baseball.

Off the field, Roberts has embraced the local community with efforts such as his One for All Fund and the annual “Brian’s Baseball Bash” to benefit UMHC’s pediatric cardiopulmonary and child life programs.

Roberts has been one of the Orioles’ lone bright spots of the new millennium, making the last 16 months difficult to watch for those who’ve rooted for the second baseman over the last 10 years.

As concerning as his current health situation might be, I’m not ready to count him out. Roberts has been defying the odds his entire life, and perhaps this is just the latest trial he’ll overcome.

But putting aside baseball, money, and fans anxiously — and in some cases, impatiently — awaiting his return, Roberts needs to do what’s best for his future.

Hopefully that means Roberts’ return to the diamond sooner rather than later, but only if he’s not putting himself at risk in the future.

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50 words or less …. who is America’s most influential athlete?

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50 words or less …. who is America’s most influential athlete?

Posted on 11 May 2011 by Rex Snider

Are you a little tired today? Those 13 inning affairs are not good for one’s sleep schedule, that’s for sure. But, it is Wednesday and we’re halfway to reaching another weekend.

The Orioles and Mariners will hit the field at 7:05pm for tonight’s second game of the series. And, tonight’s task for the birds lineup will likely be even tougher, as they face Felix Hernandez. The Orioles will counter with Chris Tillman.

Yep, some situations seem very unfair. But, that’s the game. And, here’s your daily dose of “50 Words Or Less” …..
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Welcome Back
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All too often, those of us who have a platform for expressing opinions and predictions, will proudly boast when we’re right …. but, we conveniently forget to acknowledge when we’re wrong …..

Right now, JJ Hardy is proving my forecast for him to be inaccurate, and I’m more than okay with it. I hope that when September rolls around, I can have my FONZIE MOMENT, and say …. “I was wr-wr-wr-wrong”.

And, no, I won’t be getting any input from Adam Jones.
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An Influence ??? (Bonus – 100 words)
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I don’t think I’ve ever hidden my love for NASCAR and motorsports. But, I’m also a realist and stock car racing does not have a huge following in this area. That said, most sports fans are familiar with NASCAR’s biggest personalities …..

But, when you hear Jimmie Johnson’s name, does it give cause to think INFLUENTIAL dude? I’m more likely to describe Johnson as a WINNER, DOMINATOR and perhaps, HUMBLE beyond most others.

Influential? According to the good folks at Forbes Magazine, Jimmie Johnson’s ability to court corporate sponsors and appeal to a loyal fan base makes him #1 on the overall list.

Well, you can certainly rest assured he won’t get arrested at 3am for driving after drinking too much. He won’t fail a urinalysis or find himself in compromising situations with women other than his wife. Oh yeah, and he won’t be spouting hogwash on Twitter, in the near future.

So, I get it. Jimmie Johnson really is an influential guy. But, more importantly, he’s a good person. Here’s the Forbes ARTICLE
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30 Short Years Ago
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On May 11, 1981, I was in 8th grade at George Fox Middle School. Cal Ripken was starring on the stage, at Rochester. And, Ray Lewis was finishing up kindergarten.

A long time ago, huh?

It was also one of the darker days in music, as Nesta Robert Marley left this world. An absolute legend? No doubt. We’re now 30 years removed from his death and Bob Marley’s music is still a popular staple of our music loving culture.

“One bright morning when my work is over I will fly away home”
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Meanwhile, In Arizona
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Have you checked on David Hernandez lately? Yep, that David Hernandez …..

He’s carving a nice relief role for the Diamondbacks, with a 2.16 ERA and 16 strikeouts thru as many innings. Groundbreaking stats? Nope …. and his numbers were even more impressive before he surrendered a run, last night.

I gotta feeling we’re gonna see David Hernandez’s name next to a 30 save season in the near future. Stay tuned …..
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A Really GREAT Grandfather
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Quick, take a look at your family tree and see if Wellington Burt’s name is anywhere within its roots. If so, you could have MILLIONS coming your way …..

Mr. Burt died in 1919, but his estate was cast to reward his great-grandchildren, 20 years after his last grandchild’s death. And, now is the time …..

Of all the damn luck ….. and to just get a windfall of money from a dude you never met? Yup, I would be okay with it. Here’s the STORY
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Unlucky Sports Events
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We’re just two days away from “Friday The 13th” and all the tales of black cats, broken mirrors and bad luck. So, we’re dedicating Friday’s AFTERNOON DRIVE to the “Unluckiest Moments In Sports”.

Do you have a suggestion for one of those moments? Would you like to hear from a certain guest? There’s plenty of sports action to cite, from Baltimore and beyond.

Email me with your ideas (rex@wnst.net). I’ll chat with you, today @ 2pm ……

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Mixed Martial Arts-Bellator Fighting Championships 42 (Saturday 9pm from Concho, OK live on MTV2); Arena Football: AFL Kansas City Command @ Chicago Rush (Friday 8pm from Chicago live on NFL Network); Soccer: MLS-New York Red Bulls @ DC United (Thursday 8pm from RFK Stadium live on ESPN2); Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open BancSabadell (Friday 6:30am, Saturday & Sunday 4pm from Barcelona on Tennis Channel); Golf: PGA Tour The Heritage (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Hilton Head, SC); Champions Tour Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf (Friday 12:30pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on CBS. All golf from Savannah, GA)

10. Rush (Friday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); Coheed and Cambria (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live, Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Crack The Sky (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Rooney (Wednesday 7pm Bourbon Street); John Popper & The Duskray Troubadours (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage, Thursday 8:30pm State Theatre), Bret Michaels (Thursday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Michael McDonald (Thursday-Saturday DC Improv); Charlie Sheen (Tuesday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Stephen Kellogg (Friday 8:30pm Jammin’ Java-Vienna); Soulive (Saturday 9pm State Theatre); Local H (Sunday 8:30pm Rock & Roll Hotel), J Roddy Walston & The Business (Wednesday 8:30pm Rock & Roll Hotel); Saliva (Monday 7pm Jaxx); Gorillaz “The Fall” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’m ABSOLUTELY done with the Charlie Sheen fascination. I’m done even with the morbid curiosity. Unless he’s donning a Cleveland Indians jersey and hurling fastballs, I’m simply not interested.

I AM interested however in a Charm City appearance by the holy trinity…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7DFsBcVMDA[/youtube]

Love Blues Traveler? You’re a good American. I loved Blues Traveler myself and will absolutely admit that I’m all in on John Popper’s new project…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6f5xq5bRaQU[/youtube]

Want to hear something that TOTALLY kicks ass? Here are Soulive and Robert Randolph doing Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JC_HXU-N3Ac[/youtube]

I’m not sure if anyone is still in the band, but I know Local H at least USED to be pretty awesome…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E2Oe5YKhzCE[/youtube]

9. Glenn Clark’s Easter Plans (Sunday)

Here’s what I know. I DEMANDED Cadbury Cream Eggs Benedict from my girlfriend last year and she failed. It had better not happen again…

cadburycreameggsbenedict

This is proof that God exists…I think.

8. Mortal Kombat available on Playstation3/XBox360 (Tuesday)

11 year old Glenn Clark is FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW.

If Streetfighter Turbo comes next, I might be in full blown panic mode.

While we’re on the subject of video games, how many folks do you know that are Grand Champions in NFL Blitz 2000?

The answer is at least one.

blitz

7. College Football: Navy Blue-Gold Spring Game (Friday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS Sports)

I won’t be able to make it out to Annapolis Friday night, but I do have a couple of thoughts related to College Football.

1-Alabama fans have to be at least a LITTLE embarrassed by the Nick Saban statue that was unveiled in Tuscaloosa, right? Of course, the more embarrassing part is that I’m SURE this means Auburn is rushing to get a Gene Chizik statue erected too.

2-Cliff Tucker is trying is hand as a receiver for the Maryland football team now that the whole hoops thing is over, huh? Seems like a good option, but I feel as though maybe I would have gone with Competitive Cheer…

cheer

6. NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals-New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics (Game 2 Tuesday 7pm from Boston live on TNT, Game 3 Friday 7pm from New York live on ESPN, Game 4 Sunday 3:30pm from New York live on ABC); Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic (Game 2 Tuesday 7:30pm from Orlando live on NBA TV, Game 3 Friday 8pm from Atlanta live on ESPN2, Game 4 Sunday 7pm from Atlanta live on TNT); Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers (Game 3 Thursday 7pm from Indianapolis live on NBA TV, Game 4 Saturday 2:30pm from Indianapolis live on TNT); Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Game 3 Thursday 8pm from Philadelphia live on TNT, Game 4 Sunday 1pm from Philadelphia live on ABC); Western Conference Quarterfinals-Portland Trailblazers vs. Dallas Mavericks (Game 2 Tuesday 9:30pm from Dallas live on TNT, Game 3 Thursday 10:30 from Portland live on TNT, Game 4 Saturday 5pm from Portland live on TNT, Game 5 Monday from Dallas TBD); Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (Game 2 Wednesday 8pm from Oklahoma City live on TNT, Game 3 Saturday 10pm from Denver live on ESPN, Game 4 Monday 10:30pm from Denver live on TNT); Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs (Game 2 Wednesday 8:30pm from San Antonio live on NBA TV, Game 3 Saturday 7:30pm from Memphis live on ESPN, Game 4 Monday from Memphis TBD); New Orleans Hornets vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Game 2 Wednesday 10:30pm from Los Angeles live on TNT, Game 3 Friday 9:30pm from New Orleans live on ESPN, Game 4 Sunday 9:30pm from New Orleans live on TNT)

Let’s be honest…NBA basketball is AWFUL in the regular season and just sorta okay in the playoffs.

But Dwyane Wade and Jalen Rose (and Kyle Korver) did some pretty impressive things over the weekend…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hC9H66odmrk[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=748HJrUPuys[/youtube]

5. NHL Playoffs: Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers Game 4 (Wednesday 7pm from New York live on Comcast SportsNet & VERSUS), New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals Game 5 (Saturday 3pm from Verizon Center live on NBC), Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers Game 6 if necessary (Monday TBD from New York live on Comcast SportsNet)

I know there are a few folks in Baltimore who have gone to the dark side and are rooting for the hockey team down in the Nation’s Capital.

That’s their choice…I won’t judge them. Much. I MIGHT however buy them a new Washington Redskins shirt to wear this football season while we’re all donning purple at M&T Bank Stadium.

To those that are still on the fence, I encourage you to root for the Rangers. If you’re not familiar with Sean Avery, let me introduce you to a few young ladies who ARE familiar with Mr. Avery…

Hilary Rhoda

rhoda

Elisha Cuthbert

cuthbert

Lake Bell

lakebell

And “Stacy’s Mom” herself, Rachel Hunter

rachelhunter

You seriously don’t think this guy is worth rooting for?!?!?

4. Charm City Heroes (Friday-Saturday Pikesville Hilton)

With no offense to Frank Robinson, Mike Curtis, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Earl Weaver, Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Roberto Alomar, Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, Art Donovan, Raymond Berry, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Brian Roberts, Buck Showalter or anyone else scheduled to attend this event (holy hell that’s quite the list), it’s not complete.

I mean…seriously…how about our city’s greatest Olympic champion?

phelps

Could anything say “hero” more than that picture?!?!?

3. Ravens Pre-Draft Luncheon (Tuesday 12:45pm 1 Winning Drive, airing 5:30pm on AM1570 WNST), Brian Billick Live! Pre-NFL Draft Show (Tuesday 7pm Mother’s Federal Hill)

I guess the excitement surrounding the NFL Draft has been a bit dampened because of the lockout. But that’s only because we haven’t spent time watching NFL DRAFT PORN!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkLG6LHNdXk[/youtube]

I want all of them.

2. Boxing: Top Rank-Roberto Marroquin vs. Frankie Leal (Saturday 11pm from Thackerville, OK live on Fox Sports Net nationally, Comcast SportsNet locally); Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares (Saturday 10:30pm from Los Angeles live on Showtime); Friday Night Fights: Breidis Prescott vs. Bayan Jargal (Friday 8pm from Uncasville, CT live on ESPN2)

Of course this makes the list because Ravens S Tom Zbikowski is scheduled to fight on the undercard of the Marroquin-Leal fight.

By the way, if you haven’t seen “The Fighter”, you might as well just admit you hate America. How AWESOME is this clip?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oln0_q_x1lw[/youtube]

1. College Lacrosse: Navy @ Johns Hopkins (Saturday 8pm from Homewood Field live on ESPNU); Hobart @ Loyola (Saturday 12pm from Ridley Athletic Complex live on ABC2/ESPN3.com); Vermont @ UMBC (Saturday 1pm UMBC Stadium); ACC Lacrosse Tournament: Maryland vs. North Carolina (Friday 5pm from Durham, NC live on TheACC.com), ACC Championship Game (Sunday 3:30pm from Durham, NC live on Comcast SportsNet); CAC Tournament: St. Mary’s @ Stevenson (Wednesday 4pm Caves Athletic Complex), CAC Championship Game (Sunday 2pm from Caves Athletic Complex if Stevenson wins Wednesday)

I’ve posted this before I’m sure. I don’t care. Suck it, UNC!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0SnOgHx3eg[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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