Tag Archive | "canton"

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10 Ravens-Steelers Halftime Observations

Posted on 11 September 2011 by Glenn Clark

Here are ten observations about the first half of today’s Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game at M&T Bank Stadium. A reminder that Ryan Chell and I will be back on the air for the “Nasty Purple Postgame Show” following the conclusion of today’s game on AM1570 and WNST.net.

-Looks like David Reed was being honest when he told me players had been given the green light to bring kicks out of the end zone just as long as they were moving forward. There were a couple of touchbacks, but Lardarius Webb and Antonio Brown were certainly willing to bring the ball out even from fairly deep to significantly deep.

-So much for not being able to run on the Steelers defense, huh? Still no luck running up the middle, but running to the outside worked well.

-The first drive from Joe Flacco and Ray Rice was something to behold. I don’t know how much of that had to do with this being the first game of the season, but it was fun. It goes without saying that we’d like to see a few more quick hitters this year.

-Any more questions about why the Ravens were willing to let go of Todd Heap this offseason? The team continues to have high hopes for Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, who each made plays.

-For the most part, the Offensive Line has held up despite everything. The holding call on Bryant McKinnie was questionable (although I thought he was beat on the play) and Cam Cameron/Todd Washington/presumably Andy Moeller did a nice job in scheming and organizing help.

-It would be nice to see more from the receivers in general. Flacco was a bit early on the first play where he targeted Lee Evans (the second was a bit of a prayer along the sideline) and Torrey Smith has yet to be targeted. In general, this team will need to hit the receivers more for the offense to be dynamic. Some of this remains on Flacco, who continues to be quick to look for Rice and his tight ends.

-The run defense has certainly been an issue. The Steelers’ TD drive was built on nice runs by Rashard Mendenhall (and Isaac Redman). There were far too many second and short scenarios for Ben Roethlisberger and company during the drive.

-Cary Williams got lost in the back of the end zone on the Emmanuel Sanders touchdown, but otherwise had a very good first half. The reason everyone thinks he’s playing well is because for the most part he’s played well. He deserves credit. It wasn’t good to see Jimmy Smith pull up, but fortunately it doesn’t appear significant.

-Ed Reed made a very nice play on Hines Ward before the half, but you know he’ll be thinking about the dropped interception for awhile. When he’s giving his Hall of Fame speech in Canton years from now he’ll have probably forgotten about it however.

-Hard not to think about last year’s AFC Divisional Playoff game at Heinz Field with the Ravens ahead 21-7. Hopefully no one went into the locker room running their mouth the way a certain TJ Houshmandzadeh did in January.

We’ll be taking your calls (410-481-1570) after the game. Look forward to talking to you then. Hopefully things are still good then.

-G

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WNST Purple Football Roadtrips now on sale to San Diego, Jacksonville, more…

Posted on 02 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

With all of the frenzy of the lockout and the ensuing fallout of free agency and mayhem, I’m getting tons of requests for the WNST Purple Football Roadtrip information. It took a week to put it all together but we proudly announce four total roadtrips for your selection and we’ll also be throwing our traditional Purple Pep Rallies and Parties in virtually every city on the road in 2011.

Our first trip is next Thursday to Philadelphia to see the Ravens first game of the preseason. It’s just $89 for the entire evening of fun in the City of Brotherly Love.

If you are interested in a specific party on the road and you’ve already made your travel plans, simply drop me an email: nasty@wnst.net and I’ll get you on the “first information” list once the parties go on sale next week.

To purchase seats for all of our roadtrips, simply click on the TRIPS tab at www.wnst.net or here.

If you want to see what our Purple Parties look like, just click here to see the evidence from Charlotte last fall:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RA0xYf3IeQk[/youtube]

Here’s a full lineup of all of our trips for 2011:

2011 Purple Roadtrip to Jacksonville (Oct. 22-25)

You asked for a more inexpensive way to get to Jacksonville for the HUGE PURPLE PARTY so we’re offering our longest busride of the year — but they’re always kind fun, really — down to North Florida for the Baltimore game the weekend of Oct. 22 through 25.

THIS IS OUR FEATURED TRIP FOR 2011!!!!!

We’ll leave White Marsh Mall area on Sat. Oct. 22 at 6 am with a quick stop at I-95 UMBC Park and Ride at 6:30 am and will set sail for the 764-mile journey straight down I-95. We expect to arrive in time for dinner on Saturday night. You’ll have all day Sunday and most of the day Monday for the gigantic WNST Purple Party.

The game isn’t until Monday night so we’ll have plenty of time to roam, gather in purple masses and tailgate before the big game.

Our WNST bus will leave Jacksonville at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, Oct. 25th and return to Baltimore later that night.

WNST Purple Roadtrip includes: bus ride on Gunther Motorcoach plus beer, soda & Chick-fil-A for the ride down, three nights hotel at Courtyard Marriott in Jacksonville, WNST Purple Party ticket, plus an upper deck seat for the Jacksonville-Baltimore game.

SINGLE: $575

DOUBLE: $450

TRIPLE: $400

QUAD: $375


2011 Purple Roadtrip to San Diego (Dec. 15-19)

The best trip in the sports — bar none — takes place during the holidays as WNST takes purple fans to sunny Southern California for four days in San Diego for the Baltimore date there on Sunday night, Dec. 18th. Our trip leaves on Thursday morning via Southwest Airlines at BWI and we’ll arrive at the Sofia Hotel in The Gaslamp District for four nights of sun, beaches and purple parties.

Our trip returns on Tuesday, Dec. 19th to BWI.

Many more details are coming regarding our downtown parties on Saturday and our partnership with The West Wing in San Diego for the Sunday tailgate.

Trip includes: RT air via Southwest Airlines (BWI-SAN), four nights at the Sofia Hotel in The Gaslamp District, upper deck game ticket for Baltimore at San Diego and entrance to WNST Purple Party on Sunday.

SINGLE — $1,399 per person

DOUBLE — $1,099 per person

2011 Purple Roadtrip to Pittsburgh (Nov. 6)

Join us as the purple warriors travel to Pittsburgh to take on the black and gold on Sunday, Nov. 6. Our bus will leave White Marsh Mall Area at noon with a stop at the I-70 West Park and Ride at 12:30 p.m. We’ll have a limited supply of beer, snacks for the ride up to Pittsburgh.

Our bus will leave immediately following the game and return to Baltimore at approximately 4 a.m.

Trip includes ride on Gunther Motorcoach, game ticket, drinks and snacks for the ride.

Price: $250 per person

2011 Purple Roadtrip to Cleveland and Canton Pro Football Hall of Fame (Dec. 3-4)

Join us on a special holiday trip to Ohio as we see the Pro Football Hall of Fame plus Baltimore at Cleveland on the weekend of Dec. 3-4.

Our bus will leave White Marsh Mall area at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3 and depart for Canton, where we’ll spend the afternoon checking out the hallowed Hall of Fame. Late that afternoon, we’ll make our way up to Cleveland and stay at the Holiday Inn Express downtown. On Sunday, we’ll provide upper deck seats for the game and the bus will depart immediately following the 1 p.m. game. We expect to return to Baltimore around 11 p.m.

Trip includes: bus ride on Gunther Motorcoach, limited beer, soda and Chick-fil-A breakfast for the ride, upper deck game ticket in Cleveland, plus admission to Pro Football Hall of Fame & hotel in Cleveland for Saturday night.

$375 — Single (going it alone!)

$325 — Double (2 people in hotel room)

$300 — Triple (3 people in hotel room)

$275 — Quad (4 people in hotel room)

To purchase seats for all of our roadtrips, simply click on the TRIPS tab at www.wnst.net or here.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 01 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer-MLS Toronto FC @ DC United (Saturday 7:30pm RFK Stadium); WNBA New York Liberty @ Washington Mystics (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on NBA TV); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Rochester Rattlers (Saturday 7pm from Rochester, NY live on ESPN3.com); Canadian Football League: Toronto Argonauts @ Montreal Alouettes (Thursday 8pm from Montreal live on NFL Network)

10. Jill Scott/Anthony Hamilton/Mint Condition (Sunday 7pm Verizon Center); Guster/Jack’s Mannequin (Sunday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Steely Dan (Tuesday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Death Cab For Cutie (Sunday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Alison Krauss & Union Station (Sunday 8pm Wolf Trap), INXS (Monday 8pm Wolf Trap); Cinderella (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Alien Ant Farm (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre), Hammerjack’s Reunion feat. Child’s Play (Saturday 1pm Recher Theatre); Cappadonna (Thursday 8:30pm Sonar); Toad The Wet Sprocket (Thursday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head On Stage); Bon Iver (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Rusted Root (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); O.A.R. “King” (Tuesday) and Jay-Z & Kanye West “Watch The Throne” (Monday) available in stores/on iTunes; Doug Benson Loves Movies Podcast (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Comedy Factory), Rob Cantrell (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); John Mulaney (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv)

Look, I know Steely Dan is great and all-but we agree that they stole a Grammy that rightly belonged to Eminem, don’t we?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTDRd0Z0O4o[/youtube]

Is the guy JD Fortune still singing for INXS after winning that reality show? It’s a little embarrassing, but if he can sing “Need You Tonight” ANYTHING like Michael Hutchence I’d be in…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhvbRZWEtd4[/youtube]

I’ve seen Alien Ant Farm three times in my life. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit that, but I’ve felt like you and I should always be able to trust each other to tell the truth.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ2t4jfVTiU[/youtube]

I’m seriously freaking out about the new O.A.R. record. Not excited enough to actually go to a record STORE, but damnit I’m approaching 30. Record stores just aren’t real anymore. What was I talking about here?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-yValw_UbE[/youtube]

9. National Aquarium 30th Anniversary Festival (Friday-Sunday National Aquarium in Baltimore); Baltimore Summer Restaurant Week (begins Friday throughout Charm City)

It’s a shame William Donald Schaefer didn’t make it long enough for this. He wouldn’t have been in health to don the suit once more, but it wouldn’t have meant more to anyone in the world.

wds

Thus concludes the only part of this that will in any way resemble anything of a serious nature.

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Former Ravens kicker and NFL player rep Matt Stover on current lockout: “I really feel strongly that they are going to have football this year”

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Former Ravens kicker and NFL player rep Matt Stover on current lockout: “I really feel strongly that they are going to have football this year”

Posted on 17 March 2011 by Ryan Chell

Longtime Ravens kicker Matt Stover recently made his official retirement known on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester on Tuesday, and while it may not come as a surprise to those who follow the NFL-having seen Matt Stover kick numerous field goals for a team with a Baltimore-tie for 18 seasons.

Matt Stover

Still, Stover, 43, may have had some usefulness to a team this year not soley for his kicking prowess, but for his time served as a player representative defending his fellow players in labor talks with the NFL owners.

And despite age catching up to the eighth most accurate kicker in NFL history and fourth-highest scorer, Stover has still been keeping up with the labor issues facing today’s game especially given Friday’s lockout by the owners and decertification.

And he’s been through it before, he told “The Morning Reaction” host.

“Well I was a player rep for 18 years and two of those years were back in 1992 and 1993 when we were negotiating the new collective bargaining agreement under decertification,” Stover told Forrester,  “so I know exactly whats going on right now and what should be happening.

Stover said that decertification and putting the decision into the hands of the courts of where the NFL’s money is going  was the only way to fix the issue.

“It’s unfortunate the players had to go this direction with it but in order to get the owners to negotiate fairly it’s the only way,” Stover admitted.

He knows this firsthand having dealt with owners and NFL leadership in labor contracts. Stover has been a player rep every year he has been in the league for every franchise he suited up and kicked for in games.

Matt Stover

And while he will not be playing football in 2011 as he closes the book on his NFL career  to take care of his family and his relationship with God, Stover feels like he will be watching NFL games come September.

“I really feel strongly that they are going to have football this year,” he said. “I feel that the decertification-with the injunction that the NFL has on it-will not hold. I believe that they will be a group of decertified employees, and that there cannot be a lockout and I believe there will be footbal in 2011.”

But, Stover still admits that he doesn’t want to see the owners take advantage of the players for yet another set of years, and ultimately given his position now as a retired NFL player, he definitely wants to make sure he, his family, and his fellow retirees are also taken for down the road when it comes to benefits and health care.

“I always think there is room in the collective bargaining agreement to negotiate for better benefits for retired players,” Stover said. “I really do.”

But, Stover did say that the system right now is being exploited not only by the owners, but greedy players as well who may not have served the time or have been through the abuse of a 20-year career like veterans in Matt Stover.

Whoever eventually handles that department is going to have to sometimes be brash with their decisions on how much money goes to one NFL player, says Stover.

In essence, the system needs fixing.

“In every negotiation since 1993, 1998, 2006, we always went back and helped players,” Stover replied. “We were always fair…I was on the benefit committee when we were trying to help these guys out and it became such an extensive way to go about it, and some of these guys you may realize too only played three or four years and they want to be made whole on there pension plan.”

Stover said in any business you need a long-standing tenure with a place of employment to earn benefits, and he thinks the NFL should hold similar standards.

“In reality when you look at the course of any employement it takes people 20 to 25 years to get any kind of pension and it’s just one of those systems that so many people may qualify for that we have to be very careful for how we fund the pension plan or it will be broke in no time…it’s underfunded as we speak in the NFL.”

And even as a retired player, he still has his ex-teammates in Baltimore and Indianapolis-where he almost got another Super Bowl ring-in mind.

Stover spent 13 seasons in a Ravens uniform and came over from the Browns when Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore.

He made his only Pro Bowl appearance in 2000 during the Ravens Super Bowl run, and ultimately was the driving force behind the Baltimore offense that went five games without scoring an offensive touchdown yet won two of those games thanks to Stover’s leg.

But, Stover doesn’t want any of the limelight. That’s not his style. Never was. It was the same way when he was ushered out of Baltimore by the new coaching staff under a new regime.

“I have been very quiet, and the reason for that is that last year I wanted just to step away. I didn’t want to be any attention drawn on me by the Ravens and  to have them not worry about me again.”

And he couldn’t be happier for a guy in Pro-Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff, who brought stability to a position that the Ravens took advantage of for years in Stover when it came to consistency.

“What it really comes down to for Billy is a couple of things,” Stover said of his replacement. “He had the passion, and he had the heart to do it.  He wanted to be the best and he just resolved himself to do it.”

And Stover’s departure and professionalism about it allowed him to do so.

“I love my guys on the team. I love the organization, I just felt like It was good to go rogue, good to go solo, to be silent,” Stover said.

And while Stover may want to fade into anonymity, it’s not going to happen. Eventually, Stover will make it into the Ravens Ring of Honor, and who knows…he could have the numbers for a Canton calling.

Stover was honored by the attribution.

“Just to be considered by you and the public to be thought of as a Hall of Famer is gratifying to me  knowing that I had an effect on a team,” Stover said.  “I was able to do my job well, and that’s really what it’s all about.”

“If the Hall of Fame came around would I be happy; absolutely, the goal to get [there] isn’t one of my goals, but it is something that could happen. If you look at my numbers there has not been a kicker out there who has been able to do what I do with the statistics and the environment I kicked in.  But at the same point and time it comes down to the effect I had on my team.”

Either way, Stover is happy with his career and still hopes to make the NFL better even from an outside persepctive regardless if he is invited back full circle in any form.

“If that never happens I have no regrets, none what so ever.”

WNST thanks Matt Stover for joining us to talk NFL labor! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Jonathan Ogden: “I am one happy man”

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Jonathan Ogden: “I am one happy man”

Posted on 07 February 2011 by Ryan Chell

Jonathan Ogden

This past week, former Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden was present in Dallas, taking in the moment of yet another Super Bowl.

And over the weekend, yet another group of former NFL players were inducted into Canton’s prestigious group of Hall of Famers, including the likes of former Ravens teammates Shannon Sharpe and Deion Sanders as 2011 members.

The eventual Hall of Famer joined WNST in Dallas  to talk about where he’s at in his post playing career, and maybe preparing to taking those same steps as his former teammates in Sanders and Sharpe.

“I am a happy man,” Ogden told WNST. “I am happy and I’m enjoying what I’m doing. I feel like I did what I had to do. I can say that that I’m one of few people who played their entire career on just one team, got a Super Bowl ring, and actually feel like I fulfilled what I was doing out there.”

Ogden was the original Raven-drafted  by Baltimore in the team’s first ever draft in 1996. Taken fourth overall, the UCLA grad and 1995 Outland Trophy winner was not only asked to be the foundation of the team’s offensive line, but a franchise as a whole.

The situation almost wasn’t meant to be, as both sides-Ogden and the Ravens-werent expected to be joining forces.

When Ogden entered the  Draft, both Ogden and the experts said that they didn’t expect the tackle to fall to the fourth spot where Baltimore was drafting.

And a lot of the experts expected the Ravens to take Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips, who later fell out of the league and into prison for off the field issues.

But ultimately the two sides found each other and the rest is history.

“I had no control,” Ogden said. “It wasn’t in my hands. It was really funny, because I remember being in the green room in New York at the draft. Everyone was saying ‘You’re going to Arizona, you’re going to the Cardinals,’ and the phone rings in the green room. Keyshawn Johnson got drafted first, Kevin Hardy second, and the guy picks it up from the NFL, and I’m ready to get up. All of a sudden, he goes Simeon Rice, and I was like ‘Oh wow, they’re not going to take me?’”

But he then found himself knowing that he was going to be in a good situation with the Ravens despite them choosing him.

“It was amazing when Baltimore called my name,” Ogden said.

Ogden went on to play 12 seasons in a Baltimore uniform, making the Pro Bowl 11 times and being named a first or second team All-Pro eight times.

And the Super Bowl championship in 2000 made the Ogden’s time in Baltimore that much more sweeter.

“That was a great day in Baltimore history right there down in Tampa ten years ago,” Ogden said.

Ogden does have the ring on his finger, but he also continues to have the lingering pain of several playoff losses to the Colts and Steelers as well as some occasional flare-up from the toe injury that cut his career short.

“My toe to this day still hurts,” Ogden said. “I can go out and play golf, I can jog, but I can’t run. I’m like Deion complaining about our toes.”

“When we were playing Cleveland in ’06, the last game of the year, Quinn Sypniewski, our tight end at the time, got blown up by Willie McGinest on the goal line, and my foot was in the air. They both came down on the back of my heel, and I basically tore 90 percent of the ligaments under my big toe.”

“I remember I got ready, we had the bye, and I played in the playoff game against the Colts with the shot up toe. I couldn’t feel it, and had we won that game, I probably would not have been able to play the next week. I couldn’t walk for nearly a month.”

That next year, he knew his time in a Ravens uniform-and an NFL uniform as a whole-was coming to an end because of the toe injury.

“What happened my last year, I missed training camp because I was trying to rehab. Every game I’d have to either get a shot or I’d been getting treatment so much I could barely practice. It always hurt when I was out there. I was hurting all the time, and when you’re hurting all the time, it’s no fun. It’s time to go.”

Already having the Super Bowl ring and leaving at the top of his game helped make his decision that much easier.

“I still have residual pain, my neck still cracks all the time, my shoulders are a little sore, but considering how long I played-twelve years-I have never had a surgery and should’ve have the toe cut on a few years earlier, I consider myself pretty lucky for how I feel having done it so long at that level.”

But Ogden said that it’s the great players in this league who feel that way at the end of their careers. In other words, a healthy NFL player at the end of their career most likely isn’t playing at a Hall of Fame level not putting their body on the line for their team.

“If you want to be successful, you’ve got to have those guys that are willing to go out there and play through the pain, because you’re always going to be in pain when you’re out there. You think Ray Lewis doesn’t hurt? You might not know it here when he gives his interviews and talks, but Ray Lewis hurts you know.”

“He gets himself in great shape, he works out, he gets treatment, and he’s ready to go every Sunday, but he’s out there in pain-trust me.”

And while Ogden may be in pain right now and may not be able to sprint a lick right now, all of Baltimore hopes he can make the walk to the podium in Canton when he is eligible for the Class of 2013.

“I will be most likely,” Ogden said about being inducted into the Hall of Fame. “You know maybe around the fifth or sixth Pro Bowl, but thank goodness that toe was year twelve, not year two. You mention us in the same breath as Walter Payton, Jim Brown, and Anthony Munoz, it’s overwhelming.”

WNST hopes to talk to Ogden again when he hopefully is inducted into the Hall of Fame two years from now! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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To Thank You For Your Kindness, We’re Giving Back This Morning

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To Thank You For Your Kindness, We’re Giving Back This Morning

Posted on 22 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

It’s a very special edition of “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, as Drew Forrester and I are going to say “Thank You” for everything you in the WNST community have done recently.

As Drew so eloquently explained, you all have come through in ways we could have never imagined.

First, you helped us raise nearly $5,000 for the Fuel Fund of Maryland.

Then, you collected 2,112 cans of food for the Canton Baptist Church.

Now, you collected 232 coats as well as nearly 100 more hats, gloves, blankets, etc. for the Helping Up Mission on E. Baltimore Street.

And all of this has happened since OCTOBER.

You guys have blown us away.

So this morning, we’re giving back.

We still have a handful of the Ray Lewis Old Spice t-shirts we gave away to folks who donated coats this week. They’re not available in stores, and they’re very cool…

oldspice

I of course remind you that Old Spice is “The Greatest Smell in the NFL.”

I know how much you guys like the shirts, because you’ve been talking about them on Twitter all week!

On top of that, we’re also giving away books.

We have books written by Bobby Bowden, John Feinstein, Darryl Strawberry, Pat Kirwan, UFC Fighter Brian Stann, Oregon State Coach (and Barack Obama brother-in-law) Craig Robinson, Patrick McEnroe and more. Plus books written about Michelle Wie, Tiger Woods, Don Larsen, Mark McGwire, Lance Armstrong, Mickey Mantle and more.

The shirts (and the books) will make great last minute Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers for the sports fans on your list.

All you have to do is tune in to “The Morning Reaction” at 8am.

AND…you have to be somewhat of a regular listener.

We want to reward folks who have participated with us regularly.

We have ten prize packs. All of them include three books and one XL Ray Lewis Old Spice t-shirt.

If you know the show (at all), you’ll be a winner.

Make sure you’re tuned in. And from the bottom of our hearts…THANK YOU.

-G

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Ravens 10-Pack: Baltimore feeling Super at 4-1

Posted on 12 October 2010 by Luke Jones

Even with the daunting task of traveling to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots this Sunday, you have to feel good about the Ravens’ 4-1 start and the early lead atop the AFC North with the first month of the season already in the books.

With three of the first four on the road (two of them division games), you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thought the Ravens would fare better than they have after road victories against the Jets and Steelers. And when you take a look around the rest of the league, the Ravens’ accomplishments look even more impressive.

Parity is a word all-too-familiar to NFL fans, but the notion seemed to be waning over the last few seasons with the regular-season success of the 2007 Patriots and extended runs at perfection by the Colts and Saints last year. However, with the 1972 Dolphins uncorking the champagne before Columbus Day — with no 4-0 teams in the NFL since 1970 — and only eight teams sporting one loss through the first five weeks of the season, 2010 appears up for grabs in mid-October.

Are the Ravens the best team in the NFL?

Being this early, who cares? But it’s difficult to argue any team has looked better than Baltimore.

If the Ravens can beat New England (3-1), it will mark just the second 5-1 start in franchise history, the other coming in the 2000 season.

However, for some perspective, at the time of the 5-1 start, Tony Banks was the starting quarterback and the Ravens had just won their second straight game without scoring a touchdown.

Things changed very quickly — in a bad way — before a historic run began and Trent Dilfer and the Ravens found themselves holding the Lombardi Trophy at the end of January.

1. Since taking over as head coach in 2008, John Harbaugh has shown the uncanny ability to take care of business against inferior teams, home or away.

In 37 regular season games under Harbaugh, the Ravens have never lost to a team that finished the season with a losing record. As unimpressive as that might sound to the casual observer, you’ll find a “bad” loss by a playoff-caliber team nearly every week in the NFL.

Of course, the opposite argument can be made that the Ravens have fallen short too many times against quality opponents — especially last season when they struggled to get to the playoffs at 9-7 — but winning the games you’re supposed to win and holding your own against winning teams will put you in an enviable position.

The postseason.

Time will determine whether their Week 2 loss in Cincinnati breaks the string, but the Harbaugh-led Ravens have managed to avoid the unwarranted defeats the team suffered in previous seasons.

2. All eyes will be on Bill Belichick and the Patriots in their first game since trading disgruntled receiver Randy Moss to the Minnesota Vikings and re-acquiring former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks. The removal of Moss will undoubtedly impact the New England offense, but how much?

Expect a little gadgetry on Sunday as Tom Brady deciphers where everyone fits in the post-Moss era.

Of course, Belichick had an extra week to figure it out with the Patriots’ Week 5 bye, and his record in New England coming off the bye week is an impressive 8-2, including seven straight wins. But before we write off the Ravens at Gillette Stadium and bow to the genius of Belichick, we should remember that four of the last six have come against the Buffalo Bills.

Not to belittle an impressive feat, but game-planning against a team led in recent years by the likes of Dick Jauron and Mike Mularkey is a bit easier than facing the team that blasted you in the playoffs just nine months ago.

In the Harbaugh era, the Ravens are 2-1 when playing teams coming off their bye week. All three games were last season, which included wins against Cleveland and Denver as well as a road loss to Cincinnati.

3. Putting aside the obvious threat of Brady to Wes Welker, defensive coordinator Greg Mattison’s biggest concern might be a pair of rookie tight ends.

Through the Patriots’ first four games, Welker leads the team in receptions (26), but not receiving yards. That distinction belongs to Aaron Hernandez (18 catches for 240 yards) despite being the second tight end drafted (fourth round) by New England in April. Rob Gronkowski, a second-round selection, has posted modest numbers (six catches for 62 yards) but was an impressive talent eyed by the Ravens leading up to the draft.

The Ravens have struggled covering the intermediate middle of the field in recent years, so the inside linebacker corps of Ray Lewis, Jameel McClain, and Dannell Ellerbe will need to keep a close eye on these rookie targets.

4. As much as we lamented the absence of Matt Stover a season ago, let’s tip our caps to Billy Cundiff. His ability to boot the football deep into the end zone on kickoffs is an underappreciated factor in the Ravens being 4-1.

His four touchbacks against the Broncos on Sunday matched the total number by Baltimore kickers all of last year.

Whispers of Stover will not dissipate — if they ever do — until we see Cundiff make a 47-yarder to win a late-season game, but the distinct upgrade on kickoffs cannot be overlooked.

As great as Stover was with the game on the line, fans easily forget his kickoffs barely traveling inside the 10-yard line, often setting up the opponent with good field position.

5. Plenty has been said about Cam Cameron’s choice to use Haloti Ngata at tight end on Sunday’s opening drive and the near-disaster that followed with the defensive tackle down on the field.

I offer you three names: James Jones (1996), Herman Arvie (1996), and Jonathan Ogden (1996 and 2003), three linemen who all registered touchdown catches with the Ravens.

The difference in this case? Cameron and Harbaugh have too many offensive weapons at their disposal to risk losing one of the greatest defensive players in the game today. Why spend draft picks on two tight ends to complement Todd Heap and then risk your best defensive player trying to be too cute?

Ngata playing offense was a fun spectacle until we saw what nearly happened with the Ravens’ season flashing before the eyes of 71,000 people at M&T Bank Stadium.

Lesson learned — hopefully.

6. It was natural for questions to arise whether the Ravens had any interest in bringing back Antwan Barnes after he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles last week, but  Harbaugh promptly shot down the idea on Monday. (Update: Barnes signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers on Wednesday afternoon)

In three years with the Ravens, the linebacker-defensive end managed only five sacks and sealed his fate last October when he whiffed on a tackle of Cedric Benson that led to a 28-yard touchdown run and an eventual loss to the Bengals.

Barnes is too small to provide help at defensive end, where the Ravens need a consistent pass-rush threat, and not athletic enough to play linebacker on every down. If they didn’t want him before the season, what would have changed a month later?

“I haven’t had a conversation with him,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “We don’t really have a roster opportunity right now for that. We wouldn’t be opposed to it. Antwan’s a good person, a good player. Obviously, he’s done some good things here. But, right now, there’s no way roster-wise we could pull that off.”

In other words, “Thanks, but no thanks — we’ve moved on.”

7. If all goes to plan and you believe the recent comments made by Harbaugh, Sunday will mark the final game before All-Pro safety Ed Reed returns to the 53-man roster after beginning the season on the physically unable to perform list.

During training camp, I said Tom Zbikowski would do an adequate job at free safety in Reed’s absence, and the third-year safety has done just that. So with the Ravens currently having the second-best pass defense in the NFL (behind only the New York Giants), the question must be asked:

How well will Reed fit into the secondary when he returns to the starting lineup?

The Baltimore defense no longer plays the exotic, aggressive schemes of Rex Ryan, but employs a conservative, “bend, but don’t break” style under Mattison. Reed has always gambled in the defensive backfield, at times leaving teammates out to dry in coverage while also making some of the greatest plays in NFL history.

With the 32-year-old returning from hip surgery, it will be interesting to see whether Reed takes a more conservative approach in coverage or returns with a bigger chip on his shoulder to prove he’s still one of the best defensive players in the league and deserving of the new contract he so desperately wants. If Reed proves to be a lesser player than he was prior to the hip procedure but plays with the same aggressive style, the secondary could be more vulnerable to the big play.

That said, it is hard to doubt a player who will one day be enshrined in Canton.

8. Speaking of injured players, you have to wonder how long the Ravens will continue to wait for Jared Gaither to return. Other than being a limited participant in one practice a couple weeks ago, the offensive tackle has been out with a thoracic disc injury since training camp.

With roster decisions looming with Reed and fellow PUP list members Brendon Ayanbadejo and Matt Lawrence, Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh may need to pull the plug on the projected starter at right tackle.

The improved play of Marshal Yanda at right tackle and Chris Chester at right guard has eased concerns on the right side of the line. Cohesion upfront is difficult to develop, so Gaither’s potential return would require another period of adjustment, something the coaching staff might be uncomfortable with later in the season.

Keep in mind, Gaither has not played right tackle regularly since the early part of his collegiate career at Maryland, so this isn’t a savvy veteran who can step right in to his regular position when healthy.

If Gaither does not make significant progress by the bye week, his season will likely come to a disappointing end.

9. Much has been said about the return of the three-headed running attack and the 2008-like feel to Sunday’s win over the Broncos, but don’t expect it to last.

Like it or not, the Ravens’ current profile is a pass-first team that runs the ball efficiently. The dominating 233-yard rushing performance against Denver was more the effect of a comfortable lead than some epiphany for Cameron.

Of Joe Flacco’s 97 completions through five games, 50 have been for under 10 yards, looking a little like the “running” game of the Patriots with Brady under helm. However, his 6.6 yards per attempt (the lowest of his career) needs to increase for the offense to continue growing.

Despite the profile change — which really began last season — the ability to pound the football looms large when the elements grow harsh, and the Ravens will use it when appropriate.

10. Ranking 19th in the league in total offense (328.2 yards per game) and tied for 17th in points scored (18.4 per game), the Baltimore offense has room for improvement with Cameron and Flacco trying to distribute the ball to keep a plethora of talented players — and egos — happy.

As well as the defense has played, it hasn’t done its counterpart any favors in the turnover department with only three takeaways and a -6 turnover differential, both last in the AFC.

Nothing gives an offense more confidence than starting drives on a short field, and a few more turnovers might be the serum the offense needs to excel. Fortunately, the defense and kick coverage has played well enough to win the field-position battle in most instances, but the turnover differential must improve if the Ravens are to take a step toward elitism, offensively and as a team.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 08 October 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Preseason NBA-Atlanta Hawks @ Washington Wizards (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Milwaukee Bucks @ Washington Wizards (Thursday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet and NBA TV); Auto Racing: NASCAR Bank of America 500 (Saturday 7:30pm from Charlotte live on ABC); Mixed Martial Arts: UFC 120-Michael Bisping vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama (Saturday 7pm from London on SpikeTV)

10. Chelsea Handler (Friday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena); Seth Meyers (Saturday 8pm Patriot Center); Kevin Hart (Saturday 8pm & 11pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Halloween Hootenanny feat. Rob Zombie & Alice Cooper (Sunday 3pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Aaron Lewis (Friday 7pm Rams Head Live); Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers (Wednesday 7:30pm Recher Theatre); Pharoahe Monch (Sunday 8pm Sonar); The Ataris (Monday 8pm Ottobar); Days of the New (Friday 7pm Bourbon Street); Victor Wooten (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage), Blood, Sweat & Tears (Wednesday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head On Stage), Jackie Greene (Thursday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (Wednesday 10pm 9:30 Club), Pepper (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club), Sara Bareilles (Monday 7:30pm 9:30 Club); Craig Ferguson (Saturday 7pm Warner Theatre); Darius Rucker “Charleston, SC 1966″ available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Alice Cooper still plays music? I thought he was just a golfer nowadays?!? I’ll probably miss his show, but it’s not because Rob Zombie doesn’t kick ass…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqQuihD0hoI[/youtube]

I was never the biggest Staind fan, but I’d be down to hear Aaron Lewis channel Eddie Vedder for sure…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sumiU0u2J9s[/youtube]

It’s been a long time since Bone Thugs was relevant, but after doing some research, they’re still pretty freaking good…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsBV-P9gIC0[/youtube]

Make fun of me all you want, but I’ve already pre-ordered Darius Rucker’s disc on iTunes. It is what it is…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap7HzFlOXq4[/youtube]

9. Jackass 3D in theaters (Friday)

This is what a comedy is supposed to be all about. Forget about a plot, forget about a compelling storyline, and for god sakes don’t try to tie it up with some sort of feel good story. Just punch each other in the nuts and let me laugh, damnit…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKwjU_pSSW4[/youtube]

8. Baltimore Beer Week: Blues & Brews Festival (Friday 7pm 8×10 Club), Chesapeake Real Ale Festival (Saturday 1pm Pratt Street Ale House), Baltimore Beer Festival (Sunday 12pm Canton Waterfront Park)

If I could, I would attend all of these events. Seriously. I knew this is going to sound crazy to most of you, but these are the two things I love the most. Charm City…and Beer.

For those of you who have asked (and I thank you for considering me an expert!), here are my Top 3 pumpkin-based brews in honor of the Fall.

5-Blue Moon Pumpkin Ale

bluemoonpumpkin

4-Michelob Jack’s Pumpkin Spice Ale

jackspumpkin

3-Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin Ale

postroad

2-Four Peaks Pumpkin Porter

porter

1-Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

punkinale

7. Boxing: Antonio Tarver vs. Nagy Aguilera (Friday 11pm from Miami, Oklahoma live on Showtime), WBC Heavyweight Championship-Shannon Briggs vs. Vitali Klitschko (Saturday 5pm from Hamburg, Germany live on ESPN3.com), Lucian Bute vs. Jesse Brinkley (Friday 9:30pm from Montreal live on ESPN3.com)

Shannon Briggs is fighting Vitali Klitschko for the WBC Heavyweight title. Yes, this is the same belt previously held by Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe, Larry Holmes, Ken Norton and Muhammad Ali.

Of course, it was also held by Buster Douglas and Hasim Rahman, but even they had to beat a legitimate champion to become champion. I’m pretty sure at this point we’re not far from seeing Joey Buttafuoco get a title shot…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuLWWDoN85E[/youtube]

6. High School Football: Glen Burnie @ Old Mill (Friday 6:30pm), Franklin @ Perry Hall (Friday 7pm)

So I screwed up. Last Friday was NOT PHHS’s Homecoming game. I was given bad information by Barry Aparicio-who is now my roommate. A-hole.

It was particularly embarrassing when I called Gators Athletic Director Kathy Graybeal and asked her for passes to the game. (Umm…Glenn…the Homecoming game is NEXT week. MY BAD!)

There’s good news in all of this however. The good news is that I never got an answer from Daniela Pane about my Homecoming date proposal last week…

dpane

(Edit from GMC: Daniela is the person in the picture who WASN’T in the movie “Revenge of the Nerds.” Yes…the hot one.)

Here’s the deal. Daniela Pane (who is appearing in an upcoming episode of “1000 Ways to Die” on SpikeTV) is the second most talented, second most successful, second best-looking member of Perry Hall’s graduating class of 2001. I’d tell you who was first, but you already know it’s spelled “Glenn Clark.”

So Daniela, you have another week to consider my offer. I think we’d be a fantastic Homecoming couple. Boomer Sooner’s sister is in town, so she’s busy. Plus…she’d understand? Maybe not? You know, let’s worry about that some other time. The point is…the offer is on the table. I know you live in California, but it’s Friday night. You have until then to get home. No pressure.

5. NHL: New York Islanders @ Washington Capitals (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet and VERSUS), Washington Capitals @ Nashville Predators (Saturday 8pm from Nashville live on Comcast SportsNet)

The Capitals played some games last weekend…blah blah blah here’s the deal. I want this Phoenix Coyotes jersey. Who wants to buy it for me???

yotes

It’s only $150. Just get it now.

4. Soccer: Team USA vs. Columbia (Tuesday 8pm from Chester, PA live on ESPN2); MLS-DC United @ Chicago Fire (Saturday 4pm from Chicago live on Comcast SportsNet); College Soccer: Clemson @ Maryland (Saturday 7pm Ludwig Field); Boston University @ UMBC (Friday 8pm from UMBC Stadium live on Fox Soccer Channel)

This one is going to be tough. I love America, we all know that. But Sofia Vergara (of “Modern Family” fame) is from Columbia…

sofia

3. College Basketball: Maryland Madness (Friday 7:45pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet) Maryland Media Day (Thursday Comcast Center)

Should the Terrapins still be holding Midnight Madness at…you know…midnight…in order to honor the fact that the whole event STARTED with Lefty Driesell in College Park? I think so, but no one pays me to think. Thank God for that.

The problem is…we’ve got a lot of other very important things going on in College Park at midnight on Friday night…

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

Wasn’t what you were expecting, was it?

2. College Football: Maryland @ Clemson (Saturday 12pm from Clemson, SC live on ACC Network-WJZ 13 in Charm City), SMU @ Navy (Saturday 3:45pm from Navy-Marine Corps Stadium live on CBS College Sports)

My 12th grade journalism teacher went to Clemson. I didn’t like the Tigers then, and I certainly don’t like them now. Howard’s Rock? More like, take that stupid rock and hit someone upside the head with it, am I right?

Wait…what’s that you say???

clemson

Don’t try….

1. NFL: Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots (Sunday 1pm from Foxborough live on CBS)

Think it’s about time for another trip to Gillette Stadium, huh?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xEmhF9oPMc[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 03 August 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: MLL Lacrosse-Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Boston Cannons (Saturday 7pm from Boston live on ESPN3.com); Soccer-NASL: Miami FC @ Crystal Palace Baltimore (Wednesday 2pm Maryland SoccerPlex), MLS: DC United @ New England Revolution (Saturday 7:30pm from Foxborough, MA live on MLS Direct Kick & Comcast SportsNet); WNBA-Washington Mystics @ Atlanta Dream (Tuesday 7:30pm from Atlanta live on ESPN2); Boxing: Devon Alexander vs. Andriy Kotelnik (Saturday 10pm from St. Louis live on HBO), ShoBOX: Chris Avalos vs. Christopher Martin (Friday 11pm from Hinckley, MN live on Showtime)

10. Goo Goo Dolls (Tuesday 5:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Lilith Fair feat. Sarah MacLachlan (Tuesday 3pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Keane (Thursday 7pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Arcade Fire (Friday 7pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Summer Spirit Festival feat. The Roots, Common, Erykah Badu, B.O.B. (Saturday 3:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Barenaked Ladies (Sunday 7pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Kings of Leon (Saturday 7:30pm Jiffy Lube Live), Mayhem Festival feat. Korn & Rob Zombie (Sunday 2:15pm Jiffy Lube Live); Willie Nelson (Tuesday 8pm Wolf Trap), Hippiefest feat. War & Mitch Ryder (Sunday 8pm Wolf Trap), Counting Crows (Monday 8pm Wolf Trap); Sick Puppies (Friday 7pm Sonar); Asia (Tuesday 7:30pm Birchmere), Jonny Lang (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Alex Band of “The Calling” (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); “The Other Guys” out in theaters (Friday)

I’m really hit and miss when it comes to the Goo Goo Dolls. Sometimes I think they’re much too sappy, sometimes they put out a jam like “Slide”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP4qdefD2To[/youtube]

There’s like nothing…in the world…better than The Roots…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n94URvpQOAc[/youtube]

There isn’t much of anyone I’d drive to Bristow, Virginia to see…but I’d at least consider it for a band like Kings of Leon. I mean…they did “Manhattan”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lp-2-7uuCtc[/youtube]

Not a whole lot of you will have heard of Sick Puppies, but it shouldn’t keep you from going to Sonar to check them out. They’re actually pretty good. When I would sit it on 98KUPD in Phoenix, I would regularly get them switched into the rotation…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okjxe8VWQPo[/youtube]

9. Baltimore International Festival/6th Annual Mayor’s Cup Soccer Tournament (Saturday-Sunday Poly/Western High School)

Winner gets a free XBox!!!

Oh wait…that was the other mayor.

You know what my favorite tent is at the international festival? The AMERICAN tent! I hope they have Buffalo Chicken Dip and episodes of Holly’s World…that’s what makes our country great!

8. Pro Wrestling: TNA “HardCORE Justice” (Sunday 8pm from Orlando live on Pay-Per-View); WWE “Wrestlemania 26″ replay (Saturday 9pm NBC)

Usually including Pro Wrestling events is just an excuse for me to put in pictures of hot wrestling chicks. Not this time. Why? Because I love both of these events. One-the TNA event is an ECW reunion.  Anything that involves more Rob Van Dam makes me (and God I believe) happy…

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

Two…WM26 was Shawn Michaels’ final match. Once again, I (and God) approve…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3EGgJgbfvM[/youtube]

7. Golf: PGA Tour Turning Stone Resort Championship (Thursday-Sunday 4pm from Verona, NY live on Golf Channel), Champions Tour 3M Championship (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm, Sunday 7pm from Blaine, MN live on Golf Channel)

Stuart Appleby shot a 59 in some Golf Tournament Classic thingy last weekend, and apparently that’s impressive.  I’m not sure I agree. I shot a 44 myself at Maui Golf a few weeks ago when I was in Ocean City!

Speaking of Ocean City, former Intern Genna lives in Ocean City now. I wonder what she’s up to???

genna

Exactly what I expected.

6. Auto Racing: NASCAR Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen (Sunday 1pm from Watkins Glen, NY live on ESPN), IndyCar Series Honda Indy 200 (Sunday 2:30pm from Lexington, OH live on VERSUS)

If my life depended on it, I couldn’t tell you who won last week’s NASCAR race. I’ll go with Terry Labonte. He’s good, right?

Speaking of NASCAR, some guy named Basil Marceaux is running for governor in Tennessee. I think you’ll understand the transition after you watch the video…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hvaeHllwtw[/youtube]

5. Swimming: Conoco Phillips National Championships (Tuesday & Wednesday 9pm live on Universal Sports, Saturday 4pm Sunday 4:30pm on NBC; live webcast throughout at Swimnetwork.com. All swimming from Irvine, CA)

I’ve used all of my Michael Phelps material. Frankly, I’ll just be rooting for the dude at this point. I mean-he’s from Charm City. I want him to win.

Instead, I’ll just post this picture of Amanda Beard. She may or may not still be a swimmer. Like it matters…

amandabeard

4. National Sports Collectors Convention (Thursday-Sunday Baltimore Convention Center)

How about that? For the VERY reasonable price of $110, I can get John Riggins’ autograph!

How about for an additional 40 bucks, I get to put him in a Ric Flair sharpshooter???

I’m sure there are people in the world that are excited about this type of event. I’m just not one of them. Paying money for someone’s signature-or for the chance to take a picture of them-is something I’m COMPLETELY uninterested in. Unless of course that person is John Stamos. Yeah, I’d pay money to meet him…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCOOI9IETCI[/youtube]

For the record, my Fantasy Football team name this year IS Jesse & The Rippers. What else would it be?

3. Tennis: ATP Tour U.S. Open Series Legg Mason Tennis Classic (Tuesday-Sunday William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center in Rock Creek Park; Thursday 4pm live on Tennis Channel, Friday 12pm & 7pm live on ESPN2 5pm live on Tennis Channel, Saturday 1pm live on Tennis Channel 7pm live on ESPN2, Sunday 3pm live on ESPN2 8pm live on Tennis Channel)

Yes-of COURSE I’m going to watch tennis this week, even if it means I have to venture into the cesspool that is our nation’s capital. Why? Like you even need to ask…

nalbandian

And you thought you knew what I was going to say there…

2. Mixed Martial Arts: UFC 117-Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen (Saturday 10pm from Oakland live on Pay-Per-View)

Anderson Silva is one of the greatest fighters in MMA history.

You could bump into Chael Sonnen at Royal Farms today and have no idea who he was or what he did for a living. (Edit form GMC: Yeah, that’s a variation of a Bert Sugar joke. Deal with it.)

Yet for some reason, Chael Sonnen thinks it appropriate to make comments like these…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFpePVQ68FM[/youtube]

“The Michael Jackson of MMA”…that’s actually really good.

1. Ravens Training Camp (Tuesday, Thursday & Monday 8:45am & 2:45pm, Wednesday & Friday 8:45am & 2pm, Sunday 2:45pm McDaniel College; Saturday 12pm M&T Bank Stadium); Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (Saturday 7pm from Canton, Ohio live on NFL Network); Hall of Fame Game: Dallas Cowboys vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday 8pm from Canton, Ohio live on NBC)

I know a gal who is a BIG fan of the Dallas Cowboys. I am not. In fact, the only thing we tend to agree about is that the Redskins suck. But with that in mind, I’m not much for the Bengals either. Therefore, the only acceptable result Sunday night would be a scoreless tie.

In the meantime-I will be willing to admit that I find Chad Ochocinco humorous. For example…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHXZ62wwmRE[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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10 Things I’d Like To See This Summer

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10 Things I’d Like To See This Summer

Posted on 23 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

With “The Morning Reaction” wrapping early this morning so Drew Forrester and I can go root for Team USA to top Algeria at Looney’s in Canton; I won’t have enough time to post a full Crabs & Beer update.

Instead, I figured I’d go “simple column” this morning. We’re on Day 3 of summer today, although it’s been hot enough to feel like each day lasts for 3 days this summer. Between now and September 22 when summer officially ends, there are some things I’d like to see…

10. 1 more game from Team USA in the World Cup

soccer

This is Number 10 because it’s the event closest to now. An appearance in the Round of 16 won’t really be all that historic for the Americans, as they’ve reached at least the round of 16 in 2 of their last 4 trips to the World Cup. BUT-here in town, having the Americans play significant games has been really nice in this area. We had a packed house in Bel Air last Friday for the Slovenia match, and Patriot Plaza in Towson was packed for the England match before that.

During matches, Facebook and Twitter have been wild with Team USA discussion. This area has really been galvanized by having a team that we root for play significant games. I don’t need to even begin to explain that it doesn’t happen in baseball anymore.

Selfishly, I’d like to see the Americans play two or even THREE more games before the World Cup ended. As close as we could get to the start of Training Camp would be really nice. That being said, I’ll be realistic. Just one more game would be particularly nice to keep folks in this area excited about…well…anything.

9. Robert Randolph in Baltimore

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkDH1wON7UU[/youtube]

If you didn’t go to Artscape last year, you might not understand. The most electric night of the year in Charm City last summer was the night Robert Randolph rocked Artscape (see above). I guess you could argue that Bruce Springsteen playing 1st Mariner Arena in the fall was more electric because it was in front of a bigger crowd, but there was just something so unbelievably special about that night at Artscape.

It was the type of night that was unbelievably Baltimore. The crowd was as diverse a group of people as you could imagine seeing on a street corner. The show was as good as you would expect from Robert Randolph (and the Family Band), but it was BETTER because it was free, it was in Baltimore, and it was at an event that is attended by folks from all walks of life in town.

I have no doubt that Wale will play a great set at Artscape this year, as acts like Citizen Cope and The Roots have done in the past. There’s a chance that I might go see Robert Randolph in Philadelphia or Dewey Beach this summer as well. But it won’t quite be the same. What happened last summer was SPECIAL. I’d love to see a way that it could happen again in Baltimore this summer.

8. A tall receiver makes the Ravens roster

harper

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure that Demetrius Williams, Justin Harper or Eron Riley (or even Rodelin Anthony for that matter) are any good. Williams and Harper have had their chances on the active roster, and have little to show for it. Harper has played in just two games (both last season), and Williams caught just 4 TD’s in his 4 year career.

That being said, in past years-the team has had no option but to let them on the roster. That’s not the case this season. The Ravens HAVE receivers. Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and Donte’ Stallworth are ALL going to make the team. Mark Clayton, Marcus Smith, David Reed and the receivers listed above are all in the mix to make the team as well. If one of the tall receivers makes the team, it’s NOT going to happen just because the team has no other choice. All of these guys are going to have to go to Westminster and make an impact at Training Camp.

The Ravens offense appears to be primed for their best season in team history. Joe Flacco, Michael Oher, Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin are enough pieces to have some pundits (like Bill Matt Williamson at ESPN.com) say that the team has the best offense in the AFC North. The only thing missing is a legitimate threat from a tall receiver. Hopefully one of these guys will separate themseves at McDaniel College and prove that they can be counted on.

7. Brock Lesnar beats Shane Carwin

brock

I consider myself a UFC fan. Heck, I consider myself a fan of all Mixed Martial Arts in general. That being said, on a scale of 1-10, I’m probably a 6 when it comes to my MMA fandom. I attend John Rallo’s “Shogun Fights” events, I went to the UFC Pay-Per-View in Philly last summer, I watch “The Ultimate Fighter” on SpikeTV, and I even occassionally wander over to Hooters or somewhere that shows the fights for free.

That being said, the only time in MY LIFE when I have plunked down 50 bucks of my own money to watch a fight was last July when Brock Lesnar faught Frank Mir. I wasn’t the only one. In fact, the fight did 1.6 million PPV buys, making it the most purchased PPV event of the year. It was the biggest event in UFC history, and gave the sport some absolute juice.

What made the event better was the fact that despite it being headlined by a former WWE champion, it had real legitimacy to it. The fight was an honest-to-God fight for the UFC Heavyweight title between two deserving fighters. It wasn’t Kimbo Slice. It wasn’t Herschel Walker. The best thing for the UFC is to have more events like that in the future.

For that to happen, Brock Lesnar needs to beat Shane Carwin. I hope he does.

6. Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne get real chances to make NBA rosters

tersp

Greivis Vasquez is going to hear his name called Thursday night during the NBA Draft, and there’s no question in my mind that he will be on a NBA roster when the season tips off. (When does the season tip off, by the way?)

But the other two Maryland seniors aren’t nearly that type of sure thing. Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne have each spent the last month or so traveling the country and trying to prove themselves capable of playing in the NBA. Teams like the Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers have given them looks, but it’s unlikely that either of them will hear their name called Thursday night.

That being said, I firmly believe both guys will end up in Las Vegas this summer playing in the NBA Summer League. I hope that after that, they each end up on a Training Camp roster with a REAL shot at making a team. Something tells me they’ll both end up in Europe eventually (I happen to think that Milbourne’s game is particularly well-suited for Europe), but I hope they both get a real chance to make it in the NBA first. Eric Hayes is NOT Steve Blake, but there’s a chance he could be Tim Legler.

These are both guys who were great competitors in College Park and made Terrapins alumni proud. They’re easy to root for, and I will absolutely be hoping for the best for both of them.

5. Maryland-Navy sold out on Labor Day, Inter Milan-Manchester City sold out in July

marylandnavy

Despite the fact that some folks think I should change my middle name to Testudo, I’m not excited about Terps football this season. I have a bad feeling that there isn’t enough talent to win the close games that Ralph Friedgen’s team lost a season ago.

That being said, having attended the last “Crab Bowl Classic” at M&T Bank Stadium, there are few football games in the world that I would be as excited to attend this season as I am about the Terrapins and Midshipmen on a day that just so happens to also be my birthday. The atmosphere when these teams met in 2005 was unbelievably electric. It was quite possibly the best atmosphere for any college football game I’ve ever attended, with MAYBE the exception of the Boise State-Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.

Inter Milan-Man City this summer clearly doesn’t have the juice of last summer’s AC Milan-Chelsea matchup, despite Inter winning the UEFA Champions League this season. But the event is still a world class soccer match, and it will provide a gauge for how Baltimore is viewed as a viable location for future major soccer events in town.

I like having big, exciting sporting events in town. With only 8 regular season NFL games (the two exhibition games aren’t really big or exciting) and Opening Day for the Orioles providing real juice, it helps to have one-off events that generate a spark in the area. To continue getting those events, the events that do come here must be well attended. I don’t really think both of these events will sell out (heck, I’m not sure either of them will), but it would go a long way for getting more events like these in the area.

4. Someone…making SOME sort of progress on the arena situation in Baltimore

arena

A lot of great things have happened in this state since Terry Hasseltine has been hired to get big events. Hasseltine has helped to bring the IndyCar Series to town, make strides in college football and soccer events, and make sure to keep the Preakness here in town.

That being said, there’s one area where NOTHING has happened that is unbelievably frustrating for sports fans in town.

24 months ago, the Baltimore Development Corporation reported that a new arena would be built downtown where the current 1st Mariner Arena sits. Since that time…ummm….well…have you heard anything new?

I’m not stupid. I don’t expect ground to be broken on an arena this summer. But it would be really nice to hear SOMETHING from Stephanie Rawlings-Blake or the leadership of the city about progress being made in the area. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

3. Andy Roddick playing on the 4th of July

roddick

This of course has EVERYTHING to do with the fact that I’m an obsessed A-Rod fan myself, but it is more than that as well. Tennis had a real chance for a resurgence in this country last summer when Andy Roddick took Roger Federer to the 5th set in the longest (game-wise) final in Wimbledon history. Roddick eventually fell short as Federer surpassed Pete Sampras to become the greatest grand slam champion in the history of the sport, but a Roddick win could have done wonders for the sport of tennis in America.

Andy Roddick has always played his best tennis in London. Despite having won his only grand slam at Flushing Meadows, he’s reached the finals three times at Wimbledon-having lost all three to Federer. The way he lost last year has to make you feel that if he REACHES the final again, he’d have a real chance to get over the hump.

He’s not a better player than Federer or Rafael Nadal. But if he can win at Wimbledon, it would lead to a much better American atmosphere surrounding the U.S. Open.

2. An acceptance that “The Plan” was a joke to begin with

macphail

I’m not going as far as to say the Birds should consider parting ways with Andy MacPhail. I just don’t want to hear any more about “The Plan.” “The Plan” has gone 19-51 this season, and there is just no reason to believe that the O’s will be any better next season despite the “young core” assembled.

I want to know what the team is going to do to WIN. And I want to know what they’re going to do to win in 2011. That was the promise all along, right?

I just don’t want to hear about “The Plan” ever again. Unless “The Plan” is no more than a plan to WIN.

1. A Ravens win Sept. 13 in East Rutherford

jets

As I’ve told to anyone who would listen, I really believe the Baltimore Ravens are Super Bowl contenders. That being said, I also think the New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers are Super Bowl contenders.

For the positive vibes to keep flowing, a win at the Meadowlands would go a long way.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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