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O’s Today: Johnson shut down; Hill throws – finally

Posted on 15 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

One step forward and two steps back.  That pretty much sums up the O’s pitching in spring training.

Danys Baez is back.  His most recent effort was decent.   That’s the good news.

Jim Johnson, however, is now on the shelf for at least a week.  That’s not good news.  Johnson is going to be shut down for a week with a right shoulder impingement.  Team officials are saying it’s merely a case of using caution with Johnson – but we all know that’s how it starts.  ”He just needs a few days of rest.”  Followed by, “He’s going to get an MRI to make sure everything is sound in there.”  Then, it’s “The injury turned out to be worse than we first thought.”

Let’s hope that’s not the case with Johnson, who is one of the team’s more reliable right handed pitchers and will no doubt be the team’s 7th inning “bridge pitcher” in ’09, with the responsibility of getting the ball to Chris Ray and George Sherrill.

Meanwhile, Rich Hill, bothered all spring with a sore throwing arm, tossed 26 pitches in a side session with pitching coach Rick Kranitz today.  Hill reported that everything felt great and he’s anticipating making his spring training debut next Saturday.  Already penciled in as the team’s #3 starter by most followers, Hill’s condition is of great concern to the O’s.  If he can’t start the season in Baltimore, that most certainly means the O’s starting rotation will include some combination of Radhames Liz, Hayden Penn, Brad Bergesen and, possibly, David Pauley. 

O’s 2nd baseman Brian Roberts has joined the USA team in the WBC after an oblique injury sidelined Boston’s Dustin Pedroia.

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O’s Today: Pauley struggles

Posted on 11 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

With only Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara guaranteed rotation-life as starters for the Orioles, each spring training game gives another pitcher an opportunity to impress manager Dave Trembley.

Today, among others, it was David Pauley’s chance to shine.

It wasn’t pretty.

Pauley – out of options and therefore, a must-keep for the O’s on their opening day roster – gave up eight hits and a walk in three innings of work today as the Birds lost to Minnesota, 4-3.  He’s now allowed 20 hits and 22 baserunners in 9.1 innings of Grapefruit League work – and his e.r.a. is a not-so-swift 7.71.

If Pauley’s spring ERA was 2.35, the O’s would be excited.  Instead, it’s his WHIP (walks/hits allowed per inning) that’s 2.35.  

They’re not excited about a guy with a 2.35 WHIP.

With Rich Hill sore-arming it through spring training and still looking for his first real action – and Brad Hennessey shelved with an arm injury as well…the pickins’ are pretty slim for the O’s as they try to complete their starting rotation before the April 6 opener. 

Apparently, if nearly 10 innings of spring training work can serve as a fair barometer — David Pauley is probably not the answer.

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Ravens and their “Cap” might not fit Ray’s head now

Posted on 04 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

As Silent-Ray (Day 6) rolls on, the Ravens are moving about the business of trying to find players, draft players and prepare for the 2009 team.  That would be with — or without — Ray Lewis.

The Ravens are still banking on the fact that no one else in the league wants Ray Lewis at the rate they’re willing to pay him in Baltimore.  They might be right.  They probably ARE right, in fact.

Remember, though, as I’ve said all along during this process, it only takes one team to screw it up for the Ravens.  It could be ANY team in the league throwing Ray a cash-bone.  That wouldn’t mean Ray would go play in Detroit, for example, but any offer that rivals or trumps the one in Baltimore would be a problem for the Ravens when you look at their cap situation, which I’ve chronicled below.

And if you’re sitting there right now saying, “no team in the league is going to pay for a 34-year old linebacker in the late November of his career,” might I remind you – gently – that the Minnesota Vikings could have been thinking that on Tuesday about their free-agent, soon-to-be-33-year old center, Matt Birk.  The only problem with that thought?  Birk’s in Baltimore and the Ravens might be the “one team” willing to pay him as much or more than the Vikings.

I can hear them now in Minnesota:  ”It only takes one team.”  Followed by: “Yeah, but no one in the league wants an 11-year veteran center who still thinks he’s worth a lot of money.”

Tell that to Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta.

Ray’s still holding out hope he can find that “one team” to upset the apple cart.  I’m fairly certain he’s trying to do that today, in fact, in concert with his agent, David Dunn.

Now, on to the other major issue facing the Ravens:  The salary cap.

As I wrote last week – and fielded a bunch of “expert” criticism from folks who thought my numbers were wrong (they weren’t) – the Ravens are running short on salary cap dough.

After last week’s signing of Domonique Foxworth, and the restricted free agent tenders to Landry, Koch and Williams, Baltimore’s available cap space is now a hair over $10 million for the 2009 season.  And, yes, before you ask — that INCLUDES the additional $4 million given to all the teams last week.

With roughly $10.1 million remaining to be spent, what do the Ravens do?

They can still part company with Samari Rolle and save themselves about $2 million in ’09.  They wouldn’t have to pay him the $4.1 million they owe him but there’d be a couple million in “dead money” to deal with on the ’09 cap.

Rolle spoke out last weekend about “wanting his release” from the club.  Based on every nickel counting at this point – cap wise – that might not be a bad thing.  No one else on the club is really expendable, cap-wise, without major dead-money weight to deal with in ’09 and ’10.  Willie Anderson would save them about $3 million and some change if they axe him, but the Ravens were extremely pleased with him last season and probably aren’t interested in moving him on at this point.

If you don’t think future “dead money” is something to concern yourself with, remember that this year’s cap – 2009 – features nearly $12 million in dead-money, courtesy of bonus monies paid out to Ogden, McNair and McAlister in previous years.

Back to the original question:  What are the Ravens going to do with this $10 million they have left to spend?

It appears as if the Ravens will need about $3.5 million to spend on their ’09 college draft picks.

That leaves roughly $6.5 million to spend on “players”, aka free-agents.

News item:  I’m not sure who in Baltimore first floated this mysterious $17 million guarantee/$24 million offer for Ray Lewis, but I don’t think it’s accurate.  It can’t be.  Unless the Ravens are just going to give Ray the remaining $6.5 million for 2009, somehow.  I haven’t had this confirmed by anyone in Owings Mills yet, but I’m willing to bet the Ravens’ original offer of $12mm up front and $18 million total is still their working number.  I’ll report back if I have that confirmed…or, if I’m wrong, even.

$6.5 million left to spend, give or take a hundred grand or two.  Matt Birk might eat up 75% of that today.

Where, then, would that leave Ray?  Is that original Ravens’ offer still on the table?  The Ravens are telling me “yes, absolutely.”  In fact, if history serves me correctly, I think the only offer the Ravens ever removed from the table was when Gary Baxter jerked them around four years ago and they just said, “Enough is enough…we’re haggling with a dude who is basically an average player at best.”  And, of course, off Baxter went to Cleveland for big money…but he never even approached “average” in a Browns uniform.  He was terrible there and the Ravens, it turned out, were right on that one.

Ray Lewis wants his money.  The Ravens are running out of it.

$6.5 million to spend.

It’s not a lot of cash.

Not in the NFL, at least.

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O’s Rich Hill scratched from first spring training start

Posted on 01 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

Rich Hill (LHP) has been removed from today’s Orioles lineup and will not start against the Washington Nationals in Viera, FL due to left elbow stiffness.

David Pauley – acquired in the off-season from Boston – will get the start instead.  Pauley was originally scheduled to follow Hill in today’s Grapefruit League game against the Nats.

Hill pitched in only 5 games for the Cubs last season while battling injuries and was acquired in January for a player to be named later. 

If he only pitches 5 games for the Orioles this year, the Cubs might just wink and say, “let’s just call it even…you can keep Hill and his medical bills.”

The O’s beat the Marlins, 4-2, on Saturday.

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Strange daze for Ray Lewis and the Ravens

Posted on 28 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve had the rare good fortune that most of you haven’t had over the past six weeks. Sometimes it kinda gets lost on me that as a media member for 25 years here in Baltimore, I get to do what every PSL owner and fan would love to do: actually sit with Steve Bisciotti and Ray Lewis and ask them questions.

In one eight day span last month, I got to sit with Bisciotti in Owings Mills (on video here) and with Ray Lewis in Tampa (one of four videos here) and ask them the exact same question: “Do you think this contract thing could get awkward for you?”

Both of them sort of skirted the question. You can see their exact answers for yourself with a click so there’s no need for me to transcribe here. The bottom line is this: I think six weeks later it’s a pretty fair question and I give myself bonus journalism points for asking the question of both men. I really don’t know if anyone had mentally taken the “free agency” train into the reality of yesterday’s situation and lo and behold, yesterday, the day of reckoning arrived and it wasn’t pretty and still stands to potentially get uglier.

It is the strangest of strange days for the organization, for Ray Lewis and most certainly for the fans who just want to know what’s going on. From WNST.net to AM 1570 to all of our Facebook accounts, Baltimore was abuzz with “Raymania” all day Friday.

Is he staying? Is he going? Will it be the Cowboys? Or the Broncos? Or the Jets? Or some darkhorse team we didn’t know was in the mix? Plenty of other players were on private lear jets and commercial flights and the NFL free agency media web mania began in earnest just after midnight. Hell, I got a text message from Peter King about Bart Scott at 2:15 AM! (No, I’m not kidding!) For the record, Peter King gave me the Namath guarantee at 8:15 a.m. this morning that Bart Scott would be a New York Jet by the end of the day. (I have no idea when the man sleeps but I love him!)

But as Jason Brown was running off to sign a $37.5 million deal with the lowly St. Louis Rams (so long JB…we’ll miss ya, man!) and Bart Scott was trying on a green cap and bringing Hot Sauce to the Big Apple, Ray Lewis was sitting at home in Florida trying to do damage control. And as we all know, public relations isn’t No. 52′s strong suit.

Let’s count the stories, tales and tacky details of this messy – and yes ‘AWKWARD’ – negotiation.

It started right after the Steelers beat the Ravens in Pittsburgh. Ray Lewis ducked the media and all questions about his future. Fair enough. Ten days later he sat on our set at Radio Row in Tampa for 15 minutes (his first interview with me since 1999) and talked a LOT about God deciding his fate. He told Anita Marks even less than that and she asked softballs as usual so nothing came from that “public appearance.”

About five days later in preparation for the Pro Bowl, he was canoodling with Jamie Dukes in a “shoot” interview on the sands of Hawaii. He openly and happily broached the possibilities of becoming a New York Jet and/or a Dallas Cowboy. Fans here in Baltimore bristled more than a little. Word is strong that Steve Bisciotti bristled as well (I have no confirmation on that one, just the same rumors you’ve heard!) He decided to pass on an in-game field interview with Andrea Kramer of NBC during the Pro Bowl, eliminating the possibility of putting his foot in his mouth.

And so for nearly a month, we’ve fielded call after call, read words upon words about what the outcome of “Ray-Gate” would be in 2009. Would No. 52 be a “Raven for life” or would he take the autumn of his Hall of Fame career elsewhere for a larger payday?

Many observations exist:

Ray has closed his Canton BBQ restaurant and is ready to move on…

Ray is perturbed that the Ravens have only offered him $12 million in guaranteed money…

Ray told Demarcus Ware he wants to be a Dallas Cowboy…

Ray (heart) Rex Ryan…

Blah, blah, blah. It was all “talk is cheap” kinda stuff in anticipation of Black Friday, the day Ray Lewis would head for greener pastures (and maybe not even the Jets?)

And when yesterday finally came, when the time came for the owners to open their pocketbooks via their GM’s and personnel folks and everyone from Albert Haynesworth to Bart Scott to Jason Brown to Ryan Fitzpatrick was jetting off somewhere to have a press conference and some free appetizers, future Hall of Famer and Baltimore legend Ray Lewis was sitting at home in Florida waiting for the phone call from the second wife that never came. Like Matt Leinart and Brady Quinn in the greenroom in New York on the third Saturday of April, he paced the cage waiting for someone other than Ozzie Newsome to show up with a Brink’s truck.

And, worst of all, NFL.com’s very respected Adam Schefter reported a source close to Ray Lewis (clearly believed to be Rod Woodson or Deion Sanders, since they are co-workers of Schefter and co-friends on No. 52’s speed dial) as saying Ray was “done” with the Ravens and offended beyond repair. That report surfaced around 9 a.m. By 4 p.m. and with seven solid hours of silence and a major disturbance from the fan base here in Baltimore, apparently Lewis had heard enough and called Woodson in Los Angeles to retract, run away from or disassociate himself with anything regarding purple potty talk and Jerry Jones. Of course, we’d love to know who or what entity is giving Ray Lewis this “advice” on public relations and skilled negotiation since his real agent David Dunn is in the NFL’s pokey for being a lousy agent.

Which brings us to today, Day Two of free agency: what does this mean for Ray Lewis and Ravens?

Well, if Ozzie Newsome were being honest – really honest – he’d probably tell you that he would’ve predicted this all along. That Ray Lewis would be sitting by the phone and it wouldn’t be ringing because his offer was always going to be the best offer. He’d probably come completely clean and say in his Southern drawl, “I had it all sized up from the beginning. I gave him what he’s worth, maybe even more than he’s worth to any other team. He’ll be a Raven because we want him the most and we’ll pay him the most. But he might have to sit at home by the phone and find that out on his own.”

I had several league insiders tell me that Ray Lewis was going to get his feelings hurt yesterday and they were right.

Of course, Newsome will never say that. But I will. Newsome has said publicly that it would only take one team, one major offer to Ray Lewis to change the game and the course. It was never even intimated that Newsome would move off of his “number” for Ray Lewis. You know the Newsome credo: right player, right price. And everyone from Steve Bisciotti down said that the owner would stay out of this negotiation.

The Ravens are reportedly offering Ray Lewis – a 34-year old aging superstar on a team that was four minutes away from the Super Bowl – about $17 million in guaranteed fresh money for the autumn of his career and some sort of “implied” final contract to make him a “Raven for life.” He’ll be lauded and feted into perpetuity here in Baltimore as a legend. Bob Haynie, Drew Forrester and I had the debate last week at Sullivan’s Steakhouse about whether No. 52 is on the Baltimore “Mount Rushmore.”

Now, the question remains: Will he take the Ravens deal?

Or are his feelings really hurt? Did he really want the Cowboys to call? Was all of this about getting leverage to push the negotiation with the Ravens, who’ve never wavered from the fact that they want Ray Lewis forever? Or was his “mystery” NFL Network friend telling the truth, that Ray Lewis is less than thrilled about continuing his career in Baltimore?

Who knows if we’ll ever know?

But you have to believe that we’re now past the point where his phone will be ringing with a higher offer later in the weekend from Jerry Jones or Pat Bowlen. If a team was serious about Ray Lewis, wouldn’t they have called already? And wouldn’t he be gone already?

We know one thing: Daniel Snyder didn’t want him to be a Redskin!

Strange daze indeed.

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R.I.P. to The Baltimore Examiner and “So you wanna be a sports media star?”

Posted on 16 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Where have the old-time “voices in sports media” gone in our community? Who are the commentators who “matter?” Does ANYONE’s opinion on radio or TV or in the newspaper or on the web matter?  Did it ever? And where is the internet heading and what lies ahead for the next generation of sports media in Baltimore? These are all topics and questions on my mind as The Baltimore Examiner closed its doors on Valentine’s weekend. So stands the old white “masthead” lights over the harbor tonight — the light in the ‘r’ is ironically burned out on Pratt Street — and another dream has been vanquished for another “out of town” media entity whose management thought they would whisk into Baltimore, urinate on highly unpopular (yet unchallenged) bully of The Sun, which is such a corporate “lamb” these days that it’s in bankruptcy, and dominate the market with a concept and a primary medium whose time has clearly passed.

Today’s blog will not be about sports as much as it will be about local sports media and how it works in 2009. And how much of a “mess” it is these days to be involved in old world media. For those of you who have been wondering where I’ve been for the past four years as the C.E.O. of WNST, I’ve been busy trying to build a dream called WNST.net. I’ve loved sports and newspapers here in Baltimore for 40 years and I’ve examined the marketplace and the changes from the front lines over the past 17 years as an independent and authentic voice in a sea of corporate mediocrity in local sports journalism. Quite frankly, it’s the reason WNST and I can exist in a world full of formerly fully-funded media giants like CBS, Hearst, MASN, Tribune, Clear Channel, etc.

I might be stupid, but I’m not a dummy. In the old days, little WNST-AM and it’s 5,000 watts during daylight and 237 watts at night couldn’t keep up with the 50,000 watts WBAL was throwing out from Nova Scotia to Florida. Or the clarity and reach of the FM signal. And we certainly didn’t have a TV antenna to broadcast video anywhere outside of cable access. The best we could’ve done was a late-night show or a Sunday morning “roundtable” discussion ala Tom Davis. Or something along the lines of Wayne’s World over at Essex Community College. (I really wish we would’ve done that, by the way!) And we didn’t have a printing press – well, aside from the “Nasty Newsletter” every few months anyway – to distribute news and information and opinions to our AM listeners.

But, voila, via the internet we can distribute our honest and authentic brand of media — video, audio, news, text, blogs, pictures, contests and promotions — via this little website you’re reading right now. And, according to all of our indicators, you’ve been coming to WNST.net in a big way as our website has gotten more mature. (Wait’ll you see what’s coming in the next few months here!)

The loss of The Baltimore Examiner has given me reason to believe that we’ve now seen the last “newspaper” that will ever try to come to Baltimore and “beat The Sun.” And of course, what The Sun will become over the next decade remains to be seen. I have no axe to grind with the world of newspapers – I spent my entire childhood wanting to be involved with one and all of my adolescence living and working inside of The New American and The Sun, thriving on Calvert Street, living out my childhood dream running around with athletes and rock stars and cool writers like Rafael Alvarez, David Simon, Jacques Kelly and other throwbacks who were true “reporters” of the story of life in Baltimore. I dreamed of being Oscar Madison and Charley Eckman and John Steadman and Howard Cosell all rolled up into one. My Pop loved the newspaper and I loved the newspaper and I chased that dream the first 30 years of my life.

And when newspapers fail, a little piece of my life and my soul dies with them. All I ever wanted to be as a child was a newspaper reporter. (It was that or a baseball player and I wasn’t built for it and I would’ve had to have shot up with steroids and watch my gonads shrink, anyway, if I would’ve been good enough t be a big leaguer. I would have “arrived” in the prime of the “culture” of the juice and the needle and clear and the cream. I would’ve looked like Bret Boone for crying out loud!)

Inevitably, when a newspaper dies locally I have dear friends who lose their jobs like several did this weekend. My old boss and mentor Mike Marlow worked there. So did Anne Boone and Sean Welsh. And Michael Olesker and Gary Gately and Matt Palmer at one point. So, for all of them, I’m not the least bit cheerful. But I have a horror story to tell about my experience with The Examiner and how the world works in this environment of corporate media and “localization” of their homogenized “product” and their “branding initiatives.”

When the announcement came in early 2006 that The Examiner was coming to town I heard the buzz like everyone else. Someone was coming to Baltimore to try to compete with The Sun. Another big market daily newspaper was to emerge amidst a total recession and regression in the newspaper industry. Many advertisers and local ad agencies lined up to buy ANYTHING that “wasn’t The Sun.” Some feelings were hurt for sure. That was almost three years ago. Today, you can go to The Examiner’s website and see “final columns” from Frank Keegan, Bob Leffler and many others who worked hard to make The Examiner successful but failed in their mission to sustain a profitable local business. You can also see other ex-Sun’ers blogs like David Ettlin’s here, lamenting the loss of another major market voice in print. There are opinions ablaze all over the web. There’s a whole network of former newspaper workers who are all linked up on Facebook.

Because I believe in freedom of speech and disclosure, I want to tell the only story I honestly have about my dealings with The Baltimore Examiner. And I’ll give my honest assessment of its impact on my life as a reader, albeit I’m much more of an online consumer of media these days like anyone else under the age of 50 who has been exposed to Facebook and mobile devices.

Back to Spring 2006: The nice folks at The Examiner contacted me repeatedly all spring and summer about writing a sports column for them. I told them I had a “gig” being the C.E.O. of a growing media company that I own but I’d be interested in writing for the newspaper. I was taken to a series of happy hours and dinner, being wined and dined and being wooed by their top brass. I sat with the publisher. I sat with the editor. They talked about “loving” my “loose cannon” approach. I told them I would speak the truth, nothing more inflammatory or controversial than “the truth.” They told me all of that old rhetoric about “free speech” and “shoot from the hip” and “stir things up,” like some sort of halftime pep talk. It was like a “win one for The Gipper” speech. Again, I told them I’d write the truth — nothing more, nothing less.

They were offering me a deal I could’ve easily refused. They wanted me to write for their tabloid newspaper for free – as a “promotional” piece for my then-radio station, WNST-AM 1570. I’d write three columns a week. They’d get a free, professional and authentic Baltimore voice. Oh, and did I mention I OFFERED to do it FOR FREE! (Not that it was probably worth much more than that…but it also spoke volumes about their business plan and the payroll.)

They still wanted to negotiate ad rates on and around my columns and we finally agreed to a deal. We shook hands. I got some free print ads to promote WNST in exchange for my work. It was a fair deal for both of us. I have all of the emails with the contractual details. We agreed I’d write for the inaugural edition, which coincided with the first day of Ravens training camp. I vigorously promoted the fact that The Examiner would be featuring my daily column on WNST-AM 1570. We even did ads on the radio for it. I wrote about it on our crappy old website. As a kid growing up wanting to have a column in The Sun or The News American, it was still a thrill to be getting published in a major metropolitan newspaper as a sports columnist.

So, the day before the first publication I wrote a “drinking the purple Kool Aid” piece about the hope we all get on the first day of NFL camp. It was a very innocuous piece about the Ravens. Nothing particularly controversial at all, just the fan in me talking about how great the first weekend of August is for anyone who loves football.

A few weeks earlier, during the 4th of July weekend, I had started to write a column (then called “The Moon”) on WNST.net about Peter Angelos and the Orioles and why no one cares and why no one would do anything to protest the team’s shody treatment of the community. Alas, after a few thousand emails from angry ex-Orioles fans and ticket buyers, I was plotting a “Free The Birds” protest on Sept. 21, 2006. Word got to The Baltimore Examiner about my blog and instead of calling me and telling me the deal to be a columnist was “off,” they nixed my column at the 11th hour and my work never appeared in the paper. I got a phone call at 7 p.m. the night before the first edition. I was fired before I was hired and they made it clear that “free speech” and a true voice wasn’t welcomed at The Examiner.

They basically told me that I was “too controversial.” They said something about “free speech not being free.” So, after all of the promotion I did for their publication and my association with them (they paraded me around their “corporate kickoff” event at the Maryland Science Center and introduced me to all of their sponsors as their “lead sports writer”), I got kicked to the curb the night before their first editions hit the street. What could I possibly say at that point, after promoting The Examiner on the radio for three weeks and doing guest segments on WNST all day about my “columnist” status?

I just told the truth: The Examiner thought my stance against the Orioles and Peter Angelos would cost them money and they threw me out before I ever got in. They didn’t want to challenge Angelos. They wanted to take his money instead and “dummy up.” They thought I would use my column in their paper to rally troops and support for Free The Birds. I suppose they thought I was one of those dreaded “community organizers?”

Fair enough? No column for me in The Baltimore Examiner. Shoot, I wasn’t getting paid anyway and I still have my voice at WNST.net, I thought…

Then I saw the product. Honestly, the first few days that I picked it up it didn’t have Oriole game stories, box scores and didn’t have an iota of information that I didn’t already know (again, I stopped reading The Sun in “newspaper format” about six years ago…I only read sports information online). It became pretty clear to me that they weren’t committed to properly covering Baltimore sports anyway, and it’s one of the first wake-up calls I had that I needed to create a bigger and better WNST out on the web. After seeing it the first week, I was actually happy I wasn’t involved because it was clearly not a good situation. As you know, I later did a twice-weekly column for ‘b’ The Magazine (a Tribune/Sun offshoot) that no one ever read. I wrote 34 columns for ‘b’ between April and August of last year. Not ONCE did anyone ever walk up to me and mention anything they’d ever read. Not in four months!

Back to The Examiner: I can honestly tell you that I haven’t read The Examiner in at least two years and it rarely made it to the doorstep of WNST. Sometimes it was there, sometimes it wasn’t. No one ever called WNST to talk about an Examiner story, other than when their cool sports blogger Tony Giro (a legit Baltimore dude) had his Camden Yards upper deck ejection at a Red Sox game go public two summers ago and was told by The Examiner’s poobahs to cool it. Yo Tony! WNST needs you, man! (I’m a big Giro fan, by the way!)

Back to The Examiner and why it sucked for me: plain and simple, the news was old. At least a day old in the world of web, which to me is an eternity.

Like I said, I feel horribly for my friends who were employed there but that thing was doomed from the beginning. It was a newspaper in 2009 for crying out loud! It might as well be an “oldspaper” at this point in the game when a website like WNST.net is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right in the palm of your hand for free. And our coverage is droves better and more accurate and legitimate, with live radio, the text service for instant news, the best audio vault, cool videos of what’s happening around town and new features coming every month (wait’ll you see the additions for wnsTV this spring!!!). Oh, and we’re essentially a NONSTOP daily newspaper online. You might even call it a “sports section on steroids.” But that might be politically incorrect, right?

Which brings me to my own story and how the death of one medium begets the strength of another.

I’m back on the air. I love blogging. I love making videos on wnsTV. I’m having fun but I’d much rather give another person a shot at doing it who is better than me here at WNST.net. For 17 years, many folks have called me, written me letters and even told me personally, “Hey Nasty…YOU SUCK!” And sometimes, I’ve even agreed with them. But, alas, here is YOUR chance to think about doing this “sports media” thing for a living.

Or as my wife said to me on Friday night when I started talking to her about this “work” stuff, she said: “So, you call doing THAT work? Talking about sports for four hours a day and writing about it on the web?”

Yeah, it’s kinda like work. But you be the judge? Put your words and your thoughts and your mouth where the microphone is and tell me why you’re the next big Baltimore sports media sensation. I’m openly encouraging anyone who thinks they can REALLY do this for a living to Twitter me. Get involved.

My Facebook page is there for the friending. If you think you can do four hours of radio a day, write a legit blog 7-10 times per week, find sponsors to help support your work and shoot some video and go to events and report on events and do community events, drop me a professional resume and a cover sheet to nasty@wnst.net. We’re already No. 1 so you’d be joining the winning team. And we’re looking for winners.

Honestly, I’m really and truly looking for someone who is better at this than me. Is that you?

More to come…

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Another bad news day for Orioles as Alomar & Tejada are front and center

Posted on 11 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

There’s no doubt that “Roberto Alomar” and “AIDS” will be among the most googled phrases on the internet today, as these outlandish and crazy rumors start flying now that the N.Y. Post has outed a story of an ex-lover who has made allegations galore about the former Oriole All Star and potential future Hall of Famer, Roberto Alomar. Among them, the $15 million suit by his ex-girlfriend Ilya Dall alleges that Alomar had AIDS and had unprotected sex with her after being raped by two Mexican men. (Like I said, it’s a racy one!)

There are links everywhere and no doubt this will be a bloggers’ paradise today on the world wide web. While you are reading about Alomar on the New York Post, be sure to click on the insert piece about Darryl Strawberry’s sex life, circa 1986 and a preview of his upcoming book, “Straw: Finding My Way.”

Here’s a sample paragraph: Strawberry writes the goal on the road was to “tear up your best bars and nightclubs and take your finest women . . . The only hard part for us was choosing which hottie to take back to your hotel room. Lots of times you . . . picked two or three.”

It’s been a nice start to the baseball season, huh?

Let’s not forget that the two biggest stories of today involve two players — Miguel Tejada and Roberto Alomar — who the Baltimore Orioles and Orioles’ fans contributed millions of local dollars to their vast personal wealth. It’s another dark chapter of the Orioles’ dark recent history. And this is on the backside of the ARod saga, which no doubt will reach a crescendo at Camden Yards on Opening Day when 25,000 New York Yankees fans invade the stadium to see Baltimorean Mark Teixeira’s first game as a pinstriper.

Sick isn’t it? But back to Alomar and Tejada…

Alomar was the most skilled player I’ve ever seen play the game, probably the most raw talent of this generation because of his five-tool abilities. I was a big fan of Roberto Alomar. And he was a champion in Toronto and a class act there. Here in Baltimore his reputation was sullied by the spitting incident involving John Hirshbeck, when owner Peter Angelos came to Alomar’s defense and was an outspoken supporter of his second baseman. It was the contribution of Alomar’s spitting fine to Davey Johnson’s wife’s charity that wound up creating friction between King Peter and then-manager Johnson in 1997. Angelos used it publicly as a justification for firing Johnson. (Or, ahem, was it a “forced” resignation?)

Tejada, who is expected to plead guilty today in federal court in Washington, D.C. to perjury and potentially could go to prison, was the next most-talented player the Orioles have had in this generation, another five-tool superstar with MVP-like numbers consistently. He signed the richest deal in franchise history in 2003. He also made a bunch of bizarre, childish mistakes during all of the steroid investigations with stories about vitamins and B-12 shots and his “no speakie English” testamonies didn’t hold up. He was — just like Alomar — a wonderful player to watch play baseball. They were both a “reason” to go the ballpark. They were great, great, iconic baseball players who both get a Hall of Fame “yes” from me if the ballot ever came my way, if we’re only counting what happened between the lines.

But two of the team’s most productive players since the opening of Camden Yards have now been publicly indicted since the sun came up this morning, and Rafael Palmeiro and David Segui and Jason Grimsley and Albert Belle and Sidney Ponson aren’t even among the indicted.

Where have you gone Cal Ripken? And Brooks Robinson?

Like I said, this is what Orioles baseball has come to in 2009. Stories of the character of “heros of Birdland” coming out pretty filthy years later, after they’ve taken more than $100 million of local money out of town.

Not a low blow. Just a fact…

And reporting on these stories with facts like these above give the Orioles “justification” to ban the free speech of the local media and eliminate access from legitimate media.

Just think about it…

Baseball season is around the corner and we’re going to continue to write and speak the truth and the facts.

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Steroids: Others deserve scorn more than A-Rod

Posted on 09 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

Now, evidently, the witch hunt for baseball’s biggest villain has focused on Alex Rodriguez.

A-Rod, in case you missed it, flunked a couple of steroid tests back in 2003. In a method only baseball could conjure up, Rodriguez and 103 other players failed a test that really wasn’t a test. It was a wacky “pre-test” – done to determine if testing, in fact, was needed.

I know, it’s silly. Baseball has perfected the art of silly over the last dozen years or so.

Even more silly than pre-testing is the spotlight currently shining on A-Rod.

Why are we only hearing about Rodriguez and HIS failed test? What about the other 103 players and THEIR names and pictures? Why is the scrutiny just on him?

Breaking news: Baseball players used steroids. (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz)

It’s such a boring, tiresome subject there’s actually dust build-up on it.

Effective immediately, I’m no longer concerned about who used steroids because we never get the complete truth on who passed the test and who failed the test.

But, I do care about something else as it relates to steroids.

And, to me, it’s actually the story we should all be chasing right now.

I want to know this: “Who knew?”

Along the way, since ‘roids became the rage, where’s the secret list of the league executives, team owners, staffers and player personnel folks who have known the identity of the users?

Where is THAT list?

Everyone is quick to scoff at the players who have been caught. A-Rod is the new goat because he supposedly tested positive and it’s easy to ridicule him because of his abundant wealth, good looks and general snobby demeanor — funny enough, those three “charming traits” probably apply to about 75% of the players in the game today. If Chris Gomez flunked a test in ’03 and his name was revealed in 2009, would anyone care? Chris who…?

But, it’s A-Rod, and since jealousy is one of the best tasting items on the human menu, everyone wants to sink their teeth into #13.

I couldn’t care less about A-Rod and his failed tests.

At this point, what’s another player-name anyway?

I would love to see the who’s-who of names that knew about A-Rod and Barry and Roger and Jose and Mark and Sammy and the rest and the rest and the rest of them.

Who, in Baltimore, for example, knew about Gibbons and Segui and Bigbie and Roberts? Who knew? I guarantee you SOMEONE knew. Did the owner know? Did the GM know? Did the trainer know? Did the manager know?

Who, in St. Louis, knew McGwire was on the juice? What about Chicago? I’m sure folks in Cubbie-land were in the know when Sosa was pounding balls out of Wrigley Field in 1998.

Because the players get paid and the fans pay money to watch them play, people only seem to care about the guys in uniform.

The players are sheep.

If there’s a baseball stadium with lights on and a paycheck waiting, they’ll play anywhere, anytime.

The guys in suits and ties – they’re the shepherds. They’re the ones responsible for gathering the sheep together and helping them graze on the needles, the statistics and the glory.

The “suits” sign the players, set the ticket prices, sell the TV ads and rent the players so we all have a team to call our own.

The players only get away with what they can – because they can.

I want to see the list of the people who have checked-off on letting the players get away with using steroids.

Let’s put some scrutiny on those guys and gals.

Personally, I’m going to start placing the blame on the shepherds.

I’d love to see the list of the folks in baseball who contributed to this lost-decade by acting like they didn’t know anything when, in fact, they knew everything.

That’s the only list that matters now.

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Wigginton’s signing is a good one for the O’s

Posted on 03 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

It might have jammed up the team’s “utility-man-infrastracture” but today’s signing of Ty Wigginton is a good addition by the Orioles. 

He’s better than Kevin Millar.  He’s better than Chris Gomez. And, he’s better than Ryan Freel.

Personally, I think, he’ll be the O’s everyday third baseman in lieu of Melvin Mora by July 4th.

Look, he’s not A-Rod.  Ty Wigginton is a journeyman.  But he’s a good journeyman.  

That’s been my debate about their pitching additions this off-season.  They passed on GOOD pitchers like Jon Garland, A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe and, likely, Ben Sheets, who is still out there for the taking but evidently not better than, say, Rich Hill, Mark Hendrickson or a Japanese pitcher who has the same major league ERA as I do.

However, as unnecessary as the Hendrickson signing was, the Wigginton signing is beneficial.

He’s a GOOD journeyman.  You need one or two of those along the way to patch up the holes and give you some consistency in the dog days of August when, in the O’s case, you’re 25 games out of first place and the games don’t matter anymore.  ”Someone” has to play in those games.  

The Wigginton addition also potentially paves the way for a spring training trade of either Brian Roberts, Luke Scott, or both.  They’ve tried to sign Roberts over the winter but he’s heard “the story” one too many times from the O’s – “we’re gettin’ better, hang in there with us” – and is begging for a transfer, as Private Santiago did in “A Few Good Men”.  Scott is a decent-enough-hitter but not a gold glove candidate…and with Pie’s arrival from Chicago – and Freel and Wigginton both able to play left field – the O’s could also part company with Luuuukkkke if they could pull off a reasonable deal.

On the whole, It’s been an off-season filled with low-budget, “take a chance on me” type of player signings and acquisitions and Wigginton probably fits that criteria…but he’s a career .270 hitter and a capable defensive player and he’s only 31.  He can still play.  His history shows that.  He’s not a gamble, unlike a Rich Hill, Brad Hennessey or David Pauley.  Best of all, he’s actually coming to the O’s on the heels of a decent season in Houston, unlike some of their other off-season reaches like Hill, who, for example, pitched in 5 games a year ago before he was shut-down by the Cubs.  

It does create a possible logjam in the part-time player category, as Freel, Gomez and Wigginton are nearly identical images of each other.  Freel plays more outfield than the other two.  Gomez is the only one who can play shortstop – or has in the past – and Wigginton’s best position is probably third base.  But, in general, all three are fill-in types and that might be one more part-timer than the O’s really need.  Make no mistake about it, though, if you’re ranking the three, Wigginton is the best of the trio.

I like this signing.

It feels good to say (write) that.  

I must be getting soft.

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The Teixeira conundrum and Angelos conspiracy theory

Posted on 16 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Because this saga regarding Mark Teixeira and the Orioles and the Red Sox and the Nationals and the Angels has dragged on far too long it’s given me way too much time to think about it. And it’s really quite the mystery and little game from the media’s standpoint. And his uberagent Scott Boras just eats this up – when the media pits “offers” against each other with lots of zeroes. It’s gone so far that there were media people in the press box at the Ravens game with binoculars stalking down whether Tex was in the stadium and what sky box he might be in.

Yes, it’s gotten a little nutty and I have been entertained if not totally perplexed by the whole thing. There are still people in Baltimore (and many in the media who are being handsomely paid by Angelos via CBS Radio, MASN, The Sun, Orioles Hangout, Pressbox and others to be, ahem, “optimistic”) who honestly believe in their soul that the Orioles might actually be involved in a pennant race again sometime this century. For the record, as long as Angelos is alive and owns this team and continues to run it like he has for 15 years, I really don’t believe they’ll win. I believe it’s karma at this point. I would LOVE to be wrong, actually because this city is a morgue in the spring and summer compared to what the Ravens and hope bring us each Labor Day.

But as a fan and a Baltimorean what do you really want here?

There’s certainly a part of me that begs to have real baseball back in the Baltimore – the kind we see in October in the cities where it perpetually matters like New York, Boston, Chicago or in places like Philadephia or Detroit or even Denver where we’ve seen the game resurrected by a winning team. Or at least the mere chance to win.

Because I’m a little more removed and less emotionally involved in it on a daily basis (most of my energy to truly care has waned again), I honestly haven’t given a lot of thought to the Teixeira drama until the past week when all of a sudden it somehow miraculously seems like they have a shot to sign him. As recently as a month ago, general manager Andy McPhail was telling most people that it was extremely doubtful that the O’s would be involved in the Tex Sweepstakes at all. And that’s when most thought he’d get “about” $100 million.

Now, at the 13th hour and a week before Christmas it appears as though Angelos has gotten personally involved in the bidding war – same as he did in New York that day when he spent $173 million on the franchise that he has summarily destroyed on the field and in the community (but not in his pocketbook, thanks to Bud Selig getting a rectal examination and the threat of a whopper lawsuit on the Washington territorial rights issue).

It’s all become very clear to me. This mating call with Scott Boras has all of the fingerprints of Peter Angelos and his intense will to get Teixeira in a orange uniform on Opening Day. And it’s not much different than when Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti “strongly recommended” to Ozzie Newsome that Joe Flacco needed to be a Raven eight months ago. Turns out, Bisciotti has made several good calls in 2008.

It’s not like Ozzie to want to deal up in the draft and give up picks on draft day. And it’s not like Andy McPhail to want to pay a first baseman $150 million or more over seven years. It’s almost against everything in his baseball DNA. McPhail, who was told 18 months ago to slash the payroll and save (and or make) the team more money by promising the populace “young talent” and “working through the draft” and “obtaining lots of young arms” and “building through the farm” (all his words, not mine), clearly understands the team’s ongoing public relations nightmare and lack of passion within the fan base. There’s nothing about signing Mark Teixeira – short of the price tag — that is a bad play for the Orioles in a short term “win back the people of Baltimore” ploy. It’s a good ploy, mind you. It’s the best thing the franchise can possibly do to say: “We’re trying and we care as much as you do!” (Even though I think answering questions from real journalists would be a distant second place.)

They have millions of excess dollars that they’ve pocketed over the past few years via their obscene MASN deal. They finally have some useful, young talent on the field (Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Luke Scott, Jeremy Guthrie and potentially Matt Wieters) to build around. And let’s be honest – when will the team EVER get a chance to sign a superstar player who grew up in Baltimore and actually remembers the greatness of the Orioles that we all are wondering if we will ever experience as a community again?

Angelos NEEDS to get Teixeira in an orange jersey before Christmas. At least HE feels he needs to and at no point does McPhail even appear to factor into the equation. And, honestly, Angelos is probably right.  He needs something to “make a splash” and it’s not signing more minor league free agents in March. Bringing in Teixeira shows that they’re serious about trying to win. And it’s been a little while since we could say that.

But that’s the just the Orioles side of the story. Hometown boy comes home, gets huge payday and…

Well, there’s a few ways this could go:

1. He’ll come here and the pitching will suck and the team will suck and the Yankees and Red Sox fans will continue to own Camden Yards 20 times per year. (This is the most likely short-term scenario with or without Teixeira.)

2. He’ll be part of a return to mediocrity and the team might squeak out an 81-win season in the first few years and maybe play a game in August that matters in the wild card race.

3. He’ll be the cornerstone of a baseball renaissance in Baltimore that will return the Orioles to perennial 90-win seasons, greatness and Camden Yards and downtown and the city of Baltimore will become electric in the summer of 2010 and the city will love the team like they love the Ravens.

* This is all assuming that he comes here and hits .300, mashes 35 homers per year and drives in 120 RBIs each season in any scenario. If they pay him $20 million a year this is a baseline expectation.

But that’s just a few possibilities from the Orioles’ perspective of what result they’re ultimately getting as an organization for buying a player who they’re paying TWICE as much as they’ve ever paid in the history of the organization for anyone. What’s Mark Teixeira really going to mean to the only two bottom lines that matter: winning and selling tickets? (Of course even THAT doesn’t matter too much when their Mickey Mouse television network is earning $100 million per year by just turning the lights on via the tax base civicly funding MASN.)

But what if you’re Mark Teixeira? What’s in it for him, besides getting richer?

As I wrote four days ago he’s getting wealthier (he’s already made $35 million playing baseball and he’s only 29) no matter where he goes and I believe it’s ultimately about happiness, the ability to win and perhaps somewhere the ego of “getting paid as much as you can” or being the “highest paid” this or that.

The four suitors – if there really are four suitors, with Boras who the hell knows what the truth is? – all have situations that I’m sure Teixeira and his bride and family could find palatable after he cashes his paycheck each week for $400,000 until he’s 37 years old.

The Red Sox, to me, are the first place he should start if winning and playing in a “real” baseball environment matter to him. He got his first taste of the postseason this year (and hit .467 no less) and that should be all he needs to know about the difference between playing out the string in the boiling heat of Arlington and being involved in something akin to fun and what he remembers about being an Orioles fan when he was 16. If you are a man of integrity involved in any competitive industry or athletic pursuit, there’s NOTHING ON EARTH better than winning. If you’re not serious about WINNING, then why the hell are you playing? (Oh, that’s right. The money…)

It sounds like his experience in Anaheim didn’t completely win his heart despite the fact that he was a “rented hat” for two months there. (And he “inherited” a pennant race in Southern California. He didn’t “earn” it, by and large.) If a full stadium, a winning tradition, a great manager, a great owner, Rally Monkeys, pretty girls in the stands and unlimited sunshine (think of those dreadful April and September games when it’s 45 degrees on the east coast) didn’t win him over this year then I don’t know what the heck he’d want in a Major League Baseball career. This is an outstanding place to make $150 million for any human being. You could make a case that it’s a BETTER option than Boston, if you’re wired a certain way.

The Nationals is a weird, twisted concept to me. If he wants to be “home” then that’s Baltimore. If Tex wants to win, there’s not much tradition or reason to believe that the Nats will become the UCLA of the N.L. East. Yeah, you get to live in Annapolis and play in a pretty ballpark with low expectations, but that’s a lot different than going to a winning franchise like the Angels or the Red Sox. And it still ain’t home.

And finally, the Orioles. Maybe Peter Angelos just will up the ante (like he used to in the “old” days of Chris Sabo and Albert Belle and Brady Anderson and well, you know the rest if you’re reading this…) and offer “the most money” if that’s his thing. And maybe Teixeira really can be convinced – and I don’t mean by money, I mean REALLY convinced in his soul — that the Orioles can be saved and he can be part of saving them by coming here and fulfilling his childhood destiny to be the “Cal Ripken” of this generation. (Even I can get emotional writing that because ANY of us could put ourselves in Teixeira’s shoes and squirm a little with this decision if we’re being truly honest.)

One thing is for sure – if he signs here it’s not because it was truly his best option. If Mark Teixeira really does sign up to play with this sham of a franchise (and it’s Siberia for any real free agent this side of Miguel Tejada over the last decade and anyone from Mike Mussina through Brian Roberts would have nothing good to say to recommend it as a “career” choice) then he is to be roundly applauded and supported because he’s CLEARLY doing it because of his heart WAAAAY more than his head or his wallet. If Teixeira is at The Warehouse wearing a “Baltimore” road gray sweater later this week at a press conference (one that I’ll no doubt be banned from asking any legitimate questions) it’s because he really DOES want to save this moribund franchise and pitch in to make Orioles baseball and the city of Baltimore fun again on summer nights.

And what could possibly be bad about that? And this is the ONLY way Peter Angelos can be given the “hero” treatment by the fans who’ve unwittingly lined his pockets via MASN through all of this mess while the city has rotted and decayed on summer nights downtown. And we all know Peter “The King” longs to be loved and short of winning a World Series, this is the best he’s gonna do in this lifetime. He CAN’T buy a World Series. But he CAN buy Mark Teixeira! I can just hear him crowing on MASN sitting on a couch with Roch Kubatko and Steve Melewski and in that goofy voice saying: “We… did what we needed to do… to restore the pride… to the Orioles!”

There’s only one hometown superstar of this generation. And Angelos has his sights on him. And he doesn’t like losing. (Witness his senseless feud with me and with WNST, people who truly LOVE the Orioles! It’s all about him “winning” — whatever that means? What good is it doing them to continue to be complete jerks in dealing with any legitimate media member who has questions about what is a publicly-funded, civic trust for profit that has gone awry? NO ONE wants the Orioles to be great more than WNST. Anyone who knows me knows that I believe that.)

So where does Angelos’ personal kryptonite, Scott Boras, fit into this equation? That’s really hard to say given his propensity to pit egotistical and wealthy baseball owners against each other in bidding wars that are silly farces when most are reviewed years later. Where is Tom Hicks now? (He gave up on ARod and Texeira, which is the Boras Daily Double!) Does Boras really have a say here with Tex or a dog in the hunt, other than his commission on the transaction? Only time will tell…

Here are a few random observations on Teixeira:

1.    I’ve never met Teixeira but I’ve never heard anything glowing about his marketability or personality. As a matter of fact, he routinely eschewed any “hometown” press coverage on his first visits back to Camden Yards as a big leaguer. It’s not like he’s got a foundation here or a civic cause here or has ever even “appeared” here doing any worthwhile community endeavor that I know about. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here…but no one has ever called or written me with a story, picture, essay or ANYTHING involving Teixeira publicly or charitably in Baltimore.) If he walked through White Marsh Mall today for lunch I honestly don’t think anyone would recognize him. My point isn’t that he’s a “bad” guy. I don’t know a thing about him beyond what I’ve written about. But I do know he’s NOT Cal Ripken. No matter how much you pay him!

2.    He’s been traded TWICE so it’s not like any other franchise has found him  “irreplaceable.” Actually, it’s more like the opposite. I’m always skeptical when a team takes a player who has had Teixeira’s statistical prowess and decides, “Yeah, he’s OK but we’d rather have these OTHER player(s) instead in a trade.” That’s always a major red flag. The dude has raked at the plate. He’s a legitimate force offensively in the big leagues. And if he signs here, he’s on Team No. 4 and is only 29 years old and six years into his career. That really doesn’t sound like a “guy you build your franchise around” or break the bank for to me.

3.    Are the Orioles doing this to win or to sell tickets and get some mileage out of the marketability of a “Baltimore kid” in a “Baltimore uniform?” I’m really unsure of what Angelos’ intent is here. Sure, he’s a nice player and a good hitter but $20 million a year is a little obscene given the position he plays and the fact that I’m not sure there’s going to be a rush on season tickets because he’s an Oriole. That might be the case, but I’m skeptical that he’ll move the needle on ticket sales in any more than in a negligible way. Maybe the “we’re trying!” part of it will sell more goodwill than the actual numbers or W-L record Teixeira produces in the short term. As a matter of fact, I’m 100% sure Opening Day would be a “big deal” again this year (re: sellout) if they sign Teixeira on Thursday for $156 million. But is THAT worth $156 million?

4.    Bottom line: Couldn’t the Orioles spend that $20 million per year on pitching and truly have a better chance to win over the next 36 months? (I ask this rhetorically…I have no answer for this.)

Either way, Baltimore has a MUCH better chance to win if Teixeira comes than by having another Kevin Millar or Randy Milligan or David Segui or B.J. Surhoff playing first base. It’s certainly a major upgrade in that department. And it’s not my money. (Or maybe it IS our money with what these crooks are stealing via our Comcast bill every month and not utilizing on behalf of making the baseball team and the city better?)

It’s getting more and more interesting every day that this drags out. And it’ll be interesting to see the civic reaction and the Orioles’ reaction if he eschews his hometown team and leaves King Peter at the alter by signing with the Red Sox or the Nationals. Would that be unlike Scott Boras, pulling down the Emperor’s trousers with the ONE guy he HAD to get? And, no less, delivering him to Larry Lucchino up in Boston? Wouldn’t that be Boras’ “tea pah-tay.” (For a brief laugh, just click...)

We’re hearing that Angelos and the Orioles really think they’re going to get Teixeira. And that will make it all the more painful if they don’t get him. There’s a lot to digest here and a lot of risk. The Orioles just don’t offer $150 million to ANYONE. EVER! So, if this is legit, it’s a major foundational, tectonic shift.

The coolest part is that this is a major “Y” in the road for the franchise. One way or the other, Mark Teixeira is going to greatly affect Baltimore and its baseball future for years to come over the next week.

The Orioles always have the “fall back” position of painting Teixeira as a modern day Benedict Arnold if he “elects” to not sign in Baltimore after the Orioles made a “fair and reasonable market offer.” I can hear and see the somber McPhail at the podium now saying, “We did our best…We made him a generous offer and he elected to go to (City X).” Blah, blah, blah…

Keep the popcorn warm. This is getting good!

The Orioles have lit a spark just by “being involved.” (Hey, we’re TALKING and WRITING and THINKING about them during a week when the purple guys with helmets are playing for their playoff lives…)

But who’s zooming who and who is serious? And where will Teixeira sign? And for how much? And what wild stories are going to unearth afterward when the “truth” is told. One bride. Three bridesmaids.

I think King Peter wants the white dress.

But who the heck knows?

Pass the butter…

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