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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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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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INDUCT ART

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So, can we “INDUCT ART” tonight?

Posted on 07 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Can we get Art Modell’s name as loud as we ever got O-R-I-O-L-E-S back on 33rd Street? That booming sound, larger than anything this side of a rock concert singalong?

IN-DUCT ART! IN-DUCT ART! IN-DUCT ART!
INDUCT ART
As many of you who have followed my career as a sports journalist/civic activist over the years knows, I’m a dreamer. My official title on my business card says: DREAMER, WASHED UP HOST. I hand those cards out every day and they’re still pretty accurate.

When people have told me over the years that “Art Modell will never get into the Hall of Fame,” I can only laugh at the liberal use of the word “never.” Because for years, I thought we’d “never” get into the NFL. And lo and behold, we’re 13 years into this odyssey called the Baltimore Ravens because of Art Modell. And we’re on national TV tonight playing essentially for a chance at a division title. Oh, and we won a Super Bowl as well.

Here’s what I see tonight: A stadium full of half-tanked, really feisty Ravens fans swathed in purple ready to rip the roof off the sky over South Baltimore tonight. The Redskins are going to bring out the “ugly” in our fans. I’m pretty sure of it. I absolutely LOATH the Redskins as I’m sure most of you do as well.

From Jack Kent Cooke’s antics to the 13 god-awful years of watching the freaking Redskins on my TV every week, it’s not hard to dislike all things burgundy and gold if you’re from Baltimore. Cooke tried in vain to put the team in Laurel in the early 1990’s, which would have FOREVER left Baltimore outside of the NFL and we’d have never had the Ravens.

I’m old. I remember this political manure and how it made me feel as an NFL fan in Baltimore. And I still smell and feel and taste those 13 years of Sundays when we didn’t have a team. The Redskins franchise and Cooke’s desire to annex Baltimore (while not caring about or marketing our community at all…not even a freaking preseason game!) was a MAJOR part of why we didn’t have a franchise. That’s just a fact!

(One more reason to kick their arrogant asses again!)

So this first trip in for the “politically incorrects” – with all that’s at stake here for the playoffs and January and primetime – well, this figures to be a doozy.

Last night I literally bumped into John Madden downtown. I looked up and he was in front of me. I happened to have a handful of the “INDUCT ART” signs you see above. I handed him one and told him he’d “hear from us during the game.” He was extremely cordial and polite. He had his flip card with him for the game and was studying. (I’ve run into Madden many times at games, owners meetings, events, even once on the street in Las Vegas in front of Caesar’s Palace. I’ve never spoken to him before last night.)

Whether he shows the signs or mentions Art Modell or refers to anything about the Hall of Fame remains to be seen. But he not only knows about the “movement,” he actually has a sign in his possession. And I know for sure that Andrea Kramer is very aware of tonight’s effort. My moles tell me that Al Michaels has known about “INDUCT ART” all week.

But the signs are meant to make noise on a cold, awful night for a football game.

And the signs – all 20,000 of them — are going to be omnipresent in the parking lot before the game. And I know how crowds work in regard to cheers. I’ve been a stadium-frequenting fan since 1973.

I remember every cheer, chant and song from 33rd Street. And they always started with one person clapping their hands, screaming something, doing something that only can be started organically. We’re hoping that happens tonight.

I figure if one person in every section stands and starts chanting: “IN-DUCT ART!” on the first play of the 2nd quarter it ain’t gonna take long to catch on. Try it if you’re going. The signs are pretty self-explanatory.

So, just what’s the goal here? Jamie Costello asked me that on WMAR-TV 2 Friday morning (the video is in the wnsTV vault).

The goal is no different than FREE THE BIRDS. In a word: AWARENESS!

Without the awareness that Modell is wrongfully not in the Hall of Fame, he’ll never get in. And someone needs to bring light to the injustice of it and I think it’s the people of Baltimore and the fans of the Ravens. (It certainly won’t be coming from Cleveland!) And there’s no better occasion to truly “thank” Art Modell for the gift of the NFL and the Ravens than to do it on national television with the country watching us wax the Redskins in downtown Baltimore for the first time in 27 years.

I’ve been dreaming for years and things have worked out for me so far.

In 1993, I dreamed of having an NFL team in Baltimore. I sat at the front bar at Bohager’s on Eden Street with my pals David Hill and Michael Fountain with a bottle of champagne on ice — one that never was opened — waiting for Paul Tagliabue to grant us an expansion team that night at the Rosemont Hyatt.

Obviously, first with Charlotte and then Jacksonville a few weeks later, it didn’t work out so well for us in 1993. But two years later, the “miracle” happened and the NFL returned here. That was 13 years ago last month. Kinda hard to believe because to many it feels like the NFL was our birthright or like the Ravens were “always” here.

They’re here because Modell needed us and we needed him. And he had the courage to make a move that has cost him his reputation until now.

Getting Art Modell into the Hall of Fame is just the next challenge of righteousness for Baltimore sports fans. I’m up for the challenge. I think it’s a noble cause. I think it’s the right thing to do. I think it’s the LEAST we can do.

And I’ve always been one of those guys that when someone tells me something is “impossible” or “never going to happen” that I do my best to test the theory.

If you’re going to the game tonight, I hope you grab a sign and support Art Modell.

IN-DUCT ART!

IN-DUCT ART!

IN-DUCT ART!

I’m trusting that the “beating the Redskins” part will take care of itself. That’s what Joe Flacco and Ray Lewis are for. Of course, a little energy from the purple crowd as the 12th man wouldn’t hurt either.

Dress warm. Dress for victory. I hope to see — and more importantly HEAR — you at the game.

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A beautiful day: Ravens 36, Eagles 7

Posted on 23 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

The Ravens used an opportunistic offense and myriad of breakdowns by the hapless visitors to pummel the Philadelphia Eagles at M&T Bank Stadium, 36-7 this afternoon.

Andy Reid’s benching of Donovan McNabb at halftime will surely be debated across three states and the calling for his head surely will begin for calling a pass play at the goal line early in the fourth quarter when the Eagles were about six inches from making it a one-score game.

Hard to say who was more quiet today at frigid M&T Bank Stadium today — the Eagles fans or the Ravens fans. It was a strange day of football all the way around.

The game was long and out-of-synch in its pacing and reminded me of what would be the beginning of the end of Brian Billick’s tenure here — the ugly game in Detroit two years ago.

Nothing the Eagles did went right. They got hosed on a couple of calls. Both of their quarterbacks threw hideous passes. The Ravens — and mainly Joe Flacco — stunk for most of the first half and the Eagles still couldn’t manage to score any points beyond the kickoff return, which clearly embarrassed John Harbaugh and his special teams sensibilities.

But feel free to roundly celebrate: the Ravens are 7-4 and looked quite impressive in the end in “playing four quarters” and out smash-mouthing their neighbors from Filthy.

It’s Thanksgiving and we have a lot to be thankful for football-wise in Baltimore because we can legitimately start talking playoffs with a chance to be 8-4 next Sunday with a strong effort in Cincinnati.

Where to begin?

Ed Reed ran a 108-yard interception back through traffic that seemed like the Stanford band. Ed Reed also got burned trying to lateral a ball to Samari Rolle in heavy traffic near the goal line. (Somewhere, Billick was still yelling at him!)

Dan Wilcox caught a TD pass after thinking he might not even play.

Jared Gaither played through the pain. Adam Terry left the game early with a concussion and the offensive line still kept coming back for more. At one point, Ben Grubbs left the game. And David Hale was spotted in there mixing it up quite a bit as well.

The Ravens continued to stop the Eagles rushing attack all day long, and seemed to welcome the benching of McNabb for Kevin Kolb, who was largely as ineffective as No. 5. His one drive of note to lead the team back into the game was nullfyed and reversed when Reed went the distance on one of the most amazing plays in Ravens history.

Le’Ron McClain continues to shine his own star as a fullback who has made a seamless transition into a big-time power back, rushing for 88 yards and one breakaway touchdown late in the game when most of the Eagles fans had put down their cheesesteaks and pretzels and headed back toward the Maryland House on I-95.

Mark Clayton was a factor in the game today and we’d love to see more of that. He also made fun of his own endzone celebration.

Jarret Johnson had a huge game and made a pick on McNabb that Harbaugh described as “one of the greatest plays I’ve ever seen.”

Matt Stover hit a long field goal when the team needed it.

And Jameel McClain registered his second safety of the season and he’s only been on the team for a few weeks.

Overall, the defense was awesome all day. They pitched a shutout that was only tainted by the kickoff return by Quinton Demps. (Kinda reminded me of another game against an NFC East team where the only score was a return for a touchdown on an otherwise perfect day. Of course, it was a little warmer on Jan. 28, 2001.)

I’ll be writing some more later and posting post-game video. It was largely an “homage” to Ed Reed and the kind of game he had today. (And at one point, he fell to his knees and was all but tackled to leave the field when he couldn’t lift his arm.)

Feel free to throw your comments in and we’ll launch them soon enough.

A great day to be a Ravens fan. The team is 7-4 and headed to Cincinnati. This was a huge win.

And the Eagles fans were strangely silent from whistle to whistle, slithering out of the stadium while the Ed Reed celebration commenced right around 4 p.m.

More to come…

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Good to see fellow rookies get a chance

Posted on 21 November 2008 by joeflacco

It sure will be good to get back to our stadium and see (and hear) all the fans for Sunday’s game against Philadelphia.  We put that New York loss behind us right away and started preparing for the Eagles.  We’ve had a good week of practice and we all know Philadelphia has an outstanding organization with players who know how to win.  But we need a win too.  I guess that’s why we have to play the game on Sunday, right?

I’m not sure about the status of Jared Gaither, Willie Anderson or Adam Terry for Sunday’s game but it will be a great opportunity for other players to step up and play and that’s a good thing for them.  David (Hale) and O’Neil (Cousins) both got some snaps in New York and even though it came in the 4th quarter I know they were grateful for the opportunity.  They’ve been working hard all year for their chance and as a fellow rookie, I felt good for them on Sunday when they got in against the Giants.  I hope Jared and Willie are both healthy enough to play again soon, if not this Sunday, but David and O’Neil will do just fine if called upon.

It’s going to be a lot fun over these last six games.  We’ve put ourselves in a pretty good position 10 games into the season.  We just need to keep having fun and stay focused and we’ll be fine.  I have a lot of friends and family coming down for the game so I need to treat them and the rest of the fans to a win.  I’ll be doing my best for all of you, that’s for sure.  Have a great Thanksgiving next week!

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Come cheer on the Blast tonight in Dundalk

Posted on 14 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

The Blast kick off their 2008-08 campaign tomorrow night with a game at the First Mariner Arena against the Rockford Rampage but we’ll be starting the season tonight in Dundalk with a pep rally at Donna’s Tavern in Dundalk.

Join Rob Long, myself and the folks from Coors Light in welcoming David Bascome, Mike Lookingland and Matt Tirschman for a Blast season kickoff party!

Donna’s Tavern is located at 6607 Pine Avenue in Dundalk. The party starts at 6 p.m.

The Blast and WNST will be giving away prizes throughout the night. This is also the last chance to win tickets to the home opener.

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Rocking the Red with the Caps in D.C.

Posted on 29 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ll admit it. I’m biased.

I inexplicably fell in love with hockey when I was five years old at the Baltimore Civic Center at an AHL Nova Scotia Voyageurs-Clippers game. I saw the ice. I saw the action. I was hooked. During my 40-plus years on the planet,  many of my best and most personal sports memories have been made at hockey games.

Most of the people who’ve listened to my show or read my work over the past 17 years know of my affinity for the puck. We’re running our first-ever “Caps Puck Bus” next Thursday night (tickets are only $50 for the whole evening of fun) and I expect it to be memorable.

Last night, I made my first of many pilgrimages down to the Verizon Center in D.C. to see the Caps take on my adopted favorite team, the Nashville Predators. It was a memorable game. The Caps took it to the Preds early, at one point holding a 23-5 lead in shots and a 2-1 advantage. Nashville came back to even the score late in the game, forcing a rare OT shootout, which the Caps won taking a 4-3 victory.

Sure, Alex Ovechkin was missing last night, away with his ailing grandfather but it was still an eye-opening experience seeing more than 15,000 people in the rink last night all “rocking the red” on a chilly Tuesday night.

Sure, I’ve had my differences with the Capitals over the years. First (and this is no secret), I thought the combination of moving into D.C., firing David Poile, changing the logo and those hideous blue jerseys were all bad ideas. It hurt the franchise and it made me feel less connected after being a guy who for a decade drove to the Capital Centre in a red, white and blue sweater at least 35 times a year to see Mike Gartner, Gaetan Duchesne, Dave Christian, Bobby Carpenter and company beat up the Flyers, Islanders, Penguins and Rangers. Some of my favorite memories in sports were waving white pompoms and screaming at Ron Hextall.

I also had another problem as a Caps fan in the 1990’s: my radio show ended at 6 p.m. and getting from upper Towson to downtown D.C. made it impossible to see an entire game. So, I just went on a hockey hiatus in some ways, for nearly a decade.

Last season, the Capitals reached out to me personally and asked me to come back to Caps games. I went to a few games during the stretch run and wound up taking a bunch of friends (including Hockey Meg, Agent Orange and WNST blogger Ed Frankovic) down to games. For Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoff series against Philadelphia, we threw Drew Forrester and Phil Jackman into a car and had a blast.

Like I said, I’m a hockey goober. I met my wife at a hockey game in Manchester, N.H. I have scores of friends who’ve entered my life and stayed through hockey. My best pal, Tom Kapp, allowed me to take his kid to a game a dozen years ago in Hershey and now his kid, Tyler, drags him from rink to rink in his quest to be an NHL goalie.

Hockey can be infectious like that. I’ve said it many times: it’s the best sport there is for the sheer energy and action.

So, why have I adopted the Nashville Predators of all teams? Their one and only head coach in their 11-season existence is Barry Trotz, who was the final coach of the Baltimore Skipjacks before they left town for good in 1992. I covered Trotz’s team for the Baltimore Evening Sun for two seasons and we became friends. Trotz went on to win the Calder Cup in Portland, Maine the next season, got the Predators job before the expansion in 1997 and has been their coach ever since. For some reason, we’ve always remained close and in touch.

Over the years, he’s been a frequent guest on WNST and a great friend when we’ve gone to Nashville for games. I’ve probably seen the Preds play in 15 cities across the country over the last decade and I have a closet full of swag he’s been kind enough to send me over the years and I’ve always enjoyed rooting for the Predators because Trotz is such a special guy. (And think about how rare and unique that is in this day and age: he’s the ONLY coach they’ve ever had!)

But, back to the Capitals and hockey locally.

The Caps reached out to me with one message: WE WANT BALTIMORE TO EMBRACE THE CAPITALS! They asked me if I could help or if I had some ideas.

I said I’d help by promoting the sport I love in Baltimore. (If I ever get rich with WNST.net I would absolutely bring a hockey team to Baltimore and be a complete idiot about promoting it and making it work. There’s NOTHING better than going to a hockey game, if you ask me!)

Even without Ovechkin last night (most hockey people would tell you he’s the best player on the planet), the building was still mostly full and the atmosphere the Caps are building is something that should be enjoyed by any sports fan.

If you haven’t been to a Caps game lately, I can honestly say that you’re missing out on some great sports fun.

And it’s easier than you think…

The ride was traffic-free and painless last night (left the house at 5:30, made a stop and was still in my seat 15 minutes before the 7 p.m. start). They’ve done a great job branding their players and the “Rock the Red” promotion. Truth be told, Caps games are a LOT of fun and I’m looking forward to re-embracing my adolescence and throwing on my red, white and blue sweater more often this year.

We’ll be doing a series of “Puck Bus” promotions over the course of the season. Or at least as many as we can effectively market and sell. You fill the seats and we’ll continue to take hockey fans down to D.C.

Hockey has been gone from Baltimore for nearly 15 years. The only way it could conceivably come back to Baltimore is if I get rich enough to do it because I’m the only fool who would even think about trying it again after it’s failed so many times here. (By the way, I’m a LONG way from fulfilling this dream of mine so don’t hold your breath on this one! LOL…)

So, in the interim, I’ve decided that I’m going to embrace the Caps, go to the games like I used to and have some fun while I’m still young enough (even at 40 and aging rapidly) to do it.

Last night brought back all of the memories, right down to accidentally running into the legendary Rod Langway while I was grabbing a beer at the concession stand.

I like the Zamboni.

I like the action.

I like “The Good Old Hockey Game.”

I like shootouts.

I like funny Canadian accents.

I like the horn blowing after a goal.

I even like the silly movie clips (“UNLEASH THE FURY!!!!”) they play on the HD screen at the Verizon Center.

And most importantly, I love the game and the action and the strategy of the sport.

Like I said, the Caps are doing a really nice job down in D.C. with that hockey team. But the only way to find out is to go to a game.

We’re going next Thursday and we’ve made it easy.

Just pay the $50 and show up at the Park and Ride in White Marsh (4:15 p.m.) or I-95/UMBC (5 p.m.) and we’ll take care of the rest.

The link is here if you care to join us.

Game on!

Let’s rock the red…

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Fantasy Football Week 1 Notes.

Posted on 09 September 2008 by KZ

Some Notes from week 1:

The Jaguars have lost their starting center, both starting guards, and a key reserve at tackle. Their top reserve at guard may also be hurt. Much of their offense was built on the strength of the offensive line. Now it’s a huge question mark. David Garrard, Fred Taylor, and Maurice Jones-Drew are talented enough to overcome some issues, but that is a lot of carnage to deal with. 4 of the top 6 Offensive Linemen are now on the shelf.

On another front Seattle is running out of WR’s, as Nate Burleson was lost for the year with a knee injury. Deion Branch seems at least another week away so that leaves Courtney Taylor as Seattle number 1 receiver. Taylor struggled on Sunday in his first start.

Denver RB situation looks like a mess a usual, as does the New England situation.

As expected I wanted to wait a week on McFadden and Mendenhall…now I want to wait another week before putting them into your fantasy lineup.

Eddie Royal certainly looks like a nice fit in Denver and he could be even better when Brandon Marshall returns this week.

Let Willis McGahee prove he is healthy before you plug him into your fantasy lineup.

The Bears and Ravens Defenses certainly looked back in form for week 1.

Michael Turner will be a solid Fantasy performer this year…but he had the best week he is going to have already.

It was nice to see Donovan McNabb looking like the QB he was…could Deshawn Jackson truly be that good…or was STL that bad.

Steven Jackson is a tough SOB. Better days ahead for him and the STL offense.

Kerry Collins helps the Titans more then VY does…and Fantasy owners as well.

Reason one you never take a QB in round 1…if he gets hurt the rest of your team can’t pick up for him…in a Keeper League I have Tom Brady…so I am in the boat with ya…but I got Jay Cutler in the 8th round…so if you take a QB in round 1, you better have a backup early just in case.

FINDS: Eddie Royal, Matt Forte, Michael Turner, DeShawn Jackson..

Flukes: Hank Baskett, Greg Lewis, DeAngelo Williams

Check out www.fansfantasyfootball.com

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Updated, starters,Inactives and Carmelo Anthony

Posted on 07 September 2008 by caseywillett

12:47 – We have recieved a memo from the league that for today, Chad Johnson will be referred to as Chad Johnson today. According to the league that certain issues remain to be resolved

12:38
-Ray Rice will start at running back for the Ravens today. Willis McGahee is dressed, but will share the carries with Rice.
-Tom Zbikowski has changed his number to 28
-Evan Oglesby changed his number to 25
-Justin Bannan will start in place of Kelly Gregg

Inactive:

Troy Smith
Evan Oglesby
Tavares Gooden
Oniel Cousins
David Hale
Marcus Smith
Kelly Gregg
Willie Anderson
Pre game notes:
The Ravens are wearing white tops with black pants for today’s game. This is the first time since 1998 that this combination of the uniform has been worn
Carmelo Anthony is here to be the honorary captain of the game. Carmelo will wear his gold medal on the field and is sporting a huge tattoo on the inside of his right forearm that features the 410 area code, a Raven, and an Oriole. Carmelo said that this will be the first Ravens game he will be attending since he was 8 years old.

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