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An orange video postcard from Citi Field

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An orange video postcard from Citi Field

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

We had another soldout WNST Orange Roadtrip this evening to Citi Field in Queens, N.Y. While the outcome wasn’t positive for the Orioles, we did have a hearty group rooting on Jake Arrieta and the Orioles.

Here’s my video postcard of an evening at the site of the former Shea Stadium…

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Three on the 4th: What do Peter Angelos, Al Davis & George Steinbrenner have in common?

Posted on 04 July 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, since I’ve gotten your attention on the hot, sticky holiday here’s an amazing statistic that I think I sorta kinda knew, but could only be reminded of on the 4th of July.

On July 4, 1929 BOTH Al Davis and Peter Angelos were born. Yes, same day, same year!

And, just 365 days later, on July 4, 1930, Yankees tyrant George Steinbrenner was born.

Three of the biggest jerks of their respective eras. Three sports owners. Three wealthy men. Three widely unpopular men. And currently, all three are in various states of illusion, disillusionment and/or failure in their communities to some degree.

Of course, we could say that Steinbrenner — only after being banned and disgraced by his fellow owners — came out of the “dark ages” of the pinstripes with championships galore over the past 15 years. And, apparently his mental health is failing so we’ll try to be as tasteful as we can be about a guy who volumes of books were written about his eccentricities and temper over the years.

But this is some “club” huh, these three wack jobs…

Well just thought it was worth noting — other than comical efforts at public relations at various points in their lives and probably more lawsuits filed than any other three people on Earth — the mighty trio all share a birthday with the United States of America.

And in the land of freedom of speech, all three of these man have tried for decades to suppress free speech and all have at various points banned and attempted to intimidate members of the press and media.

Some fantastic representatives of America in this lot, folks…

Coincidence?

Or just dumb luck?

They will all have one thing in common into eternity on their tombstones: “Born on the 4th of July”…

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Orioles Draft Hometown Hitters Knight and Velleggia, 14 Other Marylanders Get Name Called

Posted on 10 June 2010 by Corey Johns

In the 50-round First-Year Player Draft, the Baltimore Orioles called the names of two Marylanders, Austin Knight and Joe Velleggia.

In the 37th round, with the drafts 1,108th pick, former Boy’s Latin Standout, Knight was selected by the Orioles out of Palm Beach Community College.  The switch hitting second baseman hit .347 in 150 at bats in 13 games.  He totaled eight doubles, two triples, 2 home runs, 38 runs, and 28 RBIs.

Three rounds later, with the 1,198th pick, Velleggia, the Monkton native and Calvert Hall Standout.  During his senior season at Old Dominion he only hit .211, but hit six home runs with 12 RBIs.  But it was behind the plate that the catcher shined.  In 27 games he recorded zero errors.   He totaled just five errors in 79 games over his four year career.

Other Marylanders to be drafted in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft:

Adam Kolarek, LHP, Maryland/Catonsville HS- Pick 332 (New York Mets)

Andrew Pevsner, LHP, John Hopkins- Pick 502 (Los Angeles Dodgers)

Kevin Jacob, RHP, Georgia Tech.Parkville HS- Pick 565 (New York Yankees)

Brandon Glazer, SS, Clear Spring HS- Pick 719 (Kansas City Royals)

Jacob Brown, LHP, Georgia Southern/North Harford HS- Pick 785 (Oakland Athltics)

Keith Hessler, LHP, Coastal Carolina/Springbrook HS- Pick 841 (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Ryan Rivers, OF, UNC Charlotte/Eastern Tech HS- Pick 1,084 (Los Angeles Angels)

Neal Davis, LHP, Virginia/Catonsville HS- Pick 1,101 (Philadelphia Phillies)

Jeremiah Meiners, LHP, Francis Marion/St. Albans School- Pick 1,203 (Houston Astros)

Ian Marshall, RHP, Richmond/Gaithersburg- Pick 1,214 (Atlanta Braves)

Drew Permison, RHP, Towson/Oakland Mills HS- Pick 1,266 (Toronto Blue Jays

Michael Turner, LF, Chesapeake College/St. Michaels- Pick 1,344 (Los Angeles Angels)

Harris Fanaroff, LHP, Winston Churchill HS- Pick 1,496 (Washington Nationals)

Jake Ross, LHP, Wor-Wic CC- Pick 1,513 (Detroit Tigers)

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 November 2009 by Glenn Clark

Here are your weekend picks…..

Ravens 27, Browns 13

It SHOULDN’T be this close. It might be closer. We’ll see if Brady Quinn can do anything.

Virginia Tech 27, Maryland 16

With no offense to Maryland, they’re not as good as Virginia Tech.

Navy 31, Delaware 18

There is an argument that the Midshipmen should be a Top 25 team.

Villanova 41, Towson 14

I hope the Wildcats don’t run up the score more than this.

South Carolina State 23, Morgan State 16

Donald Hill-Eley’s team has struggled for the last few weeks since looking like the best team in the MEAC a month ago.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Glenn Clark says Todd Heap, Ed Reed, Haruki Nakamura, Jarret Johnson, Kelley Washington practicing fully

Bob Haynie wonders if Jamal Lewis Hall of Fame worthy

Drew Forrester says local media needs to do better job of covering Towson, UMBC, Loyola, Morgan State and Coppin State hoops

Nestor Aparicio wonders whether Baltimore more interested in Wizards or Capitals

Ed Frankovic says Caps 3-1 without Ovechkin

Eric Aaronson says Wizards added Earl Boykins

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ray Lewis (foot), Haloti Ngata (ankle), Fabian Washington (thigh) all missed practice yesterday

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Lardarius Webb-Fabian Washington situation likely to be ‘game time decision’ for John Harbaugh

The Official Site says Justin Bannan not thinking about being in final year of contract

Browns Official Site’s Matt Florjancic says rookies Veikune, Robiskie excited for first chance to play on Monday Night Football

Browns Official Site says team will distribute remaining tickets for Monday night’s game at Cleveland Browns Stadium to avoid blackout

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Jamal Lewis getting ‘one more shot’ at former team Monday night

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens must get ball to Derrick Mason, contain Jamal Lewis, pound run

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens can’t let Cribbs run wild, Browns rally around Mangini, show ‘no sense of urgency’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens didn’t look at Ty Law, Chris Chambers because neither would have been ‘upgrade’ over current players

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ray Rice thinks responsibility on players to get off to better start

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Pagano reports Chris Carr, Frank Walker, Lardarius Webb would all play Monday if Fabian Washington can’t go

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ed Reed’s 52 yard TD return Ravens’ only INT in last 5 games

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Ravens don’t want to have to play ‘catch up’ against Browns like they did against Bengals, Vikings

The Sun’s Edward Lee says losing streak on Monday Night Football ‘disturbing’ to Terrell Suggs

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ray Lewis thinks Hauschka’s missed FG’s no bigger ‘mistake’ than dropping catch, missing assignment

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Jared Gaither (neck) was limited in practice

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbs views both Trevor Pryce and Dwan Edwards as starters

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbaugh wants Hauschka to make kicks ‘right now’

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Pagano believes pass interference penalties coming in ‘panic situations’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says 52 doesn’t want to see Jamal Lewis retire

The Sun remembers when Ravens rallied to beat Browns a season ago

7 of 7 Sun analysts pick Ravens

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Chris Carr, Dannell Ellerbe missed practice Thursday due to illness

Carroll County Times’ Aaron Wilson says Todd Heap knows getting off to better starts an offensive ‘goal’ for Ravens

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Terrell Suggs not hitting ‘panic button’ despite struggles

Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Tony Grossi says Jamal Lewis took Mangini to task for ‘practice regimen’

Akron Beacon Journal’s Marla Ridenour says David Bowens thinks practice same now as it was with Jets under Mangini

SI’s Peter King picks Ravens 33-9

Fox Sports’ Brian Billick still thinks Ravens ‘very good team’

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Steve Heiden, Chansi Stuckey missed practice for Browns

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens fighting with Steelers/Bengals, Texans, Jets, Jaguars for Wild Card spot in AFC

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says Drew Gloster, Cory Jackson will carry flags to field before tomorrow’s game against Virginia Tech

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph Friedgen wouldn’t rule out running option next season

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Chris Turner ‘doubtful’ for tomorrow’s game against Hokies

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Don Brown had been ‘thoroughly impressed’ by Isaiah Ross this season before injury

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Jamarr Robinson prepared to make first career start tomorrow against Va Tech

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph says Da’Rel Scott OUT Saturday

The Diamondback’s Michael Katz says Scott Van Pelt, Stephon Heyer defended Fridge

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Danny O’Brien, CJ Brown ‘in the mix’ to play tomorrow

Washington Post’s Mark Viera says Michael Via likely to start at center again for Hokies

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ralph reiterated that he’ll play Danny O’Brien if necessary tomorrow

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Caleb Porzel could return kicks with Torrey Smith

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Ronnie Tyler, Austin Walker questionable for Saturday

Washington Examiner’s Kevin Dunleavy says Terps wearing camo uniforms for tomorrow’s game at Byrd Stadium to support Wounded Warrior Project

Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Darryl Slater says Va Tech’s Brent Bowden amongst best punters in country

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Demetrius Hartsfield will play vs. VT (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Phil Costa has been offensive ‘lynchpin’ for Terps (must subscribe)

Inside MD Sports’ Seth Hoffman says RJ Dill particularly frustrated with how NC State game ended

Turtle Sports Report’s Allen Wallace says prospect Ifill to visit College Park December 19 (must subscribe)

Turtle Sports Report’s Scott Kornberg checks in with Archbishop Carroll LB prospect Attaochu (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s season opener against Charleston Southern

The Official Site offers complete Terps-Bucs release (pdf)

Charleston Southern Official Site offers complete Buccaneers-Terrapins release (pdf)

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says Gary Williams believes Terps have ‘5 good guards’

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says James Padgett could start for Terps tonight

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says Gary Williams had no update on Dino Gregory

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Terps hoping for more from Sean Mosley

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says tonight’s season opener can be seen on Comcast SportsNet

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Goins has not been able to practice due to knee injury

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says last year’s leading scorer Jamarco Warren leads Bucs into Comcast Center tonight

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says adding muscle could help Jin Soo Choi make impact off bench

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Greivis Vasquez preseason All-ACC

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Vasquez enters senior season much more mature

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Gary wouldn’t commit to James Padgett or Jordan Williams as starter if Dino Gregory doesn’t play

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Terps looking at St. Frances prospect Greg Lewis (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says Memphis ‘slightly better fit’ for Tsafack than Maryland (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says commit Whitney Bays missing senior season of high school recovering from torn ACL

The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph previews season opener against North Carolina Central

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says tickets still available for Saturday’s game against Delaware

Delaware Official Site offers complete Blue Hens-Midshipmen release (pdf)

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner thinks Irish DC Corwin Brown’s comments make him ‘an idiot’

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Ram Vela plays bigger than size

Washington Post’s Camille Powell says Pospisil, 31 other seniors will be honored tomorrow for Senior Day in Annapolis

Washington Times’ Mike Fratto says Niumatalolo, Midshipmen had to shift focus to Delaware quickly after ND win

Go Mids’ Adam Nettina says Mids must put Fighting Irish win behind them with Hens up next (must subscribe)

Go Mids’ David Ausiello tells tale of learning Mids defeated Notre Dame (must subscribe)

TOWSON BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s season opener against Miami (Ohio)

Miami (Ohio) Official Site previews tonight’s trip to Towson Center

Miami (Ohio) Official Site offers complete Tigers-Redhawks release (pdf)

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

Examiner Matthew Schlissel says Tigers facing another Top 5 opponent in Villanova

LOYOLA BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s season opener against Vermont

Vermont Official Site previews tonight’s trip to Reitz Arena to face Hounds

Vermont Official Site offers complete Catamounts-Greyhounds release (pdf)

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Shane Walker finds ‘similarities’ between Gary Williams, Jimmy Patsos

MORGAN FOOTBALL:

The Official Site previews Saturday’s trip to South Carolina State

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tomorrow’s season opener at Oklahoma

Carroll County Times’ Bob Blubaugh says Mountaineers open season trying to shake off loss in NEC Championship Game last year

Frederick News-Post’s Greg Swatek says Eers got ‘close’ to beating Virginia Tech, Georgetown last year; but don’t want to just stay ‘close’ anymore

ORIOLES:

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Josh Bell 2-5 with 3 RBI for Phoenix Desert Dogs in Arizona Fall League play

BLAST:

The Sun’s Glenn Graham says Aristodemo announced as Blast captain

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Go see a college hoops, college football, or Blast game this weekend. They can all use your support.

Talk to you from Owings Mills.

-G

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An example of great journalism by Yahoo’s Mike Silver

Posted on 20 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

We spend plenty of time “outing” phonies and charlatans in our business. But, alas, there are many, many dedicated, responsible and interesting journalists in the cyber-universe and when I find them, simply put, I celebrate them.

If you’ve been following this Raiders story closely — and I am, mainly because of the bizarre nature of the management, ownership, leadership and discipline of the Oakland Raiders, whose success and franchise closely mirrors the Baltimore Orioles in many ways — this story by Yahoo’s Mike Silver is a must-read.

So just when you think the Orioles are really bad, just consider that you could be a Raider fan as well.

Angelos and Davis really do have a lot in common: old world owner, a little too involved, no one who is competent or wise wants to work for them, etc.

But, like Bob Haynie, I digress…

This is one of the best “exposes” in recent memory on the dysfunction of the Raider Nation under Al Davis.

Keep in mind: Davis is in the Hall of Fame and Art Modell is not.

Feel free to comment below…

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Rod Woodson states the obvious: Art Modell belongs in Canton

Posted on 08 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

9:34 p.m. –Rod Woodson just talked about Baltimore and about Art Modell.

“Without Art Modell, old school owner. And I hope the voters get this right — by putting Art Modell in the Hall of Fame, he belongs there.”

With that came the usual cascade of classless “boos” from the Cleveland fans in Canton.

Woodson shook his head and responded visecerally:

“You can boo him because you disagree with him moving them but you can’t disagree with he did as an owner.”

He then said: “We had fun in Baltimore in 2000.” He thanked Marvin Lewis, Steve Bisciotti, Ray Lewis and Shannon Sharpe but left Brian Billick out of the speech.

This is my column from earlier in the evening:

9:05 p.m. — I sat down to the watch the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies tonight and really expected to be moved by great speeches made by great football players.

But before Rod Woodson even got a nanosecond of face time, I was watching Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson having the ultimate honor wearing the gold jacket and entering the hallowed halls of Canton. And as his family rose to his feet and Chris Berman “circled the wagons” it makes me sad and sick to think that Arthur B. Modell will never have a night like tonight, which he so richly deserves.

Wilson is talking about the AFL. He is talking about the legend of Lamar Hunt. He is talking about the merger. His is waxing on about Carroll Rosenbloom. He is talking about Buffalo and the players and the fans and the induction committee. He thanked the usual cast of thousands.

His speech just ended and he did not say the words “Art Modell” in a rambling 15-minute speech.

What a shame and what a cowardly act. Wilson, more than anyone, should’ve made a stand or statement regarding Modell’s significance to the NFL.

The sick truth: the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the NFL doesn’t really to see Modell inducted while he’s alive. They don’t really want to hear his name uttered anyone near the shrine.

The real truth: They wouldn’t want the trouble the Browns fans would bring 40 miles south to Canton and the bad blood. It’s sad, but this is the truth. That, and the biased small group of men and women who control this vote make a decision each February that has cheated Modell while rewarding his contemporaries like Al Davis, and tonight, Ralph Wilson.

In my opinion, both of those men deserve to be in the Hall of Fame because the story of the NFL couldn’t be written without them. But the same goes for Art Modell, who is now being held hostage in part because of the proximity to the Hall of Fame to Cleveland.

Modell is now 84 years of age. He doesn’t have a lot of time left. Last year, I went nuts distributing signs with a relatively luke-warm effect inside the stadium on the frigid night the Ravens beat the Redskins.

I’ve written tomes on why Modell should be in the Hall.You read everything I think by simply using my blog roll under ART MODELL.

I don’t vote for Baltimore. Scott Garceau does.

It’s HIS responsibility to get Art’s name into the room and create a lobby for Modell. I’ve grabbed several of the voters myself and have implored them to ignore the internal “pressure” of Canton and do the right thing.

I’m not the only one. Washington Post editor Len Shapiro has also publicly stumped for Modell. Several other members of the cabinet are aligned with the reality of Modell’s achievements and contributions to the NFL.

We don’t harp on this issue because of mere sentimentality. I think it’s a pretty cut and dried case and the track record is well documented.

It’s insane that Modell isn’t in the Hall of Fame. It cheapens the entire institution in my opinion and I’m a football nut and true historian. (Not to mention the goofy fact that every Baltimore NFL record lives under a sign that says Indianapolis down the hallway!)

There is no legitimate case to keep Modell out of the Hall of Fame, especially when you consider that he truly birthed the NFL in TWO cities. He created a sound franchise brand in Cleveland over 35 years and left the city its dignity and legacy. He brought Baltimore back its civic identity and pride.

He should be rewarded for that. And any self-respecting Ravens fan should fight for Art Modell’s good name in Canton, Ohio.

I’ll keep this one brief tonight – because I’m emotional about this. I’ve also been reading John Steadman’s book “From Colts to Ravens” over the past two weeks and the stories and vivid images of our time without a team is a daily reality in my reading.

Art Modell should’ve been on that stage tonight next to Wilson.

The truth: the NFL doesn’t want Modell in the Hall.

Just think about the scene the Browns fans would create. They’d organize and do everything in their power to wreck the event.

I know it. The NFL knows it. The Browns fans know it.

And, I think that’s the real story.

And it’s very, very sad that politics are keeping a man like Modell out of the Hall of Fame.

Watching Ralph Wilson go into the Hall of Fame tonight only reminded me of how wrong it is that Art Modell might never live to see his summer night in Canton.

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A weekend of MASN and Baltimore and Washington and “Battle of Basement”

Posted on 24 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, if they weren’t going to get the sweep at least they lost in dramatic fashion. Jamie Walker gave up a prodigious grand slam to Adam Dunn in the 7th inning and the Nats beat the O’s 8-5 to avert a sweep in D.C.

Brad Bergesen pitched well enough. The Orioles battled and the game was pretty nip and tuck through the middle innings with lead changes, big hits and competitiveness. But it all unraveled in the 7th for the O’s bullpen after Bergesen hit the shower.

I’ve spent all three days pretty much glued to the TV watching this series. I was just as amazed by all of the empty seats as I was the full ones. It looks like they sold a lot of tickets and many didn’t come. It was just weird looking at it for 30 innings over the last 45 hours.

I’ve been wanting to write a blog all weekend but I thought I’d just do a “summary” here today about what I’m thinking as I watch all of this pretty-much lousy baseball.

I’m also a little overwhelmed with MASN’s hodgepodge display of Nats and O’s as “friendly rivals” and how chummy the “Battle of the Beltway” feels as they both meet again and are both again headed for the basement of their respective East divisions. I call it the “Battle of the Basement” and it feels like it’ll probably be that way again next year.

With Jim Palmer back in the booth today, it was a refreshing change from the Nats-dominated coverage from Friday and Saturday. And when Cakes talks, I listen. He’s one of the few (Dave Johnson would be another) who actually teaches me stuff as I watch the game. I like that.

So, before I criticize MASN, let me say that Palmer eradicates many of their deficiencies with his brilliance, information, stories and general arrogance and candor. At this point, he’s Howard Cosell compared to what I hear anywhere else on MASN, CBS Radio, 105.7, Pressbox or anyone else who is “on the payroll” with the Orioles, Angelos or the axis of the “powers that be.”

But I’m just overwhelmed with how “templated” the Orioles and Nationals “fan experience” is when they tune their favorite club in on television. Both of their TV ratings are in the dumper and heading south with my last place summer nights. So, I suppose, other than telling us when Matt Wieters comes and pitching more events and MASN house ads and promotions, what else can they do with these teams that will be well into September before they win a combined 100 games?

But I love baseball. And I’m watching. And I’ve been taking some notes this weekend on Baltimore vs. Washington and how “flat” this thing feels.

Some random observations:

* A lot of orange in the seats all weekend in D.C. The O’s fans represented in almost Boston-like color in the seats. I’m not sure if that’s the D.C. side of the fanbase that thought that having a team they knew would suck as opposed to Montreal’s problems and MLB’s ownership would be a better play five years ago?

I’m not really sure how I would feel if I lived in Rockville and loved baseball. Why would I become a Nats fans? (Granted, it’s pretty easy to jump off the orange ship with the way Angelos has behaved with D.C. in general over the past 15 years. He’s more disliked in D.C. than he is here for trying to block the team’s entrance and now summarily screwing up the TV rights and presentation of the games.)

I suppose it’s the same situation for someone in Baltimore who truly fell in love with the Redskins in 1984 and just became a fan of the “nearest” team. I’ve rooted for the Capitals most of my life and considered the Bullets my “home” team until they moved into D.C. and changed their name to the Wizards.

It sucks bad enough being an Orioles fan. Imagine adopting the Nationals and watching them BOTH and trying to hang in there watching two doses of MASN every night to get your baseball fix…

* Debbi Taylor, former NESN girl who got her start as Peter Gammons’ girl wonder about 15 years ago at ESPN, makes Amber Theoharis look like Bonnie Bernstein or Suzy Kolber. The Nats broadcast team in general sounds like vanilla, blah, so what, etc. But again, they do have a 13-30 team that they have to make sense of every day. It ain’t easy talking day after day about losing. Trust me, we at WNST.net feel the same way. How many ways can you “sell” something that’s lousy?

* Palmer is hysterically funny. I’m not sure the guys at Famous Dave’s are happy with his assessment of their food, but it is funny.

* Hall of Famer Bob Feller stopped by in the middle of the game today and was just fabulous with one liners and old stories. Jim Palmer and Bob Feller talking old-school baseball might bore the hell out of some of the 21-year olds in the audience, but I love that stuff. I wish Feller, who is now 90 years young, would’ve stayed for two more innings. My Pop told me all about Bob Feller and the old stories are what sustain my interest in baseball these days.

•    I really wish this rivalry were good. The Redskins-Ravens thing is hot. Even when both teams suck, the game will always be a four-year war and the fans draw up the battle lines. I’m good with that. I hate the Redskins. I want to hate the Nationals. But neither one of these teams gives me any reason to feel any emotion. We had a bus trip planned for today and couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go. That’s pretty sad, I think. The Nationals are – alas — just “another team.” I wonder if sometime in the next 10 years whether it will ever develop into a “Hatfield-McCoy” thing. Right now, that feels a long, long way away…

* The one thing that I have found thoroughly offensive since Friday night has been MASN’s “mixed marriage” coverage. Look, I CLEARLY KNOW AND APPRECIATE that they’re “saving a buck” by combining the coverage. But if I hear Dibble call the Nationals “us” or “we” again or watch one more dorky Nats fan talk about “defining moments” in the same exact canned ads as they play on the Orioles broadcasts as they start the day 12-30, I’m gonna puke.

Angelos really HAS screwed up both cities for baseball. At least it’s comforting to know MASN’s just as lousy as a “templated” D.C. product.

And while I’m on it, the marketing phrase “Birdland” sucks. It’s just awful.

In D.C., they’re clearly “cultivating” Natstown”

As my wife pointed out, what would be wrong with “O-Town”?

Or “O’s Town”?

Anything but “Birdland,” which sounds like a place a last-place team would play to me.

•    I’ve gotta go now. Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday are on talking about the Nats in HD. I have to tune into MASN2 now to see Rick Dempsey and Tom Davis try to make sense of a loss to the Nats.

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Who will the Ravens pick this weekend? Some clues here…

Posted on 24 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

You gotta love the NFL. The league hasn’t snapped the football in almost three months and the buzz is as strong for the draft as it is for Week 7 of the regular season. It never ends this love of American football. So much enthusiasm and energy and talk about the 26th pick on Saturday for the Ravens.

Amidst that, there are all sorts of stories and storylines:

What will happen with Anquan Boldin and are the Ravens really involved?

My gut AND my sources tell me that it’s not very likely. The notion that Ozzie Newsome would trade a No. 1 and a No. 3 and then have to back up a brink’s truck for Boldin is highly unlikely. Plus, the cap issues of taking on another superstar making a super premium salary seem daunting. If the Ravens had that kind of money, they should’ve kept Bart Scott, right?

Who are the players the Ravens really like and would select at No. 26?

It’s always a crapshoot on draft day when you pick so low. The Ravens were greatly affected by the Atlanta trade for Tony Gonzales yesterday because it’s clear that the Falcons won’t be taking tight end Brandon Pettigrew with pick No. 24. Every name that comes off the board in the first 25 spots – and every trade up or back, and we expect a few – will affect what’s left when the 26th pick hits the clock.

So, when people ask me today and all day tomorrow, “Who will the Ravens pick?” I tell them the same thing every year: “Even Ozzie Newsome has no idea who they’ll wind up getting with a pick so low.”

That said, I’ll take a low pick on draft day every year into perpetuity. The joy of a single-digit pick is far outweighed by the agony of dealing with 16 weeks of bad football during a 6-10 season. Let Cincinnati and Cleveland pick early every year from now until the end of time.

All of these weeks and months of mock drafts are just that: a mockery. One unexpected trade on draft day – and with lunatics like Al Davis, Mike Brown and Daniel Snyder running drafts there’s always somebody doing something – not to mention other legitimate trades for more picks or value, it’s more impossible to predict a mock draft correctly than filling out a perfect March Madness pool. I think you’d have a better chance of hitting the lotto tonight for $150 million.

And once one team or one player goes awry, the whole draft changes. Everyone tries to handicap it but it’s a futile effort.

But this much I know: The Ravens would LOVE to trade a few times over the weekend, which is all the more reason to be on our text service. They only have six picks. They’d rather have seven or eight.

Here are some names of guys — and some key positions of need for the Ravens — that you should keep an eye on over the weekend as the names come off the board:

Center – Alex Mack, California. The Ravens brought him into town and checked him out thoroughly. He’s a tough, smart “Raven” kinda guy. If they trade out of No. 26 to move backward (and I still think this is VERY likely because they really want more picks), Mack would be a early 2nd rounder that will help the team. The only question is whether he can help the team at guard because the team already has a two-year solution at center in Matt Birk.

Tight end – A “dream” scenario for the team would be if Brandon Pettigrew fell to them at No. 26. The Philadelphia Eagles at No. 21 would be the one team to tie them up but that’s looking less likely. Again, the Falcons deal yesterday to acquire Gonzales helps the Ravens if they indeed covet Pettigrew, who is a beast at 6-6 and could help the pass protection and provide a safety valve for Joe Flacco.

Wide receiver – While the whole universe seems to think the Ravens are desperate for a wide out, I’m not convinced they’ll take one in the first round. Perhaps they’d select Kenny Britt of Rutgers if he’s still on the board but I don’t think Hakeem Nicks will be their choice. I’ve been saying for two months that WR is not the team’s most acute need nor should they burn a first-round pick on the riskiest of all positions on draft day.

Defensive back – Vontae Davis and Darius Butler. You can never have too many cornerbacks. They’re like pitchers in baseball. If you don’t get one in the first round you’re probably not getting one you feel comfortable in calling a starter. It’s the toughest role this side of QB to fill in the NFL. Davis comes with some immaturity and a little bit of baggage, but he’s the closest thing to a poor man’s Chris McAlister in this draft.

Defensive line/LB – Rey Maualuga. He’s probably the only player in the No. 26 range that the Ravens would consider and this isn’t their greatest need. If they were to take a LB here it would tell you a lot about how highly rated this player would have to be on their overall board. Honestly, all of the USC linebackers look attractive and will almost certainly be gone by the time the Ravens get on the clock in the second round with pick No. 55.

Here’s my hope: Brandon Pettigrew

Here’s my “prediction”: Rey Maualuga

The real story of the Ravens’ drafts and their relative success since 1996 has been tied to what happens AFTER the first round. Between Newsome, Eric DeCosta and Phil Savage and their staffs, over the years the Ravens have become the best team in the league on the last weekend of April. It’s how Newsome and this department has survived so long in one place. It’s an absolute anomaly.

Think about it: What were the odds that in 1996 when Ozzie Newsome passed on Lawrence Phillips and selected Jon Ogden and then went on to take Ray Lewis instead of Leland McElroy at the No. 26 pick that he’d STILL be here in April 2009 making decisions for Baltimore’s football team?

Newsome is still here because he’s really, really great at evaluating talent. He’s got a gift. He’s not always right but he’s been right more than virtually anyone on the planet at doing this.

And most experts say this draft is NOT deep for starting talent beginning Sunday morning. For whatever reason, most scouts aren’t feeling great about finding the next Adalius Thomas or Jason Brown late in the day on Sunday.

It’s a great weekend to be a football fan. It’s a great weekend to be a draftnik. Or just a nerd, like me.

I’ll be bellied up to the bar at Padonia Station at 3 p.m. drinking $2 Michelob Ultras and watching the draft and sending texts to everyone on the text service.

We’re having a “Textathon” weekend because this is the one weekend when we know we’ll be sending you a lot of stuff.

We hope if you’re not on the service you consider joining. And, if you are, we hope you’ll forward our texts to your PSL, purple-loving friends so they know the news and know about WNST.net and our cool text service.

Thanks!

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Sunday night is Baltimore’s night

Posted on 04 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium, signs should be erected at every gate that read:

TONIGHT – BALTIMORE FANS ONLY

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, we’re doing our best to try and produce an organized stadium-wide chant at the beginning of the second quarter to help create national awareness for Art Modell and his candidacy for this year’s NFL Hall of Fame selection.  Modell is on the semi-final list of 25…and the first “cuts” are made after a December 17 vote by the 44 voters – 15 finalists will remain after 12/17.

Not surprisingly, critics of the planned “Stand Up For Art” campaign have emerged.  I’ve probably received about 20 e-mails over the last few days from dissenting voices, representing folks from, naturally, Cleveland, Washington DC and, yes, even Baltimore.  Some of those critics in the Baltimore area are actually fans of other teams – like the Steelers – but for some reason they feel compelled to reach out to me and relay their anger for our “hypocritical stance” on Art Modell.

I’d love to see those signs on Sunday night:  TONIGHT, BALTIMORE FANS ONLY.

I don’t really care what anyone in Cleveland thinks about our efforts to promote Art’s Hall of Fame candidacy.  I certainly don’t care what anyone in Washington DC thinks.  And there’s nothing a Pittsburgh Steelers’ fan could say (or write) that would make me take pause and wonder if we’re doing the right thing on Sunday night.

In other words:  Sunday night is FOR BALTIMORE FANS ONLY.

We are doing the right thing on Sunday night.  Period.

Someone e-mailed me and asked, “If Jimmy Irsay owned the Colts for the next 20 years and they won two more Super Bowls, how would you feel if the Hall of Fame inducted HIM in 2028?”

Fine by me. 

I’m way past being pissed off about the Colts and the Irsay family.  And, if Jimmy Irsay makes a contribution to the league (in the same way that Modell did throughout the four decades he was involved) and helps the NFL make progress as both a business and an entertainment model, then by all means, invite him to Canton in 2028.  I couldn’t care less about that right now.  And, I can guarantee you I won’t care about it in 2028.

Art Modell is a Hall of Fame owner in the National Football League.  Yes, yes, I’m well aware he moved the team from Cleveland to Baltimore.  I know that.  Have you been to Canton lately?  There’s a racist, moved-his-team-owner in the Hall named George Preston Marshall – and a lunatic, moved-his-team-twice owner named Al Davis with his bust on display as well.  They got in and they moved THEIR team(s).  But they both got in because they evidently made overall contributions to the league that were worthy of Hall of Fame recognition.

I don’t need to justify Art Modell’s legacy in the NFL.  So, I’ll stop trying to do that.

What I will continue to do, though, is remind everyone that football in Baltimore returned to us in 1996 because of Art Modell.  It didn’t return to us because of Wayne Weaver.  It didn’t return to us because of Bill Bidwell.  It didn’t return to us because of Paul Tagliabue.  Football came “home” to Baltimore because of Art Modell.  

Nestor’s blogs on Modell this week paint the entire picture of what life would be like in Baltimore without football.  And Nestor also makes great points about how polished our franchise is and what kind of respect level the Ravens organization has garnered throughout the NFL.  None of that happens without Art Modell.

Sunday night at the start of the second quarter, we’re urging everyone at M&T Bank Stadium to stand up and chant “IN-DUCT ART!, IN-DUCT ART!, IN-DUCT ART!” for thirty seconds.  We’re hoping to gain some national recognition (and TV “face time” for the fans) for Modell’s candicacy on NBC…and we can’t wait to hear what both Al Michaels and John Madden have to say about Modell and the fans of Baltimore.

In the meantime, the folks in Cleveland can continue to carry on with their anti-Art campaign.  They probably feel righteous in doing so…even if their time would be better spent campaigning for something more beneficial – like a better football team.  

Pittsburgh fans can continue their quest to rattle my cage over the next day or so, but that won’t change anything, either.  Worry about getting another logo on your helmet and try fixing your moribund baseball franchise.  That’s where your efforts should be, yins.  (Of course, that “fixing your moribund baseball franchise” could * ahem* apply to others in the AFC North as well…)

And Redskins fans can save their breath too.  You better be worried about your own whack-job owner before you start pouring your heart and soul into criticizing some other team’s #1 guy. 

Cleveland…Pittsburgh…Washington DC…we don’t care what you think about Sunday night’s “Stand Up For Art” campaign.  Really, we don’t.

Sunday night as you enter the stadium, you’ll be able to pick up one of our “IN-DUCT ART!” signs.  We urge you to wave it proudly throughout the night and join us for the 30-second chant at the start of the second quarter.

Sunday night is Art Modell’s night.  FOR BALTIMORE FANS ONLY.

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THE COMPLETE ART MODELL PRIMER & FAQ REGARDING HIS HOF CANDIDACY

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Here is a primer on all things Canton, Pro Football Hall of Fame voting, the politics, the rules, the history and most importantly “Where Art Modell stands” in his lifelong quest to be bronzed and rightfully enshrined amongst the greats of the NFL game. You can also listen to Tuesday’s interviews with Peter King and Len Shapiro in our audio vault for more discussion about the reality of Art’s bid. Shapiro wrote a huge piece yesterday in The Washington Post pimping Modell’s candidacy and calling it a “travesty” that he’s not in Canton. It’s a must read!

(Incidentally, I’d love to link to a story in The Baltimore Sun regarding Modell’s candidacy, but once again our friends on Calvert Street are asleep at the wheel. Nice job of sticking up for your own, boys!)

This getting into the Hall of Fame business is more about politics and less about achievements these days if my research and the people I’ve chatted with who are in the room are really being honest.

The “clear cut” guys – this year it figures to a slam dunk for Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe and Bruce Smith as inductees – are mere formalities in many ways. Wide receiver Cris Carter is a bit of a holdover from last year, and figures to be a major factor with his gaudy stats. So, for the sake of argument, let’s just make them automatic and play for the bottom of the card, which appears to be the remaining one or two inductees. No one needs to make any strong argument for the non-bubble guys. It’s always the fringe people or the overlooked people who create the emotional stirs and long, heated debates in the minds of the voting committee.

There are 43 men and 1 woman who vote for the inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. There are 12 at-large members plus one representative from each of the 32 NFL cities/teams on the committee. Scott Garceau is Baltimore’s local rep. Mike Preston was formerly on the committee until 2004, when the Tribune Company decided to make it “against company policy” to vote on such committees because of “conflict of interest” concerns.

The 2009 list of 25 candidates will be pared down to 15 before Dec. 17th, when all 44 members must have their ballots and recommendations received. On Jan. 31, 2009 – the day before the Super Bowl – this group of 44 will enter the same room in Tampa and arguments will be given for all 15 candidates, plus the two senior committee nominees (this year it’s Claude Humphreys and Bob Hayes up for induction).

Let’s be straight: Virtually none of the candidates have anything left to “give the game” outside of Art Modell and Ralph Wilson, whose legacies and franchises live on in Baltimore, Cleveland and Buffalo. Paul Tagliabue is the only other “non player” on the current ballot of 25 names. All 22 of the others will be judged by their play on the field over the years, and virtually everyone on the HOF committee of 44 feels that “players” trump “contributors” when it comes time for voting. So, at best, Modell’s candidacy could be derailed by most anyone who actually stepped between the lines and played the game.

For the record, Tagliabue has many supporters among the 44, who all came in direct contact with His Commissionership many times over the last 20 years as he was the ultimate power broker in the sport for nearly a generation.

SO, HOW DOES ART MODELL GET INTO THE HALL OF FAME?

Good question. At this point, I believe it’s simply a matter of someone in our community (us?) making a stir and making it a viable, public outcry of support for Modell. Trust me, no one in Cleveland and not many amongst the 44 people in the room feel inclined to “jump on the table” for Art Modell. Other than Garceau, who is a staunch supporter of Modell (but who admits that having worked for the club as a play-by-play voice for a decade appears as a conflict of interest in that room), only Len Shapiro of The Washington Post has shown any partiality or inclination to grandstand on behalf of Modell. Another retired former voter and proponent of Modell is former USA Today columnist Gordon Forbes, who sends information to the current panel each year on behalf of Modell.

Here is the official “selection process” from the Pro Football Hall of Fame site.

I don’t think it’s as much about the facts of Modell’s contributions since 1961 to the NFL at this point. I think there’s some clear politicking – or lack thereof – going on. I’ve been told there are two major factors at play:

1. The move from Cleveland has created a “he’ll never get in because of that” mentality amongst some in the room and all of his other accomplishments have been diminished like Pete Rose’s sin of gambling on the game in baseball or Mark McGwire’s “not here to talk about the past” confession. For some, Modell is a lifelong pariah never to be recognized after “kicking the dog” on the cover of Sports Illustrated in Nov. 1995.

2. Over the years, some of Modell’s detractors have minimized his role and the legend of his involvement in the basic tenet of the merit of his candidacy: his role in the television negotiations and growth of the game with the networks and revenue. Time and the death of his contemporaries has definitely hindered Modell’s bid for Canton as much as anything because the very people who knew, felt, respected and lived through his many contributions are not the ones making a case for him at this point. Pete Rozelle, Wellington Mara, George Preston Marshall and Lamar Hunt are not here to be involved in the discussion although all of them no doubt believed in Modell’s Hall “worthiness.”

It’s now in the hands of the storytellers and some on the committee have heard conflicting reports as to whether Rozelle was the “smart one” and Modell was simply a guy who was the “No. 2” and simply got the credit of associating with the league. Of course, the mere fact that Modell came from a background of New York television in the late 1950’s would tell you that his network expertise was a key factor in the exponential growth of the league and its revenue during his tenure on the “television committee” for nearly 30 years.

From the Thanksgiving doubleheader to Monday Night Football, from winning an NFL Championship in Cleveland to winning a Super Bowl in Baltimore, from being involved at the game’s highest level since 1961 and being a massive part of shaping the sport for longer than most of us have been on the planet, Modell certainly deserves a better fate in Canton during the September of his life.

Certainly, most on the committee must believe that if Art is going to live long enough to see his own induction, the time is NOW for some action here in Baltimore.

We plan on creating some noise this week and hope that you’ll join our Facebook effort to help Art and raise awareness in Baltimore this week in anticipation of having a national audience here on Sunday night for the Redskins game.

WHO ARE THESE 44 GUYS ANYWAY AND HOW DID THEY GET ON SOMETHING AS IMPORTANT AS THE HALL OF FAME VOTING COMMITTEE?

Below is the list of the Hall of Fame voting committee, as selected by a board at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio:

Bernie Miklasz, Bob Gretz, Bob Oates, Charean Williams, Charles Chandler, Chick Ludwig, Clare Farnsworth, Cliff Christl, Dan Pompei, Dave Goldberg, David Climer, David Elfin, Don Pierson, Ed Bouchette, Edwin Pope, Frank Cooney, Howard Balzer, Ira Kaufman, Ira Miller, Jarrett Bell, Jeff Legwold, Jerry Green, Jerry Magee, Jim Trotter, John Clayton, John Czarnecki, John McClain, Kent Somers, Len Pasquarelli, Leonard Shapiro, Mark Gaughan, Mike Chappell, Mike O’Hara, Nancy Gay, Paul Domowitch, Paul Zimmerman, Peter Finney, Peter King, Rick Gosselin, Ron Borges, Sam Kouvaris,  Scott Garceau, Sid Hartman, Tony Grossi, Vinny DiTrani and Vito Stellino are the list of people.

Obviously, some of these names are more familiar than others. Some are frequent contributors to WNST. Some of them you know from television. And two of them – Miklasz and Stellino – were journalists here in Baltimore and covered the Colts leaving for Indianapolis. So, there’s plenty of perspective here on the NFL and plenty of expertise.

WHO ARE THE 25 NOMINEES ON THE CURRENT BALLOT?

Cris Carter Wide Receiver 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Roger Craig Running Back 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Terrell Davis Running Back 1995-2001 Denver Broncos

Dermontti Dawson Center 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

Richard Dent Defensive End 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Doleman, Defensive End-Linebacker 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers

Kevin Greene, Linebacker-Defensive End 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

Russ Grimm Guard 1981-1991 Washington Redskins

Ray Guy Punter 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Charles Haley, Defensive End-Linebacker 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

Lester Hayes, Cornerback 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Cortez Kennedy, Defensive Tackle 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

Bob Kuechenberg Guard 1970-1984 Miami Dolphins

Randall McDaniel Guard 1988-1999 Minnesota Vikings, 2000-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Art Modell, Owner 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens

John Randle, Defensive Tackle 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks

Andre Reed Wide Receiver 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Shannon Sharpe, Tight End 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Bruce Smith, Defensive End 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000-03 Washington Redskins

Ken Stabler, Quarterback 1970-79 Oakland Raiders, 1980-81 Houston Oilers, 1982-84 New Orleans Saints

Paul Tagliabue Commissioner 1989-2006 National Football League

Steve Tasker, Special Teams-Wide Receiver 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills

Derrick Thomas Linebacker 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs

Ralph Wilson, Owner 1960-current Buffalo Bills

Rod Woodson, Cornerback-Saftey 1987-1996 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers, 1998-2001 Baltimore Ravens, 2002-03 Oakland Raiders

HOW SIGNIFICANT IS TONY GROSSI OF THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER?

Six years ago, when Modell’s candidacy had its best chance – while Art still owned the team and was fresh off of the Super Bowl XXXV victory – it was shot down in a legendary way when Tony Grossi, Cleveland’s representative and outspoken hater of all things Modell on behalf of the greater Cuyahoga and Northern Ohio area, gave an impassioned speech about how what Modell did to his hometown should forever forbid his enshrinement to Canton. This much is public record.

Now, what influence that actually had on the other committee members is debatable. My sources tell me that there are “anti” candidate guys all over the room. As an example, I have a feeling Scott Garceau, who was the reporter told by Tagliabue to “build a museum,” won’t be voting the former Sun King commish into bronzeness anytime soon on behalf of Baltimore’s  shoddy treatment in 1993.

Over the years, my mentor John Steadman lobbied against John Mackey’s induction. It’s just the way these things go. Some people have an axe to grind. Some just legitimately look at a candidate like punter Ray Guy and say: “I’m not putting a punter in the Hall of Fame.”

In the case of inducting Modell, there is obviously plenty of precedent given Al Davis and Lamar Hunt and other contemporaries have long been inside the walls of Canton. There are also several owners in the Hall of Fame who have moved franchises from one city to the next.

If these 44 people entrusted to “get this right” are going to hold a business decision (and one that many of them couldn’t possibly understand) against inducting Modell into the Hall of Fame when that business move made a community like ours whole is preposterous.

I will be writing more later in the week about Art’s specific contributions here in Baltimore since 1996.

Feel free to comment and please spread the word about our plans for Sunday night and the Baltimore fans’ ability to affect this vote and get Art rightfully inducted into Canton.

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