Tag Archive | "dundalk"

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

Posted on 11 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can’t imagine my life without that night.

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

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

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Stevenson Crushed Widener To Remain Unbeaten

Posted on 07 March 2012 by WNST Staff

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – A total of 10 different players scored for the Stevenson men’s lacrosse team, led by four points from freshman Stephen Banick (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Catholic) as the No. 4 ranked Mustangs remained unbeaten in four games this season with an 11-3 victory over future MAC rival Widener Wednesday at Mustang Stadium.

Stevenson (4-0) won its 14th-straight regular-season home game dating back to the 2010 season while tying a season-high with 11 goals.

The Mustangs totaled a season-high 51 shots, outshooting the Pride 51-21 while winning 13-of-17 faceoffs, led by senior Doug Reidt (Towson, Md./Hereford) who was 10-for-12. He also had a career-high eight ground balls.

Defensively, Stevenson forced 24 turnovers while holding Widener to just three goals. Through four games, the Mustangs have allowed just 18 goals for an average of only 4.5 per game. The defense has not allowed more than six goals in a game this season and is currently ranked 16th in Division III in scoring defense.

Banick finished with three assists to increase his team-lead to nine. He also leads the team in points this season with 14.

Freshman Billy Burgoyne (Boonton Township, N.J./Mountain Lakes) posted the first multi-point game of his career with two goals and one assist while senior Kenny Whittaker (Dundalk, Md./Archbishop Curley) scored his first points since he netted a goal in a 10-6 win over Salisbury
on Apr. 24, 2010. He finished with one goal and one assist.

After a goal by Michael Bassani gave the Pride (0-4) a 1-0 lead with three seconds left in the first quarter, Stevenson scored the next 11 to take an 11-1 lead with 10:00 remaining in the fourth.

Widener was whistled for nine penalties totaling 8:30 leading to two extra-man goals for the Mustangs. Bassani had two goals to lead the Pride while Bobby Schluter made 17 saves.

Senior Ian Bolland (Mountain Lakes, N.J./Mountain Lakes) had 10 saves for Stevenson while sophomore and 2011 CAC Rookie of the Year Ryan Rubenstein (Sykesville, Md./Boys’ Latin) had three caused turnovers and four ground balls.

Stevenson faces the second of six top-20 opponents on its 2012 schedule Saturday when it travels to No. 9 Lynchburg. Game time is at 7:00 p.m. The Mustangs are 1-0 against ranked teams this season following an 11-5 victory over No. 17 Haverford on February 18.

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Chapter 3: My Pop and Little League in Dundalk

Posted on 07 March 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Where are you getting your Baltimore sports news & information? Sharing is caring…

Posted on 29 January 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

This blog was originally published two years ago. We’ll be revisiting this with a three-part series and updating these thoughts with a new 2012 WNST “State of Baltimore Sports Media” survey next week while we broadcast live from Indianapolis all week. This is Part 3 of 5: The State of Baltimore Sports Media (circa 2010).

The saddest day of 2009 for any Ravens fan was also the day that I saw the state of the world had changed for WNST.net via the instant power of our text service. On the 4th of July at 4:17 p.m. I was sitting at home watching midday holiday baseball when I got a tip from a friend that Steve McNair had been murdered.

After receiving that quick text, I jumped onto the computer and saw that every Tennessee TV station was reporting his murder within the previous five minutes. At 4:21 p.m. more than 3,900 people received a WNST Text reporting the only facts we knew: “Tennessee media is reporting that Steve McNair has been murdered. More to come…”

At 4:50 p.m., ESPN finally reported it. And at 5:37 p.m. – a full 76 minutes later, The Sun finally had it on their website.

While I was blogging feverishly, looking for any information I could get from Nashville in the first 30 minutes on a sweltering holiday summer day – monitoring all of their TV stations and newspapers and fielding a wide variety of emails, Tweets and texts – apparently the 3,900 people on our WNST Text Service had taken matters into their own hands in forwarding our message to tens of thousands of other people like a game of virtual phone booth. More than 23,000 people had visited my blog by 8 p.m. on a premier national holiday on a day when virtually no one was in front of a computer. They were all coming from the palms of theirs hands via their mobile devices.

THAT – in the previous 25 years of my media existence — would have been impossible in the old, dinosaur world of local news. And it certainly would’ve been exclusively the area of the three local TV stations and, probably, WBAL Radio. But in the new world, they were all coming to the local source of the breaking sports news: WNST.net.

But the one thing about our WNST Text Service that often goes without saying is this: when we report it, you KNOW it’s true. Through our own goodwill, hard work and credibility, we have established a reputation for never, ever being wrong on a news story. And there are now more than 5,200 of you on the WNST Text Service.

Join the WNST Text Service…

And it goes without say that “timeliness” and the element of surprise is, in fact, the essence of what makes it “news.” News is immediate. News is shareable. News is eternal.

And, clearly, not all news is good.

But the depth of our content was also apparent on that sad, summer day. Ironically, we had video of Steve McNair joining about 1,200 Ravens fans in Nashville to greet them from January of last year before the big playoff game in our You Tube video vault. It’s a really weird clip — especially given it was the last time he’d do anything with his Baltimore roots. We raised $5,000 that night last January for the Air McNair Foundation and the Baltimore Ronald McDonald House. I had given very little thought that night at Limelight in Nashville that I would never see Steve McNair alive again.

Like most breaking news stories – and all tragedies – it was completely unpredictable that Steve McNair could die

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State of Baltimore Sports Media: Where do you get your info & whom do you trust?

Posted on 27 January 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

This blog was originally published two years ago. We’ll be revisiting this with a three-part series and updating these thoughts with a new WNST “State of Baltimore Sports Media” survey next week while we broadcast live from Indianapolis all week. This is Part 1 of 5: The State of Baltimore Sports Media (circa 2010).

The world has changed a lot since I was born in 1968 and when I first starting reading The Sun in 1972. I was one of those kids who read early and have vivid memories of reading the sports section scores to the class in kindergarten in 1973. I learned to read by reading the newspaper every day. News, information and current events were a huge part of my household in Colgate. And sports was part gospel.

 

Expose

Every day at my house in Dundalk, The Sun came in the morning and The News American came at night. (Even though both of my parents insisted on calling it “The News Post” – its earlier name from the 1950s.) I read the sports section, the news section, TV listings, played Wishing Well and read the goofy horoscope. I was — and still am at heart — a newspaper freak. I clipped mastheads when my family traveled in 1978 to Myrtle Beach, S.C. from every newspaper at every rest stop. They were easy-to-get 10-cent souvenirs at every Stuckey’s along the way!

My Pop subscribed to the Baseball Digest (we’d always get the almanac and stats books at the end of every year, which were like bibles in my house) and The Sporting News.

As a kid in the 1970’s, we were under almost communistic rule in regard to the flow of real information to the public in regard to sports or the business of sports. If the baseball owners – who were the kings of American sports, in that they owned the most valuable & well-marketed sports properties – didn’t want players to have free agency for 50 years, do you think they were interested in sports writers having free speech? (Just think about it…lol)

My flow of information was relegated to a few annual digests, The Sporting News and bubble gum cards. (One day I’ll write a book solely devoted to baseball cards, which have been a lifelong passion for me.)

Back to the basics: when you’re a kid from Dundalk in the 1970s you think “I read it in the newspaper – it MUST be true!” Or at least that’s what I thought before I had given any thought to the business aspects of the sports media world.

I’ve later come to realize that until Howard Cosell came along during my childhood and began to expose all of the nonsense in the sports world and the backrubs that the alleged “media” were giving the “jockocracy,” it was a world of marketing, hero-worship and ticket selling with very little regard for the facts about athletes or how the world works. It was pretty much like the World Wide Wrestling Federation – a land of make believe. You make up a story in the public relations department, get the writers to write about it, make your broadcasters talk about it during the games – and voila, Fruit Loops becomes part of the Mickey Tettleton legend!

I’m now 41 and I’ve spent every moment since I was 15 years old learning about, living in and adjusting to the world of Baltimore sports media. And with all of the knowledge and school-of-hard-knocks life lessons I’ve been taught, I’ve never read anyone who was more on-point, accurate and candid than Cosell.

To me, he’s the greatest sports journalist there ever was – and his credo of “telling it like it is” always resonates with me and while in some colleague circles it hasn’t made me popular, it has brought me the eternal gift of respect from those who know that I don’t need to sugarcoat the reality of a circumstance.

In Dundalk parlance, they know I’m not “bulls%^&*g” them…

If I’ve said it or written it over the years, it’s the truth. Like it or not, you’re getting what I really think and the background of facts and observations that justify my stance.

But, then again, I’m the only media member in the marketplace who doesn’t have a boss. I don’t answer to anybody and I don’t work for anybody else. No one can “fire” me. So, in many ways, I’m the only one who CAN tell you the truth. Sad, but true.

If you’re giving me the time to read this piece – or have ever tuned into any of my work since 1984 – I feel I owe you what I really think not just what “someone told me I should say.” And besides, it’s got my name on it. And the building and radio station and website all have WNST.net on them. So this week upon my departure from radio and into the fulltime world of social media and entrepreneurship, I’m going to set the record straight.

Since the 1980’s, I’ve gone on to work for all three daily newspapers as a kid, learning every nuance of the news, journalism, reporting, editing and protocol of the industry from the greatest cast of experts you could possibly imagine: John Steadman, Richard Justice, Ken Rosenthal, Tim Kurkjian, Buster Olney, plus dozens (if not hundreds) of other mentors, co-workers, colleagues and sports media personalities and business executives. I’ve been a sponge to all of their unending information, knowledge and advice. Much of this I’ll be using when I begin researching and writing my third book all this year on the history of Baltimore sports coaches and leadership and wisdom. I am hoping it will be the best piece of work I’ve ever done. I will pour my heart into it and hope that you buy it and share it. I’m hoping to have it available by Labor Day.

In the 1990’s I created a successful sports radio show that begat WNST-AM

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Even my 92-year old mother had sage advice for Flacco

Posted on 20 January 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

My mother met Joe Flacco last night. She doesn’t move so great these days but she still knows how to give solid advice.

It’s the same advice she gave me in the 1970’s in Dundalk.

Enjoy…

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Stevenson Falls At Wilkes To Conclude Inaugural Football Season

Posted on 12 November 2011 by WNST Staff

EDWARDSVILLE, Pa. – For the second-straight week, the Stevenson football team had a 100-yard rusher and a 100-yard receiver, but a safety with 4:14 remaining in the fourth quarter gave Wilkes a two possession lead and the Colonels ran out the clock as they held rallied and held on for a 43-34 victory Saturday at Schmidt Stadium.

The Mustangs (2-8, 1-7 MAC) finished their inaugural season with its third consecutive 100-yard rusher as junior C.J. Hopson (Lusby/Patuxent) ran for 118 yards and one score.

Stevenson also had a 100-yard receiver for the second-straight game and sixth time this season as freshman Jae DeShields (Bridgeton, N.J./Bridgeton) finished with his fourth 100-yard game in eight games this season with eight catches for 167 yards and career-high three touchdowns.

Trailing 41-20 with 4:01 to play in the third quarter following a 10-yard touchdown pass from Alex George to Kyle Driscoll, Stevenson answered with back-to-back scoring drives to pull within seven, 41-34 with 12:28 left in the fourth quarter.

DeShields hauled in his third touchdown pass of the game with 1:35 remaining in the third quarter before freshman Ryan Crawley (North Babylon, N.Y./North Babylon) scored on a 3-yard run for his third touchdown of the season, all in the last three games.

Following Crawley’s touchdown, Wilkes (4-5, 4-4 MAC) drove 61 yards in 14 plays, down to the Mustang 2-yard line with under six minutes to play. Looking to seal the game with a touchdown, the Stevenson defense preserved the one possession lead for the Colonels after freshman Jaron Cody (Bridgeton, N.J./Cumberland) forced a fumble on second-and-goal that was recovered by freshman Donnell Brown (Baltimore/Poly).

Looking at 98 yards with two timeouts, the Stevenson offense began its 12th drive of the game with an opportunity to tie or win the game with 5:40 remaining.

After an incomplete pass and rushes by Crawley and Hopson, the Mustangs were facing a fourth-and-2 from their own 10-yard line with 4:21 left following their second timeout of the game. The team elected to punt and rely on its defense for a stop, giving the offense one more shot at a game-tying or game-winning drive.

Lined up in punt formation, the snap went over the head of freshman Brad Cummings (Dundalk/Old Mill) and out of the back of the end zone, give Wilkes a two possession lead with just over four minutes to play.

Stevenson had one last opportunity with 3:13 remaining as the Colonels faced a third-and-5 at their own 43-yard line following the Mustangs’ final timeout.

However, George picked up eight yards on a quarterback scramble and Wilkes effectively ran the clock down to 15 seconds to play before turning the ball over on downs.

The Colonels were 11-of-19 on third-down conversions in the game and converted 4-of-4 on fourth down with two touchdowns before turning it over with 15 seconds remaining.

The Mustangs led or were tied for the majority of the first half before a 1-yard run by George with 54 seconds left in the first half gave Wilkes its first lead, 27-20. The touchdown was the third of five-straight scoring drives for the Colonels as they rallied from a 20-14 deficit with 27 consecutive points to take a 41-20 lead.

DeShields finished the season with 848 yards and 11 touchdowns receiving, both team-highs, while sophomore Jeromie Miller (Reisterstown/Franklin) totaled a team-best 52 receptions.

Hopson concluded his first season at Stevenson with a team-high 680 yards rushing and four scores while completing 51.7 percent of his passes, 123-for-238, for 1,863 yards and 20 touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Brown totaled 18 tackles on Saturday, including 16 solo, and finishes his first collegiate season as the MAC leader in tackles with 126.

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I’m free at last to “take the stand” in Jennifer Royle (ex-MASN employee & current CBS Radio employee) v. WNST.net

Posted on 29 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

Tick tock, tick tock…as time slips through the hourglass so goes Jennifer Royle’s 15 minutes of fame in Baltimore.

She’s now been here about 18 months and today figures to be the last time she gets a headline in the Charm City. Her lawsuit against me, WNST and my employees Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark, was completely without merit.

This costly and damaging witch hunt and blatant attempt to injure my company and a reputation that I’ve spent 27 years of my life erecting here in my hometown of Baltimore as a “tell it like it is” journalist in the style of my heroes John Steadman and Howard Cosell – is now complete.

Time and facts have proven that WNST never did anything inappropriate.

Ms. Royle dropped the case after our lawyers filed a motion asking a judge to order her to answer a series of questions that she didn’t want to answer.

Instead of responding to our motions, she took her marbles and went home.

As we stated all along, we did nothing wrong at WNST.net. Her allegations were a public affront to me, and an attack on my personal integrity and the value of everything we’ve built this 21st century local media company to stand for publicly over the past two decades.

My company and my personal reputation have been greatly damaged over the last six months with this black cloud of nonsense, gossip and bogus lawsuit, and I’m glad to publicly tell you today that we prevailed, but what we’ve received lacks justice for me, my employees, and our families.

Despite all of the havoc she’s wreaked inside of my company and the damage to my reputation in the community with her allegations, in the end Jennifer Royle got nothing, zero, zilch – not one penny of WNST money, which was her motivation from the outset. So, I suppose she “lost” this battle although I’m not sure it cost her any money at all to create this media firestorm so perhaps she’s a winner.  Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?

Many of you had never heard of her before her face graced the front pages of local periodicals as a “rising star,” while suing the one local media company that has the audacity to tell it like it is regarding bad journalism, media competition and the “hush hush” politics surrounding the Baltimore Orioles and Peter Angelos.

And as much as my company can claim some sort of public “victory” today, I know I’m not a “winner,” that’s for sure. This was a game of legal chess and a complete waste of time and energy that no one in my company ever signed on to play.

Outside the hundreds of wasted hours of nonsense, grief, rumors and lies, it’s certainly been a life-altering, educational experience.

And, really, quite personally disheartening for a kid from Dundalk who grew up with next-to-nothing and has worked diligently, legally, ethically and with great passion and energy to make a great, authentic local company like WNST.net that lives and breathes to serve this community and make the internet, mobile devices and radio work against all odds and against the biggest giants of the media industry in the marketplace.

The garbage we’ve endured in this case was unimaginable until I realized how the incredible red tape of these lawsuits work.

But even after voluntarily offering to drop all of her charges last week via her attorney, she gave me her “concession speech” while wearing a press pass in the Ravens media lounge.

Two weeks ago before the Chiefs game, just hours after it became official that Royle was giving up her case, she approached me at a table with other reporters standing nearby and gave me her “post-litigation” quote while wearing a Ravens credential:

“What the f**k are you looking at? I did you a f**king favor. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT! ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT!”

By the way, these were the first uninitiated words she’s ever spoken to me, and the first time she’s ever engaged me in any conversation.

You want the truth about Royle v. WNST?

You might not be able to handle the truth…but it’s a click away right HERE.

I’m told that I’m finally free at last to speak my mind and tell my side of the story. So, while I was anxiously awaiting the trial next June and taking my seat in the courtroom and having the facts told in great detail because we have nothing to hide, instead I’ll take the stand here at WNST.net and tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

As usual…

That, by the way, is all that I’ve done for the past 27 years.  I’ve enjoyed a lifetime of writing, editing, reporting, critiquing, praising and evaluating the Baltimore sports scene in the media. I wrote 1,500 stories for The News American and The Baltimore Sun before I was 23 and began my radio career on Dec. 13, 1991. I’m three months short of 20 years as a radio host and local entrepreneur whose been traveling the world and living in and loving this city and its sports scene.

I report facts. I opine and analyze on Baltimore sports and just about anything else that I feel compelled and authentically interested in espousing my feelings about regarding topics I feel I’m qualified to opine. We live in America. I have First Amendment rights and free speech.

But today I’m here to tell you that “free” speech isn’t free.

Jennifer Royle is a competitor in sports media who we think is inferior as a journalist, and we really don’t care who knows it. She’s a public figure. She goes on the radio and the internet and her Twitter page and opines on all sorts of things that we believe she’s unqualified to evaluate as a professional Baltimore sports expert. Here’s my opinion: her opinion on Baltimore sports is so insignificant as to not be ever mentioned again by me or anyone at WNST.net.

And other than a few occasions in the past when we pointed out how off base she was in some commentary or a blog, we really gave Miss Royle very little attention in her first year in Baltimore. Honestly, other than as an occasional punch line -– which is all she is as a “source” or “insider” in our sports universe of legitimate experts — it wasn’t worth the effort.

And after this blog her name will never roll off my lips again. I have no interest in Jennifer Royle, nor have I ever had any interest in any aspect of her life before getting sued by her and being subjected to reading the daily drama of her existence on Twitter and all over social media. The biggest “favor” she did me was dropping the lawsuit so I no longer had to monitor her mindless web ramblings, which most certainly robbed me of my time as much as the lawsuit robbed me of sponsors and some dignity that I’ll never recover in some segments of the community who convict those in the court of public opinion and on the 5 o’clock news.

Now, let’s address this crazy lawsuit, which countless numbers of you have asked me about since it led the evening news back in March, and then we’re done with it.

And here’s another link. It’s almost 300 pages long. As you can imagine, it’s an arduous read but it contains everything you need to know about what Jennifer Royle alleged in Royle v. WNST (Aparicio, Forrester & Clark).

All I need to say will be said here: WNST will not be taking phone calls or posting any “he said/she said” commentary after we speak our peace (or is it piece?) this week. We are through with this chapter of sick, pointless litigation. And we are most certainly through with Miss Royle and her drama.

Enough, already.

We have families to feed, sports news and commentary to get to in football season and a community to serve in Baltimore.

For those of you coming here to read because you:

A) Love me
B) Hate me
C) Know me
D) Care about me
E) or you’re just a curiosity news-seeker

I will say this: I appreciate that you care enough to read on and care to know my side of the story. And I have a feeling the company she works for won’t be featuring this on the evening news the way they did when their employee was the plaintiff — but only time will tell. And I have a feeling that The Baltimore Sun won’t make the dismissal of this case a front page story the way they did when I was the defendant. And even though the story leaked last week during the awful tragedy regarding Mike Flanagan’s suicide, no one has reached to me to get my side of the story the way they all called me unprovoked before I had even been served papers back in March.

So, here’s how I really feel: This was the most despicable act purported on me in my lifetime by anyone I’ve never even met.

The amount of hours, explanations and mind space I’ve had to spend on a woman who I’ve never even had a conversation with or have given a nanosecond of my time or energy to since her self-aggrandized arrival 18 months ago and someone I’m not remotely interested in knowing anything personal about is mind-boggling.

What a country we live in! That’s all I can say.

This country and our legal system and tort law is very, very, very f**ked up – that much I’ve learned in the last six months since her threats began with a letter from her lawyer Brian Goodman of the law firm of Hodes, Pessin & Katz advising that they intended to sue my company, which would clearly harm my company and help Royle’s company, CBS Radio, have a competitive advantage over WNST.

But there was no way WNST was ever going to admit guilt where none existed. Sure, it would’ve been easier, but anyone in my life who even thought of recommending that cowardly behavior was dismissed and you can only imagine my anger at the notion of doing anything that impugns my integrity as an honest journalist.

I’d rather die.

And anyone who knows me will tell you that.

And Miss Royle wound up getting exactly what she deserved in the end: nothing.

As I wrote four months ago when this fiasco began, I have nothing to hide. There is no smoking gun. We’re by far the most read, commented, followed, text-based, Tweeting, blogging, content machines at WNST.net and all of it is purposely designed to be public.

My company immediately and eagerly produced droves -– if not tomes — of unedited, unaltered information and contents of all kinds for Goodman, Hodes and Royle. We have tweeted over 50,000 times. We have Facebooked vigorously for three years – tens of thousands of threads, comments, entries and pictures. We do 12 hours of very visible, downloaded audio and radio every day. I have personally sent and received more than 100,000 emails in the last year.

Not a speck of actionable material about Jennifer Royle was anywhere in our evidence.

Same with Drew Forrester.

Same with Glenn Clark.

We have hundreds of Tweets, posts, replies and evidence that would say that Jennifer Royle has had a rocky road with Baltimore sports fans and their public (and warranted in our opinion) criticism of her work and credentials as a local sports expert. She burst into Baltimore on the tail end of the Anita Marks era at 105.7 and CBS Radio and was quickly put into the Orioles clubhouse with a MASN/CBS credential.

And aside from any tangible evidence regarding this case, to publicly allege as she did in her lawsuit that we gossiped about her personal life or her sex life, based on blogs and tweets in which we said absolutely no such thing, is just preposterous and an affront to everything we stand for at WNST.net in reporting the facts about sports in Baltimore.

The shocker to me was that a respected firm like Hodes, Pessin & Katz — a group of people I considered long-time friends and who were involved in ownership and housing WLG-AM 1360 when I wrote more than $250,000 in checks to their company back in the 1990’s brokering airtime for my afternoon “Sports Forum” radio show — would take a case like this against me and think they’d win.

The original charging documents tried to plead that Royle is NOT a public figure, which I don’t think I needed to enter the Peter G. Angelos Law Center at my old University of Baltimore alma mater to research.

And I can’t imagine that anyone on her side of the fence ever realized that large portions of her personal life and relationships are an absolute open book on her Twitter page where she loudly and proudly interacts with the many famous friends she has in sports and openly denigrates fans and co-workers every day quite publicly. She openly Tweets with athletes, celebrities and media people on a daily basis about her physical attributes, her dog, her nephew, etc.

But the amount of absolute gibberish in their charging documents would’ve been laughable had it not been a blatant attempt to wreak havoc on my life and company and shake me down for money.

They actually spelled my name wrong when they sent the court papers and did so many times throughout the documentation.

They were demanding $800,000 and they didn’t know how to spell my name?

They served me papers three different times, so much so that I felt like I knew the poor retired police officer (and WNST fan) that chased me around town for two weeks in March. They even sued the wrong company at the wrong address in the beginning.

Quite frankly, I don’t need to opine too much about the specifics in the case.

They’re all RIGHT HERE for you to peruse.

But, in general, it seems Miss Royle can take anything we say on the radio or the web and somehow believe it has some link to her.

She somehow managed to complain in the lawsuit about a Tweet I sent regarding a half-price discount for one of our sponsors and think it was about her.

Go through pages 156 through 181 of her allegations in the lawsuit and see for yourself some of her charges.

She also complained that we nominated her for “Orioles Apologist Of The Month.” She and her legal team thought they could sue us for this? And win?

Her legal papers also allege that a caller made a reference to “Jen Midol” on WNST. It might not be too polite but it’s certainly not grounds for a lawsuit against me.

She even reached to Orioles poohbah Greg Bader, hardly a fan of mine or WNST, and attempted to involve him on Page 178.

But, thankfully, this circus is over.

And let’s make no mistake about it — WNST is NOT a winner. We lost. We lost big time. But Jennifer Royle didn’t get a penny from WNST.net.

I suppose that’s my “victory.”

But I’ve been victimized. When someone calls me or my team rumormongers and even whispers that anyone at WNST made comments that they never actually made is personally bothersome to me.

All told, I think this whole experience was despicable.

Not that this does me any good or helps me recoup damages to my name that might last the rest of my life in the public forum.

I have sponsors who dropped us. I have others who declined to do business with us or take an appointment with us. I heard whispers around every corner about WNST and me and perceived guilt. I had jealous rivals and unappreciative ex-employees cackle and desperately hope that WNST.net was guilty and going belly up.

Can you imagine my lack of humor when someone who identifies themselves as a WNST fan comes up at an Orioles game and asks if my station is going to be renamed W-Jen-ST once she wins the lawsuit.

This was no joke to anyone at WNST and isn’t a good conversation starter for me or Forrester or Clark.

The worst part has been being around the Ravens organization and having media members and members of the organization look at Drew, Glenn and me as pariahs or seeing us “guilty before judgment.” And the gender-based claims in this suit clearly imply that we’re somehow misogynists, when our wives, girlfriends and mothers are aghast that their loved ones could be accused of this kind of “social crime.”

But, in the end, this was exactly what my local attorney Steve Miles called it four months ago: a shakedown.

And my legal team was world class. If you have people making outrageous claims on you in the media space, you want Chuck Tobin and Drew Shenkman of Holland & Knight on your team. Those guys are the REAL heroes in this case. They’re two of the smartest, best dudes I’ve met anywhere in my travels. Rock stars and First Amendment Americans!

I owe a debt of gratitude to every one of you who said a kind word or dropped me a line with support and love. Thank you, Baltimore!

I run a company full of good people who are all honorable, work hard and want to be great. We love Baltimore sports as much as you love Baltimore sports and that’s why we’re here. And at this point, if you doubt those words you’re just a hater.

But, if you are a WNST hater who has read this missive this far, I’ll just assume you’re a hater who cares.

And I wouldn’t wish this sort of character assassination on even my most hated competitor.

This affected my 55-year old general manager Paul Kopelke and his family. This affected parents and wives and small children in the case of Drew Forrester. My wife, my mother and son all went through this with me and Drew and Glenn and our families and loved ones as well as all of my employees and supporters.

For me, it’s about integrity.  It’s about right and wrong.

I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was the most evil, heinous act ever performed upon me so Miss Royle should at the very least take a bow for scraping the bottom of the barrel in my 43 years on the planet.

When my 92-year old mother in Dundalk saw my face on the evening news looking like a criminal getting sued by a female journalist with hurt feelings and I look guilty on TV and in the newspapers when we’re perfectly innocent — well, that’s a little hard for me to take without both anger and sadness.

We were the No. 1 most viewed news story at The Baltimore Sun for almost two days when the lawsuit was filed, so I know the local media paparazzi and my competitors were waiting outside of the courthouse door for a “guilty” verdict on WNST that was never coming.

We’re moving on, but I’ll never forget this or forgive the people at corporate monoliths and competitors CBS Radio and MASN for bringing this out-of-town troublemaker into Baltimore to wage war on loyal local sports fans and on my company in the press, on the internet, and with contacts in local organizations via a baseless lawsuit that lacked any merit at all but landed her above the fold in newspapers all over town.

Where is she today to answer questions? She was the one throwing around dozens of crazy accusations?

Where’s her credibility now?

And what did she ever do or say to earn anyone’s trust in this community as a legitimate voice of Baltimore sports expertise?

I’ll leave that up to you to decide now and in the future.

Who do you trust for your news? And what is their agenda?

Our agenda at WNST.net has always been crystal clear:

To fully realize the potential of the vast audience our brand has acquired in Maryland over the past 17 years, WNST.net will be the dominant, honest voice in Maryland media by providing the “real” content of what’s happening in sports in our area.

We will deal with all of our listeners and sponsors with charity, benevolence, dignity and in the effort to educate and help sports fans in Baltimore better understand the big picture of sports so they can enjoy it even more.

We will be an advocate of all things Baltimore and Baltimore sports while keeping a keen “21stCentury-oriented” approach to build a bridge between sports and its fans through our website, broadcasts and community activism.
Integrity and accuracy will be our calling card.

And I want to stress again: we never did anything wrong, unethical or nefarious. Through all of these dramatic accusations, Miss Royle forgot to bring the one thing into the legal arena with her – a real case with any evidence to back up her heinous allegations.

And just as I wrote four months ago when this fiasco began, none of this will change how little she knows about Baltimore sports or how much Baltimore will “embrace” her greatness now that this sham and attack on my life and the lives of everyone connected to me and WNST is apparently complete.

Justice will never be served on my side of the ledger but WNST will forge ahead and not look back.

We will always be the real place you turn for Baltimore sports news and information that you can trust.

And Jennifer Royle will always be remembered as the female sports reporter who sued WNST on the front page of the newspaper and didn’t win. Period.

It’s football season. The Ravens are on the field and we’ll now go back to doing what we do best – bringing you the best sourced information, the most reliable news and analysis in Baltimore sports media.

We hope you enjoy what we do at WNST.net. And if there’s something we can do to get better, please drop me a note: nasty@wnst.net.

And it goes without saying, we’re always looking for local businesses to partner with and market to Baltimore sports fans just like you and me.

Thanks for supporting WNST.net and all of our families and friends. We appreciate you and look forward to continuing our growth and greatness with our new lineup in the fall.

FOR OBVIOUS LEGAL REASONS WE ARE NOT POSTING COMMENTS TO THIS BLOG OR REGARDING THIS SUBJECT MATTER. WE CONSIDER THE CASE OF ROYLE v. WNST CLOSED. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING…

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I always had great Eck-spectations for my best pal and Dundalk wrestling hero Kevin Eck

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I always had great Eck-spectations for my best pal and Dundalk wrestling hero Kevin Eck

Posted on 24 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been an emotional week for me on many levels with more big news forthcoming about WNST.net and its future, so please allow me a little space today to write a very personal blog that comes from the heart.

Kevin Eck – you probably know him as the “Ring Post” guy at The Baltimore Sun — has been in my life since 1979 and for large swaths of time we were as close as any brothers could be. We met at the Games store at Eastpoint Mall (remember that place?) at an autograph signing for Billy Smith. We also both met Al Bumbry, Scott McGregor, Mike Flanagan and Rich Dauer (his favorite) there on the north end of the mall during that “Magical” summer. I was a legitimate “mall rat” at Eastpoint Mall in the early 1980’s – PacMan, soaping the fountains, that sorta thing.

As Bruce Springsteen once wrote so eloquently in the E Street Band classic, Bobby Jean: “We liked the same music, we liked the same bands, we like the same clothes.” That could’ve been the story of Nestor and Kevin. Except we liked the same girls, baseball, football, basketball, rock bands and, of course, professional wrestling of the WWWF and the land of Bob Backlund and George “The Animal” Steele.

This isn’t just a story about my lifelong best pal from Holabird Junior High and Dundalk Senior High. It’s not just a media or journalist story.

It’s really about a kid from Dundalk who dreamed of working in professional wrestling and next week is embarking on a journey of a lifetime.

I can say with all of the conviction in my being that Kevin Eck ate, slept, talked, walked, learned, researched, watched, critiqued, worked in and worked out of nothing but the world of professional wrestling.

The genesis of our friendship wasn’t born of the Orioles or Colts or any rock music band like Rush — and they’re all closer to the heart of our friendship. The truth: Kevin was the only other WWWF wrestling aficionado and wrestling magazine nut when I was in the 7th grade. It was our special bond – a love of the squared circle and the work of Bruno Sammartino, Superstar Billy Graham, Greg Valentine and Andre The Giant.

So, this isn’t just about another “Dundalk boy did well” story, it’s more like a Willy Wonka kind of story with imagination .

Look, I could tell Kevin Eck stories all night. Chasing girls in the 8th grade. Attending every middle school and high school dance. Girlfriends, births, deaths, jobs, journalism, careers, wives…we’ve done it all.  Crazy weeks in Jamaica. Long weekends in Ocean City. All-night benders in Las Vegas and San Diego. You name it. World Series games, crazy cab rides that I chronicled in “Purple Reign” when Eck was the first person in Baltimore to hear the news that the Browns/Modells were moving their NFL franchise to Baltimore.

Eck and I have been around the world together and have shared our lives together. If you want to see a bunch of crazy old, embarrassing pictures I posted them all on my Facebook page here. Please feel free to fan me and I’ll try to make you laugh more often.

And there’s nothing better in life than when your friends do well. Nothing!

Especially when your oldest friends succeed and thrive and live their dreams.

Kevin Eck’s life and dream came full-circle and into the squared circle a few weeks ago when he accepted a job to work on the WWE creative team with Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Dusty Rhodes in Greenwich, Ct. He’s packing up his family and moving to take a job a lifetime at Titan Tower.

In baseball, we’d say he got the call to “go to the show.”

And this must be what it feels like when your brother or best friend or son makes his first big-league start.

You almost want to pinch yourself for them, you know?

Our lives and our career paths have followed a similar, strange path – we’ve worked directly in the same industry as competitors for the better part of two decades and somehow have managed to keep our friendship (and that’s not always easy with two fiery personalities).

I got a job at The News American in September 1984. He soon followed.

I got a job at The Evening Sun in January 1986. He soon followed at The Sun.

I left The Sun in January 1992. He left a few years later to go to work for Ted Turner and WCW as a magazine editor in the last 1990’s and was there during a turbulent corporate time when Vince McMahon’s then-WWF empire usurped the entire industry and my pal came back from Atlanta having to start his local journalism life all over again.

Because of his immense talent and deep depth of knowledge of local sports, Kevin got his job back on the editing desk at The Sun, right back in the sports department. He began writing his passion – a little blog called “Ring Posts” a few years ago and it quickly became a viral hit. (As I told him it would be…)

So many times I talk about expertise in journalism, integrity in reporting and fairness in news judgment and I’m proud to say Kevin Eck has all of that and has for the most part been a “behind the scenes” guy at The Sun, who never had a high profile beat but has been a rock star in his department on the high schools and the dirty work that so many don’t want to do in the journalism business — editing, planning, managing people.

He’s kind of like that lunch pail rock star football player – a Jarret Johnson, Kelly Gregg kinda underrated guy. But a guy you’d never want to lose. And he’ll be the first guy in the clubhouse and the last to leave.

The Sun is taking a major hit losing a guy like Kevin Eck, especially given his deep knowledge of Baltimore sports, which I sadly never put to better use. I always thought Kevin would’ve been a star doing local sports talk radio and I told him that. But he already had a gig and one that both of us dreamed of having as kids, which is what took us into the newspaper business back in 1984.

We both watched “The Odd Couple” as kids and wanted to be Oscar Madison, truth be told.

Meanwhile, the WWE is getting a rock star – someone who is so dedicated to wrestling that it honestly baffled all of our friends, especially when it became apparent through his mom taping every single episode of every single match on VHS tapes for the better part of 25 years.

Kevin Eck has watched as much wrestling as Mel Kiper Jr. has watched college football tape.

Seriously…

This summer, as a hobby, I took it upon myself to work on one project outside of direct WNST sales and development business and that’s been collecting all of my pictures, memorabilia and boxes o’memories to use on my Facebook page and in an upcoming reality TV show I’m participating in with a friend. (I can’t tell you more about it until they let me.)

Two weeks ago, at the bottom of a box, I found this gem of a memory.

And even though it happened on July 25, 1981, I remember it pretty well. Kevin and I were crashing at his Mom’s house and we began working on a project to quietly unseat Vince McMahon from his kingdom by publishing our own Pro Wrestling magazine. We were gonna make millions with this partnership venture.

His mom Shirley, who has struggled with her health lately and was like a second mother to me, was the only person we knew who could type so she was our typesetter and we had to go to the library to make copies and we planned to sell them for 25 cents.

Kevin and I worked all night to make the inaugural (and only) edition of Wrestling, Inc. with Dusty Rhodes on the cover.

That was 30 years ago last month. I don’t think Kevin has missed a WWE wrestling match since 1981.

Other than Dave Meltzer and perhaps Alex Marvez, my pal Kevin Eck is as expert about all things professional wrestling as anyone on the planet outside of Vince McMahon himself.

There’s not much Kevin Eck doesn’t know about pro wrestling, except now he’ll be on the inside of the WWE kingdom helping put on the show and make it better.

He’s off to the WWE to make a difference to follow his dream.

He loved The Baltimore Sun. He loves Baltimore sports and has quietly dedicated his life to it the way I did.

I was the loud boisterous pal. He was always the quiet one in the shadows.

I traveled the world, got syndicated, did my thing and he was always so supportive – like a brother – through all of my victories and challenges.

Kevin did the family thing, came back home to Baltimore to be a factor at his dream job in The Sun sports department and now he’s gotten the job of a lifetime at WWE and one that he’s richly deserving of and one where he’ll thrive and be the best in the world.

You should follow him. You should root for him.

I’m so proud of him and so happy for him that I could explode.

I just wanted to brag on my pal, spread his great news and tell him “good luck” in the most public way that I can because I’m proud of how his hard work has paid off for him.

And I have a feeling I’ll be watching a lot more WWE and SmackDown in 2012 and pining away for the days of Lord Alfred Hayes and Captain Lou Albano.

And if somehow they could only bring Bruno Sammartino back into the ring for one night at the old Civic Center!

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Horse race or horse’s arse: Is Kegasus smart for Baltimore and Preakness Day?

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

So, it’s been almost two months since the Mighty Kegasus advertising campaign began and it’s now almost time to fully assess the success of the marketing of the 2011 Preakness. So far, so good in the only measurement that really matters — sales are up 21% for Saturday infield tickets. I said it on Day One and no matter the result of selling a few thousand extra tickets and mugs of Budweiser this week, my strong opinion has only intensified since I began seeing the billboards all over town – this is the dumbest, most short-sighted and irresponsible advertising campaign since Winston told America it “tastes good, like a suicide should.”

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Shame on Tom Chuckas. Shame on the marketing idiots in Washington, D.C. who spit this out and shame on anyone who thinks this somehow will add prestige to an event and a weekend in Baltimore that’s in desperate need of not just short-term-revenue gain and a little “shot in the arm” for attendance but a real transplant for its reputation and its future as a viable “major sporting event” and not just a weekend drunkfest with frat boys and the girls who love them.

As much as I lean on the Orioles for their indiscretions and lack of a focus on integrity – mainly issues of transparency, honesty, accountability, chronic losing, bullying, faux civic and community interest all while profiteering and buying off of the local “real media”– even the Orioles aren’t this dumb.

But as desperate as the fan base is in Baltimore to see them win, Peter Angelos is far from desperate on the marketing side because he’s printing money downtown off the television contract. The Maryland Jockey Club doesn’t have a public subsidy of $100 million each year so this is the kind of desperation you’d be getting from the baseball team if they REALLY needed to fill those bleachers.

The Orioles slogan has been for almost 15 years – “Come To Birdland” not “Come Downtown and Get S**tfaced and Make a Fool of Yourself.” But, of course, the Orioles FANS are desperate to see wins but the Orioles are NOT desperate for revenue, profit or a financial shot in the arm. It’s only made to look that way when they upcharge (or is it scalp?) you on Opening Day and charge you a “walk up fee” to take advantage of a stadium our tax dollars just paid $10 million more to replace the perfectly unused seats, so much like Angelos himself can earn a retirement home on the blue shores of Florida.

And where the Orioles have employed various forms of “alcohol police” in the bleachers at Camden Yards who literally walk seat-to-seat and card people to make sure they’re 21 (NO, I’m NOT making this up!)  this Saturday the Preakness folks are rolling out the world’s largest frat party and have moved toward marketing it as such.

Kegasus? Really?

This is what you want the Preakness to be?

The ogre of Baltimore, on a horse, completely equipped to be a “legendary” a**hole on the third Saturday of May – and now with unprecedented pre-approval and encouragement because the billboards all over town are selling the event as such.

Who in the world thought this was a good idea for this community, the brand of the Preakness or the long-term viability of horse racing? It’s the day of the year that is supposed to matter and the focus isn’t on the race but more on how big the party in the infield will be and whether or not bare-chested women will parading on the shoulders of men for tips.

There is no more focus on the growth of the industry on the third Saturday of May. There is no more talk about whether the race will even be in Baltimore in five years. Instead, the community is hearing: “Come be legendary!”

Does Under Armour really want a million-dollar

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