Tag Archive | "fans"

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Were you one of the few Orioles fans amidst sea of red this weekend?

Posted on 02 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, it’s all over. The Orioles were once again swept in Baltimore by the Red Sox. Once again, thousands of New Englanders and supporters raided the city and brought millions of dollars of civic kindess on the metropolis while they continued to point out the biggest crime of Peter Angelos’ tenure as the owner of our baseball team.

I ventured to Camden Yards today. Instead of writing about everything I saw and did, I shot a video for you.

If you like my radio show, maybe you’ll like my lengthy set of views, observations and comments while I spent my day watching Jason Berken and Orioles pitchers give up 23 hits and 18 runs.

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Bye-bye Kyle Boller: One of Baltimore’s best is gone

Posted on 05 April 2009 by Drew Forrester

He won’t be remembered for his play on the field.  Well, actually, he might be remembered for SOME of it.  Unfortunately, most of the memories won’t be good ones.  Mostly, the bad outweighed the good during his six years in Baltimore.

One of Baltimore’s best is gone.  He wasn’t one of the best players to ever earn a check in the “410”, but he was one of the best men to play here.

The Kyle Boller era is officially over in Charm City after the former #1 pick signed with the St. Louis Rams on Saturday.

He’ll always be regarded as a guy who didn’t live up to the bill of the “franchise quarterback” labels that were stitched to his uniform from day one back in 2003.

He might not have done enough here to justify being a first-round quarterback, but he did more than enough to justify being a first-class human being.

On the field…not that good.

In every other area, though, he was worthy of any accolade you could pin on him.

When the team lost — sometimes, because HE played poorly — he was always front and center following the game, facing the lights, the microphones and the pen and paper.  When the team won — even if, on that rare occasion, when he was responsible for the triumph — he never stood up and said, “Hey, look at me!!  Where are all you haters now?”

In the the last six years, no player on the roster — NO PLAYER, PERIOD — has been more of a stand-up guy than Kyle Boller.

That doesn’t mean the Ravens made a mistake in not keeping him around for 2009.  Not at all.

It was time for the Kyle Boller experiment to run out of funding here in Baltimore.  They have their future QB here and it’s not Kyle.

This is not a “Ravens made a mistake letting Boller go” blog.

This is an ode to a guy who was always willing to man-up, always willing to take the grief, always willing to smile and say, “I’m going to do my best to get better…”

And, more than anything else, he was always willing to face the media in the wake of yet another disappointing performance or loss and say, “Yeah, I could have made that throw…”

I can think of – *ahem* – a few noteworthy stars on the team who were always bouncing around the locker room in their $2,500 suits chasing down the media after a win or a big play — but pulling a David Copperfield disappearing act after a loss or a penalty that hurt the team’s chances.

Kyle Boller never ducked anyone.

In the 2005 season opener, Boller was injured in a home game against the Indianapolis Colts and a large throng of obviously drunk and obviously heartless fans actually CHEERED – loudly – when Boller was on the field writhing in pain.

That, according to one player who was on the team in ’05, hurt Boller more than anything else during his tenure.

“I remember after the game, he was at his locker and I was a couple of seats away getting dressed and he said, ‘Were the fans cheering when I got hurt?  It sounded like they were cheering.’ and I said, “I don’t know, man.”  I looked up at him and he had this weird smile on his face and he said, “They cheered when I got injured out there.  I can’t believe it.”

Boller should know he was playing in the same city that ran off Eddie Murray in the 1980’s because he didn’t dive after enough ground balls.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-round pick with unfulfilled promise or a champion first-baseman who helped deliver a world title to the faithful — when Baltimore turns on you, you’re d-o-n-e.

Forgive and forget doesn’t happen much in Charm City.

In Boller’s case, though, I’ll forgive his mostly-subpar play based mainly on the fact he was thrust into a starting role in 2003 when it’s reasonable to assume he just wasn’t ready for it.  I don’t think he’ll go to St. Louis and become Kurt Warner 2, but I do believe he’ll be invigorated by a new start with a new team and I’m sure, at some point down the road, he’ll win a game or two for the Rams.

And, in Boller’s case, I won’t forget the stand-up qualities he possessed over the last six years.

Last year, when he was injured early in the season and put on IR, it would haver been very easy for Boller to head to California and do the relax-and-rehab thing in the sunny warmth of the west coast.  Given that Joe Flacco was blooming, it was obvious that Kyle’s career as a starter in Baltimore was over.  No need to hang around Charm City and freeze all winter, right?


Boller shuttled back and forth from California to Maryland, attending EVERY home game and participating in numerous charitable and promotional endeavors for the club.  He would often be seen in the locker room after home games, congratulating Joe Flacco and heaping praise on the rookie signal caller.  I don’t recall seeing the “other” draft pick QB doing that with Flacco after a game, if you know what (who) I mean.

In the post-season, Boller traveled with the team to Miami for the playoff game and then paid for his own flight in and out of Nashville for the win over the Titans because he had returned to California earlier in the week to get clearance from the doctors to resume training.  In the Nashville airport on Sunday morning, Boller’s flight to the west coast left from the same general gate-location as the Southwest flight I was taking back to Baltimore.  Fans rushed to him and he spent the better part of 60 minutes chatting, smiling, signing autographs and thanking them for coming to Nashville to watch the team play.

I went over to talk about golf and Caves Valley with him…asked how he was feeling…and briefly previewed the AFC title game (the Ravens still weren’t sure who they were playing).  “Joe’s playing great,” Kyle said.  “He’s not going to back down from anyone next week.”

Nothing but praise for the guy who, basically, took his job from him.  For good.

That’s the way it always was with Boller.  He said the right thing.  He took the criticism.  He didn’t blame anyone else.  He didn’t dodge the media or the fans.

He was a stand-up guy.  He was, perhaps, the team’s biggest stand-up guy over the last six years.  In fact, he could teach the Baltimore baseball team a thing or two about the concept of personal integrity.

We won’t miss the ineffective play…but the Ravens will have to work long and hard to find a guy with Boller’s heart.

Forgive and forget?   Nope.

Forgive, yes.

Forget, no.

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Feelings for Ray

Posted on 01 March 2009 by caseywillett

There seems to be a lot of hard feelings from fans towards Ray Lewis. The one thing I will say sort of in his defense is that the only thing we heard straight from him was the interview at the Pro Bowl. Could he have come out and speak to some of the reports and rumors regarding things that apparently he said or where said about him from other people? Yes, but as we sort of see, Ray would have to be doing that 24 hours a day almost.

So as Ravens fans, how have your feelings changed for Lewis since he walked off the field in the AFC Championship game?

Do you want him back?

Were you ever upset with him?

Doe he owe some sort of an apology?

Will all be forgiven once training camp and regular season roll around?

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You rate them

Posted on 21 January 2009 by caseywillett

Since we all like to do it to a certain degree as fans and media of a sports team, today I am going to give you the power of prioritizing who the Baltimore Ravens need to resign in the off season.

So are are the players you have to put in order as to who you would like to resign, ranking them 1 – 5.

Ray Lewis

Terrell Suggs

Bart Scott

Jason Brown

Jim Leonhard

Matt Stover

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Apparently, McNair will not be attending our Friday party after all

Posted on 08 January 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Our party will go on without former Ravens and Titans quarterback Steve McNair on Friday night after all. I’ve been busy planning the biggest purple party in Nashville on Friday night and getting arrangements in order for our bus trip. And I woke up this morning to a bunch of emails, blog comments and phone messages and texts regarding McNair’s appearance at our Ravens Pep Rally on Friday night.

Or lack thereof…

The story goes like this:

I was looking for a party location. I found two: Limelight (Friday) and Graham Central Station (Saturday pre-game). The owner of Limelight is friends with McNair and his people. They absolutely agreed to do the party for charity and absolutely knew it involved Ravens fans and Baltimore. The flyers were purple. As a matter of fact, I spoke with McNair’s agent yesterday who booked McNair onto the Comcast Morning Show earlier this morning with Drew Forrester to promote the event.

Apparently, once the flyer was sent out across the internet, a TV station in Nashville (WKRN) got wind of it and made a big stink on the evening news last night, basically calling McNair a “traitor” for associating with anything Baltimore this week. (Again, folks, this was a CHARITY event to raise money for his Tennessee-based foundation and the Ronald McDonald House here in Baltimore!) Here’s the clip from the City Paper of Nashville. According to them, he’s now bowed out of having anything to do with Baltimore, Ravens fans or the color purple.

I get it. It’s probably not a bad move on his part considering he lives there and they just put him the Ring of Honor in Nashville.

I like Steve McNair. He was always a stand up guy here in Baltimore and I certainly understand the situation he faces in his hometown. (And after all we’ve been through here this week with the sickening display from Mr. Yankee, Mark Teixeira, I really get it!)

No hard feelings. No big deal. We’ll throw the party, give the same amount we were going to give to the foundations and have a good time. We’ve got enough drama already with the game kicking off at 4:30 on Saturday.

Good luck to McNair. Good luck to the Titans. Good luck to my dear friend Jim Schwartz.

It’s Festivus. It’s football. Let’s just have some fun down in Tennessee.

Party starts at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Limelight. Tickets can be purchased here.

And if you don’t get to Nashville until Saturday, we’ll be waiting for you at 11 a.m. at Graham Central Station as well for more purple fun.

Over the past 10 years the folks from Nashville have been the most hospitable and decent we’ve found in all of our NFL travels. Nice people, good times, pretty girls, country music and cold beer. That’s what we’re expecting to find all weekend.

Oh, and we’re gonna beat their football team and move on to the AFC Championship Game.

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Notes from Coach Harbaugh’s Monday press conference

Posted on 15 December 2008 by caseywillett

On the game yesterday

 -Gave the Steelers credit for winning a tough game

Fans yesterday at the game

-Thought the fans were amazing for the job they did cheering during the game

On touchdown call

-He had talked to some people in New York last night  and they felt like the right call was made. Coach Harbaugh said that his opinion on the call does not matter.

On moving past the game last night

-Talked about how Joe Flacco was here this morning and by 9:30 a.m. had already watched the film of yesterday’s game and started watching film on the Cowboys

Frank Walker spitting incident

-On the Frank Walker spitting incident, Coach Harbaugh said that he does not believe Walker spit on anyone.

On facing the Cowboys

– Facing the Cowboys will be a great challenge and they will embrace being there for the closing of the stadium, they will be a part of history and look forward to closing it out the right way

Playoff hopes

-Coach Harbaugh pointed out that they are aware of playoff scenarios, and know that nothing matters right now other than them winning.

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Tribute to a True Sports Fan

Posted on 20 September 2008 by Vince Fiduccia

When Nestor asked me to do a blog almost a year ago, he told me write blogs as a fan as someone with an insider’s knowledge who sits in the stands and has a passion for the games.  This blog is dedicated to such a person, a true sports fan.  Sam Bavaro was such a man.

I first met Sam at Ravens Stadium sitting in my section in the upper end zone. I would usually say something like good afternoon or sorry, as I would move by him on my way to get a beer or to use the bathroom.  We formerly met when I was speaking to the Brigade of Midshipmen one afternoon, and  I discovered that he worked at the Academy.  He saw me; so, he came over, talked to me, and gave me his business card.  He was nice enough to invite me to Navy games, something he was very passionate about, and to Navy tailgates, here I was a total stranger getting an invite.

In the fall of 2005, while chatting with him at a Ravens tailgate, Sam told me he had two tickets that he couldn’t use for the Navy-Notre Dame in South Bend the following Saturday.  When I asked how much, he said no charge just enjoy.  Two days later the tickets came in the mail.  He gave me and my wife one of the greatest thrills of our life.  That trip to one of the hallowed cathedrals of sports was everything one could imagine.

Last year, Sam once again invited me to a tailgate, and as always it was great–Boardwalk fries, Nathan’s hot dogs, Berger cookies, and plenty of ice cold beer.  Plus, there was Sam with his family and friends holding court sitting on the brick riser handing out stickers that said, Go Navy!  I took him up on the offer to some free tickets, as I had a good friend up from South Carolina.  Sam just didn’t give me tickets; he gave me 40 yard line tickets.  I never forgot his generosity and gave him a Ruth’s Chris gift certificate and several golf shirts as a show of my appreciation.  He asked for nothing and never sought anything; for some reason he just saw a fellow fan that had a passion for the Ravens and Navy.

It was that day that Sam told me about his own trip South Bend last year and how he cried when Navy beat Notre Dame for the first time in 43 years.  What joy he must have felt to be there in person to see his beloved Midshipmen finally end the drought.   Unfortunately, winter came, life became hectic, and as always we seemed to lose touch without football.

This summer, I thought it was odd that I didn’t see Sam’s usual email about the start of football season. It wasn’t unusual not to hear from him during the offseason, but this was football season. I looked for him in the tailgate parking lot at the first Ravens game and didn’t see him.  When I called his office, I was shocked to hear that Sam had passed away last spring at the age of 64.  Part of me was kicking me myself for not keeping in touch and letting life get so hectic that you forget about people.  It happens to all of us, but I’m hoping that this reminder will encourage all of us to give a little more effort to keeping in touch with those who impact our lives.

Sam was a great fan, one who simply loved sports.  I remember his emails–when his beloved Mets made the playoffs a couple of years ago and the pride when he saw Italy beat France in the 2006 World Cup Final.  Plus, he loved the Ravens.  However, his greatest sports passion was Navy football.  He followed them on the road (Army-Navy games, Bowl games, etc.), and he loved the tailgates and the people.  He was a true fan and better yet a good man.  For in him we see why sports are so great.  It brings people together as friends and community, even total strangers.  How many times have we met others in the stands, at Ravens Roost or at alumni tailgates only to become friends?  Friendships bonded together by a common love for one’s team.  Every team has a Sam Bavaro, a passionate fan, and what a better place this world would be if it had even more like him.  The kindness, the ability to welcome strangers and make them feel like one of the family all forged by an oblong ball and 100 yards of turf.  For this one fan he made a lasting impression.  So as Sam would have said, Go Navy, Beat Army!

Hey Midshipmen, “Win one for Sam” and beat Rutgers this weekend.  Somewhere in heaven, he will smile, while holding one heck of a pre-game tailgate.

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USC/Ohio State (Hail, Hail the BCS!)

Posted on 12 September 2008 by Mark Mussina

Remember; when you sit down to watch the Ohio State/USC game Saturday night, along with every other red-blooded man in America, that this game would not be a big deal if it wasn’t for the BCS. LONG LIVE THE BCS! A playoff system….phoey!
I heard a national radio guy make this analogy when comparing college basketball with college football. If college basketball was a movie, it would essentially be pretty boring right up until the end. The first four months of the season are essentially meaningless, and everything is decided in the last three weeks. Football, on the other hand, has plot twists at every turn.  It’s suspenseful from start to finish, and the ending, while not being perfect, is almost always very good.
Each week, every contender  holds their national championship hopes in the balance. How about last year when Stanford beat USC? And of course Appalachian State beating Michigan. These games change the landscape of the sport for the entire season. In basketball, when Michigan State loses to Gardner Webb, or whoever the heck it was, it really doesn’t affect them at all in the long term, other than the embarrassment.
College football is the one sport remaining in America where every week matters. Last season, college basketball had a high powered, non-conference game like this. It was Memphis and Tennessee. It was a great game to watch, other than the fact that neither team could shoot that night. Fans gathered in bars, everyone watched it, but it didn’t matter. Essentially, it was nothing more than a glorified exhibition.
Saturday night in Los Angeles ain’t gonna to be no exhibition. Remember that in November when you’re whining about there being no playoff.

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Ravens Q&A time

Posted on 24 July 2008 by caseywillett

With today being a day at training camp that is off limits to fans and media, I thought this would be an opportunity for readers to submit questions and I will answer them as they regard the Ravens. This again will be a weekly and sometimes twice a week blog I will have here on the website.
Here are a couple of notes from late yesterday evening:
          Willis McGahee appeared to be in better shape than what he was when he was in town for the mandatory camps.
          Chris McAlister may be the happiest guy to be back at camp. Chris was smiling and joking with the media about how much he loves us, saying hello to everyone that works for the Ravens or the Best Western that was within 100 feet of him.
          Ray Lewis was wearing a new shirt he came up with. Ray usually has shirts that say Team 52 on the front. In the past on the back slogans such as Prayed up have been on there. Yesterday it said T52 on the front and Heart of a Lion on the back.
          As was predicted and I wrote last week, Terrell Suggs did not report to camp yesterday.
          Although it is called an Administrative Day today, the Ravens will have meetings most of the morning than a practice this afternoon. Reminder today is closed to the media.
          People at S.A.F.E. might want to learn what Ravens coaches and players look like. I can not count the amount of times over the last two days that coaches, players, and even veterans reporting have complained about getting interrogated by the security at the team hotel. The fact that someone had to verify John Harbaugh was the coach to let him into the hotel is crazy. Several of the coaches either walk or run from practice back to hotel and a couple of gotten stopped by security asking them for identification.
          John Harbaugh is so much about the team and not letting one person have the spot light, I wonder if he will allow the usual King Ugly contest to take place this year?
          Tomorrow morning will be the first time fans and media will get a chance to see the entire 2008 Ravens team on the field at 8:45 a.m. Of course Terrell Suggs will not be there as well as Samari Rolle as he prepares for his fathers funeral.
          It was funny yesterday to see several of the defensive veteran players walk in and run into Dan Cody and ask him what the practices have been like and have then been hitting and trying to get the details on what to expect. They were reminded that there was only 25 players there so there was not a lot that they could do.
          If I was taking a prediction, I think Dan Wilcox and Demetrius Williams, both start out on the physically unable to perform list (p.u.p.). I don’t think they will stay on it long, but it will allow them a week or so to recover to get back onto the field.
So fire away with any questions you might have.

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Big weekend for mixed martial arts

Posted on 31 May 2008 by caseywillett

This is a huge weekend for the sport of mixed martial arts. This is a weekend that if you are on the fence about mma, or have a half hearted interest, this could be the turning point.
First tonight in New Jersey is the debut of MMA on television, when Elite XC has its first ever card on CBS. This is going to be a huge event, the big hype around this card is for the first time a lot of the world will get to see Kimbo Slice. I am heading up to the show in a little while and am very excited about it. Also tonight you will see Gina Carano who people might recognize as Crush from the American Gladiators television show. Not only is Gina not bad to look at, but she can fight also. One of the other fights that I am looking forward to is Baltimore’s own and one of John Rallo’s prize students Binky Jones. Binky is an awesome fighter and even better person. I have had the privilege of taking classes with Binky at Ground Control and he  is very talented and can end a fight in a hurry on the ground.
Sunday night make sure you turn on Versus network at 9 p.m. to watch what might go down as one of the greatest fights in mixed martial arts history when the WEC featherweight title will be on the line when Jens Lil Evil Pulver takes on the champion The California Kid Urijah Faber. Urijah was on with Rob and John Rallo this past Thursday to talk about the fight. This fight would headline any MMA pay per view in the world, but it is free as long as you have Versus. Faber versus Pulver has been a fight that fans, media, other fighters, and everyone else has been hoping to see for a long time. These are two guys that are going to be in attack mode from the opening bell. I will bet you that if you watch this fight, you will be an awe of it. I will be in front of my television with a nice beverage and something to eat, because this will be must see television.
So a big weekend for the MMA sports world coming up. I am not sure as to what the access will be at the Elite XC show tonight in New Jersey, but hope to have some pictures and audio from the event later this week. I will also be doing a blog once I get to the Prudential Center this afternoon.

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