Tag Archive | "Football"

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Team Needs: Dallas Cowboys

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Brian Billick

Even though they are coming off a 6-10 season that included a mid-season firing of Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Wade Phillips, the Dallas Cowboys will enter the 2011 draft considered by many as one of the most talented teams in the NFL.

Jason Garret has firmly established himself as both the Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator while Owner, Jerry Jones, has brought in Rob Ryan to recraft a defense that fell to 23rd in the league in 2010.

With Tony Romo returning from injury, priority number one must be protecting their franchise QB and that means focusing on the offensive line.  With the exception of Pro-Bowl center Andre Gurode and starting left tackle Doug Free, the Cowboys current depth chart is made up of free agents and trades.  Dallas has not drafted an offensive lineman with a first round pick this entire decade, and with the exception of Gurode (second round, 2002), none of the three lineman taken in day two of the draft are still with the team.

Dallas is picking ninth overall and should have a couple of really good options should they decide to fill this need with their first pick.  In my estimation, none of the teams ahead of Dallas are in the market for offensive lineman, therefore the Cowboys will have their pick of the litter.  As usual, it is also a possibility that Jerry Jones will be looking to move back and add later picks if he determines there are lineman of value in later picks/rounds.

Defensively, Rob Ryan should have plenty to work with anchoring around Demarus Ware and Jay Ratlif along the front seven.  Inside backer, Keith Brooking is likely on the back end of his career so they make look to find his future replacement on day two of the draft.

Like the rest of the NFL East, the Cowboys catch a break with the NFC West on their schedule, but will also face the tough AFC East and up-and-coming Detroit and Tampa Bay.

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Monday 3-Pointer: The Real NBA MVP, Riley’s Angels Reeling & NFL Winning While Losing

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Monday 3-Pointer: The Real NBA MVP, Riley’s Angels Reeling & NFL Winning While Losing

Posted on 07 March 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Monday 3-Pointer

 #1 – The Real NBA MVP

 

As the NBA post-season nears and conference seedings become realized, the debate over who should walk away with the league’s MVP trophy is picking up traction too. While there are plenty of good candidates to speak of, and the closing weeks of the season will certainly decide it, it’s hard to make a case right now against the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose.

 

The Bulls like lots of other teams were left on the outside looking in on the LeBron sweepstakes last summer, left like the rest to pick through the post-Heat remnants of the summer’s free agent bounty, landing eventually on Carlos Boozer. This despite the fact that they reportedly had enough to sign all of Miami’s power triumvirate, in addition to the perfect components in Rose and Joakim Noah to compliment them as well. Add to that the fact that many believed the Bulls only motivation in hiring head coach Tom Thibodeau was in attempting to lure James into the mix, and the Bulls were as good a candidate as any to go through the 2010-11 season either egg-faced or in desperate pursuit of Carmelo Anthony or some other trade deadline elixir.

 

Instead the Bulls have rallied whatever healthy bodies they have been able to muster behind Rose’s night-in and night-out brilliance and remain as a result viable for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. And as a result, Rose should not only be the top candidate for the league’s MVP hardware, but also may be in the argument for most improved, all while seemingly dispelling the notions that you need a team of superstars to win consistently and that Rose is anything but an ideal facilitator, leader and point-guard.

 

If you caught this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated and its glowing assessment of Rose’s season, you may also have noticed that Rose credits a lot of the progress he’s made this season to the off-season work that he put in with Rob McClanaghan. It goes on to list McClanaghan’s mini-camp roster of Rose, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, and Minnesota’s Kevin Love…arguably the three most improved players in the league this season. Begging the question: who is Rob McClanaghan?

 

Beyond his bio on Facebook, it’s hard to say really. What might be the better question is who’s working with Rob McClanaghan? Given the upside he’s drawn out of the three aforementioned players, it’d be prudent to see whom he spends next summer with before drafting your next fantasy basketball team. Give McClanaghan my vote for league MVP.

 

 

#2 – Riley’s Angels Reeling

 

The Heat had another disappointing weekend dropping games 125-95 to San Antonio and 87-86 to the Bulls in a 3-day stretch. Despite being within striking distance of both the Bulls and Celtics for the top spot in the east, the Heat are still a disturbing 15-18 against winning teams this season, and a downright depressing 2-8 in games decided by 3 points or less. These stats do not speak to deep runs into the playoffs.

 

Clearly the Heat are talented and interested when sprinting up and down the floor against lesser teams, but to say that they’re lost in the half court would be an understatement. The Heat has no clear direction in the half court, seeming to defer to etiquette for 3 ½ quarters of play, but in the clutch and when it matters they still have a lot to figure out.

 

Teams have players and they have playmakers, and some like the Heat have both. While it’s a safe bet that Kobe will get the ball in crunch time in LA and Durant will get it in Oklahoma City, pay too much attention to either and a teammate will just as likely burn you. Look no further than Oklahoma City and San Antonio against the Lakers last season in the playoffs. In each series Kobe took and end game shot to win a game and missed, and in each case an LA rebounder took advantage of the attention being paid to Kobe to get themselves a game-winning put back.

 

In Miami, when it comes to crunch time the big 3 becomes the big two, as Bosh is seemingly no longer an option. Whichever of the remaining big two gets the ball first is likely to shoot it. In recent games opponents have taken to single covering both Wade and James seemingly figuring one or the other will take an off balance attempt at a winner.

 

They have until playoff time to figure it out or they’ll get a whole summer (and possibly a lot longer) to think about it. While initial questions about the potential cohesiveness of the Heat centered around who would get the big shots, questions now abound as to who can make them. Maybe the pressure of trying to establish themselves as the defacto-options have left Wade and James with even more pressure to bear in end game situations. Until they figure it out it’s clear that the Heat can be beat, and in a 7-game series against a good team it seems almost like a sure thing.

 

 

 

#3 – NFL Still Winning PR Battle?

 

Maybe it’s the inherent doldrums of the Terps disappointing season that has cast a shadow of local disinterest over college basketball coupled with anxious anticipation about the Orioles upcoming season (the first deserving of any real level of anticipation in years) but the amount of attention being paid to the behind closed doors negotiations of the NFL and its players’ association is still somewhat surprising to me.

 

For now, the draft is scheduled to go off as planned, and yet while it usually feels like we’re up to NFL mock draft 5.9 or so by now, the draft anticipation of seasons past has seemingly been replaced by labor negotiation updates and speculation.

 

I get that we as a nation have grown to love our football year round, and maybe I’m underestimating the fervor that we’re missing with the usual round of free-agency not taking place right now, but have the machinations of NFL labor strife given us another avenue to pursue our devotion to the league or does it just seem that way?

 

If nothing else, last week’s extension should give fans hope that football will begin on time next year, how long it takes to get to that point is really inconsequential as long as games aren’t compromised. So until then who cares? Yet still we the sporting public seem more consumed with their legal back and forth than we are with the developing March Madness fields, the familiar sights and sounds of spring training and the most interesting looking NBA playoff field in recent memory. Maybe that’s where the league has taken us these days, to the point where even something as boring as what they’re going through right now has all but trumped actual games and seasons still taking place. Perhaps it’s exactly the reason why they’re fighting so hard. The league’s “cash pie” will continue to grow and those inconsequential looking decimals will add up to big bucks….clearly they’ve got us right where they want us.

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Merry Christmas Fridge – You’re Fired

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Merry Christmas Fridge – You’re Fired

Posted on 04 January 2011 by Tom Federline

I am still reeling about this one. What in the world is going on down in Terpland? There’s a new University President, there is a new Athletic Director, the new AD publicly states Ralph Friedgen (Fridge) will be back for his final year as head coach, Fridge is awarded ACC Coach of the Year, new AD and head coach go out for a holiday dinner, Fridge is fired shortly thereafter. Mike Leach (controversial former head coach at Texas Tech), is talk of town. Happy(?) New Year 2011- new AD announces……..Randy Edsall, “recently” resigned head football coach of the Univ. of Connecticut to take the helm at UMCP. And when I say “recently”, we are talking less than 48 hours from a loss to the Oklahoma Sooners on New Years Day. The guy does have a nice track record, but did they really interview that guy?

What the heck happened at that dinner? Did Ralph not offer to pick up the tab? Fridge will be receiving 2 mill next year from his buy-out, which is about 4x what Kevin Anderson, new UMCP AD from West Point, receives as an annual salary. Did Fridge over-play his hand, by asking for a contract extension? Maybe. Did the new AD at Terpland expose himself and the University by speaking prior to thinking in November. Absolutely. Did the University disgrace itself in the eyes of alums and the sporting media? Absolutely. Did they handle the “firing” poorly? Absolutely. Did the University disrespect one of the top 5 prominent representatives from the University over the past 10 years? Absolutely. Maybe it was time for the Terp football coach to go. But man, the new “Sheriffs in town” blew this one.

I am a fan of Ralph Friedgen. I had the pleasure meeting and conversing with the man, discussing the renovations at Byrd. My kind of “old school” man. What you see is what you get. He was passionate about the football team, program and the UMCP. His overall record was 75 – 50, during his 10 year stay. 5 -2 in Bowl games. Reminder – Bowl games = cash. Where was Maryland football prior to Ralph (1990)? Were his hands tied due to supposed higher academic standards at U of M? Did he recruit “by the book”? Did he lose his recruiting edge with the loss of the supposed “coach in waiting”, James Franklin? I never quite understood that whole deal either. The University designates a successor with years remaining on the current coaches contract? It appears the man that put University of Maryland football back on the map, never had a chance.

Fridge – (not verbatim) – “I believe this team has the chance to be great. That is what I was hoping for. The powers at be do not feel I am good enough to do that.” Ouch…..give me my 2 million dollars and good luck…..you go Ralph Friedgen!

Ralph is a big man and had big expectations. Were some of those goals met? You betcha. How about an ACC Championship in football? How about getting back to Bowl games? How about at least 1/2 of a respectable renovated stadium? Yes, the Tyser Tower side, a new facility equipped with suites and a Club Level atmosphere. I still do not like that monstrosity on the north side. Ralph did bring respect back to the program.

A buddy of mine asked – Name the Terp football coaches since around 1978 (without going thru the Internet). I gave it a shot – Jerry Claiborne, Bobby Ross, Joe Krivak……….lost it……… and Ralph Friedgen. Can you all name the “fill-ins”? In the time of win, win, win, money, money, money, new, new, new…..Ralph’s time was over. And that’s a shame. “With change you may find purpose.” I hope that’s the case for all involved.

So what were some of the first words out of the chairman of the search committee’s mouth upon the new hire of Randy Edsall – (not verbatim) – “Edsall is going to recruit young men that are good citizens, good students and good athletes.” Sounds to me, like Mr. UConn is behind the eight-ball already. If there had to be a change at all, I was leaning toward the Mike Leach, character. Mr. Fridge, on behalf of all Terp alumni who follow Terp sports - “Thanks for the Memories” – (Bob Hope). You deserved a better send off. Oh and thanks for digging that dagger in a little deeper with that convincing win at the Military Bowl, so close to home.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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HS Football – Back to the Basics

Posted on 14 December 2010 by Tom Federline

Just an afternoon of above average high school sports and time with friends. At least that is what I thought going in. I had the privilege of attending the Division 1A  – 2010 Maryland State Football Championship game at Ravens Stadium two weekends ago and was blown away. Not by the wind, but by the talent level displayed on the field. It was a brisk, sunny Saturday afternoon, perfect football weather day. Havre DeGrace Warriors vs. Dunbar Poets – the young lads are playing for a trophy and bragging rights, hmmmmmmm…..yes but no. The game and afternoon ended up being much more than that.

I get an e-mail from one of my “inner circle” families, “Are you free on Saturday, Robbie is playing in the State Championship football game.” Yes, the kid I blew up an inner tube for, so he could float safely in 3 foot of water at the ocean because he could not touch bottom, is now playing offensive and defensive line for his high school football team on the Ravens field. I swear it was like two years ago, when I blew up that tube. You all know that “time is flying by” feeling. Sure, I’ll go watch some football in it’s purest and basic form. I’ll go cheer with maybe 100 or so Havre DeGrace fans and watch the teams run, run, gang tackle, short pass – punt. Well that’s not exactly how it happened, I was pleasantly surprised of what transpired.

HDG traveled well, we’re talking 13-15 buses, with Marching Band in tow. Family, friends and alumni filled up a good 6-8 sections of the lower bowl on the visitors/sun side, 800+ fans. Dunbar had about 1/2 that on the Ravens/shade side. Still a larger crowd than I had anticipated of the HDG and Dunbar faithful.  They had traveled to support the young lads they had been watching since Pop Warner. A game those boys had worked their butts off to get to. You could see it in their eyes. You could see it in the warm-ups.You could feel the energy in the stadium.

The teams filed out for warm-ups. First reaction, “oh-my gosh (well those weren’t my exact words) – those kids are huge. They weren’t that big when I played.” Second reaction, “Where is the rest of the team?” The HDG Warriors had like 30 players. Dunbar – a good 50. Warm-ups consisted of some grunting, yelling, fist pumps, chants, pad smacks, specialty run-throughs, center of field pep talk….all that good down home, traditional football pre-game bonding. Fans and players were starting to get anxious, the National Anthem was played by the HDG Marching Band, boom – let’s play some football.

First play from scrimmage – anything but basic – HDG attempts a flea flicker. I see this perfectly executed play, the football thrown in a tight spiral  50 yards down the field,  the ball lands a couple yards past the outstretched hands of the WR that just ran a 5.0 forty. There was decent  blocking, helmets crashing together, bodies flying, Dunbar held their ground, “Oh-my gosh (once again – those really weren’t my exact words) these boys can play.” The game only got better. You could clearly see the reason these two teams were in the position they were, playing for the State Championship. HDG dominated the first half, score of 12-0. Dunbar dominated the second half and ended up winning the game 22-12. Yes, the score mattered. But what was much more impressive to me, was the way these kids played, with the passion and basic love for the game.

The talent level varied amongst the players, many playing both ways. Never wanting to come out – remember those days? There were big kids (how does 6′-5″, 270 sound?), larger yet – Dunbar had three young lads over 300 lbs., you kiddin’ me? There were small kids, medium-sized kids, slow kids, swift kids, bumbling kids and the next level of athletic kids. Speaking of the next level, I have to point out the QB for HDG, Darin Washington. Remember that name, the potential is there. All these kids joined together as part of a team trying to fulfill a common goal. The logo/motto of this 3 day event down at the stadium was – Respect the Game. It was rewarding to see that from both teams and coaching staffs.

Bottom line – Get Back to the Basics. It’s all about the kids man. Your kids, someone else’s kids, your grand kids, it’s simple – they remind us. Whether it’s sporting event, a play, an academic achievement, an art show, a concert, their willingness to try, it just doesn’t matter – support them, then support them again. I highly recommend attending any one of the previous events I have just mentioned, even if you do not have direct involvement with any of the participants. I am grateful that my daughter, family and friends have blessed me with that opportunity.

I went to a high school football game and came out with a better heart. Now go blast “Sweet Child O’ Mine” – (Guns and Roses). Go thank the kids for their efforts, tell them you may not be to crazy about some of  their decision making, try and stay on the right path, question what in the world were they thinking and finally ………… “you only learn by doing.” God bless ‘em.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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GAME ONE IS OVER. NOW, BRING ON MONDAY NIGHT!

Posted on 10 September 2010 by Shawn Credle

14-9. Not exactly what you thought the opening game of the 2010 NFL Season would be. Opening game jitters? Too much pre-game hype? Too much Super Bowl and NFC Title Game recollection? Whatever the reason, both teams were sluggish out there. But, the matchup of the defending Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints vs. the Minnesota Vikings was good enough to kickoff the season.

The first drive for the Saints was, without a doubt, their best drive of the game. For the other 3+ quarters of drives, both teams seemed out of sync. Neither team committed to the run, as both Brett Favre and Drew Brees went pass-happy. And that caused the game to run a little longer than most expected (well, at least it felt like a long game).

So, what did we learn:
-Drew Brees had trouble dealing with the 4-man rush the Vikings were throwing at him all game. Very surprising, given the numbers Brees & company have produced in the past.

-While he showed some signs of greatness, Brett Favre still needs to dust off the cobwebs, just a bit. Favre was trying to force-in some of those throws. Threading the needle basically. He needs time to sharpen those skills. That time could have been preseason.

-The kicking game…WHAT THE HELL? A missed extra point and two missed field goals. Baltimore fans know how important it is to have a good kicker. (Does Baltimore really have one now?)

-The only bright side to this may have been the fact that both defenses stepped up and played well. And for the Saints, a win is a win. The Saints, and their fans, will take it.

Which brings us to Monday night, and the battle of the big mouths. Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens vs. Rex Ryan and the New York Jets.

The Jets end this game with so much “swagger” that may cost them in the long run. However, Baltimore has a very tought start on the road this year.

And while we don’t know what’s going to happen, something tells me that we will not have a repeat of the last game.

Now, that the NFL season is underway, time to predict who will win the divisions.

AFC East: New York Jets
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens
AFC South: Indianapolis Colts
AFC West: Oakland Raiders

NFC East: Dallas Cowboys
NFC North: Green Bay Packers
NFC South: New Orleans Saints
NFC West: San Francisco 49ers

What are your thoughts as to which teams will win their divisions? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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What did we learn from Ravens vs. Redskins??? And why the NFL doesn’t want this feud to happen…

Posted on 23 August 2010 by Shawn Credle

23-3. That was the final score from this past Saturday’s Ravens vs. Redskins preseason match in Washington, D.C.. But don’t let the score fool you. The offense wasn’t as polished as they were a week ago. The Ravens’ first-team offense committed three fumbles. Joe Flacco was 9-16 for 72 yards, and had a QB rating of 67.0, nearly half of his preseason week #1 number of 127.1. Saturday’s game showed the other NFL teams that if you pressure Flacco early, you can rattle him, causing bad throws to his receivers. The Ravens always have Ray Rice to fall back on (even though he did fumble the ball twice), but it is necessary to develop the passing game of Joe Flacco to newcomers Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth if they want to keep playing at a high level.

Teams are trying to find the holes in the offensive line to get to Flacco. And with the injuries that the team has been suffering at the line, Flacco will have to figure out a way to get the ball out of his hands quickly. Failure to score TDs or lack of protection from the O-Line, causing an injury, could lead to the dreaded QB controversy, as Marc Bulger continues to play well during the preseason. (Jared Gaither, the line is missing you!)

9-7 was the Ravens’ record last year. And while most fans want to believe that the Ravens will just blow through every team this season, it is more likely that the Ravens will end up with the same record as last year, if not, maybe one better, 10-6. Cincinnati went undefeated within the division in 2009. A collapse doesn’t look like it’s going to happen with the Bengals, unless Terrell Owens makes one happen. Ravens’ fans only hope so. But there are a lot of tough teams in the League. And the Ravens won’t have to wait long for their first test. Week #1, they get the New York Jets, a team many experts believe will go to the Super Bowl this year. (My prediction: a rematch of Week #1 will happen in the AFC Championship Game this year).

And, oh yeah, a Fake Punt in the preseason??? Something tells me that the next time we see that one will be in the postseason, if they can get there. But the 51-yard run off a fake punt, by Haruki Nakamura, was the highlight of the night.

In looking back at this game, I began to wonder why the NFL doesn’t push for this feud to happen. Ravens vs. Redskins would sell out every time if presented more than just once every four years, not only in the stands, but on the televisions at home as well. However, I soon realized that it won’t happen because of one thing….MONEY!!! Baltimore and Washington are two distinct television markets that the NFL keeps separate to generate more revenue, not like what Oakland and San Francisco have. It’s the reason why you generally see only one or the other. And while the fans would love to have the games for bragging rights, the League would prefer that they order NFL RedZone or the NFL Sunday Ticket in order to see those games. It’s really a shame, as the possibility of showcasing these two teams, with their rabid fanbases fighting one another, on more than once every four years, would generate high ratings for whatever network would carry the game. But, I guess we will have to wait until a Super Bowl matchup between these two teams shows the League that the fans are ready for Ravens vs. Redskins.

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Former Johns Hopkins WR Wes Moore on His Accomplishments: “It’s Been With the Help and Support of A Lot Of People Who Refused to Give Up On Me”

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Former Johns Hopkins WR Wes Moore on His Accomplishments: “It’s Been With the Help and Support of A Lot Of People Who Refused to Give Up On Me”

Posted on 22 July 2010 by Ryan Chell

Wes Moore at Hopkins
Former Johns Hopkins wide receiver Wes Moore, in the beginning stages of his life growing up in Baltimore, was starting down a dark path. After watching his father pass away right before him at the age of 3, with no real father figure or influence in his life, Moore was finding a lot about life from drugs, crime, and his deviant friends.

His mother and grandmother became afraid of his future, so he was sent away to military school. Much as expected, he hated it.

“I tried running away,” Moore told WNST’s Rex Snider on Friday. “At this point I had already run away four times from the school, and after a fifth time I tried to run away, my squad leader came into our room and gave me a map on how to get to a train station.”

“He said my attempts to run away were pretty pathetic. I kept running through the woods to find this train station was and I couldn’t find it. And finally he gave me this map, and I wen out later on that night and tried to use this map to try and to a train station, and this map kept on taking me more and more deeper into the middle of the woods.”

“Eventually I just start crying, cause there’s nothing I wanted more than just to go home. And then I start hearing leaves rustling and I start hearing laughter, and it was my entire chain of command. They followed me out to the middle of the woods, and the map was fake. The map took me out to the middle of nowhere; they just wanted a gauge on how bad I wanted to go home, and I think that night they got their answer.”

But in the end, he was allowed to make a phone call afterward to his mom, and he finally realized that he had a cheering section behind him. He realized he could turn his life around because of the people around him, but he had to take the first step.

“She reminded me on that phone call how many people were rooting for me, and how many people were there supporting me, and who really wanted to help me. But I had to meet them half-way. And how my father was looking down on me, and how proud he was, and that he just wanted me to give it a shot.”

He finally realized that while this school was not going to be easy, it was going to change him into a different individual. But it would be a change that Moore wanted to go through with in order to make him a better man.

“While I hated every minute of it,I literally ran away five times in the first four days, it was a place that really helped to shape my larger identity and helped me think more about the kind of person I wanted to become, and the type of man I wanted to become. And I think really from there, I started to understand all the parts of something bigger.”

Wes Moore

And Wes Moore did become something bigger. He graduated as a regimental commander from the military school, and eventually found his way to Johns Hopkins University. It was there that Moore graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and became was a star receiver for the Blue Jays.

He averaged 25 yards a catch his senior year for the Hopkins, and he said that he learned a lot about life from sports.

He eventually went on to serve a tour in Afghanistan, time in the White House under Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice as a White House Fellow, and he had the distinction of being the only Hopkins football player to earn a Rhodes Scholarship to attend Oxford University.

But Moore said he had to stop and take a look at his life the day he was scheduled to graduate from Hopkins. The Baltimore Sun that day wrote a story about his accomplishments, but around the same time the Sun chronicled his life, they also wrote a series of articles about a Wes Moore from the same neighborhood, similar age, and background as the Wes Moore graduating from Hopkins.

Only this Wes Moore,  who along with three others, robbed a jewelry store and killed a police officer. Reading more,the similarities to his background seemed odd to our Moore, so he wanted to dig deeper before, during, and after he headed overseas.

“Here I was going off to England on this full scholarship while the other Wes Moore was heading to a maximum security facility for the rest of his life. This story…this contradiction really haunted me, and it haunted me to the point where I one day reached out to him, and wasn’t sure if he would even write back.”

“But then a month later, I received a note back..from Wes and that one letter eventually turned into a dozen of letters, those dozen of letters turned into dozens of visits. And it was really through that process that I began to learn how much more we had in common than just our name. How much we had in common just on our neighborhood, and what that larger story means to us as a society and what it means to us as a larger country where we have to think about the types of Wes Moore’s that we’re fostering around us.”

And all through this process, the Wes Moore who was out of prison wanted to make sure he gave the incarcerated Wes Moore his due. He wanted to not be judgmental and to be fair, and to see where he went wrong. That promise to his “partner” turned into over 200 hours of interviews and research, and Moore turned his conversations with Wes Moore while he was in prison into the book which he has been promoting, ‘The Other Wes Moore.”

Moore and his story have made appearances on Oprah, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6bk_U6wHszE[/youtube]

“I really wanted to go through this process, and make it as thorough as possible, because the only way that you can really do justice to this was to A.” Not be judgmental”, but also that you would be accurate. And so I really made sure that I wanted to get all the facts right, and the feel of the story right. I’ve known Wes for about five years, but it only took me two and a half to write the book, so it was a long and arduous process.”

He said the lesson behind the book is that there are points in everyone’s life where there is a fork in the road, and with just a single positive mentor in a young man’s life, that one guiding hand can draw a person down the right path-and a lack of guidance-can steer a young boy down the dark path.

Wes Moore said he-and his other half in prison-should be prime examples of that philosophy.

“I’ve had the honor of serving as an army officer, and serving in the White House as a White House fellow, and so many amazing things. But again, it’s been with the help and support of a lot of people who just refused to give up on me, even though they had no reason to.”

And Wes Moore said one of the first people to take home his message was the incarcerated Wes Moore himself.

“It’s interesting because Wes really had two different reactions when he read the book. The first was that it amazed him how much research that I put into it, having done the hundreds of hours of interviews. and the second reaction that he had was once he got to read about his life in the book, it amazed him how little he’s done with his life.”

And now Moore is out there fighting for make sure there are no more Wes Moores out there that end up in prison, and his book-and the message it conveys-is his tool.

“Right now, I’m working with the book and trying to make sure the lessons of the book that I’m trying to drive home…taking care of one another, and the importance of mentor ship, and the importance of role models, and understanding when second chances become last chances and the choices we make in life, -that’s the things I’m really passionate about.”

And that’s what Moore wanted to re-iterate. This book is so much more than two different Wes Moore’s, where one went left and the other went right.

“The fascinating thing about this, and typically about the reaction to the book, is people realizing this book is so much more than just these two boys. It’s about so much than Baltimore. It’s so much more than about one socio-economic group, or one race of kids.”

“It’s really about all of us, and how the decisions that we make , the people we have in our lives that help us make those decisions, and what the ramifications for making those decisions are, and what they can be.  That’s what’s been so grabbing about all this. Hardly ever do we think about our own lives, and think, if it hadn’t been for this decision or not making this decision, how different things could have turned out.”

“And as I say on the cover of the book, the chilling story is that his story could have been mine, and the tragedy is that my story could have been his.”

And Moore said that while his life may look like its all peachy, he wants to assure his readers and followers that it wasn’t easy as it seems and he was very difficult to work with at times, but it became a lot easier when he took his life into his own hands.

And remember, he was a receiver, so he had some really good ones.

“I’d be lying if I said anything happened overnight cause it didn’t, but there was a switch that started to take place where i started to realize that leadership mattered, and accountability mattered, and responsibility mattered. And that’s where I think I started to do a shift on who I wanted to be and what I wanted to become.”

If you would like to read Wes’ book, it is available at Amazon.

WNST Thanks Wes Moore for spending time sharing his story with us and wish him the best of luck in his continued journey spreading his message!

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My ideas for instant replay use in MLB.

Posted on 07 June 2010 by Keith Melchior

Last week, first base umpire Jim Joyce made a bad call that affected a perfect game by Detroit pitcher Armando Galarraga. There was nothing else he could do at the time but make a call and he did. Unfortunately, replays showed it was the wrong call. Joyce apologized after knowing he made an error in judgement, but it could not change the outcome of the game. Umpire crews 15 or more years ago would have swept it under the table and stand firm that they were right and the replays people were seeing were tainted. But what happens if that call was made on the first batter of the game, THEN Galarraga goes out and retires the next 27 hitters? Is there an uproar like this? Doubtful. Perfect means without flaw or error. In baseball, a perfect game means no batter reaches base, no hits, no runs, no walks, and no errors. Sadly, human error is a part of every sport. Overturning the call after the game is over to allow a perfect game is not the way to go. Kudos for baseball to at least get that one right.

The use of replay in major league baseball games seems like a great idea. It doesn’t totally remove the human element of an umpire or referee, but can be used as a tool to aid and enhance that human element image. Referees and umpires aren’t perfect all the time but replay shows they make the correct calls probably more than 97% of the time.  They use replays in football, basketball and ice hockey, so why should baseball be any different. Major league baseball isn’t the pure innocent sport it once was painted to be. The steroid and HGH era proves it. Maybe it is time to evaluate the use of replay in baseball games.

The NHL uses replay to determine a goal/no goal situation. When in doubt the calling official goes to the scorers table and asks to speak to the replay official stationed in one of the press boxes. It is the responsibility of the replay official to determine whether a goal is awarded or not. He relays the information to the referee and the corrct call is made. It is a very simple process and it either shows the referee to be right in his judgement or serves to correct an error. The officials review the replays and use it as a training tool to make them better the next time out. Rules and mechanics changes come about because of use of instant replay.

I have argued for years that the NFL is doing it all wrong. Instead of the white hat making the final decision and wasting time looking under the hood, they need an official in the booth to determine the outcome of a particular play, IF challenged by the head coach. The NFL needs to totally eliminate the “booth challenge review rule” in the last 2 minutes of each half and in overtime and allow the coaches to determine whether a challenge should be made or not. Since when is the last 2 minutes of a half made more important than the first 28 minutes?  I realize it’s traditionally the time a team is scrambling to put itself  into some type of scoring position as the clock is winding down, but by giving the replay booth the authority to force a challenge in those final minutes is totally unfair. Leave it up to the coaches to kill momentum with a challenge if they wish to risk one. If the replay booth gets all the power in the final 2 minutes, then why not have them challenge every questionable call for the other 58 minutes of the game?

Major League Baseball should revamp their use of instant replay to make the game pure again, thus eliminating questionable calls by umpires. We witnessed some terrible calls during the 2009 playoffs. To my knowledge, none of those calls affected the teams that eventually lost their series, but still, getting the calls right makes baseball look like they really care about their game.

Here’s how MLB should use replay:

The umpiring crew is increased to 5 members and their assignments rotate as they do now, so every 5th day they would be assigned to the replay booth. This would help keep them fresh and bring them even more together as a viable team as they assess their strengths and weaknesses throughout the season. Umpires who get calls overturned are flagged and then placed on a probationary list. If  an umpire gets 10 calls overturned in a season, he is to be suspended for 6 months without pay or terminated, unless there are legitimate reasons why the proper call was missed. Umpires who get the least number of calls overturned during the season are rewarded by assignments to post season games and bonus pay increases. This would be a huge incentive for them to make every effort to concentrate on their jobs and get calls correct. MLB closely monitors every replay challenge so the replay umpire would have to make the correct determination and not attempt to cover up for his crew.

Challenges are allowed to determine safe, out, fair, foul, catch, no catch, HR, ground rule double, fan interference, tag ups, and position of runners if a ball goes out of play. The “in the neighborhood”  forceouts at 2nd base would be challengable and placed  under close scrutiny as well. 

Managers will not be allowed to challenge balls and strikes.

Allow managers 2 challenges per game.  Once their 2 challenges are made, there are no further challenge options, so what they challenge would be very important.

Incorrect challenges come with a penalty. If the umpiring crew is determined to have made the  correct call, the manager is ejected and fined $1000  and the team loses it’s 2nd challenge. If the manager is ejected for arguing balls and strikes or ejected for any other reason, the team loses any remaining challenges when it loses its manager. This also serves as an incentive to managers to study and know the rules of the game and  pay attention to the action on the field.

When a challenge is made, calling umpire and the crew chief would contact the replay umpire and a determination would be made quickly.

If a team uses both challenges and the manager remains in the game, he may not question or challenge any subsequent calls. If he comes out to do anything but ask for an interpretation or is beckoned by the umpire for an explanation, he is ejected.

This would be a very simple process, given the fact every game in MLB is on television. It would help the game of baseball in the long run.

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Lingerie Football League invades Charm City

Posted on 03 May 2010 by Genna Wittstadt

Baltimore city has incorporated a new outlook for football as the city is now participating in the Lingerie Football League (LFL) as the Baltimore Charm.

The league is an all-female league where the girls wear lingerie-type uniforms as they play full-contact football.

Over the weekend on May 2, at First Mariner Arena, LFL held tryouts for Baltimore Charm that brought a crowd of girls with bare mid-riffs and showing cleavage with full make-up—but don’t think these girls don’t know how to take a hit or sprint down the field.

A student at Towson University tried out for the Baltimore Charm after her roommate found an article about it, so they decided to try out together.

“The idea of us being in the LFL started as a joke, but a few weeks after we heard about the league they announced Baltimore tryouts,” Shay Kemble, a senior at Towson, said. “We both wavered back and forth as to whether we should actually go or not, but decided to do it just to say we did it and to see if we were good enough to compete with the other girls.”

About 70 people tried out for the Baltimore Charm Sunday. It will be the newest in the 10-team Lingerie Football League. So far, the LFL has peaked interest in some and caused racy sneers from others.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with showing off some great abs and I really don’t think the uniforms are that scandalous,” said Kemble. “I, personally, would feel great to show off an athletic body. I don’t think it exploits women at all because it is just as much about having skill as about having looks.”

Mitchell S. Mortaza, founder of the lingerie league, said the lingerie is the marketing tool, but in the end the league is about the sport.

“[Mortaza] kept shouting out that he didn’t want any cheerleaders and that he didn’t want any stupid girls. Girls who couldn’t follow instructions were cut pretty instantly,” said Kemble.

Mortaza believes most professional female sports haven’t done well because there is nothing to draw people in. He notes that his league is profitable and he is starting teams in Europe and Asia over the next two years.

Other teams include the Philadephia Passion, San Diego Seduction, Seattle Mist, Miami Caliente, Tampa Breeze, Los Angeles Temptation, Dallas Desire, Chicago Bliss and Orlando Fantasy.

The Charm will play its four-game season opener on the road starting September 17 against the Philadelphia Passion.

The home opener is scheduled for Oct. 1 against the Tampa Breeze so for all of you Baltimorians out there interested in this league keep that date open.

As far as who is on the team, that has yet to be announced. According to 22-year-old Kemble, the LFL would be calling about 20 girls to be invited to mini-camp this coming Friday through Sunday. After that, they will narrow down to the best again.

How do all of you feel about this new idea? Is it a good one, or one that exploits women?

“I think it’s more of a change for women’s sports than it is for football in general. The LFL allows women to play football, full contact football. Not many sports allow women to play full contact.,” said the Dillsburg, PA native. “I love that it’s an equal playing field with men’s football.

Kemble has played for another social football league before and grew up playing sports in general. Girls from other teams agree with Kemble about this opportunity to play a full-contact sport as seen on LFL’s blog page.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cNX4kcgCIQ]

If you think this league is sexist, make sure to check out exactly what these girls go through and you may have your mind swayed.

And just keep in mind, it was considered scandalous when the All-American Girl’s Professional Baseball League was played from 1943-1954 during World War II (watch A League of Their Own for a refresher).

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Snowbound and Surfing

Posted on 23 December 2009 by Tom Federline

This past Saturday evening, I received an unexpected Christmas gift. We had just been hit by a record breaking snowstorm, I had cleaned the house, I had done the laundry, I had shoveled twice and it was still snowing, roads not cleared. I’m snowbound. My body and back is sore, I feel old, I need my couch and the TV remote. Time to go channel surfing. And some of you thought this blog was going to be about being stranded in a slope side skiing cabin with a snowboard. Ain’t happenin’ – 1. I don’t snowboard. If and when I attempt to ski, it’s with two sticks on my feet. 2. I don’t like cabins. 3. I don’t like cold weather. No, this is about hunkering down after a long day and being pleasantly surprised with sports entertainment on the tube.

Ok, lets surf. News – no, sick of snow reports, weather channel – no, sick of snow reports, holiday specials – no, it’s all fake snow. Bang, ESPN, Wyoming vs. Fresno State, it’s the 4th quarter, Wyoming has the ball, they are down by less than a touchdown and driving. The teams are actually playing…….and hard……there goes my “bag the bowls” theory. Next thing I know it’s 2 OT’s, Wyoming wins, fans go nuts. Very cool. It’s still snowing, time to channel surf again and here comes the Xmas present.

Another football game, in the snow, tape delay from earlier in the day. It is the Pennsylvania PIAA Class 4A State Championship game from Hershey, PA. LaSalle Explorers vs. State College Little Lions, 6″ of snow on the field and it was still coming. It is 3 – 0, LaSalle. Yes, they kicked a field goal in a blizzard. These kids could play. If I could have combined the two teams into one, they would have beaten the Terps this year. It was snowball at it’s best and these kids were playing for what seemed like gold buried treasure, leaving it all on the field. The sizes and athletic talent of these kids was astounding. We’re talking 6′-3″ 225, 6′-0″ 210, 5″10″ 185 and one kid on State College 6′-8″ 275 and not an ounce of fat on him. One kid ran the 100 yard dash in like 9.4 (not today though). They were throwing the ball and catching it, blocking, sweeping, tackling, running, in the blizzard…………and it was good! Then it got better.

LaSalle is up 10-0. Penalty flag. The crowd goes nuts. Obviously, the microphones were on the LaSalle side – “You S### Ref, You’re killing us ref, Are you “Snowblind” – (Black Sabbath), That was a S#### call ref.” Heard it loud and clear over the tube. It was beautiful! The announcers get into it – “That’s the 5th penalty on LaSalle and 0 on State College. The fans seem a little upset. Good contingent of fans here for LaSalle.” They are playing in a blizzard, there’s a foul every play. Apparently the game was not going in favor of the refs. Back and forththey go. While play is on one end of the field, they are shoveling off the yardage lines on the other end. Heck, the High School Athletic Director for the State of Pennsylvania is helping shovel with his 5 year old granddaughter in tow. Nice touch.

Then just before half, LaSalle running back breaks one, 54 yards – TD! 17-0 LaSalle rolling….wait a minute…..wait a minute….FLAG…..holding – LaSalle- neg on awesome TD run. The crowd erupts, this time with slightly even stronger opinions. It was beautiful. LaSalle eventually scored. Halftime score - LaSalle 17 State College 0. Halftime penalties – LaSalle 6 State College 1. Second half State College goes 60 yards on opening drive, only to have one of LaSalles 6′-3″ 235lb. linebackers knock the ball loose while being blocked by a 6′-0″ 250 lb. lineman. The linebacker then recovers the ball in the 8″ of snow, hands the ball to the ref, then himself signals first down LaSalle ball. It was that kind of passion on both teams throughout this game. The penalties settled down and the game ended up LaSalle 24 State College 7. It was a closer game than the score reflects.

It’s now 9:30 -10:00pm and my aching body has molded itself to the couch. I sit up and simply say, WOW – did I just get lucky or what? I ended a long ”homeowners special” day, by witnessing parts of two awesome football games - by chance - surfing the tube - while snowbound. Hope you all get that lucky (it’s the small things). Merry White Christmas, gang. PEACE.

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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