Tag Archive | "jim"

Thirty years after Mayflower crime, I’ve pardoned Irsay and moved on from the hate

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Thirty years after Mayflower crime, I’ve pardoned Irsay and moved on from the hate

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published on March 28, 2011, I think this is appropriate for where my life stands with #JennStrong & #BmorePositive mojo. nja)

Twenty-seven years ago today I awoke to see my father crying in my kitchen in Dundalk. It was one of two times that I ever saw him cry. The Baltimore Colts’ infamous ride of the Mayflowers out west on I-70 just two months after I started interning at The News American defined the end of my childhood at 15 and the beginning of my lifelong education about money and the real world of sports for the remainder of my sports fan and business life as a journalist.

It’s been a tumultuous quarter of a century plus a year for my feelings of anger, anguish, desperation, loss and bad vibes about the Colts leaving Baltimore on March 28, 1984. My Pop died in 1992 and never got to see the Ravens come back to town to avenge the loss of the horseshoe. I never got to go to one more football game with my father. And over the years, it’s really been a civic badge of honor to hate on all things Irsay and Indianapolis.

Nestor and Mini Bob

I’ve been to Indianapolis more times than I can count since 1996 – always for a football game or the annual March combine. There’s never been a time that it hasn’t taken me 15 minutes on the ground there to get ill seeing the horseshoes and “Go Colts” kind of marketing that is ubiquitous in Indy from the minute you land at the airport. It drives my wife batty — my almost irrational instant anger, ranting and self-inflicted torture when I’m in Indianapolis. I’ve always figured that I’d proudly be like the old dudes in Brooklyn, still pining away about the Dodgers 50 years later.

Here’s an example:

It’s taken me years of internal therapy and self soothing to calm myself when I see the game day experience there in Indy as those Midwestern hillbillies parade around in my father’s stolen laundry. In many ways, our “friend” Merton From Indianapolis (and no, none of us has any idea who he is or where the whole gimmick started – honest to God!) sort of exemplifies the entire experience of dealing with their fans when you travel to the “friendly heartland.”

My loathing of all things Irsay and Indianapolis is a bit legendary – there are plenty of pictures of me carrying Bob Irsay’s head on a stick through the streets of Indy — and my rants and raves throughout the 1990s are all very “on the record” and still accurate. What happened to this community at the hands of Bob Irsay and how I saw it affect my father and the psyche of the citizenry here will never been forgotten. The degrading and demoralizing “begging” to get back into the league that fell on Herb Belgrad. Paul Tagliabue’s “build a museum” expansion declaration in Chicago. All of it…I’ll remember those feelings and emotions for the rest of my life. Most Baltimoreans older than me — and I was born in 1968 – still can’t begin to imagine a world without the Colts of that generation. If you’re from Baltimore, sports is etched into your DNA.

(And if you doubt those feelings, imagine how you’d feel if the Ravens packed up and left tomorrow morning and never played another game here? For you young’ins that’s essentially what happened here in 1984…)

But after long and careful consideration – and as today’s 26th anniversary of the dastardly

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Dear John: Why is now the right time to fire Cam Cameron?

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Dear John: Why is now the right time to fire Cam Cameron?

Posted on 10 December 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

At some point this morning all hell broke loose in Owings Mills. It’s not often – or I’m not sure it’s ever been done before successfully – that an offensive coordinator of a 9-4 football team that produced 21 points of road offense in the first 21 minutes of a game is fired less than 21 hours later.

But it happened this morning. Tony Dungy got a leak from Jim Caldwell and gave it to Dan Patrick, who then gave it to Mike Florio. And then we learned that Cam Cameron was fired and told his friend Jamie Costello at ABC2.

Word is that there were some rather harsh words exchanged, feelings hurt and that Cameron was shocked by everything about the decision, which wasn’t made solely by John Harbaugh. WNST has also learned that Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti was directly involved in the decision as well.

The Baltimore Ravens were 53-24 & 5-4 in playoffs during his tenure as offensive coordinator. He also inherited a rookie QB, RB & first offense without Jon Ogden at left tackle in 2008.

WNST.net monitored it minute to minute on Twitter and we’re all still sorting through everything but what’s obvious – the Baltimore Ravens are struggling in lots of ways right now to win a game and Cam Cameron obviously worked his way through the doghouse of John Harbaugh and was shown the door this morning.

It might never be reported what happened last night in the mind of Harbaugh and/or Bisciotti or how long this change has been brewing – and don’t expect him to be forthcoming in his press conference when questioned about the change – but it’s now done, and veteran offensive mind and QB guru Jim Caldwell will take over a sputtering offense that he’s had almost a calendar year to dissect and learn with Joe Flacco at the helm.

What will really change this Sunday vs. the Denver Broncos?

Who knows?

But Cam Cameron didn’t have false starts. Cam Cameron didn’t put the offense in 1st & 23s, 2nd & 17s and 3rd & 11s. Cam Cameron didn’t miss blocks and assignments. Cam Cameron didn’t throw high and long or short and low to Torrey Smith. Cam Cameron didn’t have separation issues or troubles finding holes in the running attack. Cam Cameron didn’t let Ben Grubbs walk away last offseason.

Cam Cameron calls plays. Now Jim Caldwell will probably call a lot of the same plays.

This Broncos game can now be deemed a “must-win” game given the Ravens’ stated desire to have a first-round bye that was looking so likely eight mornings ago when they were 9-2 and coming off a heady, miraculous win in San Diego.

Perhaps Caldwell was headed to the open market in a few weeks to become an offensive coordinator or even a head coach in the coming weeks? Maybe Cameron and Harbaugh had a falling out? How involved did Steve Bisciotti get last night after an embarrassing loss in D.C.?

Feel free to speculate away because you will anyway…

But however you slice it, it’s a very radical move this morning by John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens organization.

Sometimes these things take root and championships are won.

And sometimes, it’s the first chair off the Titanic..

Harbaugh will be asked a lot of questions. He will wish Cam Cameron well. And in six days the Denver Broncos are coming to town to play a team that clearly hit the panic button this morning.

Harbaugh won’t call it the panic button and would berate me if I asked him that question but I’m not sure that under any circumstance that this is the desired pathway for a Super Bowl team.

His brother Jim Harbaugh endured heavy media and fan heat three weeks ago for changing starting quarterbacks while in first place. Now, in the midst of December with a 9-4 team flailing in many phases of the game and after the defense and special teams floundered in D.C. with the game (and a lead) in the balance, John Harbaugh has guillotined his offensive coordinator with three games left on the 2012 calendar.

I always laugh when the fans scream to fire the coach or bench the QB in the middle of any season.

It looks like John Harbaugh has finally succumbed after hearing the chants of the radicals and fired his O.C. on a Monday morning.

Some of you finally got what you wanted – heads to roll when the team is 9-4.

 

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Moose memories and “Welcome Home” for wise deserter of Birdland

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Moose memories and “Welcome Home” for wise deserter of Birdland

Posted on 23 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

As Mike Mussina makes his triumphant return to Baltimore this weekend for the Orioles Hall of Fame activities it’s certainly a thought-provoking time to be a long-time observer and fan of the franchise.

Sure, the Orioles are once again relevant — playing meaningful and exciting games every night — which harkens to the days of 1996 & 1997 when “Moose” was an integral part of the magic of being an Orioles fan every fifth day during the zenith of Camden Yards’ passion and Inner Harbor energy.

Mussina has been gone from Baltimore – except for three visits a year in New York Yankees pinstripes – for 12 years now. So long ago that time has seemingly dimmed the glory of his deeds and his departure serves as a truly seminal moment in the awfulness of the Orioles franchise under the stewardship of Peter Angelos since 1993.

In the 1970’s it was routine for the Orioles to lose players to owners, markets and franchises that had more wealth, population and revenue. Many members of the franchise “Hall of Fame” and “Oriole Way” stalwarts left like Mayflowers in the middle of the night for greener pastures including Don Baylor, Bobby Grich, Reggie Jackson, Wayne Garland and Doug DeCinces and later Eddie Murray, Mike Boddicker, Mike Flanagan, B.J. Surhoff and Mike Bordick were all dealt away to save cash and get younger players.

But in the 1980’s and 1990’s, replete with a fan base from six states that pumped unprecedented money into the franchise and reached into the state’s funds to build Camden Yards and turn Baltimore into a spigot for Major League Baseball profitability, the Orioles never lost a player they wanted to keep.

Not until they lost the best player and pitcher of his generation of Baltimore baseball when Mike Mussina wore the “turncoat” label and bolted for the New York Yankees.

After the 2000 season, tired of three years of losing and Angelos’ low-balling and obvious meddling and mismanagement, Mussina simply took the advice of his agent Arn Tellem and played out his option and walked. On Dec. 7, 2001 after years of eschewing the notion of playing in big, bad New York he signed a six-year, $88.5 million deal to play for the Evil Empire.

I’ll share my many personal memories and my friendship with Mussina later in this blog but I can remember the surreal nature of watching that press conference from The Bronx from Chicago’s Sporting News Radio studios with my jaw open. It was the definitive signal that quality Major League Baseball players simply didn’t want to be in Baltimore anymore and it had little to do with crab cakes or the American League East.

Mussina was thought to be “irreplaceable” at the time and 11 years later time has borne out that diagnosis.

Mussina left the Baltimore Orioles because the owner stunk. He knew it and everyone in baseball knew it.

So, Mussina will finally return and don Orioles colors this weekend for the final time and he’ll find a few fresh statues on the veranda, a team in the midst of its first pennant run in 15 years and a seemingly soulless shell of a former love affair for baseball in Baltimore.

There’ll be plenty of empty seats and shoulder shrugs at his mostly sweet and sour induction into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame this weekend. Certainly a worthy candidate if there ever were one, Mussina’s time as a starter for the Birds is only eclipsed by the deeds of Jim Palmer, who as I’ve said many times is the greatest (and most underappreciated) Oriole of all time by any measurement.

Palmer let loose with a haughty pronouncement on a MASN broadcast earlier this week in promoting this weekend’s festivities. “The Moose is going to Cooperstown – at least I hope. He’s got 270 wins,” said Palmer, who went on to proclaim that in the steroid era to win all of those games and Gold Gloves and remain a “clean figure” in the needle witch hunt of the Mitchell Report should get him a Hall of Fame ballot punched in 2014.

For “real” Orioles fans, he’ll always be known as the Benedict Arnold of the modern generation for leaving the

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Orioles are finally in pennant race — but where are Baltimore baseball fans?

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Orioles are finally in pennant race — but where are Baltimore baseball fans?

Posted on 08 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve argued with WNST morning show host Drew Forrester for a decade about this. He’s always said – much like everyone in the Angelos family – “When the Orioles win they’ll ALL come back!”

Well, in case you haven’t noticed while you were dusting off your purple gear this week for tomorrow night’s meaningless and mostly unentertaining Ravens game in Atlanta, the 2012 Baltimore Orioles are just about everything you’d want in a MLB team in a “small market” where the owner is pocketing over $100 million in profit every year.

They have young stars. They are exciting every night – including last night’s 14-inning marathon victory over the Seattle Mariners that unfolded like The Ilyiad. They seem to play sudden death baseball a lot. It’s almost like they WANT you to fall asleep on them.

And these days, it appears, that most Baltimore sports fans have in fact “gone to sleep on the Orioles.”

By and large, most of you are not coming to Orioles games right now. The Orioles haven’t inspired you to buy a ticket, despite their good fortunes and entertainment value on the field.

This is a perfect day for me to write about going to Orioles games because I’m going to the game tonight.

Why?

Well, I got free tickets.

My complaints and reasons for not giving Peter Angelos my money are legendary and well-documented. The incident when the team stiffed me on a $30,000 sponsorship, then attacked me at a game in 2004 and sent an apology note signed, “The Bird.” Then, after 21 years of covering the Baltimore Orioles through three ownership groups, they took my press pass in 2007 and have summarily lied about why, which is standard operating procedure from the Angelos family.

Hell, four months ago at a charity cocktail function, Brady Anderson told me I “should leave Baltimore if I don’t like the way the team is being run.”

But I still watch them every night – which either makes me a sucker, a fool or an eternal optimist. Or maybe just someone who loves Baltimore and the Orioles and remembers how much fun baseball was for the entire community before Angelos wrecked the franchise for anyone who takes the time to examine all of the facts.

Oh, here’s one more warm and fuzzy — this Friday will mark the one-year anniversary that one of their legendary players, broadcaster and caring front office man Mike Flanagan put a gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.

The Orioles have played 110 games this year. I’ve watched about 95 of them in their entirety. The other 15 I’ve either fallen asleep (like last night) or kept track via my mobile device on WNST’s live box score feature.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might find five games where I haven’t been live tweeting most of the evening from my couch. So, I’m qualified to bitch in many ways because I’m the biggest Baltimore Orioles fan you’ll ever find.

And, again, I’m not giving Angelos my money – not tonight or any night.

In Dundalk, we would simply call him a scumbag and leave it at that.

But he doesn’t care about whether you or I come to the ballpark. He’s sucking that $3.00 per month from my cable bill and yours, 

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Breaking news to Baltimore about glories of modern-day Indy & Jim Irsay isn’t easy

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Breaking news to Baltimore about glories of modern-day Indy & Jim Irsay isn’t easy

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

As many of you might remember, my dear friend and mentor John Steadman would often channel Babe Ruth and write wacky letters to Baltimore sports fans from The Bambino in heaven.

So, on the eve of what would’ve been my father’s 93rd birthday, I’m writing an open letter to Steadman – and my Pop (and maybe even to Charlie Eckman) – to tell them what my eyes have seen in the years since their deaths in regard to the legacy of the Indianapolis Colts. I now realize in many ways I only really saw the Baltimore Colts and their glory through their eyes because other than three years of Bert Jones from 1975-77 when I was a kid, the Colts of Robert Irsay weren’t worth having in Baltimore.

The Baltimore Colts packed up the Mayflower vans on March 28, 1984. Twenty-eight years later and about that many trips to Indy over the years have taught me many life lessons about greed, loss, regret, hatred, football, forgiveness, civic responsibility and pride.

I spent nine days in Indianapolis last week and I’ll be back there again in 14 days for the NFL Combine. I’ll probably be going to Indianapolis for the rest of my life – or as long as they have the Colts – and I’m finally gaining some appreciation, clarity and personal growth for my adventures in the “friendly heart of The Midwest.”

Dear John & Pop:

I know you’re going to have a hard time believing this – and you might even think old Nasty Nestor has gone soft – but I have a very hard, long-term and deep-seated admission I’m going to make and you’re probably going to be very disappointed with me.

After all of these years, I have to admit that I like Indianapolis.

And I like Jim Irsay.

And I even like the Mayor of Indy, Greg Ballard, who I introduced to Chuck Pagano on our WNST set last week in Indy.

And I have to make the tough, honest admission that the Indianapolis Colts have become one helluva success story for the NFL and for their community in Indiana.

I know you might not have liked my “pardon” of all things Irsay and Colts and Indianapolis almost two years ago now, and you’re probably flipping over in your respective graves as you read this but the people of Baltimore almost found out last week what Indiana and “Hoosier Hospitality” is all about.

It’s a shame, really, because the people of Baltimore would’ve been there to see firsthand just how far Indianapolis has come in 28 years if Ravens’ WR Lee Evans would’ve just held onto a sure-touchdown pass from this scrappy kid named Joe Flacco up in New England in the AFC Championship Game. Half of the Charm City would’ve been packing up the family for Indiana like Jed Clampett going to Beverly Hills if the Ravens would’ve pulled out that win over the Patriots.

And that trip might’ve once-and-for-all “healed the war” between Indy and Baltimore. And it might’ve gotten us what we really want — pictures like THIS taken off the walls of local taverns like Kilroy’s because they are as disrespectful as a Confederate flag is to some men in their symbolism:

(And if you’re reading in Indy: Stop selling the Johnny Unitas jerseys in the Circle Center Mall downtown. And stop pushing Raymond Berry’s sorry ass onto the national platform as your own because he’s foolish enough to play along with the charade.

This stuff STILL bothers all of us in Baltimore! A lot…

Do that, and perhaps, all will be totally forgiven.)

But as much as it is hard for anyone from Baltimore to admit it — but time and facts have proven it all true — you have to give Jim Irsay some immense and serious credit. He inherited one of the most screwed up situations this side of Peter Angelos and his boys when he woke up as a 28-year old general manager in India-No-Place 

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From Baltimore to Indy: Pagano says last 10 days have been whirlwind

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From Baltimore to Indy: Pagano says last 10 days have been whirlwind

Posted on 04 February 2012 by WNSTV

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Jim Irsay tweets support for Ravens’ Super Bowl win in Indy

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Jim Irsay tweets support for Ravens’ Super Bowl win in Indy

Posted on 10 January 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Everyone knows I love Twitter and while I’m not a captured and enraptured follower of too many sports personalities or pundits, I do follow Indianapolis Colts’ owner Jim Irsay because his feeds are the most lively of anyone on the web — NFL owner or not.

Irsay is known to randomly tweet lyrics to his favorite rock songs, instant giveaways of Colts tickets and merchandise and he even gives injury reports on his team before the P.R. department releases the news.

Today, he tweeted this:

“I’d love 2c Steve B get the Trophy and Baltimore n Indy…got tons of friends there n it’s only fitting with my good friend R Berry n tow!”

A nice gesture and one that’s certainly heartfelt.

I’ve spent some time in recent years with Jim Irsay and as much angst as his last name has created in my life and the lives of many Baltimoreans over the past three decades and I can say for sure that he’s a peaceful man who believes strongly in karma and good deeds.

He’s built a model franchise in Indianapolis since the death of his oft-inebriated father, Tiger Bob.

His sentiments are now on the table.

And for once, I don’t think anyone in Baltimore can disagree with an Irsay…

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Redding leads stout defense to 9 sacks of Smith & Niners

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Redding leads stout defense to 9 sacks of Smith & Niners

Posted on 25 November 2011 by WNSTV

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Flacco says all Harbaugh hype aside, win over 49ers was huge

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Flacco says all Harbaugh hype aside, win over 49ers was huge

Posted on 25 November 2011 by WNSTV

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John Harbaugh reflects about emotional win over brother Jim & The Handshake

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John Harbaugh reflects about emotional win over brother Jim & The Handshake

Posted on 25 November 2011 by WNSTV

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