Tag Archive | "jim"

Ravens defense feasts on Alex Smith and 49ers offense in 16-6 win

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Ravens defense feasts on Alex Smith and 49ers offense in 16-6 win

Posted on 24 November 2011 by Drew Forrester

 

Believe it or not, I’m actually going to use a line from our resident nutjob Merton in Indianapolis to describe the Thanksgiving night appearance of the big, bad San Francisco 49′ers.

As ol’ Merton would say:  ”All bluster and no muster”.

Really?  That’s all the 49′ers had to offer on Thursday night?

Well, so much for Jim Harbaugh’s team being any good.

The Ravens borrowed a page from the book of year’s gone by and simply “managed the game” to a near perfect style, producing a workmanlike 16-6 win over the 49′ers to improve to 8-3 on the year.

And it really WAS that easy.

Sure, it was tied 6-6 heading into the 4th quarter, but this one never really was in doubt because the 49′ers could have kept playing until Barry Bonds is forgiven and they still wouldn’t have mounted a real scoring threat.

Playing without Ray Lewis for a second straight game, Baltimore’s defense unleashed a ferocious attack that had Alex Smith running for his life most of the night.  I’m not sure what Cory Redding and Terrell Suggs had for lunch, but someone should immediately get a shipment of it sent to the Orioles.  It’s been a long time since two defensive players dominated a game like those two did on Thursday night.

Baltimore sacked Smith nine times on the night and with the exception of a first-half TD pass to Ted Ginn that was called back due to a penalty, the only time San Fran saw the end zone was when they ran through it during pre-game warm-ups.  In the match-up of storied defense vs. up-and-coming offense, the guys in black scored a knockout. How much of a rear-beating did Baltimore give their west coast guests?  Well, let’s just say this:  The trainer handling cuts in the 49′ers corner needed a new box of towels at the end of the fight.

The victory essentially erases the woeful display in Seattle a few weeks ago and gives Baltimore continued hope of winning the AFC North and securing either the 1st or 2nd seed in the post-season.  With a layup game coming in 10 days at Cleveland and a visit from the winless Colts the week after, the Ravens can go into glide mode for a few weeks before a pre-Christmas trip to San Diego that promises to get their full attention.

Make no mistake about it:  The fabled Cleat-of-Reality was delivered to San Francisco on Thursday night.  Given the chance to prove their mettle in front of a national TV audience, they were swallowed up whole by a nasty Ravens defense that put together perhaps their best overall performance of the season.

 

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Nestor talks turkey with turkeys at Ravens game

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Nestor talks turkey with turkeys at Ravens game

Posted on 22 November 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

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I hope Ripken isn’t next Orioles hero signing up to polish Angelos’ smelly turd?

Posted on 10 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

On Tuesday night, as Camden Yards sat mostly empty on another beautiful summer night, it happened again. No, not just another “tough-luck, one-run Orioles loss” en route to what could possibly be the worst season of this era replete with 100 losses, but instead the whining, moaning and embarrassingly homerish “media” scam pulled on a nightly basis in my living room by the likes of Jim Hunter, Mike Flanagan, Rick Dempsey and company at MASN.

Along with all of the apologists at The Baltimore Sun, WBAL, PressBox and WJZ (the entire CBS “family” is in bed with the Orioles and has spent 14 years making lame, transparent excuses while taking a paycheck) – it’s amazing these employees of Peter Angelos can put their heads on a pillow at night and believe they have any integrity left in their words this community.

The crazy part is that there are still hopeless fans in the orange Kool Aid bunch who refuse to even acknowledge that all of these former “heroes of Birdland” are employed by Peter Angelos and will lie to you every night like state run media in Egypt, Syria and Libya.

It’s been said many times in many ways but it’s absolutely true to any thinking person in America circa 2011 — false praise in the absence of legitimate criticism is hollow. Perhaps these are the same morons who watch Fox News and believe they’re getting “balanced” reporting.

The media in Baltimore are not really “media” at all. They’re paid employees of the Orioles. It’s the only way you’re allowed to “report” on the team. It’s a “no criticism” rule when you sign up for the credentials and access.

Jim Hunter is as much of a journalist as Vince McMahon was when he interviewed Ivan Putski and George “The Animal” Steele on Saturday afternoons on Channel 45. And Rick Dempsey – well, sorry pal, I loved you as a ballplayer but as someone who allegedly has “insights and observations” that I’m being told to respect you’ve become a sick, nightly joke on my couch.

This is the part where I’ll let Jim Palmer off the hook for being Jim Palmer. But at this point, I’m astonished he hasn’t been fired. I really am…and most nights he goes overboard in trying to be kind to another young pitcher who has surrendered six runs in three innings in another loss. And Gary Thorne, who makes no bones about being an outsider and hired gun, is just cashing a paycheck and trying to not laugh at the nightly ineptitude, almost playing a straight man in what would be a comedy if it weren’t destroying the city on summer nights.

They should all be ashamed of themselves and allowing this civic tragedy and disgrace to continue while taking a paycheck and lying to the very fans who made them heroes.

Trust and integrity are a funny thing. You only get one chance to lie to me and I’m gone forever. And after watching a 20-minute post-game show that grilled third base umpire Phil Cuzzi for “costing the team the game” on a blown call on Nick Markakis, it’s apparent that serving up the Kool Aid is the only way to keep your job with the Angelos clan if you’re name isn’t Palmer.

The Orioles are in the midst of their fifth straight last-place season. Of course, if you watch MASN, they’re not in “last” place – the co-workers of Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter are only allowed to refer to it as “fifth place” or else they’ll be fired.

And either way, they’ll have to grovel for their jobs, careers and lives once again next February when Angelos goes through this his usual bullying tactics and stall techniques to gain leverage over these poor over-50 former ballplayers/heroes and tarnished “media” members as they try to earn a salary for another year in the MASN empire while serving up pretzel logic and lame baseball excuses for why the team hasn’t played a meaningful game since 1997. It’s the same methodology that Steve Bisciotti experienced in trying to “partner” with Angelos and MASN last July.

The Orioles PR and marketing staff – despite the awfulness of the team and the emptiness of the stands and the downtown area in general – still employ Gestapo tactics against my staff and anyone else who doesn’t praise the team’s .393 baseball this summer as “the road to improvement.”

Intimidation and threats are a daily way of life at The Warehouse. And, if anyone doubts whether Greg Bader and the Angelos family will take away your ability to feed your family, my picture is on the wall there as the “poster child for bad behavior” by the local media.

The truth: I’m in the only one in the local media who seems to care enough to be loud about their awfulness but that’s nothing new because the WNST staff are the only ones who aren’t on their payroll. We might also be the only media members who actually purchased season tickets (not my idea, by the way) this year via Drew Forrester’s “parent and child” program.

On Tuesday night in between the innings I managed to catch the entire episode of “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” on my DVR. To see the passion and energy of John Ziemann and his cohorts with the Colts Marching Band and their still open wounds from their undying love of the local team and the Irsay move is still inspiring and amazing. I can’t help but wonder if I’m going to live long enough to have a real baseball team with a community spirit in Baltimore or whether this will go on into perpetuity and Angelos will buy another 20 years of life from the devil and continue to torture my baseball soul while making $50 million per year in profit.

To think that ANYONE still cares about the Orioles enough to watch every night is amazing enough.

But to insult our intelligence again and again, night after night with this mindless banter? Really, the joke’s on me for giving my time and energy to these clowns.

At this point, it’s become a macabre comedic act in our house to watch the post-game just to see how many excuses Hunter and Dempsey can come up with after each nightly loss. It’s particularly entertaining when the Orioles lose 17-3 and these guys can come up with ways the “home team” got screwed or were a play away from being “right back in the game.”

The Orioles didn’t lose on Tuesday night because of one call – and, sure, it was an awful call. The Orioles lose because they don’t have enough good players. The Orioles lose because good players don’t want to play for Peter Angelos. We get crappy programming because real reporters with integrity don’t want to work for Peter Angelos.

But, sadly, for some legends, they don’t have the option of staying away like Cal Ripken.

Which brings us to the next rumor – the “Ripken to join the front office of the Orioles” phonebooth whispers have begun against in earnest as they seemingly do every summer.

If Ripken is smart, he’ll stay away.

But my gut tells me he won’t be able to help himself at some point. Eventually, if the old man lives long enough, Ripken will sign up for the party and become the butt of the jokes as well.

Cal Ripken’s involvement can’t fix the Orioles. It might create a few headlines and sell Angelos some more tickets but putting gold paint on a pig still doesn’t make it more than ham and bacon.

And that would be really, really hard to watch, Ripken falling into the Jim Hunter trap.

Lord knows, watching Dempsey and Flanagan is hard enough these days…

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As purple Festivus season is upon us, alas the real Grinch continues to be Peter G. Angelos

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As purple Festivus season is upon us, alas the real Grinch continues to be Peter G. Angelos

Posted on 24 December 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been 51 months now since the initial “Free The Birds” campaign that we launched at WNST.net in “Year Nine of The Black Cat” and motivated more than 2,000 other brave souls who said “enough is enough” to Peter Angelos and the losing and nasty ways of the Baltimore Orioles.

The holiday results are in yet again for another sad orange offseason and I’m feeling pretty confident — as is Las Vegas — that the Baltimore Orioles will not be a playoff team in 2011.

And the real reason the team won’t win this year is the same as last year and the year before that: they won’t (or can’t) spend all of the millions of dollars they have managed to extract from this community via their incredibly wealthy and lean “regional sports network” called MASN.

Angelos

We’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in direct profit that was allegedly to be spent on improving the baseball team for the community to enjoy. But instead of the $150 million payrolls that were promised to “compete with the likes of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox,” that previously earmarked U.S. money donated by Middle Atlantic cable subscribers is in the pockets of Peter G. Angelos. Along with about $20 million more each year since Andy MacPhail took over in 2007 and slashed the payroll, bought off the local media and preached “young” to the fans while winking “cheap” at the owner that he just made a cool, clean profit for and shared in the financial windfall.

And like any other billionaire businessman without a soul for the pride of his own company and what it represents in the community, all of a sudden it’s very hard for any of them to part with “guaranteed money in the bank.” Especially when there’s no financial upside to giving the likes of Carl Crawford or Adrian Beltre or Cliff Lee tens of millions of guaranteed money when winning is so far from being a reality in the AL East that even the once-prideful Angelos has clearly quit on trying to win for the fans of the Baltimore Orioles.

Adam LaRoche or Derrek Lee? This is what it’s come down to for the Orioles as Santa brings goodies and toys and playoff-caliber baseball elsewhere to even the likes of Milwaukee.

If you’re trying to be a .500 team signing the “leftovers” and “growing the arms” might be a strategy. But, really, is the bar a World Series title for Baltimore or is the bar set at being in third place and making $50 million in profit?

The Orioles are so grossly pathetic at this point that no credentialed Major League Baseball player with any other option this side of Pittsburgh will elect to come and play here. And the remaining few lost souls in the fan base are so desperate for any morsel of progress that they’ve even given Buck Showalter a hall pass for lying

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A Dear John letter…

Posted on 01 December 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear John:

It’s Pittsburgh week here and we’re finally on the cusp of getting to the promised land of having some home “Festivus” games in January. And it’s all come down to this: if we win this week and vanquish the Steelers, who have been our oppressors as a community since 1971, we’re probably going to have a week off to watch the playoffs on TV and then have some home cooking. And maybe some folks will even bring those ridiculous purple towels back for another meeting with the Steelers here in Baltimore in January.

But if we lose – and let’s be honest – we’ve NEVER won this kind of game at home on your watch – we’ll be back on the road to Jacksonville or Indianapolis or San Diego or Kansas City for Week 1 of the playoffs. That is, if we even get there at all, because we all know nothing is automatic in the NFL.

This is an open letter and I think this is going to be a trial way of communicating and writing what I think about what you’ve done and what you’re doing here as the leader of the 53 Mighty Men. I haven’t opined much since you’ve taken over as head coach. As you probably know, I’m semi-crazy running and growing WNST.net and I limit my “media time” to my social media endeavors and the occasional video or blog on the run. I also still love your football team with all of my heart and my life is built around Sundays, just like yours. And, honestly, I only take the time to write about stuff that I’m very passionate about or on topics I’m interested in tackling.

Today, I’m writing about you because it’s time to get some stuff off my chest.

I don’t know you that well and I can’t believe you trust me anymore than you trust any of the other media people or anyone else poking for what you deem to be “state secret” information regarding injuries, plays, schemes, coaching philosophies or any of the other things that makes you a very paranoid dude.

Sure, I know you read all of this stuff and you’re probably not going to like everything I write here. But that’s OK, because it needs to be said by someone. And as much as you don’t really understand or respect the Baltimore media – I’ve been doing this for 27 years and I know as much as about the media as you do football coaching – this is what we do for a living: we report, analyze and opine about what you do.

And it’s my job to know as much as I can possibly know, learn as much as I can possibly learn and ask questions on behalf of the fans in the community and then try to interpret and analyze and EXPLAIN to people how all of this really works.

I’ve dedicated my entire life to it and I’ve been proudly trained by the best people in the world from every walk of life in a variety of sports since I was 15 years old on journalism, coaching, leadership, strategy and sports psychology and business. I’m also a bit of a sports history buff.

That’s my job. I’m good at it. I work hard at it. I take pride in it. It’s as important to me as football is to you.

Let me begin by saying that I can’t imagine a soul in this city who could argue with the results we’ve seen since you took over as head coach. This is a good football team that appears to be on the road to doing some special things if the breaks go our way. As much as we hear the bitching and moaning after the losses to Cincinnati and New England and Atlanta, anyone who doesn’t think 8-3 is good enough is just an ingrate.

Sure, the secondary could be better, this McClain injury sucks, Flacco could use a few more footballs for his wide receivers, you’d prefer to have a real punt and kickoff returner you could rely on, etc. If you had Ed Reed and Ray Lewis in their primes

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Dear Peter Angelos: When will you fix this disgrace?

Posted on 18 June 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

At the risk of “piling on,” I’ve decided to throw my two cents into the blogosphere today to briefly (insert joke here) discuss the situation regarding the Orioles as they continue their West Coast horror tour where no doubt Adam Jones will be tweeting about how great it is to be in San Diego and how pretty the girls are.

Yeah, well I was almost in San Diego, too this week.

When I saw the schedule come out last year I looked to do a baseball trip to my favorite city in the U.S. and watch the Orioles play and needless to say I made a great decision avoiding the So Cal and the Bay Areas this June of 2010, especially considering the U2 show on Wednesday night in Oakland was cancelled. I also thought for a while I was headed to the World Cup in South Africa, but alas, duty calls here in Baltimore in the way of running WNST.net.

I’m much happier to be headed to Harford County for the day to support soccer and my country, than to be watching this dreadful 18-48 baseball team in sunny San Diego over 7 a.m. eggs and bacon.

I built WNST.net so I could write and talk about Orioles baseball on a daily basis but quite frankly – and for the first time in a long time – I’m almost speechless.

There’s a part of me that wants to say “I told you so” – and I DID tell you so and I HAVE been telling you so – but the sick part is how low the franchise has sunk in so many measurable ways.

The 13 years of ineptitude has now reached a low so profound, so sad, so utterly disgusting that even words we could use on the internet wouldn’t be profane enough to properly express our inner rage as Orioles fans, baseball fans and as a sports community.

Everything about the Peter Angelos ownership regime has been appalling. And year after year it’s gotten progressively worse amidst the lies, propaganda, steroids, banning and intimidation of the media and railroading of the fans and sponsors all while profiteering at record levels via a deal with other Major League Baseball owners that has rewarded this behavior with tons of cash for the Angelos family.

Sure, the team is likely lose its 50th game before it earns its 20th victory and there are STILL people in this city who will defend the indefensible, like a troop of Baghdad Bobs.

But let’s get back to the core issue: What the hell is going on here and who is going to be the one to fix it for the fans and the community?

Let’s start with MASN, which is printing money off of the nipple of the people here and now stands to profit even more with no outlay of cash on the biggest superstar in the sport. Think about it: Stephen Strasburg is a cash machine for Angelos via the television rights and he made ZERO investment in the big right-handed phenom.

The Orioles current product on the field is atrocious – on pace to be among the worst teams in the history of modern sport. You can pick on any variety of players or talk about injuries to Brian Roberts, etc. The truth: they’re all just excuses for why the team sucks.

The reason the team sucks is because the owner has made it suck and the deal he has rewards him financially even when the team wins forty-something games in a season.

I’m sick of excuses. I’m sick of the lying. I’m sick of the manipulation and the treatment of the community as a piñata with cheap tricks like “walk up” surcharges on sunny nights.

I’ve written tomes on Peter Angelos and this awfulness many times in the past. Just google it…

But the mere notion that Andy MacPhail is “in charge” is laughable to anyone who has ever stood in a room with Peter Angelos.

MacPhail came here for the money, which was a sure thing, but not the glory, which was always a long shot. Oh, sure, maybe he thought he could fix this rotten franchise from the top down and at least get the team into third place behind New York and Boston.

But, Andy – you’re a smart guy — you had to know you were not really the guy at the top, right?

Pity poor Andy who came here to get a step up into the Commissioner’s lukewarm seat at MLB soon enough and to profiteer off of the riches of the largest television gift/heist in the history of regional cable pirating.

Andy thought: “They’re loaded with money, the old man is looking for ANYONE to stand at the front door and protect him and I’ll cut the payroll, show him I can make him a fortune and tell the fans we’re going young…

“What’s the worst thing that can happen when the team is already awful? It’s gotta get better, right?”

Wrong.

Welcome to 18-48 and a chase at the worst record in the history of modern baseball Baltimore, Andy MacFail…

And when the boyish general manager isn’t making UStream videos in a somber, Barack-like posture from the oval office of The Warehouse in May, he’s running from the real media and looking for an escape hatch from this living breathing, two-month old turd in June in the hopes of getting a one-way ticket back to the MLB offices on Park Ave. in New York.

Last week it must’ve really hit home when – for the second time in three years — he couldn’t find anyone reputable to even consider taking the job and manage this team. I personally think Bobby Valentine flew in for the crab cakes and to sit across the table from Angelos and MacPhail and laugh in their faces on behalf of my father, who is no doubt flipping over in his grave over at Gardens of Faith at the mere notion of the last 13 years of losing.

On the field, where it certainly matters the most, they can’t get any players outside the organization to come here and play. (They’ll probably coin a contract phrase for Kevin Millwood after what he’s been subjected to here over the past four months. It’ll be the “Millwood Clause” that says trade me ANYWHERE but Baltimore).

And even more disheartening, thus far they’re on the road to wrecking the career of Matt Wieters and this crop of young talent.

Think about being 24 and being 18-48 and feeling like there’s no hope and there’s no one around you who is providing any hope. You come to the ballpark and it’s either empty or filled with fans from Boston and New York.

The players on this 2010 Orioles team at times simply look outclassed but at other points disinterested and/or disheartened. There are no excuses for not running out ground balls or fly balls. There are no excuses – period — when you’re in the big leagues and are expected to perform and at the very least put out a requisite big-league effort.

Angelos and MacFail fired the surly manager Dave Trembley and to my eyes it looks like it’s gotten even worse the past two weeks under Juan Samuel, whose Spanglish prose in the pre- and post-game at least injects some gallows humor into my living room each night around a solid dose of constipation from poor Jim Hunter and Rick Dempsey.

Sometimes it feels like Gary Thorne is laughing at the team under his breath and Jim Palmer and Mike Flanagan probably see this as standard operating procedure because they know what a freaking mess the whole place is from the top down in more ways than anyone could ever know.

The MASN house ads would be pulled if anyone there had any sense and they’d be out trying to sell a sponsorship to Maalox or Tylenol, which are requisite medication to be a nightly watcher at this point.

I think the message the fans should be sending is one of demanding accountability. Honestly, that’s what Free The Birds was all about. Someone there who is responsible should have to answer for this and apologize for this and be held accountable for this.

But instead, Angelos remains invisible, the millions of former Orioles fans mow their lawns and wait for Ravens training camp to open and the dozen bloggers and the few thousand sheep who continue to drink the 18-48 Kool Aid continue to defend the indefensible.

Like my Pop said there really is a sucker born every minute.

But I haven’t given up, especially not after seeing the Chicago Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup last weekend. They are the twin cousins of the Orioles here in Baltimore. Bill Wirtz might’ve actually been worse than Peter Angelos and that’s a bold pronouncement coming from me.

But yes, I’m still prone to watching them play most nights as my Facebook statuses will attest although I’m guilty of missing Jake Arrieta’s masterpiece on Tuesday night due to a severe case of the sandman.

But, alas, perhaps a true gem appears in the body of Arrieta who has looked the part of Jake Cool in his first duo of outings against top-notch competition.

We’re trying to somehow, someway digest what’s left of 2010 as a local baseball fan and Arrieta has given us a glimmer of a reason to “look up” every five days as the Orioles lose their way into baseball history yet again.

Look, it’s not shocking that the team sucks and they’ll finish in last place. What IS a shock is that the team is 18-48 and we have almost 100 more games left in this steamer of a season.

Are you watching?

Will you be watching in two weeks, four weeks – FOURTEEN weeks from now?

Are you rooting for them or against them at this point?

Well, for the next 3 ½ months Ty Wiggington will be playing and probably not as well as he did in April. And Jake Arrieta will be pitching until they shut him down for throwing too many innings in September. And Nick Markakis can keep demanding accountability within an organization that lacks accountability from its head down. And they can keep feigning this ridiculous notion that Brian Roberts is miraculously going to appear after the All-Star break.

All of this masks the ugly truth: the worst might be yet to come once MacFail starts dealing off Millwood, Tejada, Scott and any other remnant item any other franchise might want to take off his hands and unburden his budget of another $5 to $10 million before year’s end.

But there’s a lot of bad baseball ahead, I’m afraid.

But I have plenty of Free The Birds shirts left over from last month if you want to state your case.

And we are doing a bus trip up to Yankee Stadium to see them play on Labor Day Monday.

I’d try to get a group to go down to Camden Yards to have some fun but every time I try that it fails.

Our sponsors want no part of baseball. Our listeners and readers don’t want to go to the games with us.

I brought up an idea in our staff meeting this week to throw a big All-Star Game Charity party but I was almost laughed out of the room.

It’s gonna be a long July.

But what I’m really wondering is when it’s ever going to change?

And who will be the one to change it?

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My last day on air at AM 1570: Goodbye to radio, hello to the brave world of the web!

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My last day on air at AM 1570: Goodbye to radio, hello to the brave world of the web!

Posted on 29 January 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

As you probably know, beginning on Monday, we’re going to begin a week-long series on the state of Baltimore sports journalism. And where this is all going? And how this radio, print, television & “new media thing” really works. “A WNST Expose’ on Sports Journalism in Baltimore: Is this Medium Well Done?” will be an eye-opening look at the inner-workings of sports media here in the town that I’ve loved since 1968 told by a true insider – me!

Expose

It’s more of a mini-series than a blog. It’s designed to separate facts from fiction of media past, present and future. It’s taken me about 26 years of living it and now that WNST.net is the No. 1 most-visited sports website in the region, I think it’s time that I’ve said a few things that need to be said about the state of this business and how much “times have changed.”

It’ll be the true story of life in the 2010 world of Baltimore sports media that Ray Frager — a former boss and media “critic” of mine at The Baltimore Sun who publicly hated, doubted and discarded my show and my brand and my expertise, information and business for more than a decade with his witticisms and a keen “out of town” perspective about Baltimore sports media – never got around to telling you about because he never took the time to understand the business, politics and measurement of local sports media.

He didn’t even understand what the Arbitron ratings represented but he knew how to parrot out the statistics, which we’ll prove next week are not even remotely accurate if not outright lies! But we all know that once the lie gets told once, it gets repeated a thousand times.

If you’re one of those who keeps up with local business (in other words, one of the “smart” ones), this will be an eye-opening look at what’s happened to the integrity in the Baltimore sports media over the last 25 years since the passing of the likes of Jim McKay, Chris Thomas, Charley Eckman and John Steadman – and the “moving on” of Frank DeFord and dozens of other writers and broadcasters to a national position from Dan Shaughnessy to Nick Charles from Ken Rosenthal to Tim Kurkjian to Buster Olney to John Saunders and on and on — who were the pioneers over the last 30 years and who left legacies that I still chase every day of my life.

If you’re one of those who doesn’t understand “the business of media” and you can’t possibly comprehend how happy the Orioles’ ownership is to be making $40 million in profit while the stadium and downtown sits empty and they lose 98 games every year – all while OWNING the pockets and voices of most of the traditional media in Baltimore, well, honestly – this is all going to go a little over your head. You might want to skip it for fear of actually learning something that resembles the truth.

(It’s kinda like the Rodney Dangerfield scene in “Back To School” where he teaches the “real” way business is conducted not the way they teach it formally in college! You either get it, or you don’t. And if you do want to “get it” and be educated, I’m here to give you a Master’s dissertation at 41 and after living this reality of Baltimore sports media over the last 26 years.)

If you’re one of those who can somehow defend the actions, business practices and stewardship of Peter Angelos and the Orioles over the last 13 years, then you’ll probably find a way to refute the facts of the next week in regard to statistical data bearing out that WNST.net is fastest-growing media company in the state of Maryland. You might even be foolish enough to not realize that all of the employees of MASN, CBS Radio, WJZ-TV and Pressbox ostensibly work for him.

But as Forrest Gump so boldly put it: “Stupid is as Stupid does…”

I can only state the facts and back them up with evidence and empirical data – just like Steadman and my father taught me. After that it’s up to you…and we even let you write and encourage you to write what YOU think here on WNST.net. The only thing we ask is that you spell your name correctly and take accountability for your thoughts and words.

Thus is the beauty of the internet and my intoxication with it: free speech in an open and shareable platform in a world that embraces individuality and excellence. It’s a great, magical time to be alive for a guy like me with a brand like WNST.net and the walls of corporate media domination rapidly falling in every corner of the world.

Hence, I’m hosting my final week of radio next week in Miami after hosting my final “in studio” show as a daily host today. After taking a four-year hiatus from daily hosting, I’ve been back on the air for the past 55 weeks for a variety of reasons and I’m delighted to be once again returning to my very happy life “behind the scenes” building the business of WNST in 2010 and beyond.

If anything, over the past year the internet has allowed me to be MUCH closer to my audience and Baltimore sports fans and I don’t look at “leaving radio” as anything more than “moving mediums” to the internet, where I can be in your ear as much as you want me. And WNST is in your pocket everywhere you go if you have a mobile device.

Don’t worry: I’ll never stop talking Baltimore sports.

I’ll be more accessible than ever — blogging, doing commercials, selling advertising, making videos, doing roadtrips, having fun in writing a book this year, gabbing in social media, hosting parties and doing the most important work of all – the business development of WNST.net as we grow into the new decade as the unquestioned market leader in Baltimore sports information in the only medium that matters moving forward – the internet.

And it’s my solemn vow to use what I know to educate our fans from this point forward in all aspects of Baltimore sports, including the business of local sports of which I’m an expert in the field of local marketing, journalism and the media business. No one in Baltimore can match up with the way we cover sports on the web.

In the “old world” that I was raised in here in Baltimore, it was the radio, television and newspaper. Now – instead in the Jetsons world of 2010 — I’ll be using the audio, video and blog components of WNST.net to give a reality-based look at life in Baltimore sports.

As such, next week each day we’ll present, discuss and opine about the whole gamut of Baltimore media:

Part 1 – “Baltimore’s sports media lineup” — We’ll identify the frauds in the media & some feelings will be hurt here…

Part 2 – Alexa – “Who is She?” The little retold lie about WNST having 10 listeners…

Part 3 – Content & Distribution – “Where do you get your Baltimore sports news & info and why?”

Part 4 – “Who are the biggest corporate whores in Baltimore sports media?” In other words: “Who is for sale, and who can you trust?”

Part 5 – “What is the future of Baltimore sports media?” What is catching your eyes & ears these days?

You might be shocked by some of this information. You’ll certainly be surprised at how a lot of this local sports media business works and how dramatically it’s changed. And you won’t be shocked to find out how unpopular it is amongst our competitors that “little WNST” is crushing the
“traditional big boys” in the new world of new media and social media, which makes them hate me even more.

That’s why they take away my press pass at Orioles games and none of my other “colleagues” even acknowledge how wrong it is. That’s why they keep telling the lies about signal strength and Arbitron numbers and lack of distribution. And that’s why they keep refusing to acknowledge any of our events, charitable work in the community or impact on the reporting of breaking sports news in Baltimore.

But that’s OK. I’ve been breaking news stories in Baltimore for 26 years and for 18 years on the radio and I’ve never, ever ONCE seen The Sun write “As first reported by WNST.net”…

And at this point, I don’t really want that to change. I kind of get a kick out of it!

But if I tweeted every time we send out a text on a story that ISN’T on the website of The Sun or MASN or any other local web entity, I’d seem like a bragging ass. But isn’t that what they all do at the alphabet-soup world of corporate media?

“As first reported by ESPN…blah-blah-blah…”

(And if you’re one of the 5,200 on our Text Service, then you know how good it is without me telling you about it. And if you’re NOT on the service and JOIN OUR TEXT SERVICE NOW, you won’t be disappointed. It’s the best thing we do at WNST!)

So this purposely self-indulgent yet informative piece of journalistic truth and analysis will be an ode to Ray Frager, who was the King of Arbitron ratings without ever writing the truth about the “fictional data mining” that they’ve been doing a for a few decades. I’ll expose that and “People Meters” next Tuesday.

So, in Frager’s honor and honor of his blog – “Medium Well” — I’m dubbing this weeklong, “investigative” look as “Medium Well Done?”

Along with my long-windedness, arrogance and accusations, that’s really the question I’m asking you:

Is Baltimore media well done?

For the record, I don’t think so. And that’s why I love WNST.net so much! Because I think we’re the best! And we wake up and work our asses off all day, every day to make it that way. And it’s finally being realized in the real data, numbers, volume of real people who interact with the WNST brand every day in Baltimore.

Some people are going to get their feelings hurt, but I’m writing a Master’s thesis in how this all works – the business of local sports media in Baltimore circa 2010. Where’s it’s been, where it’s “at” and where it’s going…

I’ve dedicated my entire life – ask anyone who’s ever really known me — to building Baltimore’s ultimate sports information company every day of my life since Jan. 23, 1984 when I was “hired” as an intern for “SportsFirst,” a daily train-wreck of a business model newspaper housed by the Hearst Corporation. Honestly, it’s been a strange kind of destiny over the past 26 years since I walked into The News American as a 15-year old intern from Dundalk who couldn’t type, with a pregnant girlfriend, that the world has opened up on the internet to give a guy like me a chance to go toe-to-toe and now surpass “the big boys” and corporate whores who’ve for so long dominated and stilted the way we consume our information about sports in Baltimore.

The internet and the phone that is in your hand or pocket is the ultimate equalizer. EVERYONE has access to WNST.net from anywhere in the world where there is cellphone service. Every day more people find us — on Twitter, Facebook, Google, You Tube, etc. And our website is clearly the best in the market for technology, distribution of the sponsors who keep us in business and the timely distribution of content.

There’s no more having a “small signal” or the inability to instantly transmit information or need for a printing press, an FCC license or a TV antenna to break news or give analysis or to move people to action. And in our sphere here at WNST.net, the engine is powered by the people who care enough to be involved daily – the real Baltimore sports fans who power these teams and their financial ability to be sustained.

All the walls have fallen in traditional media. It’s only the old, white people on the country club golf courses who haven’t caught up. Sadly, that encompasses much of the local sports media world.

My inspiration to ignite Free The Birds in 2006 was the Berlin Wall and that wall fell, too. And just like one day the Orioles will be owned by someone who help them win again and they will be revered in the community instead of a source of annual civic shame and embarrassment, the walls of information and media around the local sports scene have fallen dramatically and the joke is on the establishment that doesn’t recognize that they can no longer control the information, spin the truth or mask the lies.

And some in the establishment are still playing the Marxist “We’ll control all state information” role like Baghdad Bob with the Orioles. That’s just stupid and will never work in a free society with tools like the internet and social media.

Over the next week I’ll be presenting an in-depth look at the current “status” of local media and the measurement systems that in the new world of new media will evaluate the size of an entity, the reach of an entity and the influence of an entity.

We’ll ask you who YOU trust with your news, information and where you get it and why you get it from them. I hope you share it with your friends because I’d love to hear from all sorts of Baltimore sports fans because we want to make WNST.net the best – period!

Three years ago, this would’ve been impossible – this website launch and the power and reach and immediacy of social media. But, now through the power of what until recently was referred to as your “phone” – now a PDA, Blackberry, Iphone, Palm or Droid – you have WNST.net with you everywhere you go and available anytime and anyplace you want it.

So much for “how far does your signal go at little WNST-AM?”

Well, it goes AROUND THE WORLD in the PALM OF YOUR HAND now!

How’s that for “power” or “reach”? It doesn’t sound like 5,000 watts anymore, does it?

So much for the days of people saying: “Hey Nasty, I love your radio station but I can’t get it at night.” Now, I just say: “Are you on our text service?” or “Facebook friend me” or “Follow us on Twitter” or drop me an email at nasty@wnst.net and we’ll rock your world with what we’re doing on the web at WNST.net.

In Indianapolis two weeks ago where we threw the biggest party in town and took four busloads of Ravens Maniacs to Irsayland, the biggest music to my ears was having people say: “Hey Nestor, I’m your Facebook friend or I subscribe to your text service or I read your blogs every day on my phone.”

Over the next week I will prove to you – beyond the shadow of a doubt – that we are the fastest growing media entity in the city of Baltimore or anywhere in the region.

Actually, we’re the ONLY “growing” entity in the marketplace across all of the terrestrial (or is it dinosaur?) media: print, television and radio.

And I’ll also show you why we STILL aren’t being acknowledged as the market leader in the one place it counts – the cash register. And that’s mainly because the dinosaurs who run the local ad agencies and the local teams still don’t fully comprehend or acknowledge the power of the internet, which is astonishing when you consider how much of everyone’s day in our world is consumed with information, email, text and social media on a video screen of some kind.

(And unless you’re my 90-year old mother, you’re involved in several or all of the aforementioned! How do I know? Well, you’re READING THIS ON THE INTERNET!!!)

And I didn’t need a TV signal, a sweetheart cable deal or a printing press to get it to you. I own an FCC license, but I probably didn’t even use that to find you!

WNST.net is building a local social media firestorm and creating a new kind of company in a new kind of space on the internet. Like any other new company in a completely new era of marketing, we’ll continue to feel our way through the process, doing some things well and others not so well.

And that’s where our WNST Baltimore Sports Media Survey comes in…

Unlike the Orioles of Peter Angelos, we’re accountable here at WNST.net. I own the place. I’m out in front. I’ll take your questions. I’ll take your criticisms and try to improve what we do. I LOVE the pressure of the accountability of being great and being measured. I live for it! (Ask anybody who knows me…)

We don’t just think our product is the best in the marketplace, we think you think so too!

Beginning Monday, we’re distributing an extensive survey to all of our WNST.net users (new and old). It’ll be available all during the month of February. We’re giving away a 50” Big Screen TV to one lucky person who fills out the questionnaire in the hopes that you and all of your friends will take a few minutes to fill it out and tell us how we can make WNST.net better in 2010.

We’re very serious about trying to make our company the best in the market. We really ARE the company that will take your advice because we’re building this web community for the people of Baltimore who love sports.

But, more than any of the other corporate whores who will be getting “outed” next week for their brazen lies, partnerships and duplicity – WNST.net will continue to be a place for an honest exchange of information.

We don’t ban free speech. We’re accessible and accountable for the news and information we dispense. We’re rooted in the community – rooted so deeply that 5% of all of our profits into perpetuity go back to the Living Classrooms Foundation thanks to Brian Billick’s involvement in ownership of WNST.net.

Here’s our mission statement, in case you missed it at the bottom of the site:

MISSION STATEMENT

To fully realize the potential of the vast audience our brand has acquired in Maryland over the past 18 years, WNST.net will be the dominant, honest voice in Maryland media by providing the “real” content of what’s happening in sports in our area.

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

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

Integrity in reporting and accuracy will be our calling card.

We will:

Educate fans

Serve our community

Promote Baltimore

Promote sports and how it shapes young people’s lives

Promote and support charitable endeavors

Help others make their businesses stronger via integrity-based marketing which will strengthen our community

Show Baltimore that we care as much about our hometown and our local sports as much as they do

Recognize that profitability is the key to survival for our partners, employees and sponsors

We’re not only “sports media” people here at WNST.net. We’re also fans — BIG fans.

If you’ve ever tuned in you know that WNST hosts are the “real deal.” Every host I have at WNST was a fan of Tom Davis and Vince Bagli and John Steadman and Charley Eckman before they got involved in the media side. We all had hosts, writers, commentators that we liked and disliked back in the 1970s and 1980s.

If WNST was originally dubbed, “The Station With Balls,” next week we’ll prove for sure that many of the other “trusted” sources in the marketplace are truly the old world/boys network media who are “ball-less” except for the fact that they carry the play-by-play of the ballclubs – or own the actual network — that no one listens to anymore and none of these media companies can figure out how to make money off of these broadcasts while they allow their “editorial” privilege to go down the drain like a useless infomercial of Baghdad Bob rhetoric and faux-sophistication.

You could say they give up their “balls” to buy other ones…

Sharpen up your Facebook statuses and your Twitter conversations and your sharing tabs because my insights are coming. And I hope to hear yours. Speak out! Tell us how we could be better!

If we suck, tell us! And tell us how to fix it!

Complain about our competitors! (Lord knows, I think most them suck, too!)

You don’t have to worry about any of them reading our site or survey because no one cares what little WNST has to say, right?

“They’ve only got 10 listeners.”

“Their radio signal is too weak.”

“They won’t attract the top-notch talent.”

“Two tin cans and a string.”

These were all direct quotes from The Sun – the dinosaur printed edition — over the years about WNST. Not on a message board. This was allegedly “responsible” journalism by staff writers from The Sun, who only seemed to call me for a quote when some idiot accused me of doing something inappropriate on some internet, toilet message board.

Potty talk about me on message boards are commonplace but assessments like the aforementioned in the biggest daily newspaper are very damaging to a small business but through the loyalty of our sponsors, listeners and now – users to our website – we have thrived amidst economic storm and a rapidly changing medium where the paradigms have been forever altered and no one in the “old boys club” is acknowledging it or recognizing it.

And it’s 2010 and now we’re the market leader because we’ve utilized this tool called the internet by delivering reliable, accurate, instant news, information and expertise in the palm of your hand whenever you want it. We’ve evolved far past being an AM radio station.

And we believe in free speech, not the blatant censorship for profit that our competitors have embraced and think you’re too stupid to recognize.

And we don’t plan on changing that at all!

Because if WNST.net is to be a true voice of the people – and it has always been a community-based company — quite frankly, our content and integrity and authority will speak for itself.

Your graduate class begins on Monday…see you bright and early!

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At least one Harbaugh is a rock star…

Posted on 19 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

John Harbaugh is 5-4. His brother, former Ravens QB Jim Harbaugh, is 7-3 at Stanford and fresh off of knocking off USC and Pete Carroll last weekend. If you saw the game, you know that Harbaugh rubbed Carroll’s nose in the dirt when going for up a two-pointer while up 27 points in the 4th quarter.

I ran across a great story about Jim Harbaugh’s new-found rock star status in Palo Alto on www.sportsline.com written by Dennis Dodd. A great read!

I had a great time with Jim when he was with the Ravens in 1998. We did some radio shows together and he had a very quirky way about him, even then.

A funny guy, we once went to see Hootie and The Blowfish together with Tony Siragusa and Michael McCrary. I wrote about it in my book, Purple Reign. It was crazy night with a lot of twists and turns but I’ll never forget Harbaugh carrying a girl who was on crutches down a flight of steep stairs trying to help her.

He was really a good guy and he’s now the toast of the football world and the hottest coaching prospect in the business.

Good for him!

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And the Orioles continue South with more “neighborly” love for Sarasota…

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And the Orioles continue South with more “neighborly” love for Sarasota…

Posted on 31 October 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I just got pinged by a friend who tells me that WBAL slipped out a quiet report a few days ago that the Orioles have again made one of their more outlandish moves of 2009. (And that’s saying something, when you consider the kind of season they slept-walked through this summer.)

Remember a few years ago, when Angelos and the boys set up camp in Farragut Square near their “Orioles Store” in downtown Washington, D.C., to feign interest in the market after holding it hostage for five years in exchange for the MASN TV rights that were supposed to buy the Orioles some semblance of respectful balance on the playing field in the AL East. That day — with a 7:05 game looming in another summer of distress — they shipped the entire roster on a bus down to a big city square and served free ice cream and hot dogs and soda to everyone in the park.

We, of course, opined that the Orioles have NEVER given away free hot dogs and ice cream in Baltimore. And Angelos’ true interest in D.C. extended about as far as how much he could extort out of Bud Selig and MLB, then Comcast, then pass it along to each and every one of you who pay a cable TV bill in the state of Maryland. Angelos is in your pocket for a few bucks a month and 90% of people in the Free State don’t even KNOW it.

The result: the Orioles lost 98 games this season, will spend nearly NOTHING on free agents this winter, Andy MacPhail will pocket a big “bonus” check for his role in the profiteering and Angelos and Co. will make upward of $40 million in profit this calendar year while continuing to eschew common decency toward its own community and heroes and continuing as the worst franchise in North American sports.

Now, after holding Fort Lauderdale up for well over a decade and playing a political shell game with half of the real estate from Orlando to the Florida Keys — at long last Sarasota, Florida is getting the Orioles for spring training. I’m not sure if that’s considered “good fortune” or stupid politicians who will live to regret working with this ownership group, like everyone else in their wake.

Here’s a dream photo of what the project is supposed to look like at its finish:

So WBAL via an Orioles press release announced that an offseason “Fan Fest” will be held in two weeks in Florida with a bunch of Orioles players and dignitaries.

“In celebration of their new spring training home, the Baltimore Orioles will join with The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau to host Orioles Family FanFest-a free event for the entire community-at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday, November 14 from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. The afternoon will feature autograph sessions with current and former Orioles players, Orioles giveaways, fan forums, a variety of kid-friendly family activities, including Kids Run the Bases, and a free hot dog and soda for every person in attendance.”

So, for all of about 250 people who might be interested in seeing the worst team in MLB over the past decade with the WORST reputation for hijacking Floridian communities in modern sports, come to their town to bring “civic spirit and cheer.”

Fact: there are a LOT of pissed off Sarasota residents that this deal was ever done and a lot of speculation about its merits in the community. The Orioles already have a problem before they dig dirt at Ed Smith Stadium. (Not to mention their reputation in their own community, which is apparent to everyone but the local “journalists” — or propagandists — who look the other way past the stench to draw a paycheck).

Maybe, the Orioles could ask that everyone brings a covered dish?

The report says that “Orioles Manager DAVE TREMBLEY, centerfielder and 2009 All-Star ADAM JONES, outfielder NOLAN REIMOLD, pitchers BRAD BERGESEN and JIM JOHNSON, and Hall of Fame pitcher and current MASN broadcaster JIM PALMER, are expected to attend the event. The Oriole Bird will also be on hand to greet families throughout the afternoon. Free parking will be available for all fans.”

Well, a little civic spirit might’ve been nice last Monday night here in their “branded hometown” of BALTIMORE when the most celebrated Oriole of all time was being honored for the final time of his life at the Meyerhoff and the franchise couldn’t find a way to get one single heartbeat to the event to speak on behalf of the current players and their respect for the brand and franchise that Brooks Robinson and his ilk built for our parents that’s now been left for dead by the Angelos family and this last 15 years of civic-hostage baseball.

Meanwhile, they’ve taken what formerly was a weekend-long, sold-out, line-down-Pratt-Street event in Baltimore known as “Fan Fest” (and before that, “Moonlight Madness”) and destroyed every ounce of goodwill guys like Brooks Robinson spent their entire adult lives dedicated to building and preserving and turned it into a half-assed, thrown-together “day before the season begins” chilly disaster that isn’t cheap, but somehow FEELS cheap. Like an “obligation” before the season begins…and the same refrains of “improvement.”

The team follows it up with disgraces from Aubrey Huff to the manager calling out the organization’s professionalism during a post-game press conference. And MASN shows goofy house ad after goody house ad. I’m glad the season ended just so I could regroup after seeing those two chicks trying to hit on the Oriole Bird six times a night for six months. And that’s BEFORE they lost 98 more games…

And the owner never shows his face, never spends money, never answers questions and the team never wins. And Red Sox and Yankees fans take over the city (and, once again, THIS is the biggest disgrace in the whole dreadful fiasco of the last 15 years — just disgraceful!). And the downtown business district — sorely in need of assistance — is left for dead except when half of the Northeast quadrant of the United States descends upon the Harbor for the routine of pinstripes and chowder.

Oh, and while Daniel Snyder is down the B/W Parkway banning signs and threatening the media and suing the fans, Angelos is here doing the same thing here and no one dares talks about or ask questions of any substance.

I wonder when Snyder will tell The Washington Post they no longer have media access. (But, apparently that wouldn’t happen because the NFL wouldn’t allow it.)

Shame, shame, shame…

I watched Bud Selig squirm in David Letterman’s chair the other night and it’s no wonder MLB is a damaged brand despite the innate greatness of the game of baseball, which has been decimated over the last 15 years since the strike in many ways (steroids, Hall of Fame, bad pitching, greedy owners, sleezy agents, difficult “heroes” like Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Albert Belle and their ilk, All Star fiascos, Pete Rose, World Series games in November, etc.) but is printing money. Just like Angelos is here.

They’re all ringing the cash register so that justifies it all.

Just like MacPhail — a leading candidate in baseball’s collusion in the late 1980s and whose sole function as President of the Chicago Cubs was to field cheap baseball teams to make the Tribune money (yeah, that company once wasn’t in bankruptcy like they are on Calvert Street these days) for fans who were too drunk to care and who were addicted to Wrigley Field and lore of the loveble, fuzzy, loser Cubbies. The Cubs fans ACCEPTED losing a birthright and a way of life as MacPhail padded the pockets of the shareholders.

It’s all pretty well documented but here’s the worst-kept secret in Major League Baseball:

MacPhail is reading Selig’s cue cards for the direction of the game so as to be able to take the throne when Selig decides to walk away from his $18 million-a-year job. (We’ve written many times: Selig doesn’t own a computer, doesn’t have email and doesn’t have a Black Berry. Just take a second and THINK about that in 2009 if you’re the C.E.O. of of of the biggest brands in America?)

Think Andy MacPhail would be interested in an $18 million-a-year position in 2012? (Me too…)

But as we’ve pointed out many times, they have no shame. Or common sense or decency. But they DO know how to make money. And they do have anti-trust exemptions by our federal government that are so laughable it completely masks the corruption.

Just look at the product on the field here in Baltimore. And look at the empty stands. And the amount of “house ads” on MASN.

To STUPID people, they look “broke.” But they’re not. FAAAAAR from it!

And watch all of the “Confederate money” that MacPhail won’t be waving in free agency in a few weeks. All of sudden, they’re “building through the farm system” which is the code word for “pocketing the goodwill of the Maryland people.”

The REAL money is going in their pockets and no one sees it or talks about it or writes about. And more $$$ is about to come out of the pockets of the good people in Sarasota. Just wait. This will end badly. It always does.

Not a low blow, just a fact.

UPDATE: 1:01 — Searching the web, I found a wonderfully delusional blog here from a Sarasota newspaper columnist named Doug Fernandes:

We’re getting two renovated public assets that desperately need rehabbing, we’re getting the Orioles to pay for their operation and maintenance, we’re getting it funded primarily through tourism tax revenue, and we’re getting it far south of Baltimore’s original demand.

I don’t know about you, but I call that savvy negotiating. And to those who label the $31.2 million expenditure as too exorbitant amid this crummy economy, I respond thusly:

The economy will turn, it always has, and a far greater burden would have been the cost of losing spring training.

So it appears safe for stadium czar Pat Calhoon to begin purchasing gallon upon gallon of black and orange paint.”

We’ll see how “tourism dollars” equates in Sarasota. The Orioles can’t get people to come to BALTIMORE to see them for $1 on summer nights. How the hell are they gonna get fans to Sarasota in March? Mark my words: the crowds will be DOWN from Fort Lauderdale, and that’s really saying something…

Just take a look at the comments under this blog. People in Sarasota are apparently VERY up in arms about the $32 million sweetheart deal that Peter Angelos got from the good people of Florida.

One more city about to be held hostage…just wait and see!

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Death of Eagles Jim Johnson is hitting Harbaugh hard tonight

Posted on 28 July 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I went to Westminster today and hung out for an hour. It’s always great to know that football season is here and the games, tailgates, travel and fun of the NFL campaign is upon us again. (Just to get geared up, I’ve been reading John Steadman’s book, “From Ravens To Colts.” God, I miss Steadman a lot!)

I even got to spend some quality time with Lenny Moore. Video is in the vault to the right…I’d embed it here but it’s not the appropriate place for it.

About 15 minutes ago my wife called me to tell me that Jim Johnson died. I just Tweeted it and I thought I’d throw a quick note together because I feel like I want to share my “link” to Jim Johnson.

And this is sure to get complicated.

But let me say that I actually pulled John Harbaugh up after practice today at 10:45 a.m. and specifically asked him about Jim Johnson. And Harbs said: “I’m not hearing anything good. I wish I could say I did.”

I didn’t know Jim Johnson. I never met him.

But, WOW, do I know a lot of people who do and people who really thought the world of him.

Let’s start with John Harbaugh. They worked together in Philadelphia for a decade before Harbaugh, the lowly special teams coach “passed” the 67-year old Johnson, who was once interviewed by the Arizona Cardinals for a job. Johnson’s claim to fame is being a blitz genius and a guy whose defense took the Eagles to multiple NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl in Jacksonville.

In addition, Jim Harbaugh was the quarterback of the mid-1990′s Ted Marchibroda Colts. Jim Johnson was the defensive coordinator there. Tony Siragusa played for Jim Johnson in Indianapolis as well.

Then there’s the Philadelphia Eagles and media folks in the city, guys like Brian Baldinger who just loved Jim Johnson and learned from him.

Last Friday, I went to breakfast with the Chief Marketing Officer of the Washington Capitals, a guy named Tim McDermott, who came on my show two weeks ago to promote the Sept. 21st Capitals Festival in D.C. to kickoff the season. An hour after I left him, his brother, Sean McDermott (who also worked with John Harbaugh with Andy Reid in Philadelphia), was named defensive coordinator of the Eagles.

These are all quality people who loved Jim Johnson immensely and respected his work and work ethic through an entire life as football coach and a teacher. If you don’t take anything else I say seriously, believe this: football coaches are my favorite people on the planet. I’ve met dozens and dozens of NFL coaches and some of them are my best friends “away from work.” I can’t say that I’ve met a handful that I haven’t liked and learned something from over the years.

I know I would’ve really liked Jim Johnson, too. I’m sorry I never got the chance.

He leaves behind a heckuva legacy and it’s a sad evening for many people in my life who knew Johnson and really loved him. His legacy is one of working with and being admired by many, many people.

Here’s a press release the Ravens just issued and a statement from Harbs:

JOHN HARBAUGH ON THE PASSING OF EAGLES’ DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR JIM JOHNSON

“I loved Jim Johnson. This is a sad day for so many people who were touched by this great man. Ingrid and I, the Harbaugh family, and the Ravens have Jim’s wife, Vicky, and the Johnson family in our thoughts and prayers. Jim was a tremendous teacher of football and life. He had a special ability to bring out the best in people while getting you to see the best in yourself. He saw potential and developed it. He made me believe I could coach at this level. In football, he was a pioneering and brilliant strategist, changing the way defense is played in the NFL. For me, he was a father-type mentor, and above all, a cherished friend. He belongs in the Hall of Fame. I will miss him so much.”

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