Tag Archive | "jim"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Adam Eaton pitches a gem, Birds beat Pale Hose 6-0

Posted on 23 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, just when you think you’ve seen it all, right? Tonight Adam Eaton, the former O’s No. 5 starter, went 7 1/3 innings and held even his harshest skeptics spellbound with a dazzling 6-hit, 9-strikeout effort while surrendering just two runs upon his exit in the EIGHTH inning.

Lo and behold, the Orioles have won yet another series, beating the White Sox 6-2 tonight at Camden Yards. Everyone got into the act with some offense. Aubrey Huff, Ty Wigginton and even Felix Pie contributed two hits and Adam Jones, Nick Markakis Luke Scott and Cesar Izturis also got hits.

I think Buck Martinez did himself proud with this profound statement: “I like pitchers but I’m happy to have seen only three of them tonight!” Amen, Buck!

The game was a brisk 2:31 affair. Good pitching. Good hitting. Hasty baseball. There were only about 6,000 there but they were treated to an old-school Orioles effort tonight.

Adam Eaton showed some heart tonight. The offense battled early, stranding runners all over the place. But they proved tough. Next up: Koji Uehara and the Rangers and the Saturday “doubleheader” with purple caps.

Bring on the summer weather!

9:15 p.m. — Adam Eaton just walked off the hill to a standing ovation from about 6,000 faithful at Camden Yards tonight. I’ve been watching in amazement as he looks like Steve Stone in his prime to me. Maybe the Steve Stone appearance on WNST yesterday made me think about his greatness during the 1980 season.

His line against the Chicago White Sox is a gem by any standard: 7 1/3 IP, 6H, 0R, oW, 9 strikeouts.

WOW. I’ve been speechless most of the night. Who knew? Late maturity? A one-night wonder? The beginning of a trend?

Of course, at 102 pitches, Dave Trembley just came to get him and he’ll rest up to go again next week.

It’s 6-0 Birds up in the 8th. Jim Johnson is trying to get the White Sox back into the game with the bases loaded.

The crowd tonight looks so light on TV that they’re having trouble finding packs of people standing together to shoot. I’ve honestly never seen it more empty than the last two nights.

I hope the Ravens giving tickets away actually gets some people to walk in on Saturday night. And the weather is supposed to be crazy good!

Jim Thome has just knocked in two runs. So much for the shutout…

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Red Sox complete 4-game sweep, batter Orioles 12-1

Posted on 20 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

1:50 p.m. — The Red Sox are getting well this inning off of the O’s bullpen. Mike Lowell just added another single. Update on Radhames Liz: 1/3 IP, 3H, 6ER, 1BB, 2HBP. His ERA is now: 67.50.

1:45 p.m. — The Bad News Bears weren’t this bad. Youkilis just sent a “seeing eye” pop that bounced an inch from the RF line to score another run. This one looked like it had a message of some kind. Just a crazy swing of the bat. Add another ER to Liz’s line…

1:39 p.m. — Liz just bounced one in front of David Ortiz that hit his leg. Here comes Matt Albers. He inherits the bases loaded and one out in the 7th inning.

Liz: 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 W, 2HBP … His ERA is now 47.25.

Oh, and there’s three more ducks on the pond and Kevin Youkilis is awaiting like Alberts is raw meat. Jim Hunter just said: “Not a good outing for Radhames Liz.”

Yeah, ya think? That’s a helluva observation, Jimmy!

1:36 p.m. — Another single, 9-1. Radhames Liz is NOT a Major League pitcher. Now Matt Albers is warming in the bullpen. At this point, I have no idea why they’re not just saving the bullpen for tomorrow. Brad Bergesen is making his major-league debut. It would be a good idea to save the bullpen.

1:34 p.m. — It hasn’t taken long for Radhames Liz to go into “arsonist” mode. He’s given up a double, he’s hit one batter and walked one. Oh, and he did get one out. It’s 7-1. UPDATE: Another single, 8-1.

1:10 p.m. — This just in: Felix Pie SUCKS! He can’t hit. He can’t run the bases. And he certainly looks lost in the outfield shagging flyballs. The defense has been “spotty” at best over the first two weeks of the season. But, Pie just played a relatively easy play for a major league centerfielder into a two-run triple for David Ortiz. YES…a TRIPLE by Ortiz at Fenway Park! They’re down 6-1. Sarfate’s ERA is going to suffer, but that was just brutal defense. Embarrassing…they’re nine outs away from being swept by the Red Sox in Boston.

I have great admiration for Jim Palmer for not simply jumping out of his seat and saying: “I wouldn’t have pitched for a franchise this bad!”

12:58 p.m. — Looks like five innings is the max, except for Koji Uehara these days. Hendrickson is out. Dennis Sarfate is next. The Birds are still down 3-1.

12:22 p.m. — Well, hopes are that Mark Hendrickson is settling down. He just struck out the bottom of the Red Sox order in 4th inning. He might even make it to the 6th or 7th inning if he keeps throwing at this pace. Jim Palmer is talking incessantly about his 1970 appearance on Patriots Day in Boston. (I love old ‘Cakes’ stories…)

12:06: Finally, we get our first real “call up” treat here in 2009. Brad Bergesen (1-1, 2.45 ERA at Norfolk) will take the ball tomorrow night at Camden Yards vs. the White Sox. Not sure if that sells them any more tickets (some will be going for the free Koji T-shirt) but I’m excited to watch this kid pitch.

12:04 p.m. — The Orioles are on the board, getting a rare RBI single from Cesar Izturis in the 3rd inning. Nick Markakis just played a flyball out into a triple. Jim Palmer: “That should be an error but that’s not the way they do things anymore.”

‘Cakes’ cracks me up!

11:49 p.m. — Mark Hendrickson has been lucky to escape the first two innings with only three runs allowed, as he loaded the bases in the first with no outs and escaped with only two runs plated. In the second, he gave up a monumental home run to Jason Varitek in the 2nd inning.

Now, Ryan Freel made it to first on an infield single and was hit in the head with a throw trying to steal second base and left the game groggy with Robert Andino taking his spot at third base.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

To Draft or Not To Draft

Posted on 17 April 2009 by Nicholas Miskelly

To Draft or Not To Draft 

As draft day approaches I have begun to think in greater depth about what the Ravens should do with their first pick. The Ravens have traditionally been one of the best teams in the NFL when it comes to drafting and evaluating talent.  The great Ozzie Newsome always puts this team in the best possible position to draft value with a pick and never based on need.  He has done it again this year. 

After the season was over the Ravens had a lot of decisions to make.  They had to decide who to re-sign, who to let go, and for those who left, how would they be replaced?  We saw the likes of Bart Scott, Chris McAlister, Jason Brown, and Jim Leonhard all leave via free agency.  But after that we saw Ozzie reload as only Ozzie can.  He brought in Matt Birk at center, Foxworth at corner, and L.J Smith at tight end to sure up potential weaknesses or thin areas for the Ravens.  He also resigned Samari Rolle and signed Chris Carr to the team to make sure there was great depth in the secondary and coverage on the special teams unit.  Heading into the draft this team is complete and does not have any glaring need that must be addressed early in this draft.  Furthermore this team has a wealth of young talent that they did not have room for last year with the likes of Prescott Burgess and Tavares Gooden.  This team is in as comfortable of a position as any team heading into the draft.  This is why they must consider adding Boldin to the team.  He may very well be the one missing piece. 

While the Ravens do not typically like to trade their top pick or a bulk of their picks in a draft, this year might be the year to do so.  I know the Ravens have only six picks this year but if you give up your first and your third round picks you will be gaining more value in Boldin than you would be giving away with what could come in with those two picks.  Wide receiver is the hardest position to fill in the draft and more times then not the pick results in a bust.  The game is so much more physical at the NFL level it is just impossible to project how well receivers will do and which ones will be a bust.  Boldin is a perfect example.  He was a second round draft pick because teams could not project how well he would do.  This year looks to be a crap shoot again as teams try to guess which wide-out is worth taking.  The Ravens are one of those teams and by trading for Boldin it would eliminate all of the guesswork. 

Look at this way:  Who might the Ravens draft with the 26th overall pick?  Most projections I have seen have the Ravens looking at a corner or, you guessed it, a wide receiver.  Thanks to Ozzie’s great offseason the Ravens have added depth and talent to their secondary.  A corner pick here is no longer a must but rather more like a luxury.  A wide receiver for this team makes the most sense, so why not get the best? This years best available is not Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks(I think is the best in the draft), Kenny Britt, or even Darrius Heyward-Bey.  That is right, the best wide-out available this year is Boldin.  The Ravens fans want him.  The Ravens need him.

Boldin is young, only 28, and can help this team for another 5 years.  He will come in and have an immediate impact on this offense, especially on Joe Flacco.  The other benefit of getting Boldin is that you would not have to wait for him to develop.  He is ready to go on day one.  Let’s face it the Ravens are not getting any younger on defense and guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed do not have the years left to wait for a rookie to develop.  Flacco is also emerging into a star and we do not need to hold him back while waiting for the rookie WR to develop.

Traditionally the Ravens have not been afraid to pull the trigger to trade up in the draft to get guys they felt were important to this team and may not be available when it is their turn to draft, ala Joe Flacco.  So why not pull the trigger this year.  Just because Boldin is not in the draft does not mean we should write off the idea of dealing our picks.   

Give up the picks and bring Baltimore a star thus narrowing the gap between the Super Bowl champions and the Baltimore Ravens!!! 

 

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Orioles are 6-2: Jones 2-run blast, big 10th inning lifts Birds to 7-5 win over Texas

Posted on 14 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Another exciting game. Another tight win. Another night where the bullpen was used and abused but this time — other than George Sherrill — the entire unit delivered in a 7-5 win in 10 innings in Arlington to push their record to 6-2. Alfredo Simon got hurt early. Homers were flying early. And the Orioles hung on.

Blow by blow below…

11:29 p.m. — Dennis Sarfate admitted to having an inner-ear infection and basically said he was “really relaxed” during his effort and was “on cloud nine” after he got medicated from the staff during the game. Sarfate said he told Aubrey Huff, “Is that all you’ve got?” after Huff freight-trained him on a foul ball. Palmer said, “Whatever he’s on I want to be on!”

It’s amazing they let Palmer keep his job. It really is. He’s priceless. I love it!

11:24 p.m. — Jim Palmer says it all. Don Stanhouse. Whole pack. “Mr Excitement”? Whatever you want to call him, fine. Let’s just give him the save and make the team 6-2 in the standings with their third series victory to start the season. Now Rick Dempsey is talking about Stanhouse. I have no idea how many listeners/readers know about Stanhouse but I do. And it’s dead on.

11:20 p.m. — Hank Blalock just sent a rocket to the wall and another five feet and this would’ve been an Orioles “tragic” loss. A true heartbreaker. Instead, George Sherrill still needs to get one more out. And you know what Yogi Berra said?

11:15 p.m. — George Sherrill has certainly made this interesting. Four batters, four baserunners, one run scored and Ian Kinsler continues to be such an impressive player. The Rangers’ formidable top of the order is going to have a chance to extend this game. The bases are loaded and no one is out. T-R-O-U-B-L-E…

11:01 p.m. — It’s almost like Ron Washington has conceded. Guardado keeps digging deeper with each pitch, walking Ty Wigginton after allowing Nick Markakis aboard. The Rangers’ bullpen issues mirrors the Orioles’ overused group. Luke Scott just drove one into the left centerfield gap, scoring them both. It’s now a 7-3 game. Geez, they’re gonna be 6-2 in about 10 minutes with any luck. Bye, bye Eddie…

10:56 p.m. — Eddie Guardado just gave up a mammoth two-run homer to Adam Jones who crushed it after Brian Roberts got on. Again, the top of the order have been hellions for the first week of the season.

P.S. Mike Maddux has the best pornstache I’ve ever seen on a former big leaguer with a brother who was one of the greatest ever.

10:47 p.m. — Seeing Nolan Ryan being omnipresent with the Rangers just reminds me that Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken are NOT involved here in Baltimore. A shame…

And I say it all the time: that’s all you need to know…

10:40 p.m. –This one has been pretty good. Good defense. Some big home runs early, some great pitching late. And someone is going to be a hero. Frank Francisco was dealing again tonight. Gonna be interesting to see how Dave Trembley uses the bullpen in this situation as the game potentially goes into extra innings. We’re already seven innings and four pitchers into the bullpen. And the bullpen has been the story of the evening with Jim Johnson still on the hill in the 9th. But how many innings do they have and who winds up in the game if it goes 11 or 12 innings?

9:59 p.m. –The bullpens are dealing all of a sudden. It’s games like these when having Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer help glue you to the action. It’s a very high-level broadcast when these guys are doing it. AND THE GAME IS IN HD…and it’s INTERESTING…and they’re 5-2. A few big hits here and they could be on their way to 6-2. On a night when their starter didn’t make it out of the 2nd inning.

9:34 p.m. — Nick Markakis stole one last night. Tonight, he was robbed by David Murphy on a very similar play. We’re in the sixth but I still feel like some major offense is going to break out at any point. Just not when the bottom of these lineups roll around. I don’t think this one will end 4-3.

9:25 p.m. — We were talking about “long last names” on the backs of baseball jerseys the other day and Arnie Portocarrero was deemed the longest Oriole. We were actually talking about Mark Hendrickson. Now, here comes Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Makes me want to get him on the O’s so I can get a shirt with that many letters.

9:17 p.m. — Felix Pie might be the new Jeff Stone. (For you youngsters, there’s no way his baseballreference.com stats will convey his baserunning prowess.) That was an inexcusable pick-off. And not great situational hitting by Cesar Izturis, who might be the new Mario Mendoza. It’s amazing how hot the top of the order is and how horribly cold the bottom of the order looks right now.

9:13 p.m. — Luke Scott has continued the comeback with a homer. And there might be good news on Rich Hill. More pitching never hurts.

8:56 p.m. — What a weird inning? After the Adam Jones-to-Brian Roberts-to-Gregg Zaun bang-bang play at the plate was made possible by Michael Young’s aversion to contact at the dish, Aubrey Huff threw a forearm shiver into Dennis Sarfate, who had no business being anywhere near where he was. Sarfate is now shaken up and has no one to blame but himself. Geez, sometimes they even play like the cats from “Major League.” That was brutal communication. They’re laughing about it now, but it was touch-and-go there for a few minutes.

8:45 p.m. — Gotta love a two-out run. This top of the lineup comtinues to mash the ball and nullify inefficient starting pitching. I have a feeling we’re in a for a long night. The beginning of a LOT of long nights with this pitching.

8:34 p.m. — On cometh Dennis Sarfate…I hope he’s got three or four innings in him. The O’s are already losing 3-1. Matt Albers is already coming up tomorrow. Can David Pauley or Brad Bergeson be on the way?

8:30 p.m. — Alfredo Simon just gave up yet another homer to Chris Davis. After a visit from Brian Ebel, he’s coming off the hill. As Hockey Meg just said: “That’s NOT going to help our crappy bullpen!” (Although, she really said S***ty!)

Looks like seven plus of relief will be necessary tonight unless it rains. And it doesn’t look like rain in Arlington…

8:27 p.m. — Can’t say I know a lot about Nelson Cruz. But I know Alfredo Simon should never throw that pitch to him again. So far: four outs, two gopher balls. Not a good ratio…

8:19 p.m. — High breaking ball to Aubrey Huff and he belted it. Everyone I talk to about Huff says “he’ll regress this year” and I don’t feel that way. He was always a masher and I think last year helped his game. Hell, at one point, he even SAID the “Bubba The Love Sponge” stupidity actually helped him come to his senses and changed his game for 2008. I think he’s good for 30 bombs this year.

But, the comment about Baltimore was below-the-belt. And stupid. And I know he meant it and it’s how he really feels. The ownership and management obviously didn’t care and put him back on the field. But they’ve been proven to be shameless for over a decade.

I don’t have to deal with these guys anymore so what do I care? If Aubrey Huff hits 35 homers, so be it. He just hit one. He tied the game. That’s what he’s paid to do.

8:16 p.m. — Michael Young’s homer came and went quickly. I’m reserving all judgment on Alfredo Simon until the 6th inning. The bullpen needs all the help it can get. Six innings out of a starter isn’t too much to ask…

8:09 p.m. — Been an interesting evening. Honestly, I feel like working while I watch the game and it’s a LOT more fun just writing this stuff while I surf, watch the O’s and think about the Ravens schedule.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Eaton beaten badly, Bass was a fish — Birds lose 11-3 to Rays

Posted on 12 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

All was not completely lost. The Orioles managed some offense — too little, too late — in the 9th inning as they eliminated the doughnut from behind a bad effort today in an 11-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays to cap their opening homestand at 4-2.

Orioles pitching allowed a whopping 17 hits today and the Rays looked almost vengeful for the two beatings handed out by the Birds behind good pitching on Friday and Saturday. Keep in mind, the Rays beat the Orioles 15 of 18 times last year. A win today would’ve matched last year’s total.

I wrote a live blog as I’ve turned an eye toward The Masters this afternoon, the one day of the year that I attempt to appreciate golf and culture.

Below are my observations from a day of baseball with the O’s.

4:01 p.m. — I’ve been monitoring Phil Mickelson’s miraculous run this afternoon with one eye on the game. But I’ve now managed to switch over fast enough to see back-to-back homers by Evan Longoria and Carlos Pena. Brian Bass is making Dave Trembley and Andy McPhail look bad for sending Matt Albers away last night. It’s 11-0. The O’s have managed just three hits on the day off of James Shields.

The good news: the “Baltimore” grey sweaters will be on the team’s crests tomorrow night in Dallas. We’ll be watching the game from Padonia Station as we talk football and draft with Eric DeCosta and Brian Billick.

3:09 — Well, I thought Adam Eaton stunk today but Brian Bass has been an arsonist of the highest order, allowing four MORE runs in one inning coming out of the bullpen and this one is becoming a snoozer. I’ll continue to monitor while I watch The Masters and follow Drew’s blog there. It’s 8-0 and “relief” is not what Bass has brought to the hill today.

3:04 p.m. — Jim Hunter just said that the Rays “have exploded.” Well, Ben Zobrist just made Brian Bass look like he’s next on the Norfolk Express, with a three-run homer after Bass allowed two of his first three hitters aboard. It’s now 7-0. The Masters is calling me…

2:59 — Mercifully, it’s over. Adam Eaton has left the game with a nauseating line and it was worse to actually witness:

100 pitches, 4 IP, 8H, 4ER, 2W, 6K

His ERA to start the season is 9.00.

2:56 p.m. — I like Adam Jones but I’ll call that what it was: stupid base running. If the flyball from Markakis gets down and goes to the wall, Jones could limp in from second base. And instead, CF Ben Zobrist ran it down and Jones got hung up at second instead of being at third with one out. With Huff coming up and a fly ball meaning a run, it wasn’t good baseball by Jones. The Orioles end the fourth quietly, still down 4-nil.

2:45p.m. — Alright, watching Adam Eaton stinks. Like watching most of the Orioles’ pitching over the last decade, today’s game has been long, frustrating and is making me consider the azaleas of The Masters here any second with Angel Cabrera and Kenny Perry teeing off soon. Adam Eaton has thrown 94 pitches, allowed nine baserunners and isn’t even holding runners on base. Only a miracle “phantom” tag and tripping at the plate from Chad Moeller on Gabe Gross has saved the Orioles and now Moeller was shaken up but stayed in the game. Miraculously, it’s still 4-0. Eaton ends the fourth having thrown 100 pitches.

2:32 p.m. — Nice of the idiots at MASN to feed me a commerical pimping how great the game is in HD complete with Nick Markakis promos. Yeah, I know how great baseball in HD is. Wanna know HOW I know? Because I’m watching the game in this crappy “low def” presentation, morons, and it makes me long for ESPN and Sunday Night Baseball tonight! (It’s like comedy. You can’t make this stuff up…)

2:24 p.m. — It’s taken Adam Eaton almost 80 pitches to get nine outs in less than 51 minutes. At least there’s no mystery: the bullpen knows it’s going to be seeing plenty of action and quite early today. James Shields is perfect and here come Felix Pie, Chad Moeller and Robert Andino to start a rally in the 3rd. I’m not expecting any offensive production from the bottom of the order today.

2:06 — I’ve called him Adam “Eaton-up-innings” but it doesn’t appear to be the case so far given his propensity to throwing a ton of pitches. He’s gone deep into counts with virtually every batter the Rays have brought to the plate. It took him 49 pitches to get through the first nine batters and he had only secured four outs. He loaded the bases with a laborious pace and then allowed Carl Crawford to stroke a lazy three-run triple into the right field corner. Longoria then followed with a 370-foot double to right.

The Orioles are losing 4-0 and Eaton is on pace to get the bullpen moving by the fourth inning. He’s thrown 60 pitches and gotten six outs.

1:51 — The Adam Eaton era has begun in Baltimore. Looks like “lots of baserunners” will be a tag that follows him to his fourth big-league destination. Despite allowing two on with one out, he escaped like Houdini, even after it looked like he had struck out Pat Burrell to end the inning on a 1-2 inside pitch. Burrell eventually skied to Adam Jones and ended the threat. Evan Longoria now has a six-game hitting streak and the O’s will not begin this one in the hole.

With Felix Pie, Chad Moeller and Robert Andino at the bottom of the order, a good start will be necessary to take the sweep today against the Rays.

P.S. When I see No. 24 on an O’s pitcher from the centerfield camera, I think about Dave Schmidt. (Don’t ask me why?) There are many other 24′s — including Rick Dempsey — but Schmidt’s name was like “number association” for me.

1:35 p.m. — So much for HD promises of the Angelos family and MASN. For the third day in a row, I’m watching the Orioles on the “poor little cousin” of MASN HD, which is Channel 17 on my Comcast featuring the 1985-style production of Major League Baseball. The double whammy? We’ve also got the B-team of Jim Hunter and Buck Martinez snoozing us through the action. The good news? The freaking team is beating the best the AL East has to offer to start the season. Adam Eaton and James Shields. This one figures to run long…

Between this and the Masters, it’s gonna be a great afternoon on the couch. Especially, when it looks sorta chilly at the ballpark. Feel free to comment. I’ll post them all!

**********

The brooms will be in tow at Oriole Park at Camden Yards this afternoon but will they be put to use? For the second time in as many series, the Birds have a chance to take three in a row from an AL East favorite to close the homestand before donning the “Baltimore” script for the first time in 37 years in Texas tomorrow night. I’ll be live blogging during the game today so join me for a chat if you’re watching the game with your laptop nearby on this chilly Easter Sunday.

Here are the lineups for today:

Rays

Akinori Iwamura 2B
Carl Crawford LF
Evan Longoria 3B
Carlos Pena 1B
Pat Burrell DH
Dioner Navarro C
Ben Zobrist CF
Gabe Gross RF
Jason Bartlett SS

James Shields RHP

Birds

Brian Roberts 2B
Adam Jones CF
Nick Markakis RF
Aubrey Huff 1B
Melvin Mora 3B
Luke Scott DH
Felix Pie LF
Chad Moeller C
Robert Andino SS

Adam Eaton RHP

Last night’s masterful effort by Jeremy Guthrie (6IP, 5H, 0 runs) has continued a “magical” run for the Orioles to beging the season. Melvin Mora’s grand slam in the first set the tone and the Tampa Rays went quickly and quietly on a Saturday night. Even Chris Ray, who struggled against the Yankees, got into the act with a trio of strikeouts in his one inning of work.

Today the Birds will send Adam Eaton to the hill against James Shields. Eaton, who was not on the active roster and will activated later today, will replace Matt Albers who got some work last night before his expected option to Norfolk after last night’s win. Brian Bass was an other candidate for the AAA demotion, but he’s out of options and will remain with the club.

I’ll be sharing thoughts — kind of like I do on live radio — in my live blog at 1:35 p.m. today. Drew will be watching the Masters all afternoon as well. It’s a great holiday, Sunday and weekend of sports as the Stanley Cup playoffs beckon. Some would say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, especially with the better weather en route.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Boos for Teixeira and the ghost of Jeffrey Maier spark O’s to 10-5 win over Yankees

Posted on 06 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, whatever they did to keep away the New York fans and somehow get orange-colored sweaters into the seats worked. It was a major victory for the Orioles front office, keeping Opening Day from being ruined by a sea of pinstripers.

Then, of course, the outcome, a 10-5 win over the Yankees, didn’t suck either. And the WAY they won, right? A stolen home run with all of the imagery of Jeffrey Maier. They chased the Yankees big-money starter C.C. Sabathia in the fifth inning. The bullpen folded just to the brink of collapse but the offense led the way late in the game. It was a blueprint for how they’re going to win this year (if they’re going to win). Get a solid start. Give way to the bullpen. Hit the ball. Don’t kick the ball around. And take their chances.

No reason to do play-by-play here – I’m assuming you watched the game. Doesn’t everyone watch Opening Day? But the most compelling part of today’s game was the ability to stay into the game and it was a good dramatic start to the season and it gave Orioles fans everywhere some pride, a nice beatdown of the Yankees and Mark Teixeira on Opening Day.

My favorite memory will undoubtedly be the Teixeira boo birds. It was a classic “Welcome Home” for Tex, who said he didn’t expect anything like what he saw from his “neighbors” today.

Every time Mark Teixeira came to the plate, the crowd killed him. It was perhaps the most brutal “welcome” for a player in Oriole Park history. I don’t ever remember a specific player getting hammered quite so lustily by the crowd.

Here’s a couple of close ones, this side of John Elway, Denver, circa 1983: the night Pedro Martinez got the “whose your daddy” chant for the Opener in 2004, the night in 2004 when we brought 2,000 fans into the right field bleachers to razz Vladimir Guerrero (I think he had three hits and 6 RBIs that night) after he signed with the Angels, maybe Bill Hasselback after the fight, certainly Cito Gaston anytime after the 1993 All-Star Game. Sammy Sosa certainly got the great signs and scorn as a Cubbie when he came in town after getting popped with the “Scarlet S.”

But the Teixeira raspberries were right up there on Opening Day. It was well done by the disgruntled Orioles fans, even if you and I probably would’ve done the same thing and signed with the Yankees given the circumstances and the money involved and the notion of being an Oriole and working here with a perennial doormat team. But the Mt. St. Joe star got the ultimate “Baltimore cheer” at the ballpark today. Good for the fans!

Today’s win was a recipe for 2009 success. Get a decent starting effort – let’s say six innings or more. Be opportunistic on offense, even when you aren’t hitting home runs. Today, the Orioles strung together hits and walks and aggressive baserunning (did you see that Ty Wigginton tag on a fly ball to Johnny Damon in left field?) to beat the highest-priced team money can buy. Oh, and a few big late hits from Cesar Izturis and Aubrey Huff sealed the fate of the 0-1 Yankees.

They’ll need more efforts like today’s over the course of a long 162-game season. They outplayed the Yankees today, even without the help from that kid in left field who will be 2009’s Jeffrey Maier.

My favorite gaffes, events or notable random notes:

Jim Hunter, direct quote: “We’ve already experienced a lifetime of great memories here in this grand ballpark at Camden Yards.”

We have?

Speaking of Hunter, his predecessor was twice caught on camera by MASN, which must’ve flipped out the upper management.

First, Jon Miller was caught in the shot with Joe Angel and Fred Manfra, canoodling with his old chums before taking the ESPN assignment. Then, Miller was with Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer the instant the camera was on them like 60 seconds later. It was crazy and Miller twice went scrambling out of the shot so he didn’t piss anyone off. We all know he should’ve never left to begin with…

Early in the game, when Teixeira was getting mercilessly booed, the MASN HD cameras panned to a women who was nursing a Bud Light and clearly mouthing the words: “a—–hole”…kinda funny!

The “Yankees Suck” cheers early in the game were a nice sound to hear emanating from Camden Yards…

Is it just me or does Dave Trembley look like William Shatner in those goofy MASN commercials where he’s scolding “the media” with his wife as the audience in his living room?

So much to talk about. And it’s just the beginning. A great start to what we all hope is an interesting season for the Orioles.

And the best part? The return of “Oriole Pride” at least for a day. The crowd was eaily 80 percent orange, a major upset.

At least tonight Orioles fans go to bed in sole possession of first place in the AL East.

Let’s see what Koji Uehara can bring on Wednesday.

You really couldn’t ask for much more on Opening Day.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Drinking the orange Kool Aid at Fan Fest

Posted on 04 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

There are two types of Orioles fans left in the Baltimore area and they are distinct groups:

Those who drink the Kool Aid…

And those, like me, who have examined the big picture of what’s happened to this franchise over the past 13 years and are pretty angry about its impact on our fun, our lives and the community.

With Opening Day looming, everyone who has EVER loved baseball perks up and pay attention. Even if it’s only to notice: “Hey, its’ Opening Day!” Most people in Baltimore realize this team won’t contend but if you love baseball you’ll at least open one eye on Monday afternoon to catch the score. I’d venture to say that 75% of the city will wake up Tuesday morning at the office and know whether the Orioles won. (That number used to be more like 98% in 1998!)

Those who unconditionally still drink the orange Kool Air or “want” to drink the Kool Aid probably went down to Fan Fast today at Camden Yards. I opted to not give Mr. Angelos any more money that he won’t spend to get the team a quality spring training facility.

Instead, I’m sitting here watching the Fan Fest festivities on MASN HD television and getting some of my WNST “CEO work” done and thinking about baseball season and how it’s going to go for the Orioles and Matt Wieters and these young players and what inevitable drama will unfold.

The only real “punishment” I’m getting for not having a press pass is being “banned” from knowing the Orioles players, which is almost ludicrous because as you saw last week, Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Roberts were happy to chat with me at the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Charley Eckman would’ve called them “right guys” and they are decent, solid dudes. (As an aside, I also exchanged pleasantries with Davey Johnson, which is always fun.)

As a media member – well, at least I was for about 23 years until I was banned – I got to know so many of the players and what kinda guys they are. So I guess that’s my “price to pay” — I don’t get to report to you what good people the Orioles have on their team this year. Or not…

While it looked a tad bit chilly and windy at Camden Yards, the event was a “made for TV” informercial/season preview with interviews between co-workers Jim Hunter, Jim Palmer and the like of Andy McPhail, Aubrey Huff, Adam Jones, Dennis Sarfate and Ryan Freel.

They did a nice job with “get to know you” chats with these players and  I especially like that I can see Jim Palmer in high def. For a well-compensated network to finally “discover” HD in 2009 tells you all you need to know about the vision people at MASN.

But I digress…

Here are a few observations, because my seat is the same as yours at this point, which is its own unique point of view watching Jim Hunter and Amber Theoharis and others interview their co-workers in black hats that say “O’s”.

I honestly didn’t know what Ty Wigginton or Koji Uehara looked like until today. Ditto Freel, who really seemed to be a pleasant “aw, shucks” kinda guy. He reminded me of Bob Backlund back in the late 1970’s when he was a baby face.

Freel freely thanked the fans several times and seemed genuine. (As an aside, why doesn’t the owner of the team ever do that? Just come on the TV and say “thanks” on his own network that he’s making over $100 million this year on?)

Andy McPhail did a stand up with Jim Hunter and said all of the right things. He made it clear he expected a big improvement in Adam Jones. He also talked a lot about character and what kind of players — “gamers, blue collars guys, character guys” — he wants on the team. Fair enough.

I like hearing that the Orioles want good people in their organization. From what I know of the 2009 Orioles, they’re pretty good guys and they clearly dislike Angelos’ management and ownership style as much as the rest of us. (Again, this is one of the reasons the Orioles banning legitimate media isn’t a good thing for the fans. The fans never get to know the truth unless, like yesterday in The Sun, they speak out.)

I’ve known Gregg Zaun for 17 years. I’ve cheered – VERY hard – for Zaun for 17 years through his days in Kansas City, Florida, Toronto and Houston. He’s a great person and loves Baltimore and the Orioles. That’s an upgrade there no matter how you look at it and he’ll keep the seat plenty warm for Matt Wieters, whenever the Orioles decide to promote him to the bigs.

Even today on TV, a couple of the young players talked about what a cool guy Zaun is for them to be around and how he tells great stories (which he does!)

I must say that I didn’t envy Buck Martinez’s press pass today, interviewing his co-worker, Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara, whose only word in English was “Thank you!”

Uehara had an interpreter and the answer to the first question regarding Camden Yards was this: “Right field is pretty shallow.” That was the first of several laughs.

Honestly, it was like I needed an interpreter for his interpreter. It was borderline hilarious. It reminded me of my four days in Tokyo where communication was definitely at a premium.

I don’t care how much Uehara speaks. The Orioles need him to be a rock star if they’re going to win 75 games. But he seemed pleasant enough and thrilled to be at Camden Yards in a big-league uniform. Good enough for me.

If the only “communication” I’m going to have with the players is to see their co-workers ask them questions I might as well think they’re nice guys. Even if they’re complete turds, at least this won’t spoil it for me.

I’m ready for Opening Day. I’m ready to get to Hooters and have a Bud Light. I’m ready for baseball.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Orange fireworks: Players and Trembley flip Peter Angelos “The Bird” today in The Sun

Posted on 03 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve been saying for years that Fort Lauderdale Stadium and the Orioles’ sub-par Florida spring training situation is by far the biggest sin of all of their many sins and finally the folks over on Calvert Street are doing some “investigative journalism” with the orange birds. The club’s No. 1 promise to the public is that it’s doing everything possible to commit all of its resources to fielding a winning team.

That’s the goal in baseball: winning a championship. You always want to give your team the best chance to compete.

The Angelos family hasn’t done that for the entire tenure of their ownership in regard to the significance of spring training as anything more than a line item expense. The mere fact that they’re the only organization in the sport to have “two camps” in Florida that sit three hours apart is telling enough. It’s bad business. It’s bad baseball. It’s just inexcusable, unacceptable and dumb.

Fort Lauderdale Stadium is a dump. It’s a disgrace. It’s been a disgrace for the entire balance of the 15 years they’ve played there. I’ve worked many, many a morning and pulled many 12-hour days at Fort Lauderdale Stadium doing radio and covering baseball back when I was a “real” media member. I’ve spent 100 days of my life at that facility over the years before the team banned me from having a press credential.

Most of the fans here in Baltimore never make it there and it’s not like the team does anything to market having fans come south with their off season efforts. So it kinda goes unnoticed and when I bitch about it – and again, I think it’s probably the most obvious and lousy “white elephant” of all of their many sins – the fans don’t really care or “get it” but it’s so bizarre and so blatantly “bush league” in the eyes of anyone who knows anything about baseball from management to players to coaches to the locker room attendants that it defies description.

Just the mere fact that the visiting teams come in and see the situation and don’t lay down negative comments day after day is astonishing. Apparently, according to The Sun, the situation over at the minor-league camp is even worse. I haven’t personally been to Twin Lakes Park in Sarasota since 1995. It was “amateur” then, but not in disrepair. It was “minor league” but it wasn’t “unsafe” as several of the opposing teams indicated in contacting MLB and refusing to schedule games against the Orioles farmhands.

But the quotes in The Sun aren’t from Nestor. Or Drew Forrester. Or the glowing crap you’ll hear on MASN from Jim Hunter, Fred Manfra and the “boys club” who all take their paychecks from Peter Angelos.

They’re from the players themselves, who also take their paychecks from Peter Angelos. And it’s precisely these types of stories that makes Angelos ban a guy like me from having access. Because the players would be talking my ear off to get their message heard in the public eye.

Today’s whoppers and haymakers from their best people and players are “instant classics” and are sure to have the Angelos family in “flip out” mode on this Friday before Opening Day. It’s almost like all of the players just got together and decided to give the team’s ownership a rectal examination of unprecedented proportions.

This morning, it’s like Brian Roberts, Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, Dave Trembley and Jake Arrieta are on the front page of the local newspaper wearing FREE THE BIRDS shirts!

Here come the quotes:

Dave Trembley: “I think we’ve finally reached the point where it’s fish or cut bait. We’re in the business of developing players. What would enhance that development is a facility that is more conducive to us all being all together and being on an even playing field with the other clubs.”

Brian Roberts: “I think most of us would be lying if we said this is what any of us would expect from a major league organization.”

Aubrey Huff: “When you have a big-league team that has a weight tent with rented weight equipment located in the parking lot, that’s pretty sad.”

Melvin Mora: “That’s the worst field I’ve ever played on in my life and I’m from Venezeula.”

Chris Ray: “I don’t know what to say about the facility other than that it just needs to be leveled and rebuilt. It’s a shame. You draft someone, hype them up and then they go to that facility and they’re like, ‘Wow.’ I think that’s a little bit embarrassing.”

Jake Arrieta: “We’re all very blessed to be in the situations that we’re in, but it also comes with the territory that you expect to have nice facilities to work out in. Not that we’re tired of Twin Lakes, but I all think we deserve something better.”

And here is my favorite, from a minor-league farmhand named Mike Costanzo, who was given the “Nestor treatment” by the franchise: “We were told to not say anything about the field, but if nobody says anything, it’s never going to get fixed. It’s tough to get quality work in here.”

I guess Nick Markakis must’ve been in the shower or “unavailable for comment” on this one.

Costanzo’s quote is almost poignant to me because that’s EXACTLY what FREE THE BIRDS was all about.

“If nobody says anything it’s never going to get fixed.”

It almost brings a tear to my eyes. I’m a BIG Mike Costanzo fan all of a sudden. I’ll be monitoring that young man, who showed some big-league bravery for that quote but will undoubtedly be in the corporate “doghouse” for life after that one.

Aside from being quality journalism by Jeff Zrebiec and Dan Connolly, it’s the kind of story in this economy that will piss off Angelos so much that you might even see the fireworks ads get pulled from the May editions. Mr. Angelos reads The Sun every day and will be ripe and randy today, no doubt about it.

I can hear him now…

“The insubordination. These ungrateful millionaires. How dare they speak this way about our franchise to the media!”

There’s one thing Peter Angelos hates the most and that’s hearing the unfiltered truth about how bad this franchise is in so many ways in print or in the media. Seeing his highest-paid employees flipping him the bird in the morning fishwrap – well, that’s gonna make for an interesting weekend.

Of course, Angelos and his son John declined to speak about the “Fort Lauderdale situation” in the media.

The worst part are the paper-thin and almost silly quotes from Orioles spokeperson and huge WNST fan, Greg Bader, who knows less about P.R. than any P.R. person I’ve seen in 25 years of doing journalism for a living.

Now, apparently, a baseball expert and groundskeeper, Bader officially deemed the field in Sarasota “perfectly safe and adequate” after a handful of visiting MLB teams refused to show up and play games there.

I’ve only met Greg Bader twice, but my guess is that he never played an inning of baseball in his life. Or pitched on unmeasured mounds? Or caught a two-hopper after it hits a rock in the dirt? Or had to work out to get into shape for a 162-game Major League grind that baseball demands.

(As an aside, the first thing I learned when I began doing sports radio in 1992 and hanging around baseball players was how HARD the job was. As a kid it sounds like a fun gig, but being a Major League Baseball player is HARD, HARD work. These guys make millions of dollars and if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Baseball players live pretty difficult, complex lives from April 1st through October 1st. I have great respect for the work they do, which can only come when you see it first hand.)

Bader also said the club has “always had the urgency” to find a new home. That is just a stupid, silly thing to say. Urgency? They’ve had 15 years and roughly 80 percent of the MLB teams in South Florida have relocated or found better situations since the Orioles landed in Fort Lauderdale by sheer accident in 1996, after going several years in weird and bad situations in Miami and St. Petersburg.

They’ve been offered at least five sites that I can think of over the years – from Sarasota to Orlando to Vero Beach to Jupiter to Winter Haven — and have never done anything to rectify the combination of the major and minor league camps, which should have been done in 1997 or 1998 at the latest. No other team would DREAM of having a split camp and say they’re serious about a winning organization. It’s just unconscionable.

The 2009 season has already gotten off to a rocky, rocky start.

They have absolutely zero starting pitching. Jeremy Guthrie has been dreadful. Koji Uehera certainly bears watching but the rest of the retreads from Adam Eaton to Mark Hendrickson to Rich Hill to Danys Baez to the soon-to-be-celebrated Alfredo Simon are just arsonists of varying degrees at this point.

Brian Roberts isn’t healthy.

They’re still banning free speech in the media and being miserable and unprofessional to deal with at every level.

And now, every level of their organization from manager to players to minor leaguers are popping off in the morning newspaper about how “bush league” their ownership is in regard to spring training and a commitment to winning. It’s like a scene out of “Major League” but the Orioles have become the Indians.

Next Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay still doesn’t have a starting time and the Ravens are expecting 20,000 people at M&T Bank Stadium that morning and afternoon for an Inside Lacrosse doubleheader and no one in the city knows what the parking situation might be. The game is eight days away. You’d think they’d announce to the Tampa Rays, their season ticket holders and their employees when the game will be played. (Again, this kind of management is just unheard of in professional sports in 2009.)

Oh, and the Yankees are bringing 30,000 obnoxious fans into town on Opening Day to cheer for Baltimore’s greatest homegrown player in a generation as he takes the field at Camden Yards wearing pinstripes.

Oh, and advance ticket sales have been abysmal and they’re having a “Fan Fest” tomorrow that feels like a rumor around town.

Other than that, things are just fine in Birdland.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , ,

Orioles continue to lie about WNST and press credentials

Posted on 01 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

At some point, the Orioles will “get even” with me by winning. Maybe that’s in 2011? Maybe that’ll never happen, but that’s not even the point. The point is that they really believe “Nestor and WNST are out to get us.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

No, I’m simply here to be honest and to continue to tell the truth about the way the ballclub is run, the way it functions and the way it continues to be a poor community partner for the city and the fans who literally BUILT the franchise between 1954 and 1994. The gobs of empty seats and a daily series of empty phone lines anytime we attempt to discuss the Orioles, their strategies or their rationales paints the true picture of how far the franchise has fallen. The opposite of “love” isn’t hate. It’s indifference. This year the Orioles will almost certainly continue a 12-year spiral downward as a franchise. They’ve all but admitted that there will be less people in the ballpark then there have ever been.

I could write for hours or days about all of the lies and cover-ups and shenanigans that the team has pulled over the last decade while going roughly 70-92 every year since 1998 and making a fortune off of the fact that the Washington Nationals exist allowing them to own MASN and its money-printing machine.

You don’t care to read it and I know I don’t care to write about it anymore. At this point, if you’re not smart enough to believe the truths that I put forth and verify with facts and evidence then the joke is really on you.

Honesty is not a pride issue with the Orioles. It’s simply a mere inconvenience. Take the team’s stance on something as fundamentally American as “free speech.”

It’s not news at this point (although it would be if it were Scott Garceau or Peter Schmuck or Roch Kubatko getting banned from doing what they do to feed their families) but the Orioles have once again denied me my absolute right to free speech in America by wrongfully denying me a press credential to cover the team’s home games this year while credentialing even the interns who work for me at WNST.net. It’s their little way of “getting even,” which is apparently an obsession in their small, petty world.

But people who speak out about injustice have been persecuted since the beginning of time all over our planet. Denying me a press credential to Camden Yards when I’m granted one by every sports entity on the face of the planet (including working press visa credentials by the Chinese AND Cuban governments!) is undoubtedly a restraint of trade issue. It’s most certainly a discrimination case. And it’s illegal – every expert I’ve spoken with says I have a slam-dunk legal case, but one that will cost me roughly $100,000 to pursue – but let them have their “fun” in banning me from coming to their press box while I report on their team all summer from behind a microphone and here in my blog at WNST.net.

They can artificially restrict my access at home games – and again, I was in Los Angeles last weekend on the field at Dodger Stadium with a MLB-granted press credential talking to Brian Roberts and Jeremy Guthrie – but the joke isn’t on me. It’s on them!

Every chance they get to show their “class” or their “ass” it’s always a safe bet that we’ll see them take the lowest road possible. Nothing they do surprises me or casts shame upon them any further than their own record on the field and all of the remnant space inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards over the last decade.

I’m a journalist. I’ve been a journalist since I was 15 years, since 1984 when I walked into The News American with John Steadman. I report facts. I research sports and the business of sports and how it works with great gusto and passion. I’m accountable and I’m professional. And I report to you what I know and what I think about what I know. Like the great John Eisenberg, I give facts and opinions and clearly separate between the two.

Fact: The Orioles have been amongst the worst teams in professional sports since 1998. (Fill in record here…)

Opinion: They’re going to stink in 2009 because they have no pitching but the organization finally has some kids who make the team competitive in a few years and this kid Matt Wieters is the No. 1 prospect in MLB this year.

Fact: Nestor Aparicio led the biggest protest and walkout in baseball history when nearly 2,500 people left an O’s game in the third inning of a game on Sept. 21, 2006. (Yes, it’s been 2 ½ years already!)

Opinion: The Orioles will lie or go to any length to try to get even with Aparicio for the rest of his life because of “Free The Birds,” which quite frankly might’ve helped them get better and that was the whole goal of the movement.

(By the way, two weeks from now when the team sports those sexy “BALTIMORE” jerseys, make sure WNST and Drew Forrester get the requisite credit. We fought for that for a decade!)

Two years ago, when I was told by “spokesman” Greg Bader at the front gate of the stadium that I wouldn’t be getting a press credential he then told Rick Maese of The Baltimore Sun that I wasn’t being credentialed because the team only credentials “working media members who are on the air, not radio station owners.”

Well, I’ve been back on the air every day for three months now and this week they called my staff (they never even speak to me or return emails or communicate in any way) to give them the newest excuse, which we all saw coming. They just move onto the next lie.

“Nestor gave up his right to a press pass with the walkout because it showed that he’s not objective,” the Orioles P.R. girl told my Vice President.

I suppose that Jim Hunter and Fred Manfra and Roch Kubatko are “objective” in their analysis of Orioles baseball in 2009 while Peter Angelos writes their paychecks?

Why don’t they stop lying and “reaching” and just tell the truth?

“The Orioles hate Nestor Aparicio and will go to great lengths to ‘get even’ for that stunt he pulled in 2006 even if it means looking like arrogant fools and banning him from our home stadium without any justification or legal reason.”

The only promise I make to the WNST audience and to anyone who loves Baltimore sports is to keep telling the truth and to keep reporting on the progress – good and bad – of the Baltimore Orioles. And we will continue to chronicle their on-the-field activities all summer here at WNST.net.

We’re even running a series of bus trips again in May and June to see the Birds play in New York, Washington and Philadelphia.

Every pitch, every hit, every game WNST.net will cover the team with the only truly “objective” voice in the marketplace. That’s our strategic advantage. You know we speak the truth and act with integrity.

When they play well and do good things, we’ll commend them as we’ve done for 17 years. The truth? They haven’t done much right or well since 1997 — on or off the field. The Angelos family has essentially slaughtered two generations of baseball civic pride in less than a decade and chased away more than 2 million people per year from downtown and from the ballpark.

But the city badly needs the team to win. The city needs Andy McPhail and Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta and all of these young players to be “the real deal.” (My real opinion is that the team needs to be sold to a new owner to ever fully blossom but the last time I said that they took away my press pass.)

But, if they lose and their pitching stinks and they jog out ground balls and do stupid things in the organization (like not showing their Florida spring training games on a TV network they they own and we pay big money for every month via our cable bill) we’ll also chronicle and comment on that.

We hope you participate and hold up your end by actually watching the team play this spring and summer and call into AM 1570 and speak what’s on your mind freely in a free society regarding the baseball club.

I speak for everyone at WNST when I say that we want them to win. We NEED them to win. We need someone, ANYONE to actually care about the team again.

The city needs them to get better. The businesses downtown need them to get better. But in the meantime, it’s 2009 and they look every bit as bad this season as they have for years, especially when no one in the city can name three of their starting pitchers. Oh, they’ll hit the ball for sure. But the games might be a six-month series of four-hour marathons if they’re going to win 75 games.

But that won’t stop me from being at Hooters on Monday at 2 p.m. with Bud Light giveaways and eternal hope that there will once again be quality Major League Baseball in Baltimore.

As Jim Valvano once said: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”

I’ve got plenty of “fight” left in me, even if it’s from the stands and my living room and not in their locker room or front office.

I don’t want to fight with them. I’ve never wanted to fight with them.

I just want them to win and bring the “old Magic” back.

Oh, yeah — and be honest, which they never seem to be able to muster.

Comments Off

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Breakfast with Jim Schwartz and the NFC coaches

Posted on 25 March 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The NFL Owners Meetings are about to wrap up out here in Dana Point, Calif. later this afternoon and the final day brings the opportunity to dine and schmooze and interview the NFC coaches, which of course took me to the table of new Detroit Lions coach and longtime WNST.net contributor, Jim Schwartz. As an Arbutus native and Mt. St. Joe grad, I feel I owe it to Baltimore (as well as to Schwartz’s many friends and relatives) to get as much of the video up as possible.

I’m running to grab a plane but I have about an hour’s worth of great stuff — ranging from draft perspective to the 0-16 Lions to Schwartz’s view on Mark Teixeira and his new time management techniques. It might take me two days to get all of the videos up on the site but they’ll be coming soon and I’ll be releasing a few a day for the next week.

I’ve literally shot 2 1/2 hours worth of notable interviews, including more stuff with Rex Ryan, Marvin Lewis, Mike Tomlin, Mike Smith and tons more footage of yesterday’s sitdown with John Harbaugh, who had his brother Jim and dad Jack here for the last few days as well. It was my first chance to meet Jack Harbaugh, who might be one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. Just wonderful family, the Harbaughs!

The main focus of the last few days from the NFL’s perspective has been the impending start to negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. I could sum it all up, but Don Banks of SI.com did a very nice job in yesterday’s column. In short, the word “Armageddon” has been thrown around here in regard to a potential work stoppage in 2011 with the uncapped year looming large in 2010.

It’s been three great days here in Southern California and, as always, I learned a lot, listened a lot and asked a lot of questions. I’ll be bringing it all back and onto the air at AM 1570 and here at WNST.net over the next few weeks as we prepare for the April 25 draft.

It’s really amazing at an event like to see the Ravens alumni of coaches fare so well in the NFL.

Even with Brian Billick and Mike Nolan no longer in the fraternity the list is extraordinary and makes me proud to be a Ravens fan.

From Ted Marchibroda’s staff: Jim Schwartz, Ken Whisenhunt, Marvin Lewis and Eric Mangini are head coaches.

From Billick’s staff: Lewis, Rex Ryan, Jack Del Rio, Mike Smith all had tables and held court the last two days.

And of course, there’s John Harbaugh who is always upbeat, positive and genial in dealing with folks.

It’s almost like a purple reunion, especially when you consider David Modell has been here with his usual comedy routine, insights and his awesome 3D company, 3eality. I’m a big fan of David and I miss his presence with the team. Of course the last place I ever thought I’d run into him was at an NFL event but he was here and in fine spirits.

I’ll be checking in over the next few days and it was nice to see the Terps ladies advance in the NCAA Tournament. Anything to keep my mind off of the Orioles pitching at this point!

Off to the airport…

Comments Off