Posted on 12 January 2013 by WNSTV
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Posted on 27 December 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
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Posted on 17 December 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
Many in the Baltimore Ravens fan base had a community online celebration last Monday morning when offensive coordinator Cam Cameron was fired by head coach John Harbaugh via owner Steve Bisciotti.
“That’ll fix it,” some of the unsophisticated eyes said. “Clearly, Cam was holding Joe Flacco and the offense back.”
It felt like scapegoating then and it feels even less satisfying after yesterday’s 34-17 loss to the Denver Broncos in a game where the final score wasn’t indicative of the lopsided nature of the day.
Fifteen days ago the Ravens were 9-2 after the “Hey diddle, diddle” miracle in San Diego. This morning, they’re 9-5 and the beneficiary of a playoff berth by virtue of backing in via the overtime loss of the Pittsburgh Steelers last night in Dallas.
It was hardly a time for celebration.
Hard times have come to the land of pleasant living and I don’t mean the tax rate hike.
Where to begin to assess the train wreck loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos?
Harbaugh called it a “team loss” and he’s right about that. No sense in moving any particular names above the fold.
Quarterback Joe Flacco will shoulder the lion’s share of the blame, as it should be for the quarterback who is playing for a contract amidst what can only be deemed as chaos right now. The offensive line is in tatters, consistently getting beaten on failed run plays and often enough in the passing game to make it difficult for No. 5 to make plays. He hasn’t helped himself with poor judgment and errant throws.
The receiving corps continues to be depleted with the disappearance of Ed Dickson and a concussion suffered by Torrey Smith yesterday.
But the Flacco Pick Six interception to Broncos’ DB Chris Harris at the goal line in the waning seconds of the first half on Sunday will forever be Ravens’ fans remembrance of an afternoon they’d sooner love to forget.
It was the worst pass of Flacco’s career and soon left him 100 yards away, winded, flailing, gassed and beaten by his own poor judgment. “I made a mistake,” he said. “There’s no other way to put it.”
Not only is Flacco’s stock teetering based on his dismal overall performance over the past month but the whole organization is dancing on the brink of the playoffs and extinction seemingly all at once.
And we’re only halfway through the “Manning Holiday Tour” as Eli Manning comes to Baltimore this week as the only guy getting more abuse than Flacco. The defending world champs were thoroughly trounced
Posted on 16 December 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 11 November 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 04 November 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 31 October 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 16 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
Today I did something I’ve never done as a journalist in 28 years of covering sports. Today, I walked into the Baltimore Ravens locker room and the story really wasn’t as much the razor-thin outcome as the ways and means that the purple guys suffered a 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
At every end of the Ravens locker room – from veterans who I’ve never heard utter a bad word about the officials to the coaches who will be mortified when they go back and watch this film – the officiating was the central story of the bitter loss.
A late, reversed call on a phantom pass from Michael Vick that was receovered by the Ravens in the red zone?
A “no yellow flag” pass interference call on Jacoby Jones that took six points off the board for the Ravens? Joe Flacco said the official “threw a beanie.”
Multiple instances where the officials didn’t know what down it was or where to spot the ball?
And, most egregiously, the obvious punching match between DeSean Jackson and Cary Williams that any neophyte NFL fan knows calls for an immediate ejection must make anyone in the league office cringe because that’s a no-brainer and set the tone to allow four more melees to break out at different points in the game.
Several veteran Ravens players chatted with me off the record – as you know the NFL fines anyone who states the obvious about this sham going on with the zebras – and said the biggest issues are the calls being made down the field when the ball goes in the air.
No one knows where the line is for a pass interference call. No one can assess what will be called holding and what won’t. Then there’s the inherent chippiness and ability to bully and further confuse and befuddle these already confused men in black and white.
And as Joe Flacco pointed out, “I think you’re not too smart if you’re not trying to get away with that. See if you can get a call?”
Harbaugh and the Ravens have a chance each week to send notes to New York to the league offices to review plays. Clearly, with this sham today in Philadelphia, he might not even bother filing out a report.
“The challenge for us right now is figuring out what constitutes what. What constitutes illegal contact? What constitutes P.I.?” Harbaugh said in the post game.
No one in the purple locker room came out and said: “We lost the game because of the officials.” Let’s make that clear. Many just said, “It’s a shame.” Flacco says the integrity of the game is being compromised. Ray Lewis had to be pulled away by the Ravens’ PR staff before he said something that would get him fined.
But he did have a litany of interesting things to say and didn’t mince words:
Strange days for the league. Strange days for the officials. And “chaotic,” as it was called by John Harbaugh, seems to reign right now not just for the Ravens but for all teams trying to get a grip on the officiating.
Where is Roger Goodell to answer these questions?
Posted on 23 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
As Mike Mussina makes his triumphant return to Baltimore this weekend for the Orioles Hall of Fame activities it’s certainly a thought-provoking time to be a long-time observer and fan of the franchise.
Sure, the Orioles are once again relevant — playing meaningful and exciting games every night — which harkens to the days of 1996 & 1997 when “Moose” was an integral part of the magic of being an Orioles fan every fifth day during the zenith of Camden Yards’ passion and Inner Harbor energy.
Mussina has been gone from Baltimore – except for three visits a year in New York Yankees pinstripes – for 12 years now. So long ago that time has seemingly dimmed the glory of his deeds and his departure serves as a truly seminal moment in the awfulness of the Orioles franchise under the stewardship of Peter Angelos since 1993.
In the 1970’s it was routine for the Orioles to lose players to owners, markets and franchises that had more wealth, population and revenue. Many members of the franchise “Hall of Fame” and “Oriole Way” stalwarts left like Mayflowers in the middle of the night for greener pastures including Don Baylor, Bobby Grich, Reggie Jackson, Wayne Garland and Doug DeCinces and later Eddie Murray, Mike Boddicker, Mike Flanagan, B.J. Surhoff and Mike Bordick were all dealt away to save cash and get younger players.
But in the 1980’s and 1990’s, replete with a fan base from six states that pumped unprecedented money into the franchise and reached into the state’s funds to build Camden Yards and turn Baltimore into a spigot for Major League Baseball profitability, the Orioles never lost a player they wanted to keep.
Not until they lost the best player and pitcher of his generation of Baltimore baseball when Mike Mussina wore the “turncoat” label and bolted for the New York Yankees.
After the 2000 season, tired of three years of losing and Angelos’ low-balling and obvious meddling and mismanagement, Mussina simply took the advice of his agent Arn Tellem and played out his option and walked. On Dec. 7, 2001 after years of eschewing the notion of playing in big, bad New York he signed a six-year, $88.5 million deal to play for the Evil Empire.
I’ll share my many personal memories and my friendship with Mussina later in this blog but I can remember the surreal nature of watching that press conference from The Bronx from Chicago’s Sporting News Radio studios with my jaw open. It was the definitive signal that quality Major League Baseball players simply didn’t want to be in Baltimore anymore and it had little to do with crab cakes or the American League East.
Mussina was thought to be “irreplaceable” at the time and 11 years later time has borne out that diagnosis.
Mussina left the Baltimore Orioles because the owner stunk. He knew it and everyone in baseball knew it.
So, Mussina will finally return and don Orioles colors this weekend for the final time and he’ll find a few fresh statues on the veranda, a team in the midst of its first pennant run in 15 years and a seemingly soulless shell of a former love affair for baseball in Baltimore.
There’ll be plenty of empty seats and shoulder shrugs at his mostly sweet and sour induction into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame this weekend. Certainly a worthy candidate if there ever were one, Mussina’s time as a starter for the Birds is only eclipsed by the deeds of Jim Palmer, who as I’ve said many times is the greatest (and most underappreciated) Oriole of all time by any measurement.
Palmer let loose with a haughty pronouncement on a MASN broadcast earlier this week in promoting this weekend’s festivities. “The Moose is going to Cooperstown – at least I hope. He’s got 270 wins,” said Palmer, who went on to proclaim that in the steroid era to win all of those games and Gold Gloves and remain a “clean figure” in the needle witch hunt of the Mitchell Report should get him a Hall of Fame ballot punched in 2014.
For “real” Orioles fans, he’ll always be known as the Benedict Arnold of the modern generation for leaving the
Posted on 23 May 2012 by WNSTV
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