Tag Archive | "johnson"

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The Orioles will be better next year — and more new lies after The MacFailure

Posted on 28 September 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

Our cool, growing (and still free!) sports media company had another great B2B-Business To Business event last week in Towson with @CoachBillick and an old friend and reader of WNST.net approached me and asked the eternal Orioles question:

“So, Nasty, I’ve read all of the issues regarding the Orioles and Mike Flanagan and Andy MacPhail and Free The Birds, but what are we as fans going to do? You need to offer solutions…”

Well, virtually every human being I’ve spoken to over the last three years – and I still have a ton of friends in upper management at Major League Baseball and all over the league — has concurred: this just isn’t going to change on the field as long as Peter Angelos is involved in Baltimore baseball ownership.

But, of course, I came to that conclusion five years ago when I did the original Free The Birds rally and campaign because in my mind – and time has proven me correct – this was long past the point of no return with the local community and most people of integrity within the baseball community in 2006.

And what I’ve come to realize is that this REALLY bugs the hell out of my internet critics – the fact that I’ve been right and honest and accurate all along.

I don’t think it took any “orange Nostradamus” or 19 chapters and 75,000 words worth of my book to predict that this civic nightmare would continue given Angelos’ tactics, mindset, age and propensity through his 82 years on the planet to want to fight with people. He sues people for a living.

I knew a long time ago that it was getting worse and not better. I knew it was going to become an easy $50 million annual profit center given the deal that Angelos negotiated with Major League Baseball once the Washington Nationals were hatched. I wanted to believe he was telling the truth in 2006 but he clearly wasn’t honest and indeed got the “last laugh.”

But I must say my worst fears of where this sick tale was going in 2006 never really factored in the possibility that Mike Flanagan would be committing suicide five years later in the middle of a fifth consecutive last-place season.

But I’m not at all surprised that the team has finished in last place every year since Free The Birds.

And I’ve now spent four full years without a press pass for this last-place debacle and sick civic disgrace while the team’s head of baseball operations runs away from me at public functions when I ask a few questions.

I’ve been asking myself for a month how the Orioles are going to handle this offseason of obvious unparalleled despair. Despite the kid gloves Captain Profit Andy MacPhail has been treated with here by his local media co-workers who are disguised as journalists — his tenure here is now complete and was a large, profitable “MacFailure” .

He’s slithering out of town in the dead of the night after changing exactly NOTHING about the Baltimore Orioles in real terms, other than the profit line. Oh, and there’s the spring training home in Sarasota that was 15 years overdue – and now another publicly-aided profit center — I don’t see anything about the farm system, the future or the current state of the roster that’s appreciably better than before.

I know this much: four years, four last-place finishes. That’s the record. It is what it is.

The whole franchise stinks.

What happens to Buck Showalter is anyone’s guess but word is he’ll be the new poobah in charge of “baseball operations” at 10:07 p.m. after Red Sox playoff magic leaves the Charm City – and all that really means is that he’s the next victim who will make a few million and go back to where he came from (in this case Dallas) a few years later with a tainted resume and some more losses and evenings of angst.

Of course, if he really thinks Angelos is committed to winning a World Series, angst is only the beginning.

Just 13 months ago Showalter said he knew what he was getting into with Angelos

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Nnamdi Asomugha to the Ravens?

Posted on 11 January 2011 by Michael Schwartz

One of the best cornerbacks in the NFL is Nnamdi Asomugha and he will be a free agent in the 2011 free agent market. There are many teams who will want this cornerback and one of which is the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens would love to get a shutdown corner to add to their great defense. This year Asomugha was thrown at 27 times, and only 13 of these were completions. Teams obviously don’t want to throw near him, and if the Ravens got him then they could put him on one side with no safety help and then have Reed on the other side ball hawking. The only thing that will keep him out of Baltimore will be the money; the Ravens generally won’t go out and pay a player 8-10 million a year. Assuming that Asumougha will get paid like Darrelle Revis who just got a 4 year, 32 million dollar contract this year. He will likely make the same amount if not a little more. He deserves the money but the Ravens also have to resign Haloti Ngata who is one of the best if not the best defensive tackle in the NFL. They may resign Todd Heap, but other than that they have guys like Kelly Gregg, Chris Carr, Fabian Washington, T.J Houshmanzadah, and Jarett Johnson. They will likely let Gregg, Housh, and Washington go. They will sign Johnson and Carr for a decent price, but they would still be able to get Asumougha. This would put them over the top as a defense since for the past couple of years; they have wanted to get a good corner. Ozzie will definitely look into getting him but the Ravens will have to beat offers by other teams. If the Ravens could get deep into the playoffs or even the Super Bowl they would have a better chance, since Asumougha has never been in a playoff game. He would be a great accusation and I wouldn’t be surprised if Lewis, Reed, or other Ravens have contacted him and expressed interest.

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Maybe now Cleveland will leave Art Modell alone?

Posted on 09 July 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

I’m not an expert about much but Cleveland is something I know a lot about. As much as I like to have some fun with our cousins to the Midwest – it’s been a healthy rivalry ever since Art Modell stepped foot into Parking Lot D in Nov. 1995 – today a little piece of me is angry for them.

It’s true – anger is to Cleveland what fake breasts and sunshine are to California. People in Cleveland are perennially angry. They hate the Browns. They hate Art Modell. They hate losing. They hate whoever is the quarterback of the Browns. They hate that they haven’t won a championship.

They hate me.

And this morning, for the first time since Modell brought us the Ravens, they have a right to be burning 23 jerseys and “M-F-ing” Lebron James into perpetuity.

Sure, “King James” had the freedom to play wherever he wanted to play. Sure, Miami has prettier girls (although I always had a good time in Cleveland, wink, wink) and more sunshine and Chris Bosh and Dewayne Wade and Pat Riley.

But Cleveland held something intrinsic and legitimate that Lebron James sold away in one sentence last night, something that can’t be bought with a check from South Florida (even if it’s just with the tax money saved and put back into his deep, Ocean Drive pockets).

It’s called authenticity.

Lebron had it the way Cal Ripken had it and Tony Gwynn had it. The way Derek Jeter, despite being an outsider, will always have it in New York and Kobe Bryant will have it in Los Angeles, just like Magic Johnson before him.

But even more so, Lebron James was “one of them.” He was an Akron kid who never left home and created a basketball craze in Cleveland that you’d have to see to believe. There’s a whole city of commerce and bars and jerseys and enthusiasm in a forever depressed and decaying community.

It gave people in Cleveland the most precious commodity that sports provides and one this is sorely lacking in Baltimore regarding baseball: hope.

In my private times with Art Modell, it’s the one thing he always talked about that was essential for any fan of a sport or a franchise. If you have hope, you have something that gets people interested.

I don’t need to tell you that Cleveland has been the armpit of America for years and hope is a wonderful thing for depressed communities.

This is where I should tell you that I really love Cleveland. I’ve gone there religiously for almost 20 years and despite having some of the worst sports fan in country (only contested by Philadelphia, in real terms) I pull for Cleveland to at least not be a doormat.

Cleveland and Baltimore are a lot alike. And it wouldn’t take you a few hours there chatting with the people to see it and feel it.

In my humble opinion, “Cleveland rocks!” (Just don’t tell anybody I said that…)

Cleveland was spurned last night. And they’re angry. And they’re burning jerseys. And they should. Hell, it’s what I’d be doing if I gave my soul to Lebron James and the Cavaliers over the last five years.

For the same reasons we collectively booed Mark Teixeira last Opening Day at Camden Yards, the people of Cleveland will forever hold a special place in their hearts for the anger and outrage of what Lebron James has chosen to do.

Like any other self-interested mega-star who is treated like a “King,” Lebron James eschewed any civic responsibility and chose to abandon his community.

Tsk, tsk…

Most of you know, I used to be a pretty huge NBA fan. The last 10 years I’ve chosen to ignore it and it’s been a fine decade for me. I think the players come off as a bunch of collective douche bags, the games are awful to watch and I have zero interest in the personalities or the standings.

But, this isn’t about Lebron James or basketball or the NBA. This is about doing the right thing. The thing that’s bigger than you. The thing that REALLY makes you “special.”

Lebron James chose selfish. And any 25-year old is allowed that privilege.

But Cal Ripken didn’t run off to the Dodgers. And Tony Gwynn didn’t run off to the Mets.

And they will forever reap the rewards of their “sacrifice.”

Lebron James, the man, will forever be remembered for an absurd evening of a July “Lebronathon” on ESPN where he took every negative stereotype consistent with “Rod Tidwell-ish” behavior and displayed it on worldwide TV and chose THE WRONG PLACE!

There was no Jerry Maguire, no happy landing for this imbecile. Wait’ll that first Christmas Day when the Miami Heat come to Cleveland to play a lunch time game. Just wait…

There will be a price to pay for the rest of eternity for Lebron James, even if he wins seven rings and surpasses Michael Jordan — and only time will tell how that script will be written.

But last night was memorable – for all of the wrong reasons. The NBA jumped the shark for a lot of people last night with that display.

I know I’ll always cheer against him. The Miami Heat are interesting to me because they’ll be my least favorite team in my least favorite sport.

The ultimate price for Lebron James will be that he can never go home again.

Somewhere in Northern Baltimore County Art Modell has felt the weight lifted from him.

Lebron James will be the guy they burn in effigy in Cleveland for the next 20 years.

Maybe Lebron should give Art a call for some advice.

Last night, Cleveland – the city that hates — was given a fresh, new gaping wound that will probably never be healed unless the next Lebron James is on some playground in Parma Heights right now.

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Caps Sweep Penguins, 6-3

Posted on 07 April 2010 by Ed Frankovic

In a game that meant so much more to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Washington Capitals went into the vaunted “Igloo” and despite having to play the Pens and the referees for the 15th straight time, the Caps still managed to come out on top, 6-3. Alexander Ovechkin continued his resurgence just in time for the playoffs notching two goals and he now is tied with Sidney Crosby (1 goal, 2 assists) for the NHL goal scoring lead at 48. Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay is just one goal back. Ovechkin is also tied with Henrik Sedin of Vancouver for the Art Ross Trophy race, at 106 points, pending Vancouver’s late game vs. Colorado. The Capitals won every regular season meeting between these two teams (SWEEEEEPP!) in 2009-10 with all four contests coming since January 21st. Washington now has a staggering 118 points (53-15-12) and will finish the regular season with games against the Thrashers on Friday and Boston on Sunday at the Verizon Center.

Here are the highlights, some quotes from Ovechkin, and analysis from what I hope is the last game ever between the Caps and Pens in Mellon Arena (i.e, I wish the Pens bad luck in the playoffs):

STAT OF THE NIGHT: For the 15th straight game between these two squads, the Caps did not receive more power plays than the Penguins. In fact, in ONLY four of those contests have the number of power plays for each team been even! That is ridiculous and clearly shows an officiating bias. The shots on Tuesday were 29-28, in favor of Pittsburgh, but the Penguins had four power plays to just one for Washington (the Caps scored just 4 seconds into their PP chance on Ovechkin’s first goal). In addition to being shortchanged on power play opportunities, both blind zebras, Greg Devorski and Ian Walsh, missed a nasty elbow by Max Talbot to the head of Alexander Semin (scored his 39th goal of the season and added an assist). The Caps did get a big break though on a quick whistle that negated what would have been a Penguins goal in the second period.

Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom (3 assists), and Mike Knuble (28th goal of the season) had their second straight good game and appear to be heating up for the playoffs. The Great #8 logged 19:12 of ice time while Backstrom played 20:35 with the difference being #19′s 1:25 on the PK. Knuble played 17:33 so Caps Coach Bruce Bourdeau continues to do a good job of not overplaying his top line down the stretch.

“I think that power play goal gave me more [relief]. I had lots chances to score goals the last four games and they didn’t go in.  Finally it goes in and the last 10 minutes I just felt unbelievable ,” said the Great #8, who also praised Crosby’s play, character, and leadership after this one in addition to recognizing the Caps defense and goaltender for super play (“Varly today played unbelievable.”). By the way, Ovechkin’s second marker came into an empty net with just 0.2 seconds remaining.

Semyon Varlamov (26 saves) was very solid tonight and it was hard to fault him on the three goals allowed. The first was a laser by Crosby on the power play after Tyler Sloan gave #87 far too much room coming off of the right wing boards. The middle tally by the Pens was a Jordan Leopold point blast that was heading wide but hit Shaone Morrisonn (-2 on the evening) and bounced right through Varly’s pad while the final Pittsburgh goal was another Leopold rocket after a Caps giveaway. On that shot Morrisonn dove to the ice late and didn’t allow #40 to pick up the shot. The back-to-back wins were the first ones since December 3rd & 7th, right before he started with all of the injuries. Boudreau has to feel very good about where his goaltending is at with just two regular season games remaining. Jose Theodore is on fire again and if he somehow struggles the 2007-08 Jack Adams award winning coach knows he has a surging Varly he can put in the cage as well.

Resiliency was the key word of the night for Washington. First, they lost defenseman John Erskine to a lower body injury (h/t Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post) in the first period and #4 logged only 3:52 of ice time. After that they had to go with just five blue liners. Even more impressive was their ability to respond so quickly to Pittsburgh tallies. After Crosby’s PP marker made it 2-1 at 6:18 of the second period, Tomas Fleischmann scored just 21 seconds later on a wicked top shelf wrister that chased Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury to the showers (9 saves on 12  shots). #29 proceeded to lose it in the tunnel after Coach Dan Bylsma gave him the hook. Then after Leopold put one byVarly just 49 seconds into the third period, Ovechkin responded with his power play rocket by former Capital Brent Johnson (13 saves on 15 shots) just 1:51 later to restore a two goal Washington lead.

Another key tally was Matt Bradley’s 10th of the season with just two minutes left in the second period. That goal, off of a nice passing play with Quintin Laing and Dave Steckel, came after a long stretch where the Pens were dominating play and gave Washington momentum heading into period three.

Jeff Schultz is back. #55, who seems to play his best against the Pens (+12 in last 8 games versus PIT; h/t @JapersRink), was so solid in his own end tying up several Pens around the net all game and earning a +5 for the evening (he leads the NHL at +44, h/t to Corey Masisak). In addition, Sarge added two assists and wasn’t prone to some of the sloppy giveaways he had been making over the last month. Schultz logged 25:00 of ice time to lead all Caps (Tom Poti had 24:55).

Notes: Mike Green was a scratch and apparently is “dinged up” but could have played, if really necessary..El-Bashir is reporting he will play Friday against the Thrashers…Evgeni Malkin (sick) missed the game for the Penguins as did noted head hunter, Chris Kunitz (undisclosed)..Pittburgh won the face-off battle, 29-24, with Backstrom going 8-5, Jay Beagle 7-3, and Fleischmann 3-10. Crosby was 16-12 for the Pens…Karl Alzner was recalled today but was scratched…Kris Letang and Bill Guerin were both -3 for Pittsburgh, who are now two points behind the New Jersey Devils in the race for the Atlantic Division title (NJ defeated ATL, 3-0, on Tuesday night).

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Ovechkin Leads Caps over Penguins, 6-3

Posted on 21 January 2010 by Ed Frankovic

For the first time since May 13, 2009, a blowout loss in game 7 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Verizon Center, the Washington Capitals faced the Pittsburgh Penguins and despite spotting the Pens with an easy early goal (a Jose Theodore giveaway), the Caps carried the play much of the evening against the home Penguins en route to a 6-3 victory. The Capitals, who were tied at three after two periods, struck for three final stanza tallies. Alexander Ovechkin was dominant in this contest with two goals and an assist and he ran his record as Washington Capitals captain to 8-1. The Great #8 showed everyone in the league that he once again is the NHL MVP tonight, not just for his scoring but because of his two way play. Ovie was fantastic in every zone on Thursday night and you could see he really wanted this one. The victory is Washington’s 5th in a row and they are still in first place in the Eastern Conference at 32-12-6.

Let’s get right to the highlights and analysis:

MVP, MVP, MVP: Check out Alexander the Great’s stats tonight: 2 goals, 1 assist, 8 shots on net, 7 hits, and +2 in 20:39 of ice time. Ovechkin set up Mike Knuble for the Caps first goal, which was key after Theo literally gave the Penguins an easy one to take a 1-0 lead, by abusing defenseman Kris Letang and driving hard to the net. The Great #8′s shot bounced off of former Caps goalie Brent Johnson’s pads and #22 banged it home. Ovie then had a power play goal to tie this one at three in the second period and he finished the deal with an empty net goal. He was all over the ice on Thursday night.

Special Teams Perfect, on paper: The Caps power play (2 for 2) was a huge factor in the win as Ovechkin’s tally on the Capitals first man advantage knotted this one up for the third period and then Nicklas Backstrom’s sweet upstairs goal from in close gave Washington an early 5-3 final stanza advantage. On the penalty kill, the Caps were successful on all four Penguins power plays, although Kris Letang’s goal that made it 3-2 for Pittsburgh, was scored one second after rookie John Carlson came out of the penalty box (Carlson was recalled on Thursday morning to replace an injured Mike Green). It was clear that better ice made for improved passing for the Caps on the power play and they really had the Pens on their heels. Conversely, the Penguins had moments where they were very good on the man advantage but Theodore came up big when he had to, especially on Sidney Crosby early in front with the score 1-0. Overall though, Washington did a good job of keeping the Pittsburgh power play on the perimeter.

Goaltending Edge for Washington: Despite Theo’s stick handling gaffe and the bad rebound goal he gave up that resulted in Nik Johnson’s first goal of the season, #60 (35 saves) was fairly solid in the win. He did have a couple of other instances where he did not control the puck well on shots but the key was he compensated for that by making some big stops at critical junctures in the contest. At the other end, with Marc-Andre Fleury out due to a fractured finger, Johnson (28 saves) got the call for the Pens and after a decent start, I did not think Johnny was very good. His biggest mistake was going down and giving up the short side on Backstrom’s power play goal that cemented this one for Washington. To be fair though, one goal that went by him, Eric Fehr’s tally in the second period, was knocked in past him by his own defenesman, Brooks Orpik.

Winning the Draws: The Caps destroyed the Penguins in the faceoff circle, 41-25, and that helped them control the puck for most of this one. Brendan Morrison was a perfect 8-0 from the dot while Tomas Fleischmann was 11-5. Crosby took 30 face-offs and was a pitiful 10-20.

Defense Strong: Washington’s defense was still strong without their ice time and production leader, Green. I thought all three pairings were strong and even though Karl Alzner was -2 and Jeff Schultz -1, they were good together. They each received a minus on Theodore’s blunder early on and they were the pair on at the end of the Pens power play that resulted in Letang’s goal. The ice time was fairly well distributed with Tom Poti leading the way with 22:27 while Tyler Sloan had the fewest minutes, but he still logged 16:32. I thought Washington’s defenders did a good job of stepping up in the neutral zone and at their own blue line to take away the Penguins speed and transition game. Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau was likely proud of his so-called “much maligned” D on Thursday night.

Game Winning Goal: Alexander Semin only played 15:42 but his lone point came on a good defensive play followed by an even better saucer pass that sent Fleischmann in on a breakaway. #14 froze Johnson and beat him upstairs to stun the home Penguins just 2:32 into period three. Flash now has 17 goals in just 39 games this season.

Overall, this was a big win for the Caps on enemy ice. It was clear that Washington wanted this one and had their legs from the get go, unlike Tuesday’s tilt against the Red Wings (Theodore won that game). Earlier in the week Boudreau called the three contests against the Flyers, Detroit, and the Penguins as a measuring stick and with a 3-0 record you have to concede that his Caps rose to the occassion, for the most part. Next up are the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night at the Verizon Center. The Coyotes, who are coached by former Cap Dave Tippett and are led by goalie Ilya Brzgalov, have had a very good season and will be the fourth tough challenge in just seven days. Phoenix is a good hockey team, but they do not have the recent playoff track record like the Flyers, Wings, and Pens, so Ovechkin and company must try to avoid an emotional let down.

That is it for me tonight, sorry for the lack of quotes, but it has been a long day but a good one for me. The Caps victory was the icing on the cake for the Frankovic family this evening as Christian Edward Frankovic was born today at 4:58 pm at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore. Yes, my son is now officially 1-0 against the Pens, have a great night!

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ESPN Fails Again – Names ’04 Trojans Greatest CFB Team of the Decade Ahead of ’01 Canes

Posted on 21 January 2010 by stevenlink

So the “greatest” sports network on the planet announced its “Team of the Decade” for college football.  With so many great teams to choose from, ESPN decided to go with…the 2004 USC Trojans?  I don’t disagree that the ’04 Trojans were an amazing football team, but they were not the greatest of the decade…that title my friends, belongs to the 2001 Miami Hurricanes.

I am not saying this based on my obvious bias towards the Hurricanes, but rather through logic and sound reasoning.  And I am willing to go that extra step and state that the 2001 Miami Hurricanes were probably the greatest collegiate football team of all time.

Normally I do not allow things like this to bother me as much as this one is, however, just imagine if ESPN broadcasted and named the top NFL defense of this past decade the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers.  Would you not be furious that the 2000 Ravens defense was not number 1 but rather a “close” number 2?  Yea, I thought you would agree with me.

Here is the link to ESPN’s article written by Pat Forde: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=4841759

Now I am not a published journalist and I like Pat Forde’s work, but I would have spent a little more than two or three sentences to explain why you chose the rankings for each team.

Not only is it a quick, I guess you call it this, analysis about each team, but the reasoning that is used is flawed.  First of all, the article makes the argument that Miami played an easier team in the BCS Championship, the Nebraska Cornhuskers, than the USC Trojans did, the Oklahoma Sooners.  Forde states that, “The Hurricanes produced an astonishing amount of pro talent and stampeded to a perfect record — but they were also slightly lessened by facing an underwhelming Nebraska team in the 2002 Rose Bowl.”

Last time I checked, neither teams, coaches, nor a playoff determined who would play in the BCS Championship game, but rather 5 computers made the decision at that time.  Isn’t this the same argument that Forde and others at ESPN have complained about for years regarding the BCS, that the BCS is imperfect?  If they complain about how imperfect the system is, then why are they holding this fact against the Hurricanes??  Way to think this all the way through guys and gals.  Sounds like Lou Holtz may have gotten to you…

If you compare the two championship games that USC and Miami played in, both teams dominated their opposition.  Forde states in his analysis of USC’s game against Oklahoma that, “The score was 38-10 at halftime for a USC team that combined dazzling offense…and brutal defense…”  However, does he make mention of Miami’s game at the half?  At halftime in the 2001 BCS Championship game, Miami was leading Nebraska 34-0…34-0!!  The final score was 37-14, but it was not indicative of how purely dominant Miami was on the football field.  Andre Johnson was catching touchdown passes as if he was already at the combine showing off his speed and hands, while Clinton Portis was storming through Nebraska’s defensive line like a fat-kid through a buffet line!!  I mean right there, using that logic, both teams are equal.  The only difference is that Miami turned it off after the half and decided not to run the score up unlike the Trojans.  If Miami wanted to, that score could have been over 60 points by the end of the game…and it is not like Miami did not score 60 plus points that season.

This brings me into my next point, why not also use the regular season to determine the greatest team?  Why just the championship game?  Did the other 11 or 12 games not count?

Below I have laid out the opponents and results for each team.  Notice I have also labeled whether an opponent either Miami or USC faced was ranked at that the time of the match-up.  Before you look, I want you to pay careful attention to the amount of games that Miami and USC won by only single-digits, how many shut-outs each team had, and how many teams Miami and USC faced that were ranked nationally.

2004 USC Trojans:

8/28 – Virginia Tech – W 24-13

9/11 – Colorado State – W 49-0

9/18 – BYU – W 42-10

9/25 – Stanford – W 31-28

10/9 – #7 California – W 23-17

10/16 – #15 Arizona State – W 45-7

10/23 – Washington – W 38-0

10/30 - Washington State – W 42-12

11/6 – Oregon State – W – 28-20

11/13 – Arizona – W 49-9

11/27 – Notre Dame – W 41-10

12/4 – UCLA – W 29-24

BCS Championship 1/4 – Oklahoma – W 55-19

 

2001 Miami Hurricanes

9/1 – Penn State – W 33-7

9/8 – Rutgers – W 61-0

9/27 – Pittsburgh – W 43-21

10/6 – Troy – W 38-7

10/13 – #14 Florida State – W 49-27

10/25 – West Virginia – W 45-3

11/3 – Temple – W 38-0

11/10 – Boston College – W 18-7

11/17 – #14 Syracuse – W 59-0

11/24 – #12 Washington – W 65-7

12/1 – #14 Virginia Tech – W 26-24

BCS Championship 1/3 – #4 Nebraska – W 37-14

 

As you can see, Miami clearly had the more dominant regular season.  The Canes’ defense shut out opponents three times to USC’s two.  Miami played 5 ranked teams while USC played only 3.  And most importantly, USC had to win 4 games by single digits while Miami had to only win 1!!  Uno!!  That right there shows dominance!!  Plus, did you notice how Miami scored over 60 points not just once, but twice that year?

Now to the players…  Again, I do not disagree that USC had players that were very good in college, but comparing them to the players and product that the 2001 Hurricanes churned out, is nothing to compare.  However, I am going to compare because I want to prove my point even more.

The article spouts off about some great players on the Trojans.  On offense: Matt Leinhart, Reggie Bush, LenDale White, Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith, Ryan Kalil, Duece Lutui.  On defense: Lawrence Jackson, Mike Patterson, Shaun Cody, and Lofa Tatupu.

Sure these kids were good in college, but when they got into the NFL, almost all of them earned the mark of being OVER-RATED.  How many are Pro Bowlers and how many are NFL stars?  Let’s go one-by-one shall we?

Matt Leinhart – He got drafted in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals and was suppose to be their young savior.  The Cardinals bring in the ever-ageless Kurt Warner to back-up Leinhart and teach him how to be a NFL quarterback.  But wait, who is starting for the Cardinals now?  Who was the quarterback that took them to their first ever Super Bowl appearance?  Was it USC’s Leinhart???  Nope, it would be the back-up they brought in who out-performed Leinhart in almost every aspect of the game…Leinhart = Over-rated

Reggie Bush – Not only is he still under investigation regarding the alleged NCAA violations he broke while at USC, but who would have thought that the most electrifying running-back (RB) in college football would be the second-string RB on the New Orleans Saints?  The fact that he is known more for his punt and kick-off returns in the NFL rather than his RB skills and prowess, is embarrasing enough.  Also, the kid can’t stay healthy…Reggie Bush = Overrated

LenDale White – Okay, so he had one good season, but he’s still a dud.  He is a not a starter and will not be a starter anywhere else.  Even after he lost those 30 pounds or something this past offseason he still can’t outrun a 340 pount defensive lineman…

Steve Smith – Congrats Mr. Smith…after about 3 years or so in the NFL you have finally emerged as a legitimate wide-receiver.  Some thought it would never happen.  I still think you should credit Mr. Manning for how he used you as his safety net.

Dwayne Jarrett – You’re kidding me right?  Anyone reading this blog know what team this guy plays for??  If you guessed the Carolina Panthers, then you know your NFL.  He was drafted to replace Mushin Mohammed who left the Panthers for the Bears.  After Mushin’s contract was up with the Bears, the Panthers quickly brought him back because Jarrett has been a complete bust.  Dwayne Jarrett = Overrated

Ryan Kalil, Duece Lutui??  Need I go any further with two players that 90% of NFL fans have never heard of?

And now for the amazing defense…  Out of the list of names listed, only one has made a semi-name for himself and that is Tatupu.  Don’t tell any Seahawk fans this, but he is an overrated Middle-Linebacker who does not have the strength or speed to be dominant in the NFL.  Does anyone know what teams Lawrence Jackson, Mike Patterson, or Shaun Cody play for?  If you do, please report that information to the USC Booster Club as they have been missing.

This is just an utter travesty to place this team before the Miami Hurricanes of 2001.  If you were to match up the 2001 Canes versus the 2004 Trojans, I guarantee that the 2001 Canes would win.  And if there was not the pass-interference call in the 2002 BCS Championship game against Miami (that was an improper flag) Miami would have won that Championship and should also be ahead of the 2004 Trojans.  I digress…

Here is a list of players that played on Miami’s 2001 team and that are so well-known, that I do not need to list and explain them like I had to with the Trojans.

Clinton Portis (WAS), Jeremy Shockey (NO), Andre Johnson (HOU), Kellen Winslow Jr. (TB), Bryant McKinnie (MIN), Jerome McDougle (PHI), William Joseph (NYG), Vince Wilfork (NE), D.J. Williams (DEN), Jonathan Vilma (NO), Phillip Buchanan (DET), Sean Taylor (R.I.P.)…and last but not least ED “The Real Deal” REED!!!  Oh…I think he plays for the Baltimore Ravens.  And I could go on, but I have decided not to…

This blog has gone on long enough…but this is just outrageous!  It once again proves that ESPN knows nothing about sports, other than how to televise them.

The 2001 Miami Hurricanes are by far the greatest team of the past decade, and are arguably the greatest team ever assembled in the history of collegiate football.  How about them apples Lou Holtz?!?!? HAHA!!

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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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It’s about time for Dave Trembley to go…

Posted on 01 July 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Being on the radio every day over the years I’ve had the sad fortune to listen to more than my fair share of “fire the manager/coach” calls from knee-jerk reactionaries on a mission to be a public “coach killer.” In general, it’s just not my style to call for the firing of a skipper.

In fact in my 17 years on the radio – from Johnny Oates to Davey Johnson, from Phil Regan to Sam Perlozzo, from Mike Hargrove to Lee Mazzilli – I’ve never gone on the air in any fashion and said, “Fire the manager.”

(Not even for Mazzilli, who was such a freaking train wreck that it was reprehensible.)

But, today, I’m strongly toying with the idea that it might be getting close to the time for Dave Trembley to exit.

I’ve watched the first three months of the 2009 version of the Orioles.

They lack consistency in virtually every aspect of the game. They even lack consistent effort, Tuesday night’s miracle notwithstanding. They’re in dead last place and going nowhere anytime soon.

They run the bases like Jeff Stone on certain nights. The mental mistakes and ill-placed errors are maddening at times. But, for me, the worst part of watching the games are the bizarre strategic maneuvers of Dave Trembley and the failure for many of them to ever be properly explained to the fans. Of course, when the Orioles and Peter Angelos summarily ban “free speech” and access to legitimate journalists to ask questions of the manager, it’s made all but impossible to get answers about anything. It’s the “Oriole Way” handed down from ownership.

But on most nights, a somber and sullen Trembley appears before the local “firing squad” of team-employed “journalists” and co-workers and submits a dreadful 10-minute dirge that feels more like a root canal for the fans than a discussion about baseball strategy. And that’s when the Orioles WIN!

I’ve had Dave Trembley on my show before, a few years ago at spring training. I honestly don’t remember much about it but I found a picture of it last year. As I remember, he was relatively uptight even on a midday February afternoon in Fort Lauderdale. It was a Joe Friday-style interview.

But watching him react to the questions every night from a frightened room of my
“colleagues” is only second on the “Are you kidding me?” list to watching MASN’s often-comical dialogue in the middle of the games on “Wired Wednesday.” He hates talking about the game or letting the fans feel “into” the game. Recruiting the community is the furthest thing from his mind. (And none of the fools or cowards in the Orioles P.R. department have apparently issued a memo in his direction that he’s talking TO THE FANS when he makes the bitter-beer face. You know, the people who actually pay the bills? The ones their marketing department is trying to get to come down and fill the seats and drink beer…)

He’s absolutely equally joyless in victory or defeat, as witnessed twice in less than 18 hours after talking about the biggest comeback in the history of the franchise and the subsequent devastating loss this afternoon to the Red Sox after he pulled Brad Bergesen from the game in the 8th inning.

Sure, the pitching is subpar and that’s not his fault. The youthful, streaky hitting makes his win-loss record look acceptable when it’s going well, which hasn’t been much lately. Let’s face it: the team has last place talent in the only place that matters — the little hill in the middle of the diamond.

And, I’m not an unreasonable fan. I’ve known every Baltimore manager and sports coach of this generation very well and my business partner is a decorated NFL head coach. From Gene Ubriaco to Kenny Cooper to Terry Murray to Barry Trotz to Ted Marchibroda to all of the college basketball and football and soccer coaches – I’ve dined with them, drank with them, rapped with them and ultimately learned from all of them.

I’m a coach-lover, not a hater.

Some of my best friends on the planet are current and former coaches in a variety of sports. I love coaches. I respect smart people. There’s a craft to their management and intellect that I know I don’t personally possess. I’ve learned more from sports coaches as a reporter and journalist than I’ve ever learned anywhere in life. I’ve been “taken in” by some of the best coaches in the business all over the country.

I know pretty intimately what managers and head coaches go through and it ain’t easy. There’s a lot of pressure, a lot of personalities and egos and a variety of different ownership and management styles.

I’m not some knucklehead on a bar stool when it comes to this subject matter. I don’t write about this stuff to be inflammatory or directive. But it’s my job to opine and this is my opinion:

I would be actively seeking a new manager.

There are defenses for Trembley and his supporters will illuminate them.

We are talking about a lot of young players on the roster, some who are emerging and slumping at various speeds and degrees. I know – trust me I KNOW – he was doomed to last place with the hand he was dealt and the garden variety of Triple A and washed-up pitchers he’s had to pencil into the starting rotation most nights this season.

It’s not the manager’s fault when a starting pitcher can’t get out of the first inning, which happened twice in one weekend recently.

It’s not about any “one” incident, although today’s hook on Bergesen and the resulting embarrassing loss that leveled Tuesday night’s enthusiasm is Exhibit A. His decision, even moreso than the arsonist effort by Jim Johnson and George Sherrill today, cost the team the game.

The biggest question now is the future. My only question now for Andy McPhail and this ownership is this: “Who will be the manager of the team when the Orioles actually win again?”

(That is, assuming all of the orange Kool Aid drinkers are correct and the team is capable of winning 95 games in 2011. A large, suspect assumption at any rate but let’s go with a “best case” scenario.)

I can all but assure you that Dave Trembley is not the answer to above question. And for that reason, I think the search has either begun or will begin very shortly.

He’s the first Oriole manager that I’ve never had direct access to speak with in a generation. So, I don’t know how he’d react to me but I assure you there would be some quality questions after some of these losses. If they ever issued me a press pass it wouldn’t take long for them to take it away if I started asking Trembley some legitimate questions after games.

Instead of being intimidated I’d be emboldened on live TV every night because this is where you show what you’re really about. Most people are great winners but I don’t even sense any fun or joy when they win, which is really a shame because they don’t win that much!

It’s the worst and coldest part of the franchise at this point watching Trembley brood every night and be evasive, almost “Angelosian.” It’s really weird given their marketing platform of defining moments and joy in “Birdland.”

It’s a time when as a Baltimore sports fan (which is all I am at this point with my press pass revoked for speaking and writing the truth) there’s genuinely a lot to be excited about as the team comes together. The fans are more excited than they’ve been in years because we have some young players with genuine upside. Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts, Luke Scott, Nolan Reimold, Matt Wieters and Brad Bergesen could just as easily be Eddie Murray, Ken Singleton, Rich Dauer, Gary Roenicke, John Lowenstein, Rick Dempsey and Mike Boddicker when you think about it.

They all seem like “right” guys and they’re really kinda easy to pull for every night.

Honestly, I think this group could be winning more games if the team were better managed and led. And they certainly could be recruiting the community and ca$hing in on the excitement with a leader who was a little more inspirational and less confrontational and gloomy.

The team has been in dead last place for virtually every breath of his tenure as the team’s manager and NO ONE in the room of media “executioners” he meets with every night on live television has EVER crossed him, called him out or asked a question that was unfair or even remotely confrontational. He just comes off like an arrogant ass every night and the business side of me and the Baltimore side of me kinda cringes.

Geez, it’s baseball. Everyone watching a simple press conference after the game LOVES baseball and LOVES the Orioles (even after 12 years of insolence and ineptitude) and just wants to know what’s going on with the team.

How freaking hard is it to answer a few questions and be honest and polite with the fans/customers/sheep. The press conference ISN’T for the press — it’s for THE FANS!

Despite my continued outrage at the practices and principals of this Fascist ownership group, I still love baseball. I still love the Orioles. Really I love Baltimore more than the Orioles but one day they’ll actually be merged again. And I still watch the games every night hoping that “tonight” will be the beginning of some kind of run that will bring the Birds to relevancy, if not a championship.

I suppose I’m a little jaded because I’ve essentially BEEN the guy in that room asking questions for 25 of my 40 years on the planet. At sporting events all over the world in every category you can imagine. So, this is my ONLY access to know what’s going on. Your “lens” is the same as mine.

And I don’t like what I see.

On the field. In the press conferences. In the community. And with the results, which are a lot of losses.

Seriously, if you could pick anyone on the planet to be the manager of the Orioles right now, would that guy be Dave Trembley? I’ve been watching his managerial strategies and style over the past two years. I’ve seen enough.

I don’t think the franchise will win with him. I think his direness is unattractive. I think his managerial strategies are questionable and illogical in some cases. And I can’t think for a second some of the younger guys in the clubhouse have any “relationship” with him that inspires them on a nightly basis.

A change is a’coming, I think. It might not happen now for a variety of reasons, among them:

1.    Firing a manager in midseason is a messy endeavor, even when you are in last place

2.    Finding the “right” manager is a search onto itself and easier to perform in the offseason and perhaps you’ll get better candidates

3.    Doing the interim tag can be inspirational for the right guy but could involve a revolving door that’s unnecessary

4.   Does anyone worthwhile really want to take this job? (Joe Girardi certainly ran like hell 24 months ago but perhaps some of the personnel upgrades and minor-league pitching prospects would make the franchise more attractive.)

Who knows? Maybe Andy McPhail is enamored with Trembley. If that’s the case – and McPhail didn’t hire Trembley as much as inherit him – I’d be utterly shocked.

And if Trembley’s not “his man” long term, he should begin the search for a successor immediately because at this point I feel like they’re wasting time and relationship and energy with Trembley.

My good sense says they’re not going to win with him.

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Orioles: Shut out, swept & headed home on 5-game losing streak

Posted on 07 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Bad pitching has become a hallmark of the 2009 Orioles but this weekend’s bizarre meltdown in Oakland has solidified the basement in the AL East for the Orioles who have a lot of problems coming back to face the Mariners here at Camden Yards on Tuesday.

Today, Rich Hill didn’t make it out of the first inning, walking four and hitting another Athletic en route to a three-run first inning that held up for the duration in a 3-0 loss to complete the sweep at the hands of the A’s.

Strangely enough, the A’s only had two hits yet still manhandled the Orioles despite amazing relief pitching from Brian Bass, Matt Albers and Jim Johnson who were nearly perfect.

The Orioles are now 24-33 and deeper in the basement than they’ve been in a while at 9.5 games back.

Some lowlights:

The Orioles offense managed just five hits off of Vin Mazzaro today. They scored just five runs in Oakland and surrendered 18 runs on the weekend.

Matt Wieters (0-for-4 today), who created mass hysteria and a one-weekend run on the orange box office last weekend, is now officially “slumping” in his big-league debut. He’s 4-for-28 and hitting .143.

Adam Jones was the leadoff hitter today as Brian Roberts got the day off and Jones got a pair of hits raising his average to .346. I’ve gotta say it was strange seeing Robert Andino and Ty Wigginton as the keystone today. And then there was Oscar Salazar at first base.

The Orioles have Monday off and return to Camden Yards on Tuesday with Brad Bergesen (2-2, 4.64) facing Jason Vargas(2-0, 1.93).

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Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy: Birds give finale away in 3-2 loss to Seattle

Posted on 04 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

While we’re all drinking the orange Kool Aid these days in hopes of “better days ahead,” it’s losses like last night’s in Seattle that keep anyone who appreciates good baseball scratching our heads in disgust. After a series of boneheaded baserunning blunders and mental mistakes, the Orioles finally succumbed to the Mariners in a 3-2 loss at Safeco Field when Adrian Beltre hit a seeing-eye single past Cesar Izturis off Jim Johnson in the 9th inning to win the game.

Aubrey Huff – allegedly a veteran – not only got picked off of third base by Mariners catcher Rob Johnson in the sixth inning to kill a rally but was also caught stealing in the ninth to thwart any chance of a go-ahead run. To his credit, Huff faced the music afterward, telling The Sun: “There’s no reason to get picked off right there. That’s just a stupid rookie mistake by a veteran guy. It can’t happen. There’s no reason for me to be off the base that much. If Wieters gets a hit, I’m scoring anyway. It was really, really stupid.”

At least he’s showing some accountability for his losing behavior.

Perhaps sometime soon someone will ask Dave Trembley why the team insists on “hit and run” situations with the game on the line?

But aside from the general lack of offensive production and oppotunity, there were plenty of goats to go around in the Pacific Northwest. Nolan Reimold also got caught stealing earlier in the game and the situational hitting has been non-existent. Matt Wieters hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded early in the game and Brian Roberts is now mired in an 0-for-17 slump heading into Oakland for tomorrow’s series with the A’s.

So how bad has the offense been since Friday night’s “Matt Messiah” game?

The Orioles have stranded what few runners they’ve had over the past week and have scored only five runs in 27 innings in Seattle and were 2-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Add in the weekend brilliance of the Detroit staff and they’ve now scored only five runs in their past 39 innings and have scored three or fewer runs in 9 of the past 19 games.

Hitting slumps are acceptable. Mental mistakes are not.

Trembley, who is usually dour even when the team wins, looked downright distraught last night during a terse post-game press conference because he knows this was a very winnable game that got away.

The whole team might want to hit the cage in Oakland with outfielder Luke Scott, who continued his torrid pace with a home run in the second inning and an RBI double in the sixth. He’s now registered five home runs this week while no one else on the Birds has hit a homer since last Friday.

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