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

Posted on 28 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

Nestor and Mini Bob

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

Here’s an example:

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

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

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

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

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Rice says Broncos earned victory in Denver

Posted on 06 September 2013 by WNSTV

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Flacco describes mechanics of Mile High Miracle TD pass to Jacoby Jones

Posted on 12 January 2013 by WNSTV

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Ray Lewis says he’s never been affected by altitude in Denver

Posted on 10 January 2013 by WNSTV

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Blame the Mayans? The purple sky is falling in Baltimore…

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

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Flacco: “I made a mistake…there’s no other way to put it”

Posted on 16 December 2012 by WNSTV

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Ed Reed: “I’m embarrassed”

Posted on 16 December 2012 by WNSTV

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

Posted on 09 February 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

Dear John & Pop:

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

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

And I like Jim Irsay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Peyton Manning speaks out in Indy on injury, Irsay & Eli

Posted on 31 January 2012 by WNSTV

Nestor and a band of Indianapolis media corner Peyton Manning at the Media Center this afternoon:

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Navy Announces 2011 Football Recruiting Class

Posted on 30 June 2011 by WNST Staff

ANNAPOLIS, Md.-Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo released the names of the 2011 Navy football recruits on Thursday evening as 52 prospects representing 16 states went through induction ceremonies and began plebe summer.

“We are very excited about the group we have coming in this year,” said Niumatalolo. “If they work hard and do the things they are supposed to do in Bancroft Hall, in the classroom, in the weight room and on the practice field they have a chance to be a part of something special.”

The state of Florida produced the most prospects with eight, while six incoming recruits hail from Texas.  Georgia, Tennessee and California produced five prospects each.

Navy football season tickets are currently on sale at the Ricketts Hall Box Office, by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY or by logging on to the web at www.navysports.com. Navy opens the 2011 campaign on Sept. 3 against Delaware.  The Mids will play five games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium this fall, including an Oct. 1 date with Air Force, and will play host to Army at FedExField in Landover, Md.

NAVY FOOTBALL CLASS OF 2015
Name                          Position            Hgt.            Wgt.            Hometown/High School
Kody Akers                QB                   5-10            190            Delaware, Ohio/Rutherford Hayes
Colin Amerau             PK                    6-2            185            Alexandria, Va./Mount Vernon
Adrian Barnaby                        DL                    6-1            275            Deltona, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy
DJ Beard                        DB                        6-0            180            McDonough, Ga./Ola
Pablo Beltran              P/K                   6-2            200            Humble, Texas/Atascocita
Jimmy Britton                        DB                        6-2            210            Togers, Ark./Heritage
Greg Bryant Jr.                        QB                   6-2            185            Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt
Allen Caldwell                        DL                        6-3            250            Crestview, Fla./Crestview
Joe Cardona                        LS                    6-3            200            El Cajon, Calif./Granite Hills
Ruben Carson              SB                    5-8            170            Hoover, Ala./Hoover
Noah Copeland                        FB                    5-10            205            San Antonio, Texas/Brandeis
Kyle Cregge              OL                    6-2            279            Alpharetta, Ga./Milton
Aaron Davis                DL                    6-0            265            Manvel, Texas/Dawson
Jordan Drake                        OLB                        6-4            210            Douglasville, Ga./Chapel Hill
Brendan Dudeck             QB                   6-0            188            Hamilton Square, N.J./The Hun School
Chris Ferguson                        DB                   6-2            195            Angier, N.C./West Johnson
Tanner Fleming                        OL                    6-2            260            Deltona, Fla./Deltona
Parrish Gaines                        DB                        6-2            185            Smyrna, Tenn./Smyrna
Daniel Godkin              DL                    6-4            230            Las Vegas, Nev./Palo Verde
Bradyn Heap                 OL                    6-3            265            South Jordan, Utah/Bingham
John Hendrick                        QB                        6-1            185            Tampa, Fla./Sickles
Sam Holguin                        WR                        6-3            195            Pacific Palisades, Calif./Saint Monica
Dale Howard             DL                    6-0            275            Baxley, Ga./Appling County
George Jamison             DB                   6-0            190            Memphis, Tenn./Evangelical Christian
Chris Johnson                        OLB                        6-1            205            Cape Coral, Fla./Cape Coral
Eric Johnson             SB                    5-10            185            Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt
James King                 WR                  6-2            195            Orinda, Calif./Miramonte
Anthony Lewis                OLB                 6-0            210            Salt Lake City, Utah/Cottonwood
Carrington Lewis             OLB                 6-3            197            Helena, Ala./Pelham
Marcus Lewis                SB                    5-8            170            Cape Coral, Fla./North Fort Myers
Austin Marshall                        OL                    6-3            300            Rossville, Tenn./Evangelical Christian
Isaiah McElrath                        DL                    6-2            280            Milton, Fla./Pace
Brice Musgrove                        DL                    5-11            275            Cedar Hill, Texas/Cedar Hill
Chris Nurthen             DL                    6-3            226            Phoenixville, Pa./Great Valley
Nate Otto                        OL                    6-2            265            Houston, Texas/Clear Lake
Togasii Peko                        DB                        6-0            177            Henderson, Nev./Bishop Gorman
Maika Polamalu                        FB                        6-0            200            Pottstown, Pa./Pottsgrove
AJ Pouncy              DB                   6-1            190            Humble, Texas/Atascocita
Paul Quessenberry            DL                    6-2            230            Carlsbad, Calif./LaCosta Canyon
Lonnie Richardson            DB                   5-11            195            Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven
Vinny Rider                DL                    6-4            260            Athens, Ohio/Athens
Dan Ring                        DL                        6-2            270            Lighthouse Point, Fla./Cardinal Gibbons
Shakir Robinson                        DB                        5-10            190            Brunswick, Ga./Brunswick
Quinton Singleton            FB                    6-0            190            Manning, S.C./Scotts Branch
Will Strauss              OL                    6-5            245            Brentwood, Calif./Heritage
Josh Tate                        DB                   5-11            180            Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood
David Thurston                        LB                    6-1            225            Broomfield, Colo./Arvada West
Obinna Uzoma                        OLB                        6-3            215            Wake Forest, N.C./Knightdale
Kody West                 QB                   6-2            195            Murfreesboro, Tenn./Riverdale
Geoffrey Whiteside            SB                    5-10            177            Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Hartley
Ryan Williams                        SB                    5-8            170            Helena, Ala./Pelham
Jake Zuzek               OL                    6-0            290            Brookhaven, Pa./West Philadelphia Catholic

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