Tag Archive | "MASN"

It’s time for a WNST “report card” & we need your help!

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It’s time for a WNST “report card” & we need your help!

Posted on 19 September 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

As the owner and C.E.O. of WNST.net since 1998, I believe the most important trust in running Baltimore’s longest-running sports information company is listening to the needs of the marketplace.

It’s the fans of the Orioles, Ravens, Terps, Caps and other issues of Baltimore sports concern that put us in business and keep us growing and healthy in 2012.

As has been our custom over the past two decades, I’m always available to receive emails at nasty@wnst.net concerning any issue at WNST.net. (Or as Peter Angelos famously lied to me in 1997: “I’m a very available individual…”)

Today, I’m asking you to give me a report card on how we’re doing here at WNST. We’d sincerely appreciate an honest appraisal of the way you use Baltimore sports media in 2012 and the way you view WNST.net, our competitors and, hopefully, some helpful suggestions on ways we could improve what we’re doing.

As an incentive, we’ll take one lucky winner and a friend to exotic Cleveland, Ohio for a weekend of football and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in November on our WNST Purple Football Roadtrip, courtesy of Jiffy Lube.

 

 

 

And we’ll never sell or share your information. So, take a few minutes if you can and perhaps you’ll be our big winner!

TAKE THE 2012 GREAT BALTIMORE SPORTS MEDIA REPORT CARD HERE

Do we suck? Are we awesome? What are we missing? How can we better service you? What do our competitors do that you like? What do you love about WNST? What do you dislike about WNST?

Every two years we do a major survey to gauge how we’re doing. But the media world changes and evolves at a frightening speed in 2012 with mobile devices, tablets and the instant distribution of thoughts, news, observations and information.

Many, many things have changed in the Baltimore sports media scene since I began working at The News American in January 1984. As a kid who saw that hot metal type line up on newsprint and then watched and learned at The Sun from 1986-1992 to doing sports radio locally and nationally, I’ve picked up many hints and plenty of help along the way to create a company that is boldly local, proudly independent and enduringly honest.

I’ve dedicated my entire life to Baltimore sports and to the journalism, information and analysis that goes with it. This is the only thing I’ve ever done with my life and I want WNST.net to be the best and biggest media company in the marketplace.

We want to be the media organization that serves you the best. Unlike our “small” AM radio signal, you can now take WNST.net everywhere in the world you go…

We’re always looking for a deeper level of engagement with the fans we already have via Baltimore sports. And more so than any other voice on the internet bringing you Baltimore sports reaction and analysis, we are striving for perfection and your attention at WNST.net.

In the old days, you had to go to your radio to get your WNST fix. Now, via mobile devices, we’re in your pocket everywhere you go, every hour of the day.

We’re hoping to connect with you in a more meaningful way and to better serve Baltimore sports fans as mobile grows and your tastes evolve. Over 21 years of doing radio and now almost 15 years of WNST as an entity, we’d like to strengthen our relationship with Ravens, Orioles, Terps, Caps, lacrosse and local high school programs.

Unlike morning shows with guys from New York and Boston and “experts” from the Washington suburbs and parts of upper Michigan and St. Louis, the crew at WNST.net is always local and has lived the history of Baltimore sports.

Now we’re asking you: has WNST.net done a good job of this?

Judging from every measurement we can find on the internet – Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics, reaction to our posts and opinions, we’re doing a damned fine job.

But we can always be better.

This is where you come in…

In our market, quite frankly, it’s been about authenticity and credibility.

WNST builds our audience through quality programming, content and distribution. And then we build relevance for local marketers and businesses who keep us in business because of your support of their sponsorship of our programming and information.

When you support a WNST sponsor you directly affect our ability to improve and keep bringing you the best Baltimore’s best sports coverage divinely possible.

So, as Bruce Springsteen might say, bring on your Wrecking Ball and give us some feedback. We’re thick-skinned. Any constructive criticism or feedback is always welcome at WNST.net.

Once again, here’s a link to our report card and survey

 

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Moose memories and “Welcome Home” for wise deserter of Birdland

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Moose memories and “Welcome Home” for wise deserter of Birdland

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

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The Orioles Peter Angelos and the Machiavellian Theorem

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The Orioles Peter Angelos and the Machiavellian Theorem

Posted on 15 August 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

With each passing day and each Orioles win the team’s chances at actual playoff qualification are becoming more and more realistic. Given the previous decade and a half or so of Orioles baseball, as fans now find themselves on the precipice of the success that they’ve been pining for, it would seem almost a given that fans would be coming out in droves to see the spectacle that has become winning Orioles baseball. That however, at least until now, hasn’t been the case.

We’ve been talking for months, as the team continues to exceed any reasonable expectations, about when the fans could and would begin to truly “buy in” and when they’d back up that faith with their attendance at the ballpark. Yet here we sit, in the latter stages of a legitimate playoff chase, and still the ballpark sits empty.

 

Maybe it’s time we looked a little deeper at how we arrived here in order to understand how we can all begin to move forward.

 

In his Masterpiece “The Prince” Niccolo Machiavelli lays out some political ideals that have not only stood the test of time and that remain viable in modern political theory, but also may have given Orioles ownership the blueprint by which they’ve been operating throughout the Peter Angelos regime.

 

One of the most popular and debated Machiavellian questions arising from “The Price” is the question of whether it’s better to be loved or feared. Machiavelli suggests that while being loved is nice (I paraphrase), it is fear that stirs the hearts of men and keeps them in line. People will turn on those that they love when the going gets tough, but with fear comes the expectation of hardship, and that more than anything compelled by love will cause men to think twice before crossing their benevolent leaders.

 

During the early Angelos years, the owner operated the club like a fan would, bringing in high caliber baseball architects to build his club, giving them the authority and financial means to do their work and although at times still overbearing (rulers still have to remain the boss) Angelos, in comparison to previous regimes, was easy for fans to endorse and (dare I say?) love.

 

As the 1997 season wound down however and fans became disenchanted with the team, they weren’t shy about voicing their displeasure over everything from the crowds that now filled the stadium (wine and cheese) to the talent brought in to do the job (mercenaries). Fans complained about everything from the aging talent, to the misguided leadership of the club, to the seemingly preferential treatment given to Cal Ripken Jr. to the length of the speech that the owner gave on the night Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games record. Love indeed didn’t keep the fans from turning (at least in word) on the team and its owner.

 

That love didn’t compel the fans either to consider the plight of the Orioles when the city gave a far cushier deal to the Browns to relocate to Baltimore and become the Ravens, it didn’t compel fans to stand together with Angelos in his battle against the teams cable outlet or against Major League Baseball to keep the Expos out of DC. The goodwill built by the owner, with the fans, didn’t seem to serve him at all once the going got tough for the Orioles. Nor did the goodwill built by the owner toward his players (in taking care of them financially and in standing by them during baseball’s strike/lockout or in siding with a star player during a battle with his manager) serve him well when other teams came waving bigger checks, better chances to win or opportunities to play with their family members.

 

Maybe the 1993-2000 chapters of Orioles baseball did prove to Angelos that it was better to be feared than to be loved. It also seems that it’s cheaper, easier and more profitable too.

 

At that time it also likely became apparent to Angelos that he’d have some dirty work to do, and that no matter how he elected to run the franchise from that point forward, there was little the fans, the city, the league or anyone else could do about it. Angelos could (and arguably did) tear down the magnificent franchise he had helped to build and polish and in the process remind fans that not only was he the boss, but also that whatever he decided to do, he could do, and that everyone would simply have to accept it. Angelos laid the groundwork for fear. The fear that he could and would run this franchise in any way that he saw fit, from a competitive standpoint that he could and would be willing to run them into the ground, and that those who didn’t like it had no recourse.

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Season of “Moneyball” begins for Angelos, Duquette, Buck & Orioles of 2012

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Season of “Moneyball” begins for Angelos, Duquette, Buck & Orioles of 2012

Posted on 13 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

The second half of the Baltimore Orioles’ re-awakening 2012 season is about to begin and the local baseball fans are a bit befuddled by it all.

As a Baltimore sports fan, I’m never allergic to exciting wins and a 12-game over .500 start to any baseball season. We’ve seen a manager who not only channels Earl Weaver in his size, stature and mannerisms but also with shrewd use of role players and borderline big leaguers. It’s been three months of watching guys who are trying hard no matter who is called up from Norfolk or who hits the disabled list. We’ve witnessed the blossoming of a true superstar in Adam Jones, who signed a record contract in mid-May against all previous precedent given by the Angelos family.

And, for the first time since 1997, this version of the Baltimore Orioles has stirred fans’ awareness – if not necessarily their emotions or beliefs – that this could be a dog-days-of-summer presentation that will bare watching as the fellows in the purple sweaters practice in Owings Mills in two weeks.

But here’s the problem: the 2012 Baltimore Orioles roster — as currently assembled on July 13th — is either in parts of tatters, simply unproven or just flat-out stinks.

I’ve been watching baseball for 40 years and I can’t think of any situation that compares to this.

The 2012 Baltimore Orioles are 45-40, now just five games over .500. However, if the season ended today they’d be in the playoffs. It’s officially the second half of the season – I watched the All-Star Game on Tuesday night even if none of the rest of you did – and the Orioles have a legitimate chance to play at least one postseason baseball game in October.

In the new Bud Selig fantasy world of more October baseball and profit, the Orioles are truly contenders in a way we couldn’t have imagined in March and haven’t seen since the Clinton administration. And no one else in the American League East looks to be galvanized to go on a tear, either.

Meanwhile the young guns of Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter are all in Norfolk after repeated self-inflicted shots into the bleachers after a series of “Ball Ones” and long, hot innings of ineffectiveness and blown leads.

The now-rested bullpen will attempt to continue to atone for the sins of the many failed starts over the past eight weeks.

The offense is in tatters. Despite the trade for a post-40 Jim Thome – yet another acquisition a player who is in the December of his career ala Sammy Sosa and Vladimir Guerrero — the Orioles are at least making some attempt to get to October after such an encouraging start.

Will Brian Roberts be a factor in the second half? Is Nick Markakis fully healed from his hamate bone injury? Can J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters provide more offense in the second half? Is Xavier Avery a star or just another so-so-outfielder from the Orioles’ depth chart?

There are far more questions than answers heading into the second season of baseball.

The Orioles have been irrelevant for 15 years. This year it appears we’ll have the first-ever Ravens’ training camp opening where the orange team will be the ones making summer headlines.

Will they trade? Who will they trade? What will they get?

One thing we know: trades for legitimate pitchers and hitters who can help the Orioles will not only cost some prospects but will involve large sums of money to pay these proven

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Here’s what your local “sports media personality” needs to know in 2012

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Here’s what your local “sports media personality” needs to know in 2012

Posted on 15 June 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

It was so much easier when I was growing up, this sports media thing. First, you learned how to write and then you went to some journalism or “communications” college or university, you did an internship and then sent resumes out and you got your dream job and lived happily ever after.

And maybe you got a gold watch if you hung around at the newspaper or TV station for 25 years or more?

Here at WNST.net this summer, we’re extending an open offer to any Baltimore sports fan who wants to be the next Baltimore Sports Media Superstar via our competition. All of the info is here…

The harsh reality of media and new media in 2012 is that it’s an all-encompassing commitment of time, experience and continuing education that makes a local personality or entity relevant as breaking news, information, analysis and the games themselves fly by in real time with your mobile device with you at all times.

And that’s just the content side.

Here’s a speech I gave to a Loyola Sports Marketing class in May 2012. This is Part 1 in a series about my current thoughts on the state of Baltimore sports media and the industry as a whole:

If you can’t sell your own personal brand – by bringing in audience, engaging them, adding value to their life experience and adding expertise or analysis that people care about – you will NOT be successful in the new media world.

If no cares to be your audience – or in this era that would be “opt in” or “follow” or “subscribe” — then no one will be available to stimulate the commerce necessary that ultimately will pay your salary via local sponsorship dollars..

In the old days it was easy – there were three TV channels, a few radio stations and a newspaper or two. Whoever the local program director or editor hired was all that the public got and all that you’d ever get from the “inside” of a sports team. The competition for those scarce jobs and the outstanding pay via expensive local television news ads fueled by automotive dealers and local advertisers was all coveted. And the public in Baltimore essentially had three choices for the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news – WBAL, WMAR and WJZ. There were two newspapers – The Sun and The News American. And sports radio didn’t exist except for Charley Eckman screaming bloody murder about some local issue on the Johnny Walker show on WFBR.

That was the entire world of Baltimore sports media in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

And the only ones who really did it the “new world” way were Coach Eckman and Tom Davis, who bought and sold their own “in-show” advertising and made far more money than most radio “talking heads” did and certainly more than the folks at The Sun or The News American.

All of the TV and newspaper people were part of a larger ensemble and staff. The radio sports talk guys needed to fight for audience and those radio stations needed hosts who garnered real traffic and real new business for local sponsors and advertisers.

This is the world I lived in on local AM radio from 1992 until 2006, when tens of thousands of you crashed my webpage and my email with traffic from all over the world after the initial “Free The Birds” walkout and showed me a new world of WNST.net on the internet.

In the new media world, if you can’t sell your own brand as a sports media expert then how can a local sponsor or business owner trust that you can help them sell pizza or cars or beer?

The reality is that I’m in college every day at WNST.net. The college of life, emerging media and business in 2012 and how it relates to the changing ways of sports fans’ consumption of information via mobile devices in real time.

It’s taken two decades but I’ve finally figured out why I went to college back in the 1980’s. All of those beers at Jay’s off campus at the University of Baltimore and all of those evening classes about Marshall McLuhan — it’s all finally paid off. All those classes with Julie Simon and discovering the roots of communication and theory of how the “medium is the message” and emerging “global village” has changed the world in the last decade since the internet has extended our FCC towers at what was formerly a “little AM radio station” at WNST-AM 1570 and brought video and words and statistics and instant feedback into the realm of the palm of our hands via mobile via WNST.net.

I’ve finally figured out the value of my University of Baltimore education and Corporation Communications degree – it just took me 20 years!

While I’m not going to be donating to UB anytime soon – or anytime that the name of Peter G. Angelos

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MASN has gobs of money but they don’t want to give any of it to the Nationals

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MASN has gobs of money but they don’t want to give any of it to the Nationals

Posted on 12 June 2012 by Drew Forrester

You would think the prospect of the Orioles getting $75 million or more annually via TV rights fees would make the ballclub happy.

It might also make them better.

But that’s not the case.

It’s not the case because the same guy who owns the Orioles also happens to own the TV network that pays that rights fee to the team.  Confused?  Conflict-of-interest, you say?  Perhaps it is, but that’s what the story involving MASN and the Washington Nationals has become — one giant conflict of interest.

Sadly, it’s the Orioles on-field product that could suffer the most during this time of uncertainty.

THE REALITY OF WHAT’S GOING ON

The short version of the story is this:  The Washington Nationals currently receive $29 million a year from MASN for a rights fee.  They are allowed to “challenge” that rights fee figure every 5 years.  The Nationals believe they should receive somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million per-year in exchange for MASN televising their home and away games.  MASN feels like $35 million is a fair number.  Therein lies the conflict, one that has remained unresolved for so long that Major League Baseball had to step in to arbitrate the situation and award a new rights fee figure to the Nationals.

Oh, yeah, the Orioles also receive $29 million annually from MASN.

Peter Angelos owns MASN.

And he also is the majority stockholder of the Orioles.

You get it, now?

MASN receives roughly $14 million a month (yes, a MONTH) from Xfinity (nee Comcast) according to a source familiar with the financial agreement between those two.  That $168 million alone would be more than enough for MASN to generate nearly a $70 million profit according to the source.  Add in payments from Verizon, DirectTV and other cable carriers in the Mid-Atlantic and the sports network could be pocketing more than $100 million in annual profits.

So what’s the issue at hand?

Money.

The Nationals  - currently receiving $29 million – think their fair value is more like $100 million a year.

MASN doesn’t want to give it to them.  In fact, they’d rather just hand over $35 million annually to the DC franchise.

Wrapping this up and making it into a real barnburner is the added situation involving the Orioles and their rights fee.  When Peter Angelos (MASN) negotiated with Peter Angelos (Orioles), Peter made Peter agree to a clause that stipulates the Orioles will always receive the same amount of annual rights money as the Nationals receive from MASN.  Pretty tricky, huh?

Now, though, Peter doesn’t want to pay the Nationals $50 million or $75 million or $100 million because…yep…he’d also have to pay the Orioles the same amount.

It’s not quite as intriguing as “50 Shades of Grey” but it’s a helluva story.

MORE MONEY MEANS SPENDING MORE ON PLAYERS 

When the TV network originated back in 2006, it was done so almost purely to provide the Orioles with enough additional revenue to compete with big market teams like the Yankees and Red Sox.  There’s the still-legendary story that Angelos handed to then-fledgling “Press Box” in which the owner claimed the only way to compete with the beasts of the AL East would be to spend with them for free agents using a RSN (Regional Sports Network) as the catalyst for such spending.

Interestingly enough, it’s the Nationals – not the Orioles – who have become players in the free agent market over the last few years.  Whether or not you like Jayson Werth as a player, one thing is for sure:  the Nationals weren’t afraid to put money on the table for him a few years ago.  They made a legitimate effort for Mark Teixeira in 2009 and reportedly made overtures to Prince Fielder before he signed on in Detroit.

That Washington is in first place right now isn’t really part of this story.  That the Nationals aren’t afraid to spend money – lots of it – on baseball players most certainly is, though.

Therein lies another reason that MASN (Angelos) doesn’t want to inflate the rights fee paid out to the Nationals.  He knows the Nats will spend it on players.  He knows, in stark contrast to what his club has done since MASN hit the scene in 2006, the Nationals will improve their team with his money.

And if Washington spends their (just for for argument sake) $70 million on players and ups their annual payroll to the $125 million or so mark, what will the Orioles do with the $70 million THEY receive from MASN?  Will they spend that extra money (roughly $45 million more than they receive right now) on players, too?

(Please see next page) 

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MASN’s Mel Antonen says position makes it harder for Wieters to break slump

Posted on 31 May 2012 by WNST Audio

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 24 April 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Mixed Martial Arts-Bellator Fighting Championships 67 (Friday 8pm from Ontario, Canada live on MTV2); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Ismayl Sillakh vs. Denis Grachev (Friday 10pm from Austin, TX live on ESPN2), Thomas Oosthuizen vs. Marcus Johnson (Friday 11pm from Miami, OK live on Showtime), Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson (Saturday 10:15pm from Atlantic City live on HBO), Vyacheslav Senchenko vs. Paulie Malignaggi (Sunday 1pm from Donetsk, Ukraine live on Pay-Per-View); Tennis: ATP Tour Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (Thursday 7:30am Friday 6:30am Sunday 10am from Barcelona live on Tennis Channel), WTA Tour Porsche Tennis Grand Prix (Saturday 8am & 12pm Sunday 12:30pm from Stuttgart, Germany live on Tennis Channel); Women’s College Lacrosse: Georgetown @ Maryland (Wednesday 7pm Field Hockey & Lacrosse Complex College Park)

10. Rammstein (Wednesday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena), Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Sunday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena); Shinedown (Wednesday 6pm Rams Head Live), All-American Rejects (Sunday 7pm Rams Head Live); Bob Schneider (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Pat McGee Band (Friday & Saturday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Punch Brothers (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club); Creed (Tuesday 8pm Warner Theatre); Kottonmouth Kings (Wednesday 6:30pm Sonar); Chuck Berry (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Mac Miller (Thursday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Nellie McKay (Thursday 6:30pm Birchmere); Candlebox (Monday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Sweetlife Festival feat. Kid Cudi, Fitz and the Tantrums, Fun. (Saturday 12pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Death Cab For Cutie (Monday 8pm Strathmore); Nickelback/Bush/Seether (Monday 6pm Verizon Center); Jack White “Blunderbuss” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

TSO didn’t post in Charm City this Christmas, and you know someone who was bitter. I’d be willing to go see them Sunday night though, their Beethoven stuff is also awesome…

Does anyone just want to GIVE me tickets to the Punch Brothers show Friday night? Most of you haven’t given me a birthday present in years.

Enjoy skateboarding? Hip-hop? Marijuana? Here’s Kid Cudi…

Jack White is sorta becoming that “I don’t care what he does I’m just going to like it” man for the 21st century. Are we still in the 21st century?

9. The Raven” and “The Five-Year Engagement” out in theaters (Friday); Contraband” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Tom Brokaw (Tuesday 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Sugarloaf Crafts Festival (Friday-Sunday Timonium Fairgrounds)

I’d love to dissect Jason Segel’s new flick (I think it actually looks good) or try to figure out what the hell they do at the Sugarloaf Crafts Festival, but I don’t know where else in T10BD I’d be able to post this picture of a frog sitting on a bench like a human…

We all agree this is the greatest picture of all time, right?

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Sic Semper Tyrannis

Posted on 19 April 2012 by Erich Hawbaker

As usual, the Orioles have started the season strong and have thusfar played well and been fun to watch. But unless I and every other casual observer are dead wrong, the Orioles will hang in there thru May, falter in June or July, and be completely out of contention by August. It’s a really good feeling to look at the standings and see your team on top, but the last time I did that in the month of September was before I even had my driver’s license. And now this year, my 30th birthday will come and go while the Angelos reign of terror continues.

That may be a corny segue, but reigns of terror are tonight’s real topic. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen put both feet in his mouth again last week by telling Time magazine that he admires Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. The history in a nutshell: As a young man, Castro and his lieutenant Ernesto “Che” Guevara led the bloody communist overthrow of Cuba’s government in 1959. When it was over, Castro made himself Cuba’s President, and still holds the office to this day. Tens of thousands of Cubans were tortured and killed during and after the revolution, and many others fled to the United States and settled in Florida. Today, the city of Miami is the epicenter of Cuban exiles and their descendants, many of whom still dream of the day when Cuba is free again.

The Miami fans were furious, and Guillen subsequently apologized and was suspended for five games by the Marlins (not MLB). Granted, if Guillen were the manager of the Mariners or the Twins or the Brewers, there may not have been such a level of anger from the local fanbase. But should there be?

As I started thinking about this, the first person that came to my mind was Marge Schott. If you’re younger than me, you may not even recall who she is, as I barely remember her myself. Marge Schott was the owner of the Cincinnati Reds from 1984 to 1999, and is noteworthy as the first woman to buy a major league franchise. In many ways, she actually parallels Peter Angelos in that her legacy of philanthropy and community involvement is mostly overshadowed by her pitiful management of her team and other controversies. She was alleged to have frequently thrown around the n-word, said that she didn’t like her players to wear earrings because it “looked fruity” (apparently that’s a gay slur), and stated publicly more than once that Adolf Hitler had been a good leader for Germany but “went too far”. Schott and Angelos also have the commonality of firing manager Davey Johnson after a season in which he took their teams to the playoffs.

Schott was suspended by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for the entire 1993 season (that’s over six whole months) following her Hitler comments, which brings me back to Ozzie Guillen. If there is anything in this world that I hate, it is double standards. If Marge Schott had the book thrown at her for praising a genocidal dictator, why does Ozzie Guillen get a pass for doing the same thing?

Stop reading. Google up “Angelos Castro Selig” and click the images tab. Can it be? For those who don’t remember, back in 1999 Peter Angelos and Bud Selig arranged to have the Orioles play two exhibition games against the Cuban national all-star team, one in Baltimore and one in Havana (the visiting teams won both contests). The events were touted as gestures of good will and attempts to create more friendly US-Cuba relations, but another main goal was undoubtedly to get more access to Cuban players for MLB teams (which never happened). Peter Angelos, having been one of the top campaign contributors in the country to then-President Clinton and Congressional Democrats, had no trouble getting the government’s blessing to do all this in spite of America’s longstanding Cuban embargo. The aforementioned photograph is of Fidel Castro sitting in the stands in Havana and chatting with Peter Angelos and Bud Selig, who are seated on either side of him.

So obviously, Bud Selig doesn’t exactly have the standing to condemn Ozzie Guillen for kissing up to Fidel Castro, which is probably why he relied on the owners of the Marlins to do it. Now, I am not one who believes that we should run around punishing people for being offensive. By its nature, offensive speech is what the First Amendment was written to protect, and the second thing that I absolutely hate in this world is political correctness.

But I want consistency.

Back in 1999, Bud Selig armtwisted Marge Schott into selling her controlling interest in the Reds following her second round or pro-Hitler comments. And then last year, he oversaw the ugly removal of Frank McCourt as owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The big difference between the two was that while Schott’s ouster was purely personal, McCourt’s was due to shady business practices; specifically that he was “siphoning team revenue for non-baseball use and had completely alienated the Dodgers’ fanbase.” according to MLB’s court briefs.

Does that sound like somebody we know?

MASN pulled in $159 million in revenue last year, so you can do a little arithmetic and figure out about how much it has made since its creation seven years ago. We all remember the promises Peter Angelos made about using that money to improve the team and how this was finally going to give the Orioles the resources needed to compete with Yankees and Red Sox. And yet, since MASN was created, the Orioles annual payroll has averaged just $78 million- not significantly higher than it was before MASN and less than half of what New York or Boston paid in that same time period. Of course, operating expenses and lots of taxes accounted for some of it, but one still has to ask “That money wasn’t invested in the Orioles, so where did it go?”

Bud Selig was willing to kick Marge Schott and Frank McCourt out of the owners’ club for conduct that was immoral but not technically illegal. What Angelos has done with MASN isn’t technically illegal either; after all, he is a lawyer and he brokered the deal with Selig’s blessing. But now that we’ve had time to see it in action, there can be no question that what Angelos has done is highly unethical. He’s siphoned revenue away from not one but two teams for non-baseball purposes. He’s alienated the fanbase. He’s fixed it so that Comcast customers who aren’t even baseball fans are paying for his channels. And all the while, Bud Selig stood by and let it happen.

It’s the same thing that happens when the government plays favorites with private industry; different entities are allowed to play by different rules. This leads to a lack of true competition, and the end result is that the consumer is denied the full potential of what the free market could produce. Those who benefit from the unlevel playing field think that it’s just fine and are happy to leave it that way, while those who suffer because of it either accept it and work around it or just stop caring. It’s why less than half of America votes these days, and why Camden Yards is usually empty unless the Yankees or Red Sox are in town.

Bud Selig is too chummy with Peter Angelos to hold him accountable for getting rich by wrecking the Orioles, the same way he’s too chummy with Fidel Castro to say anything about Ozzie Guillen. Selig has failed to enforce his own standards equally, and we Orioles fans have suffered thru 15 years of pathetic losing baseball because of it. We all know that Cuba needs to be rid of Fidel Castro and the Orioles need to be rid Peter Angelos, but Major League Baseball also needs to be rid of Bud Selig.

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Navy Lacrosse Tries to Start 2-0 Sunday at Jacksonville

Posted on 19 February 2012 by WNST Staff

2012 Navy Men’s Lacrosse Game Specifics
Game 2 Navy (1-0, 0-0 PL) at Jacksonville (0-1)
Date and Faceoff Feb. 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm ET
Location Jacksonville, Fla. | EverBank Field (84,000)
Television NBC Sports Network (Brent Harris, Evan Washburn, Amber Theoharis

Game Preview
• Navy will look to push its record to 2-0 when it makes the journey to Florida to take part in the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic on Sunday … Navy will face host Jacksonville in the second game of a doubleheader which features Denver vs. Ohio State at 2:00 pm, followed by the Mids and Dolphins at 4:00 pm.  The game will be played at EverBank Field, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars.
• Last week the Mids opened their 105th season of lacrosse as well as the Rick Sowell coaching era by  earning a 14-7 win over VMI in Annapolis.  Sophomore attackmen Tucker Hull and Sam Jones combined to score 17 points, including 11 of the Mids’ 14 goals.
• Jacksonville, meanwhile, is in search of its first win since   edging VMI, 13-12, on April 24, 2011 … the Dolphins dropped their opener last Saturday at home against Towson, 12-10 … Jacksonville held a 7-5 halftime advantage, but gave up seven second-half goals, including four in the final quarter of play.
• Sunday’s contest will be televised by NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) with Brent Harris (play by play) Evan Washburn (analyst) and Amber Theoharis (sideline) calling he action.

More on the Dolphins
• Entering just their third season as a Div. I program, Jacksonville is led by first-year head coach Guy Van Arsdale who spent the last two seasons as the head coach at Colorado College (Div. III).
• The Dolphins opened the 2012 campaign last Saturday, dropping a two-goal decision to visiting Towson … Jacksonville held a 7-5 halftime advantage, but gave up seven second-half goals, including four in the final quarter of play.
• Five of Jacksonville’s top-six scorers from a year ago return, including junior midfielder Cameron Mann who topped the team with 37 points on 18 goals and 19 assists … he pitched in three goals and one assist in the loss against Towson last week.
• Freshman attackman Ari Waffle led all scorers in the opener with five points on three goals and two assists.
• Also returning are junior attackman TJ Kenary, who posted 21 goals and seven assists, senior attackman Max Gurowski, who led the team with 20 assists and six goals, while junior middie Donovan Lange scored 14 goals and added six assists.
• Sophomore Will Vogt played a solid game, winning 12 of the 19 draws he took and pacing all players with eight ground balls … Vogt won 51.7 percent (134-259) of the draws he took in 2011 and led the team in grounders.
• Dolphins keeper sophomore Peter Deluca gave up all 12 goals, while making 10 saves in the contest … Deluca owned a 50.8 save percentage a year ago, while surrendering 11.60 goals per game.

Navy vs. Jacksonville – The Series
• Sunday’s contest between the Mids and the Dolphins marks the inaugural game of the series.
• Of the 60 other Div. I teams who field men’s lacrosse teams, the Midshipmen have played 40 of them.
• Jacksonville will be crossed off the list of 20 teams Navy has not played when the two meet on Sunday.
• The following is a list of teams Navy has not played in its 105-year history (first year of DI lax):  Albany (2000), Bellarmine (2005), Binghamton (2002), Bryant (2009), Denver (1999), Detroit (2009), Fairfield, Hartford (1985), Jacksonville (2010), Manhattan, Mercer (2011), Michigan (2012), Notre Dame (1981), Quinnipiac (1999), Robert Morris (2005), Sacred Heart (2000), Siena (1977), Vermont, Villanova (1981), Wagner (2000).

Navy Vs. the MAAC
• The Mids are undefeated against the seven-member Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, producing a 7-0 overall record, including a 1-0 mark in 2012.
• Last Saturday, the Mids kicked off the 2012 campaign by defeating VMI, 14-7, which marked the eighth-straight season the Mids have faced a team either currently in the MAAC or had previously been part of the MAAC at the time of the contest.
• In 2005, Navy faced Providence who is now a member of the newly-formed Big East, while in 2006 and ‘07 the Mids battled Saint Joseph’s who has moved to the Colonial Athletic Association.  The Mids have battled VMI in each of the last five seasons’ openers.

Taking the Field In …
10 – Navy has lost just five games (47-5) when scoring 10 or more goals since the start of the 2004 campaign … Navy is 1-0 this season.
9 – Senior goalkeeper RJ Wickham needs nine saves to move into ninth on the Mids’ all-time saves list … he has turned away 346 shots over his career and trails 1990 graduate Louis Brown who amassed 355 saves.
8 – Navy has lost eight-straight games when scoring seven or fewer goals … the Mids were held to seven or fewer goals just three times a year ago.
7 – The Mids’ 7-0 run that covered the first two quarters against VMI last week marked the school’s largest run since scoring eight straight against Lafayette last spring.
6 – Sophomore attackman Tucker Hull led Navy with six goals against VMI in the opener … it’s the most goals by a Navy player since Taylor Harris scored six against Holy Cross on March 26, 2006.
5 – Sophomore attackman Sam Jones pushed his point scoring streak to five in a row thanks to a remarkable nine-point (5-4) effort against VMI … it’s the most points scored by a Navy player since Dennis Nealon produced 12 points against Washington College  on March 20, 1991.
4 – Four of Navy’s 2012 opponents are ranked in the 2012 USILA Coaches Preseason Poll – Johns Hopkins (2), North Carolina (6), Maryland (7), Bucknell (12), while Army and Colgate are receiving votes.
3 – With a 751-308-14 record, Navy is the third-winningest program in Div. I men’s lax behind Johns Hopkins (912-294-15) and Syracuse (821-312-16).
2 – Navy’s Rick Sowell and Jacksonville’s Guy Van Arsdale are two of the 15 schools around the country to have first-year coaches this season.
1 – Over the last four seasons, 22 (9-13) of the Mids’ 61 contests have been decided by one goal.

Navy 14, VMI 7 — A Look Back
• Navy improved to 89-15-1 all-time in season openers, including 11 in a row, after handing VMI a 14-7 loss.
• Navy has reached double-figures in 10 of the 11 games during the winning streak.
• Navy has now won 28 in a row when scoring 14 or more  goals in a game.
• Navy sophomore attackmen Tucker Hull and Sam Jones combined to scored 17 points, including 11 of the 14 goals against the Keydets. The last Navy tandem to combine for 11 goals was Brendan Schneck and Mike Hannan, who pitched in six and five goals, respectively, to help guide the Mids to a 16-8 win over Princeton on April 8, 1978.
• Hull paced the Mids with a career-high school goals, marking the most goals by a Navy player since Taylor Harris scored six against Holy Cross on March 26, 2006.
• Jones pitched in five goals and four assists, as he became the first Navy player to produce nine points since Dennis Nealon’s 12-point effort against Washington College on March 20, 1991.
• Sophomore midfielder Pat Durkin scored his first-collegiate goal in making just his second-career start.
• Senior faceoff specialist Logan West jumped from sixth to fourth on the Mids’ all-time faceoff wins list following a 10-for-25 effort against VMI … he has won 185 draws over four seasons.
• Junior midfielder Bryce Dabbs, junior defenseman Austin Miller and sophomore defenseman Nik Mullen made their first-collegiate starts in Navy’s opener … for Dabbs, it was his first-career appearance.
• Short stick defensive midfielder Cade Norris picked up a career-best three ground balls while causing a personal-high four turnovers.

National Exposure
• Since the start of 2004, 50 Navy lacrosse games have been televised.
2004    4-2 (6)    CSTV 1-1    ESPN 2-1    WMAR 1-0
2005    3-3 (6)    CSTV 3-0    ESPN 0-3
2006    3-4 (7)    CSTV 2-4    ESPN 1-0
2007    2-3 (5)    CSTV 2-1    ESPN 0-1    MASN 0-1
2008    3-5 (8)    CBS C 1-2    ESPN 2-2    MASN 0-1
2009    5-2 (7)    CBS C 3-0    ESPN 1-2    MASN 1-0
2010    3-5 (8)    CBS C 3-3    ESPN 0-2
2011    0-2 (2)    CBS  0-2    ESPN 0-1
2012    0-0 (4)    CBS  0-0    ESPN 0-0    NBC 0-0
CBS Sports Network: 15-13    ESPN: 6-12
NBC Sports Network:  0-0    MASN: 1-2    WMAR: 1-0
• Four regular-season contests are on tap to be aired this season, including this weekend’s game against Jacksonville.
• NBC Sports Network, formerly known as Vs., will carry the Navy-Jacksonville game live from EverBank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars … the Moe’s Southwest Grill Classic will feature Denver vs. Ohio State at 2:00 pm, followed by the Mids at Dolphins at 4:00 pm.
• CBS Sports Network will televise the Mids’ March 30 matchup against Lehigh at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, along with the annual Army-Navy game slated for April 14 at West Point, N.Y. and the Mids’ regular-season finale at home against Johns Hopkins on April 21.
• Additionally, CBS Sports Network will televise both Patriot League Tournament Semifinal contests on April 27, along with the championship game on April 29.
• Last year, CBS Sports Network carried rivalry games at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium against Maryland and Army, while ESPNU aired Navy’s contest at Johns Hopkins.
• The Mids own a 23-27 record when their games are televised (since ‘04) … Navy is 15-13 on CBS Sports Network all-time and 6-12 on the ESPN family of networks … the Mids are also 1-0 on local Baltimore station WMAR and 1-2 on MASN.
• Sunday’s contest marks the first time the Mids have appeared on the NBC network and it is believed to be the first college games to be aired by the network.
• The Mids own a 59-16 record (78.7) in games that have not been televised since the start of 2004.

Fast Facts
• Starting attackmen Tucker Hull and Sam Jones scored at least one point in 12 of the 13 contests a year ago.
• Jones enters Sunday’s contest having scored a point (g/a) in each of the last five contests … the last time he did not score a point was on March 26, 2011, in the Mids’ 5-4 loss to Colgate.
• Among the 14 games over the last two years, Jones has  scored a goal in 12 contests and produced an assist in 10.  He has recorded eight multi-goal games, including hat tricks in four games.  Additionally, he has put up multiple points in 12 of the 14 contests.
• Hull, meanwhile, has turned in a goal in 11 of the 14 games, including hat tricks five times.  He has dealt out assists in 11 games, as well.  He has posted 10 multi-point performances.
• Dating back to 2009, at least one Navy player has turned in a hat trick in 23 of the last 36 games … Hull and Jones combined to score 11 of the Mids’ 14 goals in their opener against VMI last Saturday.
• Six different players recorded hat tricks a year ago, but only Hull (4) and Jones (3) produced more than one.
• While Harrison Chaires paced the Mids with seven extra-man goals a year ago, Hull played a role in 11 of the Mids’ 19 extra-man goals, scoring five times and providing the assist on an additional six goals.  Navy is off to a slow start in its extra-man game, coming up empty on its four opportunities against VMI.
• Since 2004, Navy owns an amazing 53-2 record when holding its opponents to six or fewer goals, including an 11-1 mark in the last four seasons combined.
• Navy owns a remarkable 47-5 record when scoring 10 or more goals since 2004, including a 9-1 mark in 2009, a 10-1 record in ‘10, a 3-2 mark in ‘11 and a 1-0 record in ‘12.
• Close defenseman Matt Vernam has started 41-straight games heading into his senior campaign … other players with lengthy starting streaks include senior goalkeeper RJ Wickham (35) and senior midfielder Nikk Davis (31).
• Hull and Jones combined to scored 11 of the Mids’ 14 goals against VMI … the last Navy tandem to achieve that feat was Brendan Schneck and Mike Hannan, who pitched in six and five goals, respectively, to help guide the Mids to a 16-8 win over Princeton on April 8, 1978.

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