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Loyola announces MAAC hoops schedule

Posted on 14 September 2012 by WNST Staff

Game At Meadowlands Highlights Men’s Basketball’s MAAC Slate

BALTIMORE – Loyola University Maryland men’s basketball will open its 2012-2013 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schedule with a home game on Wednesday, December 5, against Niagara University, three days before theGreyhounds will take on Saint Peter’s University in a college hoops doubleheader at the Izod Center.

Loyola and the Peacocks will play the first of two games on Saturday, December 8, in the complex at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford,N.J., prior to a contest between Duke University and Temple University.

The Greyhounds finished the 2011-2012 season with a 13-5 mark in MAAC action its best-ever league record, en route to a school Division I best 24-9 record.

“The MAAC has great coaches and great players, and that is what makes every game tough,” Head Coach Jimmy Patsos said. “It doesn’t matter if you are home or away, the teams make it so that every game is a great environment, and it makes it so that you look forward to every game as a new challenge.”

After completing 2012 with three non-conference games, the Greyhounds will open the new year with a Friday, January 4, game versus Rider University at Reitz Arena. Last season, the Greyhounds and Broncs played before a sellout crowd in Loyola’s venue, the first of two-straight capacity crowds in Reitz.

Saint Peter’s will make the trip to Baltimore on Sunday, January 6, and Fairfield University will wrap up a three-game homestand for the Greyhounds on Friday, January 11.

The Greyhounds, who won the 2012 MAAC Championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history,will play their first road contest of 2013 on Sunday, January 13, at Rider in Lawrenceville, N.J.

A home game against Marist College on Thursday, January 17, will be on the schedule before Loyola faces Fairfield in Bridgeport, Conn., on Martin Luther King Day, Monday, January 21.

Loyola will hit New York City on Friday, January 25, for a game at Manhattan College before returning to Retiz Arena for a Sunday, January 27, contest versus Iona College.

The Greyhounds make their annual sojourn in Western New York with games at Canisius College on Thursday, January 31, before taking on Niagara on Saturday, February 2. Last year, the Greyhounds swept the road trip in the Buffalo area for the first time in the school’s MAAC history.

Siena College visits the Evergreen Campus on Friday, February 8, just before Loyola travels to Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for a Sunday,February 10, game at Marist College.

Canisius is in Baltimore for a Valentine’s Day game on Thursday, February 14, and two days later Loyola will visit Albany, N.Y., for a Saturday, February 16, matchup with Siena.

A step out of conference play during the weekend of February 22-24 for a Bracketbuster road contest will come before the final weekend of league action.

Loyola visits Westchester County on Friday, March 1, for a date with Iona before closing the regular-season at home against Manhattan on Sunday, March 3.

Springfield, Mass., will again host the MAAC Championships, beginning on Friday, March 8, and culminating with the Championship Game onMonday, March 11.

Dates of all Loyola contests are subject to change, and times will be announced at a later date. Television details will also be distributed in the coming weeks.

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CBS Sports to Air Morgan State-Grambling Documentary

Posted on 12 September 2011 by WNST Staff

CBS SPORTS NETWORK TO AIR DOCUMENTARY ABOUT
FIRST HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGE FOOTBALL
GAME PLAYED IN NEW YORK CITY

“1st & Goal in the Bronx: Grambling vs. Morgan State 1968” Debuts
Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7:00 PM, ET

CBS Sports Network presents 1ST & GOAL IN THE BRONX: GRAMBLING VS. MORGAN STATE 1968, a documentary about the monumental game played between Grambling and Morgan State, the first historically black college football game played in New York City.  The one-hour documentary airs on Wednesday, Sept. 28 (7:00 PM, ET), exactly 43 years after the game was played at Yankee Stadium in front of more than 60,000 fans.  Actor Keith David narrates the program.

A clip from the documentary can be viewed via: http://bit.ly/oJEkYz

Through the lens of this historic game, this documentary explores the history of black college football and its struggles in segregated America, as well as the political and cultural sub-text surrounding this match-up.  The show features numerous interviews with players from Grambling and Morgan State including Shack Harris and Raymond Chester, as well as current Grambling coach Doug Williams, Willie BrownWillie Lanier, Eddie Robinson’s widow Doris Robinson and veteran sports columnist Jerry Izenberg, among others. Overall, 31 players involved in the game were drafted to the NFL or AFL.

The game has been played every year since 1968 and officially became the New York Urban League Classic in 1971, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The New York Urban League Classic was played at Yankee Stadium until 1987, when it moved to the Meadowlands.

Alexis Arguello and Brian Davis produce.  Emilie Deutsch is Vice President, Features and Interstitials, CBS Sports Network.  For more information, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com.

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Hopkins With Big Win Over Carolina in Sunday Lacrosse Action

Posted on 03 April 2011 by WNST Staff

Here is the official recap, courtesy of the JHU Sports Information Department…

Coppersmith’s Game-Winner Lifts Hopkins Past North Carolina, 10-9

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – Sophomore midfielder Lee Coppersmith scored his only goal of the game with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter to break a 9-9 tie and Johns Hopkins held off one final North Carolina push as the Blue Jays defeated the Tar Heels, 10-9, in the Big City Classic at the New Meadowlands Stadium Sunday afternoon. The win improves JHU’s record to 7-2 and snaps a four-game losing streak to the Tar Heels, who slip to 7-3 with the loss.

The Blue Jays led 9-6 less than a minute into the final period after sophomore midfielder John Ranagan completed his hat trick after he scored off an assist from linemate John Greeley on a set play from. The pair ran on the same play on JHU’s next possession, but UNC’s Steven Rastivo got a foot on the shot this time and keep it a three-goal game.

The Blue Jays held the three-goal lead for more than six minutes after Ranagan’s goal, but UNC grabbed some momentum with a Thomas Wood goal at the 8:11 mark and made it a one-goal game just over two minutes later when senior Billy Bitter scored his fourth goal of the game.

After trailing by four early and three on two different occasions in the second half, the Tar Heels drew even when Duncan Hutchins converted a cross-field pass from freshman Nicky Galasso with 2:41 remaining.

The Blue Jays won the ensuing faceoff and worked the ball to Coppersmith, who dodged from the top of the box and blew a left-handed rocket past Rastivo for what proved to be the game-winner. After JHU won the ensuing faceoff, the Tar Heels forced a turnover and called timeout with 54 seconds remaining. The Blue Jay defense held tight and the final of Bassett’s seven saves in the game sealed the win for the Blue Jays.

Hopkins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first 5:11 of the game as senior attackman Kyle Wharton bookended a run game-opening run with a pair of goals. After Wharton quick-sticked home a nifty feed to the crease from sophomore Zach Palmer just 49 seconds into the game, the Blue Jays got back-to-back goals in a span of just under two minutes from senior midfielder Mark Goodrich and Ranagan. Goodrich found an opening in the slot seven yards from the goal and Marshall Burkhart fed him from the side to make it 2-0 and Ranagan blew home a a laser on an ally dodge to make it 3-0.

Ranagan’s goal was followed by a UNC timeout, but JHU won the ensuing faceoff and Wharton ripped home his second of the day on a low-to-high blast from the side to make it a four-goal game with 9:49 remaining in the first quarter.

The Tar Heels answered with a three-goal run that took just under seven minutes and consisted of three straight goals by Bitter. Bitter used a screen to Bassett’s right and walked right in front to make it 4-1. He split a double team two minutes later and beat Bassett from in tight to cut the deficit to two and lost his defender in the back of the net before spinning inside another defender in tight to make it 4-3.

Wharton completed his 12th career hat trick off the opening faceoff of the second quarter to give the Blue Jays a two-goal lead, but the Tar Heels pulled even with back-to-back goals by Jimmy Dunster and Marcus Holman to make it a new game at 5-5 with 2:28 remaining in the first half.

Sensing the momentum shift in the game, the Blue Jays grabbed it back with a three-goal flurry that took just 39 seconds late in the second quarter.

Ranagan scored his second of the game on strong ally dodge just 20 seconds after Holman’s goal had tied it and he then beat heavy pressure out of a timeout to find Palmer all alone on the backdoor to make it 7-5. The Blue Jays, who won all seven of the faceoffs in the second quarter, scored off the faceoff following Palmer’s goal as senior Chris Boland came up with the loose ball after a long scamble and raced to the goal where he beat Rastivo with a low shot on the run to make it 8-5 at the half.

After the teams combined for 32 shots and 13 goals in the first half, the paced slowed considerably in the third quarter. Both teams failed on extra man chances early in the period before Carolina netted the quarter’s only goal – a man-up tally by Holman – midway through the period and the Blue Jays carried an 8-6 lead into the final period. The 8-6 lead swelled to 9-6 on Ranagan’s third goal just 38 seconds into the final period. That set the stage for UNC’s final push, which was answered by Coppersmith’s game-winner in the final two minutes.

Ranagan paced the Blue Jays with the three goals and one assist, while Wharton added the hat trick to snap a two-game scoring drought. Ranagan walked away with the Big City Classic Player of the Game award from Inside Lacrosse, but the award could have easily gone to senior faceoff specialist Matt Dolente, who won a career-high 16 faceoffs on 22 attempts and grabbed a game-high six ground balls. Wharton recorded both the 75th goal and 100th point of his career in the win.

Bitter led the Tar Heels with his four goals, while Dunster (1g, 2a) and Holman (2g) were also multi-point scoerrs for the Tar Heels, who got nine saves from Rastivo and held slight advantages in shots (31-28) and ground balls (21-20).

#5 Johns Hopkins (7-2) 4-4-0-2/1
#4 North Carolina (7-3) 3-2-1-3/9

Goals: J: Ranagan-3, Wharton-3, Palmer, Coppersmith, Boland, Goodrich. N: Bitter-4, Holman-2, Dunster, Wood, Hutchins. Assists: J: Burkhart-2, Palmer, Ranagan, Greeley. N: Dunster-2, Galasso, Hunt, Wood. Saves: J: Bassett-7. N: Rastivo-9. Shots: J-28. N-31. EMO: J 0-for-3 N: 1-for-2. Attendance: n/a

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The Truth? The world can’t handle the truth about female sports journalists

Posted on 17 September 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

You saw the headlines earlier in the week – yet another women given a hard time in a professional sports locker room. I’ll write her name once – Ines Sainz of TV Azteca in Mexico – and for the most part move on from her name because she’s just a symbol at this point for a whole bunch of incongruent messages and a changing world of media and access that creates a talking point for the mass media.

This story had it all: Sex. Football. Politics. Etiquette. Professionalism. Journalism. Oh, and harassment by well-paid, high profile athletes in the capital of the media world, New York City.

But forget her, personally or what her clothing was that day or even how insulting or out-of-line I’m sure Rex Ryan and, more specifically, Dennis Thurman almost certainly were to her on the field.

She’s just the latest example of “female sports journalist has problem in the workplace that happens to be a locker room full of naked, high-profile, well-paid athletes.”

She’s the Lisa Olson of the week or the latest woman in a predominantly male world who was singled out and harassed unfairly in the workplace. Or, in many folks’ view from what I’ve read on the internet and heard on WNST-AM 1570 all week, she’s the one who was selling sex as an angle and fetched what she was looking for in the “harassment,” which is attention.

But in most cases, those who only judge this situation and this sports media topicality from afar have a rather stilted and inaccurate portrayal of what goes on in professional sports locker rooms.

I come from a different angle than the millions of people who have all had an opinion on this topic over the last 72 hours and the talking heads in the “real” media who have made it a trending topic on Twitter and on TV networks and corporate sports radio entities who employ the very tactics and strategies that they are so roundly criticizing as a whole in most cases.

Millions of people opine, but I’ve lived it every day of my life for nearly 27 years. This is all I’ve ever done for a living, go into locker rooms and talk to athletes. I’ve worked alongside women in every locker room I’ve ever entered day in and day out for more than a quarter of a century. This is all I’ve ever done since I was 15 years old, cover Baltimore sports and national sports with authority, credibility and now I sit in the ultimate seat of having the ability to decide, as an employer, who actually GETS press passes and goes into a locker room wearing a WNST badge and who is “credible” and who is not.

I’ve seen it all. I’ve heard it all. I’ve endured the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve had a few incidents of my own where I’ve felt disrespected or mildly threatened and had to hold my ground on professionalism.

I’ve heard women called whores, tramps and worse. “Wool” being shouted or coughed was routinely the “clubhouse sign” that a women was invading the space under Camden Yards in the Orioles clubhouse during the 1990s.

Why “wool”? Well, why don’t you guess?

I was around for Lisa Olson and worked in locker rooms with her and it was a hot topic 20 years ago. Her attire in the stoic, stodgy, arrogant all-too-male and all-too-white media in Boston led to me having to buy a pair of pants off Yawkey Way because they didn’t allow jeans or shorts in the press box at Fenway Park back in the 1990s after the “Olson incident” in Foxboro.

I was in Cleveland in 1995 and witnessed Albert Belle going after Hannah Storm in the Jacobs Field dugout from 10 feet away.

The Erin Andrews saga was a criminal act that was borne out of the network putting her beauty in front of zillions of zany, crazed college students with signs that say all sorts of things for the camera that profess anything but love for her professional credibility or work ethic or journalistic skills.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: lots of women these days have no business being in sports locker rooms because they’re not qualified and it’s not because their skirt is too high or their blouse is too low.

It’s because they don’t belong there because they haven’t earned the right to be there and they’re not qualified and because they got the job because of their looks and not their intellect or expertise.

Earlier this week, when the Jets were accused of harassing Sainz, the other local women who are on the beat were quite frankly shocked that it happened because they’re in there every day and don’t get cat-called or hooted at because they’re actually there WORKING and are RESPECTED.

And they should be. I don’t really want to “name names” in this blog because I’m scared to death I’d leave out the many, many really cool females I’ve met in this business who DO take it seriously and are among MY heroes and friends.

Here’s a very short list (and I know I’ve left out many others) and rest assured these aren’t people I “see on TV.” These are people I know, socialize with, converse sports and life with and respect immensely.

Bonnie Bernstein knows sports. I saw her Monday night at the Meadowlands. She hosts real sports radio in New York and she is as legit a sports “expert” as I’ve ever known. Linda Cohn is a sports savant. Suzy Kolber is as well-versed in every aspect of sports as anyone I’ve ever met. Andrea Kramer is a football junkie in every sense of the word. I see Judy Battista several times a year and she’s among the most respected NFL writers in the world. Look, I could go on and on about Leslie Visser and Hannah Storm and many others but the point is “good is good” – male or female, in any color or shape or size.

My real hero was Molly Dunham-Glassman, who was my boss at The Evening Sun. She was by far the most qualified, sports-savvy and educated “expert” I’ve ever known. (I’ve been looking for the next Molly for 12 years. If you’re an aspiring sports journalist/expert I want to hear from you no matter what your gender might be! Send all resumes to nasty@wnst.net).

But these aforementioned people are true sports experts and journalists. Like me and others I respect in this business, they’ve dedicated their lives since birth to knowing sports and honing their craft and internal database of information.

None of these women got their jobs or have ever directly traded on looks, sexuality, innuendo, bimbo-ness or anything other than “expert information.”

But this is where the world has changed in locker rooms over the past two decades. So many female sports journalists of late have gotten their jobs based on their looks and what their looks will do to attract the attention of male athletes who will give them time, access or interviews that no one with a penis could ever “penetrate.”

Here’s a simple frame of reference. I attended 15 MLB All-Star Games before the Orioles revoked my press pass four years ago for writing and speaking the truth about their lousiness and the decay of the downtown business community on summer nights.

Two years ago when the All-Star Game was at the “old” Yankee Stadium, I took the train up and covered the event because strangely enough, MLB recognizes me as a legitimate journalist:

I was blown away by how much the world of MLB sports “journalism” had changed during the pre-game interview period. The field was littered with a bevy of beautiful women holding microphone sticks with a lot of hair spray  and these women probably have never heard of Tommy John let alone could explain what “Tommy John surgery” was for Stephen Strasburg. But they did know that “chicks dig the long ball.” And they had a press pass. And when I got home to Baltimore I wasn’t going to have one.

So much for “journalism,” right?

I suppose if I were a little prettier the Orioles would allow me to have my press pass back, huh?

But these women are primarily on the field because they’re pretty and they’re female and they look good and smell nice. And all of the old, ugly white guys like Peter Gammons, who roamed that turf for years with expertise, insight and true respect for the game and its rich history and heritage have been replaced by pretty girls doing pre- and post-game interviews. And the players are far more apt to say “yes” to an interview with a runway model than with a crotchety, chunky sportswriter.

And I suppose you as the public are far more apt to watch it if you don’t really care how much the person asking the questions really knows.

The Orioles have a female covering the team for their MLB website. I’m not sure she knows who Luis Aparicio is let alone Willie Miranda. So, for me, if I’m not learning anything it’s a short attention span. But that’s just me. Why would I read the coverage of someone who I clearly know more than on the internet? Seeing her Twitter coverage is almost laughable with its lack of insight. Taking shots at her, as it is in most cases when you’re pointing out the obvious, is like shooting fish in a barrel.

And when I write pieces like this speaking the truth it almost comes off as “mean.” I’m not being “mean.” I’m simply stating the obvious.

Our competitors over at CBS Radio have now made two consecutive hires of women based primarily (if not solely) on their looks. They’re from out of town. They have flown the flags of Miami and New York sports to an all-Baltimore audience. They have no clue what’s really happening (or what’s happened) in Baltimore sports on or off the field or the business and politics of local sports. They just look nice. And they “like” sports. But the boss who hires them also has no clue what’s happening in Baltimore sports, which is why you’re reading this blog now.

Look, people like what they like. If you like uninformed, pretty girls bringing you your sports insights and observations and softball questions, good for you. Enjoy them! That’s why they’re there. For you to enjoy them!

And that’s really no different than any of Glenn Clark’s posts, which are part-Maxim, part Tucker Max and part John Steadman – a bizarre concoction our WNST lad-on-the-scene prepares each day in Crabs and Beer! Some people dig it, some are amused and some are appalled.

Welcome to the world of freedom of choice.

I’ve also seen others in this market and others bring scantily clad women into locker rooms who in any other line of work would be referred to as bimbos because they had no clue why they were there.

Clinton Portis is NOT far from wrong on many counts. There ARE women who get into sports journalism at this point to be around naked athletes. And they are there to attract those “exclusive interviews” that men can’t get with their charm, nice perfume and long legs.

For the most part – and I mean 99.9% of the cases of the thousands of hours I’ve spent in professional sports locker rooms and clubhouses – it’s been by far quite professional and dignified.

Quite frankly, I hear more swearing and “guys being guys” and nasty, vulgar lyrics in rap songs played at ear-splitting volume that might be considered offensive by any gender than I do of actual personal harassment.

And even the male reporters have had incidents of “boys being boys” and micro-hazing that’ve been borderline “uncool,” if not completely inappropriate. Adalius Thomas singled me out every Wednesday to see the color of my shirt and to get approval from his teammates. If I were a woman, that would’ve been harassment. In general, it was all in pretty good fun as long as it didn’t include Tony Siragusa.

I’ve never had a problem, except for perhaps when something I said or wrote bothered someone, and I’m extremely accountable and professional, and I took care of it with a conversation and an understanding or clarification.

Clearly, with the New York Jets case, part of the story are that the rules of Mexican television are different and certainly the dress code was more like that of most football players’ wives at a club on Saturday night and less like a conservative, corporate TV sideline reporter on ESPN. Even in California and Florida, local TV news directors routinely hire weather girls with cleavage to spice up the eyeballs and Mexican TV has taken those rules beyond where any American journalist would go. That’s a cultural thing.

That’s the business they’re in – ratings, not journalism or “professionalism” or even proprietary information.

The locker room in a sports environment is quite different from reading the weather on a TV set but the people doing the hiring have never worked in a sports locker room as a beat reporter on a daily basis so they’re clueless as to what really goes on from day to day in an NFL clubhouse.

No doubt I’ve seen a few guys do and say inappropriate things in my 27 years in locker rooms. But ultimately, for this to happen as reported in 2010, the Jets should be ashamed of themselves. Dennis Thurman and Rex Ryan should know better and whatever punishment Roger Goodell deems appropriate is just fine by me. And I have no doubt something bad and unwarranted happened.

All four major sports have worked hard at making the locker room a professional workplace – a business “office” so to speak after games. But you’re always going to have these issues. It’s genuinely awkward — women staring at mostly naked men with notebooks and recorders out asking questions. It just a bizarre, other-worldly kind of experience that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.

But back to my larger point, which is professionalism and expertise on the subject matter and what some of these women are doing in the locker room to begin with when their main qualification is their looks, not their intelligence or expertise regarding sports or football.

As an “expert” myself and someone who has dedicated my life to being a sports journalist, I’m not sure what’s more offensive – the guys who try to come to me at WNST proclaiming to be sports experts or the women who say they know sports and can’t tell me the difference between a nickel and dime package.

(And, certainly, next summer when the NFL owners go to war with the NFL players, where are you going to turn to find out what the hell is really happening? We cover local sports and the Ravens better than anyone at WNST.net and next year will prove beyond the shadow of a doubt why you come to our website for insight and information.)

But, as an employer, I’ve made it a personal and unabashed quest to find a female sports reporter and EXPERT who really DOES know this stuff.

So, where is the next Molly Dunham?

I Facebooked and Tweeted up that I was writing this blog yesterday and I already started getting the barrage of: “I am a woman and I know more about football than most men!”

Really? Do you? Really?

Be careful of what you boast.

I would invite you over to the studio anytime – or better yet LOVE to give you a written forum or column in our blogosphere to feature your work. I’d LOVE to have a female presence at WNST.net that isn’t about T&A, the color of your hair or the size of your breasts or the white of your smile or the length of your legs.

Not only do I have no interest in patronizing pretty girls to work for WNST in a content capacity, I won’t EVER do it.

I won’t ask you to “send a picture” first (this isn’t Hooters!) but as you know it wouldn’t hurt you if you’re sending it elsewhere in the marketplace in search of a radio, television or web gig as a sports media personality.

And if you think that is a “sexist” statement, well then, you will find my lengthy argument today compelling and confusing all at once.

If you’re a women and you REALLY know enough about sports to be a sports journalist, simply PROVE IT with the depth and quality of your work. But don’t get your feelings hurt if I go Simon Cowell on you and tell you that you don’t know enough. And don’t hold it against me if I embarrass you with how little you might really know.

It’s kinda like American Idol when the poor sap rolls into Simon, Paula, Randy and company and sings grossly off key and everybody in the universe knows but them.

Paula would say something nice to not hurt the girl’s feelings. Randy would politely say “That’s rough, dawg!” And Simon would say “It’s rubbish. It was awwww-ful!”

Honestly, 99% of what I’ve heard from women sports “journalists” over my 27 years has been rubbish. So much so that when I see “the real thing” I’m so freaking impressed and smitten that it’s ridiculous. Of course, I’d say that about 92% of what I’ve heard from the men as well has been rubbish.

I put my money where my mouth is: I’ve hosted these open competitions three times, most recently won by Chris Vinson last Friday.

I don’t want the next Anita Marks or Laura Vecsey or Inez! I want a Baltimore rock star. I’m tired of the phonies. I want the real thing! Someone I want listen to, drink with and converse with who knows as much as I do about the facts and history and most certainly is a Baltimore sports “expert.”

I want information. I want analysis. I want insight. I want experts. I want journalism.

I want to respect what this person – male or female – knows about Baltimore sports. Or I won’t give them my time.

I think most of the men who cover sports locally are a joke so you can only guess how high my bar is on the female side – it’s exactly the same. You either know Baltimore sports or you don’t. If you don’t, you won’t work in an official content capacity at WNST.net.

If they gave doctorates in Baltimore sports journalism at this point, I’d have one. At every level – from newspaper to television to radio (locally and syndicated) and social media and the web – I’ve done every job in this business over the last 27 years.

Hearing, seeing or reading unqualified amateurs parade into clubhouses – that means women AND men – is unbecoming and I won’t hire incompetents, no matter their breast size or their hairstyle or fashion.

I’ve successfully run my own media business for 18 years (against all odds) and I own the fastest-growing local media entity in the market. We’re a sports media company. You’re here reading this because we’re VERY GOOD at what we do and very good at promoting what we do.

I know because you’ve told me. More than 94% of the nearly 2,000 who took our Febuary 2010 survey said they’d recommend WNST.net to a friend who loves Baltimore sports.

We’re very proud of that!

We’re the fastest-growing brand on Twitter because we don’t suck. If you’re a girl – or a guy – who loves sports, that’s awesome. I love sports, too. If you’re a fan who wants to call in, write a barstool blog, have an opinion, etc. – male or female – that’s cool, too. I’ve made my living hearing what fans have to say about Baltimore sports. That’ll be on my tombstone at some point. I’ve dedicated my LIFE to it.

But the difference between being a bartender or an educated caller or sports fan and someone who’s dedicated their lives to it as an “expert” is the same as some drunk PSL holder calling in and really believing they know more about football than John Harbaugh or more about drafting NFL players than Ozzie Newsome.

This might piss some of you off but this is 100% true and you should accept it: you DO NOT know more about football than Harbaugh or Newsome.

And if you go on the radio and take phone calls in live, real time and don’t know what you’re talking about it only takes anyone who DOES know anything about Baltimore sports about 10 minutes to ferret you out as a phony and a fraud.

Does this remind you of anyone you’ve seen in Baltimore? At one of our competitors, maybe? Maybe recently?

The above is my educated “expert” opinion.

Funny, but I like my “experts” to actually BE experts with credentials and information and a track record that supports their claims.

If you like pretty girls then you and I have something in common. If you like sports, then we have another thing in common.

But mixing the two is like saying good doctors make good lawyers. They’re two different skill sets and two different expectations.

I’m waiting to meet the Baltimore female who knows as much about sports as me or anyone on my staff.

If you follow anyone on Twitter based on their looks and take their barstool opinions and thimble-like knowledge of the depth and breadth of sports as “gospel” or “insight” than you’re not really in the market to be educated.

You’re in the market to be “entertained.” (And that’s being kind …)

I watch Entertainment Tonight. I like Access Hollywood.

But those female reporters aren’t hosting sports radio or pretending to be “experts” on the subject matter.

And to think that I’ve been unprofessionally banished from the Orioles clubhouse after reporting on them for 21 years because of my views while women half my age who’ve never heard of Jim Gentile are holding a mic flag in front of them on the field is a disgrace to Baltimore sports journalism.

But then again, the owner is a public disgrace so profound that a sentence should do the trick. Either you’re appalled by the last 13 years of this civic disease or, if you’re a local female journalist, you take a job, get a mic and defend it while your paychecks are signed by Peter G. Angelos every two weeks.

And that’s not a FEMALE thing, that’s MUCH more of a “male” thing. My feelings aren’t based on gender but on straight-up competence.

And this is my opinion after watching this and doing this for a living for past 27 years. And you know how I know my opinion and expertise is significant enough to you?

Because you made it this far. You respect me and you read my work here at WNST.net because at some level, you respect what I’ve done and my knowledge and opinions and integrity regarding Baltimore sports.

Again, one more time: if you are the next Molly Dunham, my email address is nasty@wnst.net.

But be forewarned. I am the Simon Cowell on the Baltimore sports journalism panel of judges.

And if you think I’m hard on you, wait’ll you see how hard the public will be and what they’ll say about you if you do have success!

Or worse yet, wait’ll you see what they write and say when you DON’T know what you’re talking about.

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Is Mark Sanchez really a fruitcake? We’ll find out tonight as Ravens visit Jets

Posted on 12 September 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

If you don’t watch Hard Knocks on HBO, you won’t get the humor in the headline but I have a hunch you will be watching tonight as eight months of sports silence in Baltimore and a revenge game on national TV for Jets coach Rex Ryan should whet your appetite for the deliciousness of the next 17 weeks and beyond.

Tonight, the Ravens finally play football. For real…

I have been quite silent this summer as the Orioles have continued to tank it en route to a last-place finish but today I recommit to telling you what I think during the football season. I’ve been busy 24 hours a day building the new WNST.net that many of you are enjoying daily via our many means to reach you: the Morning Newspaper, text service, Facebook, Twitter, AM 1570, this very website at WNST.net, etc.

The Orioles are winning and no one is watching while the Ravens have been dormant since that dark night in Indianapolis eight months ago but have once again captured the imagination not only of the local marketplace but they’ve become the national media darlings and are expected to be in Dallas in early February by many pundits.

The locals have been waiting since January for a reason to cheer and tonight we’ll get it in prime time glory with story lines galore for ESPN to pitch America.

The world expects the Ravens to be a playoff team – a 10-to-13 win machine of big-time offense with an emerging Joe Flacco and a hard-hitting (if not hard-covering in the secondary) defense still led by the credentials of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and some fresh faces on the back side.

Tonight we begin to find out not only what our Baltimore Ravens are made of but we’ll also find out whether Rex Ryan’s men in green actually “Play Like Jets” after talking incessantly for the past month in our living rooms via the loudest, brashest most reality-based reality TV ever made – “Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets”

The harsh words have all been exchanged: Rex Ryan disrespected Ray Lewis who disrespected Mark Sanchez which led to Kris Jenkins and Bart Scott piling on in what the linebacker formerly known as “Hot Sauce” called “part of the show.”

It was a week of pre-game hype that Vince McMahon and Don King could both appreciate but Ray Lewis summed it all up here:

Honestly, I was actually blown away when I finally watched last week’s “Hard Knocks” on Saturday afternoon to hear what Rex Ryan actually said on the show that set off No. 52 in a tirade for the ages. Before he spoke, Ray Lewis admitted that he didn’t watch it and still went nuts with the notion that the Jets could somehow be more relevant or favored in tonight’s game.

I was five feet away from Lewis when he went nuts.

I went over to him in the locker room 15 minutes later and told him that I’d seen ALL of the press conferences over the last 15 years and it was his finest moment. “Really, you think so?” he said with a smile.

Yes, Ray! That one was for the ages and has this city inspired to spit purple lightning at 7 p.m. tonight.

So how will this go tonight?

Here are the five things I’ll be on the lookout for from Sect. 324 of the upper deck of the New Meadowlands Stadium. If you like my analysis here at WNST.net feel free to join our Twitter page tonight or friend us on Facebook or chime in with your thoughts in our Purple Haze LIVE CHAT that will begin at 7 p.m. And if you’re coming to New Jersey this afternoon, make sure you join us in Parking Lot L for a BYOB pre-game party of biblical proportions.

Sanchez accuracy can’t be dirty

If the Jets are going to be a contender this year they need to utilize a strong receiving corps with a passing attack that was woefully lacking in 2010 as Mark Sanchez slogged through his rookie campaign until the last few weeks when their defense caught fire and led them to the AFC Championship Game in Indy. Sanchez was portrayed as a bit of a clown in “Hard Knocks” and was referred to by Mark Brunell as a “fruitcake.” I wasn’t impressed with Sanchez on or off of the field this past month in preparation for tonight’s game. I think he’ll throw the Ravens a few opportunities to change the game. What they do when he does that will dictate the Ravens fortunes because with a few turnovers I believe the Ravens could win this game in a rout. And that’s without Ed Reed!

Jets taking care of the ball

The Jets were quite sloppy in many facets of the game in the preseason and turnovers were a major problem. Their running game seems to be a strength in their attack and you’d have to believe that running up the middle against the Ravens will be a tall task for an aging LaDainian Tomlinson and company. In general, I’m wondering how the Jets will attempt to exploit the Ravens through the air because it’s their best chance to win, lining up mismatches in the secondary and hoping Sanchez will be protected and can deliver the ball accurately.

Revis rusty?

We know that Cam Cameron will be mixing it up with this compliment of offensive weapons that Ozzie Newsome has assembled in the offseason. This team went from having Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton to having Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh become a true No. 1 and 2 with Mason almost certainly to move into a more complimentary role as the season wears on. Not that this is a bad thing: Mason will be a true weapon come December and other teams wear thin in the secondary as the weather chills. But the real secondary story tonight will be the return of Darrelle Revis who will be out on the island tonight chasing Boldin in many cases with just five days of practice under his belt. They say he’s the best in the business. Well, tonight he’ll face live bullets and there’s no doubt the communication of the Jets’ back line will be put to the test early and often by Flacco and company.

Flacco directing the offense and multiplicity

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has had three years in the system now and the list of weapons he has is impressive by any measure. The best offense Baltimore football fans have seen since 1977 will take the field tonight. How will Ray Rice be used? When will Willis McGahee and LeRon McClain get the ball? How will Todd Heap and Ed Dickson be used? What role will Houshmandzadeh grow into in this offense? Tonight we get answers including the protection up front that Flacco will need to deliver in this ramped up offensive attack.

The New Meadowlands as a weapon

The Jets have always been the second citizens of Giants Stadium. The team is a generational under-achiever. This year there’s more heat than there’s ever been due to Rex Ryan’s boasts and the braggadocio of the entire franchise being led by a cool, cussing, confident leader who expects to win tonight and every night. Tickets started at nearly $300 and have fallen to less than $100 to get into the game tonight. I know they’ve expanded the stadium but I thought the expanded expectations would expand their horizons to pack their own stadium in a sea of green for a Monday Night Football debut against a real contender and Ryan’s former franchise for a revenge bowl of biblical proportions. It will be interesting to see if the crowd can affect Flacco, who’s earned a bit of a reputation for being Joe Cool when impacted on the road. Flacco has won playoff games in Miami, Nashville and New England in his first three years in the league. I’m not sure the bright lights of New York will affect him tonight.

Quite frankly if Sanchez is the “fruitcake” Brunell alleged, the Ravens will waltz tonight at The New Meadowlands.

My prediction: Ravens 24, Jets 13

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We’ll learn a lot about Ravens and playoff hopes today

Posted on 23 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

As painful as it was to witness, sitting home on Thursday night and watching the Pittsburgh Steelers dismantle the hapless Cincinnati Bengals during another god-awful NFL Network telecast got me thinking about where the Ravens really stand in this potential Festivus season of playoff football. The Steelers are now 8-3 and barring any extreme complication they appear to be in the driver’s seat for the AFC North title.

By going out on three days of rest and winning at Heinz Field, the Steelers have cranked up the heat on the Ravens today with their scary matchup against Donovan McNabb and the Eagles here at the Crab Cake.

I don’t think any of us were under the impression that the Ravens were a Super Bowl team, but after a 6-3 start and with four of the final six at home, you’d like to think on paper that anything short of a “play in” game on Dec. 29th would be a massive disappointment. Of course, I’m not even sure 10-6 will get you an automatic berth given the stack up of mediocrity that the AFC seems to be at this point.

It’s been a confusing season for everyone from the bettors to the fantasy players. Week to week, other than the Giants and Titans winning, I don’t ever feel confident about any one team or player making a massive contribution. And the Titans will probably lose today.

I’m equally perplexed about today’s matchup as I sit here writing in the dawn’s early light of a frigid, long day of dealing with drunk idiots from Philadelphia. (Or at least that’s what I expect!)

The Eagles have looked like a January observer for quite some time now, but the Ravens’ obvious weaknesses and injuries are starting to mount. Who will block in the running game and protect Joe Flacco today? Can the likes of O’Neil Cousins step up and help the Ravens to victory? Will Eagles defensive coordinator Jimmy Johnson stonewall the purple and confuse the rookie signal caller?

Passing the ball today will be difficult. Before last week’s blustery day at the Meadowlands, the Ravens were the best on the planet at stopping the run. This should be: advantage Ravens.

If the Eagles can’t run the ball (and they might not even try), the Ravens dinged up secondary will become the focal point of the afternoon. If McNabb throws the ball 50 times, can the Ravens force turnovers and make big plays?

This season has been a lot of fun for all of us (especially given where the real world has taken all of our budgets and pocketbooks over the past 10 weeks), but I’m not so sure I can make a serious case that this team will be playing in January if they lose today. It’s not like I’ve been looking into playoff roadtrips just yet.

Today is one of those tests that will tell us if the Ravens are any good. As has been noted all week, the Ravens have lost to every good team they’ve played and beaten all of the dogs of the league.

But just who are the Eagles? Probably one of those teams like the Dolphins that are good enough to be ordinary but veteran enough to beat you. Beating them doesn’t impress me but if they’re 7-4 at the end of the afternoon, they’re in pretty good shape.

If the Ravens can beat a veteran QB at home on a blustery day here to go to 7-4, that would show me something. A loss – especially a bad loss – would make them a very ordinary 6-5 team but with Cincinnati looming next week we would probably continue to extend the party at least for a little while and can still talk playoffs at 7-5.

Win today and you can still talk about a serious playoff hope and/or a divison title.

A loss, and the best you can hope for realistically is a wild card.

I’d say the stakes are high.

Save your energy. It’s gonna be a long day…

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You Play The Coach – Which Raven Gets Your Game Ball?

Posted on 18 November 2008 by Alex Thomas

That was a thorough thumping the Giants handed the Ravens in the Meadowlands, but (and I can’t stress this enough) it’s not the end of the world. Chalk that one up to a rare bad day for the Ravens defense, who ran into a buzz-saw in the Giants running attack.

Some thoughts on the game:

-The Giants are just a better team than the Ravens right now. This loss is not a reason to jump off the purple bandwagon. I still think they’re going to make the playoffs as a six seed. By the looks of things, that could put us in another post-season match-up with the Pittsburgh Steelers. So to all of you bandwagon jumpers, don’t poison the purple kool aid for the rest of us.

-Jared Gaither, who was playing with one arm, did an excellent job on Justin Tuck. How many times did we hear his name called on Sunday?

-Looks like the Giants have a pretty good run defense too. The Ravens running game did absolutely nothing, which made things exponentially harder on Joe Flacco and the pass protection. Under those circumstances, Flacco and the pass protection played pretty well.

-Derrick Mason, who was also playing with one arm, continues to prove how valuable he is to this offense. He snagged seven balls for 82 yards and except for the interception that was his fault, he played very well. He is the only receiver on this team that can consistently get open. The next best WR stat? Mark Clayton: 1 catch for 10 yards. Ouch.

-If you check last weeks prediction blog, I hinted that Brandon Jacobs could be the first back to rush for 100 yards on the Ravens. He would have rushed for 200 if he didn’t hurt his knee. The Old Browns front 7 played like…the Old Browns. I have a feeling that Ray and company will make a strong comeback this week against a banged up Brian Westbrook.

-I feel terrible for Matt Stover. He’s had such a great career, but has had one of his worst careers as a pro this season. He’ll probably be the next Raven inducted into the Ring of Honor.

-My game ball goes to Joe Flacco, who played much better than the C- that Mike Preston gave him. It’s so refreshing to see a quarterback stand tall in the pocket and make plays in the face of a relentless Giants pass rush. Bring on the Eagles.

Who gets your game ball?

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Are they who we thought they were?

Posted on 16 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Any amateur football talking head can tell you that if you run the ball and play defense you’ll have a chance to win in the NFL. Of course, when you can’t stop the run it makes for a long afternoon for your defense.

We’ve all been spoiled by the Ravens’ defense over the past decade. They’ve consistently nullified the running game of every team in the league over the past three seasons but today’s effort at Giants Stadium was pedestrian at best and we saw the result: Giants 30, Ravens 10.

The Ravens got humbled today at the Meadowlands, beaten badly by the defending World Champions, who at 9-1 seemed to be toying with them after jumping out to a 20-0 lead with three straight scoring drives to start the day. It was a thorough beating by the NFC leaders, showing the Ravens to be more pretenders than contenders for a Super Bowl title at this point.

The Ravens knew all week that the running game of Brandon Jacobs and company was coming but they were helpless to do anything to stop it. You had to know they were in the trouble the first time Ray Lewis got punched five yards backwards on the first drive.

As for quarterback Eli Manning, he didn’t have to do much. Manning managed the game, made a few passes when he needed to but wasn’t ever put in any third and long situations that needed to be converted.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco didn’t have his best effort, but certainly wasn’t helped by the deflected passes off the pads of Derrick Mason and company. Flacco showed himself to be fleet afoot and there was a point there at the end of the third quarter when it even felt as though the Ravens might be en route to pulling a Cleveland-style comeback.

But, in the end, the Giants proved to be a formidable foe, forced turnovers and punts while keeping the Ravens in ugly down and distances most of the afternoon.

The most disturbing part of the afternoon were the penalties on both sides of the ball, frustrating occurrences that stopped drives and allowed the Giants to stay in control.

Matt Stover missed a field goal.

Flacco threw a few bad balls that thwarted drives.

And the Ravens’ secondary play and tackling was suspect most of the day as well.

It was flashes of Billick-like frustration in the fourth quarter as Flacco moseyed up under center and the team wasted four minutes on a fruitless 30-yard drive while down 27-10.

At 6-4 no one should be disappointed. Of course, San Diego could’ve helped but inevitably fell short as well in Pittsburgh.

But the truth as the team turns for the home stretch – a literal reference when they play four of the final six games at M&T Bank Stadium – is this:

The Ravens have beaten the smelliest teams in the league – Cleveland, Cincinnati, Oakland – and lost in various ways to the only four playoff-caliber foes they’ve seen in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Tennessee and now the New York Football Giants.

Until they can run with the big dogs of the NFL, they can continue to chalk up wins against the likes of Cincinnati, who sits on their schedule as a Thanksgiving dessert two weeks from now.

But Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas and Pittsburgh again are also on the slate and it will take a better effort than the one we saw today to get the Ravens to the promised land of a 10-6 season and a playoff berth.

As John Harbaugh said in his postgame new conference, “There’s plenty of work to do.”

Amen.

That was a tough one today.

Are the Ravens the below-average team that Vegas had at a “6-win over/under” during August?

Or are they the 6-3 juggernaut who entered today on the heels of beating bad teams 41-13 on the road?

Or are they somewhere in between, just ripe to have a late-season collapse amidst the “going getting tough” schedule that began in earnest at 1 p.m. today?

After a 6-3 start, an 8-8 season would be a massive disappointment.

Some of us had our purple holiday lights ready to hang for Festivus season and our next promotion, “The Miller Lite Purple Palace” promotion, which will begin tomorrow on WNST.

Based on what we saw today and the big guy in the No. 27 getting out on the edge and the general exposing of the backend of the defense, perhaps we should hold off on that Festivus celebration for a few more weeks.

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Beating the Giants would make Ravens a legit force in AFC

Posted on 16 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

As I wake this morning the Baltimore Ravens – and, yes, they used the word “Baltimore” before it was “comprehensive branding effort” – are 6-3 and could be in sole possession of first place in the AFC North if a series of positive events transpire later today at the Meadowlands and in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers host a desperate San Diego Chargers club coming east to play with their season in the balance.

No matter what, we’re gonna learn a lot about January today.

In my 13 years of fandom I’ve never seen a purple team this hard to read. Are they this good? Or were THEY that BAD?

I’m not really sure.

Here are the irrefutable facts:

• The Ravens have played nine games and have played eight of them well enough to win. That includes solid, representative efforts in Pittsburgh and here against the undefeated and “unstoppable” Tennessee Titans.
• The Ravens played one of the biggest turds in the history of the franchise in Indianapolis and any horse player might “throw this one out” if they can legitimately run with the New York Football Giants.
• Their only wins have come at the expense of the likes of the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders – the literal dregs of the league and darlings of next April’s NFL Draft.
• The road has been far from a nuisance for rookie quarterback Joe Flacco, who after appearing to have been playing the rope-a-dope in that game against the Colts, has rebounded nicely with huge efforts in Miami, Cleveland and Houston.
• The injuries have mounted – Kelly Gregg, Chris McAlister, Marshal Yanda and Dawan Landry are all done for the season – and the “next man up” has gotten the job done. Winning teams do that!
• The team has a rookie head coach, a rookie quarterback, a rookie left tackle and aging players at a variety of positions from wide receiver to defensive line to middle linebacker and week after week they’ve brought impressive moxie to the field no matter the circumstance. The secondary has been ravaged but is still percolating and when the front seven brings the heat this is a 3-and-out waiting to happen.
• They know how to come back from behind on the road as was witnessed in Cleveland, where they effectively ended their bitter division rival’s playoff aspirations on Halloween weekend.
• And finally, the Giants are 8-1. So let’s just assume they’re pretty good.

These are the facts. But how this game sets up is anyone’s guess.

The Giants are a prohibitive favorite. The weather is slated to be kinda chilly at 49 degrees. And we’re taking 57 purple WNST fans up to the game via the “Miller Lite Roadtrips.”

The rest is why we take the video camera…

Will the Ravens defense shut down the Big Blue running game – Earth, Wind and Fire – which leads the league in rushing?

Will Rex Ryan’s blitz packages get after Eli Manning or will the Giants solid offensive line give him their signal caller a chance to exploit a depleted secondary?

And how will No. 5 fare up the Turnpike from his home in New Jersey as the Giants disguise packages and send the blitz of Justin Tuck and company?

This is why I love football.

Can the Ravens go into the Meadowlands and defeat the reigning World Champions today?

That’s what we’re all wondering…

The bus leaves at 7 a.m.

Casey Willett, Drew Forrester and I will all be at the Meadowlands.

Blogs, stories, videos and hopefully, a victory, will be coming back with us.

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A Giant Task in New Jersey

Posted on 14 November 2008 by joeflacco

I went with a bunch of the offensive lineman to see the new Bond movie Quantum Solace last night…lots of really good action scenes in there.  If you’re a Bond fan you’ll like it, I’m sure.  These get togethers with the offensive line have been a lot of fun for all of us.  We usually go to dinner together during the week at least once but Jason Brown got a bunch of movie tickets so we all did that on Thursday night instead of dinner.

Other than Drew asking me about the experts out there saying the Ravens haven’t beaten a good team yet, I honestly haven’t heard anything about that this week.  I don’t really listen to the radio or watch TV or read the papers all that much.  I never did in college either (except for class!), just because I don’t need any kind of distraction at all.  I think most of our guys are the same way, actually.  We just focus on football and whatever people want to say about us they can.

We know this is a big game on Sunday because we’ve won four straight games and we’re playing the defending champions in their stadium.  But our approach hasn’t changed at all.  We have a game plan to study and we just need to keep our heads down, work hard all week and get ready for Sunday in New Jersey.

I hear some WNST listeners are going to the game.  We’ll do our best to make that ride home a little more enjoyable after the game.  Have a great weekend everyone.

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