Posted on 12 September 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 06 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
It’s been quite the week for Michael Phelps, as the local hero has once again stolen the show in London for the 2012 Olympics and will come home to Baltimore as the most decorated athlete in the history of the planet.
Ten days ago, before the Opening Ceremonies, I tested the waters of local opinions with a simple, open-ended statement on Facebook and Twitter – “Michael Phelps is ________.” I also wrote a blog regarding Phelps for #VisaGoWorld regarding his significance and reputation around Baltimore.
Some took turns praising Phelps for his accomplishments in the pool and for purchasing Meadowbrook Swim Club and giving back to his almost cult-like sport of swimming by inviting local kids into the pool to find fitness and inspiration.
Others mentioned his indiscretions, his reckless behavior of youth and his general boorishness around Baltimore.
Everyone – love him, hate him or envy him – mentioned his mutual love of Baltimore sports teams and the local pride that comes with his roots here in Towson.
But now with 21 medals – and an almost unimaginable 18 gold medals – what will become of Michael Phelps here in Baltimore as the local hero, especially now that his career in the water and on the world stage appears to be over?
This whole swimming thing is quite different from the adulation showered on your “normal” athlete. We’ve all had a chance to watch Ray Lewis play or even have our parents tell us about Johnny Unitas. We’ve all witnessed some of the Cal Ripken magic and know about Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer and some of us even can collect the bronze statues or bobbleheads.
But for Phelps I find it rather odd that most locals have never seen him swim a race in person. He’s been the best in the world at what he does for 12 years and I’ve never met a person who could tell you anything about his accomplishments in the four years that elapse in the blink of an eye between Sydney and Athens, from Beijing to London.
All of the glory – but all of it truly “made for television.”
Phelps will return to Baltimore sometime later this week and I’m assuming that the Towson government won’t shut down for a day to hold him a parade this time. I’m assuming that Baltimore won’t shut down Fort McHenry and the streets of the city to fete him later in the fall. Believe it or not, the cost of paying police and shutting down streets back in 2008 was quite the ticket for the local taxpayers.
All of the attention, adulation and pomp and circumstance back in 2008 seemed more than enough. The hero worship thing has to have become tiring, even for Phelps, who seemingly couldn’t care less about all of the praise and rock star treatment.
Phelps visited with Bob Costas on the NBC set last night for 30 minutes and much of the conversation was illuminating in regard to how Phelps sees his future.
His ever-present mother Debbie Phelps has clearly been publicly and privately imploring her lad to swim four years from now in Rio in an attempt to add to his collection of rare, precious metals.
Phelps held his final relay gold medal up for Costas and said, “This will be the last Olympic gold medal I’ll ever win. I’m done.”
He almost brightened up on the set when he talked about working with children and traveling the world.
But as I’ve mentioned many times over the past four Olympics that Phelps has attended – it’s swimming. People are only going to get so excited about his sport or him, and by the time football season starts five weeks from now in Baltimore anything regarding the Olympics or gold medals or even Ryan Lochte will be long-forgotten in the mind of most local people and sports fans.
Will Phelps get more involved in local sports issues?
Will he immerse in the community and be more than a face at a local bar and on the sidelines of Baltimore Ravens games?
Will he develop a hobby or interest outside of the pool that doesn’t include pictures of him at a frat party?
What will traveling the world and “seeing things” do for his status as a strangely famous and wealthy 26-year old man with many, many more years left on the planet?
What will the future of Michael Phelps bring for him and for Baltimore?
Only time will tell.
Your feedback or thoughts are welcomed below…
I am blogging on behalf of the Visa Go World Olympic Campaign and receive compensation for my time, but
the thoughts, words, and promotions on this page are mine, not Visa’s.
Posted on 31 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
The every-fourth-year hubbub about the Olympics and swimming and local connections is underway and once again this week Michael Phelps has entered the worldwide sports consciousness every night as the most decorated athlete in United States history.
So if you’re a provincial, “local” Baltimore sports fan you’re almost obligated to cheer for the kid from Towson wearing the red, white and blue on behalf of our country as well as our community.
After all of the tape delay fiascos from England this weekend – I wrote my two cents here — I started thinking about Michael Phelps as being the unique sports figure of our time in Baltimore. Oh, sure we have some hometown sports heroes like Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken and Ray Lewis, who will all have plenty of bronze likenesses and memories in our community and “time will not dim the glory of their deeds” but Phelps’ accomplishments trump all of them on his stage when you consider his competition around the planet and the scope and magnitude of the Olympics.
And unlike the Orioles, Colts or Ravens, most people have never been anywhere near a pool where Michael Phelps has swam a lap. The closest approximation to a “cheering crowd” for Phelps happened four years ago when the remnants of a Baltimore Ravens preseason game watched him swim for gold inside the stadium about 30 minutes after the football game ended.
You can see my view of it here:
So on Saturday afternoon before Phelps took his first turn in the pool vs. Ryan Lochte, I put up one simple, open-ended sentence for tens of thousands of our @WNST Twitter followers and our Facebook community. It was:
Michael Phelps is ___________________.
There were hundreds of comments across social media and by my count far more than 50% weren’t just negative they were downright personal and abusive in some cases. And this was on Facebook, where people sign their names and add their likeness to their criticism.
Perhaps it’s gold medal envy?
Maybe it was the DUI
Posted on 29 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio
Tick tock, tick tock…as time slips through the hourglass so goes Jennifer Royle’s 15 minutes of fame in Baltimore.
She’s now been here about 18 months and today figures to be the last time she gets a headline in the Charm City. Her lawsuit against me, WNST and my employees Drew Forrester and Glenn Clark, was completely without merit.
This costly and damaging witch hunt and blatant attempt to injure my company and a reputation that I’ve spent 27 years of my life erecting here in my hometown of Baltimore as a “tell it like it is” journalist in the style of my heroes John Steadman and Howard Cosell – is now complete.
Time and facts have proven that WNST never did anything inappropriate.
Ms. Royle dropped the case after our lawyers filed a motion asking a judge to order her to answer a series of questions that she didn’t want to answer.
Instead of responding to our motions, she took her marbles and went home.
As we stated all along, we did nothing wrong at WNST.net. Her allegations were a public affront to me, and an attack on my personal integrity and the value of everything we’ve built this 21st century local media company to stand for publicly over the past two decades.
My company and my personal reputation have been greatly damaged over the last six months with this black cloud of nonsense, gossip and bogus lawsuit, and I’m glad to publicly tell you today that we prevailed, but what we’ve received lacks justice for me, my employees, and our families.
Despite all of the havoc she’s wreaked inside of my company and the damage to my reputation in the community with her allegations, in the end Jennifer Royle got nothing, zero, zilch – not one penny of WNST money, which was her motivation from the outset. So, I suppose she “lost” this battle although I’m not sure it cost her any money at all to create this media firestorm so perhaps she’s a winner. Doesn’t seem quite fair, does it?
Many of you had never heard of her before her face graced the front pages of local periodicals as a “rising star,” while suing the one local media company that has the audacity to tell it like it is regarding bad journalism, media competition and the “hush hush” politics surrounding the Baltimore Orioles and Peter Angelos.
And as much as my company can claim some sort of public “victory” today, I know I’m not a “winner,” that’s for sure. This was a game of legal chess and a complete waste of time and energy that no one in my company ever signed on to play.
Outside the hundreds of wasted hours of nonsense, grief, rumors and lies, it’s certainly been a life-altering, educational experience.
And, really, quite personally disheartening for a kid from Dundalk who grew up with next-to-nothing and has worked diligently, legally, ethically and with great passion and energy to make a great, authentic local company like WNST.net that lives and breathes to serve this community and make the internet, mobile devices and radio work against all odds and against the biggest giants of the media industry in the marketplace.
The garbage we’ve endured in this case was unimaginable until I realized how the incredible red tape of these lawsuits work.
But even after voluntarily offering to drop all of her charges last week via her attorney, she gave me her “concession speech” while wearing a press pass in the Ravens media lounge.
Two weeks ago before the Chiefs game, just hours after it became official that Royle was giving up her case, she approached me at a table with other reporters standing nearby and gave me her “post-litigation” quote while wearing a Ravens credential:
“What the f**k are you looking at? I did you a f**king favor. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT! ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT!”
By the way, these were the first uninitiated words she’s ever spoken to me, and the first time she’s ever engaged me in any conversation.
You want the truth about Royle v. WNST?
You might not be able to handle the truth…but it’s a click away right HERE.
I’m told that I’m finally free at last to speak my mind and tell my side of the story. So, while I was anxiously awaiting the trial next June and taking my seat in the courtroom and having the facts told in great detail because we have nothing to hide, instead I’ll take the stand here at WNST.net and tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
That, by the way, is all that I’ve done for the past 27 years. I’ve enjoyed a lifetime of writing, editing, reporting, critiquing, praising and evaluating the Baltimore sports scene in the media. I wrote 1,500 stories for The News American and The Baltimore Sun before I was 23 and began my radio career on Dec. 13, 1991. I’m three months short of 20 years as a radio host and local entrepreneur whose been traveling the world and living in and loving this city and its sports scene.
I report facts. I opine and analyze on Baltimore sports and just about anything else that I feel compelled and authentically interested in espousing my feelings about regarding topics I feel I’m qualified to opine. We live in America. I have First Amendment rights and free speech.
But today I’m here to tell you that “free” speech isn’t free.
Jennifer Royle is a competitor in sports media who we think is inferior as a journalist, and we really don’t care who knows it. She’s a public figure. She goes on the radio and the internet and her Twitter page and opines on all sorts of things that we believe she’s unqualified to evaluate as a professional Baltimore sports expert. Here’s my opinion: her opinion on Baltimore sports is so insignificant as to not be ever mentioned again by me or anyone at WNST.net.
And other than a few occasions in the past when we pointed out how off base she was in some commentary or a blog, we really gave Miss Royle very little attention in her first year in Baltimore. Honestly, other than as an occasional punch line -– which is all she is as a “source” or “insider” in our sports universe of legitimate experts — it wasn’t worth the effort.
And after this blog her name will never roll off my lips again. I have no interest in Jennifer Royle, nor have I ever had any interest in any aspect of her life before getting sued by her and being subjected to reading the daily drama of her existence on Twitter and all over social media. The biggest “favor” she did me was dropping the lawsuit so I no longer had to monitor her mindless web ramblings, which most certainly robbed me of my time as much as the lawsuit robbed me of sponsors and some dignity that I’ll never recover in some segments of the community who convict those in the court of public opinion and on the 5 o’clock news.
Now, let’s address this crazy lawsuit, which countless numbers of you have asked me about since it led the evening news back in March, and then we’re done with it.
And here’s another link. It’s almost 300 pages long. As you can imagine, it’s an arduous read but it contains everything you need to know about what Jennifer Royle alleged in Royle v. WNST (Aparicio, Forrester & Clark).
All I need to say will be said here: WNST will not be taking phone calls or posting any “he said/she said” commentary after we speak our peace (or is it piece?) this week. We are through with this chapter of sick, pointless litigation. And we are most certainly through with Miss Royle and her drama.
We have families to feed, sports news and commentary to get to in football season and a community to serve in Baltimore.
For those of you coming here to read because you:
A) Love me
B) Hate me
C) Know me
D) Care about me
E) or you’re just a curiosity news-seeker
I will say this: I appreciate that you care enough to read on and care to know my side of the story. And I have a feeling the company she works for won’t be featuring this on the evening news the way they did when their employee was the plaintiff — but only time will tell. And I have a feeling that The Baltimore Sun won’t make the dismissal of this case a front page story the way they did when I was the defendant. And even though the story leaked last week during the awful tragedy regarding Mike Flanagan’s suicide, no one has reached to me to get my side of the story the way they all called me unprovoked before I had even been served papers back in March.
So, here’s how I really feel: This was the most despicable act purported on me in my lifetime by anyone I’ve never even met.
The amount of hours, explanations and mind space I’ve had to spend on a woman who I’ve never even had a conversation with or have given a nanosecond of my time or energy to since her self-aggrandized arrival 18 months ago and someone I’m not remotely interested in knowing anything personal about is mind-boggling.
What a country we live in! That’s all I can say.
This country and our legal system and tort law is very, very, very f**ked up – that much I’ve learned in the last six months since her threats began with a letter from her lawyer Brian Goodman of the law firm of Hodes, Pessin & Katz advising that they intended to sue my company, which would clearly harm my company and help Royle’s company, CBS Radio, have a competitive advantage over WNST.
But there was no way WNST was ever going to admit guilt where none existed. Sure, it would’ve been easier, but anyone in my life who even thought of recommending that cowardly behavior was dismissed and you can only imagine my anger at the notion of doing anything that impugns my integrity as an honest journalist.
I’d rather die.
And anyone who knows me will tell you that.
And Miss Royle wound up getting exactly what she deserved in the end: nothing.
As I wrote four months ago when this fiasco began, I have nothing to hide. There is no smoking gun. We’re by far the most read, commented, followed, text-based, Tweeting, blogging, content machines at WNST.net and all of it is purposely designed to be public.
My company immediately and eagerly produced droves -– if not tomes — of unedited, unaltered information and contents of all kinds for Goodman, Hodes and Royle. We have tweeted over 50,000 times. We have Facebooked vigorously for three years – tens of thousands of threads, comments, entries and pictures. We do 12 hours of very visible, downloaded audio and radio every day. I have personally sent and received more than 100,000 emails in the last year.
Not a speck of actionable material about Jennifer Royle was anywhere in our evidence.
Same with Drew Forrester.
Same with Glenn Clark.
We have hundreds of Tweets, posts, replies and evidence that would say that Jennifer Royle has had a rocky road with Baltimore sports fans and their public (and warranted in our opinion) criticism of her work and credentials as a local sports expert. She burst into Baltimore on the tail end of the Anita Marks era at 105.7 and CBS Radio and was quickly put into the Orioles clubhouse with a MASN/CBS credential.
And aside from any tangible evidence regarding this case, to publicly allege as she did in her lawsuit that we gossiped about her personal life or her sex life, based on blogs and tweets in which we said absolutely no such thing, is just preposterous and an affront to everything we stand for at WNST.net in reporting the facts about sports in Baltimore.
The shocker to me was that a respected firm like Hodes, Pessin & Katz — a group of people I considered long-time friends and who were involved in ownership and housing WLG-AM 1360 when I wrote more than $250,000 in checks to their company back in the 1990’s brokering airtime for my afternoon “Sports Forum” radio show — would take a case like this against me and think they’d win.
The original charging documents tried to plead that Royle is NOT a public figure, which I don’t think I needed to enter the Peter G. Angelos Law Center at my old University of Baltimore alma mater to research.
And I can’t imagine that anyone on her side of the fence ever realized that large portions of her personal life and relationships are an absolute open book on her Twitter page where she loudly and proudly interacts with the many famous friends she has in sports and openly denigrates fans and co-workers every day quite publicly. She openly Tweets with athletes, celebrities and media people on a daily basis about her physical attributes, her dog, her nephew, etc.
But the amount of absolute gibberish in their charging documents would’ve been laughable had it not been a blatant attempt to wreak havoc on my life and company and shake me down for money.
They actually spelled my name wrong when they sent the court papers and did so many times throughout the documentation.
They were demanding $800,000 and they didn’t know how to spell my name?
They served me papers three different times, so much so that I felt like I knew the poor retired police officer (and WNST fan) that chased me around town for two weeks in March. They even sued the wrong company at the wrong address in the beginning.
Quite frankly, I don’t need to opine too much about the specifics in the case.
They’re all RIGHT HERE for you to peruse.
But, in general, it seems Miss Royle can take anything we say on the radio or the web and somehow believe it has some link to her.
She somehow managed to complain in the lawsuit about a Tweet I sent regarding a half-price discount for one of our sponsors and think it was about her.
Go through pages 156 through 181 of her allegations in the lawsuit and see for yourself some of her charges.
She also complained that we nominated her for “Orioles Apologist Of The Month.” She and her legal team thought they could sue us for this? And win?
Her legal papers also allege that a caller made a reference to “Jen Midol” on WNST. It might not be too polite but it’s certainly not grounds for a lawsuit against me.
She even reached to Orioles poohbah Greg Bader, hardly a fan of mine or WNST, and attempted to involve him on Page 178.
But, thankfully, this circus is over.
And let’s make no mistake about it — WNST is NOT a winner. We lost. We lost big time. But Jennifer Royle didn’t get a penny from WNST.net.
I suppose that’s my “victory.”
But I’ve been victimized. When someone calls me or my team rumormongers and even whispers that anyone at WNST made comments that they never actually made is personally bothersome to me.
All told, I think this whole experience was despicable.
Not that this does me any good or helps me recoup damages to my name that might last the rest of my life in the public forum.
I have sponsors who dropped us. I have others who declined to do business with us or take an appointment with us. I heard whispers around every corner about WNST and me and perceived guilt. I had jealous rivals and unappreciative ex-employees cackle and desperately hope that WNST.net was guilty and going belly up.
Can you imagine my lack of humor when someone who identifies themselves as a WNST fan comes up at an Orioles game and asks if my station is going to be renamed W-Jen-ST once she wins the lawsuit.
This was no joke to anyone at WNST and isn’t a good conversation starter for me or Forrester or Clark.
The worst part has been being around the Ravens organization and having media members and members of the organization look at Drew, Glenn and me as pariahs or seeing us “guilty before judgment.” And the gender-based claims in this suit clearly imply that we’re somehow misogynists, when our wives, girlfriends and mothers are aghast that their loved ones could be accused of this kind of “social crime.”
But, in the end, this was exactly what my local attorney Steve Miles called it four months ago: a shakedown.
And my legal team was world class. If you have people making outrageous claims on you in the media space, you want Chuck Tobin and Drew Shenkman of Holland & Knight on your team. Those guys are the REAL heroes in this case. They’re two of the smartest, best dudes I’ve met anywhere in my travels. Rock stars and First Amendment Americans!
I owe a debt of gratitude to every one of you who said a kind word or dropped me a line with support and love. Thank you, Baltimore!
I run a company full of good people who are all honorable, work hard and want to be great. We love Baltimore sports as much as you love Baltimore sports and that’s why we’re here. And at this point, if you doubt those words you’re just a hater.
But, if you are a WNST hater who has read this missive this far, I’ll just assume you’re a hater who cares.
And I wouldn’t wish this sort of character assassination on even my most hated competitor.
This affected my 55-year old general manager Paul Kopelke and his family. This affected parents and wives and small children in the case of Drew Forrester. My wife, my mother and son all went through this with me and Drew and Glenn and our families and loved ones as well as all of my employees and supporters.
For me, it’s about integrity. It’s about right and wrong.
I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that this was the most evil, heinous act ever performed upon me so Miss Royle should at the very least take a bow for scraping the bottom of the barrel in my 43 years on the planet.
When my 92-year old mother in Dundalk saw my face on the evening news looking like a criminal getting sued by a female journalist with hurt feelings and I look guilty on TV and in the newspapers when we’re perfectly innocent — well, that’s a little hard for me to take without both anger and sadness.
We were the No. 1 most viewed news story at The Baltimore Sun for almost two days when the lawsuit was filed, so I know the local media paparazzi and my competitors were waiting outside of the courthouse door for a “guilty” verdict on WNST that was never coming.
We’re moving on, but I’ll never forget this or forgive the people at corporate monoliths and competitors CBS Radio and MASN for bringing this out-of-town troublemaker into Baltimore to wage war on loyal local sports fans and on my company in the press, on the internet, and with contacts in local organizations via a baseless lawsuit that lacked any merit at all but landed her above the fold in newspapers all over town.
Where is she today to answer questions? She was the one throwing around dozens of crazy accusations?
Where’s her credibility now?
And what did she ever do or say to earn anyone’s trust in this community as a legitimate voice of Baltimore sports expertise?
I’ll leave that up to you to decide now and in the future.
Who do you trust for your news? And what is their agenda?
Our agenda at WNST.net has always been crystal clear:
To fully realize the potential of the vast audience our brand has acquired in Maryland over the past 17 years, WNST.net will be the dominant, honest voice in Maryland media by providing the “real” content of what’s happening in sports in our area.
We will deal with all of our listeners and sponsors with charity, benevolence, dignity and in the effort to educate and help sports fans in Baltimore better understand the big picture of sports so they can enjoy it even more.
We will be an advocate of all things Baltimore and Baltimore sports while keeping a keen “21stCentury-oriented” approach to build a bridge between sports and its fans through our website, broadcasts and community activism.
Integrity and accuracy will be our calling card.
And I want to stress again: we never did anything wrong, unethical or nefarious. Through all of these dramatic accusations, Miss Royle forgot to bring the one thing into the legal arena with her – a real case with any evidence to back up her heinous allegations.
And just as I wrote four months ago when this fiasco began, none of this will change how little she knows about Baltimore sports or how much Baltimore will “embrace” her greatness now that this sham and attack on my life and the lives of everyone connected to me and WNST is apparently complete.
Justice will never be served on my side of the ledger but WNST will forge ahead and not look back.
We will always be the real place you turn for Baltimore sports news and information that you can trust.
And Jennifer Royle will always be remembered as the female sports reporter who sued WNST on the front page of the newspaper and didn’t win. Period.
It’s football season. The Ravens are on the field and we’ll now go back to doing what we do best – bringing you the best sourced information, the most reliable news and analysis in Baltimore sports media.
We hope you enjoy what we do at WNST.net. And if there’s something we can do to get better, please drop me a note: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And it goes without saying, we’re always looking for local businesses to partner with and market to Baltimore sports fans just like you and me.
Thanks for supporting WNST.net and all of our families and friends. We appreciate you and look forward to continuing our growth and greatness with our new lineup in the fall.
FOR OBVIOUS LEGAL REASONS WE ARE NOT POSTING COMMENTS TO THIS BLOG OR REGARDING THIS SUBJECT MATTER. WE CONSIDER THE CASE OF ROYLE v. WNST CLOSED. THANKS FOR UNDERSTANDING…
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Posted on 19 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio
I’m not the kind to pass judgment on any team based on anything I see in the preseason. Schemes, game plans and “real” football are never really seen in August but my eyes see a few things that are disconcerting for any Ravens fan.
First, the offensive line is suspect and that’s a foundation item that seems to get lost on most NFL fans until the quarterback is running for his life and imminently unproductive. There’s no way the Ravens will be effective on offense if Joe Flacco is constantly scrambling like we’ve seen for the better part of three quarters in the past eight days.
What’s even worse is how dreadful the backups and “hope for the future” have been in protecting for Tyrod Taylor, who really isn’t being given a fair shot when he’s getting chased on every play as well.
Against the Chiefs last night, Flacco was ineffective through most of the first half and was consistently overthrowing receivers who either didn’t have their timing down or just couldn’t get to the passes. Anquan Boldin looked frighteningly slow on a few of the passes but Lee Evans had some productivity in his reps vs. Kansas City.
I suppose we’ll see more in the pivotal third preseason game next Thursday night against the Redskins but count me in the club that needs to see more consistent protection – including the anchor of Michael Oher on the left side — to be bullish on the Ravens’ playoff hopes in 2011.
As for the defense, when Ray Lewis doesn’t get off the bus it’s exceedingly difficult to assess the first team. Ed Reed made a nice play. Some of the backups like Sergio Kindle and Pernell McPhee made some noise but for the most part it was more ugly preseason football.
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Posted on 11 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio
PHILADELPHIA — As I sit here wrapping up a futile evening of unusually awful preseason football — and the bar was set pretty low to begin with — I’m just going to throw out a few random observations from tonight’s Ravens’ 13-6 loss to the Eagles here at The Linc:
The Ravens need to get on the phone and find a backup quarterback and probably sooner than later. Not unexpectedly, Tyrod Taylor stank in his NFL debut last night playing primarily with and against the usual second-teamers.
Harbaugh, who always seems to provide us with some quotes that are outlandish, had nothing but praise for Taylor. Check it out here.
Taylor is going to be mighty sore all weekend but the three interceptions were ill-timed even by preseason standards and certainly avoidable. Pray for the health of Joe Flacco, Baltimore! Or pray for someone legitimate to fall out of a tree. Call Marc Bulger. Call Brett Favre. Call someone, Ozzie!
It’s impossible to gauge how good the team is as a whole when the starters were out of the game before we blinked but it was pretty easy to see that Michael Vick and the Eagles offense were far ahead of where the Ravens defense is at this point. Vick made it look far too easy, especially against a veteran secondary and Chris Carr.
This new kickoff rule is going to ruin special teams while saving players’ health. I have a feeling many teams will go weeks without returning a kick or having to tackle anyone. And the way Billy Cundiff kicked last year, we might not see a return before Thanksgiving in Baltimore. At this rate, they should just do away with kickoffs and spot the ball at the 20 after every score.
I always forget how much the preseason sucks. The crowd isn’t into it. The announcers aren’t into it. And last night’s brand of NFL football was about the worst I’ve ever seen given the lack of OTA’s, offseason playbooks and organization that’s needed to put 22 men in motion on the field. This will be the biggest story of August — how NFL coaches pull these rosters together when many young players are baffled in their new systems.
It was nice to see Dennis Pitta contribute on a night when he had some opportunities. It’ll be even nicer when the Ravens get Ed Dickson on the field.
The Ravens’ offensive line was suspect last night and in particular Oniel Cousins stunk when I zeroed in on him when he was battling 2nd and 3rd teamers. Ray Rice had no room to run on his handful of carries and Joe Flacco was running for his life in the first quarter. This is far more disconcerting than any other facet of the team because it involved productivity, protection and the ability of Joe Flacco to be standing upright for 16 weeks.
All this said — and virtually none of my observations were positive — it was a preseason game. Don’t sweat it. It was a practice, that’s all.
We’ll have three more chances to watch bad football this month before the emotions, energy and drama of the Steelers’ visit on Sept. 11 at 1 p.m.
WNST is open for business all day on Friday for phone calls, observations and civic therapy.
Feel free to vent. It’s why we’re here!
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Posted on 09 March 2011 by Nestor Aparicio
It feels like it happens far too frequently as I age not-s0-gracefully, but I attended my 20th Ed Block Courage Awards Foundation dinner last night. And I missed the first 13 of them!
It was great to see so many old friends last night and I also got to meet some new “friends” in the NFL.
Here’s the evidence…
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Posted on 13 December 2010 by Glenn Clark
Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball: Maryland @ Delaware State (Sunday 4pm from Dover); High School Basketball: Perry Hall @ Parkville (Wednesday 6:30pm), Meade @ Glen Burnie (Friday 7pm); Soccer: MISL-Omaha Vipers @ Baltimore Blast (Saturday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena)
10. Usher (Friday 8pm Verizon Center); Sean Kingston (Tuesday 6pm Rams Head Live), Alter Bridge (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live), KIX (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Wu-Tang Clan (Sunday 8pm Sonar); Aaron Neville (Thursday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Joe Satriani (Wednesday 8pm Strathmore), O.A.R. (Saturday 8pm Strathmore), Kenny Rogers (Sunday 5pm Strathmore); John Waters Christmas (Thursday 7:30pm Birchmere); Michael Jackson “MICHAEL” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)
There’s a ZERO percent chance I won’t be in Bethesda Saturday night. OF A REVOLUTION…
I would never go see Sean Kingston live, but I’ll admit that I kinda dig a few of his tunes…
I prefer my Creed to be not so Scott Stapp-y. That’s why I don’t mind Alter Bridge so much…
And while I might dig listening to the ol’ graybeard croon “The Gambler”…
I feel like I might actually prefer another Kenny Rogers show…
9. Glenn Clark’s annual Christmas party (Friday, time and location withheld)
It’s not that I won’t tell you where the party is because I don’t want you to be there. It’s that I can’t tell you for legal reasons. It’s somewhere on the Eastern Side of Baltimore County…sometime this week. Here are some pictures from past parties. You might understand more…
These are simply the ones I’m allowed to show you. It’s going to be epic…and it WILL involve me reading everyone “The Polar Express” at 2am like we were in 4th grade. That’s the way it is.
8. College Football: New Mexico Bowl-BYU vs. UTEP (Saturday 2pm from Albuquerque live on ESPN), uDrove Humanitarian Bowl-Northern Illinois vs. Fresno State (Saturday 5:30pm from Boise live on ESPN), R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Ohio University vs. Troy (Saturday 9pm from New Orleans live on ESPN)
You know it’s a bad week when THESE games somehow make the list.
I’m not really sure how I can make any of these sound appealing, so I won’t bother.
The FCS semifinals are also next weekend, and I know who I’m rooting for. Georgia Southern is at Delaware Friday night. Since Joe Flacco played for the Blue Hens, I’m with them. Villanova visits Eastern Washington Friday night, and there’s no doubt I’ll be pulling for the Wildcats. What do I have against EWU? Well, it’s the alma mater of a certain clown on ESPN Radio…
There’s simply no chance I’m pulling for the school that gave us Colin Cowherd.
I’m not legally allowed to type the word Georgetown without immediately following it up with this…
I prefer “elated” Gary Williams to “angry” Gary Williams myself.
I found my way onto a screening list for “The Fighter” Tuesday night in White Marsh, and I’m sorta excited. It looks like a really good flick…
Of course, if we’re talking boxing movies, I guess I need to make sure I give a nod to the Hall of Famer…
5. NBA: Los Angeles Lakers @ Washington Wizards (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ New Jersey Nets (Thursday 7pm from East Rutherford, NJ live on Comcast SportsNet), Miami Heat @ Washington Wizards (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Charlotte Bobcats @ Washington Wizards (Monday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)
The circus comes to DC Saturday night, as LeBron James and the preseason NBA champion Heat pay a visit. I wonder what my buddy Mike Polk thinks about it…
4. NHL: Anaheim Ducks @ Washington Capitals (Wednesday 7pm from Washington live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ Boston Bruins (Saturday 7pm from Boston live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Washington Capitals @ Ottawa Senators (Sunday 7:30pm from Ottawa live on Comcast SportsNet)
The DUCKS play the Caps this week? The DUCKS? I know where my support will be…
Gordon Bombay is a hero.
3. Mixed Martial Arts: WEC-Benson Henderson vs. Anthony Pettis (Thursday 9pm from Phoenix live on VERSUS)
There are a group of MMA fighters who are probably going to be a BIT distracted before their big event this week. I mean, they’re headed to Arizona of all places. There’s a little bit going on in the Valley of the Sun…
(Edit from GMC: I’m well aware that Arizona is in Tucson, not Phoenix. I’m also well aware that Arizona State girls are hotter. But I always post pictures of ASU girls. It was time for me to give a nod to gals from the U of A.)
A couple of things here. One-the WWE may not be headed to Iraq of Afghanistan like usual, but the military special is ALWAYS the coolest thing they do every year. Just an awesome concept and event. I really dig it.
Speaking of cool concepts-it’s ALWAYS a good thing when the company hosts an event that incorporates Tables, Ladders and Chairs…
1. NFL: New Orleans Saints @ Baltimore Ravens (Sunday 1pm from M&T Bank Stadium live on FOX)
I was really hoping this wasn’t going to be a showdown of 2nd place teams when I looked at the schedule before the season.
In honor of Reggie Bush coming to Charm City, I think there’s only one photo that can finish up this list this week. NO-it’s not a picture of the Heisman Trophy, but I appreciate your humor. I think losing this HAD to be more painful than losing the Heisman for the former USC star…
Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…
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Posted on 09 July 2010 by Nestor Aparicio
I’m not an expert about much but Cleveland is something I know a lot about. As much as I like to have some fun with our cousins to the Midwest – it’s been a healthy rivalry ever since Art Modell stepped foot into Parking Lot D in Nov. 1995 – today a little piece of me is angry for them.
It’s true – anger is to Cleveland what fake breasts and sunshine are to California. People in Cleveland are perennially angry. They hate the Browns. They hate Art Modell. They hate losing. They hate whoever is the quarterback of the Browns. They hate that they haven’t won a championship.
They hate me.
And this morning, for the first time since Modell brought us the Ravens, they have a right to be burning 23 jerseys and “M-F-ing” Lebron James into perpetuity.
Sure, “King James” had the freedom to play wherever he wanted to play. Sure, Miami has prettier girls (although I always had a good time in Cleveland, wink, wink) and more sunshine and Chris Bosh and Dewayne Wade and Pat Riley.
But Cleveland held something intrinsic and legitimate that Lebron James sold away in one sentence last night, something that can’t be bought with a check from South Florida (even if it’s just with the tax money saved and put back into his deep, Ocean Drive pockets).
It’s called authenticity.
Lebron had it the way Cal Ripken had it and Tony Gwynn had it. The way Derek Jeter, despite being an outsider, will always have it in New York and Kobe Bryant will have it in Los Angeles, just like Magic Johnson before him.
But even more so, Lebron James was “one of them.” He was an Akron kid who never left home and created a basketball craze in Cleveland that you’d have to see to believe. There’s a whole city of commerce and bars and jerseys and enthusiasm in a forever depressed and decaying community.
It gave people in Cleveland the most precious commodity that sports provides and one this is sorely lacking in Baltimore regarding baseball: hope.
In my private times with Art Modell, it’s the one thing he always talked about that was essential for any fan of a sport or a franchise. If you have hope, you have something that gets people interested.
I don’t need to tell you that Cleveland has been the armpit of America for years and hope is a wonderful thing for depressed communities.
This is where I should tell you that I really love Cleveland. I’ve gone there religiously for almost 20 years and despite having some of the worst sports fan in country (only contested by Philadelphia, in real terms) I pull for Cleveland to at least not be a doormat.
Cleveland and Baltimore are a lot alike. And it wouldn’t take you a few hours there chatting with the people to see it and feel it.
In my humble opinion, “Cleveland rocks!” (Just don’t tell anybody I said that…)
Cleveland was spurned last night. And they’re angry. And they’re burning jerseys. And they should. Hell, it’s what I’d be doing if I gave my soul to Lebron James and the Cavaliers over the last five years.
For the same reasons we collectively booed Mark Teixeira last Opening Day at Camden Yards, the people of Cleveland will forever hold a special place in their hearts for the anger and outrage of what Lebron James has chosen to do.
Like any other self-interested mega-star who is treated like a “King,” Lebron James eschewed any civic responsibility and chose to abandon his community.
Most of you know, I used to be a pretty huge NBA fan. The last 10 years I’ve chosen to ignore it and it’s been a fine decade for me. I think the players come off as a bunch of collective douche bags, the games are awful to watch and I have zero interest in the personalities or the standings.
But, this isn’t about Lebron James or basketball or the NBA. This is about doing the right thing. The thing that’s bigger than you. The thing that REALLY makes you “special.”
Lebron James chose selfish. And any 25-year old is allowed that privilege.
But Cal Ripken didn’t run off to the Dodgers. And Tony Gwynn didn’t run off to the Mets.
And they will forever reap the rewards of their “sacrifice.”
Lebron James, the man, will forever be remembered for an absurd evening of a July “Lebronathon” on ESPN where he took every negative stereotype consistent with “Rod Tidwell-ish” behavior and displayed it on worldwide TV and chose THE WRONG PLACE!
There was no Jerry Maguire, no happy landing for this imbecile. Wait’ll that first Christmas Day when the Miami Heat come to Cleveland to play a lunch time game. Just wait…
There will be a price to pay for the rest of eternity for Lebron James, even if he wins seven rings and surpasses Michael Jordan — and only time will tell how that script will be written.
But last night was memorable – for all of the wrong reasons. The NBA jumped the shark for a lot of people last night with that display.
I know I’ll always cheer against him. The Miami Heat are interesting to me because they’ll be my least favorite team in my least favorite sport.
The ultimate price for Lebron James will be that he can never go home again.
Somewhere in Northern Baltimore County Art Modell has felt the weight lifted from him.
Lebron James will be the guy they burn in effigy in Cleveland for the next 20 years.
Maybe Lebron should give Art a call for some advice.
Last night, Cleveland – the city that hates — was given a fresh, new gaping wound that will probably never be healed unless the next Lebron James is on some playground in Parma Heights right now.
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Posted on 09 March 2010 by Nestor Aparicio
So the circus came to town tonight. And I met Michael Vick. At least, briefly, I did.
This story is gonna ramble a little – don’t they all? – but I almost skipped the Ed Block Courage Awards dinner earlier tonight. I wasn’t in the mood to go, I’ve had some long days of work lately and I just didn’t feel much like being in the room with a thousand people and dealing with angry mobs of PETA people and, quite frankly, I just wasn’t in the mood for the hassle.
Earlier in the day one of my oldest friends from Dundalk, Frank Vanik, sent me a series of emails saying that he needed tickets to the Ed Block event. Honestly, I didn’t have any tickets for the event and I sent him back a series of emails all day from a variety of meetings. Frank said it was his birthday and he wanted to be at the banquet. And I felt like a tremendous heel because I really didn’t have the tickets, time or ability to help him at the last minute on a heavy workload day. And I knew my friend Sam Lamantia and his staff would be in complete overwhelm and all fearing the worst P.R. from the Michael Vick dog-gate that was unfolding in the driveway of Martin’s West.
But here’s the catch: Frank is in a very, very advanced stage of battling Multiple Sclerosis – a 20-plus year battle that has left his mind 1000% fine to read my blogs every day and listen to WNST AM-1570 – but his body has quit on him and he usually lays very limp in a 600-pound wheelchair that his mom Gert is usually pushing to some event. For many of you who have been to our events, Frank is no stranger. He’s come to WNST events for years – almost always “surprises” me when his family shows up in a giant truck that it takes to transport him everywhere he goes. I’ve taken him out to the Ravens facility to meet Ray Lewis, Brian Billick, Steve McNair, Jon Ogden and many others. One time he came to an event and we couldn’t get him to the second floor because the chair just wouldn’t make it. Frank is one of the biggest sports fans I know and his disabilities are quickly becoming nullified with the connectivity of the internet.
He’s on Facebook. He communicates. You can almost hear him laugh electronically. He wants to write a blog at WNST.net.
Frank also has pictures all over his house of his life accomplishments. Frank has scuba dived. Frank went skydiving two years ago strapped onto another person. Frank has been the Dundalk Man of the Year. I visited Frank almost 10 years ago in a hospital and thought he was going to die.
Frank Vanik, who I met as a 7th grade classmate in 1979 at Holabird Middle School, is unquestionably the most “courageous” person I’ve ever known in my 42 years on the planet. Honestly, I can’t even begin to think of who would be a close second for me.
His family. His caregivers. His friends. Everyone rallies around Frank and if you could catch a drift of his sense of humor, you’d know why.
Frank graduated from my Dundalk High Class of 1985 with a perfect score on the math side of the S.A.T. No, I’m not making that up – he had an EIGHT HUNDRED on the hardest test of them all!
And while I was running off to The News American and The Sun with a pregnant girlfriend and then a small child, he went off to Blacksburg and Virginia Tech and got a degree in Mechanical Engineering. That year he was stricken with M.S. and since then my many DHS classmates and I have watched his body deteriorate and decay with this insidious disease that more and more people in my life have been affected by recently. My sister-in-law was diagnosed last year and it scares he hell out of me and my wife and her family.
So, Frank, with Michael Vick in town really wanted to be at the Ed Block Awards to support Michael Vick. (And no, I still haven’t asked Frank how he feels about Vick’s dogs, jail time, the Courage Awards, etc.)
Last night, I dragged myself out to the event at the last minute. I missed Vick’s press conference (one that I didn’t even know was happening) and I headed to the ballroom and ran into a variety of friends, old football players and even did some cool videos for wnsTV with E.J. Henderson, Shawne Merriman and Dawan Landry.
At the edge of the ballroom – an hour into my night — I caught Frank and his giant wheelchair and the sea of orange out of the corner of my eye. He was wearing a Virginia Tech suit and a had a Hokies blanket draped on him to keep him warm. (His condition constantly makes him cold.)
During the opening of the event – all designed to shed light and raise funds for the plight of abused and underprivileged kids throughout NFL cities – I heard the word “courage” while I was chatting with Frank and thought about HIS courage. And I remembered it was his birthday.
And, well, I know some folks with the Ed Block Foundation after raising money for so many years on their behalf and being a Community Leader award winner several years ago.
So, I grabbed a few of the security personnel and Paul Lamantia, Sam’s son (who is completely responsible for my hair – for better or worse – and was also the guitar player in our band, Ridgemont High, a number of years ago) and told them the story about Frank.
Ten minutes later, Frank was being wheeled into a private area and Michael Vick was jumping off the dais to come and say hello. I’m assuming Sam Lamantia got the word about Frank and wanted to do a good deed in the name of courage.
Here’s how it went down…
Vick signed a picture for Frank, chatted for a little while when I turned the camera off and last I checked was taking pictures with people outside of the bathroom at Martin’s West.
I pass no judgment. But I have a feeling you will…
I just thought I’d pass along that Michael Vick made a special friend of mine very, very happy tonight. And he couldn’t have been any more gracious or sincere or kind. And there was nothing “orchestrated” about any of this. It literally happened on the fly. Every Ed Block worker said Vick was “a gem – a prince” to work with over the past two days.
It doesn’t diminish any of the past crimes and misdemeanors, but I feel better about Michael Vick today than I did yesterday. And really, isn’t that all he can do at this point? Every day Vick has to get out of bed with a gigantic bulls eye on his back and people watching his every move. And last night, he made a very nice gesture and I’m not even sure anyone with the Ed Block folks even told him where he was going when he got off of the dais.
I also entered Martin’s West last night and Tweeted up a variety of pictures of the Vick/P.E.T.A protesters, who were out in force but weren’t a factor inside the facility, which was surrounded by Baltimore County police. (I can only imagine how much it cost the citizens of Baltimore County to surround Martin’s West with cops for a guy from out of town who was trying to take the right path and was being honored by his teammates, who thought he deserved an award for “courage.”)
To be honest, Vick IS a courageous guy since last night was turned into a circus on his behalf and he’ll be dealing with this for a long, long time, apparently. He’s got a lot of courage for showing up and trying to the change the way he lived his life.
The “Golden Boy” Tom Brady didn’t even care to show up to claim his award. Marlin Jackson was here in Owings Mills trying to get a job yesterday afternoon and couldn’t stay a few hours and go five miles away to claim his award.
But not Vick. He came. Took the heat. Shined amidst the madness. And left most of the Ed Block people with a great impression. It would have been FAR easier for him — and for the Ed Block folks — if he indeed stayed home.
But he came and represented his team, his name and the league on a night designed to raise money for abused and neglected children.
Isn’t that the definition of courage, in some way?
Who knows? Maybe some of those PETA folks will realize Michael Vick might be able to do them more good than harm, moving forward.
Tony Dungy gave him a chance. The Eagles gave him a chance. Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb gave him a chance. Roger Goodell gave him a chance.
So far so good for Vick but the poor Ed Block people had their event tarnished to some degree tonight and the crowd was way off at Martin’s West.
I just thought I’d tell you (and show you) a nice story involving Michael Vick.
And I’m sure you’ll go on thinking whatever you care to think…
And you’re welcomed to write those missives below…
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