Tag Archive | "michael"

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At least one Harbaugh is a rock star…

Posted on 19 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

John Harbaugh is 5-4. His brother, former Ravens QB Jim Harbaugh, is 7-3 at Stanford and fresh off of knocking off USC and Pete Carroll last weekend. If you saw the game, you know that Harbaugh rubbed Carroll’s nose in the dirt when going for up a two-pointer while up 27 points in the 4th quarter.

I ran across a great story about Jim Harbaugh’s new-found rock star status in Palo Alto on www.sportsline.com written by Dennis Dodd. A great read!

I had a great time with Jim when he was with the Ravens in 1998. We did some radio shows together and he had a very quirky way about him, even then.

A funny guy, we once went to see Hootie and The Blowfish together with Tony Siragusa and Michael McCrary. I wrote about it in my book, Purple Reign. It was crazy night with a lot of twists and turns but I’ll never forget Harbaugh carrying a girl who was on crutches down a flight of steep stairs trying to help her.

He was really a good guy and he’s now the toast of the football world and the hottest coaching prospect in the business.

Good for him!

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Harbaugh refutes ESPN report regarding Ozzie’s interest in Vick

Posted on 13 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

On a bizarre night for breaking news in Baltimore — with Michael Phelps getting into an accident at Calvert & Biddle and Michael Vick abruptly signing in Philly — the wildest story came an hour after the Eagles fans went into deep shock and disgust when ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that the Ravens were very much in the hunt for Vick’s services.

ESPN reported that Ozzie Newsome wanted Vick and had a lack of agreement with owner Steve Bisciotti and head coach John Harbaugh.

It didn’t take me five minutes after the game to find one “off the record” official who called it “bulls**t” and John Harbaugh then told me he was happy to go on the record as saying “that’s completely false, completely untrue.”

Who knows what those conversations sounded like in Westminster last week but both of my sources were very perplexed and almost angry about the report.

Either way, we can collectively breath a sigh of relief that Vick isn’t heading here.

For the folks in Philadelphia the second guessing and the drama has only begun.

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Ravens should end Vick speculation now: Just officially say “no thanks”

Posted on 11 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Chris Mortensen of ESPN has opined this morning — with speculation, and nothing more — that the Ravens might be a very interested suitor in Michael Vick. Personally, I think it’s hogwash and one source from the organization has already told me it’s not even close to the truth.

There has been no indication at all that the Ravens have their sights on Michael Vick, nor should they in my opinion.

Barring some miracle, mystery rendezvous that Ozzie Newsome has been doing behind the scenes this almost seems outlandish.

Really, what’s the upside here for a team that was four minutes away and one drive from going to the Super Bowl in late January?

This would be a major late training camp summer distraction for a guy who will have the PETA police and any other dog-lover and convict-hater out in full force in a protest of the organization, league and all things Vick in general.

All of this for a guy who had trouble running real offenses in Atlanta and a guy who — on his best day — would be a No. 2 banana in Baltimore behind Joe Flacco and drive the team and the city to distraction?

All of this for a “wild cat” QB-slash-WR on a John Harbaugh team that jettisoned all of the riff raff over the past 18 months since Brian Billick’s firing?

And would Cam Cameron find this attractive? Would Steve Bisciotti?

None of it makes sense.

Ozzie Newsome — like Lucy Ricardo — would have a “lotta ‘splain’ to do.”

Newsome always makes measured, sensible moves. This doesn’t add up but it makes a nice August summer day speculation for Vick’s ultimate destination.

I hope it’s not Baltimore. I believe it’s not Baltimore. And, further more, I’ve been told it won’t be Baltimore.

The Ravens should officially end the speculation before dinner time tonight: just say “no thanks” to Michael Vick once and for all and move on.

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Live from Brawl-minster: Ravens get chippy in heat, Harbs cancels p.m. practice

Posted on 08 August 2009 by Luke Jones

1:47 p.m. — As fans continue to wonder about the status of Terrell Suggs and Samari Rolle, Harbaugh is not providing much clarity on either player.

“No, nothing really new on that.  They’re both just rehabbing, and that’s where we’re at.”

Suggs injured his heel on Sunday, and Rolle is the only player remaining on the physically unable to perform list.

1:41 p.m. — Harbaugh did not seem upset nor surprised with the morning practice skirmish.  He simply reiterated his preference for the battles in between the whistles.

“We’ve had a lot of scuffles before the whistle gets blown, I can tell you that,” Harbaugh said.  “Those are the scuffles we’re most interested in.  The other ones are irrelevant.  We don’t mind them.  We don’t want them.  We don’t not want them.  We don’t care about them.  The ones before the whistle gets blown—those are the ones that matter.  Our guys have had plenty of those.”

Here are Harbaugh’s comments on the Michael Oher calf situation:

“It doesn’t look serious.  He pinched it, as Bill [Tessendorf] put [the injury report] in there.  It may be a little bit of a calf sprain.  It will be a rehab issue for a little while.”

12:32 p.m. — A few reminders if you’re planning on heading out to Westminster in the next few days.

This afternoon’s practice has been cancelled.  The next practice will take place tomorrow afternoon at 2:45 p.m.  It is open to the public.

Monday morning’s practice is CLOSED to the general public.  The team will have an open practice at 2:45 p.m.

Monday morning’s practice will be open to the media, so WNST.net will have all of the Ravens updates you want and need.

12:30 p.m. — Brendon Ayanbadejo was working out on the other field during practice.  He’s still recovering from a sprained toe.

Suggs walked out to the field for the final moments of practice, wearing sneakers and still limping slightly.

12:27 p.m. — We saw our daily long touchdown to Justin Harper this morning, as Troy Smith threw a deep one to the second-year receiver.  Harper beat Evan Oglesby on the play.

While Harbaugh is pleased with Harper’s ability to stretch the field, he still wants more consistency out of the 6-3 receiver.  He wants Harper to make the tough catches in traffic, an area in which he’s struggled.

12:24 p.m. — Ray Rice continues to show great moves in the open field.  This morning, Rice caught a pass in the flat and put a tremendous move on Jason Phillips, leaving the rookie in the dust.  Rice continues to get the majority of the first-team reps at running back, but McGahee is still right behind him.

McGahee was seen with an ice pack on his left knee yesterday morning, but he was back out there today with no apparent problems.

12:21 p.m. — Tight end L.J. Smith appears to be finding his way in the Ravens’ offense.  He caught several passes today and seems to be regaining his speed after tweaking a hamstring at the beginning of training camp.

If healthy, Heap and Smith have the potential to be a pretty formidable duo at tight end, a major help to Flacco with the uncertainty at the wide receiver position.

12:16 p.m. — As previously reported, it was an ugly day offensively.  Dropped passes and interceptions were the story of the morning before the big fight.  In addition to Walker, Chris Carr also picked off Flacco.

Despite the rough morning, Flacco did have some nice throws including a nice 17-yard out pattern to Marcus Smith (who was playing Mason’s position with the starting offense) and a long, beautiful touchdown to Smith later in practice.  Considering Smith has had a quiet starting to training camp, it was good for him to make some plays this morning.

12:14 p.m. — Cornerback Frank Walker had another good day, breaking up several passes and picking off Joe Flacco during 11-on-11 drills.  Walker is the most physical corner on the roster and has the ability to play bump-and-run coverage, unlike most of the Ravens’ cover corners.

12:09 p.m. — It was an “over 30″ day off for Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Derrick Mason, Kelly Gregg, Trevor Pryce, and Matt Birk.

Harbaugh gave a few injury updates after practice.  Oniel Cousins sustained a sprained left ankle, but the head coach said he should return soon.  Terrell Suggs (heel) and Samari Rolle (shoulder/neck) continue to rehab their respective injuries, but Harbaugh did not update when the two will return.

Oher suffered a right calf strain or “pinch” as Harbaugh described it.  The coach did not seem concerned about the injury, but Oher did not return to practice.

12:03 p.m. — It was a difficult day for Gano, but his morning ended in triumph.  After missing kicks from 35, 48, and 53 yards, Gano had a 36-yard attempt with the afternoon off riding on it.  The rookie kicker hit it, and Harbaugh cancelled the afternoon practice to reward his team for all of its hard work.

Gano’s leg was tired today, according to Harbaugh.  He came up short from 53 yards, a distance he had easily been making throughout training camp.

Gano did make field goals from 43, 47, and 51 in addition to his 36-yarder at the end of practice.

10:49 a.m. — John Harbaugh cancelled the afternoon practice today in his post-practice comments. More to come…

10:38 a.m. — Well, we had our first skirmish/melee of training camp in the heat this morning as the offense and defense knocked heads in a team-wide shove-around (apparently started by Paul Kruger and Joe Reitz) with various players involved, including Chris Chester, Jameel McClain & Jared Gaither. It’s hard to say what caused it, but the defense was shoving the offense around pretty good for the second day in a row.

Other morning notes: Michael Oher had a right calf cramp and left practice early. In general, the offense was sloppy and unproductive through much of the morning practice, in front of the usual large weekend crowd here in Westminster. Lots of dropped passes and interceptions.

Perhaps the fight helped matters. After the mini-brawl, the offense looked more focused and was more productive.

Tavares Gooden got limited reps early but didn’t participate later in practice. Jared Gaither was back and took plenty of live reps.

Graham Gano struggled early in the practice (plenty were talking about Matt Stover) but he hit a 36-yarder to end the morning session.

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15-7-0

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15-7-0

Posted on 03 August 2009 by Glenn Clark

You get props…..

1-Michael Phelps

Are you freaking kidding me? I don’t care what you think about Mike Phelps, that was downright nasty. In beating Milorad Cavic at the World Championships in Rome; Phelps not only beat his biggest rival; he did it in inferior gear.

Of course, compared to Daniel Craig as James Bond in “Casino Royale”, we ALL have inferior gear…..

craig

…..Christ.

2-Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Beckett and Victor Martinez

“In other news, the Orioles still suck. Yep. In fact, the only team they’ve beaten this year was the New York Knicks!

Ouch.

And did you guys hear about this? Apparently Melvin Mora feels “disrespected” by Dave Trembley.

Uh-huh, that’s true.

And it’s funny, because Dave Trembley feels disrespected by having to manage the Orioles!

Paul, give me some Dave Trembley music….”

(So…..how’s my Letterman?)

3-Terrell Suggs

Way to be a hero, Sizzle…….

Suggs

……also, with Suggs’ dramatic return to Training Camp; can we bring back “King Ugly” already???

4-Tiger Woods, Fred Funk, and Catriona Matthew

Did anyone notice the names in the rest of the Top 10 at the Buick Open?

Roland Thatcher
Greg Chalmers
John Senden
Y.E. Yang
Ben Crane
Michael Letzig
Brian Vranesh
John Rollins
Bob Heintz

WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? I think half of these people went to Chapel Hill Elementary School with me.

Can Tiger Woods actually beat real golfers anymore?

5-Andrew McCutchen, Matt Holliday, Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Cody Ross, and Kendry Morales

Elsewhere in baseball news this weekend, two Red Sox employees were fired last year due to steroid implications. I was a little bit surprised to find out that one of the juicing employees was Pedro Martinez’s midget friend….

midget

…….although that guy did always kinda seem like a juicer.

6-Nikolay Davydenko, Sam Querrey and Marion Bartoli

You’re on your own on Bartoli. I’m not really a fair judge on these things, mostly because I’m way too good for girls like her. Sure; she’s an attractive, successful professional athlete and I’m a doughy guy who makes minimum wage….but they ALL want me. I have to be more choosy. But again, your call……

bartoli

7-Ashley Fiolek and Kenny Brack

Do I watch the X Games? No. Do I think it’s cool that a chick who can’t hear is kicking everyone’s ass at Motocross? Yeah.

Here’s this……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjiBg87vmb0[/youtube]

Jesus, do I have to be sappy? Can’t this whole thing just be about poop and fart jokes? I mean, how do I make a joke here?

Rex Snider sucks.

Okay, now I feel better.

8-Jeff Fiorentino, Eric Crozier, Joseph Mahoney, Brian Ward, and Mike Flacco

In other Orioles organization news, there is a “strong possibility” Brian Matusz will be called up to make Tuesday’s start in Detroit after he was pulled from his start Saturday in Bowie after 1 inning.

However, when someone pulled Brian and said “dude, this is so cool. You get to go to Detroit and you’re gonna pitch for the Baltimore Orioles”, Matusz reportedly admitted to having second thoughts.

9-Rachel Alexandra and Soul Warrior

This is particularly difficult for me. I’ve used up all of my “Sarah Jessica Parker looks like a horse” jokes, and I don’t really have anything else to go back to now that Rachel Alexandra has won the Haskell Invitational.

Strike that! It’s time to crown a “King of the Rachels”, and my roommate (“The Luckiest Dang Roommate On The Face of the Planet”?) is my competitor. Let’s go…..

I’ll start with Rachael Ray……

ray

Matt: “Well played Glenn. But how about actress Rachael Leigh Cook?”

cook

Me: “You son of a bitch, you know I have a thing for that girl. Okay, how about a delicious Rachel sandwich?”

rachel

Matt: “Ahh yes, I hear Bachman has 13 of those a day. How about actress Rachel Bilson?”

bilson

Me: “Man. I’ve gotta dig deep here. Oh, I know……Rachel Blanchard!”

Matt: “Who?”

Me: “You know, Rachel Blanchard. The girl who replaced Alicia Silverstone as Cher when they turned the movie Clueless into a TV show!”

blanchard

Matt: “You know what Glenn, you’re the king of the Rachaels.”

Me: “YES!”

Matt: “And the King of the dudes who have no chance of getting laid tonight.”

Me: “oh……”

10-James Franklin and Devin Burns

Former Georgia QB recruit Devin Burns is headed to College Park, and I have to take this time to recommend Cluck-U as his personal indulgence of choice. (By the way-the great thing about College Park during the summer is that the line at Cluck-U at 3am is WAAAAY shorter than you’re used to.)

While I didn’t go with the usual 3am order of “Put as many Little Romans as you can in a bag and bring them over here”; I did enjoy a tasty BBQ cluckwich, and stole about half of my friend’s cajun cluckwich. And if you don’t think this thing looks better than anything you’ve seen all weekend, you can go back to Michigan or whatever hell-hole you came from, Fred.

cluck

11-Jason Schmidt, Cliff Lee, Jeff Niemann, Chris Carpenter, Tim Lincecum, Carl Pavano, Brian Bannister, and Bud Norris

That guy’s name is Bud Norris. Holy crap. It’s like the greatest name in the history of sports. You know, other than…..

dick

12-Ryan Briscoe

Normally I pair the weekly IRL winner with the weekly NASCAR winner; but apparently NASCAR had to postpone their race this week (anyone? I’ll go with the “Guys Who’ve Never Paid For an Oil Change 400″) until Monday because of rain.

Funny story. When I was 15 and trying to get my learner’s permit; I failed my first test because I missed the question about when a road was most dangerous after rain.

Wait, that wasn’t a funny story at all. Jesus, why are you reading this? Shouldn’t you be reading the newspaper or something? Oh right……..

13-Comcast

NOT ONLY are they the smartest radio show sponsor of all time (a completely unrelated reminder to tune into “The Comcast Morning Show” tomorrow morning from 6-10), but they’re also doing me the GREATEST FAVOR ANYONE HAS EVER DONE.

ESPNU and ESPN360?!?!?!?!?!?

Never again will I be forced to miss a single Nevada-Utah State showdown!

(Editor’s note: As if I had missed one before……)

14-“Shining Down” by Lupe Fiasco & Matthew Santos

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-p44MdNV5Q&feature=related[/youtube]

How this song has been around for a month and a half without me knowing is quite possibly the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me in my life. There was the whole “crying in the bathroom in 4th grade because Laura B didn’t like me” thing, but if you knew Laura B; you would have been crying too.

Lupe says his new album (entitled “Lasers”) “will be the best received album of (his) career.”

Similarly, I believe when Guns N Roses released “Chinese Democracy”, Axl basically said “It probably sucks, but you waited 20 years. Why don’t you just buy the stupid thing?”

15-Megan Wants A Millionaire

You sons of bitches at Vh1 have done it again. I REALLY don’t care about some reality TV show contestant’s attempts to mate with a man who is worth a bunch of money; but I’m going to be watching. You know why?

megan

Why don’t they just call the show “Tall, attractive blonde does whatever the hell she wants, just because she can.”

You got lucky……

1-Ozzie Newsome

You can give me as many “we knew he was coming back” and “in Ozzie we trust” statements you want. If Derrick Mason hadn’t come back, the first you saw Kelley Washington and Yamon Figurs lined up at WR, you wouldn’t have been so understanding.

I guess this probably means the Ravens are no longer in the market for another receiver. However, I happen to think they still should be. And this is it. My one final plea. Add one more veteran receiver to make this team a Super Bowl contender. I know the answer…….

fred

2-Tito Ortiz

So Tito Ortiz is back in the UFC…..and I’m supposed to be excited. Which makes sense and all, seeing as how The Huntington Beach Bad Boy has defeated all of ZERO relevant fighters in 3 and a half years.

BUT, Tito Ortiz being back in the UFC MAY mean that this person will be at UFC 101 next Saturday when we take our bus trip up to Philadelphia next Saturday…….

jenna

“Excuse me, Ms. Jameson; could you take a look at something for me?”

3-Kenny Williams

Good for him, because there’s no chance that he’d convince Glenn Clark to leave San Diego for Chicago. Or leave San Diego for Dallas. Or leave San Diego for ANYWHERE ON THE PLANET.

HAVE YOU BEEN THERE?!?!?!?

And if Jake Peavy can help a team that took 3 of 4 from the Yankees this weekend, he’s got a new fan.

4-Emma Newbiggin

And by “lucky”, I mean the type of “lucky” that is sort of like how my own lovely girlfriend (You’ve heard of her, “The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet”) is “lucky”. You know, the “Not actually lucky at all” type of “lucky.”

Emma Newbiggin is married to this charming fellow; pro boxer Rob Newbiggin-who also happens to be the sparring partner of boxing superstar Ricky Hatton.

newbiggin

At 44, Rob is at a crossroads in his life. He will not be able to continue fighting for much longer; but can’t stomach the thought of retirement. But unlike the rest of us, Rob has a plan.

He’s becoming a woman. And he’s going to continue to fight as a female named Mercedes.

And, “The Luckiest Dang Gal on the Face of the Planet Part 2″ is going to stick with him/her.

And with that being said; I’d like to officially pass along my honorary pimp hand to Mr./Ms. Newbiggin.

That my friend, is STRONG.

5-Michael Bishop

I have no idea why Comcast SportsNet was showing a CFL doubleheader Saturday; but OH MY GOD THANK YOU THERE’S SOMETHING TO WATCH BESIDES BASEBALL!

Remember when Michael Bishop was supposed to be greater than Michael Vick? When Patriots fans wanted him to start in place of Drew Bledsoe? So do I…..mostly because I know damn well I couldn’t do these things…..

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA9S9SR53cc[/youtube][youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrmwoDSbyRY&feature=related[/youtube][youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwB2T5-lTWg[/youtube]

Well, for some reason; despite the fact that the dude is more amazing than ANYONE I HAVE EVER SEEN, he’s never been able to hold down a job. But the Winnipeg Blue Bombers signed him last week, he practiced maybe 3 times, and then went out and beat the Toronto Argonauts.

Meanwhile, the Patriots think they should sign Cleo freaking Lemon.

Okay…..

6-Michelle Wie

When asked why Michelle Wie was named one of her Captain’s choices for Solheim Cup play, Beth Daniel said “Look, I can pronounce her name.”

7-Blue Moon

bluemoon

Is it at ALL surprising that one day after Sgt. Crowley drank Blue Moon at the White House “Beer Summit” with Barack Obama; MillerCoors announced that sales for Blue Moon are up in 2009?

With this whole “Beer Summit” in mind, I decided to hold a few “Beer Summits” of my own this weekend. We used to call them “Friday” around the apartment, but now they’re diplomatic!

You’re a zero……

The demise of the Arena Football League

Ahh yes, why would we want the AFL around? I mean, instead……..WNBA?

By the way, if the greatest thing that ever came from this league was this Chicago Rush commercial with my buddy Sherdrick Bonner; it was well worth it……

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WQnqDpmlys[/youtube]

-G

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Farrah & Michael leave us: What a day…

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Farrah & Michael leave us: What a day…

Posted on 25 June 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As a child of the 1970′s and an adolescent of the 1980′s, tonight has been a somber one in my world and the world of many friends. We all grew up with a Farrah Fawcett poster and a Michael Jackson album in our collections. To think that they both died on the same day — literally bookending my show today, Farrah died at 2 p.m. and Michael died at 6 p.m. — it’s just a tad bit surreal.
Farrah

Farrah was the lead story on every major website in America for four hours and the news cycle and immensity of Jackson’s bizarre death flushed her out pretty quickly. Jackson was the Elvis of my lifetime. Farrah Fawcett was the Marilyn Monroe of my childhood.

Sure, they were just superstar entertainers who were rich, beautiful, talented and famous — but they were pure icons of our generation. I did a three-hour “tribute” to Farrah today on AM 1570 and got lots of interesting phone calls.
Michael Jackson

Surely, if you’ve put on a television since 6 p.m., you know that Jackson’s death will be mourned worldwide. He might truly be in the Top 5 of the most famous people in the world and his almost 100% public life was dissected every day he breathed on the planet. Beloved in Asia and adored in Europe and a guy who did massive humanitarian work in Africa — it’s only here in America that he was considered this weird, cartoon-looking “joke”. And on the eve of a 50-night stint in London it’s very, very sad. He lived to perform and always seemed to love his fans even throughout all of his weird battles with lawsuits, allegations of child molestation and “Jacko Wacko” stories.

He lived a very, very sad life when it’s all added up. All that money. All that fame. And he couldn’t make it work because it was so much different than virtually anyone’s life in the history of the planet. He was a transcendent figure and was famous literally from birth. He was a real-life Truman Show. Even Sinatra and Kennedy and Elvis and Marilyn had childhoods. Fame is a bitch. It’s the strangest human condition I can imagine and there’s no “handbook” on how to cope with living in that kind of fishbowl.

His death will be a much bigger deal outside of America than it is here and it’s absolutely going to dominate the U.S. news over the next three days. Especially once we figure out what happened and how he died. The rumors are already running rampant and I’m sure, like Elvis, it’ll always be questioned in one way or another because that’s just the way it rolls when you’re that famous.

Between custody battles, his legal issues and the rumors and whispers and his weirdness with sleeping chambers and kids in his bed and his famous family and his two kids and Elvis’ daughter and his obsession with plastic surgery — his life was the most vivid three-decade public trainwreck in the history of the planet.

I’ve always seen him in some sympathetic light as a victim.

I saw Michael Jackson live at the Capital Centre on his solo tour after “Bad.” His show was spectacular. I reviewed it for The Evening Sun. Watching how many people he affected on TV this evening has been extraordinary. Celebrities, friends, admirers are all calling out, tweeting and mentioning his impact on the world of music and entertainment. (For the record, I had no idea Sheryl Crow was on the stage that night 20 years ago doing all of the duets with him. She just called into Anderson Cooper and they showed old videos of the pair singing. Her hair was truly an 80s extravanganza, impacted directly by Farrah Fawcett. Who says we don’t watch too much TV?)
Sheryl Crow and Michael Jackson

It’s sad. Just thinking about his life and his lack of normalcy. And Farrah Fawcett’s long and public demise was captured as devastatingly honest and painful reality TV last month.

In the end, their celebrity in life made them both die yesterday as massive voyeuristic curiosities, which in itself is about as sad of a fate as I can imagine. Hopefully the good and happiness they brought to us will be mentioned along with the “drama” and “Hollywood” gossip.

They lived as larger than life figures via their fame. And they both had many, many weird public performances no doubt aided by various drugs and the neurosis that fame seems to bring in many cases.

But today they’re gone and it forces us all to think back to our childhoods and remember their charm, beauty and talent. Today, we all feel our mortality when the rich and famous and beautiful die amidst tragedy on the same beautiful, early summer afternoon.

Imagine a life without Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett.

Hard to do…

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All you want to know about Michael Oher here…

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All you want to know about Michael Oher here…

Posted on 25 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It isn’t hard to find stories on the web about Ole Miss tackle Michael Oher, who the Baltimore Ravens made their pick for the future of the offensive line tonight. He’s the subject of a book. He’s having a movie made about his life. And his story is a human interest story that transcends football. We’ll have plenty of time to discuss his ability and his story in the coming days. His press conference is set for 2 p.m. Sunday in Owings Mills. I’ll be live blogging all day again tomorrow.

Clearly the Ravens saw incredible value in Oher slipping down the board. Quite frankly, I don’t think anyone in the brain trust of the organization and the draft room thought they’d get a player this good when they woke up this morning. They’re “over-the-top” excited about having gotten a Top 12 kinda player at the No. 23 spot. Especially with what they deem to be a glaring need at the right tackle position. They essentially gave up pick No. 162 to get him. Not a huge price to pay if he’s a 5-year or more starter.

Already, he looks pretty freaking good in purple…

Roger Goodell and Michael Oher in New York City

I did some aggregating and found all of these videos. Just thought I’d pass them along…

Here’s a CBS video about his life:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FhlbsJUJ9Q[/youtube]

And some hightlights here:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjM8bL0X9P4[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXwbSjvTdXk&feature=related[/youtube] [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hH8ObxSgB0Y&feature=related[/youtube]

Here’s a fun little video I found as well from the Senior Bowl in Mobile from three months ago:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1BI9-pWV78&feature=related[/youtube]

Feel free to comment below…

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Caps win again on the road — 5-2 in Tampa

Posted on 19 March 2009 by Drew Forrester

Washington Caps defenseman Mike Green celebrated “green-day” 24 hours later than the rest of the country tonight with a 2-goal effort in Tampa Bay as the Caps scored three times in the 3rd period to win, 5-2.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season in the first period, then broke into a funky post-goal celebration where he laid his stick on the ice and acted as if it were hot — or on fire — but the routine didn’t come off very well and he looked like a bad version of Terrell Owens. See the video here…

The dude’s the best player in the league — and he certainly shoots more than anyone — but that’s the kind of stuff that won’t endear him to the rest of the NHL.  Given that it was The Great 8′s 50th goal, a longer-than-normal post-goal celebration might have been acceptable, but let’s hope it doesn’t become a trend for the remainder of the season.

As for the rest of the game, Washington used an early 3rd period goal from Green, his 2nd of the night, to go ahead to stay, then got tallies from Michael Nylander and Matt Bradley later on to put the game away.

The Caps are now 2-1 on their 5-game road swing and head to Carolina for a divisional match-up with the Hurricanes on Saturday night.

The win gives Washington a 45-22-6 record, good enough for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference behind Boston.

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R.I.P. to The Baltimore Examiner and “So you wanna be a sports media star?”

Posted on 16 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Where have the old-time “voices in sports media” gone in our community? Who are the commentators who “matter?” Does ANYONE’s opinion on radio or TV or in the newspaper or on the web matter?  Did it ever? And where is the internet heading and what lies ahead for the next generation of sports media in Baltimore? These are all topics and questions on my mind as The Baltimore Examiner closed its doors on Valentine’s weekend. So stands the old white “masthead” lights over the harbor tonight — the light in the ‘r’ is ironically burned out on Pratt Street — and another dream has been vanquished for another “out of town” media entity whose management thought they would whisk into Baltimore, urinate on highly unpopular (yet unchallenged) bully of The Sun, which is such a corporate “lamb” these days that it’s in bankruptcy, and dominate the market with a concept and a primary medium whose time has clearly passed.

Today’s blog will not be about sports as much as it will be about local sports media and how it works in 2009. And how much of a “mess” it is these days to be involved in old world media. For those of you who have been wondering where I’ve been for the past four years as the C.E.O. of WNST, I’ve been busy trying to build a dream called WNST.net. I’ve loved sports and newspapers here in Baltimore for 40 years and I’ve examined the marketplace and the changes from the front lines over the past 17 years as an independent and authentic voice in a sea of corporate mediocrity in local sports journalism. Quite frankly, it’s the reason WNST and I can exist in a world full of formerly fully-funded media giants like CBS, Hearst, MASN, Tribune, Clear Channel, etc.

I might be stupid, but I’m not a dummy. In the old days, little WNST-AM and it’s 5,000 watts during daylight and 237 watts at night couldn’t keep up with the 50,000 watts WBAL was throwing out from Nova Scotia to Florida. Or the clarity and reach of the FM signal. And we certainly didn’t have a TV antenna to broadcast video anywhere outside of cable access. The best we could’ve done was a late-night show or a Sunday morning “roundtable” discussion ala Tom Davis. Or something along the lines of Wayne’s World over at Essex Community College. (I really wish we would’ve done that, by the way!) And we didn’t have a printing press – well, aside from the “Nasty Newsletter” every few months anyway – to distribute news and information and opinions to our AM listeners.

But, voila, via the internet we can distribute our honest and authentic brand of media — video, audio, news, text, blogs, pictures, contests and promotions — via this little website you’re reading right now. And, according to all of our indicators, you’ve been coming to WNST.net in a big way as our website has gotten more mature. (Wait’ll you see what’s coming in the next few months here!)

The loss of The Baltimore Examiner has given me reason to believe that we’ve now seen the last “newspaper” that will ever try to come to Baltimore and “beat The Sun.” And of course, what The Sun will become over the next decade remains to be seen. I have no axe to grind with the world of newspapers – I spent my entire childhood wanting to be involved with one and all of my adolescence living and working inside of The New American and The Sun, thriving on Calvert Street, living out my childhood dream running around with athletes and rock stars and cool writers like Rafael Alvarez, David Simon, Jacques Kelly and other throwbacks who were true “reporters” of the story of life in Baltimore. I dreamed of being Oscar Madison and Charley Eckman and John Steadman and Howard Cosell all rolled up into one. My Pop loved the newspaper and I loved the newspaper and I chased that dream the first 30 years of my life.

And when newspapers fail, a little piece of my life and my soul dies with them. All I ever wanted to be as a child was a newspaper reporter. (It was that or a baseball player and I wasn’t built for it and I would’ve had to have shot up with steroids and watch my gonads shrink, anyway, if I would’ve been good enough t be a big leaguer. I would have “arrived” in the prime of the “culture” of the juice and the needle and clear and the cream. I would’ve looked like Bret Boone for crying out loud!)

Inevitably, when a newspaper dies locally I have dear friends who lose their jobs like several did this weekend. My old boss and mentor Mike Marlow worked there. So did Anne Boone and Sean Welsh. And Michael Olesker and Gary Gately and Matt Palmer at one point. So, for all of them, I’m not the least bit cheerful. But I have a horror story to tell about my experience with The Examiner and how the world works in this environment of corporate media and “localization” of their homogenized “product” and their “branding initiatives.”

When the announcement came in early 2006 that The Examiner was coming to town I heard the buzz like everyone else. Someone was coming to Baltimore to try to compete with The Sun. Another big market daily newspaper was to emerge amidst a total recession and regression in the newspaper industry. Many advertisers and local ad agencies lined up to buy ANYTHING that “wasn’t The Sun.” Some feelings were hurt for sure. That was almost three years ago. Today, you can go to The Examiner’s website and see “final columns” from Frank Keegan, Bob Leffler and many others who worked hard to make The Examiner successful but failed in their mission to sustain a profitable local business. You can also see other ex-Sun’ers blogs like David Ettlin’s here, lamenting the loss of another major market voice in print. There are opinions ablaze all over the web. There’s a whole network of former newspaper workers who are all linked up on Facebook.

Because I believe in freedom of speech and disclosure, I want to tell the only story I honestly have about my dealings with The Baltimore Examiner. And I’ll give my honest assessment of its impact on my life as a reader, albeit I’m much more of an online consumer of media these days like anyone else under the age of 50 who has been exposed to Facebook and mobile devices.

Back to Spring 2006: The nice folks at The Examiner contacted me repeatedly all spring and summer about writing a sports column for them. I told them I had a “gig” being the C.E.O. of a growing media company that I own but I’d be interested in writing for the newspaper. I was taken to a series of happy hours and dinner, being wined and dined and being wooed by their top brass. I sat with the publisher. I sat with the editor. They talked about “loving” my “loose cannon” approach. I told them I would speak the truth, nothing more inflammatory or controversial than “the truth.” They told me all of that old rhetoric about “free speech” and “shoot from the hip” and “stir things up,” like some sort of halftime pep talk. It was like a “win one for The Gipper” speech. Again, I told them I’d write the truth — nothing more, nothing less.

They were offering me a deal I could’ve easily refused. They wanted me to write for their tabloid newspaper for free – as a “promotional” piece for my then-radio station, WNST-AM 1570. I’d write three columns a week. They’d get a free, professional and authentic Baltimore voice. Oh, and did I mention I OFFERED to do it FOR FREE! (Not that it was probably worth much more than that…but it also spoke volumes about their business plan and the payroll.)

They still wanted to negotiate ad rates on and around my columns and we finally agreed to a deal. We shook hands. I got some free print ads to promote WNST in exchange for my work. It was a fair deal for both of us. I have all of the emails with the contractual details. We agreed I’d write for the inaugural edition, which coincided with the first day of Ravens training camp. I vigorously promoted the fact that The Examiner would be featuring my daily column on WNST-AM 1570. We even did ads on the radio for it. I wrote about it on our crappy old website. As a kid growing up wanting to have a column in The Sun or The News American, it was still a thrill to be getting published in a major metropolitan newspaper as a sports columnist.

So, the day before the first publication I wrote a “drinking the purple Kool Aid” piece about the hope we all get on the first day of NFL camp. It was a very innocuous piece about the Ravens. Nothing particularly controversial at all, just the fan in me talking about how great the first weekend of August is for anyone who loves football.

A few weeks earlier, during the 4th of July weekend, I had started to write a column (then called “The Moon”) on WNST.net about Peter Angelos and the Orioles and why no one cares and why no one would do anything to protest the team’s shody treatment of the community. Alas, after a few thousand emails from angry ex-Orioles fans and ticket buyers, I was plotting a “Free The Birds” protest on Sept. 21, 2006. Word got to The Baltimore Examiner about my blog and instead of calling me and telling me the deal to be a columnist was “off,” they nixed my column at the 11th hour and my work never appeared in the paper. I got a phone call at 7 p.m. the night before the first edition. I was fired before I was hired and they made it clear that “free speech” and a true voice wasn’t welcomed at The Examiner.

They basically told me that I was “too controversial.” They said something about “free speech not being free.” So, after all of the promotion I did for their publication and my association with them (they paraded me around their “corporate kickoff” event at the Maryland Science Center and introduced me to all of their sponsors as their “lead sports writer”), I got kicked to the curb the night before their first editions hit the street. What could I possibly say at that point, after promoting The Examiner on the radio for three weeks and doing guest segments on WNST all day about my “columnist” status?

I just told the truth: The Examiner thought my stance against the Orioles and Peter Angelos would cost them money and they threw me out before I ever got in. They didn’t want to challenge Angelos. They wanted to take his money instead and “dummy up.” They thought I would use my column in their paper to rally troops and support for Free The Birds. I suppose they thought I was one of those dreaded “community organizers?”

Fair enough? No column for me in The Baltimore Examiner. Shoot, I wasn’t getting paid anyway and I still have my voice at WNST.net, I thought…

Then I saw the product. Honestly, the first few days that I picked it up it didn’t have Oriole game stories, box scores and didn’t have an iota of information that I didn’t already know (again, I stopped reading The Sun in “newspaper format” about six years ago…I only read sports information online). It became pretty clear to me that they weren’t committed to properly covering Baltimore sports anyway, and it’s one of the first wake-up calls I had that I needed to create a bigger and better WNST out on the web. After seeing it the first week, I was actually happy I wasn’t involved because it was clearly not a good situation. As you know, I later did a twice-weekly column for ‘b’ The Magazine (a Tribune/Sun offshoot) that no one ever read. I wrote 34 columns for ‘b’ between April and August of last year. Not ONCE did anyone ever walk up to me and mention anything they’d ever read. Not in four months!

Back to The Examiner: I can honestly tell you that I haven’t read The Examiner in at least two years and it rarely made it to the doorstep of WNST. Sometimes it was there, sometimes it wasn’t. No one ever called WNST to talk about an Examiner story, other than when their cool sports blogger Tony Giro (a legit Baltimore dude) had his Camden Yards upper deck ejection at a Red Sox game go public two summers ago and was told by The Examiner’s poobahs to cool it. Yo Tony! WNST needs you, man! (I’m a big Giro fan, by the way!)

Back to The Examiner and why it sucked for me: plain and simple, the news was old. At least a day old in the world of web, which to me is an eternity.

Like I said, I feel horribly for my friends who were employed there but that thing was doomed from the beginning. It was a newspaper in 2009 for crying out loud! It might as well be an “oldspaper” at this point in the game when a website like WNST.net is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week right in the palm of your hand for free. And our coverage is droves better and more accurate and legitimate, with live radio, the text service for instant news, the best audio vault, cool videos of what’s happening around town and new features coming every month (wait’ll you see the additions for wnsTV this spring!!!). Oh, and we’re essentially a NONSTOP daily newspaper online. You might even call it a “sports section on steroids.” But that might be politically incorrect, right?

Which brings me to my own story and how the death of one medium begets the strength of another.

I’m back on the air. I love blogging. I love making videos on wnsTV. I’m having fun but I’d much rather give another person a shot at doing it who is better than me here at WNST.net. For 17 years, many folks have called me, written me letters and even told me personally, “Hey Nasty…YOU SUCK!” And sometimes, I’ve even agreed with them. But, alas, here is YOUR chance to think about doing this “sports media” thing for a living.

Or as my wife said to me on Friday night when I started talking to her about this “work” stuff, she said: “So, you call doing THAT work? Talking about sports for four hours a day and writing about it on the web?”

Yeah, it’s kinda like work. But you be the judge? Put your words and your thoughts and your mouth where the microphone is and tell me why you’re the next big Baltimore sports media sensation. I’m openly encouraging anyone who thinks they can REALLY do this for a living to Twitter me. Get involved.

My Facebook page is there for the friending. If you think you can do four hours of radio a day, write a legit blog 7-10 times per week, find sponsors to help support your work and shoot some video and go to events and report on events and do community events, drop me a professional resume and a cover sheet to nasty@wnst.net. We’re already No. 1 so you’d be joining the winning team. And we’re looking for winners.

Honestly, I’m really and truly looking for someone who is better at this than me. Is that you?

More to come…

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In defense of, or a possible defense, for Michael Phelps…

Posted on 10 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

One of the best parts of this website’s appeal is our ability recommend fun stories and items to our listeners — just like it works on the real web. LOL. A listener sent me over this humorously accurate “defense” for Michael Phelps if the South Carolina authorities come knocking in Fells Point this weekend. I’m (puff puff) passing it along to you…

This legal eagle seems to think Phelps is safe for now.

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