Tag Archive | "nashville"

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The joys of Nashville and a playoff weekend

Posted on 09 January 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

So this morning I’m pretty freaking excited. I’m packing my bags on a journey that might be one of those trips I remember for the rest of my life. A true playoff vibe, in a cool city that I always love to visit, Nashville – what’s not to love? If you’re not excited about the Ravens now then what are you waiting for? This is what it’s all about. One hundred and twenty minutes from the Super Bowl. A win brings either a trip to San Diego – America’s greatest city – or Pittsburgh, where the passion and tension of Ravens vs. Steelers for all the marbles would be a meeting of the century for any Baltimorean.

But as Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers once said, “There ain’t no tomorrow baby, there’s just right now!” And now is Nashville, home of beautiful Southern women, country music and a great hospitable environment for football.

I don’t like country music at all but there’s always been something intriguing about Nashville. I’ve had girlfriends in Nashville. I’ve done business in Nashville. And most significantly, I have many of my best friends in town, which is how I found Limelight and Graham Central Station (our party headquarters tonight and tomorrow) in the first place. I come in for Predators games all the time. Barry Trotz is one of my best friends in sports. And Jim Schwartz is someone who I’ve had many, many good times with as well. Schwartz has been calling into WNST every Friday faithfully for eight years. These are some of my favorite people in the world.

It’s another long weekend with the Ravens on the road, trying to do some good street wnsTV reporting, legitimate reporting and hang and mingle with fans and meet cool people who like the Ravens as much as I do and are crazy enough to take bad flights, long car rides, stay in cheap hotels, bad cabs, good restaurants and perhaps to even partake the in adult nightlife of The South, but more than anything else to have a little fun when all else in life sucks (as it has for most people over the last eight months).

Oh, and we’re gonna throw a little party tonight and again tomorrow and paint the town purple!

The Ravens have breathed life into our community this week and the community is rallying as only Baltimore can. Well, truly, as any good sports town with a passion can. I’m currently sitting on a plane full of Ravens fans, who are all anticipating one of the great weekends of their young lives in Nashville.

We got the buses off at 6 a.m. – and it was a complete sellout. We had 2 empty seats on three buses of 164 people and at one point we thought we were gonna have to strap people to the roof. (Feel free to fill in your joke here about me flying…but at some point we’re gonna have as many as 1,000 people showing up for a 7 p.m. tonight and someone should probably be at the WNST party to greet them. I’m expecting the buses to arrive in Nashville around 5 p.m. so it was kinda close if I didn’t fly. I actually LIKE long bus rides…I get a lot of work done on those! But tonight’s party was too significant and too big of an undertaking to not arrive early.)

Lots of people are asking me about Nashville and “what to do.” Obviously, I’m partial to the two parties we’re throwing but we’re also slated to hit the Predators-Blackhawks game tomorrow night downtown after the Ravens game. Drew Forrester wants to drink a beer with Barry Trotz so I arranged that. Like me, I think Drew really enjoys chatting with coaches.

I’ve been inundated with calls from Nashville media over the past 36 hours because of the McNair fiasco and they’ve all gone on the offensive with me, which kinda cracks me up because I’m probably the biggest Predators fan on the planet outside of Nashville. Hell, I’m probably the ONLY fan of the Predators outside of Nashville! I’ve recounted the story before, but I’ve known David Poile and Barry Trotz since I was a cub reporter for The Evening Sun in the late 1980’s. They are great men and they have built an amazing franchise in Nashville against all odds. Trotz is the ONLY COACH IN THE HISTORY OF THE FRANCHISE. Poile holds the same designation as the general manager. And they’ve always been competitive and have overachieved regularly. “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it. Don’t know what it is ‘bout the Predators scoring…”

And Trotz is an amazing man for many reasons — just one of the good dudes walking the planet.

As for Schwartz, my affection and love/hate with Schwartzie goes back to his days as a Ravens’ assistant to Marvin Lewis when I didn’t even know who he was and he was always omnipresent as a faithful WNST listener. If you knew Jim Schwartz you would’ve hired him instead of John Harbaugh as the Ravens coach. No one would’ve appreciated him more than you because he’s one of us. He’s a TRUE DIEHARD Baltimore sports fan, a guy who grew up loving the Orioles, Colts and Terps. And this crazy rivalry that has been berthed during his time in Tennessee must be a tad bit bittersweet even though he never admits it. I said it last year and I’ll say it again: If I owned the Ravens and was in the market for a coach after Brian Billick, I would’ve hired Jim Schwartz because he feels about Baltimore the way that Bill Cowher did about Pittsburgh because he was “one of the people.” And he’s a helluva coach and someone in the NFL will give him a head coaches job in the near future. Hopefully, it’ll be next week!

Almost enough babbling about Schwartz, but needless to say, he’s my guy 364 days of the year, but tomorrow he knows that I’m “all in” to see the Titans take a royal asskicking. And when the game is over – win or lose – I’ll see him on the field and wish him luck. (And no doubt, if the Titans win he’ll pick me up at the airport in Nashville at some point in the spring and lock me in his office and torture me with the game film the way he did in 2003. He also gave me a tour of their facility, which included an entire Hall of Fame worthy retrospective of the history of the Houston Oilers, who were my first love as a child.)

I love Nashville. I love seeing football in Nashville. I have amazing memories of fun times, strip clubs, country juke joints, great meals, great dates, great concerts and amazing hockey games in Nashville. And I’m hoping everyone who goes south to follow the Ravens – and I’m currently on an aircraft with 137 of them – has an awesome experience and great time on Broadway. As for tips? Well, I’d tell you about my favorite pancake place but I’d never get a seat on Sunday morning so I’ll keep that one to myself.

The videos and stories will be coming soon. Nashville and beautiful memories await…

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McNair changes his mind, decides to host the WNST Pep Rally in Nashville Friday night

Posted on 09 January 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been a very interesting 48 hours here at WNST.net in a lot of ways. First, we’re preparing to take the largest contingent of travelling fans we’ve had in years into one of my favorite cities, Nashville. We expect to have a blast with three completely sold out buses! And Steve McNair has told the Nashville media that he will indeed host the WNST Purple Pep Rally in downtown Nashville Friday night at Limelight.

We didn’t spend a lot of time talking about it on WNST earlier Thursday — we’ve got a football game to play on Saturday that’s more important than anything else — but it was apparently a TOTAL MESS in Nashville, especially being oversensationalized by the local media and the internet has exploded with all sorts of stories, tales and fiction.

Here’s a link from WMAR Channel 2 here in Baltimore tonight with more. Even Deadspin got into the act today.

My side of the story hasn’t changed. WNST was going to Nashville and was going to throw a party or two for the Baltimore fans. Like we’ve always done. Like we’ve done in Pittsburgh, San Diego, Indianapolis and even Miami last weekend. We found Graham Central Station for Saturday’s event. They usually don’t open and/or don’t have heavy traffic on Titans gamedays. They do extremely well and are packed with more than 1,500 people on Saturday night. He needed the business. We needed a good, big room and commerce was created. All of the Ravens fans are going to go out and drink and have fun in Nashville. Why not do it all together? Hundreds of people send me emails during weeks like these asking “Hey, Nasty, where’s the party?” so I do my best to throw the best one I can. The radio station and website benefit. My employees benefit. We work extremely hard. The fans benefit. And we have a good time.

And most of the time, when it makes sense, a charity is involved and we share some of the profits for a good cause. Would the people of Nashville prefer that we just stock the bus full of beer and NOT spend money in their city? We’re coming. And we’re leaving money behind to stimulate the economy. And except for a few jerks — and yes, our fan base has been known to produce a few — we are pretty harmless and do nothing but have a good time.

In the case of Limelight and the party that McNair is getting so much heat about, the owner there called ME and said “I heard you’re looking to throw a party on Friday night.” I said we’d love to do a “welcoming party” for all the Ravens fans. He knew Steve McNair. He had already committed to trying to do something for charity to encourage Ravens fans to come to his club, which apparently is pretty spectacular according to my boy Mike P. (Baltimore native, Vandy intern at WNST last summer and rock star hip hop empresario in Nashville). We also made a deal to throw a party. He had already told the Ronald McDonald House folks he’d pitch in for them here in Baltimore.

Of course, this sounded perfect until the word got out in Nashville that McNair was considering having anything to do with the Ray Lewis or the color purple. Fans in Nashville are plenty pissed. And, sure, I get it. If Ray Lewis rolls off to Nashville for two seasons and comes back here hosting a blue love affair, I’m sure some here would be bent out of shape. But I also remember when No. 52 brought Chad Johnson, Jerome Bettis and other “bad guys” into Baltimore for a bowling tournament for charity year after year and people shake their hands and get autographs.

But it’s an event that will donate money for charity. McNair told the Nashville media earlier tonight that he’s coming and it has nothing to do with the nasty, classless way he was treated on his way out of Nashville by the Bud Adams or his “support” of the Ravens. It’s simply a nice way to meet some Ravens fans who supported him during his two way up-and-way down years here and to raise some money to help some folks in Nashville. Truth be told, no one’s getting rich from this. There are no “high roller” types buying “memorabilia” in a big auction. Or pricey junkets or golf packages. It’s a bunch of fans drinking $2.50 domestics, listening to music and having the time of their lives after getting on a bus for 11 hours or driving 11 hours or having the dough and the ability to fly in for a weekend of fun with their passion: the Ravens. Steve McNair is also part of the Ravens family. He was 13-3 two years ago. He gave us some good times. He gave us some bad times (that game in Pittsburgh last year that I watched on my laptop in Tokyo was a living nightmare). It’s more of a friendly gesture by McNair, who is a class act, than anything and a chance to celebrate football, the NFL and have some fun.

Anyone who knows me knows this: I just want to have some fun. We’re donating a portion of the door charge admission to these fine charities. We’re going to have some fun. And raise a little dough for McNair and Ronald McDonald.

Those who choose to write or say mean-spirited things only show their nature. We’re going to the South. We expect the usual amazing hospitality in one of the classiest cities we visit (and believe me, we wouldn’t say that about Cleveland and won’t be saying that about Pittsburgh next week).

We hope that if you’re in Nashville you consider coming by the party and having a pop and celebrating Festivus with us. I’m going to write a much longer, expressive blog later in the day regarding my incredible love affair with Nashville and Barry Trotz and the Predators and Jim Schwartz and the Opryland Hotel and the Houston Oilers and everything short of country music. (Although I’ve always wanted to go the Ryman Auditorium more than the Grand Ole Opry!) That’s the only thing I don’t do in Nashville, but I must admit that it has its appeal and Graceland is just on the other side of the state and I’m a big Elvis guy.

Incidentally, it’s only one of two big charity events WNST has on the same night in two different states with Drew Forrester staying back in Baltimore to host the big community celebration over at Maryvale with our part-owner Brian Billick and Oriole great (and great community guy) Ken Singleton. If you’re looking for something fun, worthwhile and cool to do in Baltimore tonight, throw Drew an email at drew@wnst.net. He’d love to sell you a ticket for that charity event.

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Art belongs in

Posted on 08 January 2009 by caseywillett

Those were the words of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh just moments after he had visited with Art Modell moments after Thursday’s afternoon practice. Coach Harbaugh spoke of the contributions that Art made to the NFL,”here is a guy that made contributions on about 4 or 5 fronts that were critical to the development of this league and what it is today. Coach Harbaugh went on to say there is, “no question in our mind that he should be in the Hall of Fame.”

Catching up with Art

When Art Modell is at the Ravens facility, Coach Harbaugh will go over to him and chat with him for a few minutes on his way to meet with the media. Coach Harbaugh talked about how the Modell family has been great to them every since Coach Harbaugh was hired. As far as what is talked about during those conversations after practice, Coach Harbaugh says they talk about several things,”some times he shares some observations that he has from a football perspective, other times it is just chatting. He is excited about the game.” Coach Harbaugh also added that Mr. Modell wanted to know about the injuries and how they look going into Saturday.

No worries about short week slip up

With the Ravens coming off of a game on Sunday and turning around and playing Saturday, the concern some have mentioned is a short week catching up with the team. Coach Harbaugh said today that he has gotten no indication of that,”just seems our guys don’t think that way, they don’t get involved in that, and of course it is such a big game so they are looking forward to playing.” 

Mangini to the North

With the Cleveland Browns announcing the hiring of Eric Mangini today to be their new football coach, Coach Harbaugh feels like it makes the division better,”he makes our division stronger, and we look forward to competing against him.”

There are rumors going around that  Mangini may be hiring Rex Ryan’s twin brother Rob Ryan to become the Browns defensive coordinator.

Browns looking to Ravens to fill GM position ?

With the Browns hiring Eric Mangini as the new head coach, the belief is that they will fill the void at General Manager soon. Lot’s of speculation is that Ravens Director of Pro Personnel George Kokinis is a very good candidate for that job. His ties to Mangini go back to the last days of the Browns in Cleveland before the move. Coach Harbaugh said today that if Kokinis was to leave, it would be “tough, and a disappointment.” Coach Harbaugh did say that it would be a good opportunity for Kokinis if he left.

Kokinis could interview as early as Sunday or Monday following the Ravens game versus the Titans on Saturday afternoon.

All signs good heading to Nashville

With today being the last practice before the teams has a walk thru and boards a plane tomorrow headed to Nashville, Coach Harbaugh was pleased with what he saw,” I thought  we were sharp, everyone is excited to play.”

As far as the state of the health of the team, Coach Harbaugh could not be happier,” we are healthy, amazingly healthy for the fact that we have turned it around so quickly.”

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Individual awards mean nothing,Reed in cafeteria, and other notes from Ravens facility

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Individual awards mean nothing,Reed in cafeteria, and other notes from Ravens facility

Posted on 06 January 2009 by caseywillett

Ray Lewis was asked today about guys on his team maybe getting snubbed for individual awards, but still playing for the ultimate team award,”everybody plays this game for one reason and that is to one day touch that Lombardi trophy.No matter who got snubbed, if you are still playing in the playoffs,every person that has an MVP honor would definitely trade that in to be in the position that we are in now.Nobody, plays the game for those type of awards,you play the game for that trophy.”

“It hurt worse than Super Bowl loss”

Those were the words from Samari Rolle when he was asked about the playoff loss to the Ravens when he was a member of the Titans in 2000. Rolle said the loss was bad because they knew whoever won that game was going to probably win the Super Bowl. That is a bold statement coming from a guy who was 1yd away from being on a team that would have tied the game and forced overtime or won it on a two-point conversion.

Not to much to do with the past

A lot of the questions today asked to Ray Lewis, Derrick Mason, and Samari Rolle, was about when the Ravens and Titans meet in the playoffs in 2000.Ray Lewis said he can not stay stuck in 2000, ” I do not know who is stuck back there. I can’t be, and definitely this team can not be.”

Could it be destiny ?

Samari Rolle was asked if he found it ironic that the team will have to go through the Titans to get to the Super Bowl ? Rolle had a brief response, “destiny I believe.”

Going back to Nashville no big deal

For Derrick Mason and Samari Rolle, they both said going to play the Titans in Nashville is not that big of a deal for them. They both said they are removed several years from their time there and that it  will not be anything emotional about going back.

Flacco admits mistakes

Back in week 4 of the NFL season, Joe Flacco threw to two interceptions in the Titans game while trying to complete passes down the sideline. Today, Flacco admitted “I do not know what I was thinking. Just bone headed throws, I kind of gave them one real easy.” Flacco did however admit that he learned from those mistakes, “there is just times when you have to throw the ball out of bounds and live for the next down.”

Zibby to see more returns ?

Coach Harbaugh was asked today what he likes about Tom Zbikowski and what he has brought to the kick return game,”He has secured the football, he has taken it north and south, he has a record in college of being a good returner.We are hopeful we can make some plays with him in the kick return game.”

Suggs says rough passing call not the reason for the loss

It is a call a lot of Ravens fans will not forget. Terrell Suggs being called for roughing the passer when he hit Kerry Collins late in the fourth quarter with the Ravens leading 10-6. Suggs explained today that the game was not lost on that one play, “the game was not lost on that one play,could it have ended the game ? Yea, but they still sustained a drive. There was still plays that we could have could have got off of the field,and we didn’t.” On that 80 yard drive, Collins would find Alge Crumpler in the end zone with 1:56 left to go in the game for a 11yard td pass to win the game.

No award is no problem for Reed

With James Harrison winning defensive player of the year, people assume that Ed Reed would be upset about not winning that award. However, Reed says it is no disappointment,”no, there is no disappointment because there are a lot of great players in this league. You just play the game, you have fun, you enjoy playing it,you can not worry about all the accolades and the trophies. If you want a trophy, there is a trophy store down the street, you can go buy one.”

Collins lets the cat out of the bag ?

During Kerry Collins conference call with the media today, I asked Kerry what it has meant to him and the Titans offensive line to have a veteran guy like Kevin Mawae around. During his answer, he might have let some injury news slip out about their center who has been bothered with a right elbow injury since late December,”I wish he was out there with us this weekend, but I think Leroy Harris is stepping in and will do a good job.”

Leroy Harris is a guard/center from North Carolina State who was drafted in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL draft. He has played mostly special teams for the Titans this season except for when he filled in late in the fourth quarter  for Mawae in the Titans 47-10 win over the Lions. He also filled in the fourth quarter of the 12/21 match up with the Steelers after Mawae left the game with an elbow injury. He got his first start in the NFL when he started the last week of the season against the Colts.

Reed covers the cafeteria

'Here come the Ravens. The team you don't want to see.'</b><br> <br> The Ravens' forced five turnovers (four interceptions and one touchdown) and routed the Miami Dolphins, 27-9, earning their first playoff win since January 2002. Ed Reed returned a second-quarter interception 64 yards for a touchdown and Joe Flacco became the first rookie quarterback to win his first playoff game on the road since the 1970 merger. With the victory, the Ravens advanced to the AFC divisional round and will play at the top-seeded Tennessee Titans on Saturday.

This picture is hanging up in the window the of the Ravens cafeteria with the words highlighted and circled.

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Fans welcome Ravens home

Posted on 05 January 2009 by caseywillett

Coach Harbaugh gave credit to the fans yesterday who showed up in Miami for the game, and those who were here to see the team off, meet them at the airport, and wait for their return to the facility last night. There was apparently about 30 cars of fans here at 1 Winning Drive waiting for the team when they came back from Miami. Several of the Ravens players, including Coach Harbaugh took time to stop and sign autographs and take pictures with the fans as they departed the facility.

-The Ravens are clearly focused on the task at hand, which they know will be a tall one when they travel to Nashville to take on the Titans. Coach Harbaugh feels like there is not a lot you can take from the match up against the Titans earlier this year.

– It seems that there is no serious injuries that the team will have to deal with this week as they get ready to face the Titans. Good news was that Ed Reed was able to return to the game yesterday after getting his knee twisted on the last interception return.

-The Ravens will move everything up a day this week as far as their schedule goes this week in preparations for playing the Titans on Saturday.

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Second bus to Nashville is almost sold out!

Posted on 05 January 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

We’re getting all sorts of phone calls, texts and inquiries this morning regarding our Miller Lite Nashville Roadtrips on Friday. We’ve almost sold out our second bus, so HURRY if you want to go. The seats are limited and once they’re gone getting more hotel space, buses and game tickets becomes difficult. We really hope you come along for the fun and the memories!

Again, here are the details for the trip:

Take the ride in the comfort of a brand-new deluxe motorcoach from Gunther Charters. We will leave Baltimore (White Marsh Park and Ride) at 6 a.m. Friday, Jan. 9th and arrive in Nashville before dinner time. We are estimating a 10-to-11-hour ride. We will leave Nashville at 8 a.m. on Sunday and return to Baltimore in time for dinner.

All packages include an upper deck reserved game ticket for Nashville-Baltimore next Saturday, two-nights hotel downtown within walking distance to the stadium and an admission to our Saturday pre-game purple pep rally and party.

Gold Package: Two nights at the Sheraton Downtown Nashville

SINGLE: $700
DOUBLE: $625
TRIPLE: $575
QUAD: $550

Purple Package: Two nights at Days Inn at Stadium (including breakfast both mornings)…

SINGLE: $625
DOUBLE: $525
TRIPLE: $500
QUAD: $475

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Ravens locker room giddy for trip to Nashville

Posted on 04 January 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

The kudos for the continued brilliance of Ed Reed and the poise of Joe Flacco permeated the Ravens locker room following today’s big win over the Dolphins here in Miami. Other than the defensive breakdowns on the late third-quarter drive that nearly got the Fish back into the game, it was a day of celebrations, high fives and memories of what a January run feels like.

The Ravens punished the Fins in the first half and only let up long enough to wait for another turnover. No play was bigger than the botched handoff to Ted Ginn, which sealed the fate of Miami and propelled the Ravens back to a second-round playoff matchup on the Cumberland River in Nashville at 4:30 this Saturday.

As you know, our buses are filling up fast. You can book you trip here. We will also be announcing a major indoor tailgate party/pep rally in downtown Nashville for Saturday morning for all visiting purple fans. To show his support for the purple contingent on the road, head coach John Harbaugh visited with the fans as he exited the field in Miami this afternoon and went out of his way to praise the road warriors, many of whom drove the 17 hours down to South Florida and have a lot of highway in front of them tomorrow en route back to Baltimore. I met many of these people in my travels today and they will be featured in my Miami videos on wnsTV tomorrow.

There will be plenty of time to dissect today’s game and to preview an epic matchup in Nashville this week. But for now, I’m exhausted, giddy and pretty “speechless” when it comes to the accomplishments of this team this season.

The one thing that struck me in talking to so many players after the game was the fact that it was the FIRST playoff win for many, many Ravens-drafted players in this organization. Only Ray Lewis, Matt Stover and Todd Heap were with the team in Miami in Jan. 2002, the last time the Ravens won a postseason game. Virtually every long-time player — from Ed Reed to Terrell Suggs to Haloti Ngata to Jason Brown — mentioned how special it was to finally win a playoff game. For some like Trevor Pryce, Samari Rolle and Derrick Mason, it was their first win in January in purple as well but all have had substantial success with Denver and Tennessee.

It’s been a pretty special year and as bad as 2008 sucked, it appears that 2009 is off to a helluva start.

All aboard for Nashville…

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Ravens – Dolphins: 27-9, get on the bus to Nashville

Posted on 04 January 2009 by caseywillett

One down three more to go for the Ravens. You can help root the Ravens on in Nashville by getting on the WNST bus to Nashville.

Cam Cameron goes into Miami twice and beats the Dolphins. I was just listening to a Miami radio station and they asked how come he could only win one game with them, but two against them.

The Ravens will travel to Nashville to face the Titans for a shot to go to the AFC Championship game.

Yet again, Flacco’s numbers do not jump off the charts at you (9-23, 135) , but as I say all the time, he makes 4 or 5 throws a game that have a huge factor in the game.

3:45 – When the Ravens needed a score to finish the game, Joe Flacco took it on himself to finish the Dolphins off with a 5yd touchdown run. What a great job of blocking by Chris Chester and Willie Anderson to seal the open lane for Flacco to score.

Flacco becomes only the third rookie quarterback to win his postseason debut. He joins Shaun King and Ben Roethlisberger.

So while Mike Smith and Matt Ryan will enjoy their awards they won, John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco will now march the Ravens into round two of the NFL playoffs

3:36 – Once again the Dolphins had a nice drive going, only to see it go south real quick as the hand off exchange on the end around from Chad Pennington to Tedd Ginn Jr., was botched and resulted in a  huge loss.

Then on the punt to Jim Leonhard which he fair caught at the 14, the Dolphins get flagged for fair catch interference.

Ravens need to put together one of those long drives to seal the deal.

3:28 – Although the Dolphins still have a pretty tall task to come back from 11 points down to tie the Ravens, their defense did a nice job on that stop and getting the offense the ball back. The Ravens defense has to step up and make a stop to get the ball back for their offense.

Will have to see if Ed Reed is back out on the field on defense…….and he is

3:21 – The Dolphins get back on the scoreboard with a 2yd touchdown pass from Chad Pennington to Ronnie Brown. The drive was helped out by some penalties on the Ravens and probably more importantly by not having Ed Reed on the field. That is why you saw Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski out on the field.

Huge play by Frank Walker on the blocked extra point. That take a little bit of the momentum away from the Dolphins.

Ravens put points on the board here and that will take the last bit of air out of the Dolphins balloon.

3:09 – Ed Reed comes to the rescue again for the Ravens to stop what was looking like a very promising drive by the Dolphins. Reed did look to come up limping after the play. Will be interesting to see if he comes back into the game.

Although I would never bet against Reed. He has proven people wrong time after time.

3:12 – Ravens punt the ball back to the Dolphins. Hey let’s say we see another turnover. Why not let Chad throw 5 picks in one day when he only threw 7 all season.

2:56 – Well I could have saved myself ten seconds if I wanted to, because minutes are posting my last entry, LeRon “Bringing the Pain” McClain, goes in from 8 yards out.

I am not saying to turn the lights out the party is over, but whoever is in charge of turning out the lights might want to get up and start heading for the light switch.

I smell another turnover coming here for the Dolphins

2:55 The Ravens defense has done it again. They have forced the fourth turnover of the day and now I honestly believe can start to drive the dagger into the heart of the Dolphins with a score here, and not just a field goal, you have to come away with seven on this drive

2:44 – For the third time today, Chad Pennington has been intercepted. He was only picked off 7 times during the regular season. The Ravens are getting after Chad Pennington and putting the pressure on him forcing the interceptions.

The Ravens have to take advantage of these turnovers and turn them into points. The Ravens are beating the Dolphins in every aspect of this game and have to put them away.

Sam Koch has been amazing for this team. Yet again he comes through for the defense and will pin the Dolphins down inside the one.

2:25- The Ravens tack on 3 more points on a Matt Stover 31 yard field goal to extend it to a 13-3 lead. A touchdown might have been a dagger to the Dolphins, but they are still in the game. That drive was kept alive by a huge Derrick Mason toe tapping reception.

The Ravens will have to keep the intensity up in the second half. Chad Pennington has taken a beating so far and has to be rattled a little bit.

30 minutes down, 30 more to go.

2:08 – Ed Reed just proved why he might be the Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL this year as he just picked off a Chad Pennington pass and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown.

I am not sure who Haloti Ngata hit on that return, but someone might want to check the Dolphins parking lot to find that player.

 

2:01 – For the life of me I do not understand that Troy Smith play on 3rd down.  The Ravens can not afford to let this team hang around. They have had several chances and not added any points on the board.

This is when teams some times strike for points against the Ravens.

1:54 – 9:11 left to go before the half, and Jim Leonhard picks off a Chad Pennington pass. In Week 7 it was 8:44 left before half when Terrell Suggs picked off Chad Pennington.

Pennington is taking some serious hits, they are bound to take a toll before to long.

1:40 – Ravens and Dolphins wrap up the first half tied at 3. The offensive line has done a nice job of protecting Flacco today. Flacco converts on a huge 3rd down completion to Derrick Mason.

1:26 – Ravens have tied it up with a 23yd FG from Matt Stover. Dolphins might have gotten away with a pass interference call on the pass to Todd Heap.  Nice response by the Ravens after the Dolphins score.

This was the exact way the first time these two teams played started out. Dolphins kicked a field goal than the Ravens responded with a field goal. Just for you know what’s the Ravens took the lead a Terrell Suggs interception returned for a touchdown .

1:15 Dolphins take a Ravens turnover and turn it into points. Solid defensive stand by the Ravens on the goal line, and smart move by Dolphins to take the 3 points. Points might be hard to come by today and you can not look back and wonder what if had you not take the 3.

 

12:55 The AP has named their coach of the year in the NFL, and it is Mike Smith of the Flacons. John Harbaugh much like Joe Flacco in the rookie voting, did not recieve any votes

 

After watching some exciting football games yesterday, it is now time for the Ravens to try and take their next step into the playoffs. I will periodically update this blog, must likely at the end of each half.

The CBS pregame show, it was a clean sweep for the Ravens with predictions except for Bill Cowher who picked the Dolphins based on a rookie quarterback playing in the playoffs.

I say Ravens 23-13 today. I am also listening to 790 in Miami to listen to their point of view on the game today.

Well like they say, it is game time.

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Ravens will play in Miami at 1 p.m. on Sunday

Posted on 28 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Here’s the skinny on the Ravens 2009 Postseason Festivus schedule: The Ravens drew the 1 p.m. game on Sunday in Miami. If they beat the Dolphins they would return to Nashville to play the Tennessee Titans in the early game on Saturday, Jan. 10th at 4:30 p.m.

As for next weekend, San Diego will host the Indianapolis Colts at 8 p.m. on Saturday night. The NFC schedule is set: Atlanta travels to Arizona at 4:30 on Saturday and Philadelphia will play the Vikings in Minnesota at 4:30 on Sunday.

WNST is attempting to organize a last-minute purple charter flight to Miami, but we will not have more information until midday on Monday. The individual flights to South Florida are jam-packed for the holiday weekend. We are not optimistic or pessimistic, but will attempt to make it work if at all possible. We realize that everyone’s wallet is a little light these days and this trip would be a $600 to $800 trip. (Chartering planes ain’t cheap!)

Feel free to drop me a note if you have interest in traveling to Miami next weekend for the Ravens’ first-round playoff game. If the price makes sense, we’ll do it. There are two possibilities: down and back on Sunday and a Saturday morning flight with an overnight and trip back on Sunday.

We’re working on it…

If the Ravens win in Miami, we will definitely be forming a “waiting list” for a potential rematch in Tennessee. That game would be on Saturday, Jan. 10th at 4:30 p.m. Carolina will also host their NFC divisional playoff game on Saturday at 8 p.m. On Sunday, Jan. 11 the New York Giants will host the 1 p.m. game and Pittsburgh will host the late game at 4:45 p.m.

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Rocking the Red with the Caps in D.C.

Posted on 29 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ll admit it. I’m biased.

I inexplicably fell in love with hockey when I was five years old at the Baltimore Civic Center at an AHL Nova Scotia Voyageurs-Clippers game. I saw the ice. I saw the action. I was hooked. During my 40-plus years on the planet,  many of my best and most personal sports memories have been made at hockey games.

Most of the people who’ve listened to my show or read my work over the past 17 years know of my affinity for the puck. We’re running our first-ever “Caps Puck Bus” next Thursday night (tickets are only $50 for the whole evening of fun) and I expect it to be memorable.

Last night, I made my first of many pilgrimages down to the Verizon Center in D.C. to see the Caps take on my adopted favorite team, the Nashville Predators. It was a memorable game. The Caps took it to the Preds early, at one point holding a 23-5 lead in shots and a 2-1 advantage. Nashville came back to even the score late in the game, forcing a rare OT shootout, which the Caps won taking a 4-3 victory.

Sure, Alex Ovechkin was missing last night, away with his ailing grandfather but it was still an eye-opening experience seeing more than 15,000 people in the rink last night all “rocking the red” on a chilly Tuesday night.

Sure, I’ve had my differences with the Capitals over the years. First (and this is no secret), I thought the combination of moving into D.C., firing David Poile, changing the logo and those hideous blue jerseys were all bad ideas. It hurt the franchise and it made me feel less connected after being a guy who for a decade drove to the Capital Centre in a red, white and blue sweater at least 35 times a year to see Mike Gartner, Gaetan Duchesne, Dave Christian, Bobby Carpenter and company beat up the Flyers, Islanders, Penguins and Rangers. Some of my favorite memories in sports were waving white pompoms and screaming at Ron Hextall.

I also had another problem as a Caps fan in the 1990’s: my radio show ended at 6 p.m. and getting from upper Towson to downtown D.C. made it impossible to see an entire game. So, I just went on a hockey hiatus in some ways, for nearly a decade.

Last season, the Capitals reached out to me personally and asked me to come back to Caps games. I went to a few games during the stretch run and wound up taking a bunch of friends (including Hockey Meg, Agent Orange and WNST blogger Ed Frankovic) down to games. For Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoff series against Philadelphia, we threw Drew Forrester and Phil Jackman into a car and had a blast.

Like I said, I’m a hockey goober. I met my wife at a hockey game in Manchester, N.H. I have scores of friends who’ve entered my life and stayed through hockey. My best pal, Tom Kapp, allowed me to take his kid to a game a dozen years ago in Hershey and now his kid, Tyler, drags him from rink to rink in his quest to be an NHL goalie.

Hockey can be infectious like that. I’ve said it many times: it’s the best sport there is for the sheer energy and action.

So, why have I adopted the Nashville Predators of all teams? Their one and only head coach in their 11-season existence is Barry Trotz, who was the final coach of the Baltimore Skipjacks before they left town for good in 1992. I covered Trotz’s team for the Baltimore Evening Sun for two seasons and we became friends. Trotz went on to win the Calder Cup in Portland, Maine the next season, got the Predators job before the expansion in 1997 and has been their coach ever since. For some reason, we’ve always remained close and in touch.

Over the years, he’s been a frequent guest on WNST and a great friend when we’ve gone to Nashville for games. I’ve probably seen the Preds play in 15 cities across the country over the last decade and I have a closet full of swag he’s been kind enough to send me over the years and I’ve always enjoyed rooting for the Predators because Trotz is such a special guy. (And think about how rare and unique that is in this day and age: he’s the ONLY coach they’ve ever had!)

But, back to the Capitals and hockey locally.

The Caps reached out to me with one message: WE WANT BALTIMORE TO EMBRACE THE CAPITALS! They asked me if I could help or if I had some ideas.

I said I’d help by promoting the sport I love in Baltimore. (If I ever get rich with WNST.net I would absolutely bring a hockey team to Baltimore and be a complete idiot about promoting it and making it work. There’s NOTHING better than going to a hockey game, if you ask me!)

Even without Ovechkin last night (most hockey people would tell you he’s the best player on the planet), the building was still mostly full and the atmosphere the Caps are building is something that should be enjoyed by any sports fan.

If you haven’t been to a Caps game lately, I can honestly say that you’re missing out on some great sports fun.

And it’s easier than you think…

The ride was traffic-free and painless last night (left the house at 5:30, made a stop and was still in my seat 15 minutes before the 7 p.m. start). They’ve done a great job branding their players and the “Rock the Red” promotion. Truth be told, Caps games are a LOT of fun and I’m looking forward to re-embracing my adolescence and throwing on my red, white and blue sweater more often this year.

We’ll be doing a series of “Puck Bus” promotions over the course of the season. Or at least as many as we can effectively market and sell. You fill the seats and we’ll continue to take hockey fans down to D.C.

Hockey has been gone from Baltimore for nearly 15 years. The only way it could conceivably come back to Baltimore is if I get rich enough to do it because I’m the only fool who would even think about trying it again after it’s failed so many times here. (By the way, I’m a LONG way from fulfilling this dream of mine so don’t hold your breath on this one! LOL…)

So, in the interim, I’ve decided that I’m going to embrace the Caps, go to the games like I used to and have some fun while I’m still young enough (even at 40 and aging rapidly) to do it.

Last night brought back all of the memories, right down to accidentally running into the legendary Rod Langway while I was grabbing a beer at the concession stand.

I like the Zamboni.

I like the action.

I like “The Good Old Hockey Game.”

I like shootouts.

I like funny Canadian accents.

I like the horn blowing after a goal.

I even like the silly movie clips (“UNLEASH THE FURY!!!!”) they play on the HD screen at the Verizon Center.

And most importantly, I love the game and the action and the strategy of the sport.

Like I said, the Caps are doing a really nice job down in D.C. with that hockey team. But the only way to find out is to go to a game.

We’re going next Thursday and we’ve made it easy.

Just pay the $50 and show up at the Park and Ride in White Marsh (4:15 p.m.) or I-95/UMBC (5 p.m.) and we’ll take care of the rest.

The link is here if you care to join us.

Game on!

Let’s rock the red…

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