Posted on 06 September 2012 by WNSTV
Posted on 24 February 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 12 January 2011 by Nestor Aparicio
It’s a big, emotional week of football in Baltimore and the reason it’s so significant is because of our civic desire to have another purple parade at the Inner Harbor and the sheer nausea we all feel in the pits of our bellies about the fact that at 8 p.m. on Saturday night this could be the worse loss of our lives all over again.
Just like all of our January losses to the likes of Indianapolis and Pittsburgh and Cleveland and New York.
Or, it can potentially extinguish the 40 years of domination from the city of Pittsburgh, but specifically the Steelers and their arrogant, obnoxious fan base here in the region.
This is an epic throwdown between two cities that don’t like each other but a rivalry that is so embarrassingly lopsided that it makes the Roadrunner look like a winner.
I’m up to my eyeballs in rattlesnakes throwing parties, organizing bus trips and running WNST.net – 12 hours of radio, the daily newspaper, text service plus all of our social media endeavors on Facebook and Twitter that truly is Baltimore’s best and most comprehensive sports coverage in the world. And for those of you who know me, you know what a massive time commitment it is being a washed up sports talk show host and new media entrepreneur of the station that no one listens to but the website and social media that everyone in Baltimore seems to visit and read.
This whole “Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore” thing takes on such a personal, vitriolic part of my inner soul that it’s almost best that I not focus on it too much and keep my head down and wait for the game at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday to release that part of my energy.
But some jackasses from the “out of town media club” (which encompasses the greater part of the whole local scene outside of WNST.net) have written, said and defended their typically insensitive and uneducated remarks just to remind us how out of touch and clueless they really are about what this community is about and WHY the Ravens are important in the first place.
Nothing in the local sports community divides like Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh. The Colts thing, while far from dormant, is now a distant second place. And the “I Hate Washington Club” is shrinking because the Redskins and Nationals are weak and irrelevant and the Capitals are the fastest growing brand in Baltimore and I have statistics to prove it.
And the out-of-town media geniuses all talk about expertise, ethics and journalism while all taking a chunk of your Orioles/MASN money to hush up criticism of an oozing, open sports cancer in Baltimore while waving purple pompoms in January like they really care about the Ravens and like they invented Festivus.
To anyone with half a brain from Baltimore, it’s insulting.
I attended a Smart CEO event last Thursday night where I was summarily subjected to a pair of morning show faux sports imposters from Boston and New York standing in front of a room full of mostly Baltimore upper-crust businessmen and patronizing them
Posted on 03 January 2010 by Ed Frankovic
The Baltimore Ravens are returning to the playoffs with their 21-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders today after enduring several key injuries and playing an extremely difficult schedule (5 of their 7 losses were to division champs). Kudos to owner Steve Bisciotti, GM Ozzie Newsome, Coach John Harbaught, the players, and the rest of the organization for going back to back into the post-season for first time since 2001.
Now here are 9 thoughts on the season, today’s game, and the upcoming playoff matchup as the team heads to New England to face Bill Belichek, Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the rest of the Patriots:
- A win is a win, but if Charlie Frye doesn’t get hurt at halftime do the Ravens still win that game today? I’m not so sure, Frye was moving around well and negating any Baltimore pass rush and the banged up secondary continued to be shredded by a vagabond QB. Oakland’s backup QB Jamarcus Russell was clueless as he continued to force the ball to his tight end when his receivers were open all day. A Raiders fan friend of mine was so confident that Russell would stink that he congratulated me on the Ravens win when he saw Frye going to the locker room before the first half ended.
- Harbaugh’s decision to try for a 51 yard field goal late in the game given Billy Cundiff had already missed a 37 yarder and the fact that long snapper Matt Katula continues to send snaps back to holder Sam Koch like he is pitching for the Orioles (off target) was just assanine. As bad as the Ravens defense can be at times, I’d take my chances with the Raiders going 80+ yards with Russell the bust #1 pick behind center. Punt the ball there John!
- While I did not like the fact that the Ravens seemed to try and force the pass early and Baltimore did their typical awful two minute drill play calling once in the red zone, overall I thought Cam Cameron did a decent job of sticking with the running game against the 29th ranked run defense in the league. Kudos to Willis McGahee for a monster day, he was the right back for pounding it against a team that tackles very poorly.
- Just how bad is the Ravens pass defense? Frye threw for a 180 yards and a score in the first half!! For some reason defensive coordinator Greg Mattison hasn’t figured out the best way to cover up that terrible crew on the backend is to bring more rushers. Why does he often rush only three players when it is 3rd and over 10 yards? If you make the QB get rid of the ball quickly the receivers don’t have time to get to the first down markers or even open for the catch. I really think the organization needs to look hard at whether they bring Mattison back next year. This team clearly has missed Rex Ryan and his effective aggressive schemes more than any player on defense (losing Bart Scott hurt too given Terrell Suggs injury riddled training camp and season).
- Now having said that, Newsome has to seriously look at this past off-seasons personnel decisions in the secondary. Fabian Washington showed last year that he was susceptible to injury and the Ravens had to know that Samari Rolle could not be counted on so was bringing in just Dominque Foxworth and Chris Carr the best solution? Frank Walker has contributed to several Baltimore losses this season with untimely bad penalties to include the first Bengals game, the Vikings game, and last week’s Steelers contest, just to name a few. Why was this guy still on the team after he played so poorly in 2008? Ed Reed appears to be on the verge of retirement due to injury as well so it will be a busy off-season for the defensive backfield. Hopefully Eric DeCosta and his scouting crew have some good players lined up in the draft for the secondary because I think Baltimore needs at least 3 new players back there (combination of picks and free-agent signings).
- Well the Matt Stover decision, apparently by Harbaugh, did not cost the Ravens the playoffs but it might have cost them the AFC North title and a home playoff game. #3 made a big kick in Tennessee from 43 yards in rainy conditions to win that playoff game last January 10th and put Baltimore in the AFC Championship game. So what do the Ravens do? They cut Mr. Automatic out of the picture primarily due to his weak kickoffs and money. Stover likely would have made that 43 yarder in a dome to win the game in Minnesota and who is to say that he doesn’t miss any of the six kicks against the Colts and get Baltimore a win there (and he kicked the game winner against the Ravens to pour more salt in the wound). Bottom line, that decision stunk and still stinks given what we saw in Oakland again today. The Colts have Adam Vinateri back and they are STILL not letting Stover go!
- QB Joe Flacco threw for only 102 yards today going 11 for 19. Most of that was because the Raiders are good against the pass and brutal against the run. As stated above, Cameron did the smart thing by running the football. However, you have to put the rest of that on a trio that can’t get it done in the passing game right now: the offensive line, the wide receivers, and #5 himself. Flacco was sacked 4 times and the average yards per passing play was a pitiful 3.9 yards. The blocking was terrrible, the receivers could not get open, and #5 needs to do a better job of reading defenses and improving his pocket presence. Flacco, since his foot injury in Minnesota and the injury to Jared Gaither in New England, seems to have regressed on his ability to successfully scramble or feel the pressure when dropping back to pass. Clearly the team needs more talent at wide receiver but Ravens fans have been calling for that for what seems like forever. Flacco threw for over 3600 yards this season and improved his QB rating to almost 90 so clearly he is the guy going forward. As for Troy Smith, if he wants to be traded then get rid of him, his moving on would not hurt this team one iota.
- The Ravens lost a close one in New England, 27-21, back on October 4th when Mark Clayton dropped a pass inside the Patriots 10 yard line on fourth down in the closing seconds so Baltimore showed they can compete with the three time World Champions. However, given all of the Ravens injuries, the problems in the secondary, the poor pass blocking, and the talent that the Pats have at QB and WR they are heavy underdogs. The injury to Wes Welker, who had 6 catches for 48 yards against Baltimore in the first match-up helps the Ravens, but they still have Brady and Moss. I don’t feel very good about this one but that is why they play the game, right? As Drew Forrester mentioned in his post game blog, the Ravens have to play a perfect game and that means no more stupid penalties!
- Overall, any time you make the playoffs in the NFL you should be happy. I pointed out a lot of issues to address but overall I have supreme confidence in Newsome and his staff to correct things personnel wise. Anyone who says Harbaugh has to go needs to be readily dismissed. Despite his mistakes with the kicking decision, staff, and time management, he is 2 for 2 on making the post season and clearly deserves to come back for the third straight year. He is a young NFL coach and should improve. Many fans called for Brian Billick’s head because of a perceived lack of team discipline that led to numerous 15 yard galactically stupid penalties. Well Billick is now blogging on this site and doing television yet the penalties are still happening so let’s not blame the head coach anymore and focus more on the players making the mistakes. And yes Haloti Ngata and Suggs you are two of the guys I am talking about, you need to learn to keep your head and not hurt the team with those blowups. So be thankful we have playoff football in Baltimore once again, I know I am, and it is even sweeter with the Pittsburgh Steelers out! But this team isn’t really a Super Bowl Contender right now and clearly has issues to address, but we have at least another week to not worry about several of them right now.
Posted on 21 December 2009 by Matt Duggins
It’s easy to pile on when a team stinks as bad as the Bears. Frankly, that performance against the Ravens yesterday justifies an all out dog pile from Chicago fans. That was a stinker. A mail-in. A turd. A deuce.
I’ll give it to the Ravens. At least when they stunk, they tried. Not so much for the Bears.
They’re obviously a team in disarray. Lovie Smith is on the ropes. Matt Forte is now just another mediocre back. The defense isn’t half of what it was when Urlacher and Co. muscled their way into the Super Bowl just three seasons ago.
But nothing compares to the stench of that cat wearing number 6. Jay Cutler.
This guy REALLY STINKS.
Back in 2003, Mike Maroth lost 21 games for the woeful Detroit Tigers. Now, losing 21 isn’t easy. Maroth started 33 games that year and logged 193+ innings. Obviously, the Tigers stunk, and the objective was to get the kid some experience against big league hitters. Unfortunately for him, the tag of 20 game loser won’t serve the Tigers very well in 2010, but works fine for outraged bloggers, such as myself, for all eternity.
Cutler is a 20 game loser this year.
After that embarrassment at M&T yesterday, the kid from Vanderbilt has thrown it to the wrong team 25 times already this season. They’re 5-9.
Keep in mind that the Bears wanted this guy. They wheeled and dealed with the Broncos to send the eccentric Kyle Orton to Mile High in exchange for the 4500 yard kid from Santa Claus, Indiana. They thought he would be the final cog in the wheel. The missing link.
What a bust.
I can think of a few guys that played in Baltimore that scratch the Cutler surface.
Kevin Millar was my least favorite Oriole of all time. He was like Cutler. He came from a decent team. The guy ‘Cowboyed’ himself to a World Series Ring, in fact. But when he started wearing black and orange, he found new ways to strand guys at third with less than two outs that no one ever deemed possible. I could smell that guy from Rosedale he stunk so bad.
There was little expectation of Gregg Zaun this second time around, but that guy still managed to pollute the air in Charm City. Good riddance.
Elvis Grbac was no savior. In fact, Grbac threw 18 picks in 14 games in 2001, and had a rating some 4 points less than Cutler’s this year.
Still, I can’t fathom the remorse that Bears’ fans feel this holiday season.
I guess the moral of the story here is to be thankful for what you’ve got- a team with a lot to play for this Sunday in Pittsburgh, and a front office that never puts itself in a predicament like this, with all their eggs in one basket like Chicago has with Jay Cutler.
Fact is, those are some rotten eggs, and they’re stinking up the joint.
Posted on 31 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio
Just in case you’re wondering, the Ravens have NOT contacted Matt Stover about their kicking needs for the game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sept. 13. Not yet, anyway.
But, of course, there are more than just a few people around the Charm City who think that might not be a bad idea.
And the team is led by head coach John Harbaugh, who spent his entire existence in the world of special teams and kickers and punters. This has to perturb Harbaugh more than most coaches.
The kicking game and life in the NFL is a strange one. Here is this macho game played by the biggest, fastest and toughest guys in our culture and along comes a little kicker with it all on the line to win the game on his foot and the 40 yards between the line of scrimmage and goal posts.
It’s not a cruel joke or coincidence as much as it’s weekly reality in the NFL.
After he made the game-winning kick in Tennessee last January, the Ravens jettisoned Matt Stover for three reasons, really:
1. He wasn’t their best bet on kickoffs, which forced them to carry an extra man on the roster
2. He cost them a lot of money (more than $1 million per year) as opposed to a rookie who’d earn 40% of that
3. He wasn’t getting any younger and his distances seemed to get shorter each year, even if he was considered “automatic” inside of 45 yards
Now, with just this lame preseason finale in Atlanta awaiting on Thursday, the Ravens appear to have two young kickers but no one that they can truly trust with big games on the line.
Both Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka have managed to both do something that Stover never did in 14 years in a purple helmet: they’ve manged to make us actually think about the kicking game.
Stover was so automatic, so universally forgotten about that his presence was a bit of a security blanket. Like Ray Lewis has been at middle linebacker. Like Jon Ogden was for many years at the left tackle spot.
Think about all of the kicks Stover made over the years. How many of them do you really remember?
Sure he missed a few biggies – one in the AFC Championship Game in Oakland back in 2001 as I recall. His most memorable miss is almost certainly the 0-13 Miami 2007 “gimme” that contributed to Brian Billick’s ouster as head coach.
But he just came in, made the kick, praised Jesus and ran back to the bench.
Well, over the last three preseason games, not only have we witnessed the competition drama of these two nice young men trying to fill the shoes of a “once a generation” kicker, but we’ve had the “hold our breath” drama over whether the three points is actually going up on the scoreboard on something most Ravens fans have viewed as “Auto-Matt-ic”.
Neither one of them is stepping up even remotely to the level of confidence we had with Matt Stover.
So, will the Ravens call Matt Stover?
Probably not. (For all of the same reasons they had eight months ago.)
Will the Ravens regret not calling Matt Stover?
Only time will tell.
But Stover is available, in shape and waiting by the phone. (For the record, I hear he’s enjoying his first August off in 24 years…)
And if I know that much, you can bet that Ozzie Newsome can’t be too far away.
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…
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.
Posted on 12 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio
I am a little embarrassed to be from Baltimore these days. And it has nothing to do with the 30,000 Red Sox fans who invaded the Inner Harbor two weeks ago.
Look, no one loves the city or the sports teams or the “culture” of Baltimore more than me and I dare you to find someone who has displayed more civic pride over the last 25 years in the sports circle here than me and/or WNST.net.
But, honestly, I don’t know what that’s worth these days.
Every Facebook user and tweeter I can find within earshot all share the same opinion: DAMN, I’m glad it’s football season!
Yet the man who brought the team here, Art Modell, continues to be coldly left out of the Hall of Fame and no one here seems to be interested in picking up the torch and taking the slight a little more “seriously” or “personally” as a civic cause.
As a community, we were the city that fought desperately and embarrassingly through the loss of the Colts and the frequent use of our metropolis and tax payers by the NFL machine as a $20 hooker for more than a dozen years. The sham of the Paul Tagliabue era still stings. I remember the “museum” comments. I remember the Sundays without a team. I remember the disgusting expansion process. I remember the Saints-Dolphins game on 33rd Street. I remember the Charlotte and Jacksonville coronation.
I remember the desperation and the loss of hope like it was last night.
What these writers and disgruntled Cleveland Browns fans with an axe to grind — one that really isn’t based in true damage — are essentially saying is this: “We should all be embarrassed that the Baltimore Ravens even exist!”
And I find that unacceptable and an issue worth “fighting” for. And Art Modell’s Hall of Fame candidacy – or what’s left of it because it’s pretty clear he’s been blackballed and if there were any doubts before the reaction to Rod Woodson’s words there are none after the local reaction in Canton Saturday night – should be a MAJOR, MAJOR civic cause here.
The guy who brought the team here in the September of his life because Cleveland never took care of him deserves better treatment from all of the PSL owners and the people here in Baltimore who think the Ravens are pretty cool and pretty special.
I wonder if we can find 50,000 people who are willing to fight for Modell. Or even 50…
Steve Bisciotti once said to me: “You’re a cause guy!”
Well, yes I am, and I’ve started a Facebook page for Art Modell’s Hall of Fame candidacy. Feel free to join it and spread the word…
Here’s the direct address: http://www.facebook.com/search/?q=art+modell&init=quick#/group.php?gid=60824460336&ref=search&sid=1740947610.1010947778..1
It’ll be interesting to see how many people think that Cleveland and the NFL machine spitting on Modell is essentially spitting on Baltimore.
These Browns Backers are people with very short memories for facts and very long memories for acrimony and anger and bile.
As I said to the Cleveland blogger who wrote a typically-negative “Art doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame” piece after Woodson’s mention of Modell in his induction speech: the residual damage a decade later is ZERO! As a matter of fact, it’s been a GAIN not a loss.
It’s like being mad at your ex-wife after you’ve remarried and found a better life. They’ve gotten a better stadium, their name, their colors and their records. They got an ownership family with the Lerners that they allegedly were going to like more than the Modells. Other than a few 5-11 seasons 13 years ago, they’ve missed NOTHING and restored everything!
But again, we’re talking about Clevelanders. In general, my experience with their hospitality and intellect has been less than impressive.
And I’ve got a LOT of experience with Cleveland. I’ve been going to Cleveland for 25 years. I was in Cleveland Stadium on the 1986 day that John Elway drove 98 yards to send them home from the Super Bowl.
I’ve probably seen 75 sporting events in Cleveland over the years along with various concerts, events, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Flats – I’ve done it all.
And their fans stink!
The boo their team every single year that I’m there — win or lose. They hate virtually everything. And, let’s be honest, they haven’t won anything in my lifetime and their hometown hero, LeBron James, is about to drop all things Ohio like a habit and run to New York to try to win a championship elsewhere. (Imagine Cal Ripken pulling that in 1992?)
It’s kind of sad. It sucks to be a sports fan from Cleveland. Ask Drew Carey…
And the people in Cleveland have plenty to be angry about – including the crappy weather, economy and the current state of their football team – but to continue this petty grudge against Modell is almost silly and continues to further ingrain their shortcomings.
And for Tony Grossi or Peter King or anyone else in their camp to make a paper-thin argument that a man who owned the team for nearly 40 years and helped manage the league through prosperity that no other league in the history of the planet has ever seen is just downright small and petty. And to put Al Davis or Lamar Hunt or Ralph Wilson on a higher pedestal than Modell is a testament to the vindictive nature of this group of voters and their agenda.
The merger. The TV deals. Monday Night Football. A .600 winning percentage over the course of his ownership. Free agency. Revenue sharing. The salary cap. The rules. Modell voted in every meeting and was a leader in many areas, including moving his NFL team to the “AFL” after the merger and convincing the Colts and Steelers to come with him.
Oh, and there’s that little accomplishment that NEVER gets mentioned – the restoration and growth of Baltimore football in the shape of the Ravens, which this city is obsessed with 365 days a year. Oh, yeah, and the Super Bowl win as well…
Modell “rebirthed” the NFL in Baltimore and over the past 14 years I dare you find a more successful franchise at recruiting the community and feeding the fire with positive energy and great people in the organization from Ozzie Newsome straight on down.
Art Modell created Baltimore football as we know it.
Doesn’t that count for anything?
Well, it only does if we say it does.
Don’t expect anyone from Cleveland to lead the charge to get Modell into the Hall of Fame.
That has to come from Baltimore. That, quite frankly, has to come from you.
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.
Posted on 01 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio
In what has not been a surprise to us – if you go back to Monday July 13th’s blog vault you’ll see we can confirm this — Derrick Mason will in fact play for the Ravens this season, ending his temporary “retirement” from the Ravens and the NFL.
Three weeks ago, it took us about 45 minutes after Mason announced his “retirement” via his agent’s sports website, to begin predicting that Mason would play in 2009 but somehow it’s a major “news” story today. This was in no way a huge upset/surprise/shocker for anyone using common sense and their “sniffer” for facts.
The amount of money at stake, Mason’s lack of true leverage (he would’ve had to refund money to the Ravens if he didn’t play) and the fact that he attended virtually every camp in the offseason and is in world-class shape all were clues that we would be seeing Mason in a purple sweater on Sept. 13 when the Kansas City Chiefs come to town.
So, while others may take the credit for “breaking” the story today we’ve felt all along that it would be a major upset if Mason didn’t play in 2009.
Just this morning I told a friend that if it were a horse race I’d pay no more than 2-to-5 — or .40 cents — if he winds up playing. Even a bet that bad would’ve been a lousy one!
I’ve been told Mason has had some personal issues he’s had to resolve this summer, even above and beyond his situation with the tragedy of Steve McNair and his own contract-extension wishes.
In the end, this was a bit of a stare down — albeit with complications — about money and reward and desire.
No one sensible really ever expected that Mason wouldn’t play.
It’ll be good to have No. 85 back in the fold.
“Mason came to the team’s training camp hotel in Westminster, Md., to meet with general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh.
He also called Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti earlier today to inform him of his decision.
Mason is sending a letter to the NFL stating his intentions.
He will take a physical either later this afternoon or early tomorrow morning.
The Ravens anticipate that Mason will be on the field sometime Sunday, although like all Ravens, he will have to pass a running test.”