Tag Archive | "oriole park at camden yards"

Winning formula simple for Orioles when strong starting pitching involved

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Winning formula simple for Orioles when strong starting pitching involved

Posted on 07 April 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Though it doesn’t always come across that way on TV, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has a quirky sense of humor that the media typically enjoys when the cameras and recorders off.

But after Tommy Hunter pitched seven strong innings and the Baltimore lineup plated eight runs in a comfortable 8-2 win over the Minnesota Twins, it’s easier for the skipper to smile and laugh after a ballgame.

A reporter asked Showalter after Ronny Paulino — serving as the designated hitter on Saturday — collected four hits in his Orioles debut whether it was easier to get his backup catcher in the lineup or in the country, alluding to Paulino’s work visa problems during spring training. The manager smiled and laughed, which is easy to do after games when you get good starting pitching.

“You heard me talk about it in simplistic form,” Showalter said. “You see us getting deeper in the game with our starting pitching, we’ll have some fun this year. It’s two out of 162, but it’s a good way to start. We had good starts to start the season last year, so we’ll see if it continues.”

Following the Opening Day lead of Jake Arrieta, Hunter cruised through seven innings before loading the bases with no outs in the eighth, leading to his departure and two unearned runs to cross the plate. Hunter allowed six hits and a walk while striking out three to improve to 2-1 in three career starts against Minnesota.

The Baltimore starting pitching has yet to allow an earned run in 14 innings to begin the 2012 season.

But the 25-year-old Hunter didn’t view it as a great feat, but rather what he’s expected to accomplish when he takes the hill every fifth day for the Orioles.

“It’s fun,” Hunter said. “It’s what a starting pitcher is supposed to do. You’re supposed to go deep into a game and give your team a chance to win.”

As Showalter reiterated, it’s only two games. The last time the Orioles opened the season with consecutive starts of seven or more innings was 2001 when Pat Hentgen, Sidney Ponson, and Jason Johnson did it against the Red Sox to start the year.

The Orioles lost 98 games that season.

But the formula for improving upon a 93-loss campaign a year ago is the ability of the starting rotation to log more innings and give a respectable Orioles lineup a chance to compete every night out.

“Two games, we’ve gotten deep in the game, and it really creates a good atmosphere for the hitters,” Showalter said.

And that’s exactly what Hunter provided as the Orioles tagged Minnesota lefty Francisco Liriano for six runs in his four innings of work. Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters all hit solo home runs while Robert Andino drove in two runs to lead the Orioles to a 2-0 start for the second straight year.

With Jason Hammel making his Orioles debut on Sunday and trying to pitch the club to its first sweep over the Twins in Baltimore since 2002, the bar has been set pretty high by Arrieta and Hunter in the season’s first two games.

And that’s a good thing.

Hunter’s thoughts following the game rang like a sound piece of advice for Hammel, Brian Matusz, and Wei-Yin Chen, who will each make their first starts of the season over the next three days.

“Just throw strikes and let the defense play,” Hunter said. “They made some plays all night behind me.”

It sounds simple enough, but the Orioles have a long way to show that it can be done night in and night out and keep their manager smiling in 2012.

NOTES: Paulino’s four hits made him the first hitter since Sam Horn on April 9, 1990 to record four hits in his Orioles debut. … With his fourth-inning single, Andino recorded his first two RBI of the season. He didn’t collect his second RBI until May 21 last season. … Markakis went 3-for-4 and is now 5-for-7 to start the season, marking the second time in his career that he started the season with consecutive multi-hit games. The right fielder also homered in consecutive games for the eighth time in his career. … Showalter needs 13 more wins to be the 58th manager in major league history to reach 1,000 wins. … Saturday’s paid attendance was 31,532.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, Tommy Hunter, Robert Andino, and Ronny Paulino following Saturday’s 8-2 win right here.

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Hunter Battles Liriano Saturday As Birds Look to Win First Series of Season

Posted on 07 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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Live from Camden Yards: Orioles welcome Minnesota to town on Opening Day

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Live from Camden Yards: Orioles welcome Minnesota to town on Opening Day

Posted on 06 April 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Happy Opening Day as the Orioles begin the 2012 season by welcoming the Minnesota Twins to town.

With plenty planned for the 20th anniversary of the first Opening Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, there is sure to be a buzz in the air in what continues to be an event in Baltimore despite tempered expectations for the season. The battery that started the 1992 opener, pitcher Rick Sutcliffe and catcher Chris Hoiles, will handle the ceremonial first pitch.

After undergoing abdominal surgery in early January, right fielder Nick Markakis says he is healthy and ready to go for the start of the season. The 28-year-old was limited to just 24 spring at-bats but stated earlier in the spring he needed fewer than that to be ready for the regular season.

“Physically, I think I’m about as good as I can be right now,” Markakis said. It’s just a matter of getting out and playing. All the rehab and hard work in spring training is behind me and now I can focus on the season.”

While Markakis said he never doubted whether he would be ready for Opening Day, manager Buck Showalter felt uneasy after seeing how limited his No. 3 hitter was in the first week to 10 days of spring training.

Showalter also confirmed right-hander Jim Johnson will be his closer with Kevin Gregg settling into a less-defined late-inning role.

As anticipated, left fielder Nolan Reimold will begin the season as the Orioles’ leadoff hitter despite hardly looking like a conventional option. Entering his fourth season, Reimold is eager for the opportunity and wants to capitalize on what looks like a more defined role in the regular lineup than last year.

In 847 career plate appearances, Reimold owns a .328 on-base percentage — a number the Orioles would like to see increase if he’s going to remain atop the order.

“The goal’s always to get on base; the goal’s always to get hits” Reimold said about his new spot in the order. “In that aspect, nothing really changes.”

Here are today’s lineups:

Minnesota
CF Denard Span
SS Jamey Carroll
C Joe Mauer
DH Justin Morneau
LF Josh Willingham
RF Ryan Doumit
3B Danny Valencia
1B Chris Parmelee
2B Alexi Casilla

RHP Carl Pavano

Baltimore
LF Nolan Reimold
SS J.J. Hardy
RF Nick Markakis
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
DH Wilson Betemit
3B Mark Reynolds
1B Chris Davis
2B Robert Andino

RHP Jake Arrieta

Follow @WNST on Twitter for the latest for Camden Yards and be sure to visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear from Buck Showalter, Nolan Reimold, and Nick Markakis prior to this afternoon’s game right here.

 

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An Oriole Park 20-Year Anniversary Anthem

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An Oriole Park 20-Year Anniversary Anthem

Posted on 28 March 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Talkin’ Baseball (Orioles Version) by: Terry Cashman

 

An Orioles classic that I took the liberty of updating the words to, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

The first few years the wins were thin,

But Camden Yards still packed ‘em in,

And baseball was alive in Baltimore

Robby and Raffy in the mix

And by 1996

The Oriole Way of yesterday was back in force.

 

We’re talking baseball

Ripken, Moose and Surhoff

Orioles Baseball

Brady Anderson with his shirt off

The Boomer, Kevin Brown and Bobby Bo

He wouldn’t trade ‘em then he watched ‘em go

It’s Orioles baseball…and Peter Angelos.

 

The Ravens came upon the scene,

And B-More had another team,

And the city threw a lot of green their way.

The Expos in DC,

Peter crying, “Woe is me”,

And the feverish fans who packed the stands had gone away.

 

We’re talking baseball,

Belle, Segui, Cordova

Orioles Baseball

The glory days are over.

Tejada gave a shot to Palmeiro.

What was in that needle no one knows,

It’s Orioles baseball…and Peter Angelos.

 

When you’re talking Baltimore baseball,

You’re talking Angelos,

I won’t forget the way I cried

The day our old friend Flanny died

And will they ever win again nobody knows

I hate you…Angelos

 

The O’s they now have MASN,

And it’s sure to bring the cash in

They’re even making money off the Nats.

But they still blame the Sox and Yanks as yet another season tanks.

And down on the farm they’re not growing arms and they don’t buy bats.

 

We’re talking baseball

Cabrera and Bedard

Orioles baseball

Ponson fighting in a bar

And where does all that MASN money go?

Not to the team, it goes to Angelos

It’s barely baseball, ’cause Peter killed the O’s.

 

We’re talking baseball…baseball and the O’s

(the birds, the birds, the birds)

We’re talking Peter…Peter Angelos

(the crook, the bum, the louse)

He hood winked us all

And stole our baseball.

(the pain, the blame, the shame)

It’s barely baseball

(the birds, the birds, the birds)

He purchased the team,

And ruined our dreams

(the crook, the bum, the louse)

We’re talking baseball…and Peter Angelos.

 

 

 

 

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Your Monday Reality Check-If Pitchers And Catchers Report And No One Cares…

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Your Monday Reality Check-If Pitchers And Catchers Report And No One Cares…

Posted on 20 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

Stop me if you heard this one before.

If Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training but no one has ever heard of them before, did it actually happen?

To at least some extent, that was the case in Sarasota this weekend. Baltimore Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to Ed Smith Stadium for an opportunity to prepare for a run towards the AL East crown introduce themselves to the men they now call teammates.

A year ago, there was a level of false hope about what a full season under manager Buck Showalter and the arrivals of veteran MLB players like Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds could do for baseball in Charm City. There is of course none of that in 2012, but you already knew that.

To be fair, I’m as surprised as you that Endy Chavez fever simply hasn’t spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic.

The start of Spring Training (most O’s pitchers had actually arrived in Sarasota in advance of this weekend’s report date) produced neither excitement nor as much as a batted eye to baseball fans in Baltimore this year. I will admit that I did not miss the insufferable “Happy New Year” updates on Facebook and Twitter from snobby baseball fans who are unaware their favorite sport is no longer our national pastime, but that’s the only good thing to be said.

It strikes me on this Monday that I honestly find myself pining for a year in which expectations (or at least hopes) for mediocrity fizzled into just another miserable summer at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I’m not pining over memories of a World Series run or even a relevant game on Labor Day. I’m pining for a team that mattered…at least a little bit…on St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s that bad.

Some of you will likely use the comments section here to accuse me of wasting hundreds of words on taking a shot at the Orioles. I don’t know that I’ll really bother to argue much with you.

There will be plenty of storylines between now and Opening Day, it’s just that none of them will be interesting.

Someone will have to start against the Minnesota Twins on April 6. Zach Britton is the easy fan favorite, but will have to show his shoulder is 100 percent to even get into the competition. The team will reportedly have to line up four more starters behind whoever goes out for Game 1, despite the fact that you’d be hard pressed to name three quality pitchers in the group of 30 that showed up this weekend.

They also need one of those pitchers to finish games. Jim Johnson is the guy fans most want to see get the role. Fans’ second choice? Anyone not named Kevin Gregg.

Brian Roberts’ health will be the closest we come to seeing something compelling in March. A healthy Roberts would by no means guide the team towards contention, but it would be nice to see the veteran second baseman return to the field instead of being ushered into retirement. Barring injury all other starting positions on the field are set. That’s of course part of the problem, as even with talented players like JJ Hardy, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones suiting up there’s little hope of producing enough against the staffs in Boston, New York and Tampa Bay.

There will be some competition for bench jobs, but that excitement will wear off before I can finish typing the names Matt Antonelli and Jai Miller. But hey! Look over there! It’s Nick Johnson! I’ve heard of him!

We’re going to attempt to have some relevant baseball conversation over the course of the next few weeks. All of it will involve the phrase “not like it really matters, but…” at some point. If it doesn’t, the conversation will probably be started by someone asking “have you heard anything more about those rumors that Peter Angelos is thinking about selling the team?”.

We can only pray that at some point Dan Duquette makes an off-color comment about Brian Cashman’s off-field exploits to momentarily make the Birds interesting. If you’re not, rest easy knowing I certainly am. I’d settle for a rumor that Oil Can Boyd was going to get coked up and make a start at OPACY to promote his new book.

(Now that I’ve typed those words, I actually think it’s a hell of an idea. Please pass it along to someone.)

Yes, it’s baseball season again in Baltimore. Anyone wanna talk about Justin Boren’s future in purple?

-G

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Your Monday Reality Check-Now We’ve Officially Gone From Full Throttle to Neutral

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Your Monday Reality Check-Now We’ve Officially Gone From Full Throttle to Neutral

Posted on 06 February 2012 by Glenn Clark

As the confetti dropped Sunday night at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis to punctuate the New York Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI win over the New England Patriots, a harsh reality set in throughout Charm City.

While the Baltimore Ravens were eliminated some 14 days earlier, the immediate hangover effect of an AFC Championship Game loss lingered into Super Bowl week. The significance of the Super Bowl even without the Ravens’ involvement prevented the malaise of the football offseason from setting in too quickly.

It’s here now though, and it absolutely stings.

Just as we’ve finally had enough time to get over the Ravens’ heartbreaking defeat in Foxborough, we’ve been forced to accept the fact that there really isn’t anything on the sporting horizon that we can deflect our purple energy towards. After working ourselves into a frenzy over the course of the last two months, we have basically no choice but to sit on our collective hands for the better part of the next seven months while we wait for John Harbaugh’s team to take the field once more for real.

Sure, we’ll all drink some beer and tell our favorite Earl Weaver stories on Opening Day. Most of us will throw down a few shekels on the Kentucky Derby winner on Preakness Saturday in May. We’ll be gripped to any rumors related to the Purple Birds.

The moments of excitement will be fleeting and there will certainly be no outlet for us to channel any level of sporting fervor.

Here’s the rundown on the “Reality” of the situation:

-Much of the country will immediately shift their focus to College Basketball season. In past years, an exciting University of Maryland has provided a level of excitement after football season concluded. Barring a miracle it won’t be the case this season, as the Terps sit at 3-5 in ACC play with no significant victory and none likely to come. This was to be expected in Mark Turgeon’s first season but it won’t help anyone in the area shake themselves awake from an “end of football season coma.”

One small shining light is Loyola University basketball, as the Greyhounds find themselves tied with Iona for first place in the MAAC at 11-2. This year’s team is the best Jimmy Patsos has ever had, and has a legitimate shot at the NCAA Tournament. The only cloud for the Hounds’ chances is that the Gaels certainly have more overall talent. It doesn’t mean Loyola couldn’t figure a way to a MAAC Tournament title, it’s just reality.

Coppin State entered Monday with a respectable 7-3 MEAC record and a legitimate crop of talent. Morgan State’s season has been mired by a mid-season suspension of head coach Todd Bozeman and has lead to a disappointing 3-6 conference record entering Monday. The Eagles have a semi-realistic chance of winning the MEAC Tournament, the Bears can’t be completely ruled out but have struggled.

Towson and UMBC have basketball teams. One has a first year coach (the Tigers’ Pat Skerry), one has a coach who might be in his last season (the Retrievers’ Randy Monroe). Neither are even a little good.

Before I leave the topic, the University of Maryland women (who provided us a pleasant distraction with their 2006 NCAA Championship run) have a nice team again under Brenda Frese. They’re not liking a team that could make a Final Four run, but they weren’t supposed to be that year either.

-Other fans across the country will turn their attention to the NHL and NBA. With no team in either sport (and no arena for hope of a team relocating here in either sport) Baltimore isn’t afforded the opportunity to shift attention to such areas.

A handful of sports fans in Baltimore are interested in the Washington Capitals, who have made the NHL Playoffs in each of the last four seasons. After firing coach Bruce Boudreau earlier this season, the Caps find themselves sitting on the outside looking in at the playoff picture now under Dale Hunter and aren’t likely to make a run longer than last season’s advance to the Eastern Conference quarterfinals.

There are less than a handful of Washington Wizards fans in Baltimore, which might be good news because the Wizards are unthinkably terrible.

-College Lacrosse season gets underway in the next 10 days, and both Johns Hopkins and Maryland find themselves in the Top 10 of preseason polls. A run to the Final Four from either the Blue Jays or Terrapins would be pleasant, but with the National Semifinals and Finals back in Foxborough Memorial Day weekend is not likely to register the same way for any local sports fan.

-That of course brings us to baseball. The Baltimore Orioles play their first Spring Training games on March 5. They’ll hope to avoid being mathematically eliminated from the AL East race before their first game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards April 6. There’s no guarantee they’ll succeed.

That’s where we are. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s reality. I don’t write this to try to depress anyone. The good news (for you) is that you won’t have to talk about it for four hours a day. I’m not afforded the same opportunity. And it’s not as if I’m really telling you anything you didn’t know, I just felt as though Monday was the day everything sunk in.

We’ll still be here for you however…if for no other reason than to pass the time.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Evict the Orioles

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Evict the Orioles

Posted on 22 December 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

I wrote this a few months back, but am talking about it on today’s show, therefore I felt that a reprisal was in order.

 

As the inevitability of a 15th straight losing season hangs over the Orioles like so many other dark clouds, the realization occurs that Baltimore has now dealt with a less than mediocre baseball team for longer than the NFL’s exodus from the city lasted. And from where I sit today, the former has been far more painful than the latter.

While Bob Irsay has always been the default answer to the most detestable man in Baltimore sports history, Peter Angelos has now entered the argument in a very big way and threatens to quickly run away with the title (although likely not with the team).

 

Like Irsay, it seems that Angelos has simply decided that it’s a better proposition to bank the inevitable riches inherent with owning a professional sports team while spending as little as possible in fielding that team. The Orioles could spend with the big market clubs if they chose to do so, but history has seemingly taught Angelos that spending big still doesn’t guarantee success on the field, spending small however and owning your own TV network guarantees profits no matter how pathetic your on field product may be.

 

The trump card that Irsay had (and ultimately wielded) that Angelos never will was the willingness of another city to provide better facilities and the promise to sell them out. While the NFL had (and still has) markets clamoring for and capable of supporting their product, baseball has no such luxury. If baseball did, there never would have been a need to move the Expos to Washington or create MASN in the first place.

 

If there were a better deal out there, you could bet that Angelos and the O’s would explore it…provided of course that it didn’t compromise the Orioles’ stake in MASN.

 

It’s too bad the fans don’t have recourse.

 

It’s too bad we can’t simply evict the O’s.

 

Before you decry me for sacrilege hear me out. (And realize I know it won’t happen)

 

The O’s have a lease with the city of Baltimore that runs through 2024. So maybe the city’s hands would be tied until then. Or maybe they could find a way out early, a way to evict the O’s for operating in bad faith, for defaming a local and national institution and for completely misusing the grandest of attractions in baseball…Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

 

If the city simply had enough of Angelos and closed the doors to OPACY, where would the Orioles go? What city is ready to provide anywhere near the facilities and support for the Orioles and Angelos than Baltimore has? Who would welcome this cheapskate joker with a bad team in a stacked division with anywhere near the reception that Baltimore has given him and them before and are dying to truly care about again?

 

Precedents now seem to exist that would allow Baltimore to retain the name and legacy of the Orioles leaving Angelos to rename his team in addition to relocating it. Even if that weren’t possible, the Ravens have proven that it’s possible to splice together a city’s sports legacy with class and pride and dignity.

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 04 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Frys.com Open (Thursday-Sunday 4pm from San Martin, CA live on Golf Channel), Champions Tour Insperity Championship (Friday-Sunday 8:30pm from The Woodlands, TX live on Golf Channel), LPGA HanaBank Championship (Friday-Sunday 1pm from Incheon, South Korea on Golf Channel); Boxing: ShoBox-Sharif Bogere vs. Francisco Contreras (Friday 11pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime); Canadian Football League: Calgary Stampeders @ BC Lions (Saturday 10pm from Vancouver live on NFL Network); High School Football: Calvert Hall @ Gilman (Friday 2:30pm), Parkville @ Perry Hall (Thursday 6pm)

10. Scream Tour: The Next Generation feat. Mindless Behavior & New Boyz (Friday 5:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Trey Anastasio Band (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Herman’s Hermits (Friday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head on Stage); Ben Harper (Tuesday & Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Robert Randolph and The Family Band (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club), Boyce Avenue (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Gourds (Wednesday 7pm Club 66 Edgewood); Wale/Big Sean (Thursday 8pm Murphy Fine Arts Center Morgan State); Chris Tucker (Friday 7:30pm & 10:30pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Blue Oyster Cult (Sunday 8pm State Theatre); Indigo Girls (Sunday 7pm Strathmore); Spin Doctors (Sunday 7:30pm Birchmere), Stephen Stills (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Big & Rich (Saturday 7pm Taste of DC-Pennsylvania Ave), Styx/Ed Kowalczyk (Sunday 7pm Taste of DC-Pennsylvania Ave), Rusted Root (Monday 7pm Taste of DC-Pennsylvania Ave); Bobby Lee (Friday-Sunday DC Improv)

I love Ben Harper and I miss the Innocent Criminals…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saOoA0hCzqY[/youtube]

My friend Robert Randolph has a new disc dropping soon called “Live In Concert.” I believe it’s worth the purchase…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3UOE9Sa6dw[/youtube]

Boyce Avenue doesn’t do many original songs. Instead they regularly do other peoples’ songs better than they can…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5paQ9BwFAgI[/youtube]

If it makes me a chick that I enjoy the tune “Holy Water” by Big & Rich, just help me pick out my lipstick already…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pI5e69fg4Cs[/youtube]

9. Maryland Brewer’s Association Oktoberfest (Saturday 11am Timonium Fairgrounds); Maryland Renaissance Festival (Saturday & Sunday RennFest Fairgrounds Crownsville); Second City: Charmed & Dangerous (Tuesday-Sunday Center Stage); Pulp Fiction” & “Jackie Brown” available on Blu-Ray (Tuesday); “Real Steel” opens in theaters (Friday), “The League” season premiere (Thursday 10:30pm FX)

Many of the above things excite me.

I’ve already shared my thoughts on RennFest and Second City. I haven’t shared my thoughts on Oktoberfest, but I know it involves these things…

beerbrats

Beer and Brats are two of my favorite things on the face of the planet. Oh…and this too…

wench

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Since I Already Know You, I Guess I Don’t Need to “Get To Know You”

Posted on 18 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

I’ve taken a number of jobs in my short radio career.

Having gone from station to station, format to format, time slot to time slot and market to market, I’ve had more than one occasion in my life where I’ve had to say something along the lines of “hi, I’m the new guy.”

In this case, I’m grateful because I don’t feel as though that will be necessary this time.

As you may have heard Thursday morning on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester and Luke Jones or read in Nestor Aparicio’s column today at WNST.net, there’s a change in my life.

After more than three years of getting up early and hanging out with Drew, I’ve been rewarded with an opportunity to sleep in a bit.

I have taken over as the afternoon show host (2-6pm) on Sports Talk 1570 WNST.

I’m incredibly excited.

As I’ve shared multiple times, I was a WNST listener when I was younger. Before I realized “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio was the father of one of my classmates (and friends) at Perry Hall High School, I had been handed a “Get Nasty” sign and was familiar with Charm City’s most well known sports talk host.

My familiarity as a WNST listener made my decision to leave KDUS in Phoenix much easier a few years back.

This is the next step for me, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend with Drew every morning for the last few years, and for everyone else in the WNST family (and the numerous others I’ve worked with during my time) for everything they’ve taught me.

As my headline would indicate, the fact that I’ve been able to get to know you guys means I don’t think you need to know much more about me.

I listen to a lot of O.A.R. & Robert Randolph. I’m much too defensive about Roberto Alomar & Gary Williams. I’ve never met a fruit-flavored craft beer I didn’t at least try if not immediately add to the collection. I’m probably going to get banned from Chick-Fil-A Nottingham Square at some point soon because I spend more time there than I do my own home.

You probably knew all of that.

I have plenty of other thoughts that I’ll be looking forward to share moving forward.

I have a few simple thoughts about local sports radio.

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Stover Ring Of Honor No-Brainer, But Who Will Join Him?

Posted on 27 May 2011 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Former Baltimore Ravens kicker Matt Stover formalized his retirement Thursday in a press conference at 1 Winning Drive.

“Playing for the Baltimore Ravens, I think I’ve always said that it’s a privilege” said Stover. “Being in the league has been a privilege-more than you can imagine.”

Stover had not kicked for the Ravens since the end of the 2008 season, he had not kicked in the National Football League at all since spending the end of the 2009 season with the Indianapolis Colts.

Stover, 43, spent 13 seasons in Charm City after coming to the city when the Cleveland Browns moved following the 1995 season. He was the only remaining player who came from Cleveland until he left after ’08.

During his 13 seasons in Baltimore, Stover made 354 of his 418 field goal attempts (84.6%), finishing 471/563 (83.7%) for his career. He was named the AFC’s Pro Bowl kicker twice in his career, including once in Baltimore (2000), the same season he played a significant role in helping the Ravens win Super Bowl XXXV, the only Super Bowl title in the team’s brief history.

It came with no surprise that Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti announced that the team would induct Stover into their Ring of Honor on November 20th when the team hosts the Cincinnati Bengals.

“The thing about being in the Ring of Honor is that I meant to much to my team, the community” said Stover. “That to me is an awesome, awesome privilege. I can’t imagine any greater honor that an organization can give to a player, and I appreciate the Ravens doing that. I’ll be proud to do it…to retire as a Raven with some other great players.”

Stover’s on-field role would have been enough to guarantee his inclusion, but his community involvement (most notably with the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes) set him apart from other successful players in franchise history. Stover was a beloved figure during his time in Baltimore, even amongst fans who wouldn’t be considered amongst the most passionate.

Clearly Stover meets all qualifications to join OT Jonathan Ogden, LB Peter Boulware, DE Michael McCrary, Former Owner Art Modell, RB/Contributor Earnest Byner and the Hall of Fame Baltimore Colts as being featured prominently at M&T Bank Stadium to be remembered for the eternity of the franchise’s existence.

The question moving forward for me is now “who will join him?”

The Ravens have been very fortunate to have a number of great players/contributors in recent years, many of whom are worthy of consideration.

Here is the explanation of the criteria used by the Ravens when selecting players to their Ring of Honor…

“Character: The induction into the Ravens Ring of Honor represents the highest honor for a career of individual accomplishment resulting in team success. Teams constructed with character reduce uncertainty and stay on their purpose Ravens of Honor maintain direction with intense focus character is at the beginning of the cycle and takes them all the way to a successful ending.

Gratitude: Ravens of Honor carry forth a special attitude of gratitude, to those around them, they are always a fountain rather then a drain. Each is different but all keep those around them on the path of progression. Their basic ability to enjoy their talents and gifts of others help them to continually contribute as opposed to contaminate.

Vision: Fueled by self-knowledge, great character and an appreciation for everything available to them. Ravens of Honor visualize short and long term successes in Technicolor. They are, through vision, great connectors. Those around them are energized and they use all that surrounds them to create an inspirational bigger picture.

Passion: Passionate Ravens have an unusual ability to face failure, physical setbacks and exhaustion. They have an internal tenacity that helps them get back up when knocked down. Their passion motivates teammates to join in on the pursuit of the team dream. Passion breeds conviction and turns mediocrity into excellence. With passion, we can overcome all obstacles.

Faith & Courage: Ravens of Honor stand tall in the good times as well as the rough times. They are help up by their deep faith in themselves, their teammates and their fans. Inspired by belief in a great destiny, these champions never waver from their victorious path. Faith is belief in what you cannot see. Great vision matched with unbridled passion sets up absolute faith. Faith evokes a special courage and confidence. When matched with action, faith kills worry and procrastination, the two traits which produce regular failure.

Competitive Spirit: True competitors want to be put on the line and measured. They thrive on adversity and use it to achieve a special edge. They know the easy lakes get fished out first, thus they skip the easy. Persistence, determination, tenacity and sportsmanship are the hallmarks of this warrior mentality. Ravens of Honor need character, gratitude, vision, passion and faith to become a championship caliber competitor. There are no shortcuts and they do not look for them, because their competitive fire will not allow them to.

Humility: Humility in oneself inspires the best of others and feeds our character. A vital aspect of the true leadership is the willingness of others to follow.”

Nowhere on that list does it state that a player has to have reached a Pro Bowl as a Raven, which has been believed to be a bit of an unwritten rule within the franchise. In fact, a Ravens executive told me Thursday the qualifications could really be stated as “extraordinary contributions to the NFL, the Ravens and the community.” The same executive was willing to admit however that “it will be more difficult to make our Ring of Honor if the player was never recognized as a Pro Bowler, but it could happen.”

There are a number of current Ravens whose inclusion in the Ring of Honor seems to be as simple a decision as Stover’s. LB Ray Lewis, S Ed Reed and TE Todd Heap all seem to be easy choices after their careers conclude. WR Derrick Mason certainly has an argument. LB Terrell Suggs and DT Haloti Ngata have laid the groundwork for what could ultimately become Ring of Honor careers.

Perhaps a bit more interesting in the list of former Ravens who have not yet been honored. RB Jamal Lewis, CB Chris McAlister, DT Tony Siragusa, OL Edwin Mulitalo  and former Coach Brian Billick (full disclosure-Billick is now a part owner of WNST.net) have all moved on from their careers but have not been honored. General Manager Ozzie Newsome would seem to be a potential future honoree, and LB/contributor O.J. Brigance was the subject of a recent Facebook campaign seeking his induction.

There is an argument as to why any of the above names should be in. The reality is that in the next ten years, the team’s Ring of Honor could grow exponentially.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with being an organization that has a number of great players/contributors afforded significant recognition. An argument could be made that it simply reflects the greatness of the organization to have such an expansive number of ROH honorees.

At the same time, the Ravens do face a dilemma as they consider the future of the way they recognize players. In thirty years, these names will all represent the finest players/contributors in franchise history. The organization must at least be willing to ask the question “will this player’s inclusion still make sense when we look back in 30 years?”

It is a more significant honor than the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame, where a player is simply noted on a tough to find outfield plaque at Oriole Park at Camden Yards after honored at a pregame ceremony and luncheon. Fans don’t have to stare at the names for decades and debate the merit of their inclusion during games the way fans do at M&T Bank Stadium.

We’ve all experienced the moment where someone sitting near us says “did they REALLY put Earnest Byner in the Ring of Honor?” The answer is yes, and we’re all equally uncomfortable about despite our great respect for Mr. Modell.

As the team considers other candidates, they must keep in mind those questions. “Is ______ really in the Ring of Honor? Didn’t he only play here for like four seasons?” “You guys put ______ in the Ring of Honor? Did he ever even get to the Pro Bowl?”

They’ll be relevant questions that Ravens fans will have to answer.

The team doesn’t want to make the requirements for induction more stringent, as they want to be able to make their own decisions about who to induct instead of limiting themselves by instituting additional requirements.

Make no mistake. Ray Lewis, Jamal Lewis, Chris McAlister, Brian Billick, Ozzie Newsome and Todd Heap really should all be in no matter how the team defines the requirements. Ravens fans should always be see those names honored for the greatness they contributed to the franchise and city.

But as far as the others are concerned, the team will have to truly make difficult decisions.

Hear Stover’s press conference-including comments from Bisciotti, Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net! Stover joined Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Friday on AM1570 WNST, that chat is in the Audio Vault as well!

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