Tag Archive | "palmer"

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Orioles are 6-2: Jones 2-run blast, big 10th inning lifts Birds to 7-5 win over Texas

Posted on 14 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Another exciting game. Another tight win. Another night where the bullpen was used and abused but this time — other than George Sherrill — the entire unit delivered in a 7-5 win in 10 innings in Arlington to push their record to 6-2. Alfredo Simon got hurt early. Homers were flying early. And the Orioles hung on.

Blow by blow below…

11:29 p.m. — Dennis Sarfate admitted to having an inner-ear infection and basically said he was “really relaxed” during his effort and was “on cloud nine” after he got medicated from the staff during the game. Sarfate said he told Aubrey Huff, “Is that all you’ve got?” after Huff freight-trained him on a foul ball. Palmer said, “Whatever he’s on I want to be on!”

It’s amazing they let Palmer keep his job. It really is. He’s priceless. I love it!

11:24 p.m. — Jim Palmer says it all. Don Stanhouse. Whole pack. “Mr Excitement”? Whatever you want to call him, fine. Let’s just give him the save and make the team 6-2 in the standings with their third series victory to start the season. Now Rick Dempsey is talking about Stanhouse. I have no idea how many listeners/readers know about Stanhouse but I do. And it’s dead on.

11:20 p.m. — Hank Blalock just sent a rocket to the wall and another five feet and this would’ve been an Orioles “tragic” loss. A true heartbreaker. Instead, George Sherrill still needs to get one more out. And you know what Yogi Berra said?

11:15 p.m. — George Sherrill has certainly made this interesting. Four batters, four baserunners, one run scored and Ian Kinsler continues to be such an impressive player. The Rangers’ formidable top of the order is going to have a chance to extend this game. The bases are loaded and no one is out. T-R-O-U-B-L-E…

11:01 p.m. — It’s almost like Ron Washington has conceded. Guardado keeps digging deeper with each pitch, walking Ty Wigginton after allowing Nick Markakis aboard. The Rangers’ bullpen issues mirrors the Orioles’ overused group. Luke Scott just drove one into the left centerfield gap, scoring them both. It’s now a 7-3 game. Geez, they’re gonna be 6-2 in about 10 minutes with any luck. Bye, bye Eddie…

10:56 p.m. — Eddie Guardado just gave up a mammoth two-run homer to Adam Jones who crushed it after Brian Roberts got on. Again, the top of the order have been hellions for the first week of the season.

P.S. Mike Maddux has the best pornstache I’ve ever seen on a former big leaguer with a brother who was one of the greatest ever.

10:47 p.m. — Seeing Nolan Ryan being omnipresent with the Rangers just reminds me that Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken are NOT involved here in Baltimore. A shame…

And I say it all the time: that’s all you need to know…

10:40 p.m. –This one has been pretty good. Good defense. Some big home runs early, some great pitching late. And someone is going to be a hero. Frank Francisco was dealing again tonight. Gonna be interesting to see how Dave Trembley uses the bullpen in this situation as the game potentially goes into extra innings. We’re already seven innings and four pitchers into the bullpen. And the bullpen has been the story of the evening with Jim Johnson still on the hill in the 9th. But how many innings do they have and who winds up in the game if it goes 11 or 12 innings?

9:59 p.m. –The bullpens are dealing all of a sudden. It’s games like these when having Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer help glue you to the action. It’s a very high-level broadcast when these guys are doing it. AND THE GAME IS IN HD…and it’s INTERESTING…and they’re 5-2. A few big hits here and they could be on their way to 6-2. On a night when their starter didn’t make it out of the 2nd inning.

9:34 p.m. — Nick Markakis stole one last night. Tonight, he was robbed by David Murphy on a very similar play. We’re in the sixth but I still feel like some major offense is going to break out at any point. Just not when the bottom of these lineups roll around. I don’t think this one will end 4-3.

9:25 p.m. — We were talking about “long last names” on the backs of baseball jerseys the other day and Arnie Portocarrero was deemed the longest Oriole. We were actually talking about Mark Hendrickson. Now, here comes Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Makes me want to get him on the O’s so I can get a shirt with that many letters.

9:17 p.m. — Felix Pie might be the new Jeff Stone. (For you youngsters, there’s no way his baseballreference.com stats will convey his baserunning prowess.) That was an inexcusable pick-off. And not great situational hitting by Cesar Izturis, who might be the new Mario Mendoza. It’s amazing how hot the top of the order is and how horribly cold the bottom of the order looks right now.

9:13 p.m. — Luke Scott has continued the comeback with a homer. And there might be good news on Rich Hill. More pitching never hurts.

8:56 p.m. — What a weird inning? After the Adam Jones-to-Brian Roberts-to-Gregg Zaun bang-bang play at the plate was made possible by Michael Young’s aversion to contact at the dish, Aubrey Huff threw a forearm shiver into Dennis Sarfate, who had no business being anywhere near where he was. Sarfate is now shaken up and has no one to blame but himself. Geez, sometimes they even play like the cats from “Major League.” That was brutal communication. They’re laughing about it now, but it was touch-and-go there for a few minutes.

8:45 p.m. — Gotta love a two-out run. This top of the lineup comtinues to mash the ball and nullify inefficient starting pitching. I have a feeling we’re in a for a long night. The beginning of a LOT of long nights with this pitching.

8:34 p.m. — On cometh Dennis Sarfate…I hope he’s got three or four innings in him. The O’s are already losing 3-1. Matt Albers is already coming up tomorrow. Can David Pauley or Brad Bergeson be on the way?

8:30 p.m. — Alfredo Simon just gave up yet another homer to Chris Davis. After a visit from Brian Ebel, he’s coming off the hill. As Hockey Meg just said: “That’s NOT going to help our crappy bullpen!” (Although, she really said S***ty!)

Looks like seven plus of relief will be necessary tonight unless it rains. And it doesn’t look like rain in Arlington…

8:27 p.m. — Can’t say I know a lot about Nelson Cruz. But I know Alfredo Simon should never throw that pitch to him again. So far: four outs, two gopher balls. Not a good ratio…

8:19 p.m. — High breaking ball to Aubrey Huff and he belted it. Everyone I talk to about Huff says “he’ll regress this year” and I don’t feel that way. He was always a masher and I think last year helped his game. Hell, at one point, he even SAID the “Bubba The Love Sponge” stupidity actually helped him come to his senses and changed his game for 2008. I think he’s good for 30 bombs this year.

But, the comment about Baltimore was below-the-belt. And stupid. And I know he meant it and it’s how he really feels. The ownership and management obviously didn’t care and put him back on the field. But they’ve been proven to be shameless for over a decade.

I don’t have to deal with these guys anymore so what do I care? If Aubrey Huff hits 35 homers, so be it. He just hit one. He tied the game. That’s what he’s paid to do.

8:16 p.m. — Michael Young’s homer came and went quickly. I’m reserving all judgment on Alfredo Simon until the 6th inning. The bullpen needs all the help it can get. Six innings out of a starter isn’t too much to ask…

8:09 p.m. — Been an interesting evening. Honestly, I feel like working while I watch the game and it’s a LOT more fun just writing this stuff while I surf, watch the O’s and think about the Ravens schedule.

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Drinking the orange Kool Aid at Fan Fest

Posted on 04 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

There are two types of Orioles fans left in the Baltimore area and they are distinct groups:

Those who drink the Kool Aid…

And those, like me, who have examined the big picture of what’s happened to this franchise over the past 13 years and are pretty angry about its impact on our fun, our lives and the community.

With Opening Day looming, everyone who has EVER loved baseball perks up and pay attention. Even if it’s only to notice: “Hey, its’ Opening Day!” Most people in Baltimore realize this team won’t contend but if you love baseball you’ll at least open one eye on Monday afternoon to catch the score. I’d venture to say that 75% of the city will wake up Tuesday morning at the office and know whether the Orioles won. (That number used to be more like 98% in 1998!)

Those who unconditionally still drink the orange Kool Air or “want” to drink the Kool Aid probably went down to Fan Fast today at Camden Yards. I opted to not give Mr. Angelos any more money that he won’t spend to get the team a quality spring training facility.

Instead, I’m sitting here watching the Fan Fest festivities on MASN HD television and getting some of my WNST “CEO work” done and thinking about baseball season and how it’s going to go for the Orioles and Matt Wieters and these young players and what inevitable drama will unfold.

The only real “punishment” I’m getting for not having a press pass is being “banned” from knowing the Orioles players, which is almost ludicrous because as you saw last week, Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Roberts were happy to chat with me at the World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Charley Eckman would’ve called them “right guys” and they are decent, solid dudes. (As an aside, I also exchanged pleasantries with Davey Johnson, which is always fun.)

As a media member – well, at least I was for about 23 years until I was banned – I got to know so many of the players and what kinda guys they are. So I guess that’s my “price to pay” — I don’t get to report to you what good people the Orioles have on their team this year. Or not…

While it looked a tad bit chilly and windy at Camden Yards, the event was a “made for TV” informercial/season preview with interviews between co-workers Jim Hunter, Jim Palmer and the like of Andy McPhail, Aubrey Huff, Adam Jones, Dennis Sarfate and Ryan Freel.

They did a nice job with “get to know you” chats with these players and  I especially like that I can see Jim Palmer in high def. For a well-compensated network to finally “discover” HD in 2009 tells you all you need to know about the vision people at MASN.

But I digress…

Here are a few observations, because my seat is the same as yours at this point, which is its own unique point of view watching Jim Hunter and Amber Theoharis and others interview their co-workers in black hats that say “O’s”.

I honestly didn’t know what Ty Wigginton or Koji Uehara looked like until today. Ditto Freel, who really seemed to be a pleasant “aw, shucks” kinda guy. He reminded me of Bob Backlund back in the late 1970’s when he was a baby face.

Freel freely thanked the fans several times and seemed genuine. (As an aside, why doesn’t the owner of the team ever do that? Just come on the TV and say “thanks” on his own network that he’s making over $100 million this year on?)

Andy McPhail did a stand up with Jim Hunter and said all of the right things. He made it clear he expected a big improvement in Adam Jones. He also talked a lot about character and what kind of players — “gamers, blue collars guys, character guys” — he wants on the team. Fair enough.

I like hearing that the Orioles want good people in their organization. From what I know of the 2009 Orioles, they’re pretty good guys and they clearly dislike Angelos’ management and ownership style as much as the rest of us. (Again, this is one of the reasons the Orioles banning legitimate media isn’t a good thing for the fans. The fans never get to know the truth unless, like yesterday in The Sun, they speak out.)

I’ve known Gregg Zaun for 17 years. I’ve cheered – VERY hard – for Zaun for 17 years through his days in Kansas City, Florida, Toronto and Houston. He’s a great person and loves Baltimore and the Orioles. That’s an upgrade there no matter how you look at it and he’ll keep the seat plenty warm for Matt Wieters, whenever the Orioles decide to promote him to the bigs.

Even today on TV, a couple of the young players talked about what a cool guy Zaun is for them to be around and how he tells great stories (which he does!)

I must say that I didn’t envy Buck Martinez’s press pass today, interviewing his co-worker, Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara, whose only word in English was “Thank you!”

Uehara had an interpreter and the answer to the first question regarding Camden Yards was this: “Right field is pretty shallow.” That was the first of several laughs.

Honestly, it was like I needed an interpreter for his interpreter. It was borderline hilarious. It reminded me of my four days in Tokyo where communication was definitely at a premium.

I don’t care how much Uehara speaks. The Orioles need him to be a rock star if they’re going to win 75 games. But he seemed pleasant enough and thrilled to be at Camden Yards in a big-league uniform. Good enough for me.

If the only “communication” I’m going to have with the players is to see their co-workers ask them questions I might as well think they’re nice guys. Even if they’re complete turds, at least this won’t spoil it for me.

I’m ready for Opening Day. I’m ready to get to Hooters and have a Bud Light. I’m ready for baseball.

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

Posted on 16 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to come…

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Posted on 08 February 2009 by Vince Fiduccia

Terps Coaching News:   Good move by the University of Maryland to name James Franklin as the eventual successor to Ralph Friedgen.  The internet rumors about Fridge’s health and age were going to be used against him in recruiting; now that is not going to be an issue. 

Franklin is a bright, young mind and most importantly a great recruiter.  Once he gets the right personnel in to run his West Coast offense, you’ll see Maryland take off.   He knows the University well and its boosters.  He gets three more years of apprenticeship under Friedgen before he most likely takes over the program.

The admistration at Maryland also needs to be applauded for seeing the talent and character that Franklin possess and not color of his skin.  Too many collegiate presidents and ADs haven’t been able to get past this barrier–witness Auburn and its embarrassing pass on Turner Gill for its head coaching position.   If Franklin were to take over tomorrow, he would be one of eight African Americans out of 119 Division I programs.  Shameful.

Pro Bowl:  Instead of moving the Pro Bowl from Hawaii to the site of the Super Bowl, the NFL should just cancel the thing all together.  Players love the vacation, not the game.   Name an All-Pro squad, give them a bonus, and let that be the end of it.  The game is silly, with rules that are only used once a year.  The NFL does almost everything right, but this game is the one thing that it does wrong.  Without question, the worst All-Star game in sports.  

The Orioles Rotation:  Here is my projected starting rotation for the Orioles:  Jeremy Guthrie, Rich Hill, Koji Uehara, Mark Hendrickson, and either Chris Waters, Radhames Liz or Matt Albers.   Palmer, McNally, Cuellar and Dobson they are not.  The big questions are can they give enough innings to keep the bullpen from breaking down in May and enough of a bridge until young prospects Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz  are ready for the big league level.    

Remember we just don’t want young pitchers; we want young pitchers who are ready to pitch at that level.



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What does having Scott Boras as an agent say about Mark Texeira?

Posted on 12 December 2008 by Jason Jubb

Ask yourself this question. If you were a major league baseball player who would you want as your agent?


For me, I can say with 100% certainty that it would not be Scott Boras. An agent is someone who represents you and I just can’t see how I would be a match with someone so manipulative that they would possibly encourage outrageous behavior by a client in order to avoid getting an option year picked up.


Does he get top dollar for his clients? Yes. There is no question that Boras continually gets top dollar for the majority of his players, but if it were me I wouldn’t be too concerned between $100 million and $120 million dollars. My integrity and principles are more important than the extra millions.


Boras represents Mark Texeira; as usual he is working the system and major markets to create an inflated price which will make Texeira one of the games highest paid players. But what does this say about Texeira and his character?


You have to answer this yourself, but all I know is that Boras would not be a match for me and my beliefs. If I was going to get an agent I would look at the players I believe had integrity and great character, players such as Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken and follow their lead. Neither one of them are hurting for money even though they were never part of a free agent bidding war. Somehow they each managed to “get by” with local lawyers negotiating their contracts and in the process became legends that will be associated with their respective cities for decades. (Note: Ron Shapiro was Ripken’s lawyer who also represented Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson and Kirby Puckett)


Texeira mentions Ripken as his boyhood hero but maybe he should look a litter deeper at how Ripken handled his business off the field, because right now Tex is portraying himself as just another greedy player who is destined for the highest bidder. For me, this isn’t the way to go about it and this isn’t the type of player I want here in Baltimore.


Have fun with you money Mark, but just remember that your agent is a reflection on you.

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Schmuckfest & the Fighting Phillies in the World Series

Posted on 17 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

So I’m home tonight after the Peter Schmuck roast (I worked “blue”…I was surprised by how many people don’t know what that term means but the FCC never allowed it and the Comedy Club did…it was a goof and Schmuck is a great guy), and I’m watching Pat Gillick, who was run out of Baltimore in disgrace right around the last time the Orioles didn’t suck.

Or least not suck as bad as my attempts at humor tonight. LOL.

So, while the Schmuckfest was a wonderful affair to benefit a nice cause, Cool Kids, it’s strange that roasting a guy who I know through baseball led me to stay up late to watch the Philadelphia Phillies go back to the World Series for the first time since 1993.

The Philadelphia Phillies are in the World Series.


It’s been a strange week for me. We’re at the finish line to launching the new website and the images of everyone from John Steadman to Mike Fiorelli to a major tragedy we endured in our inner circle of friends last week, it’s been a wild week to turn 40.

Because everything significant in my life is marked by baseball, it’s just strange. I realized while talking to Mickey Cucchiella and Pete Eibner tonight that it was 25 years ago today that I drove to The Vet to see Game 4 of the World Series, Phillies vs. Orioles. I also told a guy today, whose birthday is today, that it’s Jim Palmer’s birthday today as well. By the way, Happy 63rd birthday to Cakes!

I went to that 1983 World Series Game 5 with my best pal, Kevin Eck (better know for “Ring Posts” at The Sun), a schoolmate named Kenny Andrews and my 10th grade English teacher, Miss Monday. Her adult name was Susan Monday and the last I heard she was doing morning AM news radio at The Big Talker WPHT 1210 in Filthy. She was a Phillies fan, even then. She was also one of my first interns in 1993 when I was doing sports radio on WWLG-AM 1360.

So, tonight I’ve been thinking about the old days of my love for the Phillies. And once Curt Schilling wound up there in 1992 (and there’s a long history there…just go read the book!), it was even more fun being a Phillies fan when Schilling left tickets for me and my son whenever we wanted to go to games.

Hell, I hope the Phillies win the World Series just for Miss Monday and anyone who stuck it out through Bill Giles bad days as an owner 10 years ago. It’s been a long time since Tug McGraw and the 1980 Phils “believed” and beat George Brett and hemorrhoids. The fans there and that ballpark deserve a chance at a championship. They’ve done a very, very nice job in Philadelphia lately with that baseball team. Utley, Howard, Hamels, Rollins – how do you root against these guys?

The Phillies were my favorite team as a kid – even moreso than the Orioles for a little while there when I had a twisted fascination with Veterans Stadium and artificial turf. They must be going crazy in Philadelphia tonight. I really wish I still loved baseball the way a few of my old baseball friends do.

Sadly, I kinda feel like the Orioles treatment of me, my business, my co-workers and the city in general (not to mention countless former employees I know) has made me not even care so much even about the Phillies any more.

I’ve moved on. I’m watching college football, hockey, the NFL, U.S. Soccer – all sorts of things. But, man, do I miss baseball. It’s just tragic, this loss of connection between the Orioles and Baltimore and here tonight is one more giant “F-U” from a guy who got back to the World Series with no help from Peter Angelos.

Pat Gillick, who not coincidentally was the general manager of the Orioles in 1996 and 1997 (if you can remember that far back) and the Blue Jays the entire time they were kicking our asses in the late 1980s and early 1990s. But no one here even writes about that stuff anymore.

Gillick is back in the World Series.

Even Davey Lopes, who I knew very well back during the summer when O.J. Simpson was on trial, is back in the World Series with the Phillies. He watched the trial in the clubhouse every day and was a fun guy to talk to and I rooted for him when he was the Milwaukee Brewers coach because he was a good, smart, decent guy.

I’m watching Joe Torre give his concession speech. He’s such a class act.

I’m not going to Philadelphia this week. Or at least I don’t think I am. I wish had “the fever” but I don’t. Who knows? Maybe I’ll wind up on the field there next week?

But the postseason has been a little boring this week. The Red Sox are getting killed (which isn’t hurting my feelings) but there’s been very little drama outside of the shot heard ‘round the Ravine – that blast by Matt Stairs (who was also always a phenomenal guy back in the days when the Orioles let me have a press pass – I had Stairs on the show many times. Good dude! Easy to root for…)

I’ll probably root for the Rays if they beat the Phillies, simply because my friend Rick Vaughn is the P.R. direction.

But I grew up such a looney, zany, wacky Phillies fan that it’s just sort of weird. And made weirder by the fact that we barely feel like we have a team here anymore. Like the Baltimore Orioles don’t even count. It’s just surreal and I hope one day movements like Free The Birds will change that.

But the last I checked, Angelos just got a check for $124 million from Comcast for MASN this year. And the team (or teams if you count the Washington Nationals) sucks.

This is just my two cents at midnight while I remember the celebration at The Vet in 1993 with Mitch Williams, Danny Jackson ripping his shirt off and a young Curt Schilling and an old Dutch Daulton. I went to every game of the 1993 World Series. It was magical. John Kruk, Rickey Henderson, long drives, that Joe Carter home run landed almost at my feet in the Skydome – I remember EVERYTHING, even the girl I went to Toronto with that weekend for Game 6 and my buddies who rolled overnight and almost hit deer on the road in upstate New York for Games 1 and 2. I remember the 35 run game. I remember the Madonna concert across the street. I remember doing my little radio show from the field.

I was so in love with baseball that I drove back and forth to Toronto both weekends to go to the game.

Now, the Series is 90 miles away. I don’t have tickets. I haven’t applied for a press pass. And I might not even go.

It sucks what the Orioles have done here. It really does.

And it feels like it never ends.

I’m 40 now (thanks to all for the well wishes).

I hope that I’m not 50 and 20 years of baseball, friendship, civic fun and the bonding is still not a stranger to me and to Baltimore. It’s just a crime, having to watch all of the joy of baseball from outside the fences.

I wish everyone in Philadelphia a great ride with a World Series team full of seemingly decent, honorable guys. Ryan Howard seems like a classy dude. Cole Hamels has a funny voice but must be the hottest property with the ladies since Chase Utley. And Jimmy Rollins did my show several times back in the days of Sporting News and was a super good guy.

Good for Charlie Manuel and the Fightin’ Phils.

Let’s see where the ALCS lands tomorrow night.

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Pick ‘em Thursday – King of Picks Challenge!!

Posted on 25 September 2008 by stevenlink

Pick ‘em Thursday – King of Picks Challenge!!

So I have decided that it would be a lot of fun if on Thursdays I post my picks for the coming weekend in the NFL. Now the picks will not be based on anyone’s line, but instead just who is going to win and lose…that simple. I also thought it would be fun if you the reader of this blog would post your picks in the comments section. No award will be given for who wins each week, because I don’t think I can give something away…sorry…but the winner will be recognized in the following Pick ‘em post and at the end there will be a King of Picks for 2008. So basically this is all about bragging rights and stuff. I am not included in this to take away any kind of bias score keeping. Below are the rules for the Pick ‘em game and my picks for Week 4. The game of the week is a game of my choosing that I think is one of the more difficult games to choose correctly. I hope you ladies and gents enjoy!

Rules: The person with the most points at the end of each week’s games wins. You must choose the winning team for each game of the particular week you are playing. The winner you choose must be written next to the given game. A win is determined only by who wins the game, not by the spread. Each win you choose correctly is worth one point except that there will be a “game of the week” chosen for each week of play which will be identified. If you choose the correct winning team for the “game of the week” you will receive two points instead of the usual one. For Monday Night Football games you must also state your guess for the final score. If you choose the correct winner it still be worth one point, however, if there is a tie for that week, the final score will be the tie breaker. The difference will be taken of your final score for each team from the real score. These numbers will then be added together and whoever has the lowest wins the tie breaker. If there is still a tie after this, then a Thunderdome Death Match will take place between all of the persons who tie…okay so maybe not that…so if there is still a tie after the tiebreaker then oh well you tie (I’m not getting any more complicated than what it is already). King of Picks will be determined by who won the most weeks at the end of the season. If there is a tie with that, then the differences made for each Monday Night game for whoever tied will be added up and the person with the lowest number wins.  The latest you can post an entry is a half hour before the first game of that week. If you do not follow the rules provided, your predictions will not be counted. Right below is an example of what to do for Monday Night games and how it works:

NY Jets at SD Chargers – NY Jets 21 SD Chargers 38

So the actual score was NY Jets 29 SD Chargers 48 – So we add the two differences up, 7 + 10, so the number for that guess is 17. If that was the lowest number of those guessed in the tiebreaker, that person wins.

I know that the comment section right now shows a br with brackets around it when you press enter, so below my picks is the list of games for the week which you can copy and paste into your comment which may make your picks easier to follow.

My Week 4 Picks – Game of the Week (GTW) is MIN @ TEN

ATL @ CAR – Carolina Panthers

John Fox rallies his troops and Delhomme/Smith match up gets back into the groove

CLE @ CIN – Cincinnati Bengals

Both of these teams blow, but the only real respectable guy on the Bengals offense, Carson Palmer, leads his team to its first win

HOU @ JAC – Jacksonville Jaguars

Taylor and Jones-Drew run all over Houston allowing Gerard to finally get that passing attack going in the right direction

DEN @ KC – Denver Broncos

Poor Kansas City…are they this year’s Miami Dolphins?

SF @ NO – New Orleans Saints

Should be a good game, but the Saints desperately need a win to stay anywhere close to the Falcons

ARI @ NYJ – Arizona Cardinals

Jets are beat up with Jenkins hurting and Favre limping while Kurt Warner is still steaming after last weeks lost to Washington. I see the Cardinals playing focused football and Boldin/Fitzgerald lighting up New York’s secondary

GB @ TB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Battle of the Bays will be a close one but Tampa’s defense is gives them the win.

MIN @ TEN (GTW) – Tennessee Titans

Two big physical football teams where the deciding factor will be which team wins in the trenches. Whose front 5 or 7 is more physical and beats up more on the opposing side. Because of that, I’m going with Jeff Fisher’s team.

SD @ OAK – San Diego Chargers

Norv Turner will have Rivers resting on the sidelines and Billy Volek behind center by the start of the 4th quarter in this rout of a football game.

BUF @ STL – Buffalo Bills

The St. Louis Rams…need I say more?

WAS @ DAL – Dallas Cowboys

Jason Campbell will finally be playing against another real defense like he did in week 1 against the Giants as the Cowboys defense dominates the Redskins front and constantly harasses Campbell and holds Portis in check. Also, that Cowboys offense has too much firepower and without Jason Taylor, not much is going to get by that Cowboys offensive line.

PHI @ CHI – Philadelphia Eagles

A much needed win for the Bears will create a close game but the Eagles win due to their rejuvenated defense and the arm of McNabb.

BAL @ PIT – Baltimore Ravens – 23 Pittsburgh Steelers – 14

Big Ben falls faster than the DOW Jones Industrial as the Ravens’ defense blitzes and confuses that offensive line the same way Philadelphia did a week before. The Ravens get their running game going with Casey Hampton being out which opens up the passing game for Cam Cameron and Flacco. While Ray Lewis and company properly introduce Rashard Mendenhall to what it is like trying to run against the Ravens’ defense. He’ll be in a Purple Haze after the game…

For Your Picks:














Good luck!!

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Fantasy Football...review of Week 3 & Week4 thoughts

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Fantasy Football…review of Week 3 & Week4 thoughts

Posted on 25 September 2008 by KZ

Hey Check out the New Columns…CLICK HERE AND NEW THIS YEAR to FANS FANTASY FOOTBALL…your official FANTASY DRAFT GUIDE…not who but HOW to draft a winning Fantasy Football Team…CLICK HERE FOR THE WAY TO DRAFT THIS YEAR.






Some Notes from week 3:

TRADE BAIT(s): the sell high RB edition: Ronnie Brown, Willie Parker and Julius Jones

STAR(S) OF WEEK (officially renamed the LT of the Week): RONNIE BROWN

DUD(S) of the Week: Lets do a WR roundup Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Braylon Edwards and Plaxico Burress

Hot Pick up(s) of the week: Billy Miller, Brady Quinn, Matt Ryan (bye week fill in), C. Buchhalter, Warrick Dunn (may still be out there), Justin McCareins, Antonio Bryant and Brandon Lloyd.

TEAM(s) of the WEEK: San Diego, Minnesots and Jacksonville all had must win games…and WON!!

Ut Oh of the week: CHICAGO BEARS…what happened to the Defense???

Fantasy Football Start Them This Week…

Check back weekly. We will never say start LT or AP that is too obvious and We will never tell you to sit someone, but here are some people we really like ….you can make the sit calls or email us for our view…track how accurate we are…..we have been as good as everyone else so check us out.



Other to consider this week: Palmer, Anderson, Farve, O’Sullivan, Delhomme and Rivers

RB’s: MUST STARTS: LT, Adrian Peterson, Westbrook (hurt), Parker (hurt), Lynch, Portis, Barber, Gore, Steve Jackson, Addai, Jacobs and Thomas Jones

Others to consider this week: Perry, Jamal Lewis, Maurice Jones Drew, J. Stewart, F. Taylor and Forte

WR’s/TE’s: MUST STARTS: TO, Greg Jennings, Randy Moss (still have to), Wes Welker (ppr), Fitzgerald, Boldin, Andre Johnson, Burress, Steve Smith, Calvin Johnson, Marshall, Holmes, Wayne, Gates, Witten, Gonzales, Winslow

Other to consider this week: Bowe, TJ Housh, McCareins, Patten, Bruce and Evans

Top 10 to 15 or so starts for IDP’s:

DL: Jared Allen, Mario Williams, Aaron Kampman, Will Smith, Julius Peppers, Patrick Kearney, Aaron Schobel, Trent Cole, Terrell Suggs, Gaines Adams, Aaron Carter, Bernard Berry, Justin Tuck and Justin Smith.

LB: D. Ryans, P. Willis, R. Lewis, N. Barnett, D. Harris, M. Peterson, K. Morrison, J. Beason, W. Witherspoon, K. Rivers, L. Fletcher, B. Urlacher, D. Edwards, AJ Hawk, James Harrison, J. Beason, J. Vilma and F. Keiaho

DB: G. Wilson, A. Wilson. C. Tillman, A. Bigby, C. Finnegan, A. Winfield, T. Polamalu, C. Tillman, B. Sanders, L. Landry, M. Trufant, B. Pollard, Q. Jammer,A. Cromartie, E. Coleman and Mike Adams.

Some Other Guys We Like This Week…

SLEEPER(s) OF THE WEEK….what DUD will become a STUD…at least for one week….we will try to give a QB, RB and WR/TE each week…

QB: Trent Green…250 yards and a TD or 2.
RB: Andre Hall…everyone runs on Kansas City, so why not him as a sleeper.
WR/TE: Demetrious Williams….call it a gut feeling.
Kicker and Defense: Carolina Panthers on D…and Janokowski for Oakland gets 3 FG’s

Locks Of The Week…

In a suicide pool? We can help. Once again track our success. We will give you three a week.

After two years we are 118 – 51 (69.8%)…not bad!! TRULY pretty damn good…we have checked others out and we are just as good as they are! 2007 record: 48 – 21.

2008 RECCORD: 7 – 2

WEEK OF 09/28/08:

  1. Denver over Kansas City
  2. Carolina over Atlanta
  3. Jacksonville over Houston

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Week 3 NFL and Fantasy Football thoughts

Posted on 22 September 2008 by KZ

MONDAY 9/22/08 Thoughts!!

· Ronnie Brown had a great day…4 TD’s plus one throwing! He started the game for the Dolphins as well, but Brown 17 carries, Ricky Williams 16 carries…so we still have a split RB situation in Miami

· Ever watch TO play football…he is a great football player…he had 20 yards receiving Sunday night, yet blocked his butt off.

· Denver and Miami RB situations are a mess…just trade all their RB’s…you will sleep better.

· Detroit, Kansas City, Atlanta and ST. Louis…when your RB plays any of these teams…they become a MUST START.

· Indianapolis is as well as long as Bob Sanders is out.

· WR’s love seeing New Orleans, Green Bay and Denver on the schedule and those are three teams that should make the playoffs.

· Baltimore and Tennesse have given up 20 and 29 point respectively…3 – 3 tie in week 5?

· The BYE WEEKS ARE HERE…rule 1…never drop a player that can help you win a game later just to fill a hole in your roster…take a zero for one week if you have to…

· Teams that are done after 3 weeks…Cleveland, Oakland, St. Louis, Detroit and Kansas City

· Team that is close to being done…Cincinnati (Palmer, TJ and Ocho will make some noise at some point, won’t they?),

· The Giants could still finish 4th in the division…I said could people.

· The Steelers were exposed Sunday at Philly. If they can’t run the ball and protect their QB they are in trouble.

· New England will be OK…they just won’t be the greatest team ever…but still good enough to win the division.

· I can’t decide if I believe in Buffalo yet!

· Minnesota and Jacksonville got MUST needed wins…Both will make the playoffs…

· Brian Westbrook…sigh…that offense needs him…and must have him to compete…C Buck is a nice player but he is not Westbrook.

· Brian Griese’s arm hurts today…if it does not…my arm hurts for him…67 passes..wow!

· FLUKES are the week: Steve Slaton (sorry not buying it, Tennesse took away Andre Johnson, that is the way to beat the Texans), Miles Austin, Brian Griese and Ronnie Brown (one week, now everyone has film Ronnie)

· FINDS of the week: Julius Jones (he plays in a week division, I believe now), Antonio Bryant and Justin McCareins

· I am not sure what to do with Brandon Llyod he could be a find.

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Fantasy Football Week 2

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Fantasy Football Week 2

Posted on 12 September 2008 by KZ

Fantasy Football What’s New For 09.08.08

Hey Check out the New Columns…CLICK HERE AND NEW THIS YEAR to FANS FANTASY FOOTBALL…your official FANTASY DRAFT GUIDE…not who but HOW to draft a winning Fantasy Football Team…CLICK HERE FOR THE WAY TO DRAFT THIS YEAR.






TRADE BAIT(s): Matt Hasselbeck (if you can), Selvin Young (Get away from the mess now), Jamal Lewis (gonna be a long year)

STAR(S) OF WEEK (officially renamed the LT of the Week): Donovan McNabb, Michael Turner and Willie Parker

DUD(S) of the Week: Carson Palmer, Ocho Stinko and TJ Houshamandzadeh

Hot Pick up(s) of the week: Eddie Royal, Tim Hightower, Michael Pittman, Matt Cassel, Jon Kitna, Jake Delhomme, Sammie Morris and DEION BRANCH (back in 2 weeks)

TEAM(s) of the WEEK: Chicago Bears looked like the Defense of old and may have found a running back in Matt Forte. The went into Indy, first game in their new stadium and dominated them.

Ut Oh of the week: Well New England for obvious reason come claim the UT OH, but this week it goes to the SEATTLE SEAHAWKS. They are running out of WR’s, as Nate Burleson was lost for the year with a knee injury. Deion Branch seems at least another week away so that leaves Courtney Taylor as Seattle number 1 receiver. Taylor struggled on Sunday in his first start. They showed no running game at at and now Maurice Morris may miss a few weeks.

Fantasy Football Start Them This Week…

Check back weekly. We will never say start LT or AP that is too obvious and We will never tell you to sit someone, but here are some people we really like ….you can make the sit calls or email us for our view…track how accurate we are…..we have been as good as everyone else so check us out.


QB’s:Marc Bulger, Ben Roethlisberger, Kurt Warner and Eli Manning
RB’s: Earnest Graham, EDGE, Willie Parker, Frank Gore and Clinton Portis
WR’s/TE’s: Andre Johnson, Marvin Harrison, Anquan Boldin, Brandon Marshall, Joseph Cotchery and Todd Heap

Top 10 to 15 or so starts for IDP’s:

DL: Jared Allen, Mario Williams, Aaron Kampman, Will Smith, Julius Peppers, Patrick Kearney, Aaron Schobel, Trent Cole, Terrell Suggs, Gaines Adams, Aaron Carter, Bernard Berry and Justin Smith.

LB: D. Ryans, P. Willis, R. Lewis, N. Barnett, D. Harris, M. Peterson, K. Morrison, J. Beason, W. Witherspoon, K. Rivers, E. Simms, L. Fletcher, B. Urlacher, D. Edwards and F. Keiaho

DB: G. Wilson, A. Wilson. S. Jones, A. Bigby, A. Rolle, A. Winfield, T. Polamalu, C. Tillman, B. Sanders, L. Landry, M. Trufant, B. Pollard and E. Weddle.

Some Other Guys We Like This Week…

SLEEPER(s) OF THE WEEK….what DUD will become a STUD…at least for one week….we will try to give a QB, RB and WR/TE each week…

QB: Kerry Collins, the Titan offense seems quicker with him in the game, which is wierd.
RB: Julius Jones, SF has a way of getting people healthy.
WR/TE: Matt Jones, had a good first week, ride him for 1 more week.
Kicker and Defense: Arizona is for real folks…love Jeff Reed this week kicking 2 FG’s and 4 extra points.

Locks Of The Week…

In a suicide pool? We can help. Once again track our success. We will give you three a week.

After two years we are 118 – 51 (69.8%)…not bad!! TRULY pretty damn good…we have checked others out and we are just as good as they are! 2007 record: 48 – 21.

2008 RECCORD: 2 – 1

WEEK OF 09/013/08:

  1. Arizona over Miami
  2. Jacksonville over Buffalo
  3. Green Bay over Detroit

Bonus Pick:

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