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Introducing our weekly #WNSTSweet16 discussion topics

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Introducing our weekly #WNSTSweet16 discussion topics

Posted on 05 January 2014 by Glenn Clark

As you may have heard, 2014 marks the 16th year for WNST.net, a remarkable accomplishment for a sports media company that our competitors have written off time and time again during the span.

To celebrate our “Sweet 16″, we will be discussing a group of topics each week that we hope to make definitive lists for when it comes to local sports-”water cooler” type topics if you will. Every Sunday night I will introduce that week’s topic here at WNST.net. We’ll discuss the topic here, on-air via AM1570 WNST and via social media on Facebook and Twitter. Then each Tuesday morning-one WNST personality will unveil our list both here at WNST.net and on “The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction” at 8am with Drew Forrester and Luke Jones.

As you discuss the topic on Twitter and Facebook, use the hashtag #WNSTSweet16 to make your voice heard and your thoughts included in the debate.

The lists will be related to either something currently going on in sports or will be based on the date.

First up? In honor of the “debut” of our Sweet 16 discussions and the “debut” of the year 2014, we’re going with the “Sweet 16 Debuts in Local Sports History”.

“Debut” could mean a number of things. It could mean a first game (or day), a first season, a first at-bat, a first fight, a first week or anything else that you can spin into a “debut”. It could be a debut for a rookie or a debut for a new player or a debut for a stadium or an arena or a coach or a new team altogether. It’s wide open.

We’re calling it “local” sports debut because we want to include not only the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens, but also Maryland, Navy, Towson, UMBC, Loyola, Morgan State, Coppin State, Johns Hopkins, the Blast and other current and former area sports teams as well as high schools and individual local athletes.

I’m handling the first list. You’ll see my post Tuesday morning at WNST.net and I’ll join Drew and Luke Tuesday morning at 8am to discuss it. We’ll tackle the list again at 4pm on “The Reality Check Driven by Jerry’s Chevrolet”.

I’ve thought about those locals who have won “Rookie of the Year” awards like Ron Hansen, Curt Blefary, Al Bumbry, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken, Gregg Olson, Vernon Maxwell, Peter Boulware, Terrell Suggs, Ray Felix, Earl Monroe and Wes Unseld. (You probably forgot about or were completely unaware of a few of those names. I know I was!)

I’ve certainly thought about the first game in Ravens history, the first game for John Harbaugh, the first game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and even more.

But what haven’t I thought about?

What is our list incomplete without?

Like I said earlier, I want this to be as definitive a list as possible. I don’t want to exclude anything that deserves mention. Is there an area high school athlete who blew up very quickly upon arrival? Is there a jockey who hopped on a horse for the first time at Pimlico and quickly became a household name? Who had an incredible first season for the Baltimore Thunder or Baltimore Bayhawks or Baltimore Stallions that others either forgot about or never really knew about?

I’m looking forward to taking this trip down memory lane with you. We’ll be having these conversations and making these lists every week to celebrate a “Sweet 16″.

Let me know what I need to be thinking about, Baltimore. 2014 is going to be a lot of fun.

-G

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Ravens gather to commemorate Super Bowl XLVII a final time

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Ravens gather to commemorate Super Bowl XLVII a final time

Posted on 08 June 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Super Bowl ring ceremony was quite the extravagant party in Owings Mills that served as a reunion for the 2012 Ravens as well as the final big celebration of the second championship in franchise history.

Yes, Baltimore’s home opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 15 will include the unveiling of a second Super Bowl championship banner, but that ceremony will be overshadowed by an actual game and won’t include those who’ve moved on to other organizations but were able to return to the team’s facility to receive their lavish Super Bowl rings.

Media access was limited at Friday night’s event as it was a party for members of the organization, but the Ravens provided an interesting foursome of players to speak to the media minutes after the rings were unveiled.

Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Joe Flacco, and Torrey Smith all stood at different stages of their career as they received their championship rings with the 38-year-old Lewis speaking to reporters first. Having retired after winning his second championship, Lewis spoke as a fatherly figure throughout the postseason and once again expressed his satisfaction over not only having the opportunity to go out on top but to see his teammates experience what it meant to be a champion.

“I always told them I wanted them to really feel what the confetti felt like. Now to be here, to have something that symbolizes it, it’s the ultimate because now it connects us forever,” said Lewis, who also wore his Super Bowl XXXV ring after receiving the Super Bowl XLVII one to wear on his opposite hand. “It took me 12 years to get back and get another ring. I want them to cherish what this moment feels like right now while we’re world champions.”

Flacco, the Super Bowl MVP, responded only how he could with the honest assessment of a gaudy ring that includes white gold and 243 round-cut diamonds. As Lewis pointed out, Flacco won a championship in his fifth season — like the linebacker did with the 2000 Ravens — and the championship surely provided validation in the minds of those who wondered whether he could lead Baltimore to a championship.

The quarterback admitted he probably won’t wear the ring, but it won’t be sitting locked up in his closet either.

“It’s kind of unwearable,” said Flacco, drawing laughter from reporters. “When I see people for the first time, I’m sure they’re going to have some interest in seeing it or at least I’m going to have some interest in showing it off to them. I’m definitely going to bring it a couple of places. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m going to wear it, but it’s pretty special.”

Entering his third season, Smith represented the younger players on the roster fortunate enough not to wait long to taste Super Bowl glory in their NFL careers.

And the former University of Maryland product struggled to keep his eyes off the hardware as he spoke to media.

“I told you all what I was going to be like. I didn’t cry or anything, but I can see how women feel when they get a ring,” said Smith as he laughed. “It has a lot of different meanings. There will never be another season like this. We can win the Super Bowl every year while I’m in the league and there will be nothing like this one.”

The most intriguing of the four to speak was 11th-year linebacker Terrell Suggs, who finally earned the Super Bowl ring he’s dreamed about after starring on the vaunted Baltimore defense for a decade. While Lewis, Flacco, and future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed received most of the attention for different reasons, Suggs won his first championship after the most difficult season of his career in which he recovered from a torn Achilles tendon in late April and then played with a torn biceps for the final two months of the 2012 season.

Always one to provide a colorful quote and having the reputation of being the class clown of the Ravens locker room, Suggs’ sincerity in describing how he felt upon finally seeing his first piece of championship jewelry was the highlight of the brief session.

“To have it so close, it finally hit me what exactly we accomplished together,” said Suggs, who figured out his ring was hidden in front of him when he was discouraged from moving his seat at the beginning of the ceremony. “It didn’t take a year. It took me 11 years to get it. It took coach [John] Harbaugh from when he got here in 2008 — we’ve been chasing this. It finally paid off, all that blood given. There’s not a word that describes what I’m feeling right now and all the emotions.

“The journey was long, but it was worth it. But I will tell you this, I damn sure want to feel like this again.”

Owner Steve Bisciotti took care of former members of the organization by not only awarding Super Bowl rings to David and John Modell, the sons of the late owner Art Modell, but to the five members of the team’s Ring of Honor who played on the Super Bowl XXXV championship team. It appears Bisciotti is setting a precedent by giving rings to Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Michael McCrary, Matt Stover, and Jamal Lewis, but fellow Ring of Honor member Earnest Byner wasn’t included in that group.

Byner was the only member of the Ring of Honor to have played for the Ravens — the Hall of Fame members of the Baltimore Colts are also honored — who did not receive a ring, so it appears this is a subtle way of ignoring the former Browns, Redskins, and Ravens running back’s inclusion, which was never accepted by fans from the time Byner was inducted in 2001.

He was a favorite of the late Modell, but seeing Byner’s name listed among Ravens greats as well as the Hall of Fame Colts has always looked out of place.

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