Tag Archive | "phelps"

Revisiting, Michael Phelps is ___________ as the local hero returns to Baltimore

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Revisiting, Michael Phelps is ___________ as the local hero returns to Baltimore

Posted on 06 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been quite the week for Michael Phelps, as the local hero has once again stolen the show in London for the 2012 Olympics and will come home to Baltimore as the most decorated athlete in the history of the planet.

Ten days ago, before the Opening Ceremonies, I tested the waters of local opinions with a simple, open-ended statement on Facebook and Twitter – “Michael Phelps is ________.” I also wrote a blog regarding Phelps for #VisaGoWorld regarding his significance and reputation around Baltimore.

Some took turns praising Phelps for his accomplishments in the pool and for purchasing Meadowbrook Swim Club and giving back to his almost cult-like sport of swimming by inviting local kids into the pool to find fitness and inspiration.

Others mentioned his indiscretions, his reckless behavior of youth and his general boorishness around Baltimore.

Everyone – love him, hate him or envy him – mentioned his mutual love of Baltimore sports teams and the local pride that comes with his roots here in Towson.

But now with 21 medals – and an almost unimaginable 18 gold medals – what will become of Michael Phelps here in Baltimore as the local hero, especially now that his career in the water and on the world stage appears to be over?

This whole swimming thing is quite different from the adulation showered on your “normal” athlete. We’ve all had a chance to watch Ray Lewis play or even have our parents tell us about Johnny Unitas. We’ve all witnessed some of the Cal Ripken magic and know about Brooks Robinson and Jim Palmer and some of us even can collect the bronze statues or bobbleheads.

But for Phelps I find it rather odd that most locals have never seen him swim a race in person. He’s been the best in the world at what he does for 12 years and I’ve never met a person who could tell you anything about his accomplishments in the four years that elapse in the blink of an eye between Sydney and Athens, from Beijing to London.

All of the glory – but all of it truly “made for television.”

Phelps will return to Baltimore sometime later this week and I’m assuming that the Towson government won’t shut down for a day to hold him a parade this time. I’m assuming that Baltimore won’t shut down Fort McHenry and the streets of the city to fete him later in the fall. Believe it or not, the cost of paying police and shutting down streets back in 2008 was quite the ticket for the local taxpayers.

All of the attention, adulation and pomp and circumstance back in 2008 seemed more than enough. The hero worship thing has to have become tiring, even for Phelps, who seemingly couldn’t care less about all of the praise and rock star treatment.

Phelps visited with Bob Costas on the NBC set last night for 30 minutes and much of the conversation was illuminating in regard to how Phelps sees his future.

His ever-present mother Debbie Phelps has clearly been publicly and privately imploring her lad to swim four years from now in Rio in an attempt to add to his collection of rare, precious metals.

Phelps held his final relay gold medal up for Costas and said, “This will be the last Olympic gold medal I’ll ever win. I’m done.”

He almost brightened up on the set when he talked about working with children and traveling the world.

But as I’ve mentioned many times over the past four Olympics that Phelps has attended – it’s swimming. People are only going to get so excited about his sport or him, and by the time football season starts five weeks from now in Baltimore anything regarding the Olympics or gold medals or even Ryan Lochte will be long-forgotten in the mind of most local people and sports fans.

Will Phelps get more involved in local sports issues?

Will he immerse in the community and be more than a face at a local bar and on the sidelines of Baltimore Ravens games?

Will he develop a hobby or interest outside of the pool that doesn’t include pictures of him at a frat party?

What will traveling the world and “seeing things” do for his status as a strangely famous and wealthy 26-year old man with many, many more years left on the planet?

What will the future of Michael Phelps bring for him and for Baltimore?

Only time will tell.

Your feedback or thoughts are welcomed below…

I am blogging on behalf of the Visa Go World Olympic Campaign and receive compensation for my time, but
the thoughts, words, and promotions on this page are mine, not Visa’s.

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Is Michael Phelps a hero or a zero? Depends on who you ask…

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Is Michael Phelps a hero or a zero? Depends on who you ask…

Posted on 31 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

The every-fourth-year hubbub about the Olympics and swimming and local connections is underway and once again this week Michael Phelps has entered the worldwide sports consciousness every night as the most decorated athlete in United States history.

So if you’re a provincial, “local” Baltimore sports fan you’re almost obligated to cheer for the kid from Towson wearing the red, white and blue on behalf of our country as well as our community.

After all of the tape delay fiascos from England this weekend – I wrote my two cents here — I started thinking about Michael Phelps as being the unique sports figure of our time in Baltimore. Oh, sure we have some hometown sports heroes like Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken and Ray Lewis, who will all have plenty of bronze likenesses and memories in our community and “time will not dim the glory of their deeds” but Phelps’ accomplishments trump all of them on his stage when you consider his competition around the planet and the scope and magnitude of the Olympics.

And unlike the Orioles, Colts or Ravens, most people have never been anywhere near a pool where Michael Phelps has swam a lap. The closest approximation to a “cheering crowd” for Phelps happened four years ago when the remnants of a Baltimore Ravens preseason game watched him swim for gold inside the stadium about 30 minutes after the football game ended.

You can see my view of it here:

So on Saturday afternoon before Phelps took his first turn in the pool vs. Ryan Lochte, I put up one simple, open-ended sentence for tens of thousands of our @WNST Twitter followers and our Facebook community. It was:

Michael Phelps is ___________________.

There were hundreds of comments across social media and by my count far more than 50% weren’t just negative they were downright personal and abusive in some cases. And this was on Facebook, where people sign their names and add their likeness to their criticism.

Perhaps it’s gold medal envy?

Maybe it was the DUI

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NBC & WBAL should be ashamed of lame tape delay Olympics coverage

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NBC & WBAL should be ashamed of lame tape delay Olympics coverage

Posted on 29 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

For those of you who have followed my radio career since 1991, you know that I’m a patriotic fan of American sports and the Olympics always seems to capture my attention in at least some small way.

This year, with local hero Michael Phelps back in the daily consciousness, it makes sense that I’d be interested in a Baltimore guy who has already made plenty of history but is trying to nab these three medals to be the most decorated athlete in the history of the world.

He’s from Towson. WNST is in Towson. I’ve attended two parades in his honor. As I said on my Facebook page, he’s kinda a big deal around here.

On Saturday, I began my morning after the Opening Ceremonies at 4 a.m. Immediately, I saw live tweets coming Andrea Kramer and others from London regarding Michael Phelps being in the pool for heats. I turned on NBC before sunrise and watched some early morning pool action. Phelps wasn’t strong but made the finals and I was intrigued by a Lochte vs. Phelps showdown “later tonight.” I downloaded the NBC schedule and saw that the finals were actually happening around 1:30 p.m. our time. The website even has a “your time” vs. “London time” setting.

I literally built my day around watching Michael Phelps swim for a gold medal.

Sometime around 2 p.m. I realized that NBC’s main feed was strangely nowhere near a pool and was more in “female pitch” time, doing feel good pieces on the gymnastics team and showing the already-tired Youtube girls swim team video of “Call Me Maybe” for the fourth time. I thought maybe the schedule on the web was wrong.

Sometime around 2:20 p.m. I became a little suspicious and I had the audacity to open my laptop on Facebook and Twitter and found out within 20 seconds of the end of the race that Ryan Lochte had defeated Michael Phelps soundly.

Within minutes, the global assault on NBC – via #NBCFail — had begun and I was among the millions who were duped into thinking that the biggest sporting event of the day – held in the middle of a sports Saturday in America no less – would be suppressed and embargoed by the network that paid billions of dollars to have exclusive “live” coverage of the London Olympics.

What a strange, stupid decision the folks at NBC made – a mandate to embarrass virtually everyone associated with anything “news” for their whole company.

Then, keeping with the rank and file mandate of some NBC exec in New York, on the 6 p.m. newscast WBAL-TV opted to “pretend” that the race hadn’t happened yet, speaking of it in the future tense. They even did a live shot at Meadowbrook and asked the reporter to drum up “people can’t wait for the race” rhetoric when every 15-year old who swims at the club had known the result for four hours.

Just monumentally embarrassing, especially for a local television station that uses “Live, Local and Latebreaking” as a trite mantra to attract people with gray hair who still think news doesn’t happen until 6 p.m.

God bless Sarah Caldwell (who I like a lot) but if some suit in New York told me to do the nightly “news” and then asked me to stare into the camera with integrity and pretend I didn’t know who won four hours after it was over?

Does anyone over there have a brain?

Twenty minutes later an almost contrite Gerry Sandusky offered to give the result only after pleading the viewership to turn the station off for a few seconds if they didn’t want the result.

Where is Dan Joerres or someone on TV Hill to call “bullhockey” on these goofy local news embargoes, especially when the Baltimore local news leads without giving the Michael Phelps result on the network that had the live rights to it?

The equally corrupt jokers next door at WJZ-TV and the CBS Locals must’ve been howling with laughter in the newsroom.

It’s 2012. There’s this little thing called the internet that allows us to share information in a free society.

But this isn’t as much about the embarrassment of WBAL-TV – heck the AM 1090 radio side proved their mettle as a news organization back during the 2006 “Free The Birds” walkout when the audio broadcast was essentially a 75-minute chant without nary a word of a protest of the Orioles that day – it’s really amazing that anyone associated with NBC’s news operation would bless this style of “journalism” regarding sports.

I guess nothing shocks me anymore – at the local or national media level — especially when a bunch of suits in New York smell freshly printed green money without regard to the customers.

But who exactly are they trying to appeal to by withholding the live events and pretending that anyone would tune in at 9:40 p.m. to watch a swimming race that everyone in the world had access to the result of if they cared enough to care about who won the race more than seven hours earlier?

Yesterday NBC Sports got what it deserved – a failing grade and a 2012 new media spanking in real time called #NBCFail.

In 1968, it was called “Heidi.”

In 2012, it’s called trending.

When will these guys learn they’re not really in control of information anymore?

The world – from wars to storms, from swimming results to the corruption of corporate money in our society to guys dressed up as The Joker on shooting sprees in Aurora – goes on in real time.

Not in tape delay.

 

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Ovechkin Nominated for Two ESPY’s / Flyers Get Pronger / Caps Draft Johansson (Updated)

Posted on 26 June 2009 by Ed Frankovic

More Accolades for the Great #8

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin has been nominated for two ESPY Awards – Best Play and Best NHL Player – with the winners determined by fan voting that is open now at ESPYS.tv. Voting continues in 37 categories through 11:59 p.m. ET on July 11.

These are the fourth and fifth ESPY nominations of Ovechkin’s career, as the two-time NHL MVP hopes to win for the first time at The 2009 ESPYs when the show is televised Sunday, July 19, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN/ESPN HD. A one-hour nomination special will be broadcast tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Ovechkin is the only hockey player and one of a select group of athletes nominated for two ESPYs. Also nominated twice are the likes of Michael Phelps, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Usain Bolt and Tim Tebow. He could become the first hockey player ever to win the ESPY for Best Play – his remarkable goal in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Rangers is nominated.

The ESPYs gather top celebrities from sports and entertainment to commemorate the past year in sports by recognizing major sports achievements, reliving unforgettable moments and saluting the leading performers and performances. The ESPYs honor ESPN’s commitment to The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a partnership launched with the late Jim Valvano at the inaugural ESPYs in 1993.

Huge Trade at NHL Draft

The big news at the NHL Draft so far, other than forward John Tavares going as expected as the #1 pick to the New York Islanders, is that the Philadelphia Flyers have acquired superstar defenseman Chris Pronger from the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks, who also gave up forward Ryan Dingle, received forward Joffrey Lupul, the Flyers 2008 1st round draft pick in defenseman Luca Sbisa, and two first round picks (2010 and 2011) plus a conditional 3rd round pick. Due to the salary cap, the Ducks had to move Pronger or goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere when defenseman Scott Niedermayer announced today that he was going to play next season.

The Flyers, who will have to clear some salary to fit Pronger under next year’s announced salary cap figure of $56.8M, get one of the best defenseman in the NHL and now have a top 3 defense of Pronger, Braydon Coburn, and Kimmo Timonen. This trio is as strong as any in the NHL, at this time.

Caps Pick Center

As we’ve been telling you, the Caps need centers, and after picking Anton Gustaffson of Sweden in the first round last year they have gone back to that same country and taken with the 24th selection, center Marcus Johansson, who played for Farjestad last season (Gustaffson’s father, Bengt-Ake, played for that team as well). Johansson is 5′ 11″ and 189 lbs. Here are his stats.

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In defense of, or a possible defense, for Michael Phelps…

Posted on 10 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

One of the best parts of this website’s appeal is our ability recommend fun stories and items to our listeners — just like it works on the real web. LOL. A listener sent me over this humorously accurate “defense” for Michael Phelps if the South Carolina authorities come knocking in Fells Point this weekend. I’m (puff puff) passing it along to you…

This legal eagle seems to think Phelps is safe for now.

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Bong Water Gate Rolls On; Kellogg’s Drops Phelps

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Bong Water Gate Rolls On; Kellogg’s Drops Phelps

Posted on 06 February 2009 by Alex Thomas

Even though Kellogg’s recently dropped Michael Phelps from their advertising campaign, all hope is not lost in his cereal marketing career. Maybe he can become the new spokesman for General Mills. In fact, thanks to PopCulturePost.com, here’s a sneak preview at Phelps’ next marketing venture:

Joking aside, the picture of Phelps pulling tubes at a South Carolina frat party has exploded onto the international media wire. With this type of exposure, you have to think that this may not be the only incriminating picture of Phelps floating around out there.

And on the heels of being dropped by Kellogg’s, USA Swimming suspended Phelps for three months without pay. While Phelps will still be allowed to practice, he will not be able to compete in the Austin Grand Prix in early March, a short course meet which he originally planned to attend.

“I think it sends a message to Michael, and we’re certainly going to abide by it,” Bob Bowman, Phelps’ coach, told the Baltimore Sun. “He’s eager to be back in training, and looking to move forward.”

You had to see this coming. After all of the negative media attention and the unfair public scrutiny, Phelps’ sponsors were bound to bail and USA Swimming had to act.

While this three month suspension is just short of a slap on the wrist, it certainly sends a message to the general public that USA Swimming does not condone this behavior.

The good news for Michael Phelps is that most of his sponsors have issued statements of support, including Speedo, Hilton Hotels, Omega, Visa, and Mazda.

Hopefully all of this will go away soon, but it seems highly unlikely. Personally, while I’ve had Phelps’ back in the face of some ridiculous public scrutiny, I want to reiterate that I certainly don’t condone his behavior.

He got a three month suspension because he had a brief moment of stupidity, and we all have a few of those in our twenties. The most important thing is learning from the mistake and not allowing history to repeat itself.

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Michael Phelps fallout continues with 3-month suspension

Posted on 05 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Our Alex Thomas has called it Waterbong Gate and it’s certainly continues to seemingly have no end as Michael Phelps has been suspended from competitive swimming for three months by USA Swimming and Kellogg’s has dropped its sponsorship.

Read more here…

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The Phelps non-story IS a story…

Posted on 01 February 2009 by Drew Forrester

I think I’m the first to use this line, so let me get it out there now:

I don’t think Michael Phelps – and his career – are going to go “up in smoke”.

Nor should it.

But, the 8-time Olympic gold medalist is in deeper water than he’s ever been thanks to a dumb move on his part and a lesson not learned when he was 19.

Four years ago, Phelps was arrested and charged with DUI on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.  He said all the right things in the aftermath and went on to greatness in Beijing and I’m 99.9% certain his drinking-and-driving-faux-pas didn’t affect his earnings-potential when 5th Avenue came calling after last summer’s Olympic Games.

People can forget a lot of your transgressions when you do something good for the country.

His latest run-in with stupidity took a few months to surface, but it’s now out there for all the world to see. Frankly, I’m shocked it took this long for a picture and the story to make headline news.  Phelps was at a party in South Carolina last November and decided to smoke marijuana.  Had he retreated into the privacy of the host’s bedroom and joined one or two others in a little weed-use, I doubt we would have ever found out.  For some reason, though, Phelps decided to act like any other 23-year old in the place and just grabbed the bong and participated in the fun and frolic like the rest of the gang.  Bad move.  Someone snapped a picture, whore’d themselves for a month or two until someone ponied up the bucks, and the photo is now a threat to the world of Michael Phelps.

Really, though, what’s the big deal?

I can see it from both sides and I can certainly give you reasons why smoking marijuana is bad – but in the end, what’s REALLY the issue here?  

Michael Phelps smokes pot.  Wow.  I remember making an off-hand joke at a Ravens game this year that he “looked stoned” based mainly on how he was dressed (with shades) in the club-level suite he was occupying. I’d have bet money Phelps was a toker.  I’m not shocked.  That he would stand in a room full of strangers and inhale from a bong?  Yes, I’m surprised that he’s that dumb.  

So, what’s REALLY the issue?  Did Phelps smoke marijuana and then drive his vehicle that night?  If he did, that’s 100% completely wrong.  If you smoke pot and drive, you’re a threat to everyone on the road.  You are, in my mind, as much of a criminal as the guy who has 5 beers at happy hour and gets behind the wheel.  Smoking pot and driving.  They do NOT go together.

If we would have found out that Phelps likes to sit home, smoke a little ganja, watch “Training Day”, listen to the new Springsteen CD and drink a glass or two of red wine before relaxing in his hot tub, would we all be up in arms over this?  In the privacy of his own home, do we really care what Phelps does?  I surely don’t.  

I care far more about the guy or gal who goes to Fells Point on a Friday night and insists on driving home at 1:30 am “because I know when I’m OK to drive and I’m fine right now…”.

I’m much more concerned about these greedy, filthy bankers across the country who have written themselves $16 million “buy-out” checks while damaging our nation’s economy.

I’m far more worried about the people who are bringing the marijuana into the country that Phelps smoked. Because, I’m sure, they’re bringing in plenty of other things that are far more powerful, dangerous and damaging than pot.  

And, while Phelps has millions of reasons (code word: sponsors) to be concerned about his reputation after his little bong-a-thon in South Carolina, our country should be more pre-occupied with the millions of Americans out of work while illegal aliens live, work and prosper right here in our 50 states.

I’m not giving Phelps a pass on this, but I think a lot of people are in over-reaction mode over this whole thing.  His biggest sin wasn’t smoking marijuana.  His biggest sin was doing it in an environment where some other stoned-goof with a camera phone saw a unique opportunity to score a celebrity-dope photo and turn that into some instant bucks at the expense of a guy who was probably just trying to impress a girl or two.  That’s what most guys are doing at age 23 when they’re at a party.  

Next Friday night when someone in Federal Hill gets pulled over with a .12 blood alcohol level, I’d like to see his or his name and photo on the internet somewhere.

When you drive on Interstate 95, do you go 65 miles-per-hour?  I’m betting everything I own that you don’t.  I don’t.  That makes us lawbreakers.  

If Michael Phelps buys marijuana and possesses it, he’s a lawbreaker too.  If he just happened to bounce into a party where they were passing around the pipe and decided he wanted to join in, I don’t see how we can treat him much differently than you and I going 77 MPH on I-95.

Color me nonplussed if the only story here is that Michael Phelps went to a party and smoked some weed.

Now, people who have invested marketing dollars with the image that is Michael Phelps-the-swimmer might not be too thrilled with the bong-in-hand photo and the admission from Phelps that the picture is authentic.  They could – and might – decide they don’t want their company affiliated with an athlete who smokes marijuana…no matter how rare the occasion might be.

That’s their call.  

If they take away his millions because Phelps smoked marijuana at a party during his “off-season”, then perhaps they’d be better off handing their money over to an athlete who doesn’t drink, use drugs, swear, have sex, listen to rap or rock-n-roll music, or gamble.

Good luck finding someone in the United States who fits that criteria.

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What do you make of Phelps situation

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What do you make of Phelps situation

Posted on 01 February 2009 by caseywillett

If you have not heard, a story broke this morning that there were pictures of Michael Phelps smoking a bong at a party back in Novemeber.

Olympic ace Michael Phelps inhales from bong

Phelps has since come out and admitted that it is him in the picture, which some people were arguing that it was not him in the picture.

 

What are your thoughts on Phelps’s latest situation, and how does this change your opinion of him and his “wanting to be a role model” for kids ?

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Watching Moyer awakens old O’s memories

Posted on 25 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

The World Series has returned to Philadelphia for the first time in 15 years. The fans are bathed in red and the series is tied 1-1. To the mound tonight for the Fightin’ Phils: Jamie Moyer.

A blast from the past, and I suppose most fans don’t even associate him with the Orioles, but I remember his time in orange and black quite vividly.

I met Jamie Moyer at the Huggins-Stengel Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. during the spring training of 1993. I wrote an extensive blog about my experience there last year but it was an incredible adventure covering those Orioles teams. One of my favorite experiences as a professional even after all of these years.

Moyer was a super astute student of the game, a likeable guy who a young Mike Mussina and others like Todd Frohwirth and Mark Williamson liked to talk strategy and “real pitching” with. He was a borderline major-leaguer at that point, who had bounced around three organizations and didn’t pitch in the big leagues in 1992 (he spent the whole summer in AAA Toledo after six years in the big leagues)

He was a long shot to make the team coming out of Florida. He was a non-roster invitee and basically an afterthought. That was a season when Ben McDonald, Fernando Valenzuela, Rick Sutcliffe, Arthur Rhodes and Mussina were the starting staff.

It was 1993 and he was basically “washed up.”

Well, you know the rest of the story.

He made the team (and I think he might’ve had some coffee in Rochester that spring as well). He was a back of the rotation starter, who was wily mixing speeds and location like a Scott McGregor and used his smarts like a Mike Flanagan to get guys out. In three seasons of the Orioles’ heyday for attendance and overall interest after Camden Yards’ opening, he went 25-22 on some forgettable on-the-field teams sandwiched around the 1994 strike. He was on the field the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gerhig’s streak.

Moyer was a good guy, a real professional. His wife, Karen, is former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps’ daughter. Phelps was omnipresent around the team during those years, always making time to do my radio show and talk college basketball with me. Moyer’s wife was outgoing, friendly and loved sports. She even asked me for “GET NASTY” shirt and swore she wore it when she ran every day.

When he left the Orioles before the 1996 season, Moyer had made less than $3 million playing baseball for a decade.

He signed in Boston, was dealt to Seattle and went on to win 145 games in 10 seasons there as a franchise pitcher.

Moyer is still pitching in the World Series at the age of 46. He’s doing it in his hometown. He’s pitched 22 seasons and won 246 games but has never pitched in a World Series game after three other trips to the postseason. It’s the greatest night of his professional life and he’s made almost $60 million more dollars after being all but out of baseball 15 years ago, right around the last time his hometown Phillies were last playing October baseball.

The game started a little late, the fans are pretty stewed up in Filthy.

I hope Jamie Moyer pitches a classic.

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