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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 08 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Bantamweight Tournament Final-Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares (Saturday 10pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime), Friday Night Fights: Kermit Cintron vs. Antwone Smith (Friday 9pm from St. Charles, MO live on ESPN2); WNBA: Atlanta Dream @ Washington Mystics (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet & ESPN3.com), New York Liberty @ Washington Mystics (Friday 7pm Verizon Center); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Denver Outlaws @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on ESPN3.com)

10. Melissa Etheridge (Tuesday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion), INXS (Wednesday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion), Chicago (Sunday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Return to Forever IV feat. Chick Corea (Tuesday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), My Morning Jacket (Friday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), O.A.R. feat. Virginia Coalition (Saturday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Blink 182/My Chemical Romance (Friday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live), Tim McGraw feat. Luke Bryan (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); American Idol Live (Thursday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena); Mr. Greengenes (Friday 6pm Power Plant Live); Candlebox (Tuesday 7pm Recher Theatre), Ravyns (Saturday 7pm Recher Theatre); Steve Earle (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Steve Miller Band (Tuesday 8pm Wolf Trap); Havre de Grace Seafood Festival feat. Charlie Daniels Band (Friday 7:45pm Downtown Havre de Grace); Alkaline Trio (Sunday 7pm Black Cat DC); 10,000 Maniacs (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere)

I think everyone knows I’ll be in Columbia Saturday night. I mean, where else would I be???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG2hDRClSM0[/youtube]

The thing though is that I’m not ONLY excited about O.A.R., I’m also REALLY looking forward to seeing VACO again…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orrs6LeIbWQ[/youtube]

I probably won’t make it out to see Chicago, but it’s not because they aren’t awesome…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSOaoPDO16Y[/youtube]

If I WASN’T going to be at OAR Saturday night, I would ABSOLUTELY be in Towson Saturday night to see Rob Fahey and the Ravyns. We love him…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZymOQ0qk_BU[/youtube]

9. 30 Minutes or Less” and “Final Destination 5” out in theaters (Friday)

I’ve seen 30 Minutes or Less. It’s funny. Not “HOLY HELL I’LL NEVER STOP CRYING” funny, but funny.

Of course, Aziz Ansari has the ability to be “HOLY HELL I’LL NEVER STOP CRYING” funny.

If you’re not a fan of Tom Haverford/Parks & Recreation, I have absolutely no idea what you’re doing with your life…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS_bgv6f2Rk&feature=related[/youtube]

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 01 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer-MLS Toronto FC @ DC United (Saturday 7:30pm RFK Stadium); WNBA New York Liberty @ Washington Mystics (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on NBA TV); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Rochester Rattlers (Saturday 7pm from Rochester, NY live on ESPN3.com); Canadian Football League: Toronto Argonauts @ Montreal Alouettes (Thursday 8pm from Montreal live on NFL Network)

10. Jill Scott/Anthony Hamilton/Mint Condition (Sunday 7pm Verizon Center); Guster/Jack’s Mannequin (Sunday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Steely Dan (Tuesday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Death Cab For Cutie (Sunday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Alison Krauss & Union Station (Sunday 8pm Wolf Trap), INXS (Monday 8pm Wolf Trap); Cinderella (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Alien Ant Farm (Friday 7pm Recher Theatre), Hammerjack’s Reunion feat. Child’s Play (Saturday 1pm Recher Theatre); Cappadonna (Thursday 8:30pm Sonar); Toad The Wet Sprocket (Thursday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head On Stage); Bon Iver (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Rusted Root (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); O.A.R. “King” (Tuesday) and Jay-Z & Kanye West “Watch The Throne” (Monday) available in stores/on iTunes; Doug Benson Loves Movies Podcast (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Comedy Factory), Rob Cantrell (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); John Mulaney (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv)

Look, I know Steely Dan is great and all-but we agree that they stole a Grammy that rightly belonged to Eminem, don’t we?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTDRd0Z0O4o[/youtube]

Is the guy JD Fortune still singing for INXS after winning that reality show? It’s a little embarrassing, but if he can sing “Need You Tonight” ANYTHING like Michael Hutchence I’d be in…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhvbRZWEtd4[/youtube]

I’ve seen Alien Ant Farm three times in my life. Perhaps I shouldn’t admit that, but I’ve felt like you and I should always be able to trust each other to tell the truth.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ2t4jfVTiU[/youtube]

I’m seriously freaking out about the new O.A.R. record. Not excited enough to actually go to a record STORE, but damnit I’m approaching 30. Record stores just aren’t real anymore. What was I talking about here?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-yValw_UbE[/youtube]

9. National Aquarium 30th Anniversary Festival (Friday-Sunday National Aquarium in Baltimore); Baltimore Summer Restaurant Week (begins Friday throughout Charm City)

It’s a shame William Donald Schaefer didn’t make it long enough for this. He wouldn’t have been in health to don the suit once more, but it wouldn’t have meant more to anyone in the world.

wds

Thus concludes the only part of this that will in any way resemble anything of a serious nature.

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I thought Adrian Gonzalez was boycotting Arizona …..

Posted on 12 July 2011 by Rex Snider

Before you start reading this blog, be assured of one thing; it has NOTHING to do with politics, immigration issues or Supreme Court decisions.  But, is has everything to do with holding athletes accountable for their words and actions.

A little more than a year ago, Adrian Gonzalez drew a line in the sand at the Arizona/Nevada border, or was it the Arizona/California border?  What the heck, I don’t know.  But, he did go public in proclaiming he would BOYCOTT the 2011 All Star Game, if selected to play in it.

Gonzalez’s reasoning was pointedly specific; he disagreed with Arizona’s new laws pertaining to illegal immigration and law enforcement’s investigative powers.

I thoroughly respect anyone’s opinions on just about anything.  And, I certainly believe Adrian Gonzalez is entitled to feel the way he feels about issues close to his heart.

But, when he opens his mouth and uses his stature as a pro athlete to make a stance and ultimate statement on a political issue, it’s done with a calculated purpose.  He knew those comments would fuel public reaction and he trusted such words would have an impact on the All Star Game’s destined unveiling in Phoenix.

Like many celebrities, Adrian Gonzalez ignorantly assumed his presence or threatened lack of presence would in some way handicap an industry’s showcase event.  He was wrong …..

Be clear about one thing – he wasn’t WRONG for feeling the way he felt – he was WRONG, because he entrusted the image of Adrian Gonzalez to be as big as the game.

And, it’s not.

Somewhere, somehow, Gonzalez came to an evident grip with his own reality and true appeal to the landscape of our pro sports culture.  While a distinct few personalities can impact an event, with their absence, he’s not one of them.

No single player is bigger than their game.

Adrian Gonzalez has obviously learned such a lesson and swallowed a little humble pie without much notice paid by the people who foot the bills; the fans.  Last night, he appeared at the Homerun Derby and gave those same fans the only real thing demanded, expected and desired of him.

He hit baseballs. 

Nothing more, nothing less.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 04 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Arena Football-AFL Cleveland Gladiators @ Philadelphia Soul (Friday 8pm from Philly live on NFL Network); Canadian Football League: Montreal Alouettes @ Saskatchewan Roughriders (Saturday 4pm from Saskatchewan live on NFL Network), Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Edmonton Eskimos (Saturday 7pm from Edmonton live on NFL Network); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Chicago Sky (Tuesday 8pm from Chicago live on ESPN3.com); Boxing: Brandon Rios vs. Urbano Antillon (Saturday 10pm from Carson, CA live on Showtime), Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara (Saturday 10:15pm from Atlantic City live on HBO), Friday Night Fights-Francisco Sierra vs. Jesus Gonzales (Friday 9pm from Phoenix live on ESPN2)

10. Bela Fleck & The Flecktones (Thursday 6pm Rams Head Live), Charm City Devils (Saturday 7:30pm Rams Head Live), Old 97′s (Monday 7pm Rams Head Live); Frankie Beverly & MAZE (Saturday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Animal Collective (Saturday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Def Leppard/Heart (Saturday 7:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); Marshall Tucker Band (Sunday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); John Witherspoon (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Rockapella (Thursday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); The Bridge (Sunday 6pm Ladew Gardens)

The Old 97′s are the best band you’ve never heard of. (I’ve always wanted to say that!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1nn7lXP7WQ[/youtube]

I’ve been trying to get you to support John Allan and CCD boys for years. Please start soon.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUB08-RuwdM[/youtube]

My favorite Def Leppard tune? Quite possibly “Photograph”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ5bS3_BCDs[/youtube]

For the 15th time this year, PLEASE START LISTENING TO THE BRIDGE…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajY3mBuGVQk[/youtube]

9. “Horrible Bosses” opens in theaters (Friday); Boy Meets World Season 6 available on DVD (Tuesday)

I finally saw “Bridesmaids” over 4th of July weekend. How can Kristen Wiig not be funny at all on Saturday Night Live but then be genuinely funny in a really funny movie? Weird.

Critics are telling us Horrible Bosses is really funny, so I imagine I’ll see it. I am struggling with one of the plotlines being Charlie Day having problems with being sexually harassed by Jennifer Aniston however…

aniston

Nope. Not buying it.

And as far as BMW Season 6 goes, I remember the ridiculous range of emotions I experienced while watching the episode “Resurrection.” Tough to do this to a 13 year old kid, ABC.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIv8WCIfD4Y[/youtube]

8. Pro Lacrosse: MLL All-Star Game (Saturday 7pm from Boston live on ESPN2)

Lord…they’ve won the Super Bowl three times, the World Series twice, the NBA Championship, the Stanley Cup and four Frozen Fours since 2001 and now they’re taking the All-Star Game in OUR sport?

Jesus, this is too much. Seriously, can’t we just have anything in Charm City? I mean, are they going to take this from us next???

backriver

7. Cycling: Tour De France (Stage 3 Tuesday 8am Stage 4 Wednesday 7:30am Stages 5-8 Thursday-Sunday 8am all live on VERSUS)

I couldn’t tell you a damn THING about the Tour de France at this point, and I follow Lance Armstrong on Twitter.

Instead, I offer a picture of Buffalo Chicken Waffle French Fries for my food porn friends…

fries

Word.

6. Auto Racing: NASCAR Quaker State 400 (Saturday 7:30pm from Sparta, KY live on TNT); IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto (Sunday 2pm from Toronto live on VERSUS)

Something called David Ragan won this week’s NASCAR race in Daytona. So…that happened.

Look-if it had been Brian Regan, I would have been interested…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89frRi8GgGA[/youtube]

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Dear Football, Please Just Come Back Already

Posted on 15 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

Dear Football-

It didn’t hit me until Tuesday night. To be totally honest with you, I’ve been really enjoying some of the other things going on in the world of sports since you left my life in February.

My favorite NHL team (the Phoenix Coyotes) were quickly swept out by the Detroit Red Wings, but the Stanley Cup playoffs have been really good otherwise. Most of the cities I don’t like have already seen their teams eliminated (Pittsburgh, Washington, New York) and the Vancouver Canucks have the opportunity to deliver the most painful heartbreak to Boston Wednesday night, with a chance to win a Game 7 at home against the Bruins.

There’s been a ton of scoring but still a ton of close games, and the hockey playoffs in general have been pretty good.

My favorite NBA team (the Phoenix Suns) didn’t even qualify for postseason play, but it had little effect on how exciting the NBA playoffs were. Between the Los Angeles Lakers getting swept out, Greivis Vasquez and the Memphis Grizzlies getting within a game of the Western Conference Finals and the riveting series the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat played in the NBA Finals, the postseason was thrilling.

Even those of us that don’t spend too much time watching regular season hoops found ourselves making postseason games destination television.

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Trip to Arizona Reminds Me 2011 Orioles Just Need to Win

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Trip to Arizona Reminds Me 2011 Orioles Just Need to Win

Posted on 30 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

When Nestor Aparicio told me Wednesday would be the day I would scribe my Baltimore Orioles preview piece, I chuckled a bit. I’m sure he had no idea of the symbolism involved.

If you listen to “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST (and you certainly should), you probably know that Wednesday marks the first time I’ve taken a vacation since returning to the Charm City airwaves in 2008.

I’m headed to Phoenix, which is where I lived and worked for two years after leaving CBS Radio here in Baltimore.

Just before departing CBS for the Valley of the Sun, I heard that Nasty was organizing an event called “Free The Birds”. I will admit now that upon hearing of the event, my thoughts (in my head and on-air) were along the lines of “what a blowhard.”

It wasn’t until I got to Arizona that I truly understood what Nestor was doing.

My only full season of MLB coverage in Arizona came in 2007. I was there for the end of the 2006 season and half of the 2008 season-but ’07 was my only full year of covering baseball-specifically the Arizona Diamondbacks.

It you’ll remember, 2007 was the year the D-Backs went on an improbable run to the NL West crown and a trip to the NLCS (where they would ultimately be dismissed by the Colorado Rockies).

The 2007 Diamondbacks were a special group. They were a young team (CF Chris Young, RF Justin Upton, SS Stephen Drew, 1B Conor Jackson and 3B Mark Reynolds were all at the beginning of their careers) with a few “journeymen” type veterans (1B Tony Clark, 2B Orlando Hudson and LF Eric Byrnes) sprinkled in.

Their pitching staff (led by stars Brandon Webb and Randy Johnson) was clearly what carried them to October, but even that group included some journeymen, as Doug Davis and Livan Hernandez held down rotation spots.

They were a fun team that found success from Opening Day until the postseason, and it made the entire summer in Phoenix sort of magical.

Every game in every series at Chase Field (and away from Chase Field) mattered. Every game had a story line. Every game had underlying drama.

Every game was discussed by sports fans the next day on radio, around water coolers and on social media accounts (MySpace was the most popular at the time) throughout the state.

chasefield

As someone who wasn’t from Phoenix (and who actually went to Chase Field for three games in June looking like the above and below pictures), I had no emotional ties to the D-Backs. Yet as the season continued, I found myself more and more emotionally invested as the city where I resided came down with a case of Diamondbacks fever.

os

I even found myself in a public fight with Diamondbacks President/CEO Derrick Hall before NLDS Game 1 against the Chicago Cubs-arguing with him that the team shouldn’t play “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” during the 7th Inning Stretch because it would give too much encouragement to the Cubs fans in attendance.

I REALLY didn’t care in my heart whether or not the Diamondbacks won the series. My team (the O’s) had just polished off their 10th consecutive losing season. Yet for some reason, the magic of the Diamondbacks’ accomplishment had touched even a dyed-in-the-wool Birds fan like myself.

It was then…in October of 2007…that I finally understood what Nestor (and company) were trying to say.

I hadn’t experienced that type of feeling as an Orioles fan in a decade.

I haven’t experienced it since then of course either.

The last time a meaningful game was played in Baltimore was in October of 1997, when Tony Fernandez crushed both Armando Benitez and the dreams of every 14 year old kid at Perry Hall High School like myself.

I at least got to see a meaningful game as a high school freshman. We’re now approaching a time where area kids will enter high school having not been alive for a single meaningful baseball game.

It’s real.

After seeing the Diamondbacks’ magical run and the way even a transient city like Phoenix was carried away by a season of baseball-I knew that “Free The Birds” was about the desire to finally see the city of Baltimore again experience the same thing.

And we all know just how much the city of Baltimore really needs to experience something like that.

That brings us to the 2011 Baltimore Orioles.

What’s happened with this franchise since 1997 isn’t the fault of President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail, Manager Buck Showalter, DH Vladimir Guerrero or any other player, coach or front office member…with one glaring exception-but we’ll leave Peter Angelos alone this time.

Just because the past 13 seasons aren’t the fault of the overwhelming majority of the principles involved in 2011 season doesn’t mean that the issues surrounding the past 13 seasons can suddenly be ignored.

Whether they like it or not, the 2011 Baltimore Orioles carry the burden of the failures of recent teams.

Just as the 2010 Baltimore Orioles did…and the 2009 Baltimore Orioles did…and the 2012 Baltimore Orioles will if this team doesn’t succeed.

The team (and most notably CF Adam Jones, who recently made some colorful comments to the Baltimore Sun) will be reminded of that when they report to Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday, April 22nd to open a six game homestand against the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

It will be a somewhat painful reminder that what happened between 1998-2010 is still very much an issue to fans in Baltimore today.

The 2011 Baltimore Orioles will have to accept the desperation of a fanbase deprived of a winner for 13 cities every time they step on a baseball diamond.

We’ll find out over the next six months whether or not they can handle the responsibility.

The early returns have been questionable. Jones has popped off about the fanbase, Showalter took time in an interview to worry about the money Red Sox GM Theo Epstein is spending and how Yankees SS Derek Jeter stands at the plate.

The Orioles (and Orioles fans) cannot afford to waste their time this season worrying about anything other than winning baseball games.

They’re fighting a battle that won’t be easy. While most pundits agree this team is better than they have been in recent years-few believe they will be better than the Yankees, Red Sox or even the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. Few believe that meaningful games will return to OPACY after the All-Star Game this season.

The Orioles will look to do their best to prove those pundits wrong, and it won’t be easy.

In the meantime, they’ll have to try to win back an entire city. There will always be a group of hardcore fans that will support a team emotionally and economically no matter what the results are-but this team will look to re-establish a broader level of support beyond that group.

To do so-the only thing they can concern themselves with is winning.

In fact, the Orioles would be wise to channel Al Davis and consider a “Just Win, Baby” mentality for 2011.

If they do so-Jones won’t have to worry about who is in the stands when the Yanks come back to town this August. Showalter won’t have to worry about how much money any other team in Major League Baseball spends.

The 2011 Baltimore Orioles just need to worry about winning.

Nothing else.

If they can win even enough to have their name on the Wild Card race list when the Yanks visit this August-the feeling at those games will be even more special than what I experienced at playoff games in Phoenix in 2007.

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Auto Racing-NASCAR Goody’s Fast Relief 500 (Sunday 1pm from Martinsville, VA live on FOX); Golf-PGA Tour Shell Houston Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Humble, TX), Champions Tour Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm, Sunday 7pm from Biloxi, MS live on Golf Channel), LPGA Tour Kraft Nabisco Championship (Thursday & Friday 12pm, Saturday & Sunday 4:30pm from Rancho Mirage, CA live on Golf Channel); Horse Racing: Florida Derby (Sunday 5pm from Hallandale Beach, FL live on HRTV); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Henry Lundy vs. Patrick Lopez (Friday 9pm from Mashantucket, CT live on ESPN2); Arena Football: AFL Jacksonville Sharks @ Tampa Bay Storm (Friday 8pm from Tampa Bay live on NFL Network); Women’s College Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Elite 8 (Tuesday from Philadelphia & Dallas live on ESPN), Final Four (Sunday from Indianapolis live on ESPN)

10. Lil’ Wayne (Sunday 7pm Verizon Center); Sara Bareilles (Sunday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); Mike Doughty (Friday 9pm IOTA Club & Cafe); Tim Reynolds (Friday 8pm & 10pm Blues Alley DC); Blue Man Group (Wednesday-Sunday Warner Theatre); YES (Monday 8pm Warner Theatre); Judah Friedlander (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Radiohead “The King of Limbs” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I just saw Weezy at 1st Mariner Arena. It was a great time. I especially liked the part when he re-enacted that scene from “Beetlejuice”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7tOAGY59uQ[/youtube]

I used to like Soul Coughing. Now I like Mike Doughty. If you listen to “The Morning Reaction” (and give me one reason why you wouldn’t!), you might be familiar with him…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qktIKYZJYs8[/youtube]

Tim Reynolds is pretty much an unofficial member of Dave Matthews Band at this point. I’m sure you’ll understand why…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lf1j1zrnxss[/youtube]

I’m not nearly the Radiohead fan that some folks are. But if the stuff on their new record is as good as this, I might get back on the bus…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKd06s1LNik[/youtube]

9. Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival (Friday & Saturday Timonium Fairgrounds)

The first time I went to Beer Bourbon BBQ I ended up looking like this…

bbb

Yep…that’s me…probably a few pounds ago. I’m the one on the left.

Is there anything else you need to know about the event?

8. NBA: Miami Heat @ Washington Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Cleveland Cavaliers @ Washington Wizards (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Charlotte Bobcats (Sunday 6pm from Charlotte live on Comcast SportsNet)

There’s a LeBron James joke in here somewhere…but I’m much too lowbrow.

So instead…the Wizards suck.

Oh-but the ‘Zards have Javale McGee, who tends to be good for a highlight a night in the midst of his team getting their asses handed to them. Again.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKEoJ1MxEkE[/youtube]

7. Tennis: ATP Tour & WTA Tour Sony Ericsson Open (Tuesday 11am live on Tennis Channel, Wednesday 1pm & 7pm live on ESPN2, Thursday 1pm live on ESPN2, Friday 1pm & 7pm live on ESPN2, Saturday 12:30pm live on CBS 3pm live on Tennis Channel, Sunday 1pm live on CBS)

So…did anyone else see the Top Spin 4 commercial with Serena Williams???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SQjR11L34c[/youtube]

Umm….I….ummm….I think I need a glass of water here.

6. NHL: Carolina Hurricanes @ Washington Capitals (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Columbus Blue Jackets @ Washington Capitals (Thursday 7pm from Verizon Center live on VERSUS & Comcast SportsNet), Buffalo Sabres @ Washington Capitals (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet & NHL Network)

If you care about the Caps, there are two WNST Moosehead Puck Buses this week. I encourage you to hop aboard.

I don’t like Washington and don’t care about the Caps myself, so I have other hockey-related thoughts to share.

I’m headed out to Phoenix this week for a quick vacation. It’s just too cold here. I’m very excited because I get to see the Coyotes Friday night. (They’re playing the Colorado Avalanche.) As I’ve said before, I root for the ‘Yotes because we never had a team in Charm City.

I just found out yesterday that Friday night is Ilya Bryzgalov bobblehead night. I’m FREAKING OUT…

bryz

I actually think I might wear his old mask to the game…

bryz

5. Mixed Martial Arts: UFC “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team Dos Santos” premieres (Wednesday 9pm SpikeTV); Strikeforce Challengers: Justin Wilcox vs. Rodrigo Damm (Friday 11pm from Stockton, CA live on Showtime)

Don’t ask me why-but for some reason Holly Madison’s show “Holly’s World” gets recorded on the DVR at my house.

Like I said, don’t ask.

But the show was on recently (I’m not sure who was watching it-I mean, it couldn’t have been me, right?) and Dana White was sitting with Holly discussing business ideas.

You’re asking yourself “Glenn, why in the hell are you writing about Dana White chatting with Holly Madison in the MMA category of this post?”

It’s simple. There’s a girl on that show named Jayde Nicole. I can now post a picture of her. There had to be a reason…

jayde

4. Soccer: Team USA vs. Paraguay (Tuesday 8pm from Nashville live on Fox Soccer Channel); MLS: DC United @ Colorado Rapids (Sunday 7pm from Commerce City, CO live on Galavision)

I assume we’re going to anoint Juan Agudelo the savior of American soccer because he scored a goal Saturday night against Argentina and he’s only 18 years old.

It’s probably wildly unrealistic.

But ehh…we need something about American soccer to get excited about. Agudelo for savior!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kv3NFWNjUoE[/youtube]

3. College Lacrosse: Loyola @ Ohio State (Saturday 1pm from Columbus, OH live on AM1570 WNST); Hofstra @ Towson (Saturday 12pm from Unitas Stadium on ABC2 & ESPN3.com); Big City Classic: Johns Hopkins vs. North Carolina (Sunday 4pm from East Rutherford, NJ live on ESPNU); Maryland @ Virginia (Saturday 12pm from Charlottesville live on ESPNU); Navy @ Georgetown (Friday 7pm Kehoe Field); Marymount @ Stevenson (Saturday 4pm Caves Athletic Complex)

The Greyhounds are headed out to face Ohio State, huh? Maybe while they’re in town they can get their picture taken with Jim Tressel!!!

tressel

If they pay an extra 30 or 40 bucks, maybe he’ll even look at the camera! (Thanks Deadspin!)

2. Pro Wrestling: WWE Wrestlemania 27 (Sunday 8pm from Atlanta live on Pay-Per-View)

I don’t care what else happens at Wrestlemania Sunday night. I only care that The Rock will be there. Life is good.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV0bDp8Du2Q[/youtube]

1. College Basketball: NCAA Tournament Final Four-Kentucky vs. UConn (Saturday 6pm from Houston live on CBS), Butler vs. VCU (Saturday 8:45pm from Houston live on CBS); National Championship Game (Monday 9:21pm from Houston live on CBS)

These things we know….

A-The NCAA should be ashamed as they watch Jim Calhoun and John Calipari square off Saturday night.

Absolutely ASHAMED.

B-The entire country will be rooting for whoever wins the Butler-VCU game on Monday night.

C-We love Jim Nantz around here…but Gus Johnson should ABSOLUTELY be calling these games. Check out his Funny or Die and then this piece of football awesomeness…

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 14 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Transitions Championship (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Tampa Bay, FL); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Demetrius Hopkins vs. Brad Solomon (Friday 9pm from Hollywood, FL live on ESPN2), Lucian Bute vs. Brian Magee (Saturday 10pm from Montreal live on Showtime); Horse Racing: Rebel Stakes (Saturday 5pm from Hot Springs, Arkansas live on HRTV); Arena Football-AFL: Philadelphia Soul @ Chicago Rush (Friday 8pm from Chicago live on NFL Network); Soccer: MLS-Columbus Crew @ DC United (Saturday 7:30pm RFK Stadium)

10. Pete Yorn (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Cold (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live), Halestorm & Charm City Devils (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live); Mike Epps (Saturday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena), Lil’ Wayne (Sunday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena); Phil Lesh & Bob Weir (Thursday 8pm Patriot Center); Travie McCoy (Sunday 6pm Recher Theatre); America (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Loretta Lynn (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club); 2nd Annual Hippodrome Foodie Experience with Alton Brown (Saturday 6pm Hippodrome); The Fighter” and “WWE True Story of Wrestlemania” available on DVD/Blu-Ray (Tuesday)

Drew Forrester and I will be Rams Head Tuesday night, because Pete Yorn is outstanding…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zginCd6D0as[/youtube]

John Allen is a Charm City rock icon. That is all.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmHauE5ODe4[/youtube]

If you’re not a Weezy fan, I don’t think we can be friends. Nicki Minaj is coming to town with him. I’d marry her.

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

Is it possible for me to enjoy a Phil Lesh/Bob Weir show even if I don’t smoke pot? I mean, I dig Scarlet Begonias…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kj_kK1j3CV0[/youtube]

9. St. Patrick’s Day (Thursday)

This year’s festivities will be a bit different, as basketball will be a bit of a priority Thursday. That being said, I need a couple of things to make my St. Patty’s Day better.

1-Bangers and Mash

bangers

2-Smithwick’s

smithwicks

3-Flogging Molly[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Trkx9xLb5X8[/youtube]

If your establishment has those three things and ample breathing room, please let me know. I will be in attendance.

8. Auto Racing: NASCAR Jeff Byrd 500 (Sunday 1pm from Bristol, TN live on FOX)

Bristol is a smaller track, which is supposed to make the race more exciting.
But really, how can it get any more exciting than THIS?!?!?!?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1V78QFZxooQ[/youtube]

7. Tennis: ATP Tour & WTA Tour BNP Paribas Open (Tuesday & Wednesday 2pm live on Tennis Channel, Thursday 2pm & 10pm live on Tennis Channel, Friday 2pm & 6pm live on Tennis Channel 4pm & 11pm live on ESPN2, Saturday 7:30pm live on Tennis Channel 2pm & 4pm live on ABC, Sunday 2pm & 4pm live on ABC. All tennis from Indian Wells, CA)

The Indian Wells stop is one of the few tour stops on the schedule that goes two weeks despite not being a grand slam event.

Of note from what’s already happened in the draw, Donald Young defeated Andy Murray.

NO, NO…please don’t leave. I promise that’s the only tennis analysis you’ll find here. Instead, here’s the picture of Ana Ivanovic everyone likes so bad…

ivanovic

6. NBA: Washington Wizards @ Chicago Bulls (Tuesday 8pm from Chicago live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Toronto Raptors (Friday 7pm from Toronto live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), New Jersey Nets @ Washington Wizards (Sunday 1pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

The ‘Zards haven’t done much of anything right this season…until this past weekend.

This past weekend they did a FANTASTIC job…of finding their way onto Blake Griffin posters!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHB5rNtha-A[/youtube]

Talk about giving fans EXACTLY what they paid their money for!

5. NHL: Washington Capitals @ Montreal Canadiens (Tuesday 7pm from Montreal live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Washington Capitals @ Detroit Red Wings (Wednesday 7:30pm from Detroit live on VERSUS & Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ New Jersey Devils (Friday 7pm from Newark, NJ live on NHL Network & Comcast SportsNet)

So everything that’s happened in the world of hockey recently has been about Zedano Charo. I’m not interested.

The only thing I care about in the world of hockey is the fact that the Phoenix Coyotes got two big points Sunday night against the Anaheim Ducks. But I don’t think anyone else cares, so I won’t go any further with it.

You know what, there’s nothing hockey interesting to post here. So instead I’ll post Zach Galifianakis’ monologue from Saturday Night Live. He KILLED…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QnulJMA2FQ[/youtube]

Yeah. That’s better than hockey.

4. Women’s College Basketball: NCAA Tournament-St. Francis vs. Maryland (Sunday 12pm from Comcast Center live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com), Georgetown vs. Princeton (Sunday 2:30pm from Comcast Center live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com). More games Saturday-

While the Terrapins are involved, I’ll be paying attention to Women’s March Madness. In fact, I’ll probably even head down to College Park Sunday.

But if for some reason the season were to come to an end for the Terps, my interest in Women’s College Basketball would go right back to what it was before…

“What’s former UTEP star Claudia Lampe doing these days?”

UTEP

3. College Lacrosse: Denver @ Loyola (Wednesday 7pm from Ridley Athletic Complex live on AM1570 WNST), Loyola @ Air Force (Saturday 3pm from Colorado Springs, CO live on AM1570 WNST); UMBC @ Maryland (Friday 8pm from Byrd Stadium live on ABC 2 & ESPN3.com), St. Joseph’s @ Maryland (Sunday 1pm Byrd Stadium); Towson @ Navy (Tuesday 7pm Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium); Stony Brook @ Towson (Saturday 1pm Unitas Stadium); Johns Hopkins @ Syracuse (Saturday 6pm from Syracuse, NY live on ESPNU); SUNY Cortland @ Stevenson (Saturday 1pm Caves Athletic Complex)

What do you think the chances are that Greyhounds nation will let me ride out to Colorado with them for the game with the Falcons? I just want to be there for the flyover…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8k5b7Pzmy74[/youtube]

By the way, I think the Hounds will beat Air Force Saturday. I don’t know if I would feel the same way if they were playing against Ivan Korshunov from Air Force One…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1P1xOBvAyg[/youtube]

2. Mixed Martial Arts: UFC 128-Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Jon “Bones” Jones (Saturday 10pm from Newark, NJ live on Pay-Per-View); Bellator Fighting Championships 37 (Saturday 7pm from Concho, OK live on MTV2)

I would suggest Baltimore be rooting for Bones Jones Saturday night, as his brother is Ravens DT Arthur Jones.

With no offense to Tom Zbikowski-who I’m pulling for-I know for SURE Saturday night’s fight will be more fulfilling than watching Zibby laugh at the Tomato Can he was placed in the ring against…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TQIf9cMS_Y[/youtube]

If you’ve never seen Bones fight, he’s pretty freaking entertaining…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQqiilaj1rs[/youtube]

1. College Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Butler vs. Old Dominion (Thursday 12:40pm from Verizon Center live on TruTV), Pitt vs. UNC Asheville/Arkansas-Little Rock (Thursday 3:10pm from Verizon Center live on TruTV), UConn vs. Bucknell (Thursday 7:20pm from Verizon Center live on TNT), Cincinnati vs. Missouri (Thursday 9:50pm from Verizon Center live on TNT) Other games Thursday-Sunday live on CBS, TNT, TBS and TruTV

I don’t care how many networks show the NCAA Tournament as long as two things happen.

1-They ALL play this song…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4o_FZZ_Ccs[/youtube]

2-They somehow find a way to allow Gus Johnson to call every game…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkiM3tBJVhk[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 21 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Virginia Tech @ Maryland (Thursday 7:30pm Comcast Center); Boxing: Miguel Acosta vs. Brandon Rios (Saturday 10pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime), Friday Night Fights: Juan Carlos Burgos vs. Cristobal Cruz (Friday 9pm from Tulsa, Oklahoma live on ESPN2); Tennis: ATP Tour Delray Beach International Tennis Championships (Saturday 2pm & 7pm, Sunday 1pm & 3pm from Delray Beach, FL live on Tennis Channel), Abierto Mexicano Telcel (Wednesday 4pm & 8pm, Thursday 2pm & 8pm, Friday 6pm & 10pm, Saturday 10am from Acapulco, Mexico live on ESPN3.com), Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (Monday-Friday 5am & 10am, Saturday 10am from Dubai, United Arab Emirates live on ESPN3.com)

10. Bon Jovi (Sunday 7:30pm Verizon Center), Lady Gaga (Thursday 8pm Verizon Center); Pat Green (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live, Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Robert Cray Band (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); David Gray (Tuesday 7:30pm Strathmore); Charlie Murphy (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Pat McGee Band (Friday 7:30pm Birchmere); Ryan Cabrera (Monday 8pm Jammin’ Java); G. Love “Fixin To Die” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I saw Bon Jovi a few years ago at Jobing.com Arena in Glendale, Arizona. I was disappointed. He played country pop songs. I didn’t pay to see that. I actually didn’t pay at all. But if I had, THIS is what I would have wanted to see…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=40UQDEtRxp8[/youtube]

I like Pat McGee AND Pat Green. I also like Pat Sajak, but I don’t like Pat Boone necessarily.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzTL2woRzrI[/youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJWnIFlYKjs[/youtube]

Even our buddy Rob Fahey (of Ravyns fame) says he’s most impressed by David Gray of current musicians. That’s high praise…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMxfKuft8x4[/youtube]

And even without the “Special Sauce”, I’d recommend picking up the new G. Love…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCPH3dPQkIc[/youtube]

9. NBA: Indiana Pacers @ Washington Wizards (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Philadelphia 76ers (Wednesday 7pm from Philadelphia live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Miami Heat (Friday 7:30pm from Miami live on Comcast SportsNet), Dallas Mavericks @ Washington Wizards (Saturday 8pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS), Chicago Bulls @ Washington Wizards (Monday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

It used to be that when the Chicago Bulls would come to play the ‘Zards (or the Bullets, really), the games would actually mean something.

Now…they’re just the next team on the schedule…that will probably beat the Wizards.

That being said, they still have SOMETHING going for them…in fact, the best player in the history of NBA Jam…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkM0BE-Iu6M[/youtube]

Benny the Bull was better than Michael Jordan.

Probably a better golfer, too.

8. Auto Racing: NASCAR Subway Fresh Fit 500 (Sunday 3pm from Phoenix live on FOX)

With the fellas on the Sprint Cup Series headed into Arizona, I’d take a second to remind everyone that Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and company will have a few of their own “distractions” to deal with…

asu
asu
asu

I’ve had the water out there. There IS something in it.

7. Golf: WGC Accenture Match Play Championship (Wednesday 12pm, Thursday & Friday 2pm, Saturday 12pm, Sunday 9am live on Golf Channel; Saturday & Sunday 2pm live on NBC. All golf from Marana, AZ); PGA Tour Mayakoba Golf Classic at Riviera Maya-Cancun (Thursday-Saturday 6:30pm, Sunday 7pm from Playa del Carmen, Mexico live on Golf Channel); LPGA Tour HSBC Women’s Champions (Thursday & Friday 11am, Saturday 10am, Sunday 2pm from Singapore live on Golf Channel)

This will be the only week all year that I give half a crap about Golf. Why? Because I get to fill out brackets! You could put together a Pokemon card tournament-if it had brackets, I’d fill them out.

I mean, I’m not going to WATCH the thing…holy hell does that sound terrible. But I’ll check at the end of the day to see how my brackets hold up. And I’ll of course pick  Chi Chi Rodriguez to win. He’s going to have to break through one of these weeks.

6. NHL: New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS & NHL Network), Washington Capitals @ New York Islanders (Saturday 7pm from New York live on Comcast SportsNet)

Meanwhile, Glenn Clark will be making the trip up I-95 to Philly to see the Philadelphia Flyers become JUST ANOTHER VICTIM for the Phoenix FREAKING Coyotes, who enter the game winners of seven in a row!

It’s just a shame the game isn’t in Arizona, cause I’d love to hear the Black Keys pump through the Wells Fargo Center…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfYLr3IIVkQ[/youtube]

5. Monster Jam (Friday-Sunday 1st Mariner Arena)

Monster Jam is one of those events that comes around all the time that I have no REAL idea what it is and if it’s sorta white trash but really cool or REALLY white trash and only sorta cool.

Either way, I THINK Grave Digger is pretty cool….right???

gravedigger

4. Mixed Martial Arts: UFC 127-BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch (Saturday 10pm from Sydney, AUS on Pay-Per-View)

After the last card (Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort) and the next card (Jon “Bones” Jones vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua), I will admit that I’m not really all that upset that I’ll be missing this card while I’m in Indy.

But if I was a MMA writer/reporter headed Down Under, I know damn well I’d take a minute to seek out whoever Bliss N Eso are. Their Citizen Cope cover is pretty legit…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aCIfpZp7YcA[/youtube]

3. College Lacrosse: Loyola @ Towson (Saturday 12pm from Unitas Stadium live on ABC2/ESPN3.com/AM1570 WNST); Rutgers @ UMBC (Saturday 1pm UMBC Stadium); Siena @ Johns Hopkins (Saturday 1pm from Homewood Field live on ESPNU); Georgetown @ Maryland (Saturday 3pm from Byrd Stadium live on ESPNU); Mary Washington @ Stevenson (Wednesday 3pm Caves Athletic Complex), Kean @ Stevenson (Saturday 1pm Caves Athletic Complex)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I see “Georgetown” and “Maryland” next to each other, I can really only think about Keith Booth and Joe Smith. Hoyas fans probably won’t be happy for the reminder…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-WoPhVNffA[/youtube]

I guess I have one other memory. It involves Lonny Baxter and the NCAA Tournament if I remember correctly…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nda5RartfAw[/youtube]

2. College Basketball: Florida State @ Maryland (Wednesday 9pm from Comcast Center live on ACC Network-WNUV 54 locally), Maryland @ North Carolina (Sunday 7:45pm from Chapel Hill, NC live on Comcast SportsNet-Fox Sports Net nationally); Delaware State @ Morgan State (Wednesday 7pm Hill Field House), Morgan State @ North Carolina A&T (Monday 7pm from Greensboro, NC live on ESPNU); Drexel @ Towson (Saturday 4pm Towson Center)

I hope the Terps beat the snot out of the Seminoles Wednesday night. But I will admit that FSU will always have at least a small place in my (and Brett Favre’s) heart(s)…

sterger

Jenn Sterger wore a cowboy hat to a football game in Tallahassee five years ago and became a household name.

What a great country we live in.

1. College Football: NFL Scouting Combine (Thursday-Monday from Indianapolis live on NFL Network)

5.2 million people watched the Scouting Combine from LucasOil Stadium last year.

Of those 5.2 million, not a single one tuned in to see how Rich Eisen did in the 40 yard dash. But he did it anyway, and almost beat Ravens DT Terrence Cody!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar5nlv6ZPX0[/youtube]

That might seem surprising, but consider this…if hundreds of college-aged GIRLS were to descend upon a football stadium and run around in the underwear, how many MORE people would be watching?

You know, especially if one of them was SI swimsuit model Kate Upton…

upton

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Harvey Updyke Story Strikes at Nature of Rivalry in Sports

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Harvey Updyke Story Strikes at Nature of Rivalry in Sports

Posted on 17 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

There’s nothing in sports I enjoy more than rivalry.

I can honestly say that I became a sports fan growing up more because of the pageantry and tradition that I saw on display when I attended events than because of any of the athletic abilities I had the pleasure of witnessing.

As I’ve continued to follow sports both as a fan and analyst, there’s little I’ve enjoyed more than the nature of rivalry.

My father’s family has roots in Akron, Ohio. I fully understood growing up why Ohio State-Michigan was simply more important than any other game.

When Peyton Manning was at Tennessee, the youth minister at my church (David Robinson-now the minister at Community Christian Church in White Marsh) convinced me that nothing mattered more then when the Volunteers took on Florida. Given the results, maybe he shouldn’t have hyped these games up so much.

During the two years I was at KDUS in Phoenix, I dove fully into the Arizona-Arizona State “Territorial Cup” rivalry. I knew more about Chuck Cecil than any young man from Charm City would ever have a reason to.

But as someone who was born and lived in Baltimore for all but two of 27 years, there have been a few rivalries that have particularly stood out.

From 1995-1999, my life came to a halt whenever the Baltimore Orioles opened a series with the New York Yankees.

From 1999-2004, the Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans stole my attention unlike any other National Football League contest could.

But since 1992, I learned the nature of what the word “rivalry” really meant by watching the Maryland Terrapins take on the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils.

I had no idea at the time that most sports fans worldwide really didn’t consider any of those games I was losing sleep over to truly be “rivalries.”

The reality is that the much truer forms of rivalry in the area were embodied by Calvert Hall & Loyola, City & Poly and Maryland & Johns Hopkins lacrosse.

As an adult who has made his living in the sports industry, I have found myself particularly interested in three very true forms of rivalry.

Every year I make the trip to see Army battle Navy in football, whether I have covered any other Midshipmen games that season at all. I’ve argued that the Army-Navy Game is the greatest institution in all of sports, and I’ve yet to be convinced otherwise.

The hoops rivalry between Morgan State and Coppin State is of particular interest to me. My grandmother spent more than a decade as an English professor on Hillen Road, and I waited a long time in my life to see the resurgence of the Bears’ basketball program that Todd Bozeman has provided. That being said, I view Fang Mitchell as a pillar of this city’s sports community and someone who deserves the admiration and respect of anyone who calls this place home.

But clearly the rivalry that I am most involved with is the rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens that many NFL pundits now believe is amongst the best the sport has to offer.

As the Ravens prepared to visit Heinz Field this January for their AFC Divisional Round playoff game, Drew Forrester and I tossed around a notion of “making a sacrifice” in hopes of seeing the Ravens get over the hump against their rivals from the Steel City. We agreed one day on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST that we would march with sandwich boards of gratitude at the Royal Farms on Providence Road in Towson should the Ravens be victorious.

We all know the outcome of January’s playoff game. Drew and I never made such a sacrifice.

During our week of Super Bowl XLV coverage from the Sheraton in Dallas, Texas; Drew, Nestor Aparicio and I found ourselves frustrated by the number of former Steelers who were parading around Radio Row and celebrating another AFC Championship, even if their team would go on to fail to claim a seventh Vince Lombardi Trophy.

We often remarked, “this is what happens when the Ravens can’t beat the Steelers.”

As we thought about next year’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, I asked a question that didn’t necessarily have an obvious answer.

“What could we do as a civic group to help the Ravens get past the Steelers this year.”

I’m well aware of how goofy that question sounds, but I was genuinely wondering if there was something we could do as a fanbase to lift the Ravens up. The public outcry regarding the return of Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron wasn’t quite what I had in mind.

My question was dismissed, as we all know that it will be the players and coaches that will decide whether or not the Ravens can finally get past their AFC North rivals.

But in Alabama this week, a story has been made public regarding how one fan decided to take the “Iron Bowl” rivalry into his own hands.

By now, you’ve probably heard the story of Harvey Almorn Updyke, who was arrested for criminal mischief in connection to the poisoning of the famous “Toomer’s Corner” trees at Auburn. Toomer’s Corner is the traditional gathering spot for Tigers fans to celebrate a big win, as fans would cover the trees in toilet paper. You can see an example of such a celebration in this YouTube video following Auburn’s BCS Championship Game win over Oregon in January…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iso55KnPCXc[/youtube]

The Auburn-Alabama rivalry apparently meant so much to Updyke that he (allegedly) decided he needed to take things into his own hands.

Updyke is believed to have phoned into the Paul Finebaum radio show (Finebaum is a media mogul in SEC Country) January 27 under the name “Al from Dadesville” announcing he had taken herbicide to the trees. He ended his call by saying simply “Roll Damn Tide.”

Updyke has since claimed in court that he was not responsible for the poisoning of the trees.

The crime has been met with mixed reactions by Crimson Tide fans. Some have denounced the activity, but others have stood behind the action as a statement in the heated rivalry. In fact, National Football Post pointed out Thursday that “Free Harvey Updyke” t-shirts are now available

updyke

The entire situation is interesting to me. As someone who loves the nature of a rivalry, I can’t help but enjoy rivalry pranks. When the Army Cadets steal “Bill the Goat” from Annapolis, I find humor. When rival high schools paint logos on each others’ campus, I tend to believe the kids involved should be absolved from punishment.

But rivalry can certainly cross a line into a violent, unacceptable area. Just two weeks ago, a City-Edmondson game was stopped in the second half due to violence between rival fans in the Baltimore gymnasium.

That’s clearly unacceptable.

The Updyke case is interesting. The alleged actions are deemed as criminal, so they cannot possibly be passed off as “acceptable” or as part of the nature of a rivalry.

But I wonder how we would feel today if we were Alabama fans.

Listener John from Towson, Ozzie Newsome, Jarret Johnson and Le’Ron McClain are notable Baltimoreans who ARE Alabama fans. WJZ-TV’s Marty Bass has a daughter in Tuscaloosa himself.

I haven’t reached out to anyone in that group yet because that’s not necessarily the nature of the column.

The bigger question is whether or not we would support similar activity should it be based in the Ravens-Steelers rivalry.

As the Steel City is by no means aesthetically pleasing, it’s not necessarily a fair comparison.

But if there were a park…or a field…or a garden that Steelers fans revered, would we celebrate should it meet a demise at the hands of a Ravens fan?

I’d like to think I wouldn’t, but I’m not sure.

We’ve all seen the pictures of a Ravens fan urinating on the grave of former Baltimore Colts owner Bob Irsay in Indy. While I have stated that I would never support or participate in such actions, I also would be sympathetic in a response. Should someone have been arrested in connection to the pictures, I would probably be of the opinion that the guilty party deserved some form of leniency, as the nature of sports rivalry can sometimes lead to lewd, maybe even despicable behavior.

I don’t believe it’s necessarily okay for a Ravens fan to urinate on the grave of Robert Irsay, but I don’t believe there should be severe punishment for someone who did.

So if Baltimore had it’s own “Harvey Updyke”, I’m not sure how I would feel.

Would I see him as a renegade who committed a shameful act regardless of my overwhelming support for the Ravens and disdain for the Steelers?

Or would I see him as a folk hero of sorts, who didn’t hurt anyone but made a memorable statement in the history of a sports rivalry.

The rivalry between the Ravens and the Steelers will NEVER be as intense as the rivalry between Auburn and Alabama, so it might not be a fair comparison. But it’s an interesting discussion point nonetheless.

I’d like to think I would denounce the activity…but I can’t say for sure that I would.

-G

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