Posted on 16 September 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 18 August 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 16 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
It goes without saying that Baltimore isn’t quite yet embracing this 2012 version of Baltimore Orioles pennant fever. No matter how dramatic the victories or how unlikely this late August run for postseason glory seems, nothing about The Birds has moved the sports fans of Maryland.
Even into the great beyond via the long reach of MASN – not to mention the reach into your pockets every month like a public utility – for whatever reason people aren’t coming back in droves to give King Peter Angelos their money to watch the likes of Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and even boy wonder Manny Machado, who has been worth the price of admission alone this week.
Oh, I know I’m being “Negative Nestor” by even writing this blog when the Orioles are winning baseball games and on the verge of a sweep of the hated Boston Red Sox. But every time the TV cameras pan the more than half-empty stadium, I can’t help but thinking the same thing you’re thinking: “I wonder why people aren’t going to Camden Yards to support this winning team?”
Yeah, we all thought Camden Yards would be packed once the Orioles started winning. And as the team closes a 10-game homestand tonight in full control of a wild card berth and still within striking distance of the New York Yankees, a true “pennant fever” atmosphere has yet to emerge in Baltimore.
It seems that a few months of prosperity hasn’t wiped out 14 years of bad vibes, bad baseball, steroid needles, lies from the owner and the emergence of the Washington Nationals as the regional team with marketing legs and, dare we say, “Natitude.”
And here’s where we’ll piss off both side of the Baltimore fence.
I have one question for you: “Are you excited about the Baltimore Ravens’ upcoming season?”
My gut is that you just yelled, “YES!”
My gut also says that your neighbor is excited, your cousins, your co-workers, the folks in your social group – wherever your friends and loved ones reside — they’re ready to don purple and are counting down the minutes until the 7 p.m. kickoff on Monday, Sept. 10 vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.
I’m not sure when it became sort of fashionable to only support one of the two teams in Baltimore and perhaps for the younger generation there has never been a good time to embrace the Orioles. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m ready for Ravens’ season and that my love for the purple guys has superseded my spirit and energy for the Orioles. But I do love them both. And I will support them both equally for what it means for Baltimore to have a winning sports team and a chance to hang red, white and blue bunting here in October.
And, somehow during this emergence of the purple birds of Baltimore since 1996, this weird kind of divide has occurred here in the Charm City where some folks only have enough “love” – if not dollars and time and energy – for one of the two teams.
Do you know people who love the Orioles and have no use for football or the Ravens? Almost to the point where they root against the purple birds in football season?
And, conversely, from what I can tell there are a myriad of people everywhere around town who are fervent Baltimore Ravens fans and have long-since given up following the Orioles on a nightly basis, even now that the team on the field is representative of the community’s desire for hard work, overachieving and beating the Yankees and Red Sox.
I know many, many people who have purple “Man Caves” – an entire kingdom and closets dedicated to all things Baltimore Ravens. There are whole stores like The Raven Zone dedicated to selling merchandise year-round.
I don’t know anyone who has a basement that is an homage to the Orioles these days, despite the fact that you get 162 chances to enjoy games vs. just 16 that count.
I also admit that the amount of hours necessary to follow the Orioles is extraordinary. It’s a lifestyle commitment to watch four hours of baseball six nights a week for six months. It’s almost like a full-time job if you’re going to vest into MLB fandom.
And certainly this isn’t a new phenomenon for sports teams anywhere in America. It seems that there’s plenty of love for all four sports teams in places like Boston, Philadelphia, etc. where the seasons and the reasons all seem to blur together into a full calendar of activity and passion.
But it might be time to ask, “Where’s the emotional investment for Baltimore fans?”
Is it possible that you only have room in your heart — or wallet — for one successful local team?
Posted on 30 January 2012 by WNSTV
Shannon Sharpe dropped by our Indianapolis set on Radio Row to discuss a myriad of topics including Tim Tebow, Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco, John Elway and the pending retirement status of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
First, it’s Tebow and Manning…
Then, it’s all Baltimore Ravens talk here:
Posted on 25 January 2012 by Nestor Aparicio
As much as the loss to the Patriots stung me and everyone else in the Baltimore purple tribe, believe it or not I left the stadium with some sort of inner peace that hasn’t allowed me to cry, bellyache or bemoan the efforts of this year’s team.
All of you know I’m in the locker room, asking questions, posting videos, texting and Tweeting and Facebooking all sorts of insights, observations, jokes and information from Baltimore Ravens’ games.
This was the last thing on my video reel after the game — before Drew Forrester and Luke Jones joined me on the field to recap the game and the missed Billy Cundiff field goal reenactment by our morning show host.
As Luke and I walked out of Gillette Stadium and through the purple confetti our final words were: “If Ray Lewis can find peace with this game 15 minutes after it’s over then maybe we should find a way as well.”
Watch this video. I think it might change your mood…it certainly changed ours!
Posted on 22 January 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 18 January 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 11 January 2012 by WNSTV
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Posted on 27 December 2011 by Nestor Aparicio
It’s all come down to this for the Jekyll and Hyde Baltimore Ravens of 2011 – win on the first day of 2012 in Cincinnati or have the season quickly turn into a month-long road journey that has claimed many wildcard victims along the way in the NFL over the years.
We all know the stakes – a Ravens win over the Bengals would earn Baltimore a much-needed two weeks of rest, relaxation and home-cooking while four other AFC teams (including the dreaded Pittsburgh Steelers) have to pack, play and win on the first weekend of 2012 with nothing but airplanes and hotels in their futures.
An unthinkable loss in Cincy – like the ones the Ravens have suffered four times this season against just three road wins – and the local heroes will be stuck on a week-to-week road journey that almost certainly would destroy their Super Bowl chances in Indianapolis for early February.
After all, the theory goes, if you can’t beat the Bengals in Cincinnati where they can’t even sell their own pseudo-playoff tickets, how could the Ravens go to Denver or Oakland and then Pittsburgh and New England and win three straight NFL games on the road in January?
So it all comes down to Cincinnati on Sunday for the Ravens to have any odds we’d all like for them to win the Super Bowl.
The most important roadtrip in Baltimore Ravens’ history?
Sure, I think we can make that case, especially given the stakes of the bye and the home-field advantage that the Ravens can execute with a victory over upstart quarterback Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
Several key injuries have made this game in Cincy look even more formidable, considering the limps and gimps on both sides of the football for the Ravens. Losing David Reed for the remainder of the season will put a crimp into the special teams efforts moving forward but the Ravens’ entire squad has looked more like an infirmary the past few weeks with a series of injuries affecting the roster.
The most serious this week will be the chest contusion suffered by Marshal Yanda, who is their most effective offensive lineman and a key cog in the Ravens’ desire to run the ball with Ray Rice and Ricky Williams. Coach John Harbaugh was unusually direct in his statements regarding the situation with Yanda but the Ravens will plug in Andre Gurode if necessary and attempt to win in Cincinnati.
As the axiom in the game goes “No one is healthy at this time of the season” but with the Ravens it’s even more severe because of how these untimely losses will affect the offense, which has been inconsistent even when all its parts have been on the field.
Just when it appears Lee Evans gets healthy, the Ravens lose Anquan Boldin.
Just when Ray Lewis gets back on the field, the Ravens lose Dannell Ellerbe.
Just when Lardarius Webb gets back onto the field in one piece, the Ravens lose Cary Williams with a concussion.
And let’s not get started on the Billy Cundiff injury and the tough decisions Harbaugh and the coaching staff will have making a decision on who will be kicking the most important three-pointers of the season for the franchise — the now questionable Cundiff or former Bengals kicker Shayne Graham, who looked strong vs. Cleveland last Saturday.
But excuses and injuries will fall on deaf ears with the Baltimore Ravens’ fan base if the Ravens come back from Cincinnati late Sunday night staring at a three-week roadtrip beginning somewhere West – Oakland or Denver – and they might even have to play that game in just five days given the wildcard Saturday starts.
And while some teams – including last year’s version of the Green Bay Packers – could survive that kind of grind and win a Super Bowl title, it would take someone far more gullible than me to think that a team that struggled to a 3-5 road finish this year and coming off a loss in Cincinnati would be considered a real threat to run the table with three straight road victories going through the likes of Pittsburgh and New England in back-to-back weeks.
And while the clock ticks on the football careers of the likes of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Matt Birk – did anyone say last and best chance for a championship in Baltimore? – it’s easy for me to write that this game in Cincinnati is indeed the most important roadtrip in Ravens’ history.
The Ravens have never played a bigger regular season game or one with higher stakes than this New Year’s Day game of poker in Cincinnati.
Undefeated at home in a perfect 8-0 run this season, the Ravens are now going to finally have to show that they have the heart of a champion in southern Ohio on Sunday.