Tag Archive | "Roberto Alomar"

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Wieters, Markakis grab first Gold Glove awards

Posted on 02 November 2011 by Luke Jones

For the first time since 1998, the Orioles have claimed multiple Gold Glove awards as catcher Matt Wieters and right fielder Nick Markakis each became first-time recipients when Rawlings named their 2011 recipients late Tuesday night.

The 25-year-old Wieters is the first Orioles catcher to claim the award after throwing out 37 percent of runners attempting to steal and being named to his first All-Star team this season. The catcher committed five errors and had one passed ball in 132 games this year. His .995 fielding percentage tied for the American League lead among catchers.

Markakis earned his first Gold Glove after committing the first error-free season by an Orioles outfielder playing at least 150 games. His 14 outfield assists was fifth in the American League. Since 2006, Markakis ranks second in the majors with 72 outfield assists, with only Jeff Francoeur (84) having more.

The 27-year-old outfielder is the third Orioles outfielder to receive the honor, joining Paul Blair (1967, 1969-1975) and Adam Jones (2009).

Wieters and Markakis became the 14th and 15th players in franchise history to win a Gold Glove. This season marks the 17th time the Orioles have received multiple winners but the first since 1998 when Roberto Alomar, Rafael Palmeiro, and Mike Mussina were named Gold Glove winners.

Since the award was created in 1957, the Orioles have earned 61 Gold Gloves, second-most in the American League behind the New York Yankees (63).

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Since I Already Know You, I Guess I Don’t Need to “Get To Know You”

Posted on 18 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

I’ve taken a number of jobs in my short radio career.

Having gone from station to station, format to format, time slot to time slot and market to market, I’ve had more than one occasion in my life where I’ve had to say something along the lines of “hi, I’m the new guy.”

In this case, I’m grateful because I don’t feel as though that will be necessary this time.

As you may have heard Thursday morning on “The Morning Reaction” with Drew Forrester and Luke Jones or read in Nestor Aparicio’s column today at WNST.net, there’s a change in my life.

After more than three years of getting up early and hanging out with Drew, I’ve been rewarded with an opportunity to sleep in a bit.

I have taken over as the afternoon show host (2-6pm) on Sports Talk 1570 WNST.

I’m incredibly excited.

As I’ve shared multiple times, I was a WNST listener when I was younger. Before I realized “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio was the father of one of my classmates (and friends) at Perry Hall High School, I had been handed a “Get Nasty” sign and was familiar with Charm City’s most well known sports talk host.

My familiarity as a WNST listener made my decision to leave KDUS in Phoenix much easier a few years back.

This is the next step for me, and I’m looking forward to it. I’m grateful for the time I’ve been able to spend with Drew every morning for the last few years, and for everyone else in the WNST family (and the numerous others I’ve worked with during my time) for everything they’ve taught me.

As my headline would indicate, the fact that I’ve been able to get to know you guys means I don’t think you need to know much more about me.

I listen to a lot of O.A.R. & Robert Randolph. I’m much too defensive about Roberto Alomar & Gary Williams. I’ve never met a fruit-flavored craft beer I didn’t at least try if not immediately add to the collection. I’m probably going to get banned from Chick-Fil-A Nottingham Square at some point soon because I spend more time there than I do my own home.

You probably knew all of that.

I have plenty of other thoughts that I’ll be looking forward to share moving forward.

I have a few simple thoughts about local sports radio.

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Angelos / Alomar and the Business of Baseball

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Angelos / Alomar and the Business of Baseball

Posted on 25 July 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Friday was a great day on the Mobtown Sports Beat, if I am allowed to say so myself. And before I go any further, big thanks to Glenn Clark, Ryan Chell, Ryan Baumohl and the rest of the WNST production team for putting together one heck of a trip down memory lane. It’s been an eventful first year on the Mobtown Sports Beat, and while I marvel at the efforts of the production staff each and every day, they should be especially proud of their quick reactions to Gary Williams’ retirement and to John Mackey’s passing, and of their tribute to Roberto Alomar, Pat Gillick and the 1996-1997 Orioles on Friday. (Highlights are in the audio vault, and I’d encourage all to check them out.)

While celebrating the Orioles most recent stint as a legitimate contender, it was difficult not to contrast the feelings that surrounded that team with those of the present state of Oriole fandom. That however was the intention on Friday, and for the most part I think we did okay with it.

 

Although I was always appreciative of Alomar’s skills, I was amazed on Friday to hear the number of players, coaches and front office personnel that gave deference to Alomar not only as the best 2nd baseman they had ever seen, but as the best baseball player they had ever seen…period.

 

Strolling down memory lane however brings with it the inevitable realization that those days are long past, and that the likelihood of their return seems further away than ever. And as we’ve attempted at length to quantify how fast and how far the state of Orioles baseball has devolved, and surmise the reasons why, there’s an Alomar angle at least worth investigating.

 

There’s no denying that for at least one glimmer in time, in the reign of Peter Angelos, the Orioles were a team that was built and rebuilt to win, and appeared on the fast track to recapturing the “Oriole Way”. There’s also no denying that somewhere along the way all of that changed completely.

 

What’s debatable are when, why and how exactly things fell apart. There are truly a myriad of contributing factors to the downward spiral that has been the last 13 years of Orioles baseball, and an equal number of theories as to which are the real reasons. My conspiracy-minded viewpoints are fairly well documented by now, but in a nutshell here’s what I think.

 

In the early years of Angelos, he was a fan and ran the team as such. He spent money, showed face and chirped with pride at restoring the proud Baltimore tradition. Angelos and the Orioles may have ushered in an era of ballpark economics using the windfall that was Camden Yards to spend the team into contention. While OPACY was a nice gift to the O’s from the city, Angelos’ purchase price already had the new park factored in. The O’s has a sweetheart deal, and operated as such, until the Ravens came to town and showed the O’s what a sweetheart deal really was.

 

Baltimore essentially had to bend over backward to accommodate the cash strapped Browns and lure them to Baltimore. While most saw this as a necessary evil, and worth the price to return football to Baltimore, surely Angelos and the O’s saw it as inequity.

 

Here’s where the theory gets a little hairy, as the next part of the devolution of Orioles baseball (in my conspiracy laden opinion) was the eminent relocation of the Expos. As the saga of the Expos unwound in Montreal, it became clear that relocation was in order. What also became clear was that unlike the NFL, for which cities have routinely clamored and cut one another’s throats, MLB didn’t seem to have a lot of markets interested and economically stable enough to support a baseball team. Although MLB drug their feet for 3 long years before deciding on DC, it seemed apparent pretty early on that DC was going to be the only good choice.

 

A good choice that is, for everyone except Angelos and the Orioles. Already over their heads financially in the toughest division in sports, surely the O’s couldn’t sustain the halving of their market. Surely the fans wouldn’t stand for it.

 

While the fans didn’t exactly stand for it, they didn’t much stand against it either. The state of Maryland started thinking about ways to build the DC stadium in MD and bring in some additional revenue for themselves. The network partners at CSN saw dollar signs too and the chance at having another team to add to their lineup.

 

Angelos, left to fight the battle himself seemed to quickly surmise that logic dictated a team in DC would be disastrous for the O’s, but also seemed to concede that making that case to MLB would be tough while drawing 48,000 fans per night. This, in my opinion, brought about the summary destruction of the O’s.

 

While the conspiracy seems a bit over the top, and while there are surely loose ends to be tied up therein, the effort at anti-marketing by the team from 1999 on seems impossible to ignore. Season ticket holders, used to getting near weekly correspondence from the club saw it dissipate and eventually all but go away. The ballpark experience, across the board seemed less than in previous years with overbearing ushers and a catering to out of town fans. I may have the what’s and why’s wrong entirely, but here’s no denying the O’s tried to chase the fans away… and they succeeded at it too.

 

As this theory took shape in my head, it became therapeutic to some degree, as there was always the underlying memory that Angelos was a fan of the team and used to operate them as such. I expected that after the Expos’ business was settled, for better or for worse, the O’s would get back to trying to compete. Yet here we are, now years removed from the Expos’ relocation and the settlement with CSN, and as it relates to the deal the O’s negotiated with MLB, surely things worked out for the O’s about as well as could have been expected (outside of not having a team in DC at all) financially, and yet the O’s have made little or no effort at winning back the fans, or winning at all for that matter.

 

Somewhere along the way it would seem that whatever his original intentions may have been, Peter Angelos learned that baseball is simply a business and one that has become quite profitable for a team that has found its niche being routinely sacrificed to teams with real designs on winning ballgames. The O’s are cleaning up while playing the role of the Washington Generals of the AL East.

 

So back to the Alomar tie in: Fans will be fans, their whimsies change as the team’s fortunes change, and that’s to be expected. Likewise businessmen are businessmen, and that politicians and network executives saw ways to make money if not at the Orioles’ expense, at least despite them again should not be surprising. Ballplayers though are another matter altogether, and while Angelos was clearly a fan of the Orioles and ran the team in that way, he was also it seemed a fan of ballplayers. Maybe it was the ballplayers reminding Angelos that baseball was a business more than anything else that drove the point home for him once and for all.

 

While Angelos was a fan of his ballplayers and seemed to take care of them accordingly, it’s arguable that he never felt that fandom reciprocated or that respect appreciated. There were those who surmised that after Angelos’ infamous decision not to field a strike team to begin the 1995 season would make him a hero of sorts with players across baseball and that they’d think fondly of the O’s when contemplating free agent decisions. That never seemed to materialize, or to last.

 

When David Wells left the O’s to become a member of the rival Yankees it had to sting a bit, but Wells, a baseball historian and notable Babe Ruth fan came by his decision easily and honestly. With Alomar however, things seemed different.

 

There was no doubt that Angelos was fond of Alomar, even protective of him, possibly to the detriment of the team. While many felt the lingering aftermath of spit-gate cost the Orioles calls and games for years to come, it could be argued that Angelos proclamation in backing up Alomar and offering to pay him through his MLB mandated suspension may have made the bigger and more lasting ripples for the team moving forward. Angelos went to bat again for Alomar at the end of the 1997 season firing manager Davey Johnson over a disagreement over an Alomar fine. Yet long before Alomar reached free agency at the end of 1998, in fact long before the Johnson firing in 1997, it seemed all but a foregone conclusion that Alomar would be off to join his brother in Cleveland at his first chance to do so. For all of the goodwill that Angelos had shown Alomar during his 3-year tenure in Baltimore, Alomar it seemed always had one eye on the door, and defected to the rival Indians on top of it.

 

Raphael Palmeiro may have proven an example of this too. The O’s sort of fell into Palmeiro’s services for the 1994 season when the Rangers elected to sign Will Clark without negotiating with Palmeiro, the incumbent at first base. Upon signing with the O’s Palmeiro had a few choice words for his former employers in Texas, citing no love lost. Still, after one of the most successful free agent campaigns in history, Palmeiro returned to Texas and the Rangers who spurned him 5 seasons earlier without reservation.

 

Palmeiro it seems, never quite understood how Baltimore could pack in 48,000 fans per night yet never come up with enough votes to get him starts in the All-Star games, and quite simply went for the cash grab and return to familiar surroundings.

 

So by the end of 1998, for his efforts at being a player’s owner and a fan’s owner, Angelos had an overpaid and overmatched team in a top heavy division to which the fans couldn’t relate, a new neighbor at the Camden Yards complex with a much better financial deal than his own, an eminent baseball neighbor poised to split his market in half, and all of the salvageable talent still on the team defecting for greener pastures, bigger paydays and changes of scenery. And we wonder where the fan that used to own the team has gone?

 

As baseball opens its hallowed halls and celebrates Roberto Alomar while eschewing an otherwise deserving Palmeiro based on steroid allegations, so closes the last chapter of competitive baseball in Baltimore to date. And while both left their indelible marks on that last glorious chapter in innumerable positive ways, each may also have contributed in their own ways to its demise as well. And baseball in Baltimore is business…as usual.

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To everyone who contributed to ’96-’97 Orioles celebration: Thanks and No Thanks

Posted on 23 July 2011 by Peter Dilutis

Glenn Clark and Thyrl Nelson had an awesome idea Friday in the midst of another losing season for the O’s and a strange “no football” period for the Ravens and NFL.

They spent a whole day honoring the 1996 and 1997 Orioles teams that exhilarated Baltimore with their playoff runs and exciting, hard-nosed baseball.

During the celebration yesterday, Nestor tweeted the following @WNST.

Nestor: This 96-97  conversation  is great & awful. Awesome memories, makes me realize how f**ked up current state of team is

Say what you want about Nestor’s opinion on the Orioles, Angelos, baseball, whatever…But I agree with that statement 100%. I was more depressed about the state of Orioles baseball last night than I have been in quite some time.

I heard a guy in B.J. Surhoff call in who just cared so much about winning that he really didn’t care about anything else. A guy who would be ticked off when he looked at his stat-line and saw that he was hitting .280. Someone who desperately wanted to be in Baltimore, and who cried when he was traded in a mismanaged fire-sale. Say what you want about his second stint with the Orioles, but the 2011 version of the Birds could sure use a few Surhoff’s.

We also heard from Sammy Perlozzo on Friday. Sam dedicated his life to coaching baseball, and was a mainstay either in the O’s third base coaching box or on the bench as the bench coach. He gets a well-deserved promotion to manager in 2005, and he is gone in less than two years. Maybe he wasn’t cut out to be a manager, but no one could have succeeded in the mess that was the 2006 and 2007 Orioles. No one. Sam, a Maryland native, has moved on to more winning ways as a coach on the Phillies’ staff.

Look at one of the main individuals that we celebrated yesterday in Pat Gillick. The guy is a Hall of Fame General Manager. Hall of Fame. Yeah, that Hall of Fame.

Peter Angelos thought he knew more about baseball than him. He really did. He didn’t allow Gillick to trade Bobby Bonilla and David Wells, believing the O’s had a playoff push in them. They did, and from then on, Angelos felt he had the pedigree to “assist’ his front office decision makers regarding baseball decisions. That line of thinking has led to the pitiful demise of the last 14 seasons.

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Celebrating Alomar and Gillick with Top 10 96-97 O’s Moments

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

On Friday’s edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST, Thyrl Nelson and I celebrated Sunday’s Cooperstown Hall of Fame inductions of Roberto Alomar and Pat Gillick with a four hour tribute to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

During the show, I named my Top 10 moments during that special run in O’s history. As I explained last week, these Birds represented “The Only Magic I’ve Ever Known.”

(I didn’t include Jeffrey Maier or the season ending games in either season on this list. These were the memories we WANT to remember.)

10. Ripken passes Kinugasa (June 15, 1996)

ripkenkinugasu

When Cal Ripken played in his 2,216th consecutive game in Kansas City, he already owned the record for consecutive games played.

If he had stopped at 2,210 consecutive games, there would have been no argument that he didn’t hold the record.

With no offense to Sachio Kinugasa, but nothing that happens in Japan can be fairly compared to anything in Major League Baseball. When Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig in 1995, the record was his.

That being said, the fact that Kinugasa was able to attend the game at Kauffman Stadium made the warm June night pretty special. The evident connection between the two men made the night even more fun for baseball fans.

If you ever get the chance to chat with CSNBaltimore.com writer (and longtime Baltimore Sun columnist) John Eisenberg about this night, please do. The stories are a LOT of fun. I’d tell you myself, but they aren’t my stories.

9. Mussina NEARLY perfect (May 30, 1997)

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I have never been more captivated by watching a baseball game than I was that Friday night.

At the time, Home Team Sports (HTS) was still a premium channel on Comcast in Baltimore County. Friday night games however were regularly available over the air (most on WNUV 54), allowing 8th graders like myself to sit at home and watch the games instead of hanging out with our friends.

I’ll never forgive Sandy Alomar for the hit that he managed off Mike Mussina in the 9th inning that night. His brother is my baseball idol, but his name is evil in my mind.

There’s been only one Orioles no-hitter in my lifetime (a combined effort from Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson in 1991), never a solo no-hitter. I’ve seen the Orioles no-hit themselves a couple of times, but I’ve never seen an Orioles pitcher throw a no-no.

I really thought I was going to that night.

8. Wire to wire (September 25, 1997)

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With their 9-3 defeat of the Blue Jays at the building formerly known as SkyDome, the O’s clinched their first AL East title since 1983.

More significantly, they became only the sixth team in MLB history to win the division title going “wire to wire”, in first place from Opening Day to Game 162.

It was a remarkable run for the Birds, although 14 year old Glenn Clark may not have fully realized how significant it was because he was too worried about playoff matchups and hoping to avoid the Yankees in the ALCS.

He got his way. Unfortunately it didn’t end up making much of a difference.

7. Brady gets 50 (September 29, 1996)

bradya

The legacy of Brady Anderson’s 50 home run season in 1996 can certainly be labeled as “clouded” at best.

That being said, whether the 50 home run campaign (which concluded with a dinger on the season’s final day in Toronto) was aided by substance or simply a result of a former leadoff hitter “reaching his athletic opus”, it still stands as the only time in Orioles history a player has reached the mark.

(Frank Robinson previously held the team record with 49.)

Despite the rumors, following Brady’s home run exploits in 1996 was fun for Orioles fans-especially the stretch were he lead off four straight games by going yard.

And no matter how we felt about it, there’s little chance the Orioles make a run to the ALCS in 1996 without those 50 home runs.

6. A walk off slam (May 17, 1996)

hoiles

Anderson’s “moment” was a season in the making. The Ripken “moment” was nearly 14 years in the making.

Hoiles’ “moment”? Roughly one swing in the making.

The Orioles trailed the Seattle Mariners 13-10 in the 9th inning. What happened next was something I had practiced in my back yard roughly 160,000,000,000 times.

With two outs, the bases loaded and a 3-2 count (of COURSE it was a 3-2 count), Chris Hoiles hit what can only be described as the MOST ultimate of “ultimate grand slams.”

Thank God I hadn’t stopped watching that night.

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Pat Gillick

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Former O’s GM and 2011 HOF Inductee Pat Gillick: “I enjoyed the three years that I was in BAL…I just hope that the tradition can continue”

Posted on 18 July 2011 by Ryan Chell

Pat Gillick

Wherever Pat Gillick went to offer his services as general manager,  he left that team a winner.

And usually after his departure, the winning went with him as evidenced by the playoff droughts of three of the four clubs he ran in Seattle, Toronto, and of course, Baltimore.

But, his 27- year run making personnel decisions certainly caught the eye of his former associates in Cooperstown, as  Gillick was named to the 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame by his former comrades in the Veterans Committee.

He will be formally inducted on Sunday along with one of his former players in second baseman Roberto Alomar, but before then, he joined Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to talk about what an honor it is to be considered a Hall of Famer.

In fact, he felt like his time would have to wait considering the loss of longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner last July.

“I was very stunned when I got the call that I was going into the Hall of Fame,” Gillick said. “I never thought it would happen until it actually did. I thought that Steinbrenner would get in. But, I was stunned and and very humbled.”

Like Alomar, Gillick will be inducted as a Toronto Blue Jay-who he brought five division titles and two world championships from 1985-1993.

But, Gillick was quick to point out to Nelson that his time in Baltimore from 1995-1998 was just as special to him, and said that he cherished his time in Charm City the most because of the relationships he built.

He told Nelson that he’s hurting right now along with the rest of Oriole Nation wanting the Birds to recapture their past success when he was making the baseball decisions.

“I enjoyed the three years that I was in Baltimore and the fans were great, “Gillick told Nelson. “That was a great time. Since I left, I just hope that the tradition can continue.”

Gillick-who was GM of four MLB franchises along with the Orioles including the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, and Philadelphia Phillies-has brought three championship trophies (two with Toronto in 1992-1993, one with Philadelphia in 2008) home in his management career and came close to World Series title runs on several more occasions.

A few of those instances included ALCS runs for the Orioles in 1996 and 1997-the last time Baltimore’s made the playoffs, and again reaching back-to-back league championship games with Seattle in 2000 and 2001.

The 2001 Mariners team tied a major-league record with 116 regular season wins, but failed to bring home a World Series title in both years.

Gillick said that in most cases, it would have taken him longer to get a team like the Orioles to playoff contention in the mid 90’s, but he said the team’s composition was in excellent shape and was ready for him to move right in and put a winning team together.

“I was very fortunate that the club had a very good nucleus,” Gillick said. “I just had to fill in the pieces. Anderson, Ripken, and Mussina were already here. So, I just tried to find the pieces to compliment them.”

One of those pieces was a winning manager who had been there before-Davey Johnson.

On the field, it was Gillick who pulled some strings toward getting one of  his former players in Toronto in Roberto Alomar-who he was paired with from 1991-1995 and won 2 World Series titles with-to come to Baltimore for a playoff run.

It was all about the relationships he built previously with guys like Alomar that made his job that much easier, Gillick said.

“With Alomar, I had a history with him,” Gillick said.And that was something that put it over the top. It’s really just finding the right part to fit with the established players already. Give the right players to the manager and get the right mix in the clubhouse.”

Gillick didn’t think twice to call Alomar the best second baseman he has ever seen, and he had some other good second baseman in Seattle with Bret Boone and Chase Utley in Philadelphia.

Now he’ll be re-united with him yet again this weekend receiving one of baseball’s most prestigious honor.

In fact, while Gillick said he could have waited to get into Cooperstown, he was insulted that Alomar didn’t get in his first year of eligibility in 2009.

“I think the incident against Toronto really affected him going in last time,” Gillick said. “He should have been first-ballot. He is the best second baseman I have ever seen.”

WNST thanks Pat Gillick for joining us and congratulates him for being inducted into Cooperstown! Check out the conversation at the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault and be sure to tune into Friday’s Mobtown Sports Beat as we devote the entire show to Pat and Roberto! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Remembering Only “Magic” I’ve Known

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

I know just how frustrating the 2011 season has been for Baltimore Orioles fans.

I also know how frustrating the 2010 season was. And 2009. And 2008. And 2007. And 2006. And…I think you get the point.

I was born on September 6, 1983. Just over a month later (October 16) the O’s vanquished the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 to claim their third (and still most recent) World Series title. Despite being alive for 40 days when it happened, I’m ashamed to say I have no memories of the title.

The 1989 Birds were a special group. I’ve watched the “Why Not” video a number of times in my life, mostly thanks to my friends BJ and Chris Appel. While they finished short of winning the American League East crown, the team has left many folks in Charm City with special memories.

Unfortunately, I had just turned six years old when the season was cut short. My memories of the ’89 Orioles are extremely limited, and the team itself really didn’t mean much to me as a baseball fan.

I’ve made it quite clear that I am much more of a lacrosse person than I am a baseball person. I’ve made it obvious that certain things about baseball in recent years have made me turn from the game. That’s been made worse by the fact that the team here in Baltimore has given me almost nothing to enjoy for nearly 15 years now. Like many other fans in this city, the demise of our own team has lead to a lessened interested in the sport in general.

That wasn’t the case in 1996.

My 12th birthday was September 5, 1995. It was a special day to be an Orioles fan (like I need to tell you) as Cal Ripken passed Lou Gehrig by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game. My parents were kind enough to purchase me EXACTLY what I wanted for my birthday that year-an oversized Orioles “Starter” brand jacket.

(I know I wasn’t the only one who wore a Starter jacket at the time.)

I’m pretty sure I didn’t take that jacket off for two years-even in the summer.

Baseball was my most significant love in 1996. The Ravens came into existence during the offseason but wouldn’t “take over” the city for another three to four years. In fact, as rabid as we were in Baltimore for the return of the NFL, there were multiple games between Memorial Stadium and what was then known as PSINet Stadium in the early years of the Ravens’ existence that were “sold out”, but featured less than empty crowds.

It was a baseball town, and I loved the Orioles more than I even loved girls.

One of the most exciting moments of my life was the day I found out Home Team Sports (HTS) had been moved from the “premium” tier of Comcast programming in Baltimore County and instead became a basic cable channel.

I was that crazy about the Orioles.

In 8th grade, I was often caught not paying attention to teachers in class. While other kids were writing love notes, I was found to be drawing miniature baseball diamonds and impressing my friends with my ability to name the starting nine for every other team in Major League Baseball.

I was a complete and total nutjob when it came to baseball.

I’m not sure I can fairly explain how much those 1996 & 1997 teams meant to me as I hit puberty. My entire attitude was determined by what the Orioles had done the night before.

I still remember coming home from Perry Hall High School one late fall afternoon in 1995 to have my dad tell me the Orioles had signed Roberto Alomar. I didn’t believe him at first, but ultimately celebrated as if I had received straight A’s on my report card.

The 1996 & 1997 Orioles gave me some of the happiest memories of my life as a sports fan. They also of course gave me some of the saddest memories of my life, as they failed to advance past the ALCS in both years.

As far as “Orioles Magic” is concerned, the only thing I REALLY know about “magic” for the Orioles franchise happened during those two seasons.

I’ve explained my excitement about Alomar’s impending induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame many times. Part of my identity as a Baltimore sports personality is tied to my affection to the man who will take his place in Cooperstown next weekend.

I find it fitting that as Alomar enters the Hall of Fame, he will share the stage with the architect of those Orioles teams, former General Manager Pat Gillick. Gillick’s career is directly tied to Alomar, having brought the second baseman to the Toronto Blue Jays, where the pair would win two World Series titles. Gillick would go on to bring Alomar to Baltimore, where he would lead the O’s to their only Wild Card playoff berth and their first AL East crown in 14 seasons.

My guess is that most of the coverage surrounding next weekend’s induction ceremony will be about the time Alomar and Gillick shared with the Jays. But for Orioles fans, next weekend’s ceremony will be a reminder of a special (albeit short) era of success in Baltimore.

It’s with that in mind that I am happy to announce that Thyrl Nelson and I have come together to dedicate next Friday’s (7/22) edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

We’ll use the show to congratulate Alomar and Gillick on entering the Hall of Fame, as well as to honor the teams that were truthfully the most special in my lifetime.

We’ll talk to players, coaches, broadcasters and even fans who were around those teams. Some interviews will be live, some will be taped earlier in the week. As guests continue to confirm, I’ll do my best to pass them along.

Older Orioles fans might not look back on the ’96 and ’97 with the same fondness that I do. But this is all I’ve known of winning baseball in Baltimore…well…ever.

It’s going to be a lot of fun. I hope you’ll tune in next Friday to AM1570 WNST or online at WNST.net to join in the celebration. I hope you’ll chime in with calls, emails, Tweets (@WNST or @GlennClarkWNST on Twitter), Facebook messages and other memories of those teams.

It’s the only “Magic” I’ve ever experienced, and it doesn’t look like it will be changing soon.

(Eds. Note: A previous version of this post mistakenly stated the Ravens had experienced “multiple blackouts” in their early years.)

-G

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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!)

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

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

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

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.

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…

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 18 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Mixed Martial Arts-Bellator Fighting Championships 42 (Saturday 9pm from Concho, OK live on MTV2); Arena Football: AFL Kansas City Command @ Chicago Rush (Friday 8pm from Chicago live on NFL Network); Soccer: MLS-New York Red Bulls @ DC United (Thursday 8pm from RFK Stadium live on ESPN2); Tennis: ATP Barcelona Open BancSabadell (Friday 6:30am, Saturday & Sunday 4pm from Barcelona on Tennis Channel); Golf: PGA Tour The Heritage (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Hilton Head, SC); Champions Tour Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf (Friday 12:30pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 1pm live on CBS. All golf from Savannah, GA)

10. Rush (Friday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); Coheed and Cambria (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live, Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Crack The Sky (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live); Rooney (Wednesday 7pm Bourbon Street); John Popper & The Duskray Troubadours (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head On Stage, Thursday 8:30pm State Theatre), Bret Michaels (Thursday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Michael McDonald (Thursday-Saturday DC Improv); Charlie Sheen (Tuesday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Stephen Kellogg (Friday 8:30pm Jammin’ Java-Vienna); Soulive (Saturday 9pm State Theatre); Local H (Sunday 8:30pm Rock & Roll Hotel), J Roddy Walston & The Business (Wednesday 8:30pm Rock & Roll Hotel); Saliva (Monday 7pm Jaxx); Gorillaz “The Fall” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’m ABSOLUTELY done with the Charlie Sheen fascination. I’m done even with the morbid curiosity. Unless he’s donning a Cleveland Indians jersey and hurling fastballs, I’m simply not interested.

I AM interested however in a Charm City appearance by the holy trinity…

Love Blues Traveler? You’re a good American. I loved Blues Traveler myself and will absolutely admit that I’m all in on John Popper’s new project…

Want to hear something that TOTALLY kicks ass? Here are Soulive and Robert Randolph doing Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”…

I’m not sure if anyone is still in the band, but I know Local H at least USED to be pretty awesome…

9. Glenn Clark’s Easter Plans (Sunday)

Here’s what I know. I DEMANDED Cadbury Cream Eggs Benedict from my girlfriend last year and she failed. It had better not happen again…

cadburycreameggsbenedict

This is proof that God exists…I think.

8. Mortal Kombat available on Playstation3/XBox360 (Tuesday)

11 year old Glenn Clark is FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW.

If Streetfighter Turbo comes next, I might be in full blown panic mode.

While we’re on the subject of video games, how many folks do you know that are Grand Champions in NFL Blitz 2000?

The answer is at least one.

blitz

7. College Football: Navy Blue-Gold Spring Game (Friday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS Sports)

I won’t be able to make it out to Annapolis Friday night, but I do have a couple of thoughts related to College Football.

1-Alabama fans have to be at least a LITTLE embarrassed by the Nick Saban statue that was unveiled in Tuscaloosa, right? Of course, the more embarrassing part is that I’m SURE this means Auburn is rushing to get a Gene Chizik statue erected too.

2-Cliff Tucker is trying is hand as a receiver for the Maryland football team now that the whole hoops thing is over, huh? Seems like a good option, but I feel as though maybe I would have gone with Competitive Cheer…

cheer

6. NBA Playoffs: Eastern Conference Quarterfinals-New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics (Game 2 Tuesday 7pm from Boston live on TNT, Game 3 Friday 7pm from New York live on ESPN, Game 4 Sunday 3:30pm from New York live on ABC); Atlanta Hawks vs. Orlando Magic (Game 2 Tuesday 7:30pm from Orlando live on NBA TV, Game 3 Friday 8pm from Atlanta live on ESPN2, Game 4 Sunday 7pm from Atlanta live on TNT); Chicago Bulls vs. Indiana Pacers (Game 3 Thursday 7pm from Indianapolis live on NBA TV, Game 4 Saturday 2:30pm from Indianapolis live on TNT); Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Game 3 Thursday 8pm from Philadelphia live on TNT, Game 4 Sunday 1pm from Philadelphia live on ABC); Western Conference Quarterfinals-Portland Trailblazers vs. Dallas Mavericks (Game 2 Tuesday 9:30pm from Dallas live on TNT, Game 3 Thursday 10:30 from Portland live on TNT, Game 4 Saturday 5pm from Portland live on TNT, Game 5 Monday from Dallas TBD); Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (Game 2 Wednesday 8pm from Oklahoma City live on TNT, Game 3 Saturday 10pm from Denver live on ESPN, Game 4 Monday 10:30pm from Denver live on TNT); Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs (Game 2 Wednesday 8:30pm from San Antonio live on NBA TV, Game 3 Saturday 7:30pm from Memphis live on ESPN, Game 4 Monday from Memphis TBD); New Orleans Hornets vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Game 2 Wednesday 10:30pm from Los Angeles live on TNT, Game 3 Friday 9:30pm from New Orleans live on ESPN, Game 4 Sunday 9:30pm from New Orleans live on TNT)

Let’s be honest…NBA basketball is AWFUL in the regular season and just sorta okay in the playoffs.

But Dwyane Wade and Jalen Rose (and Kyle Korver) did some pretty impressive things over the weekend…


5. NHL Playoffs: Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers Game 4 (Wednesday 7pm from New York live on Comcast SportsNet & VERSUS), New York Rangers @ Washington Capitals Game 5 (Saturday 3pm from Verizon Center live on NBC), Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers Game 6 if necessary (Monday TBD from New York live on Comcast SportsNet)

I know there are a few folks in Baltimore who have gone to the dark side and are rooting for the hockey team down in the Nation’s Capital.

That’s their choice…I won’t judge them. Much. I MIGHT however buy them a new Washington Redskins shirt to wear this football season while we’re all donning purple at M&T Bank Stadium.

To those that are still on the fence, I encourage you to root for the Rangers. If you’re not familiar with Sean Avery, let me introduce you to a few young ladies who ARE familiar with Mr. Avery…

Hilary Rhoda

rhoda

Elisha Cuthbert

cuthbert

Lake Bell

lakebell

And “Stacy’s Mom” herself, Rachel Hunter

rachelhunter

You seriously don’t think this guy is worth rooting for?!?!?

4. Charm City Heroes (Friday-Saturday Pikesville Hilton)

With no offense to Frank Robinson, Mike Curtis, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Earl Weaver, Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Roberto Alomar, Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, Art Donovan, Raymond Berry, Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Brian Roberts, Buck Showalter or anyone else scheduled to attend this event (holy hell that’s quite the list), it’s not complete.

I mean…seriously…how about our city’s greatest Olympic champion?

phelps

Could anything say “hero” more than that picture?!?!?

3. Ravens Pre-Draft Luncheon (Tuesday 12:45pm 1 Winning Drive, airing 5:30pm on AM1570 WNST), Brian Billick Live! Pre-NFL Draft Show (Tuesday 7pm Mother’s Federal Hill)

I guess the excitement surrounding the NFL Draft has been a bit dampened because of the lockout. But that’s only because we haven’t spent time watching NFL DRAFT PORN!

I want all of them.

2. Boxing: Top Rank-Roberto Marroquin vs. Frankie Leal (Saturday 11pm from Thackerville, OK live on Fox Sports Net nationally, Comcast SportsNet locally); Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares (Saturday 10:30pm from Los Angeles live on Showtime); Friday Night Fights: Breidis Prescott vs. Bayan Jargal (Friday 8pm from Uncasville, CT live on ESPN2)

Of course this makes the list because Ravens S Tom Zbikowski is scheduled to fight on the undercard of the Marroquin-Leal fight.

By the way, if you haven’t seen “The Fighter”, you might as well just admit you hate America. How AWESOME is this clip?

1. College Lacrosse: Navy @ Johns Hopkins (Saturday 8pm from Homewood Field live on ESPNU); Hobart @ Loyola (Saturday 12pm from Ridley Athletic Complex live on ABC2/ESPN3.com); Vermont @ UMBC (Saturday 1pm UMBC Stadium); ACC Lacrosse Tournament: Maryland vs. North Carolina (Friday 5pm from Durham, NC live on TheACC.com), ACC Championship Game (Sunday 3:30pm from Durham, NC live on Comcast SportsNet); CAC Tournament: St. Mary’s @ Stevenson (Wednesday 4pm Caves Athletic Complex), CAC Championship Game (Sunday 2pm from Caves Athletic Complex if Stevenson wins Wednesday)

I’ve posted this before I’m sure. I don’t care. Suck it, UNC!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Top 20 moments in Camden Yards history: No. 11

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Luke Jones

As we move closer to the start of the 20th season at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I take a look back at the top 20 moments in the history of the ballpark. Selected moments had to relate directly to the action on the field at the time. No orchestrated events such as World Series anniversary celebrations or Orioles Hall of Fame inductions were eligible.

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Previous selections:
20. Wieters’ debut
19. Nomo tosses only no-hitter in Oriole Park history
18. Orioles rally from nine-run deficit against Boston
17. 30-3
16. Showalter takes the helm
15. Palmeiro homers in Oriole debut
14. Griffey’s Warehouse shot
13. Sparring with Seattle
12. Davis defies the odds

11. Hoiles’ dreamlike slam stuns Mariners – May 17, 1996

A unique moment in sports is occasionally so memorable that it takes on a life of itself.

An event where only several thousand were present gradually transforms into an occasion witnessed by hundreds of thousands, if only for its improbable nature and the euphoria its aftermath creates.

There’s nothing more cliched in sports than the boyhood dream of stepping to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with your team trailing by three runs.

Full count, two outs, and the bases loaded.

It’s the stuff of wide-eyed boys playing in the backyard on a July afternoon, dreaming of one day playing in the big leagues.

And it was the exact scenario presented to Chris Hoiles, who capitalized on that dream in one of the wildest games in Orioles history.

Hoiles

It was a typical slugfest that characterized the 1996 season. Both the Orioles and Seattle Mariners were short on pitching but could mash opponents into submission with an offensive onslaught — the two clubs hit a combined 502 home runs in 1996 — that wore out scoreboard operators around the league.

After jumping out to a 7-2 lead through five innings, the Orioles bullpen proceeded to surrender an inexcusable 11 runs in four innings of work. A grand slam by 20-year-old Alex Rodriguez off Alan Mills had given the Mariners an 11-9 lead in the eighth, and the lead grew to 13-10 as Seattle closer Norm Charlton worked in the bottom of the ninth.

Many of the 47,259 in attendance had gone home after the game had eclipsed the four-hour mark and appeared destined to be a deflating loss thanks to the ineffective bullpen. Even more at home had surely turned off the television set as the clock approached midnight.

Yet, what happened next would have many more thousands claiming they were there, or had at least hung on to watch the bottom of the ninth on TV.

The erratic Charlton — who would bring his high-wire act to Baltimore two years later to the tune of a 6.94 earned run average in 1998 — walked Roberto Alomar, allowed a Bobby Bonilla double, and issued a free pass to Cal Ripken in the process of getting the first two outs of the inning. Hoiles came to the plate with a chance to become the 20th man in major league history to hit a walk-off grand slam to erase a three-run deficit.

The count went full as the several thousand still in attendance rose to their feet with the imagined scenario playing out before their eyes. Then, Hoiles deposited the 3-2 pitch into the left field seats to give the Orioles an inconceivable 14-13 victory as the stunned Mariners walked off the field.

His teammates mobbed him at the plate as Hoiles became the only known player in history to hit his “ultimate” grand slam with a full count and two outs. The select fans who had stuck around Camden Yards that night had seen one of the most exciting moments in franchise history.

And thousands more would learn of it the next morning, kicking themselves for heading home early or turning off the tube the previous night.

Myself included.

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