Tag Archive | "Sarasota"

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Orioles announce 2012 Grapefruit League schedule

Posted on 29 November 2011 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles Tuesday announced their 2012 Grapefruit League schedule, which opens March 5 with an afternoon split-squad contest in Port Charlotte against the Tampa Bay Rays and an evening contest at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

2012 marks the third consecutive spring training for the Orioles in Sarasota, and the second in the renovated Ed Smith Stadium.

Baltimore will face 10 different opponents at home during the 2012 Grapefruit League campaign, including the Boston Red Sox three times and the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays two times each. The Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals will each make one visit to Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles will play 15 games on the road during the 2012 Grapefruit League schedule. They will make two trips to play the Blue Jays, Phillies, Rays, Red Sox, Twins and Pirates and one trip to face the Braves, Tigers and Yankees.

The Orioles will also host Florida Southern College April 2 in Sarasota.

Fans interested in season plans, five-game flex packs or group tickets, or those wishing to receive additional spring training ticket information may visit www.orioles.com/spring or call the Orioles spring training office in Sarasota at 941-893-6300.

The on-sale date for single game tickets for all 15 of the Orioles’ Grapefruit League games at Ed Smith Stadium, as well as player reporting dates, will be announced at a later time.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES 2012 SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE

Day Date Opponent Location Time

Monday March 5 Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte 1:05

Pittsburgh Pirates Sarasota 7:05

Tuesday March 6 Boston Red Sox Fort Myers 1:35

Wednesday March 7 Minnesota Twins Sarasota 1:05

Thursday March 8 Atlanta Braves Sarasota 1:05

Friday March 9 Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte 1:05

Saturday March 10 Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater 1:05

Sunday March 11 Boston Red Sox Sarasota 1:05

Monday March 12 Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin 1:05

Tuesday March 13 Tampa Bay Rays Sarasota 1:05

Wednesday March 14 Pittsburgh Pirates Sarasota 1:05

Thursday March 15 Detroit Tigers Lakeland 1:05

Friday March 16 Minnesota Twins (ss) Fort Myers 1:05

Saturday March 17 Boston Red Sox (ss) Sarasota 1:05

Boston Red Sox (ss) Fort Myers 1:35

Sunday March 18 New York Yankees (ss) Sarasota TBA

Atlanta Braves (ss) Orlando 1:05

Monday March 19 off day

Tuesday March 20 Philadelphia Phillies Sarasota 1:05

Wednesday March 21 Toronto Blue Jays Sarasota 1:05

Thursday March 22 Minnesota Twins Fort Myers 1:05

Friday March 23 Boston Red Sox Sarasota 1:05

Saturday March 24 Washington Nationals Sarasota 1:05

Sunday March 25 Philadelphia Phillies Clearwater 1:05

Monday March 26 Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton 7:05

Tuesday March 27 Minnesota Twins Sarasota 1:05

Wednesday March 28 Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin 1:05

Thursday March 29 New York Yankees Tampa 7:05

Friday March 30 Detroit Tigers Sarasota 7:05

Saturday March 31 Pittsburgh Pirates (ss) Bradenton 1:05

Sunday April 1 Tampa Bay Rays Sarasota 1:05

Monday April 2 Florida Southern College Sarasota 7:05

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On This 4th of July, I’m Grateful For WNST’s “Independence”

Posted on 03 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

I know a thing or two about format flips.

I remember exactly where I was sitting in January 2005 when I heard the final bars of “Last Goodbye” by Jeff Buckley (one of the greatest songs in music history) before hearing the following come from my radio…

“WHFS. Annapolis. Washington DC.” It was immediately followed by a lot of Spanish, but I think I remember the words “Siempre de Fiesta” and “Noventa-nueve punto uno eff eme.”

It was followed by some sort of latin song that if I knew I would curse it to this day.

21 years old at the time, I can honest to God say that the day 99.1 WHFS became 99.1 El Zol was one of the saddest days of my life. It honestly felt like losing a friend.

In my teenage years, I camped outside of Harford Mall, White Marsh Mall and even on York Road in Towson to get HFStival tickets. I tuned in late at night to hear Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky (one of the greatest teams in broadcast history) sign off Loveline at 1am with Adam’s trademark Hawaiian “Maholo.” (I found out at an older age “maholo” actually meant “thank you”, not “goodbye.” I will admit that I am still confused as to why he used it.) I stayed tuned in to hear if at 1:05 Neci would play my favorite songs from Everclear, Stone Temple Pilots, Beck or Pearl Jam.

Hell, I even called and emailed Neci repeatedly hoping she would play the Candyskins’ version of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. I really did. There was nothing cooler to me in my life than when I became friends with Neci on MySpace. It was hard for me to admit that to her after we started working together.

It was my dream as a teenager to be a WHFS disc jockey. I ultimately got the chance to live that dream, but I still swear to God I shed a tear the moment I realized the latin sounds from my radio meant 99.1 WHFS was gone forever.

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President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail – gives insight to the future as the Orioles begin the season

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President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail – gives insight to the future as the Orioles begin the season

Posted on 01 April 2011 by John Collingsworth

With spring training officially over and the 2011 regular season beginning for the Baltimore Orioles in a few hours, everything seems different. The attitude, the atmosphere, and the mind-set of the organization point towards a promising future with Buck Showalter commanding the ship.

 Andy MacPhail, Orioles President of Baseball Operations sat down with Drew Forrester of “The Morning Reaction” during spring training in Sarasota to talk about the revamped Birds and the new skipper.

 

Though it was not Showalter’s idea to manage the Orioles for the remainder of the 2010 season, MacPhail realized the importance of bringing him in sooner rather than later.

 “We felt like we did not want to be last in line. That moving more quickly would benefit us in our circumstances so we made our change relatively early on,” MacPhail told Forrester. “We were looking for someone that had credibility…had a great desire and reputation for getting his team as prepared as possible, and you know Buck [Showalter] really fit all of those definitions to a ‘T’… as far as him coming in in-season, I felt it was important that he get the opportunity to help us in our offseason quest in terms of what we will do. I think he was best situated to do that if he was going to spend a third of the year with the team… I was not expecting to go from a .300 winning percentage to a .600 winning percentage just by him walking through the door. That was an added plus. The real effort was to try to get him some familiarity with his team going forward.”

 

 

 

 

As the 2010 season ended, the Orioles essentially had three managers, but only one of them had a winning record. Forrester asked MacPhail how come the players only responded to Showalter.

 

“I think you look at it objectively as you can, the thing that made the greatest stride was our starting pitching. Our young starters had an ERA just over 5 ½ prior to August 2nd then Buck comes on August 3rd and they have an ERA just over 3, the second best in the American League,” MacPhail said. “They gave Dave [Trembley] and Juan [Samuel] good efforts as well and they certainly, as well, wanted the players to be accountable. It’s just sometimes the way our game works.”

 

Going forward, MacPhail has a recipe of success for the Orioles.

“In our view, the strategy this franchise needs to employ is the philosophy, growing the arms and you can find the bats, and you don’t have to look further back than this last off-season,” the O’s President said. “Derrek Lee was signed as a free agent, JJ Hardy was traded for, Mark Reynolds was traded for, and Vlad Guerrero was signed as a free agent. That’s almost half your lineup right there. And they are generally a commodity you can find in the off-season. That’s not the case with pitching. Pitching is expensive, it’s fragile, as unfortunately we learn every spring with other clubs circumstances.”

 

The Orioles are in a division with two of the highest payrolls in baseball with the New York Yankees ($206.7 million) and the Boston Red Sox ($160.9 million), and the only way for them to compete against the money are intelligent moves in the off-season. MacPhail was asked about the possibility of signing Albert Pujols when he is a free agent after the 2011 season.

“First off, you can’t talk about specific players who are under contract with other teams, that would be tampering and we certainly don’t want to do that,” MacPhail stated. “But I would remind you that we did make a 7 year-$20 million plus offer to Mark Teixeira because we thought… you had a local player, switch hitter, young, good defender at first, you could look at the seven year deal and reasonably think given his age and the position he played, that he could be productive throughout that entire contract.”

“Its got to be the perfect storm of the right player for a variety of reasons because if we are wrong and the player gets hurt and you have that percentage of your payroll tied up in one player, then you really are biting the problem for a long time.”

 

Baltimore yearns for a baseball team that can play a meaningful game in the month of September, and that has yet to happen since 1997. MacPhail pointed out that the folks here in Charm City will know when the Oriole Magic is back in Camden Yards.

“Fans aren’t stupid. They know improvement when they see it. They understand a lot, particularly, if they have the time and they want to read a lot, there’s a lot of information out available to them, more so then when I was a kid growing up. They’ll know when your making positive steps. You can’t really spin it. They’re going to understand when you are making progress,” MacPhail told Forrester.

“From our stand point, becoming .500 isn’t really the goal, we have different goals in mind.”

 

With one year left on his contract, MacPhail is not worried about an extension at this moment.

“I’m fine with the end of the season. Let’s see how we do. Everybody is sort of in a euphoric mode right now, things in our business may look differently in six months, I hope not. But you never know. I’m fine with waiting and just seeing how things play out.”

 

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Orioles in Sarasota

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Orioles in Sarasota

Posted on 22 March 2011 by Tom Federline

Go to Florida. If you are one of those people like me, who have been putting a Spring Training trip off for whatever reason – stop with the excuses and Go to Florida! It may be to late for this year, so start planning for next year. IF, you are a true baseball fan. IF, you feel the need to experience an early summer. IF, you need to be revived – mentally and physically. Go to Sarasota, Florida. After 30 some years of talking about it and with the encouragement of my daughter (the 2nd biggest Oriole fan in our family), we finally headed south. Turned out to be one of the top 5 vacations we’ve been on. Grant it, we were blessed with the Florida sunshine,  80 degree temperatures and basically “Chamber of Commerce” weather. All that did was simply enhance the overall experience.

It is March – NCAA basketball tourney, St. Patty’s Day, Gulf Coast beaches and Oriole baseball – in Florida. Are you kidding me? You fly into Tampa, you get the rental car, you roll down the window and proceed south on Route 75, going 75 or you will be run over by Granny who is doing 85+. We hit downtown Sarasota and fans with baseball jerseys are abundant. Our Oriole affiliated hotel was probably: 50% O’s fans, 25% miscellaneous MLB team fans and 25% general vacationers. If you had orange and black on, a conversation was initiated. I’m talking good conversation – Orioles, baseball, Baltimore and Florida. My daughters comment after the secoond day – “Everyone is so friendly here.” My response – a) people are on vacation. b) Majority are baseball fans. c) there is a common thread and that thread is – Baltimore and Oriole baseball.”

Ed Smith Stadium – the talk of the Spring Training Parks. A must see among the baseball faithful who make it a point to include the Grapefruit League as a scheduled vacation every year. The 2 games we attended, Minnesota and Phillies were sold out. Yes, sold out spring training games. People were scalping tickets for 2-3x box office price. People at the hotel were contacting ticket brokers. It was nuts. I was not expecting that. The smell of summer was in the air and the anticipation of a competitive Orioles team and season within reach. The Orioles and design team did a nice renovation of the ballpark. From the pictures I saw of the condition prior to renovation and the work that was accomplished in a year – props to the construction team. Clean, new, fan friendly, reasonable prices, 8,000 Camden green seats, decent food and quality baseball no more than say 50 feet from you at any given time. Go to Florida.

 

Orioles report – Nick Markakis (Future Hall of Famer) – you knew I had to get that out first. Vlad Guerrero is going to keep you watching. Saw the new third baseman, Mark Reynolds bat 5 times, he struck out 4. JJ Hardy looks like he’s 16 years old – winds up on delivery to first - but has a gun. Derek Lee is a large dude that may have Glenn Davis syndrome. Jake Fox hit a foul ball down the left field line that I do not believe has come down yet. Starting pitching will surprise the league. 85 wins!

Opening Day starting line-up: Robert Andino 2B (guess we’ll see Roberts after All-Star break and Izturis needs to learn how to turn DP), Adam Jones CF, (Future Hall of Famer) RF, Vlad (DH), Luke Scott LF, JJ Hardy SS, Jake Fox 1B, Weiters C, Mark Reynolds 3B, Guthrie P. Need to get Pie into line-up. Hopefully Derek Lee will mend his body. Leadoff batter is going to be tough with Roberts out again. If they can just hang in there until All-Star break. 85 wins!

Gang, last week I had my “Cheeseburger in Paradise” – (do I have to even write his name). I suggest you do the same. Go to Florida and experience O’s Spring Training and the Sarasota area. It’s healthy!

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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With Combine in Rear View Mirror, Draft Season Heads to School

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With Combine in Rear View Mirror, Draft Season Heads to School

Posted on 10 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

We’re over ten days removed from the National Football League’s annual Scouting Combine at LucasOil Stadium in Indianapolis.

I apologize for the delay in updates, a trip to Sarasota for Orioles Spring Training is to blame.

Now draft season heads back to campus, as schools host Pro Timing Days for their NFL Draft hopefuls.

The Baltimore Ravens brought a significant contingent of personnel folks to the premiere event during Draft season, including General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and Head Coach John Harbaugh. The group was very active over the weekend with meetings and workouts.

Before I continue, I remind you of the players we have already profiled during Draft season.

QB-Ricky Dobbs (Navy), Pat Devlin (Delaware), Colin Kaepernick (Nevada), Josh Portis (California-Pennsylvania), Taylor Potts (Texas Tech), Christian Ponder (Florida State), Tyrod Taylor (Virginia Tech)
FB
-Anthony Sherman (Connecticut), Owen Marecic (Stanford)
RB
-Evan Royster (Penn State), Da’Rel Scott (Maryland), DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), Damien Berry (Miami), Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), Roy Helu Jr. (Nebraska), Alex Green (Hawaii), Shane Vereen (Cal), Jordan Todman (UConn)
WR
-Lester Jean (Florida Atlantic), Terrence Toliver (LSU), Leonard Hankerson (Miami), Austin Pettis (Boise State), Denarius Moore (Tennessee), Owen Spencer (North Carolina State), Jock Sanders (West Virginia), Titus Young (Boise State), Vincent Brown (San Diego State), Ryan Whalen (Stanford), Torrey Smith (Maryland), Randall Cobb (Kentucky), Jon Baldwin (Pittsburgh), Greg Salas (Hawaii)
TE-Will Yeatman (Maryland)
OT
-Matthew O’Donnell (Queens University Canada), Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin), Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Costanzo (Boston College), Joseph Barksdale (LSU)
C-Zane Taylor (Utah), Kris O’Dowd (Southern Cal)
DE
-Justin Trattou (Florida), Allen Bailey (Miami), Eddie Jones (Texas), Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue), Brooks Reed (Arizona), Cliff Matthews (South Carolina), JJ Watt (Wisconsin)
LB
-Mark Herzlich (Boston College), Casey Matthews (Oregon), Adrian Moten (Maryland), Nate Irving (NC State)
S
-Jermale Hines (Ohio State), Jaiquawn Jarrett (Temple), Maurice Rolle (Louisiana-Lafayette), Rahim Moore (UCLA), Ahmad Black (Florida)
CB-Anthony Gaitor (Florida International), Aaron Williams (Texas), Jalil Brown (Colorado), Jimmy Smith (Colorado)

If you missed any of those profiles, you can check them out in the archives here at WNST.net.

Part 1-A look at players who participated in the East West Shrine Game in Orlando, Florida
Part 2-A look at players who participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
Part 3-A look at players who participated in the NFLPA Game (former Texas vs. The Nation Game) in San Antonio, Texas
Parts 4, 5 & 6-Previews of players ahead of the Combine

The Baltimore Ravens made no personnel changes this week, so my team needs remain the same…

1. Defensive End
2. Offensive Tackle
3. Wide Receiver
4. Cornerback
5. Fullback
6. Inside Linebacker
7. Safety
8. Center
9. Running Back
10. Quarterback

Here are ten more prospects to keep an eye on as we move from the Combine to Pro Timing Days.

Thanks to CBSSports.com/NFLDraftScout.com, NFLDraftBible.com, WNST.net (The AP), ESPN.com, Wikipedia, YouTube and various official athletic websites for helping to put together the profiles.

DE Cameron Heyward (Ohio State)

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

Remember when former Buckeyes LB James Laurinaitis was headed towards the 2009 NFL Draft and his name couldn’t come up without a mention of his father Joe Laurinaitis (the former WWF star “Road Warrior Animal”)?

Be prepared for the same now with Cameron Heyward-the son of former New Orleans Saints RB Craig “Ironhead” Heyward.

Much like Lauriniatis, Heyward heads toward the Draft as a marquee prospect.

Heyward measured in at 6’5″, 294 pounds in Indy. The only disappointing part of his weekend was that an offseason elbow surgery prevented him from being able to lift, where he would have been expected to show off great upper body strength.

Heyward probably won’t be able to lift between now and the Draft, which could allow him to slip to late in the first round or completely out of the first round altogether. He did take time however to show reporters assembled in Indianapolis that he was fully capable of bending his arm at the elbow and had a full range of motion in his arm.

The most impressive part of Heyward’s trip to Indy was his session with the media. Heyward was very impressive in talking to reporters, thinking back on a life growing up around the NFL.

The question for the Ravens will be whether or not Heyward can consistently pressure quarterbacks. He tallied just four sacks during his senior year in Columbus, 15 sacks overall during four seasons at OSU.

The Ravens NEED a rush end, we all know that. But they need a rush end who they can count on to truly generate…well…a rush. There’s certainly a chance Heyward could be that player.

WR Cecil Shorts III (Mount Union)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfn3oxSbJ6A[/youtube]

Shorts just joined Thyrl Nelson Monday on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” on AM1570 WNST. If you missed it, I suggest you check it out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

Shorts found immediate superstardom in Charm City over Combine weekend, as the Ravens didn’t hide from their interest in him. Shorts in fact confirmed to WNST.net that he had met with the team’s entire coaching staff and Newsome.

Shorts is smart to bring up the name Pierre Garcon every time he speaks, as the fellow former Purple Raiders receiver has found immediate success with the Colts.

For as much attention as was paid to Shorts during Combine weekend, his 40 time and measurements hurt. He was listed as 6’2″ during college, but measured in at 6’0″. For a speed receiver, his 4.53 time in the forty was disappointing.

Shorts finished his college career with 4,615 yards receiving, which is nothing to sneeze at. He of course posted those numbers at a Division III school, although Mt. Union was one of the premiere programs at the D3 level.

He’s not going to be a Thursday night pick…or a Friday night pick. And Shorts is certainly not “the answer” for the Ravens in terms of upgrading their WR corps. But he could become a solid complementary piece in Cam Cameron’s offense, and could certainly be an option in the team’s return game.

RB Dion Lewis (Pitt)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1wwCS_BBVI[/youtube]

Has there been a more confusing early NFL Draft entry in recent years than Lewis?

Lewis is not a prototypical every down back. He’s much closer to a Ray Rice type of undersized back who will have to be involved in the passing game to really make an impact at the next level.

Of course, that’s an overly fair comparison. No one in the NFL thinks Dion Lewis is the next Ray Rice right now, which is why he could still be an intriguing option late in the Draft.

Lewis (5’7″, 193 pounds) played for just two seasons with the Panthers before departing for the NFL. His (redshirt) freshman season was incredible, as his 1,799 rushing yards and 5.5 yards per carry average made fans in Western Pennsylvania forget about LeSean McCoy, who had been drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.

But his production in his sophomore season didn’t quite reach the same level, as he ran for just 1,061 yards and his average fell to 4.8 yards per carry.

Certainly part of the reason McCoy left school is because of the way running backs are now used in the NFL. There is a common thought that teams are looking for backs with more “tread left on the tires”, as the average shelf life for a back is much shorter than it once was.

Lewis would NOT be a “replacement” for Willis McGahee should the Ravens cut tie with the veteran as expected. But the Ravens could be looking to add multiple pieces to their backfield. As the Draft gets later, Lewis could be an option.

CB DeMarcus Van Dyke (Miami)

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

You’re thinking to yourself…”I know that name!”

You do. Van Dyke became one of the more recognizable names of Draft season when he posted a blazing 4.28 forty yard dash at the Combine, making him the fastest man in Indianapolis.

On top of his speed, scouts clearly like Van Dyke’s size. The former Hurricanes DB measured in at 6’1″, 176 pounds in Indianapolis.

Unfortunately, speed and size alone do not make a player a legitimate NFL prospect. Van Dyke collected three interceptions during his career in Coral Gables, but struggled underneath and in zone situations, only really showing true ability in deep man coverages.

If he wasn’t 6’1″ and blazing fast, Van Dyke wouldn’t be a prospect AT ALL. Because of his size and speed, a team is going to be willing to take a late round chance on his as a developmental prospect.

The Ravens have questions in their secondary; as Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington are all unrestricted free agents. On top of that, Cary Williams is an exclusive rights free agent and Domonique Foxworth is coming off an ACL injury.

Van Dyke is NOT a player the Ravens could take at the top of the Draft and plug in to play next season. But he could be allowed to progress behind veteran corners in Chuck Pagano’s defense.

DE Dontay Moch (Nevada)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PT3GoRCKY8[/youtube]

What we know is that Moch is FAST.

How fast?

He posted a 4.44 time in the forty at the Combine, easily the fastest amongst D-Linemen and Linebackers. What’s crazier is that Moch had previously recorded a 4.20 forty time at a Pro Timing Day in Reno as a junior.

The question for scouts now is whether or not Moch can match his speed with defensive skill.

Moch is a 6’1″, 248 pound end who many folks believe will have to be converted to an OLB at the next level. That would obviously limit his value to a team like the Ravens, who are in desperate need of D-End help.

Moch definitely showed an ability to get to the QB during his four seasons with the Wolf Pack, collecting 29 sacks during his career. He’s also intelligent, composing a NFL Draft diary during the process for the website SB Nation Arizona (he’s a Chandler, Arizona native).

If the Ravens feel he can team with LB Terrell Suggs and provide pressure from the edge, he could very well be a Friday night choice.

QB Jake Locker (Washington)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZchE4x7zlE[/youtube]

If there was any thought process that somehow Jake Locker could slip far enough in the Draft that he could end up being an option for the Ravens, it’s certainly gone now.

While there are still questions about his throwing accuracy, Locker’s 4.52 time in the 40 yard dash and overall Combine performance confirmed that he’ll be a 2nd round pick at worst. That’s far too early for the Ravens to consider a quarterback with an established starter in Joe Flacco.

Locker will not be the Top 10 pick we once thought he would be, but the former Huskies QB seems more and more likely to be picked 25th by his hometown Seattle Seahawks.

Wherever he ends up, he’ll bring 53 TD passes as a Pac 10 quarterback and a solid 6’3″, 231 pound frame.

But unless something were to happen to Flacco between now and the end of April, he won’t be bringing those attributes to Baltimore.

C Rodney Hudson (Florida State)

rodneyhudson

The bad news? Hudson was a guard (and actually played some tackle as well) in Tallahassee, and was a bit undersized even for a very talented ACC Offensive Lineman.

The good news? Hudson is expected to play center at the NFL level, reported to the Combine ten pounds heavier than when he played in the Senior Bowl and would have at least a season (fingers crossed for good health) to study under veteran Matt Birk.

Hudson checked in at 6’2″, 299 pounds in Indianapolis, and the only downside for the Ravens is that he’s continuously risen on Draft boards.

He won’t be taken before Mike Pouncey, but he might not last long enough for the Ravens to get him with the 59th pick in the draft.

Most scouts think Hudson could play immediately. If the Ravens can call his name in New York, they might have the benefit of not having to find out.

LB Colin McCarthy (Miami)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wB-pouJkVw[/youtube]

Looking to the Canes for defensive help wouldn’t be something new for the Ravens organization.

At times, their success has reached a historic level (see Ray Lewis & Ed Reed). At other times, the jury is still out (see Tavares Gooden).

Interesting to mention the names of Gooden and Lewis, as both play a role in why McCarthy might be a legitimate choice for the Ravens.

Gooden is part of a trio (Dannell Ellerbe and Jameel McClain are the others) who have failed to solidify the WILL backer spot next to Lewis in the team’s 3-4 scheme. And as Harbaugh pointed out in a town hall conference call with fans this week, the team is aware that they have to start considering a long term replacement for Lewis at the MIKE backer spot.

McCarthy could be an option for either role…or perhaps both.

McCarthy is a 6’1″, 238 pound linebacker with decent speed who was a tackle machine (120 in his senior season, 297 for his career) during his time playing for Randy Shannon at “The U.”

On top of being a solid football player, he’s also a smart kid. If you missed his interview with Drew Forrester Wednesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, I would encourage you to check it out in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net.

He’s going to go somewhere between the second and fourth rounds of the Draft. It might very well end up that he finds his way to Baltimore.

QB Greg McElroy (Alabama)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQPVv4pafN8[/youtube]

Despite the fact it was a 43 he posted on the Wonderlic and not a 48, we know that McElroy is intelligent.

We also know that he’s a winner-which helped him win a BCS Championship as a junior with the Crimson Tide.

He also posted fairly impressive numbers in Tuscaloosa, throwing for 5,495 yards and 17 TD’s combined between his junior and senior seasons.

McElroy might not be a future franchise quarterback and will likely stay on the board well into Saturday. That’s exactly where the Ravens might be looking for a quarterback to play behind Flacco with Marc Bulger’s future in question.

He’s got pretty good size, measuring in at 6’2″, 220 pounds at the Combine. We know that Newsome LOVES to draft players from Alabama.

I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone if McElroy ended up in purple and black.

LB Martez Wilson (Illinois)

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

As we mentioned with McCarthy, the Ravens are definitely in the market for ILB help.

Wilson is considered by most scouts (including our own Brian Billick) to be the best inside backer available this year. He posted an impressive 4.49 time in the forty at the Combine, making him the fastest backer in the Draft.

Wilson measured in at 6’4″, 250 pounds in Indy; and had an impressive 111 tackles during his final season with the Illini.

The Ravens are going to need ILB help in this Draft. The question will be whether or not they will want to address it as early as will be necessary to walk away with Wilson. He’s going to have a chance to go as early as late in the first round (the Ravens pick 26th) or early in the second round.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Better than the Monday paper: It felt good to cover the Orioles again

Posted on 06 March 2011 by Drew Forrester

I’ve been saying for the better part of six weeks now that the Orioles are going to threaten the .500 mark in 2011, so a week spent hanging around the players isn’t the impetus for a new barrel of enthusiasm on my part.

Sarasota confirmed what I’ve been thinking all along.  Barring major injuries to a few key players, this edition of the Orioles will be the best one we’ve seen since the club won 78 games in 2004.  I’m almost willing to bet on that.  I’ve said this over and over and will continue to stand by it:  If this year’s team doesn’t go at least .500, you can label it a failure.

While I was in Sarasota last week, I got the feeling the Orioles are thinking the same way.  Even though Andy MacPhail said the team has “higher aspirations” than finishing .500, I’m sure he’s realistic enough to know that winning at least 81 games this season would be a significant accomplishment for a team that hasn’t won more than 74 in six straight campaigns.

Player after player seemed genuinely enthused.  Getting better teammates will do that, I suppose.

There were light moments along the way, as the Orioles started out 3-0 on the week.  Even though it’s “only spring training”, most players would tell you that winning games, under Buck Showalter, is much better than losing.  I even got the chance to rib Jake Fox a little bit, as you’ll see below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DKfUqreEs9A[/youtube]

My week in Sarasota also confirmed something else.  I miss covering baseball with the same fervor and energy that I cover the Ravens.  This isn’t the time and place to go into the recent history of a relationship-gone-bad between yours truly and the Orioles front office…so I won’t.  Anyone who has followed my show and the life-and-times-of-WNST knows most of the details by now.  We’ve been “on the outside” for a while.  Anyway, a month ago, I submitted a request for spring training credentials and – somewhat to my surprise – it was approved, so I headed off – with Glenn Clark in tow – to Sarasota to do four hours of radio per-day down there and do my best to secure as many interviews and get to know as many of the 2011 Birds as I could.

It was a great week.  And that’s an understatement.

Without getting into specifics, name-wise, there were individuals with the team’s front office who treated me ultra-professionally all week.  They know who they are, because I sent them a personal note of thanks on Friday once I was finished the 2-6pm show.  Their cooperation and assistance made the week in Sarasota not only productive for me, but they made it a bonus for YOU, too, since you were the beneficiary of the 25 or so interviews we were able to do during our five days in Florida.  You learned something about J.J. Hardy and Kevin Gregg, part of the “new crew”, and you were able to hear other conversations with Orioles veterans like Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis and Jeremy Guthrie.  You heard 18+ plus minutes of Andy MacPhail.  And every interview was done without interference from a team staffer.

I can say without question that last week in Sarasota was as memorable as any week of football coverage that I’ve done over the last five years in which I’ve done radio from the site of the Super Bowl.

Then again, I love baseball.  I always have.  And ever since I was old enough to play catch with my dad in the front yard of our house in Glen Burnie, I’ve loved the Orioles.

Last week was also very special because my family joined me mid-week and Ethan – my 3-year old boy – took in the Red Sox/O’s game in Sarasota on Saturday.  We’ve been to Orioles games in Baltimore before, but this was our first outing together in spring training.  And just like there’s something special about taking your son or daughter to a professional major league game in the cathedral of a stadium where big league games take place, there’s something equally enthralling about soaking in a game in a spring training park.  It’s almost as if that’s how baseball really SHOULD be played, where the players hang out in the fenced in area just down the right and left field lines and where you can shout their name, throw a ball to them, and they’ll sign it and pass it around to the other guys…while the game is going on!

Spring training games are where players perfect that lazy walk that only professional ballplayers own…you know, the one where it takes 7 minutes to shuffle to the dugout from the opening in the right field wall.  Ethan watched as Joe Mahoney and Caleb Joseph slowly walked across the field, some 50 yards in front of him, and said to me, “Daddy, what are they doing?”. The answer wasn’t “walking to the dugout”.  The answer was, “Soaking it all in”.  But I didn’t know how to explain “soaking it all in” so I just went with the much-easier-to-understand “walking to the dugout”.

Ahhh, the life of a baseball player.  Nothing beats it…especially in the spring, when the games don’t really matter, unless you’re trying to impress the boss and make the opening day roster.

Think of how much fun your place of employment would be today if you went in and the results of the day REALLY didn’t mean anything.  Add to that the fact that your job moves to south Florida for 7 weeks and the results don’t matter while you’re there.

No wonder most of the players have so much fun in Sarasota.

I had everything you could possibly want last week in Florida.  Baseball, family and even some occasional sun when I wasn’t working and could enjoy it for a moment or two.

Oh, and I got paid to do it all.

Anyone with a son or a daughter knows this much is true:  Nothing beats a sunny day at the ballpark with your child. Nothing.  It must be the combination of sun, warmth and love.  Having a baseball player – his name and years of service don’t matter, if he has a uniform on, he counts – toss a baseball to your child and the ensuing smile from your youngster is just about the best thing you can ever see if you’re a parent.

I had it all last week in Sarasota.

And on top of all of that, the Orioles treated me well.

All of them.  I didn’t get the stink-eye from anyone.  Then again, I didn’t see “EVERYONE” in the organization…but those that I did come in contact with were extra-special-kind to me.

It’s easy to work in those conditions.

Now it goes without saying that I’m not going to sacrifice my natural “right” to critique the Orioles, both on and off the field. If they do something dumb, like charge people more money for tickets on the day-of-the-game, I’m going to say it was dumb. And if they start off the season 2-16 and essentially throw in the towel, like they did a year ago, I’ll call that one as I see it as well.

Like I’ve said for a long time, when the Orioles do good things, I’ll compliment them.  When they do bad things, I’ll be critical of them.  It’s no secret the Orioles haven’t liked when I’ve been critical of them, but there’s not much I can do about that.  Over the last 8 years that I’ve been with WNST, they’ve done far more bad than good.  And I’ve been forced to note that stuff.

But last week in Sarasota, they did a bunch of good things.  And I’ve noted those here.

Last week, the Orioles treated me the way I expect to be treated.

Hopefully those of you who paid attention last week saw the effort we put in to bring you the best coverage of the Orioles that you could possibly get.  There’s more of that to come as far as I’m concerned.

You saw, for five days anyway, what steps I’ll take to cover the team as long as I’m allowed to do so.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that what transpired in Sarasota is a precursor to the regular season and that I’ll be afforded that same professional courtesy at Camden Yards.  I’m hoping I’ll still have that same access to players.  I’m hoping to share that with you and everyone else who loves the Orioles.  I’m hoping…hoping that for the first time in a long time, listeners of WNST and readers of WNST.net will get in-depth information on the Birds from me…and the rest of the gang at the station.

For a variety of reasons, the 2011 season could be a memorable one for the Orioles.  And for WNST.

You know the old saying:  Hope springs eternal.

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Tuesday 3-Pointer: Buck Show-Wieters, Prime Time Reimold & Beefing Up Riley’s Angels

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Tuesday 3-Pointer: Buck Show-Wieters, Prime Time Reimold & Beefing Up Riley’s Angels

Posted on 01 March 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Tuesday 3-Pointer

 #1 – Buck’s Biggest Impact: Walks on Water or Wakes Up Wieters?

 

While it’s easy to get caught up in the inherent euphoria of the Buck Showalter experience so far, as I wrote a couple of weeks ago I’m having a hard time envisioning Showalter (or anyone for that matter) possibly living up to the expectations set forth by the team’s stunning turnaround since his arrival, set to the backdrop of historical ineptitude in the midst of 14 straight miserable seasons. At least part of the Orioles success under Buck could be attributed to an expected “market correction” of sorts, another to the infusion of Brian Roberts, Koji Uehara and other key contributors arriving at the end of the season with Showalter. Still, to this point Showalter has seemingly garnered most of the credit (deservedly or not) and will likely take more than his share of the blame too if things go south (again deservedly or not).

 

My reasoning for trying to minimize Showalter’s impact is simple, it seems to me that even if Buck Showalter had the right answers to every question that seemingly vexed these Orioles before his arrival, it still seems inconceivable that he could have imparted all of that wisdom on his new charges quickly enough to have had the impact that we saw by way of the team’s turnaround last year.

 

If there was a place however, that Buck may have been able to implement his own philosophy on the fly, it was through catcher Matt Wieters. Pretty much immediately after Wieters’ arrival with the big club, Dave Trembley made it known to the fans and media that he’d be charged with calling his own game, how true that was is still actually anyone’s guess. If Showalter’s arrival though brought with it simply a better called game through Matt Wieters, either by changing his approach in calling pitches, or by calling the pitches himself from the dugout, that’s the one place where I’d be prone to believe that Showalter could have had an immediate and sizable impact.

 

After beating the Texas Rangers last year on July 11th, the Orioles were 29-59 on the year (32.9%). In games caught by Craig Tatum at that point however, they were 10-13 (43.4%). Maybe the biggest single factor in the O’s struggles last year was the game being called by Wieters. It’s inconceivable that Showalter taught nearly every pitcher on the team how to throw more effectively, but it’s highly conceivable that he taught Wieters how to set them up better for success themselves. If that is indeed the case, I can’t wait to see what he can do for him with the bat in his hands this season.

 

#2 – Prime Time Reimold

 

Nolan Reimold started his 2011 campaign off much better than he left off 2010 with a solo shot off of Pittsburgh’s Paul Malolm in his first plate appearance of the spring. The acquisition of Vlad Guerrero immediately led me to believe that the O’s would be shipping Luke Scott (and his big mouth) to anyone willing to make an offer, so far that hasn’t been the case. As long as Scott remains an Oriole, and the rest of the outfield and Guerrero remain healthy, Reimold looks to be the odd man out. That may not be the worst thing in the world though.

 

One big spring game does not a comeback season make, and Reimold has work to do to bounce back from last year’s disappointment. As the only player in that mix with an option remaining on his contract, Reimold is likely to be shuttled back and forth between the minors and the big club as needs arise throughout the upcoming season. Getting everyday at bats in triple A is probably more beneficial for Reimold and his development anyway than filling the 4th or 5th outfielder role and playing once a week in the majors.

 

What Monday’s line from Reimold reminded me of though, and the impression that I hope he leaves with Showalter no matter where he winds up beginning the year, is all about his mature approach at the plate. After the big shot to start his season, no one could have blamed Reimold for getting aggressive and expanding his strike zone looking for another bomb, especially in the first game of the spring. Instead Reimold compelled 3 walks to compliment the dinger on his line, and scored another run to boot in the O’s 6-4 victory over the Pirates.

 

The day I grew to appreciate Reimold as a hitter is one I’ll never forget. It was the afternoon of May 27th, 2009 against Toronto. The O’s were down 8-3 to the Jays and Roy Halladay after 7 innings. Reimold entered the game for Felix Pie in the 8th and struck out swinging with the bases loaded against reliever John Carlson, still the O’s rallied in the 8th to tie the game at 8. In the 9th Reimold came to the plate with runners at first and second in an 8-8 game and was called out looking on a Jason Frasor pitch that seemed to be a terrible call by home plate umpire Rob Drake. After surrendering a 10-8 lead to the Jays in the top of the 11th, Reimold came to the plate with 2 men on and delivered a game winning 3-run shot for the O’s, delivering the win. Despite feeling gypped at the plate all night by Drake, Reimold never adjusted what he knew to be his strike zone, as a result he came through in the clutch, Reimold seemed at that moment, clearly disciplined beyond his years in terms of approach.

 

I’m sure Buck will grow to love and appreciate the patience of Reimold, if he hasn’t already. Hopefully that patience will translate to patience regarding his relative place in the hierarchy of O’s outfielders. After last seasons disappointment, no one could blame him for being antsy about getting past it, just like no one could have blamed him on that day in 2009 in the bottom of the 11th, having already struck out twice. Let’s hope his approach is the same.

 

#3 – Riley’s Angels Beefing Up

 

With the passing of the NBA’s trade deadline, and the wave of bought out contracts, the last official migration of NBA talent for the season is set to take place, as bought out players can now align their services with the team of their own choosing for the stretch run, provided of course that the team’s interest is mutual.

 

The Heat look to be the early winners here, as the attraction of playing with Riley’s Angels, and their apparent need for someone to steer the ship and someone to take care of the dirty work make them a compelling destination for players not only looking to pick up some hardware as hired guns, but also seeking an opportunity to be the difference maker, the player who puts them over the top. It looks like Troy Murphy and Mike Bibby will be answering that call for the Heat in the next couple of days. It wouldn’t be surprising if San Antonio got a lot more interested in Bibby with the news that Tony Parker may be out for a few weeks, but for now the Heat looks to be his likely destination.

 

In Murphy the Heat may find the front court difference maker that they’ve been looking for since Udonis Haslem went down for the season, in fairness he’d project to be a lot better for the Heat than Haslem ever was, and surely better than Erik Dampier has been. Murphy would finally free up Chris Bosh to be the pick and pop power forward that he was made to be. Bibby, sadly doesn’t seem to be the player that he once was anymore, and probably won’t make much difference in how far the Heat can go this season. He surely doesn’t bring with him as much potential as Murphy in Miami’s system.

 

Ultimately if the Heat hope to be successful they’ll have to find a way to beat good teams and to win close games, they’re 2-6 in games decided by 3 points or less, and 14-15 against teams that are above .500. Maybe Sunday’s showdown with the Knicks shows the biggest reason why. Given a last shot at a tying 3-pointer against New York, LeBron James put a move on a defender and launched an off balance 3 from the top of the key, instead of looking to DeWayne Wade who looked to be wide open and looking for the ball on the wing for 3.

 

When this triumvirate of excessiveness came together the biggest early question was who will get the big shots, now the Heat have to find themselves wondering who can make a big shot in a critical moment for them. If their struggles in close games continue, I fully expect the “who gets the shots?” questions to appear again with renewed fervor, maybe from within the Heat’s own locker room too.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Honda Classic (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on NBC. All golf from Palm Beach Gardens, FL); Harlem Globetrotters (Saturday 1pm Verizon Center; Friday & Saturday 7:30pm Patriot Center); Soccer: MISL-Chicago Riot @ Baltimore Blast (Friday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena); Boxing: Zab Judah vs. Kaizer Mabuza (Saturday 9pm from Newark, NJ live on Pay-Per-View)

10. Marc Broussard (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Ra Ra Riot (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live), Rev Theory & Pop Evil (Friday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); Jah Works (Friday 7pm Bourbon Street), Ice Cube (Monday 8pm Bourbon Street); Tim Reynolds (Sunday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Good Charlotte (Friday 6:30pm 9:30 Club), Scissor Sisters (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Get Up Kids (Tuesday 8pm Black Cat DC); Randy Newman (Wednesday 8pm Strathmore); Leon Redbone (Thursday 8pm Barns at Wolf Trap); Jeffrey Ross (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); 127 Hours” and “Faster” available on DVD & Blu-Ray (Tuesday)

Marc Broussard makes me wish I wasn’t spending the week in Sarasota. Damnit!

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

If you listen to “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST (and why the hell wouldn’t you?), you know Drew Forrester and I are ALL IN when it comes to Ra Ra Riot. They’re strong.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVun8pRhNQQ[/youtube]

Good Charlotte may be from Waldorf, but they’re huge Baltimore Orioles fans. Benji Madden and Joel Madden in fact BOTH have O’s tattoos if I remember right. Either way, Festival Song will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4t54bPUvmg[/youtube]

I only know one song the Get Up Kids have ever done, and it was a cover of The Cure. But damn was it good…

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

9. Tennis-Davis Cup: Team USA vs. Chile (Friday 9am & 12pm, Saturday 10am, Sunday 9am & 12pm from Santiago, Chile live on Tennis Channel)

I’d be much more excited about the Davis Cup if:

1-It were on a real TV channel. No offense Tennis Channel, but I’m the biggest tennis fan on the planet and even I don’t have the Tennis Channel.

2-The great American hope wasn’t Andy Roddick. I’ll enjoy the eye candy, but winning in Memphis two weeks ago doesn’t exactly make me suddenly hopeful he’s due for a career turnaround.

Of course, if A-Rod’s flu symptoms were to keep him out, we’d be left with John Isner.

ISN’T ANYONE IN THIS COUNTRY A GOOD TENNIS PLAYER?!?!?!?!?

8. Auto Racing: NASCAR Kobalt Tools 400 (Sunday 3pm from Las Vegas live on FOX)

I can think of a few things I’d rather do in Vegas than watch Jeff Gordon drive a car.

A-Piss away money on Freemont Street while watching bad cover bands.

B-Drink alcohol out of a football…

football

C-Almost anything involving Holly Madison…

holly

7. Women’s College Basketball: ACC  Tournament-Maryland vs. Georgia Tech/Virginia Tech winner (Friday 11am from Greensboro, NC live on Fox Sports Net nationally, Comcast SportsNet locally)

Well Terps fans…if you want to be excited about March Madness…I’d suggest you learn the names of the players on Brenda Frese’s team.

First name to learn? Diana Tchatchouang.

tchatch

What is Tchatchouang French for, you ask? Actually, Tchatchouang is French for “HUH?!?!”

6. NBA: Golden State Warriors @ Washington Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Minnesota Timberwolves @ Washington Wizards (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Detroit Pistons (Sunday 6pm from Auburn Hills, MI live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS)

Baltimore Terps fans-you don’t think things could be worse? You COULD root for the ‘Zards!

I don’t know how to polish this. The Wizards are unbelievably awful. It’s almost impossible. Making it worse this week, the teams playing the Wizards are awful too.

Why should you watch one of these games? Ummm….maybe their mascot G-Man will do something cool???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfBXFRSt4pE[/youtube]

5. High School Basketball: Baltimore Catholic League Championship Game-John Carroll vs. St. Frances (Tuesday 7pm Reitz Arena)

I LIKE the fact that the Patriots and the Panthers are getting together for their fourth showdown of the season.

I LOVE any sentence that includes the words “Catholic” and “school”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCgc-N7J2Mo[/youtube]

(Note-Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson unlikely to be at BCL title game Tuesday.)

4. NHL: New York Islanders @ Washington Capitals (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), St. Louis Blues @ Washington Capitals (Thursday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ Florida Panthers (Sunday 5pm from Sunrise, FL live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ Tampa Bay Lightning (Monday 7pm from Tampa live on VERSUS)

The trade deadline in the National Hockey League was Monday, and I was as surprised as anyone to see that the Caps dealt Sidney Ponson to the San Francisco Cows for Darin Blood.

(I think I just combined the Ponson and Joe Carter deals into one. God it sucks being an Orioles fan.)

All of those trades and they didn’t come up with Kenny Wu? I’m reminded of why I don’t root for the damn team…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxSY4vClA4U[/youtube]

3. College Lacrosse: Bellarmine @ Loyola (Saturday 1pm from Ridley Athletic Complex live on AM1570 WNST); Towson @ Mt. St. Mary’s (Saturday 1pm Waldron Family Stadium)http://wnst.net/wordpress/glennclark/wp-admin/post.php?action=edit&post=10574; Princeton @ Johns Hopkins (Saturday 1pm from Homewood Field live on ESPNU); Bellarmine @ Maryland (Monday 3pm Byrd Stadium); Hood @ Stevenson (Wednesday 3pm Caves Athletic Complex)

With the Tigers and Blue Jays on the same field Saturday, there’s probably someone who can discover the cure for the common cold.

It’s too highfalutin for me. I’d rather look at picture of Kayla Love from Busted Coverage. Oh look…

kaylalove

2. Mixed Martial Arts: UFC on VERSUS-Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann (Thursday 9pm from Louisville live on VERSUS), Strikeforce Columbus: Dan Henderson vs. Rafael “Feijao” Calvacante (Saturday 10pm from Columbus live on Showtime)

Boy, I miss the days when it was a big deal when “Hendo” faught. Probably won’t be the case on Saturday night.

Martin Kampmann will join Thyrl Nelson and John Rallo on “The MMA Report” Tuesday at 1:30pm on AM1570 WNST. Then he’ll fight a guy who craps in the woods…honestly…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3KuHz0IEPxQ[/youtube]

1. College Basketball: Maryland @ Miami (Wednesday 7pm from Coral Gables, FL live on ESPNU), Virginia @ Maryland (Saturday 2pm from Comcast Center live on ACC Network-WNUV 54 in Charm City); Morgan State @ Coppin State (Thursday 7:30pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex); MAAC Tournament-Loyola vs. St. Peter’s (Saturday 2pm from Bridgeport, Conn. live on MSG Network); America East Tournament-UMBC vs. Binghamton (Thursday 8:15pm from Hartford, Conn. streamed live at AmericaEast.com); CAA Tournament-Towson vs. Drexel (Friday 2:30pm from Richmond, streamed live at CAASports.com)

It’s march and I’m mad!

That’s mostly because the Terrapins have absolutely no shot at going to the NCAA Tournament.

Oh well. UVa still sucks. Except for Dave Matthews Band…

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

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Sarasota and WNST: A great week of radio, fun and baseball

Posted on 28 February 2011 by Drew Forrester

The stars just keep coming out in Sarasota.

Today, I had the chance to visit with Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters, as neither of them are making the trip to Lakeland for the 1:05 pm thriller with the Tigers.  Markakis and I spent a few minutes chatting about his foundation and what his batting order preference is in 2011.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJD3DlcM4Ec[/youtube]

We also got up with Mikc Gonzalez and rookie Zach Britton, who stared down Ryan Howard in Clearwater on Wednesday in his spring training debut.

It’s been an enjoyable week here in Sarasota.  It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, that being welcomed in by the Orioles PR staff and moving around freely in the locker room has made our stay productive and fun.  We literally haven’t encountered ONE player who wasn’t cooperative — and except for a snafu when we first arrived on Monday morning, there hasn’t been an issue or a hiccup with any member of the team’s staff.  We even spent 15 minutes with Andy MacPhail on Wednesday.

I’m actually disappointed to be leaving on Sunday.  Then again, 80 degrees and sunny every day always makes it tough to leave.  I’ll take in tomorrow’s 1:05 pm home game as a fan.  Maybe Ethan can get a few autographs or even a baseball.  He brought his Junior Orioles hat and ID lanyard on the trip.  I’m hoping that gets him some brownie points.

We’ll do our wrap-up show from Sarasota today from 2-6 pm at Bacalao.  I’m sure we’ll spend plenty of time talking NFL labor stuff, but there will be plenty of Orioles interviews and inning-by-inning updates of today’s game in Lakeland vs. the Tigers.

9:00 am, Thursday, 3/3 update from Sarasota:

Jeremy Guthrie took a look around the locker room this morning – packed to the gills with reporters – and said, jokingly, “Yeah, yeah, the Orioles are 3-0 and all the sudden everyone wants to talk with us.”

He was joking around.  Well, not about the 3-0 start.  The battlin’ Birds ARE 3-0.  But no one is coming out of the woodwork to cover these Orioles except for the folks in Baltimore who are already down here.

Still, you can sense a bubbling sense of enthusiasm from Buck’s troops, even if it’s only spring training and even if the lineup from the opposing is littered with players who won’t make the team.

Buck wants accountability, and as Guthrie told me today, that means trying to win every single game, even the ones in March.

Jake Arrieta MIGHT be the team’s home opener starting pitcher.  I chatted with him about that this morning and you’ll be able to hear that interview at WNST.net today and see the video account via WNSTv on our website.

And we also caught up with Brian Roberts, who was sporting a pretty cool t-shirt in his corner of the locker room.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj97HwLVAFc[/youtube]

The Birds and Twins get it on today at 1:05 pm here in Sarasota.

***********************************************

11:00 am, Wednesday, 3/2 update from Sarasota:

I just had a 20-minute sitdown with Andy MacPhail prior to his departure for Clearwater where the Orioles take on the Phillies this afternoon.  We covered a lot of ground, I think, including his hiring of Buck Showalter, the team’s pursuit of free-agent “bats” in the off-season, Ken Rosenthal’s analysis yesterday that the Orioles farm system is hurting and MacPhail’s future in Baltimore.

The entire interview will air today at 4:10 pm as Glenn Clark and I handle the 2-6 pm duties on “The Afternoon Drive”.  The video portion of the interview will be available shortly at WNST.net.

It’s been a great Wednesday so far for us.  In fact, it’s been a meaningful three days here in Sarasota, as we’ve talked to about 15 players and the team’s VP of Baseball Operations.

It’s nice to be treated kindly by members of the Orioles organization.

It makes you want to be around them more.

*********************************************************

9:00 am, Wednesday, 3/2 update from Sarasota:

Ahhhhhhh…the sun is out, the Florida sky is blue, it’s 80 degrees and the Orioles are undefeated.

What else could you want?  Well, I guess you could want that weather in Baltimore and you could ask for the Ravens to beat the Steelers when it matters.

But for now, the Orioles are being asked to carry the torch for Baltimore sports fans and if the first three days of this week are in any indication, things are going just fine for Buck Showalter’s team in Sarasota.

There’s an evident feeling of confidence and enthusiasm in the orange locker room, thanks in part to a ball-mashing 12-6 win over Tampa Bay on Tuesday in the grapefruit league home opener at Ed Smith Stadium.  You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who isn’t feeling just a bit giddy about the way this has all started, even though most of the veterans are quick to point out “it’s still only spring training”.

Glenn and I buzzed around the locker room this morning and chatted with 8 players, including the great Jake Fox, who hit a home run on Tuesday and was more than happy to visit with us, especially since he wasn’t hopping on the bus for the 75 mile trip to Clearwater to take part in today’s 1:05 pm matchup with the Philadelphia Phillies.

We also had the chance to catch up with Luke Scott and shoot a video interview with him.

Be sure and tune in to the 2-6pm “Afternoon Drive” show today as Glenn and I broadcast from Bacalao restaurant in Sarasota.  We’ll have all the player interviews from today’s locker room session and videos will go up throughout the day at WNST.net (click the WNSTv link).

*******************************************************

9:00 am, Tuesday, 3/1 update from Sarasota:

Fresh off their 6-4 win over the Pirates in yesterday’s Grapefruit League opener, the Orioles reported back to their Ed Smith Stadium training facility in good spirits early this morning.

Almost all of the players were awake when the media wandered in around 8 am today.

Glenn Clark and I had the chance to visit with a few of the players this morning and we’ll post video accounts of it all throughout the day today.  Brendan Harris has his name on his glove.  I thought that was pretty cool.  Brendan said it’s only cool when you have your name on a glove and it’s for sale in a sporting goods store.  You see…what do I know?

Here it is…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr1jAKZvKtU[/youtube]

We also spoke with Josh Bell, Nolan Reimold and Jim Johnson.  Two of those three were actually awake.  You’ll figure it out for yourself later on when you see all the videos.  Honestly?  If I’m a baseball player and I get in to work at 8:00 am and some dude wants to talk to me about hitting a home run in a game that doesn’t matter, I might not be that excited either.

The Tampa Bay Rays come buzzing into Sarasota today for a 1:05 pm showdown with ‘dem O’s.  We’ll be hovering around throughout the morning and early afternoon until we head to the Bacalao restaurant shortly before 2pm to set up for our afternoon broadcast live from Sarasota.

*************************************************

12 noon, Monday, 2/28 update from Sarasota:

So we were able to spend a few minutes with Buck Showalter this morning, just Glenn Clark and I.

He was watching his pitchers play long catch and looking rather David Duval’ish with his Oakley sunglasses and a half-a-scowl on his face, even though it was 80 degrees and baseballs were in the air.

We had a 2-minute discussion with the skipper and it included a gem of a quote, one that he’s used rather frequently over the last two months.

“We’re not gonna run our mouth,” Buck said.  ”We’re just gonna lay in the weeds and surprise some people.”

Well, there’s only two ways to do it, I suppose.

You can do what Brian Billick suggested a decade or so ago.  You can go in, kick the door down, and chase after your rivals like a madman.

Or you can keep quiet and strike like a snake when no one thinks you’re there.

Buck likes the snake approach.

And I guess when you’ve lost for 13 years in a row, going in like a bull in a china shop and creating havoc is probably not going to frighten many people.

*********************************************

Cue the U2 CD and the song, “It’s a Beautiful Day”.

Welcome to Sarasota.

Beautiful Sarasota, that is.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i78HLjeCPUY[/youtube]

The Orioles start their spring training schedule today with a 1:05 pm game in Bradenton against the Pirates.  Don’t get all down in the dumps if they drop the opener…the games don’t actually count yet.

Glenn Clark and I will be here all week – or as long as they’ll have us…and you know how THAT goes – covering Orioles spring training and doing the 2-6 pm show live from Bacalao, a drinking and eating establishment about 100 yards behind the left field wall at Ed Smith Stadium.  Our weeklong coverage of Orioles spring training from Sarasota is brought to you by the 136th running of The Preakness, set to be run on May 21st from beautiful Pimlico.

Yes, the station that supposedly “hates the team” is here…covering the team.

We did have a credential snafu this morning, but it really WASN’T the team’s fault, per-se.  It was the fault of the temporary club staffer at the front desk who gave a half-hearted effort in an attempt to locate our credentials when Glenn and I showed up around 7:55 am.  As soon as the real team PR representative showed up, all went well and the whole process took roughly two minutes.  The part-timer, who was barely breathing in the 45 minutes that we waited, offered a sincere “thanks for waiting” as we exited the building after getting our credentials and parking pass.  So we got that going for us…

Those players in the lineup today at Bradenton are departing via bus at 9:30 am this morning.  The others will hang around and work-out and we’ll hopefully have some sound and video with a few of the players later on today.

We’re going to venture over to Bacalao soon and set up for the show.

We’ll check back immediately if someone tears their ACL or feels a pop in their elbow.

No news is good news.

And be sure and follow us on Twitter (@WNST) as we offer quick hits from Sarasota with pictures and all that jazzy stuff that the world-wide web affords us.

If you have any SPF 30, send it down here.

It’s a scorcher today.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 14 February 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour Northern Trust Open (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Pacific Palisades, CA), Champions Tour ACE Group Classic (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm, Sunday 7pm from Naples, FL live on Golf Channel), Honda LPGA Thailand (Friday 12:30pm, Saturday & Sunday 3pm from Chonburi, Thailand live on Golf Channel); High School Basketball: Parkville @ Perry Hall (Wednesday 6:30pm); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Fernando Guerrero vs. Saul Roman (Friday 7pm from Wicomico Civic Center live on ESPN2), Fernando Montiel vs. Nonito Donaire (Friday 9:45pm from Las Vegas live on HBO)

10. Salt-N-Pepa/Naughty By Nature/MC Lyte/Kool Moe Dee/Kurtis Blow (Saturday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena); Plain White T’s/Parachute (Friday 7pm Rams Head Live); Taproot (Saturday 6:30pm Bourbon Street); Vusi Mahlasela (Monday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Slightly Stoopid (Wednesday & Thursday 6:30pm 9:30 Club), Drive-By Truckers (Friday & Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club), Los Lobos (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); Pablo Francisco (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); John Mellencamp (Tuesday 7pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall), Avett Brothers (Friday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Herb Alpert (Wednesday 7:30pm Birchmere), Bacon Brothers (Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm Birchmere); Big Head Todd & The Monsters (Thursday 8pm Strathmore); Buddy Jewell (Thursday 7pm Severna Park High School)

You’re not going to catch me saying a negative word about Salt, Pepa or Spindarella. They’re strong.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZg_Jehko7c[/youtube]

A few weeks ago, I woke up to a video of Dave Matthews Band and Vusi Mahlasela playing “Everyday” in my Hotmail Inbox. I had never heard of Vusi Mahlasela. I immediately wanted to hear more…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4JhCTbmBQ4[/youtube]

John Mellencamp rules. Not much else I can say about that…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsEwK69LXjQ[/youtube]

I haven’t had a chance to listen much to the Avett Brothers. That’s my mistake…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1XMHGVOXZ8[/youtube]

9. Soccer: MISL-Omaha Vipers @ Baltimore Blast (Friday 7:35pm 1st Mariner Arena), Milwaukee Wave @ Baltimore Blast (Sunday 5:05pm 1st Mariner Arena)

It’s been a long time since I’ve included soccer on the list. So I had to reference Yahoo! Sports’ Dirty Tackle blog to find out what I had missed.

Apparently Wesley Sneijder scored a nifty goal for the Netherlands in a friendly against Austria…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Wyfxk54v3w[/youtube]

And some dude had his pants fall down while trying to take a picture with Lionel Messi…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zs2uLsN6Pno[/youtube]

8. Mixed Martial Arts: Strikeforce Challengers (Friday 11pm from Cedar Park, TX live on Showtime)

I got to see Strikeforce live for the first time this past Saturday night in New Jersey. With any luck, the smell will come out by  St. Patrick’s Day.

The bad news for Strikeforce is that Fedor Emelianenko-the only fighter Strikeforce had that non-MMA hardcores gave a rip about-was eliminated from their World Heavyweight Grand Prix Tournament.

The good news for Strikeforce is that on Saturday night they also officially announced the return of Gina Carano. I’d like to tell you that I think she’s a good fighter. The reality is that no one knows and even fewer care…

gina

For the record, I tried posting the “Gina Carano is back” video Strikeforce showed on Showtime Saturday night; but it wasn’t up on YouTube yet. It’s a lovely video. Trust me.

7. NHL: Washington Capitals @ Anaheim Ducks (Wednesday 10pm from Anaheim live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ San Jose Sharks (Thursday 10:30pm from San Jose live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (Sunday 12:30pm from Buffalo live on NBC), Washington Capitals @ Pittsburgh Penguins (Monday 7:30pm from Pittsburgh live on VERSUS)

I know that without Monday Night Football there might be a few more folks interested in checking out the Caps face the Pens in a Winter Classic rematch. I won’t be one of them. I hate the Redskins, I hate the Steelers. So I just don’t care for the hockey teams in those cities either.

BUT…if Penguins goalie Brent Johnson gets in another fight like the one he got into against the New York Islanders the other night…I’d be ALL IN…at least to watch the highlights on SportsCenter or something.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4FrNDkAYVY[/youtube]

6. Women’s College Basketball: Duke @ Maryland (Thursday 7:30pm Comcast Center), Maryland @ Florida State (Sunday 3pm from Tallahassee, FL live on ESPN2)

Can SOMEONE please manage to figure out a way to beat Duke?!? PLEASE?!?!?

I’ll be in College Park Thursday night to check out the Terrapins women as they do the Lord’s work against the Blue Devils.

Hopefully the spirit of Kristi Toliver will be alive as the Terps battle the Devils…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-iTj7K6tew[/youtube]

5. Pro Wrestling: WWE Elimination Chamber (Sunday 8pm from Oakland live on Pay-Per-View)

Yep, the Elimination Chamber is crazy. But I could show you a video of that or I could show you a picture of WWE Diva Kelly Kelly. I mean, what are we really doing here anyway???

kellykelly

4. College Lacrosse: Navy @ Loyola (Saturday 2pm from Ridley Athletic Complex live on AM1570 WNST); Johns Hopkins @ Towson (Saturday 12pm from Unitas Stadium live on ABC2 & ESPN3.com); Detroit @ Maryland (Saturday 1pm Byrd Stadium)

And with this, Lacrosse is now REALLY back in Charm City. Sadly, it will only kill a handful of Saturdays during MLB season for me, and there won’t be NEARLY enough weeknight games to avoid baseball altogether-but at least there’s an entertaining outdoor sport to watch.

This is also very awkward because I try to support all of the local teams, but they face off more in lacrosse than they do in any other sport.

So for this week I say “Let’s Go BlueTigerTerpHoundsmen!!!”

3. College Basketball: Maryland @ Virginia Tech (Tuesday 8pm from Blacksburg, VA live on ACC Network-WNUV 54 in Charm City), North Carolina State @ Maryland (Sunday 5:30pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet); James Madison @ Towson (Tuesday 7pm Towson Center); UMES @ Morgan State (Monday 9pm from Hill Field House live on ESPNU); Rider @ Loyola (Wednesday 7pm Reitz Arena); Hartford @ UMBC (Saturday 7pm RAC Arena); UMES @ Coppin State (Saturday 4pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex), Delaware State @ Coppin State (Monday 7:30pm Coppin State Physical Education Complex); ESPNU Bracketbusters: VMI @ Morgan State (Saturday 4pm Hill Field House), Loyola @ Towson (Saturday 7pm Towson Center)

Things I feel better about than Maryland’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament:

-The American economy
-The Orioles getting Prince Fielder in the offseason
-Katy Perry finally saying “yes” to one of my date requests
-Seeing a new Chris Farley movie one of these days
-Steve Melewski buying me a beer when Drew Forrester and I do our show in Sarasota
-Duke football getting bowl eligible

I think you know where I’m going here.

But if they figure out a way to beat the Hokies Tuesday night…

2. NBA: All-Star Game (Sunday 8pm from Los Angeles live on TNT), All-Star Saturday Night (Saturday 8pm from Los Angeles live on TNT), T-Mobile Rookie Challenge (Friday 9pm from Los Angeles live on TNT); Washington Wizards @ Orlando Magic (Wednesday 7pm from Orlando live on Comcast SportsNet)

Nine out of ten NBA games are awful as it is, yet somehow the ASG finds a way to be even more awful than that.

I guess the dunk contest has occasionally been watchable…and is certainly the only reason any of us are familiar with names like Harold Miner or Gerald Green. And by “any of us” I mean “I went to Wikipedia and looked up to see who all won dunk contests in the past.”

Seriously, why the hell don’t they just put down trampolines and do the whole contest Slamball-style?!?!?

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

1. Auto Racing: NASCAR-Gatorade Duels (Thursday 2pm from Daytona, FL live on SPEED), Daytona 500 (Sunday 1pm from Daytona, FL live on FOX)

I wish I cared about NASCAR this week. I know this is a big deal to a handful of folks…I just don’t care. At all.

I’ve tried watching races. I’ve tried going to races. I’ve tried hosting a NASCAR radio show with Donnie Neuenberger (seriously). I’ve tried starting at pictures of Danica Patrick.

None of it worked. I just don’t care. It’s cars racing.

It doesn’t mean any of these aren’t funny…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwnO_CMY41k[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

(Week of Tuesday, February 15-Monday February 21)

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