Tag Archive | "Sports"

Kevin Johnson

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Baltimore Ravens 7 round mock draft 4.0 version

Posted on 25 March 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

Kevin JohnsonThe Baltimore Ravens were awarded 3 compensatory picks in the 2015 NFL Draft, giving them a total of ten. Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta and company can – as usual – go in several directions depending on how the board plays out.  In years past they’ve traded up and down, depending if a player they were targeting had been selected, or if there’s one that they rated higher and is dropping and within reach.  So without further ado, here’s a list of the players I see in a Ravens uniform at the conclusion of this year’s draft. It includes 3 – yes 3 – wide receivers, 2 defensive backs, 1 defensive tackle, 1 running back, 1 tight end, 1 offensive guard, and 1 defensive end:

Round 1: No. 26  – Kevin Johnson, CB Wake Forest He’ll start out as the third corner for the Ravens, but has starting potential down the road.  Ozzie at some point has to get Joe Flacco some “toys”, but this draft is deep at receiver and he’ll go get some (2 or 3) in the not too later rounds. He just cannot afford to be caught with not enough defensive back in this pass happy league again. That potentially cost the Ravens a Super Bowl appearance this past season, and Newsome will make sure it does not happen again.

Round 2: No. 58 – Devin Smith, WR  Ohio State Still sticking with him at this slot. I looked at a lot of receivers at this slot, and Smith was easily the most polished guy. Ran a 4.42 40 with a 39″ vertical. I can’t get the visual out of my head of him blowing up a kick returner in the Senior Bowl, as he came down the flank in the role of a gunner. He’s a football player, and no receiver at the combine tracked the deep ball better.

Round 3: No. 90 – Marcus Hardison, DT Arizona State 6’3″ 307 pounds.  With the loss of Haloti Ngata, the Ravens must draft another young defensive lineman to rotate with Brandon Williams and Tim Jernigan.  Hardison is built more along the lines of a defensive end, but he got to the QB 10 times last season.  That’s a pretty impressive stat for an interior lineman. He also had a good Senior Bowl and Pro Day.

Round 4: No. 122 – Eric Rowe, CB Utah At 6’1 205 pounds, he can play either corner or safety.  He’s been clocked at 4.39 in the 40, and he’s also come in for a visit.  Plus the Ravens love players from Utah.

No. 125 Javorius Allen, RB USC 6’0″ 221 running back from a big time program with big times hands to boot. “Buck”Allen rushed for 1,489 yards averaging 5.39 yards per carry while sharing the backfield with Justin Davis. He finished third on the team with 41 grabs for 458 yards, plus he is a reliable blocker.  His hands and blocking ability will serve him well in the Marc Trestman offense.

No. 136 (compensatory) – Ben Koyack, TE Notre Dame 6’5 255  Still convinced that the Ravens are going to take a TE in this spot. The only question remains as to which one they’re going to pick. I’m a bigger fan of the Penn State TE Jesse James, but I believe his combine #s moved him up to the 3rd round. The Ravens will also consider FSU’s O’Leary, Rutgers’ Kroft (they interviewed him at the combine), and OSU’s Heuerman. It’s also noteworthy that the Ravens also interviewed Koyack, which is the basis as to why I’m slotting him here.

Round 5: No. 158 – Darren Waller, WR Georgia Tech  He is 6’6″ 238 pounds – no folks, that’s not a typo.  Waller didn’t had the best receiving stats as he was primarily used as a blocker in Tech’s run heavy Flex-bone offense.  Still, with his immense dimensions, he is a very intriguing prospect.

No. 171 (compensatory) – Robert Myers, OG Tennessee I’d be surprised if Myers doesn’t end up in a Ravens uniform.  One publication described him as being ideally drafted with a developmental year in mind, which actually fits the Ravens m.o., particularly with Yanda’s and Osemele’s contracts coming up. At 6’5″ 326, he is very much the road grader that the Ravens like at the guard position.

No. 175 (compensatory) – Stefon Diggs, WR Maryland Injury concerns drop the speedy hometown receiver, as the Ravens pick him and triple down at the receiver position, in an attempt to give QB Joe Flacco the aformentioned “toys.” If Diggs – and that’s a big if – can stay healthy, along with Devin Smith he has a shot at replacing the production the Ravens got out of Torrey Smith.

Round 6: No. 203 – Ryan Delaire, DE Towson He is 6’4″ 250 pounds. Pulled a groin running the 40, but still got an interview by the Ravens. Long arms, and very productive career from this UMass transfer. He has a shot at making the roster as a developmental player behind Dumervil and Suggs.

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2015 Senior Bowl – Ravens guide

Posted on 24 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

As I prepare to watch the 2015 Senior Bowl, here is a list of players – by position – that the Ravens scouting department has interviewed. It tips the Ravens hand in the direction the team is leaning towards in terms of needs:

  • RB – David Cobb – Minnesota
  • FB – Zach Zenner – South Dakota State
  • TE – Nick Boyle – Delaware
  • WR – Justin Hardy – East Carolina, Tyler Lockett – Kansas State, Devin Smith – Ohio State
  • G – Tre Jackson – Florida State, Laken Tomlinson – Duke, Jamil Douglas – Arizona State
  • DT – Grady Jarrett – Clemson
  • DE – Nate Orchard – Utah, Lorenzo Mauldin – Louisville,  Owamagbe Odighizuwa – UCLA, Henry Anderson – Stanford
  • ILB – Stephone Anthony – Clemson, Bryce Hager – Baylor
  • CB – Craig Mager – Texas State, Eric Rowe – Utah, JaCorey Shepherd – Kansas, Quinten Rollins – Miami (Ohio)

The Ravens like mature players. They gravitate towards team captains, as leadership is a trait that they value. They also love game film, and the Senior Bowl presents an opportunity to evaluate these players against their peers. Should be fun to watch, as there is no doubt that we will see a handful of these players in a Ravens uniform sometime between April 30 – May 2, at the conclusion of the 2015 NFL draft.

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Why I’m happy Gary Kubiak took the Broncos job

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

We heard all the talk the past 10 days or so.  Gary Kubiak isn’t leaving the Ravens. He is very happy being their offensive coordinator. He’s not an administrator, but an X’s and O’s oriented type of a guy. He is a teacher, and has health concerns to boot. He is building a house in Owings Mills. Obviously working for your old roommate whom you were the back up QB to for 9 years up in Denver does have a tendency to change one’s mind. That and the nice contract a head coach would expect, are enough to sway anyone to change their mind.

The Ravens are better off for it, and I’ll tell you why. Gary Kubiak is a good man, a likable man. However, as a head coach, his record stands at 61-64, and he is 2-2 in the post season. He is Norv Turner in a different shell – both much more effective offensive coordinators than head coaches. That bodes well for the Ravens, as they face the Broncos in the future. That is, if the Broncos make the playoffs with the consistency that the Ravens have been making it for the past 7 years. If Peyton Manning doesn’t play in 2015 (he and the Broncos have until March 9 to decide) then Kubiak will start Brock Osweiler at quarterback. I don’t know that either one of these QBs are a good fit for Kubiak’s offense.

There are quite a few people in Denver that feel Elway’s hiring of Kubiak is an attempt to push Manning out the door, since he is owed $19 million on March 9, and he had a dismal outing against the Colts in the divisional round of the playoffs. Manning said he had a thigh injury that contributed to his performance, but to my untrained eye it was obvious he had lost quite a bit of steam off of his fastball.

The Ravens are a top notch organization, and will attract the best talent that is out there. They have a history of doing that. Baltimore is an attractive destination for coaches, because due to their consistent success, they frequently spawn head coaches in the NFL. Kubiak, Caldwell, Del Rio & Del Rio (2nd time), Pagano, just to name a few of the most recent one’s. They have a plan in place and will be methodical in their search for an offensive coordinator, but they will not cast as wide a net as they did a year ago. Joe Flacco had his best season in Kubiak’s scheme, and the Ravens are actively looking for a Kubiak clone so to speak.

The word on the street is that the best fit for the Ravens is Denver QB coach Greg Knapp. He is a better fit than Adam Gase, who was Denver’s offensive coordinator. Knapp has been described in some NFL circles as a Rick Dennison clone, and that the two are very similar in their philosophy, approach and execution regarding offensive football. Knapp comes directly from the Mike Shanahan-Gary Kubiak coaching tree, and is very well versed in the zone blocking scheme. Broncos fans are quick to point out that Knapp has been instrumental in Osweiler’s development, and feel that the 6’8″ third year pro out of Arizona State could capably replace the legendary Manning.

The 51 year old Knapp has an impressive body of work in the NFL. He was the Atlanta Falcon’s offensive coordinator and helped Michael Vick develop into a 2-way threat. He was Matt Schaub’s quarterback coach in Houston when Schaub was making the playoffs and Pro Bowls. And he was also the offensive coordinator in Oakland, where he installed the zone blocking scheme. The result was that it launched the career of running back Darren McFadden, who prior to Knapp’s arrival had not lived up to his pre-draft expectations.

The Ravens need to move relatively fast if they want to land the best candidate for their vacant offensive coordinator position, as the demand is heavy for the top coaches that are still available.

 

 

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Harbs

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Post game thoughts – Ravens vs Patriots

Posted on 12 January 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos

Had a great show Sunday morning, with relative predictable reaction by the Baltimore Ravens’ fan base. The scale was truly A – Z, from fans who were extremely upset, to moderately happy. The biggest issue that came up time and again was the decision that Joe Flacco made to throw the ball deep to Torrey Smith with just under 2 minutes left in the game.

Lots of Ravens fans second guessed that decision, and they wanted Flacco to continue to patiently work the ball downfield. In fact, on that play he had a wide open Marlon Brown streaking across the middle of the field.

It is my opinion that Flacco did in fact make the right call. The Patriots were in a single high safety formation, and Flacco knew that Torrey Smith was singled up by the DB on the left sideline. Smith got a couple of steps on his man, but the ball was under thrown and the safety came over and made a great play. It’s a simple as that. You take points when you can get them, and then you rely on your defense to make a stop, and win the game for you. Had the Ravens scored on that play, there’s no question it would have left the Patriots plenty of time to go down field and either tie the game with a field goal, or win it with a touchdown.

But first things first. I’ve seen too many games where offenses try to methodically go downfield in an attempt to score with seconds left, in order to leave the opposing offense with no time to move the ball. I’ve also seen turnovers happen in the form of fumbles and interceptions, mishandled handoffs and snaps. The ball is oblong, pointy, and bounces funny.  Oftentimes anything and everything that can go wrong…does. That is precisely why you take the points when you can get them.

The Ravens play aggressive football, and they have an aggressive nature about them. They are by and large well coached and relatively disciplined. No one complained when they went for it on 4th and 6th. When you live by the sword, you die by the sword. That’s how this team rolls, and that philosophy has played a big part as to why under John Harbaugh’s tenure, they’ve been in the playoffs 6 times in the past 7 years.

Speaking of Flacco, for 58 minutes he played a great game. He had two critical interceptions, but he also threw for 4 touchdowns. He should have had 5, but one of his throws bounced off of the hands of Owen Daniels. That was a huge play in and of itself, as it did factor in to the outcome. Flacco set a new NFL record with two touchdowns in eight straight postseason games, passing Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Drew Brees. That’s pretty good company if you ask me. The other question is this: if not Flacco – Ravens fans – then who? He didn’t let up a two touchdown lead, twice in the game. That was on the defense. Scoring 31 points in the NFL should be good enough for a win on any given Sunday. That was on the Ravens’ defense and their patched up secondary. Rob Gronkowski, some trickery, and Patriots’ half time adjustments were enough to pull out a win on their home turf.

There was criticism of Torrey Smith on the play that Flacco threw the pick on. Some fans felt that he didn’t do enough to break up the play. I’ve looked at the replays and he never had a chance to make a play on the ball. The safety was in good position, and got there at the ball’s high point. Smith is good, solid football player, but he doesn’t have the instincts to go up there and fight for the ball. It was not a lack of effort, and I’m not even sure that he saw the safety until the last second, so he didn’t have much time to react. I hope that he and the Ravens can come to a contractual agreement, as I believe he is a solid #2 receiver in this league, and adds value to the team.

Jacoby Jones looked tentative in the last two games, particularly on kickoff returns. He was not hitting the lanes hard, and maybe was putting too much emphasis on protecting the ball. He slipped on the opening kickoff versus the Steelers, and did not look good after that. I was hoping he would unleash himself in the manner that he did two years ago in the playoffs, but he was nowhere the difference maker this post season that he was then. I was disappointed with his performance, as I expected more.

The personal foul calls were troublesome, particularly on Torrey Smith. Coach Harbaugh should have also used a time out versus running on the field to get the refs’ attention. Not to mention he was wrong about the “deceptive practices” he alleged Bill Belichick was using. I under stand coach was frustrated after the bitter loss, but watching his presser brought to mind the phrase “never blame, complain or explain. I think Harbaugh is a solid coach, but hey coach, you got beat. Simple as that. Your defense blew a two TD lead – twice! Daniels didn’t come up with a catch – that Pitta would have probably held on to – in the end zone. Sending out 4 offensive linemen is nothing new. Alabama coach Nick Saban used it this season in overtime, in a 20-13 victory over LSU. I don’t recall LSU coach Les Miles complaining about the tactic at his press conference.

Bottom line is that the Ravens should head in to the off season with their heads held high. They battled through major off field distractions, 19 players on injured reserve, a late season suspension to a key player and still scratched and clawed their way to the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. They went toe to toe with a team that features a certain Hall of Fame first ballot quarterback and head coach, and gave them all that they could handle on their home turf.

Looks like offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak is coming back, and with a strong draft and some health, the Ravens are poised to make a deep run in to the playoffs next season for sure. Hopefully they’ll win enough regular season games to get some home games in the playoffs, which will make the road to where they’re ultimately trying to get to a bit easier.

 

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sterlingsplit

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In the Sterling-Silver Saga, NBA was wrong

Posted on 30 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Donald Sterling is a racist–didn’t you know?

Apparently he’s been a racist, bigot, sexist, and virtual scumbag for decades.  Just ask Elgin Baylor and Danny Manning.

But if you think that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the right decision, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.  You’re wrong because you’re letting emotion cloud your judgement and your ability to look at the ramifications.

Should Sterling have been booted from The League?  Sure, but as my good friend Brian put it, “it should have happened years ago, but not for this.”  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, Brian is African American.

In fact, allow me to share his full thoughts on the matter.  Brian and I often banter back-and-forth that white people tend to use the “I have black friends” card when approaching a topic of race.  In some ways, sharing his thoughts is my way of playing that card–but only for the fact that he’s one of the smartest and level-headed dudes I’ve ever met.  In essence, I don’t respect his opinion and share it because of his skin color, rather it’s because of his societal acumen and natural intelligence.

Unfortunately race is a sensitive issue, still, even in 2014.  But that doesn’t mean we should shy away from it.  In fact, it’s incumbent upon anyone involved in sports to hit racial issues head on.  Here’s what Brian had to say via email:

“Ok now onto Sterling.. This is going to get long so you may want to use the restroom, take care of personal phone calls first, etc. Ok with Sterling I FEEL NO SYMPATHY AT ALL!!! and this is an example of “chickens coming home to roost” Sterling has a 30 year history of being a despicable vile racist. And not the oh my gosh he said something crazy on radio for ratings type racist (I’m looking at you Imus and Limbaugh) but a did real damage to real people with institutional racism. I remember reading about his antics and history back in ’06 when they covered his not one but two historical housing discrimination suits that he lost (he didn’t admit guilt just paid a California record in damages) But the sworn testimony is jaw dropping. And if you read the testimony from his other lawsuits you sit back and go man this guy is a scumbag. Now does this mean he should have his team stripped b/c he essentially told his jump off to stop embarrassing him in front of his country club friends by flaunting the fact that she is banging every young black athlete this side of Adam Jones? No he shouldn’t lose it for that (sidenote: I had no problem with the tape – I was actually a little disappointed b/c knowing Sterling’s history when I heard racist rant I thought he was going to go grand wizard on his and drop every slur know to man like Uncle Ruckus from the Boondocks- he didn’t even use a slur). So no in a vaccuum he should not lose the team for that. Now he should lose the team for the other stuff. This is Al Capone going to jail for tax evasion and not the hundreds of people he killed.”

So to sum up, it is kind of messed up that he is banned for life and losing his team for THIS!! But he has a trunk full of evil deeds that can be substituted. I wish I was mature enough to stand up for the rights of the most despicable out there but I’m not (at least not in a lot of cases). But sometimes I just give in to street justice. For example I could see 4 cops  batoning the hell out of a handcuffed Jerry Sandusky I would not only walk by and not say or report anything but I would probably testify in open court that he attacked them first. That is the wrong side to be on b/c rules should apply to everyone and the past crimes of a person doesn’t mean they waive away their present “rights” I just hope there are more mature people then me to weigh in on that and do the right thing. But for me and with Donald Sterling I say turn him over to the mob and let them do as they wish.

Like he said, Sterling deserves what he gets, but not for this incident. If the NBA needed to make this move to remove a classless bigot, it should have referred to the continued problems and issues, rather than giving into public pressure, player outcry, and the media.

 Adam Silver made the wrong decision simply because it wasn’t his decision.  It was a decision that was made under pressure and one that paved the way the “slippery slope” that Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, alluded to, Drew Forrester opined about this morning  to and I wrote about yesterday.

Donald Sterling doesn’t deserve sympathy.  In fact, this isn’t even about Donald Sterling.  It’s about the preservation of the freedom to say and think the way you wish and desire–even if it’s something that most of us don’t support or condone.

If I don’t like people that wear blue shirts, it isn’t right to take my house away.  If I hate cat ladies and all they stand for, you can’t confiscate my dog.  And, if I don’t want to support gay marriage, or in contrast, I am married to a man, you can’t just up and take my business away and tell me I’m not allowed to be part of the rotary club.  It doesn’t work that way, not in 2014.  And, the decision to yank Sterling’s franchise from him is as irresponsible and antiquated-in-logic as saying that “minorities shouldn’t come to games.”

Should Donald Sterling have been punished?  I guess.  But more in the way of advertisers choosing not to affiliate with him, players refusing to sign in LA, and coaches–like Doc Rivers–refusing to work for him.  In fact, just last week, the NAACP planned on giving Sterling a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Interesting, considering that Sterling has been a racist and well-known bigot for a long, long time.

Organizations shunning a guy and pulling their ad dollars is more than appropriate.  Fining a guy over private comments and confiscating what purchased with his own money, that’s flat-out wrong because it opens the door to absolute power and dictation.

You might ask, does Sterling deserve to own a professional sports franchise? That’s really not up for debate, simply because if you have the money–as Snoop in The Wire would say–“deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

Adam Silver was wrong.  The NBA just opened the door to dictating thought and opinion; and that’s a scary and dangerous path to go down.  Donald Sterling is a racist.  He doesn’t deserve sympathy.

He doesn’t deserve anything–and that includes having his franchise taken from him for this incident alone.

 

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Pineda’s Pine Tar Gaff, Phelps’ Return, and in other news…

Posted on 25 April 2014 by WNST Staff

  • Yankees pitcher, Michael “Sticky Fingers” Pineda,” feels sad” for getting caught playing with his pine tar smothered neck in between pitches.

In other news…When talking to reporters, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Pineda wasn’t “trying to cheat.” He then could be heard phoning in a bulk order of “three cases of Vaseline, two rolls of sandpaper, and a year-supply of rubber cork.”

  •  Baltimore-native, Michael “Human Fish” Phelps, made a dramatic return to swimming yesterday, losing to fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte.

In other news…98% percent of American sports fans recently learned that competitive swimming actually took place outside of the Olympics.

  •  The Baltimore Ravens re-signed ex-Terps receiver LaQuan Williams yesterday, a year removed from releasing him with an injury settlement.

In other news…Terps’ diehards brace for another looming heartbreak when the Ravens realize they can only keep 53-players on the roster.

  •  Former Oriole, and former manslaughter suspect, Alfredo Simon is accused of raping a woman last spring in DC.

In other news…Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon makes a surprise visit to Pittsburgh to consult with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (#neverforget #scumbag)

  •  Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin will drive the pace card for tomorrow’s Richmond NASCAR race.

In other news…public officials and historians brace for tomorrow’s monumental event in Richmond where it’s reported that for the first time ever, an African American will attend a NASCAR event.

 

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Here are #WNSTSweet16 people who had a dream in Baltimore

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Here are #WNSTSweet16 people who had a dream in Baltimore

Posted on 21 January 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

These are people who’ve inspired, led, built and left or are leaving a legacy that affects people in Baltimore or elsewhere in the world. Some of them dreamed their whole lives, some had one big dream or act that keeps giving, producing and growing. Most of these “dreamers” have an eternal gift to have given something that transcends their initial efforts, legacy or life. Dreamers see the end before many see the beginning. I always think of guys like Walt Disney and the founding fathers of the United States of America, who built things.

Let’s start our list, page by page and go through our rationale and rankings. Feel free to share, feedback or comment with your own lists and ideas.

 

#WNSTSweet16 Dreamers

 

16. John Ziemann

There’s no doubt that John Ziemann had a dream of seeing the NFL back in Baltimore from 1984 through 1995 but unlike many local football fans, he actually did something about it. Something profound and beautiful and well-told by local film rock star Barry Levinson in The Band That Wouldn’t Die, Ziemann’s ability to keep the marching band of the Baltimore Colts together and see it through to the Ravens and two more Super Bowl titles makes him a dreamer who saw his vision to its fruition.

How many times did Ziemann think or hear that his band would die long before – and hell would freeze  before the NFL would return to Baltimore? The Marching Ravens tie the community and its roots back to Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts of 33rd Street more than any other local tradition.

Just for the record, Carroll Rosenbloom and Bob Irsay didn’t make our #WNSTSweet16 cut. They were a part of taking the Baltimore Colts from our city. Ziemann was the loudest and most authentic part of bringing the NFL back.

See next page for No. 15

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Three-way decision: Radov, Kryglik & Dickinson share 2012 Baltimore Sports Media Superstar crown

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Three-way decision: Radov, Kryglik & Dickinson share 2012 Baltimore Sports Media Superstar crown

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

After three months of exhaustive research, work and auditions, we had a very difficult decision in anointing the 2012 Baltimore Sports Media Superstar crown on Thursday night at Hooters in Towson.

After a lengthy debate and a myriad of input and criteria — from facts, knowledge, video & audio tryouts, live audiences, trivia challenges and panel conversations — we arrived at three winners who will split the $1,000 prize for the 2012 title.

Congratulations to Daniel Radov, Jeff Kryglik and Brett Dickinson for sharing the title this year. All will be given opportunities to participate at WNST.net & AM 1570 this fall as we ramp up our football and weekend coverage, led by the re-emergence of Fox Sports Radio at WNST.

Many of the remaining 13 finalists will also be given chances to contribute at WNST.net as well.

Here’s the speech I gave last night regarding the process and the presentation of the winners:

 

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Our 18 Baltimore Sports Media Superstar finalists await Monday cuts

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Our 18 Baltimore Sports Media Superstar finalists await Monday cuts

Posted on 13 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

Can our WNST Baltimore Sports Media Superstars pass the test? You can be the judge now with all of the action from Monday’s packed live show at Hooters in Towson right here at WNST.net:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An orange video postcard from Citi Field

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An orange video postcard from Citi Field

Posted on 18 June 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

We had another soldout WNST Orange Roadtrip this evening to Citi Field in Queens, N.Y. While the outcome wasn’t positive for the Orioles, we did have a hearty group rooting on Jake Arrieta and the Orioles.

Here’s my video postcard of an evening at the site of the former Shea Stadium…

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