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Baltimore Native and Maryland All-American, Keith Booth, Joins Loyola University Maryland Women’s Basketball Staff

Posted on 17 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Former University of Maryland All-American and NBA World Champion Keith Booth has been named an assistant women’s basketball coach, Greyhounds Head Coach Joe Logan announced today.

“We are ecstatic to have Keith Booth join our Loyola women’s basketball program and excited that he is able to return home to Baltimore to continue his coaching career,” said Logan.

Booth, a Baltimore native, spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach with the men’s basketball team at the University of Maryland under Head Coach Gary Williams.

In his time at Maryland from 2004-2011, the Terrapins won no fewer than 19 games and reached the NCAA Tournament three times. Booth assisted with the daily operations of the men’s basketball program, including recruiting, advance scouting, player development and game preparation.

“Keith brings with him a unique perspective, which I am looking forward to and I know our whole program will benefit from,” Logan said.

As a player at the University of Maryland, Booth led the Terrapins to four NCAA Tournaments, including a pair of Sweet Sixteen appearances, and in 1994 began Maryland’s streak of 11 consecutive NCAA berths that ran from 1994 to 2004. Current Loyola head men’s basketball coach, Jimmy Patsos, was an assistant coach at Maryland and helped in the recruiting of Booth.

In his senior season at Maryland, Booth led the Terps in scoring (19.5 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg) and steals (2.0 spg) and is still Maryland’s all-time leader in free throws made (576). Booth finished his impressive career at Maryland among the Terps’ all-time leaders in scoring (9th, 1,776 points), rebounding (6th, 916 points), steals (5th, 193) and is one of 15 players to have his jersey honored above the Terps’ home court at Comcast Center.

In October 2008, Booth was inducted into the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2010, Booth represented Maryland as one of the ACC Basketball Legends honored at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

Booth played his high school basketball locally at Dunbar High School and was considered one of the major recruiting windfalls for Williams and the Terps in the mid-1990s.

As a senior at Dunbar, Booth was a Parade and McDonald’s All-American selection. He also led his team to the Maryland Class “A” State Championship. Booth was named Player of the Year in Baltimore City and the state of Maryland by the Baltimore Sun.

After a stellar career at Maryland, playing alongside Joe Smith, Rodney Elliott, Johnny Rhodes and others, Booth was an AP All-America Third Team selection as a senior in 1997. Booth left Maryland with a host of accolades including All-ACC honors four times, earning first-team honors as a senior, third team as a junior, and honorable mention designation during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Booth’s teams appeared in two NCAA Sweet Sixteens, finishing his sophomore season as ACC regular season co-champions and ranked No. 10 in the country in the final AP poll. That year (1994-95) the Terps compiled a 26-8 record, including a perfect 16-0 record at Cole Field House. Booth finished his Terrapin career with averages of 14.1 points per game and 7.3 rebounds.

After his playing years at Maryland, Booth was a first round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in 1997, taken as the 28th selection overall. Booth was a member of the 1998 Chicago Bulls NBA World Championship team led by Michael Jordan.

“Keith’s accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Logan. “He has won at every level and we are looking forward to him developing our players into winners both on and off the court.”

Booth joined “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. You can hear the interview in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 29 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: College Soccer-Stanford @ Maryland (Friday 7:30pm Ludwig Field), Radford @ Maryland (Sunday 7pm Ludwig Field); Holiday Inn Express BWI Classic: St. Francis @ UMBC (Thursday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park), Fairleigh Dickinson @ UMBC (Saturday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park); Boxing: Jan Zaveck vs. Andre Berto (Saturday 10:30pm from Biloxi, MI live on HBO); WNBA: Atlanta Dream @ Washington Mystics (Thursday 7pm Verizon Center), Washington Mystics @ Atlanta Dream (Friday 7:30pm from Atlanta live on NBA TV), Connecticut Sun @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 4pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet/NBA TV)

10. UPROAR Festival feat. Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Seether, Sevendust (Wednesday 2pm Jiffy Lube Live), Jimmy Buffett (Thursday 8pm Jiffy Lube Live), Stevie Nicks (Saturday 8pm Jiffy Lube Live), Journey/Night Ranger (Sunday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Lyle Lovett & His Large Band (Tuesday 8pm Wolf Trap); Olivia Newton-John & Terrell Owens host Cancer Awareness Event feat. Kelly Bell Band (Saturday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); The Hold Steady (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Umphrey’s McGee (Friday & Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); B.B. King & Buddy Guy (Tuesday 7:30pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall), The Script (Thursday 7:30pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Fuel (Friday 7pm Jaxx); Blake Shelton (Saturday 7:30pm Timonium Fairgrounds), All Time Low (Sunday 7:30pm Timonium Fairgrounds); Jimmie’s Chicken Shack (Friday 8:15pm Baltimore Grand Prix Party Zone), The Bridge/Collective Soul (Saturday 7pm Baltimore Grand Prix Party Zone); Red Hot Chili Peppers “I’m With You”, Lil’ Wayne “Tha Carter IV”, Counting Crows “August & Everything After: Live From Town Hall”, Lenny Kravitz “Black And White America” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I won’t make the rescheduled version of Jimmy Buffett either, but somewhere in the comfort of my own home I’ll probably be singing “Fins”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNrM7DnYz4Y[/youtube]

Drew Forrester plays tunes from The Hold Steady sometimes on “The Morning Reaction”. I’m a fan…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isvn_Dsj2bA[/youtube]

I’m so bitter that all of the good shows are in DC this week. Men shouldn’t admit to enjoying The Script as much as I do…but I REALLY enjoy The Script. A lot…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMihKmoYfe8[/youtube]

WNST intern Ryan Morrison hooked me up with an advance copy of Tha Carter IV…I hope I’m not getting him in legal hot water by mentioning that. There was a humorous moment during Hurricane Irene where everyone in my house was singing along to this song. Don’t play it if you’re at work. Unless you work at The Gold Club. If you do, could you bring a Chap’s sandwich by the station Monday?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl3QmFHk7D4[/youtube]

9. Maryland State Fair (Tuesday-Monday Timonium Fairgrounds); Maryland Renaissance Festival (Saturday-Monday RennFest Fairgrounds Crownsville); Glenn Clark’s Kickball Championship Round (Thursday 6:45pm Carsins Run Aberdeen)

I’m not sure which yet, but either Friday night or Monday early afternoon I’ll be at the fair. I have two goals. ONE-watching something get born in the Birthing Center and squirm like hell. TWO-Re-enact this picture…

msf

Glorious. Re-enacting THIS picture would also be an option…

horse

There’s a good chance I win the Breeders Cup at some point in the future.

Oh-I’m playing for a kickball title Thursday night in Aberdeen before the Ravens game. The hell with the Ravens game, no one that matters is playing. I’m playing for a kickball title. I’d love to have you guys come support us. You really owe me at least that much considering all I’ve done for you.

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Reactions to Passing of Orioles Great Mike Flanagan

Posted on 24 August 2011 by WNST Staff

Orioles Owner Peter Angelos:

“It is with deep sadness that I learned of the death of my friend Mike Flanagan earlier this evening. In over a quarter century with the organization, Flanny became an integral part of the Orioles family, for his accomplishments both on and off the field. His loss will be felt deeply and profoundly by all of us with the ballclub and by Orioles fans everywhere who admired him. On behalf of the club I extend my condolences to his wife, Alex; and daughters Kerry, Kathryn and Kendall.”

Former teammate/Hall of Fame SS Cal Ripken Jr.:

“I am so sorry to hear about Mike’s passing. He was a good friend and teammate and our thoughts are with Alex and his family. Mike was an Oriole through and through and he’ll be sorely missed by family, friends and fans. This is a sad day.”

Former teammate/Hall of Fame P Jim Palmer (via MASN postgame show):
“I’m not real good at this … because he was one of us. I guess, the first thing I want to say to his three daughters and to Alex, my condolences. We were a family. I think anybody that played for the Orioles in the eras that we played understood how lucky we were. It wasn’t just about what happened on the field. He was one of a kind. I’m sorry for the people that knew him. It’s devastating.”

Longtime Orioles Public Relations Manager Bill Stetka (via Patch.com):

“He bled black and orange. He was one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known. Just a quick, dry sense of humor. He made in all the years I was traveling in PR, whether he was broadcasting or pitching coach or the general manager, he made it bearable with all the losses. He kept his sense of humor. He was very introspective. I’m going to miss him.”

Former teammate Rick Dempsey (via Baltimore Sun):

“It’s just shock right now. I know everybody that played with him loved him to death. He was the backbone of that pitching staff. He never quit — this guy never quit. He was there for the duration. We had so many great games and so many great times. I just can’t believe it.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter (via MASN postgame show):

“He’s just impacted so many lives, including myself. Sitting in my office, drinking coffee with him, it’s tough. He made great use of his time on this earth. We’ll miss him.”

Former Orioles PR Director John Maroon:

“I had the pleasure of working with Mike Flanagan for several years and was sad to hear of his passing. Mike was always friendly, funny and kind. We are so sorry for his family and they are in our thoughts and prayers tonight.”

Orioles CF Adam Jones (via Twitter):

“O’s family, fans, supporters lost a great man today in Mike Flanagan. Learned alot from Flanny in my 3+ years in Bmore. Ur missed ALOT #46″

Orioles Pitcher Jake Arrieta (via Twitter):

“Deeply saddened by the loss of Mike Flanagan, devastating time for the entire Oriole family…”

Orioles Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (via Twitter):

“From day I was given #46 as Oriole,the fans always reminded me of the legacy Mike Flanagan left behind.This is a sad day for Orioles family. Mike Flanagan was an important person to me & touched the lives of countless people in the baseball family & especially in Baltimore. RIP”

Former teammate Ken Singleton (via The Morning Reaction on WNST – listen here):

“Flanny was a great guy, a great teammate. Always could crack up a clubhouse.”

“I know he wasn’t happy with the way things were going with the team. I’m sure it bothered him like it bothered everyone else.”

“Flanny had a way of keeping things loose. Fans could see that on TV.”

“This was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had and to have it end this way is not good.”

Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver (via WNST):

“He was a great pitcher. It was a player-manager relationship. I didn’t know Mike that well.”

“But when I retired and got to know Mike as general manager, he was very friendly.”

Orioles Pitcher Chris Jakubauskus (via Twitter):

“The Orioles Family lost a great man today. My thoughts and prayers Go out to the Flanagan family. He will be missed.”

Orioles Pitching Prospect Matt Hobgood (via Twitter):

“So sad to hear about Mike Flanagan. No words can ease the pain of losing a father, son, brother, uncle… It’s the worst feeling ever… RIP”

Orioles 1B Prospect Brandon Snyder (via Twitter):

“Flanny will be dearly missed by everyone in the orioles family. A great man and a great Oriole. #46″

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I always had great Eck-spectations for my best pal and Dundalk wrestling hero Kevin Eck

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I always had great Eck-spectations for my best pal and Dundalk wrestling hero Kevin Eck

Posted on 24 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been an emotional week for me on many levels with more big news forthcoming about WNST.net and its future, so please allow me a little space today to write a very personal blog that comes from the heart.

Kevin Eck – you probably know him as the “Ring Post” guy at The Baltimore Sun — has been in my life since 1979 and for large swaths of time we were as close as any brothers could be. We met at the Games store at Eastpoint Mall (remember that place?) at an autograph signing for Billy Smith. We also both met Al Bumbry, Scott McGregor, Mike Flanagan and Rich Dauer (his favorite) there on the north end of the mall during that “Magical” summer. I was a legitimate “mall rat” at Eastpoint Mall in the early 1980’s – PacMan, soaping the fountains, that sorta thing.

As Bruce Springsteen once wrote so eloquently in the E Street Band classic, Bobby Jean: “We liked the same music, we liked the same bands, we like the same clothes.” That could’ve been the story of Nestor and Kevin. Except we liked the same girls, baseball, football, basketball, rock bands and, of course, professional wrestling of the WWWF and the land of Bob Backlund and George “The Animal” Steele.

This isn’t just a story about my lifelong best pal from Holabird Junior High and Dundalk Senior High. It’s not just a media or journalist story.

It’s really about a kid from Dundalk who dreamed of working in professional wrestling and next week is embarking on a journey of a lifetime.

I can say with all of the conviction in my being that Kevin Eck ate, slept, talked, walked, learned, researched, watched, critiqued, worked in and worked out of nothing but the world of professional wrestling.

The genesis of our friendship wasn’t born of the Orioles or Colts or any rock music band like Rush — and they’re all closer to the heart of our friendship. The truth: Kevin was the only other WWWF wrestling aficionado and wrestling magazine nut when I was in the 7th grade. It was our special bond – a love of the squared circle and the work of Bruno Sammartino, Superstar Billy Graham, Greg Valentine and Andre The Giant.

So, this isn’t just about another “Dundalk boy did well” story, it’s more like a Willy Wonka kind of story with imagination .

Look, I could tell Kevin Eck stories all night. Chasing girls in the 8th grade. Attending every middle school and high school dance. Girlfriends, births, deaths, jobs, journalism, careers, wives…we’ve done it all.  Crazy weeks in Jamaica. Long weekends in Ocean City. All-night benders in Las Vegas and San Diego. You name it. World Series games, crazy cab rides that I chronicled in “Purple Reign” when Eck was the first person in Baltimore to hear the news that the Browns/Modells were moving their NFL franchise to Baltimore.

Eck and I have been around the world together and have shared our lives together. If you want to see a bunch of crazy old, embarrassing pictures I posted them all on my Facebook page here. Please feel free to fan me and I’ll try to make you laugh more often.

And there’s nothing better in life than when your friends do well. Nothing!

Especially when your oldest friends succeed and thrive and live their dreams.

Kevin Eck’s life and dream came full-circle and into the squared circle a few weeks ago when he accepted a job to work on the WWE creative team with Stephanie McMahon, Triple H and Dusty Rhodes in Greenwich, Ct. He’s packing up his family and moving to take a job a lifetime at Titan Tower.

In baseball, we’d say he got the call to “go to the show.”

And this must be what it feels like when your brother or best friend or son makes his first big-league start.

You almost want to pinch yourself for them, you know?

Our lives and our career paths have followed a similar, strange path – we’ve worked directly in the same industry as competitors for the better part of two decades and somehow have managed to keep our friendship (and that’s not always easy with two fiery personalities).

I got a job at The News American in September 1984. He soon followed.

I got a job at The Evening Sun in January 1986. He soon followed at The Sun.

I left The Sun in January 1992. He left a few years later to go to work for Ted Turner and WCW as a magazine editor in the last 1990’s and was there during a turbulent corporate time when Vince McMahon’s then-WWF empire usurped the entire industry and my pal came back from Atlanta having to start his local journalism life all over again.

Because of his immense talent and deep depth of knowledge of local sports, Kevin got his job back on the editing desk at The Sun, right back in the sports department. He began writing his passion – a little blog called “Ring Posts” a few years ago and it quickly became a viral hit. (As I told him it would be…)

So many times I talk about expertise in journalism, integrity in reporting and fairness in news judgment and I’m proud to say Kevin Eck has all of that and has for the most part been a “behind the scenes” guy at The Sun, who never had a high profile beat but has been a rock star in his department on the high schools and the dirty work that so many don’t want to do in the journalism business — editing, planning, managing people.

He’s kind of like that lunch pail rock star football player – a Jarret Johnson, Kelly Gregg kinda underrated guy. But a guy you’d never want to lose. And he’ll be the first guy in the clubhouse and the last to leave.

The Sun is taking a major hit losing a guy like Kevin Eck, especially given his deep knowledge of Baltimore sports, which I sadly never put to better use. I always thought Kevin would’ve been a star doing local sports talk radio and I told him that. But he already had a gig and one that both of us dreamed of having as kids, which is what took us into the newspaper business back in 1984.

We both watched “The Odd Couple” as kids and wanted to be Oscar Madison, truth be told.

Meanwhile, the WWE is getting a rock star – someone who is so dedicated to wrestling that it honestly baffled all of our friends, especially when it became apparent through his mom taping every single episode of every single match on VHS tapes for the better part of 25 years.

Kevin Eck has watched as much wrestling as Mel Kiper Jr. has watched college football tape.

Seriously…

This summer, as a hobby, I took it upon myself to work on one project outside of direct WNST sales and development business and that’s been collecting all of my pictures, memorabilia and boxes o’memories to use on my Facebook page and in an upcoming reality TV show I’m participating in with a friend. (I can’t tell you more about it until they let me.)

Two weeks ago, at the bottom of a box, I found this gem of a memory.

And even though it happened on July 25, 1981, I remember it pretty well. Kevin and I were crashing at his Mom’s house and we began working on a project to quietly unseat Vince McMahon from his kingdom by publishing our own Pro Wrestling magazine. We were gonna make millions with this partnership venture.

His mom Shirley, who has struggled with her health lately and was like a second mother to me, was the only person we knew who could type so she was our typesetter and we had to go to the library to make copies and we planned to sell them for 25 cents.

Kevin and I worked all night to make the inaugural (and only) edition of Wrestling, Inc. with Dusty Rhodes on the cover.

That was 30 years ago last month. I don’t think Kevin has missed a WWE wrestling match since 1981.

Other than Dave Meltzer and perhaps Alex Marvez, my pal Kevin Eck is as expert about all things professional wrestling as anyone on the planet outside of Vince McMahon himself.

There’s not much Kevin Eck doesn’t know about pro wrestling, except now he’ll be on the inside of the WWE kingdom helping put on the show and make it better.

He’s off to the WWE to make a difference to follow his dream.

He loved The Baltimore Sun. He loves Baltimore sports and has quietly dedicated his life to it the way I did.

I was the loud boisterous pal. He was always the quiet one in the shadows.

I traveled the world, got syndicated, did my thing and he was always so supportive – like a brother – through all of my victories and challenges.

Kevin did the family thing, came back home to Baltimore to be a factor at his dream job in The Sun sports department and now he’s gotten the job of a lifetime at WWE and one that he’s richly deserving of and one where he’ll thrive and be the best in the world.

You should follow him. You should root for him.

I’m so proud of him and so happy for him that I could explode.

I just wanted to brag on my pal, spread his great news and tell him “good luck” in the most public way that I can because I’m proud of how his hard work has paid off for him.

And I have a feeling I’ll be watching a lot more WWE and SmackDown in 2012 and pining away for the days of Lord Alfred Hayes and Captain Lou Albano.

And if somehow they could only bring Bruno Sammartino back into the ring for one night at the old Civic Center!

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I hope Ripken isn’t next Orioles hero signing up to polish Angelos’ smelly turd?

Posted on 10 August 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

On Tuesday night, as Camden Yards sat mostly empty on another beautiful summer night, it happened again. No, not just another “tough-luck, one-run Orioles loss” en route to what could possibly be the worst season of this era replete with 100 losses, but instead the whining, moaning and embarrassingly homerish “media” scam pulled on a nightly basis in my living room by the likes of Jim Hunter, Mike Flanagan, Rick Dempsey and company at MASN.

Along with all of the apologists at The Baltimore Sun, WBAL, PressBox and WJZ (the entire CBS “family” is in bed with the Orioles and has spent 14 years making lame, transparent excuses while taking a paycheck) – it’s amazing these employees of Peter Angelos can put their heads on a pillow at night and believe they have any integrity left in their words this community.

The crazy part is that there are still hopeless fans in the orange Kool Aid bunch who refuse to even acknowledge that all of these former “heroes of Birdland” are employed by Peter Angelos and will lie to you every night like state run media in Egypt, Syria and Libya.

It’s been said many times in many ways but it’s absolutely true to any thinking person in America circa 2011 — false praise in the absence of legitimate criticism is hollow. Perhaps these are the same morons who watch Fox News and believe they’re getting “balanced” reporting.

The media in Baltimore are not really “media” at all. They’re paid employees of the Orioles. It’s the only way you’re allowed to “report” on the team. It’s a “no criticism” rule when you sign up for the credentials and access.

Jim Hunter is as much of a journalist as Vince McMahon was when he interviewed Ivan Putski and George “The Animal” Steele on Saturday afternoons on Channel 45. And Rick Dempsey – well, sorry pal, I loved you as a ballplayer but as someone who allegedly has “insights and observations” that I’m being told to respect you’ve become a sick, nightly joke on my couch.

This is the part where I’ll let Jim Palmer off the hook for being Jim Palmer. But at this point, I’m astonished he hasn’t been fired. I really am…and most nights he goes overboard in trying to be kind to another young pitcher who has surrendered six runs in three innings in another loss. And Gary Thorne, who makes no bones about being an outsider and hired gun, is just cashing a paycheck and trying to not laugh at the nightly ineptitude, almost playing a straight man in what would be a comedy if it weren’t destroying the city on summer nights.

They should all be ashamed of themselves and allowing this civic tragedy and disgrace to continue while taking a paycheck and lying to the very fans who made them heroes.

Trust and integrity are a funny thing. You only get one chance to lie to me and I’m gone forever. And after watching a 20-minute post-game show that grilled third base umpire Phil Cuzzi for “costing the team the game” on a blown call on Nick Markakis, it’s apparent that serving up the Kool Aid is the only way to keep your job with the Angelos clan if you’re name isn’t Palmer.

The Orioles are in the midst of their fifth straight last-place season. Of course, if you watch MASN, they’re not in “last” place – the co-workers of Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter are only allowed to refer to it as “fifth place” or else they’ll be fired.

And either way, they’ll have to grovel for their jobs, careers and lives once again next February when Angelos goes through this his usual bullying tactics and stall techniques to gain leverage over these poor over-50 former ballplayers/heroes and tarnished “media” members as they try to earn a salary for another year in the MASN empire while serving up pretzel logic and lame baseball excuses for why the team hasn’t played a meaningful game since 1997. It’s the same methodology that Steve Bisciotti experienced in trying to “partner” with Angelos and MASN last July.

The Orioles PR and marketing staff – despite the awfulness of the team and the emptiness of the stands and the downtown area in general – still employ Gestapo tactics against my staff and anyone else who doesn’t praise the team’s .393 baseball this summer as “the road to improvement.”

Intimidation and threats are a daily way of life at The Warehouse. And, if anyone doubts whether Greg Bader and the Angelos family will take away your ability to feed your family, my picture is on the wall there as the “poster child for bad behavior” by the local media.

The truth: I’m in the only one in the local media who seems to care enough to be loud about their awfulness but that’s nothing new because the WNST staff are the only ones who aren’t on their payroll. We might also be the only media members who actually purchased season tickets (not my idea, by the way) this year via Drew Forrester’s “parent and child” program.

On Tuesday night in between the innings I managed to catch the entire episode of “The Band That Wouldn’t Die” on my DVR. To see the passion and energy of John Ziemann and his cohorts with the Colts Marching Band and their still open wounds from their undying love of the local team and the Irsay move is still inspiring and amazing. I can’t help but wonder if I’m going to live long enough to have a real baseball team with a community spirit in Baltimore or whether this will go on into perpetuity and Angelos will buy another 20 years of life from the devil and continue to torture my baseball soul while making $50 million per year in profit.

To think that ANYONE still cares about the Orioles enough to watch every night is amazing enough.

But to insult our intelligence again and again, night after night with this mindless banter? Really, the joke’s on me for giving my time and energy to these clowns.

At this point, it’s become a macabre comedic act in our house to watch the post-game just to see how many excuses Hunter and Dempsey can come up with after each nightly loss. It’s particularly entertaining when the Orioles lose 17-3 and these guys can come up with ways the “home team” got screwed or were a play away from being “right back in the game.”

The Orioles didn’t lose on Tuesday night because of one call – and, sure, it was an awful call. The Orioles lose because they don’t have enough good players. The Orioles lose because good players don’t want to play for Peter Angelos. We get crappy programming because real reporters with integrity don’t want to work for Peter Angelos.

But, sadly, for some legends, they don’t have the option of staying away like Cal Ripken.

Which brings us to the next rumor – the “Ripken to join the front office of the Orioles” phonebooth whispers have begun against in earnest as they seemingly do every summer.

If Ripken is smart, he’ll stay away.

But my gut tells me he won’t be able to help himself at some point. Eventually, if the old man lives long enough, Ripken will sign up for the party and become the butt of the jokes as well.

Cal Ripken’s involvement can’t fix the Orioles. It might create a few headlines and sell Angelos some more tickets but putting gold paint on a pig still doesn’t make it more than ham and bacon.

And that would be really, really hard to watch, Ripken falling into the Jim Hunter trap.

Lord knows, watching Dempsey and Flanagan is hard enough these days…

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 11 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Diego Magdaleno vs. Alejandro Perez (Friday 11:05pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime), Friday Night Fights-Pawel Wolak vs. Delvin Rodriguez (Friday 9pm from New York live on ESPN2); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Seattle Storm (Tuesday 3pm from Seattle live on NBA TV), Washington Mystics @ Los Angeles Sparks (Sunday 8:30pm from LA live on NBA TV); Arena Football-AFL Pittsburgh Power @ Cleveland Gladiators (Friday 8pm from Cleveland live on NFL Network); Canadian Football League: Saskatchewan Roughriders @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats (Saturday 4pm from Hamilton, ONT live on NFL Network), British Columbia Lions @ Edmonton Eskimos (Saturday 7pm from Edmonton live on NFL Network), Calgary Stampeders @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Thursday 8pm from Winnipeg live on ESPN3.com), Toronto Argonauts @ Montreal Alouettes (Saturday 7:30pm from Montreal live on ESPN3.com); Tennis: WTT New York Sportimes @ Washington Kastles (Tuesday 7pm from Kastles Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet), Springfield Lasers @ Washington Kastles (Thursday 7pm from Kastles Stadium live on Comcast SportsNet/Tennis Channel), St. Louis Aces @ Washington Kastles (Friday 7pm Kastles Stadium), Sacramento Capitals @ Washington Kastles (Monday 7pm Kastles Stadium)

10. Pat Benatar/Neil Giraldo/Dennis DeYoung (Friday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion), Peter Frampton (Sunday 5:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Miranda Lambert (Friday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Lil’ Wayne (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Huey Lewis & The News (Wednesday 8pm Wolf Trap); Mr. Greengenes (Friday 7pm Power Plant Live); Soundgarden (Tuesday 7:30pm Patriot Center); Jonny Lang (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live), Taking Back Sunday (Saturday 6pm Rams Head Live); Jimi Haha (Saturday 8pm Recher Theatre); Tim Meadows (Friday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head On Stage), Cracker (Sunday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Interpol (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Stephen Marley (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Marc Broussard (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club); Edwin McCain (Thursday 7:30pm Birchmere); k.d. lang (Thursday 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); A Perfect Circle (Sunday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows Part 2 out in theaters (Friday)

I certainly wouldn’t pay to do it, but there’s at least a chance I’ll sit across the Pier Friday night for Dennis DeYoung. Do you have any idea how many times I’ve watched Styx: Behind The Music?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJJcR1r7u2A&feature=fvst[/youtube]

I was sitting around cracking crabs Sunday when a Lil’ Wayne tune came on Pandora. I was reminded of how much Mr. Weezy can make things…

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

I’m HONESTLY debating getting in the car Tuesday night, driving the two hours or so to Fairfax (might be more like 3 given traffic) and taking in the iconic pipes of Chris Cornell. Dude is an icon…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0_zzCLLRvE[/youtube]

If you’ve never heard Jimi Haha outside of Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, I’d imagine you’d be quite pleasantly surprised…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5i05XEAN9Lg[/youtube]

9. Poker-World Series of Poker (Thursday & Friday 3pm 7pm 11pm live on ESPN3.com 11pm live on ESPN2, Saturday 3:30pm live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com, Sunday 12am 3pm 10pm live on ESPN3.com 12am 10pm live on ESPN2, Monday 7pm live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com. All poker from Las Vegas)

Remember when ESPN attempted to convince us that everyone in the world would be watching/playing/caring about/paying attention to poker a few years ago?

Umm….how’d that work out?

Despite the fact that no one seems to care anymore, they’re going to provide their lengthiest/most in-depth coverage of the event ever this year. That’s good news, as I was struggling to answer the question “what am I going to not watch on TV this week?” with something besides NASCAR or golf.

Want me to watch? Try “World Series of Strip Poker” with Lais Ribeiro (thanks Guyism). I won’t guarantee I’ll watch, but I’m much more likely…

lais

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Colts Hall of Fame TE John Mackey Passes Away at 69

Posted on 07 July 2011 by WNST Staff

NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Executive Director DeMaurice Smith confirmed Thursday morning via Twitter that former Baltimore Colts TE John Mackey had passed away overnight. Mackey was 69.

Mackey was selected in the 2nd round of the 1963 NFL Draft by the Colts out of Syracuse. He remained in Charm City until 1972, when he finished his career playing one season with the San Diego Chargers.

During his time in Baltimore, Mackey was a five time Pro Bowl selection (1963, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968) and three time All-Pro (1966, 1967, 1968).

He was a member of the Colts team that defeated the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in Super Bowl V. In the game, he was involved in one of the more memorable plays in Super Bowl history, catching a twice deflected Johnny Unitas pass and scampering 75 yards for the Colts’ only TD of the game.

The Queens, NY native finished his career with 331 catches for 5,236 yards and 38 TD’s. He added 17 postseason catches for 296 yards and 2 TD’s. His career was sadly cut short due to leg and knee injuries.

Mackey was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992, becoming just the 2nd pure tight end to be elected (Mike Ditka). In 2010, the NFL Network listed Mackey 42nd on their list of the Top 100 players in league history, the highest ranking of a Tight End on the list.

In the later years of his life, Mackey endured a very public battle with dementia. In a 2007 interview with the Baltimore Sun, wife Sylvia Mackey (who was taking care of Mackey in the later years of his life) said Mackey asked her “Who’s that wearing my number?” when watching Marvin Harrison of the Indianapolis Colts on television. (Harrison wore #88 in Indy, the same number Mackey wore in Baltimore.)

In response to his health battles, the league and NFLPA  created the “88 Plan”, providing retired players with up to $88,000 per year for medical and custodial care resulting from dementia, including Alzheimer’s. Mackey served as NFLPA President from 1969-1973, he was succeeded by former Colts teammate Bill Curry.

As more details are available regarding Mackey’s passing, we will make them available via AM1570 WNST and WNST.net. Also stay tuned to AM1570 Thursday, as we will chat with folks who knew Mackey well.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 13 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Connecticut Sun @ Washington Mystics (Thursday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Lacrosse: MLL Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Long Island Lizards (Thursday 7:30pm from Hempstead, NY live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Fernando Guerrero vs. Grady Brewer (Friday 9pm from Austin, TX live on ESPN2), Canelo Alvarez vs. Ryan Rhodes (Saturday 10:30pm from Guadalajara, Mexico live on HBO)

10. Sade & John Legend (Thursday 7:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); Katy Perry (Wednesday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Owl City & Mat Kearney (Saturday 5:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Rascal Flatts (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Patti LaBelle (Tuesday 8pm Wolf Trap), Elvis Costello & The Imposters (Wednesday 8pm Wolf Trap), Daryl Hall & John Oates (Monday 8pm Wolf Trap); Musiq Soulchild (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Michael Franti & Spearhead (Friday 7pm Rams Head Live), Pop Evil/Crossfade (Sunday 6pm Rams Head Live), Good Charlotte/Yellowcard (Monday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); The Bridge (Wednesday 8pm 8×10 Club); Pat McGee (Friday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head on Stage); Mark Curry (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Aziz Ansari (Friday 7pm & 10pm Warner Theatre); “The Green Lantern” opens in theaters (Friday)

I was digging John Legend way before I ever heard his cover of Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep.” That being said, it DOES make me like him more…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrQ4njrnnsI[/youtube]

When David Letterman had eight heart attacks, apparently Elvis Costello filled in for him one night and introduced himself as the musical guest. This is why YouTube exists, folks…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XYFJUP84lE[/youtube]

If you’re not listening to Michael Franti, this is on you at this point. Get on it.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dh-8mw9MKbQ[/youtube]

Seeing Pat McGee playing solo makes me wonder what Pat McGee Band is doing. That being said, he’s pretty good on his own too…

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

9. Harford County Restaurant Week continues (Tuesday & Wednesday throughout Hazzard County)

Ho.ly. Crap.

You mean to tell me there’s a Chiapparelli’s in Havre de Grace and NONE of you a-holes told me?

Look, it will never replace the O.G. in Little Italy (which is actually closer to me), but it’s a potential refreshing change of pace when I need a fix.

Yes, I have an addiction…to Chips salad.

chips

What are everyone’s plans Wednesday night? I’m in if you are…

8. Charm City Roller Girls (Saturday 5:30pm Du Burns Arena)

You might not know this, but I’m a HUGE fan of the Roller Girls.

It isn’t just because the first time I went to see them I was greeted with Chipotle and Pabst Blue Ribbon, although I will admit it helped.

It’s also about the players’ names. For example…

Minnie Piledriver
Reckless Ndangerment
Frenzy Lohan
Duchess of Torque
Flo Shizzle
Coach Ballbricker
Dolly Rocket
Joy Collision
Pistol Whip

I offer one solid dollar for someone to come up with my own CCRG name. Not just a dollar…a SOLID dollar. Keep that in mind.

7. Auto Racing: NASCAR Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 (Sunday 1pm from Cambridge Township, MI live on TNT); IndyCar Series Milwaukee 225 (Sunday 3:30pm from West Allis, WI live on ABC)

I know some people are into this, but I’ve made no mistake that NASCAR and Auto Racing in general just aren’t for me.

You know how it WOULD be for me? If Rick From Reisterstown could call the races!!!!

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

Rick took the collar this year when Ruler On Ice claimed the Belmont instead of Shackleford. Seriously though, if you took your betting advice from Rick-I’ve got nothing for you.

6. NHL Playoffs: Stanley Cup Finals-Boston Bruins vs. Vancouver Canucks (Game 7 if necessary Wednesday 8pm from Vancouver live on NBC)

You’re thinking to yourself “Glenn, why is a potential Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Finals only number 7 on your list instead of being number 1???”

The answer is-of course-because if there’s a God (and I believe there will be), the Canucks will parade around Beantown with the Cup Monday night and Vancouver will simply be recovering from a 48 hour hangover Wednesday night.

If they win (either Monday OR Wednesday), we all agree that as a show of thanks for vanquishing the evil from Boston, we dress up like this on Friday, right?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4ICMRAUEoE[/youtube]

5. Tennis: ATP Tour & WTA Tour Wimbledon (Opening Round Monday 7am from Wimbledon, ENG live on ESPN2/ESPN3.com)

The thing I like most about the fortnight is the chance to really watch the prettiest players in the sport go at it…

roddick

What did you think I was going to do? Post a picture of Caroline Wozniacki? This is the one grand slam event that Andy Roddick is actually (kinda) good at! Let me have SOMETHING!

By the way, I’m going to REALLY go out on a limb and say Rafael Nadal wins Wimbledon this year. Stunning, I know-but I hear he’s pretty good.

4. Soccer: Team USA vs. Guadeloupe (Tuesday 9pm from Kansas City live on Fox Soccer Channel); MLS-DC United @ Real Salt Lake (Saturday 9pm from Salt Lake City live on Comcast SportsNet)

What happened to Team USA against Panama Saturday night in Tampa Bay was nothing short of a debacle. Playing Van Halen tunes won’t make me feel a THING better about it, despite what some of your wisenheimers have tried doing on Facebook (search “Glenn Clark”) and Twitter (@WNST & @GlennClarkWNST).

There was SOMETHING good that came out of soccer this weekend though. If you haven’t seen the goal Eric Hassli scored for the Vancouver Whitecaps yet, thank me later.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8Vfdx7LEh4&feature=player_embedded#at=48[/youtube]

3. Mixed Martial Arts: Strikeforce Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament-Allistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum (Saturday 10pm from Dallas live on Showtime)

The disappointing part about Saturday’s event is that Gina Carano had to pull out of her fight.

Yes, that sentence WAS written in a way that would allow me to giggle about using the words “Gina Carano” and “pull out”.

I’d tell you more about the guys who ARE fighting, but wouldn’t we all just rather take another gander at the infamous weigh-in picture???

carano

Yep. Pants smaller.

2. Pro Wrestling: WWE Capitol Punishment (Sunday 8pm from Verizon Center live on Pay-Per-View); WWE Monday Night Raw (Monday 7:15from from 1st Mariner Arena live on USA Network)

Here’s the deal. Kelly Kelly will be in Baltimore Monday. If somehow she manages to leave town Tuesday, we’ve all failed.

kellykelly

1. Golf: PGA Tour/USGA U.S. Open (Thursday & Friday 10am & 5pm live on ESPN, 3pm live on NBC Saturday 2pm Sunday 1:30pm live on NBC. All golf from Congressional Country Club in Bethesda)

Harrison Frazar comes into the event red hot, having won the St. Jude Classic in Memphis. That inspires the question, “who the hell is Harrison Frazar?”

It inspires the additional, significantly more important question “did Harrison Frazar manage to get his family back after the win?”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9GwtRsOYSI[/youtube]

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Can We All Agree That We Just Don’t Give A Crap About Anything Vinny Cerrato Says?

Posted on 01 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

This one will earn me a dirty look or two in the future.

Then again, it might also earn me a place in the heart of Washington Redskins fans who have been pissed off ever since I (rightly) stated that John Riggins shouldn’t be filming commercials at M&T Bank Stadium.

(Of course, these are the same fans that tell me they simply don’t care about the Baltimore Ravens but then lustily booed Head Coach John Harbaugh when he was shown on screen at Verizon Center before a Washington Capitals playoff game. Losers. But this isn’t about them. I’ll move on.)

No, this is about another brilliant move by CBS Radio Baltimore at 105.7 The Fan. And before you say “Glenn, why would you bother to write about what they’re doing on another radio station?”, let me point out that this is about much more than that.

Frankly, I’ve never actually heard former Skins executive Vinny Cerrato on the air at 105.7. I am aware that he is currently co-hosting a nightly football show on the station, but like EVERY OTHER SPORTS FAN IN CHARM CITY, if I’m in the car at night in Baltimore I’m either listening to the Orioles game or my Ipod. WBAL and Steve Jobs can thank me for the respective plugs later.

A minor controversy was started in Charm City when Cerrato told Baltimore Sun writer Ken Murray the following about the fact that Ravens 1st round pick CB Jimmy Smith did not attend last week’s voluntary player workouts at Towson University.

“That’s a red flag. He should have been here.”

As I said all week on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, the criticism was absolutely baseless. The workouts were offense intensive, with QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice and WR’s Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin using the time to get to know their new teammates and introducing them to the team’s offensive playbook. There were no Offensive Linemen in attendance and the defensive players in attendance were mostly locally-based, including Maryland native CB’s Domonique Foxworth and Josh Wilson.

Jimmy Smith is based out of California, making it at least slightly inconvenient to get to Baltimore. Rookie DE Pernell McPhee (the team’s 5th round pick out of Mississippi State) told the National Football Post he was not even invited to the workouts at Unitas Stadium. While Smith has not been made available for comment about the faux controversy, none of his teammates seemed to be upset about the fact that he wasn’t present.

In fact, fellow rookie Torrey Smith (the former Maryland WR who is also represented by Drew Rosenhaus) took to Twitter after getting word of Cerrato’s comments to say the following…

“folks need to leave Jimmy alone for not coming to workouts this week..It was mainly offensive players…he didn’t miss a thing”

Agreed.

I said two more things last week about this stupid fake controversy. One is that if there was a player who MAY have deserved criticism, it was FB Le’Ron McClain. Should this dispute between the National Football League and NFLPA result in the 2011 season being played under 2010 rules, McClain would not reach free agency and would be back in Baltimore. Given that he’s spent a lot of time in Charm City this offseason, it puzzled me that he wasn’t able to attend.

The other point I offered about the situation was that by exonerating Jimmy Smith for not being in attendance at Towson, I wasn’t trying to suggest that he might not be a bad guy. He certainly has a bad track record, and hasn’t gone out of his way publicly to rebuild his image in Baltimore since his initial press conference. In fact, I think Harbaugh made the most telling statement when he told Drew Forrester in a recent interview on AM1570 WNST, “It’s worth the risk. A lot of people had him off the board and I understand why. He’s gonna have to make wise choices.”

Jimmy Smith MIGHT be a bad guy. But he’s certainly not a bad guy because he didn’t attend the workouts last week. That really couldn’t have been more irrelevant.

This really isn’t about Jimmy Smith either though.

This is about Cerrato-who pointlessly generated traction with his meaningless comments. Comments that some of us in attendance last Tuesday at Unitas Stadium told him were baseless. Comments that Ravens LB Jameel McClain dismissed when Cerrato asked him about Smith’s absence that day.

And comments that absolutely no one in Baltimore should care about…at all. Ever.

Cerrato’s presence in Baltimore is ridiculous to begin with. As they’ve so often done before, CBS Radio has shown how little they understand about this sports market. Cerrato has absolutely no background in Baltimore and is best known for the decade plus he spent working for Dan Snyder in DC, an organization fans in Baltimore have absolutely no respect for.

What’s worse is the utter lack of success Cerrato had during his time with the Skins. The organization reached the playoffs just three times during his tenure, winning the NFC East only one-his first year (1999). They never finished with more than ten wins and were the subject of significant criticism for their failure to draft and develop talented players (three times the team had no first round pick, other picks included QB Patrick Ramsey and WR Rod Gardner) and their insistence on signing overpaid and/or aging veterans (Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders and a $100 million deal for Albert Haynesworth come to mind).

Cerrato was especially disliked by Washington fans because of the perception that his employment was based on a willingness to simply play the part for Snyder as the team failed miserably on and off the field. This was well documented in a 2005 column by the Washington Post’s Mike Wise, where Cerrato acknowledged the frustration of the fanbase. ”People say I do nothing, that I only keep my job because I’m the owner’s friend” he told the columnist. “I do have a national championship ring and a Super Bowl ring, you know.”

Cerrato was accurate, as Wise pointed out at the time. He was the recruiting coordinator on Lou Holtz’s 1988 Championship staff at Notre Dame, and he was the Director of College Scouting for the San Francisco 49ers when they won Super Bowl XXIX.

That was 1994. His resume since that time is particularly unimpressive.

It’s all the more reason why Cerrato’s hiring by the folks at CBS here in Baltimore is questionable at best. Baltimore sports fans have absolutely no connection to Cerrato whatsoever, and his resume doesn’t demand for fans to respect his opinions about their beloved franchise.

Perhaps none of us should have been surprised when Sun columnist Kevin Van Valkenburg said the following about Cerrato Monday night via Twitter…

“On radio, Vinny Cerrato keeps calling Haloti Ngata: “Nuh-gah-ta.” Hard to believe the Skins weren’t better with this details man in charge.”

Lord.

It isn’t Vinny Cerrato’s fault that the folks at CBS don’t understand why he shouldn’t be on the air in Baltimore. Their Vice President of Programming (Dave LaBrozzi) is one of the biggest Pittsburgh Steelers fans I have ever met in my life. He couldn’t know what Baltimore Ravens fans want to hear because he’s…well…the exact opposite of a Baltimore Ravens fan.

An admitted Washington Redskins fan called Drew and I last week and made a very legitimate point. Should Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome retire this offseason and choose to do local market radio in Washington, it wouldn’t be hard for Redskins fans to accept him. He had a Hall of Fame career as a Tight End for the Cleveland Browns and has had arguably another Hall of Fame career as an executive.

Cerrato was a forgettable QB/WR for Iowa State and a miserable executive for a team most folks in Baltimore have a particular disdain for.

There’s no acceptable reason for anyone in this town to care about anything Cerrato thinks or says.

I’m sorry Vinny. You seemed like a nice guy when we met. I bet you’d be really good working for ESPN’s Scouts Inc. or the Sporting News War Room or an outlet like that.

But for the role of a sports talk show host who is expected to give “expert” opinions about the Baltimore Ravens is concerned, you’re simply misplaced. As your fellow CBS employee Ian Eagle would say, “It’s not a low blow. It’s just a fact.”

I know some folks who I’ll eventually have to see in Owings Mills (or Westminster or wherever something football-related happens next) won’t like this. I’m sorry. A lot of you who understand this market know I’m right. Some of you have already told me that.

And someone will probably call me hypocritical for writing 1400+ words about a subject I’m suggesting no one should care about. Perhaps they’re right. I’ll promise to never spend another sentence writing about the subject again. Probably.

But otherwise I’ll assume we’re in agreement. Moving forward, no one cares about anything Cerrato says.

Right?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Lack of Reverence For Preakness in Baltimore Appalling

Posted on 20 May 2011 by Glenn Clark

The Preakness Stakes will never mean to Baltimore what the Kentucky Derby means to Louisville.

I will start my thoughts by offering an acceptance of that fact.

I couldn’t honestly say I understood the difference between the two Triple Crown races until attending my first “Run For The Roses” in 2010. It’s a different world. It truly cannot be replicated in Charm City.

Perhaps veteran horse racing columnist Jerry Izenberg of the Newark Star-Ledger said it best in 2010…

“Here in Crab Cake City, there is one thing that all of them — infielder, grandstander and the jacket-and-tie set, that actually know the words to “Maryland, My Maryland” — have in common. They all know how to treat a horse race like, well, a horse race.

Greater Baltimore is too big and too honest, and its people work too hard and wear out too many blue collars for it to be otherwise. It understands exactly what this race is. It is a break in the calendar when the Orioles will not be the lead story. It is an event that the town respects but does not worship.”

It’s hard to argue his point.

In fact, year after year the romanticism and celebration of the “Run for the Black-Eyed Susans” appears to be lessened throughout the city.

It’s not just because patrons were barred from bringing their own alcohol into the infield, either.

The fact is that it is safe to question at this point whether or not Baltimore truly even “respects” the Preakness, more or less reveres the city’s most significant event.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrN1NyHEiis[/youtube]

According to the Baltimore Sun, the 2010 Preakness spending generated roughly $1.3 million in 2010 in state and local taxes. The event was as significant if not more to area businesses including hotels, restaurants, bars, taxi and limo services, entertainment venues and grocery/convenience stores.

What can’t be measured beyond that is the value brought to the area by the exposure that comes with Preakness. NBC and VERSUS will combine to dedicate nearly eight hours of coverage this weekend from Old Hilltop, while HRTV and ESPN have also reported and broadcast from the track this week as well.

The Maryland Jockey Club said over 1,000 media members were credentialed for this year’s event, generating coverage in newspapers and on websites throughout the country and the world.

There is simply no arguing the significance of Baltimore’s biggest annual event.

While an argument could be made that a Baltimore Ravens playoff game could provide nearly as much exposure for the city, it would be difficult to picture a NFL game reaching the vast demographic group that the Preakness is able to touch.

Baltimore’s most significant annual moment happens just off Northern Parkway on the third Saturday of May.

As Bob Ehrlich told Drew Forrester this week in an interview on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, “For me, (the Preakness) was a wonderful day. It’s the best day of the year to be governor.”

Or as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake told Rex Snider in an interview on “The Afternoon Drive” also on AM1570 WNST, “It really gives us a chance to showcase the city in a big way.”

It is hard to imagine a resident of our fair city not understanding how significant Preakness Saturday is annually.

Imagine my frustration when I was asked this question by a friend (and lifelong Baltimore resident) recently:

Everyone is getting together at Riverwatch for dinner Saturday because Tuesday is my birthday. You’ll be there, right?

After allowing the bewildered look to finally disappear from my face, I had my own question for my friend:

You’re aware they didn’t cancel the Preakness this year, right?

Even more troubling at the same time was my realization that the Baltimore Orioles were not only playing at home, but they were playing at 4:05pm.

Given that the average Major League Baseball game lasts two hours and fifty-one minutes (according to MLB.com in 2010) and the post time for the 136th running of the Preakness Stakes is 6:19pm-a conflict exists.

A source from the Maryland Jockey Club (who asked not to be identified) told me that the MJC reached out to the O’s after learning of the scheduling conflict, but the club deferred to Major League Baseball. Emails sent to the Orioles and MLB requesting further comment were not returned.

To be fair, the Orioles have to play on the third Saturday of May. But in the last 10 years, the Orioles have not played a game that directly conflicted with the Preakness despite playing seven times at home on Preakness Saturday.

It seems stunning that the Birds (and Major League Baseball) would allow a game to go off at the same time as the city’s signature event instead of altering the time of the game. The Boston Red Sox play an 11am game annually at Fenway Park as part of the city’s “Patriots Day” celebration. The Orioles could start at a similar time on Preakness Saturday to make way for Preakness, or could start later in the evening (around 8pm) to allow fans to attend both events.

In fact, they could even label the game as “the official post-Preakness party” and offer ticket discounts to attendees of the Preakness should they work in concert with the Jockey Club.

It would be the type of arrangement that could perhaps encourage out of town enthusiasts to “make a day of it” in Baltimore, seeing the sights of one of America’s classic sporting events and also viewing breathtaking Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

It’s a shame the city hasn’t worked with both parties to encourage such a partnership.

But the lack of reverence towards the Preakness in Baltimore is more appalling than even a baseball game.

Many Baltimoreans have simply told me in recent weeks that they feel no connection with the event despite understanding the overall significance of the event.

The reality is that some Baltimoreans are simply more interested in other events.

The problem with that attitude is that Baltimore doesn’t have anything else this significant. There is no PGA Tour stop. There is no LPGA, ATP, WTA Tour stop either.

The NBA & NHL Playoffs are irrelevant in Baltimore unless a fan chooses to root for a team from out of town. The NCAA Tournament might include a team from Baltimore, but the days of Tim Duncan and company playing March Madness games on the floor of what is now known as the 1st Mariner Arena have long passed.

The UFC has never staged a major Mixed Martial Arts event in Baltimore. There hasn’t been a significant prize fight in Baltimore in my lifetime. NASCAR has never come to town, and while the IndyCar series will hold the inaugural “Baltimore Grand Prix” in Baltimore this Labor Day weekend, the event has exactly enough significance that it was not picked up by the series’ network partner (ABC).

The Baltimore Ravens have never played more than nine meaningful home games in a season. The Baltimore Orioles haven’t played a significant home game after Opening Day since 1997.

In Baltimore, we have the Preakness and not much else.

But there’s no reason for that to be so depressing.

It would certainly bode well for the event if the sport of horse racing could make a “comeback” in Charm City. Pimlico has been outdated about as long as the Arena has, and it doesn’t serve well to generate excitement. The fact that racing only happens at the track for about a month out of the year hurts too.

No one has to be a horse racing fan to support Preakness, however.

The majority of the 100,000 or so fans that pack the track Saturday will likely not know the names of more than a few horses running in the actual race and even fewer could quickly answer “Lookin At Lucky” if asked who won last year’s event.

That being said, the folks who attend the event are at least expecting a good time-whether they’re watching Train on the infield or screaming at ponies from the grandstand.

There’s nothing wrong with being a Baltimorean and not attending the Preakness. The dirty secret in Louisville is that more locals actually attend Kentucky Oaks day on Friday than the actual Derby. (Which is aided by the closure of schools, government and many offices in general). The simple idea is that the city should somehow partake in the event in general-or at least feel more positive than negative energy in association with the event.

At the very least, everyone in Baltimore should ABSOLUTELY know that the third Saturday of May is Preakness Saturday.

It’s a shame that isn’t currently true.

-G

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