Tag Archive | "texas rangers"

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Yankees could be in for a Lone Star stomping

Posted on 13 October 2010 by Rex Snider

If you share my hatred for the New York Yankees, are you optimistic about their potential demise in the upcoming American League Championship Series?

I think it’s quite possible …..

Admittedly, I have a very soft spot for the Tampa Bay Rays. They exist in Major League Baseball’s most competitive division and they’ve assembled a collective group of ballplayers capable of beating the very best teams. Their cast of talent championed the American League’s Eastern Division, which is a huge accomplishment.

But, last night, I steadfastly rooted for the Texas Rangers in the finale of the teams’ five game series. I wanted to see Nolan Ryan advance to the next round. I wanted to see Josh Hamilton on a bigger stage. I wanted to see Cliff Lee, again.

Oh yeah, and I hope to see Mark Teixeira beaten by his old team.

Most of all, I think the Rangers stand a better chance of beating the Yankees, in comparison to the Rays. While realizing the Rays handled the Yankees during the regular season and they’re very familiar with their divisional rival, I think they’re quite evenly matched. Whereas, I think the Rangers might have the respective strengths to exploit the Yankees weaknesses, especially in a short series.

We all know the Yankees vulnerability is the starting pitching. They’re forced to add A.J. Burnett and his 5.26 ERA and 1.51 WHIP to the postseason roster; he’ll likely pitch Game #4. Burnett joins C.C. Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes in rounding out the rotation. Aside from Pettitte’s postseason resume’, the Yankees staff is not overly impressive.

Maybe it’s just me, but I like the Texas lineup against New York’s staff. The Rangers can hit. Better yet, they can MASH …. and the power potential in that lineup exists from top to bottom. They’re also aggressive on the basepaths, as we saw in last night’s win over the Rays. On two occasions, the Rangers scored from 2nd base on ground balls to the infield.

At the same time, I respect the Yankees lineup. However, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter have suffered through less than stellar seasons. And, we may very well see the Yankees finally paying the price for an assembled outfield that includes Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner. Not exactly a vintage Yankees cast, huh?

If I look at these teams with a sobering view, the impressions are pretty simple …..

Yankees lineup vs. Rangers lineup – Advantage Rangers

Yankees starting pitching vs. Rangers starting pitching – Advantage Rangers

Yankees bullpen vs. Rangers bullpen – Advantage Rangers

Yankees intangibles vs. Rangers intangibles – Advantage Yankees

I’m certain some readers will think I’m crazy and making conclusions exclusively with my heart, while hoping the Yankees get smoked. Well, I’m certain that figures somehwere into my perspective – I’m only human. And, I do hate the Yankees.

However, I think the Texas Rangers are a more complete ballclub. They just beat the team that outlasted the Yankees through 162 games. And, they rose to the occasion when it mattered most.

When these two teams meet, the Rangers will feature the best player of the two rosters, thanks to Josh Hamilton. They’ll also feature the best pitcher on both clubs, as Cliff Lee has proven. The Rangers are a better team and they’ll prove it in 6 games.

You heard it here …..

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Hey Tampa, here's your opportunity ....

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Hey Tampa, here’s your opportunity ….

Posted on 12 October 2010 by Rex Snider

For years, the Tampa Bay Rays have been hosting sparse crowds in their inept home, Tropicana Field. We all know the scene, occasional humans speckled throughout the makeshift, indoor airplane hangar. At least, that’s what it looks like.

During the first chapter of the Rays existence (or should I say DEVIL RAYS?), it was easy to defend the lack of interest among Florida’s gulf coast baseball fans. Aside from the initial crush and fanfare, the Rays assumed a predictable role as a doormat. Even additions, like Wade Boggs, Jose Canseco, Fred McGriff and Tino Martinez couldn’t help the team in the standings or at the box office.

But, something suddenly happened …

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An Unfamiliar Role For the Orioles: “Spoiler” ….

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Rex Snider

As we reconvene for the start of another week, you can assume a few distinct guarantees on this beautiful summer morning …..

1) this is the final Monday of August ….

2) football season is just one day closer, and ….

3) for the first time in a LONG time, the Boston Red Sox flew into BWI during the wee hours of the morning, while wishing they could’ve been landing in the city of an easier punching bag, like Cleveland, Kansas City, Seattle or Los Angeles.

Indeed, they’re not encountering one of the typical Baltimore Orioles lineups of the last decade. This scrappy bunch of players is the same core group that dropped 73 of its first 105 games. However, they’re now playing a better brand of baseball under the demand of Buck Showalter.

They’re still a marginal cast of characters. But, they now BELIEVE …..

And, that’s a dangerous pedigree for any opponent to accept.

A few months back, I listened to Curt Schilling’s view of the Orioles from a Red Sox perspective. He said “we looked at them as a break in the schedule.” “It was an opportunity to sweep a series and pad a divisional lead or cut a deficit.”

I don’t doubt Curt’s blunt and painful examination of what a series against the O’s meant to him and virtually any other member of the Red Sox or Yankees over the span of these last 13 years.

But, I do question whether Terry Francona’s current bunch feels that sense of confidence, as they’re holed up in the Inner Harbor Renaissance.

Probably, not.

For one, the Red Sox are beyond the simple description of a “walking wounded.” Count ’em …. Ellsbury, Cameron, Youkilis, Dice-K, Pedroia and Varitek. They’re all injured and out of the lineup.

But, of equal importance, this Orioles team will not furnish the typical accomodations accustomed to a visting Red Sox team – or any other visitor for that matter. The days of laying down and simply pulling up the skirt are done.

Dave Trembley tolerated such an effort. So did Lee Mazzilli, Sam Perlozzo, Mike Hargrove and other field generals.

As we’ve learned over the last month, Buck Showalter will not accept anything close to resembling a half-hearted fight. One month does not make a season. But, such a relevant timespan can offer a vivid view of what’s expected from the team’s leader.

And, that’s the difference.

The Red Sox will have a spirited spat on their hands when the series commences tomorrow evening. Terry Francona knows that, and he’ll surely remind his patched together contender before they ever hit the field.

While this Boston team is assembled of a couple 4A players, like Darnell McDonald and Bill Hall, they’re still anchored by the likes of Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, David Ortiz, J.D. Drew, Jon Lester, John Lackey and Josh Beckett. They’re a more talented team than the Orioles, no question about it.

And, in some distinct ways, the Red Sox have played the same brand of overachieving baseball during the month of August. Some of their best young stars are done for the season. Yet, they’ve found a way to stay in contention with Tampa and New York.

That said, the fight might be nearly over.

After dropping two straight games at the ‘Trop, the Red Sox cannot afford to waltz into Camden Yards and get stung by the same surprising effort that shocked the White Sox, Angels and Rangers over these last 30 days.

Anything less than a sweep will further damage any chance of a miraculous return of postseason baseball at Fenway.

But, the Orioles will not resemble that same easy target described by Schilling. Not a chance …..

And, therein lies the opportunity for this 2010 Baltimore Orioles team, as October approaches and the Ravens assume nearly every single headline. The Orioles have a chance to play meaningful games in the realm of Major League Baseball’s immediate future.

They’ll get plenty of shots at the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees. They can have a VOICE in what happens in the A.L. East and ultimately, the playoffs and World Series.

I’ll concede it doesn’t equate into Camden Yards serving as the backdrop for baseball on chilly, October nights. But, it’s a start ….

The Orioles have a true opportunity to affect the finish in baseball’s most revered division. Yeah, the Rays, Red Sox and Yankees have experienced dogfights in the past, and they’ve all played the Orioles during the final weeks of the season.

But, this is different.

It’s a totally different Orioles team. For the first time in a LONG time, they’re led by a guy who won’t back down from bullies or settle for the “sure thing in the backseat of your car” effort. It ain’t happening …..

I’m actually looking forward to the final month of the season, and it begins tomorrow night.

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Before You Push The Purple Panic Button ....

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Before You Push The Purple Panic Button ….

Posted on 23 August 2010 by Rex Snider

My highly anticipated “Sports Saturday” started off on a positive note, thanks to the Orioles 8-6 victory over Cliff Lee and the Texas Rangers. The game was full of pleasant surprises …..

Who would’ve ever predicted that Josh Bell would connect more often than Joe Flacco on a simultaneous gameday? Ahh …. the magic of the unexpected in sports, huh?

By the time I hit the Lazy-Boy for the Ravens vs. Redskins preseason showdown, I was convinced it was going to be a GREAT night. I can’t say it turned out badly, but I did go to bed knowing John Harbaugh’s bunch still has A LOT of work on its hands before reuniting with Rex Ryan and his Jets.

While I can readily admit Saturday night’s game left me agonizing over a few areas of concern with this team, I’ve chosen to take a more sensible look at the overall picture of the 2010 Baltimore Ravens …..

For the past few weeks, we’ve heard the gloomy forecasts from those who invested a significant portion of their collective hope in Domonique Foxworth’s presence at cornerback. From callers to on-air hosts and even occasional guests, some sobering words have been spoken.

However, in all fairness, there has also been a fairly respectable amount of us who believe the team will be just fine, while downplaying any real handicap to the secondary. And, we’ve had answers for our continued positive outlook, right?

The common rationale in defending the stubborn optimism has been along the lines of “THE RAVENS ARE GONNA HAVE TO BLITZ MORE OFTEN AND GET AFTER THE QUARTERBACK.”

This certainly seems like a logical solution, right? Heck, it’s Football-101 …..

But, we’ve also heard the fairly warned potential ramifications to this solution, too.

As many realists have concluded, if you’re blitzing, you MUST get to the quarterback. If not, guys like Donovan McNabb are gonna make plays. And, the Ravens will be facing a host of ‘slingers better than the former Philadelphia Eagle, in 2010.
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At times during Saturday’s game, McNabb looked like he was doomed, only to fool all of us by stepping up or rolling out of the pocket to buy an extra tick. He succeeded in some crucial situations, including a couple opportunities from the Redskins endzone.

By the way, does anyone know if Travis Fisher made the trip to DC?

The good news is we still have three solid weeks remaining before action on the field really counts. That’s 21 days for Lardarius Webb to get healthier. That’s 21 days to shop for better options on the rosters of other teams. And, that’s 21 days for Greg Mattison to assert some Rex Ryan and Marvin Lewis “PURPLE MAGIC” into his defense.

I’m certain a proportionate amount of this week’s WNST phone calls will be directed at finding a way to help the crippled cornerback unit. That’s the way it always is with the fan base. Among our consistent reactions, nothing is stronger than the tendency to PANIC.

Well, I’m telling you to relax.

Absorb the preseason for what it is – PRESEASON.

John Harbaugh and Greg Mattison weren’t really worried about stopping Chris Cooley, Santana Moss or Anthony Armstrong. Indeed, I’ll guarantee you they were more interested in seeing how their patched up secondary would fare against them – for better or worse.

For some players, like Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason, this game was simply about finding their rhythm and getting back into the flow of established gameplans.
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For some others, like Anquan Boldin, Donte Stallworth, Cory Redding and Ken Hamlin, this game served as a prime opportunity to become intimate with their surroundings and a whole new playbook, at fullspeed.

And, yet, for some guys, like Travis Fisher (really …. did he play?), Prince Miller, Jason Phillips and Cary Williams, this was a vitally significant opportunity to prove they can play at this level and for this team.

You can bet a few sets of discerning eyes were cast on Flacco and his cohorts, as well as Boldin and his gang. But, I’ll bet the house nearly every eye that matters was watching that final group, as they danced upon the bubble …..

So, while you’re worried about the Ravens cornerbacks being able to cover the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals, I’m urging you ….. LET IT GO.

Unless he suddenly finds some of Ronnie Lott’s natural ability deep within his soul, Travis Fisher will not find a spot on this Ravens team. Greg Mattison surely suspected it going into Saturday night’s game. Fisher, himself, only confirmed it.

Perhaps, that’s why Mattison emphasized on a blitz-happy defensive attack. I can see that strategy. Think about it …. they might as well test the unproven or unlikely guys in an ideal situation, right?

Thus, they blitz and leave “Fisher Island” all by itself.

The preseason is partly about bringing the obvious back into focus, while also helping the truly qualified to learn a new system. But, it’s equally apportioned to testing the untested, to see if they can be part of a championship-caliber organization.

This trip to FedEx Field was nothing more than the second step in John Harbaugh’s FOUR-STEP preseason process. This team is in a self analyzation stage. They must find out who can contribute, even in the most mitigating ways, to this team’s immediate future.
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While we love and savor those summer days in Westminster, it won’t be revealed there. Harbaugh and company cannot determine their 53rd man at McDaniel College. The survival process does not surround the practice field.

Two meaningless games are in the books and two more still remain. I don’t mean to undervalue the meaning of playing the New York Giants and St. Louis Rams over the next couple weeks. But, these games really don’t matter.

Let me rephrase that ….

The next couple games don’t matter UNLESS you’re standing in the shoes of Fisher, Miller, Williams and a few others. For them, these games are every bit as important as Super Bowl XLV.

These are the biggest games of their lives.

As I suggested, relax. This team will be just fine. Ozzie Newsome didn’t spend more than six months agonizing over a kick ass opportunity, just to be totally derailed by losing a cornerback in the early stages of training camp.

He’s obviously not panicking, why should we?

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Wigginton A Fitting Orioles All Star

Posted on 13 July 2010 by Jay Trucker

A week ago the All Star break couldn’t arrive soon enough for the Orioles or Oriole fans. After a four game road sweep of the Texas Rangers, however, the break serves only to slow down the momentum that the team had finally built after its otherwise dismal first half.

When the Midsummer Classic airs Tuesday night, Ty Wigginton will stand in wearing an Orioles uniform. Visually, he will remind the nation where the worst team in baseball plays. Of course, there’s no guarantee he’ll be seen after the national anthem.

Last year, Adam Jones earned the title All Star. Don’t believe me? Just flip on MASN and wait for a commercial break.

Jones hit a sac fly in the late innings of last year’s game to help the AL once again trump the NL. A twenty-three year old the Orioles picked up via trade, Jones’ presence highlighted the Orioles as a team that was young, raw, talented, and potentially ready to take a big step forward. Not a product of the Orioles farm system, Jones nevertheless demonstrated that the club had young talent acquired by a savvy GM moving the team in the right direction.

2010 All Star Ty Wigginton is far from Andy MacPhail’s worst offseason pickup. After
a tough start to ’09, he finished the year hitting .273 with 11 home runs. He entered 2010 unsure of his position with the club and did not make an appearance in the opening series at Tampa. However, injuries and former 1B Garrett Atkins’ pathetic performance opened the door for Wigginton, who surprised critics by hitting 13 home runs before the end of May. Unfortunately, he has hit only one since.

At 32, Wigginton is neither young nor old in baseball age. He is heading towards the end of a modest two year deal with the Orioles, his fifth major league team. A utility player who has played six positions in the majors, Wigginton does a little bit of everything but nothing particularly memorably. He is a six or seven hitter batting cleanup. A guy who averages 400 at bats per year who already has 300 this season.
A decent player for the Mets, who promptly traded him when megastar David Wright was ready for the bigs. An afterthought, a fill in guy, a token gesture, a throwaway pick.

Wigginton is thus an appropriate player to represent the Orioles in the All Star game. Like Wigginton, at their best the Orioles are decent, inoffensive, adequate. They can surprise you here or there. Unlike Jones last year, Wigginton doesn’t represent a potentially bright future for the long-suffering O’s. He is just there. Maybe he plays. Maybe he doesn’t. Maybe he manages to hit a double in the gap, a single up the line, or heck, even work a timely walk. Maybe he sits at the end of the bench holding Miguel Cabrera’s helmet. Maybe he makes a late inning appearance and hits a weak grounder off a first pitch ball outside.

Nick Markakis may be more deserving of an All Star, but Ty Wigginton is an Orioles All Star. He may not have been the best guy, but he is the right guy to represent this particular team in this particular game. Like Jones last year, Wigginton could surprise on the big stage. And the Orioles may surprise a few people in the second half, as they did when they swept the Rangers.

That’s the thing about low expectation. As long as you have it, modest success is a pleasant surprise.

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LeBron's Antics .... Should We Be Surprised ???

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LeBron’s Antics …. Should We Be Surprised ???

Posted on 09 July 2010 by Rex Snider

I was wrong …. DEAD WRONG. As the clock stroked 9:15pm, I was absolutely convinced LeBron James was headed back to Cleveland’s Cavaliers. After all, he dropped subtle hints, like referring to the Cavs as “our team,” and declaring that his mother was happy with the decision.

I should’ve really looked between the lines (and LIES) to see the obvious. Would ‘Bron’s Moms be happier spending her January’s and February’s on the icy shores of Lake Erie or the warm sands South Beach?

Hmmm ….. you tell me.
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Okay, so maybe Mrs. Delonte West isn’t really worried about the fringe benefits of a winter solstace, in South Florida. However, I’ll bet LeBron has thought it over ….. and he likes what he envisions.

Good for him.

By the way, doesn’t LeBron have a family? Indeed, he does. LeBron Jr. is going to be six years old, in October. And, Bryce Maximus just turned four, last month. What’s best for the family?

Silly me, “King James” made it very clear ….. he talked to his mother and they concluded he needed to do “what’s best for ME.” And, according to him, the “Man Upstairs” is okay with it.

Shew ….. I certainly feel better. I was convinced the “Man Upstairs” is swamped with situations like OIL in the Gulf of Mexico …. unrest in the Middle East …. homeless earthquake victims in Haiti ….. and many more desperate souls.

Then again, wasn’t the “Man Upstairs” hovering over the Orioles dugout, in Arlington, late last night? How else can you explain such divine intervention?

You can lump me in with a few other notable ‘NST personalities; I’m not a devout NBA fan. Yeah, I’ll sporadically watch NBA games on a cold winter night, and my interest is piqued when the finals roll around, in June. But, that’s about it.

I grew up in a blue-collar city, without a pro basketball team. It is what it is …..

But, I think I’m old enough and wise enough to know the “American Story” when I see it – especially when it unfolds on the field of play …..
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I’ve witnessed humility and loyalty among many famous and wealthy souls. In life’s big picture, they haven’t allowed greed to numb their consience. Indeed, being rich and possessing the resulting power it wields is never a justifiable excuse for being selfish. But, that’s LeBron James …..

Last night, he showed me, you and the WORLD what’s really important to HIM. He may very well be the guy who loves himself more than Terrell Owens and Alex Rodriguez, combined.

Nice distinction, huh?

Over this past week, I’ve really experienced a heavy dose of LeBron’s self-promoting schemes. From his endorsement of pep rallies and organized pleas in other cities, to his acceptance of gifts and underhanded bribes, he has displayed a smug love of it all.

However, none of his past promotions could surpass last night’s “State Of The Selfish Star” address. Does he really have any idea what he’s done to a collective group of hardworking people who’ve loved and supported him?
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That’s what happens when a professional athlete establishes roots within a community and wears the city’s name across his chest. A “marriage” of sorts, is consummated.

Now, don’t misunderstand the spirit of my message ….. I recognize that marriages and relationships end eventually. And, I’m a CAPITALIST. I have no issue with the money he makes and his innovative means for creating more of it – as silly and egotistical as those ideas have been.

However, there is no prudent justification for hurting and embarrassing people – especially when they’ve adored you and been so instrumental in creating your wealth.

You wanna leave? Go ahead. But, there’s a way to do it. And, more importantly, there’s a way NOT to do it.

Of course, LeBron chose the latter.

Perhaps, he didn’t hold his WORLDWIDE PRESS CONFERENCE to intentionally humiliate Northern Ohio. Indeed, I think it’s safe to suggest he held the primetime special, because he wanted to do it. He wanted even more attention than he’s already received. And, he didn’t care about the residual effect on anyone.

Last night’s orchestrated media moment amounted to nothing more than a real-life scenario of a husband ditching his wife in public. It’s beyond insensitive. It’s wrong …..

It’s said that NFL, NBA and MLB owners are tight knit groups; each an exclusive club. Better yet, Baltimore Ravens owner, Steve Bisciotti has publicly described other owners as his “partners.” I get that, I really do.

Thus, part of me believes the owners of the New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls could’ve stopped last night’s conceited convention of one’s EGO. The King could’ve been dethroned ….. or at least publicly scolded.
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Collectively, those four teams could’ve united and basically said “you’re not going to publicly snub three of us.” They could’ve threatened to rescind their offers, if the ESPN Circus wasn’t canceled by 8pm. Instead, their desperation for his services and mystique overruled the strength of PARTNERS.

The individual soldiers should never be bigger than the army.

These teams allowed this entire process to be on LeBron James’ terms. Each owner pacified the situation with a reckless hope that he would choose THEM. And, just like a desperate spouse, who’ll do anything to save a marriage, the owners really served as LeBron’s enablers.

They allowed the legitimacy of their league to be reduced to an evening of WWE drama and storyline.

As Nestor has advertised in the upcoming BRUNO SAMMARTINO DINNER, “we all have a little bit of old school rasslin’ fan in us.” But, we also know it’s choreographed and as phony as an episode of Reno 911. But, last night, was not a fictional event.

And, a community suffers today.
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They’ll get over it. The sun will continue to rise each morning. The mortgage will still be due. And, life’s more important realities will take over, once again.

But, being a sports fan is a passionate endeavor. The heart gets involved. In an indirect way, your passion has led you to following the Ravens and Orioles, to visiting WNST.net and clicking on this blog.

Most of us don’t take sports too seriously, and that’s a real relief.

But, cities, towns and communities invest in athletes as symbols and ambassadors of the local culture. Do the athletes have an obligation? You bet …. if they take a dime in exchange for any such services. Or, if they’re really part of the neighborhood.

That’s what really astounds me in this whole LeBron James mess. He didn’t just breakup with Cleveland and Northern Ohio. He discarded his HOMETOWN in grand pompous galore. While it’s not even remotely similar, LeBron created a hybrid “Mayflower Van” moment for the people of Cleveland.

Does he care? Does he regret last night? Of course, not. The guy is way too self-absorbed with a bestowed sense of entitlement to ever consider the realities of how his actions impact anyone else. He’s beyond selfish.

While he had every justifiable reason to seek employment elsewhere (HE WAS A FREE AGENT), he absolutely went about the entire set of circumstances in the most improper way. He just laid a blueprint to serve as the ideal steps NOT to take when leaving a team.

He’s a bad guy.

He obviously cares about himself above anything and anyone else. He disregards humanity and good character in the name of doing as he desires. But, he’s not alone in the culpability.

LeBron James is surrounded by people who’ve obviously injected a perceived wisdom for making shrewd decisions. They’ve built him up, while convincing him of a false indestructible immortality. They’ve enabled his arrogance to grow to utterly flamboyant reaches …..
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They’re wrong. He’s not indestructible. He’s not above any of us …..

Think about it ….. in the span of less than 24 hours, LeBron James has transformed from a babyface to a heel. While the people of Miami may worship him, EVERYBODY else is looking at him for the selfish and indignant dude he’s proving to be.

True character eventually surfaces. And, in the life of LeBron James, the public disclosure just took 25 short years.

Aside from the mansions, luxury cars and huge piles of money, LeBron may never acquire some of life’s most invaluable treasures. He may never really learn and appreciate the lessons savored by a common man …..

BE GOOD TO OTHERS

GO OUT OF YOUR WAY NOT TO HURT PEOPLE, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY

PUT YOUR FAMILY AHEAD OF YOURSELF

LeBron James may never really understand these human traits and values. He is so insulated from reality that his perceptions obviously contradict with anything attached to selflessness. But, are we really surprised?

After all, he is what he is …..

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American League's Award Winners - 1st Half

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American League’s Award Winners – 1st Half

Posted on 07 July 2010 by Rex Snider

As the Orioles took the field for a Monday matinee against the Tigers, it officially marked the second half of the season. That’s right, forget about the All Star break – Monday’s game was the 82nd of the year. Thus, we’re mathematically HALFWAY thru this debacle.

This 2010 season has been nothing less than a grand disappointment for anyone who loves Baltimore baseball. To borrow a quote and “twist” from Dumb & Dumber ….. “just when I thought they couldn’t be any worse – they go out and totally redeem themselves.”

Indeed, as I said during yesterday’s show, it’s just gonna be one of the typical July’s we’ve endured over the last decade ….. SWELTERING TEMPERATURES, DYING GRASS and BAD BASEBALL.

I suppose the good news, beyond being one day closer to the start of Ravens Training Camp, is Major League Baseball’s season is shaping up to be very competitive ….. outside the typical ghettos of Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Cleveland and BALTIMORE.

And, lets not forget Arizona – they’re just an Orioles hot streak away from being baseball’s worst franchise. Don’t worry, it won’t happen.

There’s even a buzz on the shores of the Potomac River, as they await a dozen more starts by Stephen Strasburg and the ultimate signing of his offensive contemporary, Bryce Harper.

In fact, the current baseball season has been pretty exciting …..

The A.L. East is shaping up to be a dog fight …..

The A.L Central, N.L. East and N.L. West will probably be settled late in the season, as well …..

The San Diego Padres have been an enthusiastic surprise …..

The Texas Rangers are killing the ball and pitching decently, even if they’re BROKE …..

This leads me to the spirit of the blog; certain players are having outstanding seasons, as well. Some of these feats were predicted and some have certainly been pleasant surprises. Below, find my choices for the A.L. individual awards – albeit, halfway through the season …..

Rookie Of The Year

Many of us honestly believed Brian Matusz was a contender for this award, as we pined with enthusiasm, in March. We should’ve really dissected the circumstances …..

He is pitching for a ballclub that hasn’t enjoyed a winning season, since 1997. He’ll face the A.L. East for a substantial amount of starts. He’s a ROOKIE and he’ll make mistakes – most likely against teams that will make him pay. That said, I think he’s held his own.

At this point, I would select Detroit Tigers outfielder, Austin Jackson, as the first half’s best rookie. Acquired in the Curtis Granderson deal, Jackson has anchored the leadoff spot for the Tigers lineup and he’s certainly been a spark plug for their surprising offensive attack.
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His stats so far – .305 avg., 91 hits, 13 sb, .353 OBP, .295 avg. leading off game, .995 field% (1 error)

Not bad for a rookie centerfielder, huh? Admittedly, Detroit’s other rookie outfielder, Brennan Boesch, would be a fitting choice, as well. He’s tearing the cover off the ball, hitting .344, with a dozen dingers. However, he’s played roughly 75% of the first half and he’s made his share of errors. I simply think Austin Jackson has been a more distinct influence over the Tigers lineup.

As for the season’s second half, keep an eye on Boston’s Daniel Bard, as well as Cleveland’s Carlos Santana. Austin Jackson and Brennan Boesch will have some company for the real “Rookie Of The Year” award.
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Cy Young

This is not an easy one to call, and it really boils down to two pitchers. In making my choice, I’m going with the guy who’s lent his performances to keeping the team in contention. He’s also been healthy the entire first half and his numbers are damn impressive. Yet, he’s NOT AN ALL STAR. Can someone please explain how three Yankees starters, Sabathia, Pettitte and Hughes make the team and Jered Weaver sits home? Ahh …. Joe Girardi. Gotcha. Weaver is the first half’s best pitcher …..
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I certainly considered Cliff Lee. But, it’s hard to justify selecting a pitcher who started the season on the DL, as the premier hurler of the first half. He has been dominant in May and June, but Weaver pretty much excelled throughout the entire first half. However, if Lee remains with the Mariners throughout the remainder of the season, I can envision him surpassing Weaver’s overall performance.

In the season’s second half, I’ll be watching for the likes of Sabathia, Jon Lester and David Price to join the conversation. I’ll also be expecting a step back for Trevor Cahill and Hughes.
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Most Valuable Player

This an interesting call. I suppose a generous handful of possible candidates can be considered viable. But, I’m really narrowing it down to two players. Ironically, they share some similarities; they’ve fought back from substance abuse problems, they’re contending for possible TRIPLE CROWN credentials and their teams are in first place. However, I’ll give the edge to Miguel Cabrera …..
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He plays in a pitcher’s ballpark. Yet, he’s amassed phenomenal first half numbers – .339 avg., 100 hits, 20 hr, 26 doubles, 71 rbi !!!! That said, Texas outfielder, Josh Hamilton makes it an argument. He’s enjoying a great first half, too – .340 avg, 108 hits, 20 hr, 23 doubles, 68 rbi and a handful steals. However, Hamilton plays in the launching pad known as The Ballpark In Arlington, and I think it makes a difference.

I’m a self-confessed Josh Hamilton fan. He’s probably my favorite ballplayer in today’s game – next to Nick Markakis, of course. I’ve witnessed the hell of heroin addiction and I think Hamilton is living proof of a true comeback. But, I think Cabrera has been a tad bit better in the first few months of the season.

As for the second half, I believe Ichiro (.326, 110 hits, 22 sb), Alex Rios (.300, 13 hr, 22 sb) and Justin Morneau (.344, 100 hits, 17 hr) can make it an interesting race. Nevertheless, there are GREAT performances in store.

Hmmm ….. NO ORIOLES. Imagine that …..

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Trading For Prospects Does Work .....

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Trading For Prospects Does Work …..

Posted on 09 June 2010 by Rex Snider

I’ll be the first guy to admit that Nick Markakis has no clue of my existence on this earth. But, if he did, what would his opinion of my OPINIONS be ???

While he seems like an aloof, free spirit, Nick also gives me the impression that he’s a straight-shooter and capable of an honest appraisal of his personal efforts.

Thus, I really do wonder how he sees himself and his overall contributions, as he settles into the thick of his fifth full season in the big leagues. Is he satisfied with his overall achievements? At 26, does he feel his game is still improving? Does he feel that he’s living up to the $66 million contract?

These are fair questions.

I’d bet his honest impression is that he expects more from himself. Indeed, this is one of those situations where the fans are less critical of the player’s contributions. But, as we know, Baltimore fans love themselves some Markakis !!!!

If he’s so indispensable, why hasn’t Nick been an All Star ….. on such a crappy team full of “stopgaps” and “never were’s” ??? Where are the Gold Gloves ??? How about the occasional vote for MVP ??? Better yet, has he led the American League in ANYTHING ??? Yep – games played, in 2009. Congratulations …..

Of course, I’m being sarcastic. Nick Markakis is a good, durable ballplayer. He is not the problem for this team.

However, I still stand by my argument that his value can be a marketable commodity for a team that must start taking chances and calculated risks.

And, no, I don’t buy into the EXCUSES regarding a lack of bats surrounding Nick Markakis. The whole “they’re pitching around him” argument is an overblown consideration.

If opposing pitchers were truly pitching around him, he would be piling up the walks, right? He undoubtedly has the best eye and most disciplined stick on the team. Yet, throughout his career he’s only walked 294 times in 2908 plate appearances (-37 SAC, HBP, etc.) …..

Yup, the math says that’s a blistering 10% of the time. But, to be fair, he’s walking in 14% of his plate appearances, in 2010.

What does this suggest? PITCHERS ARE NOT PITCHING AROUND NICK MARKAKIS. In fact, they’re pitching to him !!!! He’s seeing plenty of pitches to hit …..

He’s Nick Markakis ….. not Albert Pujols.

Got it?

Once again, he’s a damn good ballplayer. He’s a nice complimentary member of a lineup. But, he’s far from being untouchable. His value should be gauged during the upcoming off-season.

In last week’s blog, I was clear on my feelings – any deal for Nick Markakis must yield “Major League Ready” prospects, not kids getting their feet wet at the AA level.

A few remarks by readers suggested that acquiring PROSPECTS “equates to setting the ballclub back.” Really? Are they on the verge of contention?

the common thought among many fans is trading for prospects is a GREAT UNKNOWN. While I think that’s partly true, the risk is certainly minimized by ensuring the prospective players have utilized tools and succeeded at every level.

No, I’m not gonna drop the “Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee” trade, again. But, here’s a few more STARS FOR PROSPECTS deals that worked out …..

2005 – Josh Beckett & Mike Lowell for Hanley Ramirez & Anibal Sanchez

This is one of those deals that has certainly benefited both teams. Beckett and Lowell helped deliver a World Series Championship and have been part of making the Red Sox a consistent contender.

Meanwhile, Hanley Ramirez has quietly become one of the game’s best players.
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And, Anibal Sanchez is one of the National League’s most impressive young pitchers.

Who got the better end of the deal? In the long term, and if they keep the players, it looks like the Marlins probably realized the greater return. But, the Red Sox have their World Championship trophy. Regardless, the Marlins clearly benefited from dealing Beckett and Lowell.
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1991 – Glenn Davis for Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch & Steve Finley

Still hurts, huh? Some folks actually wonder about the long term damage this deal had on the Orioles. Imagine Curt Schilling spending his career in an Orioles uniform. Sorry, the vision we’ll all remember is far for damning …..
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Glenn Davis is still a bad topic for discussion in this town.
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1992 – George Bell for Sammy Sosa & Ken Patterson

Regardless of all the drama surrounding Sammy Sosa’s steroids usage, he became a bonafide slugger with the Cubs. He put hineys in the seats and made the Cubbies a contender.
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On the flip side, the White Sox wanted a slugging outfielder and Bell seemed to fit the bill. Umm ….. bad move.
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1982 – Ivan DeJesus for Larry Bowa & Ryne Sandberg

When the trade occurred, DeJesus was one of the best shortstops in the game. Although, he was the prototypical “Pre-Ripken” player. But, the 22 year old kid with “Sandberg” across his back would end up being the steal of the deal. He switched to 2nd base and today, he’s got a plaque in Cooperstown …..
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Do you think Phillies fans stil regret losing Sandberg? Well, just ask “Mike in Chase”.
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2003 – AJ Pierzynski for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano & Boof Bonser

The Twins swallowed their pride and traded the 26 year old Pierzynski, following three full seasons of a compiled .301 batting average and 30+ doubles. Not bad for a young backstop, huh? Pierzynski did not disappoint and he’s had a very solid Major League career.

Nathan and Liriano, on the other hand, have become dominating pitchers. Joe Nathan saved ONE GAME before joining the Twins. And, Francisco Liriano, is now fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and nearing the explosive arsenal witnessed during his rookie campaign, in 2006 ….
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How is the TRADING FOR PROSPECTS idea working out for the Twinkies ???
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2008 – Erik Bedard for Adam Jones, George Sherrill, Chris Tillman, Tony Butler & Kam Mickolio

The O’s parted ways with one of the American League’s best starting pitchers during Andy MacPhail’s first off-season. At 28, Bedard has lived up to his fragile makeup and “soft heart” while spending most of his Seattle tenure on the disbaled list.

Meanwhile, Adam Jones has emerged into a starting centerfielder for the Orioles. Yeah, say what you want about Jones, but he’s exhibited the characteristics of a formidable big leaguer. Sherrill was an All Star for the Orioles, and Tillman is still regarded as a prime prospect. Of the handful of players, I still think Jones will have a very nice career …..
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2007 – Mark Teixeira for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus & Matt Harrison

On the surface, you might think “the Braves HOSED the Rangers”. Well, if you’re just considering Saltalamacchia, who appears to be a BUST, I can see the point. However, the Rangers hauled in much more …..
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Neftali Feliz has emerged as the Rangers closer, converting 15 saves, with a 2.73 ERA and ultra impressive 0.94 WHIP, along with 28 strikeouts in 26 innings. Feliz throws extremely hard (has hit 100+) and benefits from a power breaking ball and nice changeup. Oh yeah, he’s 21 years old.
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The other prime contributor from the trade is Elvis Andrus. He seized the starting shortstop job as a rookie, in 2009. He’s currently hitting .311, with 18 stolen bases. Like Feliz, Andrus is only 21 years old, as well.

When this trade took place, Rangers owner, Tom Hicks, defended it by insisting he couldn’t afford to re-sign Teixeira. Well, just 3 years removed, the Rangers are bankrupt and being operated under the domain of Major League Baseball. I guess Hicks wasn’t lying, huh?

As for Teixeira, the Braves turned around and dealt him before the 2008 non-waiver deadline. And, the Angels let him walk after the 2008 season. While I don’t argue his legitimate presence in a lineup, the Rangers got a good return for him.

So, what do these trades have to do with Nick Markakis? Well, they represent PROOF that acquiring legitimate, blue chip prospects for proven Major League players does work more often than on an “occasional” basis.

Once again, I don’t want to do anything rash regarding Markakis, but he might just bring a nice package of young guys (and I don’t mean Josh Bell types) to play here for years to come. Then again, a proposed deal might fail – plenty of those trades exist, too.

But, the Orioles are a miserable 16-42 – NOTHING should be off the table.

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The Wednesday Wishlist .....

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The Wednesday Wishlist …..

Posted on 09 December 2009 by Rex Snider

It took me a couple years …..

But, I’ve finally learned not to take myself or my sports opinions too seriously. While I’m very passionate about the Ravens, Orioles and other hometown flavors, I’ve come to realize many fans have their own in-depth opinions and analysis.

So, while I’ll continue to show my serious side, when it really warrants, I’m also happy to lighten things up or not be so “cut and dry.” I like humor. I like sarcasm. But, I’m also a sucker for a compelling story – while hopefully motivating people to remember there are, indeed, life events more important than sports.

Today, you’ll get a little bit of everything. It’s just an old fashioned “Wish List” ……

The Orioles Go Christmas Shopping …..

Well, we’re halfway through Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings and the Orioles have done ….. NOTHING.

Am I surprised? No. Am I disappointed? Not really. In fact, I’ve grown indifferent toward many of the Orioles principles and missions, because I don’t know what they’re doing. They don’t tell ME or YOU. But, I do “WISH” the Orioles great success and I have 3 very plausible additions that could help this team.

First, let me say I don’t believe free agency is the route this offseason. That’s right, TRADES are the way to improve a team. The Yankees just landed Curtis Granderson – and their minor league trade chips are more scarce than the Orioles.

At some point, I think Andy McPhail has to realize every single member of his coveted stable of prospects is not going to achieve success on the big league level. Some of these kids are real risks – why not “SELL them on the HIGH” ???

Which ones? I don’t know – that really is Andy’s job. But, there are young major leaguers available. Their teams might be openly shopping them, but I’d bet they can be had ….. for the right price.

Here’s 3 players who could fill a void RIGHT NOW. But, it would cost some young talent in return.

Chris Davis (1st Base) – Texas Rangers

A year ago, today, Chris Davis was regarded as the Rangers next “Big Thing.” He was fresh off a rookie campaign that saw him hit .285, with 17 homers, in just 317 plate appearances. And, he was just 22 years old.

Chris Davis entered 2009 as one of Fantasy Baseball’s worst kept secrets. Unfortunately, he did not live up to the hype. While Davis continued to hit for power, he was on pace to set a new record for strikeouts, through June. He was demoted to AAA, prior to the All Star break

He returned to the Rangers, in late August. With a shortened stroke, Chris Davis cut down on the strikeouts and hit .318, with 5 homers, during the season’s final month. It was no surprise – Chris Davis has hit at every level of the Rangers system.

So, why could he be had? The answer – Justin Smoak …..

He’s the Rangers #1 prospect and he’s just about ready for a shot at “The Show.” Smoak is more highly touted than Davis. It’s really that simple. Chris Davis is just 23 years old and he’s not eligible for free agency until 2014. He’s worth a look – but landing him won’t be cheap.

Alex Gordon (3rd Base) – Kansas City Royals

I know what you’re thinking – “Alex Gordon is UNTOUCHABLE.” Don’t bet on it …..

He was freakishly touted, as he hailed from the University of Nebraska. Alex Gordon was the #2 overall pick in the 2005 draft. He was “Can’t Miss” …..

Well, Gordon has now been through 3 Major League seasons, and realized mild success. In nearly 1400 career plate appearances, he’s hitting .250 with 37 homeruns. And, he’s experienced more than one bite from the INJURY BUG.

It’s still too early to say whether Alex Gordon will “MISS” or not. But, he’s no longer a rookie or prospect and the Kansas City Royals patience may be wearing thin. There are whispers regarding Gordon’s availability, as the Royals are constantly reinventing their roster.

Gordon is eligible for free agency following the 2012 season, and he’s a Boras client. But, if he keeps flirting with injuries and normalcy, he might be one of the rare Boras birds who can be had – before hitting free agency.

The talent is there – and the Orioles need a 3rd Baseman.

Zack Greinke (Pitcher) – Kansas City Royals

I know, another “yeah right, Rex” reaction, huh?

Well, if you’re the Kansas City Royals, will Zack Greinke’s stock ever be higher? He’s the Cy Young winner !!!!

He’s signed through 2012, and due nearly $35 million over the stretch. Is he worth it? The Orioles have the cash and he’s proven.

You can bet Kansas City is not keeping him beyond 2011 and due to some personal issues, he’s not likely to be a good fit in a high-pressured environment, like New York. Given his emotional makeup, Greinke is not comfortable with interviews or verbal confrontation.

Did you see him chatting about his Cy Young?

Exactly.

He didn’t really participate in the All Star media events, either.

Zack Greinke needs a comfortable environment. Baltimore could be it. But, once again, the Royals will not give him away. And, God knows the Kansas City Royals LOVE prospects !!!!
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Danica Joins NASCAR

Boogity, Boogity, Boogity Boys ….. Danica’s Goin’ Racing !!!!

Indeed, the WORLD’S MOST POPULAR female driver is joining the WORLD’S MOST POPULAR RACING SERIES …. albeit, at it’s “Junior Varsity” level.

Danica Patrick has signed a deal to drive for Dale Earnhardt Jrs. organization, JR Motorsports. It’s a loosely binding arrangement, as she is driving a limited amount of races in NASCAR’S Nationwide Series.

Personally, I think it’s just a PR stunt.

I think she’s going to fail – miserably. And, it has nothing to do with talent …..

If you’re a devout follower of auto racing, you understand and appreciate the commitment demanded of competitors. It’s more than a full time job ….. it’s an obsession. And, Danica isn’t willing to put in the time or effort.

Her main concentration is still Indy Cars. I don’t blame her, she’s successful on that circuit and it more than pays her bills. The NASCAR gig could be short lived. In fact, I’ll be shocked if she’s still around when the Nationwide Series makes it’s 2nd return to Dover, in September.

I’m also not convinced Danica possesses the tempermant for NASCAR and stock car racing. She has a personal history of getting visibly upset and challenging others when their car makes contact with hers.

She’s had problems keeping her cool …..

And, I’ll guarantee this guy runs her into a wall or two …..

I’ll stand by my comments – I don’t think it will work. I “WISH” Danica well and I hope she succeeds, but a long line of people have tried it this way and things didn’t work. Regardless, we’re enjoying her while she’s here …..

Hey, us NASCAR fans might be dumb ….. but, we’re not stupid !!!!
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Crosby, Stills & Nash = HORRIBLE

I watched HBO’s “Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame” concert, last night. Who dug up the bodies of David Crosby, Steven Stills and Graham Nash ???

I truly “WISH” that I will NEVER, EVER hear another Crosby, Stills & Nash song, again.

They were horrible 40 years ago ….. and they’re still HORRIBLE, today.
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Tigers Woods – I’ve Pretty Much Had Enough …..

Then again, nah ….. I’m okay.

Keep ’em coming ……

I just “WISH” Rachel Uchitel would hurry up and strike a deal with Hugh Hefner …..
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Harbaugh Interviews For The Notre Dame Job

The MOST OVERRATED JOB in the world is available, again …..

The Fighting Irish need a new coach to replace the recently jetisoned Charlie Weis. They’re scanning the ranks of potential candidates and the entire world knows about it.

What makes Notre Dame so special? Don’t get me wrong, I salute their dedication to academics – while not compromising their educational standards in the name of athletics. To HELL with Boosters ……

But, as Notre Dame’s world turns, we’re finding that Coach Harbaugh has surfaced as a candidate for the football team’s head coaching job. No, not that Coach Harbaugh ….. it’s COLLEGE and KIDS – they need DISCIPLINE, not yellow flags !!!!

And, God knows those BOOSTERS won’t accept “John Harbaugh-like” answers …..

In fact, JIM HARBAUGH, is rumored to be interviewing for the Notre Dame job. Good for him !!!! He’s a very likeable guy and his stock is seriously high, given his recent resume’ at Stanford.

The interview is supposedly planned over the next couple days.

When it happens, I gotta feeling the board of trustees will have a unique set of circumstances on their hands. Yep, they’ll have Jim Harbaugh sitting squarely in front of the table. But, a few steps behind, they’ll hear a couple whispers ….. only to see this face chiming in :

Indeed !!!! That’s how the Harbaugh’s ROLL !!!! It’s a family affair …..

The only remaining question …..

WILL JIM HARBAUGH FINISH HIS NOTRE DAME INTERVIEW IN TIME TO HELP COACH THE RAVENS THIS SUNDAY ???

I do “WISH” Jim well – and I hope he gets this Notre Dame gig – the MOST THANKLESS JOB in the world !!!!
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Peter Gammons Leaves ESPN

Whoa !!!! Who’s gonna do the nightly Red Sox reports ???

Say it so, Peter …..

By the way, we’re still waiting for Peter Gammons to call WNST and lend his AGREED support to the “Curing Cancer ….. One Call At A Time” marathon. He’s only 154 days late. We’re waiting Pete, just dial (410) 481-1570 …..


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What will the WORLDWIDE LEADER do without Gammons? Hmmm ….. maybe they’ll give more responsibility to John Kruk …..

By the way, we’re still waiting for John Kruk to call WNST and lend his AGREED support to the “Curing Cancer ….. One Call At A Time” marathon. He’s only 154 days late. We’re waiting John, just dial (410) 481-1570 …..

I understand Peter Gammons will be leaving ESPN, effectively, at the end of Major League Baseball’s Winter Meetings. He wants to pursue other interests.

I “WISH” just ONE OF THOSE INTERESTS would include calling our show, this Sunday. Hey, Harbor Hospital sponsors the 11:30 block of the show – and they were the benefactor of the Cancer fundraiser. Pete, any chance you can call Sunday?

We’d love to talk with you …..
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My Thoughts & Wishes For Bryant Gumbel

In case you haven’t heard, Bryant Gumbel has announced he’s battling Lung Cancer.

On Regis & Kelly, Gumbel advised he recently had surgery and said “I’m okay for the time being.”

I will always remember Bryan Gumbel as the host of the Today Show on NBC …..

And, as a kid, I was a fan of Gumbel’s NFL commentary.

That said, at times, I’ve grown disappointed in Bryant Gumbel’s presentation of racial issues. While I’ve always enjoyed his journalistic approach, there have been occasions when I thought his mission was to create a divisive atmospehere – and race was the divider.

But, that’s just my opinion.

Over the past several years, I’ve grown to appreciate “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel,” which has become an HBO staple, since 1995. I’m interested in the intersection of SPORTS and LIFE, and nobody does it better than Gumbel and his staff.

My heart goes out to Bryant Gumbel and his family. I know the disease of LUNG CANCER too well. I lost a parent to it. She was the kindest person I’ve ever known. She didn’t smoke or live irresponsibly.

But, it doesn’t matter.

I “WISH” Bryant Gumbel good health and I hope he KICKS CANCER’S ASS !!!! Here’s to hoping for more Christmas seasons for Gumbel and many more episodes of Real Sports …..

Happy Wednesday Everybody !!!!!

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bowden

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Comcast Morning Show Live Blog (11/19/09)

Posted on 19 November 2009 by Jack McManus

9:48-

Sean Salisbury is next up. He first talks about the Cowboys-Packers game. He believes the game showed more about the Cowboys. He states that we are seeing history repeating. The Cowboys often end up collapsing at some point in the season. Sean does not think the Ravens will be able to defeat the Colts this weekend. He also thinks that Peyton Manning has now made a case to be the best quarterback in NFL history.

9:37-

We are joined now by the great Bobby Bowden. He states that he has not thought about the possibility that this weekend could be his last game at home coaching Florida State. He next talks about the competitiveness of the ACC. Top to bottom, the teams will be in close games with each other. He explains that his offense has continued to develop during the season. Many of the players will return as starters next season. The defense on the other hand has lost many players to graduation and has had to rebuild during the season.

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9:09-

Ben Reiter of SI.com is on with Drew to talk some baseball. He recently ranked the top 50 free agents in baseball. You can check that out here. He starts off by talking about his #1 ranked player, John Lackey. He compares Lackey to Mark Teixeira because both were linked to hometown teams. Lackey has been rumored to be interested in the Rangers. However, Reiter points out that in these situations players will often take money over location. On the topic of the Yankees, Reiter believes that team will resign Johnny Damon and make a move for Carl Crawford next year. He next talks about the Orioles’ offseason. Adrian Beltre has been called a good fit for the team. Beltre is still an elite defensive 3rd baseman. He could also improve in a smaller ballpark. Regardless, Reiter explains that with a strong free agent market, the Orioles will find someone to fill that role.

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8:46-

Head coach of the Loyola basketball team, Jimmy Patsos is the next guest. The Greyhounds defeated UMBClast night at the RAC Arena. He talks about how two local playerswent head-to-head in the final minutes of the game. Jamal Barney scored 21 points for Loyola, while Chauncey Gilliam put up a career-high 22 for the Retrievers. He also discusses how local programs have been able to keep basketball talent in the area. This has allowed for the growth of many Baltimore-area teams. Continuing with this idea, Patsosputs forth the idea that each local team play each other and compete for some sort of Baltimore championship. He explains that the biggest need for an event like this to take place is a new arena. Finally, Drew tells Patsos that he now thinks the Greyhounds will finish better than his intial prediction of 9-9 in the MAAC.

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8:39-

A couple of callers bring up the even line for the Ravens-Colts game. They do not see how many people will bet on the Ravens. One caller states that the Ravens only two chances are “slim and none.”

8:12-

Brian Billick joins Drew to talk some football. Brian will be in Green Bay for the Packers game against the 49ers this weekend. Brian weighs in on the Bill Belichick decision. He states that controversial decision such as this not only rely on the coach’s philosophy but also the current makeup of the team. He also agrees with Drew that Belichick believed that if the Colts scored, they would do so much more quickly. Moving on, Brian calls the Larry Johnson signing an interesting move by the Bengals. He explains that Johnson is on thin ice in Cincinnati. One wrong move would result in a trip back to free agency for LJ. Brian next talks about the impact of Terrell Owens on a football team. Some are calling the firing of Dick Jauron a side-effect of having TO on the squad.

 
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8:03-

A very complimentary caller tells everyone at the station how good a job everyone is doing. He is proud to be a listener.

7:57-

A call discusses the issues with Baltimore/Indianapolis and the Hall of Fame. HE problem is that at the Hall players are listed to have played for the Indianapolis Colts. To solve this the NFL could simply list the team nickname and not the city.

7:36-

hottle

We welcome in Ed Hottle, the coach of the new football team at Stevenson University. He compares coaching a new football team to having a child. He will always be associated with the start of the program. Hottle is a Frostburg State grad, and he states he would be very interested in soon playing against his alma mater. He calls the decision to take the job a “no brainer.” He also talks about his previous experience at Gallaudet University. Gallaudet is known as one of the best institutes of higher learning for the deaf in the world.

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