Tag Archive | "thyrl nelson"

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Ravens Right to Honor Mackey Friday, But Fans Also Right To Want More

Posted on 17 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Tuesday afternoon on Sports Talk 1570 WNST I asked a question that had an answer I felt was fairly simple.

“Do the Baltimore Ravens owe it to the community to honor late Hall of Fame Baltimore Colts TE John Mackey in a public way this season?”

When I asked the question, I had the benefit of knowledge on my side. As I reported Tuesday, the Ravens will recognize Mackey’s passing with an in-game tribute Friday during their preseason home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs. The tribute will not include a moment of silence, as the team determined it would be inappropriate.

The team will not publicly salute former Colts DE Bubba Smith, who also passed away this summer. That determination was made because Bubba did not achieve Hall of Fame status as a player and “did not stay connected to Baltimore”, according to a team source.

My question was brought on by something written by former Colts DL Joe Ehrmann, who I talked to on Tuesday’s show. In a press release issued last week by the Baltimore Colts Alumni group before he officiated Mackey’s public memorial service Saturday, Ehrmann suggest the entire National Football League should take time this season to honor the life of Mackey.

“To truly honor our fallen teammate and leader, I hope the NFL players will demand — and the league and union will agree to — at least one game this season where every player wears a “88” patch on their jersey and each team airs appropriate public service announcements aimed at educating coaches, parents and young athletes on the prevention of head traumas.”

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Ravens FA CB Fabian Washington before signing w/ Saints: “I won’t be coming back”

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Ravens FA CB Fabian Washington before signing w/ Saints: “I won’t be coming back”

Posted on 01 August 2011 by Ryan Chell

Ravens free agent corner back Fabian Washington signed a one-year deal Sunday with the New Orleans Saints, and while he was fielding calls for nearly a week regarding his free agent status and desire to play, he knew one thing for sure.

He wasn’t returning to the Ravens.

Fabian Washington

“Yes, definitely. I won’t be coming back,” Washington told Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Friday.

That being said, he definitely was tired of waiting to get picked up after the long NFL-lockout which stalled free agency.

“I’m very anxious to get back to football,” Washington said. “I haven’t been off this long since high school. I’m definitely ready to get back to work.”

Washington-who spent the last three seasons with Baltimore after coming over in a draft-day trade with the Raiders in 2008-had been getting calls from several teams in the NFL looking for both corner back depth and guys with starter experience.

But sadly, he knew after losing his starting job to Josh Wilson in 2010, his time in Baltimore was done.

After starting 12 games his first year in Baltimore in 2008 and the first ten games of the 2009 season before suffering a season-ending knee injury versus Indianapolis, Washington struggled at the beginning of 2010 and lost his starting spot after getting torched in the Ravens’ 37-34 OT win.

Washington was often criticized for dropping sure interceptions, his poor tackling, and his slow recovery speed if he got beat.

But, Washington said that he’s used his struggles last year as motivation to get back to playing at a high level.

“You better grow…you can’t go backwards man,” he said. “I try to take all of the positives from everything. I sat back and looked at some things I was doing wrong. I feel like through this off-season I’ve corrected that. I’m 100 percent health-wise, and I feel great. I feel like I’m ready to play ball man, wherever it may be.”

On top of his struggles, it felt even worse to end his Ravens career losing yet again to the one team he learned to envy in the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs once more.

“You never want to lose in the playoffs, and you never want to lose to the Steelers,” Fabian said. “Every loss I’ve been in the playoffs has felt the same, but you don’t want to lose to the Steelers. You don’t want to hear their mouths all off-season.”

Washington’s potential upside, youth and skills-especially his speed-have kept the former 1st-round pick out of Nebraska not only still in the league but still a commodity to an NFL squad.

“I’ve been getting some calls,” Washington said. “Some teams are showing interest. In my position though, there are a couple big guys who need to sign first.”

He was of course referring to ex-Oakland teammate CB Nnamdi Asomugha, the top free agent on the market, who signed a deal with Philadelphia on Friday.

“The dude is a beast,” Washington said-who played with Asomugha from 2005-2007. “He is unreal out there. Teams rarely throw at him. That’s one thing-playing on the other side of him-you better be ready for a whole heap of balls to be thrown at you.”

“You just need to expect that, because no team is going to throw at him. I think the stat was he was thrown at 50 times all year- total. That’s unheard of. You’ve just got to prepare yourself and have your mind right to have a lot of opportunities to get an interception. It’s a coordinator’s dream to have a corner like that.”

He, Chris Carr, and Asomugha-all former Raiders CBs-spent much of the week watching where each of them were projected to go.

“Everybody’s waiting to see where Nnamdi is gonna play,” Washington said last week,  “then the dominoes will start falling at the cornerback position. But me man… I’m just sitting back relaxing.”

And sure enough, as soon as Asomugha signed Friday with Philadelphia and Carr re-signed on Saturday with Baltimore, Washington signed on the final day of the weekend with the Saints.

But despite the fact that he’s now in the Big Easy playing for the 2009 Super Bowl champs, he still holds a high place in his heart for the time he spent in Baltimore the last three years.

“I would definitely say it was a roller coaster,” he said,  “but I enjoyed every minute of it in Baltimore. “It was fun man…a lot of winning. Where I was coming from, I wasn’t used to that.”

“It’s a great place, and I encourage anybody that gets the chance to play there…play there  because you’re gonna win. I have nothing but good things to say about Baltimore.”

WNST thanks Fabian Washington for joining us, and we want to wish him all the best for his time in Baltimore! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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T.J. Houshmandzadeh on time in Baltimore: “If the Ravens want me back, I would stay”

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T.J. Houshmandzadeh on time in Baltimore: “If the Ravens want me back, I would stay”

Posted on 28 July 2011 by Ryan Chell

The Ravens may have had to cut ties this week with veteran receiver Derrick Mason and saw the likes of receiver Donte Stallworth take his services to the Washington Redskins, but there is one receiver who is leaving Baltimore behind who not a lot of people are talking about.

And that may be the strangest part of it all. It’s because this receiver in the past has been a guy to usually get the trash-talk started.

That of course is free agent wide receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh, who by the way of a coaching change in Seattle last summer, found his way to Baltimore and was projected to be the third leg of a superb receiving corps joining the likes of Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Donte Stallworth and others.

Unfortunately, Houshmandzadeh-a catching machine for his first eight seasons in the league with Cincinnati-struggled to get himself in the mix in an offense that lacked identity at times last season, and it turned out there weren’t enough balls to go around for the many playmakers and egos in the Ravens passing game.

But Houshmandzadeh-despite his frustration at his role-was very mature about what happened and he voiced that same expression on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” with Thyrl Nelson Monday.

He was actually more displeased with the Ravens losing in the playoffs than his performance on the field.

“It wasn’t my use,” Houshmandzadeh told Nelson. “It was how the season went. My experience was great, except for not catching that last ball.”

Houshmandzadeh said he doesn’t blame the quarterback, Joe Flacco,  coach John Harbaugh, OC Cam Cameron, or anyone else on the team. He admitted that wearing out his welcome in Seattle and coming into the mix in September was all on him.

“Getting here five days before the start of the season, I was behind everyone else,” Houshmandzadeh said. “We were getting ready to play the Jets, and I only had a few days to learn the plans, and for the coaches to put me in.”

Houshmandzadeh played in all 16 games last year, but as the third wide receiver behind Boldin and Mason-and being a similar receiver to those two, he didn’t get a lot of chances to make plays.

His 30 catches were the lowest total since his rookie year in 2002, and after 2004 with the Cincinnati Bengals, he saw no less than 73 balls come into his possession until suiting up in purple.

TJ Houshmandzadeh

The highlight of his season came in Week 4 against the Steelers in Heinz Field, where he caught the game-winning touchdown from Flacco with just 32 seconds on the clock to put down Pittsburgh, 17-14.

It was that play in particular, and several others, that had Houshmandzadeh putting Flacco in the elite quarterbacks of the NFL, and he would know having caught passes from a Heisman Trophy winner and former top overall pick in Carson Palmer for years.

“The Ravens have the right guy in place,” Houshmandzadeh said. “It’s funny when people pick on him, because he’s cool. Joe was always the last guy to leave the facility. He puts the work in, and he’s only going to get better.”

Houshmandzadeh saw firsthand how much criticism the reserved Flacco took last season for the team’s struggles and for not being a vocal leader, and he said none of that was warranted to say the least.

“The criticism was unfair. Joe’s leadership was never in question,” the receiver said. “His style might be different, but the media didn’t understand.”

And further defending his quarterback-even if he is catching passes from another one this season-he says that the comparisons of Flacco to other elite quarterbacks in the NFL aren’t fair either because of the unique systems each signal-caller has at their disposal.

“Everybody’s offense is different,” T.J said. “Joe worked with what was given to him. It’s unfair to compare him to others’ offenses. We did a lot of different things here in Baltimore.”

And for Houshmandzadeh, it could all be different again for him in the next few weeks should a team other the Ravens give him a buzz. Given the Ravens full depth chart at receiver and Houshmandzadeh’s veteran asking price, he probably won’t be parking at 1 Winning Drive for this year’s training camp.

And he knows that.

“I would love to come back,” he said, “but they have a lot of guys there though.”

But, Houshmandzadeh has learned, especially after his time in Cincinnati and Seattle, to never burn your bridges because there’s always a chance to a return visit.

Maybe even one from Baltimore, per chance?

“I loved Baltimore. My time there was great…if the Ravens want me back, I would stay. All a team has to tell me is that they want to sign me.”

And whoever calls upon his services, he wants them to know that he’s all-in.

“Whenever the call is made, I’m ready to go,” Houshmandzadeh said. “My body feels great. I’m looking forward to what this year holds.”

WNST thanks T.J. Houshmandzadeh for joining @WNST and being a part of a great Ravens team in 2010! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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

Posted on 23 July 2011 by Peter Dilutis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted on 22 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

10. Ripken passes Kinugasa (June 15, 1996)

ripkenkinugasu

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

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

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

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

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

9. Mussina NEARLY perfect (May 30, 1997)

moose

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

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

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

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

I really thought I was going to that night.

8. Wire to wire (September 25, 1997)

aleast

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

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

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

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

7. Brady gets 50 (September 29, 1996)

bradya

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

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

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

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

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

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

hoiles

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

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

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

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

Thank God I hadn’t stopped watching that night.

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

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

Posted on 18 July 2011 by Ryan Chell

Pat Gillick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Remembering Only “Magic” I’ve Known

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

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

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

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

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

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

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

That wasn’t the case in 1996.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was that crazy about the Orioles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-G

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

Posted on 03 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

I know a thing or two about format flips.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Former Terp Jordan Williams on if decision to go pro affected Gary Williams retirement: “I know he wouldn’t make a decision after just one situation”

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Former Terp Jordan Williams on if decision to go pro affected Gary Williams retirement: “I know he wouldn’t make a decision after just one situation”

Posted on 28 June 2011 by Ryan Chell

Former Terps center/forward Jordan Williams may not have realized his importance  when he submitted his name to the 2011 NBA Draft, but now after being selected with the 36th selection in last Thursday’s NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, his career is going to be watched for an even bigger reason.

Following Jordan Williams out of Maryland was legendary coach Gary Williams, and with Jordan being the focal point of Gary’s final run in College Park, that also means that Jordan Williams maybe will Gary Williams’ last project to be sent to the NBA.

But Williams-who took a lot of criticism from Terps nation and NBA experts alike-said he felt like he was more ready to move on and is ready and honored to carry on what Gary Williams taught him at College Park toward his NBA game.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Jordan told Glenn Clark and Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Monday. “Just knowing the list of guys that he’s put through the league…for me to be a part of that list is just unbelieveable. I’m definitely excited.”

As a freshman in 2009-2010, Jordan Williams formed a solid 1-2 punch with senior guard Greivis Vasquez as Maryland made its way to an ACC Title. Making an impact right away, he was second in the conference in rebounding and was expected to take an even bigger role in the offense going forward the following season with Vasquez moving on to the NBA.

Which he did.

And despite freshman Terrell Stoglin coming on late in 2010-2011, Jordan Williams found himself as the team’s only option his sophomore year in College Park.  On the Naismith Watch to start the year, Williams averaged a double-double (16.9 PPG, 11.8 RPG) for the Terps this year, becoming one of the best players in the country.

He recorded 13 straight double-doubles as a matter of fact, breaking the longtime record set by Len Elmore and ended the season with 25 overall-also good for second best in the nation.

But with Maryland missing both the NCAA and NIT Tournaments and with question marks about both the program and the future of the NBA, Williams announced he was leaving the University of Maryland and signed with longtime agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports.

That decision, and his eventual selection by the Nets in the 2nd round last week, ended his career as a Terp.

Williams told Clark and Nelson that he’s heard every reason as to why people think he left College Park early to go pro.

But he doesn’t care.

“There’s been a lot of talk about why I did it,” Williams said, “but now I’m definitely happy I made the decision to leave.”

But it wasn’t always his intent from the start.

Williams did say he was planning to make to return to College Park after first testing the draft waters in Las Vegas before signing on with ASM, but ultimately he kept hearing good things about his draft stock at those workouts forcing him to move forward with his transition to the next level.

“I was planning on coming back,” Williams said, “but when I went out there my confidence built and I made such strides. I changed my body too much and it was just the right time for me to go.”

Williams said he consulted as many people as possible before making the decision to turn his back on Maryland, but ultimately the backing of two individuals- Gary Williams and Greivis Vasquez-made the decision that much easier.

“Greivis was very positive on my decision as well,” Williams said. “He just gave me all the advice he could which was, ‘Do whatever you feel is best and don’t buy into what other people tell you because you’ll have to live through it’.”

And he was surprised to see his coach as supportive as he was given the fact he knew Gary wanted Jordan Williams back in his lineup.

“He definitely helped me out a lot,” Jordan said. “He was a huge influence on my life basketball-wise. He knows so much about past players going into the league and making the right decision, so I asked him his advice and what he thought.”

“He definitely gave me a lot of good information as far as making the decision.”

Those staring at the situation from afar said that Jordan Williams entering the NBA Draft was ultimately the determining factor in Gary Williams’ abrupt retirement after 22 years coaching the Terps.

The former student-athlete and third-team All-American said that knowing Gary for as long as he had, he knows that his coach would not have made that rash of a decision over one player leaving, even if it was him.

“Knowing Coach, I know he wouldn’t make a decision after just one situation or one event that happened,” Williams said. “I know he put a lot of time and effort into his decision and did it for all the right reasons.”

Jordan said those same critics didn’t stop there-saying that he could have maybe done himself better by staying one more year at Maryland to fine tune his game. But again, Williams said just being in the NBA and going to a class-organization like the New Jersey Nets is all he can ask for.

“I couldn’t have gone to a better organization, a better place, or a better situation being a rookie coming into the league,” Williams said. “A lot of people were talking about maybe as high as 25 (where his new teammate Marshawn Brooks was drafted by the Celtics who then immediately shipped him to NJ) but at the end of the day I kind of knew where I was falling and I knew the teams and the different slots.”

In the end, Williams said-it was all about getting the call in general.

“I was just excited that my name was gonna even be called at that point…I didn’t even care what the number was.”

Williams says now it’s about getting ready to play in the NBA and getting comfortable with his new teammates, including two-time All-Star guard Deron Williams.

“Deron’s a great guy..one of the best in the league,” Williams said. “For me to be a part of his team, I’m speechless to get the chance to meet him and I’m so excited to pick his brain and learn so much about him.”

Williams has already been told by scouts to prepare himself to play the #4 power forward on the floor, meaning he’ll probably have to lose some weight from his 6’10”, 260-lb frame.

“I know that’s my goal,” Williams said. “That’s where they have met set up. That’s where I worked out for, and that’s why I’ve been trying to change my body from a five to a four. They saw that, and they’re definitely excited for me to start at that position and do what I can to help this team win a world championship.”

And ultimately for those still worried about the lack of his presence in the Comcast Center this winter, he knows that the keys have been left in good hands with Mark Turgeon coaching and, Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard, James Padgett and others on the court.

“I talked to them all recently and they’re excited about it,” Williams said of the upcoming season. “They’re great players. They have a great head on their shoulders and great work ethic and they’re going to put themselves in a position to succeed.”

WNST thanks Jordan Williams for joining “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Monday morning! Be sure to follow Jordan on Twitter @JWilliams20 and continue to follow WNST-We Never Stop Trying to Save You Money!

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O’s 5th round pick Matt Taylor: “I’m the kind of guy who wants to get there as soon as I can”

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O’s 5th round pick Matt Taylor: “I’m the kind of guy who wants to get there as soon as I can”

Posted on 13 June 2011 by Ryan Chell

Recent Orioles draft choice Matt Taylor-a left-handed pitcher out of Middle Georgia college-may have only been a fifth-rounder by Baltimore, but when it comes to enthusiasm about wearing Orange and Black, the former Warriors pitcher may have already distinguished himself as the ace of the staff.

Matt Taylor

Taylor-a 6’2” LHP-OF selected by Baltimore with the 155 selection in last week’s MLB Amateur draft-joined Thyrl Nelson of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to chat about having his name drawn by the O’s.

“It’s a great honor to be part of the Baltimore organization now,” Taylor told Nelson. “I’m the kind of guy who wants to get there as soon as I can and help out this ball club as soon as possible.”

The ex-Alabama transfer started 15 games for Middle Georgia College-a JUCO school that plays in the same conference as Orioles’ right fielder Nick Markakis’ alma mater, Young Harris College-and appeared in another game in relief for the Warriors.

His stats were very impressive; hence drawing attention from Andy MacPhail, Scouting Director Joe Jordan, and Buck Showalter.

Taylor worked in a team-high 81 innings while only allowing 71 hits and a 3.31 ERA. He did only finish 7-5 , but his impressive strikeout numbers made up for those marks-128 K’s and just 29 walks shows that he has the stuff to compete on the mound.

However, Taylor-expected to begin the year at Single-A Aberdeen-said that despite his eagerness to get to the big league level, he knows that he still would like to perfect as many pitches as possible to ready himself to go up against major league hitters.

But, he’s ready to learn, Taylor said.

“When you get into the organization and you have outstanding pitching coaches that can help you out, you just kind of wait and see, and you just work hard and see what ends up happening with that.”

Taylor admitted that he has a repertoire of pitches but has fallen in love with and really only refined two of them-his sinking fastball and his slider, which he says is his out pitch.

“It’s a plus pitch,” Taylor told Nelson.It is anywhere from 84-87. And I got a fastball that’s probably 90-94 on a good day. I’m kind…working to develop on those other pitches right now.”

And even more special? He wasn’t even focusing on the speed of his pitches-he was worrying about his control.

And with a 128 K-29BB ratio, it looks like he did okay in that department.

And that approach helped Taylor out in the long run he said cause it stopped him from trying too hard and losing focus.

“When scouts came to the games they put a big emphasis on the radar guns and things like that. I guess you’re curious to know how fast you throw sometimes,” Taylor said. This was the first year I wasn’t really worried about my velocity…I was more worried about my control.

“And that’s something I ended up really improving on and I actually ended up gaining velocity because I wasn’t trying to throw as hard as I used to in the past.”

And given Nick Markakis’ track record at transitioning to full-time outfielder when he was chosen by the Birds (Markakis was actually 12-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 2003 when the Orioles drafted him seventh overall), who knows-maybe Taylor, who hit .366 with two home runs, 14 RBIs, and 14 SB in 82 AB-could also fall back on that transition if he felt so inclined as well.

“Well I had several teams that said they’d let me hit if I did not pan out as a pitcher,” Taylor replied before mentioning his favorite part of the game of baseball.

“I love playing defense,” Taylor laughed.I played outfield in junior-college and I actually prefer playing outfield over anything, including hitting and pitching. It’s probably my favorite thing about the game.”

But again, coming back to reality-he knows that he is probably going to make his MLB-career based on the strength of his left arm and his foot on the mound.

“The consensus was they wanted me to really work on pitching, and just focus on pitching. And really see how far that can carry me.”

WNST thanks Matt Taylor for joining WNST! Be sure to follow him on Twitter! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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