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MASN Money For Dummies (Part 3): Angelos was bleeding cash when Nats money came

Posted on 19 January 2016 by Nestor Aparicio






Those who complain don’t know the ins and outs of what’s going on. They have their own lives to lead, their own problems to deal with. And they are not going to become acquainted with what our economics are, and you can’t expect them to.”

Peter G. Angelos, May 2006

                                                                                 (as told to PressBox via Q&A)



THE SINCERE HOPE OF PETER G. Angelos is that you’re too dumb to figure this stuff out and too bored to read all of this vital information about where the money comes from. Especially now that Chris Davis has signed a long-term contract, which isn’t a blip on the radar of the finances of the franchise when you do the real math, many fans somehow believe that it was an incredible stretch to find the money to pay him.

Here’s the truth: knowing the facts about how much money the MASN tree is printing for Angelos and his family certainly doesn’t reflect well upon his legacy or commitment to winning. Especially when you consider that the team has been an abject failure on the field in 18 of the 22 seasons under this ownership group.

I love how Chris Davis said “we want to continue a tradition of winning here in Baltimore.” Spoken like a babe in arms. It’s kinda nice that he thinks that but that’s far from the truth. The Orioles haven’t “won” anything under the reign of Peter G. Angelos.

But Mr. Angelos has made a LOT of money – and after he lost a LOT of money.

But to understand the money – and where it came from and where it’s going – is to understand the Orioles’ offseason budgeting and what they’re trying to do on the field. From Chris Davis to Matt Wieters to Darren O’Day, it’s the money that funds the players.

As Buck Showalter said at the winter meetings on December 8th from Nashville on MLB Network TV: “We have plenty of money.”

Today, we’ll examine the history of Major League Baseball and the Baltimore Orioles ownership group and the birth of MASN and the Washington Nationals and how this nuclear war for the biggest pile of television money in local sports history began.

In the Fall of 2004, Peter G. Angelos, as usual, was preparing for war – this time with his partners over the concept of baseball in the nation’s capital. Realizing that commissioner Bud Selig and the owners of the 29 other MLB teams, who collectively had purchased the Montreal Expos, were hell bent on moving that franchise to Washington, D.C., John Angelos issued an internal memo cutting all expenses.

Of course, some saw this as a sign that he was about to sell the Orioles to local money manager Chip Mason.

“The mere issuance of a memorandum suggesting potential savings in a greater degree in efficiency of operations does not suggest that the enterprise being reviewed is for sale,” Angelos told The Baltimore Sun. “To suggest otherwise is absurd and clearly erroneous.”

The team had just invested $121.5 million into contracts for Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez, Rafael Palmeiro and Sidney Ponson. “The millions recently spent on player acquisitions hardly suggest we’re on a cost-cutting crusade,” Angelos told the local newspaper. “On the contrary, we are moving forward aggressively to produce a very competitive and winning team for our fans both this year and in the years ahead.”

At this point, Angelos was very quietly hemorrhaging money by the tens of millions. In the early days, he bragged about the Orioles making money to The Baltimore Sun.

Seven years earlier, Angelos sat with me at The Barn in March 1997 on WLG-AM 1360 and went through a lengthy diatribe about how baseball could never work with two teams – one in Baltimore and one in Washington, D.C. (and at that point Northern Virginia seemed a far more likely destination). But he also told me that the Orioles lost $4 million the previous year – and that’s when they were selling 3.6 million tickets and winning.

Feel free to listen to that conversation here:

This Chapter 3 of my MASN Money For Dummies series will be brief because I’ve already written this part of the Angelos journey as Chapter 12 of The Peter Principles, a book I’ve been writing about the ownership of Peter G. Angelos.

I would cut and paste it here, but just click here and continue reading the history of how this MASN money gravy train began with the poor negotiation tactics of Bud Selig to deal with the likes of Peter Angelos. It’s now 12 years later and nothing is really solved except that the money is flowing in by the tens of millions every month via your cable television bill and MLB and the Nationals, along with owner Ted Lerner, haven’t figured out a way to extract their “fair share.”

In 1994, Angelos said about Selig during the MLB owners dispute with the Major League Baseball Players Association: “He is a very successful automobile dealer. What makes him think he has the abilities to do what he is trying to do here is beyond my comprehension!”

Angelos infuriated every partner in Major League Baseball in 1994. In 2002, he came back to save the day as a lead negotiator – and olive branch Democrat who curried favor with the Players’ Association – for Selig and his MLB partners. But at every turn he made it very clear that any notion of a team anywhere near Washington or Northern Virginia would never be acceptable under any condition.

Angelos lobbied many times and in many ways to keep baseball out of Washington, D.C. long before 2004.

“It isn’t that we would deny the people that live in those areas the recreational pursuit of baseball. We think baseball is a great game for everybody. But when we look at the experience of Boston, Philadelphia, Oakland, San Francisco – Boston and Philadelphia and St. Louis had two ballclubs. The history of baseball dictates that you can’t put two teams that close together. We are opposing that. We think Orioles baseball is plenty good enough for us as well as the people in the Washington suburbs and we thank them for that support and we want to retain that support.”

At the 2004 All Star Game in Houston, it appeared that Bud Selig was still unsure of the future of the Expos.

“I will not do anything to make Peter Angelos unhappy,” Selig told The New York Times.

It’s interesting to do the research and see the local media’s role in garnering the Washington Nationals for the nation’s capital. The Washington Post played as big of a role in the franchise and ballpark as it …

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Bud Peter

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 13): Mi$ter Angelo$ & $on$ Network change$ everything for two citie$

Posted on 18 December 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

This is Chapter 13 of the upcoming book, “The Peter Principles.” This lengthy excerpt is a prelude to a WNST report on ten years of MASN money and how Washington baseball has affected Baltimore baseball over the past decade. The first three chapters of the book are available here:

The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

The Peter Principles (Ch. 2): The error of tyranny at Camden Yards

The Peter Principles (Ch. 3): How close did Angelos come to owning Baltimore’s NFL team?

The Peter Principles (Ch. 12): Selig vs. Angelos – trust, antitrust and billions of dollars



“The most important part of the deal is the equity in MASN over the long term. In a few years that equity stake in the network will be worth far more than any rights fee that a Comcast or a Fox SportsNet could pay (the Washington Nationals). So they will in time have a 33 percent stake in MASN without one penny of investment. We pay all production costs, overhead, the staffing and program fees. The new Nationals get all the benefits without the risk. My goal, and I am sure it is the same for the Washington owners, is to have two very successful franchises that work together on a number of projects while being friendly rivals on the field.”

Peter G. Angelos

The Examiner

April 7, 2006



AS PETER G. ANGELOS WATCHED THE Boston Red Sox win the 2004 World Series, he was still a state of shock that his Major League Baseball partners and commissioner Bud Selig had actually done the unthinkable – placing a rival National League team into Washington, D.C. to compete with the Orioles, forever dividing the marketplace.

Insiders said they’d never seen Angelos so angry, so agitated, so betrayed and hell bent on making them pay for this decision to double cross a partner. Selig had been contrite in their conversations and vowed to somehow find a way to keep Angelos whole on the deal and the burgeoning business of television networks had become the next generation way of getting money from the masses to fund baseball growth. In the 1980s, MLB discovered sponsorships and a higher-end clientele. In the 1990s, MLB discovered leveraging municipalities for new stadia, skyboxes, club seats and premium sponsorships. Now, in the new century, it was going to be television rights and revenues derived from cable purchasers who are bundled into larger all-but-invisible packages where the “regional sports network” would garner a few dollars per month, per subscriber.

This was a way to collect automatic, “unseen” money from virtually every home in their region. They would be getting tens of millions of dollars from folks who wouldn’t even know they were funding Major League Baseball. The Lords would be getting money from people who didn’t even know what baseball was ­– or where to find it on the multi-channel cable dial.

Angelos had already become wise to the reality of the changing media marketplace. He didn’t really understand but it ­– but knew it had tangible and growth value in the future.

It was no accident that the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox had more far revenue to spend on better baseball players, which exponentially aided their ability to win and keep the money machine well oiled with local interest and new-age marketing. The Yes Network was a product of a 1999 merger between the Yankees and New Jersey Nets for the express purpose of marketing a cable television channel in the New York region that would cut out the middleman – the sports cable television networks. The war in New York with Cablevision was legendary and it was big money. In 2001, the New England Sports Network (NESN), which enjoyed a near monopoly status in the region for television sports, went to the basic tier of cable, meaning far greater distribution and more money that would be used to fund the new and improved Boston Red Sox.

The same Red Sox that Angelos just watched win the World Series, who were led in part by Larry Lucchino – the former Orioles president and investor, who was the visionary for the modern franchise and building of Camden Yards, and the first employee whom Angelos unceremoniously partnered with and then ousted a month later in 1993 after his Orioles acquisition from Eli Jacobs in a New York auction.

Angelos knew all of his options, demands and “asks” in regard to what he’d be trying to retain and obtain if Selig and his MLB partners ever crossed the line and did the unthinkable – putting the Expos just 38 miles away in his backyard.

But, make no mistake about it, Angelos would’ve far preferred to have never seen the Washington Nationals born at any cost or any profit.

He abhorred the concept of D.C. baseball.

Washington baseball was truly his worst nightmare as the owner of the Baltimore Orioles. He was absolutely convinced there was no financial way to make him “whole” – and worse, he truly believed that it would drastically affect not only his team, but that the Washington team would fare no better in a market that Angelos and most everyone else remembered as a two-time baseball loser in the 1960s and early 1970s. But a lot had changed since the Senators left for Arlington, Texas in 1971 to become the Rangers.

The Northern Virginia suburbs had grown exponentially over the nearly four decades and the biggest enclave of per capita earnings in the United States fell throughout what Angelos felt was hard-earned Orioles country. Angelos valued the Washington, D.C. community for the same reasons Selig and the other MLB owners did – they smelled the size, money and disposable income. Angelos claimed that 30% of his audience came from those homes and wallets. The Orioles and Major League Baseball were a television brand that his baseball brand had cultivated over 30 years and he and his partners paid top dollar for in 1993.

Angelos felt absolutely deceived, absolutely blindsided by their lack of concern …

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 12): Selig vs. Angelos – trust, antitrust and billions of dollars

Posted on 17 December 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

This is Chapter 12 of the upcoming book, “The Peter Principles.” This lengthy excerpt is a prelude to a WNST report on ten years of MASN money and how Washington baseball has affected Baltimore baseball over the past decade. The first three chapters of the book are available here:

The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

The Peter Principles (Ch. 2): The error of tyranny at Camden Yards

The Peter Principles (Ch. 3): How close did Angelos come to owning Baltimore’s NFL team?



The Peter Principles

Chapter 12

The Washington Nationals were the greatest thing to ever happen to Peter G. Angelos


“We’re going to be watching very carefully to see what’s going to happen with some of the efforts to put a baseball franchise in Washington or in Northern Virginia. And I’m gonna tell ya straight up: we don’t think there should be a baseball franchise in Northern Virginia or in Washington. Because you would have a repetition of what you have in Oakland and San Francisco. In Oakland and San Francisco you have the same kind of population mix that you have between Baltimore and Washington. And those two teams kill each other off. Both of those teams drew, last year, less than two million fans. Together, they drew 3 million fans. But because they’re so close to each other and they’re both part of one metropolitan area – mega metropolitan area – they are literally killing themselves at the gate. We have argued, I think to this point, successfully, that there should not be another Major League Baseball franchise 30 to 40 miles away from Baltimore. It isn’t that we would deny the people that live in those areas the recreational pursuit of baseball. We think baseball is a great game for everybody. But when we look at the experience of Boston, Philadelphia, Oakland, San Francisco – Boston and Philadelphia and St. Louis had two ballclubs. The history of baseball dictates that you can’t put two teams that close together. We are opposing that. We think Orioles baseball is plenty good enough for us as well as the people in the Washington suburbs and we thank them for that support and we want to retain that support.”

Peter G. Angelos

The Barn, March 1997



WITH THE BIG MONEY SPLURGE OVER the winter, Peter G. Angelos believed he’d solved most of his 2004 problems on the field with the Orioles. But, truly, the team on the field or how it performed in the spring was the least of his big-picture problems with the franchise. Angelos was far more focused on its future viability in Baltimore if his Major League Baseball partners were going to acquiesce to mounting civic pressure from Washington, D.C. and move the fledgling, all-but-homeless Montreal Expos to the capital of the free world to openly compete in a marketplace that had solely been the territory of the Orioles since the early 1970s.

Once again, a decade into his ownership of the Orioles, Angelos found himself knee-deep into circumstances that went far beyond the boundaries of the normal business of simply running a baseball team and trying to win and turn a profit. For the first time in modern baseball history – the last team that moved was the Washington Senators to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1972 – a MLB team was going to being uprooted and potentially moved directly into the territory of an existing franchise.

While he picked many of battles over years with political figures, media members, Orioles players, agents, partners, insurance companies and big businesses, this was certainly a battle that found Angelos. He was a natural fighter. But this was not a fight he ever wanted.

When Camden Yards was flooded with fans in his early days he always maintained that there was no way two teams could survive and thrive in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. He was always adamant – if not even enthusiastic and animated – in his protests of anything related to Washington having a Major League Baseball team.

Washington baseball was his worst nightmare.

And he saw the clouds were forming very clearly heading into 2004.

Angelos saw where this might be going, and despite his work on an amicable relationship and pro bono efforts during the 2002 labor negotiations on behalf of Major League Basbeall, he still truly believed that commissioner Bug Selig would never cross him and his daily struggle to keep another MLB team out of the nation’s capital. He called Selig “a friend” at one point and indicated his staunch belief that Washington baseball would never happen.

“Washington has a baseball team,” Angelos would say. “They’re called the Orioles.”

You can hear him discuss this topic at length here from March 1997:

If anything had been proven over the years it was that Peter G. Angelos loved a good fight. He was now more than $150 million upside down in his ownership of the Orioles – reports would say at this time that the team was worth $325 million, which would’ve more than cleared up his losses. But, having lost money every year for 10 years and reaching into his personal vast fortune annually to financially support the team was an unnerving reality. But, given his reputation and track record, it was his own doing by chasing away large chunks of revenue streams with a myriad of poor decisions and poor civic form.

Now, as a mostly unpopular figure through both cities’ baseball fan bases, he was bunkering …

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Flacco talks about being best QB in NFL with WNST

Posted on 04 April 2012 by WNSTV

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Houston reports say former Texans safety Pollard will sign with Ravens

Posted on 03 August 2011 by WNST Staff

With the departure of Dawan Landry, the Ravens needed more help at the safety position and have apparently found it in former Houston Texan Bernard Pollard, who is expected to join Baltimore on Thursday. Pollard was a second round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2006 and will add much-needed depth in the purple secondary.

Pollard had a huge 2009 with the Texans and established himself as a big tackler and was involved in a hard hit below the waist that ended  Tom Brady’s season in 2008 while with the Chiefs that garnered him a reputation. Pollard apologized for the hit saying: “It was really an accident, I can’t change what happened. I can’t do anything but pray for him and hope he has a speedy recovery.”

Pollard attended Purdue University and will compete for a starting spot in the secondary with Ed Reed, Haruki Nakamura and Tom Zbikowski.

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Horse race or horse’s arse: Is Kegasus smart for Baltimore and Preakness Day?

Posted on 18 May 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

So, it’s been almost two months since the Mighty Kegasus advertising campaign began and it’s now almost time to fully assess the success of the marketing of the 2011 Preakness. So far, so good in the only measurement that really matters — sales are up 21% for Saturday infield tickets. I said it on Day One and no matter the result of selling a few thousand extra tickets and mugs of Budweiser this week, my strong opinion has only intensified since I began seeing the billboards all over town – this is the dumbest, most short-sighted and irresponsible advertising campaign since Winston told America it “tastes good, like a suicide should.”

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Shame on Tom Chuckas. Shame on the marketing idiots in Washington, D.C. who spit this out and shame on anyone who thinks this somehow will add prestige to an event and a weekend in Baltimore that’s in desperate need of not just short-term-revenue gain and a little “shot in the arm” for attendance but a real transplant for its reputation and its future as a viable “major sporting event” and not just a weekend drunkfest with frat boys and the girls who love them.

As much as I lean on the Orioles for their indiscretions and lack of a focus on integrity – mainly issues of transparency, honesty, accountability, chronic losing, bullying, faux civic and community interest all while profiteering and buying off of the local “real media”– even the Orioles aren’t this dumb.

But as desperate as the fan base is in Baltimore to see them win, Peter Angelos is far from desperate on the marketing side because he’s printing money downtown off the television contract. The Maryland Jockey Club doesn’t have a public subsidy of $100 million each year so this is the kind of desperation you’d be getting from the baseball team if they REALLY needed to fill those bleachers.

The Orioles slogan has been for almost 15 years – “Come To Birdland” not “Come Downtown and Get S**tfaced and Make a Fool of Yourself.” But, of course, the Orioles FANS are desperate to see wins but the Orioles are NOT desperate for revenue, profit or a financial shot in the arm. It’s only made to look that way when they upcharge (or is it scalp?) you on Opening Day and charge you a “walk up fee” to take advantage of a stadium our tax dollars just paid $10 million more to replace the perfectly unused seats, so much like Angelos himself can earn a retirement home on the blue shores of Florida.

And where the Orioles have employed various forms of “alcohol police” in the bleachers at Camden Yards who literally walk seat-to-seat and card people to make sure they’re 21 (NO, I’m NOT making this up!)  this Saturday the Preakness folks are rolling out the world’s largest frat party and have moved toward marketing it as such.

Kegasus? Really?

This is what you want the Preakness to be?

The ogre of Baltimore, on a horse, completely equipped to be a “legendary” a**hole on the third Saturday of May – and now with unprecedented pre-approval and encouragement because the billboards all over town are selling the event as such.

Who in the world thought this was a good idea for this community, the brand of the Preakness or the long-term viability of horse racing? It’s the day of the year that is supposed to matter and the focus isn’t on the race but more on how big the party in the infield will be and whether or not bare-chested women will parading on the shoulders of men for tips.

There is no more focus on the growth of the industry on the third Saturday of May. There is no more talk about whether the race will even be in Baltimore in five years. Instead, the community is hearing: “Come be legendary!”

Does Under Armour really want a million-dollar

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Flacco vs. Ryan: The first final tale of the tape

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Flacco vs. Ryan: The first final tale of the tape

Posted on 15 November 2010 by Thyrl Nelson

I’m pretty well aware that this comparison has been done to death over the last week or so, but I really wanted to make my final evaluation after watching these two go at it head to head. So since re-watching the Ravens @ Falcons a few times proved to be the low-light of my weekend, and since the highlight of my weekend was a fantastic time at John Rallo’s Shogun Fights III, I figured I’d give my first final say on the Flacco vs. Ryan debate in tale of the tape fashion.

The Price Tag: Start with the obvious, as the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 draft, Matt Ryan reportedly signed a rookie contract worth $66 million over 6 years. Bonuses aside, in layman’s math that’s $11 million per season. As the 18th pick overall, Flacco signed a 5-year deal worth about $30 million, or a relatively small $6 million per year or roughly 55% of Ryan’s annual salary. If the rest of the comparison is debatable, then it’s easy to say that the Ravens are getting more for their investment in Flacco than the Falcons are in Ryan, but the price tag argument goes much deeper than just their respective salaries.


When comparing the “pound-for-pound” values of these two, we are provided with a somewhat unique perspective on things. According to Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback column on November 9th, the Ravens inquired with the St. Louis Rams prior to the 2008 draft about acquiring their first round pick that year (2nd overall) presumably to draft Ryan. King reported the price tag to be the Ravens 1st round pick (8th overall), 2nd round pick (38th overall) and 4th round pick (106th overall) in 2008, plus an additional third rounder in 2009. Instead the Ravens traded their 1st rounder to Jacksonville for for their first round pick (26th overall), two third round picks (71st & 89th overall), and a fourth round pick (125th overall). After that they traded the 26th and 89th picks just acquired from Jacksonville, along with their own 6th round pick (173rd overall) to Houston to move back up to 18th and select Flacco. The second rounder they would have sent to St. Louis (38th overall) was instead sent to Seattle for a second round pick (55th overall) and a third (86th overall).


Confused yet? Here’s the short story, the Ravens selected Flacco with the 18th pick gotten from Houston and gave up their own 6th rounder. They selected Ray Rice with the 55th pick gotten from Seattle, selected Tavares Gooden with the 71st pick gotten from Jacksonville, and Zibikowski with the 86th pick, gotten in the Seattle deal too. They also selected Marcus Smith with the 106th pick which was the 4th rounder that St. Louis wanted, and traded the 125th pick also from Jacksonville for Fabian Washington. The following year, the Ravens selected Lardarius Webb with their third round pick (88th) overall, which the Rams had also reportedly asked for as part of a deal. That makes the Ravens real choice in hindsight either Matt Ryan and an unknown 6thround pick (173rd overall) which the Texans used to select Dominique Barber, or Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Tavares Gooden, Tom Zibikowski, Marcus Smith, Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb.


*It should be noted that King’s report was based on information apparently leaked by the St. Louis organization. As Chris Pika points out here, the Ravens remain firm that no offer was made by them to the Rams, and this was just St. Louis attempting to posture and compel Atlanta to trade up. Still, if this was the reported asking price, it’s fair to say that whether they actually ever considered trading or not, we know what the cost of moving up would likely have been


Advantage: Flacco


Commanding the offense: It should be expected that Ryan should still have the early lead here. A starter since the last game of his freshman year at Boston College, Ryan had numerous opportunities to measure himself against high caliber and often times pro style defenses. He didn’t sneak up on the league like Flacco, and certainly had the entire football world’s attention as he embarked on his senior season. To that end Ryan has responded at every turn, maintaining his esteemed draft status throughout his senior season, and quickly living up to his billing as a high draft pick.


Flacco on the other hand after losing out on the opportunity to start to Tyler Palko at Pitt, snuck up on the football world on the strength of one strong season at Delaware, albeit against far lesser competition, and some strong pre-draft workouts. It should be considered a virtual no-brainer that Ryan enjoyed a substantial head start as it relates to football IQ and high level experience.


What’s more, while their NFL careers will seemingly be forever intertwined because of their similar circumstances, if you look deeper, perhaps their circumstances aren’t quite as similar as they might appear. Both were made first year starters under first year coaches, and both propelled their teams into the playoffs as rookies, that much is undeniable. But when John Harbaugh took over the Ravens, despite their miserable campaign the previous season, the feeling was that the team could turn things around right away if a few things went their way. The Falcons on the other hand turned over the reigns to Mike Smith in the immediate wake of Bobby Petrino, and not long after Michael Vick, for a franchise that hasn’t seen a lot of upside historically, it appeared as if they might have been in for their darkest hours.


To that end, the Ravens, forced to start Flacco from day one due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, did their best to hide the shortcomings of their rookie signal caller, balancing his development with the best interests of the team from a competitive standpoint. It’s hard to argue with their success. The Falcons on the other hand, with seemingly little to lose, placed a lot on their rookie QB right away, and to his credit he has responded in spades.


Therefore, it seems pretty easy not only to assess that Ryan is further along in his development in responding to defenses on the fly, but easy to diagnose the reasons why too. It could be argued too that Ryan is further along in this capacity because his coaches have allowed him to be. With that said, fans should also believe that if the Ravens coaching staff has been reluctant to put more on Flacco’s shoulders, it may be for good reason, and not simply because they believe that audibles are overrated. It could easily be argued that Flacco has come farther faster in his development than Ryan, but it seems pretty clear right now that he still has catching up to do.


Advantage: Ryan            NEXT PAGE

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Ravens punch Indy ticket with easy beatdown of Patriots, 33-14

Posted on 10 January 2010 by Drew Forrester

Let me get this straight.

New England hadn’t lost a home playoff game in 31 years — and in that time they were 11-0 in Foxborough.

Tom Brady was 8-0 at home in his post-season career.

Baltimore’s pedestrian 9-7 regular season mark this year included a dismal 3-5 away record.

So with all of that statistical data overloaded against Baltimore, it made perfect sense that the Ravens would race out to a 24-0 first quarter lead and cruise to a 33-14 win in New England today.


If you say so.

What a crazy league the NFL has become.

And what a crazy season it’s been for the Ravens, who literally entered the 4th quarter of their final regular season game in Oakland with their playoff berth still very much in jeopardy.

7 days later, they’ve polished off the mystique of the New England Patriots and they’re on their way to Indianapolis for a Saturday evening showdown with Peyton Manning and the Colts.

The New England fans hung around until there were about 9 minutes to go in the game.

They put in more of an effort than Randy Moss, that’s for sure.

So how did it happen today?

In a way only the dreamer could possibly imagine, the Ravens scored on their first play from scrimmage and then parlayed two first quarter turnovers into a 24-0 lead before half the crowd could say, “Want another cup of chow-dahh?”

And with their star quarterback obviously in need of a spark-plug change and Moss mailing it in like a member of the Postal Service, the Patriots were left with nothing to do except entertain an afternoon of boos from their faithful and wonder to themselves how on earth they picked today to have their worst game of the season.

As for the Ravens, they picked a great time to produce their best 30 minutes of defensive football all season, that’s for sure.

With Ray Lewis providing yet another epic post-season performance and Domonique Foxworth leading an opportunistic secondary, Baltimore clamped down early and often on both Brady and the running game en-route to a comfortable 24-7 halftime lead.

And when Willis McGahee scampered in with 10:32 to play to make it 33-14, the stands started to empty.

So it’s now on to Indianapolis, where the Ravens will undoubtedly have January 13, 2007 on their minds.  Fresh off of a 13-3 regular season and a first-week playoff bye, Steve McNair had a game only Tom Brady could duplicate (today) and the Baltimore offense stalled in a 15-6 loss to Indy.

Next Saturday night in Indy, it’s payback time for Ray Lewis, Todd Heap, Ed Reed and the rest of the guys who were part of that disappointing home defeat.

It had to be this way, right?

Baltimore vs. Indianapolis.

Winner goes to the AFC Championship game.

Loser goes home.

One thing for sure:  Tom Brady won’t be making a trip to South Florida in early February to gun for his 4th ring.

The Ravens made sure of that today in New England.

Now if they can send next week’s opposing quarterback home early, we might really be on to something.

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Curb Your Enthusiasm: The theme of Ravens’ fanbase this week

Posted on 07 January 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

I’m not an expert on much, but Baltimore sports and enthusiasm are two things I’ve spent my entire existence since 1972 immersed in here in the Charm City. And even though the Ravens are traveling to New England this weekend for an honest-to-God, NFL playoff game, I’m sensing this is the least-exciting postseason run in the history of Baltimore sports.

I have more ways to take the temperature of the city than I care to admit. From emails and AM 1570 to thousands of people on Facebook, Twitter and in a variety of web locales — this is a tepid metropolis right now regarding the Ravens.

I’m just looking for some purple string lights around the region and I’m not “feeling the love” for the 2009 Ravens.

Where’s YOUR purple, Baltimore?

Now before you say, “Nasty – I’m fired up for the game on Sunday, what are you talking about?” I will respond with facts (not low blows…).

Fact: There are still many flights into Providence, Boston and Manchester all day on Friday and Saturday.

Fact: There were still seats left on my bus a few hours ago. I reserved NINE buses for the weekend. I’m using TWO.

Fact: Seats for the game on the internet are face value (or BELOW) in almost every case. There are PLENTY of tickets to be had. Hate to be Capt. Obvious here, but ANYONE can get in their car on Saturday and drive up to the game very inexpensively…if they’re willing to brave a 20-degree day.

Fact: I’m not even getting a trickle of the email traffic, the “Hey Nasty, where’s the party this New England” emails like I usually do. We have over 100 people on our Facebook “I’m Going to New England this weekend” page, but I figured we’d have at least 500.

Last weekend in Oakland, there were less Ravens fans than I’ve ever seen at a road game. Matter of fact, there was no audible “Ohhh” in the National Anthem. Other than family members of players, I didn’t see a hint of purple or Ravens fans anywhere.

The tickets are dirt cheap in New England and the Patriots fans don’t want them either. All four locations this weekend have spare tickets for LESS than face value!!!

The Patriots fans are setting the tone for the “unplayoffs.” They’ve won three Super Bowls, two World Series and an NBA Championship in the last nine years. Judging from the depth of cheap seats on the internet, the Chowdah’s aren’t so impressed with this version of the Patriots, either. Apparently, if a bye isn’t involved, the New England fans will skip another 20-degree afternoon in Foxborough.

The game itself has all sorts of drama built into it that no playoff game really needs. The Tom Brady-Ray Lewis issue from September. The comeback in 2007 that ended with the Patriots keeping their undefeated season in tact. And, the sheer volume of freaking Red Sox fans that take over Baltimore three times a summer ought to get purple fans pissed off enough to go up to New England and take over a significant portion of their “unused” tickets.

Here’s a link to the Tom Brady Bang Cartoon from September if you haven’t seen it. A wild portrayal of Greg Mattison for sure. And very funny…

Here’s the current reality of the Providence situation for WNST:

I’ve not only been on every postseason roadtrip the Ravens have ever had, I’ve been the only one throwing gigantic parties for people in purple.

I’m not sensing that we’ll have 1,500 people at Dave & Buster’s in Providence Saturday night like we did in Nashville. I’m not sure we’ll have 1,500 fans at the game yelling “Ohhhh” in the National Anthem on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Sure there are reasons to be optimistic:

  1. Sooner or later, we’ll beat the Patriots in New England.
  2. The Ravens are going to run the ball and stop the run.
  3. Wes Welker absence can’t hurt.
  4. Tom Brady’s injuries can’t hurt.
  5. I saw a glimmer in the eyes of all of the Ravens veterans yesterday, from Trevor Pryce and Ray Lewis to Derrick Mason and Matt Birk. They know what’s at stake.

So, get out those purple lights. Consider a last-minute “roadie” up I-95 after tonight’s snowstorm. Buy some tickets. Bring a parka.

I’d hate to think that Baltimore can’t get 1000% behind Festivus 2010.

Of course, if the Ravens win on Sunday afternoon, I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting people stoked about going out to Indianapolis to kick Peyton Manning’s ass. And yes, our bus will be on sale at 5 p.m. Sunday if that’s the case…

I have a feeling the city will be awash in purple when our Gunther buses pull back into Baltimore after midnight with a ticket punched to Ind-ia-no-place.


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Are you headed to New England this weekend?

Posted on 05 January 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s no secret that this is our favorite time of the year. The Ravens are in the playoffs, with the possibility of surprising the NFL and shocking the world, and we’re headed to New England this weekend for drinks, smiles, cheers and some postseason, chilly football in Foxborough. If you (or someone you know or love) is headed to the Ravens-Patriots game this weekend, please share this blog and have them join our Facebook group called “I’m going to New England this weekend.”

We are finalizing all of our party plans today and will announce it all via WNST AM 1570, our Twitter feed (@WNST) and on our group Facebook page over the next few days.

We still have seats left on our 2nd Miller Lite Purple Playoff bus as well.

If anyone needs me directly, I can be reached here (nasty@wnst.net) or on Facebook at Nestor J. Aparicio.

As our baseball owner once said: “I’m a very available individual…”

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