Tag Archive | "tom"

Al Davis

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I knew the Raiders were screwed up, but c’mon…

Posted on 17 August 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Three months ago I had the privilege — well, actually, it was more disgusting than enjoyable — of sitting two feet behind Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis on a flight from Southern California to the Bay Area. He was pleasant, filthy and old. Like, VERY old.

At the owner’s meetings, you can only imagine the treatment he’s given after treating the first “establishment” like enemies — moving his team, suing them and coining the phrase “abstain” during any of the league’s votes on various issues from collective bargaining to television deals.

The Oakland Raiders have always been a little kooky because, like the Orioles, they have a kooky owner.
Al Davis

Davis is eccentric, borderline senile and clearly marches to his own beat.

But tonight, with whispered words leaking that his current head coach Tom Cable might’ve assaulted one of his own assistant coaches (defensive assistant Randy Hanson) in a meeting and went as far as to send him to a clinic for an apparent broken jaw, this puts the league and the rest of the teams on red alert as to how weird and uprofessional a place that Oakland is to work in the NFL. (Later tonight, ESPN refuted the intial report and now the word is it could’ve been an altercation between defensive coordinator John Marshall who fought with Hanson).

Among the people I know in the league, the Raiders are a lot like the Orioles — they are the LAST place in the league you’d want to work because the place isn’t run like the rest of the “premier” teams in the sport.

Peter Angelos

In this SI.com piece, the magazine named Angelos and Davis as the “two worst owners in sports.” So, please, don’t think that I’m being “original” on any level making this comparison.

But Oakland is clearly a zoo on a lot of levels. It must really suck to be a Raiders fan, especially when you hear this kind of stupidity and childish behavior.

Clearly, Roger Goodell is going to find this on his desk tomorrow morning and the fans and the pundits will be piling on Davis and how screwed up the Raiders are.

And this is on top of all of the allegations of Mike Shanahan from 20 years ago and Lane Kiffin’s bizarre departure last season amidst a sea of turmoil.

Geez…beating up your own assistants!

And these are the people RUNNING the organization?

Can you imagine John Harbaugh punching an assistant coach? Or Brian Billick? Or Marvin Lewis?

It just wouldn’t happen.

Now, of course, at least Rex Ryan could say that he has it in his DNA based on the Buddy-Kevin Gilbride episode.

Here’s a sample of an Al Davis press conference:

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The beauty of Earl Weaver in midsummer

Posted on 12 July 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

I had a long conversation with an old friend about Earl Weaver earlier today. We talked about the you tube classics — the argument with Tom Haller and the “off the record” Coaches Corner with Tom Marr, which I’ve linked below for a Sunday morning coffee laugh.

My old pal and I laughed about the memories of watching Earl rip up rulebooks and kick dirt onto umpires. And how he invented the modern game. And how different baseball was when we were kids.

Later this evening, I received a link from a friend to read Tom Verducci’s latest missive regarding The Earl Of Baltimore and how he was the “Copernicus” of the modern game of baseball and sabremetrics and MoneyBall.

The story is here…and it’s fabulous!

Meanwhile, enjoy some Sunday viewing and laughs and memories below…

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A weekend of MASN and Baltimore and Washington and “Battle of Basement”

Posted on 24 May 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Well, if they weren’t going to get the sweep at least they lost in dramatic fashion. Jamie Walker gave up a prodigious grand slam to Adam Dunn in the 7th inning and the Nats beat the O’s 8-5 to avert a sweep in D.C.

Brad Bergesen pitched well enough. The Orioles battled and the game was pretty nip and tuck through the middle innings with lead changes, big hits and competitiveness. But it all unraveled in the 7th for the O’s bullpen after Bergesen hit the shower.

I’ve spent all three days pretty much glued to the TV watching this series. I was just as amazed by all of the empty seats as I was the full ones. It looks like they sold a lot of tickets and many didn’t come. It was just weird looking at it for 30 innings over the last 45 hours.

I’ve been wanting to write a blog all weekend but I thought I’d just do a “summary” here today about what I’m thinking as I watch all of this pretty-much lousy baseball.

I’m also a little overwhelmed with MASN’s hodgepodge display of Nats and O’s as “friendly rivals” and how chummy the “Battle of the Beltway” feels as they both meet again and are both again headed for the basement of their respective East divisions. I call it the “Battle of the Basement” and it feels like it’ll probably be that way again next year.

With Jim Palmer back in the booth today, it was a refreshing change from the Nats-dominated coverage from Friday and Saturday. And when Cakes talks, I listen. He’s one of the few (Dave Johnson would be another) who actually teaches me stuff as I watch the game. I like that.

So, before I criticize MASN, let me say that Palmer eradicates many of their deficiencies with his brilliance, information, stories and general arrogance and candor. At this point, he’s Howard Cosell compared to what I hear anywhere else on MASN, CBS Radio, 105.7, Pressbox or anyone else who is “on the payroll” with the Orioles, Angelos or the axis of the “powers that be.”

But I’m just overwhelmed with how “templated” the Orioles and Nationals “fan experience” is when they tune their favorite club in on television. Both of their TV ratings are in the dumper and heading south with my last place summer nights. So, I suppose, other than telling us when Matt Wieters comes and pitching more events and MASN house ads and promotions, what else can they do with these teams that will be well into September before they win a combined 100 games?

But I love baseball. And I’m watching. And I’ve been taking some notes this weekend on Baltimore vs. Washington and how “flat” this thing feels.

Some random observations:

* A lot of orange in the seats all weekend in D.C. The O’s fans represented in almost Boston-like color in the seats. I’m not sure if that’s the D.C. side of the fanbase that thought that having a team they knew would suck as opposed to Montreal’s problems and MLB’s ownership would be a better play five years ago?

I’m not really sure how I would feel if I lived in Rockville and loved baseball. Why would I become a Nats fans? (Granted, it’s pretty easy to jump off the orange ship with the way Angelos has behaved with D.C. in general over the past 15 years. He’s more disliked in D.C. than he is here for trying to block the team’s entrance and now summarily screwing up the TV rights and presentation of the games.)

I suppose it’s the same situation for someone in Baltimore who truly fell in love with the Redskins in 1984 and just became a fan of the “nearest” team. I’ve rooted for the Capitals most of my life and considered the Bullets my “home” team until they moved into D.C. and changed their name to the Wizards.

It sucks bad enough being an Orioles fan. Imagine adopting the Nationals and watching them BOTH and trying to hang in there watching two doses of MASN every night to get your baseball fix…

* Debbi Taylor, former NESN girl who got her start as Peter Gammons’ girl wonder about 15 years ago at ESPN, makes Amber Theoharis look like Bonnie Bernstein or Suzy Kolber. The Nats broadcast team in general sounds like vanilla, blah, so what, etc. But again, they do have a 13-30 team that they have to make sense of every day. It ain’t easy talking day after day about losing. Trust me, we at WNST.net feel the same way. How many ways can you “sell” something that’s lousy?

* Palmer is hysterically funny. I’m not sure the guys at Famous Dave’s are happy with his assessment of their food, but it is funny.

* Hall of Famer Bob Feller stopped by in the middle of the game today and was just fabulous with one liners and old stories. Jim Palmer and Bob Feller talking old-school baseball might bore the hell out of some of the 21-year olds in the audience, but I love that stuff. I wish Feller, who is now 90 years young, would’ve stayed for two more innings. My Pop told me all about Bob Feller and the old stories are what sustain my interest in baseball these days.

•    I really wish this rivalry were good. The Redskins-Ravens thing is hot. Even when both teams suck, the game will always be a four-year war and the fans draw up the battle lines. I’m good with that. I hate the Redskins. I want to hate the Nationals. But neither one of these teams gives me any reason to feel any emotion. We had a bus trip planned for today and couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go. That’s pretty sad, I think. The Nationals are – alas — just “another team.” I wonder if sometime in the next 10 years whether it will ever develop into a “Hatfield-McCoy” thing. Right now, that feels a long, long way away…

* The one thing that I have found thoroughly offensive since Friday night has been MASN’s “mixed marriage” coverage. Look, I CLEARLY KNOW AND APPRECIATE that they’re “saving a buck” by combining the coverage. But if I hear Dibble call the Nationals “us” or “we” again or watch one more dorky Nats fan talk about “defining moments” in the same exact canned ads as they play on the Orioles broadcasts as they start the day 12-30, I’m gonna puke.

Angelos really HAS screwed up both cities for baseball. At least it’s comforting to know MASN’s just as lousy as a “templated” D.C. product.

And while I’m on it, the marketing phrase “Birdland” sucks. It’s just awful.

In D.C., they’re clearly “cultivating” Natstown”

As my wife pointed out, what would be wrong with “O-Town”?

Or “O’s Town”?

Anything but “Birdland,” which sounds like a place a last-place team would play to me.

•    I’ve gotta go now. Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday are on talking about the Nats in HD. I have to tune into MASN2 now to see Rick Dempsey and Tom Davis try to make sense of a loss to the Nats.

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Orioles Magic goes to 5-2! Orioles almost blow six-run lead, hold on to beat Rangers 10-9

Posted on 13 April 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

In a twisting, turning game that was long on offense, short on pitching and entertaining to the end, the Orioles outlasted the Rangers’ late attack to win 10-9 over the Texas Rangers in Arlington to go to 5-2 on the season. The Birds jumped ahead 2-0 in the first inning and had fallen behind 4-2 by the fourth inning. Led by four hits from Aubrey Huff and three from Brian Roberts, the Orioles scored eight runs in the 4th and 5th innings and held a 10-4 advantage and Koji Uehara was rolling into the 6th inning when he fell apart giving way to Danys Baez and the bullpen of arsonists.

The Rangers scored five unanswered runs late in the game and had pulled within 10-9 by the 9th inning.

The Rangers got two baserunners on in the 9th inning and even pulled off a double steal before George Sherrill gave everyone a Don Stanhouse-like scare (thrill?) before fanning Marlon Byrd to end a 3:16 epic.

The game featured 27 hits — 16 by the Orioles, including four by Huff who is doing a nice interview with his co-worker Amber Theoharis.

Great defense by Nick Markakis. Great defense by Brian Roberts. Great offense from the top of the Orioles’ order.

The Orioles are 5-2.

Oh, yeah. And the Orioles wore BALTIMORE on their chests and the game was in HD with Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer tonight from Arlington.

My running blog is below and features more than just the game.

11:14 p.m. — Wow, Nick Markakis might’ve just single-handededly won the game with a diving, flailing catch at the wall of a ball that Michael Young just clobbered. It would’ve been a double and might’ve even been an inside the parker with a bad hop. Kinsler almost got doubled off after hitting a foul line double down the right field line to start the inning. No doubt this one should be tied. Cakes made the best defensive play of his career in a big, big spot. Good work!

11:10 p.m. — Frank Francisco came in and just flat pumped gas. Three up, three down and Roberts, Jones and Markakis didn’t look to be a factor with the big guy. He was impressive. Now, here comes George Sherrill. Gary Thorne just said: “Put your seat belts on…” No doubt. They’re three outs from a 5-2 start. This is a big inning. They can’t blow this massive lead all the way, can they? Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Josh Hamilton. That’s a helluva test…

11:01 p.m. — Dave Trembley is “managing” this one by the book. He’s going to go matchup-by-matchup and play the numbers. Jim Johnson is next to get some work to face Taylor Teagarden, one of the more colorful names in the big leagues. Johnson goaded T2 into a flyout to Adam Jones. And Brian Roberts just robbed Elvis Andrus of a single by diving into the hole on one of the best plays of this — or any other — season. Major leather from BRob! Onto the ninth. George Sherrill will get a save opportunity.

10:52 p.m. — A leadoff double by Luke Scott is wasted. The Orioles have 16 hits. They had a six-run lead in Texas, where no lead is safe. They even got a decent start from Uehara. But it hasn’t been enough to put away the explosive Rangers. Bottom of the order is coming up for the Rangers and it’s as soft as the Orioles bottom three are on a nightly basis. I expect pinch-hitting. Jamie Walker is next up for the O’s…

10:41 p.m. — Andruw Jones just hit a monster homer off of Danys Baez, who stinks. It was a two-run job and the score is now 10-9. It was 10-4 when I turned it on a half hour ago. It’s only the 7th inning. I have a feeling the fireworks are far from over — on both sides!

10:39 p.m. –What a strange day? I got to work at 1:15 and by 1:45 Harry Kalas was being rushed to the hospital and was reported dead at 1:54. At Padonia Station at 6:40 p.m. Ray Bachman told me that Mark Fidrych had died. And on the way back from the show with Billick and DeCosta tonight, my wife told me that she saw on the web that Marilyn Chambers died. A very weird day when three celebs who I interacted with all die in the same news cycle…

Harry Kalas came on my show anytime we ever asked him. He was just a super nice man. My heart breaks for all of his many, many friends and admirers. He was the voice of Philadelphia. He was the voice of the NFL. As a guy who has made a living in radio, he was a very inspirational, powerful voice. A tragic loss for many…

Mark “The Bird” Fidrych will always hold a special place in my heart. He was just fantastic for a 7-year old boy to watch during the summer of 1976. I was a baseball freak and he was a loveable superstar. Just a magic summer he had, only to be replicated once that I can think of, and that was Fernando Valenzuela (who was also a super good guy!) I interviewed Fidrych at a few All-Star Games back in the 1990’s and he even did a radio liner for me. He had a thick New England accent and the same floppy hair.

Ah, Marliyn Chambers. Well, I didn’t interview her as much as I called in as a listener to ask her a question when she was on the Tom Snyder overnight radio show. I did it as “a dare” with the guys on the sports desk at The Evening Sun in the late 1980’s. The culprits shall remain nameless, but I remember sitting in Jack Gibbons’ office at 2:15 a.m. with the lights off talking with Marilyn Chambers and Snyder saying “You’re on the air!” I don’t even remember what question I asked her, but I’m sure it was something stupid.

Like I said, just a weird night and now the O’s are trying to blow this one…

10:28 p.m. — I just got back from Padonia Station where we had an awesome evening with Brian Billick and Eric DeCosta. It was a rambling 90-minute discussion about all things purple and NFL draft. Good stuff…can’t wait for you to hear it and see it! I’ll splice the videos in with the “Coors Light King of Baltimore Sportstalk” auditions.

I flipped the Birds game on and the score after their early fireworks was 10-4. Lots of hits, lots of runs and Koji Uehara looked like a legit No. 2 starter for the second time, doing a decent job of keeping the Rangers at bay until he fell apart in the sixth and couldn’t get anyone out.

Enter Danys Baez…

He’s didn’t quell the storm, but it’s now 10-7 and the O’s are into the bullpen and have nine outs left and three runs to give to baseball most potent offensive attack.

It’s still a game…

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A great show coming at 2 p.m. today…

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

This blog is a great way to give listeners to “Limited Access” (our new show name if you haven’t heard) some heads up about what’s coming on the show each day. Today, we have John Rallo, Tom Verducci and Jim Schwartz booked onto the program already. It is shaping up to be a classic and I can’t wait to get started!

Every Thursday at 2 p.m. my old childhood buddy and MMA expert Rallo comes in for a UFC and mixed martial arts segment but we’ll also mix it up a bit and today is no exception with the Verducci visit.

Schwartz is one of my best friends in sports and he just took the Detroit Lions head coaching job and has been blowing me off (including changing his cell phone number!) ever since I got the initial text saying he got the job. I will crank up the Judas Priest and be giving him a very hard time for his all of friends and family in Arbutus who also haven’t heard from him. Old Schwartzie must be drinking from the 0-16 firehouse in Detroit. And I have to be kinda nice because it was his connection that got me to Bruce Springsteen in Tampa two weeks ago. I might even go so far as to offer to wear a piece of Lions swag to support his endeavors to bring a winner to Motown. Schwartz has been a regular visitor to the program ever since he left and has faithfully called in every Friday for six years. Until, of course, going AWOL on us when he got the Lions job. I can’t wait to hear his excuse. LOL. I promise you some classic radio from 4 til 4:30 today!

And Tom Verducci’s appearance at 2:30 today (along with Rallo, who loves baseball as well) should be an instant classic. If you haven’t noticed there’s a major “turf war” going on between MLB, ESPN and SI.com now that Sports Illustrated has decided it will be one of the last bastions of real “journalism” and bust guys like Alex Rodriguez when they’re lying about steroid use. And Verducci just DRILLED Peter Gammons’ “backrub” of ARod on Monday night’s “insightful and remorseful” ESPN apology tour that had exactly ONE STOP — with Gammons, who backed down from any real line of questioning.

The lesson here? When Scott Boras and ARod sit down for an “interview” (much like Peter Angelos) the questions and the answers are all pretty much “scripted” and there’s very little journalism going on and more “fraternizing” and “corporate partnership” happening. Everything Howard Cosell always wrote about was true. I love his books so much and they’re always on point, even 25 years later. It’s a big corporate game to make money and Verducci is one of the last great journalists left in the business who will write the truth. Ditto Selena Roberts, who has also had to defend her own integrity throughout this process while ARod blames her for his problems.

I have massive respect for that Verducci does at SI.com and I’m sure it’s made him QUITE unpopular with Bud Selig and the “establishment” of MLB in New York. (Maybe Selig will take his press pass like Angelos took ours?) If you doubt what I write about the filthy business of censorship of journalism in baseball, check out Deadspin’s account of Scott Van Pelt’s “suspension” after rightfully lambasting the eneptitude of Selig. ESPN has given Van Pelt some “quiet time” after he pointed out that the emperor has no clothes.

ESPN — unfortunately — has become part of the problem instead of the solution in regard to MLB because of their “servitude” to their business partner. Sounds a lot like our friends over at CBS Radio and 105.7 The Fan, doesn’t it? Oh, that’s right, ESPN Radio is one of their partners as well?

I wonder what Scott Van Pelt would say if he COULD say what’s really on his mind. He went to the University of Maryland’s Journalism School. I’m sure most of what they “taught” him there he’s found to be useless in the real world of Bristol and ESPN and MLB and big business.

Don’t worry…I’ll still be feisty at 2 p.m.

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Rocking the Red with the Caps in D.C.

Posted on 29 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ll admit it. I’m biased.

I inexplicably fell in love with hockey when I was five years old at the Baltimore Civic Center at an AHL Nova Scotia Voyageurs-Clippers game. I saw the ice. I saw the action. I was hooked. During my 40-plus years on the planet,  many of my best and most personal sports memories have been made at hockey games.

Most of the people who’ve listened to my show or read my work over the past 17 years know of my affinity for the puck. We’re running our first-ever “Caps Puck Bus” next Thursday night (tickets are only $50 for the whole evening of fun) and I expect it to be memorable.

Last night, I made my first of many pilgrimages down to the Verizon Center in D.C. to see the Caps take on my adopted favorite team, the Nashville Predators. It was a memorable game. The Caps took it to the Preds early, at one point holding a 23-5 lead in shots and a 2-1 advantage. Nashville came back to even the score late in the game, forcing a rare OT shootout, which the Caps won taking a 4-3 victory.

Sure, Alex Ovechkin was missing last night, away with his ailing grandfather but it was still an eye-opening experience seeing more than 15,000 people in the rink last night all “rocking the red” on a chilly Tuesday night.

Sure, I’ve had my differences with the Capitals over the years. First (and this is no secret), I thought the combination of moving into D.C., firing David Poile, changing the logo and those hideous blue jerseys were all bad ideas. It hurt the franchise and it made me feel less connected after being a guy who for a decade drove to the Capital Centre in a red, white and blue sweater at least 35 times a year to see Mike Gartner, Gaetan Duchesne, Dave Christian, Bobby Carpenter and company beat up the Flyers, Islanders, Penguins and Rangers. Some of my favorite memories in sports were waving white pompoms and screaming at Ron Hextall.

I also had another problem as a Caps fan in the 1990’s: my radio show ended at 6 p.m. and getting from upper Towson to downtown D.C. made it impossible to see an entire game. So, I just went on a hockey hiatus in some ways, for nearly a decade.

Last season, the Capitals reached out to me personally and asked me to come back to Caps games. I went to a few games during the stretch run and wound up taking a bunch of friends (including Hockey Meg, Agent Orange and WNST blogger Ed Frankovic) down to games. For Game 7 of the Stanley Cup playoff series against Philadelphia, we threw Drew Forrester and Phil Jackman into a car and had a blast.

Like I said, I’m a hockey goober. I met my wife at a hockey game in Manchester, N.H. I have scores of friends who’ve entered my life and stayed through hockey. My best pal, Tom Kapp, allowed me to take his kid to a game a dozen years ago in Hershey and now his kid, Tyler, drags him from rink to rink in his quest to be an NHL goalie.

Hockey can be infectious like that. I’ve said it many times: it’s the best sport there is for the sheer energy and action.

So, why have I adopted the Nashville Predators of all teams? Their one and only head coach in their 11-season existence is Barry Trotz, who was the final coach of the Baltimore Skipjacks before they left town for good in 1992. I covered Trotz’s team for the Baltimore Evening Sun for two seasons and we became friends. Trotz went on to win the Calder Cup in Portland, Maine the next season, got the Predators job before the expansion in 1997 and has been their coach ever since. For some reason, we’ve always remained close and in touch.

Over the years, he’s been a frequent guest on WNST and a great friend when we’ve gone to Nashville for games. I’ve probably seen the Preds play in 15 cities across the country over the last decade and I have a closet full of swag he’s been kind enough to send me over the years and I’ve always enjoyed rooting for the Predators because Trotz is such a special guy. (And think about how rare and unique that is in this day and age: he’s the ONLY coach they’ve ever had!)

But, back to the Capitals and hockey locally.

The Caps reached out to me with one message: WE WANT BALTIMORE TO EMBRACE THE CAPITALS! They asked me if I could help or if I had some ideas.

I said I’d help by promoting the sport I love in Baltimore. (If I ever get rich with WNST.net I would absolutely bring a hockey team to Baltimore and be a complete idiot about promoting it and making it work. There’s NOTHING better than going to a hockey game, if you ask me!)

Even without Ovechkin last night (most hockey people would tell you he’s the best player on the planet), the building was still mostly full and the atmosphere the Caps are building is something that should be enjoyed by any sports fan.

If you haven’t been to a Caps game lately, I can honestly say that you’re missing out on some great sports fun.

And it’s easier than you think…

The ride was traffic-free and painless last night (left the house at 5:30, made a stop and was still in my seat 15 minutes before the 7 p.m. start). They’ve done a great job branding their players and the “Rock the Red” promotion. Truth be told, Caps games are a LOT of fun and I’m looking forward to re-embracing my adolescence and throwing on my red, white and blue sweater more often this year.

We’ll be doing a series of “Puck Bus” promotions over the course of the season. Or at least as many as we can effectively market and sell. You fill the seats and we’ll continue to take hockey fans down to D.C.

Hockey has been gone from Baltimore for nearly 15 years. The only way it could conceivably come back to Baltimore is if I get rich enough to do it because I’m the only fool who would even think about trying it again after it’s failed so many times here. (By the way, I’m a LONG way from fulfilling this dream of mine so don’t hold your breath on this one! LOL…)

So, in the interim, I’ve decided that I’m going to embrace the Caps, go to the games like I used to and have some fun while I’m still young enough (even at 40 and aging rapidly) to do it.

Last night brought back all of the memories, right down to accidentally running into the legendary Rod Langway while I was grabbing a beer at the concession stand.

I like the Zamboni.

I like the action.

I like “The Good Old Hockey Game.”

I like shootouts.

I like funny Canadian accents.

I like the horn blowing after a goal.

I even like the silly movie clips (“UNLEASH THE FURY!!!!”) they play on the HD screen at the Verizon Center.

And most importantly, I love the game and the action and the strategy of the sport.

Like I said, the Caps are doing a really nice job down in D.C. with that hockey team. But the only way to find out is to go to a game.

We’re going next Thursday and we’ve made it easy.

Just pay the $50 and show up at the Park and Ride in White Marsh (4:15 p.m.) or I-95/UMBC (5 p.m.) and we’ll take care of the rest.

The link is here if you care to join us.

Game on!

Let’s rock the red…

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Harbaugh and Hockey

Posted on 13 September 2008 by Ed Frankovic

Harbaugh Making a Stand?

So I caught some sports news tonight on Comcast and John Harbaugh stormed off from the media to end his daily press conference this afternoon out at 1 Winning Drive. It appears that the constant questions about who is playing and who is hurt are getting to our new head coach. In Harbaugh’s defense he has been consistent in not answering these questions at all and has stated so to members of the media, from what I’ve seen and heard. Personally, I think it is a GREAT decision by Harbaugh to keep mum on injuries and anything pertaining to who is playing where and how much. Giving out that information can hurt your competitive advantage. So I say kudos to Harbaugh for standing his ground and not discussing injuries or playing time or anything strategic ahead of time because it can help the Ravens against their upcoming opponents. I rarely see Bill Belichick discussing injuries and that has worked for New England as well (of course some guy named Brady doesn’t hurt to have on your side either). So as fans of the team are you okay with Harbaugh not discussing these things? Can you live with the lack of information and uncertainty on various players in a football crazed town? I certainly am and have no problem with him drawing a line in the sand with the local press. After all, he is getting paid to win games, not be nice with the media, right Mr. Bisciotti?

Hockey Talk and Season Coming Soon

To all of you hockey starved fans out there, hang in there, training camp starts up next week with the first part of each teams’ camps focused on the rookies and young prospects. The veterans start skating officially later next week (although many Caps are in town skating at Kettler Iceplex daily already, and in case you hadn’t heard Nicklas Backstrom sprained his ankle Thursday and will likely miss at least some of camp). If you have access to the NHL network they are showing many of the NHL rookie games this week each night so tune in to get your first look at some future NHLers. Also, the Caps rookies will be playing the Flyers rookies at 3pm at Kettler Iceplex on Thursday, September 18th. I plan on attending and providing some information on how the young guys are developing as well as any info I can pick up about the big club. The Caps open their regular season Friday, October 10 in Atlanta and are home the next night against the Chicago Blackhawks at 7pm. I expect the Caps to have lots of sellouts this year so get your tickets while you can.

Other hockey tidbits: The Blackhawks have traded former Caps forward Robert Lang to the Montreal Canadiens for a second round draft pick in the 2010 draft…Tampa Bay forward Vincent Lecavalier, who hurt his shoulder in the last Lightning game against the Caps last season, says he will miss the first four Tampa preseason games but will return for the final two games…Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes signed a seven year, $58M deal with the club on Thursday, September 11.

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Let’s start today with some simple Fantasy Football reminders:

Posted on 10 September 2008 by KZ

Let’s start today with some simple Fantasy Football reminders:

1. One person’s trash is another man’s treasure!
2. Do onto others as you would like done onto you!
3. Take your heart out of all decisions!
4. You snooze you lose, think ahead!
5. Relax!

OK, now let’s break these down one by one with a bit more detail.

One person’s trash is another man’s treasure: Once the draft is over, the most important part of a Fantasy Football team is the waiver wire. You have to look through every transaction every day. You never know what treasure you may find. For example today I found Kevin Smith was dropped yesterday in one of my leagues. The team who dropped him chose to go in another direction and picked up Fargas from Oakland. Understandable, but I targeted Kevin Smith early in my drafts and missed out on him … now he is my 4th RB and has great upside. You just never know. With most rosters at 14 to 16 players, owners will have to make decisions to cut people they may not want to. It takes 30 seconds to check the waiver wire every day, do not assume that Wednesday morning the waiver week is done.

Do onto others as you would have done onto you: In the last two days I have seen some of the most ridiculous trade offers ever. Now with that said, you never know what someone will consider a good deal. If a deal to good to be true is offered to you, take it … but don’t be the one to make crazy offers. Just because Tom Brady is out for the year does not mean someone will swap Randy Moss for Edgerrin James. So stop it now! Thank you!

Take your heart out of all decisions: Eddie Royal is now the darling of the Fantasy world. He torched D. Hall for 146 yards on Monday night and is now only available in 10% of leagues worldwide (He would have been on your roster already if you had checked out www.fansfantasyfootball.com earlier, where we told you to grab him as a sleeper, but…). You can love the kid, you can add him to your roster, but please realize it was one week. Realize Brandon Marshall is back for week 2, and that Eddie will be third on the target chart in Denver the rest of the year. Matt Jones, when it’s all said and done, may be the better pickup because he could be the number 1 WR in Jagsville, and will wind up with more targets. Just don’t fall in love with any player … once you do … you get burned.

You snooze you lose, think ahead: You will see on my What’s New Page that under pickups for the week, I list Deion Branch. Now Branch in my opinion does not play til week 4, but he is instantly the number one receiver in Seattle and is owned in few leagues. One of the keys to winning Fantasy Football is finding the diamonds in the rough before everyone else. So, think ahead and don’t snooze on guys from the practice squads or free agents. They may be this year’s Graham or Grant. Think about Cedric Benson, Shawn Alexander, Darius Walker, DeDe Dorsey, Kevin Jones and others. Not saying they will be the next one, but you have to keep them on your radar.

Relax!!!: One week and I have seen people dropping players like Kevin Smith, Marc Bulger, Chris Perry and Jabar Gaffney to name a few. To me, you have to see for two weeks what is really going to happen with a player. So don’t rush to judgment. Relax its only 1 week. If you are 0–1 … you are still in the playoff hunt.

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With Much Anticipated Return!!

Posted on 09 September 2008 by stevenlink

Well it’s been a while since I blogged last and I apologize greatly to all the devoted fans of this blog (as tumbleweeds come tussling by).  A lot has happened in the World of Sports in the past few weeks and unfortunately I cannot cover it all but I’ll do the best I can.

Let me first get this thought out there about the Orioles: The season was a lot of fun for the most part.  This team exceeded a lot of expectations that were set at the beginning of the season for them.  The unfortunate part is that they are no longer exceeding those expectations and we are in September and the Orioles decided to slump again like they always do.  Everyone knows that the reason for this is their pitching…again.  The Brian Matusz #1 draft pick keeps looking better and better as does the rotation of the Bowie Baysox.  And on that note, congratulations to the Baysox for their historic season of winning their division.  It is a shame that they lost in the playoffs but it was pretty bush-league how the Akron Aeros placed Travis Hafner in their lineup.  I mean it’s fair having an All-Star slugger conduct his rehab stint during a playoff right?  But I digress…Andy MacPhail’s philosophy of pitching first for organization truly is the best way to rehabilitate this floundering franchise.

In regards to the Ravens’ game Sunday all I can say is, well, I was wrong.  I’ll admit that I was one of those persons who felt the Ravens had no chance winning that game against the Bengals.  But really, was I really that crazy for making that call?  You have Carson Palmer, Chad John-oh I mean Ocho Cinco, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh against a secondary that was beat up last year by this team, and on top of that, Ed Reed was a game-time decision and Wacko Flacco wasn’t overly impressive during the pre-season.

But the Ravens defense was simply phenomenal Sunday.   They decided to leave the hammer at home and instead brought the sledge to bust the Bungals offense with.  They were so dominant that T.J. Houshmandzadeh decided to invest in the Kleenex Tissue Company on Monday because of all the crying and complaining he did on the field.  My only problem with our defense yesterday was when Samari Rolle decided to try his best impersonation of Brett Favre and chucked the ball into the sidelines after his “fumble” recovery.  I mean really guys??  Did we not learn anything from last year and the delay of game penalties??  His reaction to that play was uncalled for.

The Ravens offense looked pretty good as well.  Ray Rice and Le’Ron McLain ran very well but Lorenzo Neal was the real hero with the way he created those running lanes for those two backs.  Todd Heap showed how rusty he was with his fumble and dropped touchdown.  But the rookie QB Joe Flacco really stole the show with his performance.  I thought he’d act like a deer in the headlights out there but again I was proven wrong.  He showed poise and confidence as he was able to adjust to blitzing linebackers or charging defensive linemen.  His block on Mark Clayton’s touchdown run was the play of the game to me.  Hopefully he can build on this experience and maybe, just maybe we finally have the start of a real quarterback here in Baltimore.  And if it takes me having to be wrong for this to happen…then I never want to be right.

Yesterday it was announced Tom Brady is done for the rest of this season.  The shouts of despair and sadness you hear is not only from New England, but also from all of those Fantasy Football players who decided to draft Tom Brady with their first round pick instead of that running back they knew they should have gone with instead.  The news about Tom is horrible.  No one wants to see such a great football player get injured, especially the injury that he was dealt.  So here it is, my Question to You – Do you think the Patriots are still Super Bowl contenders without Tom Brady behind center?  I don’t think they are Super Bowl contenders anymore because of this injury.  However, I do think this team will still make the playoffs.  They still have a ton of talent and the Belichick x-factor to win a lot of football games.   This team just won’t win games by 30 points this year like they did last.

Quick note on “Football Night in America” on NBC before the Sunday night football game, could it be more unprofessional?  I mean you had Tiki Barber with his rude comments, Jerome Bettis with his gushing about the Steelers, and of course Keith Olbermann…enough said.  It was like I was watching a bunch of frat boys discuss last night’s party and their take on what happened.   And what is the deal with Bob Costas?  Is he trying to reassemble the early 1990’s Sportscenter crew?  Is Craig Kilborn the next addition to his cast?  I know that Olbermann and Patrick are good friends, but NBC should get Olbermann off of the show the same way they got him off of the election coverage.  Bob, you disappoint me.

It’s no secret that I am a huge University of Miami Hurricane fan, and it was no secret of my feelings towards Urban Meyer, the head coach of the University of Florida football team, on Saturday night.  His decision to continue to pass the ball into the endzone with 1:00 minute left and kicking a field goal to end the game after the Canes stopped his team.  That action was completely uncalled for and disrespectful.  The Canes played great against a much more experienced and skilled team being down only 9-3 going into the 4th Quarter.  But their young and inexperienced team fell apart in that last quarter and were behind 23-3 when the Gators were still passing for that last touchdown.  Do you think it was a coincidence that even with the field goal the Gators were able to make their 21 point spread?  I don’t…And the excessive celebration call made during the BYU v. Washington game against Washington’s QB Locker was horrible and the fact it resulted in the Washington’s loss was even more of a kick in the jewels.

If you didn’t hear by now Maryland lost to Mid Tennessee State this past weekend.  That’s right folks, it wasn’t Tennessee or even Memphis who beat the Terps, but Mid Tennessee State.  To reiterate, it was not a team from the SEC or Conference USA, but rather the Sun Belt Conference.  The 24-14 loss was a complete embarrassment.  There was no reason for this loss.  This has been an underachieving program for the past 3-4 years.  My Take on this situation is that if the Terps do not make a legitimate run at a prestigious bowl this season then Ralph Freidgan should be let go.  There are no more excuses for him.  The ACC is one of the weaker conferences in the NCAA now (just take a look at the Top 25 poll and see how many ACC teams are represented there as one piece of evidence).  His team has underachieved ever since he had his own recruits took over this team with the exception of the 2006 season.  He has had recruiting scandals to recruiting losses from here in our own state to neighboring schools that should not happen.  I like Ralph, I think he has done so much for this program and putting it back on the map, but he needs to right the ship before Maryland Athletic Director finally sets him out to sea.  And if you were wondering who I think the AD should look at Skip Holtz, the head coach of ECU, to take over at Maryland.  I think his style of play and the players on the Terps’ roster would be a great fit.

And finally, for all of you European Premier League Soccer fans out there, I was told you can’t miss Saturday night’s game (noon game here) between Chelsea and Manchester City.  Manchester City spent 32 Million Pounds (converting to the dollar that would be like 1 billion dollars…sarcasm people) to acquire Brazilian striker Robinho.  Let’s not forget that in European Soccer the money spent is not going to the player but rather to the player’s previous team, Real Madrid.  Apparently the concept of the indentured servant is still alive and well in Europe…Also there is the Ohio State v. USC game Saturday.  I know all of my Notre Dame friends will be upset with this remark but I’m rooting for USC to smear the Buckeyes across the field for this game.

Well I hope my much anticipated return was well received.  I’m done for now but I’ll be sure to be back at the next chance I get.  Sayonara B-more.

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An Eye-Popping Stat

Posted on 09 September 2008 by Mark Mussina

While the sports world has turned to football, one of the greatest athletes of our generation is about to accomplish something that has to be considered astounding. Greg Maddux is less than ten innings away from reaching 5000 for his career. That’s right 5000!
I think innings pitched may be one of the most underappreciated stats in all of sports. It’s not like at bats, or pass attempts, or even attempts fromm the field. To record innings you must actually get people out. Think about that. It’s not the number of pitchers a guy throws, nor is it the number of batters that he faces. It’s about how many outs a pitcher gets, and Maddux has got them more often than about anyone.
In the 20-year span from 1988 to 2007, Maddux reached 200 innings 18 times. He even threw 202 innings in 1994 when the strike occurred in mid-August. And the two years that he didn’t reach 200 innings, in ’02 he had 199 1/3, and in ’07 he had 198. Even now, as a 42-year-old, he’s over 175, with maybe four starts to go. His record of 7-12 is not very Madduxesque, but his ERA is still in the low fours. A lot of 32-year-olds would take that.
But as much as I’m in awe of the innings total, he has another stat that may even be more impressive. He has yet to walk 1000 men in his career. Right now he sits at 999. Let’s put it this way. Tom Glavine, who, like Maddux, is known as a control/finesse pitcher, is next on the active innings list with just over 4400. He has walked exactly 1500 guys.
When talking about pitchers of this generation, we’ve had a few guys who had impressive stretches: Johan, Pedro, Randy, and Clemens. But when you look at what Maddux did from ’92-’98, his stretch is as good as anyone’s. Someday we’ll be able to tell our grandkids that we saw the last guy get 350 wins and 5000 innings.

P.S. You do realize that Aubrey Huff leads the American League in total bases.

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