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Happy 91st Birthday to the “real” creator of WNST

Posted on 05 March 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear Pop:

Happy 91st birthday!!! I know you might be used to me doing the radio show dedicated to you every year here on March 5th but this year I’m “off” the radio (the listeners call it “retirement” and I call it “sabbatical”) so I’m just gonna write you this letter and hope it gets to you. And instead of taking calls all afternoon, I’m gonna take comments from folks on this space-aged thing called the internet. (I’ll explain it to you later but there’s a lot of stuff in the world here in 2010 you wouldn’t really understand without seeing it!)

A lot has changed since you left us back in July 1992 and I just thought I’d check in and update you a little with this letter – just kind of catch you up a little bit because every single day I think “What would Pop think of this crazy place now?”

And I know how much you love to read, so I thought I’d put it in writing for your birthday – how much different this place is in 2010!

Yes, I still write “for the paper” occasionally, but they just don’t call it a newspaper anymore. The words kinda live on a little television set and you don’t have to print them. You just “click” and you can get almost any information in the world. It’s kinda like the radio, TV and newspaper worlds have all gone into one place, if you can understand that. It’s called the “internet” – and really, I’d probably have a helluva time trying to make you understand it but I’m gonna try.

These days I’m so freaking busy building this sports media business I’ve created that I don’t even get to write about sports or talk about sports as much as I’d like but I’ll be doing more this baseball season for you and keep you in the loop on the Orioles and stuff. I’m also doing a book that I’m gonna send you a copy of later this year. It’s about coaching and leadership – I think you’ll dig it because it’s a lot of the stuff that you were always trying to teach me only put into words and kinda organized with words of wisdom from all of the coaches that I’ve met since 1984 who’ve taught me about life through sports.

Pop, a LOT of these people really helped make me the person I am since you’ve been gone. You remember Gene Ubriaco from the Skipjacks? Well he kinda gave me the idea since he was the first coach I talked to back in the day and he visited me recently and inspired me. I remember introducing him to you back at the Civic Center when I first covered the team for The News American.

Anyway, I remember that summer back in 1986 when we coached that Little League baseball team at Eastwood together. (One of those kids is now my Facebook friend, but I’ll save explaining that for next year’s letter, OK?)

I think a lot about you managing the 1973 Colgate Pirates, when I was the batboy, and we won the championship. I’m gonna write a little bit about it in the book. Gus Kaplanges still calls me and I ran into Teddy Boccia at Pizza John’s in Essex a few weeks ago. Tom Duni always sends along his best when I see him on the mornings when I take Mom to the IHOP over on Merritt Boulevard. It’s the “International House of Pancakes” – right in Dundalk. I know how much you love pancakes. They even have all of the fancy syrups!

So when I heard they just got email up there where you are I thought I’d send you a birthday card with some updates here from Planet Earth instead of doing the radio show. (Wait’ll you get a load of these “smart” phones when they get there with the “internet” on them. And wait’ll you see this thing called “texting”!)

Look, some of this stuff you’re not gonna understand. You’re just not, no matter what I do or how I try to explain it. Lemme just start with this – we have a black President of the United States, so you KNOW things are little different but the changes these last 18 or so years have been incredible – especially the last few years. You wouldn’t believe what’s happened in Baltimore with sports media and sports in general.

You were right about ESPN – they’re still around and they have a monopoly on virtually every sport and they have this 24-hour a day newspaper that people read all the time. You can even listen to the radio and watch videos on a screen without an antenna! (It’s all on that “internet” thing I told you about. And it’s all in the palm of your hand on this thing that’s like a phone. I’d try to compare it to a “cell” phone but even that would be hard.)

You know me, I still love hockey and the NHL is fun. The Capitals are really good and I think you’d even get on this bandwagon, even though you always hated hockey and Washington, D.C. The Caps have this Russian kid named Ovechkin – he’s like Gretzky, only bigger and meaner. It’s a fun time and the Caps SUCKED big time for a long time, kinda like they did when back when I started dragging you down there to the Capital Centre in 1981. I’m really sorry you never liked hockey, but I really do appreciate you taking me down to those Clippers games back in the day! You have no idea how great those memories are for me and how much hockey still means to me!

The Terps are having a great year – they even won a BIG one against Duke the other night and they play in this shiny new building and Gary Williams is STILL the coach! They finally won the National Championship back in 2002 and it was a lot of fun. I know how much you loved March Madness around the house and it’s still pretty much the same although they wear these long pants these days. And people don’t play bracket pools on paper – they do it on this “internet” thing!

The NBA kinda sucks these days and nobody watches. I know you saw Abe Pollin up there a few weeks ago. I hope you guys made up – he really did do some good things, though that would be hard for me to explain to you. The new guy here who owns the old Bullets (they call them the “Wizards” now — again, don’t ask…really some of this s&%t is too crazy to even try to explain!) is a guy named Ted Leonsis. Good dude and now he owns the Caps. I know him a little through the radio show. They moved outta the Capital Centre into downtown D.C. back in 1998 and they play in this place that kinda looks like a mall with windows. It’s wild, man, the way the stadiums and the arenas have changed. It’s all about business now with sports – lots of money, but still a lot of fun most of the time. And people love it more than ever!

But there’s even these new sports like this “mixed martial arts” — where guys literally beat the s&*t outta each other like something in one of those weekend Roman gladiator movies on Channel 45. It’s crazy. It’s like boxing, kinda, without gloves. It’s kinda like WWF only it’s REAL. Swear to God! But people love it!

Oh, about “rassling,” one of your favorites. It’s now called World Wrestling “ENTERTAINMENT” these days. Vince McMahon is still running it and making money but they’ve admitted what you said along: “It’s fake.” But nobody seems to mind and they still sell a lot of tickets.

Stock car racing (they just call it NASCAR these days) is this HUGE thing – these fancy cars, crowds of over 100,000 and big TV ratings. They moved the Olympics into every two years – summer and winter alternate – and they have these skateboard kids who surf on the snow getting medals. It’s exciting – you might even like it!

The Preakness is a mess. They took the beer away last year and now nobody goes but no one here seems to care too much about horse racing. Kinda sad. I know you never liked it too much but it’s tough to see it die like this, especially in May when Baltimore used to rock for the Preakness. They’re doing this new thing this year – “Get Your Preak On” – we’ll see how it goes.

I know I haven’t mentioned the Orioles because, well, you really don’t want to know. I know when you left us back in July of ’92 you were sorta losing it a little for life and sports and I know you thought Camden Yards looked nice on TV. Sorry I never took you down there before you left but honestly you haven’t really missed much down there, Pop.

This guy from Highlandtown named Peter Angelos bought the team about a year after you left us. Hotshot lawyer, got involved with some union guys who died from asbestos and made a zillion dollars, bought the team in 1994 and, well, they’ve turned into the worst franchise in sports.

They lose every year. They lie every year. They’re really rather disgraceful! And nobody goes to the games anymore. Mom still watches – we all kinda do – but no one goes to the games and the owner is the biggest heel since Bob Irsay.

Pop, some people hate him even MORE than Irsay and I’m not kidding!

I know it sounds crazy, but he’s kinda at war with me personally because I have had the balls and the voice to do what you’d have done if you were me – I tell the truth about the losing and the sad state of the city on summer night. But you’d dig it that some of the old Orioles from when we were taking the No. 22 outta Highlandtown are still around and are really cool to me. Those old Orioles come up to me and tell me to continue to fight with him but, really, Pop, it’s not the same and I’m tired of fighting with these lunatics.

I don’t even wanna bore you with it. (I’d tell you to “Google it” but you’d have no idea what the hell that means but I think you’d really think it’s cool. Imagine one of those World Book encyclopedias you bought me combined with every library in the world and all available in one place and you’ll begin to grasp it. Yeah, I know, you’re a little confused…so is Mom, don’t worry.)

But more than ANYONE, you’d be the proudest of how I’ve stood up and fought for what’s right. I take a lot of heat. People write me hate mail, threaten my life on occasion – but I know I’m right. This Angelos guy can’t even get along with Brooks Robinson, who’s still alive and has battled some illnesses recently.

This spring, I’m going to get behind a big civic movement to get a statue built for No. 5. I’ve sorta gotten to know Brooks since you left us and he’s just as great of a guy as you always thought he was and he deserves it. So I’m gonna help these guys who want to do this and I want to do it in your honor, if you’ll let me. I always tell Brooks about how you took me to “Thanks, Brooks Day” way back in 1977 and how we spent the day together out in left field like we always did in those days on 33rd Street.

By the way – I’ve got some more bad news. They tore down Memorial Stadium about 10 years ago. It really PISSED me off. I drive by there, think of you and get all pissed off again. I can’t even turn the corner up by Lake Montebello without getting depressed. The old site was turned into a YMCA. You’d hate it — trust me! Some days, I think you’re better off where you are and I can’t wait to join you!

I’m writing you this letter from a plane tonight and I’m going to spring training – but it’s not Florida, it’s Arizona. I’m doing some research work on this book on coaching and leadership. I’m going to be interviewing over 100 coaches with Baltimore ties and writing about their feelings on life, leadership and sports. I’m in Arizona and because the Orioles don’t let me come to their spring training games (or any games, really) because I did this protest of their ownership back in 2006. I had a press pass for all those years after you left but they took my pass away for telling the truth. I know, it’s kinda what you’d expect in Cuba or Russia, but that’s the way it is these days in America when you tell the truth – people hate you, abuse you and fail to be accountable. Especially when they’re rich and they threaten people with lawsuits every day. It’s a sick world. The more I know, the less I want to know about a lot of this stuff.

But that’s OK. I’m happy standing for what’s right and not falling for anything. Like I said, I know you’d be proud of me!

So anyway, I’m on this flight to Phoenix and I’m writing to you (we do it on these fancy computers that are kinda like typewriters that sit on your lap) and there’s a guy from the Ravens sitting behind me. His name is Justin Green – he’s a running back who used to play on the NFL team we have now in Baltimore.

I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you about the Ravens. But I wanted to save the good news for the end!

The Ravens are our new NFL team!

I know, I know. You said we’d NEVER get another NFL team but we did. It was something like a miracle, Pop, this team that Art Modell brought to Baltimore from Cleveland back in 1996. No, the Browns colors and logos stayed in Cleveland where they replaced the team but those people are STILL pissed, kinda like you were with Irsay until you left us.

(I’m assuming if you’ve ever run into Irsay up there you’re in the WRONG place…so I’ll just tell you that he died a few years ago!)

But Modell was great for Baltimore! He even hired Ted Marchibroda to be the first coach! It’s been a LOT of fun since this football team came to town.

We have a young local owner named Steve Bisciotti, who does his best to not be the jerk that Angelos is and Irsay was. He’s interested in winning and making the team fun every year and Baltimore appreciates that!

The Ravens have the best defensive player I’ve ever seen – a guy like Butkus and Curtis and Singletary but only better! His name is Ray Lewis and he’s fun to watch. He was a rookie on the first team back in 1996 and he’s still playing but the Ravens have really had a lot of good players and they win most years and the games are fun and it kinda reminds everyone here of those fun days you had with the Colts back in the ’50s and ’60s with Mom and Johnny Unitas. (I hope you said hi to No. 19 when he dropped by a few years ago. He stood on the sidelines here for the Ravens on game days and people thought it was cool! I talked to him a few days before he came to be with you…)

I miss you the most on those Ravens game days in the fall because you’d LOVE this football team. They wear purple, your favorite color. The band still plays, they’re just called “The Ravens Marching Band.” People come to the games really early and have picnics and drink beer. They call it “tailgating” because they sit on the trunk of the car and dine on swine and wait for the game and play catch. We’ve got this new stadium down where the railroad tracks used to be on the other side of the harbor, right next to the baseball stadium. It’s wild driving into downtown now and seeing those giant stadiums and all of the purple.

But I really miss you on those days when the team plays. I think of you every Sunday. I really do!

Because of what I do for work, I even get to go to all of the road games and sometimes we even take people who listen to the radio station and read my columns (we call ‘em “blogs” now) on the internet with us and it makes it more fun. Beer drinking, good food, football cheers – Pop, you’d LOVE it!

So, even though I did the radio show for a long time, I’m still here doing my media thing on this “internet” contraption and some of the people haven’t really changed. You remember Tom Davis and Scott Garceau – they work for my competitor. Stan The Fan still does this magazine every month. And Phil Jackman is still my friend and he’s gotten even older and even crankier. It’s fun to watch!

But I turned the old radio station into this 24-hour-a-day “internet” sports place with radio, television and news all in one place. We even have all of the box scores and standings for you! I wish you could see it!!! It’s like the Sporting News back in the day only even more in depth. You’d be really proud, Pop!

I have these awesome business partners – led by a guy named Brian Billick. He was the Ravens coach back when they won the Super Bowl in 2001. (I’ll tell you more about that later!)

Billick is sorta like Earl Weaver was to the Orioles – only taller, but he does cuss just as much! I’d pay a lot of money to see you and Billick have a conversation about sports. You’d make him laugh for sure!

Billick is just a fabulous guy and I really wish you two would’ve gotten a chance to meet. He joined me about 18 months ago as a business partner but all of the money we ever make on his behalf goes directly back to the community through this charity called “Living Classrooms” which helps the kids in the city who are trying to stay out of trouble, learn and get jobs. One day, we’ll make a lot of money for the people of Baltimore together! You always taught me to give something back and that’s what I’m trying to do because people have really been great to me as I’ve gotten older and you’ve left us.

I just wish you could see it – even for one day, what my life has been like! The travel. The roadtrips. The time I’ve spent in Europe, South America and Asia. I went to China with Cal Ripken Jr., who just like you told me, wound up in the Hall of Fame. We even went to Cooperstown for the induction!

But I’ve done World Cups, a bunch of World Series, All Star Games, Stanley Cups, Final Fours, Kentucky Derbies, Super Bowls — you name it! I’ve really had a great life – a great time since you left me!

Oh – that’s right – I almost forgot. The Super Bowl!

Yep, Baltimore WON the Super Bowl back in 2001. I sorta forgot that you didn’t know that…

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Mom happier than she was when the Ravens beat the Giants that night. I was at the game that night in Tampa under the stars but she called me, bawling like a baby – she really loves the Ravens, Pop. I wish you could be there to watch those games with her on Sunday.

I took her to a game back in August to see the guys in purple play. I’m not sure if you get You Tube up where you are, but if you do here’s what it looked like:

She calls me every weekend and a lot of times I’m there at the games in all these far-flung places like Minnesota or Green Bay or New England and she wants updates. We have this tall quarterback named Joe Flacco who is her favorite. He wears No. 5 – just like Brooksie!

But sports and radio and Baltimore have been good to me all these years. All those things you taught me – fairness, integrity, working hard, practicing hard, being a good teammate, running out every groundball, looking for the cutoff man, playing by the rules – that’s all really helped me in the business world. Some days I feel like a success, some days I feel like the world’s biggest failure but I never give up. I never, ever give up!

And I always try to do the right thing…

And even though things are kinda crappy – the economy is worse than it was back in 1979, when you came home every day scared to death that you were gonna lose your job at ‘The Point – I’m in a good spot. I have a really good product and it’s growing every day but it’s hard work. Nothing I’m allergic to though. (Don’t worry…I never take a “scratch” either!)

But there’s lots of stuff you’d really like about the world in 2010 and stuff that reminds me of you every day.

They have Chick-Fil-A’s now where you don’t have to go into the mall. These computers have kinda taken over the world and you wouldn’t have to wait for The Sporting News or the Baseball Digest anymore. Heck, you wouldn’t even be pissed every morning at 5 a.m. because The Sun came late and you didn’t get to read it before work. You can read it ANYTIME on this device! Sounds kinda like a “dream,” doesn’t it?

You could even take your phone into the bathroom and READ on it while seated instead of taking the newspaper up there when you stink up the joint!

Ha!!! (Made you laugh!!!)

But we’re cool down here. Mom is fine, still feisty and nagging the hell outta me the way I like it. Barry is 25 now and helps me at WNST and is good guy. You two would be hell together watching Orioles games in high definition TV. (They call it HD – it’s kinda like 3D, just a little different. It’s just a really, really clear TV – everybody has them now and it’s kinda neat, makes you feel like you’re right on the field!)

I have an awesome wife that I met at a hockey game who likes sports even more than I do — most days anyway. She’s a Red Sox fan and she gets to have all of the fun in baseball season because the Orioles haven’t played a meaningful game since 1997. They stink every stinking year! It’s awful, really…but like I told you, google it!

Maybe I really just wish you were here from August through January every year — but you’re really not missing much from April through the summer…

So, I just wanted to say hi and share this letter. I’m gonna share it with the people who read my “internet column” and hope that they write me some neat stories about their lives and memories and emotions with their Pop. You wouldn’t believe what a big “celeb” I turn you into every March 5th!

People write me every year and ask me about my “radio show for my Pop.” Well, this year for your 91st birthday, I thought I’d do something extra special and write you a letter instead. Maybe this will be the new format every year, who knows?

But I hope you’re resting comfortably and that someone is watching over me down here.

Life is good. Times are tough. The world is changing. Sports is in a weird place in Baltimore but I have a good feeling about things and I’m even optimistic that one day the Orioles will be good and kind and honorable again and the games will be fun for me.

Give Steady my best if you see him. Tell all of my friends like Clem Florio and the other fellas that “Nasty loves ‘em and misses ‘em!” (OH…I almost forgot! I really hope you got to say hello to Ted Williams a few years ago. I know how much you loved him!)

In the meantime, I’m sure the Ravens will give me plenty to write you about and the business stuff and building this company has been a lot of fun and keeps me plenty busy.

And if you ever bump into Howard Cosell, you should apologize, Pop! You were really wrong about him! He really DID know what the hell he was talking about!

Have a great birthday, Mr. Pisces! I’ll have some strawberry shortcake out in Phoenix in your honor!

Strangely enough, I’m having breakfast with Frank Kush today at his office at Arizona State and lunch with a bunch of the San Diego Padres front office folks. (Aunt Jane would really dig it!)

I have a feeling your name will come up!

Happy Birthday, you old fart!

Ninety one would’ve been fun but, hopefully, you’re getting satellite up there so you can watch the Terps game this weekend.

And if the MASN feed doesn’t come in, don’t feel so bad. You’re better off with the VHS tapes you left with from 1983…

Love,

Me

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Fallout from Brock Lesnar’s comments

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Bryan Powell

Whether you are a UFC fan or not you probably have either seen or heard Brock Lesnar’s comments after his TKO of Frank Mir at UFC 100 on Saturday night. Brock threw a major sponsor under the bus, flipped off the crowd, and made a inappropriate comment regarding his wife. 

If you listened to sportstalk radio or watched ESPN today you have heard everyone’s opinion. The problem is most of them didn’t see it live and only have part of the story. First off they are ripping Lesnar for going back to Mir after the fight and talking trash.

If you listened to the comments Mir made before the fight he made fun of Lesnar. He mockedBrock’s training style, ability, and compared his punches to a little sister. That is what led to the first after fight incident. I was ok with that. Now when Joe Rogan interviewed him after the fight Lesnar crossed the line. I thought the Coors Light comment was funny but I can see where it would be a problem since Bud Light pays the UFC a lot of money to have their name on the octagon mat.

After a meeting with Dana White he apologized and even brought a Bud Light to the press conference. I can’t defend flipping off the crowd. That was wrong. Now for the last part about his wife. He basically said he was going to have sex with her. He said his a little more graphically but if you listen to some of the talking heads today he either called her a derogatory name or said he was going to force himself on her. You can criticize his language but draw a line there.

The bottom line is Lensar crossed the line but it wasn’t the national incident people are making it sound like. The overall card including Lesnar/Mir was awesome. Let’s start to focus on that and less on a two minute segment that I am sure Brock Lesnar wishes he could take back.

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King Shame

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5 W’s and 1 H

Posted on 12 July 2009 by Luke Jones

The first half is in the books, and the Orioles are right where most of us thought they would be—last place and out of contention.

While it’s certainly been frustrating watching the Orioles’ inconsistent play, the club has also provided some excitement with the greatest comeback in club history—against the Red Sox, no less—and the unveiling of rookies Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, Nolan Reimold, and the much-hyped Matt Wieters.

The 40-48 record and last-place standing does not reflect the positive strides made in the first half of the season.  Yes, there’s still a long way to go before we’re talking about the Orioles contending with the three heavyweights in the AL East, but as more youngsters join the fold, it’s easy to see this organization is in much better shape than it’s been at any point since 1997.

Will it be enough to put the Orioles back in the playoffs in the next few years?

Only time—and the willingness to acquire missing pieces via trades and free agency—will answer that question.

It will be interesting to see how active general manager Andy MacPhail will be as the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline approaches.  Aubrey Huff, Luke Scott, Danys Baez, Jeremy Guthrie, and George Sherrill would all figure to have value for contending clubs.  However, MacPhail’s patient approach is not conducive to making deadline trades.

Of course, the club does not HAVE to trade any of these players—though they would be foolish to keep Baez around—but the rest of July figures to be a busy time for MacPhail and his cell phone.

Here are the 5 W’s and 1 H for the week:

1.  Who is your biggest surprise and biggest disappointment for the Orioles in the first half?

If I posed this question in mid-May, the easy choice for biggest surprise would have been center fielder Adam Jones.  The Orioles’ lone All-Star representative is having a good year (.303, 12 home runs, 47 runs batted in) but has really cooled off after a blistering start.

The most pleasant surprise—if not an absolute lifesaver—has to be rookie starting pitcher Brad Bergesen.  The 23-year-old righty has shown great poise in leading the rotation with six wins (tied with Jeremy Guthrie) and a 3.54 ERA.

Bergesen doesn’t dazzle you with a blazing fastball or a devastating breaking pitch, but his heavy sinker induces ground balls—crucial for pitching at Camden Yards—and his command is comparable to a grizzled veteran.  It will be interesting to see if he can maintain the same level of effectiveness as teams become more familiar with the rookie in the second half.

The biggest disappointment has to be Guthrie.  The Orioles’ Opening Day starter hasn’t been right since spring training when he pitched in the World Baseball Classic.  Whether he’s been completely healthy is debatable, but there’s no question that Guthrie simply hasn’t made quality pitches to finish off hitters.

Guthrie is 6-8 with a 5.35 ERA and has surrendered 20 home runs in 18 starts.  If he can right himself after the All-Star Break, he would be an attractive option for a contending club.  At the very least, Guthrie rebounding would help stabilize a starting rotation that has struggled mightily outside of Bergesen.

2.  What are your thoughts on UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar?

I’ll admit to not being much of an MMA fan, but I’ve followed Lesnar going back to his days as a professional wrestler in the WWE.

Lesnar dominated Frank Mir—the only man to beat Lesnar—to retain his title at UFC 100 on Saturday night.  Perhaps more interesting than the encounter itself was Lesnar’s behavior following the match, which included a refusal to shake Mir’s hand and some lewd comments.

Though Lesnar apologized for his conduct, Vince McMahon had to be smirking when he learned of his former star’s behavior.  Lesnar has cemented his status as the most hated man in the sport, but it’s a good thing for UFC.  Fans love to hate a champion more than they love to cheer a champion.  To steal a page from pro wrestling, people will tune in just to watch the heel lose.

3.  Where would you most like to watch the Ravens play a road game?

After watching the Ravens lose to the Steelers in Pittsburgh last January—and being pelted with an ice ball by a Pittsburgh moron fan as I left Heinz Field—I’ll pass on a return to western Pennsylvania for at least a couple years.

I’m excited to go on the WNST Fenway and Football Trip the first weekend in October to watch the Ravens take on the Patriots in Foxboro.  It should be a great time watching Ray Lewis and the defense matching up against Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and the New England offense.

The trip to Green Bay in December is very tempting, but a Monday night in DECEMBER at Lambeau Field feels frigid just thinking about it.

4.  When will we see another Orioles pitcher throw a no-hitter?

San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez hurled the first no-hitter of the MLB season on Friday night, and it caused me to think about the long drought the Orioles have endured in that department.

Other than a combined no-hitter by Bob Milacki, Mark Williamson, Mike Flanagan, and Gregg Olson in 1991, the last Orioles’ no-hitter was pitched by Hall of Famer Jim Palmer in 1969.  In the last 15 years, Mike Mussina and Daniel Cabrera flirted with no-hitters a few times, but neither was able to complete it.

Pitching a no-hitter involves a great deal of luck, and it is by no means an indicator of a team’s—or pitcher’s—overall success.  Sanchez was struggling and had even been removed from the starting rotation before Giants pitcher Randy Johnson went on the disabled list.  You just never know.  If you need proof, take a look at Don Larsen.  The only man to pitch a perfect game in the World Series had a career 81-91 record.

The New York Mets have won two World Series titles in their 47-year history but have never enjoyed a no-hitter.

5.  Why can’t LeBron James and Nike have a sense of humor?

Seriously.  It’s great that James and Nike hold a camp for young players to rub elbows with the NBA star, but when it was reported that Nike confiscated all recordings of Xavier’s Jordan Crawford dunking over James in a pickup game, I couldn’t help but shake my head.

Would it have really been THAT damaging to James’ reputation to allow the video to pop up on YouTube?  I’m sure the clever minds at Nike could have concocted a clever ad around it.

For now, we’ll have to settle for this:
King Shame

6.  How much longer do the Orioles go with Jason Berken and Rich Hill with Chris Tillman and others waiting in the wings at Norfolk?

Though both pitched well over the weekend, it’s hard to imagine the club continuing to go with either pitcher in the starting rotation if they stay at their current pace.  Even with the solid work in their last starts, Hill still has a 6.92 ERA and Berken isn’t much better at 5.87.

Tillman started for the USA in today’s Futures Game and appears close to being ready for the big leagues.  Despite giving up two runs in his only inning of work in St. Louis, the 21-year-old righty has a 7-5 record, a 2.50 ERA, and 88 strikeouts at Triple-A Norfolk this season.

Unless the club decides to give Hill another chance in the rotation, Tillman could easily be in Baltimore by the end of July.  After Tillman, David Pauley (7-6, 3.67 ERA) would probably be the next arm in line, though he isn’t considered to be a long-term answer in the rotation.

*****

Shameless Plug Alert:  I’ll be joining Glenn Clark on the Comcast Morning Show on Monday morning from 6 to 10 a.m.

To be totally honest, I can’t remember the last time I was up that early, but it should be fun.

Have a good Monday.

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UFC 100 LIVED UP TO THE HYPE

Posted on 12 July 2009 by Bryan Powell

UFC 100 is in the books and I think it lived up to the hype. It had something for everyone. In the first fight Alan Belcher lost a controversial decision. Then it was time for the battle of the Ultimate Fighter coaches. Dan Henderson knocked out Micheal Bisping with a awesome right hand and then added another one for good measure to his laid out opponent.

Georges St. Pierrre was next up. He dominated Tiago Alves on his way to a decision. In typical G.S.P style most of the fight was spent on the ground. He had a couple chances to lock in submissions but never could.  The only competition for St. Pierre looks to be Anderson Silva either at 185 or a catch weight. He has pretty much cleaned out the 170 pound division.

 The most hated man in the UFC was next to the cage. Brock Lesnar entered to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and he exited with the undisputed UFC Heavyweight title. In between he dominated Frank Mir on the way to a 2nd round TKO. Lesnar learned from the first fight that he couldn’t give Mir space on the ground because if he did Mir could grab a arm or leg lock and make him tap. He also was laying on top of Mir causing him to have to deal with Lesnar’s weight if he wanted to get out.  The crowd hated all of the ground action. They even chanted “stand them up” at one point. Lesnar kept working though. He delivered a combination of head and body punches which led the referee to stop the fight and set off a courus of boo birds. After the stoppage Lesnar wasn’t done. He walked over to Mir and said “anything to say now.”  In the post fight interview Lesnar continued to make friends. He said he was going to drink a Coors Light since Bud Light , who is a major UFC sponsor, won’t pay him.

The UFC is entering an interesting stage right now. They have three fighters who dominate their divisions and two of them are disliked by most of the fans. Anderson Silva for showing nothing in  his last two fights and Brock Lesnar for his attitude and fighting style. At UFC 101 Silva will be fighting Forrest Griffin at 205. If this is a good fight I hope they will try more moving guys up and down to keep the fans interested.

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The Wednesday Morning CMS Top-5: 'Best Sports Atmospheres'

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The Wednesday Morning CMS Top-5: ‘Best Sports Atmospheres’

Posted on 04 March 2009 by Chris Bonetti

Welcome back for another edition of the Wednesday Morning CMS Top-5.

Today the topic was what has been the best environment you’ve ever seen sports live in.  Historic Stadiums, great games, wild crowds, all factors to be considered.  Simple subject, let’s see what CMS Host Drew Forrester and CMS Producer Glenn Clark had to say.

Wonderboy:

5.  League Championship Series Baseball

4.  The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, Coney Island, New York

3.  University of Maryland @ John’s Hopkins, Men’s Lacrosse on a Friday Night at Homewood Field in Baltimore, Maryland

2.  UFC/Boxing World Championship Title Bout, Vas Vegas, Nevada

1.  A major January 1st College Football Bowl Game

As usual, Drew’s was a little different, he even gave a bonus pick!

BONUS:  August 31, 2005 – Dodger Stadium.  Derek Lowe gets the win in a complete game shutout allowing just 1 hit… in a Brooklyn Dodger uniform nonetheless… throwback unis only make the feel of the game a little retro and different.

5.  April 27, 2002 – Fenway Park, Boston Massachusetts.  Derek Lowe pitches a No-Hitter against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

4.  Spring 1990 – Edsel Ford High School Field, Dearborn, Michigan.  Derek Lowe throws his first scholastic no-hitter as a senior.

3.  October 1, 2008 – Wrigley Field, Chicago, Illinois.  Derek Lowe gets a Game 1 win over the Cubbies in the NLDS pitching 6 innings, and striking out 6 as well.

2.  October 6, 2003 – Network Associates Stadium, Oakland, California.  Derek Lowe picks up a save in the deciding Game 5 of the ALDS for the Red Rox advancing his team to the American League Championship Series… he also ‘disrespected’ Miggy Tejada by grabbing hit crutch in celebration after the striking out the final batter.  Pretty funny stuff.

1.  October 20, 2004 – Yankee Stadium, New York, New York.  Derek Lowe takes the ball in Game 7 for the Red Sox and after 6 inning giving up just 1 earned he led the way to the ’04 World Series and a baseball championship in Boston since 1918.

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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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Pimlico set to make big announcement regarding Preakness infield

Posted on 05 February 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

Drew and I will be heading over to Pimlico at 11 a.m. for their “big” announcement regarding some changes to the infield on Preakness Day. I haven’t been alerted to all of the details, but apparently some big concerts and “changes” are blowing into Old Hilltop on the third Saturday of May.

Incidentally, why today for a press conference? Well, it’s exactly 100 days until Preakness Saturday. Which means it’s also 86 days until the Kentucky Derby, my favorite sports event of the year.

We’ll have wnsTV on the scene. I’m on the air at 2 p.m. with John Rallo and UFC and we’ll catch you up on the latest with Preakness doings…

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For UFC Fans

Posted on 26 October 2008 by Bryan Powell

If you are a fan of the UFC I have a web site for you to check out. Dana White the president of the UFC does daily video blogs the week before the pay per views. He is completely uncensored and speaks nothing but the truth according to him. He has very interesting comments about the collapse of Elite XC and what the people who ran that organization should do in the future.

Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=UFC&view=videos

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MMA News

Posted on 03 October 2008 by Bryan Powell

Those of you who are fans of MMA have probably heard of the site bloodyelbow.com. Recently that site reported a story about a armed robbery at the home of Lloyd Irvin who is a legendary Sambo and MMA trainer in the mid atlantic area. Also involved was UFC fighter Brandon Vera who was sleeping at Irvin’s home that night. I heard about this on the Big O & Dukes’ radio show on WJFK FM in DC.

Deadspin ran a story on their site claiming that the story was made up to generate business for his studio. In order to come to this conclusion the writer Rick Chandler used MMA message boards and the fact that he couldn’t get the police report as his rational. The thing he didn’t do was call the writer from bloodyelbow or any of the people involved until after Luke Thomas of bloodyelbow called him out.

Here is a link to the story on bloodyelbow that explains the timeline of the events and where the story goes from here.

http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2008/10/15/635592/deadspin-writer-gets-lloyd

 

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UFC 88 thoughts

Posted on 06 September 2008 by caseywillett

I have not posted a UFC/MMA blog in a while, due to football season, but will make this a weekly blog on our website.
Tonight, UFC 88: Breakthrough is on pay per view and I am very excited about this card. Not only is every UFC pay per view a solid card, but tonight two of my favorite fighters in the UFC are on the same card. Chuck Liddell, and Rich Franklin are both fighting on this card. Here are my predictions for tonight’s fights:
Chuck Liddell vs Rasahad Evans: Chuck Liddell
Rich Franklin vs Matt Hamill : Rich Franklin
Dan Henderson vs Rousimar Palahares: Dan Henderson
Martin Kampmann vs Nate Marquart : Nate Marquart
Dong Kim vs Matt Brown : Dong Kim
Chuck Liddell is one of most interesting fighters to watch because of his explosive knockout power. With one flick of the wrist, Chuck can end the night for an opponent quickly. People do not give Chuck enough credit for his wrestling ability, but he is a highly skilled wrestler. Plus, you have to respect a guy who has a mow hawk and tattoos on the side of his head. Tonight, I think Chuck frustrates Rashad enough to force him to make that one mistake that will cause Rashad to finish the night looking up at the lights.
Rich Franklin is a very well rounded mixed martial arts fighter. Rich took two devastating losses to Anderson Silva who is one of the best in the world of mixed martial arts. Rich can adapt to what ever style he needs to for the fight and has explosive knockout power as well. Matt Hamill is a very solid wrestler and will try and take Rich to the ground, but better be on top of his game once he gets to the ground, because Franklin will make him pay for it if he is not.
Make sure you check out John Rallo on every Thursday with Rob Long. John runs a mixed martial arts school in Baltimore called Ground Control, and has recently moved into an amazing new facility. Whether you are looking to get into the world of mixed martial arts, want to take boxing lessons, or just want and incredible workout, John and his staff at Ground Control can help you achieve that goal. I attend John’s school, and can tell you it is one of the best workouts I have ever done.
Hope to hear your feedback and thoughts on tonight’s fights, and or anything else in the world of mixed martial arts.

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