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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 29 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Auto Racing-NASCAR Awards Show (Friday 9pm from Las Vegas live on SPEED); Golf: PGA Tour Qualifying School (Saturday & Sunday 4pm, Monday 3:30pm from La Quinta, CA live on Golf Channel), PGA Tour Chevron World Challenge (Thursday & Friday 1pm live on Golf Channel Saturday & Sunday 12pm live on NBC. All golf from Thousand Oaks, CA); Women’s College Basketball: Big Ten/ACC Challenge-Michigan @ Maryland (Wednesday 7pm Comcast Center), Maryland @ American (Sunday 1pm Bender Arena); Tennis: ATP Tour Davis Cup Final (Friday 8am Saturday 10am Sunday 7am from Seville, Spain live on Tennis Channel)

10. Andrea Bocelli (Friday 8pm Verizon Center); Erykah Badu (Friday 7pm Rams Head Live); Dashboard Confessional (Saturday 7pm Recher Theatre); All Mighty Senators (Saturday 7pm 8×10 Club); Aaron Neville (Monday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); Robin Thicke (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); String Cheese Incident (Wednesday 8pm Lyric Opera House), Ryan Adams (Sunday 7:30pm Lyric Opera House); J. Roddy Walston & The Business (Friday 9pm Ottobar); Mac Miller (Thursday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Ra Ra Riot (Friday 7pm Ritchie Coliseum College Park); Tori Amos (Monday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Adele Live at Royal Albert Hall available on CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/iTunes (Tuesday)

I really shouldn’t like Robin Thicke all that much. I just can’t help myself…

Dude, Ryan Adams has made so many great tunes but are any of them greater than this?

I feel like I should be a bigger J Roddy Walston fan than I am…http://wnst.net/wordpress/wp-admin/post.php?post=185164&action=edit

I don’t know if Adele sounds BETTER at Royal Albert Hall…but I know this much…no CHANCE she doesn’t sound amazing…

9. Washington Monument Lighting (Thursday 7pm from Mt. Vernon Place live on WBAL11), Mayor’s Christmas Parade (Sunday 2pm Hampden/Medfield); Gary Valentine (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Steve-O (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Jim Norton (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House)

Is there any chance that when Stephanie Rawlings-Blake flips on the lights at the monument the scene looks anything like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ar-__ub0rc

And since I’ve already invoked Christmas Vacation, I think it’s only appropriate that we do this…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk74WprmZxY

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 22 November 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Golf-PGA Tour World Cup of Golf (Wednesday-Saturday 10:30pm from Shenzhen, China live on Golf Channel); Boxing: Canelo Alvarez vs. Kermit Cintron (Saturday 10:30pm from Mexico City, Mexico live on HBO); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 59 (Saturday 9pm from Atlantic City live on MTV2); College Soccer: NCAA Tournament Louisville @ Maryland (Sunday 5pm Ludwig Field); Women’s College Basketball: St. Joseph’s @ Maryland (Tuesday 7pm Comcast Center)

10. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band (Friday 8pm 1st Mariner Arena); The Bridge Farewell Show (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live), Staind (Sunday 6pm Rams Head Live), Reel Big Fish/Streetlight Manifesto (Monday 6pm Rams Head Live); Crack The Sky (Saturday 8pm Recher Theatre); Airborne Toxic Event (Tuesday 7pm 9:30 Club), They Might Be Giants (Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); Leon Russell (Tuesday 8:30pm State Theatre); Kirk Franklin (Saturday 7pm Lyric Opera House); Daughtry “Break The Spell” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I can’t go to Bob Seger Friday night. It’s an incredibly long story (my family celebrates holidays a day late) that I don’t want to talk about. But in honor of the festive weekend, I’ll just go ahead and assume he’ll break out “Little Drummer Boy”…

I can’t believe this is the last time Cris Jacobs and the boys from The Bridge will be playing together. It’s almost impossible. The show is sold out. I might tear up a bit.

I don’t know if I’m an Airborne Toxic Event “fan”, but I know I’m a fan of this tune…

Kirk Franklin is a legendary gospel performer. In one of the most inexplicable moments in music history, he had a smash hit on MTV/Pop radio in 1997. You know you know the words…

9. Glenn Clark’s Thanksgiving Plans (Thursday); Festival of Trees (Friday-Sunday Timonium Fairgrounds); Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Thursday 9am from New York live on NBC); The Muppets & “Arthur Christmas” out in theaters (Tuesday); Judah Friedlander (Friday & Saturday DC Improv)

I spent much of my adolescence wanting to be Fozzie Bear. If you don’t sing along to this you’re just a bad person…

Also, I’m looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with the Clark family, but I’ll admit I’m a bit confused by why it is that my mother has requested my girlfriend bring buffalo chicken dip to dinner this year. It’s just kinda weird. Whatever we consume, I know one thing. This Saturday I’ll be enjoying a “Thanksgiving Sandwich.” Wheat bread, turkey, potatoes and barbeque sauce. It sounds weird to you, but trust me on this one.

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Happy 5th Anniversary to my Free The Birds friends who want change for Baltimore baseball

Posted on 21 September 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve been watching the Baltimore Orioles since 1973 and I’m not sure any of us could’ve predicted what this franchise was to become back in the late 1980’s when Camden Yards was built, our city was starved without football and the Colts had split town.

It’s amazing now because most of the people in my company and many of you reading this under the age of 35 do not remember the Colts at all. Or a time when there was no purple. Or when there was no shiny stadia downtown that we all take for granted.

I watched William Donald Schaefer fight for all of this. I watched John Steadman politic and report through all of this as a colleague and a kid at The News American. I watched the first shovel go in the ground downtown. I was at that magical game in 1988 when all of this civic planning was announced on the backend of an 0-21 start that invigorated the renaissance of not only the Orioles but this community as a whole. I wrote more than 75,000 words on this topic five years ago. You can read all of it here…

I was there for all of it. I’ve got some perspective on just how incredibly foolish this all looks – the Orioles who drew 3.6 million people now barely getting a legitimate 1 million people through the turnstiles from the interior Baltimore community. Let’s face it: if it weren’t for a few tourists and 18 games a year against the Red Sox and Yankees, the place would be empty every night. Even on nights when they give away bobbleheads and orange T-shirts, they don’t have enough productive players to even get the promotions right. How many years in a row will they hand out an item for a player who isn’t even on the team?

Sheesh. Starting with all of the craziness of Peter G. Angelos in 1993, I could write a f**king book.

Well, actually, I did…and it’s all right here.

The civic devastation and their annual derelict status in the AL East (and in all of sports, really) makes them so insignificant as to not even be criticized by most national media and the locals are never going to say a word while their companies collect advertising checks from Angelos, via MASN or the Orioles.

The black cat is out of the bag – there’s intense financial greed behind that legal façade of Peter G. Angelos and that’s just fine, I suppose, if your audience participates in the Fantasyland charade of the Orioles attempting to compete to win a championship in Major League Baseball.

The Orioles are funded by you — the cable television buyer. You give your money to them – specifically MASN — through a third party. I bet if you got a bill every month for a couple of bucks from MASN – and it were optional – you and 99% of the state of Maryland would opt to NOT have MASN.

The same way I opt to not have Sirius radio, an IPad or a newer car.

I don’t like anything about the fact that $3 a month of my money goes directly to Peter Angelos under some mystical civic umbrella and trust that he’s investing it back into making the Orioles a better baseball team for the citizens of Baltimore.

That’s clearly not happening these days.

And that’s not my lie. That’s from Angelos himself. Here’s the direct link to our friends over at Pressbox, who take a check from Angelos and get “inside access” and get to ask questions once every decade. This is from 2006 when the Greek God of Losses told Stan Charles that MASN would change the team’s fortunes via increasing the payroll.

Instead, Andy MacPhail came out from underneath a rock in New York and came to Baltimore to quell the insurrection and help Mr. Angelos better understand the way to the profitland of Major League Baseball. Just like he did for many years for the Tribune Company and the Cubs, who now are entangled in the ownership of The Baltimore Sun.

It’s amazing how most Baltimore sports fans in town have no idea how the business of baseball and MASN and free agency and the MLB draft all work. Angelos clearly preys on the naïve nature of the local sports fans who are being fed the new “company line” that MacPhail has parroted through all of his worthless years here in Baltimore: “We just don’t have enough money to compete with those evil teams in Boston and New York.”

My other McFail favorite is this one: “We’ll grow the arms and buy the bats.”

Yeah, what bats? Mark Reynolds? Garrett Atkins? Cesar Izturis?

I can’t imagine that we’ve seen the end of the Orioles demise or the bottom of the proverbial barrel in this macabre tale of “How to Wreck a Baseball Franchise for a Local Community.” Given the state of the franchise and the fact that they’ll be looking for another “leader” who’s given “full control of the baseball operations” in two weeks, it’s pretty apparent that Angelos and the Orioles will still be big spenders of Syd Thrift’s “Confederate money” this offseason.

Angelos clearly bunkered down five years after Free The Birds. He was angry. He was humiliated. He took my press pass. He issued an edict to every member of the franchise to treat me like a pariah, even though it’s pretty clear that I love the team more than any of those people because I’m willing to face the hard reality and 14 years worth of facts.

Sure, Baltimore came back on the home jerseys a few years (I told Drew Forrester then that it was an empty gesture that wouldn’t improve the team) and Andy MacPhail was brought in to stabilize the organization (at least in the minds of the fans) and put a set of spectacles on it so it could look semi-legitimate.

Everything has been fine since Sept. 21, 2006 except for the fact that the team never won, stars haven’t emerged and accountability continues to be non-existent. Oh, and the fact that the man running the team at the time killed himself a few weeks ago.

The death of Mike Flanagan would be a tragedy anytime, anywhere. It’s a story that’s among the saddest I’ve ever heard as a Baltimore journalist. But amidst his suicide, there’s a story that must be told of his relationship with Angelos, the Orioles and the Baltimore fanbase.

Someday I might be the one who tells that story. But for now, I continue to grieve his loss with his family and attempt to help them heal.

Flanagan’s death has made my phone ring off the hook with former teammates, loved ones and people in the baseball community who are reaching to me to find out what happened.

I know a lot more about what happened than what I’m telling out of respect to Flanny’s family and loved ones. But I know the truth. And the truth should and will be told at an appropriate time.

And, rest assured, the truth isn’t going to make the Orioles look very good or make you feel any better about Peter Angelos’ ownership here in Baltimore.

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be Tippy Martinez or Jim Palmer or Rick Dempsey or Boog Powell — when you walk around your hometown every minute of every day getting recognized by people over 45 who don’t know whether to console you, hug you or engage you in any sort of baseball chatter because let’s be honest – the only reason we’d know who any of the former Orioles are is because of baseball. It’s the one thing that bonds us.

And, really, none one of us wants to discuss the Orioles or Angelos or the situation with Mike Flanagan when they’re in last place the entire topic of baseball, suicides and World Series take a backseat to the purple football machine in the fall.

But, therein lies the problem.

No one EVER says ANYTHING.

I hate to say it, but YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!

So, embrace that statement, stew about it, send me “F**K YOU!” letters, sharpen your pens and your wit.

And then send them to Peter Angelos and see if the 82-year old can find your thoughts on his Facebook page.

The local media here is such a civic disgrace that they should be ashamed of themselves for burying the topic of the Orioles’ ineptitude and profit line and intentions. And you should be ashamed of yourselves if you tune into any of the Orioles “media partners” (it should say “protectors”) and believe a word any of these hosts and personalities say. They’re all told what they can and can’t say and when they can say it.

CBS & WJZ = guilty

WBAL = guilty

The Sun = perhaps the most guilty because their unique selling point and marketing tool is “credibility” and “knowledge of the community” and “journalism”

Pull Scott Garceau or Peter Schmuck or Gerry Sandusky or Mark Viviano up on the side and ask them what THEY REALLY THINK. Ask any of these “local leaders” and “trusted experts” off the record how they’ve been treated. Ask them how they’ve seen people treated around the organization. Ask them what Mike Flanagan told them about the team when he was running it and beyond.

I saw 15 Baltimore reporters crowded around a young Ravens cornerback named Cary Williams in a locker in Nashville three days and yet no one can make their way to downtown Baltimore to interview a guy who has chased 2.5 million people out of downtown on summer nights and destroyed local business in such a profound way as to be the most powerful man in the state?

Disgraceful…

Ask ANY bar and restaurant owner or anyone involved in the beer industry about whether their businesses would be stronger if the Orioles actually existed in their establishments on summer nights.

I’ve asked them ALL. And there’s not one who doesn’t want to see a stronger baseball franchise in Baltimore.

I go into bars all summer long and see that many don’t even put the Orioles games on their televisions these days. And that’s just in the suburbs.

I live in downtown Baltimore. The city comes to life when events prosper and the community swells with pride. The U2 concert was amazing. The IRL brought tons of new faces into the city that hadn’t been this happy near the Convention Center since the All Star Fanfest in July 1993. The Caps-Predators game last night was an incredible event – bringing 11,000 into the First Mariner Arena and stimulating commerce throughout downtown for a night.

The Orioles success and their verve and mojo doesn’t seem so far away to me. I remember it all. I wrote 19 chapters about it and you can click here and begin that journey if you’re really interested in my thoughts and my rationale and my legitimacy.

I’m not some hack journalist from out of town coming into Baltimore to tell you what to think. I’m not an out-of-town media leader.

I’m a citizen. I’m a taxpayer. I paid to get Camden Yards built back in the 1980’s. My city tax dollars fronted that IRL mish-mash three weeks ago. I own a business in Baltimore County. I employ people and put them to work and I trade off of ONE THING: your trust!

The team routinely doesn’t spend money. They’ve made far more money losing than they’d ever make trying to win. That’s just a fact.

And, right now and for the past decade, that’s been exploited and profiteered from by Peter G. Angelos and his ownership group. We’ve got a dead Cy Young Award winner who worked for the company for most of 38 years and his life became so entangled that he put a gun to his head and ended his life less than a month ago.

Who’s going to ask the tough questions?

And when is Angelos or anyone at Major League Baseball going to answer them?

Winning is not as profitable as losing. And when the citizens of the state are paying the freight and there’s only tens of millions of guaranteed profit every year, apparently popularity or civic pride or winning ownership and respect for tradition doesn’t factor into the equation for Peter Angelos.

If the richest guy in the state isn’t interested in winning a World Series then the Baltimore Orioles might as well just leave town and return when they’re ready to win.

It’s such a fragile trust to begin with in Baltimore, where Angelos was a resident and apparently unmoved by the Mayflower vans or any of the chicanery of Bob Irsay back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when he did a beauty tour that was a disgrace to everyone but him.

The story of Angelos and his wrecking machine for the baseball traditions of our community is a legendary, well-told tale that as Ronnie Milsap once sang: “It’s too sad to write.”

Free The Birds is five years old today.

What will the Orioles look like five years from today?

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SQUEALERS SQUELCHED

Posted on 15 September 2011 by Tom Federline

It has been almost eight (8) months and the Ravens were due retribution. Eight months, to stew over a game the Ravens had lost, down right choked in the second half. There was a bad taste in the Ravens mouth and this past Sunday had to have felt like using Listerine for the first time. That was an old fashion, smash mouth, in your face –  Baltimore Ravens butt whoopin’. There have been two teams that have stood in the way of the Ravens going back to the Super Bowl and both teams are fairly despised by Baltimore football fanatics. The Pittsburgh Squealers and the Indianapolis Irsays. The Squealers were dealt their (some) of their due. Now if the Ravens can make it to the Super Bowl this year……..now you are talking…………’cause guess where it is? The city of Indianapolis. 

Opening Weekend for football coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. Heavy reflection. The playing of “Taps” in unison around the league prior to kickoff - emotional. The full field United States flag with opposing teams and ancillary guests streching it out across from one another, while the National Anthem was being played - nice display of patriotism and unity. There were multiple renditions of the National Anthem. I am a little biased recognizing Baltimore/Ravens Stadium as one of the best I have ever heard. Baltimore is blessed with the perennial Mycheal Miller for all home games.I can only hope some teams played “Proud to be an American” – (Lee Greenwood) at halftime. The NFL direction of the opening ceremonies was respectfully handled. Kudos all around the league and television coverage of that life changing day ten years ago.

And then between 1:05 and 3:55 pm, fans of the Baltimore Ravens had a reawakening. Reason to boast, reason to believe again, reason to watch the rest of the year. Oh and Jarret Johnson (JJ)…………you have entered the Ravens Greatest Hits of All-Time Club. I only have Bart Scott and Ray-Ray in that category. Do you all have any “hits” you would like to potentially add? Playing the Squealers on Opening Day after that loss last year could have really had some repercussions around town and for the Ravens if they had lost again. Thank you Ravens. A loss – the wound does not heal. A win – no more wound. The butt kickin’ they gave them - the Ravens are ready for 2011.

Ravens – Steelers footaball is kind of getting like Maryland – Duke basketball. Who cares about the rest of the season? Just beat that one team. Anything else is icing on the cake. The Ravens didn’t just beat the Steelers, they beat them down.  The team needed it, the coaching staff needed it, the fans needed it. There were moments there where I thought the officials were going to ruin “fix” the game. But they stayed consistently bad and good. Although, that holding call on McKinney in the first quarter after a 36 yard pass play to Dixon, had me throwing things at the television while adding colorful commentary. Even the CBS crew and Phil Simms got into the action on that one. Yes, I was happy to hear Jim Nantzs’ voice, along with Simms, on the TV broadcast. Jim Nantz just has to stay away from golf. The best thing about CBS doing the game………..It meant NO “J”erry Sandusky, Quadry(most annoying voice in broadcasting) Ismail and Stan (has no clue) White. Yes, I am still boycotting all of WBAL  newscasts, Ravens games with that Trio of Torture and “J”erry Sanduskys voice for the Mike Flanagan debacle and juvenile journalism.

Bottom line – the Ravens showed up for the regular seasons first game and the Squealers ………still thought it was preseason. November game may be interesting. Somebody is going to get hurt. Speaking of potential injuries, why was Flacco in the game in the fourth quarter? Horribaugh and Camera Cameron will ride Flacco until the young man needs a stretcher to take him off. And that will crush the Ravens chances of going to the promised land. Hey Bisciotti, you are the one spending the money, you are a successful business man, are you going to let the offensive captain of the team be sacrificed? Tyrod (VT) Taylor is not the answer. But he is the “back-up” QB, to be utilized in blow-outs to protect the the offensive leader.

Holy Ngata! That is one man-beast right there. Suggs, Ray Jr., Reeeeeeeed, McKinney (potential new star), Dixon, Pitta, Boldin, etc. etc. That was one of the best Ravens games ……… ever. Strap yourself in…….it’s gonna be one heckuva ride. GO RAVENS!

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 29 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: College Soccer-Stanford @ Maryland (Friday 7:30pm Ludwig Field), Radford @ Maryland (Sunday 7pm Ludwig Field); Holiday Inn Express BWI Classic: St. Francis @ UMBC (Thursday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park), Fairleigh Dickinson @ UMBC (Saturday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park); Boxing: Jan Zaveck vs. Andre Berto (Saturday 10:30pm from Biloxi, MI live on HBO); WNBA: Atlanta Dream @ Washington Mystics (Thursday 7pm Verizon Center), Washington Mystics @ Atlanta Dream (Friday 7:30pm from Atlanta live on NBA TV), Connecticut Sun @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 4pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet/NBA TV)

10. UPROAR Festival feat. Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Seether, Sevendust (Wednesday 2pm Jiffy Lube Live), Jimmy Buffett (Thursday 8pm Jiffy Lube Live), Stevie Nicks (Saturday 8pm Jiffy Lube Live), Journey/Night Ranger (Sunday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Lyle Lovett & His Large Band (Tuesday 8pm Wolf Trap); Olivia Newton-John & Terrell Owens host Cancer Awareness Event feat. Kelly Bell Band (Saturday 6:30pm Rams Head Live); The Hold Steady (Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Umphrey’s McGee (Friday & Saturday 8pm 9:30 Club); B.B. King & Buddy Guy (Tuesday 7:30pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall), The Script (Thursday 7:30pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Fuel (Friday 7pm Jaxx); Blake Shelton (Saturday 7:30pm Timonium Fairgrounds), All Time Low (Sunday 7:30pm Timonium Fairgrounds); Jimmie’s Chicken Shack (Friday 8:15pm Baltimore Grand Prix Party Zone), The Bridge/Collective Soul (Saturday 7pm Baltimore Grand Prix Party Zone); Red Hot Chili Peppers “I’m With You”, Lil’ Wayne “Tha Carter IV”, Counting Crows “August & Everything After: Live From Town Hall”, Lenny Kravitz “Black And White America” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I won’t make the rescheduled version of Jimmy Buffett either, but somewhere in the comfort of my own home I’ll probably be singing “Fins”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNrM7DnYz4Y[/youtube]

Drew Forrester plays tunes from The Hold Steady sometimes on “The Morning Reaction”. I’m a fan…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Isvn_Dsj2bA[/youtube]

I’m so bitter that all of the good shows are in DC this week. Men shouldn’t admit to enjoying The Script as much as I do…but I REALLY enjoy The Script. A lot…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMihKmoYfe8[/youtube]

WNST intern Ryan Morrison hooked me up with an advance copy of Tha Carter IV…I hope I’m not getting him in legal hot water by mentioning that. There was a humorous moment during Hurricane Irene where everyone in my house was singing along to this song. Don’t play it if you’re at work. Unless you work at The Gold Club. If you do, could you bring a Chap’s sandwich by the station Monday?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jl3QmFHk7D4[/youtube]

9. Maryland State Fair (Tuesday-Monday Timonium Fairgrounds); Maryland Renaissance Festival (Saturday-Monday RennFest Fairgrounds Crownsville); Glenn Clark’s Kickball Championship Round (Thursday 6:45pm Carsins Run Aberdeen)

I’m not sure which yet, but either Friday night or Monday early afternoon I’ll be at the fair. I have two goals. ONE-watching something get born in the Birthing Center and squirm like hell. TWO-Re-enact this picture…

msf

Glorious. Re-enacting THIS picture would also be an option…

horse

There’s a good chance I win the Breeders Cup at some point in the future.

Oh-I’m playing for a kickball title Thursday night in Aberdeen before the Ravens game. The hell with the Ravens game, no one that matters is playing. I’m playing for a kickball title. I’d love to have you guys come support us. You really owe me at least that much considering all I’ve done for you.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 15 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Minnesota Lynx @ Washington Mystics (Thursday 7pm Verizon Center), Chicago Sky @ Washington Mystics (Saturday 7pm from Verizon Center live on NBA TV), Washington Mystics @ Indiana Fever (Sunday 6pm from Indianapolis live on NBA TV); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-Demetrius Andrade vs. Grady Brewer (Friday 9pm from Hammond, IN live on ESPN2); Canadian Football League: Saskatchewan Roughriders @ Toronto Argonauts (Thursday 7:30pm from Toronto live on NFL Network)

10. Martin Lawrence (Sunday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena); American Idols Live (Friday 7pm Verizon Center); Ke$ha (Sunday 7:30pm Patriot Center); Slightly Stoopid (Wednesday 5:30pm Pier Six Pavilion), Bill Cosby (Saturday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion), Gipsy Kings (Sunday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Bob Dylan and his Band (Tuesday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Skullcandy Identity feat. Pretty Lights (Thursday 1pm Jiffy Lube Live), Kid Rock/Sheryl Crow (Monday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Beach Boys (Sunday 3pm Wolf Trap); 10,000 Maniacs (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); “Hot August Blues” feat. Tedeschi Trucks Band & Robert Randolph (Saturday 12pm Oregon Ridge); Lynyrd Skynyrd/Doobie Brothers (Saturday 7pm Aberdeen Proving Ground)

I’m sung the praises of Robert Randolph in this blog so many times it’s almost overkill for me to go back to the well.

You know they call me “Dr. Overkill” in some circles…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kccFnAioNAg[/youtube]

I saw the Beach Boys last year at Pier Six. There was a thought process that it might be a bit hokey, but I was quickly reminded that there was no way in hell songs like this could EVER be hokey…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6Uc_Gi7gdM[/youtube]

I’m well aware that Michael McDonald isn’t in the band anymore. That being said, I’d still be in on this…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CDWGKQcQ8zw[/youtube]

I took my dad to see Bob Dylan years ago at American University in DC (he’s an alum). I didn’t understand much, but I’m pretty sure it was good. Just a shame he couldn’t bring Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers on tour with him…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPYvz9QEqUI[/youtube]

9. Baltimore Comic-Con (Saturday & Sunday Baltimore Convention Center); Baltimore Fashion Week (Thursday-Sunday Harbor East)

I would assume there”s a good bit of crossover between these crowds, no?

While Comic-Con probably ISN’T really my thing, I get this funny feeling it might be more up my alley than I otherwise would have realized.

Plus-Stan effing Lee is going to be there!

Stan Lee!

It’s good news for me-not because I have any comic books I need signed-but more because I’ve been needing some dating advice and the phone lines over at Loveline have been LOCKED…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vJpAXf5wyk[/youtube]

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 08 August 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-Bantamweight Tournament Final-Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares (Saturday 10pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime), Friday Night Fights: Kermit Cintron vs. Antwone Smith (Friday 9pm from St. Charles, MO live on ESPN2); WNBA: Atlanta Dream @ Washington Mystics (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet & ESPN3.com), New York Liberty @ Washington Mystics (Friday 7pm Verizon Center); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Denver Outlaws @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on ESPN3.com)

10. Melissa Etheridge (Tuesday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion), INXS (Wednesday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion), Chicago (Sunday 6:30pm Pier Six Pavilion); Return to Forever IV feat. Chick Corea (Tuesday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), My Morning Jacket (Friday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), O.A.R. feat. Virginia Coalition (Saturday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Blink 182/My Chemical Romance (Friday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live), Tim McGraw feat. Luke Bryan (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); American Idol Live (Thursday 7pm 1st Mariner Arena); Mr. Greengenes (Friday 6pm Power Plant Live); Candlebox (Tuesday 7pm Recher Theatre), Ravyns (Saturday 7pm Recher Theatre); Steve Earle (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Steve Miller Band (Tuesday 8pm Wolf Trap); Havre de Grace Seafood Festival feat. Charlie Daniels Band (Friday 7:45pm Downtown Havre de Grace); Alkaline Trio (Sunday 7pm Black Cat DC); 10,000 Maniacs (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere)

I think everyone knows I’ll be in Columbia Saturday night. I mean, where else would I be???

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OG2hDRClSM0[/youtube]

The thing though is that I’m not ONLY excited about O.A.R., I’m also REALLY looking forward to seeing VACO again…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Orrs6LeIbWQ[/youtube]

I probably won’t make it out to see Chicago, but it’s not because they aren’t awesome…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSOaoPDO16Y[/youtube]

If I WASN’T going to be at OAR Saturday night, I would ABSOLUTELY be in Towson Saturday night to see Rob Fahey and the Ravyns. We love him…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZymOQ0qk_BU[/youtube]

9. 30 Minutes or Less” and “Final Destination 5” out in theaters (Friday)

I’ve seen 30 Minutes or Less. It’s funny. Not “HOLY HELL I’LL NEVER STOP CRYING” funny, but funny.

Of course, Aziz Ansari has the ability to be “HOLY HELL I’LL NEVER STOP CRYING” funny.

If you’re not a fan of Tom Haverford/Parks & Recreation, I have absolutely no idea what you’re doing with your life…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS_bgv6f2Rk&feature=related[/youtube]

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Can We All Agree That We Just Don’t Give A Crap About Anything Vinny Cerrato Says?

Posted on 01 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

This one will earn me a dirty look or two in the future.

Then again, it might also earn me a place in the heart of Washington Redskins fans who have been pissed off ever since I (rightly) stated that John Riggins shouldn’t be filming commercials at M&T Bank Stadium.

(Of course, these are the same fans that tell me they simply don’t care about the Baltimore Ravens but then lustily booed Head Coach John Harbaugh when he was shown on screen at Verizon Center before a Washington Capitals playoff game. Losers. But this isn’t about them. I’ll move on.)

No, this is about another brilliant move by CBS Radio Baltimore at 105.7 The Fan. And before you say “Glenn, why would you bother to write about what they’re doing on another radio station?”, let me point out that this is about much more than that.

Frankly, I’ve never actually heard former Skins executive Vinny Cerrato on the air at 105.7. I am aware that he is currently co-hosting a nightly football show on the station, but like EVERY OTHER SPORTS FAN IN CHARM CITY, if I’m in the car at night in Baltimore I’m either listening to the Orioles game or my Ipod. WBAL and Steve Jobs can thank me for the respective plugs later.

A minor controversy was started in Charm City when Cerrato told Baltimore Sun writer Ken Murray the following about the fact that Ravens 1st round pick CB Jimmy Smith did not attend last week’s voluntary player workouts at Towson University.

“That’s a red flag. He should have been here.”

As I said all week on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, the criticism was absolutely baseless. The workouts were offense intensive, with QB Joe Flacco, RB Ray Rice and WR’s Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin using the time to get to know their new teammates and introducing them to the team’s offensive playbook. There were no Offensive Linemen in attendance and the defensive players in attendance were mostly locally-based, including Maryland native CB’s Domonique Foxworth and Josh Wilson.

Jimmy Smith is based out of California, making it at least slightly inconvenient to get to Baltimore. Rookie DE Pernell McPhee (the team’s 5th round pick out of Mississippi State) told the National Football Post he was not even invited to the workouts at Unitas Stadium. While Smith has not been made available for comment about the faux controversy, none of his teammates seemed to be upset about the fact that he wasn’t present.

In fact, fellow rookie Torrey Smith (the former Maryland WR who is also represented by Drew Rosenhaus) took to Twitter after getting word of Cerrato’s comments to say the following…

“folks need to leave Jimmy alone for not coming to workouts this week..It was mainly offensive players…he didn’t miss a thing”

Agreed.

I said two more things last week about this stupid fake controversy. One is that if there was a player who MAY have deserved criticism, it was FB Le’Ron McClain. Should this dispute between the National Football League and NFLPA result in the 2011 season being played under 2010 rules, McClain would not reach free agency and would be back in Baltimore. Given that he’s spent a lot of time in Charm City this offseason, it puzzled me that he wasn’t able to attend.

The other point I offered about the situation was that by exonerating Jimmy Smith for not being in attendance at Towson, I wasn’t trying to suggest that he might not be a bad guy. He certainly has a bad track record, and hasn’t gone out of his way publicly to rebuild his image in Baltimore since his initial press conference. In fact, I think Harbaugh made the most telling statement when he told Drew Forrester in a recent interview on AM1570 WNST, “It’s worth the risk. A lot of people had him off the board and I understand why. He’s gonna have to make wise choices.”

Jimmy Smith MIGHT be a bad guy. But he’s certainly not a bad guy because he didn’t attend the workouts last week. That really couldn’t have been more irrelevant.

This really isn’t about Jimmy Smith either though.

This is about Cerrato-who pointlessly generated traction with his meaningless comments. Comments that some of us in attendance last Tuesday at Unitas Stadium told him were baseless. Comments that Ravens LB Jameel McClain dismissed when Cerrato asked him about Smith’s absence that day.

And comments that absolutely no one in Baltimore should care about…at all. Ever.

Cerrato’s presence in Baltimore is ridiculous to begin with. As they’ve so often done before, CBS Radio has shown how little they understand about this sports market. Cerrato has absolutely no background in Baltimore and is best known for the decade plus he spent working for Dan Snyder in DC, an organization fans in Baltimore have absolutely no respect for.

What’s worse is the utter lack of success Cerrato had during his time with the Skins. The organization reached the playoffs just three times during his tenure, winning the NFC East only one-his first year (1999). They never finished with more than ten wins and were the subject of significant criticism for their failure to draft and develop talented players (three times the team had no first round pick, other picks included QB Patrick Ramsey and WR Rod Gardner) and their insistence on signing overpaid and/or aging veterans (Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders and a $100 million deal for Albert Haynesworth come to mind).

Cerrato was especially disliked by Washington fans because of the perception that his employment was based on a willingness to simply play the part for Snyder as the team failed miserably on and off the field. This was well documented in a 2005 column by the Washington Post’s Mike Wise, where Cerrato acknowledged the frustration of the fanbase. ”People say I do nothing, that I only keep my job because I’m the owner’s friend” he told the columnist. “I do have a national championship ring and a Super Bowl ring, you know.”

Cerrato was accurate, as Wise pointed out at the time. He was the recruiting coordinator on Lou Holtz’s 1988 Championship staff at Notre Dame, and he was the Director of College Scouting for the San Francisco 49ers when they won Super Bowl XXIX.

That was 1994. His resume since that time is particularly unimpressive.

It’s all the more reason why Cerrato’s hiring by the folks at CBS here in Baltimore is questionable at best. Baltimore sports fans have absolutely no connection to Cerrato whatsoever, and his resume doesn’t demand for fans to respect his opinions about their beloved franchise.

Perhaps none of us should have been surprised when Sun columnist Kevin Van Valkenburg said the following about Cerrato Monday night via Twitter…

“On radio, Vinny Cerrato keeps calling Haloti Ngata: “Nuh-gah-ta.” Hard to believe the Skins weren’t better with this details man in charge.”

Lord.

It isn’t Vinny Cerrato’s fault that the folks at CBS don’t understand why he shouldn’t be on the air in Baltimore. Their Vice President of Programming (Dave LaBrozzi) is one of the biggest Pittsburgh Steelers fans I have ever met in my life. He couldn’t know what Baltimore Ravens fans want to hear because he’s…well…the exact opposite of a Baltimore Ravens fan.

An admitted Washington Redskins fan called Drew and I last week and made a very legitimate point. Should Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome retire this offseason and choose to do local market radio in Washington, it wouldn’t be hard for Redskins fans to accept him. He had a Hall of Fame career as a Tight End for the Cleveland Browns and has had arguably another Hall of Fame career as an executive.

Cerrato was a forgettable QB/WR for Iowa State and a miserable executive for a team most folks in Baltimore have a particular disdain for.

There’s no acceptable reason for anyone in this town to care about anything Cerrato thinks or says.

I’m sorry Vinny. You seemed like a nice guy when we met. I bet you’d be really good working for ESPN’s Scouts Inc. or the Sporting News War Room or an outlet like that.

But for the role of a sports talk show host who is expected to give “expert” opinions about the Baltimore Ravens is concerned, you’re simply misplaced. As your fellow CBS employee Ian Eagle would say, “It’s not a low blow. It’s just a fact.”

I know some folks who I’ll eventually have to see in Owings Mills (or Westminster or wherever something football-related happens next) won’t like this. I’m sorry. A lot of you who understand this market know I’m right. Some of you have already told me that.

And someone will probably call me hypocritical for writing 1400+ words about a subject I’m suggesting no one should care about. Perhaps they’re right. I’ll promise to never spend another sentence writing about the subject again. Probably.

But otherwise I’ll assume we’re in agreement. Moving forward, no one cares about anything Cerrato says.

Right?

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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Part 3: People ask me all of the time: “How big is your stick?”

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Part 3: People ask me all of the time: “How big is your stick?”

Posted on 04 May 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

If you’re on this website, chances are you’ve been a WNST or Nestor or Drew or local Baltimore sports fan for quite some time. Sure, a few of you just heard about us recently on Twitter, but for the most part it feels like I know most of you. All 50,000-plus of you, who come to us in so many ways all had a “virgin experience” with WNST. But you’re all here now and my 42 years in Baltimore — 27 of them as a local journalist and almost 20 more as a local media and marketing entrepreneur – has you somewhere an arm’s reach away whether you’re my Facebook friend, Twitter follower, ex-girlfriend, a former sponsor, current sponsor, old friend from high school, you’re on our text service, you get our morning newspaper, you got a “Dump Trumpy” or a “Wacko 4 Flacco” sign from me  – I think you get the picture.

I’ve always thought that the late, great Dick Schaap had the greatest line I ever heard about humanity and walking the earth: “I collect people.”

There are a LOT of you. There really are.

And I’ve shaken hands with thousands of you like a politician at the Heritage Fair in Dundalk and honestly it’s almost embarrassing at this point when people yell nice things — or sometimes it’s the occasional F-bomb at an Orioles game — at you all afternoon at a sporting event or at a restaurant or just walking through Towson or Bel Air or White Marsh or Catonsville. It’s mostly wonderful and makes me proud on behalf of my Mom and Pop and I’m extremely grateful that so many people have randomly talked to me about my work or a Baltimore sports memory we’ve shared over the years.

One thing I know I can say for certain is this — I’ve answered every email I’ve ever received. Tens of thousands of them, really, since I started in 1992 and the email started rolling in soon after. In the early days, I even tried to appease the unappeasable and when I was on 425 stations from 1999-2001 at Sporting News Radio, I learned it was going to be impossible to make everyone happy with my conclusions and well-founded opinions based on evidence and facts.

Hell, I’ve given up trying to argue with every nut who sends me hate. But, if you send me a thoughtful disagreement, I have no problems replying respectfully.

But the 1-in-a-thousand who are rude or abusive are far less memorable than the 999 others who have been incredibly kind, supportive, helpful and encouraging as I’ve tried to build an authentic local company that you can trust and one that you’d want to support.

I feel like WNST was a trailblazer in a lot of ways from doing sports radio first in Baltimore in 1998 to becoming the premier sports media company in the community on the internet – and if you don’t know by now, that’s the ONLY place that will matter in the future.

We were stressing being a “community business” before there were “online communities.”

We know customer service because in so many cases we actually KNOW our customers – like really KNOW them! We know how to treat our listeners, users and partners with dignity and respect and integrity. But we need to prove the value of our audience every single day with sales reports because every business owner I know has had troubles, shortages, headaches and financial pain of some kind since August 2008. It’s a reality for anyone who owns a business that the way we’ll do business has changed forever in the new media age combined with the depression in this economy and the way our society has suffered over the past three years. And the price of gas affects every single American and has added crushing weight to the cost of every consumer product we use on a day to day basis.

WNST is no different than any other small business. We’ve shrunk in manpower over the past three years and we’ve made up for it with willpower and old-fashioned sweat equity by refusing to deliver Baltimore anything less than the best and most timely sports information divinely possible.

For our crew, this change to the world of new media has been a welcomed addition and a VERY measurable, accurate portrayal of the depth of coverage in both content and audience reach.

I welcome our partners, friends or competitors to measure our viability and reach vs. that of CBS Radio, WBAL or any of the corporate-owned radio conglomerates who look at Baltimore as a place on a map with pins in it that represent how much money they can suck out of our economy without participating in any long-term civic concern, especially with the media voice to create a positive change in our community.

So while I’ve expended a lot of words over the past two days to show you WNST.net, here are a series of pictures that explain a lot of the reasons we’re bullish on our growth.

And for those of you who think I use too many words – and you’re right, by the way – this is more of the “picture book” some of you have been requesting.

Survey Monkey

Last February, when I did my five-part “State of Baltimore Sports Media” blog series, I accompanied it with a survey (powered by Survey Monkey, hence the headline – good company by the way…I recommend them!). There were a billion questions, much of it has kind of aged like the technology questions about Droids and IPhones, but here are some highlights:

WNST Text Service (powered by MSnap & Marketron)

We were the first in Baltimore to offer an instant news text service. Now, every media company in the market has one, although ours is universally considered the best. Ask ANYONE who has it if they like it. Our numbers have steadily grown over the past three years:

COST TO USER: FREE!!!!!

Google Analytics

These kind of speak for themselves:

Buy A Toyota Morning Newspaper

I asked this question on the Survey Monkey back in February 2010:

So, because of YOU, I built it.
And Blue Sky Factory and rock stars like Greg Cangialosi have helped me with it. BTW: If you need an email marketing organization, they are the BOMB!

This is what it looked like today:

This morning 14,273 people received the newspaper in their email inbox.

You can subscribe in the upper right corner of this website!

Like all of our services here at WNST.net — it’s completely free!

YouTube

We are still pretty much the only local sports media outlet that utilizes YouTube with any quality or consistency:

We’ve had 53,274 people access our videos.

We’ve had 2,262,591 views on our channel in the last 12 months.

Subscribe to them. It doesn’t cost anything…

Alexa

I’ve written about this many times. Just click on the Categories to the right of this blog and you can read all about Alexa. These are just some current trends that I thought you’d find interesting:

Facebook

Our Facebook reach is greater than anyone’s. You can just look that up for yourself and see the way we reach our friends and partners in many ways there with pictures of events, status updates, fun sharing of information and opinions. But here’s a surprising part of what you don’t know. This is from our WNST.net Facebook “Fan” page:

Yeah, chicks dig WNST…

Twitter Scoreboard

This is the part where the competitors REALLY get their feelings hurt. You can see the size of their “signal” transparently. Go ahead…pick anyone else in Baltimore and see how many followers they have and you’ll see the size of one’s “girth” in the audience marketplace. We used to have 5,000 watts to their 50,000 — hence their “stick” was bigger. But not anymore…


This is all public information. Go check your our favorite Baltimore sports media competitor’s feed and see their reach.

If you care to learn more about WNST.net, simply click on the ADVERTISE button in the upper right corner and download our 2011 Media Kit. It gives more details about a lot of the measurements of WNST.net.

TOMORROW: How Groupon and Living Social have changed traditional media and sponsorship forever. And why we’re moving to a business model that sells goods for local Baltimore companies at discounts.

And I’m always here for any positive or negative feedback: nasty@wnst.net.

As Peter Angelos once said: “I’m a very available individual…”

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Ravens Announce (Potential) 2011 Preseason Schedule

Posted on 12 April 2011 by Glenn Clark

The National Football League released the 2011 preseason schedule Tuesday, despite the ongoing player lockout.

The Baltimore Ravens are slated to open the preseason against the defending NFC East Champion Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly. The game is to be played the weekend of August 11-15. The Ravens have not faced the Eagles since a 36-7 Week 12 victory in 2008, a game that is best remembered for Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid benching starting QB Donovan McNabb in favor of backup Kevin Kolb.

The Ravens will play their first home preseason game the weekend of August 18-22 against the defending AFC West champion Kansas City Chiefs at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens ended the Chiefs’ 2010 season with a 30-7 victory in the AFC Wild Card playoff round at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Ravens are again slated for a preseason battle against their neighbors to the south, as they host the Washington Redskins on Thursday, August 25. The game is scheduled for an 8pm kickoff from Charm City and is set to be broadcast nationally on ESPN. The Ravens won a 23-3 decision over the Skins in Week 2 of the 2010 preseason at FedEx Field.

The Ravens will wrap their preseason schedule on the road for a third consecutive season. The Ravens are slated to visit the defending NFC South champion Atlanta Falcons on Thursday, September 1. The Ravens dropped a 26-21 Thursday Night Football contest at the Georgia Dome in Week 10 last season. This will mark the third time in four years that the Ravens will face the Falcons in their preseason finale.

Outside of the Redskins game, the other games are slated to air on WBAL11.

The NFL has said it will announce the 2011 regular season schedule later this month with or without an agreement between owners and the NFLPA.

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