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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???

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

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

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…

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…

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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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Back in Peter’s arms: When corporate media does business with Orioles the fans lose the truth

Posted on 09 February 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

On Tuesday night we learned what we’ve known for months – Peter G. Angelos and WBAL Radio are going back into business together once again for the 2011 Orioles season and beyond. The old man finally gets his eternal wish – to be the king of the AM band on summer nights on a dying radio station that no one listens to anymore but cadavers and people in his age demographic who still think a “smart phone” is one with an answering machine.

Funny, this is the same WBAL-AM 1090 that was also wrongfully denied media credentials the past few seasons and was considered persona non grata the nanosecond that John Angelos cut the CBS Radio deal four years ago with 105.7 FM and only after Bob Phillips squandered the longtime rights to the Ravens and allowed Ed Kiernan and the boys on TV Hill to swoop in for the purple roadkill for 98 Rock after the brand was built on the FM dial.

It’s like jumping in and out of sleeping bags for both franchises and these two corporate monoliths as a formerly lucrative revenue stream – local radio rights – continues to dry up as sports fans go to places on the internet like WNST.net for an honest look at the news, issues and analysis revolving around the franchises and the big business that follows those logos and partnerships.

And really? Who really listens to baseball or football on the radio with any consistency circa 2011 when you can get a real-time scores, chatter and every situation from your mobile device on websites like WNST.net?

Now that The PGA has gone back into the radio sleeping blanket with WBAL there are only two questions remaining: How long before the Ravens wind up back on CBS Radio (now, no doubt, in full desperation mode with an open checkbook) and how long before the former lapdogs over at The Fan start to bite an ongoing 14-year summer train wreck and have their press credentials revoked by the Orioles?

When will our friends Scott and Bruce and Ed and Steve and Bob and Mark and Damon and Jeremy begin “Uncensored” gameday coverage of the Orioles now that Angelos will do his best to make sure they don’t see a dime of revenue regarding the baseball team?

So, far, Scott Garceau has been jettisoned from the daily MASN TV lineup (bowing to the “new partners” at WBAL and Hearst) and Lord only knows how that partnership is going to stay attached now that the CBS Radio portion has been given the cold shoulder by Mr. Angelos, who apparently prefers the sound of mono

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Five Ravens Named to AFC Pro Bowl Roster

Posted on 28 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

Five Baltimore Ravens were amongst the players named to the AFC Pro Bowl roster Tuesday.

LB Ray Lewis (12th selection), S Ed Reed (7th), LB Terrell Suggs (4th), DT Haloti Ngata (2nd) and K Billy Cundiff (1st) were all selected to participate in the NFL’s annual All-Star Game. Lewis, Reed and Ngata were selected as starters.

“Wow, No. 12 feels like No. 1,” Lewis said via a team press release. “Every year is a different year, and you prepare each offseason for one year at a time. I tell my teammates that I am going to train to be a Pro Bowl player that season, and my focus paid off again this season. This never gets old. This is the greatest honor ever, because this is from the fans, the coaches and your peers. You can never take anything for granted, and I never take this for granted. I am blessed with great teammates, and I wouldn’t be here without them. I feel this is a team award.”

“This is awesome,” Suggs added in the same press release. “The only thing that would be better than this is a Super Bowl. It has been a long few years, and to come back and be recognized by your peers is amazing. This is something you can’t do by yourself; it takes a unit. I have to thank my teammates, especially the defense – and particularly Haloti [Ngata] – for pushing me to do the little extra things when I didn’t want to.”

Cundiff was selected to his first Pro Bowl barely more than a year removed from being unemployed.

“I am humbled, as this is such a great honor,” Cundiff said in the press release. “This is the result of having great teammates and coaches surrounding you. The rapport that (Punter) Sam [Koch] and (LS) Morgan [Cox] and I developed during training camp was invaluable this season. I worked my butt off to prove to our coaches that they made the right choice, and hopefully, this gives them a little gratification.”

“This is a testament to Billy’s hard work and determination,” Ravens assistant head coach/special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg added in the press release. “Billy has shown incredible perseverance throughout his career, and he has always remained dedicated to becoming a great kicker in the NFL. I believe that the other players in this league not only respect what he has done, but also how he has done it.  He never lost faith in himself, and he continued to improve.  He is richly deserving of this honor, as is his wife, Nicole, who has been tremendously supportive.”

The 2011 Pro Bowl will be played January 30 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, HI. Should the Ravens make it to Super Bowl XLV (which is one week later in Arlington, TX), players would not participate in the Pro Bowl game.

A number of Ravens players were also selected as Pro Bowl alternates.

Koch, FB Le’Ron McClain and G Ben Grubbs were named 1st alternates. QB Joe Flacco and OT Michael Oher were named 3rd alternates. WR Anquan Boldin, RB Ray Rice and S Dawan Landry were named 4th alternates.

“I’m happy for those who made it,” Ravens executive vice president and general manager Ozzie Newsome said in the press release. “I’m also pleased for the alternates who get to know that players and coaches around the league think highly of them. Plus, it gives them something to shoot for.”

Only the Atlanta Falcons (7) and New England Patriots (6) had more players named to the Pro Bowl than the Ravens. The Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys also had five players named Pro Bowlers.

Former Ravens who were selected to the Pro Bowl included Falcons FB Ovie Mughelli (1st selection) and Pittsburgh Steelers LB James Harrison (4th selection).

TEAM CHOOSING BETWEEN TWO LONG SNAPPERS: During his weekly radio show Tuesday night on WBAL, Head Coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens were set to choose between two of the long snappers who tried out at the 1 Winning Drive facility in Owings Mills.

The Ravens selection will replace Cox, who will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL suffered in the team’s Week 16 win over the Cleveland Browns.

National Football Post reported late Tuesday the choice will be between former Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints LS Kevin Houser and former Houston Texans LS Bryan Pittman.

Former Washington Redskins LS Ethan Albright and former Patriots LS Jake Ingram were also amongst those who reportedly tried out.

NOTES
: Cox joined Drew Forrester Tuesday on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, hear that chat now in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net……WR Donte’ Stallworth met with reporters Tuesday after being selected as the team’s Ed Block Courage Award recipient last week. “It [winning the award] means a lot, especially with this being my first year on the team, said Stallworth. “It lets me know that I have made some kind of impact on these guys in the locker room. I’ve always been a person of integrity and tried to always do the right things. It means that people see that that’s the kind of person that I am once they get to know me”……Former Ravens/current Redskins DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu and Former Maryland Terrapins/current Oakland Raiders LB Eric Barton were announced Tuesday as Ed Block Courage Award winners for their respective teams……The Ravens will return to practice Wednesday; Harbaugh, Lewis, Flacco and Rice are amongst the players expected to meet with the media

-G

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A Tale of Two Johns: Like Cooper Had to Beat Michigan, Harbaugh Has to Beat Steelers

Posted on 08 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

2-5 isn’t quite 2-10-1.

That being said, 2-5 might not be a totally fair representation.

Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh has learned a tough lesson this week following his team’s heartbreaking 13-10 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday.

In Baltimore-much like in Columbus, Ohio-fans simply won’t accept rivalry losses.

John Cooper was a tremendous college football coach. During a head coaching career at Tulsa, Arizona State, and Ohio State that spanned from 1977-2000; Cooper posted a 192-84-6 record and tallied nine conference championships.

Cooper was the head coach of the Buckeyes from 1988-2000. He went 111-43-4 during that span, claiming three Big Ten titles. Cooper guided the Buckeyes to bowl appearances in 11 of his 13 seasons and finished with a losing record only once-his first season in Columbus. Cooper counted wins in both the Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl during his time as the Buckeyes’ head man, and played in bowl games on New Year’s Day or later an impressive nine times.

Cooper had incredible success as the Head Coach at Ohio State. The type of success that might have earned him the right to determine his own fate. “Might have” if not for one glaring problem.

2-10-1.

As head man in Columbus, Cooper’s Buckeyes posted just a 2-10-1 record against the Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State’s biggest rival.

It wasn’t just that Cooper’s teams struggled in their regular season finale against the opponent alumni and fans despised the most. The bigger problem was that Ohio State’s battles with Michigan regularly determined the final outcome for the Buckeyes’ season.

In 1993, Ohio State entered the Michigan game with a 9-0-1 record, but a 28-0 loss in Ann Arbor cost them an outright conference title. In 1995, Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George lead the Buckeyes back to Ann Arbor with an undefeated record and national title dreams. After a 31-23 defeat, the Buckeyes were sent to the Citrus Bowl instead.

1996 provided the greatest heartbreak for the Buckeyes in the John Cooper era, as they entered the Michigan game again undefeated and ranked #2 in the country. The Buckeyes had a 9-0 lead at halftime against Lloyd Carr’s Wolverines, but ultimately fell 13-9 at home.

OSU would eventually win another game against Michigan under Cooper in 1998, but they never posted back to back wins in the series under his guide. Cooper was fired following an 8-4 campaign in 2000. While academic and off-field troubles surrounding the program played a role in his firing, his record against Michigan ultimately played a major role.

In fact, when new coach Jim Tressel took over in Columbus he made a point to put special emphasis on the Michigan rivalry. After the former Youngstown State head coach was hired by the Buckeyes, he made a memorable halftime speech at a Ohio State-Michigan basketball game, according to ESPN.com…

“I can assure you that you will be proud of our young people, in the classroom, in the community, and most especially in 310 days in Ann Arbor, Michigan on the football field.”

Following Sunday’s loss, Harbaugh now holds a 2-5 record against the Ravens’ heated AFC North rivals, including the 2009 AFC Championship Game.

(Every Ravens fan knows that both of Harbaugh’s wins in the rivalry came in games where Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was not on the field. That’s why the 2-5 record may not be such a fair representation.)

In 2008, Harbaugh’s second loss to the Steelers cost the Ravens a shot at the division title and forced them to hit the road in the playoffs. After a hard fought divisional round win over the Tennessee Titans in Nashville, the Ravens appeared flat when they hit the field for the conference title game at Heinz Field. Harbaugh’s third loss to the Steelers cost the Ravens a trip to Tampa Bay to face the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

(Harbaugh’s first loss to the Steelers-a Week 4 Monday Night Football defeat early in 2008-was also a loss that could have earned the Ravens home field advantage had they won the game. Week 4 losses just don’t tend to be quite as agonizing as losses in Week 15.)

Harbaugh’s fourth loss to the Steelers wasn’t quite as crushing. Despite losing in the Steel City in late 2009, the Ravens held on to earn a Wild Card playoff berth via a tiebreaker after the teams finished with matching 9-7 records.

Harbaugh’s fifth loss in the series shapes up to be as crushing if not more than any of the others. Had the Ravens held on for a Week 13 win over the Steelers, they would have controlled their own destiny (and actually held a one game margin of error) to win the division, receive a first round bye and host a playoff game in the divisional round.

The Ravens were a home win over the Steelers away from having a significantly clearer path to Dallas and a chance to again play for the Vince Lombardi Trophy this season.

We know now that the path isn’t so clear.

Had Sunday’s loss been to the Cincinnati Bengals or Cleveland Browns, it would have been difficult for fans to stomach. Sunday’s loss was particularly costly, and it would have left a dark cloud hanging over Charm City no matter who the opponent had been.

Yet because it was a rivalry loss, because it was the Steelers, there is simply no doubt that the black cloud left by the defeat remains darker than anything that came from fires on The Block or in Mt. Vernon.

(As an aside, does anyone see symbolism in the fact that the city has dealt with multiple REAL black clouds after a Steelers loss?)

The fact is, this fanbase CANNOT stomach losses to the Steelers, especially not losses of such magnitude. Losses hurt, but losses to the Steelers are absolute gut punches.

As Drew Forrester and I opined last week on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, this city doesn’t look at a Ravens loss to the Steelers as a NFL loss. The city tends to look at such losses as a loss to the city of Pittsburgh in general. There’s a natural feeling that it wasn’t a football team that won on Sunday night, but instead the entire Western Pennsylvania area.

It leads to frustration, pain and anger. As I wrote immediately following Sunday night’s game, the ability for fans to be rational goes completely out the window after a loss to the Steelers.

Harbaugh found that out Tuesday night during his radio show on WBAL.

A caller to the show questioned Harbaugh on the job status of DL Coach Clarence Brooks, one of the more respected assistants on the Ravens’ staff.

Harbaugh didn’t handle the question well, chiming back “Clarence Brooks does a great job. We will fight our tails off. If that’s not enough, then find another team to root for” according to the National Football Post.

It wasn’t the only time Harbaugh lost his cool during the show. Again according to NFP, Harbaugh also explained at one point: “if you’re not proud of this football team, then you don’t know football.”

Harbaugh probably didn’t handle the questions the best way he could have. There’s no doubt that his frustration reflected poorly with the fans who were listening, even if his answers were fair.

But the problem wasn’t the response. The problem was the result.

Ravens fans are NEVER going to be accepting of losses to the Steelers.

When the Ravens lose to the Steelers, the fanbase is going to respond poorly. This won’t be the last time a John Harbaugh-coached Ravens team plays the Steelers with major AFC North or overall playoff ramifications. In fact, the majority of the games the two teams will play against each other will be played with a lot on the line.

While college football and the NFL aren’t similar in many ways, this is an area where the rivalry is much like Ohio State-Michigan.

It isn’t just a rivalry because the two teams (or fanbases) don’t like each other. Ole Miss and Mississippi State don’t like each other, but their games rarely mean much of anything in the SEC. Ravens-Steelers games regularly mean a lot in the AFC.

The comparison is something John Harbaugh should really understand. John went to Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. His father (Jack Harbaugh) was an assistant under Bo Schembechler at Michigan. His brother (Jim Harbaugh) was a quarterback for the Maize and Blue. (Jim’s teams were 3-1 against Ohio State.) Ohio State-Michigan is in John Harbaugh’s blood.

In that way, Harbaugh probably understands well what happened to Cooper at Ohio State. Hopefully that understanding can be transcendent.

If John Harbaugh is going to succeed as the Head Coach of the Baltimore Ravens, he is going to HAVE to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

There’s just no getting around that.

Harbaugh is not in jeopardy of being run out of town like Cooper was at Ohio State.

I repeat, Harbaugh’s job is NOT in jeopardy. Certainly not at this point anyway.

But if he’s going to succeed here long-term, he’s going to HAVE to beat the Steelers. If not, a few annoying calls to a radio show will turn into general discontent, and eventually a much more vitriolic fanbase.

That’s what happened to Cooper in Columbus.

Harbaugh doesn’t have to win EVERY game against the Steelers. Since taking over at Ohio State, Tressel has gone 9-1 against the rival Wolverines, which isn’t a realistic expectation for Harbaugh against the Steelers.

But he has to start winning SOME meaningful games against the Steelers, or the Ravens won’t accomplish the things they need to for Harbaugh to be successful as a Head Coach.

And if 2-5 is a pace that continues for Harbaugh against the Steelers, Harbaugh’s story will likely have a similar ending as Cooper’s.

-G

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Ravens-Steelers Purple Haze Live Chat 8:15pm!

Posted on 05 December 2010 by Glenn Clark

BALTIMORE — Greetings from M&T Bank Stadium, where the Baltimore Ravens (8-3) will battle the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-3) for first place in the AFC North. Tonight’s game will air live on NBC (WBAL 11 in Charm City) with Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Andrea Kramer on the call. We will be chatting about the game in our “Purple Haze” live chat starting at 8:15pm. You can join the chat HERE.

Here are the inactives for tonight’s game…

Pittsburgh
:
RB Jonathan Dwyer
CB Crezdon Butler
OT Tony Hills
QB Charlie Batch (3rd QB)
DT Steve McLendon
OT Chris Scott
DE Aaron Smith (triceps)
TE Matt Spaeth (concussion)

Baltimore:
FB Le’Ron McClain (ankle)
FB Jason McKie
OL Bryan Mattison
CB Cary Williams
LB Jason Phillips
LB Dannell Ellerbe
DT Lamar Divens
DT Arthur Jones

The Ravens will be in purple tops and black pants for tonight’s game. The Steelers will be in white tops and yellow pants.
Terry McAulay’s crew will officiate tonight’s game.

Come chat with us!

-G

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Ravens-Falcons “Purple Haze” Live Chat 8:15pm Tonight!

Posted on 11 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

ATLANTA, Ga. — Greetings from the Georgia Dome, where the Baltimore Ravens (6-2) will battle the Atlanta Falcons (6-2) in the season premiere of “Thursday Night Football” on NFL Network. Bob Papa, Joe Theismann and Matt Millen will have the call tonight, the game will also be carried back to Charm City on WBAL 11. We will be chatting throughout tonight’s game in our “Purple Haze”, which you can join HERE.

Here are your inactives for tonight’s game-

Baltimore:
S Tom Zbikowski (foot)
DT Arthur Jones
DT Lamar Divens
OL Scott Kooistra
S Ken Hamlin
TE Dennis Pitta
LB Jason Phillips
DT Brandon McKinney

Atlanta
:
TE Justin Peelle (groin)
LB Sean Weatherspoon (knee)
DE Lawrence Sidbury
OT Garrett Reynolds
DT Trey Lewis
OG Mike Johnson
QB John Parker Wilson (3rd QB)
CB Dominique Franks

LB Stephen Nicholas will start for Weatherspoon.

The Ravens will be in white tops and white pants, the Falcons are wearing throwback uniforms tonight, as former CB Deion Sanders will be places in their “Ring of Honor” at halftime. They have black tops white pants and red helmets. Ron Winter’s crew will officiate tonight’s game.

Come chat with us!

-G

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stpattys

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 08 November 2010 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Women’s College Basketball-Monmouth @ Maryland (Saturday 5pm Comcast Center); Golf: PGA Tour Children’s Miracle Network Classic (Thursday-Sunday 1pm from Lake Buena Vista, FL live on Golf Channel); College Soccer: MAAC Tournament (Friday & Sunday Ridley Athletic Complex), Stony Brook @ UMBC (Wednesday 7pm UMBC Soccer Stadium); NBA: Houston Rockets @ Washington Wizards (Wednesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Charlotte Bobcats @ Washington Wizards (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Washington Wizards @ Chicago Bulls (Saturday 8pm from Chicago live on Comcast SportsNet PLUS & WGN America)

10. Black Crowes (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live; Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm 9:30 Club), Music 4 Maryland feat. Pat McGaee Band (Saturday 7pm Rams Head Live), John Butler Trio (Sunday 8pm Rams Head Live); CKY (Saturday 7pm Recher Theatre); Powerman 5000 (Friday 8pm Sonar); Brad Garrett (Thursday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head On Stage); Steven Page (Thursday 6pm 9:30 Club); Rusted Root (Wednesday 8pm State Theatre); Experience Hendrix feat. Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Steve Vai, Susan Tedeschi, Living Colour (Thursday 8pm Hippodrome); Allman Brothers Band (Friday 8pm D.A.R. Constitution Hall); Shinedown (Wednesday 8pm Warner Theatre), Brian Regan (Friday 7:30pm Warner Theatre); Bob Dylan (Saturday 7pm Smith Center-George Washington University); Straight No Chaser (Saturday 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Cee-Lo Green “Lady Killer” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday); Kid Cudi “Man on the Moon 2: The Legend of Mr. Rager” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman will be on with Drew Forrester Wednesday at 9:05am on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST. On Wednesday night, you’ll hear Black Crowes drummer Steve Gorman rocking the hell out of tunes like “Remedy”…

I’m been saying for years that there is NO excuse for anyone to not be into John Butler Trio. They’re the best thing to come from Australia since Nicole Kidman. Strike that. JBT is better.

If you don’t love the Allman Brothers, you might as well get the hell our of this country…

And there is no disc coming out this year that I have looked forward to as much as I’m looking forward to Cee-Lo’s. Holy hell…

9. Maryland Irish Festival (Friday-Sunday Timonium Fairgrounds)

I feel like I’ve celebrated this once already this year. Wasn’t it just called St. Patrick’s Day?!?!?

stpattys

Hell…if it involves Bangers and Mash, Guinness, and screaming along to a Flogging Molly song, I don’t care when we celebrate. I’m IN.

8. Auto Racing: NASCAR Kobalt Tools 500 (Sunday 3pm from Phoenix live on ESPN)

Do I include Sunday’s NASCAR race because I give a crap about Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson or anything related to the Chase For The Cup? Of course not. I include Sunday’s race because damnit, it’s happening in Arizona; and that’s a mighty fine excuse for me to remind you of other things that happen in the great state of Arizona…

asu

The scenery there is really quite breathtaking…

7. NHL: Washington Capitals @ New York Rangers (Tuesday 7:30pm from New York live on VERSUS), Tampa Bay Lightning @ Washington Capitals (Thursday 7pm from Verizon Center live on NHL Network & Comcast SportsNet), Washington Capitals @ Buffalo Sabres (Saturday 7pm from Buffalo live on Comcast SportsNet), Atlanta Thrashers @ Washington Capitals (Sunday 5pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

If I was excited about something the Caps were doing, I’d tell you. Since I’m not, we’ll move on to something more interesting.

Yahoo! Sports’ Puck Daddy tells me Sean William Scott is going to be in an upcoming hockey movie entitled “Goon.” That might not be interesting in and of itself, but it reminds me of one of my favorite lines in movie history…

6. Boxing: Manny Pacquiao vs. Antonio Margarito, Kelly Pavlik vs. Brian Vera (Saturday 9pm from Arlington, TX live on HBO Pay-Per-View)

Dance a happy dance, Dallas. This marks the last time your fine city will host a relevant sporting event until the Super Bowl!!!

By no means do I support anything that fans of the Washington Redskins would enjoy, but I will admit that this t-shirt might be good enough to purchase….

cowboyssuck

Sorry I didn’t write anything about the boxing match. It was supposed to have Floyd Mayweather. If it did, it would be relevant.

5. High School Football-MPSSAA Playoffs: Perry Hall @ Urbana (Friday 7pm)

I know there are plenty more relevant games that are being played this weekend. But as this appears to be the final contest of the season for my Gators, I figured I’d give them a special shoutout.

The bigger issue is that it leaves me with no more opportunities to tell embarrassing stories of myself from high school. So….here’s a picture from my High School Prom. This should make up for a month’s worth of missed embarrassing stories with PHHS’s upcoming elimination…

prom

4. College Basketball: 2K Sports Classic-College of Charleston @ Maryland (Wednesday 7pm from Comcast Center live on ESPNU), Maine @ Maryland (Sunday 2pm from Comcast Center live on Comcast SportsNet); VMI @ UMBC (Sunday 3pm RAC Arena); Drexel @ Loyola (Friday 8pm Reitz Arena)

You know what I like about C-of-C? Their team is called the Cougars. In a semi-related story, here’s a picture of Diane Lane…

dianelane

3. College Football: Maryland @ Virginia (Saturday 3:30pm from Charlottesville, VA live on ESPN3.com), Central Michigan @ Navy (Saturday 3:30pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS College Sports), Maine @ Towson (Saturday 2pm Unitas Stadium); South Carolina State @ Morgan State (Thursday 7:30pm Hughes Stadium); McDaniel @ Johns Hopkins (Saturday 1pm Homewood Field)

God I can’t stand the freaking Cavaliers.

I can’t stand the stupid ties they wear to games.

I can’t stand how they think “Wahoos” is a cool nickname.

I can’t stand how they use “Auld Lang Syne” as their victory song.

But what I can’t stand more than anything else? How the hell is it possible that a place I despise so much produced one of the greatest bands in the history of music?!?!?!

2. Mixed Martial Arts: Shogun Fights III (Saturday 6:30pm 1st Mariner Arena); UFC 122: Nate Marquardt vs. Yushin Okami (Saturday 8pm from Oberhausen, Germany on SpikeTV); WEC: Urijah Faber vs. Takeya Mizugaki (Thursday 9pm from Las Vegas live on VERSUS)

I can’t implore you enough to head down to SF3 Saturday night. John Rallo puts on a hell of an event, and it’s cool enough just to support the notion of having big-time MMA events in Charm City. If you want a future UFC Fight Night or Strikeforce card in town, supporting Shogun Fights would be a hell of a step in the right direction.

And the thing is-if it is cool enough for THIS guy to attend, trust me-it’s much too cool for you…

rickeyhenderson

1. NFL: Baltimore Ravens @ Atlanta Falcons (Thursday 8:20pm from Atlanta live on NFL Network & WBAL11)

And what am I doing while I’m in The A-T-L this weekend? Well, I think a pilgrimage is in order….

dwarf house

I don’t know anything about the Hapeville Dwarf House, but if it’s the location of the original Chick-Fil-A, it will be the most important trip I ever take.

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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