Tag Archive | "Wisniewski"

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Tony Wiz: The new guy at WNST

Posted on 04 June 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Um, yea, don’t you know who I am?

I’m Tony Wisniewski, or, as my friends call me, Tony Wiz, and upon winning the Baltimore Sports Media Superstar competition in May, I’m the newest staff writer and on-air personality at WNST.

When I walked into the station yesterday morning, I realized this wasn’t little league anymore.

I saw Drew Forrester, the wily old veteran himself, through the glass of the studio, stringing together poetic brilliance before the seven-o’clock hour.  Then I shook hands with the legendary Luke Jones–and it took all I had to avoid paying him homage with a hearty and somewhat fan-boyishly creepy “Luuuuuuuuuke.”

Shortly thereafter, I was face-to-face with Pete DiLutis and the King of Baltimore Sports Talk himself, the Nasty One.

This string of events comes on the heels of being promised a Green Jacket by last year’s BSMS winner, Barry Kamen, receiving emails from Glenn Clark, having Twitter Tweet-versations with Ryan Chell, and sharing late night text messages with Brett Dickinson–um, it’s not what it sounds like.

Alas, for me, nothing will ever be the same–I’m in the Big Show now, baby.

Throughout the tenure of my broken-road of sports media contributions, I never truly thought I’d make it to this point.  And, while I facetiously exaggerate the details of meeting and joining the WNST staff, the  feelings of appreciation and humbleness serve as the true backdrop to  my excitement.

The BSMS competition was tough to compete in due to the expectation of skill, knowledge and polish; even tougher to win because of the talent-level that fiercely competed for the crown.  Worthy competitors like Tony Thornton, James Revere, Ethan Stewart, Josh Murr, et al, deserve all the credit in the world for having the cojones to step up for a shot at what I previously noted as “the life of kings.”  It’s not a business that’s suited for everyone, but there were certainly guys in this year’s contest who have a future should they truly choose to pursue it.

While I’ve always known that I know sports almost as well as anyone in town and I believed I could hang with the aforementioned big dogs of Baltimore’s only truth-telling all-sports-all-the-time station and media outlet, I never truly expected that I’d be here, writing this post and introducing myself to you, the true Baltimore sports fan that I’ve known, loved, and respected.

I ask this of you, true and real Baltimore sports fan: let’s hangout more often and talk Ravens, O’s, Terps, and even Wizards or Caps (if you must).  Let’s hang and grab a beer at WNST events.  Let’s rap on the air.  Let’s debate on social media.

At the end of the day, we’re cut from the same cloth.

We’re Baltimore people.

We’re sports fans.

We’re like no one else, anywhere else.  And it’s because of this that I want you to know who I am–almost as much as I’m looking forward to getting to know you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Buck

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Showalter’s past–Baltimore’s Future?

Posted on 01 June 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Don’t look now, but the past might be repeating itself.

There’s something to be said for being comfortable in your own skin—or in this case, you own spot in the batting order.

During the Buck Showalter era, the Orioles are no stranger to a lineup that has seen more shakeups than the Old Bay Crab Shuffle.

Nelson Cruz, the Major League Leader in home runs has yet to have a clear-cut spot in the order.

He’s batted in the two-hole, which is typically reserved for slap-hitters, table-setters, and guys who can spray the ball around the field while being able to run fairly well and steal a base or two.

He’s batted in the six-spot, which is generally reserved for a guy who can’t quite carry the load in the four-or-five hole, but can still drive the ball.

And, in the same breath, he’s batted third, fourth, and fifth throughout the season.

If you look atop the AL East, to a team like the Toronto Blue Jays, you’ll find the exact opposite, where slugger Jose Bautista has batted third all-season-long.  Alas, Edwin Encarnacion played a few games early-on as the number-five hitter, but has settled in nicely as the cleanup guy during his record-setting home run tear during the month of May.

The same can be said for the majority of ML teams who boast consistent all-star quality talent like the Orioles.

Perhaps the issue is that Showalter doesn’t truly understand how to manage big-talent in the Big Leagues.

Taking a step back, you’ll find that Showalter’s track-record shows that he starts to falter when his team makes the turn into a legitimate annual contender.

After being fired by the New York Yankees after the 1995 season, he went on to turn the Arizona Diamondbacks into a force to be reckoned with in the NL West—then he was fired after his third season.

Upon his departure from Arizona, he led the Texas Rangers’ organization to a major turnaround, only to falter the following two seasons—leading to his firing after a mediocre 2006 campaign.

Four years later, Showalter comes to Baltimore, leading the Orioles to a turnaround that others like Bobby Valentine said was impossible due to a franchise that’s “unfixable.”

There’s no question that Showalter did the improbable by re-molding Baltimore into a legit contender, but there certainly should be a question over whether or not he knows what to do with the franchise once it’s reached that level.

Part of Showalter’s success is due to his ability to manage average-talent and utilize a plug-and-play type of system.

While he’s terrific with shuffling fringe starters in and out, and getting the most out of guys who don’t really have much of a clear-cut Major League future, he lacks the ability to appropriately manage superstars and legitimate Major League talent.

A perfect example is the continued shuffling of the lineup and the inability to give a player like Nelson Cruz a stable spot in the batting order.

Certainly this isn’t to say that there’s no room to change a lineup from time to time, even the best of managers sometimes rearrange things to keep players on-alert, but to do it game-in and game-out is sophomoric and a glaring weakness of a manager who has proven in three other cities that he simply can’t handle the type of talent that removes his power to micromanage every facet of the roster, lineup, and game.

When Showalter took over in 2010, the Orioles were an unmitigated disaster. Now, in 2014, they’re not.  They’re a team who should have some continuity and consistency.

While there’s no solid argument to question his ability to turn a franchise around, there’s certainly room for concern and debate over whether he’s the right guy to get the job done moving forward.

Sitting at .500, there’s plenty of room to question whether or not Showalter’s past is destined to become Baltimore’s future.

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Ravens handing of Rice reeks of arrogance

Posted on 25 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

You can only talk your way out of things so much; and eventually even the unwise get wise to theatrical circles of rhetoric.

Ray Rice spoke to the public on Friday afternoon and shared exactly what anyone would expect from a guy trying to repair his image and place a stop-loss on the fallout from an embarrassing and very public domestic violence issue with his then-fiancee’, now wife.

Rice had a case of the “sorries” as he sat on the big stage and spoke to fans by using and abusing the local media via a proverbial dog-and-pony-show out at Owings Mills.  No questions, no comments, no additional information to be had.

Rice, fumbling through his phone, said exactly what he wanted to say; exactly what the Ravens wanted him to say.  Some have openly questioned the confusing strategy used by the Ravens PR team, led by Kevin Byrne.  But after listening to Byrne’s conversation with Nestor Aparicio on WNST.net via  The Happy Hours, anyone who wants to see through the smoke-screen will see that the plan and strategy was to make this situation look like it was one of unrehearsed sincerity.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the strategy, from a PR standpoint, was to make it look like there was, in fact, no strategy.

Considering the fact that Rice was previously taking 100-percent of the heat and criticism for his misstep, it’s pretty savvy for the Ravens, from an organizational view, to deflect and deter at least some of the negative attention from him.

It’s shrewd, it’s savvy, and it reeks of the utmost arrogance.

The truth is that the Ravens can pretty much do whatever they really want to do.  The majority of fans will blind themselves by the purple lights and chalk something like this up to something of a crusade against poor Ray Rice.

But the truth is, Rice doesn’t deserve sympathy and the fans don’t deserve to fall victim to a PR move that completely deters and derails their attention away from the questionable illegal actions from one of its local heroes.

Rice should have made a statement without a phone.  He should have apologized without having to “think” and “remember” what to say via some sort of note-taking app.  And, he should have had the respect and decency to stand up and act like a man by taking questions from the same group of media members who have virtually created the love-affair between he and Baltimore by giving him nothing but thanks and praise during the “good times.”

But Rice didn’t do that.  He opted to allow the Ravens to construct a strategy that made him look like an emotionally-drained victim worthy of everyone’s immediate forgiveness.

If it wasn’t bad enough to have Rice babble and wallow in his own pity-party about his family’s disappointment, the Ravens and Byrne went on to frame him as a victim who was too embarrassed to face women at work and too ashamed to even go to the team’s gym during regular hours.

What’s more is the savvy move to use Rice’s wife–who was truly the victim–as a pawn who publicly apologized for her role in the situation that took place in Atlantic City.  It comes across like the typical “he hits me, but he loves me” mentality, which is even more troubling on so many levels.

The Ravens set this up in the way they wanted this to be set up.  Have no doubt, when camp training camp begins later this summer, there will still be lingering questions from reporters and fans alike, who just want to get to the bottom of what the heck happened that night in Atlantic City.  And everyone deserves answers, because it’s not just Rice’s personal situation and hardship, it involves everyone who has any sort of interest and connection to the Ravens and the city of Baltimore.

It involves the fan who now has to take ridicule from opposing fans.  It involves the parents who have to explain why their son or daughter can’t wear his or her number-27 jersey to school.  It involves the guy who has to watch an accused wife-beater run the ball for the team he loves.

The Ravens’ choice to do it this way was arrogant; and when it comes to this type of rhetorical strategy, not everyone is fooled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s time to lower expectations on O’s

Posted on 23 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Right now, the Orioles aren’t bad.  They aren’t good either.

By and large, they’re, shall we say, “Okay.”

With a lineup that features inconsistent contributions from guys like David Lough and Ryan Flaherty, and a bullpen that is starting to look like the train-wreck many feared coming into the season, it might be time to settle down on the notion that Baltimore will be featuring October baseball.

Prior to the start of the season, on paper, the Orioles looked like the next coming of Murder’s Row.  It didn’t seem out-of-reach to expect that there could be a run at team home run records.

Now, approaching the dog-days of summer, it’s ludicrous to believe that this Orioles lineup is any better than anything that the club featured through the early-to-mid 2000s.

Chris Davis hasn’t been Chris Davis of the last few years.  Perhaps it’s injury-related, maybe it’s the fact that he’s public-enemy-number-one when it comes to opposing pitchers and detailed scouting reports, but he hasn’t provided the production that this lineup needed.

Adam Jones hasn’t figured out patience.  Matt Wieters and Manny Machado are dealing with injury issues.  And JJ Hardy looks to have regressed back to his Minnesota days, when he became an afterthought in terms of a power-threat.

Realistically, if it weren’t for the resurgence of Nelson Cruz, this team would be floundering near the bottom of what’s turning out to be arguably the most mediocre division in baseball–what a difference a few years makes, eh?

It’s not unrealistic to expect that the Orioles will turn this thing around.  Given the parity in the AL East, this current crop of Birds is probably good enough to make a late-season run and steal the division.  But it’s hard to expect that something that radical will happen.

There are too many injury-questions and bullpen issues to expect anything other than a roller-coaster season. There are too many questions over role-players and which “just another guy” to trot out to left field each night to think that this team has any real shot at doing anything spectacular or out-of-the-ordinary in 2014.

Perhaps this is the new version of “Why Not” baseball.

Could the Orioles make a run, why not?  Could they finish 20-games below .500, why not?  Is it possible that they’ll continue to almost be good and almost be bad, depending on which night you watch them, why not?

Right now the Orioles are just okay.  Can that change?  Why not?

But just don’t expect too much.

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wiz

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Sports Media Superstar Finals–The Right Guy will be King

Posted on 21 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Nearly a decade ago, I used to walk into the Baltimore Sun’s office and read the infamous HL Mencken quote regarding the idea that being a member of the media is truly the “life of kings.”

Early on in my short tenure on Calvert Street, I had a conversation with an up-and-coming-intern from New York.  I remember telling him that, in my opinion, there are guys who know what number Mike Devereaux wore, and guys who don’t.

Forget the jersey number, this guy had no idea who Mike Devereaux even was.

And that was my taste of local sports media.

Big names who didn’t understand why the town loathed Peter Angelos.  Experts who didn’t know which O’s pitchers were right-handed and which others were lefties.  Tenured writers who covered high school sports and wrote Har(T)ford county in their articles.

I wanted to be king, but in my mind, the kingdom was tarnished with ignorance and arrogance from all over the continental United States.  And, in many ways, nothing has changed.

Calling most of the surrounding local sports media “local” is about as off-base as calling Taco Bell “Mexican,” or Pizza Hut “Italian.”  Most of it is a façade that panders to the droves of bandwagon fans who attend a few ballgames per summer, yelling “Let’s Go O’s” and tragically partaking in “The Wave” during a 2-1 nail biter.

But, among the cesspool of politically-driven hires and fraudulent local gurus, WNST shines with authenticity.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the guy that’s always bowed down to Nestor and crew.  I’ve disagreed, fired-away angry emails, and cursed the 1570 call-letters more than a few times.  But at the end of the day, it’s all Baltimore has that’s true and real; it’s the only place left that tells the truth, whole truth, and nothing but.

Tonight, at Buffalo Wild Wings in White Marsh, as WNST’s Baltimore Sports Media Superstar competition concludes, someone will inherit the responsibility of being a real member of the professional local sports media.

Media, especially sports media, is one of those gigs that looks cool to outsiders.

At first glance it’s all about fun people, free food, and fist bumps.  At second glance, it’s long hours filled with the ability to create magic by capturing an on-air interview for the ages, putting together the pieces to created a memory on paper—or, perhaps more accurately, the screen of a fan’s iPad or laptop.

Regardless of whichever way it’s looked at, it’s work.

It’s work that few get to do, and even fewer are fully capable of doing—especially on the local level.pture the moment on paper—or, perhaps more accurately, the screen of a fan’s iPad or laptop.

It’s the responsibility of understanding the amount of power that can be wielded with a few sentences and the obligation of high-character and the commitment to credibility.  And, if it sounds noble, it sounds that way because it is.

Roughly a decade removed from my personal run at becoming a bona fide member of the sports media, I look at tonight as a chance to pick up where I left off back in the early 2000s.  A chance to remove the stale taste of Seattle-based columnists, Boston-based ballpark reporters, and California-based sports editors.

This is Baltimore and the true Baltimore sports fan deserves to spend his or her time listening to and reading sports commentary and reporting from one of its own.

And, tonight will be a good night.  Tonight’s the kind of night where Baltimore gets to celebrate its home-grown talent like previous BSMS winner Luke Jones, Barry Kamen and Brett Dickinson.

Tonight, someone gets the chance to earn a spot among those living the lives of kings.

No matter what the outcome, it’ll be the right guy—just as long as he knows who Mike Devereaux is.

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wes_unseld

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Watching the Wizards — from a distance

Posted on 08 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

It’s hard not to watch the Wizards’ playoff run.

They’re young.  They’re exciting.  They’re from Washington.

This is Baltimore.  Just down Interstate-95, about 35-minutes south, is Washington.  Baltimore isn’t Washington–and the Wizards aren’t the hometown team.

For a decade, the Civic Center–Baltimore Areana/First Mariner Arena–housed the red-white-and-blue uniforms that represented the city’s NBA franchise.  And then, after the 1973 season, they whisked away to the greener pastures of the Washington DC suburbs of Landover.

And, like that, the Bullets were no longer property of Baltimore.

Though the franchise made an effort to travel to Charm City for several home-games each year, it was never quite right; almost like having dinner with an ex-girlfriend who says she’s confused and needs space, but you know she’s been sleeping with some other guy for quite some time.

On a personal level, a kid like me never knew any better.  Born in 1983,  I knew nothing other than vivid memories of Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, told to me by my basketball-crazed father.

Sure, as a kid we watched the Bullets on Home-Team-Sports (big-time throwback), and we went to any games that the team played in Baltimore–even though it was routinely against bottom-feeders like the Barkley-less-Sixers, the Laettner-led Timberwolves, or the JV team that used to be the New Jersey Nets.

Rex Chapman bombing threes over Hersey Hawkins, or Pervis Ellison going body-to-body with Dwayne Schintzius, wasn’t exactly a premier brand of basketball–but it was all Baltimore had.

As a kid, it was perfectly acceptable to run around the Bear Creek and West Inverness playgrounds with a handmade Tom Gugliotta jersey while bellowing out “Guuuuuuuugs.”

Ah, but ignorance is bliss.  As time went on, it became more and more apparent that the Bullets couldn’t really care less about Baltimore.

Even though mainstays like Wes Unseld and Phil Chenier claimed love for Baltimore and its fans who created a college-type of atmosphere, the organization decided that in 1997, it was the end of the yearly trips to Baltimore–officially closing the door on memory lane.

By 1998, the re-branded Wizards took to the court at the newly constructed MCI Center in the heart of one of the worst crime-laden neighborhoods in our Nation’s Capital.  And, even though Baltimore has been the backdrop of drug-infested war-stories like HBO’s The Wire, try and convince a Dundalkian, Overlean, or Parkvillian to venture into DC.

You’d have a better chance of convincing a Fallston girl to leave a Fed Hill bar and go to a keg-party in a Dundalk basement.

And that’s just it.  It’s not that Baltimore and its fans lost interest in the Bullets-turned-Wizards.  It’s that the franchise lost interest in its roots.

The official statements that the organization made and would continue to make if anyone still asked the question, would be that they aren’t going to keep piling into a dilapidated arena when they have a newer facility less-than-an-hour away.

But there’s more to the story than that; perhaps most importantly, it’s not the arena that the Bullets-Wizards franchise shunned, it’s the fans.

The fans of Baltimore who had memories of Gus Johnson and Elvin Hayes.  The fans who clamored to get tickets to watch a couple of games per year from obstructed view seats.  The fans who still think that the Wizards are part of Baltimore.

And that’s what it’s become.  A fallacy of what once was.

These days, as a kids who never really knew the Bullets like my dad did, I watch the Wizards and appreciate their youthful enthusiasm and the growing chemistry of budding superstars like Bradley Beal and John Wall.

But I look at them as I look at Oklahoma City’s franchise; or Indiana’s, or Brooklyn’s.

This is Baltimore.  And while it’s certainly understandable to like the Wizards and enjoy their run in the playoffs, it’s important to remember, they’re Washington’s team–not Baltimore’s.

Baltimore is watching–albeit from a distance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They Might Be Ravens: A Look at the 2014 Draft

Posted on 01 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Draft prognostication could easily re-brand itself as mental masturbation.

Todd McShay, Mel Kiper, Walt Cherepinsky, and anyone else regarded as an “expert” on who might choose who in next week’s NFL Draft, is merely taking a wild guess.

Things change.  Deals evolve.  GMs get pick-happy.  No one really knows what’s going to unfold in next Thursday’s first round, let alone the next six rounds that will carry on through the weekend.

Considering the track record of GM Ozzie Newsome, as well as today’s new that he openly stated the team is already fielding calls and offers to trade out of its first round spot, it’s nearly impossible to predict–with any degree of accuracy–who the Baltimore Ravens will select.

Instead of predicting via traditional mock-draft style, in this series, we’ll do a deep-dive into some of the potential early-round picks and their likelihood of donning a purple jersey this fall.

The following players, in one way or another, have the best shot at being the Ravens’ first draft pick–whether that pick comes at 17 or doesn’t happen until the second-round, these are the players that it’s safe to assume the Ravens have the most interest in–partly due to position, mostly due to talent on the board.

In the coming week, this series will highlight each of these players individually.

Taylor Lewan, Offensive Tackle, Michigan:  Will likely be long-gone by pick 17–unless his off-the-field issues turn out to be more troublesome than originally thought.

Zach Martin, Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame:  Originally thought as a mid-first-rounder, it’s looking more likely that he will be closer to the first-half of the first-round.

Morgan Moses, Offensive Tackle, Virginia:  Depending on who you talk to and who you read, Moses is a fringe-first-rounder with a lot of upside.  The only issue is that he is a true left tackle–where the Ravens need a right.

Cyrus Kouandijo, Offensive Tackle, Alabama: Even though he has tremendous size (6-6, 322) he’s been labeled as un-athletic and slow–also has a history of knee issues.

JaWuan James, Offensive Tackle, Tennessee:  A smart, high-character player, he lacks footwork and polish.

Eric Ebron, Tight End, North Carolina:  A true playmaker and matchup nightmare, there’s little chance he’ll be available after pick 12.

Troy Niklas, Tight End, Notre Dame:  Not a first-rounder, he could be a player the Ravens consider if they do trade out of the first round and pick up a second, second-round pick.

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Safety, Alabama:  Originally thought to be one of the Ravens’ favorites, he’s crept much further up the board, perhaps into the top-10.

Calvin Pryor, Safety, Louisville:  It’s possible he’ll be available at pick-17, the only problem is that he’ll be there because other teams are shying away from him due to his inability to make big defensive plays.

Darqueze Dennard, Cornerback, Michigan State:  One of the most talented corners in the draft, it’s likely he won’t fall as far as 17, but if he does, don’t be surprised if the Ravens don’t take a hard look.

Bradley Roby, Cornerback, Ohio State:  It’s unlikely the Ravens would take him at 17, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Kyle Fuller, Cornerback, Virginia Tech:  See comment on Roby.

Justin Gilbert, Cornerback, Oklahoma State:  A fringe-first rounder, he’s more likely a candidate to be taken in the second-round, should be be there when the Ravens hit the clock.

Brandin Cooks, Wide Receiver, Oregon State:  An absolute burner, the Ravens will certainly kick the tires if players like Lewan and Clinton-Dix are off-the-board.

Cody Latimer, Wide Receiver, Indiana:  It’s possible, barring a trade out of the first round, armed with two second-round picks, the Ravens would take a flier on this boom-or-bust pick.

Carlos Hyde, Running Back, Ohio State:  Probably not really on the Ravens’ radar, but he’s the number-one back in the draft–a true position of need.

Terrance West, Running Back, Towson:  The local product could very well be a second-round target for his hometown team.

CJ Mosely, Linebacker, Alabama: Considering Newsome’s affinity for his alma mater, this isn’t too much of a stretch.

Anthony Barr, Linebacker, UCLA:  This could be a dark horse pick, as Barr is a pass-rushing specialist with a ton of upside–he could be the “best player on the board” by the time the Ravens pick at 17.

Stay tuned for individual analysis–”MM”–on each of these players.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pineda’s Pine Tar Gaff, Phelps’ Return, and in other news…

Posted on 25 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

  • Yankees pitcher, Michael “Sticky Fingers” Pineda,” feels sad” for getting caught playing with his pine tar smothered neck in between pitches.

In other news…When talking to reporters, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Pineda wasn’t “trying to cheat.” He then could be heard phoning in a bulk order of “three cases of Vaseline, two rolls of sandpaper, and a year-supply of rubber cork.”

  •  Baltimore-native, Michael “Human Fish” Phelps, made a dramatic return to swimming yesterday, losing to fellow Olympian Ryan Lochte.

In other news…98% percent of American sports fans recently learned that competitive swimming actually took place outside of the Olympics.

  •  The Baltimore Ravens re-signed ex-Terps receiver LaQuan Williams yesterday, a year removed from releasing him with an injury settlement.

In other news…Terps’ diehards brace for another looming heartbreak when the Ravens realize they can only keep 53-players on the roster.

  •  Former Oriole, and former manslaughter suspect, Alfredo Simon is accused of raping a woman last spring in DC.

In other news…Reds pitcher Alfredo Simon makes a surprise visit to Pittsburgh to consult with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (#neverforget #scumbag)

  •  Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin will drive the pace card for tomorrow’s Richmond NASCAR race.

In other news…public officials and historians brace for tomorrow’s monumental event in Richmond where it’s reported that for the first time ever, an African American will attend a NASCAR event.

 

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Series Synopsis: Royals come to Baltimore looking to end skid

Posted on 25 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

The Royals are one of those teams.

On the cusp of being “good,” the Kansas City faithful has hung onto the idea that likes of Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Eric Hosmer would lead a generally irrelevant franchise back to a level of respectability it enjoyed during the 1980s and the days of George Brett.

Tonight, a (10-11) Kansas City team rolls into Baltimore looking for some upward momentum after losing four of its last five.

What you need to know about The Royals:

2014 Record:  10-11, last place in AL Central, two games back of first.

2013 Record:  86-76, Third place in AL Central.

Managed by:  Ned Yost.

Streak:  After winning six straight, the Royals have dropped four of five.

Turning Point: Royals’ DH Billy Butler has struggled mightily through 21 games, batting below the Mendoza Line (sub-.200).  If he can find a way to get his bat going, along with the rest of the solid KC lineup,  it could spell trouble for an O’s rotation that has struggled to minimize pitch-counts and efficiency.

Pitching Matchup of the Series:  Ubaldo Jimenez takes the bump for the fifth time as an Orioles’ starter.  He’ll be paired with Royals’ flame-throwing sensation Yordano Ventura.  Jimenez (0-3) is still looking for his first win this season, while Ventura, after earning his first Big League win two starts ago, is looking to rebound from a rocky outing last weekend.  This matchup will set the tone for the series, and if Ventura has his command working, Jimenez could find himself in another spot where he needs to work into the late innings and be much better than he’s been thus far.

Prediction:  The O’s bats came alive in Toronto, and with a healthy lineup for this weekend series at Camden Yards, there’s no reason to think the Birds can’t take two-of-three.

 

 

 

 

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Baltimore Sports Quiz — for real Baltimore sports fans

Posted on 24 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

You can fake a lot of things.

People can have thousands of Facebook friends and fake popularity.  Men can wear a power tie and fake success.  Women can fake orgasms.

It’s just the way of the world.

But you can’t fake sports.  In fact, it might be the one true thing you can’t fake.  And if you want to know what “faking” sounds like while it’s happening, tune in and listen to a Cast-off New York Cop and the Smartest Guy in an Empty Bathroom bumble through their idea of local sports talk every morning.

Last night, at Buffalo Wild Wings in Owings Mills, as part of the Baltimore Sports Media Superstar Competition, WNST proved why it’s the only sports media outlet who has the right to call itself “real” Baltimore sports talk.

The quiz that Nestor and the crew drummed up was the type of stuff that would make even the most seasoned historians, like Bob in Parkville, shudder before going into one of his classic historic tirades.  In fact, I’d be willing to bet that most of the sports media in this town wouldn’t come near any sort of respectable score on the WNST quiz.

I’ve taken a lot of local sports quizzes from outlets like The Sun–and I’ve aced them all without so much as breaking a sweat.  WNST’s was the toughest I’ve ever seen and I loved every minute of it.  It was exactly what you’d expect from real sports people.  The ones who don’t fake it.

In order to join in the festivities, I’m tossing out a quiz of my own quiz this evening.  If you can pass this with an “A,” you can call yourself a Baltimore Sports Fan.  If you struggle, well, I suggest you rectify your sins by taking a deep-dive into the past works of Steadman, Rosenthal, Eisenberg, McMullen, Aparicio, and Vecsey.  Ok–just kidding on the Vecsey thing; those of you who lived through and endured that horror will understand the sarcasm.

 

Here’s the Wiz Quiz–straight off the top of my head…

#1  In what year did the St. Louis Browns move to Baltimore?

#2  What was Rex Barney’s famous tag-line?

#3  What is the significance of Cubs GM Theo Epstein to Baltimore?

#4  Who was the first player to enter the Ravens’ Ring of Honor?

#5  Baltimore had three minor league hockey teams, what were their names?

#6  Baltimore’s USFL team’s nickname was?

#7  Which player won a Grey Cup with the Stallions and a Super Bowl with the Ravens?

#8  Who was the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Stallions during their Grey Cup victory?

#9  Who owned the Baltimore Stallions?

#10  Former Maryland Terps Basketball Coach, Bob Wade, has what significance to Baltimore?

#11  Which former Orioles’ pitching prospect had vanity license plates that read “24KTARM”?

#12  Which Orioles’ third baseman won Sporting News’ AL Rookie of the Year Honors in 1989?

#13  Cal Ripken Sr. wore which jersey number as a coach for the Orioles?

#14  Which two former Orioles make up two of only four members in MLB history to record more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs?

#15  Which movie was filmed at Camden Yards?

#16  Which movie was filmed at Ravens Stadium?

#17  Which owner played a major role in Baltimore not being awarded an expansion team over Jacksonville and Carolina?

#18  Who was the owner of the fashion store Merry-Go-Round, who also played a key role in the  ”Give Baltimore the Ball” campaign?

#19  Which receiver holds the Ravens’ single-season record of 14 touchdown receptions?

#20  Who was “Zeus”?

#21  Who was “Full Pack”?

#22  Which Orioles’ favorite was known for eating Froot Loops before games?

#23  In the 1989 season, in the fateful series in Toronto to finish the season, what strange injury caused Pete Harnish to miss his scheduled start?

#24  Which former Oklahoma Sooners basketball star was once thought to be the heir apparent to Cal Ripken?

#25  Who was “Iron Hands”?

#26  Who returned the blocked Al Del Greco field goal for a touchdown in Tennessee, paving the way for the Ravens to move on to the AFC Championship in January 2001?

#27  Which Ravens’ defensive back fueled much of the Steelers-Ravens rivalry by stepping on Plaxico Burress’ head during a scuffle?

#28  What is significant about the Esskay sign in right field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards?

#29  Who is Len Burrier?

#30  Which long-time NFL punter went to Towson University?

#31  Which Dunbar standout played alongside of Joe Smith, Exree Hipp, Johnny Rhodes and Duane Simpkins?

#32  What number did Deion Sanders wear as a member of the Ravens, and why?

#33  What is it customary to hold up as visiting opponents’ lineups are being announced at the University of Maryland basketball games?

#34  Which former O’s pitcher lost 21 games in 1954, and went on to throw the only perfect game in World Series history two years later as a member of the New York Yankees?

#35  Why would a true Baltimore fan despise the number that precedes this question?

 

Do you know this stuff without Googling?  Have a trivia question for me?  Shoot a message or leave a comment on how you did.

Click here for the answers.

 

 

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