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The O’s Keep Winning….and No One is at the Yard

Posted on 28 August 2012 by joshlevine

I get to spend a lot of time listening to sports talk radio in my car. No matter what station I listen too, it seems every caller is confused as to why people are not going to Camden Yards night in and night out. It has been said for years that once the Orioles win, the fans will return. They are clearly winning this year as they are 14 games over .500. Yet no one is going to see them live.

Time travel back in time with me to 1999. The Orioles were just two years removed from going wire to wire. Cal Ripken was still on the team. So was Surhoff, Mike Bordick, Brady Anderson and Mike Mussina. When Roberto Alomar and Raphael Palmeiro left town, then GM Frank Wren replaced them with Delino DeShields and Will Clark respectively. Wren also signed the much maligned Albert Belle that season who did bat .297 with 37 HR and 117 RBI. Harold Baines was still here and a man named Charles Johnson was our catcher. Scott Erickson and Juan Guzman were also on the pitching staff with the “great” Sir Sidney Ponson.

The team had talent and spent money. Yet I remember a game vividly in May 1999, having section 362 all to myself and a girl I was dating. We didn’t have two seats, we didn’t have a row we literally had the entire section to ourselves.

I know I know, they were not a good team and their record was not that good in 1999. They were 11 games under .500 in May of 1999. That’s my point. Fans stopped caring about the O’s long before this 14 years of losing was our excuse. Say what you want about Peter Angelos and there is a plenty of bad to be said, but in 1999 he gave him GM the check book to improve. The moves did not work out with players like DeShields or Clark or Belle, but moves were made. Talent was here. Baltimore just stopped caring about the O’s and going to games a long time ago.

Don’t get me wrong, I have Oriole fever like everyone else does, but the fact that people are not flocking back to the ball park does not surprise me. I often here people talking about how affordable it is to go to games. I disagree. Tickets are affordable, although insulting since they charge a surcharge if you want to walk up and buy tickets in advance.

However, the cost of going to the game is never cheap. Parking $20. Sure there is the light rail, but the light rail is not that convenient for people in Howard County or Anne Arundel County.

Food: Sure you can bring your own food to the game, but part of the fun of going to the ball game is to have a hotdog or Boogs BBQ. A hotdog costs $6. A beer costs $8. Soda $7. This stuff is pricey. It adds up.

Then there is the award winning staff who work at Camden Yards. You have ushers checking tickets and throwing people out of empty seats in the 8th inning of a blow out loss. A ticket taker “harassed” me about wearing a Ravens t-shirt to an O’s game. “Um, well its the only Baltimore shirt I had that was clean. Why do you work for a loser like Angelos?” These same staff members also seem to have no issue kissing the rear ends of out of town fans and allowing out of town fans to act rowdy and disrespectful yet eject Oriole fans from the park for doing nothing. A friend of mine was ejected from Camden Yards during a Yankee game. Why? Because a Yankee fan kept cursing in front of his six year old daughter and after asking nicely three times for said Yankee fan to cool off, the Yankee fan poured a beer on my friend. My friend reported it to an usher who told him to move his seat and when my friend argued, he was ejected from the Yard.

The last comment I have about Oriole attendance has to do with the Orioles commitment to the community. There is none. Who on the Orioles is around here year round? I remember in 1986 when the Orioles played the Howard COunty Youth program basketball coaches in a charity event. When has that happened? Remember when Elrod Hendricks died and almost no players attended his funeral? Who on this team is constantly out in the community? Meeting fans? Making appearances on the radio? The answer is no one. These guys do not embrace the fans and thus the fans have chosen not to embrace them. ..It’s as simple as that.

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Chill Out

Posted on 27 July 2012 by joshlevine

Well, I did not win the BSMS contest, but it was a lot of fun to participate. Hopefully, I will have the chance to contribute to WNST and the Baltimore Sports world. So today its back to being a sports fan and still blogging.

Bryant McKinnie has been a no show at Ravens training camp. The 32 year old McKinnie is dealing with an “issue” and has been fined $30,000 for failing to report to camp. While I think the Ravens could definitely use McKinnie and I am not worried if he never sets foot on the field this year.

Michael Oher is ready to step up and be the left tackle the Ravens expected him to be when they drafted him in 2009. Oher has certainly not been the dominant tackle people were hoping for but he is a solid player and someone who I think is ready to elevate his game. With Oher at left tackle, Bobby Williams can handle left guard. On the right side I completely expect Kelechi Osemele to beat out Jah Reed for the starting right tackle job. Marshal Yanda will be able to help tutor the man known as KO and all of a sudden the Ravens are not as old on the offensive line.

For some reason, everyone in this town panics when an older veteran starts to break down, gets injured, has a contract squabble or leaves town as a free agent. Unfortunately a certain columnist for the Baltimore Sun decides to write that the Ravens are in trouble and everyone panics.

Let’s remember in 2010, the Ravens went 12-4 with Oher at Right tackle. McKinnie was average in 2011 and his reputation certainly made him appealing. His run blocking was average at best. He was a decent pass blocker but by NO means was he a superstar.

The Ravens youth movement can continue by trusting Oher on the blind side and adding KO to the starting lineup. Let Jah Reed compete at guard and tackle. If McKinnie gets here and is in shape and is the best option at left tackle, fine. Otherwise, all I am saying is give Oher a chance.

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We Are…DISGRACED

Posted on 24 July 2012 by joshlevine

WE ARE…DISGRACED

In the sports world, the last 36 hours have been full of news about Penn State. It started Sunday, when the seven foot, 900 lb statue of former Penn State Football Coach Joe Paterno was removed from outside Beaver Stadium. Word quickly spread, that the NCAA was going to issue corrective and punitive damages in regards to Penn State that would not be the “death penalty” but would be worse than the “death penalty”.

Penn States Sentence:

 $60 Million fine

 Four year pan on post season play including the Big 10 Championship, Bowl/playoff games
 Loss of 20 scholarships per year
 Forfeiture of all victories from 1998 – 2011 total of 112 games

The penalties are harsh and truly do punish the past, the present and the future of Penn State Football. Sadly the reaction of the Joe Paterno/Penn State apologists is a disgrace. They simply do not get it.

This cult does not seem to grasp that a former head of the FBI who also was a federal judge, spent seven months investigating this case. This man who was commissioned by Penn State to investigate the handling of Jerry Sandusky’s accusations and determined that Paterno, Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Tim Curley, Gary Schultz, the board of trustees, janitors, assistant coaches all failed to protect innocent children because they all said and did nothing. Yet these people seemed concerned that Joe Paterno is not receiving due process. These people keep harping about all of the good Paterno did. It is great that he built a library and did do a lot of good with his life. However, he made a decision to protect his football program and allow Jerry Sandusky to continue to attack young children and said nothing until it was too late.

“We really don’t have all the facts”

During CNN and ESPN’s coverage of taking down of Joe Paterno’s statue, a woman by the name of Leslie looked into a video camera and said the sad thing about the statue coming down is that, “We really don’t have all the facts in this case.” A guy by the name of Jeremie felt that the University was caving to pressure and did not make its own decision. I guess for Leslie and Jeremie a 267 page report prepared by the former head of the FBI which included 400 interviews and millions of documents was not thorough. The family of Joe Paterno agrees.

A member of the Penn State Class of ’64 thought he would be creative and sat in front of Beaver Stadium yesterday with a card board cut out of Paterno because we support Joe. This image became popular on facebook quickly. One PSU alumni made the comment that any company has a chain of command and Paterno did what he was supposed to do by reporting the Sandusky accusations to his superiors. Clearly this woman does not have children or nieces, nephews, cousins or morals. First and foremost, Joe Paterno had no superiors. Perhaps in title, the athletic director or the university president were his superiors. You know, the guys, who in 2004 tried to convince Paterno to retire and were promptly thrown out of his house and the coach informing his “superiors” that he will decide when he retires. Joe Paterno was made such an icon that he truly was the most powerful figure at Penn State. His superiors, based on the Freeh report, followed his lead and let treated Sandusky humanely while allowing children to continue to be attacked.

The facts are present. The cult of Joe simply chooses to ignore them and will continue to ignore them because they cannot believe their hero lied and covered up Sandusky’s disgusting crimes.

“It is not fair to the current players”

A lot of people feel the current players at Penn State are unfairly suffering and being punished for doing nothing wrong. I will not argue that the current players are the collateral damage in this case. That is how things are in College Sports. USC is coming off a two year bowl ban and the loss of 30 scholarships because of benefits taken by Reggie Bush in 2004 and 2005. Tell me, where were the masses crying for the USC Trojans of 2011? Nowhere, because that is how programs have to be punished.

The current football players at Penn State did nothing wrong and sadly are going to miss out on the chance to play in bowl games and compete for national championships. While I feel bad for them, they at least have the choice to leave Penn State and go play somewhere else, they have the choice to stay and make the best of it or they have the choice of completing their degree and not playing. The victims of Sandusky had no choice. They had no choice because men like Paterno, Spanier, Schultz and co. allowed Sandusky to use the campus at his will and commit these disgusting acts.

The reaction of many of the Cult of Joe shows exactly why these penalties are not excessive. You cannot sweep this under the rug and claim it needs to be resolved in a court of law. That option was thrown out the window a long time ago because Joe Paterno was turned into an iconic “god” at Penn State. These actions are taken to punish the program and to take control away from power hungry coaches, boosters and the like and remind people that sports are not more important than life.

“No one from the NCAA talked to the Paterno Family”

It must be tough being a surviving member of Joe Paterno’s family. After all, the children of the “czar” lived a charmed life in their patriarch’s world. They were used to getting what they wanted, when they wanted. They were used to being in charge. Now, they are no longer the darlings of the sports world. The NCAA did not talk to the Paterno family because they did not need to. Joe Paterno spoke for himself before a grand jury. Due to his stature as the coach at PSU, there was plenty of documentation that proved he was lying. The Paterno family feels that Joe’s lawyers should have been contacted and allowed to interview key witnesses. They seem to not realize that Joe’s legacy is not entitled to a fair trial or due process. The NCAA did not owe the Paterno family anything. As the Paterno family has pointed out, the coach is dead and cannot defend himself. That does not mean his family has the right to defend his honor to the NCAA or in a court of law. The legacy cannot be punished if found guilty. Paterno had 14 years to defend himself. He had 14 years to confront Sandusky or call the police or do anything to keep him away from Penn State and away from children. Instead, Paterno chose to protect his baby, the Penn State Football Program.

“So I lost every college football game I ever played in?”

Evan Royster, a 6th round, 2011 draft pick of the Washington Redskins and Penn State alum, tweeted the above comment. Royster rushed for nearly 4,000 yards during his Penn State career and averaged 5.7 yards per carry while at PSU. According to the record books, yes Evan, you lost every game you played in.

Now Evan knows, and most of the players who played at Penn State from 1998-2011 know what games they won and what games they lost. While record books will show they lost each and every game, no one can take away the memories these players have. I do feel sorry for them. However, maybe just maybe, by forfeiting all of these games, some former Penn State players will realize that because their beloved head coach did not act with honor or integrity, the very characteristics he preached about, maybe they will realize he is to blame for their losses and not the NCAA or Louis Freeh.

The purpose of stripping Penn State of every victory from 1998-2011 was directed solely to punish Paterno. I believe the coach made the decisions he made to protect his football programs image and reputation. The NCAA has told Paterno that he failed. His programs reputation and image is disgraced because he failed to act. He was stripped of those victories to show that his priorities were wrong. He chose football over children. He chose winning over children. He chose his program and reputation over human decency. That is why he will not go down as all time leader in victories. That is why his players from 1998 – 2011 lost every game they played, because the man referred to as “JoePa” let each and everyone of his players down and more importantly, he let down all of those children who Jerry Sandusky attacked.

Where to Go

Many Penn State apologists have talked about healing and moving forward. It is not likely that will happen any time soon. There will be a sentencing for Jerry Sandusky and a likely appeal. I am not sure what grounds he will appeal on but he has stated he will appeal. Tim Curly and Gary Schultz will stand trial and there is a chance Graham Spanier will be indicted as well. The Paterno Family seems hell bent on “reinvestigating” the Freeh report. The victims will most likely sue Penn State for a large amount of money and who knows if there are more victims of Sandusky out there and how many.

New Penn State Football Coach Bill O’Brien has a tough job to do. He has to lead the Penn state football program through a difficult period over the next five years. It was never going to be an easy job for whoever replaced Joe Paterno. The job is that much harder. Will the fans understand that O’Brien may not win for a long time because of the sanctions and repercussions of this entire tragedy? How long will he last at the helm? He is a smart man and a good football coach who once served on Ralph Friedgen’s staff at Maryland and recently was the offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots. More than likely the skills of O’Brien as a crisis manager might determine his success at Penn State as opposed to coaching ability.

As always, our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims who were abused by Jerry Sandusky. They deserve to find peace and happiness in life and are the real victims, not Joe Paterno.

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Who would have thought…

Posted on 22 July 2012 by joshlevine

Less than a week away from training camp, the Orioles would be six games over .500 and in the playoff hunt? If someone told you in February this would happen, would you have believed them? Considering our biggest free agent acquisition won’t play this year and our trade of Jeremy Gutherie only landed us Jason Hammel? Who would have thought it?

The Olympics start Friday night and Baltimore is excited for the opportunity to cheer on it’s favorite son as he looks to add to his storied Olympic career. Ravens training camp opens this week and the Orange and Black have won four consecutive games and sit with a record of 50-44. It was August 24, 2011 when the O’s won their 50th game last season.

I am saying this right now, but Buck Showalter should win American League Manager of the Year. Yes, I know it is only July 22 and Baltimore seems to be expecting the Oriole collapse to come at any moment, but every time that moment seems like it is here, Buck leads the team back into the win column.

Not since Davey Johnson, has a manager with this much ability and talent run the Orioles dugout and Buck certainly has a lot less to work with then Davey Johnson did in 1996 and 1997. Buck clearly has helped change the culture of the Orioles locker room and it finally appears that players believe they can win and those coming just for a pay day are no longer welcome.

For years during the Thrift | Beattie | Flanagan | McPhail regimes, the Birds were very good at bringing veterans passed their prime who did nothing but collect a fat paycheck and deliver nothing in return. The names are endless: Segui, Cordova, Sosa, Vlad etc. All of these “name” players five years past their prime.

Maybe that is why Dan Duquette did not sign a big bat this off season? Maybe his thinking was change the culture and than attract real talent? Doubtful, because Uncle Pete would rather keep money he is making then spend money to make more money. None the less, back to Buck and the AL Manager of the year.

Name me the last manager who has led a team to 50 wins by July 21st when four of his five opening day rotation have either been sent to the minors or visited the DL?

How about a team who lost its starting left fielder, is on a third string second baseman and has more DH’s batting under .250 than the rest of the division all in one lineup and still wins? This team plays bad defense, has massive hitting slumps and inconsistent pitching and they are still competing.

Buck Showalter is the X factor the Orioles have not had since Davey Johnson left. Imagine what an off season might be like if star players believe Baltimore is a contender and we can add real pieces via free agency? Imagine if in 2012 both the Orioles and Ravens have winning seasons and playoff berths?

Thanks for what you have done through July 21st Buck. Keep it up!!!

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What The Heck Happened Monday?

Posted on 18 July 2012 by joshlevine

What the heck happened on Monday:

Ravens RB Ray Rice signs Five year, $40 Million contract
Orioles second baseman Robert Andino goes on the 15 day DL with a shoulder strain
Maryland AD Kevin Anderson is going to Stanford only he apparently is not
Orioles score seven runs and slap 13 hits and lose 19-7 to the Twins

Talk about a busy day for Baltimore and it’s sports teams. I am going to guess Tuesday will be much more tranquil. Kudos to Ozzie Newsome for getting Ray Rice signed to a long term contract. In addition to getting the Ravens best offensive player signed for five years and making him a very rich man, the Ravens freed up $2.7 million of much needed cap space. The Ravens, according to Pro Football Talk, had about $700,000 in cap space heading into yesterday and now have $3.4 Million after paying Rice.

The Rice deal is for five years, $40 Million and is worth $17 Million in year 1 and a total of $25 Million during year 1 and 2 combined. What’s interesting about this contract is that Newsome and Ravens “Capologist”, Pat Moriarty structured the contract that it gives the Ravens cap relief now and is cap friendly in the last two years of the deal. This makes sure that Rice is paid very well early on in the contract and if production starts to drop off after three seasons, then the cap hit is more manageable if the Ravens were to part ways with him. Also, the lower cap numbers in the last two years will give the Ravens cap flexibility that will most likely be needed.

It is great to be a Ravens fan. This organization does not skimp on paying its stars. They took care of Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis in 2009 when it was their turn. They took care of Haloti Ngata last year and Lardarious Webb this past winter and now they took care of Rice. The Ravens find superstars and take care of superstars. Up next on the radar will be QB Joe Flacco.

Baltimore Oriole second baseman Robert Andino has shoulder strain and is expected to miss three to four weeks while recovering. The O’s will have to move on with their 3rd string second baseman since Brian Roberts is also on the DL. It certainly feels like wheels are falling off the Oriole bus. We now have one starting pitcher on the roster who was a starter opening day. With the exception of Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters and at time JJ Hardy, it feels like the Orioles are simply a group of utility players and minor leaguers. Mark Reynolds contributes next to nothing at this point for this team. He should never be allowed to play in the field because he is an error waiting to happen. He should not be a DH because he bats .200 and has eight homeruns. Who on this team strikes fear in the heart of opposing teams?

The injuries’ to the Orioles and the destruction of the starting rotation is scary. Arietta, Hunter and Matusz were inconsistent and more often bad than good. Hammel is hurt. Two weeks ago, everyone thought Chris Tillman finally figured out how to be a pitcher and than July 14, 2012 occurred. Whispers of Brad Bergesen making a return are starting to fly. Even closer Jim Johnson has stunk up the joint his last two outings. Bad pitching, no hitting and lousy defense has created a team that is playing awful.
I thought my beloved University of Maryland Terrapins were going to be pardoned for their mistake in hiring Kevin Anderson as Athletic Director when rumors were rampant that he had accepted the same role at Stanford. This guy has been one disaster after another since he took over at Maryland. His disgraceful handling of Ralph Friedgen was an embarrassment to the school and his hiring of Randy Edsall has been anything but successful. Edsall has alienated many players including 2010 ACC Freshman of the Year QB Danny O’Brien. O’Brien is off to the University of Wisconsin, but Edsall even had to make O’Brien’s transfer complicated by placing several restrictions on him.

Anderson may have hired a good basketball coach to replace Gary Williams in Mark Turgeon, but Anderson recently cut seven varsity sports. Had Anderson kept football afloat, perhaps these sports could have been saved. Instead Anderson and his fair haired boy Edsall have ticked off many alumni and fans across the state.

News of Anderson’s departure led to callings for Gary Williams to take over as AD. I’d be shocked if Gary wanted the job, but I would take him in a heartbeat. Instead it appears as of writing that Anderson is staying put and Stanford is safe from him while the Testudo Nation is stuck with him. Hopefully Mrs. Edsall does not save my name as a blogger who said something negative about her husband. After all, I am a contributing alumni 

All in all, July 16, 2012, was one crazy Monday!

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The 2012 Ravens will WIN

Posted on 14 July 2012 by joshlevine

Training camp opens in just a few weeks and the Baltimore Ravens will begin their quest towards Super Bowl XLVII. The 2011 season ended with such pain and agony, that fans are still not over Lee Evans dropped pass or Billy Cundiff’s missed field goal. The pain will die on Monday, September 10, 2012, when the Ravens kick off the season against the Cincinnati Bengals.
As training camp approaches, there seems to be a negative aura surrounding the team. Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles Tendon in April. Ed Reed is whining about his contract and threatening a holdout. Ray Rice does not have a long term contract. Joe Flacco does not have a contract extension. Bryant McKinnie had to exercise during minicamp because he is still out of shape. Ben Grubbs is off the New Orleans. Jarrett Johnson is gone to San Diego. We have our fourth defensive coordinator in five seasons, and Cam Cameron is still here as our offensive coordinator. Has not felt like a great off season has it?
Don’t worry Ravens fans, the doom and gloom is going to stay in the offseason. You see, the Washington Redskins win the offseason, the Ravens, win during the season. Lardarius Webb signed a long term deal to stay with the Ravens. The Ravens kept linebackers Jameel McClain and Brendan Ayanbadejo which helps our defense and special teams. The Ravens added depth on the offensive line by signing veteran guard Bobbie Williams. Jimmy Smith and Torrey Smith have had a full off season at the Castle to get bigger, faster and stronger. Paul Krueger has been groomed for the opportunity to contribute and in case he falters Sergio Kindle and rookie Courtney Upshaw are around as well. Matt Birk is back to anchor our offensive line and the line was injected with some youth as Kelechi Osemele and Gino Gradkowski were drafted to compete for center, guard and tackle spots. Jah Reid is looking to build on his 2011 season and in reality, things are not bad.
Ed Reed is going to play in 2012. He is not going to sit out and miss a chance to make $7.2 Million. Ray Rice is also going to play in 2012. Once July 16 passes, his agent has virtually no leverage because the Ravens cannot sign him to a long term deal and thus he will be back and playing looking to increase his worth. McKinnie will be in shape in time for camp and if he is not, Oher can play left tackle and either Reid or Osemele will play right tackle. Vonta Leach, the best FB in football is still here.
Most importantly, we have Joe Flacco. The best quarterback in Ravens history and the man who may have the strongest arm in the NFL. Flacco is in year five and proved in January that he can lead this team to victory. For the second year in a row a wide receiver dropped perfectly thrown would be touchdown passes and have robbed Flacco of the opportunity to be considered elite. Flacco will make the throws this year and notch 4,000 yards passing and throw for over 30 TDs as he leads the Ravens offense in 2012.
Ray Rice will return and rack up nearly 2,000 yards of total offense and while the Ravens tight ends and receivers will finally reach their potential. David Pitta is a move the chains TE who runs great routes and will be Flacco’s go to guy and 3rd down. Ed Dickson will shake off his drops from 2012 and dominate just like he dominated the ugly Steelers safety with long curly hair in week one of 2012. Anquan Boldin will benefit from the development of Torrey Smith and the improved TE play and return to being the WR he was in Arizona and catch passes all over the middle of the field. I have faith that Cam Cameron will improve the scheme and the playbook to take advantage of the great weapons the Ravens have.
Defensively, the loss of Suggs hurts, but we will be back. Partial Achilles tears are not a season death sentence. Four to six months is a reasonable estimate for healing and I expect the dean of Ball So Hard U to return just in time to kick Big Ben’s butt. Haloti Ngata is the best defensive lineman in football and is still getting better. He will make players around him better. The loss of Suggs means more people will double and triple team Suggs and that will allow guys like Parnell McPhee, Kindle, Upshaw, Krueger, Cody and others better ball players. On the back end of our defense are Jimmy Smith, LWebb and Carey Williams. Find me a better trio of cornerbacks on another team. Pollard is the nasty, hard hitting safety we need and as I said Ed will be back. The last piece of the equation is number 52. Ray Lewis, the heartbeat of this defense and this team still patrols the house. I will never not have faith in a Ray Lewis led defense. McClain and Ellerbe showed they have what it takes to play good football. Number 52 only makes them and this defense better.
The 2012 season will show how good a coach John Harbaugh is. He has his first real adversity to deal with this year and he is up for the challenge. He knows what is at stake and understands the effect the NFL business has on players. He will massage the egos of Rice, Flacco and Reed and will make sure that the 2012 Ravens are in contention to bring the Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore.

Prediction: 12-4

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Joe Pathetic

Posted on 14 July 2012 by joshlevine

Pathetic. The word I choose to now associate with Joe Paterno. I held out hope that the Freeh Report would show that Paterno knew very little about Sandusky’s crimes and in fact had done all he could do. I respected Paterno and what he did for Penn State and the game of football. Now that respect is gone. I was living in a dream world hoping that Paterno knew nothing.

The Freeh report, while potentially limited and an internal report, shows that Joe Paterno knew about the accusations regarding Jerry Sandusky in 1998 and did nothing except let Sandusky coach for him for two more years. Paterno ignored the accusation.

In 2001, when graduate assistant Mike McQueary saw Sandusky “acting inappropriately” in a shower, Paterno told his bosses and assumed the matter would be handled. The most powerful man at PSU talked school officials out of reporting Sandusky and like sheep, those officials did what Paterno wanted because he was Joe Paterno and could have had any of them fired. Graham Spanier, Tim Curley and Gary Schultz knew that Sandusky was abusing young boys at their school and they did nothing because the great Coach Paterno did not want them to.

I am tired of hearing Penn State alumni and fans support Paterno with comments like, “He said he wished he would have done more,” or “He did a lot of great things like build a library,” or “He is not here to defend himself.”

A lot of convicted criminals often state that they wish they had not committed their crime. A lot of criminals apologize to victims. Wishing you did more does not excuse the fact that you knew you had a child predator on your campus abusing young boys and you did nothing.

All of the great things Joe Paterno did are meaningless because he knew in 1998 that Jerry Sandusky may have had a problem and instead of addressing the issue he tried to sweep it under the rug. In 2001 he ignored it and wanted to treat Sandusky humanely. What about the young children coach?

I am aware that Coach Paterno died. He had his chance to tell his side of the story or tell the truth to a grand jury in 2011. He had the chance to tell the truth in November when the coverup blew up in his face. He had chance after chance to do the right thing at some point and never did and now his legacy is rightfully destroyed.

Penn State did the right things by commissioning the Freeh report and now they need to take further action. Start by removing the Paterno statue. Do not allow people to continue to honor this coach on your campus because he does not deserve to be honored. It needs to be pointed out that he failed those young children so perhaps no coach ever gets so powerful that university presidents feel as if they are working for the football coach.

I’d also like to see Penn State suspend their football program for one year and if they do not, I hope the NCAA gives the PSU football program the death penalty. Per Sports Illustrated, “Articles 2.4 and 10.1 of the NCAA constitution command ethical conduct on behalf of coaches and others associated with athletic programs, and 2.4 expansively states, “These values should be manifest not only in athletics participation, but also in the broad spectrum of activities affecting the athletics program.”

A lot of people will argue that giving PSU the death penalty would not be fair tothe current student athletes or coaches. However, as a friend of mine pointed out they may have to be collateral damage. The right thing would be to show the entire country that the institution of PSU acknowledges that they put football ahead of being in the right (if for no other reason, they gave their football coach more power then their president) and that they will NEVER let that happen again. And that they are so serious, that they are willing to go without football for a year to prove that they are so upset with themselves.

The athletes who have scholarships should be offered the ability to transfer to another school without having to sit out a season or PSU should offer them their scholarship for 2012 even though there will be no football and they can return to football in 2013. The decision then would be up to the student as to what they want to do. You cannot not punish PSU because current students athletes may not get to play college football. You have to punish PSU because 10 young boys that we know were abused at that campus and the administration and football program helped cover it up. The fact that Joe Paterno helped cover it up is just disgraceful and inexcusable. He truly was pathetic.

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Remember the All Star Game in Baltimore

Posted on 10 July 2012 by joshlevine

Beach | Beer | Baltimore Sports: Remembering the All-Star Game in Baltimore

Remember when the All-Star game was here in Baltimore at Oriole Park at Camden Yards? The year was 1993, one year after the most beautiful ball park in baseball opened. What a site it was to see Barry Bonds, Randy Johnson, Cal Ripken, Jr., Kirby Puckett, Ken Griffey, Jr., Ivan Rodriguez, Darren Daulton, Frank Thomas, Mike Piazza and so many more great stars all gather in Baltimore. July 13, 1993 was a great day.

I remember Griffey hitting the warehouse during the homerun derby and wondering who will be the first player to hit the warehouse (still waiting). How about Randy Johnson throwing the ball around John Kruk? I remember Reggie Jackson having a prominent role in the week’s festivities. Gary Sheffield blasted a homerun representing the expansion Florida Marlins.

However, what I remember most is the wild Baltimore crowd clamoring, hoping and praying to see Orioles Ace, Mike Mussina pitch in the game and a smug, arrogant, American League All-Star Manager Cito Gaston getting booed out of the building for refusing to do so. Hey Cito, I still have not forgotten and I still do not forgive you.
The American League was winning 9-3 in the 9th inning and Gaston, manager of the defending world champion Toronto Blue Jays, summoned his closer Duane Ward to come close out the game. Mussina took it upon himself to start warming up in the bullpen and the fans wanted to see Mussina pitch. He didn’t. He did not pitch an inning and he did not even pitch to one batter. Instead, Gaston stayed in the dugout and watched his closer, close out the game.

Gaston quickly became the most hated man in Baltimore. Do you remember Gaston’s excuse that he was saving Mussina for extra innings? It has been 19 years and I still don’t buy that excuse. Cito Gaston forgot that the all-star game was a game for the fans and he could have used his closer for two outs and let Mussina finish the game for the final out and sent the fans home happy. Instead he was a jerk. I am still mad at Cito about it and always enjoyed watching the Orioles beat his Blue Jay teams.

My last memory of the game is silly. James Earl Jones, the legendary actor who voiced the greatest villain of all time, Darth Vader, messed up the national anthem, because the Baltimore faithful delivered their traditional “Ohhhhhhh” during the Star Spangled Banner.

Beer of the Day: National Bohemian

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Perfect Game through 6

Posted on 03 July 2012 by joshlevine

If you are not awake watching the O’S, Wei-Yin Chen has a perfect game through six complete innings. I have probably cursed the perfect game…but what if this is history in the making?

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Penn State Has Not Hit Rock Bottom: Beach | Beer | Baltimore Sports

Posted on 03 July 2012 by joshlevine

I never intended to write a blog about Jerry Sandusky or Penn State Football. I hated Penn State growing up because I was a Maryland fan. Maryland was my team and I had to sit at Byrd Stadium when Penn State destroyed my Terps 70-7 back in 1993.

As I got older and began to coach high school football, I began to admire what Joe Paterno accomplished at Penn State and respected the program that he built. Jerry Sandusky was also respected amongst football coaches with many articles and and chapters in football coaching books. Sandusky was a football genius in his own right when it came to linebackers and defensive systems.

It was a sad day in November when the world as Penn State knew it, came crashing down. First the Sandusky scandal broke and it appeared that Penn State helped cover up Sandusky’s disgusting crimes. As the hours went by it appeared that Joe Paterno was involved in the cover up or at the very least did not do enough to make sure that Sandusky was stopped from harming and further young boys.

Penn State made the right move in firing Joe Paterno. It was not popular and it seemed wrong how they handled it, but when you are a legend and bigger than the entire school, the way Paterno was, you have an obligation to do the right thing and not cover your own butt or that of one of your friends. It seems like Penn State may not yet have hit rock bottom.

Slowly more information is being leaked and the signs indicate that Joe Paterno knew more about the Sandusky crimes and cover up than he led on. Former Penn State President Graham Spanier, Gary Schultz and former athletic director Tim Curley appear to have lost their decency and thought it was a better idea to cover up what Sandusky was doing as opposed to blow the whistle and stop that disgusting monster from hurting young boys.

Why the cover up? Its a reasonable question. It certainly appears that Penn State feared what would happen to their precious reputation if they did the right thing and did the legal thing, which was report Sandusky’s actions to child welfare. Instead of stopping Sandusky, a detailed plan was put in place toprotect to reputation of Penn State which is now much lower then it ever would have been had Joe Pa and crew, come clean.

I think over the next several months, more emails, more details and more information will show that Penn State covered a lot of information about Sandusky and were doing everything in their power to make sure the information never came to light. What I do not understand is why? Why cover this up? What do you gain? Did these people really think Paterno’s reputation or legacy would have been ruined had he blew the whistle on Sandusky? If anything he would have looked like a bigger hero for stopping this sick twisted maniac that Sandusky is.

Alas it was not meant to be. Joe Paterno left Penn State disgraced. Regardless of what the fans wanted, he was disgraced and his legacy tarnished because he chose to turn a deaf ear and blind eye to his comrade, Sandusky. The question left is how much worse will his legacy be tarnished?

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