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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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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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a bab

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Greatest Members of the Orioles: 55-51

Posted on 21 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

55. Andy Etechebarren, Catcher

An all-star in 1966 and ’67, “Lurch” never turned out to be anything more than a run-of-the-mill Big League catcher–at least by statistical standards.  During parts of 11 seasons with the Birds, Etchebarren only batted above .250 twice, and amassed double-digit home runs once.  But offensive prowess isn’t why the fella that was affectionately ribbed for his ugly-looks is on this list.  He contributed to two World Series and was a major factor in the success of what is regarded as one of the greatest pitching staffs in Major League history–especially the 1971 rotation that featured four 20-game winners.

54. Manny Machado, Third Baseman 

Man-O-Man is Manny one of those special players that comes along once every couple of decades at-best.  Machado, when it’s all said and done, may wind up in the top-five on this type of list.  For now, however, he has a great deal to still prove–especially in regard to his ability to fully recover from a major injury.  Machado, at the ripe age of 21, deserves to be part of this conversation simply for his immediate impact on a the playoff team of 2012 and the club’s reliance on him moving forward.  It could be very possible that the Orioles’ long-term success hinges on Machado’s long-term success.  In many ways, he’s that valuable to the present and the future.

 

53. Adam Jones, Center Fielder

One spot ahead of Manny is Bubble-Blowing-Free-Swinging-Adam Jones.  A natural talent and pure showman, acquiring Jones and others for the price of pitcher Erik Bedard is already regarded as one of the best, albeit most lopsided trades, in Baltimore history.  Jones, who recently inked a long-term deal, will be a mainstay in Baltimore and should certainly continue to make his mark on Oriole history–but for now, it remains to be seen if he can put a franchise on his back and lead it to the glory of October baseball; more importantly, the jury is out on whether he’s the leader he believes himself to be.

 

52. George Bamberger, Pitching Coach

 Before there were gurus like Ray Miller and Leo Mazzone, Bamberger was the driving factor and unsung hero for an perennially dominant pitching staff in Baltimore.  Over the span of nine years, he boasted 18 20-game winners.  A feat that will likely never be matched at anytime in the near or distant future.

 

51.  Chris Hoiles, Catcher 

At first bluff, it might seem a little aggressive to place Chris Hoiles ahead of Etchebarren and Matt Wieters.  A look back, however, will prove that to this point, Hoiles is arguably the best catcher in franchise history.  A mainstay for nearly a decade, Hoiles belted double-digit homers in all eight of his full seasons in Baltimore.  Defensively he was as average as they come, but his bat more than made up for any shortcomings on that side of the ball.

 

Players 60-55

Honorable Mentions

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Matt-Wieters-SI

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60 Greatest Members of the Orioles: 60-56

Posted on 19 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

If you missed the beginning of the “60 Greatest Members of the Orioles”, it covered the Honorable Mentions–the fellas who were worthy of being in the conversation, but ultimately failed to make the cut.  At last, here is the beginning of the list:

60.  Dennis Martinez, Pitcher

During his 11-year career in Baltimore, “El Presidente” recorded double-digit wins in six of those seasons.  An upper-echelon starter in the late 70s, Martinez was a large piece to the ’79 AL Championship team.

59.  Nick Markakis, Right Fielder

A pitching prospect out of college, Markakis quickly moved through the Orioles system and served as the lone bright spot several historically bad O’s teams.  While his power has diminished from the projections back in the mid-2000s, Markakis is a lock for the Orioles Hall of Fame for the simple fact of tenure and consistency during a time of turmoil and failure.

58.  Matt Wieters, Catcher

The Georgia Tech alum has never quite become “Mauer with power,” at least not to the degree that many expected when he was taken fifth overall in 2007.  With that being said, Wieters has been a mainstay in Baltimore since 2009 and a proven home-grown commodity–something the Orioles had previously struggled with in the 2000s.  Should Wieters sign a contract extension and remain in Baltimore, he’ll go down as the greatest catcher in club history.  

57.  Frank Cashen, General Manager

As the Director of Baseball Operations, Cashen played a major role in bringing Oriole-great Frank Robinson to town, despite the fact that Harry Dalton–who was GM at the time–routinely receives the notoriety.  Cashen’s best days were in New York, as the GM of the Mets, however, his Baltimore roots and contribution to multiple Orioles’ World Series makes him a lock for this list.

56. Rich Dauer, Second Baseman

Dauer, a projected big-time hitter coming through the O’s system in the mid-70s, never panned out in terms of being much of a threat at the dish; however, he was a fan-fave and his presence through the late 70s and early 80s was a big part of the team’s chemistry and its ability to rebound after losing the 1979 World Series to the Pirates.  He currently manages the AA affiliate of the San Diego Padres.

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tenacross1

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60 Greatest Members of the Orioles: The Honorable Mentions

Posted on 18 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

4,886 wins.  11 playoff appearances.  Six American League Pennants.  Three World Series Championships.

That’s the Baltimore Orioles in a nutshell since 1954.

During the next few weeks, I’ll be unveiling an officially unofficial list of the 60 Greatest Orioles.

The list–which will be comprised of players, managers, and other members of the organization–will attempt to pay homage to the most impactful and influential individuals in the 60-year history of Baltimore’s ballclub.

The Honorable Mentions:

Coaches, Front Office, Media

  • Lee MacPhail, General Manager
  • Pat Gillick, General Manager
  • Paul Richards, Manager
  • Billy Hunter, Third Base Coach
  • Ray Miller, Pitching Coach
  • Ralph Salvon, Trainer
  • Richie Bancells, Trainer
  • Bill O’Donnell, Broadcaster

Pitchers

  • Robin Roberts
  • Eddie Watt
  • Hal Brown
  • Steve Barber

Position Players

  • Mike Bordick, Shortstop
  • Harold Baines, Designated Hitter
  • Bobby Grich, Second Baseman
  • Mike Devereaux, Center Fielder
  • John Lowenstein, Outfielder
  • Melvin Mora, Third Baseman

Next up…

60 Greatest Members of the Orioles (60-56)

 

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Ravens’ picks aren’t sexy, but they’re steady

Posted on 12 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

It’s hard to be excited about another linebacker, more defensive lineman, and several blocking role-players on offense.

Then again, success isn’t always sexy.

Take the Dallas Cowboys for example—or the Oakland Raiders.  Sexy picks, potential “impact players,” and year-after-year, both franchises routinely sit on the couch in January.

A quick Google search of the term “Ravens 2014 Draft” will feature attempts subjecting the Ravens’ draft to a standard system of gradation.

It’s nonsense.

Grading the NFL Draft is as effective as drinking perfume because it smells like it would taste great.  It’s irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

Back in 1996, the Ravens received Cs and Ds for passing up Lawrence Phillips and opting for Johnathan Ogden.  The team was ridiculed for blowing its second first-round pick in that same draft on a linebacker who was deemed too small to be an impact player.

Looking back, nearly two decades later, it’s safe to say that both of those players turned out pretty well, alas voiding the premature  “expert grades.”

Earlier today, on The Happy Hours, Nestor talked at-length about this very topic.  Perhaps the most important point he made was that of drafting Joe Flacco.  Like he mentioned, when you land a Super Bowl, All-Pro-caliber quarterback in the first round, as a team, you’ve had a pretty good decade.

When you look for comparisons, since the Ravens drafted Joe Flacco in the first round of 2008, teams like the Browns have landed multiple quarterbacks to try and fill the void left by striking out on Brady Quinn in the first round, just one year prior to Flacco’s class.

Now, if you want to hammer teams like the Browns off-the-bat, it’s probably within the realm of possibility that you’ll turn out to be right—but that doesn’t mean you’re a NFL Draft expert—it means you’re smart enough to look at the writing on the wall.

The same can be said for Jacksonville, who reached up to grab quarterback Blake Bortles with the third overall selection.  I’ve seen the Jaguars subjected from Fs to As, based on whether or not pundits and pinheads believe Bortles is the next Big Ben, or another abysmal signal caller cut from the same cloth as Blaine Gabbert.

Looking back at the Ravens drafts over the last 10 years, it’s safe to say that there hasn’t been a year full of total misses.  Even the 2010 draft, as disappointing as it turned out to be, still landed Art Jones—who recently signed a Pro-Bowl caliber contract in Indy, and Dennis Pitta, an integral part of the Ravens’ Super Bowl run in 2012.

Perhaps the idea should be to grade teams in five year blocks.  It seems a lot more realistic and accurate.

Over the last five years, present draft excluded, the Ravens have landed arguably 13 starting-caliber players.  13 starters in five years isn’t a bad number—as it pans out to drafting two potential starters per draft.  Realistically any front office would take that in a heartbeat.

This year’s draft is really more of the same.  Quality talent with potential to play significant roles.  And, like I mentioned at the top, there’s nothing sexy about role-players.

Arguably, success and sexy might be mutually exclusive—and if that’s the case, I’ll take success every time.

If drafting more role-players and making boring, un-sexy picks is what it takes to continue to compete with the elite teams in the league, that’s perfectly OK.

Even though many fans might be jazzed up over their team’s sexy picks in May, it’s much more fun to be excited and jazzed up in January.

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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: Taylor Lewan

Posted on 02 May 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

He’s big, smooth, and funny.

Yea, Taylor Lewan can crack up a room.  During his tenure at Michigan, he became well-known for his finger-mustache “Englishman” impression.

The down-side is that he has a bit of legal baggage stemming to an alleged fight last December.  According to Lewan, speaking on his own behalf, he denies any altercation, dismissing the notion that he was doing anything beyond breaking up a fight between others.

It’s plausible, the only problem is that he faces three charges–one which includes the more serious tag of “aggravated assault.”

For now it’s a he-said-he-said incident, but it’s a red-mark heading into the draft; not to mention that there is chatter out there about a past incident of intimidating a rape victim.  Certainly not the type of SEO Tags you’d want as a first-round pick.

The Good:  Being a former d-lineman, he’s quick and possess above-average foot-work.  Much has been said about his mean-streak, which is a great thing when it comes to offensive tackles.  He’s big enough and athletic enough to play either side of the line.

The Bad:  Legal issues aside, he’s only been playing offensive tackle since his senior year of high school.  There’s a question over whether or not he’s willing to work at his craft, as–with many gifted athletes–he relies a lot on his flat-out talent, rather than developing the necessary skill.

The Reality:  Lewan will like go in the top 15 picks–perhaps even as high as mid-top-10.  While it initially looked like he’d be a possibility for the Ravens at pick 17, it seems as if that idea–or as Ozzie Newsome would say,”ship”–has sailed.

 

See the initial “They Might Be Ravens” post here.

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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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sterlingsplit

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In the Sterling-Silver Saga, NBA was wrong

Posted on 30 April 2014 by Tony Wisniewski

Donald Sterling is a racist–didn’t you know?

Apparently he’s been a racist, bigot, sexist, and virtual scumbag for decades.  Just ask Elgin Baylor and Danny Manning.

But if you think that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made the right decision, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong.  You’re wrong because you’re letting emotion cloud your judgement and your ability to look at the ramifications.

Should Sterling have been booted from The League?  Sure, but as my good friend Brian put it, “it should have happened years ago, but not for this.”  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, yes, Brian is African American.

In fact, allow me to share his full thoughts on the matter.  Brian and I often banter back-and-forth that white people tend to use the “I have black friends” card when approaching a topic of race.  In some ways, sharing his thoughts is my way of playing that card–but only for the fact that he’s one of the smartest and level-headed dudes I’ve ever met.  In essence, I don’t respect his opinion and share it because of his skin color, rather it’s because of his societal acumen and natural intelligence.

Unfortunately race is a sensitive issue, still, even in 2014.  But that doesn’t mean we should shy away from it.  In fact, it’s incumbent upon anyone involved in sports to hit racial issues head on.  Here’s what Brian had to say via email:

“Ok now onto Sterling.. This is going to get long so you may want to use the restroom, take care of personal phone calls first, etc. Ok with Sterling I FEEL NO SYMPATHY AT ALL!!! and this is an example of “chickens coming home to roost” Sterling has a 30 year history of being a despicable vile racist. And not the oh my gosh he said something crazy on radio for ratings type racist (I’m looking at you Imus and Limbaugh) but a did real damage to real people with institutional racism. I remember reading about his antics and history back in ’06 when they covered his not one but two historical housing discrimination suits that he lost (he didn’t admit guilt just paid a California record in damages) But the sworn testimony is jaw dropping. And if you read the testimony from his other lawsuits you sit back and go man this guy is a scumbag. Now does this mean he should have his team stripped b/c he essentially told his jump off to stop embarrassing him in front of his country club friends by flaunting the fact that she is banging every young black athlete this side of Adam Jones? No he shouldn’t lose it for that (sidenote: I had no problem with the tape – I was actually a little disappointed b/c knowing Sterling’s history when I heard racist rant I thought he was going to go grand wizard on his and drop every slur know to man like Uncle Ruckus from the Boondocks- he didn’t even use a slur). So no in a vaccuum he should not lose the team for that. Now he should lose the team for the other stuff. This is Al Capone going to jail for tax evasion and not the hundreds of people he killed.”

So to sum up, it is kind of messed up that he is banned for life and losing his team for THIS!! But he has a trunk full of evil deeds that can be substituted. I wish I was mature enough to stand up for the rights of the most despicable out there but I’m not (at least not in a lot of cases). But sometimes I just give in to street justice. For example I could see 4 cops  batoning the hell out of a handcuffed Jerry Sandusky I would not only walk by and not say or report anything but I would probably testify in open court that he attacked them first. That is the wrong side to be on b/c rules should apply to everyone and the past crimes of a person doesn’t mean they waive away their present “rights” I just hope there are more mature people then me to weigh in on that and do the right thing. But for me and with Donald Sterling I say turn him over to the mob and let them do as they wish.

Like he said, Sterling deserves what he gets, but not for this incident. If the NBA needed to make this move to remove a classless bigot, it should have referred to the continued problems and issues, rather than giving into public pressure, player outcry, and the media.

 Adam Silver made the wrong decision simply because it wasn’t his decision.  It was a decision that was made under pressure and one that paved the way the “slippery slope” that Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, alluded to, Drew Forrester opined about this morning  to and I wrote about yesterday.

Donald Sterling doesn’t deserve sympathy.  In fact, this isn’t even about Donald Sterling.  It’s about the preservation of the freedom to say and think the way you wish and desire–even if it’s something that most of us don’t support or condone.

If I don’t like people that wear blue shirts, it isn’t right to take my house away.  If I hate cat ladies and all they stand for, you can’t confiscate my dog.  And, if I don’t want to support gay marriage, or in contrast, I am married to a man, you can’t just up and take my business away and tell me I’m not allowed to be part of the rotary club.  It doesn’t work that way, not in 2014.  And, the decision to yank Sterling’s franchise from him is as irresponsible and antiquated-in-logic as saying that “minorities shouldn’t come to games.”

Should Donald Sterling have been punished?  I guess.  But more in the way of advertisers choosing not to affiliate with him, players refusing to sign in LA, and coaches–like Doc Rivers–refusing to work for him.  In fact, just last week, the NAACP planned on giving Sterling a Lifetime Achievement Award.  Interesting, considering that Sterling has been a racist and well-known bigot for a long, long time.

Organizations shunning a guy and pulling their ad dollars is more than appropriate.  Fining a guy over private comments and confiscating what purchased with his own money, that’s flat-out wrong because it opens the door to absolute power and dictation.

You might ask, does Sterling deserve to own a professional sports franchise? That’s really not up for debate, simply because if you have the money–as Snoop in The Wire would say–”deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.”

Adam Silver was wrong.  The NBA just opened the door to dictating thought and opinion; and that’s a scary and dangerous path to go down.  Donald Sterling is a racist.  He doesn’t deserve sympathy.

He doesn’t deserve anything–and that includes having his franchise taken from him for this incident alone.

 

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