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Showalter “Bucking” right choice for Local Sports Person of the Year

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Showalter “Bucking” right choice for Local Sports Person of the Year

Posted on 28 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

There were a number of great choices for WNST’s fifth annual “Local Sportsperson of the Year” in 2012.

Let me remind you that there are only a few qualifications for the honor.

First, the person must be local. They must be an athlete, coach or front office member for a pro, college or high school team in the state of Maryland. Individual sport athletes who represent the state of Maryland also qualify.

Second, the person must stand out from other people over the course of the 12 calendar months. The accomplishments of that individual must be comparable to if not greater than the accomplishments of others in the area.

And finally, that person’s year must stand out from other years during their tenure/career in the area.

If you’ve forgotten, 2012 is the fifth year we’ve given the honor, with our past winners being Michael Phelps (2008), Todd Bozeman (2009), Greivis Vasquez (2010) and Rob Ambrose (2011).

There were a handful of candidates whose 2012 accomplishments would make them easy winners almost any year.

-Loyola basketball coach Jimmy Patsos lead the school back to the NCAA Tournament after inheriting a program that could only be described as “in the doldrums.” The sweat equity Patsos put into building a MAAC Championship program is perhaps unmatched, as the coach spent almost as much time shaking hands and kissing babies as he did running drills until finally reaching the ultimate goal for a low-to-mid major program.

-Even with the success Patsos had, perhaps he wouldn’t even be deemed the most qualified candidate as his own school. Charley Toomey lead the Greyhounds to one of the most improbable National Championship runs in recent lacrosse history. The Hounds came into the season unranked, but ran off 12 straight wins to open the season and finished the campaign with only one loss-a one goal defeat and the hands of Johns Hopkins. The Hounds posted a dominant national title victory over Maryland to deliver the first national championship in school history (any sport) at the D1 level.

-Adam Jones wasn’t just the Baltimore Orioles’ MVP, an All-Star and a Gold Glove Award winner in 2012. He was the anchor of a team that finally snapped a decade-and-a-half long playoff drought and perhaps most importantly endeared himself to Baltimore baseball fans forever by inking a six year contract extension to ensure fans he wouldn’t be breaking their hearts by donning pinstripes in the next few years.

-Ray Rice is likely headed to another Baltimore Ravens Team MVP honor and also warmed the hearts of purple & black fans by signing a five year contract extension of his own. Rice picked up his third Pro Bowl nod while being the rock for an offense poised to break the franchise record for most points scored in a season and helping to claim a second consecutive AFC North title for the first time in team history.

Like I said, there were plenty of great candidates.

But when it came to picking a winner, Baltimore fans were right. It actually was quite easy.

Buck Showalter actually came just ONE POINT shy of winning this honor before. The 34-23 finish he guided the Orioles to in 2010 nearly nabbed him the award, and the contentiousness of the fighting between contributors here at WNST actually lead to a change in how we selected our recipient.

In a way, Showalter has essentially owned this town ever since his first game as skipper in orange and black. Fans swooned when he famously proclaimed “I know the save rule and, quite frankly, it doesn’t carry much weight with me. I like the win rule a little bit better” following his late inning handling of Mike Gonzalez and Alfredo Simon in a win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Perhaps even more admirably, Showalter showed immense class each and every time he was asked about the seeming reluctance for Orioles fans to return to Oriole Park at Camden Yards in droves after the misery that had experienced in rooting for an organization that seemed disinterested in returning a quality product to Baltimore. Even as the Orioles were in the mix for the AL East crown in late August in front of small crowds during a series against the Chicago White Sox, Showalter continued to say things like ”it would be pretty presumptuous on anybody’s part to think that they’re going to trust us that quickly”. He didn’t just save baseball in this town, he remained as classy as possible in the process.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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There’s a lot going on right now, but we need you to come through tonight

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There’s a lot going on right now, but we need you to come through tonight

Posted on 11 December 2012 by Glenn Clark

Cam Cameron is out. Jim Caldwell is in. Steve Bisciotti is involved. John Harbaugh is testy.

Mark Reynolds is gone. Peter Angelos is cheap.

There’s a lot going on, but not everything is changing.

It’s been an active few days here in Charm City, as you could tell on-air Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. We’re going to be even more active in the community over the next few days, and we need you to be a part of it.

On December 18, we’ll be making our annual donation to the Helping Up Mission downtown. If you’re not familiar with the work of the Mission, I encourage you to head to their website. I’m always overwhelmed by the work that group is doing every year when we get down there. The Helping Up Mission welcomes men who are absolutely broken-due to poverty, homelessness, addiction, etc. and works to get them back on their feet and return them to the community. They also work as an overnight shelter to keep people off the street at night.

This is the third straight year we’re collecting coats here at WNST. Our friends at Enoch Office Equipment partner with us annually, as they allow people to drop off coats at their office and then help us transport them downtown. Here’s a picture they posted on their Facebook page last year of just a few of the coats and one of the men from the Mission…

We’re up against it a bit this year, as we need to make the donation ONE WEEK FROM TODAY (Tuesday, December 18) and we’ve been off to a bit of a slow start because there’s just been so much going on. We NEED to step it up.

We need you to bring us your coats. We also need your jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, mittens, scarves and any other warm clothes you can gather up. We need your old clothes and your new clothes. We need your clothes that don’t fit. We need your clothes with the one button missing. We need men’s clothes, but we also need clothes for women, kids and even babies. You have to keep in mind that many of these mean have children and families and will not be able to give gifts without donations.

We need to lift up those less fortunate this holiday season. We need to help keep our community warm as the temperatures eventually stay below 40 for a few months. Keep in mind-winter doesn’t even officially start for more than a week.

So we’re gathering together Tuesday night to celebrate and raise coats. Our annual coat drive hits Buffalo Wild Wings in White Marsh (at the White Marsh Mall). Drew Forrester will be over there at 6pm, Ryan Chell and I will head that way as soon as “The Reality Check” goes off the air. We’ll be collecting coats, talking sports, eating asian zing wings (or maybe even other types of wings), drinking beer and just hanging out. No radio show, no silly events, just the opportunity to hang out with fellow members of the WNST.net community and do some good this holiday season.

To further entice you to hang out with us Tuesday night, it’s $.50 traditional wing night at B-Dubs and anyone who brings at least one coat will receive a $5 gift card. Since Mr. Radcliffe did a hell of a job teaching me math at Perry Hall High School, I can tell you with assurance that means a single coat will get you ten free wings. I’m absolutely certain I’ll be taking advantage of this.

It’s going to be a great night and I can’t wait to see everybody out there. I REALLY hope you’ll be bringing out coats. John Harbaugh said Monday “my charge…is to maximize the opportunities for our team to win.” Our charge as members of the WNST.net community is to lift up those in need. This is a simple opportunity to do just that and have a great time hanging out with other Baltimore sports fans.

You all did an amazing job coming through for the community during our annual canned food drive…

…we need you to come through similarly in the next week with warm clothes.

If for some reason you can’t make it Tuesday night, there are some more options for donating coats this week. Nestor Aparicio will be back at the White Marsh Mall Wednesday night for Santa Spirit Night and would gladly take your donation then. We’ll be at Greenmount Station in Hampstead with Dennis Pitta Thursday night for “Thursday Night Live” presented by Freedmont Mortgage at 7pm. The Weekend Warriors will be at Top Hat Cue Club on Satyr Hill Rd. Saturday from 12-3pm and would also be happy to accept donations. You can also stop by any day Monday-Friday 6am-6pm (until next Tuesday at 10am) at the Zone Superstore Studios at 1550 Hart Rd. in Towson with your donation.

But we REALLY hope to see you Tuesday night at BWW White Marsh.

Let’s celebrate community service at least HALF as much as we celebrated a coach getting fired Monday.

Please?

-G

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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

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Your Monday Reality Check-A mountain of misinformation

Posted on 17 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

I honestly still can’t believe some of the things I read/heard/saw last week about Baltimore Ravens OT Bryant McKinnie.

If you missed it, McKinnie was not on the fall last week in Owings Mills during mandatory minicamp at the Under Armour Performance Center. When asked why McKinnie was not practicing, head coach John Harbaugh said “Bryant McKinnie is a guy that we held out just for conditioning purposes. We’re going to probably continue to do that and continue to try and get him in good shape. I think practice-wise, he’s just as well doing the conditioning part of it.”

Let me start this post by saying I fully understand a few things. One is that Harbaugh has never felt the need to share more information than necessary about any of his players. Another is that the information was new to reporters, so asking follow up questions might not have seemed pertinent. I wasn’t present at minicamp (media availability was scheduled during my radio show “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net each day) and was unable to fully grasp exactly what was going on.

With no media availability scheduled before the start of Training Camp, reporters felt it necessary to question Harbaugh later in the week for more information about McKinnie’s status. Unfortunately the coach was again vague, offering “we will leave that between us. That’s something that is an in-house type of thing right now. Bryant has done a good job, he’s worked hard. It’s not as simple as some of you guys want to make it. It’s just a situation where we are going to do what is best for the team, what is best for Bryant. We want him here; there’s no reason he wouldn’t be here. He has worked hard, so you try to do what’s most beneficial for every guy in every situation, and it’s always individualized.”

Now’s the part where I offer some examples of various stories I’ve read about Bryant McKinnie.

Here’s this from SI.com…

“Cut last season by the Vikings, Bryant McKinnie, who sat out Thursday’s practice, may be on the verge of extending an ignominious streak. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season. He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

And this from SB Nation…

“The Baltimore Ravens gave veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie a $500,000 roster bonus earlier this spring, but now might be regretting the outlay of cash. McKinnie came to Baltimore after the Minnesota Vikings cut him last summer for reporting to camp overweight. The Ravens rounded him into shape and he had a pretty solid year, allowing the team to shift Michael Oher over to right tackle and solidify that side of the offensive line.

McKinnie reportedly was on his way to getting in good shape earlier this year, but the most recent news was that the team held him out of the mini-camp this past week for “conditioning reasons.” This does not bode well for either the Ravens nor McKinnie.

Bryant is on the short end of a legal case where he defaulted on a $4 million loan he took out during the NFL Lockout last year and seriously needs a full season paycheck to pay it back. If he does not report to the Ravens Training Camp in six weeks in excellent shape, there is a very good chance that the team may decide to cut ties with him and let him go.”

Allow me to be fair again for a second. The SI.com blurb was a clear re-write with no author attached. While SB Nation does have a handful of experienced journalists and columnists, their sites are still largely made up of part-time writers/editors with no actual experience truly covering a team.

So perhaps CSNBaltimore.com’s veteran writer Ray Frager would be a better source.

“Offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie’s conditioning issues have been a big part of the Ravens chatter over this week. There is speculation he is around that 400-pound summit that caused him to lose his job in Minnesota.”

Maybe even the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston would be a better option.

“The entire McKinnie episode is strange and you wonder if he is going to be around when training camp opens. Here is a player who has a history of being overweight and struggled with the same problem last season.

He also reportedly has financial problems, yet can’t get into good enough shape to participate in minicamp. You have to question his commitment and when a team starts signing veteran offensive linemen and McKinnie gets held out of minicamp, it could be a sign of things to come.”

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 12 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Indiana Fever @ Washington Mystics (Friday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet); Tennis: ATP Garry Weber Open (Tuesday-Saturday 1pm from Halle, GER on Tennis Channel)

10. Bonnie Raitt (Sunday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Beach Boys (Friday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Neil Diamond (Thursday 8pm Verizon Center); Dave Matthews Band/Gary Clark Jr. (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Martina McBride (Wednesday 8pm Wolf Trap); Reel Big Fish (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Of Montreal (Thursday 8pm Recher Theatre); Lindsey Buckingham (Thursday 9pm Baltimore Soundstage), Lisa Marie Presley (Friday 8:30pm Baltimore Soundstage); Kelly Bell Band/Cris Jacobs (Saturday 7pm 8×10 Club); Robert Cray Band (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Grouplove (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Cult (Tuesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Bouncing Souls (Tuesday 7:30pm Black Cat DC); Ziggy Marley (Wednesday 8pm Howard Theatre), Little Richard (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Keane (Thursday 8pm Strathmore); Rush “Clockwork Angels” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’ve already established that “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is the greatest Beach Boys song of all time. Now I point out that I’m an absolute hack because I also enjoy this clip from Full House…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOZ5dEiZYCo

A lot of people know I’m a significant Dave Matthews fan. But do you know that I’ve proclaimed my all time favorite Dave Matthews tune to be THIS?…

And if you go see DMB don’t stay in the parking lot too long. Gary Clark Jr. is freaking AMAZING. You may remember him from a collaboration he had with Ray Lewis a few weeks back at the NFL Draft…

Wait…The Cult? Isn’t that the band that does the song from that commercial in that Super Bowl?

9. Star-Spangled Sailabration (Wednesday-Monday Inner Harbor, Fells Point, Locust Point); Rock of Ages” and “That’s My Boy” out in theaters (Friday); Gilbert Gottfried (Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Richard Lewis (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Gary Valentine (Thursday-Saturday DC Improv)

Ryan Chell and I are going to see That’s My Boy Tuesday night. It will probably make six billion dollars and everyone involved will get new cars. It used to piss me off because I don’t really find Adam Sandler’s shtick to be funny anymore, but there are a couple issues involved. One-Adam Sandler sat down with us at the Super Bowl and was really nice. He even opened up about my idol Chris Farley, which is something I found out later he really never does…

Two-over the past few months I’ve developed a unique friendship with Happy Madison star Peter Dante, who might be the best human being on the face of the planet. He’s the guy on the right below…

So now I hope the movie is funny and they make a billion dollars. Damn you, nice guys.

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

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Your Monday Reality Check-What a difference a week makes?

Posted on 11 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

Perhaps you’re not familiar with WNST.net MLB analyst Allen McCallum. Allen was once the Ballpark Reporter at WNST, covering the Baltimore Orioles on a daily basis. He’s remained with us in the years since then, appearing once a week in studio (currently with Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat”) to talk Major League Baseball and Baltimore Orioles.

Allen is a really good dude, but is decidedly un-American in my book. You see, Allen doesn’t like football. I don’t understand it either, trust me. I have every reason to believe he celebrates the 4th of July and enjoys a good slice of Apple Pie, but he loves baseball and just doesn’t care about our national pastime.

Despite this obvious flaw, I’ve maintained a level of friendship and (as much as is possible for someone who I have to imagine may be a communist) respect for Allen. I don’t dislike him, I just don’t understand how someone like him can exist in this country. You see, football is our beautiful game. It’s a game fathers play in the backyard with sons. Baseball is okay when there aren’t real sports to watch, but is clearly inferior to football in every way.

I’m kidding. Well I’m kidding a LITTLE bit anyway.

The reason my lede is about our resident purveyor of Orange Kool-Aid is because Allen likes to make a point during the course of baseball season that is relevant to both sports. As Birds fans have a tendency to freak out over the results of a couple of games (or one game…or a couple of innings…or a single at-bat), Allen likes to send out a reminder that “this isn’t football. There’s 162 games to be played.”

It hasn’t always been good news in Charm City that the O’s have to play 162 games, but the point he makes is relevant. During Ravens season we tend to overreact to one particular game, but we do that knowing that one game reflects roughly six percent of the season. While a NFL team can certainly recover from a stretch of two or three bad games, a bad streak can quickly spiral into killing a quarter of a football season. At the same time, a bad streak of three or four games during baseball season does not even represent the same six percent of the season that one football game represents.

Let me try to step away from math for a second. A single football game is more significant than a single baseball game. But you already knew that.

Seven days ago (which as I type this would have been June 4), there was reason for great concern amongst Baltimore baseball fans. After getting off to a 27-14 start, the Birds were mired in a streak that saw them drop 10 of 13 games. Sitting at 30-24, the Birds had appeared to already be well into their annual “June swoon” and seemed destined to find themselves on their way to the cellar of the AL East.

But something funny happened in the six games that followed. Instead of continuing their free fall, the Birds stabilized. They won two of three against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, then returned home to take two dramatic extra inning contests against the Philadelphia Phillies at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in front of thousands of stunned supporters who had made their way down I-95 from The City of Brotherly Love.

(Continued on Page 2….)

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Your Monday Reality Check-Shouldn’t Rice & Flacco deals have been done by now?

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Your Monday Reality Check-Shouldn’t Rice & Flacco deals have been done by now?

Posted on 04 June 2012 by Glenn Clark

It was as if there were some in the sports broadcasting universe that wanted to remind me that the Baltimore Orioles have been struggling mightily as of late.

Sure, they’re just one game out of first place at the time I type this, but the Birds sadly appear to be in a downward spiral that unfortunately most of us expected.

I’ve been a regular “Baltimore expert” for SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio since the channel’s inception, and I rotate having conversations with hosts about the O’s and the Baltimore Ravens. When I received a call last week asking me to appear on the channel, I assumed the conversation would go in the direction of the O’s, as I’ve made about four Orioles-related guest spots already this season.

But when the producer asked me if I’d be interested in talking some Ravens football, I was admittedly caught off guard. “It’s still baseball season” I thought. Just one night later I received a call from another producer on the channel, also asking me to make an appearance to discuss the Purple & Black.

So on both Friday & Saturday night of this past weekend I found myself talking Ravens football across the country on SXM. It was perhaps the single greatest reminder that in Charm City, a “June Swoon” is a great reminder that Training Camp isn’t particularly far away.

As the 2011 football season ended, there were two main narratives surrounding the defending AFC North Champs. One was surrounding the pending free agency of RB Ray Rice. The other surrounded the future of QB Joe Flacco, who was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract. The Ravens’ season ended 132 days ago in Foxborough (at least as of the time I wrote this) and yet seemingly little progress has been made regarding either situation.

It leads to the question (at least for me), “what’s taking so long to get this stuff done?”

ESPN’s Sal Paolantonio said in a recent appearance on “The Reality Check” (an excellent afternoon radio program on AM1570 WNST.net) that Rice’s agent Todd France was dead set on getting a deal similar to contracts given to Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (seven years, $100 million with $36 million guaranteed) or Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson (four years, $53 million with $30 million guaranteed). The Ravens are believed to be more interested in a deal similar to those recently given to Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (five years, $45 million with $20.76 million guaranteed) or Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (five years, $43.5 million with $20.75 guaranteed).

On top of that, a source with knowledge of talks revealed to me in recent weeks the Rice camp has a desire to see the running back’s deal exceed the overall value of Flacco’s.

A Carroll County Times report this weekend indicated the Ravens “aren’t anywhere close” to getting a deal done with Flacco. Flacco’s negotiating ability has been limited by the fact that contracts signed by quarterbacks not named Peyton Manning this offseason have been less than overwhelming financially. Manning landed a five year, $96 million deal, but if he’s healthy the Denver Broncos believe him capable of being Peyton Manning. The highlights of other QB contracts this offseason have been San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith (three years, worth up to $33 million with with $16.5 million guaranteed) and Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Flynn (three years, $26 million with $10 million guaranteed).

Neither deal is helpful to Flacco’s agent Joe Linta, although despite all of the goofy conversation nationally about Flacco’s standing against other National Football League quarterbacks, there simply could not be any argument either of those two quarterbacks have accomplished as much as Flacco. Humorously, Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo’s deal is up a season after Flacco’s. There had been rumors the Chicago Bears were interested in getting a new deal done with QB Jay Cutler, a decision that could have been helpful in figuring out the parameters of a Flacco contract.

Remember when I asked “what’s taking so long to get this stuff done?” Yeah, I’m aware that I’ve essentially answered my own question.

In both of my chats on SiriusXM this weekend I was asked what expected would ultimately happen with these situations. It was remarkably difficult to answer.

(Continued on Page 2)

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I hope contract helps Jones keep Birds accountable

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I hope contract helps Jones keep Birds accountable

Posted on 27 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

I’ve already used both space on Twitter (@WNST, @GlennClarkWNST) and on AM1570 WNST.net to opine about the significance of the Baltimore Orioles giving CF Adam Jones the richest contract in franchise history.

We now finally know all of the details and Jones is set to discuss those details Sunday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

I won’t be attending Sunday’s press conference. I would, but our WNST.net Ballpark reporter Luke Jones has been denied the right to ask questions at previous press conferences and I don’t want to run the risk of causing a scene at what should almost certainly be a day of celebration.

Adam Jones’ contract extension is as much an event to celebrate as almost anything we’ve seen in the last 15 years of baseball in Charm City. The Birds have perhaps addressed both their present and their future and made a major statement about their willingness to do things differently than they have for more than decade while losing many more games than they won.

I’m aware Jones perhaps took a hometown discount in signing the contract a season and a half shy of free agency. I’m aware the team still appears to need more pitching than they currently have to be an annual contender. I’m aware that the team now needs to shift attention to catcher Matt Wieters when it comes to contracts.

There was something bigger than jumped out at me though.

As I was given more time to dissect what Jones’ deal really means, I thought back to December 1997. For O’s fans around my age, Brady Anderson was about the coolest thing to ever happen to the Orange & Black. He had young female fans worship him and young male fans…well…basically worship him. He had it all. Sideburns, muscles, personality, charm, speed, defense and an amazing 50 home run season.

(I didn’t mention anything about performance enhancing drugs. You do what you want there.)

After Anderson’s 50 home run campaign in 1996 and the Orioles’ run to the ALCS in ’97, young fans like myself lived in fear of waking up one morning to be informed that Anderson had signed a major deal with the New York Yankees or Atlanta Braves or Cleveland Indians.

Anderson was certainly not the commodity at 34 that Jones would have been had he reached free agency at 28, but he still had market interest. He ultimately passed on shorter deals with more per season to accept five years and $31 million from Peter Angelos and the Orioles. Anderson’s best seasons were clearly behind him, but it still meant quite a bit for the franchise to make the move.

I also thought back to January of 2009, when Andy MacPhail locked up OF Nick Markakis for six years and $66 million, the richest contract extension the franchise had given to a player until Jones’ deal. (SS Miguel Tejada had received the overall most lucrative contract in team history until Jones.) While certainly not reaching superstar status, Markakis has given the Birds stellar defense and a mostly consistent bat.

But beyond the significant contracts, there is a more important similarity between the two players whose time has spanned much of the team’s “Rock Bottom Era.” The issue is that neither player was able to use his major contract to help keep the team accountable.

A baseball player with a rich contract is in a unique situation with the franchise paying the deal. Because the money is guaranteed, the player has the right to get away with certain things a player in another league might not be able to. In the case of the Orioles, they’ve really needed a player who has been willing to stand up and say “we need better” as the team suffered through losing seasons after losing season.

Allow me to be fair to the two players involved. Anderson was only part of the club at the very beginning of their lean years, and the team was still making at least some attempts to improve by bringing in the likes of Albert Belle and others. (Anderson however has become a well known defender of the Angelos regime in recent years, which has helped him find his way back into the organization.) Markakis has never been much of a vocal type, but he did publicly question the direction of the organization. His participated in a dinner with Angelos that season to discuss those very issues.

Perhaps there is an argument to be made that Markakis’ 2010 outburst DID lead to accountability, as two years later the Orioles have shown themselves (at least for two months) to be one of the better teams in baseball.

But moving forward, I hope it’s a role that suits Jones well. I hope the fire, drive, passion and determination to win that have made Jones an emotional figure in recent years will translate both on field and off. I hope that if the Birds make questionable decisions, he’ll call them out for them. It doesn’t need to be something he does publicly, just a statement made privately from the player slated to receive more money during his tenure than any Oriole before.

I hope Jones embraces not only the responsibilities of an on field leader and star, but as a bit of a caretaker for an organization that has so desperately lacked the right man for the role. I hope he puts pressure on the organization to make the moves necessary to stay in contention every season. I hope he never takes the easy way out and thinks “Mr. Angelos (or insert future owner’s name here) has made me a rich man. It’s not my place to stand up to him.”

I feel as though Jones can be a significant part of the solution for the Orioles. I hope he’s up for everything that comes along with the task.

-G

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Your Monday Reality Check-As Preakness week begins, I wish…

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Your Monday Reality Check-As Preakness week begins, I wish…

Posted on 14 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

Maybe I’m not the person to say this.

I probably won’t make it out to the Preakness Crab Derby. I doubt the Preakness Frog Hop is part of my week. I didn’t get to the Preakness Hot Air Balloon Festival. I’m going to miss my first Black-Eyed Susan Stakes in years. I don’t intend to get to Power Plant Live to see Buckcherry or Mr. Greengenes or Foxy Shazam.

Hell, I’m even thinking about going to Annapolis Saturday to check out Maryland-Johns Hopkins and Loyola-Denver in the NCAA Tournament at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. I don’t know if my girlfriend will go for it, but I’ve been leaning in that direction.

If you’re not aware, I made it down to Louisville again this year for the Kentucky Derby. (And how could you possibly NOT be aware when you were checking out pictures like the one below from the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs on my Facebook page during the trip?)

You fear that the rest of my column is going to be about how the Preakness isn’t nearly as good as the Kentucky Derby. Don’t. Everyone on the face of the planet knows that Preakness week isn’t Derby week. Despite how much breath you think I waste every afternoon during “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net, I don’t intend to waste more space here.

I don’t think Preakness week should be like Derby week. I think Preakness week should be the crowning moment of the entire calendar annually in Charm City.

At least…I wish it would be.

Drew Forrester and I used to try to figure out a way to correctly define the relationship between Preakness and the city of Baltimore when we would chat on “The Morning Reaction.” We would throw out terms like “the single biggest annual sporting event in the city” or “the most significant event the city hosts” or “the most important date on the sporting calendar every year” but never settled on one in particular. The truth is that based on attendance, Preakness is annually the single biggest event of any kind in the city. Economically, the Maryland Jockey Club has stated in the last two years that the event has an economic impact of $40-$60 million annually for the city and state.

Baltimore Orioles Opening Day has a significant economic impact for the area. Baltimore Ravens playoff games have significant economic impact for the area. The same can be said for the occasional NCAA lacrosse Final Four events. None have the impact of Preakness.

I wrote a similar column to this last year. Some of you were going to point that out. I’ll keep you from having to do just that by linking to it here. I hope you take a look if for no reason than to re-read the words of Newark Star-Ledger columnist Jerry Izenberg, who in 2010 described the relationship between Preakness and Baltimore so well the words should be engraved at Old Hilltop.

A year ago I was angry about how insignificant I felt Preakness had become in Baltimore. I’m not angry this year. I’m wishful. I wish it mattered more. I wish I was preparing to go out to Pimlico every afternoon this week to broadcast live. I wish my friends from around the country were calling me to let me know when they were getting in. I wish I had someone to blame for any of it.

I could blame the job the Maryland Jockey Club has done running the event and both Pimlico and Laurel Park. I could blame the city and state for not offering the level of support necessary to make the event the best it could possibly be. I could blame the sport of horse racing which has failed greatly to fully adapt to 2012 and in many ways still lives in 1942. I could blame us as Baltimoreans for spending too much time worrying about Washington’s pro hockey team and not enough time worrying about our own greatest event. I could blame area media for not treating the event with a level of reverence befitting an event that still annually involves the possibility of a Triple Crown winner.

(For years, the only conversation related to Preakness in Baltimore surrounded the concern that the race might leave the state for Florida. With that dialogue all but useless, area media members have been able only to fall back on “can (insert Derby winner name here) win the Triple Crown?”)

I’m going to talk to jockeys and trainers and horse analysts this week on my show. I’ll ask Kent Desormeaux (he’ll be riding Tiger Walk Saturday) about what it would mean to deliver a Preakness title to a Maryland group (Sagamore Farm). I’ll ask O’Neill about how the limited schedule for the Derby champ could keep his champ fresh for the second jewel. I’ll ask Mike Smith if a better ride aboard Bodemeister would mean the Bob Baffert horse would be coming to Baltimore with a chance to make history.

I’ll talk about horse racing like it mattered here. I’ll talk about the importance of the event to the city.

I wish I wouldn’t be the only one.

Carry on.

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 08 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Boxing-ShoBox Yudel Jhonson vs. Willie Nelson (Friday 11pm from Las Vegas live on Showtime); Mixed Martial Arts: Bellator Fighting Championships 68 (Friday 8pm from Atlantic City live on MTV2); Roller Derby: Charm City Roller Girls (Saturday 5:30pm Du Burns Arena); Soccer: MLS-DC United @ Houston Dynamo (Saturday 4:30pm from Houston live on NBC Sports Network); Pro Lacrosse: MLL Rochester Rattlers @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on ESPN3.com); Tennis: ATP Tour/WTA Tour Mutua Madrid Open (Tuesday-Friday 7am Saturday 5am Sunday 9:30am from Madrid live on Tennis Channel); Preseason WNBA: Connecticut Sun @ Washington Mystics (Monday 7pm Verizon Center)

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers (Thursday 7:30pm Verizon Center); Avett Brothers (Friday 8pm Patriot Center); Go-Go’s (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Andrew Bird (Wednesday 7pm Rams Head Live); Eve 6 (Saturday 7pm Recher Theatre), Lit (Sunday 5:30pm Recher  Theatre); Fear Factory (Saturday 7pm Sonar); ALO (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Mike Doughty (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Dar Williams (Saturday 6pm & 9pm Rams Head on Stage), Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); M83 (Saturday 7pm & 11pm 9:30 Club), Cranberries (Monday 7pm 9:30 Club); The Maine (Saturday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Esperanza Spalding (Saturday 8pm Howard Theatre); Carolina Chocolate Drops (Thursday 7:30pm Birchmere), Chris Isaak (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); The Gourds (Wednesday 8:30pm State Theatre); Feist (Wednesday 8pm Strathmore); M3 Rock Festival feat. Night Ranger, Kix, Ratt, Queensryche, Skid Row, Warrant, Quiet Riot, LA Guns, Great White (Friday & Saturday Merriweather Post Pavilion), Rob Zombie/Megadeth (Sunday 3pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); DC101 Chili Cook-Off feat. Incubus, Cake, AWOLNation, Angels & Airwaves, Airborne Toxic Event, Neon Trees (Saturday 11am RFK Stadium); Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Thursday 7pm Friday & Saturday 8pm Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts); Glenn Frey (Monday 8pm Warner Theatre); Silversun Pickups “Neck of the Woods” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

One of the highlights of my life was getting a MySpace message from the Eve6 drummer. Seriously.

Mike Doughty is super talented.

I’m not really a Rob Zombie type of guy. I’m such a Rob Zombie type of guy though.

I know a guy who worked as a telemarketer his senior year at Perry Hall High School and sang “Short Skirt Long Jacket” by Cake into multiple answering machines. That guy was me.

9. Brad Sherwood/Colin Mochrie (Friday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Christopher Titus (Friday & Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Colin Quinn (Tuesday & Wednesday DC Improv); “Dark Shadows” in theaters (Friday); Baltimore Tattoo Arts Convention (Friday-Sunday Baltimore Convention Center); Preakness Celebration Balloon Festival (Thursday-Saturday Turf Valley); Foodie Experience feat. Andrew Zimmern (Saturday 3pm France-Merrick Performing Arts Center at the Hippodrome)

Colin Quinn is pretty funny. That said, Colin Quinn was never really all that good on Weekend Update…

Hey! Kat Von D has tattoos! Why don’t a post a picture of her here and just move on already…

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Your Monday Reality Check-Umenyiora? Crabtree? Sure, make the call

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Your Monday Reality Check-Umenyiora? Crabtree? Sure, make the call

Posted on 07 May 2012 by Glenn Clark

As first reported by the NFL Network, the Baltimore Ravens hosted former Houston Texans WR Jacoby Jones for a visit Sunday.

Jacoby Jones became an interesting name for Ravens fans after the NFL Draft, as the Texans’ selection of DeVier Posey made it appear as though the veteran receiver could become expendable for the team. He obviously was, as the team took only days to part ways with Jones.

Perhaps adding Jones to the mix would be a good idea for the Ravens. He’s been in the league for five years, but has only spent the last three seasons getting significant reps as a wide receiver. His numbers aren’t spectacular (31 catches, 512 yards and two touchdowns in 2011), but they’re certainly serviceable for a complementary receiver. The Ravens clearly need depth, as behind starters Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin they have just four combined career receptions (all belonging to LaQuan Willams) from a group that also includes Tandon Doss, David Reed, Phillip Livas, Rodney Bradley, Patrick Williams and 6th round pick Tommy Streeter.

As much as the Ravens may have needed a playmaker type, they clearly needed depth at the position in general. Jones could bring that, and could also bring experience in the return game. Despite his two fumbles against the Baltimore Ravens in the 2011 NFL Playoffs, he has four TD returns (3 punt, 1 kickoff) in his career.

An even more intriguing name that has loosely been discussed amongst Ravens fans is the name Michael Crabtree. The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver has been a hot topic after the team drafted Illinois WR AJ Jenkins in the first round of the NFL Draft. In addition to Jenkins, the team has added veteran free agent receivers Mario Manningham and Randy Moss this offseason, leading to some speculation that the team could be prepared to move on from Crabtree after selecting him with the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft.

I want to reiterate that the rumors surrounding Crabtree have been thinly veiled. While a National Football League source told me he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the Ravens had interest in trading for Crabtree, no true source has been able to confirm that actual interest exists. However, in my chat with CBSSports.com NFL writer Clark Judge (who is honestly amongst the absolute best in his line of work) last Friday on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net, the Crabtree-Ravens conversation came up…

JUDGE: “Hey one other question for you, are you serious about taking that caller’s suggestion and trying to acquire Michael Crabtree?”

ME: “No, I don’t think that’s realistic at all. I was trying to play devil’s advocate.”

JUDGE: “The thing about Crabtree is that they would probably be willing to give him away because while he’s young, he’s an underachieving diva. A second rounder? I’d probably give him away for a fourth rounder.”

ME: “If they were willing to give him away for a fourth rounder, I’d be willing to have the conversation.”

JUDGE: “I wouldn’t want him on my team.”

It should be made clear that Judge didn’t report to me that the Niners were interested or willing to trade Crabtree away for a fourth round pick. He simply said that HE would be willing to do that if he were making the calls for San Fran. (The chat is available here in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.)

I’ll say again what I said to Clark Judge. If the San Francisco 49ers were willing to trade Michael Crabtree away for a fourth round pick, I’d have the conversation. I’m aware that Crabtree has yet to fully live up to his potential as a Top 10 pick and has certainly had “personality issues” that stem back to his lengthy rookie holdout. I’m also aware that the former Texas Tech standout has become more and more productive in each of his three years in the league and his best year (2011) coincided with the year his quarterback (Alex Smith) finally moved into the “credible” category of NFL signal callers.

Let me stress, I’d have the conversation. But it’s important to point out again that this is not a fantasy football league. This is the NFL.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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