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The 15-7-0 Might Be Tricky, But It’s Always A Treat

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The 15-7-0 Might Be Tricky, But It’s Always A Treat

Posted on 31 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. With the entire country winning, Andrew Luck looked like a Heisman Trophy winner and future #1 pick Saturday night in Los Angeles.

It’s a shame the USC Trojans gave the ball away just outside the endzone in overtime number three against Stanford. Not only because I picked the Cardinal to lose last Thursday when I played John Allen (of Charm City Devils fame) in “Everybody Beats Glenn”, but also because it was a hell of a game.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rx7vpD_D4g0[/youtube]

I’ll go ahead and move Luck ahead of Boise State QB Kellen Moore on my Heisman Watch list. Yeah, I guess I’m a sellout. But it’s hard not to like what you see with this kid. Alabama RB Trent Richardson is third on my list; which now ends at three because one of those guys will be your winner.

Going back to Saturday night, Andrew Luck also did this…

luck

2. Marvin Lewis is (very deservingly) the winningest coach in Cincinnati Bengals history.

I get more and more concerned about the Ravens’ pending matchups with the Bengals every time I watch them…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0an-M9us5Y[/youtube]

They did all of that without Cedric Benson and they were playing the Seahawks IN Seattle.

By the way, did you know Adam “Pacman” Jones was still in the NFL? Me neither.

3. I’ll assume Frank Gore is particularly happy to no longer be thought of as “the best player on a bad team.”

Also part of the San Francisco 49ers’ win over the Cleveland Browns? Joe Staley playing the role of “Offensive Lineman” in “Offensive Lineman makes catch, runs with football”….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDTJcYX4hQA[/youtube]

Just beautiful. By the way, I guess the Niners have to be number two in my new NFL power rankings, right? How’s that possible?

4. Penn State controls their own destiny to reach the Big Ten Championship Game, but their schedule leads you to believe Ohio State is still very much in the mix.

Joe Paterno passed Eddie Robinson as the all-time winningest coach in Division I history as Penn State beat Illinois. It was the only time the word “pass” was used in Happy Valley Saturday. I don’t care for much of anything about the Nittany Lions, but I respect their students for packing in behind the goalposts to try to make the Illini’s tying field goal try harder…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-4XhbiILGI[/youtube]

Things get VERY difficult for PSU now, as they host Nebraska in State College next week before finishing conference play with trips to Columbus and Madison. Speaking of which…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwuXzK5Mehs[/youtube]

Wisconsin fans were once again hoping a penalty flag could save them, but Braxton Miller did NOT cross the line of scrimmage before throwing the game winner to Devin Smith. Russell Wilson’s Heisman hopes are totally up in smoke, and the Badgers are now a long shot (at best) for the Rose Bowl, while the Buckeyes are still very much in the picture.

5. Nebraska is firmly back in the race for the Other spot in the Big Ten title game, and Michigan is by no means out of the picture.

Michigan State had no magic left after an incredible two weeks-or more realistically had no answer for some dude named Rex Burkhead, who reportedly plays for the Cornhuskers…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TiYLzEwG16Y[/youtube]

Elsewhere in the world of bizarre football names, the Wolverines stomped Purdue thanks to a running back whose name is (seriously) Fitzgerald Toussaint. Shouldn’t he be playing for Dartmouth?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXTWG9xmjgs[/youtube]

Not part of the Big Ten title picture? Iowa. They lost to Minnesota. Yes. That Minnesota.

6. Stephen Tulloch may have shut down the internet after sacking Tim Tebow in the Detroit Lions’ win over the Denver Broncos.

We’ll start with the highlights…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tc7Zp6FdEVU[/youtube]

And now for those that missed it in the video…

tulloch

I like Tim Tebow. I also like this. It is what it is.

7. I guess we can assume the Philadelphia Eagles are just fine at this point.

The Eagles DESTROYED the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Sadly the highlight of the game was a Laurent Robinson catch that didn’t count at all…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FwDZz-a6r8[/youtube]

The SNF broadcast was obsessed with Philly O-Line coach Howard Mudd. I actually have no issue with that. Howard Mudd is awesome. Otherwise they’d have been obsessed with Rob Ryan, and I’m about done with that.

Also of note, Jason Kelce snapped the ball off his own ass at one point…

kelce

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There Is No Bye Week For The 15-7-0

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There Is No Bye Week For The 15-7-0

Posted on 10 October 2011 by Glenn Clark

You know how it works. 15 positive football observations, 7 “not so” positive football observations and one “oh no” moment from outside the world of football.

(As a reminder, we don’t do Baltimore Ravens analysis here. We do PLENTY of that elsewhere. This is about the rest of the world of football.)

15 Positive Observations…

1. I guess it’s safe to say Rob Ambrose made the right decision to not redshirt Terrance West

Especially seeing as how his 4TD’s helped Towson improve to 4-1 on the season with their win over Richmond Saturday night at Unitas Stadium….

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT4vlLi_vWo[/youtube]

The Tigers are now 2-0 in the CAA for the first time EVER. Remember when they were picked to finish last in the conference? Nice call there.

(Editor’s note: Spiders QB-and USC transfer-Aaron Corp completed 31 of 34 attempts Saturday night. I still can’t figure out how Towson was ever able to stop them. How does someone go 31 or 34 and win???)

2. When they weren’t fighting, there was a pretty fun football game being played between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers

For some reason, Roman Harper and Malcolm Jenkins decided to fight about a pretty impressive Steve Smith touchdown from Cam Newton…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sq7gVv7I4MA[/youtube]

…Yeah I really have no explanation for that. I will reiterate what I’ve been saying about the Saints all season however. You can tell me all you want about their defense not being great. Based on how good Drew Brees and company are, they’re fine.

3. We want to write the Pittsburgh Steelers off, but Ben Roethlisberger just won’t let us

Sitting on my fantasy football bench, Big Ben managed to toss FIVE touchdowns for the Steelers in the win, pissing off everyone in the world who has no connection to the Steel City. Oh, and Daniel Sepulveda executed a perfect fake punt just to rub it in…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rChOUXR7JyQ[/youtube]

Jonathan Dwyer also ran for over 100 yards as the bad guys beat the Tennessee Titans. That answers the age old question, “who is Jonathan Dwyer?”

4. BCS apologists might get their chance to say LSU-Alabama and Oklahoma-Oklahoma State ARE a playoff system for college football

We’ll start with LSU’s big win over Florida, a blowout that included a would-be touchdown on a fake punt-had it not been for a taunting call that we can all agree was questionable at best…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT_TGuoLdmk[/youtube]

Seriously?

Next, The Crimson Tide started the season with a quarterback controversy. In their big win over Vanderbilt Saturday night, AJ McCarron reminded everyone why that didn’t last very long…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQrJYCbUFK0[/youtube]

Oh yeah. Trent Richardson is still pretty good too.

Elsewhere, Texas came into the Red River Rivalry this year with higher hopes based on the (Case) McCoy-(Jaxson) Shipley Combo Part 2. Landry Jones quickly ruined those hopes…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7BEMeOhYwQ[/youtube]

The path to the BCS Championship Game is also easier for the Sooners this year based on the fact that there is no more Big 12 Big 12 Championship Game.

Which leads us finally to Oklahoma State, who finished on the good end of a 70-28 beatdown of Kansas Saturday…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4fgH624Jn-Y[/youtube]

Before you pencil Oklahoma into the national title game, a reminder that the Cowboys host this year’s “Bedlam” game in Stillwater. It’s significant.

5. Kellen Moore remains atop my “Heisman Trophy watch” personally, but I understand why everyone is so hot and bothered by Andrew Luck

Here’s my problem. Everyone always beats up the Boise State QB because the Broncos don’t play top-notch competition. For example, they shredded Fresno State most recently…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Moapfuyqut4[/youtube]

…but thus far, the best team Stanford has beaten all season is Duke-and Duke was NOT playing with Miles Plumlee, Mason Plumlee, Marshall Plumlee or any other Plumlee anywhere on the planet…that I know of.

The Cardinal’s victim Saturday night was a less than impressive Pac 12 newcomer-Colorado. You only know anything about the game because Tiger Woods took a break from being crappy at golf to show up and watch the thing with John Elway…

tiger

Woods finished tied for 30th this weekend at an event won by some dude named Bryce Molder. Tied for 30th. Bryce Molder. Oh…and some dude threw a hot dog at him while he was playing. REALLY…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMLvYzwNuuA[/youtube]

6. Cincinnati Bengals defense plus AJ Green equals late season games could be more interesting for Ravens than we want them to be

AJ Green was immediately more popular just for NOT being Chad Johnson or Terrell Owens. Now it looks like he’s really good to boot…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-FUlm0MGeI[/youtube]

I don’t think Cincy can stay in the AFC playoff race all season by any stretch of the imagination, but it looks like they’re not going to fall apart either. Marvin Lewis’ team will have two chances to make life miserable in Charm City later this season.

7. Sooo….maybe Jim Harbaugh WAS worth all that money?

Until this point, I have refused to believe in the San Francisco 49ers despite their early season success. After their blowout win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, I might have to start buying stock…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59UTGUCaWo0[/youtube]

I’d say the Josh Morgan injury would hurt them, but they play in the NFC West. I get the feeling they could lose half their roster and still be in the mix.

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Former Oriole Jerry Hairston on Brewers teammate Prince Fielder: “He’s just one of those guys that is always clutch”

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Former Oriole Jerry Hairston on Brewers teammate Prince Fielder: “He’s just one of those guys that is always clutch”

Posted on 06 October 2011 by Ryan Chell

Former Orioles 2B Jerry Hairston Jr spent his first 11 years in the major leagues-seven of them with Baltimore-without ever seeing the postseason, but over the last three years he has certainly made up for that lost time before his career comes to an end.

Jerry Hairston Jr.

Hairston, 35, is currently an infielder for the NL-central champs, the Milwaukee Brewers, and his team currently is in the mix for a trip to the NLCS should they defeat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth and deciding game.

Hairston is currently hitting .444 against Arizona, and after coming over from the  Washington Nationals at the trade deadline, he gave the Brewers that veteran utility player and presence-finished 2011 hitting .270 with 5 HRs and 31 RBIs in 120 games of action and 337 at-bats.

Playing October baseball is something that has rejuvenated Hairston, and he joined Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Tuesday to chat about this year’s opportunity to hopefully grab a World Series ring with the Brewers.

“There’s nothing like postseason baseball,” Hairston said. “I mean obviously playing in the big leagues for many years and playing the regular season is definitely a thrill, but once you get to the postseason and have a taste of it, you want to go back every year.”

In a sense, Hairston is kind of greedy. Despite not reaching the playoffs until 2009, he ultimately did get his first World Series ring as a member of the New York Yankees organization on his first try.

He just hopes that he can contribute and help his teammates and the franchise-which has no championships to their record-earn that elusive prize that he was granted with.

“I was very fortunate to play on a Yankees team that won a World Series and obviously being on this team this year, it’s been a great experience and hopefully it will be able to continue,” Hairston told Clark.

He feels like the team they have in place is built for a championship run, and he credits his manager, Ron Roenicke, for helping them to put that talent together.

“He’s kind of a laid back guy, but he’s intense now,” said Hairston. “He never really has a whole lot to say, but when he says it, he really means it so he’s definitely the perfect guy for this club. Obviously, the characters we have, have done a great job of letting us be ourselves, and he’s definitely in line for Manager of the Year.”

Hairston left the Orioles via a trade in 2005 that brought Sammy Sosa to Baltimore, and while that seems like years ago and several stops ago, he does hold a special place in his heart for Charm City and hopes that they soon can experience what Brewers fans are enjoying right now.

“When I first came up, Camden Yards was always packed. I know the last couple of years have been really rough in Baltimore but…that’s how the Milwaukee Brewers fan-base has become.”

In order for the Orioles to contribute next season, they are obviously going to have to dip into the free agent pool and get players that can match up against the elite of the AL East.

One of those players that Oriole fans are yearning for is 1B Prince Fielder, and Hairston said fans are in the right for demanding his services in an orange and black uniform.

“He’s definitely a joy to be around,” Hairston said.  “He’s a very intense competitor. I mean he plays every single day, doesn’t want to take days off,  and he wants the bat in his hand when the game is on the line.”

“He’s just one of those guys that is always clutch and you want as a teammate, but the biggest thing about him is that I was kind of unaware he’s a pretty good first baseman. ”

Hairston also passed along his wishes toward the man that pushed him out of Baltimore, Brian Roberts, who he considers a friend despite their competition years ago for the same position.

Roberts and Hairston see each other every off-season at home in Arizona, and Hairston told Oriole Nation to be patient with Roberts despite his injury concerns because the guy loves Baltimore.

“I know he’s gone through a lot the last year-and-a-half with his back and many different injuries, and the concussion. It’s tough, as you get a little older, you get more nagging injuries. And I know Brian, if healthy, wants to be out there playing. I’m hoping Brian gets back and ready to go for next year.”

And when it comes to his own future, Hairston said he’ll keep playing as long as teams want him and he continues to have fun doing so.

“I have been, especially the last couple of years,” Hairston replied. “You know I really enjoyed playing baseball and hopefully I’ll get the chance to a couple more years.”

“It’s been a great journey.  I been very fortunate to play on different teams in different cities, from San Diego to D.C, to Baltimore, New York, Texas, Chicago.  I’ve seen the spectrum of this country and different organizations, and so I’ve had fun at every stop and I really enjoyed my career.”

WNST thanks Jerry Hairston Jr. for joining us and is rooting for him in the playoffs! Once an Oriole…always an Oriole. WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports

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Happy 5th Anniversary to my Free The Birds friends who want change for Baltimore baseball

Posted on 21 September 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve been watching the Baltimore Orioles since 1973 and I’m not sure any of us could’ve predicted what this franchise was to become back in the late 1980’s when Camden Yards was built, our city was starved without football and the Colts had split town.

It’s amazing now because most of the people in my company and many of you reading this under the age of 35 do not remember the Colts at all. Or a time when there was no purple. Or when there was no shiny stadia downtown that we all take for granted.

I watched William Donald Schaefer fight for all of this. I watched John Steadman politic and report through all of this as a colleague and a kid at The News American. I watched the first shovel go in the ground downtown. I was at that magical game in 1988 when all of this civic planning was announced on the backend of an 0-21 start that invigorated the renaissance of not only the Orioles but this community as a whole. I wrote more than 75,000 words on this topic five years ago. You can read all of it here…

I was there for all of it. I’ve got some perspective on just how incredibly foolish this all looks – the Orioles who drew 3.6 million people now barely getting a legitimate 1 million people through the turnstiles from the interior Baltimore community. Let’s face it: if it weren’t for a few tourists and 18 games a year against the Red Sox and Yankees, the place would be empty every night. Even on nights when they give away bobbleheads and orange T-shirts, they don’t have enough productive players to even get the promotions right. How many years in a row will they hand out an item for a player who isn’t even on the team?

Sheesh. Starting with all of the craziness of Peter G. Angelos in 1993, I could write a f**king book.

Well, actually, I did…and it’s all right here.

The civic devastation and their annual derelict status in the AL East (and in all of sports, really) makes them so insignificant as to not even be criticized by most national media and the locals are never going to say a word while their companies collect advertising checks from Angelos, via MASN or the Orioles.

The black cat is out of the bag – there’s intense financial greed behind that legal façade of Peter G. Angelos and that’s just fine, I suppose, if your audience participates in the Fantasyland charade of the Orioles attempting to compete to win a championship in Major League Baseball.

The Orioles are funded by you — the cable television buyer. You give your money to them – specifically MASN — through a third party. I bet if you got a bill every month for a couple of bucks from MASN – and it were optional – you and 99% of the state of Maryland would opt to NOT have MASN.

The same way I opt to not have Sirius radio, an IPad or a newer car.

I don’t like anything about the fact that $3 a month of my money goes directly to Peter Angelos under some mystical civic umbrella and trust that he’s investing it back into making the Orioles a better baseball team for the citizens of Baltimore.

That’s clearly not happening these days.

And that’s not my lie. That’s from Angelos himself. Here’s the direct link to our friends over at Pressbox, who take a check from Angelos and get “inside access” and get to ask questions once every decade. This is from 2006 when the Greek God of Losses told Stan Charles that MASN would change the team’s fortunes via increasing the payroll.

Instead, Andy MacPhail came out from underneath a rock in New York and came to Baltimore to quell the insurrection and help Mr. Angelos better understand the way to the profitland of Major League Baseball. Just like he did for many years for the Tribune Company and the Cubs, who now are entangled in the ownership of The Baltimore Sun.

It’s amazing how most Baltimore sports fans in town have no idea how the business of baseball and MASN and free agency and the MLB draft all work. Angelos clearly preys on the naïve nature of the local sports fans who are being fed the new “company line” that MacPhail has parroted through all of his worthless years here in Baltimore: “We just don’t have enough money to compete with those evil teams in Boston and New York.”

My other McFail favorite is this one: “We’ll grow the arms and buy the bats.”

Yeah, what bats? Mark Reynolds? Garrett Atkins? Cesar Izturis?

I can’t imagine that we’ve seen the end of the Orioles demise or the bottom of the proverbial barrel in this macabre tale of “How to Wreck a Baseball Franchise for a Local Community.” Given the state of the franchise and the fact that they’ll be looking for another “leader” who’s given “full control of the baseball operations” in two weeks, it’s pretty apparent that Angelos and the Orioles will still be big spenders of Syd Thrift’s “Confederate money” this offseason.

Angelos clearly bunkered down five years after Free The Birds. He was angry. He was humiliated. He took my press pass. He issued an edict to every member of the franchise to treat me like a pariah, even though it’s pretty clear that I love the team more than any of those people because I’m willing to face the hard reality and 14 years worth of facts.

Sure, Baltimore came back on the home jerseys a few years (I told Drew Forrester then that it was an empty gesture that wouldn’t improve the team) and Andy MacPhail was brought in to stabilize the organization (at least in the minds of the fans) and put a set of spectacles on it so it could look semi-legitimate.

Everything has been fine since Sept. 21, 2006 except for the fact that the team never won, stars haven’t emerged and accountability continues to be non-existent. Oh, and the fact that the man running the team at the time killed himself a few weeks ago.

The death of Mike Flanagan would be a tragedy anytime, anywhere. It’s a story that’s among the saddest I’ve ever heard as a Baltimore journalist. But amidst his suicide, there’s a story that must be told of his relationship with Angelos, the Orioles and the Baltimore fanbase.

Someday I might be the one who tells that story. But for now, I continue to grieve his loss with his family and attempt to help them heal.

Flanagan’s death has made my phone ring off the hook with former teammates, loved ones and people in the baseball community who are reaching to me to find out what happened.

I know a lot more about what happened than what I’m telling out of respect to Flanny’s family and loved ones. But I know the truth. And the truth should and will be told at an appropriate time.

And, rest assured, the truth isn’t going to make the Orioles look very good or make you feel any better about Peter Angelos’ ownership here in Baltimore.

I can’t imagine what it must feel like to be Tippy Martinez or Jim Palmer or Rick Dempsey or Boog Powell — when you walk around your hometown every minute of every day getting recognized by people over 45 who don’t know whether to console you, hug you or engage you in any sort of baseball chatter because let’s be honest – the only reason we’d know who any of the former Orioles are is because of baseball. It’s the one thing that bonds us.

And, really, none one of us wants to discuss the Orioles or Angelos or the situation with Mike Flanagan when they’re in last place the entire topic of baseball, suicides and World Series take a backseat to the purple football machine in the fall.

But, therein lies the problem.

No one EVER says ANYTHING.

I hate to say it, but YOU ARE THE PROBLEM!

So, embrace that statement, stew about it, send me “F**K YOU!” letters, sharpen your pens and your wit.

And then send them to Peter Angelos and see if the 82-year old can find your thoughts on his Facebook page.

The local media here is such a civic disgrace that they should be ashamed of themselves for burying the topic of the Orioles’ ineptitude and profit line and intentions. And you should be ashamed of yourselves if you tune into any of the Orioles “media partners” (it should say “protectors”) and believe a word any of these hosts and personalities say. They’re all told what they can and can’t say and when they can say it.

CBS & WJZ = guilty

WBAL = guilty

The Sun = perhaps the most guilty because their unique selling point and marketing tool is “credibility” and “knowledge of the community” and “journalism”

Pull Scott Garceau or Peter Schmuck or Gerry Sandusky or Mark Viviano up on the side and ask them what THEY REALLY THINK. Ask any of these “local leaders” and “trusted experts” off the record how they’ve been treated. Ask them how they’ve seen people treated around the organization. Ask them what Mike Flanagan told them about the team when he was running it and beyond.

I saw 15 Baltimore reporters crowded around a young Ravens cornerback named Cary Williams in a locker in Nashville three days and yet no one can make their way to downtown Baltimore to interview a guy who has chased 2.5 million people out of downtown on summer nights and destroyed local business in such a profound way as to be the most powerful man in the state?

Disgraceful…

Ask ANY bar and restaurant owner or anyone involved in the beer industry about whether their businesses would be stronger if the Orioles actually existed in their establishments on summer nights.

I’ve asked them ALL. And there’s not one who doesn’t want to see a stronger baseball franchise in Baltimore.

I go into bars all summer long and see that many don’t even put the Orioles games on their televisions these days. And that’s just in the suburbs.

I live in downtown Baltimore. The city comes to life when events prosper and the community swells with pride. The U2 concert was amazing. The IRL brought tons of new faces into the city that hadn’t been this happy near the Convention Center since the All Star Fanfest in July 1993. The Caps-Predators game last night was an incredible event – bringing 11,000 into the First Mariner Arena and stimulating commerce throughout downtown for a night.

The Orioles success and their verve and mojo doesn’t seem so far away to me. I remember it all. I wrote 19 chapters about it and you can click here and begin that journey if you’re really interested in my thoughts and my rationale and my legitimacy.

I’m not some hack journalist from out of town coming into Baltimore to tell you what to think. I’m not an out-of-town media leader.

I’m a citizen. I’m a taxpayer. I paid to get Camden Yards built back in the 1980’s. My city tax dollars fronted that IRL mish-mash three weeks ago. I own a business in Baltimore County. I employ people and put them to work and I trade off of ONE THING: your trust!

The team routinely doesn’t spend money. They’ve made far more money losing than they’d ever make trying to win. That’s just a fact.

And, right now and for the past decade, that’s been exploited and profiteered from by Peter G. Angelos and his ownership group. We’ve got a dead Cy Young Award winner who worked for the company for most of 38 years and his life became so entangled that he put a gun to his head and ended his life less than a month ago.

Who’s going to ask the tough questions?

And when is Angelos or anyone at Major League Baseball going to answer them?

Winning is not as profitable as losing. And when the citizens of the state are paying the freight and there’s only tens of millions of guaranteed profit every year, apparently popularity or civic pride or winning ownership and respect for tradition doesn’t factor into the equation for Peter Angelos.

If the richest guy in the state isn’t interested in winning a World Series then the Baltimore Orioles might as well just leave town and return when they’re ready to win.

It’s such a fragile trust to begin with in Baltimore, where Angelos was a resident and apparently unmoved by the Mayflower vans or any of the chicanery of Bob Irsay back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when he did a beauty tour that was a disgrace to everyone but him.

The story of Angelos and his wrecking machine for the baseball traditions of our community is a legendary, well-told tale that as Ronnie Milsap once sang: “It’s too sad to write.”

Free The Birds is five years old today.

What will the Orioles look like five years from today?

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Former O’s GM and 2011 HOF Inductee Pat Gillick: “I enjoyed the three years that I was in BAL…I just hope that the tradition can continue”

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Former O’s GM and 2011 HOF Inductee Pat Gillick: “I enjoyed the three years that I was in BAL…I just hope that the tradition can continue”

Posted on 18 July 2011 by Ryan Chell

Pat Gillick

Wherever Pat Gillick went to offer his services as general manager,  he left that team a winner.

And usually after his departure, the winning went with him as evidenced by the playoff droughts of three of the four clubs he ran in Seattle, Toronto, and of course, Baltimore.

But, his 27- year run making personnel decisions certainly caught the eye of his former associates in Cooperstown, as  Gillick was named to the 2011 Baseball Hall of Fame by his former comrades in the Veterans Committee.

He will be formally inducted on Sunday along with one of his former players in second baseman Roberto Alomar, but before then, he joined Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to talk about what an honor it is to be considered a Hall of Famer.

In fact, he felt like his time would have to wait considering the loss of longtime Yankees owner George Steinbrenner last July.

“I was very stunned when I got the call that I was going into the Hall of Fame,” Gillick said. “I never thought it would happen until it actually did. I thought that Steinbrenner would get in. But, I was stunned and and very humbled.”

Like Alomar, Gillick will be inducted as a Toronto Blue Jay-who he brought five division titles and two world championships from 1985-1993.

But, Gillick was quick to point out to Nelson that his time in Baltimore from 1995-1998 was just as special to him, and said that he cherished his time in Charm City the most because of the relationships he built.

He told Nelson that he’s hurting right now along with the rest of Oriole Nation wanting the Birds to recapture their past success when he was making the baseball decisions.

“I enjoyed the three years that I was in Baltimore and the fans were great, “Gillick told Nelson. “That was a great time. Since I left, I just hope that the tradition can continue.”

Gillick-who was GM of four MLB franchises along with the Orioles including the Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, and Philadelphia Phillies-has brought three championship trophies (two with Toronto in 1992-1993, one with Philadelphia in 2008) home in his management career and came close to World Series title runs on several more occasions.

A few of those instances included ALCS runs for the Orioles in 1996 and 1997-the last time Baltimore’s made the playoffs, and again reaching back-to-back league championship games with Seattle in 2000 and 2001.

The 2001 Mariners team tied a major-league record with 116 regular season wins, but failed to bring home a World Series title in both years.

Gillick said that in most cases, it would have taken him longer to get a team like the Orioles to playoff contention in the mid 90′s, but he said the team’s composition was in excellent shape and was ready for him to move right in and put a winning team together.

“I was very fortunate that the club had a very good nucleus,” Gillick said. “I just had to fill in the pieces. Anderson, Ripken, and Mussina were already here. So, I just tried to find the pieces to compliment them.”

One of those pieces was a winning manager who had been there before-Davey Johnson.

On the field, it was Gillick who pulled some strings toward getting one of  his former players in Toronto in Roberto Alomar-who he was paired with from 1991-1995 and won 2 World Series titles with-to come to Baltimore for a playoff run.

It was all about the relationships he built previously with guys like Alomar that made his job that much easier, Gillick said.

“With Alomar, I had a history with him,” Gillick said.And that was something that put it over the top. It’s really just finding the right part to fit with the established players already. Give the right players to the manager and get the right mix in the clubhouse.”

Gillick didn’t think twice to call Alomar the best second baseman he has ever seen, and he had some other good second baseman in Seattle with Bret Boone and Chase Utley in Philadelphia.

Now he’ll be re-united with him yet again this weekend receiving one of baseball’s most prestigious honor.

In fact, while Gillick said he could have waited to get into Cooperstown, he was insulted that Alomar didn’t get in his first year of eligibility in 2009.

“I think the incident against Toronto really affected him going in last time,” Gillick said. “He should have been first-ballot. He is the best second baseman I have ever seen.”

WNST thanks Pat Gillick for joining us and congratulates him for being inducted into Cooperstown! Check out the conversation at the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault and be sure to tune into Friday’s Mobtown Sports Beat as we devote the entire show to Pat and Roberto! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

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Remembering Only “Magic” I’ve Known

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

I know just how frustrating the 2011 season has been for Baltimore Orioles fans.

I also know how frustrating the 2010 season was. And 2009. And 2008. And 2007. And 2006. And…I think you get the point.

I was born on September 6, 1983. Just over a month later (October 16) the O’s vanquished the Philadelphia Phillies in Game 5 to claim their third (and still most recent) World Series title. Despite being alive for 40 days when it happened, I’m ashamed to say I have no memories of the title.

The 1989 Birds were a special group. I’ve watched the “Why Not” video a number of times in my life, mostly thanks to my friends BJ and Chris Appel. While they finished short of winning the American League East crown, the team has left many folks in Charm City with special memories.

Unfortunately, I had just turned six years old when the season was cut short. My memories of the ’89 Orioles are extremely limited, and the team itself really didn’t mean much to me as a baseball fan.

I’ve made it quite clear that I am much more of a lacrosse person than I am a baseball person. I’ve made it obvious that certain things about baseball in recent years have made me turn from the game. That’s been made worse by the fact that the team here in Baltimore has given me almost nothing to enjoy for nearly 15 years now. Like many other fans in this city, the demise of our own team has lead to a lessened interested in the sport in general.

That wasn’t the case in 1996.

My 12th birthday was September 5, 1995. It was a special day to be an Orioles fan (like I need to tell you) as Cal Ripken passed Lou Gehrig by playing in his 2,131st consecutive game. My parents were kind enough to purchase me EXACTLY what I wanted for my birthday that year-an oversized Orioles “Starter” brand jacket.

(I know I wasn’t the only one who wore a Starter jacket at the time.)

I’m pretty sure I didn’t take that jacket off for two years-even in the summer.

Baseball was my most significant love in 1996. The Ravens came into existence during the offseason but wouldn’t “take over” the city for another three to four years. In fact, as rabid as we were in Baltimore for the return of the NFL, there were multiple games between Memorial Stadium and what was then known as PSINet Stadium in the early years of the Ravens’ existence that were “sold out”, but featured less than empty crowds.

It was a baseball town, and I loved the Orioles more than I even loved girls.

One of the most exciting moments of my life was the day I found out Home Team Sports (HTS) had been moved from the “premium” tier of Comcast programming in Baltimore County and instead became a basic cable channel.

I was that crazy about the Orioles.

In 8th grade, I was often caught not paying attention to teachers in class. While other kids were writing love notes, I was found to be drawing miniature baseball diamonds and impressing my friends with my ability to name the starting nine for every other team in Major League Baseball.

I was a complete and total nutjob when it came to baseball.

I’m not sure I can fairly explain how much those 1996 & 1997 teams meant to me as I hit puberty. My entire attitude was determined by what the Orioles had done the night before.

I still remember coming home from Perry Hall High School one late fall afternoon in 1995 to have my dad tell me the Orioles had signed Roberto Alomar. I didn’t believe him at first, but ultimately celebrated as if I had received straight A’s on my report card.

The 1996 & 1997 Orioles gave me some of the happiest memories of my life as a sports fan. They also of course gave me some of the saddest memories of my life, as they failed to advance past the ALCS in both years.

As far as “Orioles Magic” is concerned, the only thing I REALLY know about “magic” for the Orioles franchise happened during those two seasons.

I’ve explained my excitement about Alomar’s impending induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame many times. Part of my identity as a Baltimore sports personality is tied to my affection to the man who will take his place in Cooperstown next weekend.

I find it fitting that as Alomar enters the Hall of Fame, he will share the stage with the architect of those Orioles teams, former General Manager Pat Gillick. Gillick’s career is directly tied to Alomar, having brought the second baseman to the Toronto Blue Jays, where the pair would win two World Series titles. Gillick would go on to bring Alomar to Baltimore, where he would lead the O’s to their only Wild Card playoff berth and their first AL East crown in 14 seasons.

My guess is that most of the coverage surrounding next weekend’s induction ceremony will be about the time Alomar and Gillick shared with the Jays. But for Orioles fans, next weekend’s ceremony will be a reminder of a special (albeit short) era of success in Baltimore.

It’s with that in mind that I am happy to announce that Thyrl Nelson and I have come together to dedicate next Friday’s (7/22) edition of “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to the 1996 & 1997 Baltimore Orioles.

We’ll use the show to congratulate Alomar and Gillick on entering the Hall of Fame, as well as to honor the teams that were truthfully the most special in my lifetime.

We’ll talk to players, coaches, broadcasters and even fans who were around those teams. Some interviews will be live, some will be taped earlier in the week. As guests continue to confirm, I’ll do my best to pass them along.

Older Orioles fans might not look back on the ’96 and ’97 with the same fondness that I do. But this is all I’ve known of winning baseball in Baltimore…well…ever.

It’s going to be a lot of fun. I hope you’ll tune in next Friday to AM1570 WNST or online at WNST.net to join in the celebration. I hope you’ll chime in with calls, emails, Tweets (@WNST or @GlennClarkWNST on Twitter), Facebook messages and other memories of those teams.

It’s the only “Magic” I’ve ever experienced, and it doesn’t look like it will be changing soon.

(Eds. Note: A previous version of this post mistakenly stated the Ravens had experienced “multiple blackouts” in their early years.)

-G

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 04 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Arena Football-AFL Cleveland Gladiators @ Philadelphia Soul (Friday 8pm from Philly live on NFL Network); Canadian Football League: Montreal Alouettes @ Saskatchewan Roughriders (Saturday 4pm from Saskatchewan live on NFL Network), Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Edmonton Eskimos (Saturday 7pm from Edmonton live on NFL Network); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Chicago Sky (Tuesday 8pm from Chicago live on ESPN3.com); Boxing: Brandon Rios vs. Urbano Antillon (Saturday 10pm from Carson, CA live on Showtime), Paul Williams vs. Erislandy Lara (Saturday 10:15pm from Atlantic City live on HBO), Friday Night Fights-Francisco Sierra vs. Jesus Gonzales (Friday 9pm from Phoenix live on ESPN2)

10. Bela Fleck & The Flecktones (Thursday 6pm Rams Head Live), Charm City Devils (Saturday 7:30pm Rams Head Live), Old 97′s (Monday 7pm Rams Head Live); Frankie Beverly & MAZE (Saturday 6pm Pier Six Pavilion); Animal Collective (Saturday 6:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Def Leppard/Heart (Saturday 7:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); Marshall Tucker Band (Sunday 8pm Rams Head On Stage); John Witherspoon (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Rockapella (Thursday 7:30pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); The Bridge (Sunday 6pm Ladew Gardens)

The Old 97′s are the best band you’ve never heard of. (I’ve always wanted to say that!)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1nn7lXP7WQ[/youtube]

I’ve been trying to get you to support John Allan and CCD boys for years. Please start soon.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUB08-RuwdM[/youtube]

My favorite Def Leppard tune? Quite possibly “Photograph”…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ5bS3_BCDs[/youtube]

For the 15th time this year, PLEASE START LISTENING TO THE BRIDGE…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajY3mBuGVQk[/youtube]

9. “Horrible Bosses” opens in theaters (Friday); Boy Meets World Season 6 available on DVD (Tuesday)

I finally saw “Bridesmaids” over 4th of July weekend. How can Kristen Wiig not be funny at all on Saturday Night Live but then be genuinely funny in a really funny movie? Weird.

Critics are telling us Horrible Bosses is really funny, so I imagine I’ll see it. I am struggling with one of the plotlines being Charlie Day having problems with being sexually harassed by Jennifer Aniston however…

aniston

Nope. Not buying it.

And as far as BMW Season 6 goes, I remember the ridiculous range of emotions I experienced while watching the episode “Resurrection.” Tough to do this to a 13 year old kid, ABC.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIv8WCIfD4Y[/youtube]

8. Pro Lacrosse: MLL All-Star Game (Saturday 7pm from Boston live on ESPN2)

Lord…they’ve won the Super Bowl three times, the World Series twice, the NBA Championship, the Stanley Cup and four Frozen Fours since 2001 and now they’re taking the All-Star Game in OUR sport?

Jesus, this is too much. Seriously, can’t we just have anything in Charm City? I mean, are they going to take this from us next???

backriver

7. Cycling: Tour De France (Stage 3 Tuesday 8am Stage 4 Wednesday 7:30am Stages 5-8 Thursday-Sunday 8am all live on VERSUS)

I couldn’t tell you a damn THING about the Tour de France at this point, and I follow Lance Armstrong on Twitter.

Instead, I offer a picture of Buffalo Chicken Waffle French Fries for my food porn friends…

fries

Word.

6. Auto Racing: NASCAR Quaker State 400 (Saturday 7:30pm from Sparta, KY live on TNT); IndyCar Series Honda Indy Toronto (Sunday 2pm from Toronto live on VERSUS)

Something called David Ragan won this week’s NASCAR race in Daytona. So…that happened.

Look-if it had been Brian Regan, I would have been interested…

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=89frRi8GgGA[/youtube]

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Feast or Famine: An exercise in futility

Posted on 16 June 2011 by Keith Melchior

With the NBA and NHL playoffs both leagues crowning  champions this week,  I think back to when Baltimore rejoiced in the Ravens’ Super Bowl  victory. The city was painted purple and fans from all over partied in the streets and watched the celebration in the rain. Hard to believe that was 10 years ago already.

Imagine how you’d feel if you were a fan of a team that never won a Super Bowl, World Series, NBA title or Stanley Cup.  Here in Baltimore, with our 2 major sports, we’ve experienced 4 NFL championships (1958, 1959, 1970, 2000) and 3 World Series titles (1966, 1970, 1983).  Buffalo comes to mind as a city that has never experienced the feeling of winning a championship. The Bills (NFL), Sabres (NHL),  and the old Buffalo Braves (NBA) have had some really good teams that never won a championship. Cities like Boston, Los Angeles, Dallas, Montreal, Toronto, New York, Pittsburgh Green Bay and Chicago all know what it’s like to win numerous championships and on many occasions, fans from a few of those cities love to rub  those championship victories in the faces of many Baltimore fans.

We’re well aware the Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908, and in the AL the Cleveland Indians last won the series in 1948. Around the Baltimore area, we hear the complaining about the Orioles only making the playoffs twice in 27 years and not winning a World Series title since 1983.

It’s hard to win championships in any given league. Many franchises were fortunate enough to win multiple titles in their history.  Others, however, haven’t been lucky enough to even win at all. Some have never gotten the chance to play for a league championship. Talk about a hard pill to swallow. How would you like to be those fans?

Here’s a list of all current major sports franchises, the year they last won a championship and the current drought ;

Baseball – Chicago Cubs 1908 – 102 yrs, Washington (Senators/Nationals) 1924 – 86 yrs,  Cleveland 1948 – 62 yrs,  Pittsburgh 1979 – 31 yrs,  Baltimore 1983 -27 yrs,  Detroit 1984 – 26 yrs,  Kansas City 1985 – 25 yrs,  New York Mets 1986 – 24 yrs,  LA Dodgers 1988 – 22 yrs,  Oakland 1989 – 21 yrs,  Cincinnati 1990 – 20yrs,  Minnesota 1991 – 19 yrs,  Toronto 1993 – 17 yrs,   Atlanta 1995 – 15 yrs,   Arizona 2001 – 9 yrs,  LA Angels  2002 – 8 yrs,  Florida  2003 – 7 yrs,  Chicago White Sox 2005 – 5 yrs, St Louis 2006 – 4 yrs,  Boston 2007 – 3 yrs,  Philadelphia 2008 – 2 yrs,  NY Yankees 2009 – 1 yr,  SF 2010 – current.

These 7 current teams have yet to win a World Series;  Houston 1962 – 48 yrs , San Diego Padres  1969 – 41 yrs,  Milwaukee Brewers 1969 – 41 yrs, Texas 1972 – 38 yrs – Seattle* 1977 – 33 yrs, Colorado 1993 – 17 yrs, Tampa Bay 1998 – 12 yrs….  *Seattle is the only team to have never played in a World Series.

NHL – It’s not an easy task to win the most beautiful trophy in all of professional sports, Lord Stanley’s Cup. It takes 16 playoff wins to accomplish the feat. Unlike the NBA, where certain teams seem to dominate the post-season, the NHL has crowned 8 different champions in the last 8 seasons. The only 2 teams to repeat as champion in the last 20 years were Pittsburgh in 1991/92 and Detroit in 1997/98. Detroit and New Jersey are the only teams to win twice in the millennium.

The drought continues for former Cup winners;  Toronto 1967 – 44 yrs, Philadelphia 1975 – 36 yrs, NY Islanders 1983 – 27 yrs, Calgary 1989 – 22 yrs,  Edmonton 1990 – 21 yrs, Montreal 1993 – 18 yrs, NY Rangers 1994 – 17 yrs, Dallas 1999 – 12 yrs,  Colorado 2001 – 10 yrs, New Jersey 2003 – 8 yrs, Tampa Bay 2004 – 7 yrs, Carolina 2006 – 5 yrs, Anaheim 2007 – 4 yrs, Detroit 2008 – 3 yrs, Pittsburgh 2009 – 2 yrs, Chicago 2010 – 1 yr, Boston 2011 – current.

These 12 franchises have never won a Stanley Cup in their history; LA Kings 1967 – 44 yrs,   St Louis 1967 – 44 yrs, Buffalo 1970 – 41 yrs, Vancouver 1970 – 41 yrs, Washington 1974 – 37 yrs,  Minnesota (North Stars -1967-1993 and Wild -2000) 37 yrs,  Atlanta (Flames 1972-1980 and Thrashers  1999-2011) – 22yrs**,  San Jose 1991 – 20 yrs,  Ottawa 1992 – 19 yrs,  Winnipeg 1979-1996 – 17 yrs ** , Florida 1994 – 17 yrs,  Phoenix 1997 – 14 yrs, Nashville 1998 – 13 yrs, Columbus 2000 – 11 yrs… **Atlanta’s franchise was sold and will move to Winnipeg in 2012, the 2nd time NHL hockey has failed in the ATL.

These teams have never played in a Stanley Cup final;  Atlanta, Winnipeg, San Jose, Phoenix, Nashville and Columbus.

Boston ended their 39 yr drought last night, making Toronto the only team left from the original 6 not to win at least one Stanley Cup in the last 18 years.

NBA – The NBA is very stingy when it comes to crowning new champions. The sport has been dominated by Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Antonio over the last 50 years, with those teams claiming the NBA title 36 times.  Since 1960, there have only been 15 different NBA champions crowned.  The Dallas Mavericks won their first ever NBA title in the 30 yr history of the franchise this week.

The drought continues for the following teams; Milwaukee Bucks 1971 – 40 yrs, New York Knicks 1973 – 38 yrs, Golden State 1975 – 36 yrs, Portland Trailblazers 1977 – 34 yrs, Washington 1978 – 33 yrs,  Philadelphia 1983 – 28 yrs, Houston 1995 – 16 yrs, Chicago 1998 – 13 yrs, Detroit 2004 – 7 yrs, Miami 2006 – 5 yrs, San Antonio 2007 – 4 yrs, Boston 2008 – 3 yrs, LA Lakers 2010 – 1 yr, Dallas 2011 – current.

Having a lot of different teams winning an NBA Championship over the years was almost like trying to unseat Bruno Sammartino, Bob Backlund or Hulk Hogan for the WWF championships, it just didn’t happen very often as noted by the gaps between the droughts from 1983 to 2011 when the likes of San Antonio (4), Detroit (3), Houston (2),Boston (3), LA Lakers (8), and Chicago (6) won 26 of 28 championships during that span. Miami and Dallas are the only different, “non-repeating” teams to win a title in 28 seasons

These franchises have never won an NBA title;  Phoenix 1969 – 42 yrs, Atlanta &  Cleveland 1970 – 41  yrs,  Utah 1975 (in New Orleans) – 36 yrs, Denver, New Jersey, & Indiana 1977 – 34 yrs,  LA Clippers 1979 (in San Diego) 32 yrs,  Sacramento 1986 – 25 yrs, Minnesota & Orlando 1990 – 21 yrs,  Memphis 1996 (in Vancouver) – 15 yrs, Toronto 1996 – 15 yrs, New Orleans 2001 – 10 yrs, Oklahoma City 2008 – 3 yrs

These 10 teams have never appeared in an NBA final: Charlotte, LA Clippers, Sacramento, Oklahoma City**, Toronto, Memphis, Atlanta, New Orleans, Denver, and Minnesota. **(the  franchise won in 1979 as the Seattle Supersonics before moving to OKC)

NFL – They talk about wanting parity in the NFL and they are right. Here is an interesting list of all the current NFL franchises and the last time they won either the Super Bowl or the old NFL Championship post 1940′s.

Here’s the drought between championships;  Detroit 1957 – 53 yrs, Philadelphia 1960 – 50 yrs, Cleveland 1964 – 46 yrs, NY Jets 1968 – 42 yrs, Kansas City 1969 – 41 yrs, Miami 1974 – 36 yrs, Oakland 1983 – 27 yrs, Chicago 1985 – 25 yrs, Washington 1991 – 19 yrs, San Francisco 1994 – 16 yrs, Dallas 1995 – 15 yrs, St Louis 1999 – 11 yrs, Baltimore 2000- 10 yrs, Tampa Bay 2002 – 8 yrs, New England 2004 – 6 yrs, Indianapolis 2006 – 4 yrs, NY Giants 2007 – 3 yrs, Pittsburgh 2008 – 2 yrs, New Orleans 2009 – 1 yr, Green Bay 2010 – current.

These 10 franchises have never won a title in their history; Minnesota 1961 – 49 yrs, Atlanta 1966 – 44 yrs, Cincinnati 1968 – 42 yrs, (AFL merged teams – Buffalo 1970 – 40 yrs, Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans 1970 – 40 yrs, San Diego 1970 – 40 Yrs) Seattle 1976 – 34 yrs, Jacksonville 1995 – 15 yrs, Carolina  1995 – 15 yrs, Houston 2002 – 8 yrs….

Cleveland, Detroit, Jacksonville and Houston are the only current teams who have never played in Super Bowl game although Detroit and Cleveland both won an NFL Championship in 1957 and 1964, respectively. Even in the parity era of the NFL, only 17 of the current 32 teams (53%) have ever won a Super Bowl. Parity might give teams a chance, but it doesn’t guarantee them a title.

With MLB in preliminary talks about eliminating the divisional format and going to 2 leagues with a balanced schedule, the playoffs would expand to 5 teams in both the AL and NL. The teams finishing in 4th and 5th place would be the wild card teams and have a best of 3 series to determine who gets to play the top seed in the divisional round. Those 2 teams, along with the 2nd and 3rd place finishers would face off  in the divisional round. The LCS would pit the winners of round 2 in a best of 7. That seems to make the scramble for playoff seeding much more interesting. The only thing left is for MLB to scrap the  All-Star game winner securing home field advantage in the World Series. That should be left up to the individual teams to decide with best overall record determining the advantage.

Should MLB make the switch, we wouldn’t have to hear the Oriole apologists complaining about the Orioles having to play in the over-matched Al East anymore. Thankfully, that would be a thing of the past and hopefully so would their string of non-playoff appearances.

How sweet would it be to have both the Orioles and Ravens celebrating championships together? Extremely.  Then we could rub it in other fans’ faces for once.

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In Memoriam of my dear friend Papa Joe Chevalier

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In Memoriam of my dear friend Papa Joe Chevalier

Posted on 05 June 2011 by Nestor Aparicio

In a former life, I used to be “Nasty” Nestor Aparicio. And even though I don’t talk about it much or brag on as I probably should, I was a nationally-syndicated sports talk host on 425 radio stations across the United States back at the turn of the century. And every night when I was done my four hours of laughs and conversations, I handed the baton to a far better man than I named “Papa” Joe Chevalier.

Chevalier died yesterday at the age of 62 in Las Vegas from the complications of a stroke he suffered in March.

Papa Joe was a simple man. He’d always come booming into the offices about 90 minutes before his show and always with a hearty laugh and always penning his opening monologue and script on a legal notepad and rehearsing it on those who would hear him. Sometimes, I’d run into the bathroom to take a leak at the 5:40 break and he’d forever be trying out some one-liner on me or engaging me in sports talk – even if it was calling the Ravens “jailbirds” or digging some fun at something Baltimore-related.

Papa Joe Chevalier was old school – and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. He KNEW sports. He KNEW gambling. He KNEW the mentality of big business in sports and where the money came from. He was no fraud when it came to sports knowledge. He was the real deal!

Because I broadcast the majority of my shows from the second story bedroom at my house on Springhouse Circle in White Marsh, I didn’t get to see Papa Joe every day. But I heard his show every day because my station here at WNST-AM 1570 in Baltimore carried his show even before I ever met him or knew him. And the really sad part is that because we always crossed shifts, I never really got to go out for a beer after work in Chicago with him other than at work functions, when he truly held court with the staff of young producers. Everyone in that building liked Papa Joe.

He would always send me outta the studio when his shift would begin with a standard phrase: “I love ya, kid!”

And I think he did, too, even when I was on the backend of a few “Bite Me Wednesday” segments, which was his “airing of the grievances” and beefs.

My unique “broadcast from Baltimore” contract language created a scenario for him that opened the door for him to do shows back in his adopted Las Vegas. So my negotiating and hardcore “I’m not leaving Baltimore” stance with management at SNR bought him some leeway that he loved.  And it seemed like he was in Vegas every weekend so I never got to go to Wrigley Field or Comiskey Park with him but that would’ve been a real hoot.

That Sporting News Radio circle of people in Chicago was really a wonderful team of  great sports fans in retrospect. It was truly like a WKRP family of people, most of whom I really, really LIKED. I would start naming names but because they’ll all wind up reading this it I want to be careful not to leave anyone out. But there are at least a dozen people whom I keep in very regular contact with because I liked them so much and those memories are so dear to me as I learned a lot about the big corporate world during that period of my life when big money and agents were trying to “make Nasty Nestor a star.”

Chevalier, however, didn’t really care whether he was a “star” or not. He was a quirky old bird, indeed.

Our programming leader Matt Nahigian would implore “Papa” Joe to simply say his name before and after every break – a very typical, simple radio request that allegedly helped Arbitron ratings and “brand familiarity” but Chevalier wanted no part of it.

“I do the damned show every night,” he would squeal. “They all know who the hell I am!”

And who was he? A throwback – a real old-timer from Pittsburgh whose Steelers’ swagger didn’t play so great with me during those years because the Ravens won the Super Bowl on Jan. 28, 2001 when I was sitting in the national sports talk chair and I really had the upper hand on him every time during that fragile period in the Baltimore-Pittsburgh wars of two centuries. Anytime the Pirates and Orioles would come up he’d start pretending to blow the whistle of Omar Moreno’s wife to drive me nuts. And he’d routinely play “We Are Family” and send it as a “shout out” to me on national radio.

And while most of my angst against Pittsburgh and all people from Pittsburgh is legendary, I can honestly say his ribbing never bothered me because it was part of the beauty of our friendship.

We bet a dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa on the radio every time the Ravens and Steelers played and he lost a LOT. And he never, ever paid up! And for that I’m really, really sad! I would’ve loved a three-hour dinner talking sports with Joe over some sloppy steaks and red wine and we probably would’ve slipped upstairs for a café and a nightcap of ice cream and whiskey amidst conversations of Clemente and the Robinsons, Unitas and Bradshaw. And that would’ve been one helluva sports conversation, he and I — especially if we had added a few drinks and some microphones.

I found out he died late Saturday night from my pal Bernard Bokenyi on Facebook via this Las Vegas newspaper obit and writing about him makes me feel good and brings a smile to my face. Just thinking about the fuss we’re all making over him would make him bristle.

He was a really neat old guy and I never spent a moment with him that I didn’t enjoy. And his audience was immense, loyal and loved his charm. He created a fan “Bill of Rights” during the baseball strike of 1994 and had people all over the country send in baseball cards that he destroyed.

He was a man of the people and he was truly the same dude in real life as he was on the radio. Full of loveable bluster and an unending source of sports information!

In a media world fraught with frauds, phonies, liars, cowards and fools he was a man who had knowledge, integrity, an incredible sense of humor and we had a mutual respect that was unusually genuine.

I really LIKED Papa Joe. And he really liked me. It was a cool relationship and one that I probably didn’t cultivate or appreciate quite enough.

I hadn’t talked to him in a few years but I loved that old man. And I’m going to miss him and his soft voice. He was a really good man!

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Morning Reaction MLB Season Picks

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Morning Reaction MLB Season Picks

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Glenn Clark

AL East:

crawford

Drew Forrester-
Boston (1)
New York
Tampa Bay
Baltimore (82 wins)
Toronto

Glenn Clark-
Boston (1)
Tampa Bay
New York
Baltimore (78 wins)
Toronto

AL Central:

adamdunn

Drew-
Detroit (2)
Chicago (WILD CARD)
Minnesota
Kansas City
Cleveland

Glenn-
Chicago (2)
Detroit (WILD CARD)
Minnesota
Cleveland
Kansas City

AL West:

bwebb

Drew-
Texas (3)
Oakland
Los Angeles
Seattle

Glenn-
Texas (3)
Los Angeles
Oakland
Seattle

American League Awards:

hellickson

Cy Young Award:
Drew-Jon Lester Glenn-Jon Lester

Rookie of the Year:
Drew-J.P. Arencibia Glenn-Jeremy Hellickson

MVP:
Drew-Joe Mauer Glenn-Josh Hamilton

NL East:

phils

Drew-
Philadelphia (1)
Atlanta
Florida
New York
Washington

Glenn-
Philadelphia (1)
Atlanta
Florida
Washington
New York

NL Central:

greinke

Drew-
Cincinnati (2)
Chicago
Milwaukee
St. Louis
Pittsburgh
Houston

Glenn-
Milwaukee (3)
Cincinnati
Chicago
St. Louis
Houston
Pittsburgh

NL West:

tejada

Drew-
Colorado (3)
San Francisco (WILD CARD)
Los Angeles
San Diego
Arizona

Glenn-
San Francisco (2)
Colorado (WILD CARD)
Los Angeles
San Diego
Arizona

National League Awards:

CarlosG

Cy Young Award:
Drew-Roy Halladay, Glenn-Madison Bumgarner

Rookie of the Year:
Drew-Freddie Freeman, Glenn-Brandon Belt

MVP:
Drew-Carlos Gonzalez, Glenn-Prince Fielder

American League Playoffs:

sox

Drew-
Division Series: Boston beats Chicago, Detroit beats Texas
ALCS: Boston beats Detroit, 4-2

Glenn-
Division Series: Boston beats Detroit, Chicago beats Texas
ALCS: Boston beats Chicago, 4-3

National League Playoffs:

philly

Drew-
Division Series: Philadelphia beats San Francisco, Cincinnati beats Colorado
NLCS: Philadelphia beats Cincinnati, 4-3

Glenn-
Division Series: Philadelphia beats Colorado, San Francisco beats Milwaukee
NLCS: Philadelphia beats San Francisco, 4-2

World Series:

Drew-
Boston beats Philadelphia, 4-2

Glenn-
Philadelphia beats Boston, 4-2

If you missed the explanation of our MLB Picks Friday morning on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, hit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net!

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…

-G

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