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Hats off to Philadelphia…

Posted on 29 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Tonight, I’m a little jealous. I used to be a Phillies fan – a goober, drive up I-95 once a month, loved The Vet, pretzel-eating, NL-carpet loving Phillies fan.

In the box of my life’s sporting fandom, I probably have 100 ticket stubs from games I saw at The Vet from the first time I visited Philadelphia during the summer of 1981 with my paternal father during the last time I ever saw him in America. I had been in love with baseball my whole life – all 11 years of it. And I chased the Phillies’ dream of a World Series that would match all of the joy and fun of the 1980 run they had. (And I was a George Brett fan!) I actually became a fan AFTER they won the title.

But I honestly was one of those kids that just really loved baseball. And the National League was always more exotic.

So, I loved the Fightin’ Fhils. Loved them so much that I went to the Vet to chase them 6 to 12 times per year. I did weekends with hotel rooms where I saw all three games of a weekend series if the Padres were in town. I did live radio from an All Star Game there from the field. I also flew to Los Angeles and San Francisco and Chicago to see them play.

In 1993, with my first press pass, I chased them from Baltimore to Wilmington to Philly to Toronto. I went to all six games of that World Series and watched Joe Carter break their red hearts with that homer off of Mitch Williams.

But that was the 1980’s and most of the 1990’s. Right up until about 1998 or 1999, when they really sucked so bad, it was akin to being an Orioles fan now.

There was absolutely no hope.

Lately, since they moved into the new park, I kinda moved on. I suppose I could’ve hopped aboard the bandwagon this month, but I really didn’t. I was honestly rooting for my friend Rick Vaughn with Tampa Bay. I wanted him to get a ring.

I wish I were still a Phillies fan but I really did stop following them for some reason in the late 1990’s and my feelings about the Orioles have honestly clouded my opinion of the sport as a whole.

And then you grow up and realize that these are primarily the same people who love the Eagles and Flyers and you realize — yikes! — do I want to associate? And, again, I was an Eagles season ticket holder from 1985 til 1993 during the Buddy Ryan and Rich Kotite era. I NEVER was an Eagles fan, but I loved the NFL enough to want to do five or six games a year. And it was fun to feel the energy of The Vet for football.

But I still love baseball. And I follow baseball. And, obviously, the weekend the Eagles are here I’ll have no “soft spot” for the Phillies, cheesesteaks, pretzels or Eagles.

But as an old man of 40, I just now root for my friends and the people I like in each sport these days.

And I want people I like to have fun.

As I write this my friend Hockey Meg is exploding.

I’m wearing my oversized, autographed, 1983 Throwback, powder blue and bubble “P” Sixto Lezcano jersey and Hockey Meg is exploding in my condo.

It’s the last out.

The  fans are going crazy. It looks cold as hell at Citizens Bank Park. My wife is videotaping Meg jumping around my condo and we’re drinking beer. (Miller Lite Wheat right this moment because they’re not making it anymore.)

“THE PHILLIES ARE WORLD CHAMPIONS!!!!!””

She’s now openly sobbing.

Skyrockets are going off. The Phillie Phanatic is waving a Phillies flag. Davey Lopes is hugging Shane Victorino. People are going bonkers. The Liberty Bell is ringing.

The set shot camera on every player at the end is incredible. Nice job, Fox!

Baseball can do crazy things to your emotions. And crazy things to communities that are truly linked by sports. By grandmothers and children. Women and men. Black and white. East and west. If you love sports, you should always love the night when a new champion is crowned because somebody somewhere is really having the time of their lives.

I’m an emotional guy, especially about the Orioles.

Put your TV on right now and pick pick a highlight – and call the person in your life who is from Philadelphia.

And you tell ME?

Will they remember tonight for the rest of their lives as something special?

Sure they will!

Brad Lidge is crying on TV calling the fans amazing. By the way, he had a PERFECT season. And he’s now capped it off with a World Series ring. Nice work, Lidge!

Jamie Moyer is talking about the struggles of the season for the Phils, but he looked so overjoyed. He’s hugging Jimmy Rollins. And these guys all seem like class acts.

I’m happy for Moyer, who I wrote about the other day at length. He’s a good egg. And he won for his hometown team in the hometown ballpark and pitched well enough and has now successfully completed his career with a bang if he wishes.

I’m happy for Davey Lopes, who had a helluva career and won a ring for the Dodgers in 1981 and has been a baseball lifer. He, too, was always a helluva good guy when he was a coach for the Orioles back in the mid 1990’s. He’s smart, witty, informed about the world in general and was always a joy to chat with. He’s in the midst of the celebration and I’m really happy for him.

And I’m happy for all of my long-suffering friends from Philly, including Hockey Meg who is still jumping for joy and on the phone with her brother, who managed to score a $300 ticket in left field yesterday and is there amidst the throng right now.

She’s talking to her family. It’s like an early Christmas for her and her family. Same as it was for my wife back in 2004. And every time the Patriots have played in the Super Bowl.

So Agent Orange and I are lamenting the fact that the Orioles give us no hope for an evening like this.

Says Agent Orange: “I’m numb to it. It’s like I’m watching a different sport. I think of the Super Bowl year and she and I running around and celebrating. From 1300 block of Charles Street to Fells Point. Just walking through the city. We were just screaming, hooting and hollering and the streets were flooded with people. I know Philadelphia is going to be 400 times nuttier than it was here.”

The fans are booing the mentioning of the Tampa Bay Rays. That’s SO Philly!

A sign that says: Mitch we forgive you sign!

And now the ultimately indignity, general manager Pat Gillick telling the crowd: “Let’s do it again!”

That’s “former Orioles GM” Pat Gillick, if you have the scorecard out!

Charlie Manuel in his southern drawl saying: “Whose da World Champeeens!?!?!”

And, they’re now holding up a Philly Inquirer newspaper (or is it a dinosaur) that says “CHAMPS!” with a pic of the team celebrating!

Cole Hamels is the MVP. He’ll also never have to buy a drink anywhere in southeast Pennslvania, Delaware and southern New Jersey. Hamels is thanking the fans. “We love these fans and we love the amount of red they’re wearing tonight!”

Hamels seems like a really “right” guy, as Charley Eckman would say.

Man it looks cold as hell there.

But not as cold and empty as Camden Yards and downtown Baltimore does tonight.

That’s what’s missing…

I could elaborate. But you should think about it if you’re watching the game tonight. Think about your friend from Philly tonight – give him or her a call and say hi. Ask them how they’re feeling.

And then remember what it’s like to be an Orioles fan. And remember what we’re being cheated out of a chance for on this kinda night in Baltimore.

Hockey Meg is now sitting on my floor, physically and emotionally exhausted. She’s been texting with all of her friends from home – a dozen friends she says. Friends from school (Delaware, Blue Hens, Newark) and from “home, Jersey”…”anyone I’m friends with.”

“This is sorta a big deal,” she says. “I can’t wait to buy my nephew a little baby outfit with the Phillie Phanatic wearing a 2008 World Champions on it. I’ll bet you his name will be Chase.”

The baby isn’t coming until late November.

“Would they really name their kid Chase?” I asked.

“Absof-inglutely!” she said, but she didn’t drop the u and the two consonants.
The baby – whatever his name will be – has a Phillies mobile. A little Phillie Phanatic, a baseball bat, a P – stuff like that hanging from a turning, rotating baby thing-a-majig. This child will be loved.

I have to go now. Meg wants to drag us all out to Magerks for a beer.

We’ll be at the Bel Air Magerks next Wednesday doing the Brian Billick Live show. Hope you join us.

Right now, I’m going to join a bunch of Phillies fans on Cross Street at Magerks and I’m going to wear my Sixto Lezcano jersey. More for kicks and just because I OWN it. And it’s kinda sharp. A shame they don’t wear them anymore.

This oughta be fun.

I’m just happy for them.

And I realize that as long as this ownership group is involved with the team and it continues to get run into the ground, this might the closest I ever get.

A pretend championship?

Nah. Just a few beers with my friend, who I’ve honestly never seen happier.

Good for Philadelphia.

I might even throw down some Tasty Cakes!

But I’ll still be hating on the Eagles, Flyers and Sixers all the way…

And laughing at their drunk fans acting like fools.

But perhaps we ALL acted like fools back on 1/28/01..

Didn’t we?

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‘See The Birds’ journey of 2008 ends with another lost season of failure tonight at Camden Yards

Posted on 24 September 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Come one, come all!

As a matter of fact, I hope more than one of you actually COME to Oriole Park at Camden Yards tonight where a few hopeless losers like me will set forth a few last phantom, hollow cheers for another season that never was.

That’s 11 in a row on my watch. The Orioles haven’t played a meaningful game since October 1997. And the crowds have withered to virtual nothingness.

I know you probably haven’t noticed through the servings of the Purple Kool Aid on MASN, but they’ve now quietly lost eight in a row. And they’ve won six times since August 17th.

“Wake Me Up When September Ends” indeed…

How bad is it?

Well, the team has $1 tickets available tonight and most of the city doesn’t even think it’s worth that. There might be 5,000 in the park tonight. It’s kinda like a minor league baseball game or something out of “Major League,” which 20 years ago was just a funny movie about the Indians and Cleveland.

At this point, it’s the current state of Baltimore baseball. Empty seats that the Orioles can’t beg people to come and sit in for ONE DOLLAR!

So, why are we going tonight? Well, our “Crabs and Beer” curator Glenn Clark purchased eight tickets last week for $8 and decided that bringing seven friends tonight would be a cheap date and some good fun.

(Honestly, I think he’s just trying to poke me into doing “Free The Birds 3” tonight.)

But I’m not biting…

For the record, I’ll be wearing my FREE THE BIRDS gear tonight. Not to elicit a parade or a mini FTB3 event. It’s just simply to tell them that I’m still here. And I still care. And that they still suck. And the last place freefall over the last month just reinforces that they still suck.

They have to win three of their last four to get to 70 wins. In March we called Las Vegas and the “over/under” was 67. As we toss back frosted adult beverages tonight at Regi’s and the Wharf Rat, they have exactly 67 wins. For those of you who bet the over, good luck! You have a REAL reason to come to the game tonight! LMAO…

Andy McPhail has repeatedly exposed himself to me as a coward and a weak company man. He, like his boss who’s gone back into a self-imposed exile while the fans vanish from downtown, doesn’t want to take legitimate questions from legitimate journalists.

I’ve now spent two seasons exiled from “Birdland,” being disallowed to do what I’ve done to feed my family since I was 15 years old. (And yes, I had a family at 15!)

In case you’re keeping score, the Orioles have complied a record of 139-189 since the Sept. 21, 2006 original “walkout” that we called a Rally. And it was a Rally. And I did cry out for positive change.

I’ve heard many people “credit” WNST for all of the changes with the Orioles. We don’t want any of the credit and I certainly can’t accept any of the blame for this continuing fiasco.

We can debate and celebrate the merits of McPhail’s changes and specifically the trades to obtain Luke Scott, Adam Jones and George Sherrill. And we can talk about the pending promise of Matt Wieters or Brad Bergeson. And we can discuss how Aubrey Huff “let his bat doing the talking” this season. And we can fete Brian Roberts for being the greatest soldier of them all, especially when he could’ve been lacing them up in Wrigley Field next week on a World Series contender.

Sure, like every other organization, the Orioles have some “bright spots.” But as Bill Parcells would say, “they are what they are.”

And that’s 67-90 and with a standing eight-game losing streak and a 6-27 record since Aug. 17th.

They are, by any standard, the worst team in Major League Baseball right NOW. If the season started all over again today and they played with these Bad News Bears, they might rival that crappy Detroit Tigers team from a few years ago. They might win 40 games over the next 162 as is. And to think they have 40 players available on the big-league roster at this time of the year and this is the best they can do?

I watched the latest slapstick at The Yard last night, dropping a 5-1 lead to the Rays in the nightcap and watching Mr. Happy, Dave Trembley, face the firing squad of his co-workers in the press room.

(Here’s where I’ll use the internet to “geese” a bit…and no, I don’t know if the Greaseman is dead but I sure hope he’s not. I really like(d) Doug and I absolutely admired him as a listener and marvel at his work as a colleague. If he really is dead, I’ll write something. If he isn’t, I’ll probably give him a call to tell him how big of a fan I really was (although he’s heard that before)!

Back to “geese-ing”…I actually have covered sports long enough now (since 1984) to remember in vivid color the post-game press conferences of Frank Robinson and Johnny Oates before all the lights and cameras of MASN glaring down on you in front of a Wayne’s World set in the basement of the stadium. I remember when they were simple desk chats in the manager’s office with Sparky Anderson over a post-game spread with his feet on the desk and him spraying you with barbeque while you talked baseball with him. He was an absolute gem!

I suppose we’re forever relegated to watching these “pressers” — as we call them — on TV. It’s really the same crap I’d get if I had a press pass and I don’t have to look at snarling naked athletes or get sneered at by some 22-year old dude who doesn’t know where Charles Street is.)

In the words of Bob Haynie, but I digress…

We’re going to the game tonight. We’re starting at Regi’s at 4. We’ll go to the Wharf Rat around 5:30ish. We’ll have a few beers. We’ll eat some food. And we’ll walk to the game.

If you want to join us, the price is certainly right – even in this economy.

If you want to sit with some real “old school” Orioles fans and be amongst some nice people, c’mon down!

It ain’t “Free The Birds 3.”

I didn’t have the energy to do it all again. I’m busy building Baltimore’s No. 1 sports media company and website.

I tried “See The Birds.”

I tried selling group tickets for those ingrates. I’ve tried digging down to find some iota of honest-to-God enthusiasm for the team through the few personalities who appear to be engaging. (For the record, I’m a big fan of Kevin Millar, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Jeremy Guthrie.)

I even offered them a “season of amnesty” – an olive branch — which I’ve held true to for the most part (even amidst more of their old-world Marxist policies and mean-spiritedness and evasiveness and general bullying).

Even though they’re creeps, I’ll stand by “amnesty” because I’m peaceful person. And I love the Orioles.

I want a better baseball team and a better experience with the team and the brand and the uniforms and the people that I fell in love with as a little boy in 1972 and followed like family for most of my life.

And even though Baltimore deserves better after building that palace downtown for the baseball team 20 years ago, it doesn’t appear that there’s any substantial change on the horizon. And the games are going away for another six months after this weekend. So I won’t have the opportunity to see how lame this all is again until April.

And I’ll go back and investigate and see if it’s more fun in 2009 with “Baltimore” on the road jerseys for the first time since I was a little boy.

I sincerely doubt it, but I’ll keep giving it try. I still really love baseball when it’s done right. And we love it so much that it will most certainly dominate our lives beginning next week when the playoff games star shot-gunning out all day long.

Playoff baseball and the fall of the leaves and the crisp autumn air…I live for that stuff!

I honestly don’t know what tonight represents, other than the 2nd Anniversary of “Free The Birds” and the 11th season of this organization disgracing Baltimore and the traditions of the Orioles.

We — Glenn, Drew, me and anyone else who wants to come — have no agenda other than to try to have some fun at the ballpark with friends, old and new.

So tonight I will make a few hours to “wave bye-bye” (in the words and voice of Jon Miller) to the season of 2008.

The 11th year of the black hole of Baltimore baseball sports ownership.

They are limping into last place.

They’ve won six times since August 17th!

There’s only one place to go from there, right?

They’ve finally set themselves up for success.

It can’t get any worse than last place with a thud.

They’re bound to claim a victory sometime soon. Maybe it’s tonight?

And they’re bound to come “really close” to signing Mark Teixiera (or Free Agent X) who signs elsewhere.

They clearly just won’t have the money, despite MASN printing gobs of money of that they don’t want you to know about.

Blah, blah, blah. Lies, damned lies and the Orioles.

Just let me know when Peter Angelos comes out of his cave and answers some questions from the “free” press. I’m sure we’ll be seeing a conversation with one of his employees like Roch Kubatko or Amber Theoharis sometime soon with overflowing optimism for the 2009 campaign. Exclusively on MASN, of course. The channel no one watches and the website no one visits.

It’s been two years since “Free The Birds” and the words in my 19 chapters still resonate honestly and the Orioles are still my first love.

Free The Birds 3?

Nah…

Tonight, we’ll just have a little fun…

And let ‘em know we’re still watching. And we’re still waiting for them not to be so mean and to not suck anymore.

I’m not holding my breath!

(Thank god for the Ravens and this Pittsburgh bus trip and football on Monday night!)

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A Free The Birds event in 2008?

Posted on 15 September 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

With the Orioles recent run of losses and the front office’s continuation of Marxist policies regarding the fans and media, my email lights up at least a few times a day asking me whether FREE THE BIRDS is a living breathing movement.

A guy named Ray dropped me a note this morning and I answered him with the response below. I’ll have more to write on the second anniversary of FTB next week, but this is my official position:

There SHOULD be one…
But I honestly don’t have time or energy to organize one at this point…

No one seems to care about the Orioles, which is the real problem…

But the Angelos family continues to lie to us about “better days ahead” and the city and the “establishment” that feeds at the trough continues to take the payouts in the way of advertising and “partnership” and shut up…

Call Channel 13 or CBS Radio or The Sun or The Examiner or PressBox and see if they want to organize a walkout?

They’re the only ones making money off of the team via orange advertisments….

The Orioles write them big checks and their “journalists” wave the pom poms and ignore the truth…

And the truth?

The Orioles ineptitude is killing the downtown area…

But, the people here don’t want the truth…

The stadium and the surrounding businesses have been empty for weeks and were painfully empty back in April and May. You can go watch the videos on wnsTV.

I’ve done my share…I gave them a spring and summer of “amnesty” and tried many, many times this year to get people to go BACK to the games. We called it “SEE THE BIRDS.” Go read my blogs from April and May.

I’ve actually tried to get people to go BACK to the stadium. I offered pre-game parties, drinks, fun, etc.

Not only do most old-school Orioles fans not want to go, the Orioles won’t even take our phone calls to help PROMOTE their team. We tried to BUY 500 tickets on Aug. 8th and they refused to work with us or help us get THEIR fans to THEIR ballpark.

And we have the most travelled daily sports website in the area by five-fold.

But Andy McPhail told me he’s a “company man” and that he won’t be discussing baseball or Baltimore with WNST.

Good for him.

Bad for you.

But I’m more concerned with spending my energy fixing my own company and supporting the Ravens while we’re having fun.

It’s football season. I want to be happy.

Thinking about, dealing with or communicating with the Orioles brings me no pleasure or joy.

But I’ll write more about FTB next week.

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Another September with the disappearing orange baseball…

Posted on 11 September 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

I looked through all of the WNST blogs over the past couple days and there has been a one glaring omission: the Orioles are nowhere to be found.

Playing out the string for the 11th consecutive September – the franchise hasn’t hosted a meaningful game since October 1997 – the worst-run and meanest and most paranoid franchise in professional sports has now put together another pathetic crawl to the finish line with a 3-17 record since the middle of August.

It’s been the quietest “slump” in the history of Baltimore baseball. No one is saying anything. No one is calling. And, apparently, no one is even watching.

Every night this week, I’ve seen downtown almost completely empty while I’ve watched Fenway Park on NESN packed with fans watching the Tampa Bay Rays come to Beantown as upstart first-place winners. I’m watching baseball this week. I’m just not watching the pathetic Orioles.

Maybe one day it’ll be our turn to win at baseball again in Baltimore. Maybe one day we’ll all feel like the Orioles are “our” team. But we’re getting up on the two-year anniversary of FREE THE BIRDS and the Orioles are 16 games under .500, 23 games behind Tampa Bay and are assured a last place finish in the AL East.

I’m sure Andy McPhail will hold a press conference at some point before spring training to talk about all of the “progress” the organization made in 2008. And they’ll invite all of their employees like Roch Kubatko and Tom Davis and Jim Hunter and Amber Theoharis to the press conference to ask questions.

But it’s just sad and I wish I had more to say about the Orioles and their recent losses. But the truth? I haven’t been watching them either.

Why would I?

They don’t want me to be a fan and they’ve basically pissed on anyone who listens to WNST or is associated with WNST time and time again. They refused to let us BUY tickets to their game back on August 8th when we were holding our 10th Anniversary of serving Baltimore sports fans with something that they sorely lack: honesty and integrity.

Like you (and most of the city), I’m caught up in “Flaccomania” and drinking the 1-0 purple Kool Aid. I’m just hoping the storm doesn’t crush Texas over the next 48 hours but the forecast looks ominous. I have a flight to Houston on Sunday. I have no idea when, where or if the game will be played at this point.

I have a feeling we’ll find out more today.

But I just wanted to invoke the word “Orioles” today and see if any of you are still watching or what might be said at this point about the franchise or where it’s headed under Dave Trembley next season.

Where’s Peter Angelos now to comment on this year’s effort? Has he entered the witness protection program along with his franchise?

And Andy McPhail – who turns out to be a company man/coward – has yet again declined to take my phone calls and emails so I could interview him about his plans for the offseason. He has been a colossal professional disappointment to me, telling me a few weeks ago when I met him: “I just do what I’m told, Nestor.” King Peter and Prince Greg have told him he shouldn’t “associate” with WNST.

What a leader he is, huh?

Other than selling a few orange T-shirts this year using Bill Hagy’s name and marketing a few kids named Scott and Jones, it’s been “business as usual” at The Warehouse.

And business as usual means lousy, dreadful baseball played in front of friends and families at Oriole Park at Camden Yards the nanosecond the word “training camp” is uttered. And MASN brings us some of the worst broadcasts in the history of baseball on the nights when Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer aren’t around.

(Have no fear: MASN will be firing up Hawaiian League baseball and no doubt be broadcasting the Mike Devereaux home run game from 1989 on some frigid night in December.)

We’ll see how the Orioles treat their offseason marketing efforts. I wonder what they’ll do to further make their FanFast lousy. And I wonder when they’ll announce the price increase for tickets. And I wonder when they’re going to start using some of the tens of millions of dollars they’re making with that Wayne’s World cable network.

Don’t worry. Once I get this website launched, we’ll be on red alert for their offseason comings and goings. We’ll be covering the Orioles in a major way in the new online world.

Just because most of you have long since stopped caring about the Orioles doesn’t mean that we’re not watching.

I care A LOT about the Orioles and I want them back. And I want to go to games and feel good about it. None of that has changed since FREE THE BIRDS. My love for the Orioles is sincere and lifelong.

I’m still watching them, just not their lousy meaningless games at this point. And I’m still hoping and praying for a better tomorrow for Baltimore baseball.

But now that the team has bought off virtually every media outlet in the community besides us, I don’t think you’ll be reading the proper criticism of a franchise that has turned its back on the community. That is everywhere except at WNST.net, where you’ll continue to get the truth.

They’ll have to do more than “BALTIMORE” on the road jerseys next year to get the city galvanized again.

But we’ll have our eyes open.

Let’s see what they do…

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Attendance

Posted on 04 April 2008 by roblong

It’s funny how much conversation there is about attendance at Camden Yards. I really don’t understand what the conversation is about. We get it. I’ve heard hundreds of people tell me that they aren’t going to the game. I’m sure you can say the same thing.

When people have made an effort not to go to the Yard, the results will be, small crowds, or no crowd. Fans have to see a little more to buy into what this organization is doing.

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What can we expect from Adam Jones?

Posted on 06 February 2008 by joshuahall

That is, if he is officially in an Orioles uniform. Of course, we do have to watch the snail-like pace of the Erik Bedard deal come to a close. I will be asleep possibly when this deal gets done, not because the deal will happen in the middle of the night, but because I as many of you are tired of seeing this whole deal dragged throughout the week. I’m sure Adam Jones is sick of it as well.

Let’s get the proposed trade out of the way and let’s start talking about this Adam Jones kid. According to PECOTA (Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm) scouts, some dubbed Adam Jones as “an exciting player, with outstanding defensive ability, a 7 rated arm (8 being the best), and tremendous range. At the plate, he has a very quick bat and average power already, projecting plus in the future. He does however, struggle with pitch recognition and can be beaten with breaking pitches. He’s going to be a star, but he’s the type of guy who can have a lot of ups and downs as he adjusts to big league pitching, especially since he hasn’t really been challenged in the minors”.

I know some of you are thinking, “aww geez, another rookie!”, but look at the big picture in terms of the future. We aren’t going anywhere in ’08. We may lose over 100 games and possibly hit the 5th place spot in the AL East. Let Adam play 162 games, odds are he’ll hit .248, have 22-25 HR’s, 80-88 RBI’s, and 90 + runs scored. It’s better than what Corey Patterson could do, why not let this young man go through the growing pains? In a couple of years, he and Nick Markakis will make up one of the best outfields in the American League. Nick started off slow but emerged as the best player on the O’s in a span of two years. I believe Adam will, if given time, become a reason for me to go to Camden Yards more often. He should be THAT good.

Lend me your thoughts on this topic! Also, check out the Bruce Cunningham Ravens Report with Aaron Wilson on Saturday’s from 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. only on Sportstalk 1570 WNST!

-JH

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All the news that’s fit to print

Posted on 12 October 2007 by emilyagueda

You have to question society as a whole when headlines like “O’s help MLB break all-time attendance record in ’07” land in a business paper.  Because the Baltimore Business Journal forces a subscription to view many of their articles, I am going to cut and paste it now for your viewing.

O’s help MLB break all-time attendance record in ’07

Baltimore Business Journal – by Eric Fisher Street&Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal

With a fourth straight all-time attendance record in the books, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig already is looking ahead to 2008 and the chance to top 80 million in overall attendance for the first time ever.

“Some of our marketing people may be worried about attendance next year, but I’m not,” said Selig, who daily monitors what remains baseball’s largest single revenue source. “There was a point where we couldn’t have dreamed the numbers would be this good. But as I’ve said many times, this is a clear manifestation of all the changes, all the work we’ve done over the years.”

MLB finished the 2007 regular season with a total attendance of 79.5 million, 4.5 percent ahead of last year and 18 percent ahead of the league total from just five years ago.

Twenty-three of 30 clubs recorded year-over-year attendance gains, up from 20 in 2006. That includes the Baltimore Orioles, who drew 2.16 million fans in 80 home dates in 2007, despite posting the club’s 10th straight losing season. The Orioles drew 2.15 million fans in 81 home dates in 2006.

The first and best way to help right what is going so wrong in baseball is to impeach Bud Selig.  His track record during this season speaks for itself with his low class dealings over the Barry Bonds record situation.

If Bud ever set foot in Camden Yards he would know that change is coming and Bud and Peter need to just open their eyes to see it.  This season has already dealt a fatal blow to my beloved winter league in Puerto Rico.   Seeing the green empty seats in Camden Yards all season makes me really nervous.

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Orioles continue ban on free speech in Baltimore

Posted on 10 April 2007 by Nestor Aparicio

So who is it gonna be next week? Or next year?

Scott Garceau? Peter Schmuck? Steve Davis?

Who’s next?

So it seems, these days only Fred Manfra, Jim Hunter and Tom
Davis — those bastions of journalistic integrity and fellow MASN employees —
are safe.

Maybe that’s the question the rest of the local and national
media should be asking.

Who’s next?

Who will be the next person to show up at a sporting event
— after spending nearly a quarter of a century in press boxes all around the
continent in virtually every sport imaginable, it’s all I’ve ever done to feed
my family since 1984 — only to be turned away by management for being too
critical of the team?

Having been an accredited media member for the totality of
my career, I have never heard of such a thing, nor has anyone in my industry,
until yesterday when I was denied entrance to Camden Yards.

To have some young PR flunky in a tie meet me at the front
door and say: “No thanks, the owner is not only not taking questions from
the fans or the media, but he is now no longer making his team available to
you, so you can’t won’t be able to ask THEM or the coaches any more questions
either!”

But that’s not gonna be a big problem for most members of my
chosen profession, who when they really put their heads on the pillow at night,
have to really, deep down in their souls, question the nonsense they say and
the truths that they protect to keep their jobs.

That’s what it’s come down to for so many people you see on
TV and hear on the radio. They are being systematically told what side of the
fence they will be on by the business deal their bosses strike. If you work at
WJZ, WJFK, WHFS or anywhere in the CBS family, you must preach that the Orioles
walk on water and your work on the air must reflect that in every reference.

If you work anywhere else, you get to mumble under your
breath about how bad the Orioles are at just about everything they do, but as
long as their ads appear on your station sales log or in your newspaper, your
criticism will be faint and your praise will be convincing.

I know nearly all of these people — the Baltimore media —
some better than others. And, some care for me, some don’t. I get that I’m not
going to be the “belle of the ball” in that circle of people,
partially because I compete with them for news, information and a piece of a
financial pie, but mostly because I have been critical of them at some point.

So, I’m honestly not expecting much of anybody to run to my
defense over having my press credentials stripped after 23 years.

Well, today is the day I boil over, because every single one
of them KNOWS I’m right on this issue. Even the ones who hate me know I’m right
because freedom of speech is ALWAYS right.

Being from Dundalk, my “b.s.” barometer has a keen
sense of smell. And it’s almost comical to me that anyone would ever consider
listening to some of our “competitors” and portend their integrity,
especially in light of their dalliances with Angelos and the Orioles.

Let’s take them one at a time…

CBS and Infinity…and whatever they’re calling whatever FM
signal they have this week…Jack…Jill…Anita? Who knows?

Last year they brought in a woman from Miami who is famous
for playing football and posing naked in magazines. She seems like a nice lady.
They call her a sports talk show host, but she almost never takes a call, knows
very little about sports if you’re measuring her against anyone who really
does, and always has a trusty “sidekick” lined up to help her limp
through the hours.

Watching her with Kirk McEwen last week had virtually every
employee at my radio station glued to MASN. We saw the train was about to wreck
and we were taking bets via text to see where on the track it would make
impact!

Ms. Marks’ boss, Bob Phillips, thinks people want to listen
to this. Peter Angelos, or maybe it’s John Angelos, (since apparently he’s
running MASN as well as the Orioles media relations department) think people
want to watch it — followed by Hawaiian League Baseball and painful highlights
of Orioles games that mattered from long before they systematically destroyed
the franchise over the last decade.

Speaking of CBS Radio, how about my man Damon Yaffe — a guy
who hates me for some reason, but I barely even know him — who happens to be a
real Baltimorean. So, like me, he RAILED and I mean RAILED against Peter
Angelos until two things happened.

  1. I led
    the walkout in September. He couldn’t stand that — probably because it
    was my idea — although much of what he’s said about Peter Angelos has
    been far more severe than anything I’ve said lately. But for the record,
    he was right, too!
  2. His
    boss, again, a guy named Bob Philips, went to lunch and decided to do
    business with Mr. Angelos.

And we all know what doing business with Peter means: he
runs the show!

Alas, the Bulldog was muzzled. And that’s as wrong as
telling me I’m not allowed to ask questions to baseball players after spending
my entire professional life building a reputation and relationships and a radio
station to do so.

Funny, too, how cozy everyone up on TV Hill at Ch. 13 have
gotten with the Orioles now that they’re all hoping to print money together.
Don and Marty have started bleeding orange and black in the morning. All day
long, every newscast — it’s happy, happy, joy, joy about the baseball team and
MASN.

Look everybody’s gotta turn a buck, but geez, can’t we find
a shred of honesty and/or journalistic integrity anywhere about what’s happened
to the franchise on the field and off, and the resulting effect on the downtown
marketplace and the reality of whose fault it is?

Yeah, it was all wine and roses at 3 p.m. yesterday, but
honestly, do you have any idea how empty that ballpark is going to be this
week!

When WJZ had an “exclusive” interview with Angelos
last year, some of the questions Denise Koch asked were almost laughable. But
it was just another example of what we’ve come to expect from the new-millenium
Orioles.

But that’s the only way you get to ask the owner (or
similarly now, the entire organization) any questions: if Angelos can make
money on the deal while he writes the script with the questions. He is
literally trying to own all coverage of the Orioles and make his spin the
“only” spin.

Just yesterday, he ostensibly told me to watch the game on
MASN and whatever they said is what I should believe about what’s going on with
the Orioles.

What’s really comical and transparent is watching WBAL Radio
squirm and whine over receiving the same shoddy treatment I’ve been receiving
for years. Steve Davis is livid all of a sudden about the Orioles. They are the
same team and organization that he was paid and encouraged to defend the past
few summers.

I find it rich with irony that the nanosecond that WBAL
stopped making any money off of the Orioles, they quickly became insolent about
the franchise’s behavior, but when it served their purpose, every horrible
thing they’ve done since firing Jon Miller was always given a solid and
convincing defense. How about last September’s “Free The Birds” rally
that blared on their airwaves for a solid hour without ever garnering a mention
on their airwaves? Where’s the truth in journalism there?

The real lamb in this fight, believe it or not, is the
biggest company — Comcast and their Sports Net. Their employees were given a
folding chair in the back of the press box yesterday, and were initially denied
clubhouse access.

Comcast Sports Net marched in line as a pretty decent
“partner” with Angelos until they didn’t serve his purpose anymore
and he smelled more money via the Washington Nationals. He threw Comcast and the
Nats and their fans under the bus, stirred up a ridiculous lawsuit, parted ways
in a nasty spat and STILL got $650 million thrown in on the way out of the
deal.

Comcast has passed that bill on to me.

So, we, the customers are stuck with lo-def baseball (the
Orioles are the only team on the planet whose games aren’t in HD) and people
over at MASN with a vendetta for everything Comcast, weakening their coverage.

The Orioles are forever preaching a “new season.”
Yesterday they got one. I wanted to come back into the ballpark, attempt to
“reconnect” with the Orioles, hang out on Opening Day and maybe ask
Sam Perlozzo a few questions in the post-game interview room — like I’ve done
a dozen times before.

This column should have been about a big win at home and my
memories of how great Opening Day always was the first 30 years of my life — a
rite passage for my Pop and me.

Not only was I denied access, but the Orioles media
relations department STILL hasn’t sent me ANY official word about our season
credentials — nothing! As I write this, I still have NO IDEA which of my guys
are in and which ones are getting in which ones aren’t.

They contacted Casey Willett via cellphone at
8:45 a.m. yesterday to tell him he had credentials…he believed ALL MORNING that
he WASN’T going to the game!

We had no confirmation of anything from anybody and still
don’t.

Well, the season is a day old and I’m locked out of the
ballpark and my attorneys will be left to piece that puzzle together this
morning. I can honestly see that nothing much besides the “bring your food
and drink to the park policy” has changed in the three years since I’ve
been gone — even though I think that’s a cool policy!

The Orioles, alas, are still as bush league as they’ve ever
been.

So who will be the next reporter banned from the ballpark?

If I’m gone for good — and I don’t fight — it’s not a matter of “if,”
it’s just a matter of “when.”

Because if after 23 years of being a media member they could
do it to me — and they did yesterday — then it can happen to anyone.

I sure hope all of my colleagues stay in line, roll me under
the bus and make Peter happy.

Making Peter happy saves jobs and credential privileges. I
wouldn’t want them to lose their jobs by telling the truth.

Luckily for me, I own the joint. I’m not going anywhere.

And I’ll just keep telling the truth.

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