Tag Archive | "inner harbor"

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O, say can you see a real lease for Orioles at Camden Yards by the dawn’s early light?

Posted on 01 October 2019 by Nestor Aparicio

It was the rarest of occasions in Baltimore sports history: the two kingpins and decision-makers of the prime downtown, big-league franchises coming together for a P.R. event to promote tourism in our city via the good folks at Visit Baltimore, who power the area of the Inner Harbor in zip code 21202 where I currently reside and pay (exorbitant) taxes.

The Orioles and the Ravens have co-existed in Baltimore since 1996. I live three blocks from both stadia, which my generation along with our parents and grandparents built with state tax dollars and Baltimore civic pride to bring our community together and stimulate business and industry throughout the region – but primarily downtown, which relies on tourism and local people and businesses participating.

The “leaders” of the two financially spoiled rotten sports franchises in Baltimore have never, ever shared a stage of any kind.

Just think about how awful that relationship must really be for that to not happen over a quarter of a century until last week?

Art Modell and Peter Angelos never shared the same oxygen after an early insult. Steve Bisciotti has attended many Orioles games over the years but has never shared a dais in any public setting with any Angelos to even discuss crab cakes or the parking lot between them.

I have covered sports for 35 years in Baltimore. I spent almost a decade trying to bring together the Orioles and the Ravens for an event called the “Nice Guy Awards” back in the 1990s. Every year, Art Modell or David Modell or Brian Billick or Ray Lewis or Jon Ogden would come from the Ravens. And every year, the Orioles would send Elrod Hendricks, who would be the last person standing at Michael’s 8th Avenue.

When Elrod died, the event died.

So the fact that John Angelos walked into a room full of non-payroll people from Baltimore representing the Orioles after 108 losses is a massive step up from his father. But I have no illusions about that media pass “olive branch” coming because he answered a legitimate question he was forced to answer under duress and would’ve never wanted to be asked publicly.

John Angelos only answered my very reasonable question because he had to in front of 500 people. He has no history with accountability.

And let’s be honest, there hasn’t been an Angelos found in a public role of accountability since the old man was booed off the field at the Cal Ripken 2131 game in September 1995.

These visitor center public backrubs take place all over the country, as do “forum” setting panel discussions with civic and sports business leaders attempting to share expertise, wisdom and provide some public accountability for the money that the citizens fork over as an investment in the city.

Despite the unique nature of this event with the Orioles and Ravens and their respective poohbahs seated 10-feet apart, the real backdrop for this luncheon was to promote the CIAA Tournament coming to Baltimore in February 2021 for three years of (hopefully) filling some hotel rooms and bringing some sports energy to downtown as well as tourist hoops dollars.

But the real local sports journalism story is that we are now at the part of this quarter-of-a-century old Orioles family movie where John Angelos feels the need to front his “out of the picture” father’s franchise to local hoteliers and tourism businesses while seated next to Dick Cass (who really does work 15 hours a day, virtually every day running the Ravens as legitimate team president), who was showing off his shiny privately-renovated purple stadium and having a panel discussion with CIAA Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams, moderated by legendary USA Today columnist and venerable journalist Christine Brennan.

He didn’t show up at the event thinking anyone with a microphone would be asking about the future of the Orioles.

Let’s start with this: if anyone less professional than Brennan was moderating the panel, I wouldn’t have been allowed a question to John Angelos, let alone the one I did, to which his hollow answer has made him a local hero among the few people left who somehow still truly believe he’s going to be a competent part of resurrecting the franchise from the depths of hell brought on by his father’s mismanagement of emotional intelligence and public trust for 25 years.

I found it rich with irony that as a citizen who lives downtown, I believe the Orioles are truly the No. 1 villain in the story of how the city of Baltimore has emptied TWO MILLION people out of downtown every summer since Angelos took over the franchise and began using Camden Yards as a personal ATM in 1993.

Now, somehow, with no real actions or deeds and rumors floating about the future of the franchise because there are two years left on the lease plus 108 more losses and many more empty Camden Yards nights ahead, the son of the owner is suddenly John Angelos Key – dropper of word bombs bursting in the air o’er the land of the free!


And without my banned media status and my bird (watching) dog efforts to ask him a simple question, John Angelos would not have won his empty sales off season with his empty

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NFL announces plans for season kickoff concert

Posted on 21 August 2013 by WNST Staff








The National Football League announced today event information for “NFL KICKOFF 2013 PRESENTED BY PEPSI” Thursday, September 5 at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor adjacent to the Maryland Science Center.


Grammy Award-winning singer KEITH URBAN will perform live, with activities beginning at 6:00 p.m. (ET) for “NFL KICKOFF 2013 PRESENTED BY PEPSI,” the NFL’s 11th anniversary Kickoff celebration to kick off the season and celebrate the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The event is free and open to the public.


Simulcast coverage of the 60-minute pregame show from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor will air from 7:30 – 8:30 PM ET on NBC and NFL Network.  The live pregame broadcast also will be available via NFL Mobile from Verizon. The show leads into the season opener between the Ravens and the Denver Broncos at Sport Authority Field at Mile High (NBC, NBCSports.com, Westwood One Radio Sports, 8:30 PM ET).  Big Machine Records recording artist and winner of Season 4 of NBC’s “The Voice” DANIELLE BRADBERY will sing the National Anthem live from Denver.


The City of Baltimore and the NFL released the following information to help make the event enjoyable, accessible, and safe:



In accordance with the NFL’s new bag policy, no coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, seat cushions, luggage of any kind, computer bags and purses will be allowed. Permissible bags include: one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag or bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12” x 6” x 12. In addition, small clutch bags, approximately the size of an adult’s hand will be allowed. For full details on the new bag policy, please visit  HYPERLINK “http://www.nfl.com/allclear” http://www.nfl.com/allclear.


To ensure public safety and security, the following items are prohibited: weapons, alcohol, food, beverages, all glass containers, fireworks, all chairs, tents of any kind, barbecue grills of any kind, umbrellas, blankets of any kind, cameras with lens over 12”, obstructive signs and animals other than service animals.


All attendees are subject to search, and prohibited items may not be abandoned at security checkpoints. Please allow adequate time to pass through security checkpoints before activities begin.



Guests can enter the concert site at the Baltimore Visitor Center on Light Street at Conway Street or off of Key Highway between the Science Center and Rash Field.  The entrances will open to the public beginning at 6pm on Thursday, September 5.


Guests may view the concert from the general public viewing areas, which are adjacent to the Maryland Science Center and are directly in front of the stage. Access to the general public viewing areas is first come, first served. Guests also may enjoy the concert from West Shore Park and along the Inner Harbor promenade.


Guests planning to attend the event should follow  HYPERLINK “https://twitter.com/NFL345” @NFL345 on Twitter for the most up-to-date concert details.




This event will not close any City streets; however, pedestrians and cyclists using the Inner Harbor promenade will be detoured during some periods of set-up and breakdown. Additional information will be posted on  HYPERLINK “http://www.nfl.com/kickoff” NFL.com/Kickoff.



Spectators are encouraged to use mass transit such as the Bus, Metro, Light Rail and Charm City Circulator.


Public parking lots in the area:


Central Parking
400 E. Pratt St.


Hyatt Inner Harbor parking

300 Light St


Little Italy Garage
400 S. Central Ave


Lockwood Place Garage
124 Market St.



Pier Five Parking
711 E. Pratt St.

Renaissance Harbor Place Parking Garage
202 E. Pratt St.


Royal Sonesta Harbor Court

550 Light St.


1st Mariner Arena Garage

201 W Baltimore St.

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Country star Urban to play Baltimore concert as part of NFL kickoff week

Posted on 04 August 2013 by WNST Staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Keith Urban will help the NFL kick off the 2013 season.

Urban is scheduled to perform live during NBC’s pregame show before the Baltimore Ravens open the season at the Denver Broncos on Thursday, Sept. 5.

A news release says the Grammy-winning country music star will perform from a stage floating in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

The performance comes during a busy period for the Australian singer. He’s out on tour this summer, set to release his new album “Fuse” on Sept. 10 and learned this week he’ll return next season as an “American Idol” judge.

“The Voice” Season 4 winner Danielle Bradbery will sing the national anthem at the game.

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“Super Bowl Sendoff Rally” for Ravens set for Monday

Posted on 24 January 2013 by WNST Staff

Fans can offer their support and best wishes before the Ravens depart for New Orleans as mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and the city will hold a “Super Bowl Sendoff Rally” at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater on Monday.

Entertainment will kick off at 10:30 a.m. as the team’s cheerleaders, Baltimore’s Marching Ravens, and mascot Poe will be present. The rally officially begins at 11:30 a.m., with members of the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV championship team scheduled to be present.

Current coaches and players — including head coach John Harbaugh and linebacker Ray Lewis — will arrive at approximately 12:15 p.m.

The Ravens will then depart for New Orleans later that afternoon to continue preparations for Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3.

For more information, visit www.baltimoreravens.com.

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Debate time: The many pros and cons of Baltimore Grand Prix for our city

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published 9/7/2011) Like many of you who came downtown – or watched via television or social media from afar – this Labor Day weekend you formed some kind of opinion on the big race through the streets of our favorite city.

The very topic of the IRL and Baltimore Grand Prix has become quite the hot button of civic debate – as it should be, considering the cost, investment and inconvenience everyone who uses the city on a regular basis encountered in the lead-up for a weekend that went surprisingly well by almost anyone’s measurement, especially for an inaugural event with this kind of infrastructure issues and engineering necessities to pull off this whole extravaganza was impressive.

I’ve attended more Super Bowls, Final Fours, etc. than I can count and I can say that what Baltimore did over the last six weeks was “Super Bowl worthy” as far as building a fence around a city and getting the event done with flair and executed with pride.

As usual, this will be a lengthy missive. I don’t have a show to use four hours to give my perspective more color and flavor so I’ll take this space to do it today.

Let me say this from the outset: my perspective is different from almost any of you because I live in the neighborhood directly affected by the race and my business is a direct recipient of any local sports spirit. I know many of the residents and merchants in our area. I was involved in the very early stages of the race when organizers approached me looking for support and then later blatantly lied to me regarding WNST’s involvement.

I have the original feasibility plan sitting on my desk so I’m not an armchair quarterback on this one. I’ve seen it all unfold and these observations are sometimes a tad incongruent because I’m really on the fence about this event and what the goals will be moving forward now that the circus has left town and most of the folks who came to the event seemed to greatly enjoy the experience.

I know this much: many merchants were quietly angry on Friday before the race unfolded and many are still angry because the event was selective in who it benefited. I walked around. I chatted with many of them. The construction project around the city was very real and very costly to many businesses. There were nights when it took hours to traverse the engineering and traffic issues. Most businesses in the city did LESS business throughout the month of August because of the race and even a three-day shot in the arm didn’t offset the losses.

That said, I realize most of you don’t care about the local inconvenience and, quite frankly neither do I when it comes to what is good for the city, but it will be interesting to see if the critics and cynics and many angered local people will be able to embrace this event.

For those of you who have read any of my work, you know my stance on the Orioles’ sick demise is more about the civic bloodletting not only of spirit of Baltimore and the intangible pain of last place – but my beef with Peter Angelos is really about how the Orioles’ atrophy has wrecked the economics of downtown on spring and summer nights.

So when it comes to traffic around my crib, I’d love nothing more than to see major traffic jams 81 nights a year downtown because it would lower my property taxes and raise the quality and standard of my life in Baltimore as a city resident if the baseball team could ever get new ownership and rise from the ashes of this civic abyss.

So to my view there are three headlines that can (and will) be written and addressed here:

1.    Grand Prix declared major success by Mayor Rawlings-Blake, IRL people (that means owners), WJZ (and anyone else who profited off of it and would next year and into the future) and people who attended who had fun!

2.    Great weather and interested crowds create a can’t-miss event every year in Baltimore on Labor Day weekend

3.    Someone needs to do a real study on this because I’m not so sure this was a huge win for Baltimore even though it was kinda neat and fun and loud

Let’s start with No. 1 – those who are declaring a political victory.

No one got maimed. Lots of people came downtown. The weather was stunning for the most part. The event was a massive, massive undertaking and it came off with very few flaws outside of the actual transportation issues that are inevitable when you shut down a major metropolitan’s hub for traffic and commerce and literally use the streets as part of the event.

Everyone around Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake bunkered down in an effort to pull off this event, which would have been a political suicide

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Here we go again: Is this Baltimore Grand Prix worth all the fuss, expense & nuisance?

Posted on 31 August 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

I’ve seen how this Baltimore Grand Prix idea works when it’s successful. And in theory, it sounds outstanding.

The government builds infrastructure (see Camden Yards sports complex) and it lures commerce into the basin of the city where folks who don’t live in Baltimore actually come to our city and spend money and enjoy themselves enough to want to come or at least tell their friends that the Charm City is actually “charming.”

So, while The Wire and Homocide: Life On The Streets always seems to show the darker, seedier side of Baltimore, these sporting events are allegedly “state sponsored” as a way of creating public relations, marketing and the long tail of telling the story of Baltimore.

I attended the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix last Labor Day weekend. I wrote an extensive analysis of 2011’s events here and reposted this morning at WNST.net.

As I said last year, we have a baseball team here in Baltimore that should be the leader to draw 150,000 downtown on summer (and fall) weekends.

The Orioles had a stadium built with your money 25 years ago. It was built to be the Taj Mahal of our city and served that purpose until the greediest man in the state got control of the baseball team and has turned into a source of civic despair over the past 15 years. It’s so bad that now that the team is winning most folks are yawning into September and the commerce the team drives on any given night for any average business owner in Baltimore is completely negligible.

The dirty little secret that the bought-off media in Baltimore won’t tell you is that Peter Angelos doesn’t care if you buy a ticket or not. He’s making $100 million in profit off of your TV money.

As for the Baltimore Grand Prix and this civic idea to fill hotels and the Inner Harbor, they actually need you to show up and spend money this weekend. This is the second year that my neighborhood has been ripped apart for six weeks in an attempt to draw the same 150,000 people downtown that the baseball team was supposed to draw by being competitive. Yesterday, the Orioles used the Grand Prix as an excuse for why no one came to see a baseball team that is 14 games over .500 as we head to New York for a Labor Day weekend show.

There are plenty of hotel rooms left for the weekend all over the city. That doesn’t happen on a “big” weekend in any major city.

No one in my neighborhood got a “vote” on the issue.  It’s six weeks of destruction for my neighbors and anyone who accesses downtown on a daily basis. It’s the second year. And they’re still trying to give tickets away and get someone, anyone to care about IRL or Grand Prix racing. If the city didn’t allow the Orioles to be destroyed, they could get the same 150,000 people downtown this weekend for baseball games.

Last year the organizers said there were 125,000 people. They also told their vendors and the city that they’d pay the bill.

I looked out my window this morning and the event has been greatly “downsized” for 2012 in a lot of apparent ways. They know they’re not drawing anywhere near the six figures of last year.

Ask the vendors who didn’t sell any beer and the businesses that lost money all over the city because people feared the traffic that never happened. I live here. No one is buying me off with a lucrative partnership to lie

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