Tag Archive | "Michael Jordan"

DCP_1346

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Unlucky Chapter 13: ‘The Magic’ and ‘The Oriole Way’ got stranded on 33rd Street…

Posted on 18 August 2018 by Nestor Aparicio

(Originally published as a prelude to the “Free The Birds” walkout in 2006, this is Part 13 of a 19 Chapter Series on How Bseball and the Orioles berthed WNST.net. Please save Thursday, April 5th for some civic action regarding the demise of the Orioles in Baltimore.)

There is very little question that Camden Yards only holds a handful of good memories for most of the “old school” Orioles fans who lived through the glorious Memorial Stadium days.

Maybe you consider the Bill Hasselman vs. Mike Mussina brawl in 1993 memorable. Or perhaps that Brad Pennington head-jerking launch toward The Warehouse by Ken Griffey Jr. on that Sunday afternoon in that pretty teal jersey jogs your memory a bit.

Opening Day and Sutcliffe in 1992 was also pretty outstanding.

The night Mussina almost threw that perfect game was memorable. And how about the night he took a liner off of his face?

And the ALCS games at Camden Yards in 1996 and 1997, while not victorious, were at least memorable.

The Marquis Grissom home run. The Todd Zeile incident. The Cecil Fielder home run. The Tony Fernandez home run. Darryl Strawberry, of all people, coming back to haunt the Orioles with home run after home run in October 1996.

Our community stole the Browns from Cleveland so we might have had karma working against us for that 1997 ALCS disappointment coming to us as fans — especially after that Robbie Alomar blast at The Jake the previous fall — but the Yankees thing in 1996 was just insufferable.

On second thought, maybe we CHOOSE to not remember some of the stuff during those two WINNING seasons because we got stuck watching the World Series on TV. And there’s very little doubt that the BALTIMORE Orioles were the best overall team in baseball throughout that ’97 season.

My feelings about those years are probably the same way my Pop would’ve felt about 1973 and 1974. He never talked about those years as particularly good (although he loved Rich Coggins) because 1966 and 1970 and, even 1969 and 1971, were so much better and more memorable for him.

Yeah, we were good in ’96 and ’97, and we had some big wins, but when it really mattered the most, in October — the big at-bats, the big pitches, the big plays, and in the case of Jeffrey Maier in 1996, the big calls — all were tilted mightily in the other direction when all was said and done and World Championship trophies were handed out.

Honestly, as close as we were, we CLEARLY weren’t very close at all when you saw how those games played out in October. And other than Mussina, Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken, none of those players made a dent in the heart of Orioles’ fans.

 

In his most recent public appearance/infomercial this past spring, Peter Angelos informed WJZ’s Denise Koch that “we were one pitch away from the World Series — you must remember that!”

The seats in the owner’s box must’ve shown a different set of games or “time” must’ve illuminated “the glory of their deeds.”

Because from where I sat, it looked like the better team won both years — with or without Jeffrey Maier —

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Future Terps to Play in Capital Classic

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Future Terps to Play in Capital Classic

Posted on 02 April 2012 by WNST Staff

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Baltimore Native and Maryland All-American, Keith Booth, Joins Loyola University Maryland Women’s Basketball Staff

Posted on 17 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Former University of Maryland All-American and NBA World Champion Keith Booth has been named an assistant women’s basketball coach, Greyhounds Head Coach Joe Logan announced today.

“We are ecstatic to have Keith Booth join our Loyola women’s basketball program and excited that he is able to return home to Baltimore to continue his coaching career,” said Logan.

Booth, a Baltimore native, spent the last seven seasons as an assistant coach with the men’s basketball team at the University of Maryland under Head Coach Gary Williams.

In his time at Maryland from 2004-2011, the Terrapins won no fewer than 19 games and reached the NCAA Tournament three times. Booth assisted with the daily operations of the men’s basketball program, including recruiting, advance scouting, player development and game preparation.

“Keith brings with him a unique perspective, which I am looking forward to and I know our whole program will benefit from,” Logan said.

As a player at the University of Maryland, Booth led the Terrapins to four NCAA Tournaments, including a pair of Sweet Sixteen appearances, and in 1994 began Maryland’s streak of 11 consecutive NCAA berths that ran from 1994 to 2004. Current Loyola head men’s basketball coach, Jimmy Patsos, was an assistant coach at Maryland and helped in the recruiting of Booth.

In his senior season at Maryland, Booth led the Terps in scoring (19.5 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg) and steals (2.0 spg) and is still Maryland’s all-time leader in free throws made (576). Booth finished his impressive career at Maryland among the Terps’ all-time leaders in scoring (9th, 1,776 points), rebounding (6th, 916 points), steals (5th, 193) and is one of 15 players to have his jersey honored above the Terps’ home court at Comcast Center.

In October 2008, Booth was inducted into the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2010, Booth represented Maryland as one of the ACC Basketball Legends honored at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

Booth played his high school basketball locally at Dunbar High School and was considered one of the major recruiting windfalls for Williams and the Terps in the mid-1990s.

As a senior at Dunbar, Booth was a Parade and McDonald’s All-American selection. He also led his team to the Maryland Class “A” State Championship. Booth was named Player of the Year in Baltimore City and the state of Maryland by the Baltimore Sun.

After a stellar career at Maryland, playing alongside Joe Smith, Rodney Elliott, Johnny Rhodes and others, Booth was an AP All-America Third Team selection as a senior in 1997. Booth left Maryland with a host of accolades including All-ACC honors four times, earning first-team honors as a senior, third team as a junior, and honorable mention designation during his freshman and sophomore seasons.

Booth’s teams appeared in two NCAA Sweet Sixteens, finishing his sophomore season as ACC regular season co-champions and ranked No. 10 in the country in the final AP poll. That year (1994-95) the Terps compiled a 26-8 record, including a perfect 16-0 record at Cole Field House. Booth finished his Terrapin career with averages of 14.1 points per game and 7.3 rebounds.

After his playing years at Maryland, Booth was a first round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in 1997, taken as the 28th selection overall. Booth was a member of the 1998 Chicago Bulls NBA World Championship team led by Michael Jordan.

“Keith’s accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Logan. “He has won at every level and we are looking forward to him developing our players into winners both on and off the court.”

Booth joined “The Reality Check” with Glenn Clark Monday on AM1570 WNST.net. You can hear the interview in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault here at WNST.net.

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7: Most Entertaining Sports Figures I’ve Ever Watched

Posted on 02 August 2011 by Luke Jones

In honor of the great Deion Sanders being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton this weekend, today’s Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 was “The 7 Most Entertaining Sports Figures I’ve Ever Seen.”

With Glenn Clark filling in on The Afternoon Drive this week, Drew Forrester kindly included me in the weekly spot.

Remember you can hear our explanations for our Top 7 lists in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault right here.

Luke Jones’ list…

7. Bo Jackson
Bo

6. Ray Lewis
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d60hKgNPlVE[/youtube]

5. Randy Moss
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmJcUlrkMNg[/youtube]

4. Tiger Woods
Tiger

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What is a Living Legend?

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What is a Living Legend?

Posted on 13 July 2011 by WNST Interns

During yesterday’s Afternoon Drive, we debated the topic of “Living Legends” in baseball. Along with Allen McCallum, we talked about what it takes to be regarded with such reverence.

The best description we could outline was “competitors that transcended the game” …..

During today’s show, we’re going to open the conversation to all sports. And, as a taste of what to expect, some of my LIVING LEGENDS can be found, below:

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We look forward to your thoughts during today’s show.  It all starts at 2pm …..

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To Lefty Driesell, Len Bias was more than just a player

Posted on 26 June 2011 by Peter Dilutis

On June 19, 1986, Len Bias passed away just two days after being drafted number two overall by the Boston Celtics. One of the greatest college basketball players to ever live was gone before he ever got the opportunity to play at the highest level.

Twenty-five years after Bias passed away, there are still many misconceptions surrounding Len and the circumstances that led to his death. Lefty Driesell joined Luke Jones on June 19th, exactly 25 years after Bias’ death, and discussed the man who he coached, but more importantly as Lefty put it, loved like his son.

“He was a great individual, a great human being,” Driesell said. “A recruit we had that went out with him the week before he died, I asked him if Leonard was messing with any drugs or anything the night he was with him. He said ‘Coach, he wouldn’t even drink a beer.'”

Driesell insists Bias was a good student, telling Luke that it was his own fault, along with Len’s advisor, that Bias flunked his 15 credits during his last semester at Maryland.

“Let me tell you something, Leonard Bias was a good student,” Driesell said. “I don’t think he ever flunked a course until that last semester. He would have graduated, he would have passed everything had he not been an All-American and number two NBA draft pick.”

While Lefty referred to Bias’ death as a “tragic accident,” he believes his death has served as a warning to all those who have used or considered using cocaine or other harmful drugs.

“I think he’s been a great example,” Driesell said. “I’m speaking down at Chuck’s camp at the Citadel this week and I always bring that up. You know, stay off of drugs. Leonard Bias was a born again Christian, went to church every Sunday, so don’t let anyone talk you into experimenting with drugs. Anything you take that messes with your mind is bad. Even if it doesn’t kill you it messes your mind up. I think it has had a tremendous effect.”

Aside from the personal storylines surrounding Len Bias’ death, the reverberations that it had on the basketball world cannot be ignored. The Boston Celtics were greatly counting on Len Bias to help them stay on top of the basketball world. Driesell believes Bias would have fit in very well with the Celtics.

“I think it would have been a perfect fit,” Driesell said. “Like I told you, Red Auerbach is no fool. He knew what he was doing and that’s why he drafted him second. There were a lot of good players who came after him but he knew how good Leonard was going to be. The thing about it was when Leonard passed away it really hurt the Celtics in the future.”

“I don’t like to brag on my own players, but Red Auerbach is probably the best evaluator of talent that there has ever been,” Driesell said. “He picked him number two, so I think he was going to be a great player. I think they were grooming him to take Larry Bird’s place.”

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Remembering All Kings .....

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Remembering All Kings …..

Posted on 16 August 2010 by WNST Interns

I’m one of those “older” guys who can still recall THAT day. I was 10 years old and playing in my front yard with friends, as my Uncle Rudy walked thru the front gate.

He ensured all of us heard his message, as he shouted the news that would figuratively bring the daily happenings in this country to a STOP, for several days. We were kids, so it really didn’t resonate with us.

I think we stopped doing whatever we were doing for a second or two (it was 33 years ago …. I don’t recall every detail), before going back to doing more of it. But, here I stand three decades later, and I remember that moment.

A little while later, I ran inside my house for some reason and found my mother laying on the sofa, crying. Of course, this garners a feared reaction from any kid. Ultimately, I would learn that my uncle shared the news with her …. and she was able to verify it, as the news now blared on our television.

Elvis Presley, the “King Of Rock & Roll”, was DEAD.
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That was my first real exposure to music’s most iconic LEGEND.

Years later, I’ve looked back on that day and thought, “WOW …. how can another man be so popular and revered throughout this world?” With due respect to the Beatles, I was just 3 years old when they broke up, so I can’t really paint a picture of that event.

But, when we think of music legends and influences, the first two words that surface for MOST PEOPLE are “Elvis” and “Beatles”. Sure, there are people who didn’t care for the music of one or both acts. But, they must have done something special …. something that set them apart.

Elvis Presley revolutionized music. He challenged stereotypes and cultural barriers. He defeated ignorance. He denied established decorum. He exercised his will. He pioneered an era. He defined an entire facet of life. He is considered the GREATEST of all. And, he was a humbly, authentic guy.

Everybody knows it.

But, did Elvis have any contemporaries? Specifically, did he share such an impact with athletes? Can you think of any men or women who had similar effects on certain sports, perhaps, by exercising one or more of the above qualities?

I think it’s safe to say no athlete has ever approached Elvis Presley’s popularity. But, I do think certain athletes have impacted their respective sports in some similiar ways. Below, find my list of 10 athletes, who had an Elvis-type effect on sports …..

Jim Brown
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Ted Williams
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Michael Jordan
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Joe Louis
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Henry Aaron
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John Unitas
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Martina Navratilova
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Dale Earnhardt
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Muhammad Ali
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George Herman Ruth
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Are there plenty of other KINGS? Absolutely. In fact, you might disagree with this list, for one reason or another. We can discuss it today …. along with hitting on the latest Ravens news from Training Camp, and we’ll take a look at the Orioles vs. Mariners series.

It all starts at 2pm …..

Email me (rex@wnst.net) with your Elvis requests !!!!

Long live the KING …..
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Forbes' Most Powerful Athletes .....

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Forbes’ Most Powerful Athletes …..

Posted on 29 June 2010 by WNST Interns

As the fiscal year draws to a conclusion, the fine folks at Forbes Magazine have decided to delight us with their MOST POWERFUL lists. Of course, these lists are broken down by profession, and include …. Actors, Musicians, Entrepreneurs, Media Personalities and Athletes.

While I found each list interesting – and certainly controversial – I was inspired to ask myself the very same question for the umteenth year of Forbes lists ….

WHO IN THE HECK COMES UP WITH THESE LISTS ???

Yeah, the standard, sensible criteria is cited as a method for determining the list rankings. According to the official Forbes disclaimer, the order of rank is determined through a combination of “annual earnings (+ potential) and resulting fame.”

The MONEY portion is really attributed to how much they’ve earned, while considering how much they’re likely to earn through future endorsements and increased visibility.

The FAME portion is deciphered by Google searches and official website visits, as well as social media relevance, like Facebook and Twitter. This certainly makes sense to me.

That said, I still came away from each list with the conclusion that a very loud and powerful voice at Forbes is out of touch with the reality of 2010. Perhaps, they’re stuck in 1999 – Tom Cruise is ranked ahead of Leonardo DiCaprio on the list of POWERFUL ACTORS, and one my very favorite bands – AC/DC is ranked several spots ahead of Kenny Chesney on the list of POWERFUL MUSICIANS. While I prefer the music of Angus and his cronies, they don’t have Kenny’s clout.

Enough of the other lists, lets talk about the MOST POWERFUL ATHLETES. Once again, I disagree with alot of these choices. Perhaps, the Forbes crew is trying to be global and diverse. However, the list is supposed to be based on the American market – which renders the rankings even sillier. Agree? Disagree? Here ya go …..
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1) Tiger Woods
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I’m not arguing this one. However, I do wonder how many of the GOOGLE SEARCHES were related to Tiger’s personal life over the last 7 months. He’s every bit as INFAMOUS as he is FAMOUS. But, he’s still raking in cash – much of which he’ll be paying back out, as his divorce settlement is rumored to be in the neighborhood of $750 million.

I do find it pretty poignant that our MOST POWERFUL ATHLETE is also the guy with the most screwed up life, as we sit here today. But, I don’t disagree – I still think he’s on top.
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2) Kobe Bryant
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Umm …. I guess so. I can attest to his popularity in the Los Angeles area, which is also the “Media Capital” of our society. I was in L.A. a couple weeks ago and it’s pretty challenging to walk around without seeing the name “Bryant” affixed to some kid’s back. And, the Kobe billboards are everywhere.

It’s hard to believe Kobe Bryant has reinvented his image, reputation and career in about 5 years time. That’s amazing. I guess it gives Tiger hope, huh? Wait a minute ….. he’s still ahead of Kobe !!!!
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3) Michael Jordan
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Not a bad ranking for the MOST POPULAR ATHLETE EVER, huh? And, he hasn’t played a game in more than 7 years. Is there really anything else to say? Well, if I was WNST’s Chris Pika, I would be holding out hope that MJ remembers his Birmingham Barons cohorts in his will …..
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4) Lebron James
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This stuff is easy – I could write this list from the top of my head. And, I’ve gotta funny feeling he’ll be ranked even higher on next year’s Forbes findings. In fact, he could shoot directly to the top !!!!
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5) Floyd Mayweather
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This is just a STUPID decision. I’m guessing somebody at Forbes really loves boxing …. or they’re totally overestimating the fighter’s actual cut from a purse. Nearly all of them end up with financial problems after retiring and I don’t see ANY of them making commercials.

When is the last time we saw Floyd Maywether on television, at all? If any sports talk show made FLOYD MAYWEATHER the day’s topic, freakin’ crickets would be chimed up. Absolutely ridiculous ….
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6) David Beckham
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Is this supposed to be a calculated, discriminative list? Or, did Forbes just pick names based on some inflated salary figure? I can’t fathom David Beckham yielding more Google searchesor social media hits than Peyton Manning. Heck, does he even merit the web traffic of Eli Manning? Well, maybe ….

By the way, David Beckham poses for more freaky photos than any person on this list. I’ll definitely give him that award.
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7) Phil Mickelson
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If anything, I thought he would be ranked higher on the list. Silly me ….. I guess Floyd Maywether is just a little more marketable. I have ZERO doubt Phil Mickelson is making plenty of money and he’s regularly featured on televisions, from Thursday thru Sunday.

By the way – and certainly outside the Forbes discussion – I talked about Phil Mickelson’s generosity during yesterday’s show. He quietly paid for former NFL player Conrad Dobler’s children to attend college. Dobler is disabled as a result of his football injuries and his wife is a parapalegic. Mickelson has never acknowledged this act of generosity – he won’t address it. But, Dobler is quite humbled by it. A very nice story …..
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8) Cristiano Ronaldo
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Who? I guess all those Tom Brady endorsements are being mistakingly attached to Ronaldo. This might be the most asinine entry on the entire list.
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9) Alex Rodriguez
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I’m kinda torn on this one. A’Rod is raking in a salary $32 million, but Derek Jeter is making $21 million. Yeah, that’s a tangible difference. But, I think Derek Jeter garners much more face time on TV pitches and such.

It seems like Jeter is much more marketable and relevant, especially in the social media aspect. But, I’m not really in disagreement with this selection.
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10) Shaquille O’Neal
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It’s amazing what hanging with Michael Phelps for a day will do for a guy, huh? I’m a little surprised Shaq is still carrying this clout. And, I’ll imagine this is the last year he’ll qualify for the Top-10 list. As much as he’s enjoyed an amazing career, the last year hasn’t been near his best.

After all, he made a TV show with Ben Roethlisberger.
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Well, that’s your list of the TEN MOST POWERFUL ATHLETES. If you’re curious about the athletes that nearly cracked the Top-10, it includes in order from #11 thru #16 ….. Serena Williams, Derek Jeter, Lance Armstrong, Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams and Danica Patrick.

Are the Williams’ sisters and Sharapova really more powerful than Roger Federer? I’ve gotta question that finding. And, Danica Patrick? That’s pretty funny. There are easily a handful of NASCAR drivers who make more money and garner more pop culture appeal. To suggest Patrick has more power or clout than Dale Earnhardt Jr. is hard to defend. He appears in many more endorsements. Oh yeah …. Earnhardt made $34 million in the last year, and Patrick made $7 million. You tell me ….

I was very surprised to see Peyton Manning, who is easily the most recognizable face in the American sports landscape, missing from the list. Also absent – Tom Brady, Alex Ovechkin, Roger Federer, Jeff Gordon and Michael Phelps.

I wonder what this list will look like in 5 years? That’s a blog for another day …..

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Major League Baseball's Endangered Species .....

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Major League Baseball’s Endangered Species …..

Posted on 17 March 2010 by WNST Interns

For the first time in our brief existence, last Thursday’s edition of the REX & RAY SHOW got a little heavy. The subject matter wasn’t conflicted or confrontational …. but, everybody had an opinion of some very disturbing statistics regarding Major League Baseball.

No, we weren’t talking about STEROIDS, SCOTT BORAS or the YANKEES/RED SOX RIVALRY.

We were talking about true implications for the history of America’s Pastime. Forget about the small stuff, like “Joe Mauer’s 2011 destination” and “Prince Fielder’s next zipcode.” Major League Baseball has an inherent crisis; an inevitable, foundational problem on its plate, and nobody recognizes it.

Well, nobody, except Torii Hunter.

And, if Bud Selig, or his successor doesn’t prioritize and publicize Major League Baseball’s cultural conundrum, these gentlemen might be among the beginning of an end for a distinct group …..
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That’s right, the African American ballplayer is becoming a scarce reality. Sheer roster numbers are evidence that a cultural shift within baseball, itself, has consumed the identity of the sport throughout the past 35 years. Indeed, the product of pro baseball looks alot different today, as opposed to 1975.

I can distinctly recall that era, and African American players were a common, if not heralded group compromising the game’s core. A quick glimpse around the diamond, in any big league park, would yield an impressive representation of AMERICAN athletes, both black and white.

Yet, today, things are much different and if you look closely, the difference is obvious for the eye to see. The numbers don’t lie. Just consider the following demographical data regarding racial makeup in Major League Baseball, over the last 35 years …..

1975 – Caucasian – 60%, Hispanic – 13%, African American – 27%

1995 – Caucasian – 57%, Hispanic – 22%, African American – 19%, Asian – 1%

2009 – Caucasian – 60%, Hispanic – 29%, African American – 8%, Asian 2%

It’s quite clear to see Major League Baseball is experiencing a cultural shift as it relates to the players who comprise its rosters. In just 35 years, the amount of players from a Hispanic heritage has increased more than 100%, while the African American base has dropped more than 200%.

At the same time, a modest amount of Asian players are now playing Major League Baseball.  The overall number of Asian players is still minimal – and interestingly, the percentage of Caucasian players remains UNCHANGED in comparison to the 1975 figures.

I’m sure some readers have reached this point, while thinking “So what are you trying to say, Rex?” To be honest, I was just curious why the COLOR or CULTURE of baseball has changed so drastically. I don’t think it’s a case of discrimination – the best players are going to end up on Major League rosters, regardless of color.

I don’t care if they’re WHITE, BLACK, GREEN or ORANGE.
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In fact, I think the racial makeup of Major League Baseball is more than likely just the end result of what is happening in the game of BASEBALL, in the United States.

I suspect American kids are no longer obsessed with baseball as a recreational sport. And, I’ll imagine several influences impact the situation.

When I was a kid, we LIVED baseball and God knows we created so many hybrid forms of the game to fit the amount of players available. If we had 10 kids on a particular day, we would close half of the field. If only a half dozen showed up, we’d move to the nearby tennis courts or a backyard and make do.

Heck, we played Homerun Derby, as well as the contradictory form of the game – yep, we’d play on a very small field and a homer was an out.

We LIVED for it.

Nobody played soccer or lacrosse. And, an invention called Atari was a scarce, but fun diversion on hot days.

We didn’t enjoy 376 different television channels, either. It was a simple choice : 2, 11, 13, 45 …..

Computers and cellphones were non-existent. I guess we didn’t know what we were missing, because I loved life as a kid – and baseball was a huge part of it.

Today, things are much different. If I walk through Towson Town Center or Arundel Mills, I will witness dozens of kids talking on their cellphones or texting. More kids will be communicating with that handheld device than with the person standing alongside them.

Most people would suggest that a different reason must be impacting the lack of African Americans playing baseball. Perhaps, I’m wrong – I’ve never walked a day in the shoes of an African American kid or adult.

But, I do see baseball’s popularity decreasing in American culture. In fact, a 2005 survey, called the “Boyd Study” computed and analyzed the racial makeup of NCAA – Division I Baseball Programs. The numbers are pretty clear, and they support the reality of Major League Baseball’s demographical data. Here’s the breakdown …..

2005 NCAA – Division I : Caucasian : 91%, African American : 5.5%

While most statistics would indicate the overall number of African Americans playing baseball is substantially reduced throughout the ballfields and stadiums around the United States, I suspect it’s really just a partial result of what is truly happening. I believe fewer American kids are playing baseball, regardless of race. And, in proportion to the respective populations of African Americans and Caucasians, there are simply far more “white” people in this country.

Thus, while kids of both races are not nearly as interested in baseball, the amount of Caucasians, in the United States, is so vastly superior to African Americans that the 60% threshold of Causcasian Major Leaguers remains unchanged. These numbers, too, don’t lie …..
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As I’ve indicated, I can only sympathize and understand this situation through the eyes of a white kid. I am 100% reliant on input from people and technology to understand other races and their relationship with baseball.

During the REX & RAY SHOW, dominating opinions of African American callers regarded single parent households, as well as fewer opportunities to play baseball in inner-city neighborhoods, as mitigating causes behind the notable disconnect between their race and the game, itself.

While I don’t think it’s entirely fair to ignorantly assume that inner-city communities are exclusively inhabited by minorities (I’ve seen plenty of whites in Pigtown, Morrell Park, Highlandtown, South Baltimore and Waverly), I do see the connection between many prominent African American athletes and inner-city roots.

Many of these same athletes come from single-parent households. It’s the truth.

Callers did suggest that single-parent households aren’t likely to produce many baseball players, because baseball is a sport that usually requires parental intervention – from the perspective of a dad teaching a son the game’s basics. Say what you want, it’s relatively easy to pickup a basketball and start some crude form of dribbling and shooting, and an overly aggressive kid can find some initial success in a pickup football game.

But, NOBODY can pickup a bat, for the first time and start hitting baseballs. It takes patience and the guidance of someone who has a genuine interest in the student of the game …..
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During Monday’s REX & RAY SHOW, we had the pleasure of speaking with Tom Franklin – radio voice for the Houston Cougars Basketball program. During our conversation, Tom took a few seconds to dish about Houston’s Aubrey Coleman, who leads the nation in scoring, with 25.6 points, per game. Tom lauded the young man as being a quick student – he never played basketball before his junior year, IN HIGH SCHOOL.

Got that? Aubrey Coleman was 16 years old before he ever played organized basketball. I don’t care about an athlete’s overall talent – you’re not going to become a “pro caliber” baseball player if your initial exposure to the sport begins as a teenager. It’s not happening – crafting your baseball accumen takes YEARS of development and failure. And, the unconditional love for the sport fosters during childhood.

I’m not diminishing the rigors of basketball and football, at the highest levels. But, notable athletes have transitioned their devotions to these two sports as teenagers and adults. And, they became “decent” football and basketball players – on the pro level.

Heck, you can teach/coach a grown man to play football and score touchdowns on the BEST TEAM IN THE NFL …..
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But, there was absolutely no way Renaldo Nehemiah could pickup a baseball bat and start playing for the Yankees. Better yet, he wouldn’t make the Pittsburgh Pirates final cuts. Baseball is indeed a lifelong journey for the 20 year old ballplayer.

Being a great athlete is not enough for aspiring baseball players. Possessing the most coveted of coordinations skills is not enough, either – but it really helps. I don’t think the greatest or most athletic of sportsmen are found on pro baseball rosters. However, I do think Major League players are unquestionably among the most “skilled” of competitors, when it comes to overall ability.

Such skills are honed from childhood.

Rewind the calendar 16 years and many of us recall the greatest basketball player who ever lived, as he tried to fulfill a dream of playing pro baseball. As WNST’s Chris Pika can recount from firsthand exposure, this awesome athlete worked harder than anyone to recapture some skills and talent he once flashed on baseball diamonds, as a kid …..
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In the end, he couldn’t do it. And, this was arguably within the “peak” window of his athletic life – at 31 years old.

Have I heard of pro baseball players with very little experience? Not really. I’ve delved deeply into baseball’s recent history and I could only find one tangible example of a player who never played the game during their childhood, so to speak.

And, let me assert that I have no problem believing it – if it’s true …..

According to past Orioles sources and media guides, Daniel Cabrera did not start playing baseball until he was a teenager. I can envision it. Daniel Cabrera has always been a “project.” The anticipated hope each and every season, from 2004 thru today, is that Cabrera might finally “get it.”

Everybody certainly hopes …..

Yet, as I look back at Cabrera’s career, he was continually labeled as “stubborn” and/or unwilling to accept tutoring from baseball minds. Jim Palmer finally gave up – as Cabrera did not heed his help and advice. Who would disregard tutelage from one of baseball’s most intelligent and knowledgable Hall Of Fame pitchers?

Daniel Cabrera lacks some of the most basic baseball skills. Have you seen him run the bases or handle his glove? God help him.

Better yet, have you seen him with a bat in his hands? He is, without question, the worst hitter I’ve ever seen in my life.

The statistics prove my suspicions. Just look at Daniel Cabrera’s career batting achievements …..

Major League Career – 26 at bats, 0 hits, 24 strikeouts

Minor League Career – 2 at bats, 0 hits, 1 strikeout

How does a pro baseball player manage to strikeout in 25 of 28 at bats? Daniel Cabrera has been ejected from baseball games more often than he has put the ball in play, with a bat in his hands …..
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It’s easy to answer – he’s not a baseball player. He’s a guy who displayed an ability to throw a mean fastball, as a teenager. Nothing more, nothing less.

The Orioles gambled on a risk. In the end, the risk cost the Orioles nearly $7 million and alot of wasted time. But, that’s a discussion for another day.

However, I do think Daniel Cabrera serves as a prime example of a teenager who tries to start playing competitive baseball for the first time. He might have some amateur success, but the glaring absence of skills commonly instilled as a child will eventually surface.

Perhaps, our African American callers were right – a greater percentage of ALL kids are not playing baseball. However, it’s probably not rooted in a dislike for the game. Yeah, some kids think baseball is boring. But, a greater number either had no exposure to it, or they failed at it.

We’ve all observed this common sight – a high school linebacker needs something to do in the spring, but his skills are not enhanced for good glovework or a disciplined trip to the plate, Thus, he takes his football mentality to the lacrosse field.  Aside from personal tastes, lacrosse is a sport more fitting for an impatient or lesser-skilled athlete.

Make no mistake about it, kids require a teaching component from the moment they handle a bat. You will hear that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do. Well, there’s a twist to that – hitting a baseball with a disciplined eye and sweet stroke is one of the hardest things to do. It’s very much like hitting a golf ball – without proper teaching and technique, a hitter will develop poor habits.

Cite Drew Forrester as an example.  When his son, Ethan, is ready to pickup a baseball bat or golf club, who will be there to teach him?  Exactly …..

Like golf, baseball also requires a hefty expense for equipment. Basketball and football require a BALL for most pickup games.

To be honest, numerous factors are undoubtedly contributing to the decline in African American players, in Major League Baseball. I’m sure there are plenty of answers. As I’ve said, having a father figure in a child’s life is paramount for many causes – and development as a baseball player is just one of the MINOR ones.

I can recall many African American heroes from my childhood …..
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Unfortunately, their cultural presence is disappearing from stadiums across this land. It is what it is ….

I don’t believe there is any possible way of stopping of it. It’s not a problem Major League Baseball has created or enhanced – while Bud Selig and his cohorts are responsible for many of the games ills, this one isn’t one them.  That said, it’s still a problem for them.

I guess it’s just another example of how our world is changing – for the worse …..

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"What Were They Thinking" - Volume 6

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“What Were They Thinking” – Volume 6

Posted on 08 January 2010 by WNST Interns

I haven’t written a WHAT WERE THEY THINKING (W2T2) blog since the holidays arrived. Needless to say, I have lots to catch up on ….

And, yes, this is my favorite blog …..
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Big Unit Retires – Goodbye To A Fashion Staple

Randy Johnson officially hung up his cleats, yesterday. His career was defined by terms like INTIMIDATING, OVERPOWERING and ECCENTRIC.

That’s right, I said eccentric.

Randy Johnson was an enigma. From the way he handled on-field pressure to his frosty treatment of those holding cameras, microphones or notebooks, he was a unique character.

Lets take a look at the versions of Randy Johnson we witnessed over a couple decades’ time …..

Randy’s Mullet:
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Legends also inspire others. Perhaps, the “Mullet” was the inspiration Randy Johnson gave to others …..
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In fact it’s probably fair to say Randy Johnson’s LEGEND has inspired the hairstyles of celebrities outside of the world of sports …..
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While the hairstyle was certainly a trademark for the future Hall Of Famer, I think most people will remember Randy Johnson for specific incidents of GREATNESS, where he dominated lineups and collected strikeouts by double digits, per performance. In fact, Johnson played a part in a couple memorable Baltimore situations …..

July 13, 1993 – Randy Johnson sails a fastball over John Kruk’s head in the All Star Game. In response, Kruk spins his helmet backwards and basically GIVES UP.

August 14, 1997 – Randy Johnson is scheduled to pitch against the Orioles in a summer evening matchup, at Camden Yards. But, the LIGHTS wouldn’t work. Amid rumors swarming around Cal Ripken and his consecutive games streak, the game is canceled. However, some of us suspect the birds just wanted to face the BIG UNIT in a daytime affair, the following day.

Randy Johnson’s career saw him reach numerous personal and team-related achievements …..

He could be the final 300 game winner we see for a very long time …..

His 4,875 strikeouts rank second ALL TIME …..

He will be remembered as the GREATEST SOUTHPAW of the modern era …..

He earned $175 million in his career …..

He was part of a POSSE …..
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He won a World Championship with his buddy …..
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Okay, okay …. I know you’re waiting for this …..

Without a doubt, one of Randy Johnson’s most memorable performances came on a cold January day, in 2005. As the newest Yankee strolled through Manhattan, he made his disdain for media known while telling the camerman to get the camera “out of my face.” Oh yeah, and don’t talk back to him …..
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That was probably the funniest incident regarding Randy Johnson. Aside from the funky mullet and slaughtering statistics, that fateful day on the streets of New York will be etched in the memories of many baseball fans. Thus, I gotta ask, “Randy, what were you thinking …..”
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Baltimore’s Hottest & I Mean “HOTTEST” Cup Of Coffee …..

I have no doubt that most WNST listeners/readers relax with their favorite coffee-type drink, each morning, as they scan the website for the freshest updates and perspectives. It’s a ritual, right?

Now, look down at your cup and relive the experience of making it or having it made for you. Who made your coffee? Do you even remember? If so, was it from this GUY …..
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Or, how about this goober ???
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Trust me, if a sexy nurse from Anne Arundel County has her way, coffee in the Baltimore area is gonna get a whole lot “HOTTER.”

If you love coffee, you’re about to get a reason to REALLY LOVE IT …..

Meet Brandy McMillion, owner of Java Divas, in Pasadena …..
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When I say Brandy’s a nurse, I’m not kidding. Yeah, she dresses as a NAUGHTY NURSE on Mondays, because it’s “Women In Uniform” Day, at Java Divas. But, her profession is nursing, at a Baltimore area hospital.

Here’s the deal …..

Last year, Brandy, and her husband experienced the same reality cast on MILLIONS of Americans, over the past couple years. He lost his job ….. AND, their second child was due. The adversity certainly put a financial strain on their household and the immediate future.

So, whadda ya think they did? That’s right, they watched TV !!!! And, while watching the Travel Channel, they were blessed with an idea that might just change their LIVES forever …..
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In short …. HOT WOMEN + COFFEE = $$$

A feature on drive-thru coffee shops, serviced by girls dressed in sexy clothing – and little of it – caught the McMillion’s attention. These shops are becoming increasingly popular on the West Coast, and throughout the Desert South portions of the United States. Yup, Brandy looked on her map, confirmed that Severna Park, Maryland, is on the East Coast (I’m Kidding !!!!) and the dream began.

And, after months of planning and hurdling obstacles, such as licensing, suppliers and location, “Java Divas” became a reality, on November 16, 2009. The business is 3 months old and every day is better, from a retail perspective.

After hearing about this “Little Coffee Shop …. with HOT WOMEN,” I had to pay a personal visit. Why? You know that answer ….. I’m Rex Snider. Things like this pique my interest. So, I made an appointment, and stopped by Java Divas for a chat. And, I wasn’t disappointed – in the staff or the appealing nature of the business, itself.

I’ve been thinking about how I would describe the girls who were working during my visit. Of course, I dealt with Brandy – she owns the joint. I want to be respectful to her husband, because I would want him to be respectful toward my wife. But, as an entrepreneur, he knows the lure of their business practice. So, I’ll say this quite humbly …..

If the entire staff looks like Brandy, Pasadena is gonna drink MILLIONS of cups of Java Divas coffee. I will definitely stop by their drive-thru on Tuesdays, for “Fantasy Day” and Fridays for “Sports Spirit Day.” But, rest assured, there is no way I’m missing Saturday, because it’s “Beach Day.”

That’s correct, they wear bikinis, while serving the brew …..
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Another very attractive young lady was on hand, as well. But, I’m gonna leave it at that ….. her dad is a personal friend, and he’s capable of causing physical trauma. But, I have a feeling Sarah will be quite successful at Java Divas.

I wish I could tell you more – but, my time at Java Divas kinda passed as a blur. I recall asking a few stupid questions, where Brandy looked at me as if I was that bearded guy from The Hangover …..
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Admittedly, it’s easy to lose your concentration …. but, to be honest, the girls at Java Divas serve fantastic gourmet coffee drinks (serving Caffe Pronto) and tasty treats to satisfy your morning or mid-afternoon hunger. They’ve got EVERYTHING you’ll find at Starbucks – but, it’s lesser expensive and did I say the help is HOT ???
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Above all, the Divas are LADIES. It was easy to sense they know part of their appeal – obviously. But, in observing their customer interaction, I was impressed by the the professionalism and devotion to providing an excellent product and service. Java Divas is a winner …..

And, as we point out at WNST, they’re BALTIMORE. Brandy McMillion and her girls are not bound to some chain in Seattle or a parent company. They’re smart ….. and hardworking. They acted on an idea and succeeded. Yeah, I wish me and my buddies would’ve thought of the idea, first …..
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That ain’t happening. But, the girls at Java Divas are happening !!!! Consider visiting them today – they’re located at 8355 Ritchie Hwy. (corner of Pasadena Rd.) – just south of the Rt. 10 access. More for more information, check ’em out on the web …..

www.javadivas.net

This is one of those rare occasions when a “What Were They Thinking” blog has a positive inclusion. I’m glad Bill and Brandy McMillion were THINKING and WATCHING the Travel Channel. Best of luck !!!!
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Tiger Poses In Prison Gear …..

Have you seen the latest issue of Vanity Fair Magazine?

Trust me, I’ve never picked up Vanity Fair ….. BEFORE NOW. Tiger Woods, has obviously made a string of poor personal decisions over the past couple years – and you can count this magazine shoot among them …..
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What in the hell was he thinking? In fact, how could ANYONE foresee such photographs as being positive for their image? This isn’t the TIGER WOODS we know. Then again, maybe it is. We’ve certainly seen a different Tiger, since November. Nothing should surprise us any longer.

Perhaps, he really is among a cast of characters who would’ve gladly posed for such a photo spread …..
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Who is the “REAL TIGER WOODS” ??? I don’t think anyone has that answer – including, his wife. A couple weeks ago, I vowed to refrain from talking about Tiger’s personal life and I’ll stick to the plan. But, his decision making, and/or lack thereof, really is causing some people to wonder about the guy.

Maybe, this entire debacle of Tiger’s “life gone bad” can be pinned on one person who currently serves in an advisor’s role. I guess it’s possible to tie questionable photo shoots with stonewalling cops and other poorly contrived ideals. And, it wouldn’t be surprising to see an “insider” dismissed, as the conflicted golfer tries to pick himself up.

Regardless, somebody had to agree to these photos. Somebody had to think THIS was a good idea. But, there has been alot of that lately …..
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Someday, Tiger Woods will stop making THIS blog, so often. But, until then, I must ask …. “Tiger, what were you thinking …..”
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Happy Birthday, King …..

Lost somewhere among a very ordinary Friday, America has forgotten TODAY’S significance. It was 75 years ago today – January 8, 1935 – that a child born in Tupelo, Mississippi, would someday CHANGE the world.
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Indeed, today is Elvis Presley’s birthday. The KING of Rock & Roll influenced every genre of music and every musician – whether they know it or not. He challenged barriers and stereotypes that censored expression.

Sure, he bent and compromised his lyrics to ensure his performances invaded televisions in homes across this country. But, in spirit and with being honest to himself, he couldn’t muster a tune without dancing. Heck, he “dirty danced” before it was invented …..
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While he’s often remembered by the oddity surrounding his death, he’s a man who really lived.

He never took NO for an answer. He was generous – probably too generous – to family, friends and strangers. And, he fulfilled obligations …..
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Is he a standard? Hell, yeah. In fact, he is the STANDARD.

When we think about the BEST of the BEST, certain names come to mind …..
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Yes, Elvis Presley is BIGGER than all of our sports heroes combined. He’s reached far more people and inspired millions, upon millions.

Yet, on this 75th Anniversary of his birth, he won’t be found on the cover of the Baltimore Sun or USA Today. He’s not gracing the homepage of Yahoo or AOL. And, nearly every bar and nightclub will let tonight slip by without playing one of his songs. Shameful.

But, not here. I didn’t forget him. In fact, I didn’t forget another deserving soul, either …..
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Happy Birthday, Bob Haynie !!!!

Happy Birthday, Elvis !!!!
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And, for those who FORGOT ….. WHAT WERE YOU THINKING ????

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