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Maryland Basketball Schedule Announced

Posted on 24 August 2011 by WNST Staff

Terps play 16 games against postseason participants

GREENSBORO, N.C. – A home-and-home series with Duke and North Carolina, as well as non-conference matchups with postseason participants from the Big East, Atlantic-10 and Big Ten highlight the 2011-12 University of Maryland men’s basketball schedule announced Tuesday by the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The Terrapins will play at least 16 games against teams that participated in the NCAA or NIT postseason tournaments a year ago. Maryland is currently scheduled to play 12 times in the regular season on national television.

A limited number of season tickets are available for sale to the general public. Fans can take advantage of a six-month, no-interest payment plan and can become a season ticket-holder for as low as $77 per month per ticket. For more information, fans can call the Terrapin Ticket Office at 1-800-IM-A-TERP.

““We have a very challenging schedule set up for this season,” said first-year head coach Mark Turgeon. “The non-conference games will showcase a lot of different styles of play and levels of teams that will help prepare us for the ACC. With a loaded Puerto Rico Tip-Off plus Illinois, Notre Dame and Temple, we should have a solid RPI heading into league play.”

Highlighting the non-conference schedule is a home matchup with Illinois on Nov. 29 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Terrapins’ next game, on Sunday, Dec. 4, will mark their annual trip to play in the BB&T Classic at Verizon Center in Washington, with this year’s opponent being Notre Dame.

Maryland also faces a non-conference battle with a postseason participant from a year ago on Jan. 21 when it plays Temple at the storied Palestra in Philadelphia.

This year’s early-season tournament is the Puerto Rico Tip-Off from Nov. 17 through 20. The Terrapins open with Alabama in the first round, then will face either Colorado or Wichita State in the second round. All three of those teams reached the NIT semifinals last year.

In addition to Duke and North Carolina, Maryland will also play ACC home-and-home series against Virginia, Georgia Tech and Miami. The Terrapins will play one game each at home against Wake Forest, Virginia Tech and Boston College, and will make trips to play their only regular-season meetings with NC State, Florida State and Clemson.

Maryland will play six straight home games between Dec. 7 and Jan. 3 before its conference opener at NC State on Sunday, Jan. 8. The homestand includes a Saturday matinee matchup on New Year’s Eve with Samford University.

Regional broadcast selections for non-conference games will be announced at a later date, with the game times for those contests potentially changing. All conference games carried by either the ACC Network or another regional sports network will also be available on the Internet on ESPN3.com.

The Terrapins make their first Comcast Center appearance under Turgeon on Friday, Oct. 14 when they host Maryland Madness. There will be an exhibition game on Friday, Nov. 4 against Northwood in advance of the regular-season home opener against UNC Wilmington on Nov. 13.

2011-12 MARYLAND MEN’S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE

Day Date Opponent Time Television

Fri. Nov. 4 NORTHWOOD (Exhibition) 8:00 —

Sun. Nov. 13 UNC WILMINGTON 8:00 TBD

Thu. Nov. 17 vs. Alabama (Puerto Rico Tip-Off) 5:00 ESPN2

Fri. Nov. 18 vs. Colorado or Wichita State (Puerto Rico Tip-Off) TBD —

Sun. Nov. 20 vs. Third-Round Opponent (Puerto Rico Tip-Off) TBD ESPN/ESPN2

Fri. Nov. 25 FLORIDA GULF COAST TBD TBD

Tue. Nov. 29 ILLINOIS (ACC/Big Ten Challenge) 7:30 ESPN

Sun. Dec. 4 vs. Notre Dame (BB&T Classic, Washington, D.C.) 4:45 MASN

Wed. Dec. 7 MOUNT ST. MARY’S 8:00 TBD

Wed. Dec. 14 FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 8:00 ESPNU

Fri. Dec. 23 RADFORD 8:00 TBD

Wed. Dec. 28 ALBANY 8:00 TBD

Sat. Dec. 31 SAMFORD 1:00 TBD

Tue. Jan. 3 CORNELL 8:00 TBD

Sun. Jan. 8 at NC State* 6:00 ESPNU

Wed. Jan. 11 WAKE FOREST* 7:00 RSN

Sun. Jan. 15 GEORGIA TECH* 1:00/4:00 ACC Network

Tue. Jan. 17 at Florida State* 9:00 ESPNU

Sat. Jan. 21 at Temple (Palestra) TBD ESPNU

Wed. Jan. 25 DUKE* 9:00 ESPN

Sat. Jan. 28 VIRGINIA TECH* 2:30 ACC Network

Wed. Feb. 1 at Miami* 8:00 ACC Network

Sat. Feb. 4 NORTH CAROLINA* 4:00 ESPN/ESPN2

Tue. Feb. 7 at Clemson* 7:00 ESPNU

Sat. Feb. 11 at Duke* 4:00 ESPN

Thu. Feb. 16 BOSTON COLLEGE* 9:00 ACC Network

Sat. Feb. 18 at Virginia* 1:00 ACC Network

Tue. Feb. 21 MIAMI* 8:00 ACC Network

Sat. Feb. 25 at Georgia Tech* 2:30 ACC Network

Wed. Feb. 29 at North Carolina* 7:00 ESPN/ESPN2

Sun. Mar. 4 VIRGINIA* 2:00 ACC Network

March 8-11 at ACC Tournament (Atlanta, Ga.)

March 13 & 14 at NCAA First Round (Dayton)

March 15 & 17 at NCAA Second & Third Rounds (Albuquerque, Pittsburgh, Portland, Louisville)

March 16 & 18 at NCAA Second & Third Rounds (Columbus, Greensboro, Nashville, Omaha)

March 22 & 24 at NCAA Regionals (Boston, Phoenix)

March 23 & 25 at NCAA Regionals (St. Louis, Atlanta)

March 31 & Apr. 2 at NCAA Final Four (New Orleans)

* – Atlantic Coast Conference game

All times and dates subject to change (times for non-conference home games subject to change with regional TV selections);

All times Eastern; Home games played at Comcast Center (17,950) listed in BOLD CAPS

TV Key – ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU – national broadcasts; ACC Network, Regional Sports Network (RSN); Comcast SportsNet (CSN); Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) – regional broadcasts. TerpsTV available via live stream on www.umterps.com

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I thought Adrian Gonzalez was boycotting Arizona …..

Posted on 12 July 2011 by WNST Interns

Before you start reading this blog, be assured of one thing; it has NOTHING to do with politics, immigration issues or Supreme Court decisions.  But, is has everything to do with holding athletes accountable for their words and actions.

A little more than a year ago, Adrian Gonzalez drew a line in the sand at the Arizona/Nevada border, or was it the Arizona/California border?  What the heck, I don’t know.  But, he did go public in proclaiming he would BOYCOTT the 2011 All Star Game, if selected to play in it.

Gonzalez’s reasoning was pointedly specific; he disagreed with Arizona’s new laws pertaining to illegal immigration and law enforcement’s investigative powers.

I thoroughly respect anyone’s opinions on just about anything.  And, I certainly believe Adrian Gonzalez is entitled to feel the way he feels about issues close to his heart.

But, when he opens his mouth and uses his stature as a pro athlete to make a stance and ultimate statement on a political issue, it’s done with a calculated purpose.  He knew those comments would fuel public reaction and he trusted such words would have an impact on the All Star Game’s destined unveiling in Phoenix.

Like many celebrities, Adrian Gonzalez ignorantly assumed his presence or threatened lack of presence would in some way handicap an industry’s showcase event.  He was wrong …..

Be clear about one thing – he wasn’t WRONG for feeling the way he felt – he was WRONG, because he entrusted the image of Adrian Gonzalez to be as big as the game.

And, it’s not.

Somewhere, somehow, Gonzalez came to an evident grip with his own reality and true appeal to the landscape of our pro sports culture.  While a distinct few personalities can impact an event, with their absence, he’s not one of them.

No single player is bigger than their game.

Adrian Gonzalez has obviously learned such a lesson and swallowed a little humble pie without much notice paid by the people who foot the bills; the fans.  Last night, he appeared at the Homerun Derby and gave those same fans the only real thing demanded, expected and desired of him.

He hit baseballs. 

Nothing more, nothing less.

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Sluggish Terps awaken in 2nd half to top Elon, 76-57

Posted on 27 November 2010 by Luke Jones

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Chalk it up to a turkey coma the day after Thanksgiving or Gary Williams failing to major in psychology as the coach quipped after the game, but Maryland sleepwalked through the first half Friday night at Comcast Center before turning up the intensity to run away from Elon, 76-57.

Trailing 20-9 midway through the first half, the Terps looked sluggish and out of sync on both ends of the floor against a motivated Phoenix team that made six 3-pointers in the first half and controlled the tempo before Maryland trimmed the lead to 34-31 by halftime.

“The problem is you have to play at a certain level for 40 minutes,” Williams said. “We didn’t do that. That bothers me. And you know there’s always excuses out there, but the bottom line was Elon came here ready to play, they gave us their best shot.”

Perhaps the clearest example of the Terps’ listless first-half performance was sophomore standout Jordan Williams, who scored only four points in the first half before exploding for 20 points and nine rebounds in the final 20 minutes to lead the second-half comeback.

Maryland used a 19-5 run to begin the second half to gain a 50-39 advantage and held the Phoenix to a meager 25 percent from the field and 3 of 16 shooting from beyond the arc after intermission. Point guard Adrian Bowie (seven assists) demonstrated perhaps his best command of the half-court offense all season, leading the Terps to 51.4 percent shooting in the second half and repeatedly working the ball into the paint.

“We had more energy and played with more passion,” Bowie said. “We got the ball inside to Jordan, and he played well today.”

The slow start by the Terps and Williams can easily be understood given the circumstances, though Gary Williams will hardly accept it as an excuse. A post-Thanksgiving meeting with a mid-major school is bound to have players looking ahead to the next opponent and wishing they were at home with their families for the holiday. There was little to gain in terms of recognition no matter how many the Terps won by over the Phoenix.

On the other hand, an upset over Maryland would be a program-defining moment for Elon, and the Phoenix were the epitome of a team playing with everything to gain and nothing to lose, particularly in the first half.

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The developing problem is how the slow starts are becoming habitual for the Terps and Williams. We saw it last week in Madison Square Garden when Williams battled foul trouble and struggled to get into the flow of the game as a result. On Friday, Williams used assistant Rob Ehsan’s halftime message as motivation for his dominating final 20 minutes of play.

“It really touched my heart,” Williams said. “You could really tell how passionate he is about coaching. He told us that we weren’t playing to our potential and we needed to step it up. What he was talking about really hit me and made me play a lot better.”

Motivating words from Ehsan or Gary Williams — who surprisingly spoke calmly at halftime — are beneficial at crucial times, but why is a member of the Naismith preseason watch list having so much trouble getting going?

In a season in which the Terps lack the perimeter shooting or dynamic leadership in the backcourt, they must lean on their dominating presence in the paint. They did it in the second half against an inferior opponent, turning a perilous situation into a convincing win with Williams scoring 20 of the team’s 45 second-half points.

But it’s a formula begging for trouble as Maryland inches closer to the ACC schedule and the harsh reality of January and beyond.

“We have to come out with the mindset that we are playing a top team every game,” said Sean Mosley who finished with 10 points and seven rebounds, “and not worry about the name on the jersey because anybody can beat anybody on any given day. We have to come out and play with the same intensity that we played with in the second half and we will be alright throughout the season.”

It’s a lesson a team in transition must learn quickly with opponents on the horizon that will be far less forgiving than the one the Terps encountered Friday.

NOTES: Friday’s win marked the 14th straight victory for the Terps at Comcast Center where they’ve lost just once in their last 21 games. … Maryland had lost its previous two games this season when trailing at the half. … Jordan Williams’ 24 points and 13 rebounds gave him his 13th career double-double. His point total was just two shy of his career high, which came against College of Charleston earlier this season. … Cliff Tucker finished with eight points, marking the first time all season the senior had not reached double-digit scoring. … The Terps will not return to Comcast Center until Dec. 8 when they host UNC Greensboro.

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Happy 91st Birthday to the “real” creator of WNST

Posted on 05 March 2010 by Nestor Aparicio

Dear Pop:

Happy 91st birthday!!! I know you might be used to me doing the radio show dedicated to you every year here on March 5th but this year I’m “off” the radio (the listeners call it “retirement” and I call it “sabbatical”) so I’m just gonna write you this letter and hope it gets to you. And instead of taking calls all afternoon, I’m gonna take comments from folks on this space-aged thing called the internet. (I’ll explain it to you later but there’s a lot of stuff in the world here in 2010 you wouldn’t really understand without seeing it!)

A lot has changed since you left us back in July 1992 and I just thought I’d check in and update you a little with this letter – just kind of catch you up a little bit because every single day I think “What would Pop think of this crazy place now?”

And I know how much you love to read, so I thought I’d put it in writing for your birthday – how much different this place is in 2010!

Yes, I still write “for the paper” occasionally, but they just don’t call it a newspaper anymore. The words kinda live on a little television set and you don’t have to print them. You just “click” and you can get almost any information in the world. It’s kinda like the radio, TV and newspaper worlds have all gone into one place, if you can understand that. It’s called the “internet” – and really, I’d probably have a helluva time trying to make you understand it but I’m gonna try.

These days I’m so freaking busy building this sports media business I’ve created that I don’t even get to write about sports or talk about sports as much as I’d like but I’ll be doing more this baseball season for you and keep you in the loop on the Orioles and stuff. I’m also doing a book that I’m gonna send you a copy of later this year. It’s about coaching and leadership – I think you’ll dig it because it’s a lot of the stuff that you were always trying to teach me only put into words and kinda organized with words of wisdom from all of the coaches that I’ve met since 1984 who’ve taught me about life through sports.

Pop, a LOT of these people really helped make me the person I am since you’ve been gone. You remember Gene Ubriaco from the Skipjacks? Well he kinda gave me the idea since he was the first coach I talked to back in the day and he visited me recently and inspired me. I remember introducing him to you back at the Civic Center when I first covered the team for The News American.

Anyway, I remember that summer back in 1986 when we coached that Little League baseball team at Eastwood together. (One of those kids is now my Facebook friend, but I’ll save explaining that for next year’s letter, OK?)

I think a lot about you managing the 1973 Colgate Pirates, when I was the batboy, and we won the championship. I’m gonna write a little bit about it in the book. Gus Kaplanges still calls me and I ran into Teddy Boccia at Pizza John’s in Essex a few weeks ago. Tom Duni always sends along his best when I see him on the mornings when I take Mom to the IHOP over on Merritt Boulevard. It’s the “International House of Pancakes” – right in Dundalk. I know how much you love pancakes. They even have all of the fancy syrups!

So when I heard they just got email up there where you are I thought I’d send you a birthday card with some updates here from Planet Earth instead of doing the radio show. (Wait’ll you get a load of these “smart” phones when they get there with the “internet” on them. And wait’ll you see this thing called “texting”!)

Look, some of this stuff you’re not gonna understand. You’re just not, no matter what I do or how I try to explain it. Lemme just start with this – we have a black President of the United States, so you KNOW things are little different but the changes these last 18 or so years have been incredible – especially the last few years. You wouldn’t believe what’s happened in Baltimore with sports media and sports in general.

You were right about ESPN – they’re still around and they have a monopoly on virtually every sport and they have this 24-hour a day newspaper that people read all the time. You can even listen to the radio and watch videos on a screen without an antenna! (It’s all on that “internet” thing I told you about. And it’s all in the palm of your hand on this thing that’s like a phone. I’d try to compare it to a “cell” phone but even that would be hard.)

You know me, I still love hockey and the NHL is fun. The Capitals are really good and I think you’d even get on this bandwagon, even though you always hated hockey and Washington, D.C. The Caps have this Russian kid named Ovechkin – he’s like Gretzky, only bigger and meaner. It’s a fun time and the Caps SUCKED big time for a long time, kinda like they did when back when I started dragging you down there to the Capital Centre in 1981. I’m really sorry you never liked hockey, but I really do appreciate you taking me down to those Clippers games back in the day! You have no idea how great those memories are for me and how much hockey still means to me!

The Terps are having a great year – they even won a BIG one against Duke the other night and they play in this shiny new building and Gary Williams is STILL the coach! They finally won the National Championship back in 2002 and it was a lot of fun. I know how much you loved March Madness around the house and it’s still pretty much the same although they wear these long pants these days. And people don’t play bracket pools on paper – they do it on this “internet” thing!

The NBA kinda sucks these days and nobody watches. I know you saw Abe Pollin up there a few weeks ago. I hope you guys made up – he really did do some good things, though that would be hard for me to explain to you. The new guy here who owns the old Bullets (they call them the “Wizards” now — again, don’t ask…really some of this s&%t is too crazy to even try to explain!) is a guy named Ted Leonsis. Good dude and now he owns the Caps. I know him a little through the radio show. They moved outta the Capital Centre into downtown D.C. back in 1998 and they play in this place that kinda looks like a mall with windows. It’s wild, man, the way the stadiums and the arenas have changed. It’s all about business now with sports – lots of money, but still a lot of fun most of the time. And people love it more than ever!

But there’s even these new sports like this “mixed martial arts” — where guys literally beat the s&*t outta each other like something in one of those weekend Roman gladiator movies on Channel 45. It’s crazy. It’s like boxing, kinda, without gloves. It’s kinda like WWF only it’s REAL. Swear to God! But people love it!

Oh, about “rassling,” one of your favorites. It’s now called World Wrestling “ENTERTAINMENT” these days. Vince McMahon is still running it and making money but they’ve admitted what you said along: “It’s fake.” But nobody seems to mind and they still sell a lot of tickets.

Stock car racing (they just call it NASCAR these days) is this HUGE thing – these fancy cars, crowds of over 100,000 and big TV ratings. They moved the Olympics into every two years – summer and winter alternate – and they have these skateboard kids who surf on the snow getting medals. It’s exciting – you might even like it!

The Preakness is a mess. They took the beer away last year and now nobody goes but no one here seems to care too much about horse racing. Kinda sad. I know you never liked it too much but it’s tough to see it die like this, especially in May when Baltimore used to rock for the Preakness. They’re doing this new thing this year – “Get Your Preak On” – we’ll see how it goes.

I know I haven’t mentioned the Orioles because, well, you really don’t want to know. I know when you left us back in July of ’92 you were sorta losing it a little for life and sports and I know you thought Camden Yards looked nice on TV. Sorry I never took you down there before you left but honestly you haven’t really missed much down there, Pop.

This guy from Highlandtown named Peter Angelos bought the team about a year after you left us. Hotshot lawyer, got involved with some union guys who died from asbestos and made a zillion dollars, bought the team in 1994 and, well, they’ve turned into the worst franchise in sports.

They lose every year. They lie every year. They’re really rather disgraceful! And nobody goes to the games anymore. Mom still watches – we all kinda do – but no one goes to the games and the owner is the biggest heel since Bob Irsay.

Pop, some people hate him even MORE than Irsay and I’m not kidding!

I know it sounds crazy, but he’s kinda at war with me personally because I have had the balls and the voice to do what you’d have done if you were me – I tell the truth about the losing and the sad state of the city on summer night. But you’d dig it that some of the old Orioles from when we were taking the No. 22 outta Highlandtown are still around and are really cool to me. Those old Orioles come up to me and tell me to continue to fight with him but, really, Pop, it’s not the same and I’m tired of fighting with these lunatics.

I don’t even wanna bore you with it. (I’d tell you to “Google it” but you’d have no idea what the hell that means but I think you’d really think it’s cool. Imagine one of those World Book encyclopedias you bought me combined with every library in the world and all available in one place and you’ll begin to grasp it. Yeah, I know, you’re a little confused…so is Mom, don’t worry.)

But more than ANYONE, you’d be the proudest of how I’ve stood up and fought for what’s right. I take a lot of heat. People write me hate mail, threaten my life on occasion – but I know I’m right. This Angelos guy can’t even get along with Brooks Robinson, who’s still alive and has battled some illnesses recently.

This spring, I’m going to get behind a big civic movement to get a statue built for No. 5. I’ve sorta gotten to know Brooks since you left us and he’s just as great of a guy as you always thought he was and he deserves it. So I’m gonna help these guys who want to do this and I want to do it in your honor, if you’ll let me. I always tell Brooks about how you took me to “Thanks, Brooks Day” way back in 1977 and how we spent the day together out in left field like we always did in those days on 33rd Street.

By the way – I’ve got some more bad news. They tore down Memorial Stadium about 10 years ago. It really PISSED me off. I drive by there, think of you and get all pissed off again. I can’t even turn the corner up by Lake Montebello without getting depressed. The old site was turned into a YMCA. You’d hate it — trust me! Some days, I think you’re better off where you are and I can’t wait to join you!

I’m writing you this letter from a plane tonight and I’m going to spring training – but it’s not Florida, it’s Arizona. I’m doing some research work on this book on coaching and leadership. I’m going to be interviewing over 100 coaches with Baltimore ties and writing about their feelings on life, leadership and sports. I’m in Arizona and because the Orioles don’t let me come to their spring training games (or any games, really) because I did this protest of their ownership back in 2006. I had a press pass for all those years after you left but they took my pass away for telling the truth. I know, it’s kinda what you’d expect in Cuba or Russia, but that’s the way it is these days in America when you tell the truth – people hate you, abuse you and fail to be accountable. Especially when they’re rich and they threaten people with lawsuits every day. It’s a sick world. The more I know, the less I want to know about a lot of this stuff.

But that’s OK. I’m happy standing for what’s right and not falling for anything. Like I said, I know you’d be proud of me!

So anyway, I’m on this flight to Phoenix and I’m writing to you (we do it on these fancy computers that are kinda like typewriters that sit on your lap) and there’s a guy from the Ravens sitting behind me. His name is Justin Green – he’s a running back who used to play on the NFL team we have now in Baltimore.

I’m sorry it took me so long to tell you about the Ravens. But I wanted to save the good news for the end!

The Ravens are our new NFL team!

I know, I know. You said we’d NEVER get another NFL team but we did. It was something like a miracle, Pop, this team that Art Modell brought to Baltimore from Cleveland back in 1996. No, the Browns colors and logos stayed in Cleveland where they replaced the team but those people are STILL pissed, kinda like you were with Irsay until you left us.

(I’m assuming if you’ve ever run into Irsay up there you’re in the WRONG place…so I’ll just tell you that he died a few years ago!)

But Modell was great for Baltimore! He even hired Ted Marchibroda to be the first coach! It’s been a LOT of fun since this football team came to town.

We have a young local owner named Steve Bisciotti, who does his best to not be the jerk that Angelos is and Irsay was. He’s interested in winning and making the team fun every year and Baltimore appreciates that!

The Ravens have the best defensive player I’ve ever seen – a guy like Butkus and Curtis and Singletary but only better! His name is Ray Lewis and he’s fun to watch. He was a rookie on the first team back in 1996 and he’s still playing but the Ravens have really had a lot of good players and they win most years and the games are fun and it kinda reminds everyone here of those fun days you had with the Colts back in the ’50s and ’60s with Mom and Johnny Unitas. (I hope you said hi to No. 19 when he dropped by a few years ago. He stood on the sidelines here for the Ravens on game days and people thought it was cool! I talked to him a few days before he came to be with you…)

I miss you the most on those Ravens game days in the fall because you’d LOVE this football team. They wear purple, your favorite color. The band still plays, they’re just called “The Ravens Marching Band.” People come to the games really early and have picnics and drink beer. They call it “tailgating” because they sit on the trunk of the car and dine on swine and wait for the game and play catch. We’ve got this new stadium down where the railroad tracks used to be on the other side of the harbor, right next to the baseball stadium. It’s wild driving into downtown now and seeing those giant stadiums and all of the purple.

But I really miss you on those days when the team plays. I think of you every Sunday. I really do!

Because of what I do for work, I even get to go to all of the road games and sometimes we even take people who listen to the radio station and read my columns (we call ‘em “blogs” now) on the internet with us and it makes it more fun. Beer drinking, good food, football cheers – Pop, you’d LOVE it!

So, even though I did the radio show for a long time, I’m still here doing my media thing on this “internet” contraption and some of the people haven’t really changed. You remember Tom Davis and Scott Garceau – they work for my competitor. Stan The Fan still does this magazine every month. And Phil Jackman is still my friend and he’s gotten even older and even crankier. It’s fun to watch!

But I turned the old radio station into this 24-hour-a-day “internet” sports place with radio, television and news all in one place. We even have all of the box scores and standings for you! I wish you could see it!!! It’s like the Sporting News back in the day only even more in depth. You’d be really proud, Pop!

I have these awesome business partners – led by a guy named Brian Billick. He was the Ravens coach back when they won the Super Bowl in 2001. (I’ll tell you more about that later!)

Billick is sorta like Earl Weaver was to the Orioles – only taller, but he does cuss just as much! I’d pay a lot of money to see you and Billick have a conversation about sports. You’d make him laugh for sure!

Billick is just a fabulous guy and I really wish you two would’ve gotten a chance to meet. He joined me about 18 months ago as a business partner but all of the money we ever make on his behalf goes directly back to the community through this charity called “Living Classrooms” which helps the kids in the city who are trying to stay out of trouble, learn and get jobs. One day, we’ll make a lot of money for the people of Baltimore together! You always taught me to give something back and that’s what I’m trying to do because people have really been great to me as I’ve gotten older and you’ve left us.

I just wish you could see it – even for one day, what my life has been like! The travel. The roadtrips. The time I’ve spent in Europe, South America and Asia. I went to China with Cal Ripken Jr., who just like you told me, wound up in the Hall of Fame. We even went to Cooperstown for the induction!

But I’ve done World Cups, a bunch of World Series, All Star Games, Stanley Cups, Final Fours, Kentucky Derbies, Super Bowls — you name it! I’ve really had a great life – a great time since you left me!

Oh – that’s right – I almost forgot. The Super Bowl!

Yep, Baltimore WON the Super Bowl back in 2001. I sorta forgot that you didn’t know that…

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard Mom happier than she was when the Ravens beat the Giants that night. I was at the game that night in Tampa under the stars but she called me, bawling like a baby – she really loves the Ravens, Pop. I wish you could be there to watch those games with her on Sunday.

I took her to a game back in August to see the guys in purple play. I’m not sure if you get You Tube up where you are, but if you do here’s what it looked like:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTH5Vk6_Re0[/youtube]

She calls me every weekend and a lot of times I’m there at the games in all these far-flung places like Minnesota or Green Bay or New England and she wants updates. We have this tall quarterback named Joe Flacco who is her favorite. He wears No. 5 – just like Brooksie!

But sports and radio and Baltimore have been good to me all these years. All those things you taught me – fairness, integrity, working hard, practicing hard, being a good teammate, running out every groundball, looking for the cutoff man, playing by the rules – that’s all really helped me in the business world. Some days I feel like a success, some days I feel like the world’s biggest failure but I never give up. I never, ever give up!

And I always try to do the right thing…

And even though things are kinda crappy – the economy is worse than it was back in 1979, when you came home every day scared to death that you were gonna lose your job at ‘The Point – I’m in a good spot. I have a really good product and it’s growing every day but it’s hard work. Nothing I’m allergic to though. (Don’t worry…I never take a “scratch” either!)

But there’s lots of stuff you’d really like about the world in 2010 and stuff that reminds me of you every day.

They have Chick-Fil-A’s now where you don’t have to go into the mall. These computers have kinda taken over the world and you wouldn’t have to wait for The Sporting News or the Baseball Digest anymore. Heck, you wouldn’t even be pissed every morning at 5 a.m. because The Sun came late and you didn’t get to read it before work. You can read it ANYTIME on this device! Sounds kinda like a “dream,” doesn’t it?

You could even take your phone into the bathroom and READ on it while seated instead of taking the newspaper up there when you stink up the joint!

Ha!!! (Made you laugh!!!)

But we’re cool down here. Mom is fine, still feisty and nagging the hell outta me the way I like it. Barry is 25 now and helps me at WNST and is good guy. You two would be hell together watching Orioles games in high definition TV. (They call it HD – it’s kinda like 3D, just a little different. It’s just a really, really clear TV – everybody has them now and it’s kinda neat, makes you feel like you’re right on the field!)

I have an awesome wife that I met at a hockey game who likes sports even more than I do — most days anyway. She’s a Red Sox fan and she gets to have all of the fun in baseball season because the Orioles haven’t played a meaningful game since 1997. They stink every stinking year! It’s awful, really…but like I told you, google it!

Maybe I really just wish you were here from August through January every year — but you’re really not missing much from April through the summer…

So, I just wanted to say hi and share this letter. I’m gonna share it with the people who read my “internet column” and hope that they write me some neat stories about their lives and memories and emotions with their Pop. You wouldn’t believe what a big “celeb” I turn you into every March 5th!

People write me every year and ask me about my “radio show for my Pop.” Well, this year for your 91st birthday, I thought I’d do something extra special and write you a letter instead. Maybe this will be the new format every year, who knows?

But I hope you’re resting comfortably and that someone is watching over me down here.

Life is good. Times are tough. The world is changing. Sports is in a weird place in Baltimore but I have a good feeling about things and I’m even optimistic that one day the Orioles will be good and kind and honorable again and the games will be fun for me.

Give Steady my best if you see him. Tell all of my friends like Clem Florio and the other fellas that “Nasty loves ‘em and misses ‘em!” (OH…I almost forgot! I really hope you got to say hello to Ted Williams a few years ago. I know how much you loved him!)

In the meantime, I’m sure the Ravens will give me plenty to write you about and the business stuff and building this company has been a lot of fun and keeps me plenty busy.

And if you ever bump into Howard Cosell, you should apologize, Pop! You were really wrong about him! He really DID know what the hell he was talking about!

Have a great birthday, Mr. Pisces! I’ll have some strawberry shortcake out in Phoenix in your honor!

Strangely enough, I’m having breakfast with Frank Kush today at his office at Arizona State and lunch with a bunch of the San Diego Padres front office folks. (Aunt Jane would really dig it!)

I have a feeling your name will come up!

Happy Birthday, you old fart!

Ninety one would’ve been fun but, hopefully, you’re getting satellite up there so you can watch the Terps game this weekend.

And if the MASN feed doesn’t come in, don’t feel so bad. You’re better off with the VHS tapes you left with from 1983…

Love,

Me

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Jack Cust

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5 W’s and 1 H

Posted on 29 June 2009 by Luke Jones

31-62.

No, it is not the Washington Nationals’ current record (22-51), but it’s the Orioles’ record against the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards since 1998.

And despite what many would have you believe, the fans donning pink and green Boston hats and representing The Bandwagon Red Sox Nation haven’t hurled a single pitch or hit a single home run in those 62 losses.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as frustrated as anyone to see Camden Yards invaded by Red Sox or Yankees fans 18 times every season, but pleas to Orioles fans to buy those tickets are a waste of words.  Nothing will change until this becomes a winning organization again.

Because of their strong national following, the Yankees and Red Sox have a strong representation wherever they go, whether it’s in Baltimore, Kansas City, or Los Angeles.  The only way to contain—not eliminate—the number of Red Sox or Yankees fans is to field a winning team that fans want to pay to watch.

Just look at the Ravens’ annual war with the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium.  In the years in which the Ravens are competitive and in the playoff hunt, the number of Steelers fans is considerably lower than the years in which the Ravens struggle.

It’s plain and simple; yes, Orioles fans could buy those tickets snatched up by Boston fans, but with a .333 winning percentage against the Red Sox since 1998, why exactly would they want to?

Trust me, I’ve been to plenty of these Orioles-Red Sox encounters over the last decade.  It’s typically a pretty miserable experience.

If Orioles fans are going to take back the Yard, the baseball team needs to make it something worth taking back.

Here are the 5 W’s and 1 H for the week:

1.  Who will be the Orioles’ representative(s) at the All-Star Game in St. Louis?

Remember early in the season when we thought Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis were all sure things for the All-Star Game?  Seems like a long time ago.

That’s not to say the three aren’t having good seasons, but their numbers have certainly leveled off since early May.

With no Oriole threatening in the fan voting, we’ll have to see whom Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon chooses to represent the Orioles.  Markakis or Jones would still figure to have a decent chance of being selected as a reserve, but the most deserving candidate might be closer George Sherrill.

After a rocky start, Sherrill has been outstanding, earning 16 saves while posting a 2.05 ERA.  In fact, since his blown save against Toronto on May 2, Sherrill has pitched to a 0.45 ERA and is 12-for-12 in save opportunities.

He’s my pick for the Orioles’ representative in St. Louis.

2.  What NBA trade will have the biggest impact next season?

While Shaquille O’Neal being traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers stole the headlines, the trade bringing Vince Carter to the Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic might make a bigger difference next season.

The Magic sent Courtney Lee, Rafer Alston, and Tony Battie to the New Jersey Nets for superstar Vince Carter and Ryan Anderson.  It’s hard to remember a team so close to an NBA championship making such drastic changes to the makeup of its roster.

In addition to trading these three to New Jersey, the acquisition of Carter also means the end of Hedo Turkoglu’s stay in Orlando.  The 6-10 forward has already notified the team of his plan to opt out of his contract this summer.

The Magic hopes Carter can provide the veteran scoring presence the team sorely lacked against the Los Angeles Lakers in The Finals, but will he be willing to play the strong defense expected in Orlando?

This deal smells like a high-risk, high-reward situation.  It could either bring a championship to Disneyworld, or it could kill the mojo of the Magic’s run last season.

Shaq playing with LeBron James in Cleveland will grab the headlines, but I’m not sure the big man clogging the middle will be conducive to James’ slashing style of play.  Though he had a good season in Phoenix, he wasn’t exactly a difference-maker there.

3.  Where should the Orioles turn to help their abysmal base running?

The name that immediately came to mind was baseball’s all-time stolen base king Rickey Henderson.  Rumors are circulating that Henderson would accept a framed $2 million check as compensation for his services.  Rickey won’t even cash it!

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

If Rickey isn’t your cup of tea, how about Ruben Rivera?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFJlT2ic1uw[/youtube]

Players will just need to keep an eye on their gloves and bats—just ask Derek Jeter.  Of course, if you don’t trust Rivera, the Orioles could always contact Billy Beane in Oakland to inquire about this guy:

Jack Cust

4.  When will Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs sign a long-term contract?

With Suggs’ revelation that he is close to signing a new deal with the Ravens and hopes to report to training camp on time, fans were undoubtedly excited to hear the news.

“We are close to an agreement. We just have a few little things to work out,” Suggs told The Baltimore Sun last week. “I don’t want to go into great detail, but it’s things like the years of the agreement and incentives, but the basic framework has been done.”

Call me a pessimist, but the years of an agreement and incentives are not “little” details, especially when considering how a signing bonus will be applied to the salary cap over the length of a deal.  While I do believe the Ravens will reach a new deal with Suggs before the July 15th deadline, he might be using the media to turn up the heat on the Ravens just a little bit.

5.  Why should we care about Brett Favre?

I typically roll my eyes at any Favre speculation in the offseason, but the report of Favre being spotted seeing a doctor in Minnesota last week really grabbed my attention.

After doing some more research, I’ve discovered reports of Favre wearing Fran Tarkenton pajamas to bed, watching a Twins game on TV, and having dreams of being a Viking—just like The Simpsons’ Ralph Wiggum.

Ralph Wiggum

6.  How impressive is the career of Mariano Rivera?

The 39-year-old closer joined Trevor Hoffman as the second member of the 500-save club on Sunday, just adding one more accolade to a brilliant career.

It’s amazing that Rivera has had such dramatic success in New York—the toughest place to play in the world—and by really only relying on one pitch, the devastating cut fastball.

The closer might be an overrated role in baseball, but a dominating closer like Rivera does not fit this description.  Having been the team’s closer since 1997, his run as the top fireman in baseball cannot be praised enough—even if he IS a Yankee.

In contrast, the Orioles have had at least eight regular closers during that time period—with many of them struggling.  Rivera is the epitome of consistent domination.

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Friday Morning's Crab Cakes and Light Beer

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Friday Morning’s Crab Cakes and Light Beer

Posted on 27 March 2009 by WNST Interns

The Swinging Bunt

Late night hoops.  Well, that was annoying wasn’t it?  The fact that the Missouri-Memphis and Villanova-Duke games both tipped off after 10pm Eastern Time is inexcusable.  I’ll be blatantly honest with a sentiment heard from everyone still awake close to 1am last night… I don’t care AT ALL if people on the west coast have to rush home from work to see the beginning of some of these games.  It’s way more important to have EVERYONE SEE THE ENDS OF THESE GAMES!  Simply put, CBS and the NCAA have screwed this up royally.  It’s especially frustrating that the games were yawners as well… which has probably made me even more ornery this morning.  Something needs to change.  This is my first year out of college as a “professional” – a term I use very loosely – and maybe that’s another reason why I’m more outraged than I’ve ever been about these late night tips.  But c’mon, how in the world does it makes sense that ‘Nova and Duke, schools in Philadelphia and North Carolina for those geographically impaired, are tipping if in Boston, Massachusetts later than games in Phoenix!  I could go on for days, I swear, but I won’t.  Instead, I’ll just resort to a good ol’ fallback of mine… posting pictures of Duke fans being miserable so we can all laugh at their misfortunes!

Friday Must See TV.  More “evening” basketball is slated for tonight, as the NCAA Tournament will be down to the Elite 8 by the end of the night… or I mean the end of the morning, or whatever… by 4am I guarantee we’ll know the final eight!  Action gets underway shortly after 7 with a Midwest Regional Semifinal pitting the Tourney’s #1 overall seed Louisville and the lowest remaining seed in the field, Arizona.  Then at 7:30ish in the South will be Syracuse-Oklahoma.  The night double-dip has Kansas-Michigan State and North Carolina and Gonzaga.  As for the picks, give me the Cards, Orange, Sparties, and Heels.

Scanning the Blogosphere

Camden Chat takes an in-depth look at the Orioles current roster and speculates who might be potential trade candidates and who might actually still be around in the future when they might win in a few years.

Big League Stew tells us the O’s aren’t the only amateur organization in the A.L. East who cares more about “service time” than winning.  This Super Two Status stuff really ticks me off; does anyone outside the front offices of the Rays and O’s think David Price and Matt Wieters aren’t major leaguers… RIGHT NOW!

Rumors and Rants:  If you had Notre Dame, St. Mary’s, San Diego State, and Baylor in your Final Four, you’re right!  The problem for Irish, Gael, Aztec, and Bear fans is that… it’s the NIT Final Four.

Faceoff Lacrosse Blog has three things to watch in the Loyola-Syracuse game tomorrow on the Evergreen Campus in North Baltimore and speculates about the Greyhounds goalie situation.

CMS Video of the Day

CBS has floated out an excerpt of their upcoming ’60 Minutes’ interview with Lebron James.  The spot was filmed at Lebron’s old high school, St. Vincent St. Mary, in Akron, Ohio and will air nationally Sunday evening after the Final Four is all set.

Anyways… the video.  Here’s LBJ nonchalantly flipping up an underhanded half-court shot on a whim, and of course, sinking it.  He’s ridiculous – that’s 75 FEET!

The Morning’s Final Thought

Via The Sporting News and Sports by Brooks, Chicago White Sox closer Bobby Jenks is a pretty funny guy.

Now whether he’s intentionally funny or not… that’s questionable, but either way, funny nonetheless.

In a basic, very simple Q and A session with TSN, Jenks revealed these interesting tidbits… and no they are not Ray Bachman’s answers, they’re Jenks’.

“What I’m reading:  Read?  I don’t even read the newspaper.

Favorite Physical Attribute:  I have a nice butt.

What’s on my I-Pod:  Anything 80’s rock.”
Niiiice.

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Who is Tired of The Kurt Warner Story?

Posted on 02 February 2009 by WNST Staff

Let me start by saying last night probably sealed Kurt Warner’s place in Canton and he won the NFL Man of The Year award which shows how much he does in the community but I am getting tired of hearing and reading about his story. We all know what he has been through so why do we have to keep hearing about it. Why do we have to keep seeing shots of his wife everytime he did something? Did we see Santonio Holmes’ family after his catch or Big Ben’s family after one of his great plays? No we didn’t. He has used two great sets of offensive weapons and one weak division to get two teams to three Super Bowls with a 1-2 record. I am sure there were other players on the field last night with unique stories of their own but all we heard was about Kurt Warner. I am not saying ignore the story completely but the last few weeks have been unbearable.

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Fun postgame pics from Phoenix

Posted on 04 February 2008 by WNST Interns

So, while Nestor sat this one out, Casey Willett and I did all of the postgame festivities from the field at University of Phoenix Stadium.

We had a lot of fun, especially wih Casey chatting with Anthony Wright and Peyton Manning after the game.

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