Tag Archive | "Rex Snider"

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Dennis Rodman serves up a lesson for every husband and father ….

Posted on 15 August 2011 by WNST Interns

In the days leading up to Dennis Rodman’s induction into the Basketball Hall Of Fame, I seized a few opportunities to mention my attraction and overall interest in the event.  However, much like most references to Rodman, my genuine curiosity had very little to do with his basketball career.

In fact, my attention was piqued when “The Worm” announced his collection of guests at the ceremony would include Howard Stern – as opposed to NBA commissioner, David Stern.  I’m an admitted fan of Howard and I know his brash boldness has forever changed talk radio and its mitigating world.

So, as last Friday’s Hall Of Fame ceremonies arrived, I made certain to follow the event ….

While I never did observe a sighting of the “King Of All Media” or any of his sidekicks, I did pay witness to Rodman’s induction speech.  And, I found a few of his ramblings to be rather prophetic, if not subsequently challenging.  

The first observation I made regarded how much Dennis has aged over the past few years.  When you don’t see or hear from someone in a while, their physical changes can be striking, right?

Yeah, his personally altered jacket, which had every evidence of being decorated by an ambitious fifth grade designer, stood out for all the wrong reasons.  I understand Rodman’s desire to be quirky and insanely original in appearance, but Friday’s look was just underwhelming.

The voice has grown much raspier over the years.  And, there were pauses of incoherent dribble.  Heck, I just couldn’t understand him during a few distinct stretches of thanking people, expressing regrets and an overall reminiscing on his life.

But, when he did mention the regrets, indiscretions and shortcomings, I made certain to go back to watch and LISTEN, again.  It was obviously an emotional struggle for him – even as he was being recognized for being GREAT at something.

On a night when he was being recognized as a Hall Of Fame basketball player, Dennis Rodman stood before a collection of people and acknowledged that he was substandard at nearly everything else …..

He has been a vindictive and selfish son ….

He has been a horrendously horrible husband ….

And, most importantly, he has been a failure as a father ….


While he wasn’t overly specific about his shortcomings, he did touch on each of them in a way that leads us to a pretty obvious conclusion.  He’s just a guy that always put himself first, both professionally and personally.

I found it sad that he has been notably bitter toward his mother, because she refused to allow his rebellious ways to doom her household.  As a single parent, she kicked him out when he was 17 years old.

He conveyed a public apology to his wife for betraying her and being less of a husband than she deserved.  He admitted to sticking her with the parenting and responsibilities associated with raising a family.

He also wished he’d been a better father and he expressed this to his three children, who watched from the audience ….

I suppose in a personally therapeutic way, Dennis Rodman was able to shed some shouldered guilt, last Friday night.  His public disclosures during an event that could’ve easily served as a crowning of his professional achievements certainly made the evening more authentic, while also exposing a sad reality in our culture.

The American society is full of selfish parents – male and female – who put their families, and notably their children behind professional goals and obligations.  While the rockstars, athletes and Hollywood types get most the exposure, it exists right underneath our noses.

In other words, you don’t have to be famous to be a terrible parent ….

During his public cleansing, Dennis Rodman challenged himself before a nationwide audience and I’m not certain he realized it.  His children are still young and impressionable.  Thus, it’s not too late to start being a FATHER, even if it’s at the expense of being famous.

Where will Dennis Rodman be in a couple weeks?  A couple months?  A couple years?

Will we still hear about his crazy nights in Vegas, via TMZ and other tabloids?  Or, is he ready to start being a better father to his kids?

After all, any guy can stand in front of a crowd and express remorse for not being better at one commitment or another.  But, the real man – a man of renewed character – seizes opportunities thru his own adversities. 

Forget the Basketball Hall Of Fame ….

Dennis Rodman can accomplish something far better.  He can become a GREAT DAD … and that’s more important than anything a man can do as a profession.

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Forget the fickle fans; Baltimore’s media panics after Ravens ugly effort

Posted on 12 August 2011 by WNST Interns

As we endured last night’s preseason exposure of the problems facing the Ravens, I will not follow suit with virtually EVERYONE who has a public voice and format, in Baltimore.

While I concur with many assessments regarding the performances of specific players, I also recognize that many of the miscues, missteps and mistakes fall at the feet of men who share a common trait ….

They’re young and INEXPERIENCED.

Did you expect Torrey Smith to basically strut into Lincoln Financial Field and serve notice that he’s a force to be feared? 

Did you really think Tyrod Taylor was going to exhibit the poise and split-second decision making demanded of a quarterback at the game’s highest level?

Did you anticipate seeing Jimmy Smith camouflaging his presence, while snagging an ill-timed pass and returning it for a quick six?

Nearly all of the things done correctly by a player in purple had a veteran attachment to it.  And, that shouldn’t be an unexpected reality as we look back on this first preseason game.

I’m not drawing a distinct line between right and wrong, as it applies to veterans and younger players.  There were isolated incidents of playmaking, as well as blunders with no real attachment to age and experience.

Michael Oher struggled and that’s a concern for me.  He anchors the most important position on the offensive line and he must develop a finesse to accompany the size and strength demanded of a player in his role. 

Oniel Cousins looked lost ….

Aside from the typical rust associated with the inactivity of an off-season, Oher and Cousins must play better.  Will they?  Repetition and renewed familiarity have proven to be key in the past and history does repeat itself.  So, don’t panic ….

On the other hand, Sergio Kindle looked very stellar – albeit from a “rough around the edges” perspective.  He over-pursued at times, and playmaking quarterbacks will teach him a lesson or three before he gets it.

But, as I suggested, it was the first game of the preseason.  It was an opportunity for the Ravens coaching staff to see the depth of talent while being opposed by competition in a different colored jersey.

Torrey Smith has the raw ability; he’ll develop and get more comfortable.  Jimmy Smith is in the same spot.  They’re rookies, give ‘em some slack.

Tyrod Taylor is a project and he’s going to be surpassed by a veteran talent, prior to the season opener against the Steelers.  Heck, he may never be a #2 quarterback in this league – he was a 6th round draft selection, after all.

Don’t buy into the sensationalism that many media sources are selling.  Most of the players who dictate the direction and ultimate success of this Ravens team spent 90% of last night’s game on the sideline, sporting ballcaps.

Relax and exercise the patience that preseason football dictates.  The reasons such games exist are varied, but an opportunity to recognize the shortcomings from last night’s contest is paramount among such reasons.

Ozzie Newsome and his staff needed to see this.  Now, they’ll get to work behind the scenes and take the necessary steps to remedy a few situations.  The coaching staff needed last night’s event, as well.  They, too, will build on it.

Don’t fall for the fears being spread today.  Don’t do it ….

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Do you have a favorite Sports Illustrated cover?

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Do you have a favorite Sports Illustrated cover?

Posted on 10 August 2011 by WNST Interns

During today’s edition of the AFTERNOON DRIVE, we will be sharing respective lists of our favorite Sports Illustrated covers. It’s hard to say “Best Of …..”, because all of us have opinions and our tastes certainly vary.

WNST Producer-Extraordinaire, Ryan Chell, will be listing his favorites in a separate blog. Please feel free to call (410) 481-1570, or email me with your choices, starting at 2pm. And, as always you can cast your selections, via Twitter, @WNST …..

Here’s my favorites:











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Coming to an NFL stadium near you; game-day drug testing ....

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Coming to an NFL stadium near you; game-day drug testing ….

Posted on 10 August 2011 by WNST Interns

Yesterday afternoon, the National Football League announced plans to conduct random drug testing on respective game-days during the upcoming 2011 season.  Such measures will be limited in scope, to include testing solely for performance enhancing drugs.

Thus, the presence of recreational drugs and/or medicinal narcotics will not be detectable in the mandated regimen ….

Good?  Bad?  Who really cares, right?  We just wanna see football ….

The emphasis and overall objective of this new testing procedure is to address and curtail prospective cheating by players, who might consider broaching the threshold and fine line between banned and legal substances.

This introductory program, which is part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, gives the immediate impression of a process that will be potentially burdensome, especially as it regards implementation during the first few games of the upcoming regular season.

NFL labor and law head, Adolpho Birch, told assembled media, yesterday, that logistical hindrances should not surface during game-day testing, as the entirety of the procedure shall ensure a system that “is not overly disruptive to the clubs and that respects the game-day process.”

Good luck on that intended effort …..



Granted, I am not privy to intimate details regarding this specific testing process.  However, I am wondering why the tests must be administered on the day of a game, as opposed to the previous evening. 

From a common sense perspective, it seems like any such procedure would appear more plausible if it was not engaged in the intense environment of a locker room – especially in the last couple hours leading up to such an adrenaline fueled competition.

Will the specimens be analyzed prior to kickoff?

If so, is there an immediate appeals process, especially given the potential for tainted samples?  Better yet, if the specimens are not immediately analyzed, what necessitates the need for testing on the actual day of a given game?

Most of us are aware that HGH can only be detected in a limited amount of hours following ingestion.  That said, the presence of HGH can only be detected via blood tests – and I find it difficult to fathom blood samples being rendered just prior to a game.

I fully support any measures to deter and rid PED’s from sports, at any level.  I’m just not certain the best way of mandating adherence is to muddle such processes in the chaotic atmosphere of an NFL locker room, just prior to the game.

That’s my two cents …..

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With 50 games remaining, Orioles are bound for worst record in 23 years ....

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With 50 games remaining, Orioles are bound for worst record in 23 years ….

Posted on 09 August 2011 by WNST Interns

When I reflect back on the final days of March and all the optimism that surrounded this 2011 edition of the Orioles, I come to one distinct conclusion:


And, this includes every single soul who follows, loves and ultimately believes the beleaguered franchise will eventually improve.  On such a list, fans, media members and anyone with a related interest in the ballclub are all heaped together.

Not a single one of my brethren thought this team would be WORSE than last year’s product ….

Not a single listener called me and voiced a pessimistic view of the season, especially with Buck Showalter at the helm for a full 162 games ….

Indeed, we consumed and digested the potion pitched by Buck’s birds over the final couple months of 2010.  We chose to rally behind the Showalter energy, especially with the visual reminders on billboards around town and the corny commercials courtesy of MASN.

All of us were fooled, because we chose to believe our hearts.  And, to be quite honest, we chose to ignore the very basics of baseball; pitching is the root of winning at this very highest level of the game.

A year ago, today …. on August 9th, 2010, the Orioles rattled off their sixth victory in seven attempts under the guidance of a newly appointed Showalter.  Under his tutelage, they displayed a renewed vigor and devotion to the basics of winning baseball.

Today, the team is reeling.  They’ve lost eight of the last ten contests and it seems as if they invent ways of squandering leads and outcomes, just as they did last night.  Of course, this dilemma is compounded by a current starting corps of pitching that might be the most dismal witnessed in years.

And, this is exactly where ALL OF US took the bait and fooled ourselves in the context of conventional wisdom and history’s teachings, if nothing else …..

It’s easy to sit back and blame Vlad Guerrero for not living up to expectations.  Say what you will, he’s not the primary problem.  Vlad is hitting a disappointing .274, with 9 homers and 15 doubles, but the problems run much deeper than a lackluster effort from the designated hitter.

Yes, you can defer any blame headed Mark Reynolds’ way, as well.  He’s hitting .219, with 26 homers and a peutrid 26 errors.  But, he too, is not part of the root problem with this Orioles team.

The blunt truth is Andy MacPhail and Buck Showalter gambled the entire house on a young, inexperienced pitching staff ….



Prior to the start of this 2011 season, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Chris Tillman owned a combined 41 big league starts.  And, Britton claimed none of those numbers.  Yet, each of these young pitchers had a spot in the rotation to start the season.

Of course, Britton’s inclusion was necessitated by an injury to Brian Matusz – which surfaced just hours before the season opener. 

Yes, this is the same Brian Matusz who has not returned to his 2010 form.  Heck, he probably hasn’t found a repertoire consistent to 2008, when he starred in the rotation at the University of San Diego.

As for the others, we know where they’re hanging their hats these days …..

Jake Arrieta is done for the season, due to injury.

Zach Britton also finds himself on the disabled list.

And, Chris Tillman is in the current rotation, because there isn’t a body to challenge for the spot.

In vivid honesty, MacPhail obviously overestimated the durability and overall readiness of the organization’s young pitching prospects – and we bought in !!!!

Call it blind faith or a belief in what Buck Showlater produced in last season’s abbreviated window …. or a hope that things couldn’t get much worse.  But, just like the Orioles’ President of Baseball Operations, we too, overrated the inexperienced and largely untested pitching prospects.

Following last night’s loss, the Orioles find themselves at 44-68, which is just 6.5 games ahead of last year’s team.  And, remember that’s a team that mounted a 28-22 record over its fnal 50 games.

This current edition of the Orioles also has 50 games remaining.  They’re a team that has lost 9 out of 12, as well as 27 of its last 36 contests.  The starting pitching staff bears one name that would merit a spot in most rotations around the game.

They need to win 20 of the final 50 games to avoid suffering the worst organizational record since the trainwrecked 1988 season.

I’m betting they won’t do it.  I’m just being honest – I don’t see how this team wins 2 of 5 games throughout the remainder of the schedule. 

Is this team worse than 2010?  Heck yeah …. it’s going to be the worst Orioles team in the last 23 years. 

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Would Harbaugh's head explode if this guy showed up?

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Would Harbaugh’s head explode if this guy showed up?

Posted on 08 August 2011 by WNST Interns

Well, my summer vacation has finally met its great demise.  As usual, some predictable (and not so predictable) realities came to fruition …..

My waistline is a lil’ wider – thanks to Grotto’s pizza.  My tattoos are a lil’ more faded – thanks to the Delaware sun.  And, those famed Dewey Beach bars are a lil’ richer – thanks to … well, ME.

Yep, I spent the past week pretty much doing as I pleased …..

I tried to keep my finger on the pulse of Baltimore’s sports action; I kept up with the WNST texts, followed Twitter and even tuned-in for occasional segments of radio with Drew, Thyrl and Glenn.

At the same time, I made a conscious effort to keep a distance from the very things that embody a week of my regular life, and SPORTS is a big part of my weekly routine.  Yes, I monitored all Ravens news and kept up with the free agent frenzy surrounding the National Football League.

Yet, aside from watching baseball games on television, I took a bit of a break from following relentless sports news and contributing to the entire social spreading of opinion and information.

So, when I returned home, this weekend, I immediately began the process of reacquainting myself with the most current climate of sports action in this city and beyond.  And, as I logged onto my computer for the first time in a week, I read the following Yahoo Sports headline:

“Hollywood Celebrity Turns Heads At Dallas Cowboys Training Camp”

I’ll admit it, I couldn’t refuse the tease, as I assumed the latest buxom beauty to follow in the footsteps of Jessica Simpson, Alyssa Milano and Kim Kardashian would be revealed for all our eyes to see.


But, I did find the photographic evidence of the latest celebrity to be pretty damn funny:



Can you imagine how John Harbaugh would react if Pee Wee Herman came swaggering into a mid-afternoon workout?   The coach strikes you as a guy who HATES distractions, right?  And, rightfully so …..

Hey, I was one of the first media members to lay eyes on Snoop Dogg as he arrived at McDaniel College, a couple years ago.  Then again, how could you miss the dude who was holding that gigantic umbrella above the hip-hop star?

When I saw Snoop, I immediately looked for Harbaugh.  I wanted to see his reaction to this potential hindrance to the day’s activities.  To my surprise, John was pretty jovial about it; which tells me he knew it was coming.  Of course, he knew …..

But, as we wade through this mucked up training camp, as it’s cramped into the team’s Owings Mills complex, I do wonder if the Ravens field general would be so amused by a surprise visit from Pee Wee.

My gut says NO …..

As for my vacation, it was a good time and I achieved that relaxing pause so desperately needed on my end.  And, while I tried to avoid many components of sports, I was unable to avoid the crush of the most annoying baseball fans – aside from Yankees and Red Sox loyalists.

That’s correct, I couldn’t swing a dead cat by its tail without striking one of these buffoons, as they celebrated a week at the beach, combined with winning baseball …..



Yep, I’m jealous.

I’ll talk with you, this afternoon @ 2pm ……

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50 words about Matusz, Heap, Mason, Steelers-D ... and prayers

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50 words about Matusz, Heap, Mason, Steelers-D … and prayers

Posted on 27 July 2011 by WNST Interns

Ahh, we’re just a couple days into renewed peace around NFL circles and we’re already being provided with enough storylines to finally disregard the lists of “BEST OF …” and “WORST OF …” that served as filler for radio programming, blogs and Twitter topics for the past few months.

Indeed, football is back …..

So, too, will be my “50 words” blogs, albeit on a random basis. After all, having such a format will give me opportunities to cover an array of topics, while maximizing your limited time to spend on blogs during breaks in the workday.

It’s a WIN-WIN, right?

So, without further delay, here’s your renewed edition of 50 words …..
Sobering Reality For A Couple Ravens

As the news of Derrick Mason and Todd Heap becoming salary cap casualties in the process of molding the 2011 edition of the Ravens, I have begun to draw a few distinct conclusions.  However, the most telling from my perspective is we are probably witnessing the first time these two players have been cut by any team  ….

All of us have experienced “the axe” at one intramural level or another, right?  Yet, Mason and Heap are probably feeling the effects of such a staunch rejection for the first time in their entire lives.  I would imagine it’s a tough pill to swallow ….
Another Night, Another Loss

While many of us are primarily focused on what’s happening at One Winning Drive, along with an occasional eye glanced at the Orioles (they actually won, last night), there is another story or situation worth watching ….

The tale of Brian Matusz is becoming more bewildering with the passing days.  Last night, Matusz found himself in immediate trouble, as he surrendered 3 walks and threw almost 30 pitches in the first inning of his start for the Norfolk Tides.  His final line:  5IP, 3ER, 7H, 3BB, 0K ….
Thanks, Steelers

Many of us awakened to learn the Pittsburgh Steelers blessed us with a big favor, last night.  That’s right, they gave Ike Taylor a new 4-year deal to remain part of the team’s secondary.  But, if you think Baltimore fans are happy, there’s a great chance a member of the Ravens is ecstatic ….

Quarterback, Joe Flacco, was all smiles as he learned the news.  Then again, any quarterback would be overjoyed to learn the archrival was bringing back a cornerback who is best described as one step up from a sawhorse on training wheels.  Many thanks, Mr. Rooney ….
I Wanna Thank Jesus … For My Smokin’ Hot Wife

Even the casual NASCAR fan knows the green flag of each race is preceeded by an invocation by a clergyman.  That said, what transpired at Nashville Speedway, prior to last Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide event was simply priceless ….


I hope you weren’t drinking anything while watching the video of Pastor Joe Nelms delivering his rendition of a prayer.  Regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs, I think it was pretty cool to witness such a lighthearted expression of words.  Oh yeah, and did you catch Carl Edwards’ reaction?

Happy Wednesday …. tune in this afternoon at 2pm !!!!

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As the NFL lockout ends, the time to say goodbye to some GREAT Ravens likely approaches ....

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As the NFL lockout ends, the time to say goodbye to some GREAT Ravens likely approaches ….

Posted on 25 July 2011 by WNST Interns

As we’ve now endured more than 130 days immersed within football’s version of HELL, it appears the brink of a new season awaits us.  Vote on this, vote on that ….

Training camps are supposedly opening next Saturday morning.  That’s the latest information from a twisted saga that has taken many, many turns.

Free agency is predicted to be a frenzied period of mass signings and cuts, along with very little time for dragging out negotiations.  In other words, we won’t be tortured with weeks of whether Brett Favre is coming back or not.

The biggest free agency prizes will likely have new homes and helmets by the time I return from vacation, two weeks from today.  And, Owings Mills will most certainly be a destination for a number of known NFL talents, as well.

Did I mention vacation?

That’s correct …. as the Ravens report to Westminster-East at the franchise’s headquarters, and as the world of the NFL is turned upside down with mass rumors, tweets, speculations and ultimate transactions, I will be enjoying all the news from the comforts of a beach chair in the surf, at Dewey Beach.

Perfect timing, huh?

We’re still days away from any official windows of negotiation – we’re not 100% certain of rules and policies regarding such overtures – and names of possible casualties and additions for the 2011 edition of the Baltimore Ravens are abounding.

Who do you believe?  What do you believe?  Should you even believe this lockout is really coming to an end?

The lockout is ending.  The owners and players have long concluded this marriage won’t suffer a separation that costs either side any money.  Thus, you can bet we’re on the brink of actually seeing, hearing and talking about football and its daily drama …..

And, as we’re on the verge of a new season, the speculation has already begun.  We know the Ravens will make some painful cuts of veteran talents, while also conceding to allow some of the team’s free agents to walk away.  But, they’re likely to make some very exciting additions, as well. 

We kinda know most of the team’s needs – but, we don’t really know what Ozzie Newsome and company are thinking …. OR how they’ll go about building their vision of the best team for the upcoming season.

But, we’ve heard the rumors.

Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie, Eric DeCosta, John Harbaugh and others whom are tasked with collaborating to the choices of parting with members of “the family” are undoubtedly conflicted over a number of such decisions.  They’re human and while the heart doesn’t likely figure into the ultimate decision, its certainly impacted – especially when they leave Winning Drive and explore their conscience. 

But, it’s the business of the National Football League.

I’ll leave you with a pictorial collection of the rumored potential exits that could transpire over the next couple weeks.  Some are predictably apparent and others are a reach.  From a personal perspective, I can imagine this process is among the toughest and most agonizing for any executives.

I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to weigh in with thoughts and opinions …..

Possible Departures ???











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For NFL players … this is not time for a two-minute drill

Posted on 22 July 2011 by WNST Interns

You can count me among the millions and millions of pigskin lovin’ Americans who simply want this NFL labor deal to be firmly in the rear view mirror.  I want football, period.

But, I also recognize the very sensitive nature of ongoing negotiations, especially as members of the NFLPA are at a juncture where ratification and commitment – a 10 year commitment – are mandated.

I’m not suggesting players should drag their feet, toss a lil’ more mud or procrastinate over the small, incidental stuff …..

But, I do think it’s prudent for the entire viewing audience to grant a little understanding of the players’ need to be methodical in their review of ownership’s offer.  From legal jargon to perceived contradictory clauses, the proposed labor deal is probably overwhelming for even the smartest of union members.

Did you understand … and more importantly, did you read the fine print of your most recent vehicle financing agreement?

If you’re a homeowner, did you take the time to comb through every last word of your mortgage, as the lender sat across the table and fed several dozen pages your way?

Many of us just streamline such processes, right?

Well, if you agreed and signed those deals, you’re compelled to abide by the very words of those contracts – even if you didn’t fully comprehend or review a given portion.

This is exactly where NFL players find themselves today.

While a given number of fans are also assuming “a few players are holding this up”, there really is no concrete evidence such a situation exists.  When you’re dealing with a serious, lengthy commitment, a responsibility to be fully engaged and knowledgeable of your future is warranted.

All of us are on the outside periphery of this labor drama, right?

Heck, many of us don’t really care about it …..

We just want football.

That said, if there is EVER a time to sympathize with players, this is it.  They’re being tasked with agreeing to working conditions for the next decade – and it’s a deal they won’t be able to escape, because there is no opt-out clause.

A 10-year deal with no danger of either side opting out is certainly good for fans.  We won’t face the possibility of this stuff for a long time.  And, that’s a great feeling ….

But, just as owners are committed to protecting their investments and the future financial health of the league, players are obligated to ensure they’re making a deal that guarantees their future security, as well as the THOUSANDS of men who will follow in their footsteps.

How many players will still be in the game when this new deal expires?  If you want to consider the Ravens for such a prediction, only SIX PLAYERS were members of the National Football League a decade ago.

I’m not siding with players, nor am I found in ownership’s corner.  I just think it’s responsible and quite sensible to ensure that every last part of this deal is understood and in the best interest of unity.

This is not a time to hurry the process.  However, it is a time to stay focused and devoted to finishing a new deal.  And, we have every reason to believe this is happening.

Don’t overreact …..

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I'll admit it, I'm happy for Pittsburgh's baseball fans ....

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I’ll admit it, I’m happy for Pittsburgh’s baseball fans ….

Posted on 20 July 2011 by WNST Interns

Admittedly, I am one of the most vigilant instigators when it comes to picking on Pittsburgh’s fans – especially of the Steelers variety. Part of it is envy, another part is disdain and well …. it’s just easy to do.

Yet, as we’re hopefully just a week away from the start of NFL training camps and the preliminary buildup of the season opener against Roethlisberger and company, I’m finding it very easy to be happy for Pittsburgh’s fans this morning.

Make that Pittsburgh Pirates fans …..

When it comes to long suffering supporters of baseball franchises, Pirates loyalists are absolutely the most tortured and resilient of the bunch. And, yes, this includes those of us who’ve suffered through 14 years of losing by the Orioles.

To see what’s happening in Pittsburgh, highlighted by these most recent successive shutouts of the Cincinnati Reds, is pretty uplifting. A crowd of 26,058 witnessed last night’s 1-0 win, at PNC Park. I wonder how often the Pirates have drawn 25,000+ for games in July, since PNC opened its gates a decade ago.

With a record of 51-44, the Pirates sit atop the NL Central by a half game over the Milwaukee Brewers. Will they win the division? I doubt it …..

But, it’s a great story for baseball and more importantly a fitting reward for a fan base that has endured an ownership group that merits an established track record of pinching pennies, auctioning young stars and pocketing luxury tax monies.

Indeed, the situation in Pittsburgh differs greatly to what we experience …..

I’m not understating, nor diminishing the plight of anyone who loves or supports the Baltimore Orioles. We, too, are an aggrieved collection of victims. But, if both franchises operated to maximum capability, the birds would be in a far better set of circumstances.

Am I rooting for the Pirates? Nope.

But, I am rooting for their fans.

And, don’t give me the whole “79 World Series blah, blah, blah ….” either. I lived through all 7 games and distinctly recall how a world championship slipped outta Memorial Stadium, due to losing the most important games.

Many things have changed in the 32 years following that dreadful choke job. To this day, I hate hats with stars and the Sister Sledge – thanks to that damn song !!!!

Baseball has changed greatly and Pirates fans have undoubtedly been neglected, exploited and abused. And, what they’ve experienced is not fair, nor justifiable.

The last time the Pirates mattered, Jim Leyland was puffing on cigarettes in the dugout, Marylander Denny Neagle was a rookie on the staff and Barry Bonds weighed about 175 pounds – soaking wet.

So, I can sit here and be happy for Pirates fans. I don’t like their teams and without any reservation, I will continue to loathe the Steelers.

But, Pittsburgh’s baseball fans deserve what they’re seeing …..

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