Tag Archive | "tampa bay rays"

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Rays PBP voice Freed believes Balfour still has chip on his shoulder towards Orioles

Posted on 14 April 2014 by WNST Audio

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David Price

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Orioles Need to Practice What They Preach

Posted on 13 December 2013 by WNST Staff

We have heard it all offseason; we have heard it for the past decade. After Orioles owner Peter Angelos was quoted saying Baltimore is a “limited market.” GM Dan Duquette has reiterated those sentiments, discussing the minute “resources” and trying to stay “competitive” against the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox.  


We all know the real story there; the owner refuses to open his wallet, knowing he is going to take $3.50 from every household in the Baltimore area for his MASN network. The reports circle every offseason how much Angelos grosses from his TV deal, but we all know that money will never be re-allocated to the roster, while he is in charge.


In the end, he is the owner and that is his prerogative; he can basically run his “business” however he so chooses (even if that means spitting in the face of those who fatten his pockets; but that’s a different story, which is already well reported by the WNST staff). If Angelos is going to stick to that “business plan” (if you want to call it that), then the team must operate as such.


Every offseason for the past ten or so years, we hear about those players that the Orioles are “interested” in acquiring.  Whether it is Mark Teixeira or Zack Greinke or Nelson Cruz, everyone knows the real story; the team will not pony up enough to garner their services, but cry that those players would not sign in Baltimore. So as a fan base, this is a plea for the the organization to stop with this nonsense.


It is time for the Orioles front office to embrace the “limited market” mantra they have been spewing for years. Stop acting as if the team will be actual players in the offseason; start acting like the team that will build from within.


Andy McPhail started that idea years ago; after moving Erik Bedard for Adam Jones (a move that panned out pretty damn well).  But those are the smart (and tough) decisions the organization has evaded, since their resurgence in 2012.  Take emotion out of your moves; basically make decisions with your head and not your heart.


The team traded away Closer Jim Johnson, one year too late and could not capitalize on his value at the time.  A contending team like the Dodgers or Tigers or Cardinals (I know I’ve said this before) would have given up an everyday player or at least some top level prospects in return if they would have pulled the trigger last offseason. Instead, the Orioles received a struggling 25 year, who was demoted to Triple A in 2013.


The same goes for fan favorite Matt Wieters; he’s been a gold-glover and an All-Star, but is he really worth the $100 that his agent (noted Orioles pain in the ass, Scott Boras) will ask for. The question is now what can you get in return for an overworked catcher, who is slow and cannot hit above .250?  If they would have considered moving Wieters before last season, they would have returned several top prospects and MLB players, while his value was at an all-time high.  Now, no one can even be  sure Wieters can get back even one everyday player or starting pitcher.


The point is that if you want to pretend that Baltimore is such a “limited” market than put your business plan in place as such.  Do not keep stringing along the hopes of fans holding out that the team will actually sign a Shin Shoo-Choo; start following the same model of successful “limited” market teams, like the Tampa Bay Rays.


Before last season, they traded away a pretty good top-of-the-rotation starter in James Shields. In return they only received…the top prospect in baseball in OF Wil Myers and the Royals best pitching prospect, Jake Odorizzi.  


David PriceNow the team is in the same bind with former Cy Young Award Winner, David Price.  Since their actual resources are limited, they understand they cannot retain him under their budget.  In turn, the Rays, a perennial winning franchise in baseball, is looking to deal one of the top five best pitchers in the entire MLB.


And why? Because they understand value and have a business plan in place for the next several years.  They are stocked with young talent on throughout their farm system and continually replace players, like Price or Shields, with more top prospects.  


The Orioles brass seem to have little grasp of this concept, especially after standing still for the past two offseasons.  The tough moves are always the hardest, but will always help in the long scheme of things.  If the front office has no intentions of keeping around some of the team’s “star” players in the not too distant future, (i.e. Chris Davis) then why not make the tough decision now.  


Chris Davis ShirtIf the slugger is not in your future plans or budget, then why not recoup as much as possible for players the Orioles will have control over for the next seven-eight years.  Teams would be lining up with their best offers to acquire the services of a power-hitting first baseman with two years left of team control.


But then again this is the Orioles we are talking about. They will bank you parking your butt in the seats at Camden Yards for the next two seasons, to watch “Crush” hit bombs towards the warehouse.  All the while, you handing them money for tickets and hot dogs and beers and merchandise.

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How can Baltimore simply allow the Orioles to rot like this under Angelos’ greed & profiteering?

Posted on 01 April 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

There’s no sense in shirking the responsibility here in Baltimore — the facts that show this community has been complicit in the damage done during this baseball free fall on the field and profiteering being done off the field by Peter Angelos via MASN. The truth is this: we get the government we deserve.

And the truth is that we get the Major League Baseball team that we tolerate as a community.

The Orioles are about to enter their 15th consecutive year of irrelevance and losing. Fans in Baltimore have turned away from the stadium by the millions instead of demanding a better product and an owner with the integrity to run the team in the best interests of the community.

The judges allowed this to happen by allowing television moguls to pass along unavoidable, mandatory charges you never know about and you vote for these judges.

Comcast (or your local cable TV provder) has passed along the “Angelos Tax” to you and you simply keep paying the bill.

The politicians allowed this to happen to the heart of Baltimore on summer nights and you elect the politicians. You elect the politicians who allow Major League Baseball an almost inarguable anti-trust exemption and public financing for stadia while they pad their pockets and Angelos shirks his “sacred responsibility” here in Baltimore to attempt to field a competitive team that stimulates interest and economic impact to the local economy.

Many local businesses and business owners – intimidated for one reason or another – all talk dirty out of the corner of their mouths to me at cocktail parties all over Baltimore yet no one except me and this radio station and web entity that I own have spoken up over the years and reported the dirty facts.

I am very proud of Free The Birds. I’m proud of being the only one to speak the truth and report the facts. I sleep well at night knowing that I’m TRYING to make a difference and get this corrected for the community.

WNST is the only free media company in the marketplace that is banned from covering the team while CBS Radio, The Sun, WBAL, Pressbox, etc. all have continued to exchange corporate media backrubs and “partnerships” while not demanding accountability from Peter Angelos.


Many others — from intimidated former Orioles players who need the autograph money to local fans, former season ticket holders and businesses who previously wrote a direct check to the Baltimore Orioles to sponsor the franchise — all now cough and “look the other way” while the city has been emptied of more than 2 million people every summer. The Ravens’ and their everlasting prosperity seems to only make it easier to turn away from the Orioles.

How can it be possible that local businesses downtown and at the Inner Harbor simply await the arrival of visiting fans from Boston, New York and Philadelphia in order to turn a profit off the fortunes of the Baltimore Orioles?

It’s unspeakable, shameful and YOU should be ashamed of our community for allowing it happen.

When all of this cowardice and the collective “turning of the heads” stops, perhaps the fate of the Baltimore Orioles will change?

Here’s what WNST.net is doing about this Thursday and Friday night as we hold a candlelight vigil and an Opening Day protest of the ownership and the way the team has been run into the ground for Baltimore and its baseball fans…


You can follow our Facebook page here and follow us on Twitter @FreeTheBirds12


Staying away from the ballpark and not contributing by buying tickets and $8 beers has simply not worked to correct the issues with Peter Angelos and improve the baseball team. We’ve been writing about it here at WNST.net and opining at AM 1570 for the better part of a decade.

Sometimes I think that everyone knows the dirty little secret about Angelos and

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50 words or less .... reliving "unlucky sports moments" on Friday the 13th

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50 words or less …. reliving “unlucky sports moments” on Friday the 13th

Posted on 13 May 2011 by WNST Interns

I’d like to say congratulations, as we’ve survived another week …. however, this is FRIDAY THE 13TH. And, given the uncanny suspicions and flat-out ridiculous conspiracy theories I hear on a consistent basis, I’m assuming much of this audience believes in the power of “bad luck”, right?

During today’s AFTERNOON DRIVE, we will look back at some of the more memorable “Bad Luck Moments In Sports”. Plenty of such occasions exist, right? Perhaps, not as many as you might originally anticipate …..

Bill Buckner’s error in the ’86 World Series?

Scott Norwood’s missed field goal at the end of Super Bowl 25?

Nope, these were not incidents of bad luck. Instead, they were both “poor performances” and represent what happens when the athlete fails to execute. But, luck had nothing to do with either outcome.

That said, BAD LUCK has influenced a number of sporting events and we’ll certainly get into some of them during today’s show. And, without further delay, here is today’s edition of “50 Words Or Less” …..
Dude, That’s Not Fair

Pitchers can be beneficiaries of good or bad fortune on many occasions. They can pitch awesome gems and get no run support, and they can also labor thru a half dozen innings, while their offense carries the load.

Zach Britton was simply phenomenal last night and he deserved to win that ballgame. But, that’s baseball …. and it can even be described as a bit of BAD LUCK. He had no control over the outcome, beyond ensuring the Mariners didn’t score a single run.

This kid is very, very special. He gives me a confidence I haven’t felt with any young Orioles, since that youngster from Montoursville, showed up 20 years ago.
Down In Facebook Flames

Seeing adults make poor personal decisions, via Facebook and Twitter is a consistent reality in today’s society. But, how about kids? This is the group that would be expected to make such mistakes, right?

And, in Melrose, Massachusetts, its costing a dozen varsity athletes significant suspensions from competition. In short, a group of students got together and partied it up with booze, last weekend …. and they posted photos of the illicit event on Facebook !!!!

School officials learned of the party, saw the photos, and suspensions resulted. Here’s the FULL STORY of the incident and fallout.
We Deserve This

I would’ve never believed that I would beat Glenn Clark to the revelation of this topic. If he hasn’t heard the news, he’ll be quite happy …..

Jennifer Aniston is losing her clothes. That’s correct, you can rub your eyes ….. but, it’s not a misprint. Indeed, one of the hottest actresses of the last decade has filmed a topless scene in her upcoming flick “Horrible Bosses”.

Thank You, Jesus.
Where Are The Shovels?

Oh, I’m gonna enjoy this little rant. That’s right, I distinctly recall all the forecasts of doom and gloom for the Tampa Bay Rays, as they crawled to a 1-9 record to start this 2011 season. Nearly everybody was tossing dirt on the Rays grave.

But, one voice resisted. Yep, if you’re imagining Rex Snider patting himself on the back, you’re absolutely right …..

As the Orioles step onto Tropicana Field tonight, they’ll be challenging the FIRST PLACE Tampa Bay Rays. Now, do I think they’ll win the AL-East? No, but Tampa’s starting pitching staff is arguably the best in the division – and the last time I checked, pitching still wins plenty of ballgames.
A Monster Of A Weekend

Well, NASCAR has arrived in our backyard, as Dover International Speedway hosts a full weekend of racing action …..

Of course, it culminates with Sunday’s running of the Fed Ex 400 and a showcasing of top talent, to include Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick, along with a few other notables.

That’s right, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are not expected to be legitimate challengers for Sunday’s win. I got a pretty optimistic feeling about Busch and I wouldn’t be surprised if he tames the Monster all three days.
That Damn Cat

As I shared at the beginning of the blog, today’s afternoon show will emphasize on some of the UNLUCKIEST MOMENTS IN SPORTS. And, I’ll seize this opportunity to share one of the more bizarre stories …..

On September 9, 1969, the Chicago Cubs were barely clinging to a first place lead they’d held the entire season, when the unbelievable happened …..

A black cat emerged and circled the Cubs on-deck circle, at Shea Stadium. The Cubs lost the game, divisional lead and an entire season to the Mets. Say it ain’t so …. and it’s all due to that damn cat !!!!

I’ll chat with you, today at 2pm …. and if you have any UNLUCKY SPORTS MOMENTS to share, please email me at rex@wnst.net

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50 words or less .... Maryland's new coach must beat Duke

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50 words or less …. Maryland’s new coach must beat Duke

Posted on 06 May 2011 by WNST Interns

Well, we’re collectively putting another week behind us. But, there is plenty of sports action to occupy our weekend …..

The Orioles host Joe Maddon and his Tampa Bay Rays, as well as some very tough pitching matchups.

NASCAR invades the TRACK TOO TOUGH TOO TAME, for a Saturday night special, in Darlington, South Carolina.

Manny Pacquiao and Sugar Shane Moseley collide in Vegas.

And, the 137th running of the Kentucy Derby rolls off tomorrow afternoon.

Alas, today’s edition of 50 Words Or Less ….

Find A Way …. PERIOD

When the dust settles from the WE-LOVE-GARY schmoozefest, a heavy decision will be weighed at the University of Maryland. Who replaces Coach Williams?

I have a distinct feeling this process will dwarf anything we saw following the dismissal of Ralph Friedgen and entry of Randy Edsall. A variety of bigwigs and no-names will probably be debated publicly for the foreseeable future.

For me, the dominating question in the interview is “CAN YOU BEAT DUKE?” Over the past 4 seasons, the Terps are 1-7 against the Blue Devils. The red kool-aid drinking loyalists talk from both sides of their mouths. We hear the “Terps are beloved in Baltimore” and we also hear “Maryland can’t be expected to be on the same level as Duke.”

Well, if the Terps are gonna be beloved in Baltimore, they MUST find a way to be on the same level as Duke. That’s how we roll in this town …..

That’s what we expect of the Ravens, right? Let John Harbaugh and his staff experience an era of being an AVERAGE team. And, let them go a dismal 1-7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, over a 4-year period. Job security? Not hardly …..

Like I said, “CAN YOU BEAT DUKE?”

If you EVER trust anything Rex Snider says, this is definitely such an occasion. The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Royals are not good baseball teams. I don’t care about their records following the first six weeks of the season.

Both teams will finish below .500

Thus, it’s unacceptable to lose 5 of 6 games against such clubs. But, this is exactly what the Orioles have done in their visits to both Central division cities. Shameful ……
Now, He’s Funny


Don’t miss today’s edition of the AFTERNOON DRIVE, as we’ll welcome Norm MacDonald for a lighthearted conversation and promotion of his new program, Sports Show With Norm MacDonald, on Comedy Central.

We’ll also spend an hour with Gary Quill, WNST’s horseracing expert. Gary will breakdown the Kentucky Derby and provide a vivid preview of the Triple Crown picture.
I Told You So

Well, it didn’t take long for Rashard Mendenhall to feel the financial wrath of his ill-advised tweets, earlier this week. The running back’s sole corporate sponsor, Champion Sports, has dumped him.

Hopefully, this situation serves as a lesson to other young public personalities, who use social media as an outlet for their feelings. Some thoughts are better left unsaid, especially when such comments are dimwitted.
Say Hey

Today marks the 80th birthday of one of baseball’s greatest players. Willie Mays will always be remembered as the true 5-tool player, and his varied accomplishments were attained during an era when performance enhancing substances did not impact the game.

I can certainly count him among the players I would’ve liked to see, in person. The grainy footage of his talents cannot really represent the greatness of his game. Happy Birthday, Willie.
Where There Is Hope

We’ll finish up the week for a good, heartwarming story. Katie McCollum is a pretty special kid …. uhh, I mean she’s a pretty special young lady. Through tragedy, she was forced to forsake being a “kid” and embrace being a provider.

Her story is pretty special. No need for me to ruin it for you …. just follow the LINK

Have a GREAT WEEKEND. I’ll be on-air today at 2pm …..

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50 words or less .... Monday, May 2nd

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50 words or less …. Monday, May 2nd

Posted on 02 May 2011 by WNST Interns

Well, another weekend comes to an end, but not without some very telling observations:

The Ravens are looking better …..

The Orioles are certainly playing better …..

And, Americans wake up feeling better …..


By now, the world knows Osama Bin Laden has been killed by U.S. Special Forces in Pakistan. It doesn’t take a situation such as this one to inspire words about patriotism and love of nation.

But, this operation absolutely serves as another reminder that U.S. NAVY SEALS ARE BAD ASS DUDES !!!!
A Minor Adjustment ???

If you’re down on Mike Gonzalez’s contributions to the Orioles bullpen, have a little faith, okay? The struggling reliever is changing his windup in an effort to overcome his disastrous struggles.

Gonzalez’s 13.50 ERA is about to be a figure of the past. By all accounts, it should be down to 9.00 by the All Star break.
Welcome to Baltimore, Mr. & Mr. Smith

On Saturday, the “Jimmy and Torrey Show” rolled into Owings Mills for the very first time. In a draft distinction, lets hope the newest Ravens will be tied together in a Ray Lewis/Jon Ogden, Joe Flacco/Ray Rice kinda way.

While these rookies will be on opposite sides of the ball, they share many similar characteristics in size and speed. When is the last time a pair of pure athletes were the first draft-day additions for the franchise?

Aside from all the analysis of what they can do on the field, it’s appearing Jimmy might be able to follow one of Torrey’s off-field strengths; the kid is a damn sharp dresser !!!!

I’m certain this is an obvious revelation for the diehard fantasy baseball fans. But, for the remainder of the sports loving world, have you noticed the cache’ of formidable American League sticks that continue to struggle into May’s first week?

Alex Rios – .155 avg., 1 hr
Jorge Posada – .133 avg., 6 hr
Nick Markakis – .206 avg., 2 hr
Adam Dunn – .171 avg., 3 hr
Carl Crawford – .168 avg., 1 hr
Kevin Youkilis – .218 avg., 5 hr

Time to panic? Nope. Every single one of these guys has produced and will produce, again. This is the perfect time to BUY in fantasy leagues, and if you’re a fan just enjoy some upcoming hot streaks.

I’m not a proponent of fans assaulting each other, or even getting physical in any capacity. I also believe the idiots who run on a field of play should be issued some “Mike Curtis Justice”.

Quite frankly, I don’t like spectators affecting an outcome or disturbing another’s enjoyment of a performance …..

But, to the Australians who pelted Justin Bieber with eggs at his Saturday night concert, I’d like to say “THANK YOU” !!!!
Five For Fighting

In the waning days of Spring Training, I made a bold prediction:

The AL-East could feature 5 teams with .500 or better records. I honestly believe this is a possibility, especially given the improved potential with the Orioles and Blue Jays.

As May begins, the Yankees, Rays and Orioles are at .500 or better. The Red Sox and Blue Jays are within a few games of breaking even and it’s obvious to assume both clubs will play better as the season stretches toward summer.

Remember my prediction …. I’ll chat with you, this afternoon, at 2pm !!!!

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< 50 words .... Tuesday, April 12th

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< 50 words …. Tuesday, April 12th

Posted on 12 April 2011 by WNST Interns

I will begin today’s blog by promoting a WNST sponsor. Yesterday afternoon, I chewed some PLOW ON gum …. and 18 hours later, I’m still awake. That stuff works …..

Manny Being Manny

A short year ago, Orioles prized prospect Manny Machado was playing high school baseball, in Florida. Today, he’s enjoying an impressive start for the Delmarva Shorebirds, going 7-15 with 7 walks, to begin the season.

Let the hype begin …..

Burying Tampa?

On the heels of Manny Ramirez’s abrupt departure, I have heard the predictions of DOOM and GLOOM for the Rays. Count me among those who disagree. Pitching still wins ballgames, and Tampa has a very good starting staff.

They’ll win at least 75 games. And I will bet on it …..

End Of The Road?

It appears that Razor Ramon (ie: Scott Hall) has one foot in the mass grave of wrestlers who died way too young. In the last month, he’s been hospitalized for overdosing on prescription drugs and he recently staggered into an independent match; needing two guys to help him into the ring.

Call Me “Coach”

Just as Jose Canseco appears on the verge of fading into obscurity, he emerges with renewed relevance. Today, he adds BASEBALL MANAGER to his resume’. He’ll skipper the Yuma Scorpions of the independent North American League, this summer.

How long ’til Ozzie secretly subs for him? NEVER …. he’s assistant coach.

Money For Nothing

I have never watched an episode of Jersey Shore. And I’m pretty confident my streak of avoiding it will continue. But, somebody is watching this cast of meatheads and bimbos. The cast just got raises to the tune of $100,000 per episode.

That’s GREAT money for behaving like a nut sack.


Yep, Albert Pujols is hitting a buck fifty thru the first ten games. No need to panic, he’ll likely hit .400 over the next dozen contests. But, can you imagine if this turned out to be a subpar season for the soon-to-be free agent?

Nah …. I can’t imagine it.

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Regardless of anything else, hold your chin high today

Posted on 04 April 2011 by WNST Interns

If your workplace is populated by a fairly representative group of baseball fans, there is a good chance supporters of the Yankees and Red Sox exist within it, right?

In fact, some local businesses are dominated by fans of the AL East’s most popular and successful franchises.

While some such souls are imports and understandably loyal to their HOMETOWN team, a substantial number of local Yankees and Red Sox “so called” faithful are natives of Baltimore, who committed to selling their souls and allegiance, years ago.

Some people can’t handle losing, so they start backing winning organizations, until …. those teams start losing. While the Yankees and Red Sox are both riding a wave of success in this latest era, nothing lasts forever – NOTHING.

For the Baltimoreans who traded in their orange – or for those who’ve never really worn it with pride and unconditional loyalty, God bless ’em …. they have just as much right walking into Camden Yards as anyone else …..

But, today, is NOT their day.

This is your day, BALTIMORE ORIOLES FAN.

If you’re fortunate in having an Opening Day experience at the ballpark awaiting your arrival, have a great time and enjoy the renewal of the greatest sport returning for another season. It’s going to be a warm and dry day for ushering in the home schedule.

However, if you’re among the greater contingent who must work today, seize this opportunity to hold your chin even higher as you walk past both the authentic and fabricated fans of the OTHER teams. Your co-workers who root for the Yankees and Red Sox will be waiting for you – but, don’t crumble !!!!

You’ll likely hear some negatively-spirited banter aimed at breaking the will of the weak-hearted. No problem …. you’ve made it through 13 years; there is nothing weak about you or your devotions. Just know you’re going to hear something like this:

“Yo, it’s just 3 games …. don’t print playoff tickets.”

To a point, they’re right. But, don’t allow yourself to cave. Take the high road and resolve yourself to knowing the Baltimore Orioles are a better, stronger organization than the product of just a mere six months ago.

Be optimistic.

While only 3 of 162 games have evaporated from the Orioles schedule, the team has displayed the very strengths of organizations that win with consistency; solid starting pitching and great defense.

Indeed, if the birds would’ve taken 2 of 3 against Tampa, with scores of 11-7 and 9-8, I would be a little less buoyed, this morning. But, they’re continuing a trend that arrived with 57 games remaining in last year’s schedule – they’re throwing strikes and converting fielding opportunities.

Are the Yankees and Red Sox still better, as we sit here on Opening Day, in Baltimore? Yes …. and throughout 162 games, the more talented teams emerge atop the division. But, this past weekend has delivered proof of some daunting realities:

Zach Britton and Chris Tillman possess big league potential.

Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis are different hitters with Derrek Lee and Vlad Guerrero behind them.

Matt Wieters is still maturing.

Can the wheels fall off this machine and a return to failure realized? Yes, because anything can happen. However, this Orioles team is now 60 games into a new era and some true consistencies are evidenced. They’re playing good, fundamental, disciplined baseball, and it’s refreshing to witness.

They’ve only played one series, but this Orioles team has that different, better swagger about it. No doubt, the Yankees and Red Sox will offer a more challenging and potentially punishing offensive perspective against this young pitching staff.

But, don’t allow their fans to squash your hopes and desires.

It’s Opening Day, in Baltimore. This is YOUR day …..

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EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 18: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills stands on the sidelines during the game against the New York Jets on October 18, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Bills defeated the Jets 16-13 in overtime. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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The “BREAKOUT Athletes” of 2010 …..

Posted on 23 December 2010 by WNST Interns

While I enjoy compiling these annual lists and rankings of performers, I also sense a bit of relief when making the transition from the BAD lists, to the GOOD lists. Fortunately for me, today marks the beginning of the positively-spirited rankings …..

We will begin with the BREAKOUT ATHLETES of 2010. Admittedly, this was a tough group to determine, as I was forced to eliminate names such as Danny Woodhead, Maurkice Pouncey, Jason Heyward, Jacoby Ford, Brandon Jennings and Rory McIlroy.

In developing this list, I employed some distinguishable criteria:

A) Athletes must be professional; no college or amateurs

B) BREAKOUT = reaching a lofty status never realized in prior seasons. For example, I would say Joey Votto is not a BREAKOUT athlete, because his 2009 statistics were similar to the 2010 numbers.

So, without further delay, here is my list of the BREAKOUT ATHLETES of 2010 …..

10) Ryan Fitzpatrick – I will be the first to admit this guy was nowhere near the radar on my prospective quarterbacks for the 2010 Fantasy Football rankings. But, Fitzpatrick emerged as a legitimate NFL arm, this season.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 18: Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills stands on the sidelines during the game against the New York Jets on October 18, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Bills defeated the Jets 16-13 in overtime. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The “Amish Rifleman” has delivered 23 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions, for nearly 3000 yards, in his first full season in a starting role. Fitzpatrick is one of those players who inspires the journeymen, as he’s finally realizing success and opportunity in his 6th NFL season.

I realize the Bills have a bad record, but they’ve played much better than the overall record reveals, and Fitzpatrick has undoubtedly been the driving force behind a team that hasn’t quit.

9) Stephen Curry – this former NCAA single season scoring leader emerged onto the NBA scene during the 2009-2010 season and paid immediate dividends on the Golden State Warriors investment of the 7th overall pick, in the ’09 Draft.

Jan. 03, 2010: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry during an NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX Dallas defeated Golden State 110-101.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Curry is quickly becoming one of the NBA’s youngest stars. He finished 2nd in “Rookie Of The Year” voting, while averaging 17.5 points per game in the ’09/10 season. And, he’s capitalizing on his early success by averaging 20.5 points per game, in the early stages of this ’10/11 season.

His younger brother, Seth, plays for the Duke Blue Devils, which means he’s already disliked by Terps fans.

#8) Jose Bautista – I could’ve nabbed Bautista from the waiver wire many times during the 2010 Fantasy Baseball season. But, as the games slipped by and the homeruns mounted, I simply reasoned this “hot streak” would eventually come to an end.

Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista stretches before play against the Colorado Rockies during an interleague game at Coors Field on June 13, 2010 in Denver.     UPI/Gary C. Caskey Photo via Newscom

Well, it didn’t. Jose Bautista finished off his 2010 season with 54 homers, 35 doubles and 124 RBI. These gaudy numbers easily dwarfed any prior season statistics for the Blue Jays slugger. Can he do it, again, in 2011? We shall see …..

I’m betting NO …. but, he’s proven me wrong before !!!!

7) Neftali Feliz – along with Elvis Andrus, Feliz has helped Rangers fans to forget about a guy named Mark Teixeira. Both players arrived in exchange for the former Texas slugger, in 2007.

July 23, 2010 - Arlington, TEXAS, UNITED STATES - epa02259290 Texas Rangers closing pitcher Neftali Feliz against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the ninth inning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in Arlington, Texas, USA, 23 July 2010.

At 22, Feliz used the 2010 campaign to firmly establish himself as a premier closer, in Major League Baseball. The heralded rookie saved 40 games, while striking out 71 and walking 18, in just 69 innings.

I’ve got a distinct feeling we might be witnessing the next version of Mariano Rivera …..

6) Peyton Hillis – I can imagine Ravens fans will remember Hillis’ breakout game for a long time, huh? In the 2010 home opener, Ray Lewis and company witnessed a bulldozing Hillis as he rushed for 144 yards with a perceived ease.

CLEVELAND - NOVEMBER 07: Running back Peyton Hillis  of the Cleveland Browns celebrates their victory over the New England Patriots at Cleveland Browns Stadium on November 7, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Was it an aberration? Nah …. Hillis has seized his opportunity as Cleveland’s premier running back, while rushing for 1100 yards and 11 touchdowns in his first full season as a starter.

It’s hard to believe the Broncos traded him for Brady Quinn – which is probably just another factor leading to Josh McDaniels’ firing, in Denver.

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San Francisco Giants

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Andy MacPhail’s latest excuse? The San Francisco Giants …..

Posted on 09 November 2010 by WNST Interns

I saw this day coming from a far distance. As soon as Nelson Cruz whiffed on Brian Wilson’s fastball to end the World Series, I sensed the Baltimore Orioles and their fans might suffer a setback.

As I said a couple weeks ago, the San Francisco Giants are the ultimate exception to the rule, especially as it regards the construction of a World Championship-caliber organization. To be blunt, they’re a team built on a foundation of strong pitching and a subpar offensive attack.

For better or worse, that’s the Giants.

Stastically, the Giants had Major League Baseball’s best pitching product, in 2010. Touting a 3.36 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, San Francisco’s pitching absolutely served as the catalyst of a late-season run at contention.

Their core starting staff, including Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Baumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez are among the game’s very brightest. And, all four of them are “homegrown”, which really serves as a testament to the organization’s scouting and development wing.

But, does anybody really expect a team with such inconsistent and undependable hitting to be a perennial contender? Do opponents shudder at the prospect of facing pasted-together lineups?

San Francisco Giants' (L-R) Cody Ross, Aubrey Huff, Edgar Renteria and Eugenio Velez celebrate defeating the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of Major League Baseball's World Series in Arlington, Texas, November 1, 2010.   REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

That’s the best way to describe the Giants offensive attack …..

Their lineup posted a collective .257 batting average, coupled with a .720 OPS and 1411 hits to wrap up the regular season. Less than impressive? Well, the Orioles surpassed the Giants in BATTING AVERAGE and HITS. What does that tell you?

I’m not suggesting the Orioles had a better lineup, in 2010. But would you trade Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and Brian Roberts for Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, Cody Ross and Andres Torres? I don’t think anyone in the right mind would make that deal.

The Giants finished the World Series with only three players from their opening day lineup making significant contributions; Aubrey Huff, Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe.

Not exactly Murderer’s Row, huh?

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