Our resident fans of the squared circle square off and circle the wagons on Vince McMahon’s modern creation and its landing in Hollywood this week. Luke Jones and Dennis Koulatsos grapple with WWE and the future of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens organization.
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Luke Jones, Dennis Koulatsos
Dennis Koulatsos 00:02
Welcome back. My first guest is always leading off to an appropriate term since its opening day is the great Luke challenge Luke welcome it.
Luke Jones 00:10
Dennis How are you my friend? Happy opening day happy WrestleMania weekend as someone who I know is a pro wrestling fan as well and happy I get I don’t know if I’d say happy but Well, another day in the Lamar Jackson Raven saga that has no end in sight. But I hope you’re doing well my friend. It’s good to talk to you.
Dennis Koulatsos 00:31
I’m doing well. For some reason the word tepid comes to mind earlier today and I meant to look it up. Especially if a liquid only slightly lukewarm so that somebody’s had a tepid, tepid conversation about that Lamar Jackson, but well, that aside, look, I thought about this a couple couple days ago, I was traveling and I happen to catch WrestleMania was it 19? The one between was the rock and Steve Austin. They were doing a documentary on a&e on these wrestlers. Man, it took me aback what a great era that was.
Luke Jones 01:04
It really was and I’d have to say which one because the rock and wrestling Stone Cold Steve Austin faced off three different times at WrestleMania. It
Dennis Koulatsos 01:12
was a trilogy. Yeah. So yeah,
Luke Jones 01:14
it was probably 19 That was the one where the rock beat Austin and lo and behold, no one really knew it at the time. But that was Stone Cold Steve Austin’s last match, putting aside his match that he had with Kevin Owens last year at WrestleMania, which was a little more of like a fight. And they did that in a great way. And God bless Steve Austin for wanting to do it. And he made made himself a nice payday and fans were happy. But it really was, you know, I think this time of year, some of yours so special for me. And we’ll get into Lamar here in a few minutes, because we have to talk about it. But opening day, and WrestleMania I’ve said this to you before Dennis, I’ve said this to Nestor a number of times over the years, you think about someone’s life and over the course of time beyond your faith beyond your family. Just talking about your general interest or passions in life. There are very few things you like from the time that you’re a very small child and still like it as an adult. And I’m going to be 40 years old in October. But the two things for me again, putting aside faith and family and just friends, all those different things that that we all share, but are just kind of the core principles but interest, pastimes, hobbies, things of that nature. There are two things I’ve loved my entire life. That is baseball. And that is professional wrestling. So when you’re talking about late March and early April, what is that that is the start of baseball season. And that is WrestleMania season. So this is a time of year I very much enjoy. And it very much looking forward to the start of what is the first promising Oriole season that we enter the season with expectations for the first time and you know, going back at least five years if not six or seven after the 31 game improvement the Oreo showed last year. And again, as a wrestling fan, and you know me I like WWE, I like Aw, I’m I’m not just exclusive to one specific company or promotion. But WrestleMania is the Super Bowl for pro wrestling. So this is a favorite time of year of mine and definitely looking forward to seeing how those various events unfold here in the coming days.
Dennis Koulatsos 03:26
So what are the who are the headliners this year? Look, I admittedly I haven’t followed as closely as I have in years past because of my life obligations for lack of a better term. So who I know that the usual suspects are there, particularly the ladies division I’m sure Charlotte Charlotte flair has got to be a headliner.
Luke Jones 03:44
Oh yeah, Charlotte flair is going to take on Rhea Ripley, I’m guessing as you know, Dennis WrestleMania starting with the 2020, the first COVID year where they had to completely adjust because the world shut down in mid March and Wrestlemania, as you know, is always either the end of March or very early April. But you know, it’s a two night event now. So there’s Saturday and there’s Sunday. I suspect we’ll see Charlotte against Rhea Ripley for the SmackDown Women’s title on Saturday night’s main event because I’m just guessing they’re gonna want to do that but the storyline that is really an it is this last week in our conversation, the storyline that’s really just been phenomenal. And it’s started two plus years ago at this point in time, and it’s the bloodline Roman Reigns as the head of the table. We know about the Samoan wrestling bloodline and history there the dynasty you know, going back to high Chief Peter Maivia and the wild Samoans, Rocky Johnson marrying into that, of course, we know the rock and Rikishi I mean, just so such a great tradition, but this current generation Roman Reigns as the world you know, undisputed world university No Universal Champion, whatever they’re referring to it now, we know that world champion and the Usos, who over the last decade have become easily one of the most decorated tag teams in professional wrestling history. But that storyline and then being tied in with Sami Zayn, who was part of the bloodline and Kevin Owens, we know Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have had this long standing complicated friendship, slash being frenemies at different point in points in time. So all of that’s connected together. And then we had Cody Rhodes, of course, the son of the late great Dusty Rhodes, who returned to WWE at last year’s Wrestlemania. He won the Royal Rumble this year, he is challenging Roman Reigns, who has been champion for over two years, which is crazy in this day and age. I mean, that’s Hulk Hogan, Bruno Sammartino, like almost or at least approaching that level. So the main event we’re gonna see on Sunday night is Roman Reigns against Cody Rhodes for the undisputed universal WWE Champion. And the match that I actually think should be the main event on Saturday night because again, this whole bloodline storyline has been so good, and it’s gone on for months and years at this point. It’s Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens, challenging the Russos for the undisputed Tag Team Championships. So that to me, should be the main event for Saturday night. And that would be a great way to transition into night two on Sunday, but again, I think it’ll probably I’m guessing they’ll have Charlotte against Rhea Ripley be the main event Saturday night. But that bloodlines storyline has just been so good, Dennis, you know me. Don’t get me wrong. I respect the athleticism. I love the all the various styles that you see, but good professional wrestling, people who really care about it. Ultimately, it’s about what it’s about storytelling. Yes, we know that it’s predetermined. And we understand that it’s, quote, fake in terms of thinking about the outcome, right. But we know that it’s just like any other television show or movie, that it’s about storytelling, and this bloodline storyline has just been phenomenal. So very much looking forward to that, I would think we’re gonna see Cody Rhodes win the title, and that will fulfill what has been a crazy story for him, you think back to where he was in WWE years ago. And he was an IC champion, but not a main event guy at all. And you know, his journey and leaving WWE on his own accord and go into various promotions, you know, wrestling in Japan Ring of Honor. And of course, he started Aw, four years ago, which is now the biggest competition for WWE today. But he left aw to return to WWE a year ago. So a culmination for him. So you know what I just laid out to you. I know for anyone listening who’s not a regular viewer, probably just sounds like a whole lot. But it’s wild to see that level and those types of layers to storytelling. In Pro Wrestling. It’s something we just haven’t seen very much in recent years. So you mentioned your, your, your fondness for the Attitude Era and go you know, remembering WrestleMania 19 You know, this, this bloodline storyline has been as good as anything I’ve seen in wrestling in a really really long time. I’d say
Dennis Koulatsos 08:24
a lot because I know what a big fanatic you are of a professional wrestling, Luke. Now, when I was a teenager, I go down to the, to the arena that used to call it a civic center back then, twice a month at WWF and was it nw, a NWO and my memory is fading.
Luke Jones 08:45
NWA. Right, right, which would, you know, eventually morphed into WCW? Right?
Dennis Koulatsos 08:50
Yeah. And that was like I used to call it the Ric Flair League. He was like the that guy. So are they still haven’t matches down there. I mean, I haven’t gone a long time. But my fondest memory was sitting ringside with my dad, God rest his soul when Hogan beat Vader for the championship. And I’d like to go and and St. And sit ringside once again, at one of these matches. So where would I go to do that?
Luke Jones 09:13
Yeah. So obviously, the pandemic complicated things as it did in every aspect of our lives, but certainly in the entertainment business, which is what pro wrestling is. So how shows had kind of gone by the wayside. And even when they start, you know, when the world started opening up, you know, what, spring of 2021, essentially, you know, WWE wasn’t really doing many, you know, they weren’t doing any house shows at that point in time. But, you know, we’ve kind of seen a revitalized effort for how shows so WWE starting to do more of them. Aw, has actually started doing some as well, in fact, I know it’s not a house show, it’ll be a TV event, the AWS main show, which is kind of their Monday Night Raw is Wednesday night dynamite that’s actually going to be at the arena downtown, you know, Obviously, with the renovations that were done so, so you know, you gotta hop on, you know, either WW is official website or Aw. But that yeah, how shows are starting to become a thing again. And it’s been fun. I think all of us who, you know, after going through COVID, and not been able to do a whole lot, for least the better part of a year, if not longer than that, depending on individuals. tolerance for risk, so to speak. It’s been great to go out to events again, and certainly pro wrestling. I say it to people all the time. Even if you’re not a pro wrestling fan. Go to a live show sometime. I’m not guaranteeing you’ll become a fan. But you will appreciate what they do. And you’ll have fun. I mean, it is fun.
Dennis Koulatsos 10:44
Blast and I’m at the age now I want to sit ringside again, Luke and yeah, back in the day, it cost us I believe, $65 per ticket. I went to a match at the arena free COVID I don’t recall the year set ringside. It was $175 a seat and you gotta you got to keep the chair to be four bucks and revive. All right, was it with the WWE logo? I can’t imagine what it’ll cost these days. But I would I like to take my family into sitting ringside just to give them that experience.
Luke Jones 11:14
No question about it again, what whether you’re sitting ringside or even if you’re not quite as close to the action, it’s fun. I mean, think about you go to a football game, you go to a baseball, game, basketball, whatever it might be, you know, a, quote, legitimate sport. So much of the experience of being there live is what the crowd right, you know, you want to be part of something, and wrestling. I mean, that has that. I mean, it is especially I would even say and this is where my I’m a little partial towards aw and race in recent years, although WWE certainly stepped it up over the last year or so really, since Vince McMahon kind of stepped back from creative and Triple H has taken over. I found the storylines and the product to be better. But oh, it’s just it’s a passionate crowd. And this again, people listening to this and they just think oh, I’ll loop football and baseball guy but you know, it’s something I’m passionate about. It’s something I watch every week, you know? Watch it.
Dennis Koulatsos 12:14
I think it’s part of the appeal. Look, we know we’re being put on now back in the day. I’m not so sure my dad you know for the longest time for him now. He’s really going at it he’s to cry like when chief Jay Strongbow got busted off by haystacks Calhoun, in the valley brothers used to cry Oh, the poor guy who goes to the hospital, his poor family, his kids, his wife watching this, he used to grieve, and he was a tough, tough man. But we know what we put on it, right? It’s entertainment. Just like people say that it’s you know, it’s fake. What’s most movies, we watch our fiction, and we watch those two. Nobody criticizes us for watching them. So it’s pure fun. It’s pure entertainment, if you take it for what it is.
Luke Jones 12:49
But to two things to add on what you just said. And I absolutely agree. I can think of stories from my parents of at least one of their grandparents. So we’re talking each side of my family tree. You know, one grandmother on each side watched wrestling and would curse that the wrestlers watching it on TV. And then to your point, I can give you my own story here of six year old Luke, little Baltimore, Luke as a WWF fan and the most diehard holkamaniac You would find, I can still vividly recall WrestleMania six, watching it on Pay Per View at home. Hulk Hogan against the Ultimate Warrior title for Title Hogan was world champion. Warrior was ice champion, and Ultimate Warrior beat Hulk Hogan, I sobbed. I ran to my parents bedroom and try by little eyes. You couldn’t little eyes were seeing. And that was the moment where you know my dad using proper judgment because you can’t have a reaction, you know, that kind of a raw reaction to something that is predetermined. And a pulled back the curtain for me a little bit and said, Hey, you
Dennis Koulatsos 14:00
can’t show you didn’t believe in Did you for a minute. You
Luke Jones 14:03
was one of those deals? Yeah, I kind of I kind of did, but I didn’t give it all the way and look, it did not ruin my enjoyment of the product. I mean, again, I’m a I’m a fan 30 almost 35 years later from that point in time, but it does speak to the amusement and yeah, I mean, that was, you know, back in the day. You even hear heard wrestlers talk about they wouldn’t even you know, the term is smartening someone up, you know, you smarten them up about the business, right? That and they were very careful about that back in the day to the point where you hear wrestlers today. day that they didn’t even tell their own family, what the deal was with it, which I think is just crazy, but it’s fun. Again, it’s it’s just for me, you know, I’m just as passionate about it as watching the NFL watching Major League Baseball and it’s fun. That’s all I can say. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine. You know, so we say that about any sport. But definitely looking forward to WrestleMania weekend and yeah there’s nothing quite like the world of pro wrestling
Dennis Koulatsos 15:06
What about some of the most ridiculous finishing moves you’d ever seen? Who was the guy that to the heart punch was a stand the man something but
Luke Jones 15:14
remember he slammed us? Yeah it was that standstill is the last
Dennis Koulatsos 15:18
stesiak or killer Kowalski birthday they would they would put that arm behind his head and hit him on the heart and the guy would drop that touching his heart he would come from high Riddick when you look back on it look, but we bought it but how ridiculous was the hard part? Look out here comes a hard punch.
Luke Jones 15:32
I know right? It’s just crazy. Well, man remember
Dennis Koulatsos 15:34
the Wolfman needs to put a big X on your screen. You couldn’t see him fighting his opponents like this this animal from Parts Unknown you know what the what the what the what the wolf? coat on him. He’s come out of nowhere. And he was like the most dangerous man in the world. Oh my god who want to fight him?
Luke Jones 15:49
Crazy. Crazy, right? Yeah, I mean, I think I was a WWF kid. I mean, I grew up in the mid 80s, mid to late 80s and early 90s. So I was a WWF. Kid but boy, you think about Abdullah the butcher and you know bruiser Brody, and you know so much of the great NWA stuff, which was more catered towards the adults in the room, so to speak. But yeah,
Dennis Koulatsos 16:11
the Iron Sheik loading up the boot, remember that? He’s tapping on the ground. You know, absolutely happened. Chief Jay Strongbow, getting hit in the back, you know, getting his dander up, whatever that meant. Right? You don’t talk Hoglund right. Hulk Hogan, raising his hand, right, putting his hand off, when he’s on the ground getting beat up, you know, what’s coming next all held about to break loose? And we’d love it.
Luke Jones 16:33
Oh, absolutely. And what’s funny, and actually, I won’t even say funny, it’s something that does bother me a little bit about today’s product. And that’s where I’m gonna sound a little bit like, you know, get off my lawn. But I think back to the 80s and Jake, the Snake Roberts doing the DDT, right? I mean, you think about that move. As much as we talked about the silliness of the other moves. I mean, this is a move where you take the guy’s head and you drive it into the mat, it actually makes sense if you’re thinking about it being quote, real. But that moves because you know, that move is used by everyone in anyone and, you know, so So you see some of that. I mean, think about eight, you know, Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels doing sweet chin music. Now everyone does a super kick. So there is the athleticism has gotten exponentially better as far as what guys do today. But there is still something to be said for slowing down. And less is more that goes back to the storytelling element. I say so yeah, you look at some of that old stuff. And the storytelling was outstanding, even if the moves weren’t nearly as complicated and sophisticated as they are
Dennis Koulatsos 17:37
today. Now 100% Looks we can talk wrestling forever. But but we’ll segue next to opening date Orioles is let’s spend some time talking about that. Yeah. And also the changes now that Major League Baseball has done to to try to attract people like myself more casual fans to watch more ballgames.
Luke Jones 17:54
Yeah, I mean, certainly you look at the rule changes. And I think the one that’s going to be, you know, a couple of them are very apparent, you know, they’re they did expand the size of the base, which technically, you know, that that was a safety reason, and technically should encourage maybe a few more stolen bases when you think about that, but I think that’s, that’s more on the peripheral, I think the two big changes that people are going to notice, this. One is the pitch clock, and it is very much a case of trying to pick up the pace of play and forcing more action, less lag between pitches. And what we saw that the early return in spring training is the average time again, it was trimmed down by roughly half an hour. So instead of having an average time of game of over just over three hours, it was more in the two and a half hour range. Now we’ll see what that looks like in terms of games that actually mean something as opposed to practice games. Maybe it won’t be quite a full 30 minutes, but it’ll it’ll definitely cut it down. There’s no question about it. And I think it’s something that will probably lead to some hiccups early on, you know, some pitch clock violation. If it’s the pitcher, they charge them a ball, if it’s the hitter not getting in the box in time, they charge a strike. So there’ll be some weirdness with that, but I think eventually, and this was the account of so many people who follow minor league baseball, you forget about it after a while and you just realize it’s a good thing to pick up the pace. So you have that. And then the other big change people will notice is the shift, you know, the banding of the infield shifting, you now must have to infielders on each side of second base until the pitch is released. And you must have all infielders touching dirt, the infield dirt. So no longer can you have the second baseman or the third baseman coming over to the right side and playing shallow right field like we were seeing. So. So that’s another element that yeah, that one I’m a little more torn on. Because so much of the shifting had to do with teams to get gaining an intellectual edge. They had all this data that suggests Hey, this is where this guy hits the ball. So there is a little bit of a stifling of that but if it does lead to a more statically pleasing game and a few more hits, you know, a few more bad men on base, then I’m all for it. So those are definitely going to be some changes that fans notice. And as you mentioned, whether you’re more casual, or if you’re a long time baseball fan, and who is reluctant to change, but also understanding you want to try to make the game more appealing and maybe a little less time consuming if you’re someone who watches on a nightly basis. So I’m all for it. So there’s that. And then there’s the Orioles who, coming off of what was an incredible 31 game improvement a year ago where they were in wildcard contention until late September expectations going into a season high for the first time since at least 2018 2017. So we’ll see how it plays out. That’s still you’re still a long way to go and still have some questions that I have on the pitching side especially and they have a couple of injuries they’re dealing with in the bullpen to start off the season with Michael Gibbons and Dylan Tate on the injured list. So that’s something to keep an eye on. But, boy, you look at the roster. You look at where the farm system is, which is still the consensus number one in baseball, even with some of the guys that they’ve already promoted to Baltimore. You know, the future’s bright that as much as we can talk about the stadium lease and Masson and ownership and yeah, I still have big questions about all those elements. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sit here and gloss over those things. But what we’re seeing on the field in terms of the young talent, I think this is a team that absolutely has a very legitimate chance to qualify for the postseason, we’ll see if it happens. my official prediction was 84 and 78. And they just barely miss out on the postseason. That’s my quote, objective guests, because no one really knows. But I think this is a team for the first time in a really long time. There is some really exciting upside. And I think, the long term outlook over the next three, four or five years now the caveat there is ownership supporting from a financial standpoint to augment this froster and that was one of my disappointments about this, this past offseason, but acknowledging that there’s still a lot to be excited about here in Baltimore, as it pertains to the Orioles and watching Adley rutschman and Gunnar Henderson and so many of the young names that we’ve come grown more familiar with over the last three, four years guys that have been here for a little while now. Certainly expectations and this is a team that has gone out there expecting to win games which had not been the case before so the surprise of last season.
Dennis Koulatsos 22:36
Well, I’ll tell you this. The casual fan once again, this time a year ago I couldn’t tell you probably anybody on the roster and a year later I know quite a few of the players and I’m excited about them. And I hope the fans show up at the stadium and under that we have planned to come down to for several games.
Luke Jones 22:54
Yeah and I think this is this is you saying that to me is an actually a great transition and we’ll talk about Lamar Jackson because we have to and the Ravens and where they stand right now but I look at this as such a golden opportunity for the Orioles right now. Let’s face it. Ravens fans, and look the NFL is king the NFL is King wherever you go so that it’s not as though the I’m suggesting here the Orioles will overtake the ravens and I hate those notions anyway, because you can we all enjoy more than one sport or many of us enjoy more than one sport anyway. But I do think where you consider where the the ravens are right now with Lamar Jackson. Let’s face it. I mean, this has been as underwhelming of an offseason as you can find. I mean, Nelson Aguilar, that’s it in terms of outside additions, but we also understand why the cap ramifications and the flexibility they need, not knowing what’s going to happen with Lamar and the franchise tag and potential offer sheet. But if you’re the Orioles coming off the year that they had last year, finishing over 500 for the first time since 2016. Having all these young, exciting players having some expectations of potentially getting back to the postseason for the first time since 2016. This is a golden opportunity, considering there’s a little bit of a lull right now with the Ravens there’s frustration from the fan base, regardless of who you’re mad at whether you’re mad at Lamar or the team or whatever. There’s frustration, right? There’s, you know, there’s some unsettled feelings about where the ravens are right now and where they’re going as an organization until there’s a resolution with them on one way or the other. So if you’re the Orioles, this is a great opportunity to start fast, create some buzz, create some energy, create some excitement, and then yeah, get some more people out to the ballpark. I don’t think that’s going to happen overnight. I don’t expect them to be selling out every single game. I don’t know if we’re ever going to see that again. I mean, that was a long time ago when that happened in Baltimore. And there are a lot of variables that have changed, including having having a team right down the road in DC as we’ve talked about over the years. But I think there’s a great opportunity for this book. have to start fast and really get people excited. And let’s face it kind of deflect some of the attention and some of the frustration that local fans have as it pertains to the Ravens right now and channel some some positive energy into watching the Orioles on a nightly basis. So if they can get off to a, I don’t know, I’m not saying it has to be anything extraordinary. But they get off to a 13 and six start or something like that. I think you’ll see some serious buzz as it pertains to this ballclub just because of the young players that they have. And because I think they’re, I mean, my goodness this October will mark 40 years since the Orioles last won a World Series. I don’t think that streak is going to be broken this year or that drought I should say. But this is you know, for the first time in a long time, a team that has some really substantial long term upside on the field as it pertains to the players that they have at the major league level now and the players that are still on the way. So it’s a great opportunity as the ravens are down right now at least in terms of perception, let’s say God, you know, whatever that is compared to reality we’ll see but it’s a chance for the the Orioles to really create some buzz and some enthusiasm for the first time in a really long time. If they can start fast here in April.
Dennis Koulatsos 26:15
No, I think you make excellent points. I haven’t heard anybody in this town talk about that the fact that Royals seem to be rising with the ravens are falling bet. And as a seat holder Luke since 1996, I felt like our fan base has been somewhat spoiled somewhat entitled The franchise had a lot of success early on. They had a collegiate type of an atmosphere to their games when Ray Lewis and Ed Reed worked for peak. And that’s somewhat understandable. You’re not going to be on top forever. But over the last couple of seasons, I have been happy with the attendance at the stadium. I’ve had friends of mine make excuses. Now the fans are inside. They’re at the club level. They’re partying, they’re, they’re there, but they’re not in the seats where okay, even if that’s true, which I don’t think it is. There may be some truth to that, especially at the club level. But we used to have a fanny and every seat at that stadium place used to rock and he was Lamar Jackson was playing last year, the stadium still wasn’t wasn’t full.
Luke Jones 27:14
Yeah, I mean, there are a lot of factors that go into that. No, I mean, I think COVID had some impact on that. Although, to your point that was even before, you know, before that was that was happening, I think a major factor. And you know, whether you want to say spoiled, entitled, just taking for granted, however you want to characterize it. Yeah, they’ve had a lot of success for a long time. And you know, we can talk about years that were better than others. And certainly you look over the last decade, we’ll have to playoff wins and Super Bowl 47. I mean, that is what it is. I mean, it’s still ultimately about January. So, you know, I think there’s some of that at work. But I think a big factor Dennis, and I’ve talked, I’ve broached this, you know, Nestor and I’ve had times where we’ve been able to dive into this topic, I think a lot of it has to do with it is a little bit of a generational thing. I think everyone that’s my age and older. You know, I was just a few months old when the Colts left town in March, late March of 1984. But anyone who is mid to late 30s and older and has been in Baltimore for the duration, remembers having that that 12 year period where there was no NFL football in the city of Baltimore and remembers different rumors of different owners potentially moving their franchise and obviously expansion going to Carolina and Jacksonville and all the different factors that were at work there that when the browns, you know, when art modell announced he was moving the Browns to Baltimore, regardless of how you felt about that being the way that Baltimore got a team back. And I think there were conflicting feelings there, there was still very much a sense of how for there was a period of time, especially after they didn’t get the expansion teams that it felt like it just wasn’t going to happen. I mean, it really felt like Baltimore wasn’t going to get an NFL team. So for when that happened, I think there was such a sense of euphoria and enthusiasm and an urgency to support and eat up, buy those season tickets, buy merchandise, watch all the games on TV, because understanding that we didn’t have that. So and this isn’t I’m not saying this to be disparaging to the younger generation. But here’s the reality, some of those original season ticket holders back in 1996. If they were in their 50s or 60s, then they’re not going anymore for a variety of reasons. I mean, unfortunately, some are passed on and some are just, you know, they’re not as you know, they’re not going to be as intuitive in terms of going to the games on a weekly basis. So what do you need when your fan base is getting older? You know that first generation And even my generation, which, you know, I was a teenager when the Ravens arrived, but a lot of people my age, you know, they’re married and have their own kids and you know, they have younger kids. And, you know, there’s always that dynamic. So ultimately, if you’re going to have a fan base that’s going to continue to be rabid, you know, to things that work, either the area needs to be a huge population. And we know that the bottom was not exactly a huge market, as it pertains to the rest of the NFL, or you have to have a lot of young enthusiasm. And young people that are buying up those season tickets. So you think about people in their 20s Right now, they’ve known nothing but the Ravens being in Baltimore. So is there as much urgency is there the same kind of mindset that people my age and older had for with not having a team? So I think that’s part of it. Now, I’m not nearly smart enough to try to divvy up the percentage of all the different reasons and variables that we can spell out. And yeah, yeah, to your point, I think there is a sense of taking the Ravens for granted. And just taking having a team for granted, you know, so I think that’s part of it. And, look, let’s also, let’s also call a spade a spade, I mean, it’s, no, it’s a major commitment to buy season tickets compared to go on the secondary market route and say, you know, what, instead of buying season tickets, and I can’t go to all the games, and then I have to face the headache of trying to sell three or four of them. And to your point, you can’t sell those tickets as easily as you wants good. There are people that say, You know what, I’ll just buy three or four, you know, buy three or four games on the secondary market. So you have some of that at work? And oh, yeah, it doesn’t help that when you go, you look at the owners meetings this week, one of the big stories to leak out is talk about wanting to flex Thursday night games now even more, so you can’t have it both ways. If you’re the NFL, where you’re so consumed with new stadiums and wanting you know, selling season tickets and all that, but then you’re gonna tell people well, you know what, thanks for being a season ticket holder. But there’s a good possibility that game that you’re, you know, that that the schedule came out in May, and is either Thursday or a Sunday, that’s possible can be moved to the other there. So just think about the layers to that season ticket holders, people who like to go watch a team on the road, you know, I mean, the Ravens. There could be the idea that they have a, a December road trip get kind of game that people are excited about attending, and, you know, they get their tickets and all that. And then suddenly, oh, that game two weeks in advance, mind you. So not a whole lot of notice. That game that was supposed to be Sunday afternoon is now a Thursday night game? Yeah. Well, that message tells me, you know, the NFL saying that and owner saying that, that tells me they don’t give a darn about people that are actually buying tickets anymore. So you send that message, then it shouldn’t be a major surprise, then that there isn’t as much urgency to buy tickets. So that’s where, you know, we talked about this as far as the possibility of the conference, you know, the AFC Championship game, as far as obviously such an extreme example of what happened with Tamar Hanlon, that led to that possibility. But you know, talking about the idea of moving conference, championship games to neutral site, again, another message that tells season ticket holders, you don’t matter. So you keep telling people that you keep flexing more games and changing the schedule around and asking people to spend 1000s, but oh, yeah, we need you to be really flexible to you’re telling them they don’t matter. And you know, what happens after a while? They listen to you? Yeah. And that’s what we see. So and look, that’s not to be clear. I’m not saying that that’s a Ravens thing. That’s an NFL wide thing. And I think, you know, I think all those all those variables have an impact at some point in time. And, you know, I think Baltimore is not unique in that way.
Dennis Koulatsos 33:51
Yeah, no question about it. Look, I would love to go to Tennessee this year. It’s a natural, never been there before and have the game flex two weeks before. Before. I’m ready to go there. Got plane tickets. You know, I’ve got plans. I’m looking forward to the one and see the city. So what’s one as opposed to do but the Lamar situation just when you think it can’t get more bizarre? It gets more bizarre, doesn’t it?
Luke Jones 34:12
It does. I think the big thing other than just the initial shock, the initial, you know, very raw reaction that Ravens fans and even reporters, I mean, again, Lamar, and he did it on purpose. I mean, unless that was the most miraculous coincidence we’ve ever seen. He did it on purpose, which, which, by the way, I think was kind of when you consider Lemoore, or how John Harbaugh and Eric d’acosta have talked about the Lamar situation. I wouldn’t say it’s been good cop bad cop, but it’s been good cop and middle middle of the road cop. hardball has consistently played the good cop. So I’m guessing and look, he had to know I mean, the trade request was made March 2. So John, if you’re talking about a PR staff, any PR staff worth its salt should have prepared John Harbaugh for the possibility that Jor Lamar would announce it, some reporter would get it and leak it to leak it out. And it would be out there that Lamar requested a trade. So, but that being said, it was something that put hardball under a stronger microscope in that moment. So But beyond that, beyond the just the raw feeling of hearing that your franchise quarterback requests the trade, I’m not sure it really changes anything other than, and we don’t know this. Unless Lamar is so strong in his resolve to say, I will never play for the ravens, again, I don’t even care if you give me my contract that I want. I’m done with you, I want to play elsewhere. And that’s not really the tone that he took on or has given off to this point. What, for one reason, there’s no other team that has stepped up to this point in time, as far as you know, really shown that kind of serious interest. But the reality is, the non exclusive franchise tag is all about telling them are. All right, go get that team that wants to go find that team that’s going to rescue you from this situation and give you what you want and give us our draft compensation or whatever the compensation is, and make this happen. So Lamar pulled back the curtain. And okay, maybe there is an element of teams that would say, all right, maybe we can try to work out a trade with the ravens, rather than worrying about an offer sheet that’s just that we’re afraid is just gonna get matched. And we’re just wasting all of our time, and sweat equity and doing it. But I don’t know, Dennis, it just doesn’t feel like that really, after you let that marinate for a few hours after he tweeted that? I’m not sure it changes a whole lot compared to the variables that were already out there. And I think we’re still just talking about all the same talking points and variables and what has made this complicated. It still only takes one team. And yeah, that on paper, I would still say Indianapolis would be that team that kind of looks like they meet at least most of those variables. But based on what Jim was saying, and Chris Ballard said at the owner meetings, I just don’t know if if that’s going to be something that that’s going to come to fruition. So Lamar,
Dennis Koulatsos 37:11
what’s what’s coming, that’s clear to me, he just wants to get paid. He doesn’t care who pays him up? You know what? I don’t blame them look, but with that we’re up against the clock, unfortunately, please tell our listeners where they can find your social media all that great stuff you do for Baltimore positive WNS. T your blog and other great your great social media presence.
Luke Jones 37:29
Absolutely. I encourage everyone to follow us on Twitter at wn st can follow me personally at Baltimore Luke. In the coming week we will have the Ravens pre draft press conference otherwise known as the liars luncheon. I’m guessing a certain individual will even though he’s not in the draft will be asked about quite a bit over the course of that one Lamar Jackson. We have that I will be live from the ballpark. April the sixth home opener or else opening up their home schedule for the 2023 season. I’ll be on the scene there as well. Check out my blog at Baltimore positive.com sponsored by coons for to Baltimore. My latest 12 Orioles thoughts. Opening Day roster breaks down continue plenty more coverage on the Lamar Jackson saga as far as him tweeting about his injury and not being with the team for the playoff game, all those different things so reaction to that, but definitely check that out at Baltimore positive.com You want to be on the wn St. Baltimore positive tech service sponsored by coons Port of Baltimore, if you are you found out that Lamar Jackson had announced his request for a trade you found out about the mount Nelson Aguilar edition. You’ll find out about future ravens signings any other significant player departures. And of course as we get closer and closer to draft night, each ravens draft picks sent directly to your mobile device via the wn St. Baltimore positive SEC service sponsored by coons for to Baltimore. And of course, anything throughout the week on AM 15 Seven with Nestor sound from the ballpark the liars luncheon from Owings Mills, check out that audio at Baltimore positive.com. All
Dennis Koulatsos 39:05
right. Look, all was a pleasure and a privilege having you on have fun with opening day Wrestlemania. You and I managed to push down the Lamar Jackson story to the three slot during our segment today.
Luke Jones 39:16
Absolutely. And you know what, I’m safe in assuming it will be there next week to talk about I feel pretty strongly about that. Even if we have a crazy resolution. We’ll talk about that at the very least but I’m guessing we’ll be talking about much of the same as it pertains to Lamar Jackson. We’ll just see. Hey, we didn’t mention Ken Francis. So at least we got through a conversation but next week.
Dennis Koulatsos 39:37
be tired Jim right. There you go. Thanks, man. There he goes. Luke challenge here 1570 Am WNS T we’ll take a quick break and come back right after this.