What can football fans learn from XFL season?

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Always great to have a visit from our longtime public relations czar Chris Pika (aka @BlogAndTackle) who joins Nestor on the Maryland Crab Cake Tour at State Fare to discuss his recent XFL stint in Seattle and Dallas and what he’s still learning about media, startup football leagues and the people who play the games.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

game, play, baltimore, talk, people, coaches, run, players, years, love, night, nfl, team, xfl, league, lamar, give, group, baseball, quarterback

SPEAKERS

Nestor Aparicio, Chris Pika

Nestor Aparicio  00:00

What about W en st Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive or positively at State Fair during the Maryland crabcake tour. I’m running out of lottery tickets. I mean, there’s a lot of people here. Some people will be lucky lucky to eat shrimp and stuff with their hands, eat burgers, finger foods, they don’t have time to scratch right now. People are in conversation. We’re doing a Friday happy hour out here. I am giving away these throwbacks. You remember the old wishbone here, like a 50 year 50th anniversary, enter for a chance to win a second chance tell people you don’t win you get second chances. Download the app, make sure you’re doing that. This is the first ever scratch off I’ve given his way will be at the local on the 23rd up and fallston little by week next week for Black Eyed Susan Preakness Oriole, Shohei Ohtani. John weights playing Guinness, and this program is brought to you by wind their nation with the floppy hat looks like I’ve gone fishing here and I am fishing for a contender efficient for great radio. Chris pike abandoned me, his wife, his cats, South Baltimore, Mount St. Joe to Catholic League to go run off with the gypsies of the XFL for a number of weeks. This is actually a logo right this is this a team? You shall see dragons. Yes. All right. So one minute you’re doing Catholic League this and ESPN that doing basketball Marchman. And the next thing I know you said I gotta call PR back into me you had an eventful eight weeks and you survived Katrina and went to San Antonio to work for the

01:32

saints. Yeah, it was it was a little bit crazy,

Nestor Aparicio  01:34

but added your wacky resume? Yeah,

Chris Pika  01:37

it is one of those things when you put the you know, you put that with Michael Jordan, you put it with the Bahamas Bowl experience and some other things in radio rose with Nestor. Yeah, there’s a lot you know, 18 Super Bowls, he just kind of it’s, I don’t want to say you get numb to it. Because you don’t you appreciate the fact that you get opportunities like that I was grateful to have the opportunity.

Nestor Aparicio  02:01

Basically, like doing it like you watching you do what you do, because you’re really good at doing you know, that job. Inside. Now we talk about it, hey, you know how the sausage is made? And you know that 89% of the fans will never know, maybe they’ll never care. And certainly, you try to help them understand. And I think that’s been my role for 30 years understanding more about what really goes on.

Chris Pika  02:25

Yeah, so I get a phone call. They need somebody to come in and assist in a PR role with the team. Long story. They’re a lead lead that day, but basically I

Nestor Aparicio  02:35

this is the Rocket League. Yes. So people with the league is because I’m sure everybody even knows the

Chris Pika  02:40

XFL was, was wondering, by the way. So this is the league the league was around 2020 but stopped due to COVID. They were their season was just getting underway. They went through bankruptcy, the team was bought by Dwayne The Rock Johnson, his ex wife, Danny Garcia, and venture capital group called Redbird Capital Partners, I think out of New York charity card now. And so they wanted to restart this league as a spring League, one of the two that it’s currently in, in play along with the USFL. And so there was some opportunities there. And their schedule lines up basically with the end of the soup. We’re basically at right at the tail end of Super Bowl week. They start the regular season. And then they go through early May, which is in OTA season for all the NFL clubs. So players are in game shape players have tendencies to players that want to play in the NFL. Yes, you may have some guys and I’ll say this, they’re about their three. To me. They’re three different types of players. You have guys that have been in the NFL that want to get back. There will be people on our roster like Josh Gordon, trying to make his way back. Phillip Lindsey, who was an undrafted free agent made the Pro Bowl also trying to make his way back. So you have those guys that have you had

Nestor Aparicio  03:59

a very sad situation when he was a kid trying to make it back,

Chris Pika  04:04

trying to make it back. So you have these group of players and maybe in their late 20s, early 30s that are looking for another opportunity to get back on a roster maybe want to show what they can do. The next group you have is a bunch of undrafted free agents from last year’s draft that are trying to make you know trying to get game tape basically 10 games a game tape, possibly playoffs and be in game shape so that the NFL calls and says hey, we want to bring you into rookie camp this weekend or next weekend. These guys are in shape and ready to go. And the scouts have something to look at and you have a third so a lot of

Nestor Aparicio  04:38

these kids are going to wind up running around a week right now somewhere. Yes.

Chris Pika  04:42

And you have another group of players who just love playing football, okay, that don’t really they like to get a shot. But but they want to play they want to play okay, they just want to play football because they enjoy playing it. It’s a chance to extend their careers a little bit. You know, they’ll play He put a lot of right they play college football at a high level and they want to, they want to play they want to play for a championship. And maybe they’re not in that group of one and two that are going to be looked at seriously by NFL teams. But there are guys that will fill out a roster want to play and enjoy playing enjoy, make a little bit of money while doing it. So these are the types of players that this league has to come in. We had our quarterback was Ben DiNucci, who played at Pitt, who was on the Cowboys started the game for the Cowboys was on our practice squad on their active roster. Mentioned Phillip Lindsey I mentioned Josh Gordon, we had some we have very talented

Nestor Aparicio  05:37

credibility is also not just in the players, but also in the coaches, right people.

Chris Pika  05:42

So you have two groups of coaches. You had coaches who are longtime NFL coaches like our coach in Seattle, Jim Hazlitt, you had Wade Phillips, okay. Now on the other end of it, you got guys like Reggie Barlow in DC Hines Ward in San Antonio. You know, Reggie Woodson, you know what’s and also in the league. She had a bunch of young guys that had never been head coaches at any level. You know, our team was probably the most experienced in the code. Marvin

Nestor Aparicio  06:09

son Mark is where I’m working for a team. It’s a training ground for coaches, right. It’s a way for a coach to get in our

Chris Pika  06:17

group. Our group was a little bit older. Our defensive coordinator was Ron Zook, who was with us in New Orleans, who went on to work in Green Bay. He was head coach at University of Florida head coach in Illinois. Our offensive coordinator was June Jones. So he had to run and shoot and all June’s guys were there. The guys he worked with for many, many years just

Nestor Aparicio  06:34

kind of brought Hawaii with you. Right? I would have been bad. Yeah. You know,

Chris Pika  06:37

so these were the types of coaches and then you had guys that never coached before who had their first really taste of coaching professional

Nestor Aparicio  06:44

but felt like it was a three month commitment and not like, I mean, has always older guys. They’re not getting rich doing it. They’re doing because they love

Chris Pika  06:52

they want it they want to they want to teach. So it’s basically a 14 week deal. Four weeks of camp 10 weeks a season, anything beyond that’s a bonus. If you get to the television show, it’s 14 weeks and the minimum 14 Maximum 70. And so these guys got together and this is what they want to do. The XFL has a hub system where all eight teams train in the Dallas area. they pair up and hotels together of Washington as a team, right? Yes, DC that was a team that beat us in the playoffs. The championship game. The DC defenders so and they play at the soccer stadium. Right. They played outfield. You know we paired up with Vegas in our hotel, you know, they were in a hotel with us. We were we we were in a at a high school stadium where we practice artificial turf field 13,000 seat High School stadium, Dragon stadium, basically their grapevine Texas, beautiful facility. Block room was huge. They had visited visited locker room the Vegas use was just as big as a home side locker room. I mean, this is Texas high school football. There’s no this isn’t going out to the some of the stadiums here in Baltimore is right. Okay, that was our practice facilities. And then you get on a plane together. On Saturday, the home team gets to sit up front, there’s a team sits in the back and you fly to me for television

Nestor Aparicio  08:13

to some degree and it is on his right. It’s it’s a it’s a league. It’s a developmental league.

Chris Pika  08:18

It is and it’s right and it’s content with if you’ve seen ESPN, and player 54. That’s a docu series about our league film 54 has from the XFL to the NFL that they’re putting on YouTube. So they’re very much about content and showing you basically like you said how the sausage is made, how teams prepare how players prepare, here’s how guys get to that next level. The stories about some of those players are incredibly interesting. You know, and the coaches that help get in there also interesting too. So there’s a lot of content that the league puts out in different ways, whether it’s television, internet, online, whatever that is to get fans engaged. We’re an all access League. So the cameras are in the locker room and pregame they hear the pregame speech from the coaches. They’re in the locker room at halftime.

Nestor Aparicio  09:09

That is also sort of on the edge, right? From a media standpoint, everything

Chris Pika  09:14

the NFL doesn’t do but they love to do it. They had the chance. Here’s what we give you. So for instance, our playoff game against DC they had a secondary feed on ESPN plus that feed you could hear every player because they’re like 15 guys have have microphones in our helmets can hear the coaches. Okay, so you can hear both coordinators called call the plays in you can hear the head coach and every bleep and blank that coach has had on the sidelines unless you turn this microphone off. All of that you would hear and so you get a real sense of what the game is like. You know you can hear our you know we microphone two players a game in the playoffs. That was three. You can hear everything that our quarterback Ben did Gucci’s calling in the huddle. You can hear him running down the field yelling at

Nestor Aparicio  10:03

me here, you really did find a kind of it is. It’s incredibly

Chris Pika  10:06

interesting. You know, he would run down the field and he had this like hyena laugh after he scored a touchdown that went viral. You know, he had it. He had another touchdown where he went into the, you know, went in and it’s like, you can’t catch me. He’s telling the defender this you hear him telling defender You can’t catch me today. You know, stuff like that. So you hear the game. That unless you play the game and been in those scrims and the nose huddles, you know, you don’t know what the coaches call you hear in the coach calling 15 different names. It’s a play call. But then you get the watch kind of that back and forth on the field. And that’s really kind of cool. I mean, there’s camera angles and access and everything else, guys scores that haven’t played the game. It’s fascinating. And if you score a touchdown, here’s a sideline reporter talking to you in the bench. Immediately after you score the touchdown. Tell me what happened on that play. We’ll pull coach aside a coordinator. Hey, what was the play call here? What were you trying to do? All in the name of access and giving you a look at football that you don’t get at the NFL level? Because it’s more buttoned up. So that’s kind of the point.

Nestor Aparicio  11:09

All right, Chris Pike is here he is blog and tackle. All always at WSU contributed my first ever media friend at the Baltimore news American 39 years ago, it was 1984 that it all began. He’ll pull it up on newspapers.com and find my old Chris Berg and Bobby Nicky fortune quotes from 1988. Yeah, okay. There it is. The Baltimore Renaissance. I began talking to you and Joshua Electra about you’ve been going Oriole game since you moved back home a couple years ago, the plague not withstanding, and where the ravens are with Lamar. This good sports town, right. And people say that’s not in New York. It’s not Chicago. I was in Philly the other night or whatever. That being said, it’s an engaged sports town because there are a lot of people that feel familiar with these teams. You know, they have a purple basement. They have an orange soul when the light flickers again for hope. It’s easy to go find an Oreo hat. Or, I mean, I was at Doctor Steve’s the other day, I want to give him a giveaway, Steve Elliot, Elliot, Family Chiropractic because they are a family. So men are getting adjusted for I went to the CEO concert. And Steve’s give me adjustments wife, Allison runs to business. And they’ve got their son on the phone, because he’s going to the Oriole game and he’s looking for an Oracle shirt to wear. And I’ve seen Steve’s Hawaiian royal shirt. Let’s get it the Waianae look great net. And then literally, you know, this is a family talking about Oriole shirts, where to find them. I’m in the middle of their family debate. Because the kids go into the game. And then the next day I see the kid and I’m like, Hey, how was the game? What shirt Did you wear? Oh, just you know, the orange one, you know, right. But I had that on opening day. I have a lot of orange gear. I have a little Oreo visor that has the old 1973 Just the orange bird on it. A Tommy Davis version, you know Doyle Alexander. Right. Merv Redmond look. And I’m breaking it out. And it’s it’s fun to be in Baltimore in May of 2023. Right now, I believe that

Chris Pika  13:20

it is. I mean, it is hope. And there are people that like I said, it’s it’s fun to go to the ballpark. It’s a great ballpark to go to. It’s you know, it’s great to go to the Ravens games when they’re when they’re going well, and fans want to come down here and see this.

Nestor Aparicio  13:35

You have the same seat. You always sit in the same seat, right? Yep. Your real season ticket.

Chris Pika  13:39

Yep. 13 games season ticket holders sit up at 338 right behind the press box because I like sab net view. And I you know, I love I love those. What

Nestor Aparicio  13:47

do you pay for your tickets?

Chris Pika  13:49

I think it was like 700 for the two seats for the season for the 13 games total.

Nestor Aparicio  13:54

So 13 into 35 It’s

13:56

20 bucks. What do you have 2030 bucks, basically.

Nestor Aparicio  13:59

And you get benefits and this

Chris Pika  14:01

benefits, the Birdland memberships and everything else like that. And so they’ve done a nice job in whether you’re a 13 game holder or a 26 game holder or the corporate said the full season holds the diamond members of giving you value for that because this is what teams have learned.

Nestor Aparicio  14:21

It’s not good flip out if you want to see Otani

Chris Pika  14:24

I can move I can move I can move the seats dollar for dollar they they’ve they’re very liberal about that. But they’ve they’ve understood what a lot of other teams did. You go from having a season ticket to a membership? It’s no different than your friends at the at the Baltimore arena. You know, CMC Bank Arena we’re gonna talk about is that that concert, you know that that membership that they’re going to do down there with what they’re doing with concerts and all that they’re doing in those nice party spaces. It’s a membership and they want people to feel that way. And if you’ve noticed in the last six months, the Ravens have also done advertising about net First ships in the upper deck, you know, the PSL is they’ve they’ve sort of adopted that model too, because they’ve got to sell to a brand new group of people. Because the 50s is 60 year old people who bought seats in those days, or the first days of the Ravens now are getting out, you know, whether it’s age, whether it’s a just don’t want thrown out, am I right? But whatever that is, you have a transition to a newer group of people are going to buy those seats in their 20s and 30s. So how do you get them to go to games, whether that’s social spaces, whether that’s perks of one kind or another, whatever?

Nestor Aparicio  15:35

The party deck in Baltimore, right, right, like the party deck, even when the team stinks, it’s nice to stand down in centerfield and have a beer. Right, right. So now they’re doing the sprinkler thing. I mean, look, dude, you worked at the Birmingham barons, you work. The Saints didn’t have trouble selling their brand. The Falcons always have trouble selling their brand and a college football town. I mean, you work for these teams. You sat in these high level meetings around the NFL, where they don’t have any problems selling their brand, they have more problem protecting and shining up in WWE in their brand, which is really what they’ve done. I mean, the draft is like a WWF match. Like totally, they’ve adopted all of these stolen ideas. who the real stealing ideas from right now because they got a really good baseball team. I don’t know what the idea is. It’s make a bobble head charge $10 More that night to pay for the bobblehead. That was kind of, you know, t shirt night, okay, it’s not a $15 it’s a $22. Night $6.80 goes to buy a t shirt. Like that’s how they’ve done promotions with this. ratchet it up. Tuesday night, nobody wants to go to the game Ollie doesn’t sponsored anymore. Let him in for 10 bucks. Whatever the ideas are, and I don’t think TJ Brightman has any upper I’ve seen him by now or John either. But this is a chance that they can’t just say we have Adley rutschman Screw you pay full price come out. And it can’t be I need a widget or a bobblehead. Or it’s about wearing a funny hat. Although I am wearing a funny hat on behalf of weathernation I don’t know what it is. I really don’t. I mean, my dad and I love freaking baseball. And we love Baltimore. It said Baltimore on it. We love baseball. We loved winning, we loved high fiving. We loved Eddie Murray. We love the player. We love the game. We love the strategy. I didn’t love gambling. I stopped and I play lottery and i i rarely, but I’m not betting on gambling. When we got me thrown out of the league. People go up to me on the streets. What did you do wrong? When you bet on the games or something? I’m like, stop. You don’t mean like I but that would have been the kind of illicit stuff. But on the baseball side, everything’s about betting on this pitch, this guy hitting a home run now they’ve worked it into the broadcast where Ben McDonald has to talk about it now. So they have all of these things that are about making money. But what are they doing that’s really engaging younger people, not you and me, I don’t and I don’t know the answer. But they better be sitting in meetings because it’s the sprinkler things cool. And if the beer, bong, bong, bong thing, whatever people like, is a good idea right now whatever, that I never liked the pie in the face people like that’s fun. But if people like it, Peters got to be dead now, right? Like, this can’t be about Peter or Peters age or Chris or Nestor, this has to be about you got 8000 People at the ballpark, show me how you’re going to have 30 there. And it’s not going to be because of the bird or the crab races. It has to be about being engaged with the team. And I know it was about the community. For me, it was always about it said Baltimore. And I felt like I was a part of it. Right? You make the magic happen. The magic avoid you make it happen. That Domon young moment, the biggest ratchets about Delmon young, if you were here, nobody even know who he is. That moment is near and dear to people, because it was shared together in that space in that moment where everybody was pulling in the same direction in a country, in a city in a state where we don’t all pull in the same direction. Right? And like I don’t know what’s going to do that that elixir but it’s not just we’re winning where the Orioles Come get it? And I hope they’re not thinking that because I know for a generation they thought that way.

Chris Pika  19:21

I’ll go back to we’ve had a discussion about football. by General Manager Randy Mueller says something. And I we’ve talked about the draft and I’m talking about on the run up to the draft, we had a discussion. And I said how did you manage the room as a general manager? And it’s the same thing in marketing, whatever else you do, he said he said, here’s the thing. None of us is smarter than all of us. In other words, you have people in the room that have different ideas, and all of us are smarter than one of us. You know, you may have a great idea. But if you have a roomful of marketing people or anything, PR whatever that is, and you start to share ideas, you come up with a better eye than the one you walked in with. So whether that’s kids cheer free, whether that’s the fact that baseball has changed the rules to make the game more action oriented to get the games under three, the number one thing it’s a better game it is a better game. An offset. I think it’s I think it’s a I think it’s a better game for the

Nestor Aparicio  20:18

fans reason I don’t watch the NBA much, especially not even now. I don’t think it’s a very good game. Now we get an argument in the room right now, there guys over here waiting for the games. Come on. Like literally, I’m sitting here watching guys that I could go over there. Those guys have forgotten more about the modern NBA than I know, I know a lot about the old NBA. I just don’t find it compelling. I don’t put on a game at eight o’clock. It’s countdown to the draft lottery, like literally everybody’s here. Like if people were engaged I was in why everybody’s into the NBA, right? I watched the games and I’m like, I just don’t think it’s interesting to me. Like I don’t play golf, and I don’t really love golf or even like golf. But when it’s on it’s kind of interesting, right? How far to the pin this that reaction is shot. It’s something everybody can do.

Chris Pika  21:06

Well, yes, basketball to me is fun and interesting in the playoffs. It’s not an I’ve worked in the morning a few hawks caves in Atlanta for TV. It’s not that fun and interesting in the middle of February in game fifth No, I agree with you. Okay, the regular season really. They’re very talented players. Don’t get me wrong and and I’ll make a plug here for the Baltimore Catholic League. Cam Whitmore is going to be a first round pick.

Nestor Aparicio  21:31

You know, country music singers, but I don’t want to see him right. You don’t I mean, I’m attracted to action and write things we’re talking about. So

Chris Pika  21:38

So you have you have a game of this change that is now not just strikeouts and homeruns. Okay, guys get on base. They run. You know, this is the Rickey Henderson sort of, you know, mobility ball. They’ve made the game better they have. And I know that I know that the major leaguers were dragged kicking and screaming, but the minor league guys were making their way up. They’ve been playing under these rules last couple of years. So this is a wash

Nestor Aparicio  22:01

in the game and all of a sudden you get a pitch clock violation you’re like, is that on the bat? Or the pitcher? It’s on the batter. Oh, okay. Counting

Chris Pika  22:08

down and you have a bunch of people who are our age and older who think that the game is sacrosanct that you don’t change the rules that you did should be the same.

Nestor Aparicio  22:19

As many of those people left dude, because even the old people now are like, Oh, they’re starting the game at 630. Oh, it’s getting over nine o’clock. And the Orioles are good. This is this is what I’m saying, Chris, this is all coinciding at the back end of a plague, where there’s money coming into city where I’m gonna have Bill weed out here. The concert roster at CFG Bank Arena. So amazing. It looks like if you’ve been doing this as long as you and me it feels like painters mill Merriweather the Baltimore Civic Center and the Capitol center. All in one building, like a one right? Madison Square Garden. Right? Ross Yes. And like I’ve seen

23:02

it’s bringing people down. That’s, that’s exciting for the city.

Nestor Aparicio  23:05

That’s exciting for the city. Adley rutschman, Lamar Jackson, all this is exciting for the city. But baseball is the great light of 81 times downtown, bringing things together in the summertime and all history Brooks booth like all of that. It’s possible again, for the first time in 31 years of me doing radio, I’m because I feel like John, they’re not going to let you on the team. I don’t feel like the team is going to leave. But I don’t think that John. There’ll be at least if there’ll be a lease, right? I mean, so I’m not saying that it wouldn’t be in his interest to shop for his best deal. And whatever his best deal is, then come back. So I don’t believe in the Angelo’s family and iota. They’re still lying right at all. But I believe in these players, and I believe in this general manager. And I believe that they’d have to really go out of their way to eff it up in the next 24 to 36 months. I think they’re things five years from now, you’d look back and say they did what, in the same way the Ravens didn’t have Lamar signed, and the Ravens are thought to be a good organization. And they had a wayward six month perception of period here with the Oreos, they still have to prove TJ Brightman and John Angelus are running the place. I’ve met these men. I’m not convinced that we have global change. I’m convinced they have a product now. Now, what happens next? I really don’t know. But I really on behalf of everyone. I hope it goes well. Because I’m not here to help them sell tickets. I’m not down there waving their flag. They don’t invite me in. They treat me like garbage for the 17th here. I can just be honest, but I want them to do well. I want this to work. I don’t know what the answer is to getting me my wife, you your wife. You go down to buy more tickets. You want to go to more games in September. You want to be there five nights a week because it means something to you and you’ll reach in your pocket for over $700 And then the playoff invoice is going to come you better start saving now everybody on here what we bet you laugh but when you get priced out of go into games you want to go to and you feel the part of the magic and you’re like 125 bucks for divisional game. i That’s a foreigner dollar night for me and my wife. I don’t know that I’m gonna do that tonight. Yeah, in the same way that I’m looking at Janet Jackson this weekend and saying, I love Janet, but I’m not paying 200 to go down there.

Chris Pika  25:25

They I will say some of the 13 game plan last year, they gave us an option 13 game plan, you got one game a series that you could buy for that that was the option they were going to give you for postseason. So, which is fine, because it’d be a buck and a half. Right? Right. Yeah. Okay. I don’t mind doing that. If they got to the World Series. I know what that cost is. Because Major League Baseball sets, it’d be 800. It’s yeah, I mean, it’s gonna be 2000 Oh, no, that’s probably not, that’s probably way too much for me to do. I’ll sit and watch. Watch it on TV unless I get a ticket. Okay,

Nestor Aparicio  25:58

I get one for four and a quarter on the roof. Right at the World Series.

Chris Pika  26:01

Maybe maybe, you know, $2,000 of everybody else that wants tickets and everything else.

Nestor Aparicio  26:07

And it might be 28 degrees in in my reign and, and they might move the game time. It might be on Thursday when you had to cancel it or on Wednesday. And whatever that is, I said to Leonard and Dennis I said be careful. Baseball playoff sound like a good thing until you look up on Tuesday and see every games TBA you have no idea when

26:24

they put they don’t care. 3055 could be 705. And

Nestor Aparicio  26:27

the Yankees could get eliminated on Saturday night and they decide they want you to play at eight o’clock now. Right?

Chris Pika  26:32

Like, right it is it’s very made for TV because they’re trying to maximize that. So to me, that’s that’s the exciting part. I know. And that’s a separate discussion we can have about the fact that there’s a problem that you can’t afford your plane tickets, right. And so we’re talking about a separate discussion, because I know that the governor and John Angeles visited Atlanta, a place that I’m very familiar with at the battery. I worked 40 games a year for the Braves for TV, they’re talking economic development, economic development, there are some very big differences between what the Braves were able to do in Smyrna and what they build and what may be possible around Camden Yards, just from a land standpoint, from a land standpoint, from a live workplace standpoint. And again, you know, the greatest piece of land right now to me is south of the stadium complex. It’s undeveloped, you know, you talked about there and what they’re doing at Top Golf and what they’re doing at Horseshoe Casino around the casinos areas going down to the former Formula. The artist, the artist, formerly known as port Covington. Okay, you know, all these B port COVID. Exactly. I told my wife that it’s always the port Covington, whatever you call it. But again, that’s a stretch of land that’s incredibly underdeveloped, that borders on areas that pick town and others that are trying to get a leg up on their Renaissance because everything had gone east. So now which is I’m at South Baltimore in West Baltimore now being the sort of okay, what’s that going to look like? And where do the stadiums and where does this

Nestor Aparicio  28:06

baseball is coming a good time is coming a good time. And I’ve been to San Diego I’ve been in all these places. I know what’s possible. I also know what the the rays have dealt with and the athletics have dealt with. And I know the promise of lodo and Denver that sort of never really came and San Diego when overpriced property that when the Padres are doing well and trying hard and they’ve been trying hard, people will come. I haven’t seen that in Baltimore yet. And you talk gloriously about the book show Walter and all that. There was no residual from that. They didn’t sell any more sweets any more tickets. They didn’t find any more new fans. They didn’t sell any more new fans. They don’t have a structure of fans of that age group that came to pass loving JJ Hardy in the way that I mean, I had Shana tow back on at Captain I traded up while you were gone. I mean, I went had a crab cake at your neighbor a joint your name, your ears were buzzing somewhere we were in Seattle or Dallas, but I went down and you know Shannon still got her pretty interesting growth but you know what I mean? Like he had a crush on Brady interested in 1994 You’re the one going back to the ballpark right now with your kids hoping your daughter has a crush on somebody or your son wants to be Ryan mount. You know like Oh, wiffle ball stance is all the things we do. Yep, it’s not indoctrinated in the population here and I still always say lacrosse. Lacrosse to me is the great equalizer for where the ceiling for baseball can be in this region because so many people have lacrosse in the blood right you and I didn’t have and we’re baseball people but get getting people into the guys were an Oreo had over there right now he probably wasn’t last summer right like literally and that is important. The pride in saying that’s Baltimore not that’s murder, murder land or body more or or More than that, that’s the last place. That’s a loser. That’s a winning hat. And winning hat means something and this is it’s go time it’s go time for the Orioles. Dude, I’ve been blessed for years. They threw me out I went to Mike Elias and I said, Dude, you’re here because I demanded this i i went and said this isn’t good enough. It this needs to be better now that it’s better I’m not gonna now it’s can they sell it? Can they can they sell it? And I hope they can. I hope to sprinkler. I hope every kid’s into it. I hope your kid well, I want people to have fun with it. It’s meant to be fun. It can’t be fun. When it’s not well manicured. You know what I mean? Right? It hasn’t been fun. That’s been fun for a long time. But it’s fun.

Chris Pika  30:47

It is fun again. And again, this reminds you how much fun it is. Well, it does. And also they’ve had four years of a run up and I mentioned this in a previous segment of the minor leagues being in the state of Maryland. So if you wanted to watch all these guys make their way up the ladder.

Nestor Aparicio  31:01

Everybody wanted to see rutschman Play buoy did Yep. Right. I

Chris Pika  31:05

went up to Aberdeen a because of the crappiest. They have up there. Okay. But they’re allowed people to go up there and because it’s so cheap tickets, they want to see Jackson holiday play. They wanna see Grayson Rodriguez pitch, you know, Norfolk’s a little further away. But if you want to see these guys at the start of their career, and that group, you could do that and get excited about these guys, two and three years before they made their way to the major league roster. And so this is what they’ve been selling for the last four years and are now taking advantage of it because they’ve got a window. And I think that’s important you know, whether that’s again, whether that’s kids shear free to try to get kids in the in the ballpark, whether that’s trying to be liberal about what you can bring into the ballpark because they know what the prices are, whether that’s levy or whoever the previous folks doing the concessions are okay, it’s not cheap. You know, I get 25% off with my season second at any of the concession stands or the you know, the fanatics that’s helpful. Yeah, we’re 30 If you’re in full season you get 30% Okay, so they’ve tried to make it ways for you a the upsell you and because that’s always what they’re going to try to do, but also making it value based

Nestor Aparicio  32:12

well it made a lot easier to get a beer and I’m going to talk to Bill we don’t from CFG bank of the new arena also it’s like a royal farms. You just grab it and yeah, you grab it and do it. Yeah. So simple as that.

Chris Pika  32:23

And so you have all these things in place. So if you’re there for a giveaway night, great, okay, I love a good bobblehead of boop pow or whatever, okay, or, you know, I picked up my Adley rutschman bobblehead as a gift for the Berlin with him and his arms up the celebration one, you know, it’s cute. You know, whether that’s there, whether it’s fireworks, whether it’s the opponent, you know, I’m excited to see Otani pitch and play you know, with the angels coming in. Whether it’s a balanced schedule, you’ve seen teams, maybe you haven’t seen Pinus, you know Braves whatever that is you never want to see again. And if I ever want to see Yeah, exactly. But there are reasons to come out to the ballpark. And if you want to spend $10 to sit in the bleachers, you can do it. You can still find cheap tickets in the upper deck and go and have a nice night out in Baltimore and enjoy everything that that area has to offer, whether that’s the bars across the street, whether that’s the restaurants nearby or good friends of me cheese for dinner, nice, make our way over. Okay, you know, Alabama,

Nestor Aparicio  33:22

we celebrate something

Chris Pika  33:23

celebrating something, but a 630. You know, I love the 630 times during the week, for kids and for adults, you get home at 20. After nine, you haven’t spent all night at the ballpark, you’re not dead the next day. You know, it’s two and a half hours. It’s quick, it’s snappy. You know, that thing you do, you know, keep it snappy. Right, right. And that’s really what they’re doing. So there’s a lot of good reasons to come out. And the biggest reason is, this team’s actually kind of good. And they’ve got great stories and the type of guys you can root for, are they Robinson Robinson Palmer Weaver and whenever not yet, not yet, but you could see that in in rutschman. You could see that mountcastle Jackson Holliday is going to be a huge fan favorite when he gets your ride Regus means already is you know the names. And that’s that next group. And can you keep them together and all that we’ll find out down the line. But there’s a window here for them to do something really special. And it’s been 40 years since we’ve ascended to the mountaintop in his city.

Nestor Aparicio  34:27

Do you want to talk about Lamar you will let it go into a whole segment on the morning

34:30

segment Aldemar Well, to me either way, I mean, I think that that give

Nestor Aparicio  34:35

me two minutes Omar and then I’ll take a deep dive what just where you are on the whole thing, including Chad Steele saying no questions about my quarterback. So there’s just there’s a lot that went on here the last six months. That’s just all been whitewashed by the fact that he’s here. I’ve always questioned Well, what does that mean when he can’t play in December? Does that mean that we’re going to win the Superbowl? I don’t know. But they’re better They’re with him than they are without him now, once he’s making $52 million a year, much like Flacco, he’s taking 20% of the cap, there’s a level that he’s going to have to play at that. I don’t see we’ve never, we’ve never seen it before, not even 2000 in it. And Luke and I disagree about that we fight all the time about it. And that’s good.

Chris Pika  35:17

It is good. I mean, listen, it had to be, and having worked again, on the inside, it had to be incredibly uncomfortable for Eric d’acosta, and those folks in the front office to be to deal with what they were dealing with. But when you’re in negotiations, whether that’s with an agent, or in this case, the player, those are hard, as Randy Mueller would say, they’re very hard conversations. And you have to be ready to have those hard conversations. Usually, it’s with an agent to say, Listen, your guy’s only worth X, you think he’s worth why it’s different when you and I are sitting next to each other. And I’m the general manager and you’re the player and you’re negotiating on your own behalf and I am telling you that I don’t think you’re worth why. And you’re telling me that you’re worth wine this and so those are hard conversations with no buffer. And that had to be incredibly uncomfortable for the Ravens front office to go through over the last several months. Nevermind the injury situation, nevermind everything else about whether he’s going to be it voluntary OTAs or not everything we’ve talked about over the last year it’s easy to have the kumbaya moment to look back and say hey, we’re not talking about the past right? You know, the old what was more like wire Mark McGwire, we’re not here to talk about the past. Okay. Now they’re in a loaded AFC, incredibly loaded AFC with quarterbacks. How are you going to navigate that schedule and those quarterbacks to get you to the promised land in late January, early February? Okay. That’s, that’s where this turns to. Now,

Nestor Aparicio  36:53

I was one of the reasons you and I don’t have to do a half an hour on Lamar right now here at State Fair on the crabcake tour. Because when we talk about Lamar, and I mean, they don’t play for six months, they just got a schedule, and people are what do you think about playing Christmas night? I’m like, I like let me know whether Lamar is up right on Christmas night. And I’ll tell you that that point there eight and five, are there nine and four, you know, there’ll be good, there’ll be good. There’ll be good that I don’t know that that’s good enough. And good is good enough right now for the fan base because the fan base believes and his art modell wants that you either have hope or you don’t. So they went from not having hope, or to being adrift in that purgatory to Oh, the fans think we have oh, alright enough the fans think Lamar can win beat Barone and the you know, the rest of these homes and these guys. Okay. I mean, I haven’t seen anything that leads me to believe that he’s a January quarterback. Yeah, you know what I mean, until January, like

Chris Pika  37:48

until you prove it like Flacco did in that one great run. And all it takes is one of those runs Trevor

Nestor Aparicio  37:53

Lawrence yet. Right. But I don’t think Trevor Lawrence is gonna get broken in half. Right. And you look at the linebacker, you look

Chris Pika  38:00

at the difference in hope in Kansas City. Premier Holmes now with him. Cincinnati with burrow has made a huge difference to them, and has made them a legitimate Super Bowl chargers

Nestor Aparicio  38:12

have hope, because everybody loves the quarterback, right?

Chris Pika  38:16

So you have this gauntlet of quarterbacks, really good ones on this side, that are going to be you know, if they if the Ravens get through this gauntlet and get to the Super Bowl, they will have earned it. Because there is no ways you pass. There’s no easy path here. This isn’t the NFC, the NFC, you can avoid some of that there is no avoiding that here. There’s no avoiding the AFC, there’s no avoiding the division. Okay, those six division games are all going to be hard, because all three of those teams, Cleveland included, are going to be difficult. So what does that look like?

Nestor Aparicio  38:49

Chris bike is here. I hope he has the winning ticket. I’m not in control i that is given to me. They’re all the same. I’ve given out at 100 of your work state fair. We’re in Gainesville, and the 21228 where life is great. Chris can be found at blog and tackle back off the road of the XFL to you find the section 338 and Oriole Park at Camden Yards anytime show your Tani’s pitch and he’ll be down there. We’re gonna be here with window nation and the local in fallston. So we’re going from Baltimore County up the Harford County that’s on the 23rd That’s a Tuesday. I have a whole bunch of dates. I’m coming to Hale Thorpe. I’m coming to Wilkins Avenue in June. It’s true over by St. Joe. i i There are crab cakes that I still have yet to encounter. This one’s a little familiar to me the one stay fair I haven’t had a crab cake here in about nine months. So I made this I’ll leave it with this because I’m gonna have Bill widow on from CFG Bank Arena. And I’ve been at concerts the last two nights I was in Philadelphia with CLS let at the Met. And I was at the anthem on Wednesday night we seal fell in love with seal this week. Best shows I’ve ever seen top 10 All time I’ve gone back to back nights but I’m trying back from Philly, my wife’s out of town, late night and I’m wanting to waffle house and I pulled into the Elkton Waffle House it was closed. I never heard of a waffle house being closed but I think it was a staffing issue. So welled up at the Waffle House in Abington Bel Air like right in Edgewood right? One o’clock in the morning and I got the all star breakfast because you know, hey, now you’re in Austin. So they bring me out a waffle and grits and eggs and raisins. Like I had the trimmings. All right, I forgot to put the pecans in a waffle. So sitting there one o’clock in the morning, and I’m totally so right and have anything to drink. Like I drink water at the concert. Just I’m driving. I’m a lay, you know, whatever spheres are 17 bucks to your point. There was nothing I really wanted to drink. So I didn’t drink anything. I’m drinking water. I’m eatin food. It’s one o’clock in the morning. I’m looking at this waffle, this big slab of grits. And I’m like I’m doing a show at State Fair. My two favorite things that stay fair are the shrimp and grits and a chicken and waffles. And I’m thinking how in the world am I going to justify eating waffle and grits at one o’clock in the morning and then come back to State Fair and do it again. So no shrimp and grits no chicken and waffles. But there might be a crab cake of all bill we know from our GFG banks arena and the bank itself is going to be you’re talking rock and roll banking, cannabis legalization, local banking arenas downtown and how I can get Janet Jackson tickets cheap. He’s Chris bike I’m Nestor we are wn st back for more from state fair. It’s all brought to you by our friends. And when donation is well 866 90 nation order them by to get two free five years 0% financing. Maybe we Dell will give me a five year loan at 0% financing. We’ll find out back for more for State Fair in Catonsville. We’re gonna talk to the bank and have some fun. It’s a great, great day out here in Catonsville

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