Chix Chat Pro Football


- 4 chicken breast cut in half and pounded thin. Cut again..each breast yields 4 pieces

-  2 cups of your favorite hotsauce

-1 stick of butter

- two tomatoes sliced

- lettuce

- 1 lb of  bacon slices (fry in advance)

- 16 provolone cheese

- 1 cup of mayonassie

- 1/2 cup blue cheese dressing

- 2 loaf of Italian Bread

- 2 red vidalia onions

-3 eggs

- 2 cups of all-purpose flour

- 3 cups of panko bread crumbs

-salt and pepper

- oil for frying
Now for the  le direzioni...
1. I start with the onion rings..using a mandolin slice onions thinly. Set up a dredging station, a bowl with the flour, a bowl with the eggs, and finally a bowl with the panko bread crumbs..Season each bowl with salt and pepper. Take onion slices through the dredging station starting with the flour, then eggs, then panko. Fry at 350 degrees (usually a medium setting) until golden brown. Drain on paper towel and season with salt when fried..
2. In large skillet (that can be place in the oven), mix butter and hot sauce and warm over medium heat, add chicken breast and saute for 4 to 5 minutes. Place skillet in a 350 degree oven for for an additional 6 to 7 minutes. For the last 2 minutes, place the oven to the broil setting, add a piece of provolone cheese to each piece of chicken and melt.
3. Building the club..cut Italian bread into 1 inch slices and toast. Mix mayonnaise and blue cheese together. As club sandwiches are made with three slices of bread spread mixture on all three pieces of toasted bread. On the bottom piece of bread place chicken breast, 3 onion rings and bacon, add another piece of toasted bread, then add tomato and lettuce. Top with final piece of toast, add toothpicks to make cutting easier. Top with onion rings.

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Should a woman only be barefoot and pregnant slaving over a hot stove?
Can a woman actually write about the manliest sport of all:  Football?  And if so, does that mean she should be writing it while wearing lingerie?
Nothing infuriates me more than when a man who believes that a woman cannot comprehend any sport other than softball or cheerleading; only because it’s what they could “possibly” have played or have participated in.  I’ve got news for these men who still think it’s the 1950’s – times are a changing and they have been for a long time.
I am a tomboy, always have been, with a love for sports.  I have played just about every sport and have excelled at most.  I have a fierce competitive nature and a knack for understanding the game.  What can I say?  I guess up in a house full of testosterone. 
There are many sports today that where considered “men only” while the lady folk just tolerated them.  Today, you will find more women who not only have a love for sports, but understand it.  There are more women who love football than you can imagine.  Not only do they wear the jerseys, they know the game, they organize the parties, draft a winning fantasy team, and will debate with anyone about any aspect of the game while standing her ground with back up.  
Just because we might not have played the game, does not mean that we do not understand it and know it. 
Advertising companies and the NFL are adjusting to this.  There are women who hold key positions in the NFL.  You have team orthopedic surgeons, athletic trainers, VP of Operations, CEO of an NFL team, and agents who are all women. The NFL has also made it a rule that at least one diverse candidate must be interviewed for a senior executive opening. Commercials, merchandise, and jewelry are being designed with the women in mind.  Websites, blogs, and sports columns are being written and run by women.  This is not all because a bored house wife has nothing but time on her hands, it’s because football ignites a passion. 
Some women even take that passion to the next level by playing the sport.  There have been several who have played successfully at the college level.  Others have taken it one step further with playing in the Independent Woman’s Football League, Women’s Football Alliance, Women’s Spring Football League, and the Lingerie Football League.  Some might not consider these as true football but the fact of the matter is that they are recognized as Football and as a sport.  Whether you believe that women can handle the physical and mental aspects associated with playing at the professional level, women are making their mark in a something that was male dominated for so long.   
I challenge any man who thinks that I do not know sports.     I will gladly meet you on the football field where I hit you in the head with my perfectly thrown spiral that I have no idea how to throw while you never see it coming. 

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Prime Time Phony

Posted by Tuesday, May 22, 2012 0 comments

Like many Ravens fans, I enjoy seeing former Ravens pretending to be sports journalists on networks like ESPN, NFL Network, CBS, NBC, etc. Even if they sound like nitwits I’ll cut them some slack because, well, they are our nitwits.
However, this slightly twisted logic goes out the window faster than a Randy Moss roach during a traffic violation when it comes to Deion Sanders.
Let’s just call Sanders for what he is – a narcissist. There is no one he loves more than himself with his alter ego Prime Time running a very close second. And both are as phony as Pamela Anderson.
Any man who claims to love his children would not publicly attempt to destroy their mother regardless of who is right or wrong. Even if Pilar Sanders suddenly morphed into the Wicked Witch of Texas it is so extraordinarily shameful for Deion to use his Prime Time celebrity to swing the court of public opinion in his favor and trample upon his baby momma’s reputation.
If he cared about his kids even a small fraction of what he claims, he would understand that this behavior, this unnecessary attention, this undermining of the woman who brought those children into the world, will leave scars that will never fully heal.
Regardless of who is at fault in the relationship, there’s a way to handle these things and a way not to if for no other reason than the mental stability of the children.
The problem here is that the biggest child in this scenario is none other than Sanders himself.
Whether he’s right, wrong or sharing in the blame in his relationship with Pilar, what he is doing to those children is despicable.
So the next time you see this poster child for phoniness on TV, change the channel. If enough of you do the networks might turn the lights of Prime Time off for good.
And that’s exactly where they belong.

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I suck at being a wife!

Posted by Friday, May 18, 2012 0 comments

For some reason this popped into my head while I was in the midst of that love/hate relationship with the treadmill this morning.  I think he might actually have a valid point. It’s true, I admit it, I suck at being a wife. 
He tells me this all the time to which I sarcastically respond.   I am far from June Cleaver nor am I an under achieving mom, I’m just somewhere stuck in the middle.   But hey that’s me……….he married me. 
After 12 years, he knows me by now.  I’m not saying it has all been peaches and cream, but we make it work.  I know I irritate him most of the time on purpose, just because I can.  Marriage is having that one person you can irritate for the rest of your life and they cannot do anything about it!
Now, let me get back to my short falls and explain to you why I suck as a wife.
1.        I can’t keep a house to save my life

God love my MIL but she had OCD.  Her house is always perfect.  She cleans every weekend and I’m talking deep cleaning.   I, on the other hand, clean when he starts nagging or people are coming over.  I think making the bed is a useless chore because it’s just going to get messed up anyways.  I have an excuse though:  I have a spawn of the devil almost 4 year old that leaves a path of destruction in his wake who I apparently don’t feed enough since he is STARVING every 2 minutes.  I hate washing dishes and I think that clothes should be disposable.  That damn cleaning fairy keeps skipping my house.  Next time I see her, I’m clipping her wings!

1.        I hold grudges

I’m still pissed about a time 11 years ago when we were playing on the same softball team he sat me on the bench and put a guy in my place that couldn’t make the throw from second to first base!  We have learned that we cannot play on the same softball team:  him at shortstop, me at 3rd base, not a good mix.  If he would learn not to be a ball hog and let me actually PLAY 3rd like I have for years, we’d get along a lot better. 

2.        I am a slacker in the “keeping myself up” department

I live in yoga pants, I only wear make-up if we are going somewhere, and I only shave when I need too.  If I actually do my hair it means that I am really bored or I am playing “ignore the 3 year old.”  I loathe shaving and during the winter my legs hibernate which means by spring, you could probably braid the hair.  Yea, I know not a very good visual. 

3.        I do not take proper care of my husband.

I do not make him breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I tell him to suck it up when he’s sick, and if he falls asleep on the couch I leave his butt there……..most of the time.  He makes his own lunch during the week and he’s lucky if I remember to take anything out for dinner.  I am a good cook as long as I have a recipe to follow.   I do have good intentions, I try. I just usually get side-tracked by having to referee between boys or chase the dog out of the garden or argue with an almost 4 year old as to why he cannot ride down the stairs in the laundry basket.  The Hubs is a big boy, he can take care of himself. 

Wow!  Did I actually give the Hubs validity in his statement? 

I actually feel sorry for him.

.............okay that feeling has passed. 

To find the humor in all of this, you have to understand our relationship.  We bicker constantly and we are both stubborn to a fault but we do love each other and this is us. 

Despite my undomesticated abilities, he still loves me and that’s all a girl can ask for. 

Plus, I am 99.9% sure he didn’t marry me for my cleaning abilities. 

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It was a dark day after the lock out ended last year.  We saw players let go, beloved players who had broken records and defied odds as a Raven.  Derrick Mason was one of them.  Although he felt slighted, he still considered Baltimore his second home, the Baltimore Ravens his team and now wants to retire as a Raven.
Will this happen? 
Mason announced his retirement from the NFL back in January of this 2012, after being waived by the Houston Texans.  In order for him to retire as a Raven, he would have to sign a one day contract after submitting his retirement paperwork to the NFL. 
Sounds easy enough.
The decision is ultimately up to the Baltimore Ravens, so I took it upon myself to write a letter in hopes that maybe someone will see it. 
Dear Mr. Ozzie Newsome,
It has been said “In Ozzie We Trust,” and believe me we do.  Now, we are putting our faith in you once again. You have done so many wonderful things for the Baltimore Ravens.  We as fans put our faith in you year after year, and you have yet to disappoint.   We ask that you please make it happen so that Derrick Mason retires as a Raven.
Even though we fans might not have liked the reasoning behind letting him go last season, we do understand that football is not only a sport, but a business. In this business just like on the field you have to protect, produce, and deliver not only to your coaches and your players, but to the fans. 
All though Mr. Mason was out spoken at times and took his release personally, he did so because of his determination to win a ring. Not all agree with the way it was done but understand it was only because he believes in his heart beyond any doubt that the Ravens deserved a championship.  That HE deserved a championship.
Mr. Derrick Mason has given us football fans 15 years of blood, sweat, and tears.  Even though he was drafted by the Tennessee Titans and played 8 seasons with a Super Bowl trip, it was once he began to bleed Purple and Black in 2005, he found a home. 
For 6 seasons, he caught passes with grace, cutting up and down the field with precision to avoid tackles and gain yards.  He holds the franchise records in both receptions and receiving yards to this day.  Also, he is ranked 11th in NFL history of all time with 943 receptions. Time and time again, he was determined to make plays that seemed impossible and delivered with amazing catches.  He played this game at the highest level but always gave more. That is what it means to Play like a Raven.
Mr. Newsome, this decision is up to the Baltimore Ravens.  Mr. Derrick Mason as expressed his desire to retire as a Raven and we fans would love for his request to be honored. No matter what happens upon his retirement, he will forever be in our hearts a Raven.  Nevermore will we see his grace on the field.  He is a true warrior and the Baltimore Ravens are lucky to have had a player of his caliber.  He is a true Raven.

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Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed is making fans crazy. During an interview on Sirius XM Radio, Reed told Adam Schein and Rich Gannon that he is not 100% committed to playing this season. Schein broke the news on Twitter.

When was asked if the Ravens knew he’s not committed, he said, "I'm sure they will after this interview."

The future Hall of Famer is entering the final year of his six-year, $44.4 million contract. It is rumored that this may be a ploy to get a new contract...after all the Ravens recently signed CB Lardarius Webb to a six-year, $50 million contract extension.

This is nothing new to Ravens fans; we’ve heard this song and dance every year since 2008. In the past three seasons, Reed only played one full season. He's had his share of injuries and there is no way to tell how much gas is left in the tank. In March he said he could see himself playing for four or five more seasons and now he hints that he may be done.

After recently losing LB Terrell Suggs for a good portion of the season due to an Achilles tendon injury, now is not the time to play the boy who cried wolf. Reed is becoming the Brett Favre of Baltimore.  Even though most fans believe that he will not retire before the start of the season, it still puts them on high alert and makes them wonder what will happen if he actually follows through with it.

Dear Ed Reed,

Please stop hinting that you may retire, if you're going to do it, just do it already. It is only fair that you give the Ravens ample time to fill your roster spot; you have big shoes to fill. You are a fan favorite; don't make us angry, you wouldn't like us when we're angry. Just do your job and we'll do ours.


How’s that?


Your Adoring Fans

Only time will tell how this will end and we can only hope that we will see #20 on the field this season.

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The “Battle of the Beltways” is the slogan used to describe the Orioles versus Nationals series each season. Conversely, it’s always been more of the battle of which team can get to 90 losses first.
Since the series started in 2006 the games have been fairly evenly matched although neither team has had a promising finish come October. However, could the tide be turning this season? Could it be the year that both Baltimore and Washington baseball franchises have been waiting for?
The rivalry is fairly new but there are many Nats fans that feel strongly about it since it was the O’s Peter Angelos that opposed the move of the Expos to DC for many years.
But all negative feelings aside, this is the first meaningful Battle of the Beltways series in recent memory, both teams need to win this weekend to keep pace within their competitive divisions.
As of May 17th both annual cellar dwellers are in first place in their respected divisions. And both teams have looked strong to this point. With the most important aspect being they are winning games with gutsy performances within their divisions.
The latest ESPN Power Rankings has the Orioles in the third spot with the Nationals close on their heels ranking in at number six.
The Nats lead Major League Baseball in team ERA and Strikeouts, whereas the O’s lead the pack with a whopping 60 homeruns.
While this was expected out of the Nationals and their pitching staff this season, the Orioles run has been a welcomed surprise.
Now as a faithful O’s fan who has endured 14 straight losing seasons, I’m always skeptical of strong starts, as my emotions have been toyed with before. However, this season already seems different; there is a spark that I haven’t seen before.
We aren’t playing as individuals but as a team. And as a result, top to bottom guys are contributing. Newcomers, Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel have been superb starters and our bullpen has been a sight for sore eyes. Reliable Jim Johnson continued his streak with 22 consecutive saves this afternoon. And Adam Jones continues to keep the clutch homerun in his back pocket, but at the same time 11 other players on the team have homeruns; up and down the lineup guys are producing.
Now whether these young teams can withstand the long grueling season remains to be seen but the excitement is contagious!
So this weekend when the O’s make the trip down the Parkway to Nationals Park let’s fill the stands with orange and make the National Anthem “O” ring throughout the stadium.
Let’s keep this ball rolling!

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Take a walk for your kidneys

Posted by Wednesday, May 16, 2012 0 comments

You never realize how precious life is until you are tested and tried beyond what you believe you can handle.   Miracles happen or maybe it is the advancement of the medical technology nowadays that gives people more of a fighting chance.  No matter which you believe, it is always nice when you can give to a cause that will help others.
I got the chance to do so.  I got the chance to show my boys that it’s always nice to give of yourself and time for someone else to have a fighting chance. 
On May 6th, 2012, the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland sponsored their 10th Annual walk at the Baltimore Zoo.    The National Kidney Foundation was founded in 1950 by Harry and Ada DeBold.  My family and I had the pleasure of taking part in this to raise money to help in the fight preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases and improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease.
We joined Zachary Harriss, team Zack Attack, in this endeavor. 
Zachary Harriss, a vibrant 12 year old who has a love for baseball and an even bigger love for the Baltimore Ravens, has been living with kidney disease since birth.  Zach has a rare genetic condition called Branchio-Oto-Renal (BOR) syndrome, which caused him to be born with only a small piece of a kidney.  He was on dialysis for a year and a half before he could receive his kidney transplant which was done on September 13, 2001; right before his 2nd birthday. 
Throughout his courageous 12 years, he has had many surgeries such as:  feeding tubes, dialysis tube placement, tear ducts, and a VP shunt in his brain.  This disease has not slowed him down.  He is a remarkable 7th grader who has made the honor roll, plays baseball, and loves spending time with family and friends.  He is a normal kid who has a love for life.
Zachary has been very involved in the kidney walk for the past 9 years, and has recruited tons of family and friends, to join him.  This year, this walk will be remembered as the best one yet!  Not only did he exceed his goal in raising $1000 (the actual was over $4000), he was chosen to cut the ribbon with Ravens #99 Paul Kruger.  This was a dream come true for a special boy with many years ahead of him.  A boy that was given a chance to live his life as it should, all because of someone who gave not only their time, but a part of them.
We tend to take our health and life for granted on a daily basis, and forget that there are people out there who are in need.  We will go about our busy lives until something affects us personally.  It is then that we seek the help and support of others.  Right now, you have the chance to give something of yourself whether it is time or money to give someone a fighting chance to have the normalcy that you have. 
Don’t let life pass you by without making a difference. 

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But Happy Mom’s Day Anyway

Over the past year, I have called upon myself to take an in-depth look at all of my life’s little failures, and trust me; there have been more than I can count.

Let’s see, failed relationship #1: the video game connoisseur, failed relationship #2: the bar hopping expert. Wait one sec! I am totally getting ahead of myself here. I’ve been doing some serious soul searching, self cleansing, if you will. After the LONG and terrifying journey into my heart, mind and soul’s abyss, I have found that there is only one logical conclusion: My abundance of personality flaws and all of the shortcomings in my life…..ARE ALL MY MOM’S FAULT.
Let me just begin with the little affinity I have for cold beer and Marlboro lights. I think most of you reading this would agree that these could possibly be very serious flaws. If so, it is totally ok to give my mom a call because I am blaming them on her! See, back in the day (during my very impressionable teenager years, to be exact), my mom would tell me to stay away from the kids that do drugs.

“Daughter, there will be kids who will ask you to smoke something illegal, and you must be the smarter one by standing up to them and saying, NO THANK YOU. Illegal drugs will ruin your life.”

Great advice mom, because I did just that… No drugs for me, but the cool girls drank from the Boone’s Farm bottle and smoked something legal. Surely, you would have mentioned to stay away from them too if it was THAT super important.  

Moving on...There are quite a few women in this world who enjoy a good sports game, and can hang with the boys and talk athletics. But, that is not me. Oh no, my mother created a monster, an over-the-top Sports FANATIC.

It is not in my genes to just look cute with my jersey and matching earrings at the sports bar. I cannot sit quietly next to a really cute guy, and randomly cheer at the home run or scored touchdown. Nope. I don't even notice the guy because I am too busy yelling at the refs, criticizing the play calling and sending out loud woot-woots after each good play.

This little flaw started when I was an infant. Mom was a PE teacher, coach, umpire, and player. Taking me bundled up at 6 months old to Memorial Stadium in 15 degrees to see the Colts was her idea of teaching me the finer things in life at a young age.  
Also because of you, dear mother, I have a plethora of strange quirks that have come dangerously close to ruining perfectly good dates.  Last summer, I actually had a nice guy ask me what my idea of a perfect date was because he was willing and able to accommodate. First of all, are you kidding me? These men do not exist!  Oh, yes, he most certainly did exist. But there was one problem, thanks to my mom. After much thought, I decided on this:  What could be better than combining a day of all you can eat steamed crabs (my absolute fave) on the waterfront (who wouldn’t love that kind of view) with an evening at the O’s game? (Again, feeding the sports fanaticism invoked by my female parent) It will be so awesome! Several hours - ALL ABOUT ME! Hello, Mr. Wonderful.

But then, the dread started.

It was all the result of this trick my mom had taught me called “Must Have Considerable Amount of Chocolate After Chowing on Crabs”. It sounds absolutely ridiculous, I know. But, don’t knock it till you try it. After a dozen crabs with a ton of old bay seasoning, some rich chocolate is the perfect ending.  

OH NO! It was 80 degrees that day. Certainly, a bag of peanut butter cups would end up melted all over the inside of my purse. What if the crab house doesn’t serve chocolate cake?  All day I suffered through a large knot in my stomach as I cursed my mother for this insane craving she had fostered in me.

Thank goodness Mr. Wonderful also fed my personality flaw that involved drinking ice cold beer. By the end of the marathon crabs and beer adventure, I had totally forgotten about the Hershey bar (no thanks to my mom!).

And finally, the Dom Perignon of all failures: RELATIONSHIPS.

Of course my mother is to blame. Haven’t I proven thus far that everything in my life has been her fault? She was unluckily born the eldest daughter in a family of 7 kids. Mom had no choice but to serve as the caretaker/ mother figure to all of them while my nanny worked her butt off to feed this small army.

You’re thinking, so what?

Just listen for one minute.

Mom was taught to be the nurturer, to apply the band-aid and kiss the booboo’s. She was encouraged to see the good in everyone, even all of the little monster siblings that she had to wash, feed and help with homework. It was inevitable that she would pass these qualities on to me; ergo, why I have been a complete failure with men so far in my 40something years. 

My therapist once explained it to me this way. (Hush, it is totally chic in this day and age to seek unbiased, female, feminist opinions) Instead of seeing these guys for what they really are (creeps), I would take the glass half full approach. Of course I could nurture them and bring out the inner good that I just knew was in there.  Didn’t mom teach me to see the good in even the evilest?

#1 Video Game Addict: no problem, just give me a year and he will throw the computer out the window. It's definitely only a matter of time before the living, breathing cuddle bug called me is seen as way more important. 


#2 Bar Hopping Extraordinaire:  Once we are married, he will see that he doesn’t need to run the streets. I will be quite enough; cooking, cleaning, and ironing for him. I will be his “personal cheerleader”. What man wouldn’t choose to grow up just a little when he had that waiting at home?


Mom, I am forever cursed with your nurturing, caring, all-people-are-inherently-good qualities. I will be single for freaking ever. Thanks bunches!

I will apologize ahead of time to my smart, beautiful, funny and just downright brilliant daughter who will no doubt see that I am the cause of all of her life’s future failures when she is about 40. With any luck, I will be around to tell her that she is completely WRONG!

Shout Out to my Mom: I love you very much. Thanks for being such a good sport and letting yourself be the butt of today’s jokes. Above all else, I thank you for passing down your great sense of humor to me because that is what truly gets me through all of my life’s little failures.

Why didn't I think of these? Pure genius…

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B'more's Best Eye Candy

Posted by Friday, May 11, 2012 0 comments

So what do you think ladies?  Who has the better eye candy here in Baltimore?  Is it the relentless playing Ravens or could it be the hard hitting Orioles? 
We can all agree to disagree on this one but the one thing we can agree on is we have some really nice eye candy here in Baltimore whether it be on the side lines or in the dugout.  This makes watching games from the stands or the comforts of home even better!
Eye Candy is not the only reason we women like to watch sports.  In football, we love the competitiveness, the hard hits, and the tightness of the uniforms.  In Baseball, we love the atmosphere, the friendliness, and the sex appeal.  Football has our views obstructed by helmets and pads while baseball gives us a clear view of the whole package. Then again, baseball shows the humility and grace of a man (the softer side) while football shows us dominance and power (the bad boy side). 
No matter what type you tend to lean towards, not one woman can resist a little eye candy right in front of her!
Here are my top ten of what I like to call “The Best Eye Candy of Baltimore.” 
1.   Intensity that reels me in and I can’t get enough of Ray Lewis (Ravens)
His eyes just melt me!  He gives off this vibe that makes you want to see just how intense he can be!
2.   A good boy that makes you want to do bad things is Brian Roberts (Orioles)
Ladies, this guy actually blushes, I’ve seen it. 
3.   The guy I’ll let catch me anytime  Dennis Pitta (Ravens)
I would gladly tackle him anytime.  Just don’t mind my hands, they might wander…………….
4.   My Greek God of baseball  Nick Markakis (Orioles)
The scruffier he is, the better he looks.
5.   Put me in coach, I’m ready to play………….with you  Coach John Harbaugh (Ravens)
I think he is the best looking coach ever!  He is so passionate on the field I bet he is off of it as well.
6.   Utility player……………..utilize me Chris Davis!  (Orioles)
This guy can do it all; 1st base, hit, pitch, and look extra sexy while doing it!  He seems to be a man of many talents………
7.   A man who wears his heart on his sleeve, Ray Rice (Ravens)
He is genuine, caring, and sexy as hell!  It’s those quiet ones you have to worry about ladies!
8.   Hollywood good looks, could you play my Knight in shining armor Pedro Strop?  (Orioles)
He could play the lead role in the movie 50 Shades of Grey, I would not mind one bit.
9.   All American Man Matt Birk (Ravens)
This guy has it all; class, a big heart, good looks……..what more could a girl ask for?
10. Where ever you may go, I will follow you  J.J. Hardy (Orioles)
Short stop, 2nd base…………….I’ll roll around where ever with you.

Oh the fantasies that continuously runs through my mind. 

Not only are these two teams great to look at, but they play their hearts out for a city that they love.  Whether you’re a Ravens fan or Orioles fan, you have to admit that Baltimore has the best eye candy!  Just remember one thing ladies, you can ALWAYS look but you can’t touch!

So, who’s your favorite eye candy?

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Well it is a done deal. This week all eight draft picks were signed by the Baltimore Ravens, the first team to sign the entire draft class. The signings were a major accomplishment since typically draft picks aren’t signed so quickly, but thanks to the new rookie wage scale which largely determines salaries, the Ravens were able to seal the deal.
The signings came in time to start rookie camp today. Thursday all new Ravens reported to team headquarters in Owings Mills, Maryland. They signed contracts; took physicals and passed; were fitted for gear; and had snapshots taken. They completed the first steps of the long, hard road to the 2012 football season.
While rookie camp may not sound exciting or sexy, it is a big deal for the players and for Ravens personnel. It is like freshman orientation for football players with a few months to prep for the final exam at the preseason games in August.
It is an exciting time for rookies. They just signed contracts to play for one of the elite NFL teams and they get to suit up and learn what it means to play like a Raven. Most are on Twitter and have been tweeting about their experiences and it is fun to read their tweets. Their dreams of becoming professional football players are coming true and it is easy to feel their excitement.
WR Tommy Streeter posted a picture of his new Ravens jersey; he simply said “black and purple”. It must have been an awesome feeling for him to see his jersey for the first time. I replied and told him I can’t wait to see him in it and wished him good luck at rookie camp.
As fans we have to trust that the Ravens selected the best available players to meet and fill their needs. Right now the buzz is all about LB Courtney Upshaw. He is likely to start this season since LB Terrell Suggs is out for an undisclosed period of time after tearing his Achilles tendon and undergoing surgery to repair it this week.
Upshaw was selected by the Ravens in the second round (35th overall) and played on the Alabama National Championship defense this year. It will be nice to see him in action so he can give us a preview of what we can expect from him this season.
Welcome to Charm City baby birds. We’re excited to have you here. You are fortunate to have signed with a first-class football organization with awesome fans. Baltimore is a football town, we live and breathe this stuff and we are extremely passionate about the Ravens. We can’t wait to see you suit up and see you in action.
Good luck at rookie camp. Pay attention, do your best and learn what it means to play like a Raven. The Ravens hope to be back in the fight for the championship and we need you to help make it happen.

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Hi Mom!

Posted by Thursday, May 10, 2012 2 comments

For years TV cameras have zoomed in on football players along the sidelines after they’ve scored a big touchdown. Some engage in trash talking, others pound their chests and some hold up that famous digit. And then there are those who simply say, “Hi Mom!”

It’s a very simple response to the presence and pressures of the camera really. It’s also very honest and genuine because when you stop and think about it and you remove all of the other distractions, fan hoopla and window dressing, the most vital, natural, safest and essential connectivity to another human being is that to our mothers.

I lost my Mom on September 27, 1989. She was 51 years young. There has never been a day since when she's escaped my thoughts.

When you lose someone that you love dearly, particularly your Mom, there is a journey that nearly everyone travels in order to complete the mourning process. In many ways it’s like a one year cycle during which you experience their birthday, your birthday and all of the holidays in a calendar year without them. You reflect upon the memories and it’s those memories that keep them alive in your mind, heart and soul.

I’ve learned to deal with my Mom’s passing, perhaps more so than my Dad and my sister. I’m comforted by the fact that she didn’t suffer much when we lost her in those final days and by the wonderful relationship which I’m so blessed to have shared with her. That’s not to say that my Dad and sister didn’t share that – they absolutely did and they adored her. Maybe I’ve just rationalized her passing a little better than them and I know she’s in a better place free of the ailments that took her from this state of consciousness.

That being said, the one day during which all that rationalization and all that acceptance of her passing flames out for me is on Mother’s Day. In my own private way, I still say, “Hi Mom”, yet on Mother’s Day I’m reminded that the mourning isn’t over and perhaps it never will be.

It’s funny in an unusual way that I never think to go to the cemetery to pay respects to my Mom during the year – except on Mother’s Day. I can’t explain it. I don’t go there any time during the year because I know she’s not there. She lives within me. Yet on Mother’s Day, I feel compelled to go to her burial site, give her a few flowers and say hello.

Maybe I’m just jealous of all of you who really can go to their Moms and say, “Happy Mother’s Day” and give them a hug and a kiss.

David Gates nailed it when he sang:

"I would give everything I own, just to have you back again…just to touch you once again."


I hope you don't mind me sharing a few quick stories about my Mom I guess in part as an ode to her memory. I hope you are compelled to share a few of yours too below…

My Mom didn’t come to many of my little league baseball, football or basketball games. That was something that Dad did while Mom tended to my younger sister. But when she did come, I remember her quiet pride. You could see it. Mom was never one to boast to other parents or to other aunts and uncles about me or my sister. She believed that good deeds and success stories spoke for themselves and by not boasting about them, the accomplishments were more pure and if the accomplishments were truly deserving, others would speak of them without her prodding. That’s a lesson I’ve carried with me.

Once in a little league game, I tripled three times. And while that sounds like a pretty good game, I was devastated. You see my Dad was the third base coach and each time I rounded second heading for third, Dad waived me home. Each and every time I was thrown out at the plate. After the last failure to stretch a triple into a homerun, I laid face down at home plate, pounding my fist on the dish that I failed to reach before being tagged out on three consecutive at bats.

Dad of course picked me up and told me to get my glove and get back out on the field.

Mom after the game simply said, “That was a good game and your team won.”

Even at the age of 9 those words cut through the air and I realized how silly and selfish I had been. My team won and that’s what mattered most.

Fast forward to my late 20’s, just a year before Mom passed. I played fast pitch softball for a team called Tom's Tropicals, the fish store on BelAir Road near Joppa Road. We were playing in Salisbury, MD and I was staying with my parents, sister and brother-in-law at the Calypso on 62nd Street in Ocean City. It was a weekend double elimination tournament. Our team was still alive so we were to play again on Sunday following a couple of Saturday wins.

At that time, we wore red jerseys and I asked my Mom to wash my uniform for me. Now just prior to me moving out of Mom and Dad’s house, my Mom had developed this habit of screwing up my laundry. Any time something faded or bled in the wash, the clothing belonged to me. So I asked her to be careful in a slightly sarcastic way never thinking that she would screw it up again.

She did.

My long white sanitary socks that we wore under our stirrup socks turned from white to a beautiful shade of pastel pink. To this day, I can picture her pulling those socks from the wash in that Calypso condo, holding them up and saying, “Uh-oh.”

During Mom’s burial mass, Fr. Vincent Gluc, a friend of our family and former teacher of mine at Archbishop Curley, used a wonderful metaphor comparing life on Earth to a caterpillar. When we pass, we enter a stage comparable to that of the caterpillar’s cocoon only to emerge as beautiful butterflies in the next life.

A few summers after Mom’s passing I was standing at the tee of the sixth hole at Pine Ridge Golf Course. As I was addressing the ball, a stunning butterfly seemingly came from nowhere and landed on my chest and stared me right in the eye. It just sat there for a moment that seemed like an hour. I remember smiling and saying, “Hi Mom.”

And with that, Mom flew away towards the direction of my fairway target.

I don’t think that I’ve ever hit a better tee shot before or since.

Enjoy your Mom on Mother’s Day. Make her feel special. She deserves it because let’s face it, when life boils down to its simplest equation, there’s no bond greater than that between a Mother and her child.

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms everywhere.

You are the essence of life.

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