1. Matt Wieters gives back in big way this holiday.
In the spirit of giving, Orioles catcher Matt Wieters made a very generous announcement. This holiday season, the Wieters family will match donations to BARCS (Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter), dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000. Wieters, who has a German Shepherd rescue named Millie, has long supported BARCS through fundraisers and their famed pet calendar. The donations will go towards providing animals with food, shelter, and toys; the proper spaying and neutering services; and the resources for proper medical care for the animals. Wieters, you're a guy after our own hearts.
2. Everybody hated the Ravens' yellow pants.
In a season where our low seem to find new lows, the Ravens came out on Sunday in the most hideous, mustard-yellow pants we've ever seen. It didn't take long before the Twitter-verse spoke up in disgust:
The Ravens are wearing yellow pants and starting Jimmy Clausen at QB, and neither is the ugliest thing they’ve done so far.
— Darin Gantt (@daringantt) December 20, 2015
Dude what's up with the Ravens game pants today? Mustard yellow? Can you say Dijon? #Ravens #RavensNation
— Kamau McCray (@Kamiliouss) December 20, 2015
I thought I needed to adjust my tv when I saw these new Ravens uniforms. Who thought these mustard yellow pants looked good?
— Kierra (@MsKierraSassy) December 20, 2015
If the Ravens wears yellow pants, but nobody is around to watch, is it still hideous?
— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) December 20, 2015
You get the idea. Well it turns out that Coach John Harbaugh thought the whole thing was pretty funny. (Hey, pick your battles, right?) At a press conference earlier this week he said, "It was our 20th anniversary season and, if were doing better, you'd probably have see [the gold pants] sooner. It's a nod to the tradition a little bit and players liked them because it's a little different." Harbaugh then suggested having the fans vote on the third pants color combination—besides white and black—because, he said, "Uniforms are fun. They should be fun." The Ravens followed through and fans can now vote for their favorite color combination. We're partial to the gray pants ourselves.
3. Sam Koch and Marshall Yanda selected to Pro Bowl.
When your team is used to going to the playoffs every year, the Pro Bowl isn't exactly the biggest deal. But this season it means a lot—especially to punter Sam Koch, who is going to his first Pro Bowl of his 10-year career. He currently leads the NFL in net punting average. "This has definitely been a long time in the making,” Koch told BaltimoreRavens.com. “This is a very surreal and exciting moment for my family and me. I can’t wait to represent the Ravens in Hawaii.” This will be Yanda's fifth straight Pro Bowl, so it's likely a bit routine for him, though he is still grateful to his teammates. "Football is the ultimate team sport, and you don’t do anything in this league on your own,” he said. “We all grind together with the goal of achieving greatness.” That team sentiment was echoed by Justin Tucker, who congratulated Koch, a fellow member of their special teams "wolfpack."
Congrats to @Sam_Koch4 on making the #ProBowl!! More than earned it brotha, very happy for ya! #RavensWolfpack
— Justin Tucker (@jtuck9) December 23, 2015
4. Did you know Stevenson University has a women's ice hockey team?
Well it's true. And they are really good. Earlier this week, Press Box interviewed head coach Tracey Johnson about her 9-0-1 squad and how women's ice hockey first originated at Stevenson in 2012. "Stevenson is such a forward-thinking school," she explained. "I know that our athletic director, Brett Adams, has a plan to establish Stevenson as a college hockey power, and by starting with the women's team and next year adding the men's, we will be well ahead of the rest of the colleges in the region." Johnson, a Minnesota native, explains that it's actually not that difficult to get good recruits to come to Stevenson. "This might sound funny to some, but actually, the weather in the Baltimore area is a big draw to some girls in the colder parts of the Midwest," she says. "Hey, we will use any recruiting tool we have to land a quality player." The Mustangs are on winter break now, but will return to play Chatham on January 2. All the game are broadcast on the Stevenson website.
5. Baltimore-born film exec's movie Concussion comes out tomorrow.
Tom Rothman, who was born in Baltimore and attended Park School, is now the chairman of Sony Pictures. During his tenure, the company made Titanic and Avatar. So yeah, he's doing pretty well for himself. Sony's latest film, Concussion, opens in theaters tomorrow and stars Will Smith as the doctor who identified the link between repeated head trauma and the degenerative brain disease suffered by many professional football players. Based on actual events, the NFL denied the claims of Will Smith's character and even tried to discredit him.
"It's much more about the cover-up than the science itself," Rothman told WBAL radio this week. "It's a real David and Goliath story, about this lone guy who took on a very powerful monolith." Understandably, the NFL is likely not too pleased about the film's release. "We're the only movie studio that is not attached to a network with a giant NFL deal," he said. "So we're a free agent. We did not ask the NFL's permission and we're not asking forgiveness either. The footage, that's all real, we just used it. The league decided the best thing was to go silent with the whole deal and pretend it doesn't happen. But it does and it did . . . It's probably safe to say I won't be getting a Christmas card from the league this year." But, Rothman admits, he is still a huge Ravens fan. "Diehard," he told WBAL. "It's a tough year for us, but I'm just hoping we lose out so we can get a higher draft pick. I think you stay a sports fan wherever you grow up. But I'm proud that my two daughters, who are both from Los Angeles, wear purple and black."