DUI is sobering thought, or at least it should be for Sams, if not Ponson

August 18, 2005|By PETER SCHMUCK

THE WORST THING about pushing 50 is that it gets harder and harder to remember what it was like to be young and stupid.

Fortunately, I've had Sidney Ponson around the past eight years to keep me from forgetting altogether, and now we can add Ravens return specialist B.J. Sams to the list of young Baltimore athletes who occasionally forget that they are neither invincible nor immune to the standards of responsible citizenship.

Sams, like Ponson and Orioles pitcher Eric DuBose earlier this year, is one of the lucky ones. He got pulled over for driving under the influence - to the embarrassment of himself and his team - but did not have to be pulled lifeless out of a crumpled automobile like so many thousands of others who have made the same mistake.

Hopefully, he'll recognize that the inconvenience of paying a fine and perhaps attending a class or two on the evils of drunk driving are a small price to pay for an important life lesson.

Sadly, Ponson still doesn't get it. He remains bitter because his DUI in Florida was uncovered by nosy reporters, who stumbled upon the police report when they were looking into a spring training altercation involving the Orioles pitcher at a South Florida night spot.

This is the same guy who said that he had figured it all out after spending 11 days in jail for allegedly assaulting a judge on a beach in his native Aruba. Instead, we're still trying to figure out how he fooled us all into thinking he was worth $22.5 million a couple of years ago.

Sams doesn't have the luxury of a guaranteed long-term contract to protect him from himself, so I'm guessing he'll be much more careful in the future.

So talk show king Rush Limbaugh has offered to mediate the feud between Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and obnoxious receiver Terrell Owens.

I think it's a great idea.

Limbaugh would have instant credibility with Owens, since they both think that McNabb is overrated, and he probably could convince Donovan to show up for the mediation session just by offering to show him what a really expensive victory cigar looks like.

Members of the House Committee on Government Reform indicated Tuesday that they will need until the middle of next week to review documents pertaining to Rafael Palmeiro's positive steroid test, which raises at least one troubling question.

How long could it possibly take to determine whether Palmeiro failed a drug test prior to testifying under oath that he had "never, ever" used steroids? That's really what the committee's perjury investigation boils down to ... that and the credibility of Jose Canseco.

Congressional staffers should have been able to sort through the drug-testing documentation in a couple of hours, and even if they took time out to watch Canseco in every gut-wrenching episode of MTV's The Surreal Life, they should have been able to figure out if the perjury charge was a go in a day or two.

If the point of this whole exercise was to protect the integrity of the national pastime, it seems to me that the committee members wouldn't want to leave baseball stewing in its own juice while they attend to other matters.

No one should have been surprised at the negative reaction Palmeiro got when he made his first road appearance at McAfee Coliseum. Oakland is famous for its abusive fans - just ask Frank Francisco and the Texas Rangers - but there is no truth to the rumor that the Orioles brought along extra folding chairs just in case things got out of hand.

Washington Nationals pitcher Livan Hernandez is not superstitious ... and even if he were, why would he pay a small fortune to retrieve the "lucky" glove he threw into the stands in frustration two weeks ago? The fan who caught the glove asked for playoff tickets for this year and season tickets for next year to return it, so Hernandez told him to keep it. He apparently has plenty of other gloves that can bring him the kind of luck that led to 12 hits, two walks, a wild pitch and the glove-hurling tantrum on Aug. 5.

Funny headline from SportsPickle.com, the sports humor site on the Web: "Redskins pledge to donate 5 percent of stadium firewater sales to Native American groups"

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