Ravens in rotten situation after they spoiled R. Lewis

April 23, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

Frankly, I'm not surprised that Ray Lewis is discontented. That's what you get when you indulge someone to the point where he completely loses perspective, so - in a sense - Brian Billick is reaping what he sowed.

Lewis got so much special treatment when the Ravens were riding high and he was considered the best defensive player in the game that he simply began to take his royal status in the organization for granted.

He has forgotten that the Ravens stood by him at his darkest hour. He has forgotten that they made him the NFL's highest-paid defensive player a few years ago. He has forgotten that the $19 million signing bonus that came with that deal was for the length of the contract, not three seasons.

Lewis clearly lives in a logic-free zone. If, in fact, he was a better player when there was more beef on the defensive line, then the Ravens actually created the environment that propelled him to superstardom and that huge contract. He should be thanking them instead crying a river on Comcast and ESPN.

The comparison by Sun columnist John Eisenberg to the Miguel Tejada situation in December is apropos. In each case, the most influential player on the team staged a mini-mutiny that could only hamper the efforts of the franchise to improve for the coming season.

The only difference is the stage that each player has reached in his career. Tejada still is very much in his prime, so the Orioles were in no hurry to give in to his implied trade demand. Lewis is a little further down his career path, so the Ravens probably would unload him if they could get a reasonable return.

The Naval Academy already has had quite a sports weekend, holding the annual Blue-Gold spring football game Friday night and facing Johns Hopkins in lacrosse yesterday, though neither of those events went according to plan. Perhaps today, the Navy baseball team can chase the clouds away with a sweep of Army in a doubleheader at Camden Yards.

The academy hopes to boost interest in the baseball side of the storied rivalry by playing at Oriole Park, which could become a regular venue for home games against Army in the future. Tickets are $7 for adults and $3 for children. The first game begins at noon, and it looks like the weather just might cooperate.

I'm still aglow from the opportunity to walk nine holes with the great Arnold Palmer during the U.S. Senior Open at Caves Valley Country Club in 2002. Now, I might get another chance at the Constellation Energy Classic.

Palmer's gracious appearance at the CEC kickoff luncheon Friday almost certainly will have a dynamic effect on attendance and sponsorship for the September event, perhaps allowing it to raise more than $1 million for local charities this year.

Palmer might not break 80, but it won't matter. He's one of the most charismatic athletes of all time, and he can still work the gallery better than anybody who has ever held a 5-iron.

In a not-so-shocking development, the Toronto Blue Jays have put free-agent acquisition A.J. Burnett on the disabled list with a sore elbow. Everyone is saying that it's nothing to get excited about, but that's what you have to say when you just dropped $55 million on the guy.

He's going to Alabama to see orthopedic specialist Dr. James Andrews, who performed extensive reconstruction surgery on the same elbow in 2003. In the meantime, general manager J.P. Ricciardi might do well to stay out of sight. The local media are already making second-guessing noises and pondering a possible "payroll disaster."

To be honest, I was actually relieved that the Orioles suffered a 6-1 loss to the Yankees yesterday in New York. I watched Friday night's telecast, and I don't think Jim Hunter's heart can take much more.

I'm actually getting calls on the radio show and e-mails from people asking whether there's room for them in Jimmyville this year, and the answer is - unfortunately - no. During the recent real estate run-up, all of the available units were bought up by speculators, who are now selling them as timeshares to Red Sox fans. peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon on Saturdays.

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