Scoreboard dispute a poor display by O's

December 11, 2006|By PETER SCHMUCK

The more I think about the Camden Yards scoreboard dispute, the more it reminds me of what happened when I set out to buy my first high definition television a few months ago.

Coincidentally, I settled on a state-of-the-art Mitsubishi 1080p, but I talked to a guy who told me that if I just wait a few more years, I can get a holographic projector that will allow me to actually replace Steve McNair in the huddle and call plays for the Ravens.

That's pretty appealing, but my old TV was as dead as the Adam LaRoche deal and I really wanted to see Grey's Anatomy in Hi-Def. I figured that there will always be something new and better on the horizon, but at some point you just have to take the plunge. It's sort of like marriage, except when you choose the wrong TV, it doesn't end up with half of everything you own.

This is where the Orioles and I part company. They initially endorsed the plan to replace the failing Sony JumboTron that towers over center field, but withheld final approval based on the expectation that a more advanced video board would be available in the not-too-distant future.

The team got a temporary restraining order Friday to keep the Maryland Stadium Authority from going ahead with the new Mitsubishi DiamondVision. The Orioles want a bigger, better sound and video system (at state expense, of course) and - as much as Peter Angelos hates to sue people - the club went to the mat to make sure that New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox fans get the best possible scoreboard experience when they show up at Oriole Park next season.

I'm sure Angelos feels he should be applauded for trying to squeeze the maximum upgrade out of the stadium authority, but this really looks more like an argument over who gets to hold the giant remote control.

Beat goes on

You know how much I hate to gloat, but my correct choice of the Ravens against the spread in yesterday's paper improves my record in their games this year to 12-1. If only I lived in Las Vegas, I would certainly be thinking Corvette.

I've enlisted the help of a series of mathematical experts to help me calculate the odds of my unusual run of luck. This week, Dr. John Oetting of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory wrote soon after the game to let me know that the chance of picking exactly 12 of 13 against the line (assuming each spread is a 50-50 proposition) is 1 in 630.

If you factor in the probability of ties - about 3 percent of NFL spreads have been hit right on the button this year - the probability of going exactly 12-1 jumps to 1 in 936.

Gotta believe the law of averages is lurking out there somewhere. Hopefully, it won't be riding on the Cleveland Browns charter next week.

Memories of Flood

Strange how things happen. Right before I heard that free agent pitcher Jason Marquis had parlayed a 6.02 ERA into a three-year, approximately $20 million deal with the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, I just happened to be leafing through a copy of former Sun staffer Brad Snyder's new book on baseball labor pioneer Curt Flood.

The book, A Well-Paid Slave (Viking, $25.99) chronicles Flood's legal battle to overturn baseball's reserve clause, which eventually led to the advent of free agency.

Flood, an All-Star outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, sacrificed his career to fight for a principle. He lost in court and left the game a broken man, but the Dave McNally/Andy Messersmith decision a few years later paved the way for today's huge contracts.

Just in case

Chicago Bears coach Lovey Smith was adamant last week when reporters pressed him on possible alternatives to struggling quarterback Rex Grossman.

"We're 10-2, Rex Grossman is our quarterback," Smith said over and over, as if it were his mantra.

So what are we to make of reports that he split the quarterback reps during practice this week between Grossman and backup Brian Griese? Probably that Grossman has less than a full game tonight against the Rams to keep his job.

Bad, bad Bengals

News item: Pro Bowl cornerback Deltha O'Neal was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated the other day, becoming the eighth Cincinnati Bengals player to be arrested this year.

My take: If this keeps up, they'll have to decide whether to have the bailiff introduce the offense or the defense at the next hearing.

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

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