On rain for the weekend and pain for the Deacons

March 22, 2009|By Peter Schmuck

News item: The Orioles canceled their Grapefruit League game against the Tampa Bay Rays on account of rain yesterday at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, even though the sun was shining at game time.

My take: The outfield did not drain well enough to be playable after a brief but heavy rainstorm swept through the area a couple of hours earlier. Don't know whether this is relevant, but it was 79 degrees and sunny in Sarasota, Fla., where the Orioles ought to be playing their home games at this time next year

News item: No. 4 seed Wake Forest went down hard in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday, becoming the only team to lose to a team that was seeded 13th or lower.

My take: When you're a top-four seed, the last thing you want to do is run into this year's Cleveland State. And, in this case, it actually was Cleveland State, which is even worse.

News item: Orioles owner Peter Angelos said last week that he will do what he can to help keep the Preakness Stakes in Maryland. The future of the event has been thrown into doubt as bankrupt Magna Entertainment Corp. prepares to auction its assets, including the Pimlico and Laurel racetracks.

My take: This is a smart public relations move for Angelos, who could use the public goodwill that would come with saving the biggest single sporting event held in the state. Mix in a World Series one of these days and we might even throw him a parade.

News item: Ray Lewis said during his Thursday news conference that he was always focused on finishing his career with the Ravens, despite all the rumors and speculation to the contrary that preceded the signing of his new contract.

My take: Could have fooled me, but what's done is done. I never believed he was going anywhere else, but the suspense was mildly entertaining.

News item: President Barack Obama, who filled out an NCAA tournament bracket sheet for ESPN.com, got just 19 of 32 correct on Thursday and Friday to start out deep in the standings of the site's bracket challenge contest.

My take: I'm guessing he would have finished with a more respectable record if he hadn't felt politically obligated to pick Illinois over Western Kentucky and Virginia Commonwealth over heavily favored UCLA. All politics might be local, but geographical loyalty is a slam-dunk bracket buster.

Related news item: Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski bristled when informed that Obama did not include the Blue Devils in his Final Four, saying the president should be paying more attention to the economy and less to the Big Dance.

My take: Clearly, he is, if his 8-for-16 performance in Friday's games is any indication.

Bonus take: I agree with Coach K in principle, but I'm not going to criticize our new president for being a sports fan. At least when he predicts a dramatic loss in the NCAA tournament, I don't have to push back retirement an additional two years.

News item: The Orioles are headed into the final two weeks of spring training with several slots in the starting rotation up for grabs.

My take: What exactly did you expect, four 20-game winners to emerge from this group? The rotation will be a work in progress all season and into next year, when they start moving some of the top young pitching prospects into the mix. In the meantime, the cliche "No pain, no gain" will quickly become manager Dave Trembley's mantra.

News item: The Ravens reportedly have asked the NFL not to schedule next season's road game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in prime time.

My take: They'll get no complaint from me. It's bad enough having to watch Ben Roethlisberger engineer a last-minute touchdown drive every time the Ravens play the Steelers at Heinz Field. Why should I have to miss Jimmy Kimmel Live !, too?

News item: The top price for a ticket at the new Yankee Stadium is $2,625, which will get you a single-game ticket in the front row of the field-box section.

My take: The same ticket will cost $2,500 in a season-ticket package, which would free up $125 per seat to buy an individual pizza and maybe a medium Coke.

Listen to Peter Schmuck from spring training on WBAL (1090 AM) every weeknight at 6.

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