Wait Till Roster Shakes Out To Judge Orioles

July 24, 2009|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

N ews item: The Orioles need to show improvement during the second half of the season but have lost five of six games since the All-Star break and were just swept by the New York Yankees.

My take: It doesn't look very good right now, but the progress of the rebuilding program cannot be judged until the roster shakes out after the trading deadline next Friday. That's when things will really begin to take shape heading toward 2010.

News item: The Orioles have finally ended their 20-year search for a permanent spring training home, bringing their major and minor league operations together in Sarasota, Fla., starting next February.

My take: I've taken enough potshots at the team for its many failures over the years to secure an adequate site, so I've got to give John Angelos and Alan Rifkin credit for finally bringing this deal together. The vote Wednesday by the Sarasota County Commissioners to approve the plan was a major leap forward for the organization.

News item: ESPN.com is reporting that, according to sources, quarterback Brett Favre is "anguished" about whether to report to training camp with the Minnesota Vikings.

My take: This is a startling development. Until Wednesday, he had merely been "conflicted," though there was a point a few weeks ago when he was temporarily downgraded to "indecisive."

Bonus take: With only a few days until camp opens, semanticists are working furiously to come up with at least one new synonym to describe Favre's increasing level of anxiety.

News item: Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been in touch with receiver Derrick Mason and remains hopeful that the veteran wide-out will decide to postpone retirement for one or two more seasons.

My take: I'll stick with my earlier prediction that Mason eventually will report to training camp, but he might need a couple of weeks to come to that decision. Either way, he's earned all the time he wants to figure things out.

News item: The Boston Red Sox traded two midlevel prospects to the Pittsburgh Pirates for power-hitting first baseman Adam LaRoche. It was the second time in a year the Red Sox have acquired a slugger from Pittsburgh, after getting Jason Bay in the Manny Ramirez deal.

My take: Even if you're a Red Sox hater, you've got to be impressed with the way Theo Epstein does business. He couldn't have done better in those two deals if he had shown up at the Pirates front office wearing a mask.

Related news item: The Pirates have traded Bay, Nate McLouth, Xavier Nady and LaRoche over the past 12 months for 13 players, almost all of them minor league prospects.

My take: This is an interesting developmental strategy on the part of the Pirates. They have reached the point where they are rebuilding to develop players to trade for their next rebuilding program.

News item: On Thursday, just four days after his heartbreaking loss in the British Open, 59-year-old Tom Watson shot a 67 in the first round of the Senior British Open at Sunningdale, England.

My take: I guess nobody should have doubted his strength of character after his amazing performance last week. He didn't win eight majors - and five British Opens - by letting one unlucky approach shot get him down.

News item: ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews became an even bigger media sensation when some lowlife filmed her through a peephole in her hotel room and put the nude video on the Internet.

My take: That's so sleazy that I haven't even been tempted to go looking for the video on the Web, and I've been pretty bored sitting here all week staring at the splint on my leg.

News item: Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner has joined a long line of Steinbrenners by publicly proclaiming that manager Joe Girardi needs to make the playoffs this year.

My take: Well, I'll give him this. At least he did it the day the Yankees opened a three-game series against the Orioles, who haven't won a road game against the Yanks since last July.

News item: LeBron James admits in his new book that he smoked marijuana with friends in high school.

My take: Kids smoke pot in high school? I've got to spend more time at Barnes & Noble. I'm really out of the loop.

Listen to Peter Schmuck weeknights at 6 on WBAL (1090 AM) and check out "The Schmuck Stops Here" at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.

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