News item: Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts had to delay his return to baseball activities again because of a case of pneumonia that forced him into the hospital on Wednesday.
My take: I used to laugh at the notion of an Orioles Curse, but Oriole Park at Camden Yards was built on the site of the tavern run by Babe Ruth's father, and you know what the Babe did to the Red Sox for 86 years. Mark your calendars for the next Orioles World Series in 2059.
News item: The Orioles are in Washington to play the Nationals in the first series of the Battle of the Beltways.
My take: Either that or they're there to kidnap Adam Dunn.
News item: The Washington Wizards win the NBA draft lottery, and are expected to take 19-year-old Kentucky guard John Wall.
My take: Since the Wizards also expect to start next year with a healthy Gilbert Arenas, the team has petitioned the NBA to allow them to use two basketballs when they are on offense.
News item: When Lookin At Lucky won the 135th Preakness on Saturday, it guaranteed that there would be no Triple Crown for the 33rd straight year and left the Belmont Stakes without the winner of either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness.
My take: Hey, anything we can do to spoil the party in New York, don't hesitate to ask.
Related news item: The favorites in the race likely will be First Dude and Ice Box, the place horses in the Derby and Preakness.
My take: If I were a betting man, I would be betting on Ice Box, for obvious personal reasons.
News item: The University of Southern California reportedly is paying new coach Lane Kiffin $4 million per year, which is on par with some of the most successful and storied coaches in college football.
My take: I don't know what all the commotion is about. For Kiffin to have any credibility in the USC locker room, he has to make more than the players.
News item: Defrocked Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, who spent years disputing the positive drug test that cost him his title, finally has admitted that he used performance-enhancing drugs and has accused former teammate and seven-time Tour champion Lance Armstrong of doing the same.
My take: You know that moment in life when all your illusions are shattered …
News item: NFL players union chief DeMarcus Smith says he is almost certain that the league will lock the players out in 2011.
My take: He's the expert, but I'd bet my house that doesn't happen. The NFL is about making money, not killing the golden goose.
Bonus take: Of course, I said the same thing about Major League Baseball back in 1994.
News item: The Orioles sold just 9,299 tickets for Monday night's game against the Kansas City Royals and posted their third sub-10,000 attendance figure of the year on Tuesday night.
My take: No joke here. The team's relationship with its fans is in critical condition, and it's heart-breaking to see the stands all but empty night after night.
News item: Florida Marlins star Hanley Ramirez finally has apologized to his teammates for his lack of hustle and verbal attack on manager Freddi Gonzalez earlier this week. He apparently came to his senses after an intervention by Hall of Famers Andre Dawson and Tony Perez.
My take: Must be nice to have former players of that caliber around the ballclub to help out in a situation like that.
News item: Sports Illustrated football guru Peter King has the Ravens third in his preseason NFL power rankings, one slot ahead of Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts and two ahead of the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints. But if the Super Bowl were held today, King thinks the Green Bay Packers would beat the San Diego Chargers to win the NFL title.
My take: Since we all know that the Packers and Chargers won't really be there at the end, that makes the Ravens the Super Bowl favorite, right?
Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) on Fridays and Saturdays at noon and with Brett Hollander on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6. Also, check out his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here" at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.