News item: The Orioles wrap up the 2010 schedule on Sunday after an upbeat final two months of an otherwise disappointing season.
My take: Congratulations to Buck Showalter for changing the mind-set of the team and creating some hope for the fans heading into the offseason. Now, we're going to find out if the front office can keep that hope alive with a productive winter.
Prediction: Andy MacPhail will sign or acquire a quality power guy for the middle of the order, but the really big push won't come for another year.
News item: The New York Jets swooped in and signed veteran defensive end Trevor Pryce after he was released by the Ravens, who had hoped to re-sign him after Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
My take: You snooze, you lose, but let's not get too carried away. The Ravens didn't want to lose Pryce permanently, but it's not exactly the roster gaffe of the century. If he wasn't important enough to be on the roster for such a key game, he couldn't be that important to the long-term success of the team.
News item: LeBron James said this week that he feels race played a role in some of the negative media reaction to his highly choreographed decision to leave Cleveland and join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosch in Miami.
My take: I suppose race plays some role in just about everything that happens in this society, but James needs a perspective check. He's the one who turned his free agent quest into a circus. He chose the Heat. Now, he should be big enough to take whatever heat comes from the silly spectacle he created.
News item: Ray Rice is listed as "questionable" for Sunday's game against the Steelers after testing his bruised knee in limited practice reps the past two days.
My take: He'll play, but I'm not sure it's a great idea. There'll be 12 more games after this and Willis McGahee isn't exactly chopped liver.
News item: Albert Haynesworth said in an ESPN interview that it took him weeks to decide whether to cash his $21 million bonus check and stay with the Washington Redskins because of reservations about playing in Mike Shanahan's new defensive scheme.
My take: Jeez. That must have been agonizing. Now, I understand why he had to sit out the rest of the offseason to get his head together.
News item: Bill Parcells, who gave up control of the Miami Dolphins' front office recently, told reporters before his enshrinement in the New York Giants Ring of Honor that he's not retiring and will eventually "get up and go do something."
My take: No doubt, that comment will get the rumor mill churning in New York, where Tom Coughlin has been under some fire for the Giants' slow start, but he's not going anywhere any time soon.
Bonus take: Hey, if "The Big Tuna" didn't always have something cooking, he'd have to change his nickname to "The Big Sushi."
News item: Tour de France champion Alberto Contador became the latest high-profile cyclist to be caught in the performance-enhancement net, testing positive for a very small amount of a banned drug and traces of plastic that might suggest blood doping.
My take: His "tainted meat" alibi might sound ridiculous in the wake of so many previous cycling scandals, but since the amount of clenbuterol detected was — by all accounts — too small to have any appreciable effect on performance, I'm going to withhold judgment here.
News item: Speculation is rampant that New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya will be fired on Monday.
My take: Don't act surprised. The Mets are assured of their second straight losing season, which is two too many when you're playing across town from the Yankees.
News item: The Pittsburgh Pirates have fired Double-A manager Matt Walbeck for failing to follow the organization's prescribed developmental program for minor league players.
My take: Hard to argue with that. Since Walbeck and the Altoona Curve just won the Eastern League championship, it's pretty obvious that he couldn't get with the program.
Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon Fridays and Saturdays and at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays with Brett Hollander. Also, check out his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.