News item: Ravens running back Ray Rice, whose four-year rookie contract is about to expire, said this week that he can't imagine he'll be anywhere but Baltimore next season and beyond.
My take: Neither can I, and I was just saying the same thing about Albert Pujols and St. Louis a couple of weeks ago.
Bonus take: Of course, with the franchise tag available, the possibility of losing Rice to another team is barely worth mentioning.
Related news item: Rice said Wednesday that the team's emphasis on the passing game earlier this season was a blessing in disguise and claims that it has made him fresher for the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs.
My take: My advice to offensive coordinator Cam Cameron would be to tell everyone that was the plan all along.
News item: The Orioles have signed Japanese pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada to a two-year contract with an option for the 2014 season. They also remain in play for Taiwanese pitcher Chen Wei-Yin as new executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette moves aggressively to enlarge the team's international footprint.
My take: Nothing wrong with that, except that the Orioles are about a decade late to this party.
Bonus take: "But the bottom line is, can they get guys out? Can they pitch?" — Buck Showalter.
News item: Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, who has spent much of the past year recovering from a second concussion, declined to speculate Tuesday on his chances of being ready for spring training.
My take: That's not very encouraging, but don't read too much into it. Roberts has suffered through so many setbacks that he's understandably tired of trying to figure out what's going to happen next.
News item: Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is "questionable" for what is unquestionably one of the biggest games of the season, Monday night in San Francisco. If the Steelers or Ravens blink this weekend, it will likely determine who wins the AFC North and gets to start at home in the playoffs.
My take: If they have to wheel him onto the field on a gurney, I'm guessing Big Ben will find a way to play. Say what you want about him — and a lot of it wouldn't be good — he's the toughest quarterback in the NFL.
News item: Steelers linebacker James Harrison won't play Monday after he was suspended for one game for trying to decapitate Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy.
My take: Cry me a river. The guy definitely needs a timeout before he becomes the next Jack Tatum.
News item: Major League Baseball's new labor agreement includes a prohibition against players' selling advertising space on their bodies. That means no player may have a visible tattoo bearing a corporate logo.
My take: This seems reasonable, though it strikes me as a tremendous waste of marketable neck and forearm space.
News item: The magical Denver Broncos could help the Ravens (or the Steelers) close in on the No. 1 seed in the AFC with an upset victory over the New England Patriots on Sunday.
My take: If you don't want to leave anything to chance, I suggest that you spend Sunday morning "Tebowing" in your Ravens jersey.
News item: National League Most Valuable Player Ryan Braun reportedly has tested positive for an abnormally high testosterone level that will lead to a 50-game suspension at the start of the 2012 season if he is not able to successfully appeal the positive test result. He denies having intentionally ingested any banned substance.
My take: Let's wait and see how this one shakes out before drawing any conclusions. And, no, the Baseball Writers Association of America should not yank his MVP award if his appeal fails. With Barry Bonds owning seven MVP plaques and Roger Clemens owning seven Cy Young Awards, that can of worms is just too big to open.
News item: Major League Baseball has instituted a media dress code that bans flip-flops and "beachwear" in baseball clubhouses and press boxes.
My take: Needless to say, I wasn't consulted, since this basically outlaws my entire wardrobe.
Listen to Peter Schmuck when he hosts "The Week in Review" at noon Fridays on WBAL (1090 AM) and wbal.com.
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