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Before we begin, I'd like to suggest that the person who provided today's quip at the top of The Kickoff page concerning the Emerald Bowl -- "You have to be nuts to skip this one" -- be sentenced to 20 consecutive hours of watching Pauley Shore movies. Better yet, make it 30. And throw in "Gigli."

I'm a little late with this one, but all the sentimental flashbacks from the last MNF game on ABC reminded me of the classic line from "Dandy" Don Meredith, back in the early '70s, I believe, that the network must have conveniently forgotten. Upon hearing another announcer mention former Cleveland Browns receiver Fair Hooker, Meredith responded, "I never met one."  Now that's comedy. I wonder if he's available to tutor Mr. Flip.

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Guess I need to put in my two cents on the Jeromy Burnitz signing -- matching the amount of Marty Cordova's contract he earned in three seasons with the Orioles. Will Burnitz cause season-ticket sails to go through the roof? Absolutely not. Will he quiet all the fans who are threatening to put up billboards and hire sky writers imploring owner Peter Angelos to sell the team? Hardly. Will he push the Orioles ahead of the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays, or at least allow them to fend off the Devil Ray? Oh please. But he's still a solid addition, just like Ramon Hernandez, Latroy Hawkins and Jeff Conine. He'll be more productive in left field than anyone who played there last season. And he's a defensive upgrade, which has been one of the club's top priorities. I heard a lot of grumbling from team officials about Larry Bigbie's tendency to let balls drop in for hits before he was traded to the Rockies for Eric Byrnes, who didn't do enough offensively to earn a contract in 2006.

As I said after the Conine deal, as long as this isn't the final move from the front office, there's no reason to be critical. Take the 20-plus homers and solid defense that Burnitz will provide, and wait for a much bigger announcement. There must be one coming before February.
 
Now,  if you'll excuse me, I have to e-mail the editors at Athlon Magazine and tweak my Orioles preview. Sorry, Walter Young, but you're now the fourth bench player, with Conine moving to first base. That is, if Conine ever takes his physical. I know it's the holidays, but how long does it take to pee in a cup and turn your head and cough? Unless Major League Baseball is testing for eggnog, the holidays shouldn't really matter.

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