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How many shopping days left?

Is it Thursday already? Where has the week gone? Honestly, how many of you still haven't set foot in a mall yet? Cowards.

My daughter wanted the Simpsons version of the old Operation game, with Homer as the patient. All I could find was the David Segui edition.

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Anyone who still doubts that Sidney Ponson is serious about changing his image, and body style, should note that he turned down breakfast after requesting that he be put in protective custody while serving his five-day sentence for driving while impaired. Yes, the man turned down breakfast, saying he didn't find it appealing. I've seen Sidney make love to a western omelet before Sunday afternoon games. Now he's skipping meals.

I'm telling you, the guy is going to win 18 games next season. Mark my word.

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How about that White Sox rotation? Javier Vazquez gives them another 200-inning pitcher and the best staff in baseball today. But lets see them produce four 20-game winners in the same season before we proclaim it the best ever. It might be the deepest, however, maybe even deep enough to give up one starter for Miguel Tejada.

I'm glad to hear that the Orioles' interest in Frank Thomas has cooled because of lingering concerns over his health. Yes, Thomas impressed them in face-to-face talks during the winter meetings, but it wasn't a good sign when he pulled a hamstring walking to the elevator.

Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks it's a bad idea to pursue Kenny Lofton. "The fact that the name Kenny Lofton is even being mentioned scares the hell out of me," writes Eric Henriksen. "Why not throw in $500 and get Joe Carter with him in a package deal. This is the kind of stuff that makes Miggy want to play baseball in Mexico."

Joe Carter actually did wear an Orioles uniform for a brief time, but I dare anyone to remember the name of the player they acquired for him in a later trade. Club employees aren't eligible to participate.

I'll drop a hint if necessary. It might require two.

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