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Good morning, all. I'll be pinch-blogging for Bill Ordine today and tomorrow. As many of you know, the Ravens hosted the New York Giants in a nationally televised preseason game last night. Ordine, a conscientious soul, would no doubt have attended said contest and ferreted some colorful details for you members of the purple nation.

Me? I spent the evening focused on more important matters. Would Poison frontman Brett Michaels finally ditch venomous vixen Lacey from his VH-1 reality series Rock of Love (he didn't, though I swear the woman would eat her young to win the show)? Would former television star Scott Baio follow his life coach's advice and break up with loathsome hanger-on Johnny V. in a desperate stab at maturity (he did, hallelujah)?

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I know that as a sportswriter, I should care about sports. And bless every soul who loves football enough to crowd M&T for preseason action. But I'm not with you. I can't get up for games when the players aren't striving for maximum artistry and the result doesn't matter. If avoiding injury is the chief goal of the best players on the field (and the Giants weren't so lucky on that front), count me out as a viewer.

VH-1 meanwhile, produces just the sort of celebrity pabulum that keeps me dumb and happy. Say what you will about Lacey, but she was in it to win last night, unlike the Ravens' and Giants' starters. However, please do read my superb colleagues Jamison Hensley, Ed Lee, Mike Preston etc. for sharper analysis of the game.

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As for the Orioles, they lost 3-2 yesterday afternoon to the Toronto Blue Jays. But we have to take the long view on this one. Jeremy Guthrie, who has a chance to be a key part of the next good Orioles team, appeared back on form, pounding the strike zone with his fastball. Guthrie will be among the more fascinating stories on the team going into next season. He's the feel-good story of this year, a found treasure if there ever was one. Hitters around the league have said his stuff is for real, but a recent spate of poor outings may have had some wondering if his brilliant first half was a fluke of the 2005 Bruce Chen variety. We don't know for sure, but his almost 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio merits optimism.

In the rest of baseball, the Yankees kept rolling at the expense of the fading Tigers. They also picked up a game on the inconsistent Red Sox. Johan Santana was brilliant with 17 strikeouts in eight innings for the Twins. More on that later. All races remain tight, with no team leading its division by more than five games.

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