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No Orioles game to discuss because of the rain. But, of course, the club lost perhaps the greatest fan it ever had when Wild Bill Hagy died yesterday morning. 

The first baseball season I can remember clearly was 1982, when the Orioles nearly chased down the Brewers in a roller-coaster pennant chase. Memorial Stadium, though shabbier than Camden Yards on the outside, felt awesome in the true sense of that word. The O-R-I-O-L-E-S and "Eddie, Eddie" chants literally shook the building. And that deep love -- best expressed when fans wouldn't stop cheering after the Orioles lost the last game of 1982 -- is something I've rarely felt at Camden.

It was a wonderful place to be introduced to baseball, and Bill Hagy had a large hand in creating that atmosphere. I might have trouble explaining to an out-of-town friend why a cab driver who loved drinking Budweiser in the upper deck was a major character in my childhood universe. But then, I'm from Baltimore, so there you have it. 

In non-parochial baseball affairs, the Red Sox handled Tampa Bay, 6-0, while the Angels nipped the Yankees, 7-6, in 10 innings on the West Coast. New York trails the Red Sox by five games in the AL East and streaking Seattle by 1 ½ games in the wild-card race.  

And I suppose the biggest national sports news came when Michael Vick's attorney announced that the Atlanta Falcons' quarterback will accept a plea deal with federal prosecutors in his dogfighting case. Sources close to negotiations told various news outlets that prosecutors will recommend a 12- to 18-month  sentence for Vick. 

ESPN commentators were talking yesterday as if some team will certainly give him a shot when he gets out of prison. But I'm not sure. The public relations risk will be severe, and Vick, though spectacular, has never become a dominant player in the NFL. Regardless, the question probably will not be answered until at least 2009.

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