As I take a quick peek at the TV Land channel, I'm reminded again that the Bob Hope episode on "I Love Lucy" is an absolute classic.

"How are things down on the farm," Hope asks Lucy, who is disguised as a baseball player so she can get inside the clubhouse.

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"The pigs are all right," she replies, "but the cow died."

I don't care who you are, that's funny. It also makes me miss my youth a little more. It seems like everyone who used to make me laugh, and probably helped to shape my sense of humor, is dead now. I keep expecting to wake up one morning and be in black-and-white.

Speaking of which…

So Donovan McNabb thinks people are more critical of African-American quarterbacks? I won't argue that point. It's tough enough to get the chance to start in the NFL, let alone compete while seemingly everyone is waiting for you to fail so they can fall back on outdated and ugly stereotypes. But don't bring Peyton Manning and Tom Brady into it.

Manning caught lots of heat for not winning "the big one" before shutting up his critics last season. And Brady is pretty much immune to criticism because he's simply the best, not because of the color of his skin.

What are you going to rip Brady for? Are his dimples too deep? Should he be penalized 15 yards for excessive good looks? Is he completing too many passes to receivers and supermodels?

I guess since he hasn't won the Super Bowl every year, he should be hammered as hard as McNabb.

McNabb could get a lot of people off his back if he was playing better. Maybe he's still hurt. Maybe he's washed up. But calling him "great" is almost as outdated as the stereotypes. Just shut up and start completing passes again and winning games and being a leader. That should satisfy most of the critics.

Unfortunately, the bigots never will be silenced. But McNabb can make them the minority again. His supporters far outnumbered them when he was playing at a Pro Bowl level.

I'm taking Philadelphia –6 against Detroit today. I don't feel real good about any game, but it's time for the Eagles to bust loose. And I rarely take the Lions on the road.

Don't be too hard on Floyd Landis. Anyone who's used steroids knows there's cycling involved. He just got confused.

The Orioles won't sign Barry Bonds. There's no reason to debate the topic, except for fun.

I'll say this for manager Dave Trembley – he's not afraid to stand up to his star players. Good for him.

And before anyone brings up how Trembley allowed Miguel Tejada to play the day after the shortstop fractured his wrist, those were extremely unusual circumstances that I wouldn't wish on any manager, especially one who was new to the job. Trembley was trying to show Tejada the proper respect. He was placed in a very difficult position.

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At least he doesn't have Tejada's streak to consider when making out the lineup each day. Cal Ripken's streak, of far greater importance than Tejada's, became a burden to more than one manager before he ended it on his own terms.

I'll say it again: Have the surgery, Danys. What's there to think about? A torn ligament is going to be an issue for the rest of your career if it's not replaced. Either have the surgery or retire.

Each time Chad Bradford entered a tight game this season, a reporter inevitably would remark, "Well, at least he won't give up a home run here."

We can't say that anymore.

No more debating the issue: Nick Markakis is the Most Valuable Oriole for 2007. Erik Bedard is second. You can argue for Brian Roberts, Miguel Tejada, Jeremy Guthrie or Jamie Walker for third.

It's more challenging to come up with Most Disappointing Oriole. And not because there's a shortage of candidates.

Aubrey Huff's numbers will look good enough by season's end that he might have fallen out of the running. Ramon Hernandez probably vaulted to the top of the list, but feel free to give me your top three.

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