Indictments, investigations headline week's itemized list

The Baltimore Sun

News item: The Orioles will give Cal Ripken Jr. a "Hall of Fame Send-off" at Camden Yards on Tuesday night, honoring him in advance of his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., next Sunday.

My take: I'm hoping this one will be a lot better than the sendoffs they gave Jon Miller, Davey Johnson, Pat Gillick, Brooks Rob ... oh, forget it.

News item: Erik Bedard took a no-hitter into the sixth inning Friday night in Oakland. He was removed from the game with a one-hitter after the seventh with the Orioles leading by five runs.

My take: Gutsy move by interim manager Dave Trembley. You know what happened to the last guy who pulled a starting pitcher out of a great game with a five-run lead.

News item: The NFL and the Atlanta Falcons are reportedly urging Michael Vick to take a voluntary leave to concentrate on defending himself against federal dogfighting charges.

My take: I can't see him reporting to training camp this week, but I'm afraid to think what he might do with the free time.

News item: The federal grand jury investigating whether Barry Bonds committed perjury was set to expire this month, but federal prosecutors reportedly have decided to extend its term by six months.

My take: The extension will be two months longer than any of the steroid kingpins spent in prison for the original BALCO steroid conspiracy, which spawned this investigation. Don't these guys have an NBA gambling scandal or something to look into?

Related news item: Bud Selig reluctantly attended the first two games of the series between the Milwaukee Brewers and San Francisco Giants at Miller Park, just in case Bonds broke Hank Aaron's all-time home run record.

My take: You reap what you sow. If Selig hadn't been so hellbent on realignment in the 1990s, the Brewers would still be in the American League and Bonds wouldn't be anywhere near Milwaukee this weekend.

News item: Tour de France leader Michael Rasmussen of Denmark recently was kicked off the Danish national cycling team for missing two drug tests, something he characterized as "an administrative error." Rasmussen also has been accused by an acquaintance of trying to dupe him into transporting illegal doping materials on an airplane flight in 2002.

My take: The drug problem in international cycling has gotten so bad that they ought to make the Tour de France leader wear a yellow lab coat.

News item: For the second year in a row, Joey Harrington may be the starting quarterback by default for an NFL team. Harrington stepped in for Daunte Culpepper in Miami last year and looks like he'll take Vick's place this year in Atlanta.

My take: Hey, don't write off Chris Redman just yet.

News item: The FBI announced that a former NBA referee is under investigation for allegedly betting on games he officiated. ESPN revealed later that the referee in question is 13-year veteran Tim Donaghy.

My take: I'm not surprised. It was only a matter of time before professional sports officials started getting tired of the players having all the illegal fun.

News item: Both fighters in a July 7 Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title bout tested positive for steroids after the fight.

My take: This is just what Ultimate Fighting didn't need - the kind of scandal that could drag it down into the muck with unsavory sports like baseball and football.

News item: Detroit Tigers slugger Gary Sheffield was fined by Major League Baseball last week for calling baseball's umpiring system "corrupt" in June.

My take: I heard Sheff went easier on the rookie umpires because they aren't "all-the-way blue."

News item: The Atlanta Braves signed soon-to-be 49-year-old Julio Franco after he was waived by the New York Mets.

My take: I don't know if he has anything left, and I don't care. It's just a great feeling to know that there's a guy playing in the major leagues who's only two years younger than me.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon Saturdays and Sundays.

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