It was about a year ago that Jamal Lewis showed up in Westminster in the biggest truck I had ever seen.
OK, it wasn't an 18-wheeler, but it was the biggest non-RV personal vehicle I had ever seen up close, so I had to find out what it was all about.
Jamal was quite accommodating. He gave me the full tour of his customized, $200,000 monster truck and explained why it was "not a toy." It was, he insisted, a promotional vehicle for the trucking company (All-American Express) that he had started with his football earnings.
The other thing I remember about that day was the way cornerback Chris McAlister reacted when he saw Jamal's new ride for the first time. He crawled right into the driver's seat and demanded the keys.
Fast-forward to Ravens training camp 2007. Jamal is gone, but there is an even bigger truck in the Best Western parking lot this year. It's a dark-gray Ford Super Cruiser with "King Kong" on the license plate and a satellite television receiver on the roof.
If you said McAlister, mail yourself a fruit basket. Just don't ask for a tour.
C-Mac showed off the truck - which apparently is a toy - on a Comcast show the other night, but he has waved off all further questions about it, perhaps to avoid the perception that he isn't totally focused on football.
Either that or he just doesn't want anybody asking to drive it.
If you doubt that sports fans are conflicted about Barry Bonds and his pursuit of Hank Aaron's all-time home run record, you should have watched Tuesday night's game between the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
The big crowd in L.A. booed Bonds every time he came to the plate, which should come as a surprise to no one. The strange thing is, they also booed when Dodgers pitcher Brad Penny intentionally walked Bonds in the third inning.
Mixed feelings, Part II
TV commentator Joe Morgan did not shy away from the debate over Bonds during the ESPN2 telecast of the game, explaining why he has said all along that commissioner Bud Selig should be present for the record breaker and people should give Bonds his due.
"If they had taken Barry off the field, it would be different," Morgan said. "If they let you play, then I think you have to deal with what goes on on the field."
"Why did you have to bring something like that up?" Heap said, half-jokingly.
"I forgot about that," he said. "You have to have a short memory. ... I haven't thought about that. ... Well, I thought about it once when I saw a replay on TV."
Did it sting a little when you saw it?
"Of course, you don't want to make a play that doesn't help your team win. You always want to make a big play to make up for it. Those things happen, but it's frustrating."
Red Sox coup
There are some people in Boston scratching their heads about the deal that put closer Eric Gagne into the Red Sox bullpen. The Red Sox already have one of the top closers in the game in Jonathan Papelbon (24 saves, 2.09 ERA) and an outstanding setup guy in Hideki Okajima (2-0, 1.01 ERA). Why would they go out of their way to add another late-inning reliever?
Actually, it makes perfect sense. The Red Sox have a big lead on the Yankees in the American League East, and the addition of a second closer insures them against a late-season bullpen injury that could undermine a successful postseason.
Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) at noon Saturdays and Sundays.