Hey, Collins, McAlister is open

The Baltimore Sun

News item: The Ravens hope to bounce back from their tough Monday night loss when Kerry Collins and the undefeated Tennessee Titans visit M&T; Bank Stadium this afternoon.

My take: Collins has to be looking forward to his reunion with Chris McAlister, who was one of his leading receivers in the January 2001 Super Bowl.

News item: The Orioles' front office will assemble in Sarasota, Fla., this week to hold the team's annual organizational meetings, during which Andy MacPhail will compile information heading into the free-agent and trade markets.

My take: Whatever you do, Andy, don't ask David Steele's advice on whether to tender a contract to Daniel Cabrera.

News item: The Los Angeles Dodgers ambushed the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and appear to be headed to the National League Championship Series.

My take: It's starting to look like Manny Ramirez is going to carry them all the way to the big dance, and maybe beyond. I've never been a big Manny fan, but if it means that Hank Steinbrenner is kicking holes in his home theater setup, I'm all for it.

News item: Evan Longoria became the first rookie to homer in his first two postseason at-bats and led the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox in their first postseason game.

My take: The rest of the country got to see what Tampa Bay fans already knew - that Longoria is the best young player in the game and still has room to get better. The Orioles can only hope people are saying the same thing about Matt Wieters in a year or two.

News item: The special review of the NBA's officiating program recommended changes in the way the league monitors officials and concluded that no one engaged in illegal activity except disgraced referee Tim Donaghy.

My take: It's hard not to be a little skeptical of an in-house investigation that reached the conclusion commissioner David Stern had hoped for, but give the NBA points for getting past a damaging scandal in relatively short order. It would have been nice if Major League Baseball could have done that.

News item: The University of Virginia has reversed its decision to ban signs and banners at Cavaliers football games. The ban was intended to reduce negative fan reaction to the struggling football team, but students were threatening to wear blue instead of orange to protest the policy.

My take: Apparently, university officials backed away from the plan to muzzle free expression after they were informed that the school's founder, Thomas Jefferson, had rolled over in his grave.

News item: The Washington Redskins visit Lincoln Financial Field today to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in an early-season NFC East showdown.

My take: To be fair, every divisional game in the NFC East is a showdown, because those are probably the best four teams in the NFC.

News item: Former Oakland defensive tackle Warren Sapp took a break from Dancing with the Stars to blast Raiders owner Al Davis for his treatment of fired coach Lane Kiffin and his handling of the team.

My take: I'm - frankly - shocked that anybody would criticize a nice guy like Al Davis, whose first instinct has always been to do things to, er, for others.

News item: After a month of September in which he went 4-0 with a 1.83 ERA, New York Mets ace Johan Santana underwent surgery on a meniscus tear in his left knee.

My take: So we're supposed to be impressed. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a single intact ligament left on the Orioles' pitching staff in September.

News item: Dallas wide receiver Terrell Owens reportedly complained to quarterback Tony Romo about his role in the offense after the Cowboys lost to the Redskins last week.

My take: Owens has 17 receptions this year and four touchdowns but apparently thinks he's being under-used. I'm guessing he'll have no complaints after he gets through torching the Cincinnati Bengals' secondary today.

News item: French cycling officials say they have urine samples from Lance Armstrong's 1999 Tour de France victory and want to retest them for EPO.

My take: I don't think 1999 was a very good year. I've heard the Lance Armstrong 2002 Blanc is much more popular among real urine enthusiasts.

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

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