Rickey always backed up his talk

N ews item: All-time stolen-base leader Rickey Henderson heads the list of first-time candidates and appears to be a lock to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame when the results of the balloting are announced in January.

My take: Rickey was a character, but if you didn't enjoy watching him play, you weren't paying attention. There's a case to be made that - in his prime - he was the most exciting player in the history of the game. Just ask him.


News item: Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis and the team have temporarily broken off contract talks after the negotiations hit a speed bump. Markakis is believed to want a six-year deal worth about $70 million. The Orioles are believed to be offering about $60 million for six seasons.

My take: Markakis made $455,000 last year. Hmmmm. Yeah, I'd probably hold out for that final $10 million so my great-great-grandchildren can drive nice cars, too.


News item: The Orioles appear to be in play for a couple of the pitchers who are coming out of Japan this year.

My take: I like their chances right up until Peter Angelos hears that one of those guys is going to cost 200 million yen per year.

News item: Notre Dame has decided to keep football coach Charlie Weis after another disappointing season that included another embarrassing loss to rival Southern California.

My take: Glad to see they're finally putting a premium on security, but that's because I'm a big Trojans fan. I'm sure Tyrone Willingham feels pretty good about it, too.

News item: The Ravens host the Washington Redskins tonight at M&T; Bank Stadium in a local showdown that has major playoff implications for both teams.

My take: Glad I won't be home to watch the game with the 'Skins fan in the family. I can't bear to watch a 24-year-old man cry.

News item: New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress faces a serious weapons charge after accidentally shooting himself in the leg last weekend at a Manhattan club.

My take: He has nothing to worry about. I'm guessing a jury will find him not guilty by reason of being a complete idiot.


Related news item: Police in New York dispute reports that NFL officials informed them of the accidental shooting, claiming they didn't know about it until an NYPD detective saw it "scrolling along on ESPN."

My take: And you wondered why there's never a New York cop around when you need one.

News item: O.J. Simpson will serve at least nine years in prison - barring a successful appeal - for his role in an armed attempt to steal back sports memorabilia he claimed belonged to him.

My take: It's hard to feel sorry for the Juice, of course, but who gets a 33-year sentence for what is technically a first offense in a crime in which nobody got hurt?

News item: Junior Seau has come out of retirement to help the injury-depleted defense of the New England Patriots. He'll take the roster spot of Adalius Thomas and suit up for today's game at Seattle.

My take: Life just isn't fair. Junior will get to retire for the third time at the end of the year while - in this economy - the rest of us probably won't get to retire once.


News item: Alex Rodriguez says he has decided to play for the Dominican Republic in the coming World Baseball Classic.

My take: Not so fast. I hear the U.S. team is ready to make a counteroffer and agent Scott Boras also has bids from six mystery countries.

News item: The Atlanta Braves have acquired starting pitcher Javier Vazquez from the Chicago White Sox and are making a serious bid to sign free-agent starter A.J. Burnett.

My take: Well, I suppose that's fine if you think it's important to have a good pitching staff.

News item: City Councilman James Kraft is trying to repeal a 1916 law that makes it technically illegal for Orioles fans to shout "O!" during the national anthem.

My take: That one was probably passed right before the infamous ordinance that makes it illegal to take a lion to the movies in Baltimore. And yet the Supreme Court has ruled that it's perfectly fine to shout "O!" in a crowded theater.


News item: The New York Post reported on the paper's Mets blog that the Seattle Mariners will shop top reliever J.J. Putz during the winter meetings.

My take: Don't really see that. Putz, not counting the added entertainment value of his last name, is well priced at an average of $7 million the next two seasons.

Bonus take: Remember, if you run into J.J. on the street, it's really pronounced "Pootz."

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