Obama playing political football

The Baltimore Sun

News item: President Barack Obama has announced that he is rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers in tonight's Super Bowl, claiming that they have long been his favorite team if you don't count his hometown Chicago Bears.

My take: What, has the guy been taking sports fan lessons from Hillary Clinton?

Bonus take: It's really a wily political move, cozying up to the Super Bowl team that's from one of the great political battleground states instead of the team that plays in John McCain's backyard, but I would rather he concentrate on the truly important issues facing this country ... like fixing the Bowl Championship Series.

News item: By some accounts, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner can stamp his ticket to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with a victory over the Steelers in the Super Bowl tonight.

My take: I think he's already there, though I'll concede that his body of work wouldn't necessarily qualify him if it weren't for his great life story.

News item: The Orioles are close to a deal that would bring them former top pitching prospect Rich Hill from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named.

My take: Is it just me, or has it gotten to the point where Cubs general manager Jim Hendry has told Andy MacPhail to just take whatever he needs and leave the key under the mat?

News item: The Orioles officially have scheduled FanFest for Saturday, April 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 a.m.

My take: That leaves plenty of time for the team to get to Nationals Park for the final exhibition game of the preseason, and it leaves Camden Yards available Sunday for the Yankees to hold their final spring workout in front of their hometown fans.

News item: Ravens star Ray Lewis deflected questions about his upcoming contract negotiations during a promotional visit to Tampa, Fla., by saying that the matter is between "me and God."

My take: I've heard some high praise directed at Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, but let's not get carried away.

News item: The NFL and NBC rejected a commercial from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals because it featured beautiful models in lingerie getting sensuous with various vegetables.

My take: I understand completely. I mean, the last thing this Super Bowl needs is a cauliflower malfunction.

News item: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was named Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year in fan balloting on the NFL Web site and Sprint wireless service.

My take: I'm a Diet Dr Pepper man, myself, so I can't officially recognize the award. I'm sure Joe will understand.

News item: The Detroit Lions are considering changing their uniforms in time for the 2010 season.

My take: Mystery solved. You wondered why they've stunk all these years. They've gone years without changing their uniforms.

News item: The star witness in the Barry Bonds perjury trial will be ex-Giants catcher Bobby Estalella, who played with Bonds for a season and a half in San Francisco.

My take: No, Estalella is not the Spanish word for McNamee, but I think it's time for Barry to make a deal and try to get one of those four-month minimum-security gigs that Victor Conte had.

News item: City officials told a Pittsburgh television station Wednesday that - because of budget problems - there would be no parade if the Steelers win the Super Bowl.

My take: Don't get excited. Mayor Luke Ravenstahl has promised an "appropriate celebration," which would be a switch because Steelers fans aren't known for celebrating appropriately.

News item: Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams feuded publicly with the athletic administration after last weekend's lopsided loss to Duke, leading to speculation about his job security.

My take: No need to worry about that. Williams has the support of many of the department's most influential boosters, and he has a couple of decent recruits in the pipeline. He'll survive one more 19-win, National Invitation Tournament season and turn the corner next year.

News item: Former Orioles first baseman Kevin Millar said Thursday that the club has told him it is going in another direction and will not invite him back to Baltimore.

My take: I hope this doesn't sound unkind, but - after another late-season collapse last year - there's really only one direction left for the Orioles to go.

Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM).

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