News item: Sports Illustrated reported on its Web site yesterday that several sources have confirmed Alex Rodriguez tested positive for anabolic steroids while playing for the Texas Rangers in 2003.
My take: Is it too late to get that into the Mitchell Report? The Joe Torre book?
Bonus take: No, really. The Mitchell Report was funded by Major League Baseball to peel the cover off the game's steroid scandal, and it didn't include a positive steroid test - administered by MLB - involving the game's greatest player. Of course I know there was only anonymous survey testing that year and some results have come to light only because they were seized by the feds. I still rest my case.
News item: The Ravens have sent out letters to their season-ticket holders notifying them that the price of their seats will increase $5 to $15 for the 2009 season and explaining that the every-other-year increase is necessary to offset rising payroll costs.
My take: I'm not surprised, but I've heard from fans who were hoping for a hometown discount.
News item: USA Swimming has suspended Michael Phelps from competition for three months in the wake of his bong photo. Phelps called the decision "fair."
My take: It's also largely symbolic because it will only keep Phelps from swimming in some smaller meets and cost him a $1,750 monthly stipend, but swimming's national governing body needed to do something, if only to reinforce the notion that Phelps is not bigger than the sport.
Bonus take: Even though he is, of course.
News item: The Orioles appear to have finished making their offseason improvements and will open spring training camp in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., next weekend.
My take: I probably won't recognize anybody in the crowded spring clubhouse, but I can't wait to get there and break out this year's collection of Aloha shirts.
News item: Federal officials reportedly have old urine samples that show Barry Bonds took the then-undetectable designer drug THG ("The Clear") in 2003 and steroid syringes from personal trainer Brian McNamee that reportedly contain the DNA of Roger Clemens.
My take: Not sure how much that advances either federal perjury investigation. Bonds testified he took "The Clear" unwittingly, and Clemens claims McNamee manufactured evidence. It was great reading, though.
News item: The best of the AFC meets the best of the NFC in the Pro Bowl today in Honolulu, officially marking the end of the 2008-09 NFL season.
My take: Listen, I get paid to watch sporting events and I haven't watched this game since Kurt Warner was working in the deli section. Maybe if the NFL loosens up and adds a strip club skills competition to Pro Bowl weekend, I'll consider coming back.
News item: Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin told USA Today on Thursday that his relationship with the team is irreparable, no doubt hoping to shame the club into trading him.
My take: Don't get too excited, Ravens fans. I think this gets worked out in Arizona, especially after Warner hinted he might retire if the Cardinals don't bring back Boldin for next season.
News item: The New England Patriots have placed the franchise tag on quarterback Matt Cassel to keep him from becoming a free agent after his breakout performance in 2008.
My take: Nice work if you can get it. Cassel, who didn't even start in college, will earn $14.65 million next season to be the backup again if Tom Brady is healthy.
Bonus take: That ought to tell you one of two things: Brady isn't going to be healthy next season or Cassel is going to be traded before then.
News item: Maryland announced Friday that offensive coordinator James Franklin has been designated as the head football coach in waiting under Ralph Friedgen.
My take: That's a smart move because Franklin is in some demand right now, but with no specified timetable for his promotion, there's still no guarantee he ever takes the job.
News item: Superstar Manny Ramirez remains unsigned, and no one seems interested in giving him more than a two-year contract at his old salary.
My take: What exactly did he expect after proving to the baseball world with his behavior last year in Boston that he can't be trusted to fully honor a long-term contract?
Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM).