News item: The Orioles open spring workouts today in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Pitchers and catchers reported yesterday. Position players arrive later in the week.
My take: If there is strength in numbers, the Orioles will have the best pitching staff in baseball. There are 37 pitchers in camp, most of them with at least an outside chance of making the major league roster.
Bonus take: Sorry, but there probably isn't strength in numbers. The starting rotation is expected to be a major weakness.
News item: Former Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty Wednesday to lying to congressional investigators about his knowledge of steroid use in baseball. He's expected to get probation and didn't have to admit to using steroids himself.
My take: The wheels of justice crack me up. Victor Conte gets just four months in jail for being the ringleader of the BALCO crew, but the lawyer who leaked grand jury testimony from Barry Bonds gets 2 1/2 years, and the reporters who used that info to report the truth about steroids were threatened with indefinite jail stays for not revealing their sources. Now, the players who actually bought and used the stuff get their wrists slapped, unless they denied it in front of all those paragons of virtue in Congress.
Bonus take: If nothing's going to happen to former U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle for dodging tons of taxes while preaching about everybody's obligation to pay their fair share, shouldn't Bonds and Roger Clemens be given the opportunity to file amended statements about their alleged steroid abuse so they can avoid prosecution, too?
News item: Alex Rodriguez sat down with ESPN's Peter Gammons to apologize for his use of prohibited performance-enhancing substances from 2001 to 2003.
My take: I would be sorry, too, if I got caught using steroids. Truly remorseful might be a different story. Personally, I'm just glad they don't test journalists for trans fat.
Related news item: The University of Miami officially named its baseball field after A-Rod on Friday in appreciation of his $3.9 million gift to the school for stadium renovations.
My take: Obviously, timing is everything.
News item: A judge in Texas has dismissed a large part of the defamation suit that Clemens filed against his former personal trainer, Brian McNamee, citing jurisdictional issues and confirming that McNamee's testimony in the Mitchell Report is covered by a federal immunity agreement.
My take: I'm pretty sure all that's left is that time McNamee told Clemens' wife that she looked fat in those pants.
News item: Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said in his first public statements on the Rodriguez controversy that A-Rod and other steroid users in baseball have "shamed the game."
My take: I think this would be a good time to hire some retired politician to do an expensive study to determine the impact of shame on the sport. I mean, it has been almost a year since there was a congressional hearing to lecture baseball about something. The game is in danger of becoming irrelevant to today's tabloid readers.
Still another steroid-related news item: Selig told USA Today he's "not dismissing" the possibility of wiping Bonds out of the baseball record books and restoring Hank Aaron as the reigning all-time home run king.
My take: Let's not even go there. I'm sure Selig means well, and I'm guessing he already regrets leaving that door open even a crack because the collateral damage that kind of decision would do to the integrity of baseball's statistical body would be cataclysmic.
News item: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has taken a voluntary, retroactive pay cut as part of the league's strategy to deal with a looming economic downturn.
My take: This is, at the very least, a brilliant political and public relations move. Goodell, who still made more than $8 million in 2008, is immune from being called in front of Congress for any reason because nobody on Capitol Hill has suggested that any politicians make any sacrifices at any point during these tough economic times.
Listen to Peter Schmuck on WBAL (1090 AM) weeknights at 6.