Peter Schmuck: Even with injuries, Steelers will provide Ravens' offense with healthy challenge

News item: Joe Flacco and the Ravens' inconsistent offense could be facing a depleted Pittsburgh linebacking corps when they face the Steelers in the road half of the regular-season series, with control of the AFC North hanging in the balance.

My take: That shouldn't provide all that much solace. Even with LaMarr Woodley and James Farrior unlikely to play, the Steelers' defense is still far superior to the two teams that have given the Ravens headaches the past two weeks.

Related news item: The Ravens jumped up two places to fourth in the ESPN NFL Power Rankings and leap-frogged the New England Patriots after squeaking out a victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

My take: Not surprised the Pats slipped only slightly after a road loss to the Steelers, but I don't know how the Ravens got a boost after a last-second win over a one-win team.

News item: Toronto Blue Jays assistant general manager Tony LaCava chose to stay in Canada rather than become the new head of baseball operations for the Orioles, sending the O's almost back to square one in their search for someone to replace Andy MacPhail.

My take: Nice to have that option. The rest of us will just have to stay here and be conscientious objectors.

News item: Orioles catcher Matt Wieters and right fielder Nick Markakis each won his first Gold Glove this week for fielding excellence.

My take: Never doubted that Wieters would get his just reward for a terrific defensive season. Markakis was very deserving, too, but I was starting to wonder whether anybody outside of Baltimore was ever going to notice.

News item: Navy is expected to be one of six teams invited to join the reconfigured Big East Conference as the nationwide realignment of college football remains an open-ended proposition.

My take: This is not the right move for the Midshipmen if they ever want to go to another bowl game. Their ability to build an independent schedule helps keep them bowl-eligible and — in most recent years — fresh for a handful of marquee games. Playing in the Big East will only magnify the recruiting disadvantage that Paul Johnson and Ken Niumatalolo have done such a great job of overcoming.

News item: Former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley has stepped forward to try and buy his old team from Frank McCourt. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former Dodgers star Steve Garvey also have expressed interest since McCourt and Major League Baseball reached an agreement to put the franchise up for sale.

My take: Though any of those three would help restore the franchise's credibility, the O'Malley legacy would return some of the old romance to a franchise that lost that loving feeling after the family sold it to Fox.

News item: Not long after the champagne dried in the St. Louis Cardinals clubhouse, Tony La Russa announced his retirement after 33 years managing the Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics and Cardinals.

My take: Don't worry, you haven't seen the last of La Russa. He'll probably lie low for awhile, then re-emerge in a high-level front office role somewhere. In the meantime, he certainly has earned the chance bask in the glow of his Hall of Fame career.

Related news item: The Cardinals have received permission from the Philadelphia Phillies to interview Ryne Sandberg for their newly vacant managerial opening. Interestingly, the Cubs already have told Sandberg they are not interested in talking to him about their managerial opening.

My take: Well, at least the Cubs didn't string him along. I guess Theo Epstein isn't worried about getting all warm and fuzzy with his new fan base.

News item: The organizers of the Baltimore Grand Prix, which drew 110,000 spectators to the Inner Harbor area during Labor Day weekend, are behind on their payments to vendors and financial backers to the tune of $1.6 million.

My take: Wow, I'd hate to think how far down they would be if the event had not been a huge success.

Listen to Peter Schmuck when he hosts "The Week in Review" at noon Fridays on WBAL (1090AM) and

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