Vick, O’s, Ravens … weekend ponderings

August 27, 2007 | Drew Forrester

One guy is in deep-doo-doo because of dogs, one team is playing like a dog and the other team couldn’t play because it rained cats and dogs.  What a weekend…

As for Michael Vick, Monday’s appearance in a Richmond, VA federal court will go a long way in cementing everyone’s opinion about his involvement with dog fighting that has earned him an indefinite suspension from the NFL.  Most of the juicy stuff has already been leaked to the media – Vick, in a plea bargain arrangement, will plead guilty to participating “collectively” (with others) in a dog fighting ring that included killing dogs who underperformed in the ring.  He will also plead guilty to serving as the financial foundation for the gambling efforts of those involved in the dog fighting, although Vick contends he didn’t bet on any of fights or collect any winnings when his dogs won.  To that I say:  “Sure, Michael”.

Anyway, the REAL question now is this:  Once his prison-time has been satisfied, should the NFL someday allow him to play again?

This is an extremely difficult question to answer right now.  Fortunately for the NFL and Commissioner Goodell, he may have anywhere from 18-to-36 months to come up with the right answer.

I have gone back and forth on this issue for the last couple of weeks.  At first, my thought was “once Vick has paid his debt to society and the NFL feels as if he’s paid the punishment they’ve handed out, he should be allowed back in the league.”  After reading up on the entire story and watching countless TV reports on the whole situation, I changed my mind early last week and announced on the air that I thought Vick should probably be banned from the league for good.

Something else struck me, though, over the weekend.  In our country, it’s legal to kill unborn (but living) babies.  Now, I’m most certainly not in any way condoning what Vick and the rest of his hoodlum-friends did with those dogs, because it is inexcusable.  Period.  But if our country permits the killing of an unborn baby, who’s to say that a guy who kills dogs can’t serve his time in jail and then return to his previous line of work if his employer allows him back on the job?

So, I’ll just continue to read up on the subject.  And listen to the testimony.  And, I’m sure at some point in the very near future, we’re going to hear from Vick himself.

For now, I’m going to hold off on any further statements about whether or not Vick should be allowed back in the league in a few years.  I’ve already covered both ends of the argument.  One week, I said, “yes, let him back in” and the following week I was singing a different tune, “no, ban him for life.”  Now, I don’t know what to think.

I’ve got plenty of time to figure it all out.  And so will Michael Vick.

**********

Lou from Phoenix called the show last Friday morning to discuss Thursday’s loss to the Twins and I said to Lou, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this weekend series against the Twins…something just tells me there’s a sweep and a mini-collapse on the horizon.  I hope not, but I have a bad feeling about this weekend.”

Well, four losses later, my worst fears played out over the weekend as Minnesota came in and took ’em all from the O’s.

My first thought?  That 30-3 debacle isn’t as easy to “let go of” than the O’s might have originally thought.

My second thought?  Back in mid-June when Perlozzo got canned and everyone called in and said, “What a relief!  The Perlozzo era is over.  We’re moving on to bigger and better things.”…I said at that point, “I’d only caution all of you that the same guys who quit on Perlozzo in May and June and ultimately led to his dismissal will quit on the next guy too (at that time, we didn’t know Trembley would be the manager of record for the remainder of ’07 and beyond).  I always use this cliche:  “A leopard’s spots never go away – they just fade a little.”  And, so it is right now, the club is a season-worst 13-games under .500 and as of now, they need to finish 14-20 over the last 34 games just to equal last year’s final win total.  That might be a tall order if you look at the schedule and see those games with Boston, New York, Toronto, etc.

I have about a dozen or so e-mails in my inbox from people who reached out to me at various points over the weekend and want me to have an “I told you so” show on Monday.

Are you sitting down?  You should be.  Read on…

I actually feel sorry for the Orioles now.  I mean that.  I don’t know why, really, after the way certain members of their organization have treated me this year.  You’d think I’d be writing an “I told you so” blog and doing 4-hours of “you get what you deserve, O’s” on Monday.

But I’m not doing any of that.  I don’t know exactly why I’m feeling this way, but I genuinely feel sorry for them.  I think they’ve made progress this year – especially on the field - but it looks like there’s a good chance that ’07 is going to end on a down note with another 70-something win season.  And in the off-season, with a very limited crop of quality free agents available, I doubt very seriously whether the team can make the necessary additions for a contending 2008 campaign.  I hope they can add the players they need, but the free agent market is thin and the team’s history of not over-spending is well documented.

There are some good people who work for the Orioles.  Unfortunately, I can’t mention them here.  I’d like to – because despite the fact that I’ve been dealt with unprofessionally on a number of occasions this year, I’ve also been treated very fairly and very professionally by a handful of others.  And I’d like to offer a public “thanks” to those people at the Warehouse who’ve refused to let the team’s agenda against me and or WNST get in the way of their professional responsibility to me – but it’s probably NOT a good idea for me to laud their efforts here or on the air.  I wouldn’t want their livelihood to be jeopardized because the club doesn’t want them “being nice” to me.

But I feel sorry for those people who go in every day at the Warehouse and put in their hard work on behalf of the club and then have to endure THIS again in 2007.  More losing, more (or less) diminishing crowds and a city that still remains – at best – luke warm to our summertime addiction that used to be baseball.

I wish things would change with the Orioles.  I really, really do.  I spent most of the spring and summer disappointed, angry, upset and otherwise just downright frustrated with the way things have been going both on and off the field.

Something has happened, though.  I’m no longer mad about the way they handled my press credential at the beginning of the season.  Their decision to not put BALTIMORE on the road jersey for ’08 doesn’t bother me now.  The way they hired MacPhail and forgot to tell Flanagan and Duquette is no longer a source of anguish for me.  Their inability to get Teixeira has been forgotten.  The Red Sox and Yankees fans taking over the ballpark doesn’t aggravate me tonight.

Tonight, I’m sad FOR them.  It’s been a tough decade.

**********

On to the Ravens.

My only concern – besides the penalties of course – from Saturday night in D.C. is the play of the offensive line.  I realize J.O. isn’t in there and he DOES make a world of difference, but I still see McNair running for his life in a way I don’t think bodes well for his personal safety during the season.  Gaither is trying, but he’s clearly overmatched at this point.  Adam Terry has a good series…then he gets called for illegal motion in the next series.  It’s all about the offensive line, as far as the Ravens ability to score points goes.

Pro-Bowl caliber QB? – Check…Proven running back? – Check…Pass catchers who can get open AND catch? – Check…

But will the QB have to time to throw?  Will the running back have holes to run through?  Will the receivers collect that well-thrown ball from the QB because he has time to survey the field and pick out his best option?  It all comes down to the offensive line.

Let’s hope J.O. is 100% or we might be in trouble come September 10 in Cincy.

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