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-- I usually stay away from the steroids thing, but this is good stuff.  Baseball's Watergate by Keith Olbermann:

Baseball could sooner survive the revelation that Jose Canseco's accusations in his book "Juiced" were the mere tip of the iceberg, than it could the perception that it has something so big to hide. And if, as Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox fears, the Congressional inquiry turns into a "witch-hunt"? Baseball has not only survived witch-hunts-- it has frequently conducted its own, and found witches of every stripe and kind imaginable. And it's always been stronger after the violators were revealed, and either rehabilitated or removed.

To prevent the testimony-- to insist that not only should the chips not fall as they may, but that there never have been any chips-- is to take the amorphous lingering doubt that irritates, but hardly disillusions the paying customer, and transform it into an overwhelming, assumed fact: because of steroid use, every baseball game can no longer be assumed to be on the level.

-- Dugout Dollars came along last year and was a great resource for payroll data.  Unfortunately it hasn't been updated since last July, but there's another blog giving the payroll niche a go.  It's called Hardball Dollars and hopefully it'll stick around since payroll figures can sometimes be tough to find.

--  Here's a Reds preview from CnnSI's website:

By increasing payroll to at least $63 million, which would be a franchise high, the Reds hope the spending leads to wins. Of the 14 teams that had payrolls above $63 million last season, 11 finished with winning records. The question that seems to accompany each season faces the Reds again: Can they stay healthy? The influx of new faces and holdovers will try to reverse that trend as well as the second-half fades that have defined recent seasons. The talent -- particularly on Don Gullett's new pitching staff -- appears to be in place for an improvement. In a city starved for a winning franchise, the Reds appear set to follow the Bengals on the path back to respectability.

--  Todd Portune wants Hamilton County to buy the Reds.  Easily the worst idea thus far of 2005.  Even worse than this.  The Reds would never field a winning franchise as a publically owned franchise.  It's cute what Green Bay does with the Packers, but I can't see it working with baseball.

--  Color me surprised.  Luke Hudson is hurt.

Hudson's shoulder is structurally sound, but the inflammation is widespread enough that a cortisone shot will not take care of it.

That means anti-inflammatory drugs, rest, rehab and no throwing until further notice.

Step right up Brandon Claussen.  I hope you learned something last season.