Evans doomsayers have been right so far


A couple of former Orioles, men who were with the club for years while Dwight Evans was playing for the Red Sox, said before spring training began that Evans, 40, with a shaky medical history, is not apt to help the O's.

One ex-Bird -- and both these men would like to remain friendly with Evans -- said the club's signing of him was "an act of desperation."

"If Dewey could play," he said, "he'd still be in Boston."

So far this spring Evans has spent most of his time trying to get over injuries, in particular soreness in his right knee.

* Sure, it was fun to watch Richmond upset Syracuse (shame on you, Orange), to see Towson State put up a heroic effort against Ohio State, and to root against UNLV (which shouldn't be in the tournament), but does America really need this wall-to-wall coverage of the NCAA basketball championships? Enough's enough. Or am I the only one in the country who's feeling "overhoopsed" even before the Sweet 16?

One reason college basketball owns sports this month is that CBS is paying $1.1 billion over seven years to televise it. Just for this year's tournament, the network is paying the NCAA $143 million. Even with that largess, the NCAA -- as pointed out by Francis X. Dealy in The New York Times Sunday -- still has only 18 investigators to monitor 828 member colleges and 200,000 athletes.

Tell you something else about TV's Road to the Final Four you probably thought you'd never hear: CBS misses Brent Musburger. He could tie the whole thing together.

* Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Conklin asks appropriately how the NBA can sponsor a "Stay in School" campaign -- and then sponsor six days of tryouts for college players in Orlando, Fla., in late April, when colleges are in session.

In the same vein, I wonder how many classes the student-athletes involved in the NCAA tournament are attending these days. I don't have to wonder whether their minds are on basketball or academics.

* Maryland football coach Joe Krivak, fresh off a successful recruiting campaign and eager for the start of spring practice April 6, surprised people with his excellent speech at this month's Scholar Athlete banquet here. Some told me that from what they'd read and heard about Joe they expected him to be dull. He's not.

With Krivak signed to a four-year contract and the Terps basketball team gradually coming off NCAA sanctions, things are looking up at College Park. There's another reason for that -- first-year athletic director Andy Geiger. Says basketball coach Gary Williams: "In six months, Andy has made our whole place feel better."

* Former Maryland basketball All-America Len Bias has received a lot of sympathy since his death from drugs, but none of it from Gale Sayers. Says the ex-Chicago Bears star running back:

"Len Bias knew what he was doing. Every year the NCAA comes out and speaks about drugs. I don't have sympathy for Len Bias. I have sympathy for his parents." Sayers believes a pro athlete should be banished for life for a first-time conviction in drug-related cases. Adds Sayers: "One time, and I guarantee you it'll stop."

* Note to Boggs Edelen, who inquired, and to those who simply may be wondering why they're not seeing ex-Terp Jerrod Mustaf's name in the Knicks' box scores:

Mustaf has been on the injured list for six games with tendinitis in his left knee. He was averaging 4.3 points, shooting 47 percent, grabbing 2.8 rebounds and playing 13 minutes per game. Coach John MacLeod likes Mustaf. The rookie is expected back in late March or early April.

* On the surface, highly regarded Towson State's 17-16 loss to Maryland in lacrosse last weekend would appear attributable to the absence of Glenn Smith, the highest scorer in the Tigers' history. In reality, the play of new Towson goalie Rich Betcher (from Nassau Community College on Long Island) had more to do with it. When a team scores 16 goals, it should win.

Look for Towson coach Carl Runk to take a look at backup Tim Colt. Goalie is easily the single most critical position in the sport. Without a good one, a team is courting disaster.

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