Fact: Among major-leaguers who have played at least 500 games, the highest career batting average belongs to -- ta-da -- ++ pitcher Terry Forster, who hit .397 in 78 at-bats.
Opinion: I'm sticking with the same prediction expressed in this space last October: Bulls and Blazers in the NBA Finals.
Fact: There are six active NBA coaches who have won the league championship -- Chuck Daly, Dick Motta, Lenny Wilkens, K. C. Jones, Bill Fitch, Paul Westhead -- but only one still coaches the team with which he won.
Opinion: Miami is a shoo-in for one of the National League expansion teams.
Fact: Based on a 35-start season, Roger Clemens has already earned $571,428.
Opinion: We should draft Artie Donovan to sit next to the queen and explain baseball.
Fact: The Bullets got out of the NBA attendance cellar this year, finishing 25th, ahead of Denver and Indiana.
Opinion: It has been years since the Kentucky Derby was this wide-open.
Fact (from the Department of Priorities): At the newsstand near my house, there are six magazines on baseball and seven magazines on baseball cards.
Opinion: The end of apartheid should not be the only contingency for South Africa's readmission to the Olympics. It should not happen until blacks there are allowed to vote.
Fact: Nolan Ryan's wife said in a recent interview that she has a feeling this is going to be her husband's last season.
Opinion: The NHL should just break down and start calling off the regular season if fourth-place Minnesota and third-place Edmonton make the conference finals.
Fact: Thirty major-leaguers will earn $3 million or more this year.
Opinion: With Connors and McEnroe and now Borg out there playing, tennis is ripe for a seniors tour.
Fact (from the "We Warned You" Desk): Jim Palmer is talking about making another comeback next spring.
Opinion: George Foreman should retire now with his dignity intact. He fought bravely against Holyfield, but a bout with Tyson would be ugly.
Fact: The Dodgers lost their first five home games before winning Wednesday. They have not lost their first six home games since 1906.
Opinion: Anyone who admits he watched the entire first round of the NFL draft on ESPN should be reported to the proper authorities.
Fact: Nineteen of the 27 NBA teams either won or lost 50 games this year.
Opinion: No one is laughing at Jimmy Johnson anymore.
Fact: The Orioles' three catchers have one RBI.
Opinion: From this couch, Jose-Maria Olazabal looks like golf's next big winner.
Fact: Salvatore Schillaci, the hero of the World Cup, has not scored a goal since November in Italian League play.
Opinion: Three free-agent signings that are looking smart: Dwight Evans, Kirk Gibson, Gary Gaetti.
Opinion: Three free-agent signings that aren't looking so smart: Teddy Higuera, Jack Morris, Charlie Hough.
Fact: The Redskins had a first-round pick this year for only the fourth time in 24 years.
Opinion: A big thumbs-up to Maryland for denying admission to a couple of basketball recruits who didn't measure up academically.
Fact: The seventh game of the NBA Finals would be played three days after the last round of golf's U.S. Open.
Opinion: When you fire your manager 13 games into the season, as the Phillies did last week, you're letting everyone know you don't know what you're doing.
Fact: A total of eight NBA playoff games on the tube yesterday and today.
Fact: Jack Nicholson has found a new love: golf. Lotsa lessons, a 25 handicap, shot an 89 at Turnberry Isle in Florida. But "I ain't the country club type," he told Golf magazine.
Opinion: It made me glad Bill Bidwill was not in our midst when the Cardinals used the sixth pick in the NFL draft to take a kid who has never played college football.
Fact (from the Law of Averages Dept.): The Oakland A's were in first place for 414 of the 486 days in the 1988-90 seasons.
Opinion: An E-Z guide to the fate of the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketballers: If Magic is there, they win.