All fanfare aside, Devereaux is a hit


Fact: Lost in the fuss over Brady Anderson's start, Mike Devereaux is on a 31-homer, 96-RBI pace.

Opinion: A.P. Indy will win the Belmont and everyone will say, "What if . . . "

Fact: Mark McGwire's 17 homers through 40 games is well ahead of Babe Ruth's 12 in 1927 and Roger Maris' 10 in 1961, but McGwire says of such comparisons: "I throw them in the trash."

Opinion: You could win a pennant with a rotation led by Kansas City's Kevin Appier, Cleveland's Charles Nagy and Milwaukee's Bill Wegman -- three unknowns.

Fact: Larry Sheets is killing 'em in Japan with a .342 average, 32 RBI and eight homers in 40 games for the Taiyo Whales.

Opinion: Pittsburgh over Chicago in the Stanley Cup finals. In six.

Fact: Nolan Ryan's career strikeout total is higher than the combined total of 17 current major-league staffs.

Opinion: The name of Denver's new ballpark -- Coors Field -- sure is romantic.

Fact: The Orioles' average home attendance is more than double that of 11 teams: Indians, Tigers, Royals, Brewers, Yankees, Mariners, Cubs, Astros, Expos, Pirates, Giants.

Opinion: Bet the NBA is salivating at the prospect of a Cleveland-Portland final.

Fact: No team in the Pacific Coast League plays in a city on the Pacific.

Opinion: Crashes are only going to become more common on an Indy 500 track built when winners drove 75 mph.

Fact (from the Nostalgia Dept.): Former Oriole Woodie Held said, "Don't forget to swing hard in case you hit the ball."

Opinion: Intimidating Scottie Pippen is the key to playing the Bulls close. It can be done, as the Knicks proved.

Fact: Less than two weeks after Fred Couples won the Masters, the manufacturer of the 3-wood he used at Augusta National reported a backlog of 3,000 orders.

Opinion: Three peas in a pod: Detroit Pistons, Ivan Lendl, Burt Reynolds.

Fact: The Texas Rangers already have used 19 pitchers, six shy of the league record set in 1969 by the Seattle Pilots.

Opinion: The Bullets will trade their first-round pick for a rebounder instead of drafting Walt Williams or Harold Miner.

Fact: The baseball team from Perry Hall High School has gone unbeaten twice in the past three years. Not easy.

Opinion: The Dodgers are a good bet to finish last for the first time since 1905.

Fact: Angels manager Buck Rodgers says the save statistic is a "media hype" that is "all made up because everyone has got to have a statistic to get paid."

Opinion: The starting pitching among AL West contenders is remarkably mediocre. Look it up.

Fact: Dennis Rodman's season rebounding average of 18.0 was the NBA's highest since Wilt Chamberlain averaged 19.2 in 1971-72.

Opinion: Spending $25 for a left-field seat is not exactly the deal of the century.

Fact: Unsettled by life with the lethargic Blue Jays, Jack Morris says: "As a team, we have to play harder every day."

Opinion: With all those clay-court specialists and long, hot matches, the French Open is the toughest of the tennis majors to win.

Fact: Doctors say Dale Murphy's knee injury was "degeneration of the gristle that lines the ends of the bones and joint." Yuck.

Opinion: Chris Hoiles is going to the All-Star Game if he keeps it up for another couple of weeks.

Fact: Of the 16 players with 3,000 hits, only Musial, Yaz, Kaline and Clemente did it with one team. Robin Yount (over 2,900) would be No. 5.

Opinion: Gregg Olson's curveball looks nastier than it did a year ago.

Fact: A release from Top Rank Inc. says, "After he wins the title, [Larry] Holmes' first defense will be against George Foreman on Nov. 13."

Opinion: The Orioles should never again try to trade Randy Milligan, who has a habit of coming in handy.

Fact: The Orioles have four players under contract with the last name Mercedes, but according to Dominican Republic scout Carlos Bernhardt, no two are related.

Opinion: "The Babe" is a reasonably entertaining cartoon, but Babe Ruth's fantastic life didn't need all that silly embellishing. The movie is a strikeout.

Fact: Five city kids will sign Division I basketball scholarships this year: Dunbar's Donta Bright (Massachusetts), Michael Lloyd Arkansas) and Cyrus Jones (undecided); Southern's Kwame Evans (George Washington) and Gibbons' Quintin Moody (Towson State). The number was three in 1990 and two in 1991.

Opinion: The America's Cup would be a lot more interesting if crew members had to wear buccaneers' outfits.

Fact: Boog Powell's barbecue is such a hot item that Boog sold out of food by the fourth inning Saturday night.

Opinion: It's about time the NHL added four games to the regular season.

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