Can't keep facts out of this rotation


Fact: When a recent ESPN study asked teen-agers to name their favorite pro team and athlete, just 6 percent named a baseball team and just 4 percent named a baseball player.

Opinion: The Cowboys will whip the Redskins if they play in January.

Fact (Part I): AL East rotations (top three only): Orioles: Mike Mussina, Ben McDonald, Rick Sutcliffe; Jays: Jack Morris, Juan Guzman, Dave Stewart; Brewers: Cal Eldred, Jaime Navarro, Bill Wegman.

Opinion: In the Sugar Bowl: Miami 17, Alabama 6.

Fact (Part II): AL East rotations: Tigers: Mike Moore, Bill Gullickson, Bill Krueger; Red Sox: Roger Clemens, Frank Viola, John Dopson; Yankees: Jim Abbott, Jimmy Key, Melido Perez; Indians: Charles Nagy, Bob Ojeda, Jose Mesa.

Opinion: AL East rotation rankings: Jays, O's, Red Sox, Yankees, Brewers, Tigers, Indians.

Fact: My Heisman vote went (grudgingly) to Marshall Faulk.

Opinion: I just couldn't vote for Gino Torretta, considering that he is maybe the third-best player on his team behind Micheal Barrow and Lamar Thomas.

Fact: The average major-league salary for 1992 was $1.02 million, an increase of approximately 20 percent from the previous year.

Opinion: Adding Dave Stewart and Paul Molitor, but subtracting Dave Winfield, David Cone, Candy Maldonado, Kelly Gruber and now Tom Henke, the Jays have taken a significant step backward.

Fact: Exree Hipp can jummmmmmmp.

Opinion: Upon further review, instant replay would have called Emmitt Smith down in the end zone for a safety.

Fact: Jimmy Johnson's hair almost moved when the Redskins scored that touchdown. (True story.)

Opinion: There isn't a coach doing a better job in the NFL than Ted Marchibroda, who has the Colts at 7-7 despite losing his QB and two best defensive players.

Fact: Sunday was the ninth anniversary of the highest-scoring game in NBA history: Pistons 186, Denver 184, in triple overtime, with four 40-point scorers.

Opinion: The AFC-best-record Steelers losing by 24 to the sad-sack Bears means that there really is no need even to play the Super Bowl this year.

Fact: Despite all the injuries in their offensive line, the Redskins have allowed the third-fewest sacks in the NFL.

Opinion: The AFC is so bad this year it's going to look back on those Broncos Super Bowl losses as the good ol' days.

Fact: After hitting .312 with 26 homers in Japan last year, Larry Sheets signed a minor-league contract with the Brewers and will come to camp as a non-roster player.

Opinion: A lineup to ponder: Anderson, Reynolds, Devereaux, Hoiles, Ripken, Davis, Milligan, Gomez, Mercedes.

Fact: Says Barry Bonds: "I'm not trying to fulfill Willie Mays' shoes."

Opinion: The "big, bad" Raiders are beginning to resemble a "Saturday Night Live" routine.

Fact: The Braves' new rotation of Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Steve Avery, Pete Smith and Greg Maddux had a record of 73-42 last season.

Opinion: The Braves still need a better closer to win the World Series.

Fact: Said Bulls forward Rodney McCray on moving over from the Dallas Mavs: "Any team would be a penthouse for where I've been the last couple of years."

Opinion: Said John McEnroe when Tatum told him to get out of the house: "Out? Out! How can you possibly make that call? That's ridiculous!"

Fact: Harold Reynolds had played in 911 of 922 games when he was replaced by Bret Boone last August.

Opinion: Redskins 21, Eagles 20. (With Jim McMahon in at the end.)

Fact: Shaquille O'Neal's right hand is 11 inches long and 9 inches wide.

Opinion: I would have trouble writing a season-ticket check to the Orange County Mighty Ducks.

Fact: The Tampa Bay Bucs, steady as she goes, have lost at least 10 games for 10 straight seasons.

Opinion: The toughest job in sports in the coming year will be coming up with the Pirates' ad campaign.

Fact: The Dodgers' $42 million payroll of last season produced 99 defeats and 174 errors.

Opinion: NFL teams that could use new QBs: Vikings, Raiders, Saints, Chiefs, Bucs, Bears, Giants.

Fact: Kent Desormeaux was on a pace to break Jose Santos' record of $14.8 million in one-year purse earnings before his bad fall put him in the hospital.

Opinion: Arkansas Baptist might lose 70 games this season.

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