It's time to relax: O's are on course


Fact: The Orioles are exactly one game behind last year's 89-win pace.

Opinion: Relax.

Fact: The Rangers, who also started 6-1 last year, finished the season a dozen games behind the Orioles.

Opinion: Puh-leeeze, relax.

Fact: Baseball's new "speed rules" knocked but two minutes from the average American League game time during the first week of the season.

Opinion: Jack Morris might be heading downhill fast this year.

Fact: Fifteen of the 25 Padres will make less than $200,000 this year. Horrors!

Opinion: Jalen Rose deserves a share of the heat for Chris Webber's untimely timeout. Where was the Michigan point guard when his center needed to unload the ball in the backcourt?

Fact: The Braves, hitting .199, are going to need every inch of that pitching.

Opinion: Charles Barkley is everyone's pick for NBA MVP, but Hakeem Olajuwon is the best player in the league this year.

Fact: No, your eyes did not deceive you: That was the T-Bone Shelby named manager of a Pioneer League team.

Opinion: Brady Anderson isn't going to stop doing what he's doing. OK? No more questions. Enough.

Fact: The Lakers are obligated to pay six players -- Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Vlade Divac, Benoit Benjamin, Anthony Peeler, Sedale Threatt -- some $32.5 million for the 1994-95 season, but most or all won't be on the team.

Opinion: The best performance of the year in sports, hands down, is Mario Lemieux blasting away during a season interrupted by cancer treatment.

Fact: Looks like the Bullets' record will worsen for the fourth straight year.

Opinion: If the Phoenix Bidwills succeed in getting Joe Montana, they might win, gosh, eight games next season.

Fact: Fay Vincent's succinct assessment of the commissionership: "Distinctly overrated."

Opinion: A healthy, effective Mark Williamson gives the Orioles the deepest bullpen in the league.

Fact: The winningest manager in major-league history -- right, Connie Mack -- has a losing record.

Opinion: We should all get behind the Dallas Mavericks as they chase that all-time NBA record for losses in a season.

Fact: Genuine Risk, the filly that won the Kentucky Derby in 1980, has failed for 12 straight years to carry a pregnancy to term. She's due April 20.

Opinion (from "Go Figure, Vol. I"): The new trend in the NBA is to hire coaches with little or no coaching experience (Dan Issel, John Lucas, Quinn Buckner).

Fact: Coming soon to an NHL scoreboard near you: Ducks 3, Sharks 1.

Opinion: Coming to an NBA scoreboard near you one of these years: Nike 105, Reebok 102.

Fact: Washington State QB Drew Bledsoe, who might be the first pick in the NFL draft, is (omigosh!) an English major.

Opinion: Reggie White did not simply take the money. The Packers are one of the NFL's rising teams.

Fact: Prairie Bayou will try to become the first gelding since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929 to win the Kentucky Derby.

Opinion: Fernando gets one more start to prove himself. That's it.

Fact: Says Bill Laimbeer on being fined for fighting: "The price of doing business."

Opinion: It was a dull Masters, but you won't see another golfer handle Amen Corner on Sunday more calmly and efficiently than Bernhard Langer.

Fact: The condition of the Colorado Rockies' home field is so bad that Don Baylor says he not only has to manage the team, but "do a groundskeeper's work."

Opinion: That's just great news about Duke's Mike Krzyzewski signing a shoe contract with a million-dollar bonus.

Fact: The Hiroshima Carp are off to a 5-0 start. Thought you'd want to know.

Opinion: The NHL could have renamed its divisions the Mickey, the Goofy, the Donald and the Minnie.

Fact: Said Carlton Fisk after bickering and re-signing with the White Sox: "Put my name in the lineup and I'll be there. They've tried to kill me before. I won't die."

Opinion: If the NBA really wants to stop the fighting, slap a three-game suspension on anyone who throws a punch.

Fact: Seven of every 10 NBA games are won by the team leading at halftime.

Opinion: Chris Webber was the best pro prospect in college ball this season.

Fact: Manon Rheaume, the female goalie, reportedly will earn more than $100,000 in endorsement money this year.

Opinion: Can't wait to hear the response the first time new tennis coach John McEnroe tells a pupil: "Calm down."

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