The sure winner vs. the best guess


Fact: Since 1986, the Orioles have a 96-143 record in September.

Opinion: The name on the Terps football uniforms should be "Marylan." No D.

Fact: The former Blow Jays have finished the past two seasons with a combined 31-9 run (five games left in '93).

Opinion: If the Giants and Eagles are among the best five teams in the NFL, there aren't very many good teams.

Fact: John McEnroe on golf: "Is that a sport, in all honesty? I think it's a great game and all, but I think, to be considered a sport, you have to run at some point."

Opinion: The baseball MVPs are Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas.

Fact: The last five hits Arthur Rhodes has allowed at Camden Yards have been home runs.

Opinion: Greg Maddux and Jack McDowell are the Cy Youngs.

Fact: The Cubs have penciled J. J. Bautista into their '94 rotation. (We are not making this up.)

Opinion: Dusty Baker and Mike Hargrove are the managers of the year.

Fact: John Burkett's ERA is barely better than Anthony Young's (3.61 to 3.77), but Burkett has 21 wins, Young one.

Opinion: Tim Salmon and Mike Piazza are the rookies of the year.

Fact: A quarter-century of AL East titles: Orioles 7, Blue Jays 5, Yankees 5, Red Sox 4, Tigers 3, Brewers 1.

Opinion: A Florida State-Alabama Sugar Bowl is the game to root for.

Fact: Ronnie Wong, the mondo jogger from Catonsville, recently won a 24-hour race in New York. He covered 120 miles without stopping. Don't try this at home.

Opinion: The Terps and Florida State are going to play a close game at Byrd Stadium in early November (if the Seminoles keep score in dog years).

Fact: Said insightful Wyoming coach Joe Tiller after a 45-42 win over Northern Iowa: "Well, we got ahead and then we got behind and we got ahead and then we got behind and we got ahead and then we got behind and we got ahead again."

Opinion: Jamie Moyer might have a better shot at winning the AL Comeback Player of the Year award if his competition weren't Bo Jackson.

Fact: The Blue Jays have gotten more wins from one pitcher making $157,500 (Pat Hentgen) than from two (Jack Morris and Dave Stewart) making a combined $9.675 million.

Opinion: The big winners in baseball's realignment are the Dodgers, whose division will include only the Rockies, Padres and Giants, who will be cutting their payroll after giving Barry Bonds $43 million.

Fact: The Rockies are the third-winningest team in the NL (30-18) since early August.

Opinion: Thumbs up to Home Team Sports for adding the Orioles' games in Cleveland last week.

Fact: Davey Lopes' name is popping up as a possible replacement for Astros manager Art Howe.

Opinion: There's some bad baseball going around when neither NL expansion team finishes in last place.

Fact: Three players under the age of 25 (Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez, Frank Thomas) are a combined .309 with 128 homers and 345 RBI this season.

Opinion: The Mariners are foolish for even considering trading Randy Johnson.

Fact (from "Still More Stories About the Power of Television"): The fourth-place Cubs are going to outdraw the division-winning White Sox.

Opinion: The best conference in college football, as usual, is the SEC.

Fact: The Atlanta Braves have won all 11 of their road series in the second half of the season.

Opinion: Houston Oilers management was shortsighted to think the Jack Pardee/Buddy Ryan thing would ever work.

Fact: Writes Frank Gifford in his book, "The Whole Ten Yards": "I don't care what Howard Cosell says, most people in the media don't have a clue what's really happening on the field."

Opinion: Toronto over the White Sox in the ALCS (in six). The vaunted (and young) Sox pitching won't hold up.

Fact: Roger Clemens finished this year with eight fewer wins and 79 fewer strikeouts than his 1986-92 average.

Opinion: Civilization will survive, but it stinks that this Braves-Giants race would be meaningless next year.

Fact: The United States won the Ryder Cup even though aces Fred Couples and Paul Azinger were winless in 10 matches.

Opinion: Sam Wyche is doing one terrific job with those Bucs.

Fact: Mark Duffner was 9 years old when the Terps last beat Penn State.

Opinion: Let's put the baseball owners in the next Biosphere experiment and, you know, see what happens.

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