Pitching in to put end to the strike

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Opinion: If the baseball players union really wanted to annoy the owners, it would have four striking starting pitchers from one team cross the picket line. The competitive balance of the scab season would be ruined.

Fact: "I've never felt better about myself," Sparky Anderson says.

Opinion: It's awfully nice of the Teamsters to support the baseball players considering that the players would never think of supporting them.

Fact: Gary Williams says the Terps' biggest problem is sloppy ball-handling. "We're giving it away way too much," he says.

Opinion: If the owners were really smart, they'd broadcast replacement games on the Comedy Channel with Bill Murray behind the microphone telling jiggle jokes. Who wouldn't watch?

Fact: After his first loss of 1995 Saturday night in Philadelphia, Andre Agassi cursed, made obscene gestures and slammed his racket into the umpire stand. During the match, he socked a ball toward the fans, threw his racket around and scratched his rear in the direction of the umpire. Fans booed him off the court as he left.

Opinion: The rise of Navy basketball under Don DeVoe shows what can happen when you hire a coach who really knows what he's doing.

Fact: The only player in the ACC to score in double figures in every game this season? It's a stumper, folks: Florida State's James Collins.

Opinion: On sheer pedigree alone, Duke would beat a lot of teams in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Fact: Bernie Bickerstaff is president, general manager and coach of the Denver Nuggets, which means he can fire himself . . . twice.

Opinion: Don't worry, the Capitals will score their first road win of the season any month now.

Fact: Most Final Four appearances: UCLA 13, Duke and North Carolina 11, Kansas and Kentucky 10. (And all but Duke are big in the running this year.)

Opinion: Free agent David Meggett will land with the Patriots or Browns if he doesn't re-sign with the Giants. And Ronnie Lott will play for the Eagles.

Fact: "I will not stay in a stadium where I can't compete," says Al Davis, who says he takes in $30 million a year less than Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Opinion: The baseball union is wrong to castigate contractually obligated minor-leaguers for playing in spring games. Classic bully move.

Fact: ACC teams are 0-5 against Pac-10 teams this season.

Opinion: The 1989 NBA draft, with Pervis Ellison going first and Danny Ferry second, is the all-time clunker. The best player selected that year was Tim Hardaway, drafted 14th.

Fact: The San Antonio Spurs are 28-7 since Dennis Rodman returned from his suspension for having bad hair or whatever. (He had 30 rebounds the other night in his first game against Houston

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since Otis Thorpe's trade.)

Opinion: Essential question as baseball exhibition season approaches: Can bad pitching beat bad hitting?

Fact: College basketball's King of Jack this year is Clemson's Bruce Martin, who has attempted 117 shots from outside the three-point line and 18 from inside it.

Opinion: The four best NBA players no one knows: Milwaukee's Vin Baker, Cleveland's Tyrone Hill, the Lakers' Nick Van Exel, Seattle's Gary Payton.

Fact: The Terps are 10-1 when Rodney Elliott scores. Alert the media!

Opinion: Turns out the Bulls were crazy not to take the Bullets' offer of Juwan Howard, Calbert Cheaney and a No. 1 pick for Scottie Pippen.

Fact: One night after breaking out to a 48-8 lead over Columbia on Friday, the Penn Quakers broke out to a 48-9 lead over Cornell. (FYI: They

managed to win both road games.)

Opinion: Holy Bull is already booked to 45 mares, but his bloodlines suggest he won't be much of a stallion.

Fact: Lots and lots of Joe Montana retirement rumors circulating in the Bay area.

Opinion: Best basketball conferences this year (ranked in order): ACC, Pac-10, SEC, Big Eight. The Big Ten need not apply.

Fact: Joe Paterno's recent suggestion to NCAA bigwigs: a four-team championship playoff after the bowls.

Opinion: Agassi will supplant Pete Sampras as No. 1 before the year is out.

Fact: Pat Riley recently called this year's Knicks the most unprofessional team he'd ever coached.

Opinion: Gregg Olson will become the Orioles' property again.

Fact: Davey Johnson on the strike: "I mean, all it is, is war."

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