O's rescue of Miller is pure fantasy


Opinion: A fourth-place, sub.-500, garbage-time- weighted finish might be enough to save Ray Miller's job? Come on, where's the punch line?

Fact: The Ravens' 39.0 team quarterback rating is easily the AFC's worst. Three other AFC teams are at 100 or better.

Opinion: A big reason why Sosa-McGwire II isn't causing as much of a stir: No legends to chase. No Gehrig, no Maris, no romance to frame the issue.

Fact: Will Clark, Delino DeShields and Cal Ripken played in a combined 259 games and missed a combined 227 due to injuries in 1999.

Opinion: Even if Maryland loses to Georgia Tech tonight, the Terps' big win over West Virginia 12 days ago signaled their return to the land of college football's living.

Fact: Remember, the Ravens own the (0-3) Falcons' first-round pick in the 2000 draft.

Opinion: The same four teams from a year ago will make the American League playoffs this season, but the Yankees are no lock to cruise through and win another pennant. Their starting pitching is a lot shakier this time.

Fact: Pat Gillick on becoming GM in Seattle: "It's something I'd be interested in."

Opinion: The best testimonial to John Elway in the wake of his retirement? The Broncos' 0-3 start.

Fact: The Ravens gave up five draft picks for three players (Scott Mitchell, Tony Banks, Lovett Purnell) who didn't play a down against the Browns on Sunday.

Opinion: When a team trying to escape a losing cycle throws away draft picks like that, it tends to extend the losing cycle.

Fact: For those scoring at home, the National Hockey League is adding one expansion team this season and two more next season, for a total of 30. (And you thought the major leagues were diluted.)

Opinion: Other than Jerry Hairston, no Orioles call-up has played well enough to guarantee himself a spot on next year's team.

Fact (From the "Like, Duh" Files): "The great thing about this league is that you have to play the games to decide who wins and loses," Kansas City Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham says.

Opinion: You might not want to hear this, but the Colts' trio of quarterback Peyton Manning, running back Edgerrin James and receiver Marvin Harrison is starting to resemble a young version of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.

Fact: How did we miss this? The Tennessee Titans have won nine straight AFC Central games and won three of their past four in Jacksonville.

Opinion: American League awards: MVP, Rafael Palmeiro, Rangers; Cy Young, Pedro Martinez, Red Sox; Manager of the Year, Jimy Williams, Red Sox; Rookie of the Year, Freddy Garcia, Mariners.

Fact: The Oakland Athletics have 11 potential free agents.

Opinion: You could have made a lot of money wagering that Ravens tackle Harry Swayne's new team would have more wins than his old team (the Broncos) after three weeks.

Fact: Lou Holtz is off to an 0-4 start at South Carolina, with five bowl teams and archrival Clemson still to play.

Opinion: The Orioles erred in bringing up Matt Riley from Double-A when he was out of gas. They'll err again if they make him a major-leaguer next season. He needs more seasoning.

Fact: The PGA shifted the dates of its Grand Slam event, matching the winners of the year's four major golf tournaments, to accommodate Tiger Woods' playing schedule.

Opinion: National League awards: MVP, Chipper Jones, Braves; Cy Young, Randy Johnson, Diamondbacks; Manager of the Year, Jack McKeon, Reds; Rookie of the Year, Scott Williamson, Reds.

Fact: Some really fine whine from Bengals quarterback Jeff Blake: "Why should I lose my job? What about the offensive line, the receivers, the tight ends, the defensive line? Why is it always the quarterback who loses his job? So why sacrifice me? What about my career?"

Opinion: Heisman Trophy? Purdue's Drew Brees and Georgia Tech's Joe Hamilton are having big years, but Florida State's Peter Warrick will have to mess up to lose it.

Fact: There are fewer than 500 paying customers at Virginia's Colonial Downs on many live racing days.

Opinion: 49ers quarterback Steve Young is a good guy, smart guy, already won a Super Bowl. Now that he's counting concussions and seeing "spots," it's time to retire.

Pub Date: 9/30/99

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