Poor judgment on display at Indiana, in Atlanta


Opinion: If you saw the same 'ol Bobby Knight on TV last week, you know Indiana is going to get what it deserves for not having the guts to just up and can him. He doesn't believe he was wrong, he can't adhere to some of the restrictions imposed on him (such as treating the media with even a modicum of respect) and he's going to test the limits. He's going to be a huge headache.

Fact: Yes, the Garrett Stephenson who is 8-1for the Cardinals is the same Garrett Stephenson the Orioles traded to the Phillies along with Calvin Maduro in 1996, getting Pete Incaviglia and Todd Zeile in return. The Phillies had agreed to take Maduro and a less-promising pitcher named Don Florence, but it turned out Rochester had released Florence two days before the trade was made, and Stephenson was dealt instead.

Opinion: The biggest mystery of the Ray Lewis trial: why a district attorney up for re-election (Paul Howard) would even indict Lewis on murder charges, seeing the scant evidence presented. Either someone gave Howard bad advice or he didn't do his homework.

Fact: The next lacrosse coach at Johns Hopkins, replacing the departing John Haus, will be the fourth man to coach the Blue Jays since they last won a national title in 1987.

Opinion: Please, enough with the paranoid conspiracy theories about NBA refs fixing the playoffs to maximize TV ratings for the struggling league. Portland missed 13 straight shots in the fourth quarter of its Game 7 loss to the Lakers. And if ratings were all that mattered, Indiana would never beat the Knicks.

Fact: David Cope, the marketing and naming-rights whiz the Redskins lured away from the Ravens last year (without asking for permission to interview him, infuriating Art Modell), has left the Redskins after a year on the job under owner Daniel Snyder. He's going out on his own.

Opinion: Let's call it a double embarrassment that Snyder is charging fans $10 to watch training camp practices. Snyder should be embarrassed for blatantly robbing his fans, and the thousands of fans who will gladly pay should be just as embarrassed for forking over money to watch indecipherable practices.

Fact: The most recent player drafted by the Orioles, groomed in their farm system and still playing every day in the major leagues? It's Arizona's Steve Finley, a 12-year veteran.

Opinion: For all Andre Agassi has accomplished, he reveals an ugly, petulant side when he bolts from a tournament after a loss without talking to reporters, as he did after getting upset early at the French Open last week.

Fact: One reader's semi-serious suggestion for stopping baseball's power explosion: Have all runs generated by homers scored at a 50 percent discount. Can't you see it? Orioles win, 11 1/2 to 10 1/2 !

Opinion: OK, it's quiz time. Here's a baffling final from last week's scoreboard: Fever 57, Sol 54. If you can name the sport, league and teams, you win. But you also need to watch a little less "SportsCenter." (Answer below.)

Fact: The Cincinnati Bengals have hired the beat reporter from the local morning paper to cover the team on their Web site, writing positively as well as negatively.

Opinion: The latest "Dream Team" of NBA superstars headed to the Sydney Olympics is a collection of terrific talents such as Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Grant Hill and Vince Carter, but Allen Iverson's absence is glaring. (What, too many tattoos for the U.S. Olympic Committee?)

Fact: Amazing stat courtesy of ESPN's Jayson Stark: No pitcher selected with the No. 1 pick in baseball's amateur draft has won 20 games in a season. Yes, that includes Ben McDonald.

Opinion: It looks like Doc Gooden is finished with 190 career wins, which is a lot, but a lot fewer than he should have won.

Fact: Will Clark has 34RBIs in 114games with the Orioles. (Answer to "final score" question posed above: It's the Indiana Fever and the Miami Sol of the WNBA. Women's hoops.)

Opinion: Aptitude, not Impeachment, is the smart bet in a Belmont without the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners.

Fact: The Orioles are 35games under .500 against AL East opponents since their division-winning season in 1997.

Opinion: Lakers over the Pacers in six.

Fact: Jayson Werth, the Orioles' theoretical replacement for Charles Johnson, is hitting .211at Bowie.

Opinion: Although prized prospect Darnell McDonald is hitting better (.264) at Bowie this year, his low .298on-base percentage hints of continuing offensive concerns.

Fact: At his current pace, Cal Ripken would finish the 2000 season with 31homers and 104RBIs, his highest totals since his second MVP season in 1991.

Opinion: Interleague fever. Good luck catching it.

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