Don't build a museum to greatness of Tagliabue

Opinion: Given the NFL's immense popularity, outgoing commissioner Paul Tagliabue surely will be praised as an effective steward of a popular sports product. But he was dead wrong to leave Baltimore's profitable stadium deal on the table in the 1993 expansion debacle, and his suggestion that the city use that money to build a museum was so arrogant, it still boils the blood. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Tags.

Fact: Just so you know, one of the prime names on the list of possible successors to Tagliabue, NFL executive vice president Roger Goodell, rode shotgun for the commissioner during the 1993 expansion pie fight.


Opinion: Terrell Owens was smart enough to know he could act up with the Philadelphia Eagles and still land a fat contract with another team. But we are about to find out if he is smart enough to realize he is on his last chance with the Dallas Cowboys. If he acts up again, he's seriously damaged goods.

Fact: This season, Coppin State's men's basketball team played just two fewer games than Maryland against teams that eventually landed in the NCAA tournament. Coppin went 2-6 (beating Hampton twice) while the Terps went 2-8.


Opinion: Random things that make me feel somewhat better about the Orioles: 1) Kevin Millar's blog on the team's Web site; 2) Daniel Cabrera's pitching performances in the World Baseball Classic; and 3) Sendy Rleal's likely jump from Double-A Bowie to the major league bullpen, a good sign that the minor league system is spitting out legitimate pitching prospects.

Fact: This year's Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame class: former major league pitcher Steve Farr and former NFL players Tony Greene, Vaughn Hebron and Greg Schaum, with lifetime achievement awards going to Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith and longtime Navy coach/administrator Dave Smalley. They'll all be inducted at a dinner May 24 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

Opinion: Sorry, but after one week of the NCAA tournament, you still can't say the Atlantic Coast Conference was superior to the Missouri Valley this season. Both leagues had four NCAA teams, and both have two left.

Fact: Dept. of Corrections: The next World Baseball Classic is scheduled to be played three years from now, not four. After 2009, it will be played every four years. Thanks to reader Daniel Forte for helping set the record straight.

Opinion: Roger Clemens surely didn't expect to be taken seriously when he announced after the Classic that "right now, for me, it's goodbye." He will pitch again this season, and everyone knows he will - if not for the Houston Astros, then for the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, depending on who antes up.

Fact: I'm not trying to sway you, but the Sweet 16-bound George Mason men's basketball team has more Maryland residents on its roster than this season's Maryland team. George Mason has seven, and the Terps had six counting Chris McCray.

Opinion: The best thing about the Terps' near future is that D.J. Strawberry, as a senior next season, will be in position to set the tone for the rest of the team. The team needs more of his heart and leadership.

Fact: It's hard to imagine, but the 2006 Kentucky Derby will be run without jockeys Pat Day or Jerry Bailey, both of whom have retired, and could be run without trainers Bob Baffert or D. Wayne Lukas, neither of whom has a contender ranked in the Top 10.


Opinion: I'm still trying to figure out the Ravens' decision to give $10 million in guaranteed money to Trevor Pryce, a 30-year-old pass-rushing defensive end who has totaled four sacks in the past two seasons and missed most of 2004 with a herniated disc in his back. Huh?

Fact: Longtime Atlanta Braves general manager (and Towson University grad) John Schuerholz has written a book titled Built to Win in which he says, among many things, that he almost obtained Barry Bonds in a 1992 trade. Former Braves pitcher Tom Glavine is reportedly unhappy that Schuerholz reveals details about their thorny 2002 contract negotiations. The book is due out April 2.

Opinion: One of the most interesting aspects of Cuba's success in the World Baseball Classic was that you could just look at the players' bodies and tell they weren't on steroids. They were thin or chubby, strong but not buff.

Fact: Portrait of a Disaster Epic: The New York Knicks have a higher payroll ($130 million) than the NFL's New York Jets, but they trail every NBA team in wins except Charlotte.

Opinion: OK, I'll fess up entirely. I got nine of the Sweet 16 right. I have Connecticut, Boston College, LSU and Kansas in the Final Four, with BC beating LSU in the final. I don't like my chances.