Opinion: It is inconceivable that the Orioles are going to let this season come and go without a major tribute to the 40th anniversary of their 1966 World Series victory. Thumbs-up to the Babe Ruth Museum for stepping in and putting on a reunion next month.
Fact: Since 2002, the Orioles' record in September/October games is 48-82.
Opinion: The baseball playoffs just aren't going to seem the same without the Atlanta Braves making their annual surprisingly early exit.
Fact: To set the record straight, the Maryland Terrapins' season-opening football win over Division I-AA opponent William and Mary does count toward their bowl eligibility. (They need to get to six wins.) Until this year, the NCAA allowed teams to count a I-AA win only once every four years, but now they can use one every year.
Opinion: When you lead the American League in losses and runs allowed, as Rodrigo Lopez does, you shouldn't complain about being demoted to the bullpen. The 'pen is where the Orioles should put him in 2007, by the way. Who cares that he'd be expensive as a reliever? The Orioles desperately need bullpen help, and Lopez could be quite effective.
Fact: Sports Illustrated recently devoted most of a page to a review of former Sun sportswriter Brad Snyder's new book about Curt Flood. The title is "A Well-Paid Slave."
Opinion: It's about time Tiger Woods rectified the one shortcoming on his resume, his mediocre Ryder Cup record (7-11-2 overall). The U.S. team isn't supposed to beat Europe next week in Ireland, but the least Woods should do, as hot as he is, is carry the team and make it close.
Fact: The Ravens' 2006 opponents went 5-8 in their season-opening games.
Opinion: Derek Jeter deserves to be voted American League Most Valuable Player. He sets the best winning tone of any clubhouse leader in the game. And a guy performing that hard and well both in the field and at bat easily deserves it over a designated hitter (David Ortiz) or a pitcher (Johan Santana), as good as they are.
Fact: The Elias Sports Bureau reports that only two major league teams have won their season series from a particular opponent in each of the past nine seasons. One is the Houston Astros over the Milwaukee Brewers. The other is the Yankees over the Orioles.
Opinion: It was one thing for the Texas Rangers to give Alex Rodriguez a 10-year contract when they did; at least he was the best player in baseball. Giving a 15-year, $67 million deal to a 25-year-old hockey goalie with a losing career record, as the New York Islanders did with Rick DiPietro, is sheer lunacy.
Fact: The Orioles are down an average of 5,530 fans per game from a year ago, and 11,811 per game from five years ago.
Opinion: It will be several years before we know for sure that the Houston Texans erred by passing up Reggie Bush to take defensive end Mario Williams with the first pick in the 2006 NFL draft. But the way things are going, that pick could cost people in Houston their jobs before the verdict is in.
Fact: The Florida Marlins have had four no-hitters in their 14 seasons, while the San Diego Padres and New York Mets have had none in their combined 83 seasons.
Opinion: Put him on a winning team, behind a solid offensive line, and Brett Favre would look better than this. He can still make some throws. The Packers should do the right thing and trade him to a contender.
Fact: Shiekh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, owner of Preakness winner Bernardini and a member of the ruling family of Dubai, bought 16 young horses for $29.1 million on the first day of a major sale in Lexington, Ky., earlier this week. The next day, he spent almost $28 million more, including $11.7 million for one yearling. There's a shopping spree.
Opinion: The best instant replay system I've seen was the one used to review close line calls at the recent U.S. Open tennis tournament. It was quick and foolproof, barely interrupting the flow of the match. Seems like the NFL, which never quite gets replay right, ought to be able to use that technology.
Fact: Andre Agassi's teary retirement was quite the headline-maker, but tennis historian Bud Collins doesn't even list Agassi among his all-time top 10 players (which he gave to the San Francisco Chronicle in this order): Rod Laver, Pancho Gonzalez, Bill Tilden, Don Budge, Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ken Rosewall and (tie) Ivan Lendl and Jack Kramer.
Opinion: Sam Perlozzo was never in danger of losing his job, but he certainly deserved the thumbs-up he got from the front office this week. Maybe he will actually have a bullpen and a cleanup hitter and a left fielder and a first baseman and another quality starter in 2007.