SINCE this is Election Day, the vote here goes to Bill Ripken as the '90 Orioles' Most Valuable Player. He's going to wind up hitting .280-something and defensively he's the best second baseman the club has ever had, including Bob Grich and Dave Johnson.
* Orioles owner Eli Jacobs knows how to make money but not friends, obviously because he's more interested in money. But he's pretty dumb for not having had Gov. Schaefer as his guest at a ballgame, which, according to the September Baltimore Magazine, has irritated Schaefer. Jacobs runs all manner of Washington politicians up to his box. If it weren't for Schaefer, there's no way Jacobs would be getting a new ballpark in 1992 (toward which the Orioles are not contributing a dime).
* The Tigers' Cecil Fielder is the attraction in the series between two clubs going nowhere at the stadium this week. Fielder, who played in Japan last year, has a good chance to become the first American Leaguer in 29 years to hit 50 home runs. Fielder is called the only Japanese import ever cheered in Detroit.
* Murray Stephens, the swim coach for Loyola High and the North Baltimore Aquatic Club, is a dead ringer for young Orioles pitcher Anthony Telford -- especially since the mustachioed Stephens generally wears a baseball cap.
* Joe De Francis can't be too thrilled with Sunday's Maryland Million turnout of 22,108 and handle of $2,257,892 at Pimlico and Laurel combined. It could have been worse, but between the heroic efforts of Jim McKay and the money the track spent on hTC promotion it should have been better.
* No close follower of local high school football is surprised that Randallstown's Larry Washington averaged 19.6 yards per carry in the 35-19 win over Lackey last weekend. Washington's rare talent was evident three years ago when he played at Loyola -- and two years ago when he played at Dulaney. The colleges will knock themselves out to recruit this young man.
* Even if Pete Sampras never swings a tennis racket again he'll someday become a member of the State of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame. Winning the U.S. Open championship qualifies the Potomac, Md., native.
* Maryland's landing of Stanford's Andy Geiger to replace Lew Perkins as athletic director is the best swap any sports organization around here has made since the Orioles traded Milt Pappas for Frank Robinson.
* ACC commissioner Gene Corrigan was involved all the way in the process of bringing Geiger here. Corrigan said last month Maryland would get "a good guy." At the time he was trying to persuade Geiger to make the switch. Corrigan has an affinity for Maryland not only because he was born and raised in Baltimore but because his brothers, George and Dick, were All-America athletes at College Park.
* Nolan Rogers, the general manager, so to speak, of the USA lacrosse team that won the World Games in Australia in July, has arranged for President Bush to honor the victorious Americans at the White House Thursday at 2:30.
* Middle River's Dave Johnson warrants a good turnout tonight when he pitches against the Tigers. It'll be the 11-game winner's first start since Aug. 14. No Oriole has a better attitude. As Dave said at the start of spring training: "I'll do anything -- start, spot start, middle relief, setup man. I just want to pitch." And that's still all he wants, even in the final weeks of a bad year for the club.
* Bill Tanton's column will run Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.