THE MIGHTY Oakland A's, headed for their third straight World Series with 10 straight postseason victories, are no more dominant than the Orioles were two decades ago. The O's won nine straight American League Championship Series games from 1969 to 1971 (sweeps over the Twins twice and A's once) and appeared in three consecutive World Series.
Orioles attendance figures from those long-ago playoffs are hard to believe. Twenty years ago this month the O's drew 27,608 for the clinching ALCS game here against Minnesota. Now the O's average more than that (32,000-plus) for regular-season games. But the Orioles drew just over 1 million for the '70 season; today they draw 2.5 million (2,415,189 this year).
* To know Towson State lacrosse coach Carl Runk is to love him. A onetime Patterson High star, Runk has been instilling good values in his players for more than 20 years. Right now his great pride is the improved academic performance of his high-scoring ace, Glenn Smith, who's carrying a 3.0 grade-point average. Runk's team, which will be a legitimate contender for the NCAA championship in the spring, plays Johns Hopkins Saturday at 3 p.m. in the Choice-Visa tournament at UMBC. Loyola opens against the host school at noon. Winners meet Sunday at 2.
It's a little disappointing to me that the two-point shot (the lacrosse equivalent of basketball's three-pointer) will not be tried again in this year's Choice-Visa tourney. "There will be no miracle comebacks this year," says Hopkins associate athletic director Tom Calder. Hopkins was the victim of the two-point miracle comeback last year by Loyola, which won the tourney. Bet you the Greyhounds like the two-pointer.
* If the Orioles open the vault for Mickey Tettleton, which is unlikely, they will do so to sign a most inconsistent player. Mickey has been around the majors since 1984 and he has had one outstanding half season (the first half of '89). This year he hit one home run from June 24 to Aug. 24 -- and closed the season with three in the last four games for a total of 15.
* The Washington Bullets are holding two open-to-the public intrasquad scrimmages this year at their training camp at Mount St. Mary's. The first is set for tonight, the other on Oct. 23. I'll tell you one thing -- the drive to Emmitsburg in Indian summer is a treat in itself.
* Bullets coach Wes Unseld is too kind to John Williams. Says Wes: "No one should write him off. Each player prepares himself for the season in a different way." In Williams' case that would include being AWOL and ballooning to a reported 300 pounds in the offseason. With salaries as they are in the NBA today, you have to wonder what Williams has between his ears.
* The Lacrosse Hall of Fame must be the hardest of all to be accepted by. Ex-Navy All-America Carl Tamlevich's name is on the ballot this year, which is fine except for one thing: He was enshrined in the Hall of Fame last February. Guess you have to be elected twice to stay in this one. (Steve Stenerson, who actually runs the Hall very efficiently, apologizes for the clerical error.)
* Be glad you're not umpire Terry Cooney the first time the American League sends him into Boston next year after his super-quick thumbing of Roger Clemens yesterday. Umpires traditionally go the extra mile to keep people in postseason games. No manager was ever kicked out of a World Series game until Earl Weaver was in Shea Stadium in '69.