Fact: With almost twice as many touchdown passes (11) as interceptions (six) and the fifth-highest quarterback ranking in the league, Vinny Testaverde is having an excellent season.
Opinion: It's all well and good that the mayor wants to build an NBA-caliber arena downtown, but there is one small problem: The city's chances of procuring an NBA franchise are almost nonexistent.
Fact: In Mike Mussina's last six starts, he was 0-3 with a 6.29 ERA.
Opinion: Davey Johnson didn't have a great year managing the Orioles, but if he doesn't come back, for whatever reason, the club won't hire a more proven or able manager.
Fact: The Orioles began inciting more response from the fans at Camden Yards after Peter Angeles took a trip to Seattle with the club in August and saw what the Mariners did to create noise at the Kingdome.
Opinion: There are numerous minor-league hockey teams around the country that could consistently fill the 10,000-seat arena Bandits owner Michael Caggiano wants to build in Baltimore County, but the Bandits aren't one of them.
Fact: Since last year's 4-0 beginning, the Maryland Terrapins have lost nine of 13 football games, beating only Wake Forest, North Carolina State, Alabama-Birmingham and Northern Illinois.
Opinion: Teams just don't bounce back from a defeat like the Terps' 34-8 home loss to then-winless North Carolina State a few weeks ago. Head coaches don't survive them, either.
Fact: "It was a game of two halves," said insightful Detroit Lions coach Wayne Fontes after last week's loss to the Oakland Raiders.
Opinion: With four losses already and road games at Denver, San Francisco and Carolina still to go, the Ravens aren't going to make it to that 8-8 prediction made here.
Fact: Roland Hemond's parting gift to the Orioles: An option for '97 on Brady Anderson, at the "bargain" price of $4 million.
Opinion: You had better believe it has crossed Pat Gillick's mind that he could get an awful lot in return for Anderson after a 50-homer season.
Fact: Orioles-killer Bernie Williams spent five full years in the minor leagues.
Opinion: Even if it was the pitchers' fault more than his, Pat Dobson can't complain about getting fired after a season in which the Orioles had the highest ERA in team history.
Fact: Yes, pitching stats were bad throughout the AL this year, but the Orioles' 5.14 team ERA was still well above the AL's league-wide 4.99 ERA.
Opinion: The Classic Sports Network, a cable channel that shows famous old games and matches and moments, is totally cool.
Fact: Orioles averages with runners in scoring position: Rafael Palmeiro .322, Roberto Alomar .318, B. J. Surhoff .312, Cal Ripken .311, Bobby Bonilla .287, Eddie Murray .255, Todd Zeile .243, Chris Hoiles .238, Anderson .207.
Opinion: Giving Bonilla a no-DH clause or whatever, as Peter Angelos has suggested, is the definition of meddling.
Fact: Ripken made as many errors in '96 (14) as he did in '94 and '95 combined.
Opinion: The Ravens played their best game yet in losing to the Colts.
Fact: Football fans in South Florida are so excited about Jimmy Johnson's return that attendance at Dolphins games is down 6 percent from '95.
Opinion: To answer an idle question debated in the press box during the ALCS: Yes, Wade Boggs (.333 career average) is a Hall of Famer.
Fact: At his current pace, Earnest Byner will have a 1,000-yard rushing season.
Opinion: The Orioles will pursue White Sox free-agent pitcher Alex Fernandez because Angelos wants to hit Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf where it hurts.
Fact: The Yankees changed managers 13 times between their World Series appearances in 1981 and 1996.
Opinion: Alan Mills, Armando Benitez and Arthur Rhodes could give the Orioles a killer bullpen in '97 -- if Rhodes and Mills stay healthy and Benitez continues to mature. If, if, if.
Fact: The Ravens were the 10th-oldest team in the NFL based on Oct. 1 rosters.
Opinion: Cigar's handlers would be wise to shut it down after the Breeders' Cup. The horse has peaked.
Fact: Jeff George has turned down $55 million in contracts in the past year: $25 million from the Falcons last fall and $30 million from the Seahawks this month.
Opinion: The sound you couldn't hear Sunday at Camden Yards was the rest of the baseball world cheering Roberto Alomar's key error in Game 5 of the ALCS.
Pub Date: 10/17/96