O's should show caution with Timlin

November 13, 1998|By John Eisenberg

Opinion: Mike Timlin is a quality pitcher who should help stabilize the Orioles' bullpen, but it's no small risk to expect him to become a franchise-caliber closer at age 32 after spending much of his career in middle relief. The Orioles might want to keep Armando Benitez around as a fallback option if they hand the closer's job to Timlin.

Fact: Mike Flanagan's departure to the HTS booth means the Orioles will have a new pitching coach for the fifth straight season in 1999.

Opinion: PSINet Stadium at Camden Yards? Hey, that's exactly what we wanted: an unpronounceable, mishmashed, alphabet soup name with absolutely no local ties or significance. Oh, well, maybe the check won't cash.

Fact: While in Washington spinning his bid to buy the Redskins the other day, Peter Angelos told Post reporters that Cal Ripken might move to first base in 1999.

Opinion: If what Angelos said is true, Ripken deserved better than to have the Orioles' owner blab the news to reporters before anyone from the front office informed Ripken. Nice touch.

Fact: The combined record of the Ravens' past four opponents is 25-11. The combined record of their next four opponents is 11-25.

Opinion: The best thing about the Ravens? Regardless of the score, opponent or circumstances, they play hard.

Fact: Jesse "The Body" Ventura will now decide the fate of major-league baseball in Minnesota, where the Twins want a new ballpark. "The Body" says he's against it.

Opinion: Brian Jordan would be a nice fit for the Orioles in center field and also a nice fit for the Ravens, who could use help in the secondary. Too bad Jordan retired from football.

Fact: Ravens cornerback Rod Woodson doesn't believe the hype about the Ravens' defense. "We can do a lot better," he said. "There are guys who need to look at themselves in the mirror and make sure they're doing everything they can."

Opinion: Sure, Maryland's new basketball phenom, Steve Francis, is plenty good, but you're expecting too much if you're expecting him to dominate the ACC right away.

Fact: The Terps haven't lost a non-ACC game at Cole Field House since Coppin State beat them nearly a decade ago.

Opinion: Art Modell won't invite Maryland back to his stadium anytime soon after losing money on the Terps-Georgia Tech game, which only drew some 25,000 fans.

Fact: Only four of the nine winners of the AL Manager of the Year award in the '90s still have the job at which they won the honor. (Tom Kelly, Joe Torre, Lou Piniella and Johnny Oates.)

Opinion: It's hardly a tragedy that the start of the NBA season is being delayed. Rare is the memorable or important NBA game played in November and December.

Fact: Bobby Bonilla has changed uniforms four times in 40 months, going from the Mets to the Orioles to the Marlins to the Dodgers to the Mets. If the pattern continues, he's due to return to the Orioles sometime in 1999.

Opinion: If Kansas State's football team beats Nebraska for the first time in 31 years tomorrow, finishes undefeated and doesn't land in the national championship game, we can throw the new Bowl Championship Series system right in the trash.

Fact: Yes, that was Zach Thornton of John Carroll High School and Loyola College who started in goal for the U.S. national soccer team in an exhibition game last weekend. He's still behind Kasey Keller and Brad Friedel on the depth chart, but he's in the mix.

Opinion: My Heisman Trophy vote will go to Texas running back Ricky Williams, who should win the balloting hands-down.

Fact: Maryland football coach Ron Vanderlinden is 1-13 in ACC games.

Opinion: Skip Away is an easy choice for Horse of the Year even without winning either of his last two starts.

Fact: The Ravens have shed 40 of the 53 players they brought with them from Cleveland.

Opinion: Swain would have won the Breeders' Cup Classic last weekend if he hadn't drifted so ridiculously wide in the stretch that it appeared he was trying to find a seat in the grandstand. The jockey, Frankie Dettori, won't win any awards for that ride.

Fact: Of the 11 major-league clubs that spent $50 million or more on their payrolls in 1998, only the Orioles finished with a losing record.

Opinion: On second thought, Ravens.coSI.net.Stadium sounds terrific.

Pub Date: 11/13/98

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