In review, .500 Ravens look better

January 21, 2000|By John Eisenberg

Opinion: The Ravens' first non-losing season looks even better in the rearview mirror now that we know that almost a third of their games (five) and half of their losses (four) were against conference finalists Jacksonville, Tennessee and St. Louis.

Fact: Tony Perez is only the sixth Latin American player to make baseball's Hall of Fame, after Juan Marichal, Luis Aparicio, Rod Carew, Roberto Clemente and Orlando Cepeda.

Opinion: The Orioles need to get faster in 2000, above all else. Their impressive 1999 defensive statistics were grossly misleading. They didn't get to a lot of balls.

Fact: A lot of horse racing's wise guys suddenly think the smart choice for the 2000 Kentucky Derby might be a filly named Surfside, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, who says he has never considered a filly for the Derby so early.

Opinion: The Ravens' off-season got off to a great start last week, when the Steelers fingered the wrong suspect for their fall and fired respected director of football operations Tom Donahoe instead of coach Bill Cowher, who should have been the one to go.

Fact: The busiest man in town? Here's a vote for Coppin State's Derek Brown, the Eagles' head women's basketball coach, associate head men's basketball coach and, until recently, head softball coach. Day off? What day off?

Opinion: Local college basketball rankings: No. 1 Towson, No. 2 Coppin State, No. 3 Loyola, No. 4 UMBC, No. 5 Morgan State. (And there's not much difference between Nos. 1 and 5.)

Fact: For what it's worth, Wake Forest basketball coach Dave Odom says this is "the best half-court team at Maryland in quite some time."

Opinion: Maryland fans should heed Georgia Tech coach Bobby Cremins' advice on dealing with Duke debacles: "They always bring out the worst in you. You just throw out the Duke games."

Fact: Maryland freshman Steve Blake has reached 100 assists faster than any other point guard in school history.

Opinion: College football's Bowl Championship Series is far from perfect. It generated a memorable national title game between Florida State and Virginia Tech this year, but the other bowls suffered. Only three of the other 22 bowls sold out.

Fact: The Ravens led the NFL in plays gaining 50 yards or more (12).

Opinion: Former psycho coach Dick Vermeil is so calm and collected on the sideline now that he looks, well, positively medicated.

Fact: "I don't know that Miami should have been in the playoffs," Jaguars running back Fred Taylor says.

Opinion: Someone is going to have sit Dan Marino down and give him the news that it's time to say goodbye.

Fact: One reason not to pick the hot Lakers to cruise to the NBA title -- Shaquille O'Neal, a career 53.6 percent free-throw shooter, is clanging 'em at 45.2 percent this season.

Opinion: Derek Jeter's $118 million deal? He's worth every penny.

Fact: The Colorado Rockies have acquired 16 players since the end of last season.

Opinion: The Dallas Cowboys' coaching vacancy? Jerry Jones already has the job. He should should just go ahead and give "hisself" the title.

Fact: Indecipherable words of wisdom from LSU basketball coach John Brady: "I never want to not have the attitude of getting better."

Opinion: You can certainly see why NBA teams are ready to gamble on Dennis Rodman, who has stopped dying his hair, professed a new commitment and been arrested only twice since November.

Fact: Paul Azinger says fellow golfer Tiger Woods "has to be considering [winning] a Grand Slam in the back of his mind."

Opinion: Nashville, Tampa, Jacksonville and St. Louis sounds like a minor-league hockey division, not the NFL's municipal final four.

Fact: New Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman generated exactly one touchdown in his last 10 quarters as the Seahawks' offensive coordinator.

Opinion: Bill Belichick's 36-44 record as a head coach shouldn't make him such a hot candidate. Must be his personality.

Fact: One baseball publication reports that left-handed Orioles pitching prospect Richard Stahl, 18, was "spectacular" in his instructional league season.

Opinion: How long will Michael Jordan stick with the Wizards as director of basketball operations before he gets frustrated with the team's salary cap restrictions and turns over his duties to someone else? The guess here is 27 months.

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