OPINION: THAT THE New York Yankees will make their 2000 Camden Yards debut on Monday, in the last days of July, is beyond ridiculous. Who drew up this schedule, Moe, Larry and Curly?
Fact: For those keeping score at home, Cal Ripken has played in 148 games and sat out 108 due to injuries since Opening Day 1999.
Opinion: Regarding that blue-ribbon economic report the baseball owners released last week claiming that only three teams have made money since the '94 strike: Anyone who believes that also believes the Earth is flat.
Fact: During a chat session on NFL.com in June, the Ravens' Peter Boulware said "we'll go to the Super Bowl" this year.
Opinion: As much as the Orioles obviously need to make some trades and get younger, dealing Scott Erickson, for one, makes no sense now. His ERA is up, his value is down and he might be damaged goods in the wake of his surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow this spring. Trading him now would amount to selling a stock at its 52-week low.
Fact: When the International Baseball Association meets in September, it is expected to vote to allow professionals in the Olympics beginning with the 2004 Summer Games. In other words, start getting ready for a major-league Dream Team.
Opinion: Sidney Ponson has all sorts of talent, but someone needs to sit him down and explain that a 23-year-old with a 25-27 career record shouldn't be big-timing anyone.
Fact: In case you hadn't noticed, heading into last night's game, the Orioles had the American League's third-worst record, ahead of only Minnesota and Tampa Bay.
Opinion (Former Oriole Div.): If the Los Angeles Dodgers miss the playoffs again, which appears likely, Davey Johnson will be out of a job. But GM Kevin Malone will survive.
Fact: Pete Sampras is 53-1 at Wimbledon since 1993, which is pretty good.
Opinion: If horse racing is dying, how come 24 yearlings sold for at least $1 million and all 130 in the catalogue sold for an average of $621,015 at the Keeneland summer yearling sale earlier this week?
Fact: The Orioles are only four games under .500 against right-handed starting pitchers, but eight games under .500 against left-handed starters.
Opinion: Maryland basketball fans no doubt cheered North Carolina's labored search for a new coach, but make no mistake, the ACC needs a strong, healthy Carolina to remain a top, respected league.
Fact: A fond farewell to Maryland basketball publicist Chuck Walsh, transferring to a job at Florida State.
Opinion: Speaking as a veteran of several British Opens, if it isn't raining buckets with 40-mph wind gusts, it isn't really the British Open.
Fact: Albert Belle had 17 stolen bases a year ago, none this year.
Opinion: An NFL season without Bill Parcells and Jimmy Johnson? Gosh, we might actually have to talk about the players a little more.
Fact: They still call it the City Game, but basketball players from France, Canada, Turkey, Croatia, Greece, Senegal and Slovenia were picked in the first round of the NBA draft last month.
Opinion: If Reggie White, 38, can make a significant impact in the NFL, so can Artie Donovan.
Fact: The Orioles' .276 team batting average going into last night's game is three points off the franchise record, set last season.
Opinion: Looks like a win by knockout for Lance Armstrong over the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.
Fact: Says Nomar Garciaparra on his .400 chase: "Sorry, I only answer team questions. Nothing about myself."
Opinion: The odds of the Los Angeles Lakers sustaining a dynasty rest not on the shoulders of Shaquille O'Neal or Kobe Bryant, but on those of GM Jerry West, who is contemplating retirement again. As great as West was as a player, he might be even better as a GM.
Fact: The Ravens might be part of the NFL's new guard, but the first two games to sell out on their 2000 home schedule were Dallas and Pittsburgh, two old-guard powers.
Opinion: Here's the pro sports version of a 401k savings plan: Every day that you don't spend $10 to park at the Redskins' training camp and another $10 to watch them practice, you've saved $20 for your retirement.
Fact: Anaheim's Darin Erstad is on a pace to break Hall of Famer George Sisler's record of 257 hits in a season, which has stood since 1920.
Opinion: Baseball has it backwards. Instead of eliminating two small-market franchises to try to correct its competitive imbalance, it should eliminate the Yankees and their $100 payroll. Wouldn't that do more to level the playing field?