IT'S ONE OF those opinionated days . . .
Was anyone surprised about the trading of Mike Foligno? No one should have been. The surprising, unpleasant part was the timing.
Foligno was Gerry Meehan's first move after the team's coaching crisis publicly festered. While there isn't much doubt that Foligno's hockey skills are on the decline, no one ever blamed him for lack of effort.
The same can't be said about a number of other Sabres.
From the moment Foligno arrived in Buffalo, he gave the franchise all that he could offer.
Not only that, but he made serious contributions as a member of the community. Let's hope he returns here to live after his hockey days are over.
How ironic that less than 24 hours after Foligno's departure, the Featherbed AC won a clutch, overtime game at Hartford.
If Meehan thinks he can stop being Mr. Goodwrench after making the Foligno trade, the moment of elation could quickly become one of the Sabres' famous Sometime Things.
If Bob Rich is chagrined at the mixed emotions produced by his short-list press conference, he has only the mixed signals produced by his open letter to The News to blame.
If the Riches actually do plan to go full steam ahead after a National League franchise, the tenor of their letter was a major mistake.
Maybe they should ask for their money back from Hill and Knowlton, the giant public relations firm, if the contents of that letter was the firm's best advice.
Miami gets a major lift with the return of star pass receiver Mark Clayton, but may suffer a major minus by the probable unavailability of fullback Tony Paige.
Whether he played in a Jet uniform or the Howard Johnson colors, Paige always seemed to plague the Bills.
The outlook seems to change from week to week, but right now one of the most dangerous AFC playoff teams is the Raiders.
Not since Bo Jackson first decided to moonlight with them have the Raiders even qualified for the playoffs.
Bo seems more interested than he has at the end of any previous season. The pairing of Jackson with Marcus Allen, a superb blocker, may have made the difference.
Remember that Jackson had reported, but wasn't in uniform yet when the Bills beat the Raiders.
Dave Nightingale, the Sporting News' baseball analyst, calls Toronto "what looks like the best team in the American League, if not the best in baseball -- at least on paper" in the wake of its winter meeting trades, free-agenting and alterations.
Nightingale cites the breakup of the Jays' locker-room cliques, especially the heavy concentration of Dominican players, among the reason for the rosy outlook.
Ernie Whitt, the Jays' long-time catcher, wrote about the factions in his book "Catch -- A Major League Life."
Whitt said the Jays were divided into three groups -- Latins, whites and blacks.
Now that Canisius basketball is off to a good start, doesn't the impatience with Marty Marbach last spring seem pretty stupid?
The National League expansion short list is short on prestige considering that it includes Washington.
They can write all the mawkish lyric poetry they want about the Grand Old Game down there, but the fact is that Washington hasn't been a good baseball town since Bucky Harris was a second baseman.