Tom Lasorda was on the phone from Vero Beach, Fla., raving about how his Dodgers are looking. His minor league Dodgers, that is. . . .
“Mike Piazza and Carlos Hernandez, a couple of catchers, are really swinging the bat,” said the manager after an intrasquad game between non-roster players who are unaffected by the lockout. “And Jerry Brooks is doing real well in the outfield.”. . .
After waxing optimistic for another few minutes, Lasorda had to excuse himself. There was another game to be played. The Non-Rosters vs. Brevard Junior College. Six innings at Holman Stadium. . . .
Baffled by the lockout? “Try explaining what’s going on to a 93-year-old mother,” said Jo Lasorda, who usually visits her mom in Greenville, S.C., on the way home from spring training. “It isn’t easy.”. . .
The lockout turned out to be a blessing for at least one Dodger. On the day the pitchers were supposed to report, Jim Gott’s wife, Clenice, gave birth to twin boys a month ahead of schedule in Provo, Utah. . . .
The Coliseum commissioners shouldn’t kid themselves. Los Angeles will never get another NFL team if the Raiders leave and the Coliseum isn’t rebuilt or refurbished. . . .
Buster Douglas is everywhere. On Monday, the former Coffeyville, Kan., junior college basketball player lost a free-throw shooting contest to Dick Vitale and then appeared on ESPN at halftime of the Ohio State-Illinois game. . . .
Vitale, incidentally, won’t work the UCLA-Washington telecast Sunday on ABC. The announcers will be Roger Twibel and Cheryl Miller. . . .
All the stories about the 10th anniversary of the U.S. hockey’s team Olympic championship at Lake Placid in 1980 featured the upset of the Soviet Union, but the gold-medal victory actually was over Finland. . . .
How important was goaltender Jim Craig in that victory over the Soviet team? The United States was outshot, 39-16. . . .
Look-alikes: Raymond Berry and Don Casey. . . .
Mike Casey of the Southern California Forty Niner Gold Rushers says his tape of the 1982 NFC championship game at Candlestick Park shows that Dwight Clark caught the winning touchdown pass from Joe Montana at 5:04 p.m., the same time the earthquake hit the World Series last year. . . .
Since 1981, the 49ers have compiled a better regular-season road record (54-14-1) than any NFL team has at home. . . .
If Gary Payton had gone to St. John’s instead of Oregon State as planned, just think how much more publicity he would be getting. . . .
Georgia Tech junior Dennis Scott probably will enter the NBA draft after this season. . . . Clemson, that well-known football school, will play Duke for first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference basketball race tonight. . . .
Don’t look for Chuck Person, who won’t win any popularity contest among his teammates, in an Indiana Pacers uniform next season. . . .
Karl Malone could be president of a George Raveling fan club. The star Utah Jazz forward speaks glowingly about how Raveling, who assisted Bob Knight, treated him during the 1984 U.S. Olympic trials even though he didn’t make the team. . . .
New General Manager Dick Steinberg already has the New York Jets leading the NFL in one category--most Plan B free agents signed. . . .
On the Julio Cesar Chavez-Meldrick Taylor undercard March 17 at the Las Vegas Hilton, heavyweight contender Greg Page will fight Mathis Fleming, and Lusito Espinosa will defend his WBA bantamweight championship against Hurley Snead. . . .
How good does the Chavez-Taylor fight, promoted by Don King, figure to be? Bob Arum says he’s looking forward to it. . . .
A total of 298 2-year-olds have been catalogued for the opening sale of thoroughbreds at the Barretts pavilion at Fairplex Park in Pomona next Monday and Tuesday. The handsome facility could become the West Coast version of Keeneland. . . .
The Santa Anita Handicap will be televised Sunday for the first time since 1986. The 45-minute show will begin at 4:30 p.m. on SportsChannel. Post time is 5 p.m., and Trevor Denman will call the race. . . .
Eleven of the top 12 men in the Los Angeles Marathon are 31 or older. The youngster is Mark Plaatjes, 27. . . .
Bo Jackson gets six or seven weeks more vacation time than the average worker most years, and even more this year.