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Notes on a Scorecard

The games are too long. The caliber of play is hardly awe-inspiring. The umpiring is inconsistent. . . .

However, this could be a season when the National League West race goes down to the wire, and that would be no small blessing. . . .

Six of the past seven NL West championships have been decided by at least five games, and it has been nine years since there was any suspense on the final day. . . .

On Oct. 3, 1982, Joe Morgan hit a three-run home run against Terry Forster at Candlestick Park to give the San Francisco Giants a 5-3 victory over the Dodgers to prevent them from tying the Atlanta Braves and forcing a playoff. . . .

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Now we have another Los Angeles-Atlanta duel. The difference this time is that it is the Dodgers who built the big lead and were caught in August. But one thing remains the same: The Dodgers will close the season with three games at Candlestick Park. . . .

Only on the Detroit Tigers could a pitcher with a 4.04 earned-run average, Bill Gullickson (17-7), have a shot at winning 20 games. . . .

Howard Johnson of the New York Mets is on the doorstep of another 30-30 season--30 home runs and 30 errors. . . .

Frank Thomas of the Chicago White Sox finished seventh in the All-Star balloting at first base. He should finish higher than that in the most-valuable-player voting. . . .

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Brett Butler could become the first L.A. Dodger to lead the National League in the important category of runs scored. The last Dodger to do so was Duke Snider of Brooklyn in 1955. . . .

The Raiders are about to discover the value of Marcus Allen. . . .

Turnovers could be a damaging item for the Rams again Sunday at the Meadowlands. The New York Giants committed only 14 turnovers in 16 regular-season games last season and none against the San Francisco 49ers Monday night. . . .

Since 1987, Butch Rolle, Buffalo’s backup tight end, has caught six passes. All have been for touchdowns. . . .

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Humorous and insightful Dan Hampton got favorable reviews for his debut as an NBC analyst working the Pittsburgh Steeler-San Diego Charger game. The former Chicago Bear defensive lineman again will team with Joel Meyers on the Raider-Denver Bronco telecast Sunday from the Coliseum, but, of course, Southern California will be blacked out. . . .

Two quarterbacks who called the plays, John Elway of the Broncos and Jim Kelly of the Bills, led their teams to 80 points Sunday. . . .

The trouble with those TV camera shots from behind the goal posts on field-goal attempts is that it is difficult to tell if the kick is long enough. . . .

Eleven of the 28 starting quarterbacks in the first week of the NFL season were at least 30. And the Miami Dolphins’ Dan Marino will turn 30 later this season. . . .

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USC’s most embarrassing loss at the Coliseum before Labor Day probably was the 26-20 upset by Kansas in 1983. It is curious that the Trojans canceled a scheduled visit to Kansas this season and replaced the Jayhawks with Memphis State. . . .

Reggie Perry joins Sean Salisbury, Rodney Peete and Todd Marinovich among USC quarterbacks in recent years who have lost their first game as starters. But, those three had tougher assignments--Salisbury at Florida in 1982, Peete at Washington in 1985 and Marinovich against Illinois in 1989. . . .

If Curtis Conway’s 100-yard kickoff return hadn’t been called back, it would have been the first for a touchdown by a Trojan since Anthony Davis ran back the second-half kickoff against Notre Dame at the Coliseum in 1974. . . .

Sponsors of the Disneyland Pigskin Classic, a flop at the gate in its first two years, would like to invite either UCLA or USC to Anaheim Stadium next year. The Trojans aren’t scheduled to make their first Los Angeles area appearance in 1992 until Oct. 10 after road games at San Diego State, Oklahoma and Washington. . . .

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The NFL is being called the No Fun League, but the most petty unsportsmanlike penalty I’ve seen this year was assessed East Carolina for celebrating mildly after recovering an onside kick late in the game against Illinois. . . .

Form has taken a holiday at Del Mar. . . .

Forty celebrities and sports figures will join host Magic Johnson in the American Heart Assn.'s third annual Magic’s Golf Classic on Sept. 16 at Riviera. . . .

It was Eric Lindros’ checking, even more than his offense, that impressed his Team Canada teammates during a 6-3 victory over the the United States in the Canada Cup Monday night. . . .

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Now that a certain player has been activated, should the Chicago White Sox be known as the Bosox?


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