Notes on a Scorecard

Enough with all those Dodger complaints about what other teams did or didn't do the last week of the season. The fact is that the Dodgers lost their last three meaningful games. . . . Wait until next year. . . .

The NL West race could be nearly as exciting as it was this year. . . .

The champion Atlanta Braves--who should have David Justice, Sid Bream and Otis Nixon in their lineup the entire season--require only some fine tuning. . . .

The runner-up Dodgers can improve by signing two or three free agents and perhaps making a deal. . . .

What Tom Lasorda needs most is a right-handed power hitter. . . .

Glenn Davis of the Baltimore Orioles and Danny Tartabull of the Kansas City Royals are eligible for free agency. Eric Davis of the Cincinnati Reds could be available in a trade. And how about the biggest prize of all, switch-hitting Bobby Bonilla?. . . .

Fred Claire may also want to acquire a reliable closer for the bullpen and must decide whether he can trust Jose Offerman at shortstop. . . .

I don't see a future in Dodger blue for Eddie Murray, Juan Samuel or Kal Daniels. . . .

The title wasn't decided until the 160th game, but the race turned around as early as August when the Dodgers swooned, the Braves surged, and Atlanta realized that it could go from worst in 1990 to first in 1991. . . .

Key win: The Braves' 7-6 victory Tuesday at Cincinnati when they rallied from a 6-0 deficit in the first inning. . . .

Key defeat: The Dodgers' 9-4 loss to San Diego Wednesday at Dodger Stadium when the Padres made the most of five infield hits and two solid singles in the eighth inning. . . .

Most valuable Dodger: Brett Butler. . . .

Most valuable Angel: Jim Abbott. . . .

What time does the parade for the Giants start today in downtown San Francisco?. . . .

Among the reasons I was rooting for Cecil Fielder to win the American League home run championship was the homer that was taken away from him because of an incorrect fan interference call. . . .

New York Met pitcher David Cone's National League record-tying, 19-strikeout performance against the Philadelphia Phillies was the greatest in a meaningless final game of the season since Mike Witt of the Angels pitched a perfect game against the Texas Rangers in Texas on Sept. 30, 1984. . . .

Minnesota vs. Toronto will be the first all-dome postseason series. . . .

Atlanta vs. Minnesota would be the loudest World Series ever. . . .

It seemed strange Sunday, watching a football game and not once wondering about the scores of baseball games. . . .

The game at the Coliseum--with a long return of a fumble and a few dropped passes being vital to the outcome--was the kind the Raiders usually win and the San Diego Chargers usually lose. . . .

But the Raiders suffered a similar defeat to Philadelphia at the Coliseum in 1986 when Marcus Allen fumbled deep in Eagle territory and Andre Waters ran it back 81 yards to set up the winning touchdown in overtime. . . .

Jay Schroeder, who was booed loudly by the intimate gathering during introductions, responded by throwing the ball better than he has all season and would have led his team to another touchdown or two if his receivers had been more consistent. . . .

Except for the strikeball game of 1987, the Chargers hadn't beaten the Raiders at the Coliseum since 1960 when they were the Los Angeles Chargers and the Oakland Raiders. . . . Outlandish statement of the day: Mike Ditka saying the New York Jets are better than the Buffalo Bills. . . .

The Denver Broncos must have thought they were playing in the Super Bowl Sunday. . . .

Thumbs up to NBC for switching from the Houston-Denver rout to the closer Miami-New England game in the second half. . . .

Jim Everett still hasn't thrown a touchdown pass. . . .

Maybe the expectations for Tommy Maddox were too high, but the UCLA quarterback has been inconsistent during his sophomore year. . . .

In the last three seasons, the Bruins are 4-9-1 in games that have been decided by seven or fewer points. . . .

Unbeaten Baylor may be the most underrated team in the nation. . . .

A new crowd favorite in Seattle is Napolean Kaufman, the University of Washington freshman running back from Lompoc. . . .

I wish Auburn Coach Pat Dye would stop gambling on those two-point conversions. . . .

Fresno State needs work on its second-half passing attack. . . .

Someone should attach a speedometer to Lou Holtz on the Notre Dame sidelines and log his mileage during a game. . . .

The three most overused words every Saturday on television: Heisman Trophy candidate.

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