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Notes on a Scorecard

At the start of the season, I picked the Dodgers to finish first, second, third, fourth or fifth in the National League West. . . .

Well, that is the last time I’m ever going to go out on a limb. . . .

The trouble with the sixth-place Dodgers is that they will not go away quietly. They are so bad that it is tough to ignore them. They do all the little things that it takes to lose games and they made news again Sunday when they fell below the Philadelphia Phillies to claim the worst record in the major leagues. . . .

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Our error-a-game wonders might have won Friday night in St. Louis if not for a great play by third baseman Tracy Woodson, who used to be a Dodger, and Saturday night if not for a great play by shortstop Ozzie Smith, who probably could have been had by the Dodgers in a trade. . . .

Probable Dodger motto next season: “From worst to first.”. . . .

Most popular victory of the weekend was the Angels’ over the Boston Red Sox Saturday, the first for Buck Rodgers since May 17. . . .

I can’t blame the New York Mets for trading David Cone to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mets are going nowhere in the NL East. They got two young prospects in return. And they can still re-sign Cone as a free agent after the season. . . .

The Milwaukee Brewers’ 31 hits Friday against Toronto might not last long in the major league record book. Wait until the National League sluggers take batting practice against the Colorado Rockies’ throwers next season in mile-high Denver. . . .

The Atlanta Falcons have the best secondary in baseball. . . .

Even if the Dodgers finish with the worst record in the majors, they won’t pick first in the June amateur draft. It will be the American League’s turn. . . .

NL triple crown contender Gary Sheffield batted .194 with two home runs and 22 runs batted in in 50 games with the Milwaukee Brewers last season. He also committed eight errors for a fielding percentage of .922. . . .

The best team in baseball got better when the Atlanta Braves acquired Jeff Reardon. He had a high earned run average with the Boston Red Sox, but a change in scenery should help him. . . .

Jack McDowell of the Chicago White Sox leads the American League with 18 victories, but Dennis Eckersley is a better bet to win the Cy Young Award. . . .

Already, I’m missing the instant-replay review rule. Channel 2’s replay Thursday night showed that Ram rookie Todd Kinchen actually dropped a pass in the end zone against the Chargers that was ruled a touchdown. . . .

Raider defensive lineman Howie Long appeared to be a young 32 during the exhibition season. . . .

Don’t get so excited about the possibility of the Raiders moving to Dodger Stadium. It would not be a good football venue. Too many seats are too low or located in what would be the end zone. Expansion, a la Anaheim Stadium, could add thousands of good football seats, but Peter O’Malley is not in favor of such a plan. . . .

Daring Hayden Fry had Iowa punt from the North Carolina State 29-yard line Saturday night during the third quarter of what was a 14-14 tie. Granted, the Hawkeyes downed the ball on the one-yard line, but they didn’t score the rest of the game and lost, 24-14. . . .

If the Olympic Games’ scoring system for boxing had been used during the James Toney-Mike McCallum rematch Saturday--and the judges had properly recorded the scoring blows--McCallum would have been an easy winner because he landed 100 more punches than Toney, according to HBO. . . .

Instead, Toney, the more powerful hitter, won a majority decision. And he deserved it, although the judges who had him ahead by as many eight and seven points seemed to be way out of line. . . .

Toney, the International Boxing Federation middleweight champion, is a good fighter who might be a great one if he fought two or three minutes of every round instead of one. . . .

Angelo Dundee is picking Razor Ruddock over Lennox Lewis Oct. 31 in London and Riddick Bowe over Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas Nov. 13. . . .

Some experts are waiting until the weigh-in to make their Holyfield-Bowe prediction. Bowe’s work ethic in the gym has been questioned. The less he weighs, the better his chances to win the heavyweight title. . . .

Stanley Roberts, the center who is the subject of trade rumors between the Clippers and the Orlando Magic, could have been selected by the Clippers in the draft last season. He was taken by Orlando with the 23rd pick of the first round. The Clippers took LeRon Ellis with the 22nd pick. . . .

Congratulations to the Little Leaguers from Long Beach, a Southern California team that was good enough to reach the deciding game of a World Series.


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