Welcome to the “The Candidates,” otherwise known as the Angel-Boston Red Sox series at Anaheim Stadium. . . .
Do you like Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds or Mo Vaughn for American League most valuable player? . . .
Marcel Lachemann or Kevin Kennedy for manager of the year? . . .
Bill Bavasi or Dan Duquette for executive of the year? . . .
Tim Wakefield for the Cy Young Award? . . .
Garret Anderson for rookie of the year? . . .
At the start of the season, neither team was rated among the contenders in its division. . . .
Now it is almost magic-number time for each. . . .
Please, Chicago White Sox fans, don’t think that I’m discounting Frank Thomas in the MVP balloting. His numbers are terrific. But where would the White Sox be without him? Maybe last place in the American League Central instead of next-to-last. . . .
Wakefield will face competition from Cleveland closer Jose Mesa. . . .
Davey Johnson has Cincinnati playing some of the best baseball anywhere, but the question seems to be whether Ray Knight or Sparky Anderson will be the Reds’ manager next season. . . . The crowd of 33,668 that Hideo Nomo helped to attract to Shea Stadium Sunday was about 14,000 more than the New York Met-Dodger game would have drawn otherwise. . . .
That was a nice touch, having the starting lineups introduced over the public-address system in English and Japanese. . . .
The canvas-back McNeeleys tend to exaggerate. . . .
Son Peter thought he had been knocked down three times, not twice, by Mike Tyson in 1 minute 29 seconds Saturday night at Las Vegas. . . .
Dad Tom recalled that he was knocked down 13 times before then-heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson stopped him in the fourth round on Dec. 4, 1961, at Toronto. . . .
According to the Associated Press, the senior McNeeley was floored merely eight times, but also slipped on a few other occasions. . . .
Unlike Saturday, the question in 1961 was why a prohibitive underdog named McNeeley was allowed to take such punishment. . . .
Referee Jersey Joe Walcott said, “It was a championship fight and as long as it looked like [McNeeley] had a chance to continue, it would have been an injustice to stop it until I was sure he couldn’t go on further.” . . .
The bout was shown on closed-circuit TV in 14 theaters in Southern California. Admission prices ranged from $4 to $6.50. . . .
Monica Seles’ comeback is getting women’s tennis more positive publicity than anything else I can remember. . . .
Andre Agassi will bring four consecutive tournament titles into the U.S. Open, which runs Aug. 28-Sept. 10. . . .
Jockey Gary Stevens, who quickly steadied Thunder Gulch when the colt lunged out of the starting gate in the Travers Stakes, understated his role in the 4 1/2-length victory. “I was just a passenger out there,” Stevens said. . . .
The track meet in Zurich, Switzerland, last week was so spectacular Noureddine Morceli’s mile in 3:45.19, the second fastest ever, went virtually unnoticed. That beats a four-minute mile by more than 100 yards. . . .
I’m still waiting for that announcement about a new arena that the Clippers have been promising us for years. . . . This should be the year that Curtis Conway, the former USC star who was the No. 7 draft choice over-all in 1993, blossoms as a wide receiver for the Chicago Bears. . . .
Thumbs up to the NFL for levying major fines on head hunters. . . .
Every time I watch “North Dallas Forty,” I’m reminded that it is the best movie ever made about pro football. . . .
Cade McNown, a freshman quarterback from West Linn, Ore., was sharp during UCLA’s scrimmage Saturday at the Rose Bowl, where the Bruins will open the season Sept. 2 against Miami. . . .
Ryan Collins is Miami’s No. 1 quarterback, but redshirt freshman Scott Covington from Dana Hills may get some playing time in his return to Southern California. . . .
Oregon State is expected to get off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 1967. The Beavers play Idaho, Pacific and North Texas. . . .
After Washington’s two years of probation, Coach Jim Lambright says, “I can’t be more pleased than by the simple fact that we’re out of jail. The challenge now is to see how fast we can get the program back to the level where Don James had it.” . . .
Arizona State quarterback Jake (the Snake) Plummer on his nickname: “It’s not bad. At least, it rhymes.”