I guess it all depends on how you want to look at it--the Angels' glass is either one-third full or two-thirds empty. . . .
Thumbs up to a team that was widely picked to finish last in the American League West, tore apart the division for months, won its last five regular-season games and forced a playoff. . . .
Thumbs down to a team that blew an 11-game lead on Aug. 10 and lost the playoff, 9-1. . .
A couple of Angel fans called to say they thought ESPN announcer Jon Miller, who also does Baltimore Oriole games, was partial to Seattle in Monday's game. . . .
But how can you blame him for getting excited about the remarkable performance of Mariner pitcher Randy Johnson? . . .
Johnson is so tall and rangy that he seems to pitch almost effortlessly, but it must be scary to face someone who throws 100 m.p.h. and finishes his delivery about 50 feet from home plate. . . .
I'm surprised the Mariners didn't celebrate by pouring espresso on one another in the clubhouse. . . .
For six innings, it was a great game, even if it was played indoors on artificial turf. . . .
Playoff games shouldn't count in the regular-season statistics. Imagine if a batting, home run or RBI title were decided in the extra game. . . .
There is no reason for the new decision-maker at Anaheim Stadium, Disney, to clean house because of the Angel collapse. . . .
The nucleus is there for a successful 1996 season and the young players and Manager Marcel Lachemann will have benefited from a painful learning experience. . . .
The Dodgers' .542 winning percentage was the lowest by any of their division or league championship teams, unless you count last year, when they were in first place in the National League West at 58-56 when the strike ended the season. . . .
The most important numbers about the series that begins today at Dodger Stadium might be that L.A. has won 17 of its last 23 games and Cincinnati has lost 18 of its last 31. . . .
Of course, the Reds didn't have much incentive down the stretch because their lead in the Central Division was so large and their chances of passing Atlanta for the best record in the league so slim. . . .
Sparky Anderson managed Detroit for 17 years and Cincinnati for nine, but I still associate him more with the Reds. . . .
ESPN and ESPN2 did a great job of showing the important baseball games on Sunday, but you're going to be very upset about how little of the playoffs you get to see on the Baseball Network. . . .
If college football players were paid a sum large enough to cover expenses, an occasional date, and trips home at holiday and semester breaks, they wouldn't be so tempted to accept illegal cash payments from agents. . . .
Of course, the true villains in the piece are the agents. They should be punished along with the athletes, who, at most schools including USC, are warned regularly about the consequences of dealing with agents prematurely. . . .
Keyshawn Johnson not only has a nose for the goal line, he has one for the first-down marker. . . .
New USC radio play-by-play announcer Larry Kahn is among the best prepared in his profession. He attends Trojan practice sessions daily and watches a ton of film. It shows in his outstanding performances on Saturdays. . . .
Unbeaten Stanford was flattered when Penn State lost to Wisconsin on Saturday, 17-9. The Cardinal tied the Badgers, 24-24, on Sept. 16 at Palo Alto. . . .
The future at quarterback for UCLA is now with Cade McNown. . . .
Seven stakes races will be run on the opening weekend of the Oak Tree meeting at Santa Anita, and racing secretary Tom Knust believes at least a dozen horses will use them as preps for the Breeders' Cup Oct. 28 at Belmont. . . .
Best Pal, who is training very well, might run Saturday in the $250,000 Goodwood Handicap against Soul Of The Matter and Tinners Way. . . .
Chris McCarron, the revitalized Hall of Famer who won the jockey title at Del Mar, worked a horse on Santa Anita's new, $2.3-million turf course the other morning and said, "It couldn't have felt any better." . . .
XTRA would be unwise to allow "Trackside With Roger Stein," the most popular horse racing show on local radio, to move elsewhere. . . .
Dick Young, 80, says he is the oldest boxing judge in the world still working major fights. . . .
I'm glad the Clippers didn't re-sign Gary Grant. That means Brent Barry, who could be the sleeper among first-round draft choices, will get more playing time at point guard. . . .
The Chicago Bulls sure got Dennis Rodman cheaply enough. . . .
The difference in the Raiders isn't Oakland. It's Mike White.