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Some expect Dodgers to take a step back

Prognosticators have shown little love for self-muzzled Manny “The Mime” Ramirez and the Dodgers this spring. …

Both the Sporting News and Sports Illustrated forecast that only one division title will change hands in 2010, picking the Colorado Rockies over the Dodgers in the National League West. …

It speaks volumes about the Angels’ organization and its competition that Torii Hunter & Co. are again favored in the American League West despite losing John Lackey, Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero. …

The Lakers are out of sorts — and running out of excuses. …

Jerry West, on Wednesday night’s Channel 9 postgame show: “They’ve got the best talent, OK? They need to have a focus that they don’t have right now.” …

Speaking of West, he and son Jonnie, a junior at West Virginia, join a list of father-son Final Four combinations that includes, among others, Bill and Luke Walton, Henry and Mike Bibby and Marques and Kris Johnson. …

Duke’s Nolan Smith is son of the late Derek Smith, who helped Louisville defeat UCLA in the 1980 NCAA final. …

Mike Krzyzewski looks no less intense on the sideline than he did 20 years ago, before Duke won its first title. …

Butler Coach Brad Stevens was 10 years old in 1986, when Krzyzewski took Duke to the Final Four for the first time. …

Kevin Garnett, after Kevin Durant made 15 free throws in an Oklahoma City Thunder victory over the Boston Celtics, used an expletive when noting afterward, “I thought we was playing Michael … Jordan tonight, the way he was getting the whistle.” ...

With LeBron James apparently intent on switching to jersey No. 6 next season, giving up No. 23 in honor of Jordan, reader Norm Kanagi e-mails to ask, “How should Bill Russell and Julius Erving feel about that?” …

Slighted, forgotten and old? …

Elin Nordegren is a 7-1 pick to be shown on camera at the Masters, according to odds posted at bodog.com. …

The Kings, on pace to end an eight-year playoff drought, haven’t had home-ice advantage in a series since 1992. …

Those questioning Lane Kiffin’s motives in tightening the screws at USC might ask themselves: Wouldn’t Pete Carroll have made similar changes after a 9-4 season? …

The NFL has lifted a 21-year ban on flashing inane in-game video-board exhortations such as “Pump Up the Volume,” “Raise the Roof” and “Make Some Noise,” giving football fans one more reason to stay home and watch on television. …

Matt Leinart of the Arizona Cardinals, vowing to be more of a leader as he readies to replace Kurt Warner, tells the Arizona Republic, “A lot of eyes are on me, I get that.” …

Longtime sports publicist and former Herald Examiner sportswriter Richard Levin, retiring from his Major League Baseball post at year’s end, was a reserve on John Wooden’s first two NCAA championship teams at UCLA and before that, at Hamilton High, was the L.A. City Section’s leading scorer. …

Look for Olympic gold-medal-winning skier Lindsey Vonn in next month’s season finale of “Law & Order.” …

You can’t help but root for Stafon Johnson. …

Abby Sunderland, 16, of Thousand Oaks this week became the youngest person to sail solo around Cape Horn. …

Maya Moore and the Connecticut women’s basketball team, making a mockery of the NCAA tournament, have won their four tournament games by an average of 47 points. …

Steve Lavin’s UCLA teams were 10-1 in first- and second-round NCAA tournament games, a .909 winning percentage. …

With Lorena Ochoa and the rest of the world’s top female golfers at Rancho Mirage this week for the Kraft Nabisco Championship, it’s worth noting that only seven of the last 37 LPGA majors have been won by Americans. …

Abby Wambach and the U.S. women’s soccer team looked to be having a ball Wednesday in the snow at Salt Lake City. …

Brook Lopez of the New Jersey Nets, asked if he’d watched Sunday’s “60 Minutes” profile of soon-to-be Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, told the New York Post: “I watched ‘The Simpsons.’ ” …

D’oh!

jerome.crowe@latimes.com


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