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INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Top 10 List Should Keep Claire Working Late Nights

September 29, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

Fred Claire says he'll be in his office early this morning, which is good because I've got a list that should keep him busy until spring training.

1. Before the end of the day, sign Bill Russell to another one-year contract. Let him hire his own coaches this time. Maybe he'll bring back the same ones, but they'll know they answer to him.

2. Do whatever it takes to sign free agent Kenny Lofton.

3. Offer Montreal a package of young players that enables you to reunite Pedro Martinez with brother Ramon. Maybe the Expos would like to reunite Wilton Guerrero with his brother Vladimir.

4. Trade Eric Karros for the best shortstop available.

5. Mike Piazza says he's ready to become the team leader. Tell him he can start by preparing to play between 15 and 20 games at first base in relief of starter Paul Konerko.

6. Although he has a year remaining on his contract, offer to open negotiations with Piazza that assure he's a lifetime Dodger.

7. Tell Scott Radinsky, Darren Dreifort and Antonio Osuna they're going to compete in spring training for the closer's role.

8. Keep your fingers crossed that neither Arizona nor Tampa Bay takes Darren Hall in the expansion draft. The Dodgers found out how important he was to the bullpen when he injured his back late in the season, forcing them to call on Mark Guthrie in a crucial game against the Giants.

9. Get more input from Tom Lasorda, especially in planning for the expansion draft. He's the organization's best baseball man.

10. Prepare a spring training speech emphasizing that games lost in April count as much as they do in September.

*

If the Dodgers don't re-sign Russell, it will be because they're looking for a more dynamic leader. . . .

Someone such as Seve Ballesteros. . . .

His intensity was worth at least a couple of points to Europe. . . .

That's not a criticism of Tom Kite. . . .

No one should blame the captain's picks, Fred Couples and Lee Janzen, for this Ryder Cup loss. . . .

The United States lost because its three major tournament winners this year, Tiger Woods, Davis Love III and Justin Leonard, had a combined record of 1-9-3. . . .

I'd like to think Colin Montgomerie got caught up in the moment and forgot to concede that putt to Scott Hoch on the final hole. Otherwise, Montgomerie is the Loch Ness Monster. . . .

Fortunately, Ballesteros remembered his manners and told Montgomerie to concede the putt that gave the United States a meaningless half-point. . . .

Ben Crenshaw should be the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain. . . .

I don't have any more golf circled on my calendar until the Nov. 28-29 Skins Game at Rancho La Quinta. . . .

Mark O'Meara, who suggests players should be paid for the Ryder Cup, will be happy to learn he, Woods, Couples and Tom Lehman will be playing for $540,000 at the Skins Game. Look for an increase to $1 million in the near future. . . .

UCLA's Skip Hicks stayed in the Heisman Trophy chase with four touchdowns against Arizona, but the Bruins on the other side of the ball won the game. . . .

The wrong defense was called "Desert Swarm." . . .

The more times USC gets the ball in R. Jay Soward's hands, the more I like the Trojans' chances. . . .

USC's offensive line played closer to its potential in the first half than the second Saturday, but the quality of its competition shouldn't be discounted. . . .

Trojan tailback LaVale Woods' 129 yards were 48 more than California allowed Oklahoma's De'Mond Parker the week before. . . .

It's hard to believe that in 107 years the Dodgers never had a 30-30 player until Raul Mondesi this season. . . .

Or that no Dodger had hit 40 home runs in a season since the team moved to Los Angeles until Piazza. . . .

MVPs: Piazza, Ken Griffey Jr. . . .

Cy Youngs: Curt Schilling, Roger Clemens. . . .

Rookies of the year: Scott Rolen, Nomar Garciaparra. . . .

Managers of the year: Dusty Baker, Terry Collins. . . .

While Houston owner Drayton McClane is congratulating himself for changing managers, he should be reminded that the Astros won only two more games under Larry Dierker this season than under Collins last season. . . .

In a tougher division, with less talent, Collins managed the Angels to the same record this season as the Astros had in winning the NL Central. . . .

Don't feel left out, Bill Bavasi. I'll get to the Angels on Tuesday.

*

While wondering if Emmitt Smith will ever run for another touchdown, I was thinking: Count on the Rams to make the Raiders look like Super Bowl contenders, I guess Wayne Fontes isn't the only coach who could lose to the Saints one week and beat the Packers the next, the experts had the wrong Bay going 19-0.

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