You can't help but notice that finding the right balance between veterans and youngsters seems problematic only for teams that fail to live up to expectations, such as the bickering, soon-to-be-vacationing 2007 Dodgers. . . .
If the issue was so divisive and the Dodgers' generation gap so wide, someone should have piped up before the season was lost. . . .
Where were the leaders?. . . .
And if Matt Kemp is expendable now, why wasn't he in July?. . .
The reasons for the American League West champion Angels' improvement from a second-place finish a year ago start at the top of the batting order. . . .
Chone Figgins' on-base percentage of .426 through Tuesday night's games, tops among major league leadoff hitters, was 105 points higher than his 2006 OBP of .321, which ranked last among major league leadoff hitters. . . .
Sending home run ball No. 756 to the Hall of Fame with an asterisk affixed is a fitting message to Barry Bonds and to baseball's head-in-the-sand hierarchy, a much better option than launching it into outer space. . . .
The Lakers and their fans need look no farther than across town to the Clippers to realize that their problems could be a whole lot worse. . . .
The Clippers, perhaps the NBA's most disappointing team last season, will open camp in Santa Barbara next week without Elton Brand and Shaun Livingston -- and could very well be without them the entire season. . . .
That trick play in Louisiana State's 28-16 victory over South Carolina, kicker Colt David taking an over-the-shoulder flip from holder Matt Flynn and running 15 yards for a touchdown, looked like something dreamed up by Magic Johnson. . . .
Or Steve Nash. . . .
Steve Spurrier probably was upset he didn't think of it first. . . .
USC urges reporters not to refer to the school as Southern Cal, arguing that to do so would be like calling San Francisco "Frisco" or North Carolina "North Car," but apparently nobody got the message to ESPN's Keyshawn Johnson. . . .
Johnson, a former Trojans All-American, referred to his alma mater on air this week as "Southern Cal.". . .
Walk-on quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who finished out UCLA's 44-31 victory over Washington last Saturday after Patrick Cowan was sidelined, owes a debt of gratitude to teammates Chris Markey and Matthew Slater. . . .
Markey's 72-yard touchdown run and Slater's 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown kept the Huskies at bay and gave Bethel-Thompson a chance to catch his breath by keeping him out of high-pressure situations. . . .
Slater's father is former Rams offensive tackle Jackie Slater. . . .
Judging by all the commercials, Reggie Bush is ready for his close-up, but experts question whether he's ready to be an every-down NFL running back. . . .
With Deuce McAllister's season-ending injury, we'll find out. . . .
The Philadelphia Eagles' throwback jerseys should be thrown out. . . .
Those racy photos posted on the Internet might not be believable but believe this: Oscar De La Hoya looks a lot better dressed in men's clothes. . . .
To be blunt about it, Michael Vick's career is up in smoke. . . .
Anyone who has met John Force, the 14-time NHRA funny car champion who was badly injured in a frightening crash Sunday near Dallas, knows that he's not just blowing smoke when he says he's determined to continue racing. . . .
Nobody is more passionate about what he does than the dynamic Force. . . .
With next month's season-ending competition in Orlando, Fla., still to go on the AST Dew Tour, action sports' only multiple-event circuit, winners in three of six disciplines already have been determined: Shaun White of Rancho Santa Fe in skateboard vert, Ryan Sheckler of San Clemente in skateboard park and Nate Adams of Temecula in freestyle motocross. . . .
You probably don't recognize the names but your kids will. . . .
The Galaxy, which has won only five of 24 games, announced last week that, "as a sign of our appreciation," season ticket-holders would be given until Oct. 19 to re-up for 2008 at 2007 prices. . . .
Guess who keeps all the interest accrued over the winter?. . .
During his frequently replayed tirade against a newspaper reporter, Oklahoma State football Coach Mike Gundy asks, "Who's the kid here?". . .
Get that man a mirror.