Be thankful, Dodgers fans, for the National League West, where even your running-in-place heroes are contenders in baseball's worst division. . . .
In the American League West, a 49-52 record would put Andruw Jones & Co. 13 games behind the runaway Angels, whose Francisco Rodriguez has an outside chance of finishing with more saves than the Dodgers will victories. . . .
Jones, by the way, is four for 51 with runners in scoring position after striking out with runners on second and third in the eighth inning Wednesday. . . .
That's an average of .078. . . .
Eric Gagne, in 2003, is the only closer to win a Cy Young Award since 1992, when Dennis Eckersley of the A's was honored in the American League. . . .
Reader Mike Casey of Temecula e-mails to note, "Brett Favre is making Aaron Rodgers famous." . . .
Danica Patrick made Milka Duno famous for a day or two. . . .
Speaking of Patrick, the Sparks could use the petite firebrand. . . .
As a mediator. . . .
Sparks rookie Candace Parker, who won a second NCAA title with Tennessee in April, could add an Olympic gold medal and a WNBA title before the end of October, but she might have a more lucrative future in WWE. . . .
It looked as if Kevin Garnett was going to fall out of his seat laughing during the ESPY Awards telecast when host Justin Timberlake noted that the Nokia Theatre, adjacent to Staples Center, was "built from Shaquille O'Neal's bricks." . . .
With USC scheduled to play Ohio State in September at the Coliseum, Trojans fans may recall the electrifying 1980 Rose Bowl, when a late drive fueled by tailback Charles White gave third-ranked USC a 17-16 victory over the top-ranked and previously undefeated Buckeyes. . . .
One who surely hasn't forgotten is Pete Carroll, who was Ohio State's 28-year-old secondary coach that day under Buckeyes boss Earle Bruce. . . .
USC drove 83 yards to the victory, all on the ground. . . .
A missing Tiger and a reinvigorated Shark were part of the story line at the British Open, and, if bravely attired Ian Poulter had kept pace with Padraig Harrington on Sunday, the year's third major might have been won by a Pink Pants-er. . . .
Greg Norman is one for eight when leading after three rounds of a major. . . .
Tiger Woods is 14 for 14. . . .
Woods, by the way, has never come from behind on the final day to win a major championship, as Norman did in 1993 to win the British Open. . . .
Memo to former Kings scoring machine Bernie Nicholls: Campers will feel cheated if you don't demonstrate your signature "Pumper Nicholl" celebration when you join ex-teammates Marcel Dionne, Luc Robitaille and others at the inaugural Kings fantasy camp Sept. 6-7 in El Segundo. . . .
Draft pick Joe Crawford, who figures to be the target of much hazing as a Lakers rookie next season, already has endured a more harrowing trial by fire. . . .
In February 2007, a blaze sparked by overloaded electrical circuits gutted the upstairs bedrooms in his family's Detroit home, destroying a trophy case holding the Kentucky star's trophies and other sports memorabilia. . . .
No one was injured. . . .
Reader Pete Donovan e-mails to note that, in addition to others previously listed, major events staged at the Coliseum have included a major league All-Star game (in 1959, with Yogi Berra and Frank Robinson hitting home runs against Don Drysdale and Early Wynn, respectively) and several Pro Bowls. . . .
Reader William Beall of Santa Barbara notes that he saw Martin Luther King Jr. speak at the Coliseum, "and I still remember the electric atmosphere." . . .
Nick Montana, a recent transfer from Concord De La Salle High to Westlake Village Oaks Christian, has caught the eye of filmmaker Waide Riddle, who e-mails to note that he would like the junior quarterback and son of Joe Montana to read for the lead role in his new movie, "Red River County." . . .
Notes Riddle: "Nick looks exactly like my character Josh, what I had envisioned when I wrote the short story and screenplay. This is a star-making role." . . .
Welcome to Hollywood, Nick.