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Jerry Crowe

Matt Kemp plays like a Duke

Text messages from press row . . .

August 24, 2009|JERRY CROWE

Not since Duke Snider's early days in Brooklyn some 60 years ago have the Dodgers boasted a young center fielder who brings as much to the table as Matt Kemp. . . .

Kemp's mammoth home run Saturday was a thing of beauty. . . .

Snider, of course, wound up in the Hall of Fame, the Dodgers also retiring No. 4 in honor of the Compton High graduate. . . .

The Dodgers' schedule between now and the playoffs looks like something that was slapped together by a college football coach trying to save his job: Only 12 of their last 37 games are against teams with winning records. . . .

Their clunker Sunday at Toronto notwithstanding, Vladimir Guerrero and the Angels again rank among baseball's most exciting and successful teams, yet no other team in the major leagues has drawn fewer fans on the road. . . .

In average home attendance, the Angels rank second in the American League behind only the New York Yankees. . . .

Regarding the notion that nobody expected Bobby Abreu to be an MVP candidate this season, reader Patrick Crawford of Tustin e-mails to suggest, "Apparently Bobby [did]." . . .

Last winter, before Abreu signed a one-year, $5-million contract with the Angels, agent Peter Greenberg told the Seattle Times, "He might take a one-year deal so that he can -- in his words -- win the MVP and go out on the market again." . . .

The Angels' series finale in Toronto brought to mind Ron Fairly, a former Dodger and Angel who was the only person to play for both Canadian major league teams in their inaugural seasons, the Montreal Expos in 1969 and the Blue Jays in 1977. . . .

Tom Cable's favorite candy? . . .

Jawbreakers, of course. . . .

The quarterback situation at USC might remind longtime Trojans fans of 1972, when John McKay opted for an older starter (Mike Rae) but wasn't afraid to call on a ballyhooed sophomore named Pat Haden, who played in all but one game. . . .

USC, featuring a running game led by Anthony Davis and Sam Cunningham, went 12-0 and won the national championship. . . .

Speculation in New York is that another strong performance tonight might give rookie Mark Sanchez the nod over Kellen Clemens as the Jets starting quarterback. . . .

From comedian Stephen Colbert: "Congratulations, Brett Favre, on setting the NFL record for incomplete retirements." . . .

The over-under on touchdown passes thrown by Favre this season is 21 1/2 , according to odds posted at BetUS.com, while the over-under on Favre interceptions is 19. . . .

2008 totals: 22 of each. . . .

Usain Bolt, three more gold medals in hand, told reporters last week in Berlin, "My main aim is to become a legend." . . .

Making a mockery of college basketball has paid off for John Calipari, who has parlayed two tainted Final Four appearances into the sport's richest contract. . . .

Other teams that had Final Four appearances vacated include Villanova (which lost to UCLA in the championship game in 1971), UCLA (which lost to Louisville in the final in 1980) and Memphis (which defeated UCLA in semifinals in 2008). . . .

Massachusetts' 1996 Final Four run under Calipari also was among those wiped from the books. . . .

Lakers broadcaster Stu Lantz notes in an in-the-works Pete Newell documentary that the former Lakers GM not only made the trade that brought Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers but put together the deal that gave the Lakers the draft pick that yielded Magic Johnson. . . .

"When you think of Showtime," Lantz tells filmmaker Doug Harris, "you'd better start thinking Pete Newell." . . .

Many thanks to singer-songwriter Dan Bern for forwarding a recording of his delightful new song, "The Golden Voice of Vin Scully," in which the song's forlorn narrator seeks relief from the pain of a lost love and going-nowhere job in the balm of the announcer's comforting tone. . . .

Sample lyric: "Trees fade out in the black of the night/Sometimes it don't even seem worth the fight/But at least tonight I get to hear the golden voice of Vin Scully." . . .

We can all relate. . . .

Reader John Tamanaha of West Los Angeles wonders, "Would Allan Malamud have been the best tweeter ever?"

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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