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JERRY CROWE

Dodgers' lead doesn't extend to the oddsmakers

Text messages from press row . . .

September 04, 2009|JERRY CROWE

The records may say otherwise, but the Dodgers haven't been the best team in the National League for quite awhile. . . .

Oddsmakers have noticed. . . .

According to odds posted at bodog.com, Andre Ethier & Co. are the No. 3 pick to win the National League pennant behind the Philadelphia Phillies and the St. Louis Cardinals. . . .

In the American League, the Angels are the third pick behind the World Series favorites -- Mark Teixeira and the New York Yankees -- and their October nemeses, the Boston Red Sox. . . .

Scott Kazmir won't help the Angels if they don't help him. . . .

A Sports Illustrated poll of 380 major league players determined that Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson is the game's chattiest on-field conversationalist. . . .

There's no escaping him either: He's bilingual. . . .

Regarding the Dodgers' trade for Jim Thome, reader Jon Geller of Los Angeles e-mails to note, "His .221 lifetime postseason batting average doesn't fill me with confidence." . . .

After the Milwaukee Brewers intentionally walked Albert Pujols this week to get to Matt Holiday, who then hit a three-run home run, Holiday told reporters, "I'm going to anticipate Albert being walked if Babe Ruth is hitting behind him. . . . I think he's the best player of all time." . . .

In his newly published book, "Always Compete: An Inside Look at Pete Carroll and the USC Football Juggernaut," author Steve Bisheff tells a story of Carroll getting separated from a high school coach while recruiting a player in Minnesota. . . .

The high school coach "checked the locker room, the field, around the corner, just about everywhere he could think of, but had no luck," Bisheff writes. "Finally, after an extensive search of the entire campus, he located him . . . in the high school gym, happily shooting jump shots with the 10th graders." . . .

Carroll got the player -- and may have won at H-O-R-S-E too. . . .

Saturday's Florida-Charleston Southern game, in which Tim Tebow & Co. are favored by 63 points, still promises to be more interesting than most NFL exhibition games. . . .

By the way, the last team to win three national championships in four seasons was Nebraska -- in 1994, '95 and '97. . . .

A bowl game in Yankee Stadium, reportedly being discussed by the Big Ten, would make more sense if there were a shortage of football stadiums. . . .

Former UCLA and Chicago Bears tight end Tim Wrightman, honorary captain for the Bruins' opener Saturday against San Diego State, was the first major player signed by the old United States Football League. . . .

Reggie Bush's three-season totals with the New Orleans Saints -- 1,550 yards rushing, 24 touchdowns -- are about what was expected of him in his rookie season. . . .

Edward M. Kennedy, identified by the Green Bay Packers as an NFL prospect during his senior year at Harvard, reportedly told the team he planned to "go into another contact sport: politics." . . .

We'll know Oct. 2 whether the 2016 Olympics will be held in Chicago, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro or Tokyo. . . .

Seventeen of the last 18 major tennis titles have been won by Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal, a run interrupted only by Novak Djokovic's victory at the Australian Open in 2008. . . .

According to Philippe Bouin, a longtime tennis writer for the French sports daily L'Equipe, "Every tennis lover would like, someday, to play like Federer. But every man wants to be Rafael Nadal. Which is different." . . .

Former Cal State Fullerton forward Bruce Bowen guarded NBA foes so closely he was nicknamed "The Rash." . . .

It wasn't always a compliment. . . .

In the 10 years the Lakers, Clippers and Kings have shared Staples Center, the Lakers have reached the playoffs nine times, the Kings three times and the Clippers once. . . .

Captain Dustin Brown and the Kings, whose seven-year playoff drought is the longest among the Staples Center's main tenants, open camp Sept. 13 -- as do the Ducks. . . .

Yes, it's hockey season already. . . .

Reader Teresita Panlilio of San Dimas e-mails to nominate a favorite sports-themed song: "3rd Base, Dodger Stadium," from Ry Cooder's 2005 album, "Chavez Ravine." . . .

Noting that the Dodgers seem to have a fondness for former Cleveland Indians -- Thome, Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake, Ronnie Belliard, Guillermo Mota -- reader Mike Casey of Temecula e-mails to ask, "Do you suppose Ned Colletti has contacted Bob Feller, Herb Score and 'Sudden Sam' McDowell?" . . .

Not since the trade deadline.

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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