Play it forward: May 24-30 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:


AP Photo/Charles Krupa
Orlando Magic guard J.J. Reddick fights for the ball against Boston Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace during second half in Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals on Saturday.



NBA playoffs: Eastern Conference finals, Game 4: Orlando at Boston, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:

You do know Jack — up against the series finale of “24,” the Magic may disappear as well. In unreal time. The Celtics only beat Orlando by 23 in Game 3, so . . . keep an eye on the shot clock. If unnecessary, Games 5 and 7 are Wednesday and Sunday in Orlando with a Game 6 Friday in Boston.

NHL playoffs: Eastern Conference finals, Game 5: Montreal at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., Versus:

What NHL team were you thinking of during that final episode of “Lost” — the Islanders (too obvious) or the Canadiens? “It’s a familiar feeling for us,” said Habs leading scorer Michael Cammalleri, the former Kings standout, on having his team down 3-1 in this series — the same hopeless situation they were in before knocking out East top-seed Washington a couple of weeks ago. “We seem to play our best hockey in this situation.” If needed, there’s a Game 6 Wednesday in Montreal with a Game 7 Friday in Philly.

MLB: Angels vs. Toronto, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:

Time to compare All-Star stats for those who are eligible to play in Anaheim this July: The Angels’ Torii Hunter (.288, 7 HRs, 28 RBI) vs. the Blue Jays’ Vernon Wells (.302, 11, 32). Sure, they can play together in the starting lineup. With Ichiro (.348).



NBA playoffs: Western Conference finals, Game 4: Lakers at Phoenix, 6 p.m., TNT:

Amare Stoudemire was so freaking lucky in Game 3.


MLB: Angels vs. Toronto, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:

The Angels are giving away garden gnomes. If only David Eckstein was still on the team.

MLB: Dodgers at Chicago Cubs, 5 p.m., Channel 9:

A three-game series in Chitown starts with Joe Torre skipping over Ramon Ortiz and giving the ball to Clayton Kershaw, whose 14-13 career mark now includes a 5-1 mark the month of May — and he’s never pitched at Wrigley Field. Add to that, Rafael Furcal is supposed to be activated for this week.


MLB: Angels vs. Toronto, Angel Stadium, 4 p.m., FSW:

On the day Simon Cowell ditches “American Idol,” the Angels and Blue Jays don’t have to see each other any more this year.

MLB: Dodgers at Chicago Cubs, 5 p.m., Prime:

If you go to the page for 24-year-old Chad Billingsley, the Dodgers’ scheduled starter here, it says that among the pitchers similar to him at his age, stat-wise, are Pedro Martinez, Ramon Martinez and Dennis Martinez. And Carlos Zambrano, who is now an $18.5 mil-a-year left-handed situational set-up guy in the Cubs’ pen. Billingsley (5-2, 3.66 ERA) is 3-0 in his last three starts, limiting opponents to a .164 batting average.


NBA playoffs: Western Conference finals, Game 5: Lakers vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 6 p.m., TNT:

Not to read into it or anything, but did you happen to catch Kobe Bryant in the season-ending episode of “Modern Family” last week? Kobe scolded the character named Phil for coming to that Lakers’ game at Staples Center unprepared. It was an Emmy-worthy performance. By Phil. So Kobe, what’s it like being in a sit-com? You gotta come with something better than that.

MLB: Dodgers at Chicago Cubs, 11:20 a.m., Prime:

Finally, a day game in Wrigleyville. Let there be Miller Lite.


MLB: Angels vs. Seattle, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:


Mariners starter Clifton Phifer Lee somehow improved to 2-2 last week despite allowing eight runs (severn earned) over 6 1/3 innings against the Padres. Maybe the key: He’s walked just one hitter all season. Granted, he missed almost all of April with a rehab problem. So this is the first time the Angels have seen the ’08 Cy Young Award winner, since the Indians shipped him to Philadelphia to help the Phillies win a World Series, and they dealt him to the Mariners last offseason.

MLB: Dodgers at Colorado, 6:10 p.m., Channel 9:

The Dodgers took two out of three from the Rockies at Dodger Stadium a couple of weeks ago, including handing Ubaldo Jimenez (8-1, 0.99) his first and only loss of the season. Jimenez’s turn doesn’t come up in this three-game series. The Dodgers, by the way, are 13-4 against NL West foes so far.

WNBA: Sparks vs. Washington, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

The Sparks, 0-for-2010, finally get a home game. Maybe that’ll spark something.


UFC 114: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. “Suga” Rashad Evans, Las Vegas, 7 p.m.:

It’s the weekend for UFC Fan Expo at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas, so why not put these two former UFC light heavyweight champs in the ring together again. And when the battled it out on the UFC video game for Xbox360 … watch the clip above.

NBA playoffs: Western Conference finals, Game 6: Lakers at Phoenix, 5:30 p.m., TNT:

Need a Game 7? It’s Monday. On your Memorial Day holiday.


MLB: Angels vs. Seattle, Angel Stadium, 1 p.m., Channel 11:

An early wake-up call for Ken Griffey Jr. — day game after a nightie. He’s made his own locker room bed, and now he can sleep in it. Listen, if Junior really did nod off during the last Angels-Mariners series, wouldn’t a teammate have taken a Sharpie pen to his face, drawn a mustache under his nose, written some naughty words across his forehead … oh, that’s so old school. These days, a teammate just goes for anything that can help lead to identity theft. Although the way Griffey seems to be sleepwalking through what should be his final season, you really wouldn’t want to be mistaken for him.

MLB: Dodgers at Colorado, 5 p.m., Channel 9:

Watch Jim Tracy — the Rockies’ skipper will surely accuse the Dodgers of stealing signs. Like the one just outside the stadium: Caution, Falling Rocks.

SUNDAYIRL: Indianapolis 500, 10 a.m., Channel 7:

Danica McKellar is equal to or greater than Danica Patrick — you don’t have to the do the math, Winnie will do it for you. First of all, defending champ Helio Castroneves, having already won “Dancing With the Stars” and survived a brutal IRS tax issue, has a chance to win his fourth Indy 500, which would put him with Rick Mears, Al Unser and A.J. Foyt in that exclusive club. “Indy is a magical place, and I feel blessed to be in this situation,” the 35-year-old says. A victory wouldn’t surprise Roger Penske, looking for his 16th 500 victory as a team owner. “Helio has always seemed to shine at Indianapolis,” said Penske. “For some drivers, that (Indianapolis) is just an intimidating place. But Helio has always embraced the challenge of racing there, and it seems to bring out the best in him.” Brent Musburger starts the pre-race show at 9 a.m., and Marty Reid will call it with Eddie Cheever Jr., Scott Goodyear, Dr. Jerry Punch, Rick DeBruhl, Vince Welch and … Jamie Little, who goes a long way.

NASCAR: Coca Cola 600, Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5:45 p.m., Channel 11:

For those who haven’t seen the new “McGruber” movie, this event is the next best thing to being there. There’s also talk of a $20 million bonus ready to be put up for anyone who can win the Indy 500 and this Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Maybe if they didn’t start so close together, it might be doable. Some suggest moving this to Saturday night instead of Sunday night.


MLB: Dodgers at Colorado, 12:10 p.m., Prime:

The other day in Kansas City, Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler had to scale the wall to get his glove back. He lost it after slamming into the wall while chasing down a long drive by Kansas City’s Jose Guillen in the seventh inning last Sunday. The umpires were ready to start the game again after Guillen’s triple, but Fowler had to wave them down with his bare hand to get their attention. With no one else to get his glove, Fowler hopped the wall and disappeared. After a few seconds, his glove popped over the wall onto the field. Then a ball sailed into the stands. Finally, Fowler appeared, drawing cheers from the fans and prompting a slight grin.

MLB: Angels vs. Seattle, Angel Stadium, 12:30 p.m., Channel 13:

Milton Bradley sounds like he’s finally getting the help he needs with the Mariners. He told ESPN last week, after spending two weeks on the restricted list, that he’s seeing a counselor in town who has an athletic background and “dealt with anger himself. … I know when I start thinking about not living anymore based on the fact that I’m not playing baseball well, that’s when I know I need to take a step back.”

WNBA: Sparks vs. Atlanta, Staples Center, 5 p.m.:

As long as the Lakers aren’t using the facility …

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The Media Learning Curve: Miller’s time in the broadcast chair (Reggie, not Cheryl)


Reggie Miller, left, listens to Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith during Wednesday’s Game 2 Western Conference Finals preview show for TNT at Staples Center.

From today’s media column (linked here), more from Reggie Miller and his new(ish) career as a TV talking head, on the set during TNT’s Western Conference Finals coverage from Staples Center and wherever they play in Phoenix:


== On the reception he’s received on his recent documentary, “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks,” done as part of ESPN’s “30 For 30” project, and produced by Miller’s Boom Baby Productions company: “Everyone loved it. It was a good history lesson. When we first showed it in Utah at Sundance, standing ovation. Then a big premiere — 8,000 in Indiana (in February), so that was a hometown crowd. The scariest thing to me was having to go to New York and show it to New Yorkers because, you know, they’re gonna tell you the truth. Standing ovation there. All three markets loved it, so I knew it was a hit.”

== On not being included in the new movie, “Just Wright,” where Marv Albert, Kenny Smith and Mike Fratello play themselves as NBA broadcasters: “I’m too big for ‘Just Wright’ (laughing. It was a scheduling conflict. They did want me there, but I mean, it still worked out. Sure it was (believeable). Kenny does some game analysis sometimes. It’s all right.”


== On whether he’d have any thoughts of wanting to be a Lakers’ broadcaster: “Obviously, they were my team growing up. And Chick Hearn, with the eggs in the cooler, all that. I was a huge Lakers, and Magic (Johnson) and Jamal Wilkes fan. But I like talking about the whole league instead of just one team. You sometimes gotta be a homer when you do one team. I never want to be expected to pat someone on the back.”

Is that how he perceives someone like Lakers’ radio analyst Mychal Thompson?

“He won championships. I can understand where he’s coming from. He has the right to be a homer here.”

More to note:

== A stat that you might not otherwise know unless it was sponsored by a men’s undergarment company that pledges comfort: TNT’s Craig Sager took a tape measure to Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s seat on the team bench. It sits 26 inches off the floor, for starters. With nine inches of padding on the seat. “No wonder Phil looks so calm and comfortable during games,” said Sager, perhaps feeling some sort of revenge for all the times Jackson has questioned his wardrobe during those mantatory TV interviews between the third and fourth quarters of every game at Staples Center.== Showtime ramps up for its coverage of the fourth meeting between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez from Staples Center (Saturday, delayed at 9 p.m.) with a replay of their previous three matches at 4 p.m. Gus Johnson and Al Bernstein call it with Antonio Tarver as the analyst and Jim Gray as aspiring reporter.

Bernstein, in his 30th year doing TV fights, started writing for Boxing Illustrated in 1978, joined ESPN’s “Top Rank Boxing” series two years later, and was on his first major PPV fight — Marvin Hagler vs. Roberto Duran — in 1983. He did NBC’s Olympic boxing in ’92 and ’96 and joined Showtime in 2003.

Showtime has this list of “by the numbers” to consider:

2,703: Fights Announced on television
54: Ringside announcing partners
17: Years as analyst or host on the Top Rank Boxing Series on ESPN
8: Tuxedos owned
66: Broadcasts as analyst on the Showtime Championship Boxing series
32: Assignments covering Major League Baseball for Sportscenter
67: Championship pay per view telecasts
532: Times asked “Is Bonnie Bernstein related to you?”
3: Mixed martial arts shows hosted on Showtime
2: Musical albums/CD’s released
1: Saw a fighter who forgot to put his trunks on under his robe before entering the ring:

== Tennis Channel and ESPN2 start coverage of the French Open tennis tournament on Sunday, leading up to the early June finals. ESPN2 (Sunday, 9 a.m.) has Cliff Drysdale, Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver, with Chris Fowler as host and calling matches for the first week before leaving for South Africa and ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup). actually begins its coveage Sunday at 2 a.m.
Tennis Channel has about seven hours a day of live match play from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. through the mens’ and womens’ quarterfinals. It uses John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport with Ted Robinson, Ian Eagle and Leif Shiras on the calls, plus Katrina Adams, Justin Gimelstob, Barry MacKay and Corina Morariu and appearances by Bud Collins and tennis journalist Jon Wertheim.

== Do we need a 90-minute show to announce which city will get the 2014 Super Bowl. Because the NFL Network can, and New York wants it, that’ll be the case, with the winner (either NY/New Jersey, South Florida or Tampa Bay winning) getting to stick its tongue out at the loser (why isn’t Chicago involved in this?) The show airs Tuesday at noon from the league meetings in Dallas. Rich Eisen, Michael Irvin, Moose Johnston, Jason La Canfora, Steve Wyche and Kara Henderson will give viewers “an inside look into the process of determining the Super Bowl host site,” the network promises. We presume that doesn’t mean a cellphone camera with Jerry Jones at a Cowboys bar explaining all the innerworkings from the inside.

== NFL Network also has Kurt Warner as an analyst on its coverage tonight of the Arena Football League’s Iowa-Arizona contest (5 p.m.). The three-time NFL Super Bowl quarterback will be inducted into the Iowa Barnstormers Hall of Fame as its first member during the broadcast.

== Golf Channel’s “The Haney Project” with Ray Romano resumes Monday (6 p.m.), after the comedian (Romano, not Hank Haney) had to take some time off to be with his father, who passed away in March. The last episode aired in April.


== The first gig that Craig Kilborn got after he spanked his career as an ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor was to take this new Comedy Central series called “The Daily Show” and see what he could do with it.

Jon Stewart thanks you for giving up.

Fox is ready to test a new half-hour show with Craigermeister called “The Kilborn File,” starting June 28 with a run on the Fox-owned stations in L.A. (KTTV-Channel 11), as well as those in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Phoenix, Austin and Detroit, according to Broadcast & Cable Magazine and website (linked here).

Kilborn hasn’t had a show in six years, since he left a late-night CBS spot now filled by some guy with an Irish accent.

“The last few years of triathlons and charity work have been fulfilling, but fulfillment is overrated. Let’s get it on,” said Kilborn, at ESPN from ’93-’96 and also had a role in a movie playing a creepy dude in “Old School,” following that up with “The Shaggy Dog,” “The Benchwarmers,” “Cursed,” “Full of It” and “The Great Duseldorfer.”

And, it’s not good when your Google search instantly pops up words behind your name like “fired” or “drunk.”

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We know you’re better than Steiner or Collins … go prove it


You drink in a Dodgers game on the radio — beyond the three inning simulcast — and you’re left to wonder: If only that was me on that call.

Then I wouldn’t have to hear (fill in the blank stare created by a fly ball to the shortstop that sounded a few seconds earlier as if it was going halfway up the pavilion).

Time to announce your intentions to fix that.

The Dodgers have offered this up to anyone who wants to call an inning of a Dodger game — as long as you meet the proper requirement (linked here).

And by “broadcast a game,” it means … we’re not sure who’s gonna hear it. Most likely, an Internet audience.


Should you be a gentleman older than 18 with no priors: (click here)

If you’re a woman willing to admit to being older than 18 with no inhibitions: (click here)

If you, as Steve Lyons would say, happen to habla Spanish and are older than uno-ocho: (click here).

Or if you’re just a kid 8 to 14 who needs a ride to the park with a parent, guardian or of-age older friend of your brother who you’re mom doesn’t really approve of but can at least drive without a suspended learner’s permit: (click here):

If you’re a teenager between that awkward age of 15 and 17, you’ld have better luck trying to buy O’Douls.

The signups began May 12 and end Sunday, August 22.

No purchase necessary. No cheering allowed.


The contest rules also specifically state: “Sponsor reserves the right to terminate” a semifinalists entry that, “in Sponsor’s discretion, is lewd, immoral, tasteless, lascivious, grotesque, or otherwise tends to undermine the character, reputation, or goodwill of Sponsor or its standing in the community.”

No McCourt mentions, obviously.

The winner who emerges from several stages of judging will do an inning of a yet-to-be-determined game, plus four field-level seats, a preferred parking pass, and a guest appearance on “Dodger Talk” with Josh Suchon and Ken Levine after his/her call. Your ability to express an opinion without the aid of Coors Lite will already put you into the top 5 percent of “Dodger Talk” callers.

(And if truth be told, Suchon and Levine, who have play-by-play experience, might as well fill out the form on this contest, win it outright, and then have a demo tape ready to go next time there’s an opening).

This could also fall through, according to the rules, “due to weather, an act of God, an act of terrorism, civil disturbance or any other reason.”

The phrase “any other reason” couldn’t have just been used without the other stuff?

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The Chris Berman Walk o’ Fame star: A first look


Anyone approaching the address of 6259 Hollywood Blvd. on Wednesday afternoon could have seen this: A couple of guys with cement trowels, garbage bags and what looked like material that you use to make Christmas cookies, putting Chris Berman’s Walk of Fame star into shape — without the assistance of NutriSystem.


“Can I take a picture of this?” I asked one of them as he stood off to the side waiting for some quick-dry concrete to set.

“I don’t care,” he answered, taking another drag on his cigarette.

So, just steps from the iconic corner of Hollywood and Vine — right out in front of Dillion’s Irish Pub and Grill, around the corner from the famous Capitol Records building, just West of the Pantages Theatre …


And just across the stained street, a little east, of the hallowed grounds of Hollywood Cabaret (“Girls … Girls … Girls”), the moronic ironic ESPN anchor will be anchored in fame during a ceremony scheduled for Monday morning.

There is no Appleby’s around, however.

You don’t often get to see what’s behind the curtain in how these stars are created. I can now see, with these two guys, how Julia Louis-Dreyfus got her name misspelled a couple of weeks ago, forcing (probably these same two artisians) to dig it up and start over after her ceremony moved forward.

You’d think that, in this stage of the creation, someone with a wicked sense of timing could have easily changed the lettering. Maybe add a “T” to the end of “Chris.”

Sub it out for “Shecky.” Or “Ethel.” Or “Olbermann.”

If only we had more letters. Numbers. Or exclamation points.

Where’s Vanna White when you need her?


Point of reference: The closest leather shop to this star (linked here).

And this is why Berman will never have his paw prints put into the Grauman’s Theatre concrete. Too many hand gestures.

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We were just thinking: We wish we had a game-used swatch of Beck’s jersey

i-463f41d7755d6ed9ee9602a5632e549d-David Beckham Jersey Insert.jpg

The Upper Deck trading card company has its 2010 Soccer Set, and even if David Beckham never plays again for the Galaxy, he’ll be imortalized in this cardboard collection — with a swatch of his jersey.

The Carlsbad-based company wanted to get this 200-card set out in time for the World Cup — it’ll also have set of cards for that event as well.

There’s 175 “standard” cards with a few subsets — draft rookies and Women’s Pro Soccer All-Stars. The Galaxy’s Landon Donovan is included in special autograph cards.

i-fc847da71ee5d5234f640dafa5a17bff-Landon Donovan Base.jpg

So are Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Hope Solo (St. Luis Athletica), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom) and Karina LeBlanc (L.A. Sol) in the special WPS inserts.

Considering your L.A. Sol disbanded a couple of months ago, perhaps they’ve already jumped in value.

There’s even one card with both Donovan and Beckham — part of the “MLS Teammates Dual Materials” cards. Never thought you’d see that, eh?

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