Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
MLB: Home Run Derby, 5 p.m., ESPN:
Chris “Carnival Barker” Berman, who continues to refer to Angel Stadium as “The Ed” (it was once called Edison Field), will most likely call this “Muscle Beach” or go off on a “back, back, back, back to the beach” reference before we’re settled into our seats. So why do we watch this instead of, say, “Celebrity Rehab?” Baseball doesn’t need to dress up steroid-riddled sluggers on a parade of longballs. The days of the Sosa-McGwire-Bonds muscle flexing are over. It’s all about pitching now. Unless … you bring in aluminum bats and BP guys throwing golf balls to David Ortiz,
Robinson Cano, Matt Holliday, Albert Puljos , Miguel Cabrera, Torii Hunter, Chris Young, Ryan Braun, Nick Swisher, Josh Hamilton, Veron Wells, Andre Ethier, Vlad Guerrero, Corey Hart, David Wright, and Hanley Ramirez. Jeez, is Von Joshua available? Why not just show some of the old “Home Run Derby” black-and-white shows from the early ’60s. This one is followed by something even more lazy: A celebrity softball game. Where they’ll be rehabbing their injuries Monday night.
MLB: 81st All-Star Game, Angels Stadium, 5:40 p.m. first pitch, Channel 11:
Where Joakim Soria, Matt Thornton, John Buck, Ty Wiggington, Evan Meek, Arthur Rhodes, Martin Prado, Michael Bourne, Omar Infante, Marlon Byrd and Matt Capps — but no Stephen Strasburg — come to celebrate the greatness of themselves. With the help of a Rally Monkey. And Cliff Lee in a Texas Rangers uniform. We predict a scoreless game heading into the 12th inning when Bud Selig realizes he again has to change the rules to accommodate the fact that there are no fans left in the stands. That’s why this one counts. Again. The pregame starts at 4:30 p.m. (right after “Judge Alex”), and the post-game is supposed to end about the time the delayed version of “The Kilborn File” airs after 9 p.m.
WNBA: Sparks at Tulsa, 4 p.m., ESPN2:
In her WNBA comeback attempt, former world-class sprinter and Thousand Oaks High star Marion Jones is hardly the greatest female athlete on Earth. She’s only been averaging about seven minutes a game off the bench, with a scoring average of 2.0 to go with 0.5 assists and 0.7 rebounds a contest for the Tulsa Shock, which is the only team keeping the Sparks from being last in the Western Conference. Shocking. “Just the opportunity, the fact that I’m busy, the fact that I’m doing something just really positive I think is worth all of the sacrifices and everything,” Jones, the oldest WNBA rookie at 34, told USA Today. “There could be a lot of other places that I could be. I’m not complaining at all.” The Sparks’ road trip continues Friday in Chicago and Sunday in San Antonio, before Tulsa comes to L.A. to play them at Staples Center in a rare noon midweek game.
The ESPY Awards, 6 p.m., ESPN:
Wikipedia (linked here) deftly defines this as “an annual awards event created and broadcasted by American cable television network ESPN to celebrate their legacy as a sport channel. Athletic awards are given as well. … Given the fact that the ESPYs are promotions of the sports network ESPN, and were named such that the acronyms are so similar, the awards are generally regarded as a celebration of the power of ESPN.” Brilliant. And it’s referenced. Seth Meyers, the “Saturday Night Live” Weekend Update anchor and the show’s head writer, says he’s very comfortable that this year’s 18th edition — but who’s counting — is back on live at the Nokia Theatre in L.A. Live and not tape-delayed to air on Sunday night. “Sports are live, so not doing a sports award show live seems wrong,” Meyers said. There’s a lot wrong with this, but at least there is money raised for the Jimmy V Foundation. And don’t forget the two-hour red carpet show leading in, where celebs entering have the sun in their eyes. Presenters include Kenny Chesney, Brooklyn Decker, Zac Efron, Will Ferrell, Danica Patrick, Samuel L. Jackson, Tracy Morgan and Shaun White; attendees are supposed to include Reggie Bush, Landon Donovan, Evan Lysacek, Dara Torres and Jorge Posada. Kobe Bryant? Probably still vacationing in South Africa.
Series: “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel,” HBO, 10 p.m.:
A sit-down interview that Andrea Kremer conducted recently with Pete Carroll will be of greater interest to this TV audience. The former USC coach now running the show for the NFL’s Seahawks doesn’t shy away from the tough questions about his knowledge of recent problems that got the Trojans’ football team put on NCAA’s watch list.
Golf: The British Open, first round, 2 a.m., ESPN:
Tom Watson gave the 2009 Open Championship a hole-by-hole thrill when he nearly pulled off a victory before coming up short against Stewart Cink in a four-hole playoff. This one back at St. Andrews could be the last Open for Watson, we presume. Tiger Woods is also somehow a story, and on the Open official website (linked here), it notes that Woods is “looking forward to playing Champions’ Challenge on (his) ‘favourite course.’” Learn to spell, eh. This can’t be Tiger’s favorite place to be with London tabloids following him around, either. ESPN has the event all four days, going on a 2 a.m., 4 a.m. and 3 a.m. for the final three rounds. Bring a stiff cup o’ tea.
MLB: Dodgers at St. Louis, 5:15 p.m., Channel 9:
Manny Ramirez should be back in the lineup for the Dodgers unless he’s really enjoying those trips to Lancaster. And if the Dodgers learned anything recently, it’s to allow the Cardinals to take a comfortable lead into the ninth, then jump all over Ryan Franklin. See: Rockies, July 6, nine-run 9th.
MLB: Angels vs. Seattle, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
Come early and buy up all the left-over All Star Game memorabilia at discounted prices. Including the Player of the Game trophy left in the NL trainer’s room. Really, fans who buy a ticket get a free All-Star banner (shown here).
MLB: Dodgers at St. Louis, 5:15 p.m., Prime Ticket:
These four in St. Louis are the only road games for the Dodgers during an 18-game stretch.
MLB: Angels vs. Seattle, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., FSW:
Instead of Cliff Lee, the Angels have to worry about how to pitch to Justin Smoak this series.
MLB: Dodgers at St. Louis, 1 p.m., Channel 11:
Maybe this is where Jeff Suppan drops in for another visit against the Dodgers. He’s 0-3 with a decent ERA since joining the Cardinals in early June. He just isn’t getting much run support.
MLB: Angels vs. Seattle, Angel Stadium, 6 p.m., FSW:
Kids aged 2-to-18 get a free mesh Angels jersey. Just like what these two female models are wearing. They’re 18?
MLB: Dodgers at St. Louis, 11:15 a.m., Channel 9:
It’s Joe Torre’s 70th birthday. To put that into perspective, Ringo Starr turned 70 on July 7. And the Dali Lama turned 75 on July 6. All marching to the beat of their own drum.
MLB: Angels vs. Seattle, Angel Stadium, 12:35 p.m., Channel 13:
Wouldn’t it be interesting if the Mariners asked Ken Griffey Jr. to wake up from his nap and try a few more swings for them again?
MLS: Galaxy at D.C. United, 4:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel:
Almost as spine-tingling as a Holland-Spain World Cup final. Without the world-wide attention.
Ceremony: Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals inductions, 2 p.m., Pasadena City Library:
Pete Rose and Casey Stengel are two of the inductees into what’s called “The People’s Hall of Fame” for baseball stardom. Rose, however, won’t make it. He’s got a baseball card show to attend and make a little scratch instead. Seriously. At least we know Pete won’t be at closing day at Hollywood Park. Probably.