Play it forward: Aug. 23-29 on your sports calendar

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

MONDAY

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

An AL East-leading Devil Rays are not only winning comfortably, but looking sharp while doing it. On this current road trip that started with a sweep in Texas and continued through Oakland last weekend, Tampa Bay manager Joe Madden got the players and coaches to buy into brazenly wearing these things he’s called “BRaysers.” That’s a plaid blazer with the Rays blue and white colors, including a sunburst on the pocket. Think Ted Baxter doing the news in Tampa. Maddon picks a theme for each roadie, and this is what he came up with. “It’s high-end stuff. You could see that at Hugo Boss, absolutely; with my fasionista sense, there it is,” Maddon said of the BRaysers, which kind of sounds more like something Kramer would have come up with on “Seinfeld.” Earlier this season, the Rays wore hockey jerseys when they traveled to Toronto and wore all white to Miami. The Angels just got the OK from Mike Scioscia to keep wearing white at home after Labor Day.

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NFL exhibition: Arizona at Tennessee, 5 p.m., ESPN:

In theory, Matt Leinart against Vince Young has intrigue. In practice, like here, it’s still worth watching at least for a quarter. By the way, last Monday’s game on ESPN — the Giants and the Jets, at the New Meadowlands in Jersey — was seen in more than 4.1 million homes (5.6 million viewers). Some can’t get enough of this fake stuff.

TUESDAY

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

Why would Hiroki Kuroda even trust that his teammates will score more than one run against a Brewers team that pounded Kershaw and Billingsley during their only other series this year back in May?

MLB: Angels vs. Tampa Bay, Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., Channel 13:

Don’t try grabbing Evan Longoria’s hat. He’ll chase you. We’ve seen him do it.

WEDNESDAY

MLB: Dodgers at Milwaukee, 5 p.m., Prime:

It’ll be Ted Lilly, current veteran lefthander in the Dodgers’ rotation, coming off a two-hit shutout against Colorado, facing Randy Wolf, former veteran lefthander from the Dodgers’ rotation that, had he stuck around with a more reasonable contract proposal, could have prevented the team from going mid-season shopping for another lefty. But then again, who’s better off?

MLB: Angels vs. Tampa Bay, Angel Stadium, 12:30 p.m., FSW:

This date in Angels history: In 2004, Jeff DaVanon became the first Angels player in 13 years to hit for the cycle in a 21-6 rout of Kansas City. It was also the first time in Anaheim’s 44-year history that it swept an AL opponent in a season series. Wonder how that feels. Dan Haren, 1-4 with a 4.93 ERA in his six starts since the Angels picked him up, gives it another shot. And one last look at Rays outfielder Carl Crawford before the Angels try to chase him down in the offseason.

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Golf: USGA Amateur Championship, first round, 3:30 p.m., Golf Channel:

Them hot-shot graphite-shaft whipper snappers. A year ago, Byeong-Hun An, a 17-year-old high school senior from Florida, went to the head of the class and won the 109th amateur championship with a dominant 7-and-5 victory in South Carolina, becoming the youngest ever to win this thing. That broke a record that stood for only a year — in 2008, 18-year-old Danny Lee set the mark, breaking Tiger Woods’ standard, set in 1995.
Now a freshman at Cal, An will try to defend his title in a field that includes Valencia’s Max Horna, Sherman Oaks’ Greg Moss (College of the Canyons, Loyola Marymount, who recently won the Pasadena City Amateur Championship at Brookside), Pacific Palisades’ Brad Shaw (USC) and Santa Monica’s Maxwell Cohen.
An, by the way, missed the cut at the recent British Open (shooting a 7-over 72-79 after the first two rounds) but still finished better than Nick Faldo and David Duvall.
Golf Channel has rounds two and three (Thursday, 3:30 p.m.) and the quarterfinals (Friday, 9 a.m.); NBC has the semifinals (Saturday, 1-3 p.m.) and the final (Sunday, 1-3 p.m.)

WNBA playoffs: Sparks at Seattle, 8 p.m., ESPN2:

Does the final regular-season matchup between these two matter? (The Sparks lost by a point, in Seattle). Game 2 of the best-of-three is Saturday at noon, Staples Center. If there’s a Game 3, it’s back in Seattle on Tuesday, Aug. 31.

THURSDAY

MLB: Dodgers at Milwaukee, 11 a.m., Prime:

Even with Manny Ramirez back on the active roster, count him out for the Weiner Race. And with Vicente Padilla still on the DL — too many soap bubbles — Carlos Montaserious will make the start again. Which leads us to asking: Whatever happened to John Ely? He’s 4-3 at Triple-A Albuquerque with a 5.98 ERA in nine starts since getting sent down last month. He was 4-7 with a 4.68 ERA when the Dodgers shipped him back, having lost five of six decisions from June 12 to July 10.

NFL exhibition: Indianapolis at Green Bay, 5 p.m., ESPN:

No snow in Lambeau? Then we’re a no-show.

FRIDAY

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MLB: Dodgers at Colorado, 6 p.m., Prime:

In last week’s series of “Hard Knocks” at Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers actually took two of three from the Rockies, but literally threw away the middle game of the series with three wild pitches in the top of the 10th. But the hairiest part of that series was Vin Scully’s investigation into the mullet of origin sported by Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Scully said he always thought a mullet was just a fish. “So we went on the computer, and it’s both,” Scully said during a Dodgers-Rockies game last Wednesday. “It’s a hairdo and a fish.” More: “Is the mullet another word for a ponytail? I mean, I’m trying to look at him … where’s the mullet?” Scully then had the camera follow Tulowitzki to the dugout after his at-bat, hoping he’d take his helmet off so he could determine if his mullet was really a ponytail. “So, it’s just a lot of hair, the mullet … hmmm,” Scully concluded. “One away …”

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

Under the Orioles’ team hitting statistics, pitcher Brad Bergesen (4-9, 5.80 ERA) leads the way with a .333 average — 1-for-3, that is, when he was forced to hit in an NL park as the Orioles played at Washington, and he was the starting pitcher. In fact, he’s the only Oriole with a batting average better than .300 this season. He’s the starting pitcher on schedule to face the Angels in the first of three here. Still 30-something games out in the AL East, the Big O’s have shown some life with Buck Showalter, as they swept the Angels two weeks ago to improve their record from 32-73 to 35-73. And you know how the Angels have been doing, in general terms, against AL East teams.

NFL exhibition: San Diego at New Orleans, 5 p.m., Channel 2:

Drew Brees plays for … right, the Super Bowl champs. We remember when …

SATURDAY

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Horse racing: Pacific Classic, Del Mar, 4 p.m., TVG:

Respected horse racing writer Bill Finley was trying to make heads or tails out of the decision to race Zenyatta in the $300,000 Clement Hirsch race at Del Mar a couple weeks back instead of the $1 million Pacific Classic today. Aside from the fact Zenyatta should have gone to Saratoga to face Rachel Alexandra to give everyone the race they’ve been waiting to see. “Maybe (owner Jerry) Moss doesn’t need the money,” wrote Finley. “Must be nice.” Richard’s Kid, the defending champ, is supposed to be back with Mike Smith aboard to defend his title in the 1 1/4 mile event, the 20th running of the signature face of Del Mar’s summer season. Smith hasn’t ridden Richard’s Kid since the 2009 Classic. In one of his two starts this year, Richard’s Kid was third in the Hollywood Gold Cup on July 10. Also on this card: The Del Mar Mile and the Pat O’Brien

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Mixed martial arts: UFC 118, 7 p.m., PPV, $44.95:

Former middleweight, super middleweight and cruiserweight James Toney has weighed his options and will still get in the Octagan with MMA legend Randy Couture for a “fight” that, for some, highlights this card and could settle which is the better-trained athlete — the boxer or the wrestler-turned-kickboxer? “In (MMA), you have people like Randy Couture who are scared, and will try to hold me like a girl,” said Toney, who is 72-6-3 in his pro boxing career. “I’m going to make him pay for that. Everybody knows that if you’re inside on me, one mistake and that’s your ass. Did y’all tell Randy Couture that I’m wearing smaller gloves? What do you think is going through his head right now? ‘How am I going to stay away from his hands?’ That’s what he’s thinking.” What are we thinking?

MLS: Galaxy vs. Kansas City Wizards, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:

It was reported last week that David Beckham, who hasn’t played this year for the Galaxy, remains the top-paid MLS player at $6.5 mil, according to the latest MLS Players Union salary list. The New York Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry ($5.6 mil) and Rafael Marquez ($5.54 mil) are second and third. And they actually play.

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

We’ve still got concerns about this humidor that the Rockies use to keep their balls cooled off because of the altitude adjustments. Because, as the team found, their balls can shrink if they’re just put in a closet. They’ve done this since 2002. Obviously, the team isn’t using small-ball to get through this season so far.

MLB: Angels vs. Baltimore, Angel Stadium, 6 p.m., FSW:

They’re giving out a baseball-shaped ceramic candy jar to everyone who makes it into the park. Tootsie rolls optional.

NFL exhibition: Dallas at Houston, 5 p.m., Channel 2; San Francisco at Oakland, 6 p.m.:

A geographic rival will find a way to make it interesting, even if it’s just a practice game.

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SUNDAY

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Little League World Series championship, Williamsport, Pa., noon, Channel 7:

The Little League’s mission statement (linked here) says that its a program that “assists youth in developing the qualities of citizenship, discipline, teamwork and physical well-being … by espousing the virtues of character, courage and loyalty … to develop superior citizens rather than superior athletes.” With that, ABC completes its coverage of the Little League World Series Presented by Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes Reduced Sugar.

MLB: Dodgers at Colorado, noon, Channel 9:

Even after the Dodgers have played the Rockies six times in the last nine days, they still have nine more against each other in the Dodgers’ last 31 games.

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

Cal Ripken Jr. turned 50 the other day. The streak continues.

NFL exhibition: Pittsburgh at Denver, 5 p.m., Channel 11:

Who’s a bigger deal in Denver today: Ubaldo Jiminez or Tim Tebow?

MLS: Chivas USA vs. D.C. United, Home Depot Center, 7 p.m.:

Kids get in free with a paid adult ticket (as low as $7.50). Some day, they’ll let adults in free, too.

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