Chris Berry, hired in January of 2009 to be the VP and general manager of ESPN’s KSPN-AM (710) all-sports station, has resigned today, according to LARadio.com. Berry had also been a point man in hiring writers and talent for the recently launched ESPNLosAngeles.com website.
Interesting, it was just two weeks ago when the station lost program director Larry Gifford, who resigned to help his wife’s business.
Don Yaeger, the New York Times best-selling author whose 2008 book “Tarnished Heisman” (with Jim Henry, linked here) on Reggie Bush’s final season at USC pretty much was a must-read by the NCAA, is the focus of Friday’s media column. We sought his reaction on the news this week that Bush has decided that it’s time to return his 2005 trophy before more tarnish collects on it.
Essentially, Yaeger has a sad satisfaction in being right about what he reported in the book, but some vindication because Bush tried to trash him and his credentials when the book came out.
In the book, by the way, Yaeger quotes New York Times sportswriter and unofficial Heisman historian Bill Pennington as saying Bush would be “the Richard Nixon of college football” if he were to ever lose the trophy.
Two years later, Yaeger still thinks that anology holds true.
“Pennington’s right,” said Yaeger. “(Bush is) the guy who resigned before he was impeached.”
Yaeger, aside from being surprised that the NCAA took so long to release its investigation and lay its punishment on USC, said he could have added to his book with more information supplied by some Bush family members who corroborated facts supplied by others.
“We laid everything out that we had at the time,” said Yaeger. “Some family members — and we knew there was some family rivalry going on — came forth after the book came out and offered to give us information if we were to retell the book. But we understood that we had to weigh the motives for everyone we interview. It doesn’t mean the information is bad. In this case, it was good and detailed. But it didn’t change the final outcome.”
While Yaeger couldn’t get Bush to cooperate with the book several years ago, he did include on the final page a quote Bush gave to the media on how he was handling the speculation about his Heisman acquisition: “At the end of the day, I know what’s true. And it will come out and everybody will see that I’m still a good guy; that I’m still the same guy that I was from day one.”
To which Yaeger added to finish the book: “At the end of these pages, I think everyone will know that is true.”
Read more about it Friday. Meanwhile, catching up on some of Yaeger’s previous works you may be familiar with:
== “A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring,” with John Wooden, which came out last October (linked here)
== “Turning Of The Tide,” with John Papadakis and Sam Cunningham, on the USC-Alabama game from 1971 (linked here)
== “Under the Tarnished Dome: How Notre Dame Betrayed Ideals for Football Glory” with Doug Looney (linked here).
== “It’s Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered” (linked here)
== “Undue Process: The NCAA’s Injustice for All” (linked here)
== “Sole Influence: Basketball, Corporate Greed, and the Corruption of America’s Youth” (linked here)
== “Shark Attack: Jerry Tarkanian and his battle with the NCAA and UNLV” (linked here)
== “Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL” (linked here)
== Yaeger’s Amazon.com bio and list of books (linked here)
Numbers 71-to-80 will be covered in tonight’s episode of “The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players” on the NFL Network (6 p.m.). This would be episode three, and we’re told this group of 10 will include a former UCLA lineman as well as a well-known Bruin quarterback.
The first 20 players revealed to date, for those keeping track but not having access to NFL Net:
100. Joe Namath
99. Michael Strahan
98. Lee Roy Selmon
97. Derrick Brooks
96. Mel Hein
95. Larry Allen
94. Lenny Moore
93. Sam Huff
92. Michael Irvin
91. Fran Tarkenton
90. Kurt Warner
89. Ernie Nevers
88. Ed Reed
87. Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch
86. Willie Davis
85. Marcus Allen
84. Joe Schmidt
83. Norm Van Brocklin
82. Ted Hendricks
81. Steve Young
The Top 100 is a 10-part series highlighting the 100 greatest players in NFL history, as determined by a blue-ribbon panel of football experts, including former players, historians, scouts, team executives and writers.
The Dodgers announced they will have a pregame ceremony on Sunday — the day Mexico celebrates its bicentennial of independence — to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Fernando Valenzuela’s major-league debut, which actually took place today, on Sept. 15, 1980.
Juan Marcus Gutierrez Gonzalez, the Consul General of Mexico, will represent the Mexican government and participate in the ceremony. Valenzuela will also appear at La Gran Fiesta – Viva Los Dodgers festival at 10 a.m. before the Dodgers-Rockies game.
On this day 30 years ago, the 19-year-old from Sonora, Mexico pitched against the Atlanta Braves at Fulton County Stadium. He came on for the sixth and seventh innings (box score linked here) during a 9-0 loss, giving up two unearned runs and facing nine batters — and committing a balk. Mike Scioscia was his catcher.
Valenzuela ended up with a 2-0 record in 10 games in the ’80 season without allowing an earned run over 17 2/3 innings, striking out 16. His brief September call-up allowed him to pitch the 1981 season as a rookie, where he would win both the NL Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Award.
Unless the Chargers find a way to sell 8,000 tickets by Thursday’s 1:15 p.m. deadline — and don’t you think they ought to, considering its their home opener and they’re coming off a miserable performance against Kansas City — there’ll be a pretty little place in Southern California down San Diego way where the mandatory NFL blackout rule will be put to the test right away.
The team could of course ask for an extension to Friday, but will it matter?
The franchise hasn’t had a blackout since 2004. That’s 48 consecutive regular-season home games. But this time, there’s worry. Plenty. Not just on the field.
Chargers executive vice president A.J. Spanos said Wednesday he is “not optimistic the blackout will be lifted.”
Neither are we (groovy)…
Without a blackout, L.A. escapes the “market of interest” blanket and can have access to the CBS marque matchup of the weekend — New England-N.Y. Jets, which will be a late-afternoon-going-into-prime-time affair.
Yippie ka yay to that, Mark Sanchez.
== Miami at Minnesota: Channel 2, 10 a.m., with Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf. CBS also has Buffalo-Green Bay (with Spero Dedes and Randy Cross), Baltimore-Cincinnati (Bill Macatee and Rich Gannon), Kansas City-Cleveland (Don Criqui and Steve Beuerlein) and Pittsburgh-Tennesse (Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots) in this window.
== Chicago at Dallas: Channel 11, 10 a.m., with Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver (going to 56 percent of the country). L.A. misses on Fox’s broadcasts of Tampa Bay-Carolina (9 percent, with Dick Stockton and Charles Davis), Arizona-Atlanta (8 percent, with Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick) and Philadelphia-Detroit (5 percent, with Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan and Chris Myers).
== Jacksonville at San Diego: Channel 2, 1 p.m., with Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker. If it’s blacked out, expect New England-N.Y. Jets (with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms) over Houston-Washington (Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts). Also in this window, Fox won’t be able to show you Seattle at Denver (with Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa) or St. Louis at Oakland (with Ron Pitts and John Lynch).
== N.Y. Giants at Indianapolis: Channel 4, 5:20 p.m., with Michaels, Collinsworth and Kremer.
== New Orleans at San Francisco: ESPN, 4 p.m., with Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden.
Shaun Larkin, the all-conference second baseman on the Cal State Northridge baseball’s 2002 Big West championship team, has been added to new head coach Matt Curtis’ staff as an assistant coach.
Larkin, a Northridge resident, will work with hitters and infielders as well as recruiting and fundraising with Curtis and pitching coach Tim Leary.
After spending two years at Cypress Junior College and one year at Texas Tech, the 5-foot-9, 170-pound Larkin hit .361 with 15 home runs, 49 RBIs and 16 doubles in 2002, his only year at CSUN, as the Matadors finished 41-17 and made it to the NCAA Regionals. He also had 59 walks and a .507 on-base percentage to go with a .668 slugging percentage.
A ninth-round pick by the Cleveland Indians, Larkin played six years of pro baseball and got as high as the Triple-A level before he was hired as a minor-league coach. His most recent jobs were as an assistant coach at Newport Harbor High School, focusing on leadership skills in the classroom, and an assistant at Orange Coast College.
== Larkin’s minor-league statistics from BaseballReference.com (linked here)
We’re not a media consultant, but we play one in the newspaper. At this point, we kind of know how the game is played, we have some contacts with people in the business, we watch a lot of TV, we have a computer.
Say, you got a second?
Just a few problems with your latest media fumble as you try to rectify your standing with the Heisman Trophy people specifically and with your college reputation in general.
Paragraph three, sentence two of your statement this week — released on the New Orleans Saints website, and then left out there to be interpreted by whomever wanted to take a shot at it:
“The persistent media speculation regarding allegations dating back to my years at USC has been both painful and distracting. In no way should the storm around these allegations reflect in any way on the dignity of this award, nor on any other institutions or individuals. Nor should it distract from outstanding performances and hard-earned achievements either in the past, present or future.”
First, this doesn’t even sound like you. Congrats on finding someone who wrote this script for you. Except that’s the first place you blew it. Make it your own voice.
Or, do you even have an opinion about this? It seems to this point you really don’t. That’s the problem.
About this “media speculation.” You’ve touched on something that’s really not going to help your cause here.
You probably heard of this book that Don Yaeger wrote way back in 2008 called “Tarnished Heisman: Did Reggie Bush Turn his Final College Season into a Six-Figure Job?”
I’m guessing you tried to ignore it, didn’t read it, hoped it went away.
It’s still out there. And, for those of us who do read, gleaned a lot of background on your time at USC, it’s all laid out pretty clearly about what appears to have happened.
For those who need a picture and sound, we saw HBO reports on this a few times on “Real Sports,” with the guy who said he loaned you money to fix up your car, gave your parents the house and pretty much admitted that if you had just paid him back, none of this would have come to light.
Media speculation is one of those generic phrases that get thrown around, because, when we don’t have facts, we tend to speculate.
So, that said, why not come clean and give the media some facts to speculate with?
My point is: Let us help you help us.
This media that helped build up your image, documented your accomplishments, recorded the video that the Heisman folks could view before making their votes, can be a vehicle of redemption here if you allow it.
This is the point in the game where you find a reporter who you trust, you sit down in front of the TV camera, you let the questions come, you answer them honestly, then this gets out there, and there’s no more “speculation.”
You up for it? Apparently not. That’s going to be another problem.
Instead, you’ve taken one step forward by giving the Heisman trophy back, but another step back by failing to apologize or explain further what you knew about what happened.
You’ve created more questions by coughing up the Heisman without admitting any wrongdoing.
Then why return it? It makes no sense.Your actions have spoken louder than your words — there’s no reason for it.
There may be, in your mind, a population of the media that relishes the fact that it can bring down a Heisman trophy winner. Realize there’s a much bigger group that simply wants to report the truth about what happened.
You want more speculation? Some sports-talk guys have said they think you’re taking the bullet for your family, wanting to protect them from the NCAA rules they violated.
That’s honorable. Let’s go with that one, if you’re comfortable.
The statement you delivered Wednesday implies you want to help others not make the same mistakes. How can you do that? Explain it further.
Bottom line: Don’t assume the media is trying to twist your arm for a confession. It just wants the truth. And some remorse, perhaps. And the more non-truth that is out there, the worse it will get.
If you want the media to push you in the same corner with Roger Clemens, Pete Rose, Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods . . . nicely done. But, really. From a media, damage-control point of view, you could put your USC education to better use and take a smarter path toward finding a hole and running through it.
Some media say this transparent gesture of giving the trophy back before the Heisman Trophy trust asked for it back is just the start. If you have stories to back up your innocence, let’s hear it. If you don’t, come clean.
“Don’t take the ball 93 yards and now kick a field goal,” Dan Patrick said on his nationally syndicated radio show today. He speaks for a segment of the media that would gladly like to get the end of this story so we can all move on, do some good.
Good can’t be done if there’s still too many bad feelings out there.
You’ve done a lot of great things in your time in New Orleans with helping the community there. You’re looked up to by a lot of kids who wear your jersey. It’s your life, but the more you keep the media out of it, the tougher it will be to run and hide.
Just pitchin’ it out there to you. As always, what you do when you receive it is up to you.
On the 40th anniversary of the Jim Bouton ground-breaking book, “Ball Four,” written about his 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston 45s, the Pasadena-based Baseball Reliquary is gearing up for a celebration Saturday at the Burbank Central Library (110 N. Glenoaks Blvd.) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The day starts with a Q-and-A panel discussion on “Ball Four” with Bouton, who has flown in for the event from his home in Massachusetts with his wife Paula, joined by director Ron Shelton, author Jean Hastings Ardell and David Kipen, a former Daily News writer who was Director of Literature at the National Endowment for the Arts and is the current current proprietor of Libros Schmibros, a lending library and used bookstore in Boyle Heights.
The premier of the documentary, “The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight Into History” is at 1:30 p.m., and a 3 p.m. panel discussion on the history of the Pilots includes former players Bouton, Tommy Davis and Greg Goossen, the former Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High standout who played on the team during its one and only season in 1969 and led them with a .309 batting average.
The day ends with a book signing by Bouton.
More information at the Baseball Reliquary (linked here) or at 626.791.7647, or by e-mail Baseball Reliquary director Terry Cannon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Info on directions to the library: (818) 238-5600.
(Listen to Vin Scully call a clip of Bouton’s performance in the 1963 World Series, and then watch Bouton strike out Davey Lopes in his comeback with the Atlanta Braves):
More background on “Ball Four” from recent media submissions:
== MLB.com’s Ben Platt has this look back at the book, with video that the MLB Network’s Bob Costas did of an interview with Bouton (linked here).
== Rock music critic Robert Christgau’s essay, “Bouton Baseball,” written in the spring of 1971, about a year after the book’s initial publication: (linked here).
== Wall Street Journal sportswriter Allen Barra’s piece, “Pitching Deep and Inside,” from April 7, 2010: (linked here).
== Ron Kaplan’s three-part podcast interview with Bouton on his site RonKaplanBaseballBookshelf.com: (linked here and here and here).
== Kaplan’s piece, “The Legacy of Ball Four,” for the Huffington Post: (linked here).
== National Public Radio Weekend Edition’s Scott Simon interviewed Bouton for his show last Saturday: (linked here).
== A recent Q-and-A from BlueWorkhorse.com (linked here)
Today marks Jim Nantz’s 25th anniversary with CBS Sports — Sept. 14, 1985, in the studio with Pat Haden for the Prudential College Football Report, as Brent Musburger, looking live at the Notre Dame-Michigan game, introduced the 26-year-old to the audience.
Between then and today, Nantz has won two Emmys for play-by-play and five National Sportscaster of the Year awards.
CBS had Nantz list his top 25 memories at CBS (with three of the top four happening this year):
1. April 12, 1992: Fred Couples, Nantz’s former college roommate at the University of Houston, wins the Masters, and Nantz interviews him for the green jacket ceremony — just as they had rehearsed in their dorm room back in 1979. “It’s a perfect fit!… Fred Couples… Masters champion,” Nantz said that day in Butler Cabin. Reflecting back, Nantz says: “I cannot imagine ever witnessing a moment that will touch me more deeply than this perfect fulfillment of a glorious dream that was shared by intimate friends for so many years.”
2. February 7, 2010: The New Orleans Saints, with the hopes of a city that was still recovering from Hurricane Katrina that nearly destroyed their city five years before, defeated the Indianapolis Colts, 31-17. Before an estimated average audience of 106.5 million viewers, the game became the most-watched program in television history.
3. April 5, 2010: Playing just seven minutes from their campus in Indianapolis, life was imitating art from the movie Hoosiers as the Cinderella Butler Bulldogs went up against the mighty Duke Blue Devils in the NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball National Championship. Trailing 61-59 with seconds remaining, Butler’s Gordon Hayward heaved a half-court shot that missed by inches of giving Butler the title. Duke’s win is the fourth for Mike Krzyzewski as coach of the Blue Devils.
4. April 11, 2010: With his wife, Amy, who had been diagnosed with cancer 11 months earlier, watching nervously from the gallery on the 18th green, Phil Mickelson birdies the 72nd hole to wrap up a three-shot win for his second Masters championship with a “Win for the family.”
5. April 13, 1986: 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus wins his historic sixth green jacket with a final round 65 (including a back nine 30) to become the oldest man to win the Masters — and increase his record of major victories to 18. Nicklaus’ birdie on 16 elicited Nantz’s famous summation: “The Bear has come out of hibernation!” About calling his first Masters at age 26, Nantz comments: “As much as I’d like to think that I had always been preparing myself for that moment, I must confess that I was so nervous my teeth were chattering involuntarily. I was worried that the noise emanating from my clicking molars would be picked up by my open microphone.”
Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
NFL: Baltimore at N.Y. Jets, 4 p.m., ESPN; San Diego at Kansas City, 7:15 p.m., ESPN:
The Jets’ latest reality series continues. Or, rather, debuts for real. The last four teams who’ve yet to play a game get on the field, but the Jets have the most off-season buzz thanks to an HBO show that allowed coach Rex Ryan to be himself. Although the Giants played at the New Meadowlands in a game that counted Sunday, the Jets get their chance tonight. Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski are present for the ESPN broadcast. As soon as it ends, we go to K.C. for Brad Nessler and Trent Dilfer (thankfully, no Mike Ditka involvement) for the Chargers’ opener in the newly renovated Arrowhead Stadium. It’s the first MNF game in K.C. since November, 2004.
Tennis: U.S. Open men’s final: Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic, Channel 2, 1 p.m.:
Whether or not you agree, the weather says to push this back a day to here, where it’ll knock out “As The World Turns,” “Rachael Ray” and “Judge Judy.”
Soccer: Chivas Classico: Chivas de Guadalajara vs. Chivas USA, San Diego’s Petco Park, 8 p.m.:
While the NL West-leading Padres are immersed in a 10-game, 11-day road trip, Petco Park will be torn up for an exhibition soccer game because the city wants to bring soccer to the downtown area. Why not have it at Qualcomm Park, the Chargers’ home field? Although the Petco grass cutters will have more than a week to fix it up, some of the Padres players weren’t happy to hear about this contest. San Diego relief pitcher Heath Bell told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the plan was “asinine. … Let’s see, they held a concert during Comic-Con and killed the grass in left (field). OK, so let’s go to a soccer match. We’re in a pennant race. Much of the nation will probably be seeing us for the first time. Shouldn’t we be trying to put our best foot forward?” We are, with global football. Now, open the border and let the Mexico fans in.
MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., Channel 9:
Probably just as well the Dodgers continue their 10-game roadie away from the McCourt mess going on in the L.A. courts this week. Players wearing Dodger uniforms you may see competing in this series: Mitchell, Oeltjen, Ellis, Lindsey and Link. Have at ‘em, Zito. The last 18 games of the year for the Dodgers are against NL West foes And all of them will be called by Vin Scully (no more Eric Collins).
MLB: Angels at Cleveland, 4 p.m., FSW:
We’re so done with the Indians. But the Angels aren’t. Play 16-inning affairs in each of the next three if you really want to get anyone’s attention.
MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., Prime:
ESPN has already locked this game into their schedule for this night, right after the Yankees-Rays telecast. This is the network, after all, whose reporter Buster Ulney revealed last week that the Giants’ Aubrey Huff is “the guy wearing the lucky red thong … and we know that’s very crucial for their divisional hopes.” Huff put it on to break out of a 3-for-32 slump last week. And it’s working. Don’t get huffy about the rally thong.
MLB: Angels at Cleveland, 4 p.m., FSW:
We suggest watching the movie “Major League” for the 158th time for two hours better spent memorizing lines.
Series debut: “Survivor,” Channel 2, 8 p.m.:
Jimmy Johnson, the 67-year-old former Super Bowl and college football national champion coach, currently a Fox NFL studio analyst, allows his hair to get mussed up during this year’s series that takes place in Nicaragua. We can’t tell you if he won, but we’re guessing at some point, Terry Bradshaw will let it slip. Talking to reporters later week, Johnson said he knew the reality series was popular, but he’s surprised that more people he runs into wants to talk to him about the show instead of football. Or his use of ExtenZe. Johnson’ came back not only thinner, but with shorter hair. No hair jell allowed on the island. “I did have my hair shorter than it has been since I’ve been in high school,” he said. “A big part of the show, I was standing there in my underwear, so I wasn’t really concerned what I looked like.”
MLB: Dodgers at San Francisco, 7:15 p.m., Channel 9:
The Dodgers’ season-long 10-game road trip finally ends. You guess as to how many games below .500 they’ll be at this juncture.
MLB: Angels at Cleveland, 4 p.m., FSW:
And, when this is done, we’re leaving Cleveland and heading to Florida. LeBron-ja-vue.
MLB: Minnesota at Chicago White Sox, 5 p.m., MLB Network:
The last regularly scheduled matchup between the top two teams in the AL Central. Manny, the stage is set.
MLB: Dodgers vs. Colorado, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:
The Rockies come into this week with a 10-game winning streak before playing three against the Padres, and in theory could come into thie game against the Dodgers leading the NL West — just as many predicted could happen before the season started. Jim Tracy’s boys have found their late-season juice again. And if you want to see a real-life Triple Crown candidate? Rockies center fielder Carlos Gonzalez (.337 leads the league, 32 HRs is fourth and 100 RBIs is third) is right there with Joey Votto and Albert Pujols. And the 24-year-old Gonzalez is making just $406,000 this year.
MLB: Angels at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m., FSW:
The Angels’ tour of the non-AL West continues in the great domed facility — one of two remaining with fake grass. In their last series, back at Anaheim, the Rays won two of three but the Angels won the finale when Mike Napol drove in six runs off Jeff Niemann.
College football: USC at Minnesota, 12:30 p.m., ESPN:
A breakdown in the latest ESPN Magazine of all 120 FBS mascots reveal there are 16 of them named after warriors (such as the Trojans) and just two named after rodents (in this case, Gophers). Looking for the other rodent? Go for it. These Minnesotans should not be confused with those from Minnesota State — which, of course, doesn’t exist, except in reruns of “Coach.” Then again, Minnesota State would have never lost to South Dakota. The Gophers did that last week, 41-38.
College football: UCLA vs. Houston, Rose Bowl, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
We thought this “monopoly” ad would come in handy. Again. After a 35-0 loss to Stanford, dropping the Bruins to 0-2 with a game against No. 6 Texas coming up in two weeks, winning this one against the Cougars seems to be must or else 0-4 is looking mightly probable. Houston running back Bryce Beal is 15th in the nation in rushing yards (243), but the numbers that jump out the most after two games — five TDs (tied for second) and a 10.1 yards-per-carry average (third overall). Teammate Michael Hayes also has four rushing TDs. Houston is also officially averaging 61 points a game so far.
MLB: Dodgers vs. Colorado, Dodger Stadium, 1:10 p.m., Prime:
Just be aware of this kid, Chris Nelson, when he’s standing all by himself at third base with no one paying attention. He’ll swipe home on you.
MLB: Angels at Tampa Bay, 4 p.m., Channel 13:
The talk continues that Hideki Matsui, who struggled in the first half of the season but has hit over .400 in August and Septebmer, may not have done enough to ensure the Angels will bring him back next year. The 36-year-old will go free after a one-year, $6 million deal with the Angels. He said when he joined the New York Yankees in 2003, his goal was to play 10 big-league seasons. “Right now, the way I see it, I really don’t have a longterm goal,” Matsui said. “I look at it year-by-year. I have to wait until the season finishes and then think about what will happen next. As of right now, I have no thoughts about going back to Japan.” Why not? It’s what most MLB players think about doing at the end of their careers.
Soccer: Galaxy vs. D.C. United, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Becks is back, Buddle is scoring again and the Galaxy look united with a three-point lead over the Salt Lakers. Maybe it’s best that Beckham stick to coming in as a reserve for a while. ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle described his return last week against Columbus: “Even before he entered the game … he looked set to take a Monty Python sketch to an even more absurd conclusion, threatening to lead the Ministry of Silly Walks, Lunges, Leans and Skips in an effort to keep his surgically repaired Achilles loose on the sideline.”
Boxing: Sugar Shane Mosley vs. Sergio Mora, Staples Center, 6 p.m.:
The Mexican bicentennial rings in L.A. with 39-year-old Mosley, his best years behind him, taking on Mora (21-1-1 with six KOs). Not to split cabellos here, but both of them are U.S. Americans. “This should be a great fight,” Mosley has said. “Sergio Mora is definitely a competitor and he’s coming to fight. He’s the right opponent right now because he’s tough, he’s bigger than me, it’s in LA and fighting at the Staples Center in front of 20,000 people is exciting. It’s very important for me to fight there and give the hometown fans a chance to see me up close, and I’m predicting a knockout.” Mexican welterweight Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and top junior welterweight contender Victor Ortiz will fight co-featured bouts. The card starts at 2 p.m.
NASCAR: Sprint Cup at New Hampshire, ESPN, 10 a.m.:
Again, we’re not sure how NASCAR does its post-season. While the top 12 drivers are battling during the last 10 races, there’s still a full field to race against. Any one of the “non playoff” racers can knock someone else out with a sharp left turn. Since “The Chase” was brought into the fold in 2004, only Jimmie Johnson has qualifed every year, and with a season-high-tying five wins coming into this, he’s still in the thick of it, 10 points behind leader Denny Hamlin. Remember, the chase will run through Fontana again on Oct. 10.
MLB: Dodgers vs. Colorado, Dodger Stadium, 1:10 p.m., Prime:
Maybe this is the time Joe Torre allows Kenley Jansen to pitch and catch in the same game.
MLB: Angels at Tampa Bay, 10:30 a.m., FSW:
Good luck to the Rays when the playoffs start. Sorry the Angels couldn’t have made it more competitive.
NFL: New York Giants at Indianapolis, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4:
The sequel to Manning Bowl I will be tough to match the first one — on Sept. 10, 2006, Peyton Manning’s Colts pulled off a 26-21 win over Eli Manning’s Giants in East Rutherford, N.J. Peyton finished 25-of-41 for 276 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The two-time MVP also led the Colts to scores on five of their first seven possessions. Eli was 20-of-34 for 247 yards and two TDs. He also had two costly second-half mistakes — a fumble and an interception, both of which came with New York down two points. Both led to Indianapolis scores. (By the way, there actually was a Manning Bowl, a football and soccer stadium in Lynn, Mass., that served as home to the Boston Yanks of the NFL from 1944 to ’48 (linked here).
NFL: Jacksonville at San Diego, 1:15 p.m., Channel 2:
Early indications are this one won’t even sell out, meaning L.A. could get to see CBS’ coverage of Patriots-Jets instead. Chargers CEO Dean Spanos has told the media that slow ticket sales are “an unfortunate fallout of the economy. We haven’t raised prices in over three years. We have payment schedules to ease the burden. … ” You could always close up and move back to L.A.