Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BETS
Reality show series premieres: “Dancing With The Stars,” Season 13, tonight and Tuesday at 8 p.m., Channel 7; “Amazing Race,” Season 19, Sunday at 8 p.m., Channel 2:
Metta World Artest Wurrier, or something like that, is on one side of the dance floor, and TV week. World-famous around-the-globe sailor Zac Sunderland is over on the other end, taking on some water. Someday, maybe, they’ll meet in the middle of the week on “Survivor.” But until then, the ultimate goal for both the Lakers’ forward and the Thousand Oaks wunderkind is surviving this latest incarnation of the battle of the reality show stars.
Give Peace a chance here. He’s one of two athletes (with soccer goalie Hope Solo, here with her instructor below) who’ve been recruited to the recurring dance-off taped in L.A., even though the series is very close to slipping on its own banana appeal. Jocks have had the inside track on winning this tango, following in the footsteps of Emmitt Smith, Apolo Ono, Helio Castroneves, Kristi Yamaguchi, Shawn Johnson and Hines Ward. Note: There’s never been an NBA dancin’ fool. Mostly because the league is full tilt by this time and it’s unavoidable.
Over the next 10 weeks, Artest/Peace may hope for some NBA labor peace happening sooner rather than later. When asked by ESPNLA.com earlier this week during his rehersals if it was more fun than he expected, Artest responded: “Definitely. When I first envisioned myself ever doing ‘Dancing With The Stars’ … I’m like, ‘No. Impossible. I’m not doing that. I could never ever move like that because it looks like a female.’ But now that you’re actually doing it, it’s not that bad, you know? … I’m sure when my friends see it, they’re just gonna kill me.” Maybe not when they realize you’re donating all your money, starting with the $125,000 appearance fee, to the Cancer Research Foundation, on behalf of his daughter. Our solo hope: Just finish ahead of Chaz Bono.
Meanwhile, when we last saw Kid Sunderland, he was helping rescue his sister, Abby, out of the Indian Ocean when her attempt to beat his record for youngest solo navigator around the planet capsized on her. Here, the 19-year-old Zac is joined by his dad, Laurence, in another adventure.
“We’ve had to work together in the yachting arena,” Laurence says of helping his son achieve his world sailing record. “[There] you don’t play for points or money – you play for life.” Among the 11 new teams (linked here) are also Olympic snowboarders Andy Finch and Tommy Czeschin, as well as former NFL player Marcus Pollard and his wife Amani. According to spies who report to Wikipedia (linked here), taping of the show started in mid-June as teams were “seen leaving Los Angeles International Airport and heading to Taiwan.” By plane? That’s way too easy.
MLB: Angels at Toronto, 4:07 p.m., FSW:
Did you know Canadian bacon is actually ham? While the AL West lead is slipping further away, the Angels have four days in Toronto to figure out if they’re still going to come home involved in this thing.
MLB: St. Louis at Philadelphia, 4 p.m., MLB Network:
Just another day for Roy Halladay, and his Cy candidacy. Watch and learn, Clayton.
NFL: St. Louis at N.Y. Giants, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
One giant leap for ESPN viewers, and a week removed from any 9/11 remembrances.
MLB: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Channel 9:
The Dodgers’ home schedule comes full circle. It started on March 31 against the Giants with Clayton Kershaw against Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum and the defending World Series champs, and now it’s against a Giants team that won’t be able to catch Arizona for the NL West lead — but Cy Young candidate Kershaw is going after his 20th win, while Lincecum would settle for his record not dropping to .500. Prediction: Kershaw picks up the win, and the Big Panda doesn’t hit for the cycle. The last two games of the season at Dodger Stadium are Wednesday and Thursday (both at 7:10 p.m., Prime).
MLB: Tampa Bay at N.Y. Yankees, 4 p.m., MLB Network:
East coast bias? Of course. The Rays play seven of their last 10 against the AL East leaders, scrambling for a wildcard spot. Will the Yankees help the Red Sox out here?
NHL exhibition: Kings vs. Phoenix, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:
Ice it up. The Kings and Ducks will also square off Sunday (6:30 p.m.) at the Lakers’ abandoned home near L.A. Live.
Golf: PGA Tour Championship, first round, 10 a.m., Golf Channel:
From the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, with Coke sponsoring everything, comes the final 30 left in the FedEx Chase for the Ginormous Glass Cup (is that what it’s called again)? Golf Channel has the second round Friday while NBC has the last two rounds (Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m.). Winner gets $1.4 mil and, perhaps, the whole vat of flavored sugar water.
Movie: “Moneyball,” theatres nationwide:
Women will watch it for Brad Pitt. Men will watch it to see how Brad Pitt pulls off being Billy Beane, and if the baseball scenes are realistic enough with Jonah Hill as a main character. That kind of compromise could turn this into the pits.
MLB: Angels vs. Oakland, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:
Here’s the real “Moneyball” series — Beane’s A’s trying to keep the Angels from the playoff payoff. Are the Angels coming home still involved in the AL West race, or just wandering toward the finish line? The home stretch comes back to the Athletics back in town, where the Angels won two of three against them back in Oakland last week. The series finishes up Saturday (6:05 p.m., Channel 13, with a cool gumball machine giveaway) and Sunday (12:35 p.m., FSW).
MLB: Dodgers at San Diego, 7:05 p.m., Prime:
The next-to-last series of the year drags on Saturday (5:35 p.m., Prime) and Sunday (1:05 p.m., Prime).
College football: USC at Arizona State, 7:15 p.m., ESPN:
The 3-0 Trojans hit the road for the first time, facing their first true “test” – -against a Sun Devils team that just lost to Illinois.
College football: UCLA at Oregon State, 12:30 p.m., Prime Ticket:
We cannot guarantee that Rick Neuheisel will make this trip to Corvallis, but we just know it’ll be over quickly. Because it’s a day game again.
College football: Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, 9 a.m., ESPN:; Oregon at Arizona, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2; Cal at Washington, 12:30 p.m., FSW:
Keep the camera on Brian Kelly. He may explode this week.
MLS: Galaxy at Columbus, 4:30 p.m., FSW:
A Southern California football team visits Ohio State territory on a fall afternoon.
Horse racing: Final day at Pomona Fairplex, first post, 1 p.m.:
Can astronauts make a satellite wager from anywhere in space for these races? Can they also order deep-friend butter sticks that are available to fans entering this arena?
NFL Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 5:15 p.m., Channel 4:
It looked good about a month ago. Really good. Sorry, no flex schedule for a few weeks.
MLB: Boston at N.Y. Yankees, 10 a.m., TBS; San Francisco at Arizona, 1 p.m., TBS:
Hey batta: Get used to this network’s coverage: It begins its playoff schedule on Sept. 30. For better or not-so-better.
Beach volleyball: Hermosa Beach Open, 3 p.m., Versus:
Where summer is endless. Except this marks the end of the somewhat abbreviated pro beach volleyball tour. Sorry. Next summer: The Olympics in London.