Play It Forward: July 2-8 on your sports calendar

UPDATED: 9 p.m. SUNDAY:

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

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

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Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers 2012, via http://dodgersphotog.mlblogs.com

Fourth of July festivities, Wednesday: MLB: Dodgers vs. Cincinnati, Dodger Stadium, 6:10 p.m., Prime; MLS: Galaxy vs. Philadelphia, Home Depot Center, 7:30 p.m., KDOC-Channel 56; 2012 Hot Dog Eating Contest, noon, ESPN:

Independent of what happens on the diamond or the pitch, Wednesday’s annual Independence Day convergence of sports and sparklers provides a couple of high-end local entertainment options this year.

It’s just that teams on the field lately haven’t produced much firepower. The Dodgers’ home contest against the Reds starts an hour early, so the postgame blow-em-up show won’t keep everyone there too late. Meanwhile, the Galaxy isn’t worried about the neighbors in Carson complaining about the kabooms, either. They’ll have their game faces on — or better yet, they’re giving out 10,000 Robbie Keane face cutouts on a stick to those who come early enough to see their match up against the Union of Philadelphia.

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Left: It’s our new favorite billboard, on La Brea Ave. in the West Hollywood area. That’s gotta be hot-dog eating related, right?

So where does that leave us as far as where gluttony fits on our day of sinfulness? The annual wiener contest from Coney Island must be decided, but we’ve been able to put it all into some perspective. Back in 1974, something called the Oddball Olympics in the Century City mall included a hot dog-eating contest. David Orange, a 26-year-old from L.A., put away 26 “two-ounce hot dogs, cooked over an open fire by Boy Scouts, in five minutes to surpass the old mark of 18 as listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.” See how far we’ve come (if not evolved)?

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They’ve doubled the time alloted for inhaling the ground mice meat stick to 10 minutes, and Joey Chestnut holds the record with 68 (buns included) — more than double the 26 that Orange did nearly 40 years ago. Chestnut is going after his sixth straight title, while Sonya Thomas of Virginia defends her women’s title (40 in 10 minutes). According to archives, the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest has occurred each July 4th in Coney Island since 1916, the year Nathan Handwerker opened the place. Now, Major League Eating, the governing body of all stomach-centric sport, sanctions the event to “ensure the contests are judged professionally and that safety standards are in place at each event.” That’s mostly for the 40,000 to come to watch it live. ESPN had 1.95 million viewers in 2011, the most since the network started doing this in 2004. This all happens on ESPN right after the network’s exclusive Wimbledon coverage, so it must be truely American.

MONDAY

Track and field: Women’s 100 meter runoff, 8 p.m. (delayed), Channel 4:

It’s the Olympic trials event we’ve been waiting to have settled: Allyson Felix and and Jeneba Tarmoh go head to head in Eugene, Ore., to determine the third member of the U.S. team for London. From what we’re told, the only way to see it live is through videostreaming on NBCOlympics.com — then they’ll save it for the prime-time Olympic swimming trials show and “break in” as if it’s live at 8 p.m. What are the chances that it could go live on the KNBC-Channel 4 5 p.m. news? “In my heart of hearts, I just feel like I earned the third spot. I almost feel like I was kind of robbed,” said Tarmoh, who was originally declared the third-place finisher before a photo finished showed a tie.

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MLB: Dodgers vs. Cincinnati, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:

The Reds’ Joey Votto was once on the Dodgers’ off-season radar as a free-agent signing. Until he signed big-time back with the Reds. Fourth in the NL with a .350 average, to go with 14 homers and 47 RBIs, he leads the league in doubles (33), walks (60), on-base percentage (.471), slugging percentage (.632) and OPS (1.103) despite a sub-par week. This series continues Tuesday (7:10 p.m. Channel 9) before Wednesday’s July 4 bash.

MLB: Angels at Cleveland, 4:05 p.m., FSW:

Reminded AL All-Star Jered Weaver has looked incredibly sharp in his two starts since coming off the DL — one earned run in 12 2/3 innings, helped by the fact his teammates have provided him with a combined 19 runs in the contests as he improved to 8-1 with 2.31 ERA. Weaver starts the series opener that continues Tuesday (4:05 p.m., FSW) and a get-away day on Wednesday (1:10 p.m., FSW), which also means he’ll likely start in Saturday in the series against Baltimore. Would that preclude him from pitching in K.C.?

TUESDAY

MLB: Texas at Chicago White Sox, 5:10 p.m.:

Roy Oswalt, 2-0 since coming back in a Rangers’ uniform, gave up a career-high 13 hits to the Detroit Tigers in his last outing.

WEDNESDAY

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MLB: San Francisco at Washington, 8 a.m., MLB Network; N.Y. Yankees at Tampa Bay, noon, MLB Network; Texas at Chicago White Sox, 4 p.m., ESPN:

Giants starter Madison Bumgarner (10-4) threw a one-hitter, allowing only a sixth-inning single, in a 5-0 win over Cincinnati last week that pushed San Fran into first place in the NL West. But he didn’t make the NL All-Star team. He’s back on the mound with an early wake-up call as these Fourth of July specials should provide great background noise before darkness hits.

THURSDAY

MLB: Angels vs. Baltimore, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:

These two just played two in Baltimore last week — the Angels won them by a combined 20-4 outcome. Dana Eveland, the former Dodgers pitcher out of Palmdale High who latched on with the Orioles, is on schedule to come back and make another spot start in the beginning of this four-game series that continues Friday and Saturday (both 7:05 p.m., FSW) before ending Sunday (12:35 p.m., FSW).

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MLB: Dodgers at Arizona, 6:40 p.m., Prime:

Trevor Bauer, pushed around a bit in his major-league debut for the D-backs last week, has another scheduled start on Tuesday against San Diego before his turn comes up again in the four-game series finale (Sunday, 1:10 p.m., Prime) heading into the All-Star break. The former UCLA and Hart High standout was bothered by a groin injury as he gave up five hits and struck out three in four innings (74 pitches) against Atlanta in a no-decision victory for Arizona. They say with injuries to Daniel Hudson and Joe Saunders in the Arizona rotation, Bauer could stick around for a while to help stay around in the NL West race.

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WNBA: Sparks vs. Minnesota, Staples Center, noon:

The day after the Fourth of July, the Sparks (10-6) are relegated to trying to spark interest in an afternoon, camper-friendly crowd, taking on the Lynx in hopes of nixing their three-game losing streak. This is the first of three in a row at home in four days — including Saturday against Seattle (7 p.m., ESPN2) and Sunday against Atlanta (5:30 p.m., KDOC).

FRIDAY

Tennis: Wimbledon men’s semifinals, 5 and 10 a.m., ESPN:

Rafa Nadal’s second-round departure may have opened up things for how these semis shape up. Tenth-seeded Mardy Fish remains the top American hope who couild make noise this far, perhaps against Andy Murray. In the other half of the bracket, it shapes up as meeting between top-seed Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Roger Federer. The final goes off on Sunday at 6 a.m. (ESPN), replayed on Channel 7 at noon.

SATURDAY

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(AP Photo/Sang Tan)
Bob Bryan, left, and Mike Bryan wait at their bench for the trophy presentation after their loss to Belarus’ Max Mirnyi and Canada’s Daniel Nestor at the end of their Queen’s Club grass court championships final double tennis match in London on Sunday, June 17.

Tennis: Wimbledon women’s final, men’s doubles final, 6 a.m., ESPN:

If we aren’t mistaken, we watched this a year ago at a local theatre with 3D glasses on, expecting something special from Maria Sharapova. She lost. We all lost. And there’s no repeat 3D theatres for this one, even though she’s on track to be back and avenge last year’s final defeat, perhaps with a fourth-round meeting against Kim Clijsters. The semifinals are from 5 to 10 a.m. Thursday (ESPN) and could include Serena Williams. The finals are replayed on Channel 7 at noon. The men’s doubles final could put Mike and Bob Bryan back in position to win their 12th Grand Slam title (and 79th overall, extending their record).

NASCAR: Coke Zero 400 at Daytona, 4:30 p.m., TNT:

They’ve set this one up as a continuation of the Fourth of July “weekend,” extending things to include the Nationwide Subway Jalapeno 250 on Friday (4:30 p.m., ESPN). and the Bloody Mary hangover walk of shame on Sunday. A desire for Coke? Zero.

SUNDAY

Golf: 67th Women’s U.S. Open, at Kohler, Wisc., final round, noon, Channel 4:

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So Yeon Ryu, then 20 years old, outlasted Hee Kyung Seo in a three-hole playoff a year ago at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., to win the cup. Valencia native and 17-year-old Alison Lee (left) made the field as the first alternate, having already competed in the 2009 and 2010 events and making the cut in her first one at age 14, finishing tied for 26th. Two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champ Danielle Kang of Thousand Oaks and Westlake High, who turned pro last August, is scheduled to open this event in a three-some that includes Natalie Gulbis. The third round is also on NBC (Saturday, noon, Channel 4).

MLB: All Star Futures Game from Kansas City, 2 p.m., ESPN2:

Bryce Harper and Mike Trout have played in the last two Futures Games. And to think, they both started this 2012 season in the minor leagues. The rosters for this year’s young talent show includes the Dodgers’ Chris Reed, a 2011 first-round pick out of Stanford (born in London) and the Angels’ No. 1 ranked prospect by MLB.com, shortstop Jean Segura out of the Dominican Republic, so both are playing for the World Team. Former UCLA star Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 draft who is in the PIrates’ system at Double-A Altoona, is on the U.S. Team. He was hit in the face by a line drive last week (see video below) and suffered a bruised jaw.

MLS: Galaxy at Chicago, noon, ESPN:

Something tells us the Galaxy players would have much rather been in Chi-town on the Fourth of July instead of a nooner on a Sunday, after a Saturday night not able to go outdoors and enjoy the scenery.

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