Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET
83rd MLB All-Star Game from Kansas City, 4:30 p.m., Channel 11:
Ten years ago this summer, MLB commissioner Bud Selig went in panic mode and threw his hands in the air, declaring a tie is a tie at his own Miller Park — he had no answer as to unlocking the All-Star game at 7-7 after 11 innings. No one was named the MVP. When the game was called, the fans started the “Bad News Bears” chant of “Let them Play!” — others were yelling “Re-Fund!” — but Selig didn’t buy it. Now, Selig is crowing about how the rule that the winning team gets home-field advantage in the World Series has worked, and more want to play in the so-called Mid Summer Classic than before.
“The fact is that years ago, we ran into a period where there were a lot of players that tried to find excuses and didn’t want to play,” Selig said. “We haven’t had any of that. There were some people who were critical of ‘this time it counts.’ It’s worked well and it worked well right from the beginning. You see players now that are happy to go. In fact, the only people unhappy now are some people who didn’t make it.”
You mean, like the Dodgers’ Chris Capuano (who pitched Sunday)? Or almost half the Cincinnati Reds roster, complaining that NL manager Tony LaRussa still harbors ill will toward them from his days in St. Louis? Maybe Erin Andrews can coax him into revealing his inner thoughts about why he still seems to irk people in baseball. There could come a time in the game when the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw is opposing the Angels’ Jered Weaver, but watch fast — it would be very brief, with pitchers seemingly only willing to go one inning tops these days. The real moment of truth might come in the later innings: Will the Angels’ Mike Trout rob Washington’s Bryce Harper of an extra-base hit? Will Harper throw Trout out at third trying to stretch a double into a triple? Youth will be served either way. Earlier, the MLB Network has the Red Carpet show (1 p.m.), leading into a 2 1/2-hour pregame show (2 p.m.) and a post-game show (8 p.m.). It also has a All-Star highlight show from the 1980 game at Dodger Stadium (11 a.m.).
MLB Home Run Derby, from Kansas City, 5 p.m., ESPN:
OK, Kemp. Let’s be careful out there. The Dodgers’ hamstrung star has been given 6/1 odds to win this — same as the Angels’ Mark Trumbo — but Bodova.com has Toronto’s Jose Bautista as the 7/2 favorite. Trumbo, by the way, won the 2009 Texas League Home Run Derby in Double-A. But remember, it’s just an exhibition. No wagering. The shame is we won’t get to oooh and awwww at Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who was to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Sunday and miss out on the derby and Tuesday’s game. The former Notre Dame High of Sherman Oaks star could be out up to six weeks.
WNBA: Sparks at Phoenix, 12:30 p.m.:
Consider this an idea: Play it outdoors. In the summer Arizona heat. Don’t charge admission. But sell bottled water for $15 a pop. And bring Steve Nash back on the trip home. The Sparks continue traveling to Indiana (Thursday, 4 p.m., ESPN2) before enjoying the month-long break for the London Olympics, where Candace Parker is one of the 12 women on the U.S. team.
Minor-league baseball: Triple A All-Star Game from Buffalo, N.Y., 4 p.m., MLB Network:
Albuquerque infielder Luis Cruz was supposed to be here, but apparently the Dodgers need him more. Dioner Navarro — remember him — is supposed to represent Louisville in this annual minor-league affair, because the Dodgers need him less. The 28-year-old catcher, a 2008 AL All-Star with Tampa Bay but whose work ethic was questioned by Dodgers management before his release, is batting a team-best .349, which would lead the International League if he had enough at-bats to qualify, but he missed some time with a kidney stone. Louisville is the Cincinnati Reds’ top farm team. Last year, it sent catcher Devin Mesoraco to this game. Last week, Mescoraco hit a homer in a game against the Dodgers. A game where Cruz also started for the Dodgers. It’s the circle of baseball life.
ESPY Awards, from the Nokia Theatre, L.A., 6 p.m., ESPN:
Riddle me this: Rob Riggle, the host? Because Jimmy Kimmel doesn’t have the time or patience to do it anymore since they’ve moved it from across the street from his show on Hollywood Blvd.? Beyond that, we’re not allowed to tell you anything more that could provoke you to watch it, except that if you’re trying to drive down Chick Hearn Court past Staples Center today, it won’t work. Your drive shaft will be wrapped in red carpet.
Golf: PGA John Deere Classic, from Silvis, Ill., first round, noon, Golf Channel:
Oh, Deere, it’s come to this. Most of the top sluggers will be overseas prepping for the British Open. The rest are here, avoiding the remains of who didn’t notice the deer crossing signs.
MLB: Dodgers vs. San Diego, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime:
As much as the Dodgers wanted to start the second half of the season at full strength, the truth is that while Matt Kemp is on target to return for this three-game set against the Padres, Andre Ethier and Dee Gordon remain absent while mending injuries. Will Ned Colletti have chased down Chase Headley by this point to switch uniforms and start playing third base? Saturday’s 6:10 p.m. game (Prime) includes the Tommy Lasorda-Walter Alston bobblehead giveaway before things end on Sunday (Prime, 1:10 p.m.).
MLB: Angels at N.Y. Yankees, 4:05 p.m., FSW:
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda is 6-3 with a 2.56 ERA at Yankee Stadium, including a win over the Angels back in April where he went eight scoreless innings. But that was before the Angels decided it was time to bring up Mike Trout. “He’s been a game-changer, offensively, defensively,” New York manager Joe Girardi said earlier this season. “The kid has got a lot of talent, a ton. Usually when you see a guy that fast, you don’t anticipate him hitting the ball that hard. What he’s doing at 20, it’s really pretty amazing. You think about it, most guys don’t hit triples down the left-field line.” The series continues with 10:05 a.m. day games on Saturday and Sunday (FSW).
MLS: Galaxy at Portland, 8 p.m., NBC Sports Network:
David Beckham isn’t suspended for this one, right? They’re playing this game in the stadium where the Portland Beavers’ minor-league baseball team once called home. It’s sad how baseball fields are being taken over by soccer pitches.
Golf: U.S. Senior Open Championship, from Lake Orion, Mich., final round, noon, Channel 4:
We tried to get into the field during a qualifier — actually, just a round on our own at Woodley Lakes — but our 97-over didn’t meet the tournament requirements. Then, we tried to get in by saying we were Bernhard Langer. Problem is, he’s actually in the field, along with Tom Watson, Tom Kite, Mark O’Meara, Scott Simpson, Fuzzy Zoeller, John Cook, Fred Couples, Tom Lehman and defending champ Olin Browne.
Tennis: WTA Bank of the West Classic, at Stanford, final, 1 p.m., ESPN2:
Serena Williams is supposed to hustle back after winning the Wimbledon final to defend her title here. Then she’s gotta circle back to London for the Olympics. Without her, the star power of this event really tapers off dramatically for an event where tickets go for as much as $85 for the final.