According to code, L.A. spectators should have nothing to worry about … even if the Raiders return

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(AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Fans in The Black Hole section watch an exhibition NFL game between the Raiders and Lions in Oakland last Saturday.

Search the Oakland Raiders’ website for a link to their “Fan Code of Conduct,” and try not to laugh when you read the first line: “Thank you for helping the Raiders create the most fan-friendly environment in the NFL.”

Al Davis still knows how to tell a good joke from beyond the black hole of his grave.

Without that in mind, a collection of like-minded, seriously important sports people who probably had better things to do with their valuable time on a Monday morning were called together instead to attend a press conference orchestrated by the Los Angeles Sports Council.

They might not have said it aloud, but they were all there trying to cover their collective assets. The L.A. City Chamber of Commerce was the perfect venue to host it.

Before posing for an unprecedented photo-op that included AEG’s Tim Leiweke, the Dodgers’ Stan Kasten, USC’s Pat Haden, UCLA’s Dan Guerrero and the Kings’ Luc Robitaille, another bunch of fellows who run stadia in the area, and guarded by L.A. police chief Charlie Beck and L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca, these power suits practically linked arms as representatives of the Sports Council’s Task Force on Fan Behavior and produced something called the Southern California Fan Code of Conduct.

They printed it out and put it up on easels near the podium. If only they could have had Charlton Heston there to proclaim it the Ten Commandments for L.A. Fandom, and carry it in on stone tablets.

Although, with today’s technology, it’ll have to be available for those who have any sort of iPad, iPhone or “I did nothing wrong” excuse.
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Play It Forward: Aug. 27-Sept. 2 on your sports calendar

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

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

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(AP Photo/Jae Hong, File)
After USC’s win last November against UCLA, Trojans quarterback Matt Barkley seemed pretty happy. The rest of the USC family was more than happy to see him return for a senior year.

College football:
UCLA at Rice, Thursday at 4:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network
USC vs. Hawaii, Coliseum, Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Channel 11

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Happiness is a warm ranking. Like the No. 1 spot USC received, after spending the last two years in the solitary confinement of NCAA probation, from the Associated Press and ESPN.com voters. “It’s cool for us, for our fan base and the people who stuck with us and endured the sanctions,” said Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Matt Barkley, starting his senior season as a four-year starter. Four other Pac-12 schools were in the top 30 vote-getters in the AP rankings. The Bruins aren’t quite there yet. The happy thoughts are on what some feel could be a leap for UCLA’s exposure if it not only gets past this opener against Rice, but then figures out how to knock off Nebraska in Week 2. Can new coach Jim Mora change people’s doubts? “College football is all about change,” said UCLA newly named starting quarterback Brett Hundley, showing the wisdom of a redshirt freshman. “We just got to get better and keep it moving with the new coach we got.” Rice was voted by the media to finish fifth in the Conference USA’s six-team West Division, so rankings must not mean all that much on the Houston campus. But there is one that’s worth noting: Rice (enrollment: 3,755) was named No. 1 by the Princeton Review last week for having the “happiest students.” Maybe it comes with having low expectations.

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USC (enrollment: 17,414) actually ranks No. 9 on that “happiest” list — and that was before those AP rankings were released. In the Trojans’ opener, there’ll be another smiling face on the other sideline. Norm Chow, USC’s former acclaimed offensive guru, finally has a head coaching job at age 65. “I am excited and energized about creating a program that will make all of the people of Hawaii feel pride for the university and our state,” he said at the time of his hiring. “I am looking forward to coming home, to family and friends, and I am going to do my best to contribute to the rich history of Hawaii and its progress.” But first, another kind of homecoming. To the Coliseum. Who’s going to bring the pig to put on the spit for the first weekend of college football.

MONDAY

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By Susan Mullane, US Presswire
Serena Williams shows off her athleticism during her third-round win against Victoria Azarenka in last year’s U.S. Open.

Tennis: U.S. Open, first round matches, 10 a.m.-to-8 p.m., ESPN2; 7:30 a.m.-to-4 p.m., Tennis Channel:

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We’re kind of split on how Serena Williams might fare in this annual Flushing Meadows Revival at the 22,500-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium. A year ago, she walked into the place and was knocked around by Aussie Samantha Stousur in the women’s final. She comes back this year with a Wimbledon — her 15th career Grand Slam event — and Olympic gold medal victory, both in England, on her recent highlight reel, but she’s only the fourth seed this time. She didn’t look all that sharp at the recent WTA’s Cincinnati event, losing her cool in a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Angelique Kerber in the semifinals — the first sets she had dropped since Wimbledon in July.

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“Serena will have to work harder at the U.S. Open than she did at Wimbledon,” said Chris Evert, an ESPN2 analyst for the event. “She had a lot of free points at Wimbledon and the Olympics because it was on grass and shots didn’t come back. She dictated every point. This is going to be a different story. She’s going to have to run down a lot more balls and get a lot more balls back, be more consistent and probably be even in better shape. So therein the question lies: Can she do it. Of course, she can. But will she do it? I’m not 100 percent sure.” When Serena showed up on David Letterman’s show last week, her tight red dress quickly caught the eye of the host. Letterman asked if it would be great if she could play in that thing. “Wouldn’t that be great?” Williams laughed. “Of course, I wouldn’t get to any balls.”

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On the men’s side, top-seed Roger Federer could get a third meeting in the last two months against Andy Murray in the semifinals, and Novak Djokovic can’t reach the final without first facing Federer or Murray.
ESPN2 has first-week action Monday through Friday in that 10-hour window, with Tennis Channel’s “U.S. Open Tonight” show (8-to-11:30 p.m.) adding to the coverage. CBS takes over on the weekend (Channel 2, Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Channel 2). In addition, CBS Sports Network has outer-court coverage of men’s and women’s third round matches simultaneously from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tennis Channel has the live prime-time coverage from 4-to-8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
The helmets of newly acquired Dodgers Nick Punto, left, and Adrian Gonzalez sit in the dugout prior to the game against the Marlins on Saturday.

MLB: Dodgers at Colorado, 5:40 p.m., Channel 9:

Josh Beckett gets to prove his worth to the Dodgers’ NL West chase by going to the mound in Denver. Will he get a nose bleed? No worries: Beckett has a lifetime record of 3-0 at Coors Field in four career starts, with a 3.60 ERA (10 earned runs in 25 innings) when he pitched for Florida from 2001-05. This is the first of what could become eight regular-season starts for Beckett down the stretch for the Dodgers, as he essentially takes the place of the 15-day DL’s Chad Billingsley in the rotation for the time being. The series continues Tuesday (5:40 p.m., Channel 9) and Wednesday (12:10 p.m., Prime). The Rockies somehow took two out of three against the Dodgers in their last meeting at Dodger Stadium in early August.

TUESDAY

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

When they hooked up in Boston last week, somehow the Angels swept all three, including the wild finale, 14-13 in 10 innings. Then again, the Red Sox are under .500 at home, and 30-29 on the road. And now they have James Loney … and a bunch of other guys. The series continues Wednesday (7:05 p.m., FSW) and Thursday (7:05 p.m., FSW).

WEDNESDAY

Paralympic Games, London:

Twenty-one events are included in the event tied to the able-bodied Summer Games, running through Sept. 9. South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, who became the first male athlete with a disability to compte in the able-bodied Games, returns to defend his titles in the 100, 200 and 400 meter events, where he took gold in Beijing in the T44 category. American Jerome Singleton actually defeated Pistorius in a race last January, and U.S. teammate Blake Leeper equaled Pistorius’ record time in the 100, are both up for the challenge. The men’s T44 100m final takes is Sept. 6. More information: http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/sports

THURSDAY

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

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Vin Scully returning for his 64th season was enough to make KTLA Channel 5′s Rebecca Hall get herself in someone’s Hall of Fame with some kind of out-of-context curse on the air (above). (UPDATE: The Tribune Company, which owns Channel 5 and the L.A. Times, believes you’re better off not watching it, and has ordered it off YouTube, citing trademark rights. Try Deadspin.com instead). Meanwhile, the traffic jams getting into the ballpark for the first and probably only Scully bobblehead giveaway to open this four-game series will leave frustrated drivers pulling up a chair and sitting in the middle of Sunset Blvd., cursing themselves as they listen to Scully describe the first three innings on the radio. Clayton Kershaw is scheduled to face Ian Kennedy in that one. The series continues Friday (7:10 p.m.), Saturday (6:10 p.m., with the bring your dog to the park promotion) and Sunday (1:10 p.m.).

College football:
Northern Colorado at Utah, 4:15 p.m., Pac-12 Network
Washington State at BYU, 7:15 p.m., ESPN
Northern Arizona at Arizona State, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network:

Three more Pac-12 games (in addition to UCLA playing at Rice) start the weekend. Can Mike Price keep himself out of trouble in his first game as the Cougars’ head coach while in Salt Lake City?

NFL exhibitions: Oakland at Seattle, 7 p.m.; San Diego at San Francisco, 7 p.m.:

The last chance to pay excessive ticket prices to see a contest that means nothing to no one other than concession stand owners.

WNBA: Sparks at Tulsa, 5 p.m.:

On a nine-game win streak, the Western Conference’s second-place Sparks (12-1 at home, 7-5 away from Staples Center) head out on a five-game road trip that includes Sunday in Chicago (3 p.m., KDOC).

FRIDAY

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MLB: Angels at Seattle, 7:10 p.m., FSW:

Not that the Angels really need a run-in with Felix Hernandez at this point in the pennant stretch, but they’ll likely see him in a special Saturday day contest (1 p.m., Channel 11). The series ends Sunday (1:10 p.m., FSW).

College football:
Boise State at Michigan State, 5 p.m. ESPN
San Jose State at Stanford, 7 p.m., Pac-12 Network:

The pollsters were kind enough to include the Kellen Moore-less Boise Staters in the preseason rankings — No. 24 by the AP and ESPN.com’s Power Rankings, No. 22 in the USA Today coaches list, But then, these Spartans are in the Top 13 in each of those polls as well. And the Andrew Luck-less Cardinal are clinging to No. 21 in the AP rankings.

SATURDAY

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Getty Images
Michigan senior quarterback Denard Robinson, sixth in the 2010 Heisman voting, lead a team ranked No. 8 in the preseason AP poll. Saturday’s opponent, defending national champion Alabama, is ranked No. 2.

College football:
Navy vs. Notre Dame in Dublin, Ireland, 6 a.m., Channel 2
Ohio at Penn State, 9 a.m., ESPN
Nichols State at Oregon State/Nevada at Cal, noon, Pac-12 Network
Miami at Boston College, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Colorado vs. Colorado State in Denver, 1 p.m., FX
Clemson vs. Auburn in Atlanta, 4 p.m., ESPN
North Texas at LSU, 4 p.m., ESPNU
Michigan vs. Alabama in Arlington, Tex., 5 p.m., Channel 7
Arkansas State at Oregon, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Toledo at Arizona, 7:30 p.m., ESPNU
San Diego State at Washington, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network:

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The first Saturday of college football 2012 begins at 6 a.m. PDT in Dublin, includes appareances by the top three pre-season ranked teams going up against each other on the East Coast prime-time TV window, and ends somewhere past 10:30 p.m. in Seattle, Eugene, Ore., and Tucson, Ariz. That’s a stretch of 16 straight viewing hours you are properly prepped for the experience.
The Notre Dame-Navy contest is 2 p.m. in Ireland, 9 a.m. on the East Coast, and 3 a.m. in Hawaii — the home state of Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo. The series goes back to 1927, making it the longest uninterrupted intersectional meeting in college football. And while Notre Dame leads it 71-12-1, including a 54-27 win over the Midshipmen when they last went to Ireland in 1996, the deceiving part is that Navy has won in 2010, ’09 and ’07. CBS has an interesting slant on this as well: Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson are in the booth calling it, with usual PGA course reporter and Ireland native David Feherty hired to work the sidelines with Tracy Wolfson.
The Irish start without suspended quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese. Penn State starts its first season in decades without Joe Paterno, but trying on a new uniform to show they’ve moved forward. And LSU goes without its punished Honey Badger. The Crimson Tide and Wolverines, meanwhile, are without a home-field advantage here since the game is at the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium. Michigan gave up its home game for the price of $4.5 million, according to the Detroit News. Michigan AD Dave Brandon said: “We were asked to play a really big-time opponent in a really big-time venue. ESPN wanted it to be us, Alabama wanted it to be us. Two historic programs — that’s what we do. … ESPN worked with (Cowboys owner) Jerry Jones and the Cowboys organization and they figured out a strategy that could make it work.” Works for us.

MLS: Galaxy vs. Vancouver, Home Depot Center, 7 p.m., KDOC-Channel 56:

Not sure yet if Landon Donovan will retire after this game. Seriously, no one really knows (see this link).

SUNDAY

College football:
Kentucky at Louisville, 12:30 p.m., ESPN
SMU at Baylor, 3:30 p.m., FSN:

The last NFL-quiet Sunday gives way to a couple of college games. No more RGIII shows, kids.

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It’s out of the question: What do you mean my Dodger Dog just went to $153?

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(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and manager Don Mattingly address the media on Saturday afternoon after the announcement of the nine-player trade with the Boston Red Sox.

Why is it so much more expensive this time around for the Dodgers to go dumpster diving in Boston?

Because like every big-budget production in Hollywoodland, there’s a cost in damage control and buying public perception.

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Paint us all flabbergasted. Unless this all turns out to be another “Waterworld,” drowning everyone in red ink.

Remember that, Costner?

You surely recall the last time Ned Colletti held his nose and visited the Fenway Waste Management plant. Way back in the Recession of ’08, he graciously claimed a bitter Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox’s recycle bin. Total cost to L.A.: A marginal big-league infielder Andy LaRoche and a minor-leaguer named Bryant Morris, both incidentally sent to Pittsburgh as part of a three-team swap.

All so the Red Sox could clean up a mess created in Boston Harbor.

Back then, they also had a really sharp GM, Theo Epstein, who was wise enough to ask his employers to agree on assuming the final $7 million on Ramirez’s ’08 salary. The Dodgers needed to agree to pick up the final $40 million due for ’09 and ’10.

With that, then-owner Frank McCourt pulled that trigger. Not really knowing that Manny Being Manny meant enlightening everyone on what PEDs could do for one’s success.

Saturday, a group of giddy Guggenheimers named Mark Walter, Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten ushered in the New Era of Good Will Hunting by pushing a red button on their desk that launched a nuclear scud.

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Pac-12 vs. SEC: A double take (or more) on how the power shift may be in motion

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Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox

Wait a sec — you’re suggesting the SEC isn’t the biggest rooster in the college football hen house anymore?

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Of course, the Southeast Conference has won the last six BCS titles. But now there are some forward-thinking Academic All-American types who’ve been watching the Pacific-12 act far less passive than previous years. All of the sudden, they’ve got dozens of reasons to believe the monopoly is over.

(Now, where have we heard that before?)

The oversized ESPN college football preview magazine proclaims: “Curse the SEC! Enough Already. Can Someone Please Take Down College Football’s Most Dominant Conference? (We’re Talking To You, Trojans)”

The Sports Illustrated college football preview magazine proclaims: “USC’s Matt Barkley Is Back — and He Didn’t Stay to Play in the Holiday Bowl.”

Considering there’s a brand-new pre-season title favorite emerging from a dormant state, a brand-new TV network created to showcase everyone’s Western regional talents, and another new twist on Oregon’s uniforms bound to set the fashion world on fire, the Pac-12 has more than risen to the challenge.

Stacked up these measuring posts, you make the call:

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Services Tuesday in Santa Clarita for KABC cameraman Artie Williams III

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Grace Baptist Church in Santa Clarita will likely be overflowing Tuesday for a funeral to honor KABC Channel 7 cameraman Artie Williams III, who died last weekend while diving off Catalina Island just before his 60th birthday.

Much of Williams’ work was on sports assignments, and one of his last was at the Lakers’ press conference introducing Dwight Howard at Staples Center.

“There had to be 20 cameras there all trying to get position, but there was Artie front and center, always there early to get the best spot,” said Channel 7 sports anchor and reporter Curt Sandoval.

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“He was like a brother to me. I remember my first week on the job, I was sent to do a story on a charity golf tournament in Brentwood. I knew no one. I was terrified. Artie calmly took me under his wing and introduced me to every Lakers, Rams and Raiders player there. He saved me.

“He was the kind of guy who’d call me on Father’s Day, he’d call my wife Jeanne on Mother’s Day, and he’d call just to say hi to our kids.”

Williams, who lived in Sherman Oaks, had been with KABC since 1982 and won an Emmy Award for his work on the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics coverage.

Michael Roth, the spokesman for AEG and Staples Center, said of Williams: “He represented what you’d like any journalist to be — It was just as important for Artie to make his sportscaster look good as it was to make anyone he shot and any venue he was at also look good. He wasn’t only appreciated by his colleagues but any publicist or subject of an interview he worked with. It was important that he took care of everybody.

“On top of that, he was just a pleasure to be around. I never remember seeing him in anything but a good mood, always interested in our lives and our families.”

More: A video tribute to Williams on the KABC website: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news%2Flocal%2Flos_angeles&id=8780710

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Artie Williams III, left, with Curt Sandoval, second from right, and the KABC crew at a USC football game at the Coliseum.

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Q&A: Artist Peter Chen, and his Jumbotron ways of shedding a new light on MLB portraits

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Staff photo by Steve McCrank
Torrance artist Peter Chen displays his Jumbotron Art portrait of Steve Garvey, along with images he has done on Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax.

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At some point, a light went off in Peter Chen’s head.

Those cartoonish, super-hero portraits of Major League Baseball players from the 1970s and ’80s that once flashed up on the stadium scoreboards really were pieces of somewhat forgotten pop art.

From his Torrance home studio, the 40-year-old graphic design artist started experimenting. It wasn’t long before he recreated the dot-matrix patterns of the Dodgers infield from his childhood – Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey.

It was like Andy Warhol meets LeRoy Neiman on a Lite-Brite canvas.

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Chen’s self-described Jumbotron Art series has subsequently flipped a switch for those who reconnect to that time in their mind’s eye. In some ways, it’s almost as if you could take one of these 12×12 inch portraits, turn it upside down, shake it like an Etch-A-Sketch, and have the opening of an ABC “Monday Night Baseball” game with Bob Uecker and Don Drysdale fall out of it.

What Sports Illustrated has called “Lo-Fi High Art,” Chen has made more than 100 one-of-a-kind prints available as part of his other pieces of baseball work at IconicBallplayers.com, expanding to include many of the current stars of the game as well as those from the past.

As one who grew up a Dodgers fan in Rancho Palos Verdes, Chen explains how he came up with this new-media idea to evoke an old-school image:

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Play It Forward: Aug. 20-26 on your sports calendar

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

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Benoit photo
Chantal Sutherland and Game On Dude, riding here to victory in the Californian at Hollywood Park on June 2, won the 2011 Santa Anita Derby together as well (above). She’s also in this Del Mar photo shoot earlier this summer (below) for the San Diego lifestyle magazine Ranch & Coach.

THIS WEEK’S BEST BET

Horse racing: Del Mar Pacific Classic, Sunday at 4:30 p.m., TVG:

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Chantal Sutherland with a whip in her hand can be a) quite intimidating, b) quite interesting or c) cause for punishment. All three happened happen for the person who holds the current Google-based title of “hottest female jockey,” as she was ordered to serve a four-day suspension by the British Horseracing Authority between Aug. 25-28 for excessive use of her whip on a horse while riding in a competition at Ascot, England, last week. But that punishment goes away as she’s asked to climb back on Game On Dude for the running of this $1 million race, granted a stay in her suspension as it’s being appealed. The 5-foot-2, 113-pound Sutherland famously took Bob Baffert’s Game On Dude to the 2011 Santa Anita Handicap victory at a 14-1 shot, making her the first female jock to win that race. The pair was second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic and reunite for this signature Del Mar event. Richard’s Kid, the winner of the 2009 and 2010 Pacific Classic, is entered here, too, after suddenly being sold late last week and moving from Baffert’s barn to Doug O’Neill’s — but then O’Neill’s assistant, Leandro Mora, will handle the 7-year-old this week because O’Neill began a 40-day suspension handed down from the California Horse Racing Board on Sunday. Lots of strange stuff going on. Meanwhile, Acclamation, the six-year-old Eclipse Award winner and victor in the 2011 Pacific Classic, won’t be defending his title after coming up with a swollen left front ankle last week. “I’m sorry for Del Mar,” said trainer Don Johnston said. “He’s a very popular horse and he would have brought interest to the race and some people to the grandstand.”

MONDAY

MLB: Dodgers vs. San Francisco, Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m., Prime, ESPN2:

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So here’s the deal with Clayton Kershaw’s grizzly look:
Since the 24-year-old has been sprouting facial hair — and calling it a full-grown beard would be generous — he’s won his last four starts, starting with a 4-0 complete-game victory at San Francisco on July 29. He’s given up six earned runs and struck out 29 in that span over 30 1/3 innings, a 1.78 ERA in that stretch, walking just four, and holding opponents to a .163 average.
With an 11-6 record and 2.90 ERA, Kershaw may not find the Giants’ lineup as hairy as usual when he pitches the opener, as the suspended Melky Cabrera is no where to be found, and his teammates try to pick up the offense left behind for someone hitting .346.
Madison Bumgarner (13-7, 2.97) faces Kershaw with almost equal stats, and perhaps knowing that Matt Kemp has gone 0-for-14 in his last series in Atlanta.
That reminds us: We really do miss Giants over-bearded reliever Brian Wilson.
Show up Tuesday (7:10 p.m., Channel 9, Joe Blanton vs. Tim Lincecum) and there’s a “I See You” Fernando Valenzuela bobblehead waiting to be taken. The series ends Wednesday (7:10 p.m., Channel 9, Chris Capuano vs. Matt Cain).

TUESDAY

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(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Bruce Springsteen performs next to the Green Monster at Fenway Park in Boston, last Tuesday.

MLB: Angels at Boston, 4:10 p.m., FSW:

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While the Red Sox were away last week, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band knocked out a couple of concerts at Fenway on his “Wrecking Ball” Tour. That may be a better description of how the Red Sox under Bobby Valentine have been performing, while looking for their glory days. Valentine’s daily reality show includes the Angels this week, struggling themselves to pick up ground in the AL wildcard race and actually raising questions again about Mike Scioscia’s leadership. The series continues Wednesday (4:10 p.m., FSW, Jered Weaver against Clay Buchholz) and Thursday (4:10 p.m., FSW).

WNBA: Sparks vs. Indiana, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m.:

Get to know your 16-6 Sparks, again. Here’s the first of three in a row at home this week — where they’re 9-1 thus far — that includes matchups against San Antonio, winners of 11 straight (Thursday, 7:30 p.m.) and New York (Saturday, 7:30 p.m.)

WEDNESDAY

MLB: N.Y. Yankees at Chicago White Sox, 5 p.m., ESPN2:

Leaders of the AL East and Central split four games already. White Sox ace Chris Sale (14-4, 2.72) comes off a loss to Kansas City.

THURSDAY

MLB: Atlanta at San Francisco, 7:10 p.m.:

The Braves finish a three-game series the night before in Washington before taking a red-eye to make it the West Coast for this one. The Giants have only to go home from L.A.

FRIDAY

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(AP Photo/John Amis)
Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley threw seven shutout innings at Atlanta on Sunday.

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

More beard talk: Since Chad Billingsley (10-9, 3.44) started sporting one, he’s won a career-best six in a row. Prior to it, he had lost five in a row and had an ERA of 6.21. He’s set to throw against Saturday night (6:10 p.m., Prime) against Mark Buehrle. The Dodgers took two of three in Miami last weekend, capped by Chris Capuano’s 5-0, 10K shutout in the finale. Hanley Ramirez also celebrated his return to Marlinland by going 6-for-13 in the series with 5 RBIs and 2 runs scored. The series ends Sunday (1:05 p.m., Prime)

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

The Angels continue to flounder around in the AL wildcard, trailing, among others, these Tigers. They were just in Detroit last month, losing three of four. The only success came with rookie Garrett Richards’ 13-0 shutout victory where he went seven innings of three-hit ball, reaching 100 pitches. The series goes Saturday (4:05 p.m., FSW) and Sunday (10:05 a.m., FSW).

SATURDAY

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Irwin Tools 500, Bristol, Tenn., 4 p.m., Channel 7:

Back again under the lights on the so-called “world’s fastest half-mile.” Brad Keselowski ended Kyle Bush’s two-Bristol race win streak a year ago.

SUNDAY

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Beach volleyball: Manhattan Beach Open, Sunday’s finals: Women, 2:15 p.m.; men, 4 p.m.:

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The afterglow of the U.S. beach volleyball medals won at the London Games may lead to some sandy celebration on the mainland, as the No. 2 men’s team of Sean Rosenthal and Jake Gibbs are registered to compete for what’s been known as the Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball over the last half century. The two were with No. 1 men’s team Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser in a FIBA even in Poland, each reaching the semifinals. No word if Rogers-Dalhausser will get back in time to compete here. The women’s gold-medal team of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings have officially split up; Walsh Jennings played in Poland with new teammate Nichole Branagh, while women’s silver-medalists Jen Kessy and April Ross were there, too. This classic is only offering a purse of $100,000, half of what sponsors put up a year ago, so not as big a pay day for the defending men’s champion John Hyden (of Sherman Oaks) and Sean Scott, or the women’s defending team of Jenny Kropp and Whitney Pavlik (that’s them above). The men’s side is also expected to include veteran Mike Lambert teaming up with Jesse Rambis, son of former Laker Kurt Rambis. Qualifying begins Friday (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.), with main-draw action on Saturday (9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.). The final eliminations start Sunday at 8 a.m. The annual Manhattan Beach Pier plaque ceremony is Friday at 2 p.m. More info: josecuervoprobeachvolleyballseries.com.

Little League Baseball: World Series final, noon, Channel 7:

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We just had a flashback to the very early ’70s, when we had one of those old-school GAF Viewmasters, and among the disks we had of national parks, moon landings and episodes of “Flipper,” we got ahold of one with ABC’s Little League World Series highlights. It seemed to 3D real. Now, we just have to rely on high-def TV to deliver the goods from Williamsport, Pa. Here’s where the U.S. champ meets the International champ. A team from California has won two of the last three titles and seven overall since this started in 1947, and Petaluma remains alive despite a loss Sunday, on the edge of eliminination with a game Monday. ABC also has Saturday’s International title game (9:30 a.m.) followed by the U.S. title game (12:30 p.m.).

MLS: Galaxy vs. FC Dallas, Home Depot Center, 4 p.m., NBC Sports Network:

The Galaxy will have played Isidro Metapan in the CONCACAF Champions League match on Wednesday at home, and then are required to play host to the Puerto Rico Islanders on Aug. 29 after this MLS contest against Dallas. With a record thus far of 11-11-4, and holding the last spot in the top five of the Western Conference, at least they’re not sitting where Dallas is — 7-11-8, and eight points behind the Galaxy, who hold a 1-0-1 edge over Dallas in matches his year.

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IndyCar: Grand Prix of Sonoma County, 1 p.m., NBC Sports Network:

Series leader Will Power has said that changes made in the 2.31-mile course will “definitely promote more passing,” in Turn 7, which has been reshaped into a hairpin U-turn. Do that for 85 laps and see how it goes.

NFL exhibitions: San Francisco at Denver, 1 p.m., Channel 11; Detroit at Oakland, 1 p.m., Channel 5; Carolina at N.Y. Jets, 5 p.m., Channel 4:

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Jets coach Rex Ryan says his staters will probably play about three quarters in this one, and then sit it out until the real season starts. That’s going to help the Jets figure out how to score a touchdown, which they haven’t done in eight exhibition quarters to date? “It’s the second preseason game,” Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez said after Saturday’s 26-3 loss to the Giants. “It’s not time to hit the panic button. You have to improve and learn from this stuff. I know we can do it.” Adds Tim Tebow: “We haven’t even played a real game. When the regular season gets here, then that’s when it’s for real. We’ve got to continue to show improvement and get better every day.”

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Sunday Q-and-A: The Baseball Reliquary, through the lense of Jon Leonoudakis, is not exactly mainstream

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Photo by Peter Padua, via www.notexactlycooperstown.com
Jon Leonoudakis gets the Famous Chicken treatment when in San Diego interviewing said chicken, aka Ted Giannoulas, for the documentary.

Jon Leonoudakis is not exactly shy about explaining all the ways the Baseball Reliquary has been a life-changing experience.

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The last few years creating the self-financed and emotionally driven documentary, “Not Exactly Cooperstown,” which has its world premiere Sunday open free to the public at the Pasadena Central Library (2 p.m., 285 E. Walnut Street, Pasadena), proves that point.

Once disillusioned by Major League Baseball’s labor impasse, the cancellation of the 1994 World Series and more fallout from the steroid scandal, Leonoudakis decided on a whim to attend the 2002 Shrine of the Eternals induction ceremony, sponsored by Reliquary and created by its founder and executive director, Terry Cannon.

If anything, it was a chance to meet one his childhood favorite players, Minnie Minoso.

But there was so much more than Minnie.

Ten years later, Leonoudakis wants to give back by spreading the word about this non-profit organization’s ability to live up to its billing as the “People’s Hall of Fame,” remaining a voice as a non-brick-and-mortar, anti-establishment love-in that just wants to celebrate why the sport continues to resonate on so many sensory levels.

The documentary doesn’t shy away from controversial exhibits that the Reliquary has sponsored. There was some fallout from a “Lasordapaloosa” gathering that included some unflattering material of former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda and did not endear itself to the Dodgers organization. But it gave Cannon a chance to explain the importance of the Reliquary not being affiliated with the MLB or any team, to give it an independent voice and stay true to its mission statement.

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Weekly media column version 08.17.12

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Getty Images
Rick Neuheisel plays catch on the UCLA sidelines before last December’s Pac-12 championship game in Oregon.

What made it into today’s weekly media column (linked here):

Rick Neuheisel’s first impressions of being apart of the new Pac-12 Network, plus more NBC Olympic hangover, a Susan Stratton lifetime Emmy recognition and what’s not up yet with the CBS and NBC radio networks finding a home in L.A.

What didn’t make it in:

== Vin Scully was on with Jimmy Traina for the SI.com “Hot Clicks” podcast this week — going on for more than a half hour (linked here).

One minor insight highlight: “Many years ago, shortly after we moved to California, a friend in the advertising business asked (if I would) consider coming back to New York to broadcast the Yankees. Mel Allen was having some problems. Why not think about it? I appreciated it, but I’m settled in here with the Dogers and I’m going to stay where I am. … There’s been no real tug in any other direction.”

== The Dodgers’ Matt Kemp is featured on “My MLB Life,” a new MLB Network and MLB Productions series profile that starts Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Kemp is followed around at his new home in Paradise Valley, Ariz., offseason workouts, and visits to Oklahoma between Dec. 2001 and May of this year. Future episodes include
Torii Hunter, CC Sabathia and Ryan Zimmerman.

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== The Dodgers-Braves 4 p.m. contest Saturday from Atlanta is designated as the annual Civil Rights Game, something we’d normally get to see on the MLB Network,. But because it’s a Dodger telecast, Prime Ticket has the local rights. More background on the festivities surrounding the game (at this link).

== ESPN “Monday Night Football” analyst Jon Gruden is the focus of a Bryant Gumbel piece in the next episode of HBO’s “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 9 p.m.). Gruden turns 49 today.

== Highlights so far of the Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket 17-game schedule of CIF football starting Aug. 24 are St. Bonaventure vs. Corona Centennial (Aug. 31, 10:30 p.m., delayed) and Valencia at Chaminade (Sept. 7, delayed at 10:30 p.m.).

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