The week ahead, like it or not:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
Something to consider as you ponder the price of a new pinstripe suit at the Men’s Warehouse: According to a survey conducted by SportingIntelligence. com, no other American-based sports franchise pays their players better than the Dodgers and Yankees do right now. The Dodgers’ average of $7.468 million per roster spot is only $300,000 more than the Yankees’ average, and each ranks in the top five on the planet for “best-paying teams.” (That’s their term; we tend to think of it as “most drunken sailors.”) The Dodgers are No. 2 behind the English Premier League’s Manchester City ($8.059 million), while the Yankees are No. 5 overall, not far behind La Liga’s Real Madrid ($7.25 million) and Barcelona ($7.21 million).
This is a list that covers 278 teams in 14 major pro leagues, spanning 10 countries and comprising 8,093 athletes making a combined $15.75 billion in salary. The Yankees still sport the highest team payroll in all of sports at $228.8 million, diving that up by having to pay Alex Rodriguez ($29 million), Mark Teixeira ($23.125 million), CC Sabathia ($23 million), Vernon Wells ($21 million), Derek Jeter ($16.7 million), Robinson Cano ($15 million), Curtis Granderson ($15 million) and showing restraint by holding the retiring Mariano Rivera to just $10 mil. The Dodgers’ $216.6 million payroll is top heavy with Zack Greinke ($21 million), Adrian Gonzalez ($21 million), Matt Kemp ($20.25 million), Carl Crawford ($20 million), Josh Beckett ($17 million) and Hanley Ramirez ($15.5 million). Wait’ll Clayton Kershaw joins in. So, are any of these guys actually healthy enough to play in this two-game series in the Bronx? That Yankee lineup we saw in Anaheim last weekend wasn’t exactly Murderer’s Row – at least some have avoided the DL unlike ARod, Jeter, Granderson and Kevin Youkilis.
Former Yankee legend Don Mattingly will be the lightning rod of attention here as the still-employed and unsuspended Dodgers manager is back at the new Yankee Stadium for the first time. After 17 years of interleague play, this is the first regular-season meeting between the two in New York (the previous six were at Dodger Stadium, in 2004 and 2010). To keep things interesting, the Dodgers throw Rookie of the Year candidate Hyun-Jin Ryu (6-2, 2.85 ERA, making a meager $3.3 million) on Tuesday. The Yankees trot out Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.78 ERA, $15 million in salary) at his former Dodger teammates on Wednesday. Then we await the Yankees’ arrival at Dodger Stadium for two more on July 30-31 to even things out.
BEST OF THE REST:
NHL STANLEY CUP FINAL:
CHICAGO vs. BOSTON
Game 3: 5 p.m. at Boston, NBC Sports Network:
Overtime guaranteed, or your money back. Corey Crawford will look back on this someday and wonder how he managed to stay upright in the Blackhawks’ net (after surviving that OT win over the Kings, two more in the final).
The series continues:
Game 4: Wednesday, 5 p.m. at Boston, Channel 4
Game 5: Saturday, 5 p.m. at Chicago, Channel 4
MLB: ANGELS vs. SEATTLE, Angel Stadium, 7:10 p.m., FSW:
If you don’t necessarily like the Mike Trout cap giveaway on Tuesday, try the C.J. Wilson bobblehead on Thursday.
Each night, 7:10 p.m., FSW
MIAMI vs. SAN ANTONIO
Game 6: 6 p.m., at San Antonio, Channel 7:
No need to replace the Heat’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, who are teamed up in the upcoming buddy cop comedy flick, “The Heat.” It has an R rating because of “pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence,” and as one critic wrote: “It was 117 minutes of Melissa McCarthy bombarding the audience’s ear holes with insult after insult aimed towards Bullock’s character. Instead of possibly trying to portray a comedic all-female version of ‘Lethal Weapon’ or ‘48 Hours,’ the director made a movie less funny than ‘Turner and Hooch’.” If LeBron and Wade don’t buddy up soon and figure out how to keep the Heat from disappearing in the next 48 hours, there will be more R-rated reviews from the Miami critics.
Game 7: Thursday, 6 p.m. at Miami, Channel 7
COLLEGE WORLD SERIES in Omaha, Neb.: UCLA vs. North Carolina State, 5 p.m., ESPN:
In 2010, behind Garrett Cole and Trevor Bauer, the Bruins made it to the final before losing to South Carolina. Last year, they won their first game but lost the next two and were eliminated, finishing fifth. If the Bruins get past this second-round test OK, it’s all pointing toward the best-of-three final starting Monday, June 24.
SOCCER: 2014 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIER: U.S. vs. HONDURAS at Salt Lake City, 5:30 p.m., ESPN:
The U.S. Men’s National Team are atop the standings in the final round of the qualifying series for the CONCACAF.
TRACK AND FIELD:
U.S. CHAMPIONSHIPS at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa:
Following the Olympic year in London, these championships serve as the selection event for the spots to represent Team USA at the IAAF World Championships (Aug. 10-18) in Moscow. Allyson Felix has qualified to run in the women’s 100 and 200 meters. USC’s Bryshon Nellum has the second-best qualifying time in the men’s 400 meters.
ESPN2 has coverage Friday (5 p.m.), Universal Sports and NBC Sports Network has coverage Saturday (1-4 p.m.), and Channel 4 has coverage Sunday (1 p.m.) after NBC Sports Network (noon).
MLB: DODGERS at SAN DIEGO, 7:10 p.m., Channel 9:
The Dodgers have to scurry back after a series in New York for four in San Diego, where Zack Greinke finally meets up again with Carlos Quentin in a Saturday afternoon game that the national network has taken hold of.
The series continues:
Friday, 7:10 p.m., Prime
Saturday, 4:15 p.m., Channel 11
Sunday, 1:10 p.m., Channel 9
WNBA: SPARKS vs. MINNESOTA, Staples Center, 8 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
These are the Seimone Augustus-led Lynx who not only won the Western Conference last year, but swept away the Sparks in the conference finals.
Also: Sparks play host to Washington, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, TWC SportsNet.
MLB: ANGELS vs. PITTSBURGH, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:
The lines could be longer at Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride this weekend — unless Gerrit Cole pitches for Pittsburgh as scheduled. The former UCLA star out of Orange Lutheran High is 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA after squashing the Dodgers and Giants during his first week in the big leagues. The rotation has Cole lined up against Jerred Weaver in the opener of this series.
The series continues:
Saturday, 7:05 p.m., FSW
Sunday, 12:35 p.m., FSW
MLS: GALAXY at CHIVAS USA, StubHub Center, 8 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
Not to split hairs here, but on the Galaxy’s website, they’re still calling their home field the Home Depot Center. Better check your ticket stubs before the latest entry into the SuperClassico lore. They tied 1-1 in their first meeting of the year back on March 17.
Also: On Wednesday, the Galaxy plays host to Portland, 7:30 p.m. while Chivas is at Vancouver.
SPRINT CUP: TOYOTA/SAVE MART 350 in Sonoma, noon, TNT:
In the late 1980s, NASCAR officials were scouting out Northern California race sites looking to replace the void when Riverside International Raceway shut down. They eventually added this one at Sears Point (and another in Phoenix) to replace the two stops that had been in Riverside. And 25 years later, Somona’s wine country continues to support the event. “It’s got deep roots with NASCAR now,” said two-time Sonoma winner Tony Stewart. “Sonoma is just one of my favorite tracks, and I can’t believe I’m telling you that because it’s a road course and I’m a dirt tracker from Kansas,” said last year’s winner, Clint Bowyer. “It’s just an emotional roller coaster.” Jeff Gordon has won five times in Sonoma, spanning 1998 to 2006.
“Skywire Live with Nik Wallenda,” 5 p.m., Discovery Channel:
The high-wire walker, who last year crossed Niagara Falls, will traverse the Grand Canyon this time. Live. Without a harness.