Looking ahead to planning out the sports week, locally and nationally:
THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
MLB: DODGERS vs. N.Y. YANKEES, Dodger Stadium, Tuesday-Wednesday:
It turns into one of those awkward moments you’ll see at Dodger Stadium every so often — Jack Nicholson reclining right behind the backstop screen while sporting the interlocking “NY” cap, because he can and no one will call him out on it.
Billy Crystal positions himself within earshot of Larry King’s season seats and proceeds to heckle him about why he’s still romantically involved with this Dodgers’ franchise.
Penny Marshall is on the field talking to Zack Efron and Tom Cruise – not about an upcoming movie they may collaborate on, but if it’s really in the Yankees’ best interest to rush Derek Jeter’s rehab.
The storyline last month when the Dodgers visited the Bronx for a rain-delayed DH split was the reception for manager Don Mattingly. This time, the most popular Yankee player in the visiting dugout may not even be Luis Cruz. The Dodgers’ Opening Day third baseman released by the team recently and picked up by the Yankees to fill in the holes on the left side of their infield injured his knee on Monday, with damage to his MCL, and figures to be out for a while. He became the 17th Yankee placed on the disabled list this season – not like the Dodgers don’t know what that’s like.
With Alex Rodriguez still waiting to hear what his future holds during another rehab stint (and PED investigation), Jeter loudly announcing his return with a home run in his latest comeback from the DL, and Alfonso Soriano making a return in a DH role, these drama queens from the Bronx will bring more attention than necessary. Not even considering the arrival of Robinson Cano, don’t you know, about to be a free agent amidst speculation he could be the Dodgers’ biggest off-season signing target, so pay attention.
There marquee moment this time for out of towners is if/when future Hall of Fame reliever Mariano Riviera, the All Star Game MVP, is called in to shut down Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez in the bottom of the ninth if there’s a Yankees’ lead to be preserved. He registered save No. 25 for the season against the Dodgers on just 10 pitches, striking out two of the three he faced in the ninth inning of the Yankees’ 6-4 win over the Dodgers in the first game of that double header.
(And quick question: Why do the Yankees only play two in L.A. before a three-game trip to San Diego right after this? Who makes the schedule?)
Tuesday, 7:10 p.m., Channel 9
Wednesday, 7:10 p.m., Prime
BEST OF THE REST:
MLB: ANGELS at TEXAS, 5:05 p.m., FSW:
Anyone seen Manny Ramirez lately? The Rangers were giving him a test drive at Triple-A Round Rock, and after eight games as a DH, he was hitting .300 with three homers and showed up to all appointments on time and even took a random drug test. Still, he’s not back. Meanwhile, Lance Berkman has been on the Rangers’ disabled list since July 7 with a strained left hip and is eligible to come off it today. Do the Rangers want Josh Hamilton back, as a mid-season rental?
In the opener, Jered Weaver takes on new Rangers acquisition Matt Garza.
The series continues:
Tuesday and Wednesday, 5:05 p.m., FSW
SWIMMING: FINA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS in Barcelona, Spain:
What will Ryan Lochte do? It’s not another E! Channel series, but a question about how focused he’ll be at this non-Olympic event where he’s qualified in the 200 free, 200 back, 200 IM, 100 butterfly and 4×100 freestyle relay. There’s also 32-year-old Anthony Ervin, the former Hart High of Valencia Olympic gold medalist (in 2000) who made the U.S. men’s team by winning the 50 meter freestyle at the national championships last month.
Missy Franklin (100/200 free, 100/200 back), who won gold already in the 400 freestyle relay Sunday, could win eight total by the time this ends. USC’s Jessica Hardy (50/100 breast stroke) and Natalie Coughlin (50 freestyle and 4×100 freestyle relay) also headline the U.S. women’s squad.
Universal Sports has daily live coverage from Monday-Friday at 9 a.m. Channel 4 has coverage Saturday (10 a.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.).
INTERNATIONAL SURF FESTIVAL, at Manhattan, Hermosa and Redondo Beach:
It starts with the Charlie Saikley 6-man volleyball tournament on Wednesday and Thursday and continues with the L.A. County life guard championships on Friday night before the marquee events on Saturday (bodysurfing, surfing, two-mile beach run, and So Cal lifeguard championships) and Sunday (pier-to-pier paddleboard and swim). More info. www.surffestival.org
SOCCER: MLS ALL-STARS vs. AS ROMA, 6 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN:
We’re fine if Landon Donovan just takes it easy here. The Galaxy star was added to the team after Robbie Keane was ruled out with an injury.
MLB: DODGERS at CHICAGO CUBS, 5 p.m., Prime:
No doubt, Cubs’ hitters would love to see Carlos Marmol take the mound now.
The series continues:
Friday, 1 p.m., Prime
Saturday, 1 p.m., Channel 11
Sunday, 11:20 a.m., Prime
MLB: ANGELS vs. TORONTO, Angel Stadium, 7:05 p.m., FSW:
You’d think the Blue Jays have seen enough of L.A.-based teams by this point.
The series continues:
Friday, 7:05 p.m., FSW
Saturday, 6:05 p.m., FSW
Sunday, 12:35 p.m., FSW
X GAMES, Staples Center, L.A. Live:
Maybe you’ve heard that after 11 years, ESPN decided to uproot its X Games festival from L.A. and take it out on tour, starting with Austin, Tex., in 2014. See, we can’t take this thing for granted any longer. The network is instead focusing on how L.A. is the place to cap off the first year of a global X Games tour, after stops in Brazil, Spain and Germany so far. The performers to watch include 16-year-old skateboarder Mitchie Brusco, who has landed a 1080 in the vert; Jamie Bestwick, the 42-year-old BMX rider who goes back to the games of ’95 and Bucky Lasek, the 40-year-old who does both the skateboard Vert and RallyCross.
But new territory will also be needed for something called the Gymkhana Grid, making its X Games debut Saturday in Irwindale. It’s driver against driver on a mirror-image course that requires getting behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta ST rally car to do things such as complete a Figure 8, go sideways through a 40 foot container with a slight opening, and also make 540- and 720-degree turns while avoiding barriers, cones and barrels. Hollywood stunt drivers in training should take note.
ESPN’s coverage: Thursday and Friday (6-to 9 p.m.), Saturday (11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7:30 to 10:30 p.m.) and Sunday (2-to-4 p.m.). Channel 7’s coverage: Sunday (noon-to-2 p.m.)
SOCCER: INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONS CUP at Dodger Stadium:
Real Madrid vs. Everton or Juventus, 5 p.m., Channel 11
Galaxy vs. Everton or Juventus, 7:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel:
Yup, they’re going to lay a soccer field over the Dodger Stadium turf – dirt infield included – so that the two winners move onto the championship match on Aug. 7 in Miami. Before they go tearing up right field, the Galaxy plays Real Madrid in Phoenix on Thursday, while Everton and Juventus face off in San Francisco on Wednesday. On the other side of this sparkling bracket, it’s the AC Milan-Valencia winner facing the Chelsea-Inter Milan winner in East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday.
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME 2013 class induction in Canton, Ohio, 4 p.m., NFL Network, ESPN:
The seven new inductees include Jonathan Ogden, the 6-foot-9, 345 pound offensive tackle out of UCLA who spent 12 seasons (and 11 Pro Bowls) with the Baltimore Ravens – the franchise’s first pick in 1996 (fourth overall) – and was the primary reason why running back Jamal Lewis is the fifth player in the NFL history had a 2,000-yard season in 2003.
Also: Dallas vs. Miami in the NFL Hall of Fame Game, at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, 5 p.m. Sunday, Channel 4
GOLF: WOMEN’S BRITISH OPEN in St. Andrews, Scotland, final round, 7 a.m., ESPN2:
The major focus: How many more majors does Inbee Park have in her for 2013? Having already won three, the 24-year-old from South Korea can be the first male or female to win four pro major championships in one season, and make history at the historic Old Course. Only Mickey Wright (four LPGA majors from 1961-62) and Tiger Woods (four PGA majors from 2000-01) have done four in a row, but never in the same calendar.
ESPN2 has coverage each day, from 6-to-9 a.m. Thursday and Friday and 7-to-11 a.m. Saturday.
TENNIS: WTA Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad, final, 2 p.m. ESPN2:
Two-time defending Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is the highest world ranked player (No. 3) to commit to this event, along with No. 4 and ESPN Body Issue star Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 7 (and former Wimbledon champ) Petra Kvitova.
ESPN2 and Tennis Channel has coverage of the quarterfinals and semifinals starting Thursday.