18 Feb 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Saturday, Feb. 23Dodgers vs. White Sox, noon, SNLAGiants vs. Angels, noon, Fox Sports West
Sunday, Feb. 24Angels vs. Dodgers, noon, SNLAReds vs. Angels, noon, Fox Sports West
The sound of a fastball hitting a catcher’s mitt, the crack of a bat, the huzzah from fans, and the lyrical stylings of Rick Monday and Jose Mota means that baseball is back, in its toddler form of spring training.
It’s premature to get excited for spring games since starters play six innings at most, and there will be more pitching changes than customers at Walmart. But it’s a chance to see what A.J. Pollock looks like in Dodger blue, if Matt Harvey is any better in Angel red than Mets blue, and whether new Angels manager Brad Ausmus wears a warmup jacket over his jersey every game.
The Dodgers of course are looking for their third straight World Series appearance, and a chance to break through with a win and put to bed the constant highlights of Kirk Gibson and Orel Hershiser from 1988.[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section”]
The Angels shuffled some bodies but basically return as Mike Trout and a modest flock of talent.
The Angels have split-squad games Sunday, so you may see everyone in camp.
BEST OF THE RESTCollege BasketballFebruary 19, 20-21, 23.
A handful of ranked teams go live – Vanderbilt at Tennessee Tuesday (4 p.m., ESPN), North Carolina-Duke on Wednesday (6 p.m., ESPN). But there’s just three weeks left in the regular season, and UCLA and USC need to add some wins and improve their status in the standings to have a shot at the Pac-12 tourney title. That’s the only way either will get a NCAA Tournament bid.
The Oregon schools are in town. The Trojans host Oregon on Thursday (6 p.m., ESPN) while Oregon State is at UCLA (8 p.m., FS1). They swap opponents on Saturday with USC playing at 3 p.m. and UCLA at 7 p.m., on the Pac-12 Network.
The Pac-12 is a mess, with only Washington (20-5) seemingly assured of a NCAA Tournament bid. Their BPI, the new rating system, is 42, which would be bubble world for someone looking for an at-large bid. The latest bracket forecasts have Arizona State plugged into a play-in game.
Here’s a few cogent comparisons: A new toy, the “Strength of Record,” breaks teams down in a different way, and it shows how poorly ASU’s SOR (63) compares to other West Coast teams.
West Coast Conference icon Gonzaga has a SOR of 5, and USF a 59. Big West leader UC Irvine checks in at 52, and three Mountain West teams rank at 15 (Nevada), 53 (Utah State) and 60 (Fresno State). Western Athletic Conference leader New Mexico State isn’t far behind at 71.
It’s safe to say the Pac-12 will be a one-bid league unless someone upsets Washington for the Pac-12 title. ASU’s margin is thinner than a sidewalk crack – not getting a first-round bye in the conference tournament might kill it. Losing the first game if the Sun Devils get a bye would have the same impact.
The UEFA Champions League is in the round of 16, and two games each will be played Tuesday and Wednesday. TNT has Liverpool and Mohammad Salah against Bayern Munich Tuesday (noon) and Atletico Madrid versus Juventus and Paolo Dybala Wednesday (noon).
The other games will be streamed by Bleacher Report and Univision. On Tuesday, it’s Lyon vs. Barcelona and Lionel Messi at noon, and Wednesday Schalke meets David Silva and Manchester City (noon). Stay tuned to hear the Man City fans sing “Blue Moon,” their official song which was once covered by Sha Na Na.
Most of the top players head south to play in the WGC event in Mexico City Thursday through Sunday. Defending champ Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka, Matt Kuchar and Justin Thomas are confirmed.
The Golf Channel has coverage at 11 a.m. Thursday and Friday. The third round Saturday will be televised by TNT (9 a.m.) and NBC (11:30 a.m.), and the final round Sunday likewise (TNT, 9 a.m., NBC 10:30 a.m.).
NBAFebruary 21, 23
The TNT studio crew will get the chance to dissect the drama in the Lakers’ front office and locker room Thursday when the Rockets visit Staples Center (7:30 p.m.). That should be revealing and fun since the LeBron James somehow captures the nation’s attention even when his new team is under .500 and he’s playing defense like the guy I saw at “Roma,” who was sleeping and snoring about 45 minutes into the film.
ABC takes the Houston Hardens against the Golden State Currys live nationally on ABC Saturday at 5:30 p.m.