There’s a reason why the Manhattan Beach Open is referred to as the Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball. Ironically, it all has to do with the fact the event is played on grass. And there’s a concoction of strawberries and cream served at the local pizza place.
No. That’s not true at all.
The nets and the courts might be somewhat visually similar, but royalty reigns in this sports’ world at this annual iconic event, the 59th edition, starting Thursday and going until the men’s and women’s final on Sunday (one of them carried by NBC at 1:30 p.m. with former champion Chris Marlowe, Kevin Wong and Tanith White) at the south side of the MB pier.
It’s just a week after these same courts hosted the ultimate six-man event as part of the International Surf Festival, and just a short time after the drama that unfolded at the Hermosa Beach Open.
This is the sixth stop on the eight-event AVP Tour this summer. Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena are the reigning men’s champs, but that tandem came apart in Hermosa. Dalhausser, who won the AVP Austin and New York titles with Lucena earlier this season, had to team up with his coach, Jason Lochhead, at Hermosa as Lucena was injured. Will he be healthy enough to come back, at least to see his plaque put up on the Manhattan Beach pier? One more noteworthy pairing: Tri Bourne, battling an autoimmune disease that has kept him almost two years off the tour, will enter this with Trevor Crabb.
Emily Day and Brittany Hochevar outlasted 15th seed Nicole Branah and Brandie Wilkerson for the title last year on the women’s side. Again, five-time Olympian and three-time gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings isn’t playing here as her dispute/lawsuit against the AVP continues, and she marches on with a different tour that runs Sept. 28 to mid-December.
More info on the MB Open (which the website refers to it as the Super Bowl of beach volleyball even though there are the AVP championships to come after it): avp.com
What’s your favorite San Francisco based beer? Anchor Steam is tough to beat. Anchor yourself to your Dodger Stadium seats starting tonight if you want to buy beer without going up to the concession stand as the rules have changed on how one can fire down the Dodgers swill. Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants can’t be looked upon as some sort of relief on the Dodgers’ schedule. But this three-game series at Dodger Stadium starting with a Monday night Clayton Kershaw-Madison Bumgarner matchup might be the only chance the Dodgers can take an exhale of some sorts considering they’ve made their last 23 in a row after the All Star break against teams either leading their division or within wild-card range. Alex Wood and Hyun-Jin Ryu are supposed to be activated from the DL for starts Tuesday and Wednesday, which send Ross Stripling and Kenta Maeda to the bullpen to help in the absence of Kenley Jansen.
The Dodgers this week:
At home vs. San Francisco: Monday-Wednesday, 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA
At Seattle: Friday and Saturday at 7:10 p.m., Sunday at 1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA
The Angels this week:
At San Diego: Monday and Tuesday at 7:10 p.m., Wednesday at 6:10 p.m., Fox Sports West
At Texas: Thursday-Saturday at 5:05 p.m., Sunday at 12:05 p.m., Fox Sports West
Will the Coliseum be suitable to holding a Rams’ Week 2 exhibition game against Oakland on Saturday at 1 p.m. (Channel 2)? Will it matter to Raiders fans who believe this could be the last time their team is ever seen in this venue?
Let’s see how this happens. As USC has been doing all kinds of nips and tucks on the place – removing large sections of seats and re-arranging the press box as they make room for luxury suites – and their main rental tenants, the Rams, need the place to stage this practice game. Which could reach record temps on the field. Save the silver and black sunshades for the cars parked in lots near Exposition Park. Meanwhile, the Chargers also come back on Saturday night but wait until 7 p.m. before playing host to Seattle at StubHub Center (Channel 7).
California will have no representation in the eight-team U.S. side of the Little League World Series that begins in Williamsport, Pa., this week. Honolulu Little League from Hawaii has the West covered based on winning last week in the San Bernardino regional. The team has attracted attention by having “We > Me” on the backs of their jerseys where their names should be.
We, for that matter, are somewhat ambivalent about the whole thing. Kids playing baseball with other kids – great. Kids playing on TV – we’ve probably passed the threshold of whether that’s psychologically mess for them at this point. If it is, we aren’t going back. A place for adults to act like lunatics – that’s the point of a San Diego Union-Tribune piece recently by Mark Ziegler.
Who to blame for its not-so-Little presence any more?
“Blame you. Blame me. Blame the rest of us for glorifying 12-year-olds whose greatest achievement might be winning the genetic lottery and hitting puberty early, for showering them with fame and adulation, for watching in sufficient numbers that ESPN paid $60 million for eight years of TV rights and will televise 233 Little League baseball and softball games this summer alone. For clicking on newspaper links. For tuning into radio interviews. For attending pep rallies before tournaments and parades after them. For treating it less like Little League than World Series.
“All youth sports have gone off the rails to a certain degree, with travel teams and academy programs and $100 per hour “privates” and pre-pubescent specialization and overuse injuries and burnout. (Do we really need to know who has the state’s best under-9 girls soccer team?) The Little League World Series is merely the extreme.
“It mixes apple-pie Americana and summertime nostalgia with our two greatest obsessions: our kids and our egos.”
There’s your sermon for the week. Now to cheer ‘em on to pre-teen adventure. After all, Cody Bellinger was once part of this whole thing about 10 years ago. He seems to have turned out OK.
More info: www.littleleague.org
A monster jam at Staples Center that has nothing to do with the Clippers’ Lob City or the Lakers’ LeBron James. It’s happening. Five times over three days at the Lakers and Clippers home arena, the cars with the big wheels go over the dirt and raise some dust. Here’s the description on the Staples Center home page: “Monster Jam® Triple Threat Series™ brings adrenaline-charged family entertainment to fans across the country. These world-class Monster Jam vehicles and athletes deliver what fans want to see most…more trucks, more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies, more action! Each event tests the versatility of the athletes as they go head-to-head in seven different competitions driving three different vehicles — Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs. These athletes battle for points in challenging Racing and Freestyle events that push themselves and their machines to the limit. The point leader will receive an automatic bid to the prestigious Monster Jam World Finals® to compete for the title of World Champion.” Tickets run from $25 to $80 to see Blue Thunder, El Toro Logo, Grave Digger, Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Megalodon or Max-D among the trucks, Speedsters and ATVs (subject to change). You in?
More info: www.staplescenter.com/events
The 2018 high school football season starts Friday — already — with Week 0 games that include No. 1 nationally ranked St. John Bosco of Bellflower playing host to Timpview of Provo, Utah; No. 2 nationally Mater Dei hosting Bishop Amat, Westlake vs. Sierra Canyon, Antelope Valley vs. Grace Brethren and Upland vs. La Habra. Prime Ticket/Fox Sports West has some of those on its PrepZone.com as well as Centennial of Corona playing host to Chandler of Arizona at 7:30 p.m. on Prime Ticket.