August 24, 2009

Every Monday, Bryan Armen Graham previews the big events of the upcoming week.

1. Teixeira takes cuts on Letterman

The Yankees have the day off Monday after edging the Red Sox in a weekend series, but not Mark Teixeira. The All-Star first baseman drops by the Late Show with David Letterman to conduct an "outdoor batting demonstration" outside the Ed Sullivan Theater. If it's anything like Letterman's previous athlete exos -- who could forget Peyton Manningzipping passes into taxi windows? -- it won't disappoint.

2. Best bargain in pro sports?

Can't afford tickets to next week's Grand Slam in Queens? The qualifying tournament for the U.S. Open, which runs Tuesday through Friday, remains one of the most fantastic bargains in pro sports. Ride the 7 train to Flushing Meadows, walk right into the USTA National Tennis Center -- admission is free -- and grab a seat 20 feet away from some of the world's best tennis players as they jockey for a place in the main draw.

3. Yanks, Rangers meet in possible playoff preview

The Rangers, who make their way to the Bronx for Wednesday Night Baseball (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2), met the Yankees in the playoffs three times in four years during the late '90s. That rivalry never took bloom, with New York taking nine of those 10 meetings in three comprehensive ALDS victories. But an opportunity for some long-simmering revenge may be afoot for Texas, as a fourth postseason date with the Yanks looks more and more possible.

4. UEFA Champions League takes form

The world's most important club soccer tournament picks up steam Thursday at 12 p.m. ET when the European Champions League holds the draw for the group stage. UEFA officials split the 32 remaining teams into eight groups, with the first matches kicking off Sept. 15 on the Fox family of networks, which outbid ESPN for the U.S. broadcast rights earlier this year.

5. Vick makes Eagles debut in South Philly

Michael Vick's redemption in the public eye may be a million-to-one shot. But the former Pro Bowl quarterback may have found a perfect fit in the hometown of Rocky Balboa, another southpaw who made the most of a second chance on life. Vick makes his debut in midnight green -- ending a two-year hiatus from the field -- when the Eagles host the Jaguars in the third game of the preseason (7 p.m. ET,

6. Roddick, Tyson make late-night rounds

Thursday must be Choose Your Own Quotable Athlete Night on the talk-show circuit: Andy Roddick swings by Letterman (11:35 p.m. ET, CBS), while former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson hits The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien (11:35 p.m. ET, NBC).

7. Big Fan hits theaters

Paul Aufiero (played by Patton Oswalt) is the self-described "world's biggest New York Giants fan" -- think Bill Swerski meets Travis Bickle -- and the subject of indie flick Big Fan, which opens Friday in a limited release. The directorial debut of Robert D. Siegel, who wrote The Wrestler, premiered to favorable reviews at this year's Sundance Film Festival and is a must-see for anybody who's ever been guilty of caring a little too much about sports.

8. Superclubs collide in Premier League

Manchester United and Arsenal, a pair of powerhouses responsible for 12 of the past 14 Premiership titles, meet Saturday at Old Trafford in the first marquee fixture of English Premier League season (12:15 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel). Yes, United are the two-time defending league champions, but no team in England has looked as deadly as Arsenal through the first three matches of the '09-10 campaign. Case in point: Saturday's impressive destruction of Portsmouth.

9. Mayweather/Marquez 24/7 debuts

Nothing signals the imminence of a big prizefight quite like the dulcet tones of Liev Schreiber, narrator for HBO's Emmy-winning reality series. The first installment of the four-part Mayweather/Marquez 24/7 documentary premieres Saturday (10:15 p.m. ET, HBO), following former pound-for-pound kingpin Floyd Mayweather Jr. and lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez as they prepare for their Sept. 19 showdown in Las Vegas.

10. Worlds collide in Williamsport

The eyes of the youth baseball universe turn to Williamsport, Pa., where the world championship of the Little League World Series (3 p.m. ET, ABC) has been settled every August since 1947. Former participants include Gary Sheffield, Jason Bay, Lastings Milledge, Doc Gooden and Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, whose Northridge, Calif., squad lost a 4-3 heartbreaker in the 1994 LLWS to the team from Maracaibo, Venezuela.

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