Welcome to Leading Off, a look at the week ahead in sports where we’ll let you know what to look out for this week, recap the weekend, and point you toward interesting sports stories to read. Let us know in the comments if we missed anything or if you want to let us know what you’re watching for and reading.
The Week Ahead
A-Rod’s return and suspension: Once again, we open the week waiting for suspensions related to the Biogenesis scandal, but it seems it will actually happen today. Major League Baseball is expected to suspend Alex Rodriguez through the end of the 2014 season, but he will be allowed to appeal and play during the appeals process. Rodriguez will likely return to the New York Yankees’ lineup tonight in Chicago, where he’ll join the team after a rehab stint in the minor leagues.
College football season opens under Johnny Football’s cloud: College football teams open preseason practice this week, but the season isn’t starting on the right foot: ESPN reported Sunday that the NCAA is investigating Texas A&M’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Johnny Manziel, for taking payments to sign autographs. If the NCAA can prove it, Manziel may miss the season’s most anticipated matchup, an early September tilt rematch with Alabama, the defending champion whose only loss in 2013 came to Manziel and the Aggies.
Tiger’s last chance: The final major of the year starts Thursday, when the PGA Championship begins at Oak Hill. Tiger Woods, who hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, enters as the overwhelming favorite, especially after he cruised to victory in the Bridgestone Invitational this weekend.
Nine For IX: The next film in ESPN’s Nine for IX series examines how figure skater Katarina Witt captured the world’s attention at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics, and how East Germany’s socialist regime both benefited and hurt her during her life. It airs Tuesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
From The Weekend
Football season began (sort of) last night, when the Dallas Cowboys knocked off the Miami Dolphins 24-20 in the first game of the NFL preseason.
Texas Rangers pitcher Matt Garza went on a sexist Twitter rant against an Oakland opponent and his wife. He apologized Sunday.
Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders completed the transfer of American soccer star Clint Dempsey from English club Tottenham.
The LPGA’s Inbee Park fell short in her quest to become the first golfer, male or female, to win four consecutive major tournaments in a single year. American Stacy Lewis won the Women’s British Open, snapping a streak of 10 consecutive major victories by Asian players.
American swimmer Missy Franklin became the first woman ever to win six gold medals at a single world championship event.
You Should Read…
ESPN The Magazine’s Wright Thompson dove deep into the ways fame and notoriety have affected Johnny Manziel since he won the Heisman Trophy this winter.
At Grantland, Dave Zirin wrote about whether a boycott of the Sochi Olympics is the best course of action against Russia’s anti-gay law.
The New Republic’s Marc Tracy examined the uselessness of a new “advanced” baseball metric developed by conservative writers at Breitbart.com.
The Shadow League’s DJ Dunson said this could be the year that black college football coaches overcome one of the few hurdles remaining in front of them: winning a BCS national championship.
The New York Times’ Greg Bishop looked at the University of Oregon’s lavish new practice facility and the school’s open embrace of its “University of Nike” image.