Monday Morning Coffee

September 20, 2021

Everyone’s goal in life should be to find someone that looks at you the way that Matt Stafford looks at Cooper Kupp. Kupp came up with 163 yards receiving and two huge touchdowns, in yesterday’s big road win against the Colts. It was also a small coming out party for Sony Michel, who picked up 46 yards late in the game. There are few things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and Daryl Henderson getting injured. That definitely explains why the Rams gave up picks to get Michel, who stepped in nicely for Henderson. Two weeks in and two nice wins for the Rams. Next week will be tough against the Bucs, who have been tearing up the NFL themselves.

Then there’s the Chargers. The referees clearly didn’t do them any favors yesterday, but some things still haven’t changed. The Chargers still can’t seem to get it done in close games, and their home games are largely attended by the opposing teams fans. Not even a new stadium can stop that from happening. You would think Clay Helton was coaching the Bolts yesterday with all the penalties that were taken. Even Lebron and Magic probably went to that game yesterday to see the Cowboys, rather than to see the Chargers play. It’s a whole new season with a whole new stadium, but nothing feels like it’s changed.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the Steelers were as terrible as their towels in their loss to the Raiders yesterday. Lamar Jackson put the Chiefs defenders on ice skates, in the Ravens win over KC. Baker Mayfield and the Browns are really good, and Mayfield hasn’t even started grabbing his crotch yet this season. Zach Wilson had more turnovers than Betty Crocker in the Patriots beat down of the Jets. The 49ers beat the Eagles in a game that was sloppier than a happy hour with the Kardashians. The Bucs dismantled the Falcons, and Tom Brady continues to just give the middle finger to Father Time.

To the College ranks, where it’s safe to say it was an eventful week for USC Football. The Trojans shocked the world by firing Clay Helton after the Stanford game. It remains to be seen if this was just a publicity stunt to appease the fan base, or if they really plan on getting serious about winning again. If James Franklin, Luke Fickell, or Matt Campbell ends up as the next coach, they are serious. If not, they are still the same underachieving program of the last decade. On the field though a win over Washington State isn’t anything to make you want to go party on fraternity row. However, the Trojans might have a QB controversy on their hands. Jaxson Dart looked damn good, and it makes you wonder if he’s the best quarterback on the team right now, given the ineptitude of the previous coaching staff. Plus if nothing else, Jason Dart sounds like a great QB name. Only time will tell, but it seems like Dart might get another chance next week against Oregon State.

As for UCLA, they came crashing back to earth on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins lost to Fresno State late in the 4th, and they looked about as prepared as I am to date Jennifer Aniston. The defense was simply not there. The offense was unable to execute. For a team that beat “the mighty LSU” this was a trap game they badly fell into. I don’t know about you, but Chip Kelly suddenly looks like the same scrub coach he’s been for the last few years. There’s still time, and Fresno State might even be solid, but Bruins fans can’t be nearly as optimistic about this team as they were a week ago.

The Dodgers have only 12 games left in the regular season, but they still trail the Giants by one game in the NL West. The good news for LA is that Clayton Kershaw is back, and he looks great. The bad news is that the Padres are sinking like the Titanic, so they might not be able to help the Dodgers catch the Giants like we thought they might. It’s ridiculous though that Giants broadcaster Dave Fleming was talking smack on the Dodger pitchers, suggesting that the foreign substance crackdown has harmed the LA pitching staff. That’s simply an ignorant take since the Dodger pitchers are statistically far superior to the Giants pitchers. Then again it’s the Giants, so why should we be surprised? Here’s to hoping the Dodgers can stick it to Flemming and the Giants before the season is over.

The Clippers had an adorable ceremony to celebrate the ground breaking of their new Intuit Arena. It should open in 2024-2025, and Steve Ballmer is hyping up the fact there are more bathrooms in this arena than any other. That’s really not a selling point Steve, unless the bathrooms are symbolic of all the toilet bowl worthy playoff performances we’ve seen from the Clips. On the court though, the Clippers are rumored to be pursuing John Wall. Wall is a distressed asset, who would actually be a nice addition for anybody. He’s expensive, but he can still play. I have a hard time seeing anybody come up with matching salaries to make a trade for him though.

Finally, The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night. Name a more cheesy video than the Commonwealth introduction clip. I’ll wait. It had some real “Lost” Dharma Initiative vibes. Aaron basically turned into Shane right there and lost his mind. Herschel almost being the same damn age as Judith makes no freaking sense. That one Hilltop walker has some gorgeous looking hair. It’s so perfect. Makes me think someone in the apocalypse is styling the hair of walkers. Where did Heath go after all this time? Does anybody remember him? I would ask the same thing about Connie, but AMC spilled the beans that we’re going to see her next week. There’s a weird almost sexual tension between Negan and Maggie. Looking forward to the last three episodes of this year!

Monday Morning Coffee

September 13, 2021

It’s only one game, but that’s exactly how I expected the Rams to look in their season opener against the Bears. It turns out Matthew Stafford might actually be a lot better at this football thing than you thought he was, now that he has receivers, a good defense, and an elite coach I’m a little unconvinced of the effectiveness of their run game long-term, but they’ve got time to figure that out. That NBC Broadcast got a little awkward when Al Michaels incorrectly identified a woman as “Matt Stafford’s wife”. Meanwhile, I’m not so sure how badly the Bears offense needs to look for them to start Justin Fields. He’s clearly the QB with the higher ceiling, who gives them a better chance to win now.

Meanwhile, the Chargers did not look like the Chargers yesterday, and that was a good thing. That was a game that the Bolts would almost always lose in previous seasons, but Justin Herbert stepped up. So did Austin Ekeler, and I love the fact he has a complete love affair with his fantasy football owners. It’s such a strong affair, it’s awkwardly better than many people’s marriages. The Bolts have lost so many of these close games in seasons past, it feels like they have to have some positive regression to the mean. Yesterday was a good start, and Brandon Staley may be the guy to finally turn that around.

Elsewhere around the NFL, Dak Prescott was great, but Tom Brady, Gronk, and Antonio Brown played like it was 2012 in the Bucs win over the Cowboys. Bills Mafia is probably going to be jumping off bridges instead of on tables after their loss to the Steelers. The Browns turned back into the Browns late in the game in their loss to Kansas City. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers looked like clowns against the Saints, after a whole off-season of noise. The Texans don’t even know how to tank after beating up on the Jags.

To the college ranks where all you people calling for the firing of Clay Helton after USC lost to Stanford are hilarious. It’s like you have been asleep at the wheel for the last 6 years, pretending like Pete Carol still coaches this team. Saturday’s result was no surprise for those of us that have been paying attention. The USC administration isn’t prioritizing football like you think they should be. They just wanted a coach like Helton who can be under their thumb. If you are delusional like Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, you think SC is going to fire Helton before the season ends. Think again. He’s not getting fired until the school gets serious about winning again. Until then, expect more losses to Chardonnay drinking nerds like Stanford.

Elsewhere around College Football, Notre Dame barely survived against Toledo. Even Touchdown Jesus was covering his eyes for the majority of that sloppy game. The Irish victory against FSU a week earlier sounded impressive until the Seminoles lost to Jacksonville State on a last minute miracle. Oregon shocked Ohio State, and I’m pretty sure the Buckeyes were going to lose when this happened.

To baseball where the Dodgers swept away the Padres over the weekend, but it looks like they have no chance to catch the Giants with 18 games left in the regular season. On one hand, I respect the idea of the Dodgers keeping dudes like Will Smith and Corey Seager fresh for the playoffs and not burning them out in September. On the other hand, we need to see a lot less of Cody Bellinger before this dudes confidence is shattered like a beer mug at fraternity happy hour. At this point, even if the Dodgers brought up a minor leaguer hitting .220, he would be more productive offensively than Bellinger. If the last week has shown anything, it’s that this team is capable of exploding offensively at any time, or forgetting how to hit entirely with their swing for the fences approach. That’s a scary thought with a one game wild card on the horizon. Max Scherzer is somehow even better than Trevor Bauer though, and may just be all the magic the Dodgers need in October.

The Lakers traded Marc Gasol last week, which was really a bummer. I liked Gasol because he could stretch the floor, unlike DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard. However, the real issue with trading him is that the team doesn’t really have much salary to move in future trades, and even fewer draft picks I trust Rob Pelinka and all, but hopefully the Lakers don’t need any tweaks during the season, because their tool box is pretty limited.

Finally, the Walking Dead went down last night on AMC in another episode that really “caught fire” by the end of it. I think most of us were rather pleased that the dog survived so we didn’t have to show up at the AMC studios with pitch forks and tiki torches in protest. Why is it always Daryl who ends up getting taken prisoner? The better question is who will end up with final custody of that dog? It should be Daryl when its over. Every time a missing character returns, you can always count on them being a part of the villain group. Carol would probably have shown Leah the flowers at this point. Pope is one scary villain. He’s not Negan with Lucille or Alpha, but if you are BBQ’ing dudes in a fire, you’re pretty scary.

The Walking Dead - sezon 11, odcinek 4 - recenzja

Monday Morning Coffee

September 6, 2021

The Lakers must be determined to sign every player they struck out on in free agency in the last decade. Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, and now DeAndre Jordan. I’ve been happy with all the signings to this point, except for DJ. DJ is an aging player with fading athleticism, an outdated skill set, at an outdated position. His free throw shooting is also so bad, he makes Shaq look like Rick Barry from the charity stripe. I’d much rather see the Lakers split their center minutes between Dwight and Marc Gasol, who can at least stretch the floor with his shooting. This is really starting to play out like the script of an Expendables movie.

To College Football where USC was in typical season opener form on Saturday at the Coliseum. I haven’t seen a season opener that bad since last year. Or the year before that. Or the four years before that! They found the win column against a lowly San Jose State team, but it was pathetic. Six straight years of this rinse and repeat Clay Helton nonsense. The offense is a mess, the o-line can’t protect anything, and the play calling has no imagination. I’m beginning to think Helton could get away with sending e-blasts with porn content throughout the University, and they still wouldn’t fire him. That seems to be how low football is on the priority list at USC. The good news (or maybe bad depending on your perspective) is that Stanford is coming to town next week and those Chardonnay drinking nerds aren’t very good at football right now.

Meanwhile, UCLA looked the best we’ve seen in years in a huge win over LSU. It’s been four years of hate on Chip Kelly, and rightfully so. The Bruins looked like they were playing a high school team with a high school size crowd last week vs Hawaii, so I wasn’t sold yet. Now they’ve got my attention. The running game is solid, the defense is making plays, and Dorian Thompson-Robinson is suddenly playing better. I still don’t know how good this team can be, but thus far, they are making me think they can contend for a conference title. That would be a miraculous turnaround, but let’s see if this is the same elite looking team that shows up against Fresno State, and the same Chip Kelly that suddenly remembers how to coach for the first time in 10 years.

Nice win by Notre Dame yesterday vs Florida State. Jack Coan looks like much more than a capable successor to Ian Book. However, the story that made headlines afterward was Brian Kelly making a joke by saying he’s a fan of execution and maybe his entire team needs to be executed. Of course the Twitter police was out in full force ready to arrest him for this comment. Those people definitely need their lives re-examined if they are offended by what he said. I think it’s safe to say the delivery of the joke could have been much more polished, and was rather poor, but what kind of idiot thinks that Kelly meant he was going to kill those kids?

Walker Buehler picked a bad day to forget how to pitch. Buehler didn’t have it yesterday, while Max Muncy and Chris Taylor didn’t have it all weekend. The Dodgers dropped 2 of 3 and now trail the Giants by a game with 25 to go. The Dodgers and Giants are going to go down to the final games of the regular season to decide the NL West. It’s somewhat of a shame these two rivals aren’t going to play again during the regular season. I say somewhat because these games have been stressful. So stressful, there’s probably not even a software update for Andrew Friedman’s computer that can adapt to that stress. Despite losing two of three over the weekend, the fact the Dodgers are in this position is somewhat amazing. Cody Bellinger has been awful, Clayton Kershaw, Dustin May, Corey Seager, and Mookie Betts have been injured. Trevor Bauer has been an idiot. Now AJ Pollock is injured. That’s not easy to overcome, even for a team with a payroll as large as the Dodgers. The real shame though is that regardless of who wins the division, these two teams are likely to meet in a 5-game NLDS rather than a 7-game NLCS.

As for the Angels, all you need to know about them is that they started some dude named Jansen Junk yesterday. This is not surprising because the Angels have been starting junk on the mound for years! The Angels can stop pretending like they are in some kind of a pennant race anytime now, and officially shut down Mike Trout for the season. On the bright side, the Angels are getting a nice look at younger players like Brandon Marsh, who has been tearing it up lately. The Halos are going to need a lot more Brandon Marsh’s to develop to support their top heavy payroll.

Well here we are, just one week away from NFL Football. I fully expect the Rams to beat the hell out of the Bears next Sunday. The Bears offensive line is older than Joe Biden. The Rams defensive line is going to eat them alive, and Aaron Donald should have a field day. The Bears secondary could also easily get manhandled by the likes of Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Van Jefferson. If this doesn’t happen in the opener at Sofi Stadium, you should be supremely disappointed.

Then there’s the Chargers, who should be in for a battle with The Washington Football Team. Washington has one of the best defenses in football, and at 1:00 pm EST, the Bolts would rather be drinking coffee in their pajamas at that time. A year ago you might pencil this in as a win, but now this feels like a much improved Washington team, and a Charger team we still can’t trust in big games.

Finally, nice episode of The Walking Dead last night on AMC. PETA is probably going to come after the producers of the show once they saw that a horse was killed and the meat was fed to the people of Alexandria. Bet you’ll never look at horses the same. That last walker kill by Negan hit a little bit too close to home, and felt a lot like him murdering Glenn six years ago. Alden probably wanted to get left behind because hanging out with Negan and Maggie is like hanging out with your two divorced parents who still don’t get along to this day. The Reapers are creepy, the Commonwealth are weirdos, but they don’t creep me out as much as Alpha and the Whisperers. You think people were upset when Glenn died? If dog dies next week at the hands of the Reapers, people are going to show up with pitch forks and tiki torches at the AMC studios.

Monday Morning Coffee

August 30, 2021

The Lakers are really taking this whole “bring the band back together” concept to the next level. They are about to sign Rajon Rondo this week after he was bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies. Some of you people were absolutely up in arms when Jared Dudley wasn’t going to be brought back and you claimed his leadership would be missed, so those of you can’t be complaining about this move. Rondo brings leadership, and might even be a slightly bigger contributor on the floor than Dudley at this point of his career. Can you guys imagine what Laker practice is going to be like with Russell Westbrook and Rajon Rondo going at each other? It’s going to be like the Taylor Swift vs Kanye West rivalry, but on a daily basis. There’s two roster spots left and I’m really hoping that Kevin Love is just patiently negotiating his way out of Cleveland, and will sign with the Lakers. If Blake Griffin can get his butt in shape after looking like he was done, then surely Kevin Love can coming back home to play in LA on a championship contending team.

To the NFL, where the Rams made an interesting trade last week, acquiring Sony Michel from the Patriots for a couple of draft picks. That move was interesting for a number of reasons. First of all, there are a number of free agent running backs that are sitting at home without a job. The Rams could have brought in Le’Veon Bell, but they probably thought he was fat. They could have brought in Todd Gurley, but he probably still has beef with Sean McVay. They probably could have brought in Adrian Peterson, but he’s older than the Dinosaurs that roamed the earth. Instead, the felt that Michel was a better fit for their offense, and would likely be motivated in a contract year. Second of all, this move speaks volumes about how they really feel about Daryl Henderson. At times, he appears to be a very explosive running back. However, he’s not very big and has some durability concerns as we see more of him. The Rams are going to miss Cam Akers, but this seems to be a good move to patch up their running game in the meantime.

As for the Chargers, they must be pumped up that they’ve gone through training camp without any injuries. This team has been so cursed the last few years, it feels like they need to put up a banner at Sofi Stadium for this accomplishment. That’s good news because the Bolts first three games of the season will be like trying to dance through a field of landmines. They have to go east to play a very improved Washington Football Team. They come home to play a Dallas Cowboy team that can put up a lot of points. Then they have to go to Kansas City to play against Patrick Mahomes, which is like having to go up against Jesus Christ. Could be a tough start for the Chargers.

To College Football, where most UCLA fans were ready for the Bruins to devastate them for the next three months. However, UCLA showed up in the first game, dismantling Hawaii 44-10. Really nice to see Chip Kelly decide to show up for this one given the enormous salary he is taking home. That $5 million per year he’s earning finally earned UCLA their first non-conference win. I’m clearly not the only one that is sick of Kelly, because if you looked at the stands on Saturday, it appears as though UCLA fans are social distancing themselves from Kelly and his team until they clean up their act consistently. The 32,000 fans were the 2nd lowest the Rose Bowl had seen since UCLA started playing their in 1982. I can’t blame them. It was nice to see the Bruins find the win column early, but I’m especially nervous for their matchup against LSU next week, and the fact that Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s play at Quarterback isn’t exactly inspiring.

In baseball, I don’t know what more the Dodgers can do to catch the Giants. They’ve been on fire the last month, yet they’ve barely shaved off a game and half from Giants’ division lead in the NL West. It’s obnoxious that the Dodgers can’t catch the Giants, but they shouldn’t be afraid of the Wild Card game. Yes, I know you’re all envisioning a 1-0 Wade Miley shutout at Dodger Stadium, with the Dodgers swinging for the fences on every pitch. However, I don’t see that happening. Of course anything can happen in one game, but the Dodgers have great pitching and a great lineup of their own to work with. If you get one game at home against the Red or even the Padres, they should win. I’m also beginning to wonder if Cody Bellinger is going to find himself on the bench pretty soon. Bellinger is still hitting well below the Mendoza line, and it’s only a matter of time before those analytics geeks start calling him the worst player in baseball. Since AJ Pollock and Chris Taylor have been phenomenal, and since Mookie Betts is back in the lineup, benching Belly until he figures things out is starting to make some sense.

As for the Angels, I don’t know who they think they are fooling. They should just do the smart thing and shut down Mike Trout for the season. It’s obvious that Trout hasn’t been able to get himself right from the calf injury that’s taken down most of his season. Trout claims he hasn’t given up on getting back in the lineup, but why? So he can come back and risk a much greater injury for a team that has no chance of making the playoffs? The guy should just spend the next couple of months getting his calf right to play next year. Imagine of Trout came back and something disastrous happening like tearing his Achilles. That would destroy the 2022 season even before the off-season starts. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear Trout or Maddon feel this way at all, as both have suggested he’s coming back in September.

Finally, The Walking Dead was back on AMC last night and as I told you last week, I’m ready to finish strong until the end. Boy, things got awkward when Negan just left Maggie to die, yet she showed up five minutes later. I’ve seen some dark things on this show, but Gabe stabbing himself to prevent the feeling of pain of Walkers eating him is one of the worst things I’ve seen in a few years on this show. Amazing that Gabriel has reached the point of calling dudes cowards when his character began as somebody who was rolled up in the fetal position every time he saw a zombie. Good thing Eugene asked the Commonwealth about “process” since the last time he asked about it, the people at Terminus told him they were processing people as meat. “He’s a dick but he makes sense” is something Negan should print on a T-Shirt and start selling as an apocalyptic side hustle. Props to the writers of the show for adding some “Karen like” pop culture to the show with the line “we’d like to speak to the manager”. Maggie’s new character is becoming more and more unlikable with each passing episode. Heck, Negan seems like a better dude at this point that you can root for. Then again, most of you are just happy that the dog survived another episode. Looking forward to seeing what goes down next week.

Monday Morning Coffee

August 23, 2021

The NBA schedule has been released and the league definitely did the Lakers a few favors early on. 12 of their first 15 games are at home, those 3 road opponents are in the West, and 10 of the first 15 opponents watched the playoffs from their couches last year. That’s good to hear for a team that is going to need to figure out how to play together. I also really enjoy all the idiotic NBA GMs and their responses to the league’s annual survey. All the GM’s voted Giannis and Kevin Durant as the best player, with Lebron not receiving one vote. So let me get this straight……prior to him getting injured last year, you all had him as the MVP, and now he can’t even get a single vote for the game’s best player? You also expect me to believe a bunch of GMs that had Kawhi Leonard as the best player two years ago? That’s like asking Joe Biden for foreign policy advice in Afghanistan. Considering it’s always popular for the media and the league execs to hate on the Lakers, I fully expect to hear that “The Lakers haven’t played anybody” for the first half of the season when they race out to the best record in the West. Should be another fun year of fake narratives we have to endure.

As for the Clippers, they league did them no favors for their schedule. They have five sets of back-to-back games, multiple early afternoon games, as well as an 8-game road trip. Now you can see exactly why Steve Ballmer wants to get the hell out of Staples Center and build his own arena in Inglewood. As tough as the West is, even without Kawhi the Clippers should still be playoff team, given what they accomplished without him last season. Considering how cautious Kawhi is when he handles his injuries, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t come back next season. That still didn’t prevent ESPN and TNT from putting the Clippers on National TV 27 times this season. They might want their money back for those games.

To baseball, where the Dodgers took 2 of 3 from the Mets over the weekend, but they still haven’t managed to catch the Giants for 1st in the NL West yet. We should probably blame Russell Westbrook for yesterday’s loss after he threw out the first pitch. Walker Buehler has definitely reached that Clayton Kershaw status of a few years ago, where we get annoyed when he gives up a single run or two on some cheap hits, which bumps his league-best ERA. He’s that good, and so is Kenley Jansen. When he’s used correctly in save situations in the 9th inning, he’s been reliable and succeeding. Every closer is going to blow a game here and there, but Jansen has been excellent this season, and we can only hope Andrew Friedman’s computer continues to use him only in the 9th inning to protect a lead. Meanwhile, the Trevor Bauer drama continues, and the media is killing the Dodgers for it. Look, it’s a bad look, but can’t they just wait until all the facts come out before continuing to crush them? I will say though the Dodgers probably need an HR department that actually knows how to conduct a background check.

As for the Angels, Shohei Ohtani is keeping them interesting, but they are far from actually being in the pennant race. They entered Sunday 12 games back in the division, and 8.5 games back in the Wild Card. That means they might have better luck winning a lottery scratcher than a birth in the Wild Card game. I’m certainly curious to see what this team looks like with a healthy Trout, an elite Ohtani, and a productive Anthony Rendon. I’m not so sure we will ever get to see that though. At least a healthy and productive Rendon seems like a fantasy with what we saw this year. However, even if all those stars aligned and it happened, it’s hard to envision this team acquiring any impact pitching, or even developing it. Despite drafting a bunch of pitchers, developing them is another story. Until that happens, it’s hard to have any confidence in the direction of the franchise.

The Rams and Raiders played a preseason game on Saturday night at Sofi.  The most surprising thing about that game was that we didn’t hear of any fights that broke out between fans in the stands.  You can almost always  guarantee Raider fans are going to fight like you can guarantee the sun is going to rise tomorrow.    It turns out there was more fighting in the practices between these two teams.  The Rams were also about to start pulling fans out of the stands to punt for them since both their punters were out due to COVID-19 protocols.   In any case, I’m sure everyone is looking forward the season starting so they can start talking more about real football, as well as Sean McVay’s hair.

As for the Chargers, they battled it out with the 49ers over the weekend.  I still have no idea how this team could possibly make the playoffs in such a competitive AFC.  Unless the Chiefs move to the CFL or Patrick Mahomes is deported , there’s zero chance of them winning the AFC West.   Even as a Wild Card, how would they compete with the likes of Miami, Pittsburgh, and Indianapolis?  We always say the Bolts have talent every year, but they are going to have to win some close games before they do anything of significance.  I’m not even sure Justin Herbert can change that by himself.

The PAC-12 badly needs a shakeup.  Apparently, so does all of College Football because a new alliance is forming.  The Pac-12, ACC, and the Big 10 are working on some formal partnership that will be announced in the coming days.  Since the PAC-12 has largely been run by the completely incompetent Larry Scott.  Scott probably couldn’t run a lemonade stand on his front lawn after driving the conference into the ground for years.  An expansion that includes these 2 other conferences is the best thing that could happen to a conference that is losing relevancy, especially in College Football.  I sure hope this expansion includes more teams in the College Football Playoff so then we no longer have to hear that “Team X that played Alabama or Clemson belongs in a women’s league”.  All those mindless fools will finally realize that those two teams are just that much better than everybody else.

Finally, have you ever been too far invested into a show and told yourself you just have to finish the series, even though it’s deteriorating?  That’s how I feel about the final season of The Walking Dead.   The first of the final 24 episodes of the series began last night, and it’s awkward.  All the key characters that were in the comic are dead or no longer on the show.  All these characters that should be dead are alive, like Ezekiel and Rosita.  All these characters that should be alive are no longer on the show, like Rick, Carl, and Michonne.   If we’ve learned anything from shows that don’t have the benefit of a book or comic to lean on, they struggle.  Just ask the guys that created Game of Thrones.  Nevertheless, I’m a full decade invested.  I can’t stop now, so I’m going down with the ship and watching the rest, even though my expectation are low. 

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Monday Morning Coffee

August 16, 2021

Life comes at you fast. One day you’ve got an $84 million offer coming at you, and you’re living in LA for the next five years. You think you can do better, and the next thing you know, you’re stuck living in Boston for “a measley” $5.9 million. That’s exactly what happened to Dennis Schroder, who completely screwed himself. I almost feel bad for the guy, because he’s still a pretty good player who just had a bad end to the season. This was also really bad asset management on the part of Rob Pelinka, who has otherwise done a great job. However, it just goes to show you how well the Lakers have been run to be able to overcome mistakes like that. Most other NBA franchises would be crippled by these types of mistakes. Schroder almost went jobless, while Luol Deng can sit on a beach and drink Pina Coladas for the next year while collecting $5 million from the Lakers. That’s how big of a mistake Schroder made, but also how big of a mistake the Lakers could have made by giving him that much.

As for the Clippers, they made a trade yesterday, acquiring Eric Bledsoe from the Grizzlies for Pat Bev, Rajon Rondo, and Daniel Oturu. It’s like both teams decided to take all the dudes on their team that can’t shoot and can’t stay healthy, and throw them in a trade. Pat Bev is an expensive, aging, useless, trash talker at this point in his career. Rondo has moments when he’s engaged, but is frequently injured. Bledsoe shoots like Philip Seymore-Hoffman in the movie “Along Came Polly”, but he at least gives the Clips another ball handler that will be in the lineup more often than what they gave up. It’s not much of an upgrade, but ultimately saves the Clippers $30 million in luxury taxes this year.

NBA: New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns

To baseball, where the Dodgers beat up on the NL East for the last week. They swept the Mets in the Big Apple over the weekend, and took two out of the three from the Phillies earlier in the week. That’s pretty good for a team who’s health is falling apart faster than the government in Afghanistan. The Dodgers are now down to just three regular starting pitchers: Max Scherzer, Walker Buehler, and David Price. I’m still not really sure what’s up with Price, and why Dave Roberts continues to use him like some long reliever out of the pen, instead of a real starter. Dude is making $16 million a year, and capable of giving you six innings if you stretch him out. There’s a story there, I’m just not sure what. It’s also really good to see Cody Bellinger remember how to hit a baseball again. Bellinger has had a rough season, but for over a week now, he’s started to resemble the MVP that he was two seasons ago. The bad news for the Dodgers though is that they are basically out of time to catch the Giants. There’s a only a few games left against them, and four games is just too much to make up for a team that is consistently beating up on trash teams. Brace yourself for a stressful one-game playoff Dodger fans!

Meanwhile, the Angels took more licks against the Astros over the weekend, losing two out of three games. With Anthony Rendon done for the season, and Mike Trout looking like he’s going to have the same fate, the Halos are bringing up a lot of their kids. That includes Joe Adell, Brandon Marsh, and Ried Detmers. They’ve all had their ups and downs so far, which is to be expected for rookies. However, the one thing you have to be nervous about is if some of these guys got called up too early, which can shatter a players confidence forever if you don’t have the right development system. It also doesn’t really help that the Angels minor leaguers are sleeping in Toyota Corollas every night, according to The Athletic. I’d be nervous too about any prospect named Brandon that is highly touted and coming through the Angels system. In any case, the Angels desperately need to develop cheap talent because pretty soon Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Shohei Ohtani are going to be taking up 2/3rds of the payroll.

To the NFL, where the Rams and Chargers did battle at SOFI Stadium on Saturday night in the first football game with fans in the new stadium. I’m not going to sit here and break down the game that featured a bunch of dudes that are going to be Uber and Door Dash Drivers in a couple of weeks, so the results don’t matter. However, what does matter is the fact we keep seeing idiot fans in the stands at games get in fights. What is it about the post COVID stadium experience that makes it conducive to more fights breaking out? I would have thought $20 Micheladas and $50 parking would price out most of these sewer rats from the event experience. Nice job stadium security.

Speaking of football, we are just a few weeks away from the start of College Football. What a waste of time this season is going to be. All this hype just to watch Alabama and Clemson hold the Republican National Convention at the end of the season, and then play for the Championship. On the bright side for USC fans, they brought back alcohol sales to the Coliseum. This is fantastic news because all of you Trojan fans are going to need plenty of alcohol to get through another season with Clay Helton as your head coach. Knowing USC, they will be just good enough for Helton to keep his job with really good talent, but not nearly as good as they should be. Helton’s best hope is for Kedon Slovis to turn into Sam Darnold, but I think he’s got a better chance of winning the Powerball.

Meanwhile, UCLA gets going against Hawaii in about two weeks at the Rose Bowl. Bruin fans are also wondering how many more losses it’s going to take to get Chip Kelly fired. I’m sure Kelly is going to tell us how much better Dorian Thompson-Robinson is going to be this year, and how much he’s developed. My question is how much better Kelly is going to be, because most of us think it’s going to be even worse. This guy just looks like he couldn’t care less about coaching a College Football team every week. I’m frightened at the thought of what LSU is going to do to the Bruins when they come to town in a couple of weeks. The Tigers could be arrested for assault and batter when it’s over.

Finally, The Bachelorette concluded last week on ABC. As we all suspected, Katie Thurston ended up with Blake Moynes. I hope you’re ready to pack a coat Katie, because Canada is awfully cold in the winter. You know for someone who just found the “the love of her life”, Katie sure seemed angry during the season finale. If Katie and Blake break up in a few weeks, Katie is going to turn into her evil and angry sister, Lindsey, who tore Blake apart. Clearly the most overused word on the show is “gaslight”, which I’m convinced nobody really knows how to use. I really enjoyed seeing Katie accept Blake’s proposal after all her other options just dipped. Katie basically became The Dark Night: “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” She just got a half-baked proposal from Blake, which is going to earn her monthly trips to Africa, and a citizenship in Canada. That’s apparently what being The Bachelorette gets you these days. If Greg were sitting any further from Katie during the studio portion, he would have fallen off the couch. When Katie professed her love to Blake, it would have been epic if Blake had responded by saying “I just love looking at you.” You watched a whole season of that when Blake could have just slid in the DM’s and handled business. I’m looking forward to Michelle’s season because it’s much needed after this debacle.

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Monday Morning Coffee

August 9, 2021

One-week later, I suddenly don’t mind the Lakers adding Russell Westbrook to their team. That’s because Rob Pelinka should be arrested for shoplifting. Kendrick Nunn for the tax payer MLE? Malik Monk for the minimum? Carmelo and Dwight for the minimum? They now have the shooting they were missing, they can still defend, and they aren’t nearly as old as you think they are. Heck, the average age of the Nets is older than the Lakers. Then there’s Dennis Schroder, who really flexed his muscle didn’t he? He’s probably calling Verizon and asking why his phone isn’t working because nobody is calling him. I wonder who fires who first: him or his agent? In all seriousness though, he’s still a solid player who made a poor decision, but it’s unfortunate the Lakers have no place for him now. Glad to see Frank Vogel get the contract extension he deserved because the Lakers typically pay as much for coaches as you pay for chicken nuggets. I’m super disappointed about Alex Caruso though. As punishment for tampering, the Bulls should have to pay Caruso’s salary against the cap and send him back to LA. However, the bottom line is that if the Lakers stay healthy, they have a great chance to come out of the West and potentially win an NBA Championship.

As for the Clippers, their offseason has been rather uneventful and that’s probably the way they preferred it. Kawhi waited for five days to tell the Clippers he was coming back. However, that’s also because nobody was willing to wait around for him while other free agents were signed. I’m sure they also didn’t want to listed to Uncle Dennis ask for Yachts and Private Planes in Kawhi’s next contract. The Clips did manage to sign Justice Winslow, while retaining Nic Batum and Reggie Jackson. Given that Kawhi didn’t exactly make his commitment public, it probably made it difficult for the Clips to do anything beyond that anyway, since free agents had to be wondering about him. Everyone is also wondering about his health, and Lawrence Frank didn’t make anybody feel better about it because he suggested he’s going to be out for a while. A while might be all of next season, which definitely puts a limit on how far the Clippers might be able to go.

Elsewhere around NBA free agency, it’s safe to say the biggest winners were the Lakers, Suns, Kyle Lowry’s tax returns, Trevor Ariza’s real estate broker, FIBA, and Duncan Robinson’s podcast producer. The biggest losers were the Kings, Colby White, the NFL Players Association, all of Chris Broussard’s “sources”, Cameron Payne’s agent, and whoever cleaned Benny The Bull’s popcorn mess. Also, the Blazers, T-Wolves, and Pelicans might as well just trade their stars now since the executives running those teams look they can’t even run a hot dog stand right now.

To baseball, where the Dodgers continue to frustrate their fans. Or maybe it’s just that the Giants are frustrating the Dodgers because their NL West lead keeps getting bigger. The Dodgers took 2 of 3 from the Angels over the weekend, but there is concern. Max Scherzer and Trea Turner look amazing, but Clayton Kershaw is not coming back until September, and Trevor Bauer doesn’t appear to be coming back at all. Bauer’s attorneys keep leaking text messages that might as well be straight out of Porn Hub due to their graphic nature. I’m beginning to lose confidence in the bullpen, and when the game goes into extra innings this season, you might as well beat the traffic because the Dodgers are going to lose. I’m also still wondering what the hell is up with Cody Bellinger’s swing. This dude was an MVP two years ago, and now he can’t even bat .200. I feel like the Dodgers hitting coaches should be fired just for mismanaging that. Yes, on paper this team looks amazing. But right now they don’t play on paper which is a problem.

Meanwhile, the Angels sound like they are waiving the white flag on the season, even before their series with the Dodgers. The Halos started Sunday 7 games back in the AL Wild Card and 10 games back in the AL West. Anthony Rendon is now out for the season and Mike Trout might be done as well. Reid Detmers and Chris Rodriguez are getting called up, along with Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh. This is as close to a rebuild as the Angels can get. They have refused to admit they are rebuilding with Mike Trout on their roster. Now that Trout is hurt, they can at least pretend like they are. The Halos did a pretty good job of pretending to be buyers at the trade deadline, and now they are pretending to rebuild. It’s cute and all, but ultimately this team needs to figure out how to get wins against Oakland and Houston. Every time you think the team is going to turn the corner, the A’s smack them right back into their place and remind them just how far away they are. That feeling is probably here to stay for at least the rest of the season.

The Summer Olympics wrapped up last night with the closing Ceremony. After all that talk about the US disappointing, They finished with the most medals and most gold medals of any country, . Sure, we didn’t see as much of Simone Biles as we wanted. Sure, we wanted more gold medals from the men’s track team. However, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s water polo, and women’s beach and indoor volleyball claimed gold. Watching Allyson Felix was a pleasure, and I’m very happy she won a gold in her last Olympic event. Also, when the US gets a medal over a Kenyan in any long distance running event, it might as well count as multiple golds. There were plenty of wonderful moments for the athletes that represented our country. I also love how the Russian team, who cannot call themselves “The Russian Team” because they’ve been banned for cheating, is outraged at the possibility that there may be cheating going on in rhythmic gymnastics judging. I’m gonna miss the games, but I’m definitely worried about their future. There’s only a few countries that can support hosting the games without bankrupting their entire country. If the IOC actually gave a damn, they would do something about this. However, why would we think one of the most corrupt organizations in the world would care?

Finally, the Bachelorette is back tonight on ABC with the season finale. Well we’re down to two dudes left. One of them is nothing but an expert in funny faces, and the other is as boring as watching paint dry. I’m not sure which side of the Greg-Katie breakup you’re on, but I’m on Team Greg here. Say what you will about his obnoxious attachment style, but he poured his heart out to Katie. Instead all he heard back was “I love looking at you.” Sure he needs a good therapist, but who on that show doesn’t? For those of you that say she didn’t need to say she loves him in that moment, this is The Bachelorette. She’s dating 2 other dudes, so of course he needs to hear it. Anybody that uses the word “gaslighting” when describing Greg must have some kind of emotional PTSD from a bad relationship. Homie is supposed to propose in two weeks so he needs at least a little affirmation.

Monday Morning Coffee

August 2, 2021

There is much to discuss in this explosive edition of Monday Morning Coffee. Starting off with the Lakers, who acquired Russell Westbrook a few days ago. This would have been amazing move……9 years ago. I have great respect for how hard Russ plays every night, but I’ve seen square pegs that fit better into round holes than Russ fits with this roster. The Lakers desperately need shooting. Russ is not a greater shooter at all. This would be ok if it were 1985. It’s 2021. Lebron and AD need shooters around them, and they just lost their best shooter on the team in KCP in the trade. It’s only fair to let Rob Pelinka fill out the rest of the roster before judging, but if we’re talking about the deal at face value, I hate it. Even worse, all the dudes I keep hearing about that want to joint the Lakers like DeMar Derozan, can’t shoot either. Rob has done a lot of amazing things in his time running the Lakers, but I sure hope when free agency opens today, he spends time dining at Nobu with guys who can actually shoot the basketball from 3.

As for the Clippers, it’s been more quiet than a library when it comes to rumors surrounding this team. Serge Ibaka opted into his contract over the weekend, which is no surprise for a dude that just came off back surgery. The real question though is what is going on with Kawhi. Is he the type of dude that is going to go get a couple of free dinners or lunches from teams and entertain leaving, or is he the type of dude that is just going to re-sign with the Clippers after opting out immediately? For the record, if I were an NBA free agent I would be dining with 30 teams, and enjoying a nice meal every night. Kawhi doesn’t seem like that dude though, even though his uncle clearly is. As weird as Kawhi is, he would probably just take an order of chicken wings and re-sign with the Clippers. Either way, he’s weird enough to make any Clipper fan very nervous right now until he actually re-signs.

To baseball where the Dodgers pulled off an absolutely stunning trade deadline. They acquired Max Scherzer and Trea Turner from the Washington Nationals. My hat goes off to Andrew Friedman, who is no longer running this team like some small market poor house in Milwaukee or Tampa Bay. There’s still plenty to be uneasy about, like not winning the division and a one-game playoff against the Padres. However, at least the Dodgers appear to have pitching re-enforcements now that Trevor Bauer probably isn’t coming back. It also doesn’t hurt that the Nationals “threw in” Turner, who is a top 15 position player, and makes the lineup even more insane. Are the Giants and Padres ever going to play each other though? Who are the lunatics that made this years baseball schedule? There’s still much work to do for the Dodgers and weird things happen in baseball all the time, but at least Andrew Friedman has done everything he can to help the Dodgers defense the World Series Championship.

As for the Angels, they had a bizarre trade deadline. They tried to get in on a Max Scherzer trade. Then pivoted toward trading Andrew Heaney and Tony Watson for some Clam Chowder and a slice of New York Pizza. Then they decided to hold onto their most valuable trade assets like Raisel Iglesias and Alex Cobb. The weird change of direction is just another sign of poor leadership. The Halos entered Sunday 6 games back of the last Wild Card in the AL, but with 5 teams they had to climb over. They are further away from the playoffs than you really think. Don’t tell that to Alex Cobb though, who was quoted saying this team is on the verge of winning a championship. Cobb is clearly violating the leagues substance abuse policy and needs to be tested immediately after making such an absurd statement.

Let’s get to the Summer Olympics, where Simone Biles is either the GOAT or a quitter depending on if you ask the Republicans or Democrats these days. Leave it to the media to politicize even this in 2021. In reality the truth is typically somewhere in between. Biles has already proven herself to be arguably the greatest female gymnasts based on her accomplishments. She has secured an overwhelming number of World Championships and Olympic Medals compared to her predecessors and peers. Of course electing not to compete prevented her from further enhancing that legacy. I’m not sure she needed to though, because her legacy is pretty secure. It also ended up giving one of her teammates the opportunity to win a gold medal in the individual all-around. If you look at her video practicing, she did also recognize that she was completely off her game, and probably would have been a detriment to herself and her team. You’ve gotta at least give her credit for recognizing that. She’s still great no matter how you want to characterize it, even if you think she quit in this Olympics.

USA Men’s Basketball is now on to the the elimination round with a matchup against Spain up next. Sure they beat up on the Czech Republic and Iran, but that doesn’t exactly inspire confidence for them winning the gold medal. My favorite was when Damian Lillard said that these NBA players playing for their countries in the Olympics play much differently. So do you Dame……so do you! I also really enjoyed when Zach Lavine jumped into some contact on a 3-pointer against the Czech Republic and looked at the referee to bail him out. The FIBA referee looked at him like 50 Cent looked in that GIF when he was driving away. The referee was thinking “they call that bs in the NBA?” I’m sure these USA NBA players will be hugging the referees when they get back home.

To the ice where we haven’t talked about the LA Kings in a while. Look Rob Blake, I get it, you have drafted a really nice group of prospects. However, if you have no plan to develop or create infrastructure around them, you’ll be rebuilding for eternity. That’s exactly what’s happening. All of the Kings best prospects play center, and few play wing. They lack elite defenseman in their system, and their entire system has abandoned the concept of defense. Perhaps the Kings got marginally better in the short-term with the free agents they signed, but to me all they did was prevent their prospects from having an opportunity to develop and flourish with the guys they added. Things could be worse though. They could be the San Jose Sharks, who are dealing with a gambling scandal on their team. The story is ridiculous too, because no serious gambler would ever bet on the Sharks.

Finally, The Bachelorette went down last week on ABC, and it was “The Men Tell All.” However, that part felt like it was about 20 minutes, since Katie didn’t even want to make eye contact with anyone that didn’t please her. So Michael left the show, but his son is a pretty smart kid. He asked his dad why he’s leaving his love life to the fate of a game show, when he’s a walking E-Harmony date. I also love the drama ABC tried to build up with Michael walking to Katie’s hotel door. Of course it’s going to be Katie’s hotel room he’s going to! He’s not going to see the head of catering and events at the hotel. I’m sure Connor is calling all his exes to ask about his kissing skills after that episode. My thoughts and prayers are with the girl who showed up in a full cat costume just to watch Connor make out with some random other girl in the crowd. The worst part about Justin making it to hometowns is WE WERE ROBBED of his reactions during “The Men Tell All”. I’m not really sold on any of the guys remaining for Katie, nor am I sold on Katie anymore at this point, but I think she likely ends up with Blake. We’ll have to wait two more episodes to find out, but it’s going to take a lot to convince me otherwise.

Monday Morning Coffee


July 26, 2021

The Summer Olympics finally got underway this weekend. As weird as it is without any fans, it’s still special to watch these athletes competing and representing their countries. Except for those dogs playing for our USA Men’s basketball team. More on them in a moment. Thank goodness for our wonderful swim team, who led the way this weekend with 6 of our 10 medals. The US is expected to win the medal count according to the betting odds. However, the stakes should really be much higher than this. If we finish with more medals than China and Russia, the Chinese should be forced to stop taking our jobs for the next four years, and the Russians should be forced to stop safe harboring our hackers. I forever thought that badminton was just some sport that you played at a family reunion because nobody brought a football. It turns out it’s actually an Olympic sport. It’s these types of obscure sports that I enjoy watching most over these three weeks. USA Women’s softball could sure give the Dodgers some tips on how to hit in the clutch, as they did in their extra inning win over Australia. Watching Simon Biles dominate puts women’s gymnastics in perspective for. To me the women are arguably more skilled in their sport than the men.

As for the USA Men’s Basketball team, Kevin Durant will probably demand a trade to team France after yesterday’s loss to the Frenchman. I’m sure Greg Popovich is going to try and convince us that they are getting better and gaining more chemistry with every day they play together. Apparently nobody has told Pop that his team could be done playing in a week if they don’t get it together now. Not having a true point guard, a dominant big man, or lackadaisical defense isn’t doing this squad any favors. Heck, the way we assemble rosters in the NBA might not be how we should assemble rosters in International Play, especially since referees don’t fall for American embellishment to get to the free throw line. Every player on Team USA is going to hug the NBA referees when they get home. It turns out this dude from Rush Hour was right all along.

Speaking of basketball, congratulations to the Milwaukee Bucks on winning the 2021 NBA Championship. I admire any team, especially small market, that knows it’s window to win and takes advantage of it with big moves. The Bucks did exactly that by trading for Jrue Holiday and then getting Giannis to sign his supermax extension. That was the piece that put them over the top. Funny how the last few months everybody formed their own narrative that Giannis is limited, will never be able to shoot, and was some fraudulent NBA star. It turns out he found his true identity by dominating in the paint, and all he really needed was for his teammates to step up. Giannis is a great superstar, and a great guy that’s easy to root for. Here’s to bonehead NBA media now having to re-create their narrative around a player they got wrong once again.

The NBA off-season rumor mill has gotten ridiculous yet again. NBA Twitter is now pushing noise that the Lakers are going to acquire Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul once free agency begins next week. These are the types of ideas that are written on post-it notes and put up on a kitchen fridge, but the practicality of them never gets executed. That’s probably how this rumor started. These names are fun to throw around and all, but reality is that the Lakers probably aren’t going to give up 4 players for a $40 million Russell Westbrook that can’t shoot, or a $100 million aging Chris Paul. However, what is realistic and a huge help to the Lakers is Montrezl Harrell opting into his contract. At worst, ‘Trez is a nice trade asset. An expiring deal for a former 6th man of the year with upside. He might even still be a solid backup center off the bench for the Lakers. Either way, it’s a good situation for this team.

Memo to the Dodgers: summer is supposed to be fun. I can’t do this every night. The stress level, anxiety, and frustration you have caused us fans in the last week has been off the charts. Kenley has been phenomenal all year, but he sure picked a horrible week to collapse. The Dodgers have blown so many opportunities in the past week, by now they should be a couple of games up on the Giants. I’m also not sure what hell the Dodgers hitting coaches have been doing with Cody Bellinger’s swing. This dude is totally lost at the plate, and trying to hit everything to Mars every time he comes to bat. It’s like Andruw Jones has been working with him. I would love to see the Dodgers go get Max Scherzer this week, and add a high leverage bullpen arm to give them some insurance for Kenley Jansen. However, given Andrew Friedman’s propensity to hold on to prospects, I have my doubts we’ll see it.

The Angels are back in the news, and it’s not because Shohei Ohtani is hitting home runs like Babe Ruth. It’s because once again, Arte Moreno is being criticized for being a cheapskate owner. This time, it’s minor leaguers in their system, who are claiming that their living conditions have become unbearable and have impacted their mental health. In general, minor league conditions are terrible. However, do you realize how bad minor league conditions are in this case if players are actually complaining about it? Kieran Lovegrove , an active minor league pitcher in the Angels organization, is quoted in an ESPN piece saying that Arte “doesn’t give a “sh** about the winning side”. This dude is basically saying that Donald Trump would feed him better food with his fast food at the White House than the Halos are providing him. What joke! It’s no wondering the player development for the Halos has sucked. I feel bad for Lovegrove though, who’s career will probably end faster than that of the career of Vanilla Ice after these comments.

Awful news for the Rams last week, losing stud running back Cam Akers to a torn achilles injury. That’s some kick in the balls for this team. As much of a genius as Les Snead is, it’s not exactly like he can find Barry Sanders to plug in the lineup to replace Akers. We’ve seen how much different a Sean McVay offense is without a dynamic run game, especially when Todd Gurley was no longer the same player he once was, and how good they became once Akers began to emerge. I’m sure Darrell Henderson will get his shot, but he’s seemed a little bit frail in the early going in his career. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong, but this doesn’t bode well for the Rams.

Finally, another episode of The Bachelorette went down last week. Everyone is asking themselves how the hell Katie managed to keep Justin and Blake over Andrew. However, perhaps the worst line in Bachelorette history was Mike P saying “She reminds me of my mom.” I think everybody got chills down their spine when they heard that, and not in a good way. Even more bizarre was Katie chasing Andrew out, like she didn’t just shatter his heart into a 1,000 pieces. He had perhaps the classiest exit in the history of the show though. The man might have set himself up to be the next Bachelor. Nice strategic move by the producers to put the virgin on the sexual cuddling date. Greg has to be the most vanilla bland ass dude I’ve seen in a while on the show. Too bad she and Greg have been wearing matching outfits, which makes me think the fix is in and he’s going to win when it’s over.

Monday Morning Coffee

July 19, 2021

Shohei Ohtani hit his 34th home run of the season in yesterday’s loss to the Mariners. That’s cool but I guess it’s not really that significant because Ohtani just isn’t marketing because he has a translator……well at least according to Stephen A Smith. What a stupid take on a television network that is becoming even more stupid by the day. I want to see greatness. I don’t need to hear it speak. If anything, Ohtani is actually more marketable because he’s a Japanese superstar, meaning he has more potential for global relevancy. I don’t know if there is supporting data to show that a foreign born player is more marketable than one who isn’t, but I do know that there are international superstars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Roger Federer, who’s marketability is certainly not damaged because English might not be their first language. Ohtani was also the brightest star of them all during the all-star festivities. He got the win as a starter, had tons of fun, and even gave the fans some thrills before being eliminated in the home run derby. The Angels reminded us over the weekend that they still look as bad as they did before the break, but Ohtani is a star worth the price of admission, and he was the brightest star during the all-star festivities.

As for the Dodgers, they blew a big opportunity yesterday to tie the Giants in the NL West. Kenley Jansen has been great all year, but he gave that game away like he was a charity for kids. They’ll get their crack at the Giants for the next four games beginning tonight, but there is plenty to be worried about. With Tony Gonsolin and Josiah Gray starting the next two nights, the bullpen is going to get more work than a stripper when James Harden shows up at the club. I do like the fact that the Dodgers have basically admitted they are resting Clayton Kershaw to try and preserve him for the fall, but it seems highly likely that Trevor Bauer has played his last game for the team. Stan Kasten appears to be doing whatever he can do to get out of his contract, and you can further read the tea leaves when Andrew Friedman said he was prioritizing starting pitching at the upcoming trade deadline. Since the Dodgers need all the offense they can get given their starting pitching situation, they better hope Corey Seager and Mookie Betts can overcome injuries and get themselves in the lineup.

To the NBA where it feels like every Laker not named Lebron James and Anthony Davis is doing everything they can to get traded. Kyle Kuzma is telling the media he can be an all-star in the right role; Montrezell Harrell is complaining on social media about his playing time; Dennis Schroeder just wants somebody to pay him; and Andre Drummond thinks he’s Shaquille O’Neal. Let’s be honest, as crafty as Rob Pelinka is, he needs to try and retain as many of these people as possible and convince them their roles will be better. That way if necessary, he can later trade some of these guys when their value goes up. For those of you expecting a Damian Lillard trade to the Lakers, your chances of winning the Powerball are better. If you’re hoping for this, the best thing for the Lakers would be for Lillard to hold out for another year, or at least until the deadline. That way the Lakers can gather more assets, and have some players with more value than they have now. Still, the Powerball will have better odds.

Meanwhile, the Clippers should be getting at least a little bit nervous about Kawhi. This is a weird dude. He was weird enough to choose the Clippers over the Lakers, and might even be weird enough to leave them. There’s unconfirmed reports out there that Kawhi might take meetings with other free agent teams, and that he is unhappy with the Clippers medical staff. His injury certainly complicates things quite a bit and if he might re-evaluate his future. However, more than anything, Kawhi is just too unpredictable and nobody really know what’s going on with him. That’s the scariest thing for the Clippers come August 2nd.

To the NBA Finals where I haven’t seen Suns fans this shaken since they played a healthy Laker team in early round 1. The Suns are on the brink of elimination after dropping a close game 5 at home to the Bucks. The Suns played well enough to win the last couple of games, but the Bucks trio of Giannis, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton have been ballin. As lame as this series felt going in, it’s turned out to be a phenomenal. It feels like we deserve 7 games. As for that Giannis block in game 4, it was great, but as usual everyone is prisoner of the moment and thinks it’s suddenly better than the Lebron block in 2016 in game 7. The NBA needs to change their slogan to “Where You Become Prisoner Of The Moment”. This photo though is pretty iconic.

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Team USA Basketball has had a wobbly warm up to Olympic Play. They managed to defeat Spain yesterday to improve to 2-2 but they should be worried. They don’t have a lot of size, and they don’t have a play making point guard. They also lost Bradley Beal to COVID, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to call on more Uber drives to replace him. There is also one major problem: there are more Celtics on the team than Lakers. Seems like a pretty simple problem to me. It’s also a little bit of a struggle for these NBA players who are used to getting phantom calls from referees. These international referees don’t fall for that flopping garbage, and pretending like you got fouled while shoot a 3. The meaningful games start on Saturday, but can’t say I’m terribly optimistic about their chances of winning the gold.

I’m super excited about the Olympics but also very nervous about COVID-19 impacting it. At this point if you test positive for COVID-19, for all intents and purposes your Olympic experience is over. Just ask Bradley Beal, who as I mentioned tested positive, and will no longer be going to Tokyo. The Olympics are always a treat, but this year, it’s truly going to feel a lot more like a battle of attrition.

The UCLA Bruin basketball team is looking really good for next season. Johnny Juzang and Cody Riley made wise decisions to return to school after putting their name in the NBA draft. That means the Bruins will return every single player that helped them get to the Final Four last season, along with a couple of elite recruits that should put the Bruins no worse than in the preseason Top 5. If that doesn’t get people excited and get them to fill up Pauley Pavilion, I don’t know what will! Now if only UCLA could do something about Chip Kelly!

Finally, The Bachelorette is back on ABC tonight, and it was an eventful episode last Monday. It sure feels like all the dudes on the show were far more in love with Connor than Katie based on their reaction to him getting the boot. Heck Michael A kissed him on the cheek goodbye! I was starting to think Connor was going to see more action with Michael than Katie before his time was over. If someone ever played country music outside my window, I would call the police. For reals though guys: who the hell is Brendan and why is he getting a rose at this point? I always thought a roast was filled with jokes, but too bad I didn’t hear any. Katie on a date in a wedding dress is the most ridiculous date this show has ever done. If I ever saw a girl in a wedding dress on a date, I would run for the hills. Perhaps the most cringe-worthy date in the history of the franchise. I’m ready to see where this disaster goes next!

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