Monday Morning Coffee

May 21, 2018

The only thing saving the Dodgers right now is that the NL West is trash, and that they have the Washington Nationals number.  Max Muncy sounds like the biggest scrub name of all-time, and the Dodgers have been counting on guys like that to keep their season afloat.  Pedro Baez has to be the worst Dodger of all-time, yet somehow he’s still on this team.  Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi have been doing damage control all week long in the media.  I wonder why nobody asked them who picks out the lineup everyday: Siri or Alexa? Is it possible to demote these two clowns to Oklahoma City and bring up a new front office from the minors?  These analytics geeks in the front office keep focusing on stats like “launch angle”, but all I’ve seen this year from the team is a failure to launch.  When do pitchers and catchers report for 2019?

The Dodgers aren’t the only baseball team in SoCal having issues with their bullpen.  The other is the Angels, who’s biggest problem seems to be Mike Scioscia.  He completely blew it against the Astros last week letting a lefty face Jose Altuve with the bases loaded, while having a righty ready in the pen.  He refuses to let his starters go deeper into games, and instead chooses to rely on a mediocre pen.  As if that’s not bad enough, suddenly the Halos can’t hit pitchers who shouldn’t even be in the big leagues, which was the case against Tampa over the weekend.  Scioscia says he won’t stop Shohei Ohtani from participating in the Home Run Derby.  Will anybody stop Mike Scioscia from managing?  Probably not since Arte Moreno is more in love with him than everyone is with The Royal Wedding.

Now that the NBA lottery is behind us, the Lakers have officially paid their debt for the Steve Nash trade.  It only took six years.  However, it could have been a lot worse.  The trade cost the Lakers four draft picks, the most valuable being only the 10th pick this year.  How come nobody is talking about the free agency of Chris Paul? If things end badly in this playoff series for the Rockets, I wouldn’t count out the Lakers from pursuing him this summer, especially since he’s always wanted to play with Lebron.  It would also be sweet justice to finally have CP3 in purple and gold.  Now there’s even rumors that Karl-Anthony Towns is unhappy in Minnesota.  Perhaps Tom Thibodeau might be interested in a trade for his old pal Luol Deng? Even for Thibs, it would take a few shots of tequila to consider taking on Deng’s contract.

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome back the LA Clippers to their rightful place: the NBA lottery.  The Clips will have the 12th and 13th pick in the NBA draft next month, but it would have been extremely “Clipper-esque” had one of their picks landed in the top 3, and going back to the Pistons.  i also love how the Clippers were not invited to the California Classic Summer League Tournament in Sacramento in early July.  Apparently nobody knows the Clippers play in LA, let alone in California, so they invited the Miami Heat instead.

The NBA Conference Finals has been more disappointing than surprising so far.  Just about every game has been a blowout.  Even the Washington Capitals and Chris Paul each have more conference finals wins than Lebron James this year.  After game 2, I was beginning to think Kevin Durant would try to find a way to sign with the Rockets before the series was over.  Brad Stevens has become such a good coach, some people would actually consider starting a franchise with him rather than a superstar player? More reasons why the NBA is a league where the fans and media become prisoner of the moment.  Here’s the difference between the Celtics at home and on the road…. Three years ago the internet melted down over a dress.  This past week it had a meltdown over some recording where you either hear “Yanny” or “Laurel”.  The way I see it, you either die a Yanny, or live long-enough to hear Laurel.  It’s Laurel all-day.  People who think it’s Yanny eat pizza with a fork and knife, don’t use turn signals, ask for SnapChat streaks, and film fights vertically on their phone.  More than anything though, people have way too much time on their hands.  I think it’s very clear what the recording is saying…..

Finally, why do we have such an obsession with The Royal Wedding? Didn’t we win a war hundreds of years ago so we didn’t have to care about it?  Besides, I’ve seen more pictures of David Beckham from the wedding than the royal couple themselves.  I’m sure that Trump is about to demand the DOJ to look into if Obama conspired to keep him from getting an invite to the wedding.  I didn’t realize that Meghan Markle was really marrying Carson Wentz…..

Monday Morning Coffee

May 14, 2018

Is it still too early for the Dodgers to panic? It’s their worst start since 1958, so it’s definitely time to jump off the Santa Monica pier.  They just got swept in four games at home by a team that isn’t even trying to win.  Joc Pederson is not only a useless Major League hitter, but he should be traded just for having a lame walk up song.  Cody Bellinger and Chris Taylor have regressed, doing nothing but swinging for the parking lot.  Even the front office nerds are getting nervous.  They have been trying to live off the young talent they didn’t even bring in years ago, and not supplement it with the pieces needed to make this team a World Champion by now.  Useless veterans like Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, and Logan Forsythe were never the answer.  Justin Verlander, Johnny Cueto, and Brian Dozier were.  It’s finally catching up to a team that just doesn’t look motivated, and whose window to win may actually be closing with Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen on the decline.  Time to start trading pieces, but too bad one of them can’t be Andrew Friedman.

Meanwhile in Anaheim, the Angels are playing fantasy baseball.  Shohei Ohtani is dominating on the mound and at the plate.  He has more wins than Clayton Kershaw, a higher batting average than any Dodger, and more home runs than almost every player on that team.  Mike Trout is also having another MVP season as well, but apparently nobody has noticed.  If it weren’t for Cam Bedrosian giving away leads like he’s some type of charity, the Halos might actually be one of the best teams in the American League.  Oh, and most of you can actually watch their games too.  The Dodgers should try that sometime.

To the NBA, where the Cavs got blown out by the Celtics in game 1 of the East Finals.  With Cleveland losing by 20 at the end of the 1st quarter on a Sunday, it felt like football season never ended.  It was so bad that Lebron was trying to figure out how to sign with the Rockets by halftime. I still like the Cavs to win this series, but this is a gigantic coaching mismatch.  Brad Stevens vs Tyron Lue is like a high school senior vs a preschooler.  It’s adorable that some people actually think the Rockets can beat the Warriors in a 7-game series.  It’s also going to be funny when the series ends much faster than everyone anticipates.

You know it’s the NBA offseason in LA when people are making a big deal of Kawhi Leonard at a Dodger game, and Paul George at Disneyland.  The only amusing part of that story is the fact that Kawhi didn’t actually attend any Spurs playoff games, yet attended a Dodger game.  I’m still not convinced Kawhi is getting traded, let alone to the Lakers, but the odds of Paul George signing with the Lakers are excellent according to Vegas.  Heck, if Paul George doesn’t sign with the Lakers, it would be like Magic Johnson blowing a layup.

Do you realize that Clippers forward Danilo Gallinari is still injured? His hand has apparently yet to heal.  This guy is softer than cotton, and the $64 million they are paying him is looking worse by the minute.  The Clips might as well have invested in The Big Baller Brand.  The real investment question were waiting on is if DeAndre Jordan is going to opt out of the final year of his contract.  In other words, is there somebody dumb enough out there to pay him $20 million a year or more?  It’s the NBA, there’s always a sucker.

The Vegas Golden Knights may have lost game 1 of the conference finals, but they are changing the way you’re going to look at expansion teams from now on.  The Knights didn’t have to compete with another expansion team for players, and they had the benefit of teams only being able to protect 11 players rather than 15 in previous drafts.  It’s no wonder this team is contending for the cup! They were picking 1st and 2nd line players off of quality teams.  They weren’t going to pay a $500 million expansion fee unless the rules were favorable, and they were more than that.  Now you can expect any other expansion team coming in, like Seattle, to pillage other teams of their quality players when they come into the league.

Finally, do you guys realize that Ahmad Rashad has been married five times? His most recent was in 2016, to a woman who is 30 years younger than him.  You would think you’d probably throw in the towel on marriage after your third try.  Then again, when you see who he picked as his groomsmen for one of his weddings, you can see why he probably doesn’t have the best judgement.  

 

Monday Morning Coffee

May 7, 2018

The Dodgers are a burning disaster right now.  Corey Seager is done for the year, Clayton Kershaw is now on the DL, and the injuries are piling up.  The fans are probably more worried about it than management though, because they’ve still got a fat TV contract and attendance is still tops in the league.  Don’t let the injuries distract you from the fact this team is built to rely on a bullpen that’s a pile of garbage.  Cody Bellinger got benched last week.  When is Andrew Friedman going to be benched for creating this crappy pen?  I’m pretty sure Manny Muchado can’t fix that.  No way would I trade for him anyway if he’s not going to sign an extension as part of the deal.  I would definitely take a flyer on Matt Harvey though.  Who’s idea was it to put the Dodgers on Facebook Live last week? Lavar Ball?  We’re only a month in and it’s nearly time to waive the white flag on the Dodgers’ season.

Meanwhile, the Angels took two of three games from the Mariners.  Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout are dominating, and Albert Pujols is achieving those gimmick milestones that only Arte Moreno cares about when he gave him $240 million.  The Halos have the third best winning percentage in the AL, but the problem is they are 0-6 against the Yankees and Red Sox, the two AL teams with better win percentages than them.  That’s because you just don’t know about their starting pitching every night. This is what happens when you blow all your money on hitters instead of pitching.  The Angels are like that guy that maxes out his credit card at Saks Fith Avenue to buy lots of shoes he doesn’t need, yet is struggling to put food on the table.  It happened again with Justin Upton last winter, and is probably likely to happen against next winter.  This is bound to be the downfall of the Halos this year.

On to the NBA Playoffs where the Raptors are that kid that does well on all their homework but fails the final exam miserably.  There’s good news for Drake though.  He only has to wait for the Raptors to lose tonight, and then he can start cheering for the Cavs and wearing his Lebron jersey.  It’s a good thing that Canada has free healthcare because everyone up there is going to need to be treated for depression after the Cavs eliminate Toronto tonight.  Then there’s the 76ers who have totally botched the 2nd round against the undermanned Celtics.  In game 2, if you crumpled up a piece of paper and threw it in the trash can on Thursday, you made more shots than Ben Simmons did that night.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, in game 3, they started throwing the ball around like Mark Sanchez does on Sunday, which of course meant they lost again.  Last night after game 4, James Harden ran over a fan with his car in the parking lot.  A shooting foul was called on the fan.  If you haven’t seen this SNL skit on Lebron’s teammates, it’s a must…..

Say what you will about the Lakers striking out in free agency during the last four summers, but looking back now, most of those signings would have been terrible.  Dwight Howard? He’s a bum.  DeMar Derozan? Playoff underachiever who couldn’t cut it in the West.  Carmelo Anthony? I guess we’re still waiting for “Olympic Melo” to show up.  Pau Gasol? Nice guy, but a bad fit.  DeAndre Jordan? Can’t make a free throw to save his life.  Greg Monroe? He might be out of the league next year.  I guess Mitch Kupchak really knew what he was doing until he signed Deng and Mozgov.

Steve Ballmer says he’s still learning about the business of the NBA as an owner.  Apparently he hasn’t learned that Doc Rivers is an extremely overrated coach, because he’s reportedly close to signing him to an extension.  It’s true that Doc did a decent job this year, but that doesn’t make up for the lousy job he did the previous 3 seasons.  The man has been no better than Vinny Del Negro was, and he’s far more expensive.  More than anything, the Clippers need a change in culture, and parting ways with Doc would help that culture change.  It also amazes me that more teams like the Clippers aren’t hunting for the next Brad Stevens, who is single handedly winning round 2 for the Celtics.  You would think there would be more of an effort to hire “out-of-the-box” candidates like this than NBA retreads.  I guess it would be ridiculous to think the Clippers could get out of their own way and do this.

What a terrible idea it was to have the Kentucky Derby on Cinco De Mayo this year.  I mean Mint Julep and Margaritas just don’t go together at all.  Apparently one woman won $1.2 million on a five race parlay at the Derby.  Her win was still more likely than the odds of the Cleveland Browns actually making the playoffs.  “Justify”? They really couldn’t think of a better name for their horse?  Instead of spraying champagne do they just spray horse crap on each other to celebrate the victory?  You have to love this sport.  For one afternoon, people are pretending like horrible things aren’t going to happen to those horses when their racing careers are over.  Thank god that horses are actually good at sports in this country, otherwise some people might actually be eating them.  Sadly, it doesn’t stop people from torturing them.  At least they call it the “Kentucky Derby” rather than “Hats and Horses”, because that would just sound like a Southern sorority theme.

Finally, last night the Vegas Golden Knights eliminated the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  This glorious moment was made especially glorious when the Twitter trolls came out to give it to the Sharks.  I guess we learned that the Sharks can’t win the Cup with or without Joe Thornton after all these years.  The real story though was the epic Twitter battled that ensued between the Kings and Sharks official accounts.  Get a load of it for yourself.

Monday Morning Coffee

April 30, 2018

I’d like to express my sincere condolences to Baker Mayfield and Denzel Ward, who’s careers are officially over before they even started, since they were drafted by the Browns last week.  Then again, the decision to take those two players makes me think they are trying to go 0-16.  The real winners of the draft were Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen, who are in the best possible positions they could be to succeed.  Even though Rosen is by far the most NFL ready quarterback, I like how 9 GM’s decided not to draft him because he’s smart, comes from money, and will hold their terrible teams accountable when said GM can’t put him in position to succeed.  As for the Rams, most of the guys they drafted probably won’t even make the team since they are so deep.  Meanwhile, the Chargers think Philip Rivers is going to play til he drops dead, because for the 2nd year in a row they didn’t pick a quarterback to groom as his successor.  By the way, Baker Mayfield is already missing throws and he hasn’t even played a game yet for the Browns……

To the NBA where the question is whether or not Paul George is more of a Trulia or Zillow guy?  After the Thunder got sent packing by the Jazz, it’s hard to imagine George staying in OKC for another year, especially when he looked uncomfortable all year long.  His comments afterward make him sound like the dude that’s trying not to make everybody mad when he leaves in July.  Magic Johnson is going to be walking into that free agency meeting with all kinds of swagger knowing the Lakers are the favorites to land him.  Things would have been looking even rosier for the Lakers had Lebron and the Cavs lost yesterday.  Then again, none of this really matters since it still looks like the Warriors are going to be dominating the league for the next five years.

It’s not only the Lakers that have been keeping an eye on what’s going on in OKC, but you can bet the UCLA basketball program is as well.  If Billy Donovan gets fired as the head coach of the Thunder, you can be sure UCLA is going to pounce on him like a cheetah on a rabbit.  Donovan was a great college coach, but is in way over his head trying to coach Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony.  The Bruins fired Jim Mora in a hurry to have a shot with Chip Kelly.  You can be sure that if Donovan became available, UCLA would do the same with Steve Alford.  Speaking of Alford, I like how he fired his recruiting coordinator David Grace.  The Bruins just pulled in a top 5 recruiting class, so recruiting is about the only good thing Alford had going for him.  Not anymore.

The NBA Playoffs have been slightly more entertaining and competitive than I envisioned so far.  Eric Bledsoe made Terry Rozier look like Michael Jordan.  If the Bucks can’t beat the Celtics without their two best players, I don’t think their future is nearly as bright as everyone claims it is.  I’m shocked at what the Pelicans did to the Blazers, but it’s cute that they actually think they can  beat them in a 7-game series.  The Jazz are going to get bombed by the Rockets, but it’s remarkable they have been this good.  I guess what I really mean is it’s remarkable Donovan Mitchell has been this good as a rookie.  The real highlight of the NBA playoffs though is watching Inside The NBA on TNT.  It’s much better than most of the games.  Shaq is about as good at math as he is at free throw shooting……

In case you didn’t notice, Lavar Ball was in the news again last week.  This time he pulled both of his kids out of the Lithuanian league before their season was over.  Sorry Lavar, time to pack of the circus again and take it somewhere else.  This time Lavar claims that LiAngelo is injured and needs to get ready for the NBA draft combine, and since LaMelo wasn’t playing he decided he should go home.  In what league, at any level, is it ok to just quit the team in the most crucial part of the season just because you aren’t getting playing time?  Lavar’s act is wearing very thin with most people around him.  He better hope Lonzo continues to get better in the NBA, because it doesn’t look like any of his other boys have a shot at making the league, especially with him trying to guide them.

We’re one month into the season, and the Dodgers have been so charitable that they’ve given the Diamondbacks a 7 game lead in the division.  Right now the Boys in Blue have more problems than Bill Cosby.  Clayton Kershaw is clearly in decline and Kenley Jansen couldn’t save a game right now if his life depended on it.  Those are only two of their most important players.  As if that’s not bad enough, now the injuries are piling up, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, and Chris Taylor are off to horribly slow starts, and the bullpen is about as reliable as a broken down Chevy.  This team looks beat up, disinterested, and nursing a major hangover from October.  Unfortunately, I don’t see a young stud in the minors that can energize them the way Bellinger did last year.  Andrew Toles might have been that guy, but he’s been injured.  Also, I have no idea why Pedro Baez is still on this team.  The guy has found a way to blow more games in the last five years than I can count, not to mention the fact that he works so slowly, he’s a human rain delay.  Check out his latest issue on Friday.  This pretty much sums up the career of Baez and the first month of the season all in one play…..

Finally, the Angels are harder to figure out than Khloe Khardashian’s relationship status.  They go into Houston and take two of three from one of the best teams in baseball, then they get handled by an up and down Yankees team.  They can score, but their starting pitching has been pretty mediocre.  Other than Tyler Skaggs, not a single starter has an ERA under 4.00, which puts their team ERA in the bottom third of the majors for starters.  We’re only a month into the season, and it feels like the Angels are already going to have to settle for the wild card at best with the ups and downs of the staff.

Monday Morning Coffee

April 23, 2018

The Kawhi Leonard rumors are about to break Twitter.  It’s weird that any player would not want to be a part of the Spurs’ winning culture, but Kawhi is clearly a weird dude.  Not only is he weird, he’s an injury risk, and he’s going to cost the Lakers half their young core to get him.   You know what that means right? Obviously, I want him on the Lakers.  I know it sounds crazy, but I want him under two conditions: both Lebron James and Paul George are on the team as well next season.  If I can put those three dudes on the Lakers, the talent outweighs the risks.  As for the idea that Pop would never deal Kawhi to a Western Conference team, give me a break folks.  If the Lakers put the best deal on the table with the most promising young talent, the Spurs aren’t going to say no and cut their nose off to spite their face.

Elsewhere around the NBA Playoffs, the Pacers had their chance to put Lebron away last night, but they are toast now.  The Wizards may have tied the series, but I still think their only hope of beating the Raptors in the 1st round is if Drake starts the next 3 games for them at point guard.  The Pelicans did some spring cleaning, sweeping away the Blazers.  Portland won’t be participating in the second round, and will more than likely be participating in a group therapy session over the summer.  AMBER ALERT: Hassan Whiteside. Last seen actually scoring points and getting rebounds for the Miami Heat during the regular season. If you have any information, please contact Erik Spoelstra immediately.  Can we just get to Rockets vs Warriors already?

To baseball, where I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate JoK Pederson (and the “K” in his first name seems far more appropriate than a “c”) on getting his batting average over the always challenging Mendoza line after Saturday night’s game.  Hopefully the Dodgers don’t have to wait until his next birthday to see him hit another home run, because it sure feels like that might happen.  I still have no idea why Andrew Friedman and the front office is obsessed with this guy.  His defense isn’t even as good as they want us to believe it is.  After watching Kenley Jansen get his act together this weekend, I can’t decide if he isn’t that good anymore, or if he was just on the “Shaquille O’Neal Offseason Workout Plan”.  I sure hope it’s the latter because the Dodgers would have literally no bullpen without one elite arm anchoring it.  Speaking of arms, Hyun-Jin Ryu is easily the Dodgers’ best pitcher right now.  This team is a serious work in progress.  They only wish they could play the Padres every game.

Just when I thought the Angels might be a decent team they go ahead and lose a series to the Giants.  Brandon Belt wore them down with the longest at-bat in MLB history, and by the time you finish reading this he might still be at the plate.  I can understand getting bombed by the Red Sox, who have been hotter than the sun, but the Giants are terrible.  At least Garrett Richards looked good, but Andrew Heaney got rocked on Friday, and the rest of the starting pitching looks shakier than the earthquake we had in LA last week.  Shohei Ohtani is reportedly having blister issues.  He should call Rich Hill to urinate on it for him to make it all better.  As if things couldn’t get any worse, the Halos have to go to Houston to play the Astros for the next three days.  I guess there’s still time for the Angels to complete their usual underwhelming first month of the season.

On the ice, the Kings are Ducks were eliminated last week, both getting swept out the playoffs.  Both teams were probably commiserating with each other at Coachella over the weekend.  The Kings best forwards disappeared like Hodini, and there should be an investigation by the FBI on where Corey Perry’s offensive game has gone.  It’s true the Kings did get screwed by the league when Drew Doughty got suspended for a game for what was a clean hit, while Anze Kopitar was victimized by a stick to the face with no repercussions for Vegas.  It’s like David Stern is running the NHL.  Still, both teams need to give themselves long looks in the mirror this offseason, and consider making significant changes to their core.  The game is all about speed and skill now, and both teams are built to be physical and wear opponents down.  The league has adjusted, and now it’s time for both teams to adjust or else they’ll become extinct faster than the Dinosaurs did.

Just how bad have things gotten at ESPN? They are using Adam Schefter to do sideline reporting for NBA playoff games.  I think it’s safe to say the network is spread a little bit thin after all those layoffs. However, one thing they’ve always been terrible at is covering the NHL, and that was evident this weekend when they tried to write an article about the Jets advancing to the second round of the playoffs.  Too bad they put up a picture of the Vegas Knights.  That led to the LA Kings Twitter handle trolling ESPN pretty hard.

Finally, I will never understand what goes through the mind of some of these network television producers.  Scandal was a great show that had decent ratings.  It might not be what it was in its heyday, but it’s far better than some of the ridiculous network shows ABC and Fox have tried to force down our throats, only to pull the plug on them after one season.  Yes, the show had a satisfactory ending to it for most of its fans, but it easily could have gone on for a few more seasons.  CBS kills it during primetime with the Big Bang Theory, so trying to come up with another unproven catastrophe to compete with them doesn’t exactly seem like the smartest decision.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

April 16, 2018

The LA Kings left Las Vegas like most of us usually do: as big losers.  That trend unfortunately continued last night Staples, and the Kings are on the verge of elimination.  I’m glad the Kings still have their defensive identity, but you can’t win unless you score.  I mean you can tie, but you can’t win.  Has anybody informed the Kings of this? They have 3 goal in 11 periods.  You also can’t win without your top 2 defenseman, and the Kings played much of this series without them.  The Kings just can’t regain the Stanley Cup magic of a few years ago, and faster teams like Vegas have eclipsed their rugged style.   The Ducks are having the same problems as well against the Sharks.  You can’t win without your best defenseman in the lineup come playoff time.  At least this year the Ducks don’t have to worry about getting embarrassed at home in game 7.  It will come much earlier than that on the road.

The Lakers finished the season with 35 wins.  If you had told me that back in October, I would have said they should throw a parade down Figueroa if that happens.  It’s nice progress, however, I got a good laugh hearing Magic say that they really don’t have sign anybody this coming offseason to feel good about the direction of the franchise.  Listen Magic man…..you and I both know that you and your boy Pelinka didn’t put your multi-million dollar businesses on the back burner and dump our young talent to sign anybody other than King James.  Don’t try to sell me on how great Andre Ingram is going to fit in next year after 10 years in the G-League.  It’s Lebron and Paul George or bust.  Yes the young talent we have is developing, but it was doing that before you got here anyway.  Get it done Magic!  Unfortunately though, the only playoffs the Lakers will be experiencing this season will be while playing PlayStation.

Meanwhile, the Clippers have some major decisions to make regarding both Doc Rivers and DeAndre Jordan.  I cannot understand why either of these two want to stay with the Clippers, or why the Clippers would want either one of them.  Not only do the Clippers need to rebuild, but they need a complete culture cleansing.  Rivers and DJ are big parts of a previous culture that needs to be overturned.  Rivers has brought more drama than a high school girl to this franchise, and DJ is a nice player in a league where centers are becoming extinct.  David Aldridge reported that Rivers is “probably” coming back, but that report is vague and unconvincing, especially considering that Doc sounded far from sure he even wanted to return.

Elsewhere around the Association, it’s playoff time and the Cavs look like a bigger disaster than Tristan Thompson’s love life.  If Lebron ends up leaving Cleveland, that city will instantly eclipse Detroit as the worst city in America.  Good strategy by the Blazers in game 1.  Down by 3 at the end of the game, rather than going to Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum, the Blazers went to…..Pat Connaughton.  The Spurs got spanked by the Warriors, and Greg Popovich says we should ask Kawhi’s group if he’s coming back.  That sounds like a really healthy relationship.  Then there’s Nick Young who showed up to game 1 like he was headed to the Playboy Mansion.

To baseball where the Dodgers can’t seem to do much right so far.  Despite the win yesterday, they are in last place in the NL West.  Corey Seager, Chris Taylor, and Yasiel Puig are all hitting .230 or less.  Half their infield is injured, and so is their most promising prospect, Andrew Toles.  Even when the offense does have its act together, the pitching falls apart.  Rich Hill and Alex Wood got knocked around like bowling pins last week, and the bullpen is made up of a bunch of dudes throwing batting practice.  If Fraudy Friedman thought that this bullpen would be better than last year, he must be doing more drugs than the kids at Coachella did this weekend.  I realize that it’s early, but this team looks a lot more vulnerable this season.

Then there’s the Angels, who are off to their best start since 1979.  They are so hot, the only thing that can stop them right now is a snow storm, which cancelled yesterday’s game.  The story is Shohei Ohtani, who has caught fire at the plate and on the mound.  For those of you who say that there will definitely be regression to the mean, that may be partially true but ask yourself this: who was the last hyped Japanese player that came over and was a total bust? Ichiro, Masahiro Tanaka, Hideo Nomo, Hideki Matsui.  Hiroki Kuroda, Yu Darvish? Ok never mind but you get the point.  There really haven’t been any total disappointments when they’ve had hype.  No reason to think Ohtani won’t be a superstar.  The Halos are playing great and Ohtani is making them exciting to watch.

On to the Season Finale of The Walking Dead, so spoiler alert if you have yet to see it and plan on watching it later.  I think we’re all thinking the same thing: Did Lucille survive the war? Well we know that Negan did which was just messed up.  Rick thinks Negan should live to honor Carl, but I guess what happened to Glenn and Abraham doesn’t matter anymore?  It’s bad enough that they let all the Savior people live after all the screwed up things they did.  They all live and Dwight gets exiled after helping them? This show has a bizarre idea of justice and righteousness. I like how 5 minutes earlier Jesus told Morgan not to kill, then suddenly he’s Council of “Pissed Off At Grimes”.   I was thinking Maggie can go back to being 72 months pregnant now that the war is over.  She’s going to have a longer pregnancy than Bonnie Swanson from Family Guy.  Except now she and Daryl want to start a Civil War.  If these two become the primary villains nest season, it’s just ridiculous.  Most guys have to pay the extra $20 to get choked in bed, but not Negan.  Eugene is back in our good graces, but he’s still a coward and an idiot.  Finally, sticking Morgan in Fear The Walking Dead isn’t making me any more excited about it.  I do love though how he survived for 8 seasons with hardly a scratch and 15 minutes into episode 1 of Fear, he manages to get shot in the leg.  I’m ready for a fresh storyline in The Walking Dead come the fall.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

April 9, 2018

The Dodgers may have won yesterday, but they are off to a horrendous start and there’s much blame to go around.  A good portion of that blame pie should be allotted to Kenley Jansen, who’s been terrible.  I’m also really glad to hear that he doesn’t care, when he was asked about his pathetic performance last week.  Kenley said “who cares?”.  I’m sure the fans that pay his $80 million contract will care, especially the ones that are shelling out $200 to see him blow games for the boys in blue.  Jansen looks like a shell of his former shelf, and much of that can be attributed to lack of preparation.  Maybe next year he won’t spend spring training slamming fried chicken, throwing footballs, and playing video games in the clubhouse.  As if that’s not bad enough, the offense looks like a bunch of little leaguers at the plate.  It’s been all black and blue for the blue crew thus far.

Meanwhile, it’s “Sho Time” in Anaheim.  Shohei Ohtani is hotter than a chunk of wasabi on your rainbow roll right now.  He was brilliant on the mound yesterday, he’s hit homers in three straight games, and he’s making the Halos must-see TV.  He’s been so exciting I nearly forgot that Mike Trout, who’s been one of the best players of all-time, is on the team.  The Angels have some issues to work through with their pitching and bullpen, but Ohtani and Trout might be able to cover up much of that.  In other words, the Angels have modern day Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle playing for them.  If there’s one guy that has to be just giddy about all of this though, it’s Arte Moreno, who only seems to care about selling tickets rather than winning games.  Ohtani might just be the phenom to get him what he wants.

I guess the Lakers are simulating out the rest of the season like they would if they were playing NBA 2K on Playstation.  Since they’ve been bombed with injuries, the effort and engagement the last couple of weeks hasn’t exactly been there.  Nevertheless, even if they don’t win another game, this season represents very nice progress and development from where the franchise was.  They also have to be thrilled at the struggles Oklahoma City is going through. They will barely get into the playoffs, and Paul George claims that the team’s finish to the season won’t impact his free agency decision.  That’s funny because he said it would matter when he first joined the team last summer.  What he really means is that it won’t matter because he already knows he’s going to sign with the Lakers in July.  The only question is if somebody else is going to sign in LA with him.

Hopefully Brandin Cooks has woken up from his coma so someone can let him know he’s been traded to the Rams.  In just a matter of months, the Rams have gone from the cute girl next door to to a chick with lots of plastic surgery done.  Having Odell Beckham Jr. on the team would have been exciting, but Cooks is a much better fit.  OBJ would have demanded about 40-50% of the offense going through him.  Cooks won’t demand nearly as much, and he will provide them with the deep threat that will continue to lift coverage in the middle of the field.  He’ll also be a lot less expensive.  At this point, anything less than an NFC Championship Game appearance will be a colossal disappointment.

The UCLA basketball team has a recruiting class coming in next year that is top 5 in the nation.  ESPN came out with an early look at the Top 25 teams.  The Bruins weren’t even on that list.  How is that possible? It’s possible because of coaching, and it tells you just how terrible of a coach ESPN thinks Steve Alford is.  Vegas has the Bruins listed at 12-1 odds to win the tournament next year.  That feels like a courtesy number because the odds of winning the Powerball are better than UCLA winning anything when you are coached by Steve Alford.  I’d really like to know the odds of Alford continuing to be the Bruins’ coach after next season, because they can’t be good.

The Masters wasn’t exactly what we all hoped for.  I think we should probably put the brakes on this Tiger Woods comeback train and keep it in perspective.  Tiger Woods played more like Nathalie Wood over the weekend, struggling just to make the cut at one point.  However, the fact that Tiger is even healthy enough to compete almost every week is something we should be happy about because we can enjoy watching him play.  He may not get back to the dominance he once had, but playing a couple of rounds at par at Augusta can actually be seen as progress.  If he stays healthy and continues to progress, he can still grab a major or two, and even win some tournaments.  In the meantime, just enjoy the fact he’s out there because you don’t get to watch the great ones forever.

It’s NHL Stanley Cup Playoff time and the Kings and Ducks are both in the postseason.  Had the Kings won on Saturday night they would have actually played the Ducks.  Instead they’ll play the surprising Vegas Golden Knights.  On Saturday night, the Kings played so poorly, it felt like they had comps at the Bellagio that expired at the end of this week.  Either that or they really want to play Vegas, and it’s felt that way for a month.  I’m not really sure why because they are fast, young, and relentless.  The Kings are also banged up on defense.  It’s probably a long series, but the edge goes to the Knights.  Meanwhile, the Ducks and Sharks are probably in for a long series.  However, the Sharks got the better of the Ducks during the season, and they are slightly healthier going into the postseason than Anaheim.  I like San Jose in seven games.

Finally, a new episode of The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it so read no further if you plan on watching it later.  Just when you thought you couldn’t hate Eugene anymore, he pukes all over Rosita.  Carl must be rolling over in his grave  wondering why Rick and Negan won’t listen to him.  There were so many double crossings, this episode was giving me heart palpitations.  Aaron clearly needed  Eugene’s mac and cheese.  The Negan vs Simon showdown wasn’t much of a showdown.  It was about as competitive as the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs will be.  Simon makes a great walker though.  Dwight is definitely screwed now.  I’m looking forward to seeing the season finale next week, and this two season war finally coming to an end!

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

April 2, 2018

The Dodgers managed to salvage a split from the Giants over the weekend, but their offense was pathetic for half the series.  It was like I was watching games 8-11 of the World Series.  I could swear I saw Dave Roberts ask the ump for the ball after the Dodgers finally got on the scoreboard yesterday.  Good thing the Giants offense is total garbage.  When is Andrew Friedman’s computer going to notify him that Andrew Toles needs to be brought up and Joc Pederson needs to be sent to the minors?  That computer must have some kind of a virus.  Toles might end up being the next Chris Taylor, but I’m sure it’s going to take the Dodgers forever to realize that.

Meanwhile, Angel fans are so excited about Shohei Ohtani’s debut, they are all planning on going to Nobu sushi and spending $500 on an 8-piece tuna roll.  Ohtani looked far more polished than he did during his spring training debacle.  He’s yet to tap into his potential as a hitter, but that may only be a matter of time.  The rest of the offense looked great too, but Cam Bedrosian is a complete train wreck out of the bullpen.  Mike Scioscia must be planning on blowing a lot of games by trotting Bedrosian out to the mound every couple of nights.

To college basketball where the magic is over for Loyola, which lost to Michigan.  It got so bad at the end, Sister Jean left early to go do some drugs with Bill Walton.  If I took a shot for every time Sister Jean was mentioned in the broadcast, I’d be dead in five minutes.  She became the the Lavar Ball of the NCAA Tournament when it was over.  Meanwhile, Villanova hit so many threes on Saturday night, it was like they became the Golden State Warriors.  If this continues tonight in the Finals, Kevin Durant might ask to be traded there.  The Cats are the easy pick tonight.

The New York Giants have asked for two 1st round picks in exchange for Odell Beckham Jr.  What the hell are the Rams waiting for? Odell is the superstar to put the Rams over the top and the clear-cut favorites to win the NFC.  I am completely aware that Odell would make the Rams locker room more explosive than a stick of dynamite.  However, the Rams rebuilt their team in 18 months.  Unless you are the Cleveland Browns, if you have the right front office in place, you can rebuild an NFL team in no time at all.  The Rams have a two year window to contend with Goff, Gurley, and Donald on cheap deals.    Take advantage of it now, and even if this team is an explosive disaster, it will be spectacularly entertaining to watch.

It’s too bad the Lakers were bombed with injuries at the end of the season.  Had that not happened, they might have had a real chance to finish with a .500 record.  I don’t believe for a second the Lakers have any chance at signing anybody in the free agent class of 2019.  If they are going to have a big summer, it has to happen this July, but they might have tough decisions to make.  The question is how much to pay Julius Randle.  He’s playing like Shaq right now, but once he gets paid, will he start hanging out at Fat Burger like Shaq did later in his career?  I’m also not sure what the Lakers do if Kawhi Leonard becomes available for a trade this summer.  It would probably take Ingram, Lonzo, Kuzma, the Laker Girls, and the Playboy magazine with Jeanie Buss to acquire Kawhi.  That’s a high price to pay whether or not the Lakers can get Lebron.  In any case, if the Lakers don’t make the playoffs next year, we should be supremely disappointed.

I think it’s safe to say the Clippers playoff chances are toast after yesterday’s loss to the Pacers.  The  irony of it is, I don’t think Steve Ballmer and Jerry West actually wanted the team to make the postseason, because now they are going to end up with two lottery picks.  I’m sure they’d happily trade Doc Rivers to whoever would be willing to give them another 1st rounder as well.  They also wish they could send Danilo Gallinari to another planet.  Signing him to a $71 million contract was like lighting a pile of cash on fire.  It will be interesting to see which Clipper team shows up this summer: that one that was dumb enough to sign Gallo and give up draft picks in the process? Or the one that made a shrewd trade for Blake and decided to collect assets.  Chances are though that “The Clippers Gonna Clip”.

So let me get this straight.  The LA Kings had their biggest game of the season on Friday.  It was a showdown with their cross-town rivals, the Ducks.  The Kings lost 2-1 in OT, but Anze Kopitar said they could have played a lot better.  Coach John Stevens said several players could have given more.  What in god’s name are they waiting for? There’s 3 games left in the season! I guess nobody told them they might be playing golf if they don’t get their act together over the next week.  Now it makes sense to me why the Kings are promoting Bark Madness this month.  They have been playing like dogs all season.

Finally, another episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan to watch it later.  How does garbage lady manage to keep her sheets so clean? She was trying to flag down that helicopter like I do when I miss my Uber.  Of course Rick lied about trying to team up with the Saviors to kill that entire herd of Walkers.  He was wearing his brown coat.  When he wears that brown coat you know he’s going to murder people.  He completely April fooled them.  Negan looks like he has more human compassion than Rick at this point.  It took nearly 8 full seasons for Carol to have a happy resolution with a child.  That probably means she’s about to die.  Speaking of death, I think just about everyone cracked the champagne after Jared’s death.  I’m really looking forward to Negan’s next encounter with Simon.  It’s inevitable in these last two episodes of the season that we’re going to lose another significant character.  Nevertheless, looking forward to it.

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

March 26, 2018

The season hasn’t even started yet and the Dodgers already got bad news.  No, I’m not talking about the fact that Andrew Friedman and his band of geeks are still running the front office.  I’m talking about Justin Turner breaking his wrist.  It could have been worse, but it’s definitely not the best way to start the season.  The greater concern for the Dodgers is the lack of pitching depth this year compared to last year.  They are still good enough to win the division, probably beat the Nationals, but getting by the Cubs again isn’t going to happen unless they acquire another reliable starter and some bullpen help.  At best, I’d expect some dumpster diving from Friedman, who won’t spend any money because he’s apparently saving it for winter time.  I still have no idea why, because he probably won’t even spend that money then.

The Angels on the other hand are foolishly sticking with Shohei Ohtani on their major league roster to start the season, while sending Parker Bridwell and Nick Tropeano to the minors.  Tropeano had a great spring, has had stretches of brilliance in the big leagues, while Bridwell caught fire last year.  Meanwhile, Ohtani has been getting bombed like Hiroshima all spring.  Given that the Halos have the Astros in their division, winning the West is going to be tough, but the Wild Card is well within reach.  The Angels’ biggest issue over the years has been slow starts.  Waiting for Ohtani to figure it out could lead to another tough April, so let’s hope Scioscia and Eppler have a quick hook for their rookie if he falters.  Otherwise, the Halos will be sitting on their couch again come playoff time.

To the NCAA Tournament where Loyola has advanced to the Final Four.  Just how everyone picked it right? Loyola’s Sister Jean is clearly the NCAA Tournament MVP.  It’s amazing how good your team can be with guys that actually stay in college for four years that know the fundamentals.  Michigan making the Final Four is the best thing to happen to that state since the government bailed out the auto industry.  Grayson Allen has to be really disappointed he won’t get to trip anybody again in college after losing to Kansas.  Meanwhile, Texas A&M disappeared faster than Johnny Manziel’s NFL career.  West Virginia lost, but on the bright side, Bob Huggins will have a lot more time to spend at Hometown Buffet.  North Carolina lost so badly that Roy Williams will actually make his players attend class this week.

I will never understand how NFL Front Office Executives rationalize drafting certain players.  These guys have several years of game tape on Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Saquon Barkley, which should help make their decisions’ easy.  Instead, they overanalyze combine workouts and get excited over some cute little throwing drills Darnold does in the rain.  Last year, a whole bunch of teams passed on drafting Deshaun Watson because he’s a black quarterback, and he ended up being really good.  The same thing will happen with Lamar Jackson this year.  It’s these NFL Executives that need to be tested for CTE.  Analytics are great, but most people don’t actually know how to use them to their benefit.  We will definitely see that come draft day, when teams let great talent slide down the draft board for stupid reasons.

Speaking of the NFL, the Rams are anxiously awaiting word on whether Ndamukong Suh will sign with them.  I realize that everybody is talking about how scary their defensive line will be with Suh and Aaron Donald.  However, the Rams don’t need Suh to win – he’s just a big name.  The Dolphins got rid of Suh because he was a bad culture fit.  The Rams have suddenly built themselves a great culture, which could absorb one questionable fit with Marcus Peters, but adding another one in Suh could do damage to that culture.  Like I said before, NFL free agency usually consists of a bunch of guys that are seriously flawed.  There’s a reason Suh is on the market, and it’s because he’s all about himself.  Why the hell is it taking him so long to make a decision anyway? He’s probably just enjoying all the free meals he’s getting from each team he’s visiting.

Now that Steph Curry is injured and is going to miss at least the next three weeks, Warrior fans have about that long to go buy their Houston Rocket jerseys.  The Rockets chances of winning an NBA title have become slightly more realistic given all the injuries the Warriors are dealing with.  That’s actually a great thing for the Lakers.  Why? Because as big of a front-runner that Lebron James is, there is no way he would join a Houston Rocket team that just won an NBA championship. So it might actually increase the Lakers’ chances of signing Lebron in July.  Meanwhile, Ty Lue is taking a couple of weeks off from coaching for health reasons.  In other words, Lebron sent him home for a couple of weeks.

There’s six games left in the regular season, and I have no idea who the LA Kings are or if they are going to make the playoffs.  Is this the team that decided on Thursday that they were going to destroy Colorado in a must-win game? Or are they the team that threw up all over themselves on Saturday night against Edmonton? The good news is that four of their final six games are against playoff teams.  You would think that’s a bad thing, but when the Kings play bad teams like they did on Saturday, they typically look about as prepared as I am for Jennifer Lopez to be my girlfriend.

Finally, an episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  AMC fooled us into thinking it was two hours just to get you to watch a new show! So let me get this straight: you can drink from a well and not turn; eat tainted meat and not turn; coat your body in walker blood and not turn; but if you get cut with a weapon coated in walker blood you turn? That hardly makes sense but that’s TWD for you.  Little kids are so annoying in this show.  Henry is the latest dumb kid in the apocalypse.  It’s like all blonde children don’t listen to Carol.  I think it’s time she took him out to “look at the flowers”.  If Maggie’s pixie cut had time to grow out into a bob, she shoulda HAD A BABY BY NOW.   Morgan is losing his mind and has been for a while.  I’m operating under the assumption that Dwight shot Tara because he was protecting her, and those arrows weren’t really contaminated.  Dude falls down the stairs and nobody wakes up? It’s actually the comical holes in the plot that are continuing to bring entertainment value to the show.  I did also enjoy the fact that this episode was like a throwback to the terror of the walkers that we actually saw in the first couple of seasons.

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

March 19, 2018

What a surprise! Last week Steve Alford’s UCLA Bruins disappointed again in March.  They didn’t even make it into the tournament, losing to St. Bonaventure in the play-in game.  March Madness must be referring to Alford’s play calling, because he couldn’t even draw up a scheme to beat a mid-major’s zone defense.  Alford has also apparently never heard of a 2-for-1 at the end of the game.  The Bruins have missed the tournament or barely made the field as a #11 seed in three of his five season’s as head coach.  Surely UCLA deserves better.  However, now is probably not the time to fire him.  An FBI investigation is about to rock college basketball, and put a number of programs under sanctions.  Once that resolves itself, and this year’s high ranked recruiting class is secure, the Bruins will probably have some better replacements to choose from.

Have you used your NCAA Bracket as toilet paper yet? That’s probably all it’s good for since 25% of ESPN brackets completed had Virginia winning it all.  Thomas Jefferson must have been rolling over in his grave watching that Virginia first round upset.  After UMBC’s win, 16 seeds are now 1-135 against 1 seeds, or what the Cleveland Browns call “our record for the last decade”.  Of course Buffalo beat Arizona.  Skip Bayless picked Arizona to win it all.  We’re screwed if Skip predicts the sun is going to rise tomorrow.  Now that Oklahoma has been eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, ESPN will probably end their coverage of college basketball for the remainder of the season.  Michigan’s Jordan Poole hit the game-winenr against Houston, then celebrated like a kid who just got his drivers license, running from all his friends who wanted a ride…….
It’s great to see the Lakers winning games and all, but they have lost all sensibility when it comes to Luol Deng.  We all know that Deng is making a ridiculous $18 million this season, and another $36 million after that.  The Lakers are so desperate for wing players after all their recent injuries, they resorted to signing Travis Wear to a 10-day contract, and playing him meaningful minutes, along with G-Leaguer Alex Caruso.  Is Deng such a bad player that when the Lakers actually need wings, Caruso and Wear are that much better? If the goal is to actually trade Deng, then the Lakers aren’t helping themselves by chaining him to the bench.  If they have no intention of playing him, then release him and let him go find a team that will actually give him an opportunity (and trust me, somebody will).

The Rams bid farewell to Sammy Watkins last week, as the Chiefs signed the wide receiver to a contract worth $30 million guaranteed.  Watkins is a human ponzi scheme. He has cost teams two 1st round picks, a 2nd, a 4th, and $70m, and no investors have been paid back.  Watkins would have been nice luxury for the Rams to keep, but he’s been nothing more than an expensive decoy for them.  The Rams also lucked out and had him relatively healthy last year, which is frequently not the case for him.  The Watkins void can be addressed with some later picks in the draft.

NFL free agency is very overrated.  It’s a market filled with a bunch of rejects past their prime.  If the player gets to free agency, he has some serious flaws.  The Cardinals signed Sam Bradford, who will likely tear his rotator cuff signing his new contract.  The Broncos signed Case Keenum to replace Trevor Siemian and Brock Osweiler.  John Elway definitely suffers from CTE.  The only exception to this is Kirk Cousins signing with the Vikings, but that’s just because the Redskins were dumb enough to not work out a long-term deal with him.  Real contenders are build through the draft.  Just ask the Patriots.

Somebody needs to tell Matt Kemp to save some of his offense for the real season.  Kemp has been crushing it this spring, as I told you he would, hitting .333/.368/.722 with 4 home runs and 7 RBI.  Kemp may not be the best defender the Dodgers can put in left field, but he is far and away the best bat they can put in that spot.  Kemp has not only earned a starting spot in left field for the Dodgers, but he may end of being a key piece to what the team hopes to accomplish this year.  If only he could pitch out of the bullpen too.

One guy who looks like he can’t pitch or hit in the big leagues is Shohei Ohtani.  This spring Ohtani is hitting just .100 at that plate, and on the mound he has an ERA of 27.  Everyone thought this guy was the best of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.  Right now he looks like the worst of Scott Kazmir and Joc Pederson combined.  While this isn’t a contractual disaster because Ohtani makes very little, this is potentially a devastating disappointment for the Halos.  If Ohtani is just a minor leaguer that needs to develop, he is far from the savior the Angels need to try to compete with Mike Trout still in the prime of his career.  Time to get depressed over the Halos again.

Finally, another episode of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later.  Rick was an actual trained cop?  How many opportunities does he need to kill Negan? He has more trouble killing Negan than Dr. Evil had killing Austin Powers.  Maggie must be 62 months pregnant by now.  You should never let woman who is 62 months pregnant make big decisions like she is.  Dwight just realized that Simon might actually be worse than Negan.  Simon’s not dead yet, but he’s about to be when Negan gets ahold of him.  Who knew that records could be so valuable in the apocalypse?  This episode had great action, but a frustrating and unsatisfying conclusion.  I definitely wouldn’t trust Georgie.  Mostly because she looks like the generic brand version of Hillary Clinton.