Monday Morning Coffee

October 19, 2020

Look guys, I won’t lie. I pre-wrote this column when the Dodgers were trailing yesterday, ripping everybody in the organization to shreds. I’m happy to say I was wrong, and got to re-write it. The Dodgers are back in the World Series for the third time in four years, after overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the Braves. When the playoffs started, I said that the Dodgers could succeed if they relied on their depth, rather than over rely on one player like Clayton Kershaw or Kenley Jansen. That almost didn’t happen in game 4, when Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman (yes I said Friedman), let Kershaw go an inning too long. They put him in position to fail. However, give Friedman and Roberts credit, because they stuck with Julio Urias yesterday late in the game when he was rolling, rather than going back to Jansen, which his computer usually tells them to do. Jansen and Kershaw will get their chance to be important contributors in the World Series, but there is no need to put them in position to fail. They have weapons in the bullpen. They have weapons in the lineup. They have good young starting pitching. The Rays are great, but if the Dodgers use that depth, they’ll bring home a championship. Corey Seager had a hell of a series, and Mookie Betts is worth every penny. The defensive plays he made alone provided so much energy to the team. Here’s to hoping Andrew Friedman keeps his computer running after last night, and doesn’t click on some malware by watching porn, giving his computer a virus. It’s no wonder the Braves blew a 3-1 lead though. Prior to moving to LA, the Clippers were the Buffalo Braves.

The Lakers are still slamming shots of Patron and showering themselves with champagne in Vegas after winning the NBA Championship. However, there’s already rumblings of some big roster changes next season. The biggest of these rumblings is that Chris Paul could be traded to the Lakers. On one hand, this could be fun and sweet justice because Paul should have been a Laker long ago. Paul is still a great player, and could probably make it work with Lebron and AD. Lebron would also be stoked because he could drink wine every week and get a head start planning his Banana Boat vacation with CP3. However, there’s too much risk here. The Lake Show would be trading 4-5 players just to make the salaries work, including the 3-point shooting of Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green. It’s also risky to have a top heavy big 3, where two of the big 3 are 35 years-of-age. More importantly though, the Lakers would be saying goodbye to any chance they have at signing Giannis next summer, or maybe even trading for Bradley Beal. There’s nothing wrong with running it back with the same group, especially since great chemistry matters.

Meanwhile, across the hall the Clippers hired Ty Lue as their next coach. However, they have some Kawhi Leonard drama to sort through. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Joe Vardon, Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, and Patrick Beverley “bristled” over Kawhi being able to dictate his load management. In other words, they didn’t like the special treatment he received. Of course Williams and Harrell denied this was true on Twitter, but the fact this report is out there with their names attached to it is a big deal. One has to seriously question whether or not those three are going to be back with the Clippers next year, or at least not without repairing the relationship between Kawhi and those 3. Kawhi is also reportedly urging Clippers management to acquire a good point guard. I’m surprised he hasn’t told them he wants Paul George sent to the WNBA for a player to be named. Once free agency opens, it’s going to be fascinating to see how this drama continues to unfold.

To the NFL where the Rams got pounded by the 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Jimmy G looked like Johnny Unitas, while Jared Goff was more like Jared “Off” with all his missed throws. I know the Rams got behind early, but they needed to give the ball to Daryl Henderson more. He looks like the most explosive weapon they have on offense. The rest of the offense was totally out of sink against a 49ers team that was missing two of its best defensive players in Nick Bosa and Richard Sherman. The Rams are 4-2, but it’s starting to feel like their first four wins were just because they played a bunch of trash teams in the NFC East. Unfortunately, they can’t petition the league to play the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, and Redskins every week. Things aren’t going to get any easier next week against a Bears team that is starting to look really good.

The Chargers enjoyed a bye week, however, they are still licking their wounds from last Monday’s loss to the Saints. The Bolts are 2-15 in one score games since the start of the 2019 season. They can’t even stumble into a win in a close game this season. Even more sad is the fact it looks like they might have found themselves a superstar quarterback in Justin Herbert, yet can’t get it together. This man is a touchdown throwing machine, despite the fact he’s basically been throwing to Door Dash drivers for the past few weeks. The Chargers need to do everything in their power to support his success. In the NFL much of your success is all about the system and culture you go to. It’s not impossible to succeed otherwise, but its an uphill battle. Sam Darnold’s career stinks because he got stuck with the Jets. Patrick Mahomes career does not because he’s with the Chiefs. It’s like being born in the hood vs being born as a trust fund baby. Right now, the Chargers are making it look like Herbert was born in the hood, and need to fix that ASAP.

Elsewhere around Week 6 in the NFL, Tom Brady and the Bucs hammered the Packers. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been dominated like that since going out with Danica Patrick. Baker Mayfield lived up to his named and was serving up turnovers like a baker in the Browns loss to the Steelers. The Jets got beat up by the Dolphins and should have all their games televised on Comedy Central from now on. Kirk Cousins was so bad yesterday against the Falcons, Vikings fans would take Dak Prescott one week after surgery instead of him. Derrick Henry was so good in the Titans win over the Texans, I’m beginning to wonder if he was made in a lab. The Giants have won 12 games in the last three years. 4 of them have come against Washington! Philip Rivers just got bullied by Twitter into playing an elite game in a win against the Bengals. Everything went great for the Eagles yesterday, except for the game against the Ravens. Cam Newton also looked more like Olivia Newton in the Patriots’ loss to the Broncos.

Finally, what a joke the Pac 12 is continuing to be, this time thanks to California Governor Gavin Newsom. I mean the Pac 12 clearly doesn’t need any help to be the laughing stock of College Football, but apparently Newsom thinks they do. Pac 12 parents will not be allowed to attend games to watch their kids play. So let me get this straight. Maybe 100 people are incapable of sitting socially distanced in a 90,000 seat stadium? People are allowed to eat at restaurants, fly on planes, and go to the beach with many more people around them in close quarters. I would say this makes no sense, but then again we live in California where nothing makes sense. Pretty soon Newsom is going to mandating that the trees in the forest put masks on to avoid catching COVID.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 12, 2020

In the words of the the late Chick Hearn, “The Lakers are the World Champions!” This one felt different, but still very special. One of the worst years in our life time started with the death of an icon, Kobe Bryant. This one was for Kobe and Gigi. Their passing devastated us all. However, this championship would make them proud, and gives the city of Los Angeles and Southern California something to feel good about. Everyone, including myself, owes Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka an apology letter, and a fruit basket. So many doubted the direction they wanted to take this team, and whether or not they were experienced enough to do this. Neither listened to the noise around them, and succeeded under the most difficult circumstances. As for Lebron James, remember when you thought he was only coming to LA for non-basketball reasons? No, he came to win more championships, and add to his legacy. That legacy isn’t done, and with 4 Championships and 4 finals MVPs with 3 teams, he’s making a great case to be the GOAT. His leadership has been tremendous, and the amazing chemistry this team has is a product of that. I also knew Anthony Davis was a great player, but when the Lakers gave up a truck load for him, I even had some doubts he was worth it. However, he was so good, the Lakers should send the Pelicans another draft pick this morning just because.

One thing I’ve never understood is how for an entire year, the fans and media did nothing but try to tell us how bad the Laker role players were. They’ve done nothing but play well in the biggest moments. KCP was reliable all year. Rajon Rondo is a championship player that raised his game. Dwight Howard didn’t just tell lame jokes and play video games. He found himself and was solid on and off the floor all year, while Alex Caruso is a success story for all G-Leaguers. Even Kyle Kuzma stepped up and played better defense than we’ve ever seen before from him. All of this happened while another key rotation player, Avery Bradley, was home. Bradley should be back next year as a key contributor, and the Lakers have a chance to defend their title with an even better veteran roster. Don’t expect to hear that though from all the media and other Laker haters.

You know who should feel like complete morons right now? Anybody that voted for Clippers President Lawrence Frank as NBA Executive of the Year. Frank assembled a team of front-running jerks that got their coach fired for underachieving in the playoffs, while mortgaging their future on a phony superstar in Paul George. Meanwhile, Rob Pelinka finished 7th in the voting. 7th! The guy that got the better Morris brother, and the guy who assembled a championship roster after Kawhi left him high and dry at the last minute. He also did this in a year where his best friend and God Daughter passed away. It just goes to show you that other NBA Executives weren’t going to vote for Pelinka because he got the Laker job when they didn’t even get to interview for it. They also hate him because he was an agent that played hardball against them. Now it’s Pelinka who got the last laugh last night. NBA Executives should be embarrassed for this, because they just showed they don’t have an ounce of objectivity in them. This is just another example of the Laker hate in the NBA being real.

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The Dodgers are back in the NLCS against the Braves. They swept the Padres which is only right. San Diego’s ugly uniforms look like they were designed by the inmates from “The Shawshank Redemption”. As for Atlanta, this series going to be scary. It’s sort of like all those years you beat up on your little brother, and now he’s a little older, bigger and stronger. That’s exactly what this Braves team is now that they have real pitching. Not the same little brother the Dodgers have beaten up on in the playoffs the last few season. Then there’s Kenly Jansen, who most of us wish ends up being quarantined for the rest of the playoffs, since he can’t even close a hot dog stand right now, let alone a baseball game. As I said going into the playoffs, the Dodgers don’t have to over rely on Jansen, Kershaw, or any one player in these playoffs, unlike years past. They have options. They can use Brusdar Graterol or Blake Treinen to close games. They can even use Dustin May. However, there is still a place for Jansen in the pen. It might not be late in games, but he can be used in certain middle relief situations with a short leash. This is a year where more depth is a huge advantage given the schedule. The Dodgers need to use that to their advantage, unlike the last few postseasons, and that should put them back in the World Series.

The Rams beat up on The Washington Football Team yesterday to improve to 4-1! Nice to see Alex Smith healthy, but I think everybody was cringing on every hit he took. Before you haters say the Rams’ four wins came against the NFC East, keep in mind that the 49ers and Cardinals have lost to crappy Eagles and Lions teams respectively. You can only beat the teams on your schedule, and the Rams have taken care of business for the most part. Jared Goff and Sean McVay basically just told everyone to go “dink and dunk that!”. They may have kept throwing short passes, but it was effective, and now it looks like every single running back on that team is dangerous. The 49ers have been banged up, but they also haven’t exactly been a model of consistency so far this season. The Rams have a great chance to go 5-1 next week against their division rivals.

Meanwhile, the Chargers and Saints are getting ready for a big Monday Night Football showdown tonight. This game probably doesn’t have the same “Kill Bill” revenge feel to it that it used to have when Drew Brees would go up against Philip Rivers, especially since both Rivers and AJ Smith are no longer with the Bolts. However, this is still a pretty important game for the Saints who are trying to move back into first place, and the Chargers, who are desperate for a win. The Bolts’ defense has been crippled with injuries, but the best thing going for them is Justin Herbert. He’s been so good that Anthony Lynn had to say “screw it” and name him the starting quarterback moving forward. You certainly have to feel bad for Tyrod Taylor, but it was the right decision, and the Chargers usually don’t make too many of those.

Elsewhere around week 5, JR Smith think Tom Brady is a fool for not knowing it was 4th down on the final play of the Bucs loss to the Bears. Two quarterbacks faced off in KC yesterday. One threw for 350 yards, 3 TD’s, and had a 129 QBR. The other was Patrick Mahomes. Shocking Raider win! The Ravens beat up the Bengals and made Joe Burrow look like a Pee Wee quarterback. The Texans remembered what it was like to win a football game. The Falcons are 0-5, and probably thought it was better to just not get a lead so they couldn’t blow it. The Jets are so bad, Adam Gase has probably asked his boss why they haven’t fired him yet. The Eagles lost again as well, and their receivers are playing like the football is infected with COVID:

Finally, remember when the LA Kings were a great team that was competing for Stanley Cups? That last cup came 6 years ago, but they’ve been rebuilding for the last two years. They now have the best farm system in hockey, but that might not get them to the playoffs for two more years, and might not truly get them competing for Stanley Cups for another 4 years. That’s more than a half decade of rebuilding. Since the Kings have not only one of the best, but one of the deepest prospect pools in the league, as well as boat loads of salary cap space, they should trade for an elite goal scorer. That scorer is Steve Stamkos. He’s elite, he just won a Cup, and has a contract that isn’t terrible given the Kings rebuilding window. Why not speed up the rebuild by trying to make that trade, since the Lightning are desperate to create salary cap space? Prospects are great, but the Kings can’t keep them all. They need to figure out who isn’t a fit for them, and use those players as assets while they still have value. I’m not sure this concept is familiar to Rob Blake, who inherited the job from someone and wasn’t initially tasked with a rebuild.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 5, 2020

Somebody must have told the Lakers that we are stuck with either Trump or Biden as our next President, because last night they played like they don’t want to join the real world and leave the bubble. There is no reason at all for the Lakers to be out-muscled in the paint on any given night, and surely not against an undermanned Miami team. Danny Green and KCP played like they had plane tickets already booked to Cancun. It didn’t help that AD had 3 fouls on him when he left his hotel room, but there was a total lack of focus. This kind of complacency is some crap that the Clippers would do, and I’m sure Lebron isn’t going to be happy about it. I fully expect him to crack the whip on his teammates between now and game 4. It’s clear that the Lakers started drinking their own Kool-Aid after game 3, and just thought the Heat were going to lay down, given that they were without two key starters. That’s definitely not something that a team led by Pat Riley and Jimmy Butler would do, and props to them for not giving up. It’s also a dangerous thing to do to give a team like Miami confidence, especially when there’s a chance they are going to get Dragic and Adebayo back in the next game, which will give them an emotional lift.

It turns out that “Playoff P” has now turned into “Layoff P”. Paul George’s disastrous playoff performance led to the firing of coach Doc Rivers last week. It’s a bold move by Steve Ballmer, but the results are all on him because it was a decision exclusively made by him, rather than the front office that he built out the last few years that everyone was raving about. Also, Phil Jackson isn’t coming out retirement to coach the team. Aside from the fact he and Jerry West don’t get along, Phil wouldn’t even coach Paul George over Zoom, let alone in person. This whole saga though is a reminder that some of these NBA media folks need their credentials and cable subscriptions revoked. They are all saying now that “the Clippers need better on court leadership.” They do? You told me for the last year that Doc was an elite coach, Kawhi was a phenomenal leader, and a better player than Lebron, better than Kobe, and a top 5 player ever. You are all fools and the internet has the receipts.

Well here we are again in October, with the Dodgers in the NLDS. This time it’s the Padres standing in their way. The Padres are going to try and make this a slugfest, in which their bullpen just outlasts the Dodgers pen. The Dodgers are going to need quality length from their starters, just like they got on Thursday with that vintage Clayton Kershaw performance against the Brewers. There’s a lot to worry about here for the Dodgers though: Walker Buehler’s blister, Clayton Kershaw’s past playoff issues, and perhaps most of all, Kenley Jansen. When I listen to Dave Roberts talk about Jansen, he sounds like a guy who’s had a girlfriend for years who’s just not doing it for him anymore, but doesn’t know a tactful way to break up with her. Pretty soon he’s going to be saying “it’s not you, it’s me.” Roberts is saying Jansen is his guy, but quietly pointing out the flaws in his performance, and also suggesting there are nights where other options might be better. That’s a scary thought since there have been so many close games between the Dodgers and Padres this season, and this series figures to be the same.

Meanwhile, the Angels GM search is underway, and it’s already looking like a joke. Team President John Carpino said he and Arte Moreno have compiled a long list of names, and they sound like they are going to take their time with the hiring process. Rumor has it they might really take their time with the search and go as far as Thanksgiving with it, but I’m not sure why anybody impactful would want to take a job midway through an offseason. Especially when that replacement can’t actually do anything to improve the club, in a job where they are supposedly expected to “win now”. The best part about what Carpino said is that “something is not right in our organization,” explaining, that “there are things in here that aren’t working.” You guys just figured that out John? The best example of this is the Halos using last year’s first round pick on a pitcher that was supposedly close to big league ready. They never called him up. The college pitcher drafted with the next pick is now pitching in the playoffs for the Chicago White Sox. That’s just one example of many of the Angels not being process-driven, and most of that failure is Arte Moreno’s involvement, since he views success as star-driven.

The Rams played yesterday’s game like they were trying to hurry and get to watching game 3 of the NBA Finals. They got the win over a crummy Giants team, but it was ugly. It’s almost like Sean McVay was determined to use only the last two pages of the playbook to try to secure the win. Sometimes I wonder if he really feels comfortable letting Jared Goff drop back and throw a real pass. You’ve gotta be happy with the defense, but there’s definitely concern with some of the inconsistency we’ve seen on the road on the offensive side the last two weeks. The Rams will have to avoid another let down next week against Washington. Then there’s the fight that took place between Golden Tate and Jalen Ramsey. I generally try to avoid domestic matters here on Jock Talk LA, but when they play out on the field like this one did, it’s pretty hard to avoid it. Ramsey and Tate will likely be suspended for all their antics, which can’t make McVay very happy.

Just when it looked like the Chargers were going to get some revenge on Tom Brady for all those times he did them dirty in New England, they find a way to blow it. That was one of the worst defensive performances this team has had in the last two years, and that’s saying a lot! Only the Chargers could find a way to spoil a brilliant performance from their rookie Quarterback, Justin Herbert, who had QB rating of 137.5, while making some unbelievable throws. Brady is actually on pace to throw more pick 6’s than Jameis Winston did last year, but it didn’t matter yesterday. Horrible mistake by Anthony Lynn to not take a knee near the end of the half near his own endzone, resulting in a turnover. To make matters worse, Austin Ekeler is now going to be down for a few weeks with a leg injury. I can’t wait to see how Anthony Lynn continues to try and keep a straight face while saying “Tyrod Taylor is still our starter”. Something tells me the Charger doctors’ are going to find something wrong with him for the next few weeks.

Elsewhere around Week 4 of the NFL, the Browns beat the Cowboys, and Jarvis Landry looks like a better quarterback than Carson Wentz. The Cowboys are 1-3 and still in 1st in the NFC East! The Raiders should change their name to the “Loss Vegas Raiders” after losing to the Bills. The Jets really need to stop drafting USC quarterbacks. Stay positive though Jets fans – you’ll probably get another top 5 pick that you can screw up again. The Texans are 0-4 and have a $258 million payroll. They might as well be burning money like the Joker. The Colts beat the Bears, and Phil Rivers is out here calling his opponents “fatty’s” Is Drew Brees still old and busted? Because he looks fine to me. Bill Belichick is probably trying to figure out how to get Patrick Mahomes to test positive for COVID before tonight’s game.

Wait, the Presidential Debate is over? But nobody jumped out and said “live from New York it’s Saturday Night”? Chris Wallace got treated like a substitute teacher. I haven’t seen anything that embarrassing since the Clippers last played. Stephen A Smith needs to be the moderator of the next debate. Calling it “a shit show” is really an insult to “shit shows” . Trump did more interrupting than Kanye in a room full of Taylor Swifts. The bottom line is that we don’t need to see 2 more of these. If anything, it’s going to make people not want to vote if they have to see these two go at it again. I certainly hope he recovers from COVID, but depending on how Trump’s recovery goes, we may be lucky enough to not get another debate.

It’s been a while, but The Walking Dead was back on AMC last night, and it was the season finale of Season 10. Let me say this, the show has lost a lot of characters due to contract disputes or other opportunities for the cast. However, to this point, I thought they’ve done a decent job of reinventing the show. With that being said, last night was kind of disappointing. Spoiler alert for those of you who didn’t see the episode, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. Beta is one of the most iconic characters in the comic, but he went down easier than the Lakers did last night against the Heat. There was no major battle between him and Negan like we saw in the comics. Lydia saved Carol from committing suicide. Doesn’t it feel like Carol was going to commit suicide several times in the last 10 years? Doesn’t it feel like you wanted to commit suicide after watching the last Presidential debate? Maggie has been gone so long, seeing her again really didn’t do anything for me. So apparently the Storm Troopers showed up. Does this mean Darth Vader is going to make an appearance in Season 11? Remember when we though we might get zombies when COVID started? Instead we just got a bunch of Karen’s. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Season 11, but we’ve made it this far and are so invested, might as well finish it out. I hope it’s better than the Season 10 Finale though.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 28, 2020

The Los Angels Lakers are plucking hairs from guard Alex Caruso’s head to signify how many more wins until they secure an NBA Championship this year. Sources are telling Jock Talk LA that thankfully, he only has four more hairs left, which is exactly the amount of wins the Lakers need. It took 10 years but the Lakers are back in the finals! The job is far from over yet though. Miami is a tough team with a lot of confidence, but the Lakers will be well prepared after facing a resilient Denver team. Lebron and AD were incredible, as was the entire team defense. Imagine dropping 38-16-10 in an elimination game, getting a near triple double in game 4 and locking up the hottest player in the bubble, yet still having some Boomer like Bill Plaschke call you old and washed up. Lebron is a gift basketball fans take for granted. I will miss Inside The NBA now that TNT’s coverage is over, but glad we no longer have to hear Chris Webber and Reggie Miller. Somewhere in hell, I can imagine those two calling games.

Perhaps the least surprising development of 2020 occurred the day after the Clippers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs. Paul George was reportedly accused of lacking accountability by his teammates. “Pandemic P” gave a locker room speech about staying committed and running it back next year, but the rest of his teammates just rolled their eyes. I’ve been telling you for more than two years that George wants no part of being accountable on a championship team. This is not the same guy that was arguably one of the ten best players in the NBA during his Indiana days. He wanted no part of being a Laker because he didn’t want the scrutiny and the responsibility that came along with it. He wants to compete for a title, but without any of the responsibility that comes with it. We know this because Lebron actually commented on him not wanting this pressure the year he signed with the Lakers, and we saw signs of this too during George’s time in Oklahoma City. This is likely how the Clipper locker room encounter went….

Not only are you going to get a Lakers NBA Finals this week, but you’re also going to get Dodger playoff baseball. The Boys in Blue are going to be taking on the Brewers beginning Wednesday in a best-of-3 series. I don’t know if I’m more nervous for Walker Buehler’s start on Wednesday, or Clayton Kershaw’s on Thursday, since Buehler has barely pitched this season. If there’s one thing I don’t want to see, it’s Kershaw and Kenley Jansen being put in situations to fail. That’s right Andrew Friedman, I’m talking to you and your stupid computer. I don’t want to see you telling Dave Roberts to send out Kershaw in the 7th and 8th inning when he’s running out of gas. I also don’t want to see him closing games. I don’t want to see Jansen going out for 6 or 9-out saves either. If I see that it just tells me Friedman was once again unable to assemble a bullpen that is worth a damn when it really matters, despite his unlimited resources. This has been the best team in baseball, yet I have about as much confidence in them in October, as I do in whatever Presidential candidate wins in November.

Meanwhile, the Angels finished up their season over the weekend, and once again missed the playoffs. They also wasted no time at all in firing Billy Eppler as GM. I feel like Arte Moreno was just standing by his computer ready to pounce on the email “send button”, with a termination letter emailed to Eppler, while Bcc’ing Ken Rosenthal. John Carpino’s statement thanking Eppler was lame, and looked like it was designed by a 3rd grader using Microsoft Paint. That whole saga is symbolic of the perception of the Angels organization. Seven MLB industry sources spoke to the LA Times recently, saying “it’s a bottom third job”, “it’s not the job it should be”, and “it can’t just be the GM”. In other words, this is all on Moreno and his lack of modern-day power structure in the organization. He’s clearly lacking quality scouting and player development. Dave Dombrowski can’t fix this by himself, even if he’s the next GM. Time to stop pretending like this team is ready to win now, and take the right steps to actually have a successful organization.

Look, I’m sure many NFL folks are going to point and laugh over that ridiculous pass interference call that cost the Rams the game yesterday against the Bills. I get it, they have benefitted from those calls going in their favor against the Saints two years ago in the NFC title game, and even in week 1 this year. That still doesn’t change the fact the call was garbage, and we can evaluate it for what it was individually. Still, allowing the Bills to convert a 3rd and 22 to Cole Beasley is where the game was lost. You’re not playing against Patrick Mahomes here. It would probably also help to not start playing when you’re down 28-3 in the 3rd quarter. That only works when you’re playing the Atlanta Falcons. On the bright side, the running game is looking good, so is Jared Goff, and they’ve got a great chance to win their next two games. The division is brutal right now with every team over .500 so they need every win they can get.

What a surprise, the Chargers are losing at home to football teams they have no business losing to. This time it was Carolina. Coach Anthony Lynn said he needs to teach his team how to win games like yesterday’s. Lynn doesn’t realize that this has been a 60-year tradition for this team. Justin Herbert looks like he can play, but the Bolts don’t know how to meet the moment in big games, and they play down to their competition. That’s a sure recipe to continue underachieving. There’s also the story on Tyrod Taylor, and him accidentally getting his lung punctured by doctors who tried to give him an injection for his broken ribs. I’m not sure what the big deal is here though. Doctors probably did him a favor because he would have punctured his lungs anyway by playing with a broken rib. It’s going to get even tougher next week when they visit their old friend Tom Brady in Tampa.

Elsewhere around week 3 in the NFL, the entire NFC East should be demoted to the XFL. Even the Cowboys should be 0-3, while the Eagles punted to play for a tie against the lowly Bengals. There’s not enough cheesesteaks in the city for the fans to drown their sorrows in. The Falcons blew another lead, and they keep choking harder than a guy eating a Popeyes biscuit with no drink. If Dan Quinn isn’t fired today, he’s officially the real life George Costanza. Everyone remember to check in on your Minnesota Vikings friends today after they lost again. The Raiders got handled by the Patriots, and somebody needs to teach Jon Gruden how to wear a mask, otherwise his wife is going to think he just came home from the strip club.

You probably forgot that there’s actually College Football going on too! Oklahoma is forking over leads like they are the Falcons, and losing to unranked teams like Kansas State already. LSU has apparently opted out of the College Football Playoff after their loss to Mississippi State. If Oklahoma doesn’t make it, who is the SEC Champ supposed to blow out this year in the semi finals? Can we just save everybody time, and get to another round of Clemson and Alabama already? Meanwhile the Pac 12 is gearing up for their 6-game season starting in November. I’m sure each of those games will be part of a double-header with some intramural sports leagues. What a joke that conference has become!

Finally, I know the series finale of Game of Thrones was not what any of us were hoping for. However, what was brilliant was the NBA’s “Game of Zones” series on Bleacher Report. This was next level funny, and the fact they were able to end this series with a connection to Game of Thrones, and Paul Piece’s wheel chair incident was hilariously brilliant. In case you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Here’s the series finale:

Monday Morning Coffee

September 21, 2020

What a clutch shot by Anthony Davis last night to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead in the West Finals! The Lakers probably didn’t deserve to win that game, but sometimes great players come through, and that’s what Lebron did in the 1st half, followed by AD in the 2nd half. It was also quite fitting that AD made a Kobe like shot while the Lakers were wearing their Mamba jerseys. This Nuggets team is still pretty talented though, and they have been rising from the dead like Jesus Christ. Don’t be surprised if this series ends up going 6 games, even though I still like the Lake Show. Apparently Alex Caruso played like he was pissed off about not getting MVP votes as well. More on that in a moment. Reggie Miller should be suspended for 3 games just for mentioning Kawhi in these Western Conference Finals. AD also looked like prime Ray Lewis when he took out Talen Horton Tucker on that chest bump.

After game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, Lebron said he was “pissed off” that he didn’t win the MVP. He was even pulling out voting results from seven years ago, and pulling out names like Devonte Graham. This guy holds grudges like Donald Trump. As I mentioned before, I would have voted for Lebron because he succeeded under circumstances far more difficult than his peers. I don’t blame people for voting for Giannis because he had a great regular season, and it’s a regular season award, but Lebron is right about the way the media looks at things. These days we typically hear about how the media wants to look at things, as opposed to what they are seeing. That couldn’t be more obvious with the Clipper narrative they tried to shove down our throats for the last year. I don’t have a problem with giving an opinion and it ends up being wrong. I’m wrong all the time. However, don’t double down on your wrong opinion when there is obvious visual and factual evidence that makes your opinion null and void.

You didn’t really think I was going to miss out on the opportunity to slander the Clippers did you? Clearly COVID-19 has not infected the Clipper Curse. Do you realize how clownish you have to be as an NBA team to have other players openly slander your choke job on Twitter? Nice tribute to Kobe Bryant by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to combine for 24 points in game 7. Doc Rivers is an average coach who managed that series like he was Dave Roberts. Imagine how pissed off everyone in the organization was when Paul George said “this season wasn’t championship or bust.”? Steve Ballmer is probably going to gentrify all of Palmdale after that comment. Then you have to love the excuse that they were tired and out of shape, even though they were load managing all season. Or the fact they need more time to build chemistry, when it just so happens the Lakers incorporated 7 new players and have had beautiful chemistry all year. Don’t even try to tell me the Clippers are real contenders again because these clowns prefer chicken wings over championship rings. The media jokers that tried to spin this narrative all season deserve just as much slander, and shouldn’t even be allowed to watch the playoffs on TV for the rest of the season as punishment. Here’s another look at “Pandemic P”.

So far the demise of the Rams has been greatly exaggerated. Everyone in the NFL is complaining about the fact there was no preseason, except Sean McVay never plays any of his starters in the preseason anyway, so it’s been business as usual. The offense looked a lot like it was 2018. Reminder that Jared Goff is actually a pretty good quarterback when you give him time to throw. You’ve gotta love the digital booing of Carson Wentz after he threw that interception in the endzone. Did Robert Woods and Nickell Robey-Coleman not get along as teammates? That was a USC on USC crime when Robey-Coleman lowered his head on Woods and got a penalty. The league is doing the Rams no favors sending them east twice in the next three weeks, but they have a good chance to be 4-1 by the time they hit their showdown with the 49ers on Sunday Night Football.

Meanwhile, the Chargers managed to lose a close game? Since when? Of course the Bolts lost to Kansas City in OT. Not a great move to not go for it in OT and give Patrick Mahomes the ball back with an opportunity to win it. Injuries were so bad around the NFL this week that even Tyrod Taylor got hurt in warm ups. The Bolts must have felt even better about this home game because there were no fans in the stands compared to lasts season with all opposing fans in the stands. Leave it to the Chargers to have louder artificial crowd noise than real crowd noise when their fans are really in the stands. Justin Herbert did look good in his debut though, and I don’t see how you can go back to Tyrod Taylor after that since Herbert is the future. Anthony Lynn said Taylor is the starter if he’s healthy. Something tells me Lynn might be questioning his health for the next 14 weeks or so.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the entire league has been placed on IR after all the injuries that occurred this week. Russell Wilson is a video game cheat code, throwing 5 TD’s on the Pats. His team also has no offensive or defensive line. Death, taxes, and the Falcons blowing leads. Makes sense though because Charles Barkley bet on them. The Lions surrendered their 14-3 lead against the Packers in no time, and now it looks like they should be tanking. Tom Brady might not be washed up afterall. The good news for the Vikings is that no fans were in the building for the first two weeks to see their abysmal play. Kirk Cousins had the same passer rating as me at the end of the third quarter yesterday. Bills Mafia was probably jumping off tables in their kitchen after their team started 2-0 with a win over the Dolphins. Only the Jets would allow a 1st down on 3rd and 31.

Weird how the Pac 12 claims they are now ready to play football isn’t it? I mean it was only two weeks ago that they were saying liability was a problem, as was testing. I guess it took the embarrassment of the Big 10 actually changing their mind and saying they would play, along with Governor Newsom saying there was nothing preventing USC and UCLA from coming back to play if they wanted. If the Pac 12 can’t get their crap together and play at the same time as the other Power 5 conferences, they are going to look like buffoons compared to every one else. No serious elite athletes would ever attend a Pac 12 school again, since sports seemingly aren’t a priority for them. Pac 12 teams have been dropped from the AP Football rankings like 3rd period French since the season started. I feel terrible for the athletes, especially at USC and UCLA, who have had to put up with this incompetent leadership.

The Dodgers have stabilized things for now, and are closing in on another division title. However, Dodger fans should be more nervous than a mosquito in an AIDS clinic right now. Their starting pitching is looking less and less dominant by the day, the bullpen is wearing down, Kenley Jansen is a human hire-wire act, and Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy have been hitting like little leaguers. Take all that and combine it with Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman’s playoff mismanagement, and suddenly I feel like I’ll be needing to make an appointment with a therapist after another October disappointment. Thank god for Mookie Betts, but this man can’t do everything. Get ready for a stressful next few weeks.

As for the Angels, don’t dismiss their playoff chances just yet with 6 games left. They have blown their chance for the top draft pick it looked like they were going to get. Since they’ve got the jerseys on for the next week, they might as well go for it, even if the odds are slim. However, Arte Moreno is doing himself no favors right now when it comes to public perception. He just came out last week and said “it’s very necessary” to vote for Donald Trump in the next election. While I believe who you vote for is your own business on election day, Arte should be aware that he’s becoming more and more hated in OC each day because the Angels stink, and he seems like a guy who just meddles in his team’s operations. Now probably isn’t the time to become more polarizing by spewing out your political beliefs for everyone to cast further judgement on you. Plus, I can just see Trump coming out and saying “The Angels are a great team.”. Then CNN’s Daniel Dale would probably fact check Trump saying “he called the Angels a great team which is totally off-base. They’ve been garbage for 10 years.”

Angels owner Arte Moreno says it's 'very necessary' to vote for Trump

Monday Morning Coffee

September 14, 2020

Remember when everybody thought the Lakers were going to get swept by the Blazers? Remember when everybody thought they were an overrated #1 seed? Remember when everybody thought the Rockets were going to beat them in the 2nd round? Those people look foolish now, because the Lakers just dismantled Houston in five games, and now they are playing like the best team in the Association at the moment. Anthony Davis looked like he was playing against a bunch of 6th graders, and Lebron James has reminded us why he’s arguably the greatest of all time. Best of all, the role players are stepping up and making shots. Apparently “Playoff Rondo” is still a thing. If the Lakers make their outside shots, no matter who they face, they will win the NBA title. Lebron and Anthony Davis are just that good. Hopefully between now and Friday, they don’t die of boredom though in the NBA bubble.

Before I get to the Clippers, let me mention the NBA Executive of The Year. I don’t know how Rob Pelinka is not deserving of the award. The man acquired Anthony Davis with practically the entire NBA conspiring against him, except Rich Paul. He then turned around and assembled a championship contending team after Kawhi played him, with what was considered “spare parts” remaining on the free agent market. His useless boss, Magic Johnson, also quit just weeks before free agency started. Of course he won’t win the award though because every single voter, which are other NBA Executives, are jealous he got the Laker job when they didn’t even get a chance to interview. He also won’t win because people don’t want to hear him talk about Moses and Israel for 20 minutes in his award acceptance speech.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are gonna clip. Just when you think they are about to take off and turn into the elite team that everybody expects them to be, they look like they might blow a 3-1 lead to Denver. They also keep handing over leads in this series like they are some charity helping the poor. As many jokes as we can make out of this, I fully expect the Clippers to win game 7 and play the Lakers in the West Finals. However, there are some serious issues on this team that everyone has overlooked all season, even though NBA Twitter basically thought they were the greatest things since the 1996 Chicago Bulls. They have great individual defenders, but they aren’t a good defensive team. Two of their best players, who both come off the bench, are terrible defensively, and their 4 best players need the ball in their hands to be effective. I think you can blame Magic Johnson, who’s tweets just aren’t aging well right now.

Believe it or not, Power 5 College Football kicked off on Saturday as well. Notre Dame looks like they would be a welcome addition to the ACC permanently, even though they’ll never join. They pounded Duke, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Texas, all looked like powerhouses as well. However, the real story is the Big 10, which changes its mind more than a teenage girl. Now the Big 10 looks like they are going to reverse course and elect to play football sometime in the next 72 hours. Clearly parents in these Midwest states care much more about football than those on the West Coast. Meanwhile, the Pac 12 could care less, not even trying to come up with a solution to play earlier. They are proposing to play in January, like they are some recreational intramural league. I’ve seen church leagues more determined to play than these clowns. What an embarrassment this is going to be for the conference, and something they might never recover from.

To the NFL, where the Rams opened the Sofi stadium era with a win on Sunday Night Football against the Cowboys. There must have been a laundry accident that led to the Rams wearing their practice jerseys in that game. I am digging the helmets though. So glad Sunday Night Football is back, even if it means we have to listen to Chris Collinsworth. I can’t believe so many people picked the Cowboys to win the Super Bowl. Then again, if they are going to win it in the next 100 years, it might as well come in a year that is basically the apocalypse. The Rams benefitted from calls, including Jalen Ramsey flopping like he’s Patrick Beverley. Still, I have no problem with it because they got the short end of the stick in so many close games last year. The offensive line looked much improved, and they may be better than we think. However, they need major help at linebacker, and their running game isn’t quite as explosive as peak Todd Gurley. Nevertheless, this team might be able to sneak into the playoffs.

The Chargers actually got a win in a close game! Wow 2020 is weird. Randy Bullock and AJ Green are going to be the most hated people in Ohio for the next week, after they ruined Joe Burrow’s NFL debut. Knowing the Chargers, Bullock will get cut and probably end up missing kicks for the Bolts later in the year. The Chargers were saved by the offensive PI call, but the tide is bound to turn a little for them in these close games, and at least it did for them yesterday. I’m sure the Bolts will take the win, but they aren’t leaving Ohio without some concerns. They have a nice defensive line, a secondary that’s a little overrated, and an offense that looks pretty awful so far. Next week won’t be easy either against KC.


Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 1, the Bears are probably going to reward Mitch Trubisky for the week 1 win vs. Lions with a 10-year, $504-million contract extension. The Saints spoiled the “Tompa Brady” debut. Watching the Browns’ and Jets’ inept offenses makes everything feel normal again in 2020. Speaking of The Browns, never has it been more fitting for Odell to play for a team called “The Browns”. I guess I’ll always have to consider him “a #2 receiver.” The 49ers lost to Arizona and are probably wondering how much longer Jimmy G’s contract runs. Aaron Rogers just gave the middle finger to everybody that said he’s done by throwing for 4 TD’s against the Vikings. You idiots really let Bill Belichick get Cam Newton didn’t you? Then there’s the Eagles who actually lost to a team with no name. Death, taxes, and a crummy Falcons defense every year. Finally, the Las Vegas Raiders got their first win, and their fans can’t even celebrate because the strip clubs in Vegas aren’t open yet.

To baseball, where the Dodgers beat the Astros last night, but they should be getting very nervous right now. Their lead over the Padres is shrinking faster than the ozone, and the health of their young pitching staff is falling apart. Walker Buehler needs to call up Rich Hill, and ask him to pee on his blister to help him heal his chronic issue. Thank god Dustin May didn’t break his foot, but who knows how much time he’s going to miss. Then there’s Kenley Jansen, who suddenly looks like the closer we all feared he had become. He got destroyed by the Astros over the weekend, and the worst part about it is the Dodgers don’t have anybody else that can take on that role at the moment. The Dodgers need to fix their issues quickly, or else their season might be over sooner than they think. Also congrats to Joc Pederson on the birth of his child. Joc, just make sure you don’t ever give your kid a 1st baseman’s glove. Mookie Betts is a stud, and easily the NL MVP. He would be on pace for over 50 home runs if this were a full season. Terrible ESPN broadcast last night, as they talked about pointless things like crossword puzzles and the New York Times. At least this call was good.

Finally, the new norm in 2020, is really just the old norm for the Angels. Mike Trout is still great, Arte Moreno outwitted the city of Anaheim out of $175 million, and the Halos are still a terrible team with no pitching. Actually, the worst part about this season for the Angels is that they actually got just good enough to not get a top 5 pick in the draft, but still are nowhere close to getting into the postseason. This team is just sad and becoming more and irrelevant in SoCal by the day.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 7, 2020

The Lakers have tied their 2nd round series with the Rockets at 1-1 but it’s been a battle and will continue to be one. It turns out playing a bunch of midgets that do nothing but shoot threes is much tougher than it looks. It was great to see the adjustments Frank Vogel made it game 2, throwing a zone and a double team at James Harden, and a much more efficient LeBron and Anthony Davis. However, the 3rd quarter was scary with the Rockets making all those three pointers, and Lebron basically taking a power nap. The Lakers can’t relax against this team. They have to make sure they are getting as much as possible at the rim with their size and strength, while making sure they defend the three point line like they did for most of the first half last night. If they don’t have that kind of attention to detail, they will be going home early. The Lakers have enough to contend for a title, but I’m tired of people wondering about the Lakers “third guy”. Look people, those of us that have been watching NBA basketball all season know the Lakers “third guy” will be done by committee and can change on a night-to-night basis. Kyle Kuzma isn’t suddenly going to turn into Kevin Love or Chris Bosh. It is what it is, and it’s perfectly fine.

Meanwhile, the Clippers got off to a nice start to their 2nd round series vs the Nuggets, then they decided to mail it in for game 2. Kawhi must have caught a case of “Playoff P”, because he was ice cold from the field. Playoff P was his usual disastrous self though, shooting 36% from the field in the loss. At this point, the Clippers might be better off starting Kim Jon Un, who is in a coma, than Paul George. I don’t expect Kawhi to play that badly again though, nor do I expect Jokic and Murray to play like Shaq and Kobe again. However, the Clippers are still playing a dangerous game of thinking they can turn it on and off whenever they want, especially since the competition in this round is much better than the last round. I understand that NBA teams don’t always play their best every night. However, for a team that hasn’t actually won anything, they act awfully cavalier.

Elsewhere around the NBA, former Laker Brandon Ingram earned the 2020 Most Improved Player Award last week. I love how just about every Laker fan couldn’t be happier for Ingram that he won the award, became an All-Star this year, and is well on his way to fulfilling the potential that made him the #2 pick in the NBA Draft. Meanwhile, the handful of Pelican fans that actually exist are spitting hate every time Anthony Davis has a bad game in the playoffs. Even Brandon Ingram took some subtle shots at the Lakers, saying playing in LA “isn’t always about basketball”. Ingram and the Pelican fans need to get a grip. He was traded for a Top 10 Player, and both teams benefited from it. He played well in LA, and he played even better in New Orleans. Just be happy for everyone and move on. No need hate on anybody. Also, looks like BI took a couple of bong rips before getting interviewed on TNT.

The Dodgers are well on their way to the #1 seed in the baseball playoffs. However, there is still much to be nervous about. The playoff format is going to be scarier than seeing Pedro Baez on the mound late in a playoff game. The first round is a 3-game series. That means if the Dodgers run into the Phillies, Reds, or Mets, they could easily just get taken out by two hot pitchers in two games. The baseball playoffs have always been a crap shoot, but the fact there are 16-teams in it makes you think it’s even more likely a lower seeded team can steal the World Series. Who’s bright idea was this? Oh right, it was Rob Manfred, who is the dumbest commissioner in all of sports. As for the team itself, I normally would skewer Andrew Friedman for trading away a solid pitcher like Ross Stripling, however, this was a good move. It allows the Dodgers to put Tony Gonsolin in their rotation, who is another good young arm for them.

As for the Angels, the trade deadline was a disaster, which says a lot about where this franchise is. They traded away three of their most productive players: Tommy La Stella, Jason Castro, and Brian Goodwin. They got a ham sandwich with expired meat in return, and now the three players that are playing in their place are hitting well below .200: Justin Upton, Luis Rengifo, and Anthony Bemboom. It’s almost like “The Smash Brothers”, except they really should be called “The Trash Brothers.” Billy Eppler is going to be toast when the season is over. How much do you have to suck to miss the playoffs when half the teams in the league qualify, and you have the best player on your team? This club has been acting like they are going to contend every year for the last 7 years, but they never invest the money in the pitching they need, and they always invest in failed position players. As if that’s not bad enough, their farm system is still near the bottom of baseball. You don’t need to tank to build a great organization. You need good scouting and development. The Angels have none of that, on top of their very poor free agent decision making. They’ve got Mike Trout and Anthony Renton for the next decade, so they better hope their next decade with one of the best players ever is much better than the first decade with him.

Now the Pac-12 is acting like they are going to play football by January, which is pathetic. Commissioner Larry Scott appeared on the Dan Patrick show earlier in the week, and tried to sound excited over their ability to test for COVID in the coming months. Funny how the SEC, Big 12, and ACC don’t seem to have a problem with testing. Nor do they have any shame by just having their football players play while many of their students aren’t even on campus. Scott said that just goes to show you where the priorities for some schools and states are compared to the Pac-12 and California. While that may be fair, since his job revolves around college athletics, perhaps he should at least give the appearance he’s trying a lot harder to make football happen this year. Instead, he looks like a toothless figurehead. This also goes to show you how USC is now really failing the conference. Back when USC was great a football in the Pete Caroll days, they might have the influence to make football happen. Instead, their leadership is apathetic toward playing, which makes sense since they don’t even care about having a mediocre coach leading them anyway. On the other hand, Ohio State might singlehandedly sway all the votes in the Big 10 to get them to play in the fall. I also like how the President called the Big 10 commissioner and not the Pac 12. Obviously it’s a political move to get the swing states voting for him, but it also speaks volumes about everyone’s priorities.

Finally, 2020 has been bad, but now it’s just getting personal. Taco Bell is taking the Mexican Pizza off it’s menu starting in November. First they came for the Nacho Supreme and the Spicy Potato Taco, which people sucked it up and dealt with. However, now you’re talking about taking something off the menu that has been a Taco Bell iconic item for decades. This is probably worth rioting and protesting over. The pitchforks and tiki torches need to come out. Without the Mexican Pizza, life may not even be worth living anymore. I wish I could have been in that marketing meeting. “We need to be more innovative and eco-friendly guys, so let’s get rid of an item that’s been a staple for decades”. Apparently fixing the packaging was not an option. 2020 has taken everything, including people’s logic, and America’s favorite fake Mexican food.

Monday Morning Coffee

August 31, 2020

It’s been 8 years, and a wild last few days, but the Lakers are back in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Even though the Lake Show played game 5 like it was 5 pm at LA Fitness, they got the job done. They showed that they have the best defense and the best dynamic duo in the Association. I fully expect a showdown with the Rockets in the next round, in a battle of small ball vs big ball. That won’t be easy. As for the NBA’s social justice efforts, I respect the movement but I stand by what I said before. Playing and using their platform to advocate for change is more powerful than not playing. Not to mention the fact that not playing would result in disastrous financial consequences for players and the league. Police brutality and racial injustice are major issues in this country, but they aren’t going to be fixed overnight. They also aren’t going to be fixed by suddenly putting a new President in place in this country. I also truly wonder how many of these NBA owners are going to genuinely support the players causes, when in reality, many of them are historically very conservative. Even Betsy DeVos, the Magic Owners, is Trump’s Secretary of Education. It can create some sticky situations.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are also in the 2nd round of the playoffs after knocking off the Mavericks. The Clips lucked out a little bit that Luka Doncic was banged up, and that Kristaps Porzingas didn’t play for most of the series. They probably would have won anyway, but they can’t feel great about Paul George, who reverted back to his “Pandemic P” ways. PG played well in game 5, but was awful in very other game of the series, claiming that he was “in a dark place”. These dudes really go off the deep end without strippers I tell you. Then there was the reported confrontation Patrick Beverley had with NBAPA Executive Director, Michelle Roberts. According to Chris Haynes, Beverley reportedly told her to shut up because he pays her salary. If the NBA players were serious about social justice, they would have punished Beverley but forcing him to take a shower, which probably would have been his first since entering the bubble.

To baseball, where the Dodgers took 2 of 3 from the Rangers over the weekend, as we rapidly approach the trade deadline today. If there’s going to be a deal the Dodgers should make today, it’s sending a shipping container of Big League Chew to the Padres, in exchange for them burning those creepy mannequins they have in right field. In all seriousness though, if the Dodgers can get Josh Hader or Mike Clevinger without dismantling their farm system then great, otherwise they are fine as is. In fact, the Boys in Blue could be a lot better in the long run if they put Tony Gonsolin in their rotation permanently, let their starters go an extra inning or two to save their bullpen, and get some at-bats for young guys like Gavin Lux. As much as I make fun of Friedman for his exclusively analytics approach, he has the players and the tools he needs, he just need to know the right way to use them.

Then there’s the Angels. I think Billy Eppler has basically given up as GM. By trading Tommy LaStella, one of the teams best hitters, for a career .180 hitter, he’s given up hope on keeping his job. He also traded Jason Castro for a pitching prospect with a career ERA of 7.62. Even Arte Moreno admitted Eppler had a lot of work to do this year to return as GM next season. It sure doesn’t look like that work has been done. If Eppler received a bottle of hand sanitizer and a pack of toilet paper, he would have been in better shape than the return he got in this deals. The Halos have had Mike Trout for nearly a decade, yet they pretend like they are trying to win now by signing bargain base free agents that haven’t worked out. It hasn’t because their free agent pitchers have been extra awful, and they haven’t developed any pitching either. They don’t have the worst farm system in baseball, but in five years they are still near the bottom, while not having much to show for having the best player in baseball on their team. Now there’s talk of trading Dylan Buddy. Unless a plethora of young arms are coming back, I have no idea why the Angels would trade their best pitcher. Things are so bad in Anaheim, the cardboard cutouts are leaving by the 3rd inning.

I still cannot believe that the Pac-12 is going to sit out this football season and all fall sports, while three other conferences are going to play. How can the conference possibly look themselves in the mirror and admit to themselves that what they are doing is truly in the best interest of the athletes and the schools? I was willing to believe that it wasn’t safe for them until they were told they were allowed to practice. If athletes are allowed to practice then there is no reason they can’t play games. I feel especially terrible for the UCLA and USC athletes. Commissioner Larry Scott reportedly told every school that widespread testing was not available. Funny how it’s available in the Big 12, the ACC, and the SEC. What do you expect from the leader of a conference that is losing hundreds of millions of dollars in television money annually. With Scott’s rationale, one can only be left to wonder if this is simply a political decision. Either way, he can’t last much longer as the leader of the conference, it’s just a matter of what the damage will be when he’s gone.

We haven’t heard much about the Rams, even though they are on Hard Knocks. However, one thing is clear: there’s already signs that cutting Todd Gurley was a smart move. The talk in Atlanta is that Gurley is on a load management program. Gurley is like that really nice sports car you own with way too many miles on it, that keeps breaking down when you need it most. It looks great when it’s running, but it’s in the shop more than when it’s running. The Rams got the best years out of that sports car, so they shouldn’t be feeling too bad. In fact, they already have two interesting running backs to keep an eye on: Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson. Akers is already looking like a solid starter and somebody that’s going to be an impact player as a rookie. The division is going to be brutal, but the Rams did win 9 games last year, so they aren’t as bad as you might think.

As for the Chargers, they announced that they will not be allowing fans in Sofi Stadium for this season. They also followed this announcement by saying that this is not COVID related because they have no fans that come to their games anyway. Things are already trending the wrong way for the Bolts on the field though, as Safety Derwin James tore his meniscus in practice yesterday. Mike Williams is already out with an injury too. If there’s two things that are always symbolic of Charger Football, it’s injuries and choking late in games. The season hasn’t even started yet and the injuries have already kicked in. If the season gets away from the team quickly, it’s only a matter of time before Justin Herbert gets the starting job.

Monday Morning Coffee

August 24, 2020

I like it much better when “Playoff Lebron” is playing on the Lakers. We finally saw that on Saturday night, and suddenly things are looking up for the Lakers. Sure there’s still some concern. Sometimes it feels like this team couldn’t hit a 3, even if they ran into Khole Kardashian at happy hour. Rajon Rondo also needs to be put in bubble wrap to stay healthy. However, their defense isn’t just good, it’s elite. They have held the Blazers to a measly 40% shooting in the series, which is crazy considering how hot they were coming in. Lebron didn’t even break a sweat in a game 2 blowout, and Anthony Davis has looked great in the last two games. The Blazers aren’t done yet, but they look exhausted. This series certainly is not over, but if there’s one thing Laker fans can feel better about it’s that their defense is going to give them a fighting chance against everybody.

Meanwhile, the Clippers find themselves locked up in a 2-2 series with the Mavs. Luka Doncic is becoming a star overnight, and he’s making this series far more interesting than most of us thought. The biggest problem for the Clippers right now though is that “Playoff P” is becoming “Pandemic P”. In fact, I’m not even sure the “P” stands for Paul anymore. Dude is shooting 25% in this series. When Anthony Davis has one bad half of basketball, all hell breaks loose on Twitter. When Paul George puts together 3 straight awful performances, people just say he might need to play better. This also explains why he didn’t want to play for the Lakers. He just didn’t want the scrutiny or the accountability in the big moments. I’m not convinced yet the Clips are going to lose this series, but their lack of on court time together, and their perception that they can just “turn it on” is making life very difficult for them. It’s even more of a problem because the Mavs are becoming even more confident.

To baseball where the Dodgers are just dominating. They have the best record in the baseball, and have a 4 game lead in the NL West. They have so many good young arms, they can’t even find a way to fit Tony Gonsolin in their rotation, or even find a way to get Gavin Lux in the lineup, who is their best prospect. That’s all great, but I’m still not without concern. Come October, I don’t want to see Clayton Kershaw or Kenley Jansen put in situations to fail. That means I don’t want Kershaw in a highly leveraged situation in the 7th or 8th inning when he’s thrown a lot of pitches. I don’t want Jansen going for 9-out saves. The Dodgers have a real bullpen and real pitchers behind those two. If they don’t, then you’ve been lying to us and to yourself Andrew Friedman. Only time will tell if this is true, because that’s been the case nearly every October for the last seven years with this team.

Then there’s the Angels. I’ve been thinking their best strategy is to just fake COVID infections and quit on the season. The Halos have the worst record in the American League. Their pitching staff has the 5th worst ERA in baseball. They are also in the bottom third of the league in hitting. I realize the Angels aren’t great, but I would expect them to beat up on the Giants and not make their offense look like Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent were still on the team. On one hand I’d like to suggest the the Angels just start tanking. However, they don’t need to. They are bad enough to try to win, and still lose a lot of games. That’s just sad.

Happy Mamba Day everyone! I hope you’re all planning on crumpling up pieces of paper and throwing them in the trash while yelling “KOBE!” Sometimes it’s the little things like that that make a person’s legacy. Kobe’s only been gone since January, and it feels like something that we’ll just never get over. His inspiration will just life on forever though.


Monday Morning Coffee

August 17, 2020

It’s playoff time! As many of you feared, the Lakers are going to be matching up with the Blazers in the 1st round of the playoffs starting Tuesday night. You shouldn’t be fearful though. The Blazers might be hot, but they have been playing defense like every team they play against has COVID. Anthony Davis should look like Shaquille O’Neal playing against 7th graders in this series. This isn’t going to be a a sweep, or even an easy series by any means, but the Lakers should win. The Blazers are also the perfect opponent to prepare them for tough opponents beyond that like OKC, Houston, or the Clippers. Also, after two years, my expectation is that you will finally see “Playoff Lebron”, and it’s going to be spectacular.

As for the Clippers, they will take on the Mavericks in round 1. Dallas has a nice team, but this one is going to be hard to see the Clips losing. This series is also kind of awkard. Doc Rivers will be coaching against his new son-in-law, Seth Curry. I’m pretty sure his daughter wants her husband’s team to wipe the floor with her dad’s team. Doc probably doesn’t see this as awkward since he traded his own son to the Rockets, and then traded for Paul George, who cheated on his daughter. In reality, the Clippers might actually have more drama behind the scenes than an episode of Jerry Springer. However, they are just the Clippers and nobody talks about them unless they want to disparage the Lakers somehow.

To baseball, where the Dodgers swept the Angels over the weekend during a 3-game set in Anaheim. They are starting to pull away in the NL West. Then there’s Joe Kelly, who just earned some more equity with Dodger fans. He called the Astros “snitches” and “little bitches” over their cheating scandal, on a podcast last week. In case you’re wondering about the Astros, they are hovering around the .500 mark, while Jose Altuve and George Springer hover below .200 at the plate. I guess that’s what happens when you cheat for years, then have to play for real. The A’s had “The Smash Brothers”, while the Astros now have “The Trash Brothers”. Getting back to the Dodgers, they enter the week with a 2 game lead in the NL West. Cody Bellinger and Max Muncy are coming around, but it’s been a slow start. That’s how stacked their lineup has been. On the pitching side, great to see Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen looking elite again, but not so sure what’s going on with Walker Buehler. He still has great stuff, but is making too many mistakes. Speaking of mistakes though, this graphic about the Dodgers schedule probably could have been made a little more family friendly!

Meanwhile, it’s already looking like a lost season for the Angels. They are near the bottom of the AL West, and much closer to the very bottom than sneaking into the playoffs. Let me put that in perspective for you. The Angels have the best player in baseball, and they have only made the playoffs with him once in 9 full season of him on the team. This year, they probably won’t even get in the postseason with half of the teams in the league getting in. That’s just madness, and downright baseball malpractice. About the only thing the Angels do well is hit home runs. They are near the bottom of the AL in batting average, they strikeout more than Urkel in high school, and their pitching is hot garbage. It’s also hard to win when you have 3 of your highest 4 paid players are hitting under .200. The Halos might as well pack it in and go wait outside Disneyland for the reopening.

If Chip Kelly and Clay Helton go winless this year, do they still get fired? Asking for a friend? In all seriousness though, the PAC-12 and Big 10 pulling out the College Football Season is a huge problem for the future of their conference athletics. I don’t know if the right thing to do is to play or not. However, I do think it makes no sense for three other conferences to say they are going to play, and two others to say no. How can the medical experts not agree on the information? I hear the argument that the PAC-12 and the Big 10 aren’t willing to take the liability risk, but why are three other conferences willing to take that risk? I can only believe that some of this is politically driven, even from the medical side, which is sad. We can all admit that football is the golden ticket because it pays for all the other sports on campus. Student athletes are treated differently anyway, so why not create athletic bubbles within your campus for a couple of months? That bubble can include other sports too. It’s worked in the NBA and the NHL, so surely it can work on a College Campus where world class medicine exists. This would be possible if the leadership were better, and the NCAA actually did something, but unfortunately, that’s not the situation. It’s terrible for the kids. It’s also going to crush the PAC 12 and Big 10 from recruiting and being successful conferences in the short and long-term.

Finally, poor Darren Rovell is getting beat up on by everyone these days. The sports business analyst for the Action Network keeps getting crushed by Fox Sports’ Clay Travis on a daily basis. Clay has not only referred to Rovell as a “Corona Bro” for not wanting to play sports or come out of his basement until there is a vaccine, but even described Rovell as “on the Sports Mount Rushmore of Corona Bros.” I love both these guys, but Clay has been relentless in making fun of Rovell. As if that wasn’t tough enough for Rovell to deal with, now he’s got Johnny Manziel throwing ruthless barbs at him on Twitter too. If this keeps up you can add Rovell’s Twitter account to the list of casualties in 2020.