Monday Morning Coffee

August 21, 2017

Everything was going great for the Lakers until this weekend, when they found out they are under investigation by the NBA for tampering with Paul George.  This is like your ex-girlfriend trying to prevent you from ending up with the girl you know you’re going to end up with by trashing you on social media.  Every team tampers.  It’s simply the name of the game when trying to lure NBA free agents these days.  If the league cracks the whip on the Lakers and forbids them from signing Paul George, it would be shameful.  Meanwhile, Chris Sheridan has sources saying Lebron is leaving Cleveland at the end of the year.  Could he make it any more obvious that he’s planning on joining the Lakers?

To the NFL, where Jared Goff shocked most of us haters over the weekend with his performance against the Raiders.  The guy suddenly looked like he can play.  However, prior to that Sean McVay gave us reason to doubt him.  Every time McVay talks about Goff’s progress, the best thing he can say about him is that he has command of the huddles and is gaining respect.  That’s it?  What about his accuracy as a passer? Can he actually avoid turnovers? He did on Saturday, but even McVay sounds skeptical that he can be consistent.  Meanwhile, since the Chargers are giving out free tattoos to their fans, maybe they can pay for the Rams front office to get one across their forehead that says “sign Aaron Donald.”

Watching the Chargers and Saints do battle in practice, and in preseason last night can only make you look back on the Philip Rivers vs Drew Brees debate.  Brees got screwed in 2006 when Chargers GM AJ Smith told him he would be re-signed, even after his shoulder injury.  However, Smith went back on his word, ultimately letting Brees sign with the Saints, while giving the starting job to Rivers.  I’ve always felt bad for Brees because his heart was in San Diego, and he never wanted to leave.  However, had he remained in San Diego he would not have become one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen.  The Bolts would not have built the team around Brees the way the Saints did, allowing him to become the player he did.  That’s no disrespect to Rivers, who is a fine quarterback as well.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are still rolling despite yesterday’s loss to the Tigers.  However, Andrew Friedman finally stopped listening to his computer, and sent Joc Pederson down to the minors.  He found a way to replace him with Curtis Granderson, who is already contributing quite nicely.  Since only 30% of the fans in LA can see the Dodger games, I guess if the Dodgers win the World Series only 30% of the fans will get to see the parade.  Nobody should worry about comparing those great regular season Dodger teams of the past that failed in the playoffs to this one though.  That would be like saying the Presidential approval rating of the 1962 President is better than today……oh wait never mind! The Dodgers really are screwed.

Big win by the Angels yesterday that kept them tied for the last AL Wild Card spot.  That series should have been a sweep though because Friday’s loss was brutal.  I guess there’s only 40 more times or so where the Angels can disappoint their fans like that because something tells me the Halos will make it interesting, yet somehow, the pitching will let them down when they need it most.  I also can’t figure out why the LA Times can’t send an actual beat writer to cover the team, as opposed to just giving readers an AP article on their road games.  Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and Albert Pujols just hit his 600th home run, yet the Halos can’t even get any local coverage.

The LA Kings held a “State of The Franchise” meeting last week, and it was nothing but selling false hope.  They might as well have told their fans that they are going to be the same team that will try to be physical, but probably won’t be able to score.  Apparently Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar are going to score twice as many goals as last season, just because they are in better shape.  LA’s best hope is for their recent draft picks to turn into something, but that’s probably a couple of seasons away.

I tried to watch The Bachelor in Paradise, but it was terrible.  Somehow, the show managed to take all of the uninteresting characters from previous seasons, and combine them into one uninteresting hour of television.  Corrine and DeMario gave us some entertainment for exactly one episode, but the collateral damage left us with a discussion on sexual consent and race.  The show’s budget is going to hell too.  Chris Harrison has to be the lifeguard, and wardrobe won’t even buy him a bathing suit.

Finally, what an episode of Game of Thrones last night on HBO.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Read no further if you plan to watch it later.  Face it, we’ve reached the point where when one of your favorite characters dies you can probably deal with it.  However, when we lose a dragon, you’re heartbroken and want to call PETA.  That’s exactly what happened last night.  If you think that’s not strange enough, how many of us are rooting for incest to take place and see Jon Snow and Daeny actually hook up? It nearly happened last night, and I was shocked it didn’t.  The Night King would be both an excellent Olympic Javelin thrower, as well as a far better quarterback than anybody on the Jets roster right now.  Imagine what Donald Trump was probably thinking if he saw this episode.  “The White Walkers were peacefully protesting before a stone was thrown.  There is blame on both sides.”  Where does the army of the dead get chains to pull the dragon? Is there a Walmart north of the wall?  After episodes like that, I’m beginning to think HBO needs to include therapy in your subscription.  I think we need to face the fact that there’s a strong likelihood this season, and the series could very well have an unhappy ending.  One of Sansa, Arya, or Daeny seem most likely not to make it out of this season.  The show could tear your heart out next week, then disappear for a year.  Hard to tell if this is a TV series, or your ex.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

August 14, 2017

Roger Goodell has committed quite a few acts of cruelty during his time as NFL Commissioner.  The Bills topped all of those acts of cruelty last week by trading Sammy Watkins to the Rams.  This is called building a franchise reactively instead of proactively.  The Rams need talent and playmakers that can stretch the field, but they can’t be in the business of giving up high draft picks in the process. Watkins will probably suffer another injury boarding the plane that will keep out for 6-8 weeks.  If the Bills believed that Watkins was healthy, they wouldn’t have given up on him.  He’s a problem for the Rams now, but the bigger problem is their offensive line, which still pretty terrible.  Saturday’s preseason game against the Cowboys showed that problem on full display.

Speaking of the Cowboys, they learned that Ezekiel Elliott would be suspended for six games for alleged domestic abuse.  Jerry Jones is so upset over this, he’ll probably sign Lucky Whitehead and cut him again. I also like how every Cowboys fan on Twitter turned into an attorney once they heard this news.  Meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un will probably play in the NFL before Colin Kaepernick does.  The Falcons had a double digit lead on the Dolphins going into the 4th quarter of a preseason game, blew it, and lost. They’re already in playoff form.  Mike Glennon’s 2nd pass as a Chicago Bear was a pick six. He’s replacing Jay Cutler perfectly.  The NFL regular season is just a few weeks away!

There were 21,000 people at the Chargers game last night.  There were 25,000 people at the last LA Galaxy game.  After last night, LA officials are probably on the phone with the city of San Diego trying to figure out if there is a way the Bolts can move back there.

To baseball, where the Dodgers may have won two of three against the D’Backs earlier in the week, but they gave us a glimpse of where they should still be concerned come playoff time.  The bullpen.  In two of the three games against the D’Backs, the pen imploded in the 7th or 8th inning.  As great as the Dodgers have been this year, this is the same problem they’ve had in the postseason the last four years.  Even scarier is the fact the St. Louis Cardinals are knocking on the door of the playoffs.  As if I didn’t have enough nightmares from the recent Dodger playoff appearances.  Houston Mitchell of the LA Times says that we should stop worrying about what happens to the Dodgers if they come up short in the playoffs, because it’s like worrying about the traffic on the way home from Disneyland.    Houston forgot that we worry about the crowds at Disneyland and the traffic on the way home, but it doesn’t stop us from going.  It’s just part of being a sports fan.  We don’t stop being Dodger fans because they kick their fans in the balls every October, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less when it happens, or stop us from being worried about it.

Meanwhile, the Angels are now sitting in the 2nd Wild Card spot in the American League.  I don’t know if that says more about the Halos, or the fact that the rest of the American League isn’t very good.  This team is Mike Trout and a bunch of pitchers held together by duct tape and chicken wire.  However, that pitching staff might actually be getting some serious help in the next couple of weeks.  Andrew Heaney looks like he could be coming off the DL soon, and Garrett Richards could be coming shortly after that.  When you add those two guys to rookie Parker Bridwell, who is now 7-1 after yesterday, the Halos roster may be getting better when they need it most.

Lonzo Ball picked Lebron Over Kobe when asked who is better.  I realize that some Kobe fans probably want to burn Lonzo’s house down, impound his car, and eject him from the universe.  However, this was a shrewd move by Lonzo, who is angling to play with Lebron in 2018, when he will be a free agent.  Lonzo doesn’t always say a lot, but when he does, he gets it.

I like the Clippers new uniforms and all, but how often are they going to keep changing them? Steve Ballmer has been trying to establish a new brand and much different identity since taking over the team.  However, how can you establish that identity when you change uniforms more frequently than Zach Randolph smokes weed?

If Josh Rosen thinks the demands of being a student athlete at UCLA are unreasonable, then he can try being a regular student.  Like all the other students at UCLA, he can struggle to actually find a spot in the classes he needs for his major to graduate.  He can also get a job and pay for his education the way many others are, as opposed to the free education he is receiving.  Nobody said being a student athlete is easy, but Rosen shouldn’t act like he doesn’t have the opportunity of a lifetime in front of him.

Let’s talk TV, starting with The Bachelorette season finale last week.  How did Rachel ever leave Kevin Durant? They had so much in common, like the fact they were totally desperate and would do anything for a ring.  They each got one in 2017.  Everyone put her on pedestal when the show started, but she ended up disappointing many by choosing Bryan over Peter.  There’s nothing like wanting to be married more than wanting to be with the right person.  You thought Nick and Vanessa were the most superficial looking couple you’ve ever seen? Rachel just said “hold my beer”, and gave us an even more fake relationship with her and Bryan.  How does Bryan feel about the fact that his fiancé wanted to be with another man 24 hours before he actually proposed to her? That’s like winning by forfeit.  Bryan is to true love what chiropractors are to medicine: fake.  Unfortunately, Rachel was too busy flying around in helicopters, and having dates in Spain with too many guys to realize that is the case.  The season started off so promising, but had an unsatisfying ending.

Finally, Game of Thrones went down on HBO last night with another episode.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it so read no further if that is the case.  This episode wasn’t edge of your seat like last week but still pretty solid.  Nobody really thought that Jamie was dead after last week right?  You have to appreciate the alliances that are taking place here.  A coupe of bastards, two dudes who have been resurrected, a disgraced knight, a Wildling, a sorcerer, and the Hound, all team up to form a coalition with Cersei, who really wants them dead.  The Lannisters now look like they are screwed, but their fate will just have to wait until the battle with the White Walkers is over.  Something tells me Littlefinger is going to outsmart Arya, and will successfully drive a wedge between the two Stark girls with his latest move.  The biggest bomb of the show was Gilly mentioning Rhaegar being secretly remarried to Ned’s sister. That makes Jon Snow a true Targaryen, and gives him an even more rightful claim to the iron throne than Dany.  Jon touching the dragon might as well have been a DNA test to prove he’s a Targaryen.  Only two episodes left in 2017!

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

August 7, 2017

I’m that guy.  That’s right.  I’m the grumpy Dodger fan that finds a way to remain skeptical of their World Series chances, even after putting together the best 50-game stretch in the last 100 years of baseball.  How can you blame me though? The team hasn’t won the World Series since 1988, while their middle relief and lack of starting pitching depth has let them down in the last four years of postseason play.  I’m not so sure that Tony Watson or Tony Cingrani can fix that relief problem, given their struggles against lefties this year.  Cingrani sounds better suited to be Italian seasoning on chicken, rather than a Major League pitcher.  As for Yu Darvish, he looked great in his debut, but knowing the Dodgers’ luck, he’ll probably pick up a blister shaking hands with Rich Hill and Brandon McCarthy.  Maybe Andrew Friedman should have acquired Steve Bartman at the deadline as a scapegoat if the Dodgers come up short in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the trade deadline came and went in disappointing fashion for the Angels.  The Halos are like a drunk ugly guy at the party who can’t get a ride home, but isn’t good looking enough to find a girl to hook up with.  They tried to get prospects for some of their relievers, but their assets weren’t good enough to help replenish their disastrous farm system.  They also aren’t nearly talented enough to compete for an AL Wild Card spot, let alone the AL West title.  It’s no wonder the Angels have no choice but to keep sticking Albert Pujols in the middle of their batting order, and Ricky Nolasco on the mound.  They have no better alternatives.  It would also be nice if Kole Calhoun didn’t step out of the batters box after every pitch.  The man has become the human rain delay.

Doc Rivers is out as head of basketball operations for the Clippers, but will remain coach.  That should insure that the Clippers will miss the playoffs next season.  Austin Rivers is probably wondering whether or not he’ll be traded anytime soon.  In all seriousness though, Doc Rivers trusts Lawrence Frank quite a bit, so I’m not sure how much they will disagree on issues anyway.  Doc also isn’t going to be interested in sticking around long if the Clippers miss the playoffs and are closer to a rebuild.  In any case, I think it’s safe to say that Danilo Gallinari plays and punches like a Clipper.  He couldn’t have begun his Clipper career in more typical fashion by breaking his hand on another player’s face.  He and Blake Griffin should call themselves the orthopedic front court duo.

Just one week into NFL training camp, the Chargers have lost rookie offensive lineman Forrest Lamp to a torn ACL.  You can take the Chargers out of San Diego, but you can’t take the injuries out of the Chargers.  Good thing GM Tom Telesco claimed his focus was on drafting players that he thought would remain healthy.  1st round pick Mike Williams is going to be hampered by a back injury this year as well, so the Bolts are clearly in mid-season form.  The Chargers not only can’t seem to get their draft picks right, but they also can’t seem to get their birthday’s right either.  They wished Williams a happy birthday when it was really two months away.

It’s great to hear that the 2028 Olympics are going to be back in Los Angeles.  Let’s be honest though, LA and Paris are really two of the few remaining cities that are capable of profitably hosting the summer games.  Part of the agreement includes several hundred million dollars up front that the city of LA plans to use for youth sports.  However, as a concession for deferring the games until 2028, LA could have extracted even more from the IOC, who really could have been put over a barrel.  Instead of utilizing existing spaces at UCLA and USC for an athlete Olympic village, LA could have had the IOC dump money into a new Olympic village, which could have been converted into low income housing.  That would help solve a few of SoCal’s current issues like homelessness.

Let’s talk TV.  The season finale of The Bachelorette goes down tonight on ABC.  However, the story of last week was the Men Tell All, which was extremely uncomfortable.  That episode was as dramatic as when Scaramucci got canned in the Oval Office, but with more attractive people.  Lee got absolutely crushed on national television, and spent two hours trying to avoid saying “I’m a racist.”  What happened to his thick southern boy accent?  Chris Harrison didn’t exactly help Lee’s cause either by putting him on blast by showing some of his previously racially insensitive tweets to the audience.  I’m still not sure if ABC should send a memo out to the public apologizing for casting a racist, or if they meant to do this to give us what they thought would be great entertainment.  Meanwhile, DeMario clearly missed the memo that he was supposed to wear a suit to the show.  He looked like he was getting ready to pick up a shift at the Olive Garden when it was over.  There should be a Men Tell All show for all the people Donald Trump has fired in the last six months.

Then there was Sharknado 5, which went down on SyFy last night.  Once again, this thing nearly broke the internet, dominating Twitter.  I know what you’re thinking: a tornado with sharks could never happen.  However, a Sharknado is ten times more likely than the Rams or Chargers making the playoffs, and far more realistic than CNN’s reporting.  I’ve gotta hand it to the producers.  They found a way to offend nearly every country in a two hour period.  I feel like Tara Reid’s entire script was her yelling “aaaaaahhhhhh” for the whole movie.  Where can I get one of those Gil helmets for Halloween? So many people died in Sharknado 5, I was beginning to think i was watching Game of Thrones.  More on that in a moment.  Of course they are coming out with Sharknado 6 next summer.    If Ms. Piggy and Michael Jackson had a baby, it would grow up looking like this.

Finally, what an unbelievable episode of Game of Thrones last night on HBO.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  I love how most people watching the episode probably weren’t even phased by the fact thousands of men were burned alive, yet the dragon took one spear and everybody was horrified.  I was most concerned that we could lose Dany because no significant character had died recently.  However, I did not want to see Jamie die either, which is ironic, because most of us probably have a soft spot for the guy that pushed a ten year old boy out the window when this whole thing started.  Speaking of that 10 year old boy, Bran is starting to get on my nerves.  He’s like your weird emo friend who you just can’t talk to anymore after he’s taken one philosophy class in college.  Arya is getting way too cocky with her sword skills.  I have a feeling it might actually get her killed.  Poor Sansa, all of her siblings have super powers yet what is hers? Attracting terrible men?  Robert Baratheon once said only a fool would meet the Dothraki in the open field battle.  I think we all know what he meant after that episode.  Do you realize that there has been a battle in every episode this season? Do you realize how wild the next three episodes are going to be? I don’t know how I’m going to wait another week for this.  Writing in a television series might have never been this good.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

July 31, 2017

Don’t be surprised or disappointed if the Dodgers don’t do anything much before today’s MLB trade deadline.  In two previous trade deadlines, Andrew Friedman has held on to his top prospects the way Charlie Sheen hangs on to bags of cocaine.  That was when there were real elite pitchers available like Cole Hamels, David Price, and Johnny Cueto available.  Today there’s nothing but a bunch of has-beens available like Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander, even though the trade value of the Tigers’ pitcher is enhanced by the fact his girlfriend is Kate Upton.  Improving the bullpen would be nice, and so would Yu Darvish, but this isn’t the trade deadline to go all out.  If Friedman didn’t do it then, he’s probably not going to do it now.  He doesn’t need to either.  As for Clayton Kershaw, the one positive about his back injury: he gets to rest his arm for the playoffs.

What are the Angels doing? They should be moving players at the trade deadline like they are having a clearance sale, just to do whatever they can to improve their farm system.  The Halos’ front office refuses to look themselves in the mirror and admit that they need to rebuild.  They might have Mike Trout, but they have no money to go get quality free agents, and no solid young players to build with.  By now, Bud Norris, David Hernandez, and Yusmeiro Petit should all have their bags packed.  Even Kole Calhoun could fetch some decent prospects.  Instead, the Angels will continue to fall out of the playoff race and come this winter, they’ll once again try to convince everyone that they are just a player or two away from contending.  That really means they are about to make another stupid free agent signing.

By now you have probably heard about how rough of a week NFL wide receiver Lucky Whitehead is having.  In fact, it’s probably the worst week any human being has ever had.  First his dog gets stolen by his ex-girlfriend, sold to some rappers who then held the dog for random.  Then he gets cut by the Cowboys after being accused of a crime he didn’t commit.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, he got claimed off waivers by the Jets.  At this point, he should probably change his name to “Unlucky Whitehead”, and request to go back to jail since that’s better than playing for the Jets.  You’ve gotta love the Cowboys’ logic.  Ezekiel Elliott was accused of multiple crimes, but he’s a great talent, so they protect him at all cost.  Whitehead was falsely  accused of a crime but since he’s not a great talent, the Cowboys cut him immediately.

Speaking of the NFL, the fact the Rams have been unable to come to an agreement with Aaron Donald just goes to show you how out of whack the NFL is.  Quarterbacks like Joe Flacco and Ryan Tannehill can make $20 million a year just for being mediocre.  Meanwhile Donald is one of the best players in the league, and he’l be lucky if he makes half of that.  The only thing exciting about the Rams this coming season is the fact that they have a fun training camp to go watch at UC Irvine.  They might be able to find better football players walking on campus though.  Not even an easier schedule can stop this team from being one of the worst in the NFL in 2017.

The Chargers also opened up training camp in Costa Mesa over the weekend.  I’m definitely intrigued at the thought of the Bolts playing in a soccer stadium, where the fans could provide an incredible home field advantage.  However, the Chargers division and their schedule, is way too tough to expect them to make the playoffs.  Also, the fact that Mike Williams is already injured is about as surprising as Donald Trump insulting his fellow Republicans.

I can’t believe people actually thought that Michael Phelps was going to get in the water next to a Great White Shark and actually race it.  I was shocked that those people walk among us.  It was actually bold enough for Phelps to get in the water and swim in an area that has been known to have Great White Sharks in it.  Even against the computer model shark, Phelps had no chance.  In order to train for the race he should have just had Ray Lewis chase him around with a knife.  The race would have been way more fair if marine biologists had injected the shark with the same weed that Phelps smokes.

The Bachelorette is back on ABC tonight for the “Men Tell All”, but last week’s episode had to make you laugh.   Rachel is of the opinion that when the show is over, she has to be engaged.  On the other hand, Peter has a take it a little more slow opinion that the rest of the world has, yet he is viewed as the crazy one.  I’m beginning to think Rachel’s dad would rather light himself on fire than end up on reality television, since it’s been two seasons that he decided not to be on the show.  The show has a tendency to make you think one thing is going to happen, in last week’s case getting rid of Peter, then does something totally different.  Peter is still in the game.  However, you know Rachel is mad at him because she didn’t even finish her glass of wine while she was with him.  Rachel never leaves an empty glass of wine people.  For those of you that like Peter, be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Finally, Game of Thrones went down on HBO last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you haven’t.  This was an amazing episode.  Lady Olenna just dropped the mic in spectacular fashion.  That woman showed that a dying rose can still kill a Lion.   The meeting between Daenerys and Jon didn’t go as smoothly as we thought.  She gave a long tale of how she struggled to get where she is now, and all Jon had to say was “I actually died and came back to life.”  I like how it no longer takes a full season for characters to travel from one part of the seven kingdoms to the next.  Jamie is going to kill Euron at some point.  Someone needs give Sansa their HBO GO password so she can go back in time and figure out what the hell Bran is talking about.  Then again, if he told you he’s the “three-eyed Raven” instead of the Lord of Winterfell, you would probably think he just got back from Burning Man.  The Lannisters look like they are winning the war for now, but something tells me they are going to blow it.  The next episode can’t get here soon enough!

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

July 24, 2017

So what exactly do you get if you win an NBA Summer League Championship in Vegas? Do you get free lap dances at the Spearmint Rhino? Probably nothing more than respect and a nice trophy, but it was good to see the Lakers win something because it’s been a while.  The bigger take away was Lonzo Ball’s impact, and I’m not just talking about on the floor.  The Lakers final summer league game got better ratings than the Red Sox vs Blue Jays on ESPN, and Lonzo didn’t even play in the game.  People were just tuning in to find out what shoes he was wearing.  Being an NBA superstar isn’t just about how great you are on the court, which Lonzo demonstrated by winning the summer MVP, but also your marketability.  You can thank Lavar for that, and at this rate, he’s going to be demanding a statue outside of Staples Center pretty soon.  Then there’s ESPN, which is so desperate for news in July, they are busy analyzing whether or not Lonzo had the greatest calf strain injury in NBA history.  This sums it up nicely…..

Then there’s Kyrie Irving who rocked the NBA by requesting the Cavs to trade him.  Who wouldn’t want to play with Lebron James? This is what you expect from a guy who thinks the world is really flat.  Kyrie’s request actually speaks volumes about what he thinks Lebron James is going to do in a year from now, rather than his desire to be the man.  He averages more shots than anybody else on the team, and has a usage rate of 31%.  He’s also ok with being traded to San Antonio, who has Kawhi Leonard, or Minnesota, who has Karl-Anthony Towns and Jimmy Butler.  Kyrie is just ready to turn the page, even if it means missing out on a sure NBA Finals appearance next season.  I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Clippers make a bid for him either.  They’ve got some very useful assets and team friendly contracts.  A trio of Blake, DeAndre, and Kyrie is a solid foundation to work with for the next five years as well.

To Major League Baseball where the Dodgers have opened the bidding for sponsors to put their name on the field at Dodger Stadium for a measly $12 million.  If Spectrum Sports wins the bidding, we can probably expect the fans attending the game to somehow be unable to watch the games.  As for the team, the trade deadline is fast approaching, and they need pitching.  Last week was a reminder of just how scary it might be throwing Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy out on the mound in an October game.  There’s even more concern now that Clayton Kershaw is headed to the disabled list after injuring his back yesterday. However, there really isn’t a pitcher available on the trade market better than those two guys right now.  The Dodgers are better off acquiring a shutdown lefty reliever like Zach Britton, who they can deploy three or four times during a six or seven game series.  I’m not really sure what the point of having a great regular season bullpen is if you can’t trust them in the playoffs.  That’s why Britton is the answer.

Meanwhile, the Angels would be foolish to be buyers at the trade deadline.  Even though they are 3.5 games out of the AL Wild Card, they are battling seven teams for two available spots.  Even with Mike Trout, the team is boring.  My uncle had a heart problem recently and his cardiologist advised him not to participate in any activities that would cause excitement.  The cardiologist suggested watching Angels baseball every night so that wouldn’t happen, and my uncle is in much better condition because of it.  They Halos need an entire pitching staff and come this winter, they are probably going to need an entire new infield.  The only players on the roster worth keeping are Mike Trout and Andrelton Simmons.  The Halos should also be concerned that Trout is busy trying to recruit Lebron James to his beloved Philadelphia 76ers next year.  Does that mean he’s trying to make his way to the Phillies in the next few years?

I’m amazed that people are still obsessed with OJ Simpson.  I also felt like I entered a time machine and traveled twenty years back watching his parole hearing.  Back then OJ was known for feeling like he was entitled to whatever he wanted, and people were still obsessed with his celebrity.  That was a major contributor to him being acquitted of murder.  I still think his biggest crime is making the Kardashians famous.  During his parole hearing one of the commissioners was actually wearing a Heisman Trophy shirt and a Kansas City Chiefs tie.  Another felt the need to joke around with OJ that he was really 91 instead of 71 years old.  OJ’s attorney was also caught on camera saying OJ was like Donald Trump, who gets two scoops of ice cream while everybody else gets one.  Twenty years later nothing has changed.  OJ still feels entitled, and people are still star struck.  Even weirder is the fact that the folks at USC refuse to stop associating themselves with him.  “USC recognizes O.J’s accomplishments as a football player,’’ a university spokesperson said Thursday. “What happened after USC is beyond our scope.’  USC has no shame I tell you.

Let’s talk TV starting with the Bachelorette, which is back on tonight on ABC.  We’re down to three contestants for Rachel to choose from, but the story last week was Dean, who was eliminated after the show took advantage of airing his family’s dirty laundry.  After the show put him through all that, he should definitely be the next bachelor.  However, watching his dad with his long beard made me feel like I was watching The Karate Kid.  I was waiting for him to tell Rachel that he just got finished karate chopping some wooden boards before he met with them.  I’m beginning to think that Peter is going to be the next bachelor, which means she’ll probably end up with Bryan.  We all know that Rachel likes white guys, so it’s gotta be Bryan.

Shark Week 2017 began last night on Discovery, which is like Christmas for me.  I have always been incredibly fascinated by Sharks yet incredibly terrified of them.  Given how common it seems to be these days to spot a Great White Shark off the Southern California coast, it’s almost shocking that we haven’t heard of more incidents happening between sharks and human beings.  That also goes to show you that sharks aren’t trying to eat us.  I’m pleased to see Discovery filling their programing with educational shark content as opposed to talking to numerous victims who lost some limbs during shark attacks, which the network did several years ago.  That just demonizes sharks.  I loved the idea of Michael Phelps racing a shark to kick off the week though.  However, Phelps’ chances of beating that shark were similar to the chances of the Cleveland Browns making the playoffs.

Finally, Game of Thrones was back on HBO 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.  I think the show is just being nice to us for a little before killing everyone we actually care about.  Euron is clearly shaping up to be this season’s psychotic villain, like Joffrey and Ramsey, who we all want dead.  Just when I you think Theon has become a man again, he reminds us that he doesn’t have any balls (literally) to save his sister.  Ser Jorah just needs some coconut oil and I’m sure he’ll be fine.  I definitely needed to puke after seeing the camera cut to food after seeing his skin though.  Dany is getting a little too cocky for my taste.  Half the drama on this show could be avoided if nobody asked anybody else to “bend the knee”.  Somehow Little Finger is going to survive until the end of this series, and be a huge player when it’s over.  I love how Sansa was mad at Jon right up until he said he was leaving her in charge of the north.  Here’s a nice little summary of the Grey Worm and Missandei sex scene……..

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

July 17, 2017

Remember early last week when you were prisoner of the moment and thought Lonzo Ball was totally overhyped? I bet you don’t feel that way anymore.  Don’t feel bad though, so did some of those foolish ESPN writers, who didn’t even rank Lonzo in the top 10 summer league rookies at that point.  Forget the fact that Lonzo is going through shoes faster than the Kardashians go through NBA boyfriends.  His impact has been unbelievable.  I’m not talking about his stats.  It’s the intangibles.  He forces everybody to make the extra pass and look for an even better shot.  Wait until he plays with even better players come the fall.  As for the offseason, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was a great signing for the Lakers, who is a nice piece to go along with their young core.  He’ll also be a nice plan B next summer, if the Lakers are unable to sign Lebron next.

Elsewhere around the NBA, I love how the Knicks waited until the offseason was basically over to bring on new General Manager, Scott Perry.  There must be some rule that once you end up in New York, you automatically become dumber.  Perry talked about the importance of young talent after signing a new five-year deal, yet for some reason he wants to try to convince Carmelo Anthony to stay after the Knicks had momentum on a trade with Houston.  Meanwhile, the Paul George press conference in OKC was hilarious.  “I’m committed to the Thunder to give them everything I have while I’m here.”  Are you kidding? He’s not even hiding the fact he’s signing with the Lakers next summer.  I nearly fell out of my chair laughing when I read that.

The 2017 MLB All Star game MVP should have been awarded to the fan who was able to stay awake for the entire game.  The best part of the game was Nelson Cruz deciding to take a picture with the umpire in the middle of the game.  The home run derby was slightly more entertaining, however, Aaron Judge can expect a drug test from the league after that performance.  Cody Bellinger’s mom should also get expect to be hit on and trend on Twitter for the rest of her son’s career.

The Dodgers are rolling and in a couple of weeks they’ve ended the NL West race faster than a knife fight in a phone booth.  They have the best record in baseball but it’s not all good.  Brandon McCarthy, Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Hyun-Jin Ryu still can’t be trusted to give you a reliable performance.  If this were the postseason, I wouldn’t even trust any of them to tell me what they wanted on their pizza.  The Dodgers also can’t seem to find a reliable lefty shutdown reliever since Grant Dayton, Luis Avilan, or Adam Liberatore are either injured or stink.  Those might seem like correctable problems, but there isn’t really any starting pitching available at this year’s trade deadline to improve, and the reliever market is always fickle.  Things look great now, but I’m still a doubter until LA can finally come through in October.

Meanwhile, the Angels continued their annual tradition of getting rid of their starting 2nd baseman in the middle of the season by letting go of Danny Espinosa.  I guess it took half the season to realize that he was the worst performing everyday 2nd baseman in the league.  I wonder how much longer the Halos will put up with the likes of Jefry Marte and Luis Valbuena?  Probably not before another Angel pitcher gets hurt and not before Garret Richards comes to his senses and realizes he should have had Tommy John surgery last year.  The Angels need to find young and effective arms that can stay healthy. Until then, not even Mike Trout will be able to lead them to the postseason.

I hope you’re all enjoying these ridiculous WWE like scripted press conferences that Floyd Mayweather and Connor McGregor are providing us.  It’s going to be ten times better than the fight itself, and should remind you just how far the sport of boxing has fallen.  With all this talk about Mayweather’s taxes and smear campaigns against both fighters, I’m beginning to wonder if this is about a boxing match or a Presidential election?  Even if McGregor makes $100 million off of this fight, it won’t buy him better taste in suits.

Let’s talk TV because the season premier of Game of Thrones went down last night on HBO.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  Did anybody actually know what Ed Sheeran looked like before seeing him on that episode last night, and with the help of the internet? I sure didn’t.  One of the scariest parts of the episode was hearing Sansa say that she has learned a ton from Cersei.  I hope she was talking about her taste in wines because nobody wants to see Sansa become the evil villain that Cersei is, but it sounds like she might become more unlikable.  This show is clearly delivering a theme of women that are becoming empowered.  Sansa’s input is becoming more valuable to Jon, Cersei is controlling Kings Landing, the Mother of Dragons has an army behind her, and Arya is on a mission to avenge the death of her family.

Finally, The Bachelorette is going down tonight on ABC, and we’re down to the final four.  Well, I think we are.  After last week, I’m beginning to think the producers just throw in random people you’ve never heard of on a weekly basis, just so Rachel can eliminate them.  I mean who are Matt, Adam, and Will and has Rachel ever spoken more than 10 words to them? I knew Eric was going to stick around for at least another week.  ABC wasn’t going to continue to anger people by eliminating every black man off the show.  They’ll just wait until the season finale to show their racial insensitivity again.

 

 

 

Breaking Down KCP Signing With The Lakers

July 12, 2017

The Lakers surprised everyone on Tuesday night signing free agent guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (KCP) to a one-year $18 million deal.  The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

Before we talk about those nerdy salary cap ramifications, let’s talk about how this helps the Lake Show.

KCP is a 24-year-old shooting guard who played for the Piston last season, averaging 13.8 points, 2.5 assists, 3.3 rebounds.  Although he shot only 40% from the field last year and 35% from 3, he is a 3-and-D player that has improved his game every year in the league.  His length and athleticism also make him an excellent defender.  While he still has room for improvement in his efficiency and playmaking, his versatility make him a very useful player now for LA, and one that they might even continue to build with in Luke Walton’s vision of a position-less basketball system.

As for his contract, KCP signed a one-year deal for $18 million.  That gives the Lakers roughly $54 million in contracts coming of the books next summer, allowing them to follow their plan to chase free agents like Lebron James, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook.

In recent seasons, we’ve seen the Lakers (as well as other teams aggressively planning for free agency) strikeout in free agency.  If that happens again, don’t underestimate the significance of Caldwell.  After sending D’Angelo Russell to Brooklyn to shed the Timofey Mozgov contract, the Lakers had one less young talented player on their roster.  Caldwell adds to the Lakers young core, and could still be a significant part of that young core if LA doesn’t land the stars it hopes to.

Keep in mind, since KCP is on a one-year deal, the Lakers would not have his Bird Rights.  Instead, they would either have to use cap space to sign him, or use the non-bird exception, giving him a starting salary of nearly $23 million next season.

In reality though, the Lakers and KCP are hoping he has a career-year, and keeps them in playoff contention. Since they are also hoping to lure some big-name free agents to LA next summer, if all goes well for both parties, he probably won’t be on the roster.  Still, he’s another young asset for the franchise, even if it’s short-term.

Finally, the reported $18 million salary means the Lakers would have to shed a non-guaranteed contract to make it work.  It also means that despite the fact they have no cap room left, they still have The Room Exception, allowing them to spend an additional $4.3 million to add another free agent.  Rajon Rondo appears to be the strongest candidate for that, after he met with the Lakers on Tuesday.  Rondo would serve as a nice backup and a mentor to Lonzo Ball, and could serve to make the Lakers more competitive in a season where they don’t have a 1st round pick.

An offseason in which the Lakers are able to sign KCP and Rondo would have to be considered a great success for Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka in their first off-season on the job.

Monday Morning Coffee

July 10, 2017

NBA Summer League is out of control.  People have officially lost their minds, acting more riveted by Summer League action than the NBA Finals.  People are spending $200 a ticket to come see Lonzo Ball play against guys that will probably never play in the NBA.  Then there’s the analysis and coverage of each game, which is more scrutinized that Donald Trump’s presidency at this point.  It’s an easy reminder that we are watching 18 and 19 year old kids that need years to turn into something.  As for the Lakers, they still can’t get anybody to take their $17 million because they are only offering a one-year deal.  There’s not much left on the free agent market either.

As for the Clippers, for about six days it looked like they were on their way to building a basketball team the right way.  Then they couldn’t help themselves and decided to blow $21 million on Danilo Gallinari, who is an injury-prone player that will likely struggle to fit next to Blake Griffin, who plays his same position.  On top of that, they finally got a 1st round pick next year from Houston, yet managed to give it away just days after acquiring it.  I doubt the Clips have the durability or the chemistry to make the playoffs in the West.

A few years ago I came to the conclusion that anybody can get married and anybody can have sex.  In the same way, after Swaggy P signed with the Warriors last week, I learned that anybody can win an NBA championship if they are in the right situation.  I was also reminded that the Knicks still can’t get out of their own way.  Just when you think they are about to grow a brain after firing Phil Jackson and setting up an interview with David Griffin, they ask you to hold their beer so they can remind you how stupid they are.  A $71 million contract to Tim Hardaway Jr. shocked the NBA world, and failure to give David Griffin the personnel he wanted was senseless, but then again, nobody should be surprised.

To baseball, where we’ve reached the All-Star break and the Dodgers own the best record in baseball.  However, I’d be more scared that this is a 107-win team that’s peaking too early.  Baseball is all about timing.  Sure the Cubs won the World Series with the best regular season record last years.  However, the last time it happened before that was in 2009 with the Yankees.  Those two teams had far better pitching than the Dodgers do now.  I’m also scared to death that Cody Bellinger is going to be the next Joc Pederson now that he’s going to be in the home run derby this week.  Bellinger was already struggling, so maybe this is the beginning of the end.

As for the Angels, things could be worse at the break, but they could also be a heck of a lot better.  Mike Scioscia says he likes NL lineups better.  I guess that explains why he he has a bunch of .200 hitters in his lineup like Danny Espinosa and Luis Valbuena on a regular basis.  The Halos are within striking distance of the AL Wild Card, but the risk of putting their young injury-prone pitching staff back on the mound just to get blown away in the playoffs isn’t worth it.

I cannot believe that the Olympics are adding 3-on-3 basketball to the summer games.  What’s next Wiffle ball and capture the flag?  As long as the IOC keeps bastardizing the Olympics, i guess we’ll see lawn darts and korn hole next.

Finally, let’s be honest…..you were all outraged last week when you raced home from whatever it was you were doing last Monday, only to find out that the Bachelorette was airing a rerun of the previous week’s episode.  Like you really wanted to see Lee and Kenny battle it out again, and ABC remind us how much they like sensationalizing racism.  Hopefully they’ll give us something better tonight.

 

Dodgers Rally For 4-Runs & Sweep D’Backs

July 6, 2017

Chris Taylor delivered the game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 9th inning, as the Dodgers rallied for four runs in the 9th in beat the D’Backs 5-4 on Thursday night at the Ravine.  The win completed a three-game sweep over Arizona.

The rally began in the 9th inning against D’Backs closer Fernando Rodney.  Yasiel Puig singled to right field, then Joc Pederson pinch hit for Trayce Thompson and walked.  Another walk to Cody Bellinger loaded the bases with nobody out.  That brought Logan Forsythe to the plate, who was also walked, which scored Puig to make it 4-2.

A single by Corey Seager scored Pederson and Bellinger, which tied the game.  The D’Backs brought in T.J. McFarland to face Taylor, who hit a line drive to left field, which scored Forsythe.  Left fielder Ray Fuentes took a desperate stab at trying to catch the ball, but it eluded him.

Rodney (3-3) took the loss.  Jake Lamb homered twice for Arizona, including a go-ahead solo shot in the 8th.

Josh Fields (4-0) got the win after pitching the 9th inning and allowing a run-scoring balk.

Both starters pitched very well.  Rich Hill went seven innings for the Dodgers, allowing just one run on two hits and striking out nine batters.

Robbie was equally good for Arizona.  He went six innings, giving up one run on five hits, striking out 13 Dodgers.

With the win, the Dodgers have opened up a 5.5 game lead over Arizona in the NL West, with just three games before the break.

The Dodgers will now open up a 3-game set with the Royals on Friday night at the Ravine.  Kenta Maeda (6-4, 4.76 ERA)  moves from the bullpen back to the rotation and gets the start.  Jason Hammel (4-7, 5.08 ERA) gets the ball for KC.

Wood Leads Dodgers Over D’Backs

July 5, 2017

Alex Wood pitched seven shutout innings to improve to 10-0 on the season, as the Dodgers blanked the D’Backs 1-0 on Wednesday night at the Ravine.

Wood gave up just three hits, struck out ten, and walked two during an efficient 85-pitch performance.

The only run of the game came on an RBI double from Yasmani Grandal in the 2nd inning, which scored Chris Taylor from 1st base.  That came off of D’Backs starter Zack Godley.

Wood became the first Dodgers starter to reach 10-0 since Don Newcombe in 1955.  He was well aware of how important the game was.

“I don’t know how often you get two teams that are 50-plus wins before the All-Star break playing against each other, especially in the same division,” Wood said. “It felt a little bit bigger tonight. Tensions were a little bit higher, especially in a 1-0 ballgame.”

Kenley Jansen pitched the 9th for his 20th save of the season.  Brandon Drury reached base on a two-out single, but Jansen struck out Chris Herrmann to end the game.

Godley fell to 3-3 on the season.  He gave up one run and three hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander struck out six and walked one.

The Dodgers got just one hit after the 2nd inning.  It was a double from Corey Seager in the 8th inning.

Since Clayton Kershaw is slated to start Sunday’s game against Kansas City, Wood is a strong candidate to pitch in the All-Star game next week as a replacement for the Dodger ace.

The win also moved the Dodgers 4.5 games ahead of the D’Backs in the NL West, further extending LA’s first place lead.

The Dodgers will go up for the sweep on Thursday night at the Ravine.  Rich Hill (5-4, 4.00 ERA) goes for the Boys in Blue.  Robbie Ray (8-4, 3.06 ERA) will be on the mound for Arizona.