July 19, 2021
Shohei Ohtani hit his 34th home run of the season in yesterday’s loss to the Mariners. That’s cool but I guess it’s not really that significant because Ohtani just isn’t marketing because he has a translator……well at least according to Stephen A Smith. What a stupid take on a television network that is becoming even more stupid by the day. I want to see greatness. I don’t need to hear it speak. If anything, Ohtani is actually more marketable because he’s a Japanese superstar, meaning he has more potential for global relevancy. I don’t know if there is supporting data to show that a foreign born player is more marketable than one who isn’t, but I do know that there are international superstars like Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Roger Federer, who’s marketability is certainly not damaged because English might not be their first language. Ohtani was also the brightest star of them all during the all-star festivities. He got the win as a starter, had tons of fun, and even gave the fans some thrills before being eliminated in the home run derby. The Angels reminded us over the weekend that they still look as bad as they did before the break, but Ohtani is a star worth the price of admission, and he was the brightest star during the all-star festivities.
As for the Dodgers, they blew a big opportunity yesterday to tie the Giants in the NL West. Kenley Jansen has been great all year, but he gave that game away like he was a charity for kids. They’ll get their crack at the Giants for the next four games beginning tonight, but there is plenty to be worried about. With Tony Gonsolin and Josiah Gray starting the next two nights, the bullpen is going to get more work than a stripper when James Harden shows up at the club. I do like the fact that the Dodgers have basically admitted they are resting Clayton Kershaw to try and preserve him for the fall, but it seems highly likely that Trevor Bauer has played his last game for the team. Stan Kasten appears to be doing whatever he can do to get out of his contract, and you can further read the tea leaves when Andrew Friedman said he was prioritizing starting pitching at the upcoming trade deadline. Since the Dodgers need all the offense they can get given their starting pitching situation, they better hope Corey Seager and Mookie Betts can overcome injuries and get themselves in the lineup.
To the NBA where it feels like every Laker not named Lebron James and Anthony Davis is doing everything they can to get traded. Kyle Kuzma is telling the media he can be an all-star in the right role; Montrezell Harrell is complaining on social media about his playing time; Dennis Schroeder just wants somebody to pay him; and Andre Drummond thinks he’s Shaquille O’Neal. Let’s be honest, as crafty as Rob Pelinka is, he needs to try and retain as many of these people as possible and convince them their roles will be better. That way if necessary, he can later trade some of these guys when their value goes up. For those of you expecting a Damian Lillard trade to the Lakers, your chances of winning the Powerball are better. If you’re hoping for this, the best thing for the Lakers would be for Lillard to hold out for another year, or at least until the deadline. That way the Lakers can gather more assets, and have some players with more value than they have now. Still, the Powerball will have better odds.
Meanwhile, the Clippers should be getting at least a little bit nervous about Kawhi. This is a weird dude. He was weird enough to choose the Clippers over the Lakers, and might even be weird enough to leave them. There’s unconfirmed reports out there that Kawhi might take meetings with other free agent teams, and that he is unhappy with the Clippers medical staff. His injury certainly complicates things quite a bit and if he might re-evaluate his future. However, more than anything, Kawhi is just too unpredictable and nobody really know what’s going on with him. That’s the scariest thing for the Clippers come August 2nd.
To the NBA Finals where I haven’t seen Suns fans this shaken since they played a healthy Laker team in early round 1. The Suns are on the brink of elimination after dropping a close game 5 at home to the Bucks. The Suns played well enough to win the last couple of games, but the Bucks trio of Giannis, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton have been ballin. As lame as this series felt going in, it’s turned out to be a phenomenal. It feels like we deserve 7 games. As for that Giannis block in game 4, it was great, but as usual everyone is prisoner of the moment and thinks it’s suddenly better than the Lebron block in 2016 in game 7. The NBA needs to change their slogan to “Where You Become Prisoner Of The Moment”. This photo though is pretty iconic.
Team USA Basketball has had a wobbly warm up to Olympic Play. They managed to defeat Spain yesterday to improve to 2-2 but they should be worried. They don’t have a lot of size, and they don’t have a play making point guard. They also lost Bradley Beal to COVID, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they have to call on more Uber drives to replace him. There is also one major problem: there are more Celtics on the team than Lakers. Seems like a pretty simple problem to me. It’s also a little bit of a struggle for these NBA players who are used to getting phantom calls from referees. These international referees don’t fall for that flopping garbage, and pretending like you got fouled while shoot a 3. The meaningful games start on Saturday, but can’t say I’m terribly optimistic about their chances of winning the gold.
I’m super excited about the Olympics but also very nervous about COVID-19 impacting it. At this point if you test positive for COVID-19, for all intents and purposes your Olympic experience is over. Just ask Bradley Beal, who as I mentioned tested positive, and will no longer be going to Tokyo. The Olympics are always a treat, but this year, it’s truly going to feel a lot more like a battle of attrition.
The UCLA Bruin basketball team is looking really good for next season. Johnny Juzang and Cody Riley made wise decisions to return to school after putting their name in the NBA draft. That means the Bruins will return every single player that helped them get to the Final Four last season, along with a couple of elite recruits that should put the Bruins no worse than in the preseason Top 5. If that doesn’t get people excited and get them to fill up Pauley Pavilion, I don’t know what will! Now if only UCLA could do something about Chip Kelly!
Finally, The Bachelorette is back on ABC tonight, and it was an eventful episode last Monday. It sure feels like all the dudes on the show were far more in love with Connor than Katie based on their reaction to him getting the boot. Heck Michael A kissed him on the cheek goodbye! I was starting to think Connor was going to see more action with Michael than Katie before his time was over. If someone ever played country music outside my window, I would call the police. For reals though guys: who the hell is Brendan and why is he getting a rose at this point? I always thought a roast was filled with jokes, but too bad I didn’t hear any. Katie on a date in a wedding dress is the most ridiculous date this show has ever done. If I ever saw a girl in a wedding dress on a date, I would run for the hills. Perhaps the most cringe-worthy date in the history of the franchise. I’m ready to see where this disaster goes next!