Monday Morning Coffee

October 14, 2019

I was there and it was awful. Game 5 of the NLDS was like watching a horror movie where you see people make stupid decisions, and it’s only a matter of time before the killer brutally murders someone. Yes, Clayton Kershaw didn’t come through again in the playoffs, and we all feel terrible, but there’s a much larger portion of the blame that needs to go to Andrew Friedman. Friedman is telling Dave Roberts how to manage, and he decided they were going to use Kershaw in that game 5 the night before. Yes they went with their gut rather than analytics, but that resulted in more bad decisions like Friedman and Roberts usually make in October. If I have to ask Kershaw to pitch in the 7th and 8th inning of game 5, it means I didn’t build a good enough bullpen. The same issue Friedman has had every year he’s been with the Dodgers. Kershaw might not be the same player in the postseason, but Friedman’s failures are a large contributor to the Kershaw narrative.

Speaking of awful, that’s exactly what the Rams offense was yesterday against the 49ers. All those nerds at Comic Con scored more this weekend than the Rams did. It’s definitely time to start worrying. The Rams are 2.5 games behind the 49ers, and without Todd Gurley unleashed, the offense isn’t nearly as dynamic or dangerous. The offensive line is also a big issue, and once again, they gave Jared Goff no time to make throws. The best thing the Rams have going for them is their schedule. Even though they are on the road for the next month, they have winnable games at the Falcons and Bengals coming up, followed by a bye week to get healthy. The number of 49ers fans at the game was also alarming, but I would chalk this one up to LA fans having PTSD from the Dodgers, and the Rams off to a so-so start.

On the other hand, I’m not sure what’s the Chargers excuse is for sucking and having no fans. The Chargers played a Steelers team that was playing their 3rd string quarterback, and they got blown off the field. You would think the Bolts would take the money they saved by not paying Melvin Gordon and pay for an offensive lineman or two, but no. I’m not sure if the Chargers decided to kick a field goal when they were down 24-0 because they thought it would be a good strategic move, or because they wanted to avoid the embarrassment of being shutout “at home”. The Chiefs aren’t even running away with the division anymore, but the Bolts are doing nothing about it. Philip Rivers has more children than the Chargers had fans that attended the game. Go back to San Diego already and take the Clippers with you.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 6, after losing to the Jets, the Cowboys have been relegated to the XFL. After the Eagles lost to the Falcons, Philly will need to make another “rage room” for their fans to break things like the Flyers did. Remember when we were told Baker Mayfield was an MVP candidate and the Browns were Super Bowl contenders? Me neither. I’m sure the Dolphins will be voting for Bernie Sanders. Under his plan, any team with 12 or more wins will have to donate a win to Miami. Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota came into the NFL in the same year, and come out of the NFL in the same year. Both are now turnover machines.

We’re just a week away from the NBA season getting underway, and the Lakers have to be holding their breath already on Anthony Davis. AD injured his thumb in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Nets. Somebody needs to put this man in bubble wrap until the season starts. This team can win the NBA title , but they are going to have to run the perfect race. Not expending too much energy during the regular season, getting guys rest and keeping them healthy, but winning enough games to have favorable position in the West. Sooner than later though, Frank Vogel is going to have to play a real rotation in the preseason so this team can build some chemistry. Until then, Dwight Howard will be playing video games, slamming candy, and buying more snakes.

Oh by the way, the Clippers have also been playing NBA preseason games. Were you aware? Did you care? Well it just so happens the Clippers lost by 20 points to the Nuggets in the preseason. If the Lakers lost by 20 points in the preseason, the media would spend the next week talking about how Anthony Davis and Lebron have no chemistry, how the Lakers are dysfunctional, and can’t defend anybody. Meanwhile, nobody says anything about the Clippers because nobody gives a damn about them. Actually, the only time somebody feels the need to comment on them, it’s usually to ask the question of whether or not they are better than the Lakers, or to slander the Lake Show. That should tell you everything about their relevance in the LA sports landscape.

Then there’s the crisis the NBA is dealing with in China. We just spent the last couple of seasons hearing the players and the league stand up for freedom, freedom of speech, human rights, and racial equality. Now that China is a massive financial partner for the league, everyone is afraid to express how they really feel and rally behind Daryl Morey’s tweet against China’s dictatorship. I’m not saying the league doesn’t have a right to play it safe and not take a political stance because the financial implications are so great. However, when this is over, the league and the players shouldn’t be parading around pretending like they are political and social crusaders. Otherwise, nobody would be able to take them seriously.

I hear local grocery stores in LA are offering free tickets to USC games with their purchase of $35 or more of groceries. That’s perfect so Trojan fans can cover their heads with the grocery bags during the games. USC didn’t embarrass themselves on Saturday against Notre Dame, and their talent helped keep them in the game against a good team, but their coaching couldn’t help them win it. Not sure why Clay Helton believes in running back by committee when Markese Stepp is averaging 7 yards a carry. Don’t be surprised if Notre Dame sneaks into the College Football Playoff again. They just moved up to 8th in the AP Poll, and 4 of the 7 teams in front of them are going to play each other before the season is over. Carol Folt was ready to fire Clay Helton then she got distracted checking out referees.

Finally, another episode of The Walking Dead went down last night on AMC. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it. It was a little earlier than I thought, but I loved seeing an episode fully dedicated to the Alpha backstory. I’d love to see one dedicated to Negan as well. The fact that Lydia cleans herself off and Alpha doesn’t says everything about her character. Anybody else think Alpha was going to savagely squeeze that woman’s head like a grape? She was just playing with human remains like she’s peeling potatoes on a Sunday afternoon. Beta is like a cross between Michael Myers and Jason from Friday the 13th. Maybe the weirdest moment in 10 seasons of the show was seeing Alpha and Beta hold hands. Bummer we didn’t get to see who Beta is under the mask, but overall, good episode. Now somebody get this woman some skin care products immediately.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 7, 2019

For the last 6 months you’ve wondered why I just won’t lay off the Dodgers. I was ready to lay into them on Monday Morning Coffee. Then Russell Martin turned back the clock like Frank McCourt still owned the team and helped them open up a can in the 6th inning last night. This series isn’t over, but the Dodgers have the edge. I’ve always been nervous about the Dodger pen, but when you look at the Nationals’ pen it makes Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen look like Dennis Eckersley and Mariano Rivera. The Nationals have two pitchers left they can trust in Scherzer and Strasburg. They can only pitch so many innings, but at some point, the Dodgers need to him them if they are going to the NLCS. Hopefully Cody Bellinger is ready to break out because up until the 6th inning, he had disappeared like Jimmy Hoffa. Corey Seager hadn’t shown much life either and hasn’t driven anybody home since high school Prom. Meanwhile, AJ Pollock should be chained to the bench in favor of Enrique Hernandez until he figures it out. This has nothing to do with your tired “Playoff Kershaw” narrative, or that Kenley Jansen might not have it anymore. This team needs to have discipline at the plate when they are facing elite pitching. And for god sakes Andrew Friedman, did you really need to make Dave Roberts take out Hyun-Jin Ryu after 74 pitches when he was cruising? When their bullpen is dog tired this evening it could come back to bite them. Dodger baseball is sure to give you plenty of anxiety come October.

Elsewhere around the MLB playoffs, the postseason doesn’t actually start until the Oakland A’s lose in the Wild Card game. A tradition unlike any other. Why isn’t TBS using Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith on these broadcasts? They would probably know as much as they do when they stick them on the March Madness broadcasts. Gerrit Cole had so many strikeouts in game 2 of the ALDS vs Tampa, if you read the box score and looked at the long list of “k”‘s and nothing else, it looks like an angry girlfriend responding to a series of texts. The Twins have been bleeding runs against the Yankees. Their best chance to win the series is if the Yankees have some plane trouble, and can’t fly back to Minnesota for games 3 and 4. Let’s just get to the Yankees and Astros already.

The Angels are just fooling everyone and are going to hire Joe Maddon right? They wouldn’t really be foolish enough to fire Brad Ausmus just one year in, and not have a plan in place…….right? Stay tuned because it’s either the Halos know something, or Arte Moreno and Billy Eppler are total buffoons. It’s one or the other and nothing in between.

To the NBA, where the Lakers opened up the preseason on Saturday night at the new Chase Center against the Warriors. I know I know. All of you “prisoner of the moment” Laker fans saw AD and Lebron play one half of basketball and you can barely stay in your shoes. Look, it’s Lebron and Anthony Davis. If you think they weren’t going to be good together you probably don’t understand basketball. However, it’s also preseason, so we shouldn’t be drawing too many conclusions, other than the fact Magic Johnson still looks like a fool on Twitter. Still, one thing that’s safe to conclude is that this team clearly looks like they are enjoying playing with each other, and are having fun in the early going. That’s something that seemed nonexistent last year. Also, watch out for Alex Caruso. He may look like a 7th grade math teacher, but he’s going to be a significant part of the rotation.

Meanwhile, I hope Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are enjoying their experience in LA so far. Everywhere they go, they are getting booed. Dodger games, Ram games, coffee shops. This is how it is, and how it should be. I’m not sure Kawhi Leonard really cares, because all he cares about are the 50 cent chicken wings he eats at Wing Stop. However, Paul George probably does care because he wanted to be loved coming back home. The Clippers also need to hope that when PG13 recovers from his shoulder injury, “Playoff P” isn’t the same dude that got locked up by Joe Ingles in the 1st round.

To the NFL, where watching the Rams play defense for 4 quarters is more frustrating than watching a Democratic or Republican debate on TV. Marcus Peters and the secondary have been burned repeatedly in the last two weeks, and their offensive line has been wildly inconsistent. Nevertheless, the last two losses are nothing to get too down about. Jared Goff is making big throws, Todd Gurley is starting to look like Todd Gurley again, and the Rams had a chance to win the last two games despite their issues. This team is still a good bet to win the division, and I can assure you that Sean McVay is going to do everything he can to fix the offensive line and clean up the secondary as the season goes on.

Is there a bigger embarrassment than the Chargers? They got manhandled by a Broncos team that was coming in winless. I would say they got beat at home, but the entire stadium was decked out in Orange, so it was most definitely not a home game. Philip Lindsay ran all over the Bolts like he was Bo Jackson. Plus the most “Charger thing” ever was seeing them turn the ball over twice inside the Denver 5 yard line. I’m not sure how much longer the Chargers plan on screwing around with games like this, but it’s sure to cost them a playoff spot. This isn’t about the injuries. It’s about lack of focus and lack of execution when it matters. That sounds like Charger football.

Elsewhere around Week 5, the NFL sent the Raiders and Bears to play in London, and England has informed the US that the next time they send these two teams to play in their country they will consider it an act of terror and will declare war on the US. The Redskins just having a 7-0 lead on the Patriots was the highlight of their season. The Vikings must be pleased they got a few dollars worth this week on their $100 million investment in Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen. Jared Cook got hit so hard in that Saints vs Bucks game, he suddenly remembered how to catch TD passes. The Dolphins are so bad, they were defeated soundly by their bye week. Dear NFL Redzone…..we didn’t need to see any of the Cardinals-Bengals. We’re good.

If Chip Kelly’s goal is to show everyone that he can evolve with the game of football, he’s failing miserably at UCLA. He’s not only shown that he can’t develop Dorian-Thompson Robinson, he can’t even re-invent a system around him that is effective. Kelly insists that his old high tempo offense is outdated, but his new offense is hot garbage. He also has gotten two great performances from Demetrius Felton in the last 3 games, yet Felton’s playing time is wildly inconsistent. This man has absolutely no idea what he’s doing, and the most alarming aspect of it is he sounds completely indifferent to whether or not he succeeds. UCLA is now losing home games to Oregon State. The team hasn’t been this bad since World War II, and back then it didn’t cost $25 million to lose games like it does now.

Thanks to a new California law, the NCAA now must allow their athletes to make money off their likeness. I wonder if that means USC athletes will get paid more than are now? In all seriousness, I’m come around quite a bit on this issue. The NCAA is one of the most corrupt organizations around, but they have tried to bamboozle people for years thinking that they are all about education and school pride. Wrong. The NCAA is about making millions of dollars at the expense of football and men’s basketball players. These student athletes don’t need to make millions of dollars, but they need money to by textbooks, and afford a meal on a Friday night. A scholarship by itself does not allow for those things. Not to mention that for the rare extremely elite athletes like Zion Williamson, they should be compensated for bringing millions of dollars to the school. We don’t stop music majors from making money on record deals while in school, so why should we stop athletes? This might be a huge advantage for USC and UCLA in recruiting until you realize they have dopes like Chip Kelly and Clay Helton in charge.

Finally, the season premiere of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. The show started off slow, but the last 15 minutes were pretty awesome. Typical… Russians interfering with the zombie apocalypse too. Elections aren’t enough. I hope Oceanside burns down at this point. Where did everybody get all this weaponry? It’s like they found a Game of Thrones rummage sale in the apocalypse. Of course Eugene was super creepy looking at Rosita while she was breast feeding. Seeing Darryl and Carol reunited was the feel good moment of the premiere, I’m sure some of you wanted to grab a tissue when the friendship bracelet came out. Of course the stare down at the end between Carol and Alpha was pretty epic too. At some point I hope Carol will make her “look at the flowers.” The show has a much different feel and isn’t the same without Rick Grimes, but they are keeping it interesting so far.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 30, 2019

Here we are. End of the baseball regular season, and I’m not sure how any of you aren’t dreading what we’re going to see. Dave Roberts just told us that Kenley Jansen is still an elite closer. I can’t tell if he’s serious, or if he’s auditioning for the White House Press Secretary job. Joe Kelly has been so bad in the last month that he should be downgraded from a lower body injury to a “total body injury”. Verdugo, Hill, and Turner are all hurt, Lux and Smith are in a slump. If you’re not worried you’re an Astro or Yankee fan. Just getting out of the NL is going to be tough enough with the flaws the Dodgers have.

Meanwhile, the Angels mercifully wrapped up their season yesterday. The latest noise surrounding the Halos is whether or not they will pursue Joe Maddon and replace Brad Ausmus. I didn’t really think managing was the problem until I heard Ausmus defend Pitching Coach Doug White the other day by saying “He’s good but learning the in-game stuff.” Dude that came with 6 games left in the season, and the guy is still trying to figure it out! Maddon might help a little, but most GM’s like Billy Eppler just want a “yes man” who can read the instructions off a spreadsheet. Maddon is not that. However, what the Angels really need is a boatload of pitching and several more David Fletchers to compete.

To the NFL, where the Rams didn’t have it yesterday against the Bucs. I know inflation is a real killer, but apparently $194 million doesn’t buy what it used to. Yesterday it got the Rams four turnovers from Jared Goff, which each resulted in Bucs touchdowns, and a loss to the wildly inconsistent Jameis Winston. Of course Ndamukong Suh’s biggest play at the Coliseum came against the Rams, rather than when he was with them last season. If Jared Goff is under pressure or faces bad weather, he’s clearly not the same quarterback. Pressure was the culprit yesterday. Suddenly things are looking really cloudy for the Rams: a banged up secondary that got torched against the Bucs, and now they have to go on the road to face Seattle in a short week. This team has a lot of work to do if they have aspirations of getting back to the Super Bowl.

Had the Chargers lost that game to the Dolphins yesterday they should not have been allowed to come back to LA. Having the Dolphins on the schedule is a gift wrapped win for any NFL team, and the Bolts desperately needed it after a rocky 1-2 start coming into the game. Melvin Gordon is back with the team, but the guy looks like a fool. He’s making $5 mill this year, held out for $14 mill, the Chargers offered him $10 mill, and he didn’t accept. The Bolts pulled their $10 mill offer, and now he’s coming back to the team with his tail between his legs rather than holding out until November, when he has to report. I guess there were only so many cameo appearances he could do on Ballers before deciding to come back. The good news for the Bolts is they play a bunch of scrub teams in the Broncos and Steelers at home the next two weeks, so they can bank a few more much needed wins.

Elsewhere around Week 4, after watching yesterday’s Redskins-Giants game it’s clear that Jon and Jay Gruden have more in common than just their last name. Dwayne Haskins was probaly making more money at Ohio State. The Patriots got by the Bills, and Josh Allen got hit so hard he thought he was back at Wyoming. Cam Newton should enjoy his time off, but at this rate he might not have a job when he returns. Christian McCaffrey is the real Superman. The Browns beat the Ravens, but Jarvis Landry is nothing but drama. He made a business decision to not get hit, resulting in a Baker Mayfield interception. Of course karma came back to get him when he suffered a concussion later in the game.

On to College Football where USC was beaten down by Washington over the weekend in Seattle. The final score of 28-14 was really not indicative of just how badly USC was dominated. In reality, the beating was so bad that somebody probably should have called child protective services. Clay Helton is not good coach, and his comments around improving discipline early in the season are laughable now given all the penalties his team takes. That’s not to mention the fact he isn’t developing anybody, and his schemes stink. It’s gotten so bad that the truly elite recruits are losing confidence in the school’s ability to develop and are now going elsewhere. Firing him now won’t matter, but I think it’s safe to say he will be replaced when the season is over. SC is a perfect 19-0 at the Coliseum when Reggie Bush is on the field, including last week when Bush was on the Fox telecast. Maybe they should pay him to take up residence there? Oh wait they already did that!

Then there’s UCLA, who reminded everyone that they still are a bad football team after losing to Arizona. You thought for just a second that Chip Kelly remembered how to coach. Then he said “hold my beer”, and gave up 451 yards to an Arizona team that started their backup quarterback. Speaking of backup quarterbacks, you think Dorian Thompson-Robinson isn’t very good? Wait until you see how bad Austin Burton is. The worst part about this is that Chip Kelly looks like he doesn’t even care. I guess it’s easy not to when you know you have $20+ million guaranteed to you over the next 4 years. This man has completely gutted the program of top-tier talented upperclassmen and for what? So he can lose games every week to mediocre competition? This embarrassment has no end in sight.

To the NBA, where the Lakers held their media day on Friday. I don’t know if the Lakers are ready for the start of the season, but they sure sound like they are ready. This year there is much less noise from Magic Johnson, less questions about the future of the young core, and more focus around what this team needs to do to contend for a title. However, I find stories about whether or not Anthony Davis will re-sign with the Lakers laughable at this point. I realize some of these writers need clicks, but apparently logic is not something these writers use. AD shares an agent with Lebron James. Lebron James made Rich Paul. As long as Lebron James remains with the Lakers, which is guaranteed for the next two years, AD will remain a Laker. It’s as simple as that. One thing that is concerning however is the Lakers preseason trip to China. That sounds cool until you realize it’s a sure way to start the season slowly. Have you ever been to China? Unless you enjoy eating fried snakes and scorpions, it’s crummy food and weeks of jet lag guaranteed after coming back.

Finally, speaking of the NBA, ESPN did their annual NBA player rankings. As usual these rankings we’re clearly not based on a damn thing other than who these writers hold a grudge against, what they remember from watching the last 5 mins of NBA basketball, what Siri and Alexa told them, and what will get them the most clicks. That probably explains why these morons named Giannis as the best player, followed by Kawhi, who shut down Giannis in the Eastern Conference Finals a few months ago. That stupidity was also in full effect by putting Harden over Steph Curry, after Steph has changed basketball the last 5 years, and Klay Thompson being ranked as the 49th best player. I can just see Kevin Pelton, Jackie MacMullon, Brian Windhorst, and Kirk Goldsberry, taking a swig of tequila and having a good laugh while coming up with this list.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 23, 2019

The Rams are 3-0 and they haven’t even played that well. Their defense is legit. Goff and their receivers are making plays, but Todd Gurley is being preserved until it’s prime time. Sean McVay’s in-game adjustments are next level, and continue to keep this team winning. Goff wasn’t amazing last night, but he played much better than his often “road Goff” performances. I’m sure that won’t sit well with some of you since he has enough money to buy the city of Cleveland at this point, but for a guy who is 24 years old, he’s already growing and will continue to get better. I don’t care what the Cowboys, Packers, and 49ers look like. The Rams are still the best team in the NFC.

The Chargers are capable of beating any team in the NFL. Actually, the only team that seems to beat them consistently is themselves, as well as the 2nd half. That was exactly what happened yesterday when they coughed up a 17-7 lead in the 2nd half to fall to 1-2. Philip Rivers was running for his life all day, and the Chargers inexperienced secondary was lit on fire by Deshaun Watson. These types of losses are going to kill the Bolts come playoff time. If you had a dollar for every time the Chargers choked in the 2nd half, you’d be rich enough to build them a stadium. Sounds like they are going to need that after it’s now being reported they aren’t pulling their weight in ticket sales for the new stadium, and the Rams would love to remove them from the equation. Looks like the Rams and Chargers are developing a rivalry, it’s just between the owners.

Elsewhere around week 3 in the NFL, Antonio Brown is the first player in league history to have his jersey from three different teams on clearance racks at the same time. Somebody get this man a therapist and some meds. Antonio Cromartie has more kids than the Dolphins have points this season. Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson is being advertised as the next “Brady vs Manning.” They are pretty entertaining, except Tom Brady is still in the league and tearing it up. Eli Manning isn’t coming back off the bench anytime soon. Apparently the Saints are still really good without Drew Brees, while the Steelers are still bad without Big Ben.

This weekend was a reminder of just how messed up USC football is. They defeated a top 10 team in Utah with their 3rd string quarterback, and then the next day they lost their commitment from Mater Dei Quarterback Bryce Young, who decided he will attend Alabama next year. The fact USC is able to beat a top 10 team, and even be in the same discussion with recruits that Alabama is getting goes to show you just how bad the coaching is. If USC hired a coach who had some idea how to recruit, develop talent, and ran a more modern offensive scheme, they could be as elite as they like to think of themselves. However, for those of you wanting to hire Urban Meyer, you apparently forgot that USC is actually a University and not an NFL team. Also, this moment on Saturday night is so typical of the NCAA. It’s like they radioed in to the ref to break up the Reggie Bush celebration.

I have no idea what happened in Pullman on Saturday night. Chip Kelly managed to turn the clock back for exactly 1.5 quarters. Somehow the Bruins managed to erase a 32-point deficit and find the win column for the first time this year. I’m going to chalk this up to an isolated incident for now. The Bruins gave up 720 yards of total offense and allowed a starting QB to throw 9 TD passes against them. Chip Kelly can’t coach football anymore. He says he’s trying to learn the personnel, and that “it’s a consistency thing.” Yes Chip your teams consistently suck at all levels over the last half decade, and considering you chased off 30-scholarship players from the Jim Mora era, it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. UCLA needs to pray this guy quits.

The best news that UCLA got last week though was that Dan Guerrero is finally going to retire. Before making too much fun of Guerrero’s futility as an AD, I do wish him a speedy recovery from his battle with cancer, and thankfully things seem to be under control. With that being said though, Guerrero’s true failures are letting the basketball program free fall in reputation since Ben Howland left the program. With rumors that Fresno State AD Terry Tumey is a front-runner for the job, or possibly Villanova AD Mark Jackson if he doesn’t go to USC, hopefully one of these dudes won’t be spending their time slamming donuts like Gurrero, and turn around both the basketball and football programs in Westwood.

Notre Dame put up a good fight against Georgia on Saturday night. Unfortunately, they won’t get as much credit for hanging tough as Georgia will when they get blown out by Alabama. Look, the Manti Teo girlfriend jokes were funny back in 2012, but not so much anymore. However, the College Game Day signs were pretty funny….

I can’t believe some of you actually think this is the Dodger team that is going to win the World Series for the first time in 31 years. Let me remind you that the Dodgers once had Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen in their prime, and at the top of their game. They couldn’t win it when they had those two, and a crummy bullpen. Now Kershaw and Jansen are in decline, and they have the same crummy bullpen. You really expect them to compete with the likes of the Yankees, Astros, let alone come out of the NL with much more formidable opponents? If that’s the case then you probably believe in unicorns and the tooth fairy as well.

Finally, I just can’t do it anymore. I have to pull the plug on Fear The Walking Dead. I tried. However, the show is way too confusing with it’s timeline jumps, it’s killed off all the interesting characters, and unless it can tie to the actual Walking Dead show in some way, then it’s doomed to fail. This also explains why the ratings are sinking faster than the Titanic. It’s gotten so bad they don’t even air “Talking Dead” after the show to discuss it. Heck, if The Walking Dead doesn’t get their act together soon, I might pull the plug on that one too. Sad because at one point it was one of the better shows on television.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 16, 2019

The Rams handled business yesterday against the Saints. It wasn’t much of a fair fight given that Drew Brees left early with an injury, but their defense was phenomenal. Assuming that Brees is going to be ok though, I sure hope these teams get to meet again in the NFC Championship game this season. However, are we really going to have to hear more whining from Saints fans about getting screwed again on another call? I’m sure New Orleans is going to be upset. Gayle Benson will probably call the NBA office and demand more from the Lakers in the Anthony Davis trade out of spite, and demand an investigation by the FBI on the officiating. Look, yesterday was a bad call. Jared Goff really fumbled. The playoff game they got screwed too. However, the Saints offense did nothing yesterday, so I don’t want to hear any crying about the officials. Get over it and move on. Besides, the refs looked completely competent before the game…

What a typical Charger game that was. It’s like they are breeding their kickers to suck. Regardless of all the injuries, they should have won that game. Can Philip Rivers stick any of his kids on the offensive line or at defensive back? Better yet, can any of them kick a field goal? He only has 27 to choose from. It’s clear the Chargers don’t miss Melvin Gordon because Austin Ekeler is in beast mode. However, they clearly are still untrustworthy in close games, especially with their kicking issues. Only the Chargers could play in a soccer stadium, yet have some of the worst kickers in the world. Tom Telesco should be spending the next couple of weeks scouting every MLS team in the country to see if he can find somebody halfway decent to do the job.

Elsewhere around Week 2 in the NFL, the Dolphins are so bad, Roger Goodell has called the ACC in attempts to trade them for Clemson. The Jaguars lost to the Texans, but Gardner Minshew definitely looks like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite, and acts like him too by stretching in the locker room with only his jock strap on. Do NFL GM’s still think Lamar Jackson is a running back? If so, that type of logic makes them qualified to be the next AD at USC (more on that in a moment). Dak Prescott looks amazing and his bank account will be too very soon. The Vikings lost to the Packers, and if Kirk Cousins isn’t arrested for stealing money from Minnesota, then white privilege really does exist. I was going to bag on Cam Newton for laying an egg on Thursday, but the guy looks so physically beat up, wouldn’t be surprised if he pulls an Andrew Luck and retires.

To College Football where USC’s stay in the Top 25 was about as short as Peter Dinklage. The Trojans made BYU’s season by losing to them in OT on Saturday night. The ginger-ale was really flowing in Provo after that one. In typical Clay Helton fashion, USC had no offensive rhythm, their offensive line was pushed around, and their tackling was worse than a Pee Wee football team. I guess Kedon Slovis might not be the next Sam Darnold after all. The Trojans could easily have a losing record after the next 3 games against ranked opponents. It also looks as though President Carol Folt is planning a huge overhaul of the program after dismissing Lynn Swann (I mean after he “resigned”). Swann can continue doing what he’s always been doing, which is playing golf. Folt appointed Dave Roberts as the interim AD, and passing up Senior Associate AD Steve Lopes. Then again, I wouldn’t be surprised if OJ Simpson ends up as the next Athletic Director knowing this schools ethics.

Meanwhile, UCLA is a total disaster. They were murdered by Oklahoma at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, in a game that was made even more embarrassing by the fact 60% of the stands were filled with Sooner fans. Chip Kelly is making Jim Mora Jr. look like Bill Belichick. There is absolutely nothing going right with this program. The Bruins need to pray that Kelly just gets so sick of losing that he quits. Hard to imagine with him swimming in money, but stranger things have happened. Not only can the man not recruit, it’s crystal clear that his system is more outdated than a VCR. Prepare for some major irrelevance for a while Bruin fans.

Let’s talk some hoops. The Celtics not only lost to France, but they finished 7th in the World Championship tournament. No not Team USA, the Celtics. We sent 4 Boston Celtic players. You think if we sent 4 Los Angeles Lakers we would have finished 7th? I don’t want to hear the media try to tell me how great this young Celtics core is again. The same Celtics core that was supposedly “head and shoulders” better than any other trade package for Anthony Davis. These guys should be deported to Siberia for embarrassing our country.

The Dodgers clinched the division earlier in the week, but the playoff competition looks absolutely miserable to go up against. Facing the Nationals with Scherzer, Strasburg, and Corbin? No thanks. Going up against the Cubs? Have you seen how the Dodgers are giving up home runs of late? The Cardinals? Nightmares from the past forever. The Braves? Not the same jokers they beat up on in the past. I haven’t even gotten to how awful it would be playing the Astros or Yankees. I also don’t care what Dave Roberts says: home field advantage if vital for the Dodgers. in 54 League Championship and World Series since 2001, teams with home field advantage win the series 60% of the time. The Dodgers are also 36 games above .500 at home, and only 8 games aboive .500 on the road. So don’t tell me it’s not “win at all cost” important Dave Roberts. No matter what the spreadsheet is telling you.

At least the Angels have figured out this whole tanking thing. They’ve lost 6 of their last 7, and they are shutting down players left and right for the rest of the season. I guess elbow injuries are played out with this team, so they are starting a new trend with lower body injuries. Mike Trout, Justin Upton, and Shoehei Ohtani have all been shutdown in the last week with injuries to their lower extremities. I’m not even sure having $34 million to spend this off-season can make up a 30 game difference between the Angels and the Astros. At least Mike Trout is a good bet to win the MVP.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 9, 2019

Breaking news: the Rams are still really good. In the 1st half, their offense looked they were playing the 5th quarter of the Super last year, yet they still managed to hold off the Carolina Panthers on the road. The defense is legit, even after losing Eric Weddle to a head laceration yesterday. Weddle looked like Negan took him out back with Lucille, but hopefully he’ll be back in action next week. A sign of a good team is one that wins when it isn’t at it’s best. The Rams were far from it and they took care of business. There’s still a lot of concerns about Todd Gurley and his overall durability, but he showed up in the 4th quarter. Also the new $134 million man, Jared Goff, should continue to improve and keep the Rams in elite company.

Then there’s the Chargers, who shockingly didn’t start their season with their traditional disappointing loss. You remember the Chargers right? That other football team in LA with 5 or 6 fans? They managed to defeat a diminished Colts team yesterday, after Austin Ekeler did his best Barry Sanders impression. I’m pretty sure the Bolts don’t miss Melvin Gordon right now. However, this team is missing too many key guys to have a real chance to be a Super Bowl contender. Gordon, Russell Okung, and Derwin James are all out of the lineup with injuries or contract disputes, which is going to hurt in the long run. After seeing Zeke’s record breaking contract, and Ekeler go crazy yesterday, the Chargers have offered Melvin Gordon a year’s pass to Disneyland. In a competitive AFC, that may be enough to prevent them from returning to the postseason. Then again, I’m not sure it matters with KC and New England head and shoulders above everyone else.

Elsewhere around Week 1, Someone needs to teach Khalil Mack to play quarterback, because Mitch Trubisky is still trash. Hell of a start by both New York football teams. You can give the Browns a promising rookie QB, OBJ, and some cool uniforms, and they still suck. Patrick Mahomes is still a human video game. Antonio Brown should change his name to “Antonio Clown”. Still, the Patriots dismantled the Steelers without AB, and it’s not even going to be fair when he suits up for them next week. “Knock on wood if you’re with me.” Jameis Winston was so bad, the 49ers are going to make him their starting quarterback. The Dolphins made Lamar Jackson look like Dan Marino. The Colts gave $29 million to Jacoby Brissett and Brian Hoyer. Jim Irsay is clearly drinking again.

To College Football where the Trojans are 2-0. That means that Clay Helton and Lynn Swann should be receiving a 15 year extension this week right? Kedon Slovis suddenly looks like the 2nd coming of Sam Darnold, except that might not be what the Trojan faithful wants to hear. If Slovis is that good, this is like owning a Ferrari but not knowing how to drive it. Stanford had to play with their backup QB, and simply did not look that good. The 2-0 start feels a lot more about the questionable competition than how good USC really is. Only time will tell, but after BYU, the schedule gets rough: Utah, Washington, and Notre Dame. The last thing USC needs is for Clay Helton and Lynn Swann to stick around, so most Trojan fans should be in favor of tanking like an NBA team.

It’s a shame that the Rose Bowl doesn’t sell alcohol anymore. UCLA fans really need it to get through the season. This team looks more and more embarrassing every time they play. UCLA should never lose to San Diego State, even if they were coached by Helen Keller. Somehow, Chip Kelly managed to pull it off. This man is being paid millions to drive a football program into the ground. I don’t know what’s worse: the incredibly mediocre talent that has been recruited, or the disaster on the field itself. I guess $23 million doesn’t buy what it used to.

I love how Notre Dame beats Louisville by 18 points and they are “overrated”. Meanwhile, Michigan barely hangs on against Army, and it’s just “an off-day for a solid football team”. Then there’s Tennessee’s embarrassing loss to BYU. The SEC should announce that effective immediately it will no longer be acknowledging Tennessee’s presence and that it will be claiming Clemson as the 14th member of the conference. It’s a close call between the Dolphins and Florida State as to who exactly the worst football team in the state is, but FSU seemed determined here….

We’re approaching the start of training camp in the NHL, and that means the Kings are about to get going. By going, I mean going straight down the toilet. The Kings supposedly had a great draft, and some are claiming they have a Top 5 farm system. Sorry but it’s a little difficult to get excited about a farm system that is about 3 years away from competing in the NHL. When your team is comprised of Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick, you expect to compete for Stanley Cups. There were actually several solid bargain free agents out there that could even help the Kings now, without compromising this so called bright future. However, apparently the Kings would rather give these roster spots to mediocre young players than compete for a playoff spot. It’s a sad state of affairs for this once elite hockey club.

Finally, I’ve decided I’m going to lay off the Dodgers this week. They’ve been beaten up pretty good lately, and will probably get beaten up pretty good come October the way their pitching has been bleeding runs, and their hitters have disappeared like Houdini. Oh wait, I said I was going to lay off. So much for that. Not only is home field advantage throughout the playoffs in jeopardy, they might not even have home field advantage in the NL playoffs. Just because this late season futility is predictable, doesn’t make it any less frustrating.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 2, 2019

What a brutal start to the season for the Trojans. They lose JT Daniels to a knee injury, and had it not been for a couple of miraculous special teams plays, they would have lost to Fresno State. The offense looked just as unimaginative as it did last year. The two scoring drives USC put together in the first quarter are what a program like that is supposed to do against Fresno State. None of that happened after Daniels went down. However, the QB competition the last few weeks has been close, the expectations shouldn’t change for Helton. After seeing this team play just one game this season, I think it’s fair to say the Coliseum isn’t the only thing that needs to be rebuilt. Speaking of that new Scholarship Tower, USC continues to embarrass itself by sticking pictures of OJ Simpson everywhere. I guess USC is ok celebrating a murderer considering their football team has been getting murdered as well. Even the fans are struggling too.

Meanwhile, things didn’t look great for UCLA in their first game against Cincinnati either. Chip Kelly looks like a dude who is getting paid living on what he did 10 years ago. Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 30% of his passes! 30%!!! Imagine how bad UCLA’s backup QB’s are when they can’t beat out a guy who is completing 30% of his passes. Chip Kelly had the 8th best recruiting class in the Pac-12. I realize that he often finds undervalued talent, but that just seems unacceptable. The Bearcats aren’t a bad team, but I don’t see things getting a whole lot better this season for UCLA Football.

Elsewhere around College Football, Tennessee and Florida State both can’t figure out who embarrassed themselves more in Week 1. In typical SEC fashion, they both scheduled cup cakes and lost in shocking fashion. Alabama and Clemson cruised to easy victories, and I have no idea why we are all wasting our time. Just get us to another championship game with these two teams since they are head and shoulders better than everybody else. This is really the signal that the Tennessee coaches came up with?

As usual, everybody made a huge deal over nothing with Kobe and Shaq last week. If you actually listened to Kobe’s entire interview, he was extremely complimentary of Shaq, talking about how amazing of a player he was. Of course most journalists that cover the NBA have the memory of a 5-year-old, and only focused on the fact Kobe called him lazy. Kobe didn’t say anything that you don’t already know about Shaq, or that he hasn’t told Shaq, or that Shaq himself doesn’t already know. Kobe was great. Shaq was great. They were great together. They could have been even greater. What never gets old though is when Shaq finds a way to rip Dwight Howard in the process!

I can’t believe some of you still wonder why I criticize the Dodgers like I do. They look like hot garbage at the moment, and extremely vulnerable come postseason time. Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu need a freaking bye week, Max Muncy and Dustin May are injured, the rest of the team stopped hitting, and worst of all, Kenley Jansen is hemorrhaging runs. Are you really telling me that in one month from now he’s going to look like the $80 million closer we expect him to be? The Dodgers would be wise to spend the next four weeks looking for a reliable replacement for Jansen, or else more October futility is on the way.

As for the Angels, the news just keeps getting worse on and off the field. The results of the Tyler Skaggs autopsy revealed there was alcohol and opioids in his system. That means we might be in for a long and expensive lawsuit between the Halos and the Skaggs family. I’m not going to pretend like I’ve experienced losing a child, or been through a situation like the Skaggs family is going through. However, unless there is some weird foul play we don’t know about here, Tyler is responsible for what he put in his own body. That shouldn’t be pinned on someone else just to preserve reputation, character, or legacy. This season can’t end soon enough for the Angels and their fans.

Finally, the Melvin Gordon situation is escalating. The Chargers are actually granting Gordon permission to find a trade partner. That’s like allowing your girlfriend to go seek a new relationship when you know she’s put on some pounds, and not looking her finest. Even though Melvin Gordon is not out of shape, he’s a running back. That means teams don’t like tying up money in them, unless they are elite. Gordon is very good, but not Ezekiel Elliott or Todd Gurley. No team is going to pay him $14 million, as well as give up a 1st round pick or two for him. I also like how immediately after the Chargers granted him permission, Houston and Kansas City all locked up cheaper running backs. Whatever market there was for Gordon has already shrunk. Now we’re already hearing rumors that Melvin Gordon is expected to end his holdout within the next week, as the Chargers are only offering him his original $5 million salary. Should have just taken the $10 mill you were being offered!

Monday Morning Coffee

August 26, 2019

Dwight Howard has officially signed with the Lakers.  Since his contract isn’t guaranteed, I’m sure he will just rent a room at Bruce Jenner’s house for the time being.  This man actually had to beg and convince every player on the team that he has changed.  I guess they figure the last 6 teams he’s ruined we’re isolated incidents.  Either that or Anthony Davis really hates playing center.  Sure if he buys into this role he could be impactful, but I wouldn’t trust this dude to order lunch for me.  Buying into his role is something Dwight has never done.  This guy was a disgrace the last time he was a Laker, and should be cut after the first lame joke he makes in the locker room that nobody laughs at.

To the NFL where the Rams have announced they have added a new Casa Mexico Sky Deck to the Coliseum, where fans can enjoy watching the game.  The deck is sponsored by Casa Mexico Tequila, which makes sense because the Rams offense played like it had a Tequila hangover in Super Bowl.  I sure hope Todd Gurley is going to be durable enough this year to make the offense look like it did for most of last season.  He’s the difference.  As for Sean McVay, everyone is still looking for “the next Sean McVay” to be their head coach.  However, it would probably be a lot easier to just not play your starters in any preseason game like McVay does.  That goes for Bill O’Brien in Houston, who played Lamar Miller over the weekend, resulting in a season-ending ACL injury.

In baseball, the Dodgers went at it with Yankees over the weekend at the Ravine.  I’m not sure if anybody has actually told Andrew Friedman and Stan Kasten this, but the Dodgers don’t get to play the D’Backs or Rockies in the playoffs, or even the World Series if they are fortunate enough to get that far.  I’m having my doubts they are aware, because anytime the Dodgers play the likes of the Astros, Yankees, or other AL powerhouse teams, they look extremely exposed, if not over-matched at times.  Friday night was a classic example of that when the Yankees crushed homer after homer.  Then despite winning Saturday, Kenley Jansen continues to look like a batting practice pitcher.  It’s only getting worse by the outing, and this man is going to cost the Dodgers in the playoffs.  It’s inevitable.  Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be another replacement in the pen for him. Oh, and then they got crushed again yesterday against the Bronx Bombers, once again, in those silly pajamas they call uniforms.  This is going to be another terrible ending to a movie we’ve already seen a few times in October.

Angels GM Billy Eppler must think he’s playing poker and not running a baseball team.  The Angels have 3 five’s and a pair of threes, which would be a full house in poker.  However in the MLB, that means you have a bag of garbage and won’t win much.  The Halos need pitching, and they need to figure out why all their pitchers keep getting elbow injuries.  The latest is Griffin Canning, who is getting shut down for the season.  Knowing the Angels’ luck, we should expect him to get Tommy Johns next season.  Can’t blame this one on Mike Scioscia guys.  Time to find a new scapegoat.

Team USA Basketball actually lost a game  over the weekend to Australia.  It may have been an exhibition, but now Trump is probably going to build a wall around the Great Barrier Reef to prevent the Aussies from coming to the US.  In all seriousness though, the rest of the world has gotten so much better at basketball, we can’t even send the “B-Team” anymore and win.  For all of you that want to go back to sending college kids to the Olympics for basketball, we wouldn’t stand a chance.  Heck, most of these other international squads have multiple NBA players on them anyway, which would give college kids no chance to win anything.  Then again, I guess some of you just don’t like winning.

The College Football preseason polls are out and you would have an easier time trying to find a needle in a stack of needles than trying to find USC.  There are five Pac-12 teams in the Top 25 and none of them are USC.  Interestingly enough, the Trojans were picked to finish 2nd by the media in the Pac-12 South, yet the National Media doesn’t even consider them one of the 25 best teams in the country.  That tells you everything you need to know about what the media thinks of their coaching.   USC actually received exactly 1 vote from a media member in the AP Poll under “others receiving votes”.  Whoever that is must have been drinking with a couple of the fraternity houses when voting.  I also like how new Offensive Coordinator Graham Harrell says backup freshman QB, Kedon Slovis, is as good a talent as he’s ever seen.   Well if he’s that good then why isn’t he starting over JT Daniels? Sounds like more coaching disaster at USC.

Andrew Luck abruptly retired over the weekend, shocking the football world.  I guess he should have checked with all of you people on Twitter before doing so, because you obviously didn’t take the news too well.  Look, it’s sad we never got to see him have a long career, but the man has a right to do what he wants, so leave him alone.   In the case of you Fantasy Football idiots that are complaining, if any of you actually did your homework you would know that drafting him or any Colts player was risky, given the injury news surrounding him the last few weeks.  Then there’s Doug Gottlieb, who basically thinks that he’s quitting, and is soft because he’s “a millennial”.  Well gee Doug, stealing your roommate’s credit card, and bitching about Millennials is the most “Gen X thing” ever.

Finally, OJ Simpson actually drafted Andrew Luck in his fantasy football league, and as usual, he got roasted for bitching about it. It’s only fitting that Andrew Luck’s retirement murdered OJ Simpson’s fantasy football team, since he murdered his ex-wife and her boyfriend. I guess you won’t be able to slaughter the competition now OJ. Looks like he really stabbed you in the back OJ. Ok, I’m done now. However, it absolutely amazes me that there is somebody out there that wanted OJ Simpson in their fantasy football league.

Monday Morning Coffee

August 19, 2019

I feel terrible for DeMarcus Cousins. He was working his tail off to get back to being an elite NBA player, and now he gets another devastating injury. I thought this was much worse for him and his career, than for the Lakers. That was until I found out that the Lakers have interest in Dwight Howard as a replacement, and Dwight Howard has interest in the Lakers. I now have interest in throwing up in a paper bag. Dwight is probably the biggest douche bag in Laker history, and has become one of the most unlikable players in the NBA. You don’t need to read Jock Talk LA to find this out, you can just go ask other NBA players, who dislike him as well. At one point he was an elite big man in an era where the traditional big man was becoming extinct, but that was 10 years ago. In a season where everyone needs to get along so Anthony Davis will re-sign, the last thing you want is some locker room cancer like Dwight. I’d rather have someone like Joakim Noah for the same price, similar production, and less risk.

Meanwhile, the Clippers started selling single game tickets this week, and lost their minds when it came to pricing. They set ticket prices for all the Laker games at above the secondary market. “That’s A Bold Strategy Cotton”, but a stupid one. If the goal is to get more Clipper fans into the building when they host the Lakers, then this is a massive fail. Clipper fans have always appreciated the fact their ticket prices are more affordable than the Lakers, especially with the “Hollywood crowd” they attract. Now it’s going to be tough for all 6 Clipper fans to afford to attend any of the home games against the Lakers.

To baseball where the Dodgers are still trying to sort out the mess that is their bullpen. It’s gotten so bad that Kenley Jansen is even losing his grip on the closer role. While Jansen isn’t being replaced, Dave Roberts is saying that his work load will be lightened significantly leading up to October. That’s also code for “let’s see if anybody else is capable of doing the job when it matters.” Their best hope is that the Dustin May bullpen experiment is a success, and that Julio Urias stops beating women and starts beating opposing hitters when he returns in September. That May experiment is definitely off to a bad start. May gave up a Grand Slam in relief yesterday. I also still can’t figure out why Andrew Friedman is obsessed with Joc Pederson. He has some pop, but he has a low OBP, low batting average, doesn’t steal bases, couldn’t play first base, yet he’s still leading off time and time again. There must be a bug in Friedman’s computer software.

Then there’s the Angels, whose problems are really bigger than pitching. As long as the Halos are saddled with the Albert Pujols and Justin Upton contracts for the next couple of seasons, Mike Trout might as well be sitting on the couch in October watching the playoffs with you and I. Billy Eppler might be rebuilding the farm system, but he’s constantly forced to bring up minor leaguers who aren’t ready, and either get injured or get their confidence shattered. When you combine all that with the atrocious pitching, its hard to have any faith that things are going to turn around anytime soon for the Angels.

We are rapidly approaching College Football season, but that might also mean several Trojans are approaching the end of their jobs. Has anyone seen USC’s schedule? They might win one of their first five games if they’re lucky. Then again, that might actually make them lucky because Clay Helton would be fired by then, and Lynn Swann would be gone by Thanksgiving. This season feels like a disaster just waiting to happen, but in the eyes of most USC fans, it probably needs to happen to turn things around. At least the first two games against Fresno State and Stanford are at night so that only a portion of the country will be awake to witness their embarrassing play.

As for UCLA Football, the schedule is even more brutal than the Trojans’. The Bruins could be a better team than last year, and easily be 1-5 to start the season. Games against Oklahoma, Cincinnati, and Washington State are almost guaranteed losses. Frankly, just beating a crummy USC team once again might feel like a monumental accomplishment for the Bruins. Then again, I’m not sure if this will sit all that well with the athletic department that is burning millions of dollars on Chip Kelly to lose a lot of football games every year. Kelly finally has the speedy team he is so accustomed to, but it remains to be see if he actually does anything with it this year. Last year his offense looked nothing like what we saw at Oregon, which isn’t exactly what Bruins fans hoped for.

Finally, there is very little to take away from the Rams preseason games. However, if there’s one thing I think we can safely conclude, it’s that Blake Bortles is still a very mediocre quarterback. If Jared Goff actually goes down with an injury, I hope Todd Gurley or Cooper Kupp can play QB. This man actually makes one believe that it is possible that you could play quarterback in the NFL. As much of a genius as Sean McVay is, I’m not sure he can help this guy make some of the throws that he misses. Let’s just hope the Rams can stay health this year.

Monday Morning Coffee

August 12, 2019

It’s that time of year where NBA fans have nothing to do but complain and yell at each other about arguments nobody can ever win. This time it’s about Kobe. NBA.COM just named their 3 all-decade teams of the 2010’s, and Kobe was on the 3rd team. Hopefully the writers at are ok with having their houses burned to the ground, because this is typically the behavior of die hard Kobe fans when they find out about news like this. To be fair to Kobe fans though, they have a point. Kobe made 7 All-Star teams and 4 All-NBA teams in a decade where he didn’t actually play for half of it. Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis made just 3 All-NBA teams in the prime of their careers. Those two should be relegated to the 3rd team. More than anything though, just looking at the selections on all three teams makes me realize how amazing the NBA was in both the 2000’s and the 1990’s. Too bad most fans and media members have the memory of a 5-year-old and can’t recall this.

Imagine if people in their industries lobbied to make sure one couldn’t apply their crafts with some silly rule about needing a degree. That’s exactly what the NCAA is doing, preventing agents, specifically Rich Paul, from signing underclassmen who want to keep their options open of returning to school. I’m all for higher education, even getting a Masters Degree, but you know who doesn’t have a degree? Steve Jobs, Peter Jennings, Ellen DeGenerous, and a number of other highly successful people. It shouldn’t be a requirement, and especially not for Rich Paul, who is very good at what it does. My favorite part about all this is that the organization that is notorious for exploiting kids is just making a stupid rule under the disguise of “preventing exploitation”. They should really be focused on trying to stop making themselves look like one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet.

Magic Johnson is at it again. This dude can’t go 5 minutes without running his mouth. He just said a couple of weeks ago to Stephen A Smith that he was done talking and that the focus is now going to be on the the Lakers on the floor. Sure enough, he sat down with CBS Sports’ Jim Hill for a 30-minute interview over the weekend, and continued alluding to Rob Pelinka backstabbing him, while also reminding everybody of his great basketball and business career. This felt extremely orchestrated by Magic, given that he knows how critical everybody has been of him lately. I’m getting extremely sick of him and his massive ego, which probably cost the Lakers the free agent signing of Kawhi Leonard.

Speaking of Kawhi, the media including the LA Times is tripping over themselves complementing how great of an organization the Clippers are now. The latest absurd article over the weekend talked about how Doc Rivers experience in Orlando building a “super team” with Tracy McGrady and Grant Hill helped him get to this point in recruiting Kawhi. I must not have been there for when that “super team” was around. I also enjoyed the narrative that the Clippers “Lob City” team couldn’t succeed in the playoffs because of the rise of the Golden State Warriors. Funny, because I always thought it was because they couldn’t get past the Memphis Grizzlies in the 1st round, or because the choked away a 3-1 series lead against the Rockets. LA basketball fans aren’t this naive, but apparently the LA Times writers are.

To baseball where the Dodgers are winning, but they find themselves in a serious battle for the best record in baseball with the Yankees and Astros. To their credit, their kids are playing amazingly well. Will Smith is suddenly giving the Dodgers an elite offensive catcher behind the plate, and every night it feels like there’s another prospect making an impact. Unfortunately, that’s the only way they are going to succeed in October, with their kids taking on more roles, especially in that pile of crap Andrew Friedman calls a bullpen. Friedman said last week that the Dodgers have a chance to win a championship because they have elite starting pitching, an elite lineup, and “a bullpen that has a chance to be above average.” Is this dude serious? I guess whenever he needs a surgery done he must look for the surgeon that is “just above average.”

For all the talk that Clayton Kershaw is in decline, he’s still pitching pretty damn well. He’s 11-2 with a 2.77 ERA, which is 4th best in all of baseball. His 1.038 WHIP is 5th in the NL, and his walks, hits, and strikeouts per 9 IP also put him in the Top 10 in the NL. Anybody that says “he’s done” is seriously misinformed. Kershaw would be an ace on nearly every team in baseball, but it just so happens one of the best in baseball this season is his teammate. Actually, it just goes to show you just how phenomenal he was at one point, given that he is still an excellent pitcher.

If the Angels don’t get some real pitching next year, they might as well change their motto to “Come see Trout and wait for the route”. Given that Gerrit Cole just pitched against the Halos last week and grew up in SoCal, there’s certainly speculation he could sign with the Angels this winter. It would probably cost over $200 million, but that’s not a figure that Billy Eppler sounds like he’s shying away from. Even without Cole though, there are a number of other solid pitchers on the market the Angels have the budget to sign this offseason. Let’s hope they get serious about it unlike this past off-season.

I can’t remember a USC Football season in recent memory like the one coming up. There is simply no buzz about this team whatsoever, and some minuscule coverage. In fact, the only buzz is the ticket prices, as USC raised the season ticket prices 30% on all their season ticket holders. I guess the money had to some from somewhere to pay off that $100 million lawsuit. I love the narrative that Clay Helton is “owning” the fact that he was 5-7 last year. I’m sorry but Clay Helton owns nothing. If he was owning it he would have fired his entire staff. There is some talent on the field, but coaching in College Football is everything to develop it. That Trojans don’t have it and without it, another losing season is very much a reality.

Finally, the most Oakland Raiders thing in the world would be if Antonio Brown decides to quit football over this helmet situation, right after they traded it for him. Brown has talent superior to anyone in the NFL at the wide receiver position, but the maturity and attitude of a 7-year-old who just got his X-BOX taken from him. The ridiculous thing about this is that he has known this for months, yet weeks before the season starts he’s trying to get his old helmet back. On the bright side, I fully expect Hard Knocks to show us the complete drama that unfolds with AB. So far their first episode was highly underwhelming, and could have been so much more, dancing around the real drama: Big Ben and AB’s relationship, the actual frostbite incident with AB, and Richie Incognito’s past related to hazing rookies. Something tells me they are going to continue to dance around the juicy issues, but we’ll see how it unfolds.