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Monday Morning Coffee

November 9, 2020

The NBA is officially coming back on December 22nd! I know that feels bizarre considering the season just ended five minutes ago, but nobody can really be that upset about it. The players and owners need the money, they need to get closer to a normal schedule, and people need entertainment around Christmas. As for the Lakers being at a major disadvantage, a few extra weeks of rest isn’t going to make a huge difference. Lebron’s been doing this for 17 years, he knows how to pace himself, and his squad. Besides, right now, Lebron is probably just pumped he can go visit the White House, and not be served fast food. Instead, he’ll probably get fast casual food.

What is it going to take to get the Chargers to win a close game? I mean it’s getting to the point where we are running out of jokes about them to put on this blog. Even Shakespeare couldn’t script endings that are this tragic. I don’t know what more you want Anthony Lynn to do though. He can’t catch the football for his receivers at the end of the game. To a large extent this is just about execution. The talent is there. With 6 losses by 7 points or less it’s like the Bolts are nearly, almost, but not quite an elite team. Until we see it, Justin Herbert is going to look like a Ferrari that’s parked in a trailer park. At 2-6 though, it’s probably safe to say this team will be watching the postseason on TV this year.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 9, Tom Brady and Antonio Brown must have had a very awkward bus ride yesterday after the Bucs got destroyed by the Saints. That Giants-Washington game should have been included as part of Saturday Night Live. The Cowboys avoided a bloodbath against the Steelers, but moral victories don’t even count in the NFC East. The Falcons shocked their fans by actually holding on to a lead in their win against Denver. Even James Harden thinks Seattle’s defense stinks, as the Seahawks got beat the by the Bills. The Ravens roasted the Colts, and Philip Rivers will get roasted by his teammates for a pathetic attempt at making a tackle. The Texans beat the Jags, but JJ Watt basically told the media he’d rather be playing on Mars. The Chiefs beat the Panthers and Patrick Mahomes is so accurate, he probably has a career in darts if football doesn’t work out for him. The Vikings beat the Lions, and Kirk Cousins is going to call the league and ask if they can play Detroit every week. The Titans beat the Bears and AJ Brown should change his name to “AJ Beast”. Here’s a look at the mess that was the Giants and Washington.

To College Football where the Pac-12 is back! Although USC must have received a late notice. The Trojans played ASU on Saturday at the Coliseum, and it looks like they thought the game started at noon instead. That win was about as fortunate as it gets. Good thing for Clay Helton because now he won’t have to hear noise about his job security for at least another week. Kedon Slovis made a big throw late in the game, but that covered up a lot of warts. The run defense was weak, as was the run game, but Arizona State handed that game over like they were some 501C3. The win generously put USC at #20 in the AP Poll so Trojan fans can take that for what it’s worth.

Then there’s UCLA. There’s been all this weird stuff happening in 2020, yet UCLA still stinks at football under Chip Kelly so thanks to him for making us feel normal again. The first half against Colorado may have been the worst in Bruins history, and that’s saying a lot. At that point, I was beginning to think I’d rather have Joe Biden playing quarterback than DTR. I’m beginning to wonder if Chip Kelly thinks he needs to tank to get a #1 draft pick. He does realize he’s coaching back in college again right? This program has players that look like they have regressed, and look less and less motivated to play for Kelly by the day. I realize that UCLA AD Martin Jarmond just turned on his computer, but he’s gotta at least be raising an eyebrow at what he’s seen so far.

What an exciting Saturday night it was to be a Notre Dame alum, or a football fan. The Irish knocked off #1 Clemson in South Bend in double overtime, in arguably the biggest win of the Brian Kelly era. Also, for those of you trolls that want to point out that Trevor Lawrence didn’t play, you conveniently forgot that the Clemson backup QB threw for 435 yards, two touchdowns, and didn’t turn it over. How much better can you expect from Lawrence? Unless he can tackle somebody, it’s just as meaningful of a signature win. As for the rush of students onto the field, I realize that all these kids were acting like the cure to COVID-19 was beating the #1 team in the country. It wasn’t a great idea, as are a number of other things we do anyway for a variety of personal reasons (i.e. – celebrating your candidates presidential victory, going to a rally of your preferred presidential candidate, or protesting for a social cause). They are all risky given we are in a pandemic. I will say though that for as stupid as we all think teenagers and young adults are, you’ve gotta at least give credit to nearly all the people that rushed on to the field with masks on.

To baseball where the MLB offseason is upon us. That means the hot stove is already starting to heat up with rumors around the Dodgers, and specifically with Indians Shortstop Jose Lindor. The same can be said for Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer. In years past, this is where I would crush Andrew Friedman for not doing everything in his power to improve the team when he has the resources to. Not this year though. Friedman is a super nerd, but he’s shown us that they can easily acquire those two studs, but don’t need to. This would be like buying two Ferrari’s when you already have three in the garage. Why add $50 million to your payroll, even if it’s just for one year, when you have plenty of great young arms that are only getting better, and a solid clubhouse guy in Justin Turner you can bring back on a reasonable deal? They also have a young stud of their own waiting in the wings with Gavin Lux. Anything is possible, but I don’t see the Dodgers going too crazy this offseason, other than finding a way to re-tool their bullpen.

It took 6 days, and I’m still not entirely sure the election is over. I would have never thought that two men in their 70’s could maintain an election for this long. Most people experienced some form of anxiety during this process, but not Al Horford’s sister, who claimed that it made her horny on Instagram. Meanwhile, John King is amazing. He looks even more amazing since he probably got dressed in the copy room at CNN everyday last week. I also learned last week that I’m not nearly as good at identifying states on a blank map as I thought I would be. Trump had the lead everyone, but then again, so did the Clippers. Nevertheless, it was incredible to see people refreshing their timelines like it’s NBA free agency. Those remaining states should really offer a list of demands before releasing the vote counts. On the plus side for Trump though, he no longer has to publicly pretend to enjoy being around Don and Eric anymore.

Dave Chappelle was amazing on Saturday Night Live. If you were offended, you probably shouldn’t be watching SNL in the first place. However, credit to NBC for letting Chappelle go unfiltered, despite maybe not being all that safe for network TV. This is probably one of the few comedians in the world who can get away with a KKK joke, an AIDS joke, while having a lit cigarette on stage. What may have gotten lost in all the hilarity of his routine was one important message he said to all Americans. That message is to forgive each other for how we’ve treated one another throughout this whole process, and move forward together.

Finally, I never thought the Bachelorette season would end before Nevada finished counting. Poor Dale. The guy has to be pissed. I’m sure he just went on the show to get famous, go on a few nice vacations, and now he has to get engaged after one date. As for the rest of those other dudes, they are stoked they get to get hurt again now that Tayshia has shown up. You’ve gotta hande it to these guys. They handled the loss of Clare with such grace, class, and dignity, which is always difficult to do after losing out on a week at La Quinta. Seeing these guys pretend like it was a struggle with the decision to stay or go is hilarious, as if they had any time at all to start liking Clare. If anything this season just goes to show you ladies that if you don’t settle at a young age, you too can get engaged at La Quinta. Seriously though, we have to watch Clare and Dale tell their story on the Tell All? I think I’ll pass on that.

Monday Morning Coffee

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November 2, 2020

At long last the drought is over! The Dodgers are World Series Champions for the first time in 32 years. The way it went down made it even sweeter. Clayton Kershaw experienced playoff redemption with two huge world series wins and Dave Roberts made the right calls. After years of taking arrows for others in the organization, they have been vindicated. Plus, instead of telling everyone how stupid their narrative was, they both enjoyed the moment with class and grace. There was also the clutch hitting of Corey Seager, and the incredible playmaking and leadership of Mookie Betts. More than anything though, the bullpen came through after 7 years of committing arson in the playoffs. It was no wonder that this team was celebrating bullpen outs like someone just got posterized at the rim. They were almost a miracle in every instance. The Dodgers should probably call Kevin Cash and the Boston Red Sox and ask them for their ring size as well. Cash made the same mistake that we killed the Dodgers for the last few years: pulling their starters too early in the big playoff games when they are rolling, just because the analytics tell you to. Kind of funny that a former Andrew Friedman team lost to a current Andrew Friedman team for using a Friedman philosophy. As for the Red Sox trading Mookie to the Dodgers for nothing, I’m sure their fans are going to be ok. I mean I’m sure those fans are cool with the fact they leveraged the extra capital to surpass Q2 earnings.

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You probably noticed there’s a lot of World Series stories I haven’t even addressed, and that’s because I just don’t think they deserve a lot of attention. If the talk shows want to focus on how bad analytics are for baseball, or Justin Turner coming back on the field with COVID, they are just being lazy. The real story is how great of a team this was, and how this was arguably a tougher championship to win than if it were a 162-game season. No fans, no days off, and more playoff teams to go through. The only asterisk still belongs to the 2017 Astros, for their use of “trash-can-alytics”. If you really want my thoughts on Turner I’ll leave it at this: none of us have played in the MLB for over a decade and know what it’s like to be in that position of having to make the choice he did. It’s easy to not condone what he did, but I can’t say none of us wouldn’t have done the same thing, so we should get off his back. He might not even be a Dodger in a few weeks. The real blame is on Commissioner Rob Manfred, who barely had the right protocols in place all year. I love that he was booed to the point it felt like there were 40,000 fans instead of 10,00 fans in the stadium. He also sounded like he slammed a few martini’s before giving that post game speech.

I couldn’t possibly get through writing this edition of MMC without issuing an apology to Andrew Friedman. From nearly day 1 on the job, I’ve been slinging arrows at him for his overly analytics approach, and essentially telling Dave Roberts exactly what to do. However, the reality of it is, this is Major League Baseball today whether you like it or not, and Friedman does it better than any of his competitors. It took a while for all of us to see this, especially myself, but I can clearly see it now. To Friedman’s credit, he stepped outside-the-box with certain decisions. He traded for Mookie Betts and signed him to a massive deal, something he used to shy away from. Not to mention the guy he finally spent the money on was the right guy. He re-signed Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, and Clayton Kershaw when you thought he might not. He also has built an amazing young pitching staff with all cost-controlled arms for the new few years, and found undervalued gems in Max Mancy, Chris Taylor, and Kike Hernandez. I can’t promise the jokes about you using the computer to make decisions will stop, or your geekiness, but you have proven you’re a hell of an executive Andrew. The best in today’s game.

What the hell are the Angels doing? Their season has been over for more than a month and they aren’t even close to hiring a GM. Arte Moreno must be spending his time reading up on the propositions and catching up on Tiger King because the offseason is about to start and they have no front office leadership. Good luck trying to put something competitive on the field next season, namely a decent pitching staff, without a GM or decent scouting.

The NBA is going to have to start the season around Christmas, otherwise they are going to lose a lot of money. However, I fully expect the Lakers, Heat, Nuggets, and Celtics to be mailing it in for the first month of the season. Lebron will probably be banana boating in Cancun, Kyle Kuzma will be working on his wardrobe, AD will be threading his eye brows, and JR Smith will still be drinking Hennessey. I expect to see a lot of G-Leaguers for that first month, but it’s a little unsettling to know they will get off to a slow start in a tough Western Conference. Nevertheless, it’s a small price to pay to go into the season as defending NBA Champions.

The Rams are so symbolic of 2020. Just when you think things are getting better, they get slapped upside the head by something they didn’t know was coming. This time it was the Miami Dolphins. Jared Goff had more turnovers than Betty Crocker in the first half alone. His passer rating in the first quarter was so low, it should have read “LOL” on the stat sheet. Tua only threw for 93 yards in his debut, but it was Goff that looked like the rookie. It’s hard not to think that Brian Flores and Josh Boyer have Sean McVay’s number, especially since the Rams offense looked about as bad as it did in the Super Bowl. Kai Forbath is probably still walking back to LA at this point, after he missed that field goal to make it a one possession game. Considering the next four opponents are the Seahawks, Bucs, 49ers, and Cardinals, Rams fans should be pretty nervous right now they might fall out of contention ASAP. Hopefully Sean McVay has some major adjustments coming to his offense over the two weeks now that they have a bye coming up.

You have to admire the Chargers consistency at blowing leads and blowing it in close games. The really beared down and made sure they did it again in yesterday’s loss to the Broncos. They are the Atlanta Falcons of the AFC West. Not even the brilliance of Justin Herbert can change the inability for this team to finish games. Before you start pointing at the coaching staff for blowing leads of 16 points or more in the last four games, remember, Mike McCoy had the same reputation. It’s hard to protect leads when your defense is banged up and not good to begin with. It’s a shame everybody is going to focus on that because Justin Herbert looks every bit the franchise quarterback they thought he might be.


Elsewhere around Week 8 of the NFL, the Steelers beat the Ravens in a game that was so physical, it’s painful just watching it. Patrick Mahomes had five TD passes yesterday. The Jets don’t have five TD passes all year. Baker Mayfield looks like Joe Montana against the Bengals, and like Baker Mayfield against everybody else. The Packers defense had as many holes as Swiss Cheese for Dalvin Cook to run through in the Vikings win over Green Bay. The Colts smoked the Lions yesterday. If Philip Rivers had brought all his kids to the game, he could have equaled the attendance of the Lions fans. The Titans lost to the Bengals, and their defense has disappeared like Houdini. COVID has apparently aged Cam Newton five years, as the Patriots lost to to the Bills. I’m beginning to think DK Metcalf might be really good and that opponents should cover him after the Seahawks beat the 49ers.

Finally, the train wreck that is the Bachelorette continued last week and it’s back tonight. Doesn’t it make perfect sense? We get the worst bachelor and bachelorette ever during 2020! What a lame group date. Not one person got meaningful time with Clare. Way to go ABC. Let’s have a bunch of guys who are already anxious about their connections with Clare sit around all day stewing in the sun, tell them the only fun active thing they might do all week is canceled and they have to share a cocktail party with Dale. It’s been three episodes and the woman is smelling his pants, calling him her fiancé. That’s not how this is supposed to work Clare, but that’s fine. If it doesn’t work out with Dale, don’t come crawling back to Bachelor in Paradise. Thankfully, Tayshia came out of that pool at the end of the episode, and looks to be a Bachelorette that knows how this works. Hopefully that will salvage the season.

Monday Morning Coffee

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning.

October 26, 2020

The Dodgers sure know how to make this stressful for their fans. Saturday night was the most 2020 ending to a ballgame ever. There’s 1,000 things I could say about Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman’s scripted decisions, regardless of what is happening before their very eyes. It happened Saturday, and it nearly happened Sunday. I just hope it doesn’t prevent them from winning one of the next two games. I’m also dreading the fact that on Tuesday night they will manage the game like they managed game 2: knowing it’s not truly a must-win situation. On the bright side, Corey Seager is an absolute beast. It was also great to see Clayton Kershaw picking up a couple of wins in this series, and he’s been great in this postseason, despite all that lame “playoff Kershaw” narrative. The bottom line is that if the Dodgers are going to win this series and end the 30+ year drought, the bullpen is going to have to come through.

To the NBA, where Lakers President of Basketball Ops Rob Pelinka has basically revealed his plan for the Lakers moving forward. Pelinka appeared on the Woj Podcast last week and said that his plan is to try to keep his championship team together, while preserving roster flexibility to add a very talented young player to play with AD and Lebron. The explains why he’s trying to get rid of the extra $5 million owed to Luol Deng that counts toward the salary cap. As far as I’m concerned, the league should remove it, even if it means letting Deng touch the Championship Trophy and take a picture with the Laker girls. The league did the same for Timofey Mozgov and the Magic, so this is a far more reasonable ask than is being reported. As for Pelinka though, this means that CP3 probably isn’t among his top choices, since he said “young player”. The only problem with all this is that unless AD or Lebron take less money next summer, they can’t sign a max free agent. They can only trade for one, and I don’t think they have too many good assets to move. Then again, Rob Pelinka has already shown you that he can move mountains in the middle of an earthquake, so the man obviously has something up his sleeve. Even when he tells you his plan, he’s more stealth than you think.

If the Chargers win a game, but none of their fans were actually their to see it in SOFI Stadium, does it actually count? Then again, they have no fans that would show up at Sofi Stadium, so I guess it’s only fair that it should. Not only did the Bolts win, but more importantly, Justin Herbert continues to look elite. He’s only the 2nd player with at least 250 passing yards in each of his first five starts. The other was Patrick Mahomes, who happens to play in his division. He also had a 31-yard run for a TD, which was the longest run by a Chargers QB since 1988. Yes it’s a bit alarming that they blew a 16-0 lead against a team that’s 1-6. Yes it’s even more alarming that they trailed by a touchdown in the 3rd quarter. However, 3 of their 4 losses have come against solid teams where they just didn’t know how to finish. Considering they are just one game out of the last playoff spot with Broncos, Chargers, and Dolphins looming, now would be a good time to start finishing.

Tonight’s Monday Night Football game against the Bears has me pretty worried for the Rams. Everybody thought the Bears were frauds, yet they are 5-1, near the top of the NFC after beating a really good Bucs team. Everyone thought the Rams were good, but now everybody thinks they suck because all their wins have come against crummy NFC East teams. Thank God this game is at home, because Jared Goff shrivels up in the cold like Harry and Lloyd did in “Dumb and Dumber” when they got to Aspen. Still the Bears defense can give the Rams fits, and I’m not feeling so great heading into this one.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 7, the Cowboys got crushed by Washington, and the NFL should air the rest of their games on a high school football channel. The Falcons lost to the Lions and should have all their remaining games replaced by a blank screen. The Jets got beat by the Bills and should have their games moved to Comedy Central. All other NFC games should be moved to 4 am so nobody has to be subjected to them. The Patriots got crushed by the 49ers, and Cam Newton is out here throwing bounce passes like he’s Magic Johnson. The Cardinals beat the Seahawks, but DK Metcalf chased down Buddha Baker like your kid chases down the ice cream truck.

It’s been two months and I’ve gotta be honest: I just can’t get into College Football this year. It’s already predictable enough that we’re going to see another Clemson vs Alabama Championship Game. However, to make it even less intriguing, half the Power 5 schools weren’t even playing before this past weekend. Even Notre Dame, who is undefeated, probably doesn’t stand a chance against Clemson when they meet in two weeks. Touchdown Jesus himself couldn’t lift the Irish to victory if he were starting at Quarterback. It’s anti-climactic, and even more anti-climactic without many fans in the stands. College Football needs fans. Not just for the revenue, but for the energy and the quality of the game itself. It’s missing the crowd more than any other sport.

Finally, The Bachelorette has been ridiculous, even by 2020 standards. First of all, ABC picked the oldest Bachelorette ever. Bad move. I’m also starting to think Clare should’ve gone to therapy instead of being on the bachelorette. In fact, I’m beginning to think watching a whole season of Bennett inviting the other men one by one into his suite, doing face masks, and getting to know each other by the pool could be more interesting than what we’ve seen in the first couple of episodes. Clare gets pissed when a guy that shows up on the show doesn’t know her astrological sign, blood type and date of her last period. Then of course Clare wanted to get a look at “the goods” and make all those dudes strip down naked after they lost at Dodgeball. Of course there is no chance any Bachelor could pull that off during their seasons with all the women. I definitely needed a full week to recover from that train wreck of an episode.


Monday Morning Coffee

October 19, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

October 12, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

October 5, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

September 28, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

September 21, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

September 14, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

September 7, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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