Monthly Archives: June 2014

Monday Morning Coffee

Julius Randle

June 30th, 2014

Thursday night was one of the better nights for the Los Angeles Lakers in quite some time.  The Lakers used the 7th pick to select Kentucky Freshman Power Forward, Julius Randle, who was a double-double machine this past year.  Randle probably won’t become the next Tim Duncan, but seems like a good bet to be a solid pro.  LA was fortunate that Randle slid out of the top 5, because he probably should have been in the top 3, had it not been for a rumored foot injury.  I even like the selection of Jordan Clarkson in the 2nd round, who might even give the Lakers some badly needed athleticism in the backcourt.  More importantly, I’m just glad that Jim Buss wasn’t drinking tequila with his favorite scout Chaz, who is also a former bartender, which could have caused the Lakers to trade away the pick to Miami for Lebron’s game worn underwear.

I’m not even going to bother addressing the ridiculous Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James pipe dream rumors because it’s not happening.  However, one free agent that appears like he will inevitably re-sign with the Lakers is Pau Gasol.  Pau is already running out of options with Dallas acquiring Tyson Chandler, Memphis re-signing Zach Randolph, and Chicago trying to move heaven and earth for ‘Melo.  No matter how many trade rumors pop up, and no matter how many times the Lakers seemingly have deals in place to trade him, he always finds a way to remain with the team.  It’s almost like the move “What About Bob?”, where Bob is Pau, and the Lakers are Richard Dreyfuss.  I’m sure when Pau re-signs in another week or two, the Lakers will probably announce that he’s back on the trade block.

You definitely cannot blame NBA players for wanting to experience free agency, and enjoy it.  In fact, if I were an NBA free agent, I would definitely meet with all 30 teams.  “So where are we doing to dinner tonight guys?  I’m feeling like Mexican!”  Then by the time I got to Cleveland, I’d say “You know, if you really want to me sign, I’m going to need at least two more seafood towers.”

As for the Clippers, I’m not really sure what Doc Rivers was thinking by drafting guard CJ Wilcox on  Thursday night.  Hey Doc, I’m not sure if you noticed, but your team is loaded with guards, you are pretty thin in the front court, and might be losing even more front court players due to free agency.  It would have even been better if the Clippers had traded the pick along with a crummy contract like Jared Dudley.  Rivers insists that the Clippers wanted to take “the best player available”, but you usually do that when you are picking in the lottery.  Then again, the Clippers were used to picking in the lottery for so many years, I guess they still don’t know how to act any differently.

Somehow, the U.S. men’s soccer team survived “The Group of Death”.  Although the tie against Portugal felt more like a loss, the fact that we only lost 1-0 to Germany, has to make one feel like we can compete with anybody.  Yes, I realize that the Germans had the ball for about 70% of the match, but we also played like we wanted a tie.  Supposedly we are underdogs against Belgium, but they qualified out of some dumpster fire that is the equivalent of last year’s NFC East.  Meanwhile, we’ve already faced some of the toughest competition in the tournament.  I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like I can’t eat Belgian waffles for at least a week with Tuesday’s matchup looming.

On to baseball, where the Dodgers have caught the hated San Francisco Giants atop the NL West, after taking three out of four games against the Cardinals this weekend.  The Boys in Blue have won 12 of their last 16 games, and have made up 9.5 games on San Fran in the last three weeks, while their Nor Cal rivals were probably busy slamming too much organic food and crab sandwiches over that stretch.  Clayton Kershaw was brilliant again yesterday, extending his shutout streak to 28 innings.  The entire lineup is hitting, the bullpen is slowly getting its act together, and the rest of the starting pitching is solid.  The best part is the team hasn’t even played it’s best ball yet, having not won more than 3 straight all year.  The worst part though, is that Hanley Ramirez is made of glass, suffering from a shoulder injury and then a calf injury.  He’s probably headed to the DL, which is where Justin Turner also went this weekend as well.


With the trade deadline approaching, the rumors continue to fly that the Dodgers could make a deal for Rays ace David Price.  That deal would simply be absurd.  If the Dodgers acquire Price, he would essentially be their 3rd or 4th starter with the way their entire rotation is pitching.  Of course he would be nice to have, but it would be totally unnecessary.  Instead, the team should look to improve their middle relief, and their bench with the likes of a Ben Zobrist from Tampa Bay, Joaquin Benoit from San Diego, or Joe Thatcher from Arizona.  How much more money can the Dodgers spend?  If LA is going to win a World Series this year, for the most part, the current core of the team is going to have to get it done.

As for the Angels, they dropped two out of three to the Royals in disappointing fashion over the weekend, and are now 6 games behind the A’s for first place in the AL West.  Yesterday Howie Kendrick committed a critical error in bottom of the 9th, which would gotten the Halos to extra inning had he turned a double play.  To make matters worse, Albert Pujols is suffering from a groin injury.  The Halos still lead the AL Wild Card, but they still need bullpen help badly.  I don’t think last week’s Ernesto Frieri for Jason Grilli trade with the Pirates solves anything, as both teams just swapped garbage.  Relievers definitely have the ability to turn it around, but putting all your hopes on Grilli closing games is like hoping Kim Kardashian will stop dating black dudes.

Finally, it’s really a bummer to find out that the LA Kings will not be re-signing defenseman Willie Mitchell, who was a key part of the last two Stanley Cup Championships.  Mitchell is 37 years old, but the Kings already have 6 defenseman under contract next year, and a few other emerging prospects behind them.  The Kings also made a surprising trade at the NHL Draft, by sending center Linden Vey to the Canucks for the 50th pick.  Vey was thought to be the heir apparent to either Jared Stoll or Mike Richards in the near future, but LA clearly feels like they will be hanging onto those two for a while.  This just goes to show you how brilliantly GM Dean Lombardi has managed the salary cap, as he has lost very little over the last few years.  Just more evidence that the Kings will be in Cup contention for the next few years.  Still, thanks for your contributions Mr. Mitchell, you will be missed.

Mitchell Cup Mountain

Monday Morning Coffee

USA v Portugal: Group G - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

June 23rd, 2014

How did we blow it?  The United States was oh so close to advancing past the “Group of Death” in the 2014 World Cup, until Portugal tied it in the last 30 seconds yesterday.  I guess that’s why you have to play hard for 90 minutes… whatever they throw on the clock for stoppage time.  I’m sure when Portugal scored that game tying goal, Tony Romo was saying “now they know how I feel!”  Meanwhile, the Miami Heat fans were trying to figure out whether they should be buying USA or Portugal jerseys.  A win against Portugal would have meant that Thursday’s game against Germany would have been meaningless, and the US could have rested players.  Instead, both teams need a win or tie to advance.  Hopefully Jurgen Klinsmann has called his fellow Germans and negotiated a tie with them.

I don’t even really like soccer, or football, or whatever the rest of the world is calling it.  However, how can one not get caught up in Team USA’s World Cup run?  Not watching is simply un-American.  What’s even better is that were watching a team that is a huge underdog, yet they are more than holding their own with some of the most talented teams in the world….well at least according to the FIFA rankings.  Now we all just have to figure out some ridiculous excuse to get out of work on Thursday to watch the game against Germany.

With the NBA draft approaching on Thursday, this is going to be an interesting week for the Lakers.    They are currently trying to decide whether to keep the 7th pick, or trade it.  One rumor that is floating around is the idea the Lakers would trade the pick to Golden State for Klay Thompson, which would also facilitate a Kevin Love trade to the Warriors.  That trade would be a tragedy if it occurs.  Klay Thompson is a nice role player, but he’s likely already reached his peak.  He’s also due for a big extension in a few months.  When you are rebuilding your team, you don’t build around expensive role players.  The 7th pick is going to have way more value and potential.  Another tragedy would be if the Lakers were to select Joel Embiid if he falls to the 7th spot.  I had my doubts about his health with his back injury, and now you add a foot injury to that?  No thanks.  I’ll take my chances with Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, or Aaron Gordon.

I’m officially concerned about Kobe Bryant, and what he has left in the tank.  Recently, U.S. Soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann compared leaving Landon Donavan off the U.S. Soccer team to giving Kobe Bryant a $48 million contract.  Klinsmann said keeping stars past their prime is an American thing, and that “it makes no sense”.  Kobe responded last week by saying his comments were “commical”, and that Klinsmann fails to realize it’s about “rewarding players for what they have done while balancing the team going forward.”  That’s it?? That’s all he had to say??  That’s not the Black Mamba we all know.  The old Black Mamba would have said something like “wait until I’m  dropping 30 points a night and getting first team all NBA this year then we’ll see how he feels”.  The older Kobe is now questioning his own basketball mortality, which doesn’t bode well.

As for the Clippers, they are very quietly targeting Lebron James in free agency, if he opts out of his contract.  It’s going to take moving mountains to get this done, but Lebron would have to call the Clippers, and tell him he’s coming.  At that point, the Clippers would have to trade DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, and Jared Dudley to teams with salary cap space.  The Clippers ownership situation would have to be resolved as well for Lebron to make the move as well.  It’s a stretch, but don’t rule it out.  Lebron’s best move is still sticking with the Heat.  He’s simply going to hurt his legacy by continuing to move from one franchise to another, where he can play on a stacked team.  The 80’s Lakers and Celtics, and the 90’s Bulls had years where they didn’t win the NBA Finals, but Magic, Larry, and Michael never left for a better situation.  It’s no wonder Pat Riley told everyone to “get a grip” last week.

The Kings are partying their ass off after winning the Stanley Cup, and rightfully so.  This year’s parade in downtown might have looked weak, but that’s because of the serious crowd control the LAPD put into effect.  There were still 500,000 people that showed up, plus another 20,000 for the rally at Staples.  Then there was a 2nd parade that went through Hermosa, Manhattan, and Redondo Beach, which had another strong turnout.  That was a brilliant idea, which allowed the fans to get even closer to the players over a much bigger area, and great for the players to since nearly all of them live in those three cities.  There’s nothing like partying in your own backyard.   LA may not be a “hockey town” but that doesn’t mean the Kings don’t have a very strong, loyal following.  That following has been there for the last 40 years.   Poor Jonathan Quick though.  They told him he couldn’t speak at the rally this year because he dropped an F-bomb at the 2012 rally.  So Mayor Garcetti steps up to the mic and says this…….

Smart move by Dean Lombardi to hang on to Mike Richards and not buy him out.  He stepped up his game in the playoffs, and played a big leadership role in the dressing room.  Richards also told Lombardi that it isn’t his age or injury that caused him to have a poor regular season.  Its that he simply wasn’t preparing like a 29 year old should, as opposed to cutting corners in training like he could when he was 22.  In other words, he was partying too hard.  I’m sure Lombardi appreciated his candor, and hopefully he returns to the Mike Richards of a few years ago.  However, I’m not sure the partying is going to stop since he just won another cup.  Here they were in Vegas a few days ago…….

Cup in Vegas

On to baseball, where the Dodgers are trying to chase down the Giants in the NL West.  The boys in blue took 2 out of 3 from the Padres, but Kenley Jansen choked away a two run lead on Friday night, which would have put the Dodgers just 3 games back of the struggling Giants.  Even though LA is 7-3 in their last 10 games, they still haven’t won more than 3 in a row.  On the bright side, Clayton Kershaw showed us all earlier in the week, how lucky we are to watch him pitch every 5 days.  Kershaw pitched one of the most brilliant no-hitters against the Rockies, and frankly, it should have been a perfect game.  Hopefully LA won’t waste his brilliance by underachieving the rest of the way.

As for the Angels, it’s good to finally see them taking care of the Rangers.  It feels like Texas has really had the Halos number the last few seasons, but after the Angels swept a 3 game set this weekend, it now feels like the tables have turned.  The starting pitching is holding up, the offense is clicking, and the Halos lead the Wild Card.  The only bad news is their bullpen seems determined to lose games, and sometimes Mike Scioscia does too.  What happened to the brilliance of Scioscia?  This guy used to be considered the best skipper in baseball.  Now he seems to make questionable decision after questionable decision.  Are there any managers available at the trade deadline???



Monday Morning Coffee

June 16th, 2014

As a sports fan, you live for moments like Friday night at Staples Center.  What an honor it was to be there, watching the longest game in the history of the Kings franchise, and seeing Alec Martinez win the Stanley Cup for the Kings.  It wasn’t too long ago that I never thought I would see the Kings  win a Stanley Cup in my lifetime.  Suddenly, I’ve now seen two in the last three years, and one of the greatest runs in LA Sports history.  LA just went through the gauntlet.  They came back from 0-3 to beat San Jose in 7 games, defeated the Ducks in 7 games after trailing 3-2, took down the defending champion Blackhawks in 7 games, and defeated the Rangers in 5 grueling games.  These guys are going to party their asses off between now and September, and they sure have earned it!

Team Photo

When the Kings won their first Cup two years ago, I thought they could be a team that could have a few more runs in them.  Not 1980’s Edmonton Oiler dynasty, but a team that could win 2 or 3 Cups in 5 or 6 years.  However, not only have they won 2 titles in 3 years, you could argue if they had been healthy last year they might have three-peated.  Drew Doughty is only 24.  Jonathan Quick is only 28.  Anze Kopitar is only 26.  All of these guys are under contract for many years to come, so this team will likely continue to be in contention for the next few years.  I’ve gotta hand it to Dean Lombardi, who put this team together.  For years, I thought the man was taking this franchise on an endless rebuild.  Instead, he was in the process of building a dynasty.  Thank you Dean for making me eat crow.  My neighbors hate me for all the noise I’ve made during this playoff run, but I don’t care.  I can’t stop smiling.

Congrats to the Spurs for winning the NBA title over the Miami Heat.  Lebron played well, but just couldn’t get any help from Dwayne Wade, who suddenly looks old and out of shape.  Three straight beat downs by the Spurs?  Lebron can’t be happy with his teammates, but I still don’t think he’s leaving Miami.  He holds all the leverage, which means he can even force Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to take less to bring Carmelo to Miami.  As for Tim Duncan, he’s easily a top 10 player of all time, and the best power forward of all time.  However, anybody that says he is the player of the decade over Kobe Bryant, is simply obnoxious.  The Spurs have never repeated, while Kobe and the Lakers three-peated and repeated.  Kobe’s Lakers have owned the Duncan led Spurs head-to-head in the playoffs, and Duncan’s last title has come three years after the decade ended anyway.  Duncan is great, but his legacy isn’t Kobe’s.

Not Lebron

Elsewhere in the NBA…..I can’t wait to see what Donald Sterling does next.  Sterling is hiring private investigators to dig up dirt on the NBA.  Not because it’s going to help him get his team back, but just because he can.  This is going to get really good!  Meanwhile, Derek Fisher was hired by the Knicks, which is a solid choice.  The Knicks have stunk for a while, so Fisher can’t do any worse than his predecessors.  I’m not sure why Laker fans are so upset about this though.  Hiring Fish in LA would have been more of a science experiment.  I’d rather have a coach who actually has experience.  Glad to see Byron Scott get a 2nd interview from the Lakers as well.  That’s one of the best decisions this front office has made in recent memory.

Now that the Kings have raised the Cup, LA sports fans will unfortunately, be forced to turn their attention to the mediocre LA Dodgers.  With a record of 37-34 and tied for a wild card spot, things might not seem all that bad.  Then you realize that LA is only 15-19 at home, and 7.5 games behind the Giants in the NL West.  Oh yea…and they have the highest payroll in baseball.  The Dodgers need something to jumpstart them.  I’m not sure that sitting around and waiting for Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to star earning their paychecks is the answer.  That means somebody has to be traded, and Joc Pederson needs to be called up to play.  The Dodger front office is about to take more heat than James Ramsey in Hell’s Kitchen, as most fans can’t even watch their games on TV, and the fans that are showing up are paying top dollar to watch an underachieving ball club.

Then there’s the Angels, who had a decent showing against Oakland, followed by a let down against the Braves this weekend.  And then there’s the Halo bull pen.  Let’s go for a live look at Ernesto Frieri now…..

Frieri Trash

Ok, so Ernie did have a stretch where he was closing out games, but in the last two weeks when he’s blown a save, he knows how to do it in spectacular fashion.  Is Scioscia really going to keep giving this guy the ball late in August and September with a playoff spot on the line?  I feel like I need a good bottle of scotch next to me to get through an inning with him on the mound.  Memo to Jerry Dipoto: find a couple of arms to put in your bullpen before the trade deadline.  That might make up for all your previous messes, and actually get your team back to the post season.

Ok, I get it.  It’s that time again.  The time where we act like we all really care about soccer for the next three weeks.  I do really hope the U.S. does make it out of “The Group of Death”, but it’s pretty hard to be optimistic when coach Jurgen Klinsmann doesn’t even think we have a chance.  Yes, I know ESPN probably took his comments out of context, but it’s still hard for me to believe he thinks we really have a shot.  I’m also a little bit interested to see if someone is going to get murdered during the World Cup, since we are talking about soccer fans in Brazil.  The US must defeat Ghana today, or else we go back to ignoring soccer for another four years.  We’ll also probably have to listen to this guy again….

Did anybody actually know that the U.S. Open was this weekend?  The only way NBC could have saved their ratings was if they showed a split screen of Paulina Gretzky in the gallery.

And finally, the season finale of Game of Thrones was on HBO last night, and quite an ending it was.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Let’s recap quickly.  Beyond The Wall, Jon Snow tries to negotiate with The King Beyond The Wall, but the negotiations are interrupted by  Stannis Baratheon.  Stannis asks Jon what his father would do with Mance, and Jon says show him mercy, and take him as prisoner.  Back at Castle Black, Jon helps burn the bodies from the battle.  Further north, Bran and his gang are ambushed by some crazy skeleton fighters, which results in the death of Jojen.  Bran escapes and meets the Three-Eyed Raven, who tells him he won’t be able to walk again, but will eventually learn to fly.  Brienne and The Hound do battle over Arya, and even though Brienne leaves him for dead, Arya gets away.  Arya boards a ship and then heads to the free city of Braavos.

In Kings Landing, things get crazy.  Cersei admis to Tywin that she has an incestual relationship with her brother.  Jamie frees Tyrion, and while trying to get away he finds Shay in Tywin’s bed.  The two begin to fight, and Tyrion strangles her to death.  Tyrion grabs a cross bow, and runs into Tywin.  Tyrion shoots his father twice, killing him, after he called Shay a whore several times.  Varys then smuggles Tyrion away on a ship, on the way to a free city.  Meanwhile, Dany is forced to put her dragons in chains, once she finds out that one of the dragons killed a three year old.

This was a very good season finale, and one that finally felt like a victory for “the good guys” which is rare in this show.  Jon meeting Stannis makes things more interesting in the north, but there was definitely a weird vibe going on with Jon and Lady Melisandre.  I’m really going to miss the banter between Arya and The Hound.  I think that we might see Tyrion and Arya actually meet in the free city they are going to.  It’s sad that Tyrion was forced to kill the woman he loved, but the shocking part was seeing Tywin die.  Now what is left of Kings Landing without a strong leader?  It seemed like an episode about some of the good characters breaking away and gaining freedom, like Arya, Tyrion, and even Jon to some extent.  However, I’m disappointed we didn’t get to see any further developments from Sansa Stark and Littlefinger.  There should be some great new story lines in the next season, but it’s going to be a long wait before the next season starts! Ugh, I have withdrawals already!




Monday Morning Coffee


June 9th, 2014

The Kings are like that kid that sits next to you in class, who never does his homework, never pays any attention to the teacher, then aces the test when it’s all over.  On Saturday, the kings became the first NHL team to win three straight playoff games after trailing in each of them by 2 goals.  They are now just 2 wins away from winning the Stanley Cup.  The Rangers and their fans are obviously very bitter about the third goal the Kings scored, where Dwight King definitely interfered with Henrik Lundqvist, before deflecting a shot past him.  However, they had plenty of chances to win the game in regulation, and in OT on the power play.  The Rangers didn’t get screwed by the refs.  They got screwed by their inability to hang on to the lead in both games 1 and 2.  Since round 1, I’ve been saying the Kings can’t keep playing like this.  Now they are two wins away from the cup.  So uh….they can’t keep playing like this right?

This series isn’t over yet.  The Kings may feel like a team of destiny, but the Rangers could have just as easily won both games at Staples.  They might even take two at home if they can hold a lead.  I’m thinking this could still go six games, but the Kings offensive depth has been remarkable.  Dustin Brown had a terrible year, yet the captain has been clutch during the biggest moments of the season.  Most fans are probably wondering why we’re seeing so much scoring when these are supposed to be the two best goaltenders in the world, but we’re still seeing spectacular saves at critical moments from both these guys.  If the Rangers grab a two goal lead in the next game, I expect Rangers Coach Alain Vigneault to decline the lead to avoid blowing it.

I’ve gotta give major props to Fox Sports West’s Patrick O’Neal, who tactfully criticized ESPN LA’s Steve Mason and John Ireland for the lack of Kings coverage during the Stanley Cup Final.  News flash to those of you in denial, the NHL has a very significant group of loyal fans, and it’s been that way for a long time.  So do the LA Kings, who have been selling out their games for years, yet haven’t received adequate coverage.  Most Kings fans, and hockey fans, resort to non-main stream sources to follow their sport.  However, when the main stream media tries to cover it, it’s been an embarrassment.  In turn, those members of the main stream media hate it when “hockey guy” criticizes them when they try to cover their sport.  Look main stream media…. cover the sport when it’s necessary, like right now, and just make sure you’re doing your research!  It’s your job! Then us hockey fans will actually appreciate what you are doing, instead of mispronouncing names, and screwing up stories.  In case you missed Patrick O’Neal, here he is:

Patrick O’Neal’s rant with Mason & Ireland 6/4/14

To the NBA….It’s June and the Lakers don’t appear anywhere close to naming a head coach.  However, one name that we can definitely eliminate from consideration is Derek Fisher, according to sources.  Fisher as a head coach has a nice ring to it, especially considering he has a great relationship with Kobe.  However, the Laker head coaching job isn’t one for a rookie head coach.  If the Lakers have no intention of being competitive for the next 3 years, which at this point I’m still unsure, then bring him on as coach.  However, you can’t rebuild a team with a short term head coach in place.  I love D-Fish and everything he has done for the Lakers, but he needs to learn how to be a head coach before getting the highest profile job in the NBA.

I was really hoping the Spurs would win game 2 of the NBA Finals, because I really wanted to see how the Heat would respond down 2-0.  Miami has never faced such a situation in the Big 3 era, and it would really give them the opportunity to demonstrate to us naysayers that they aren’t just a bunch of frontrunners.  I did find “cramp gate” pretty amusing.  It’s almost like the Spurs knew Lebron would get cramps without a/c in the building, so they purposefully shut down their a/c.  That sounds right up there with people in Sacramento giving Kobe Bryant food poisoning a few years ago during the Lakers playoff series with the Kings.

Let’s go to baseball, where you haven’t been missing much if you can’t watch the Dodgers.  Coming into Sunday, the Dodgers were 9.5 games out of first place in the NL West, and .5 games out of the wild card.  I’m was starting to wonder if the Dodgers are really this bad, or if it’s just that the Giants are that good?  I wondered until Don Mattingly criticized his team for being “selfish” and made reference to a lack of cohesion.  There’s a lot of blame to go around here, but this is definitely Mattingly’s job to get these guys on the same page, and playing cohesively.  It may not be his fault that Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier aren’t earning their paychecks, but it is his fault that he can’t get his players to buy into the team concept.  Better make this happen soon Don, or else Guggenheim will have no problem paying you to sit on a beach for the next few years, while somebody else does your job.

The Angels are still hanging tough in the American League, but here comes Oakland again this week.  The Halos put together a nice effort over the weekend, sweeping the White Sox at the Big A, and they are now 4.5 games back of the Athletics.  A couple of wins would certainly help the Halos remain in contention in the AL West, and not focus entirely on the wild card.  By the way, I’m still puzzled about these odd Jared Weaver gnome’s the Angels gave away at the stadium Friday night.  The bobble heads are cool, but gnome’s?  Let’s see how weird looking we can start making our best players…….

Weaver Gnome

I can’t believe I actually pulled my car over on the side of the road on Saturday afternoon to watch the Belmont Stakes on my phone.  What a disappointment!  California Chrome totally flopped.  Then to make matters worse, California Chrome’s owner, Steve Coburn, criticized the current system, allowing horses to compete in the Belmont, without running in the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness.  While there is probably some truth to what Coburn is saying, the timing of his rants on Saturday, followed by more rants with the media on Sunday, just make it look like he’s sucking on sour grapes from the loss.  Chrome’s victory in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness by such a wide margin made everyone believe he was going to dominate the field.  The Triple Crown isn’t supposed to be easy, so if Coburn had a problem with it, he should have held his horse back in one of the races instead of complaining at the end.

And finally, Game of Thrones returned last night with the 2nd to last episode of the season.  This episode was all about the Night’s Watch and their battle at the wall with the Wildlings.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have it on DVR, and have yet to see it.  Let’s recap quickly.  The episode is filled with battle scenes at the wall between the Wildlings and the men of the Night’s watch.  Prior to the battle, Gilly comes to the wall seeking shelter, and Sam gives it to her, and even sneaks in a kiss with her prior to the battle.  Ser Allister has a duel with Wildling leader Tormund Giantsbane, in which he is badly wounded.  However, the Wildling leader is eventually captured by the Night’s Watch, who won the war.  In the process, Ygritte is killed just before she is about to shoot Jon Snow with an arrow, as she is shot by a young boy.  Ygritte dies in Jon’s arms.  The Night’s Watch won the battle, but Jon Snow tells Sam, they have simply held off their opponent for now.

This episode ended up being better than I thought.  Previously, I had found the storyline in the far north to be the least interesting of all the show’s plots.  However, there were several things that made this episode riveting.  The one theme that stood out, is the fact there remains a boyish element to the entire Night’s Watch.  This was evident early on in the battle, when Ser Allister barked orders at his men, and they failed in executing these battle tactics when they were finally being tested.  The boyishness also became more evident in Sam’s discussion with Jon about what it was like to be with a woman, as well as his first kiss with Gilly.  As for Ygritte and Jon, the final moments between the two of them seem to be peaceful, and neither had any anger towards each other.  However, clearly Jon’s loyalty to the Night’s Watch saved his life, and preserved his reputation as one of the few real heroes left in Game of Thrones.  Even though that loyalty probably cost him the woman he loved.  Looking forward to what is sure to be a wild season finale next week!

Jon Snow



Monday Morning Coffee


June 2nd, 2014

Admit it.  You thought it was over.  You thought the Kings blew their chance in game 6 to close out the Hawks.  You also thought after they went down 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3 in game 7, it just wasn’t their year.  I admit it….I did.  The LA Kings are mentally, one of the toughest teams I have ever seen.  Even when their fans were ready to pack it in and have themselves a good cry, the Kings had an amazing, quiet, self-confidence.  Justin Williams was was clutch again in game 7, Dustin Brown and Tyler Toffoli were studs, and Drew Doughty could not be more valuable.  At times during this game, it felt like Jonathan Quick and Corey Crawford went out drinking together at Racine Plumbing the night before.  However, Quick still came up with some clutch saves at the end of regulation, and in overtime, to help send the Kings to the finals.  What a series!  It’s not supposed to be easy.  That’s why the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in sports.  But the Kings tenacity has given them the opportunity to win their 2nd cup in the last 3 years.

I don’t want to hear any of you say how the Kings are going to sweep the Rangers or rip them apart in 5 games.  Don’t you guys realize by now that the hockey gods don’t like this and strike down on you with a vengeance? The Rangers speed can cause the Kings problems, and Henrik Lundqvist is every bit as good as Jonathan Quick.  These are the two best goaltenders in hockey, and Quick will need to be much better if the Kings are going to raise the cup this year.  The  Rangers are also riding a wave of emotion with the death of Martin St Louis mother.  There’s no doubt that the Rangers have to feel like they are somewhat of a team of destiny given what they’ve been through.  LA has the talent and the will, but they better be on their game if they want to finish this thing off.

Steve Ballmer just paid $2 billion to buy the Los Angeles Clippers.  $2 billion???? At least he didn’t overpay or anything.  Has anyone told the former CEO of Microsoft that he bought the Clippers, and not the Lakers?  This deal is way more ridiculous than the $2.15 billion that Guggenheim paid for the Dodgers.  At least that deal included a stadium, the surrounding land, and a new regional sports network.  In any case, as long as Ballmer doesn’t find some sneaky way to move the team to Seattle, like Clay Bennett did with the Sonics a few years ago, then this is a great deal for the Clippers and their fans.  Barring any legal shenanigans, it appears as though Donald Sterling is out of the picture, which is bad news for this blog, because it takes away a good portion of my Clipper jokes.  I’m sure all of you Clipper fans are thrilled…aren’t you??….

Empty Stadium

What does this mean for the Lakers? The Buss family has long insisted that they have no plans to sell the team.  However, if the Clippers just sold for $2 billion, you’ve gotta think the Lakers could easily get $4 billion.  Regardless of what they are saying publicly, I’m sure any member of the Buss family has to be giving some thought about selling the team.  Any sane business person would do so, no matter how much they love what they do.  If that were the case, I have no doubt that Magic Johnson and the Guggenheim group would be the first in line to throw an astronomical number at the Buss family, to get them to sell the team.  I don’t even know why Forbes and other business organizations have valuations of these franchises, when they don’t even come close to the numbers that are published.

As for rumors, Timberwolves President Flip Saunders insists that the Wolves are planning on keeping Kevin Love for the foreseeable future.  This would actually be the best case scenario for LA, who needs Love to make it to free agency in 2015 to have a real shot at signing him, instead of committing long term somewhere else before that time.  Teams are also calling the Cavs about Kyrie Irving, however, it’s pretty hard for me to imagine Cleveland trading him until they are assured Lebron won’t be returning.  On the coaching front, the Lakers have now interviewed Mike Dunleavy, Byron Scott, Kurt Rambis, Alvin Gentry, and Lionel Hollins for their vacant head coaching position.  In other words, they’ve narrowed their coaching search down to the following candidates……

Big Crowd

So we’re going to have another Miami vs San Antonio NBA Finals.  Take nothing away from the greatness of Lebron James, but there’s no way the Heat could ever hang with the Celtics and Lakers teams of the 1980’s, that made it to the NBA Finals four straight times.  The Celtics and Lakers also had to deal with much tougher opponents on their way to the finals in those days, such as the Pistons, Bulls, Rockets, and Blazers.  The Heat also would not be in four straight NBA Finals if they were playing in the Western Conference.

On to baseball, where it isn’t early anymore.  Were 1/3rd of the way through the baseball season, and the Dodgers are barely over .500.  Coming into Sunday, the Dodgers were 6.5 games back of San Francisco in the NL West.  The only thing good is the starting pitching.  The defense stinks, the bullpen is unreliable, and the overpriced outfielders haven’t earned their paychecks.  Last year, LA was in an early funk, then got energized by calling up Yasiel Puig.  This year, they don’t have any more Cubans to call up, especially since Alexander Guerrero just got much of his ear bitten of by Miguel “Mike Tyson” Olivo.  If the Dodgers are going to catch the Giants, Matt Kemp needs to stop sulking and get his game back.  The other option could be calling up Joc Pederson, and trying to trade Andre Ethier.  It’s a gamble, but either way, something has to be done to get this team on the right track.

Fortunately, most of you haven’t been able to see this disaster, because the majority of you don’t have Time Warner Cable.  The rumors that the Dodgers and TWC are considering legal action to get their channel distributed is laughable.  The Dodgers and TWC would be arguing that all of the other cable providers are colluding to bring their price down.  This sounds like a desperate move, and one that will only delay the distribution of the channel even longer.

Meanwhile, tough weekend for the Angels, who got swept by the A’s in a 3 game set.  The pitching just didn’t show up for the Halos this time.  Garrett Richards got blown up on Friday, Tyler Skaggs and the bullpen got beat up on Saturday, and Jeff Weaver got punked on Sunday.  This was also probably not the best time for Mike Trout to miss a couple of games with some back stiffness as well.  Jerry Dipoto is going to need to find some cheap help in the bullpen, or another starter by the trade deadline, if the Angels are going to make something out of this season.  On a more positive note….well maybe…..Josh Hamilton looks like he’ll be returning to the lineup in the next couple of days.

And finally, what an episode of Game of Thrones last night!  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Let’s recap quickly.  Oberyn fights The Mountain, in order to avenge his sisters death, and also to save Tyrion.  Oberyn appears to have won, then taunts his victim while laying on the floor, then suddenly, The Mountain comes back to life and gouged Oberyn’s eyes out, and kills him.  Thus, Tyrion is now sentenced to death.  Sansa becomes an accomplice to Peter Baelish, as she lies to the panel of the Vale about how Lysa actually died.  She does so because she was afraid of her fate if Peter had died.  Daenery’s banishes Jorah, after she discovers that he has been feeding information about her to Varys.  The Wildlings invade the town where Gilly and her baby reside.  Sam is worried that Gilly has died, but the men of the Night’s Watch reassure him that she could have escaped.  However, Jon Snow is concerned that the Wildlings will come for them next.

What an arrogant fool Oberyn is!  The guy pulls off this crazy spinning dance prior to fight with  The Mountain, then taunts him after, before getting killed.  That dude deserved to die.  It seems inevitable that Tyrion is going to die, as I’ve mentioned before.  He’s one of the more like-able characters, which makes it all the more likely the show will find a way to kill him off.  Meanwhile, Sansa’s fear is forcing her to adapt to the evil world around her, and find a way to survive, no matter what she has to say or do.  I’m excited for the last two episodes!

GOT Fight