Monthly Archives: August 2014

Monday Morning Coffee

Trout Slide

August 25th, 2014

The Angels looked like they were conducting a funeral in Boston earlier in the week.  Once Garrett Richards was carried off the field earlier in the week, it looked like he carried off the Angels AL West and post season hopes with him.  However, when the week was over, the Halos had completed a 4 game sweep in Boston, and salvaged a game in their series with Oakland, to regain the best record in baseball.  Mike Trout hit a ball so far last night, that you would have thought he was using a Callaway driver instead of a baseball bat.  Even more important is the fact that Josh Hamilton is starting to remember how to hit, which is suddenly making a huge difference in the Angels lineup.  Since the moment Richards went down, it’s like someone informed him he needed to start earning his paycheck, and he listened.

The Angels need Bartolo Colon, but they aren’t going to get him on waivers.  This should also be a relief for the clubhouse staff, who would have had to double the amount of pregame food for the team with the addition of Colon.  Yes, it would be nice to find a replacement for Garrett Richards, but it isn’t going to happen.  However, don’t count the Halos out yet.  CJ Wilson is very capable of putting together a quality couple of months now that he is off the DL, and he looked very good on Saturday night.  Wilson is easily a front of the rotation pitcher when he’s on his game, and could easily keep the Angels as a major threat in the American League.  Funny that Richards and Josh Hamilton are two former Texas Ranger players, who are extreme head cases.  If both of these guys could get their heads right, the Angels could still go to the World Series.

I’m surprised they actually played that game last night after the earthquake in Napa.  Hopefully everyone up there is safe after a state of emergency was declared.  More importantly, hopefully everyone actually checked on their reservations at all those fancy wineries and restaurants, and made sure they were still good to go.

Then there’s the Dodgers.  Kevin Correia got quite a birthday present yesterday from the Mets.  He got a 7 run beat down, which included three home runs.  The Boys in Blue got bombed yesterday by New York, but still managed to take two out of three, and extended their NL West lead to 3.5 games over the Giants.  Yesterday might have actually been an audition for Bartolo Colon with the Dodgers.  It wouldn’t shock me if LA claimed him as an insurance policy with the recent injuries to their starting staff.  Amazing how Andre Ethier is getting the shaft.  He’s not even a 4th outfielder anymore, as Scott Van Slyke is seeing more playing time than him.  That’s like telling Kim Kardashian she can no longer appear on her television, and instead, she’s just relegated to collecting fat paychecks.

Kevin Correia

I don’t know about the rest of you Dodger fans, but I have great fear that Zack Greinke’s season could come to an end at any time with his complaints about an elbow injury.  Greinke looked pretty good on Saturday, and is on track to start his next game, but is still not the dominant pitcher we saw for the first quarter of the season.  Considering that Hyun-Jin Ryu and Josh Beckett are already on the DL, the Dodgers should do what they can to get Bartolo Colon off of waivers.  Bart is another serviceable arm, that might even be good enough to start a playoff game if necessary.

Here we are….one week away from the start of college football season.  The storylines for the Bruins and Trojans are interesting, and expectations are high for both.  However, history is not on UCLA’s side, despite being ranked 7th in the country.  The best two quarterbacks in UCLA history were Gary Beban and Troy Aikman.  Beban won the Heisman Trophy in 1967, but lost to USC that year, and the Trojans went on to win a national title in a year where the Bruins were considered title contenders.  In 1988, Aikman was a Heisman Trophy candidate, but ended up finishing 3rd, and also lost to USC, while once again, the Bruins were considered preseason national championship contenders.  Maybe this is part of the reason why I’m concerned that QB Brett Hundley and UCLA are getting too much hype from the coaches and writers before the season starts?

Why do NFL players keep getting shot at night clubs?  I’ve been to a lot of night clubs in my life, especially in my 20’s, and I didn’t seem to have a problem with flying bullets in the club.

Tough break for Rams QB Sam Bradford, who tore his ACL for the 2nd straight season, and has an NFL career that is very much up in the air.  This would be a good time for the Rams to call the Redskins about Kirk Cousins, or even the Eagles, who are hoarding a pair of former Trojan QB’s in Mark Sanchez, and Matt Barkley.

Memo to Bill Plaschke of the LA Times:  Although i appreciate your genuine effort to cover my LA Kings, and give the Stanley Cup Champions the attention they deserve, your article on Darryl Sutter was waaaaaaaay too long.  By the middle of the 2nd page, I gave up, as did many of your other readers.



Monday Morning Coffee

Ryan Braun, Clayton Kershaw

August 18th, 2014

All year long I thought it was the Cardinals the Dodgers had to worry about the most.  It’s actually the Brewers.  Over the last 10 days, the Dodgers have been owned by Milwaukee, losing 5 out of 6 games, and gunned down like a teenage kid by the cops in Missouri (too soon for that joke?).  The Brewers beat both Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke this past weekend, and were hitting the ball out of the park like the steroid era was back in full effect.  The Boys in Blue may still have a nice cushion over San Francisco, but they can’t feel good about a potential matchup with the Brew Crew in October.  LA’s middle relief has been inconsistent of late, and Brian Wilson isn’t earning a dime of the $10 million he’s being paid.  To make matters worse, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Juan Uribe, and Hanley Ramirez were all placed on the DL last week.  The Dodgers are near the top of the NL, but things aren’t going to be easy for them in the coming weeks.

Speaking of Hanley, the Dodgers have reportedly tabled contract talks with their shortstop until the end of the season.  Ramirez had asked the Dodgers for a contract in excess of $100 million a few weeks ago, however, his inability to remain healthy has clearly created some pause for the Dodgers.  Hanley’s bat is extremely valuable, but he’s also become a defensive liability at shortstop, and LA has a promising shortstop in the minors in Corey Seager.  This is actually a very good thing.  Hanley’s price tag is going to fall.  At the most, he’s going to get around 3 years and $60 million, which is a price only the Dodgers can afford to pay.  He’s also going to have to move to third base, which means Juan Uribe will be gone after next season.  More importantly, this will be the start of the Dodgers developing more and more young players to inject youth into the team over the next few years, instead of spending money like a USC sorority girl at the mall on a Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Angels blew it yesterday.  Even though Huston Street was due to blow a save, there is never a good time for it to happen.  The Halos got more great starting pitching, and their bullpen was solid too, until the 9th, when Street failed to hold a 2-1 lead, and the Angels lost the game 3-2.  Fear not Angel fans, you are right there with the A’s, battling it out for 1st place in the west, and you’ll get to play them 7 times in the next two weeks.  There’s also another 3 game set in late September.  That will decide whether its No Cal or So Cal that’s going to win the division.  Even with Tyler Skaggs having season ending surgery, I still like the Halos chances with Richards, Weaver, Shoemaker, and even CJ Wilson, who for some reason you all hate.  Maybe you all hate him because he’s down with those lame Christian Rock bands, but either way, Wilson is going to get his game together and surprise you doubters.

If there’s one thing that would really help the Angels it would be Josh Hamilton getting his game back together.  This dude is cashing in $15 million in his checking account this season, and he’s got 8 home runs with a .266 average.  I get that he was hurt for a few weeks, but this guy’s offense needs to check into rehab.  I’m thinking the only way Hamilton is going to turn it around is if he starts boozing again.  His teammates need to take him out in Newport for a night where he can go on a 24 hour binge, and get smashed.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  It worked in Texas, so why can’t we get it to work in Anaheim?

I will never understand whose idea it was for a baseball manager to wear the same uniform that his players are wearing.  Some of these guys just shouldn’t be wearing it, and have to be wondering why they have to look ridiculous 162 times a year.  Can you imagine if they did this in the NBA?  I’d love to see Phil Jackson or Greg Popovich wearing an NBA uniform, and you know it would include those ridiculous 80’s shorts that were so tight they’d be picking their wedgies all night.

Fat Managers

Speaking of the NBA, Steve Nash just completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  He’ll be out for the next 6-8 weeks.  Ok, Nash isn’t hurt yet, but he probably will be shortly after training camp begins.  However, I’m not counting the Lakers out yet.  LA has a new coach, who tends to overachieve in his first year wherever he goes.  They also have one of the most NBA ready rookies  from the past draft, and Kobe Bryant back.  Houston lost two starters, Dallas overpaid for one Chandler and acquired another aging one, Portland might have caught lightning in a bottle last year, while Phoenix and New Orleans may not be playoff teams yet.  I’m obviously painting a highly optimistic picture here.  The most reasonable expectation is for the Lakers to finish 12th in the west, and for Kobe to be in and out of the lineup.  Still, Phoenix and Portland were surprising last year.  All I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if the Lakers are this year.

Just when you think Notre Dame is done disciplining a few football players for some academic issues, here comes another 4 football players that are about to get kicked off the team.  Still, this isn’t really the total disaster that some people are making it out to be, as only two of the four players are starters.  I still expect ND to be a 10 win team this year, and battling it out for a big time bowl game.  As for the academic issues, this speaks volumes about Notre Dame as a University, and what it means to be a student athlete there.  The university is actually conducting an investigation about academic fraud, which would be unheard of at an SEC school, and many other universities around the country.  Athletes can’t get away with taking garbage classes like pencil sharpening 101, and ball room dancing at Notre Dame.  They have to take real classes.  That’s why it’s remarkable that Notre Dame is able to be as competitive as they are in sports, since they are recruiting the real student athletes.

This weekend I had the privilege of going up to Pebble Beach for the 64th annual Concours d’Elegance.  For those of you unfamiliar with this event, it is one of the world’s largest exhibitions of exotic and expensive automobiles.  Many of these are old vintage cars that have been restored.  However, the cars that I enjoy looking at the most are the futuristic concept automobiles that are on display, or new ones that are debuting.  One of these ridiculous cars was the Porsche 918 Spyder, which is actually a hybrid.  By “hybrid”, I mean it can travel up to 18 miles on electricity. 18 miles???!!!!! Wow, way to do your part to help the environment Porsche!  Look, I’m no tree hugger, nor do I hate on people who want to protect the environment.  However, we need to stop building cars that go only 10-30 miles on electricity, and stop calling them “hybrids”, while pretending like we are doing are part.  Especially at a price of $1 million for that Porsche.

Not long after last week’s edition of Monday Morning Coffee came out, we learned of Robin Williams sudden and tragic death.  Thus, I would be remiss not to mention it this week.  What I love about Williams is the fact that people of so many different generations can connect with him, and he found a way to make them all laugh.  From his early days of Mork and Mindy, to making us all laugh in Mrs. Doubtfire, or even entertaining kids with his voice in Aladdin, he could do it all.  People also forget that as funny as he was, it was his ability to be a serious actor, like when he won an Academy Award in Goodwill Hunting, that showed off his real talent.  Many of us didn’t know how bad his addiction and illness was until now.  It probably was his ability to laugh which kept him alive for so long, fighting that illness.

Robin Williams






Monday Morning Coffee


August 10th, 2014

It was looking like a very rough weekend for the Dodgers in Milwaukee.  Zack Greinke was beaten like an NFL players wife, Hanley Ramirez was injured like he always is, and the Dodgers offense was absent like Ferris Bueller.  LA was on the verge of getting swept until Clayton Kershaw stopped the bleeding.  Kershaw was brilliant again in 8 innings yesterday, and the Boys in Blue salvaged a win, which actually pushed their NL West Lead to 4.5 games over the Giants.  In his last two starts, we’ve seen why he’s becoming one of the best pitchers of the era.  Against the Angels, he “struggled”, by giving up 3 runs.  However, he eventually willed his team through some critical moments by striking out Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton.  Yesterday, he got off to a rough start by allowing the leadoff man to get on base in four of the first five innings, but once again willed his team to victory with 8 strong innings.  The Dodgers also gave him some run support as well, which was absent for much of the weekend.

You know Kershaw is great, but he’s even better than that.  He has the lowest ERA among pitchers who have started at least 100 games since 1920!  It’s nice to have a weapon like that, who can stop the bleeding of a losing streak.  There’s still issues with the Dodgers though.  Hanley Ramirez just can’t seem to get himself healthy, which is hurting his offensive production.  Hanley is in a contract year, and his agent is currently giving him advice about as good as your high school friend who told you it was a good idea to take a few bong rips.  Hanley is trying to prove he’s durable, except he’s so banged up that he isn’t always hitting.  He’d be much better off going on the DL, which he finally did,  then he can produce at a high level more often.   I like the addition of Kevin Correia and Roberto Hernandez, but the bullpen has been getting lit up of late.  I’ll take the 4.5 game lead in the NL West, but it’s clear LA has to shore up these issues before the post season.

As for the Angels, the last 6 days have been terrible.  They’ve lost 5 of their last 7 and fallen 4 games back of Oakland in the AL West.  Although the Halos and Dodgers played an exciting four game series, the Angel bats were shut down as the series went on.  Then they lost two out of three to those clam chowder head Boston Red Sox, who have nothing to play for, and are simply counting the days to oyster season in New England.  If it weren’t for Albert Pujols late inning heroics on Saturday, the Angels would have been swept.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Halos learned that Tyler Skaggs is going to have season ending Tommy John Surgery.  A division title is starting to slip away, and their wild card lead is shrinking fast.  The Angels are hitting just .223 since the All-Star break, which is the worst in the AL.  Suddenly the Halos are sinking faster than an Italian cruise ship.

I think it’s time for Jerry DIpoto to call the Mets, and see if he can squeeze old friend Bartolo Colon through the waiver wire, and acquire him.  Of course, it would be pretty hard to squeeze Bartolo through anything, since he’s weighs close to 300 LB’s, but the guy can obviously still pitch.  The Angels actually have the 8th toughest remaining schedule in the American League, which should bode well for them if they can ever swing the bats again.  Here’s the lone bright spot this weekend from Saturday night, since most of you were probably in bed when it happened…..

Look, I get it.  Rory McIIroy is an excellent golfer.  However, he’s just not holding my attention.  I appreciate the fact that he’s only the 4th guy to win four majors before turning 26.  But I need Tiger.  Admit it….you need him too.  You probably didn’t even watch the PGA Championship this weekend did you?  I don’t live and die by knowing what Tiger is doing, but I know that with him healthy and playing good golf, these major tournaments become that more more riveting, especially for the average fan.  Now if we could get Tiger healthy, and to rival Rory, then we’d have a great plot.  That’s a long way from happening though.  Tiger probably injured his back again while trying to change the channel so he didn’t have to watch Rory win another major.

Very tragic news in Nascar over the weekend.  Nascar driver Tony Stewart struck and killed sprint car driver Kevin Ward Jr., who had climbed out of his car and tried to confront Stewart during a race in New York.  Stewart did the right thing by deciding not to race on Sunday, and condolences to the Ward family.  However, this incident highlights an aspect of Nascar that needs to change.  It is a culture where drivers competitiveness turns into anger when things don’t go their way, and leads to confrontations like we saw on Saturday, in very dangerous situations.  Stewart himself has had similar incidents in the past where he has even thrown his helmet at another car.  Hopefully this incident will put the culture of the sport into perspective for all these drivers.

I know it’s only week 1 of the NFL preseason, but I feel like it’s safe to draw a few reasonable conclusions.  The Raiders are going to stink.  The Cowboys are going to stink.  The Houston Texans are going to stink.  There’s a pretty strong likelihood that those three teams will be picking near the top of the draft next spring.

Finally, it’s that time of year again.  One of my favorite TV programs is on for the next week: Shark Week on Discovery.  I really enjoy all of the Great White Shark encounters with Chris Fallows, and how he truly makes you realize how beautiful these animals are.  On the other hand, there still is quite a bit of dramatization with some of the other programs Discovery airs, such as last night’s “Shark of Darkness.”  Even though most scientific evidence points to the fact that Sharks are not man eating machines, and most attacks are simply a case of mistaken identity, we still see programs that hint otherwise, just to keep the viewers engaged.  The reality of it is, people don’t really tune in to Shark Week for that.  If we want to see that then we would just be watching Sharknado, and all the ridiculous movies on SyFy.  The Shark Week promo is a little odd this year, and I can’t say I’m as big of a fan as other people are.  I like Rob Lowe, but I’m still trying to figure out where he fits into this whole thing.  Here it is if you haven’t seen it….


Monday Morning Coffee

Hanley DP Dive

August 4th, 2014

How pathetic were the Dodgers this weekend against the Cubs?  70% of you Southern Californians were fortunate enough to have missed out on this display of atrocious baseball at the Ravine, since most of you don’t have Time Warner.  I wasn’t so fortunate.  On Friday, Dan Haren pitched more like Dan Aykroyd.  Both have recently delivered extremely laughable performances.  Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford have forgotten how to hit a baseball, and the Dodgers were about as unclutch with runners in scoring position as the Dallas Cowboys are on a Sunday in January.  Josh Beckett also didn’t make LA feel any better about the back end of their rotation with his performance yesterday, not even sticking around for 5 innings and getting knocked around by former Dodger pitcher Edwin Jackson.  The last place Cubs punked the 1st place Dodgers by taking two out of three in their own house.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that it rained in SoCal over the weekend, which devastated all those fans with spray tans that were washed away.

As for the trade deadline, the Dodgers did the right thing standing pat.  Of course it would have been nice to trade for David Price or Jon Lester, but not at the expense of LA’s three best prospects, who will likely play key roles for the organization in the very near future.  Lester is nothing more than a rental for the A’s, who I think were insane to trade their star cleanup hitter for him.  Of course it’s easy to say you want Price after watching Disaster Dan and Josh Beckett pitch this weekend, but LA is still good enough to get to October with them, and then we won’t have to watch them pitch.  A Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu trio is still as good, if not better than the Tigers or A’s rotation in October, and surely better than anybody else’s in the National League.  As for you Matt Kemp haters (yes I’m talking to you idiots in the Dodgers organization that don’t actually like him personally), do you still want to trade him and pay half his salary? Yea sounds like a great idea for a guy that just hit five home runs in the last week.

On to the Angels, who took two out of three against the Rays over the weekend to close within 1 game of the A’s.  That was an important series win for the Halos, who had lost two out of three in Baltimore earlier in the week, in a series that was tighter than a Kim Kardashian jump suit.  Every game in that series was a one run game, and two went into extra innings.  Once again, that’s a tribute to the much improved starting pitching and bullpen the club is experiencing this season.  If Josh Hamilton and David Freese could show anything that resembled consistency, the Angels might actually be the best team in baseball.  Now the Angels will get ready for a big four game showdown with the Dodgers this week, starting tonight at the Ravine.  Both teams need wins badly, so it should be a fun four days.

I find it amazing how all of the ESPN baseball analysts are claiming the Angels are the big losers of the trade deadline because Oakland and Detroit improved so much.  Apparently these analysts haven’t noticed that the Angels have had their own ace who is rapidly emerging in Garrett Richards.  Richards, Jered Weaver, and the experience of CJ Wilson easily make the Angels as dangerous as the Tigers and A’s.  It just so happens that over the last week, David Price and Jon Lester have received more attention than a girl in an MBA program, which would make one think they are the best pitchers in the game.  Oh, and how soon we forget that the Angels also have the best player in baseball in Mike Trout.  Don’t sleep on the Halos folks.

I feel terrible for Paul George, and the horrific leg injury he suffered over the weekend during a Team USA basketball scrimmage.  However, all you people, like Mark Cuban, that are lining up with pitch forks and tiki torches to end NBA players participation in international competition need to settle down.  NBA players have been doing this for 22 years, and this is the first crazy injury we have seen.  George’s injury could have just as easily occurred while he was playing in that stupid Drew League that NBA players play pickup in during the summer.  NBA teams should actually feel much better about their players working out under an organized and structured environment too, where injury is actually less likely to occur than from some punk taking their guys out in a pick up game.  Creating a World Cup of basketball, as some have suggested, would be meaningless, and wouldn’t reduce the chance of injuries.  Cuban’s argument has more to do with revenue sharing or compensation from the IOC, which is understandable, but a different argument altogether.  As for George, he’s only 23 years old, and he had a clean break of his leg, with no ligament damage anywhere.  He’ll be out for a while, but no reason he can’t still be an elite player again in the NBA.

Paul George injured

Meanwhile, Donald Sterling looks like he’s toast.  Earlier this week a judge ruled that Shelly Sterling  has the right to sell the team.  Donald will surely appeal the ruling, but that process cannot delay the sale of the team.  That means barring some wild turn of events in the appeals process, Steve Ballmer should officially be the new owner, and there should be no boycotting from Doc Rivers or Clipper players.  I’ve gotta admit, Sterling’s legal drama has been pretty entertaining to watch, and while I hope the sales goes through and the players can move on, I hope the legal process continues just for the entertainment value Donald is providing us.

In college football, the coaches poll has been released.  UCLA is ranked #7, USC #15, and I must point out the my alma matter, Notre Dame, is at #17.  I like the Bruins, and they are on the rise, but #7 seems a little too high for them.  In fact, if anything, it works against the Bruins because they will now have a target on their back.  Brett Hundley needs to prove he can be great every week, and not average every other.  More importantly, the Bruins need to prove they can beat the big boys like Oregon and Stanford, which they have yet to do.  As for USC, their #15 ranking is simply a product of their recruiting class, but that also seemed high for them.  The defense should still be solid for the Trojans, but Cody Kessler isn’t even one of the 5 best quarterbacks in the conference. Should be a fun college football season that is fast approaching.

Speaking of UCLA, Pauley Pavilion is home for Bruins basketball, volleyball, and gymnastics, however, now it can be home for swimming and diving.  After a water main broke in Santa Monica last week, parts of the campus flooded, including the newly renovated Pauley, as well as Drake field.  I’m sensing some serious insurance premiums going up here, and a potential law suit if the city doesn’t cover the damages.  Here’s a perfect opportunity to start offering boating classes at UCLAKE.

UCLA Flood

I’d be pretty fearful of a flood happening at UCLA after watching Sharknado 2 last week on SyFy.  Then again, the movie was pretty unrealistic, since someone actually married Tara Reid.  The movie was as epic as advertised, and just when you thought it was over, we learned that there is going to be a Sharknado 3 on SyFy next summer as well!  Terrible TV has never been this entertaining folks.  The only thing better than Sharknado was a whole week of Shark related movie programs on SyFy.  My favorite was the Top 15 Shark Bites, which was a program where celebrities discussed the top 15 shark movies with ridiculous deaths.  If you’re looking for some good laughs set the DVR when SyFy airs it again.

Sharknado 2 saw