Monthly Archives: August 2019

Monday Morning Coffee

August 19, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

August 12, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

August 5, 2019

We’ve become so bored in August that sports journalism has decided to analyze Lebron James parenting skills. Cue the eye roll emojis. Last week Lebron was seen doing throwing down dunks in the layup lines with his son’s AAU team, and doing chest bumps with Bronny after he threw down a lob pass. Apparently this doesn’t sit well with some of you folks attending your kids basketball games with your legs crossed and politely clapping. I’ve got news for you: you aren’t Lebron James. If you were, you could do that, and it would be perfectly fine. This is also a big part of the AAU culture, which is symbolized by showmanship. Having Lebron James throw down dunks and celebrate with his son is part of that, and only makes it more entertaining. Not to mention the fact he’s just being a great father, and that’s it’s pretty damn cool he gets to share this experience with his son.

Then there’s David Griffin. Griffin is a very good NBA executive, but in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, he comes off as an ungrateful jerk. Griffin said he was miserable building around Lebron James, saying the culture they built was completely “inorganic” and “not fun”. Of course he tried to issue some damage control on this later on, since he has to so in order to maintain a good relationship with Klutch Sports. Sorry David, but in case you haven’t learned already, you don’t win in the NBA without stars. You had one of the best ones to ever play, and you didn’t seem to enjoy it. Now you can find out what life is like without that star. Let us know how it goes.

I realize most of you think Carmelo Anthony is nothing but a one-dimensional ball hog, who is past his prime. However, let’s stop pretending like ‘Melo is a bad guy, or that his skill level has deteriorated to the point of not being an NBA player. Sure he’s not a great defender, but there’s plenty of other dudes in the league that don’t defend either, and they are employed by an NBA team. My point is that this man deserves a chance. A simple opportunity to accept a smaller role off the bench. If so, he might actually be pretty good at it. I can’t imagine that nobody in the league could use this kind of scoring off the bench. You could also do a lot worse than Carmelo Anthony for a minimum salary. He certainly said the right things in an interview with Stephen A Smith last week. I’d love to see him get that chance. He looked pretty good scrimmaging against some pros last week. What’s the risk?

To baseball where the Dodgers did absolutely nothing at the trade deadline to fix their bullpen problems. Apparently Andrew Friedman must not have seen his bullpen pitch this season, because at this point they would struggle just to close a hot dog stand, let alone a baseball game. I get that the Dodgers didn’t want to give up a prospect like Gavin Lux, who could be one of their infielders for the next 10 years, or Dustin May, who could be a solid starter as soon as next season. However, they have two very good catching prospects, and other solid talent in their farm system. Friedman really couldn’t use one of them to get a trustworthy bullpen arm? Something tells me that even Mark Walter is rolling his eyes on this one, wanting the Dodgers to actually do everything they can to win a title. That’s going to be really tough now that the Astros beefed up at the trade deadline acquiring Zack Greinke.

Meanwhile, the Angels season is over and they were smart not to pretend like they were buyers at the deadline. This team gets an injury every 5 minutes, and will likely have even more by the time you’re done reading this. The latest group to head to the IL is Andrelton Simmons, Garrett Canning, and Felix Pena. Their problems go well beyond pitching too. Suddenly, Justin Upton looks like another waste of money, and he’s stuck on the books for another two years. They also have no 3rd baseman, and no catching after letting go of Jonathan Lucroy. I’m not even sure the $34 million they could have to spend this off-season will be enough to fix all their problems. The Angels should make Albert Pujols pitch every game from here on out this season just to avoid any injuries. He’s done anyway, and would at least provide some entertainment seeing his lard butt try to pitch.

The Chargers are already off to a difficult start in training camp. Left Tackle Russell Okung looks like he will miss time with a pulmonary embolism issue, and then there’s the continued contract standoff between Melvin Gordon and the front office. Gordon wants more than the $10 million annually that is being offered to him, and at this point, wants to be traded. Sure teams like Tampa Bay, Seattle, and Houston could really use Gordon, but they certainly aren’t giving the Bolts a 1st round pick for him. Running backs are like iTunes music. Everybody wants it, but nobody is willing to pay for it. I don’t blame Gordon for trying, but as usual, NFL players have no leverage in these contract negotiations. He’s lucky to get the $10 million he’s being offered, and should just take it and get back to work. In the meantime though, the Chargers better hope Gordon doesn’t miss games so it doesn’t compromise their season.

Mercifully this season of The Bachelorette finally came to an end last week. Hannah Brown was such a disaster, and her selection of Jed over Tyler and Peter just symbolized her stupidity. Apparently Jed thought he was going on “The Voice” instead of “The Bachelorette”. Even Luke P. received a standing ovation from the studio audience the week before when he was introduced, but Jed just got radio silence. That’s how hated that man was. Hannah doesn’t deserve Tyler, even if it appears she has an opportunity with him now. The level of scripting on the show is just too much though. For a while it was believable that all these people are crazy fools willing to look like idiots on TV. Now it’s apparent that these are all crazy fools willing to do what the ABC producers tell them to do in order to embarrass themselves on National TV. Somehow, it doesn’t seem to stop us from watching over and over again. Also, who the hell was camped out in the bushes all night waiting for Tyler and Hannah to walk outside in the morning? I’m thinking it was Chris Harrison.