Monthly Archives: October 2019

Monday Morning Coffee

October 14, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

October 7, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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