Monthly Archives: June 2020

Monday Morning Coffee

June 29, 2020

Lots to unpack in this edition of MMC, starting with the Lakers. Avery Bradley is opting out of Orlando. Can’t blame the guy for putting his family first, but this is a tough blow for the Lakers. However, it’s not a crippling blow to their title hopes. This means more minutes for Alex Caruso, which is a great thing. JR Smith will also be a welcomed addition, who should be signed by the time you’re done reading this article and drinking your Starbucks coffee. Most NBA fans can only think of the bonehead play he made during the NBA Finals, but the guy can actually make big shots and play defense. I think the bigger question is if he can be trusted in the bubble for 3 months. However, if he can keep it together in Cleveland for a couple of years, he can keep it together in the bubble. Have you been to Cleveland? The bubble is like the Ritz Carlton compared to Cleveland. As for the schedule, the fact the Lakers have a tough one for the first 8 games isn’t a big deal. They only need to win a couple of games to clinch the top seed, and that will help them get ready for the postseason.

Vince Carter is calling it quits. This dude played so long, he’s actually the last active player to appear in a Nintendo 64 game. Carter was far more polished as a player when he was with the Nets, but many of his incredible highlights came with the Raptors. The man has a bright future on TV if he so desires. He also had perhaps the best dunk in a game that we’ve ever seen.

Baseball is back! The owners and players finally came to an agreement on getting back on the field. Baseball literally hates their own fans though. I genuinely don’t understand why there wasn’t a grown up in the room to point out that they were all collectively giving fans the middle finger, despite the fact that fans are their ultimate source of revenue. It’s stupid and infuriating. These guys make Congress look like best friends. However, I’m more concerned about the lack of health and safety regulations in place. Baseball players as it is have filthy habits, and are just a step away from dropping their pants and peeing in the dugout. We also know that baseball is historically full of cheaters and frauds. That means it’s no surprise that even baseball analyst Jeff Passan is a fraud. See below for yourself.

As for the Dodgers and the shorter season, I’m definitely nervous. In 4 of the last 7 years the Dodgers have won the NL West, they’ve been within 4 games of .500 at the 60 game mark. If they are that close to .500, they might not actually make the playoffs this year folks. You think the Dodger overuse their bullpen normally? They are going to use the hell out of the bullpen now. Except the new 3-batter minimum rule is really going to be trouble for Andrew Friedman’s computer. He better start that software upgrade now to be in time for his squad to make the playoffs.

I was kind of excited that the Angels are basically tied for 1st with 60 games to play when you think about it. Except then you realize that their pitching still sucks, and they have 40 games to play against their own division. Shohei Ohtani needs to be healthy and great, because the rest of the staff is very average, and held together by chicken wire and duct tape. Weird things can happen in a short season, but the Angels better plan on scoring a lot of runs if they want to make the postseason.

We’re still on Chip Kelly watch at UCLA, and the latest turmoil around the Bruins is that Under Armour is pulling out of their contract. The first thing I thought of was that they were doing this to because they were reevaluating having a strong relationship with a school who’s football coach had questionable feelings toward African Americans. You know that Jock Talk LA was going to jump all over this if that was the case. However, the reality of it is that Under Armour said it’s terminating the deal due to “marketing benefits” they did not receive. That could mean a lot of things for a struggling company like Under Armour. However, it also suggests that “marketing benefits” mean having a winning football program. That’s something that Chip Kelly isn’t bringing. Considering that Under Armour is essentially paying Kelly’s salary, this is a massive problem. This also doesn’t help the massive deficit that has already piled up for UCLA Athletics, which was nearly $20 million last year. Dan Guerrero was basically the CEO of Enron for this athletic department. Good luck to Martin Jarmond, because he has a tough job to do. That should start with replacing the coach of the team that is supposed to be the biggest revenue driver of the athletic program.

Oh so you thought the Dak Prescott saga was over did you? You thought that you would never have to hear about this drama again between the Cowboys and their star quarterback? It’s only just beginning folks. Wait until the middle of next month when he doesn’t actually agree to a deal, and we get another year of this conversation. I’m sure you’re so pumped to to be hearing about exciting things like franchise tenders, transition tags, and salary cap nonsense. You’d probably rather be watching CNN or Fox News. That’s how bad it is.

Finally, the hockey gods helped the Kings out in a big way on Friday night, awarding them the #2 pick in this year’s NHL Draft. That means the Kings are going to get another really good prospect to go along with what many consider to be the best prospect group in the NHL. This is great for the Kings, but it’s a little bit bittersweet that they didn’t get the #1 overall pick, since it’s going to a “placeholder team” that is still playing and currently has a chance to go to the playoffs. Had the Kings had the #1 pick they would have drafted Alexis Lafreniere, who would have been an instant star and franchise player. Frankly, after the Kings dropped from 2nd to 5th in last year’s lottery, it felt like the NHL owed them the #1 pick. Then again, I forgot that this isn’t the NBA, and they don’t rig the draft lottery. However, having a placeholder team winning the lottery is like having a seat filler win an Oscar.

Monday Morning Coffee

NBA news: League considering 70-game season as part of July restart

June 22, 2020

The NBA is getting closer to coming back. However, there’s a lot of health and safety obstacles to overcome. Coronavirus cases are spiking in Florida, but that’s exactly where the NBA’s bubble will take place. If anybody can pull this off, it’s the NBA, because the personnel numbers are smaller than any other sport. However, it’s going to take discipline that I don’t think everybody is going to have. I assure you that there’s going to be players that try to bring in women into the bubble to satisfy their social agendas. That move could compromise the health and safety of the whole bubble. I also can’t wait to see how this health and safety protocol hotline works out. I’m sure Lebron will be reporting that Giannis and Kawhi aren’t following safety protocols while playing doubles ping pong. Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving floated the idea of the players start heir own league in the spirit of racial injustice being a central issue for this country. Who voted for this dude as an NBA PA leader? Forget earth, I think it’s really Kyrie’s brain that is flat. This is why NBA players need to stay in school longer.

Another week has gone by and baseball still doesn’t have a new labor deal. This disaster is squarely on the shoulders of Rob Manfred. This guy needs to step up and force both sides to get a deal done, but hard to believe this buffoon could make that happen. His legacy currently includes the existing CBA disaster, the sign stealing scandal, killing the minor leagues, shortening the draft, a juice balls controversy, calling the World Series trophy a “piece of metal”, and the Dodger TV blackout. Other than that he’s doing great! Manfred is the guy who tries to negotiate at a garage sale and ends up paying a higher price than what the item was marked at. And you expect the guy to negotiate a deal between the players and owners? This dude said he was 100% sure a season was going to happen a week ago. Tell these idiots on both sides to stop negotiating in public and maybe there’s a chance.

Ok fine, I’ll play along and pretend like the Dodgers are going to play some kind of a season this year. Everybody wants to tell us that the Dodgers are arguably the best team in the baseball on paper. Too bad they don’t play on paper, and they don’t give paper championship trophies. A season that is only 48 or even 60-70 games gives everybody a chance. That actually reduces that Dodgers chances of winning a World Series. Plus, Andrew Friedman’s computer usually doesn’t finish it’s software update until about game 60 anyway, so the Dodgers might really be screwed.

As for the Angels, if there’s a season that’s gotta be great news. The Halos haven’t been in first place this late in the season since the Titanic sank. If there’s 16 teams in the playoffs, all you have to do is go about .500 to make it. I think even the Angels are capable of that with a new manager in Joe Maddon, Anthony Rendon at 3rd base, and a healthy Shohei Ohtani at the front of their rotation. Arte Moreno shouldn’t be able to screw this one up too bad.

I told you weeks ago to keep an eye on the Chip Kelly situation at UCLA. Now the noise is growing louder. Last week, 30 players signed a document in favor of having a 3rd party evaluator determine health and safety protocols and protect them from injustice from the oaching staff. The story and the document are pretty damning, considering there are quotes from players saying they don’t trust Kelly and his coaching staff. There’s also quotes suggesting that Kelly and his coaching staff do not relate to the African American men on the team. Chip Kelly is like the kid that peaked in high school, and then became a loser in real life after that. The guy can no longer be a head football coach in college or the NFL. It’s over, and it’s getting worse by the day. I’m all for not having a knee jerk reaction to things, but it’s obvious he doesn’t care about his job, and now you have the questions about how he feels about black players on top of that.

Finally, the NFL is totally delusional. Every sport is doing everything they can from a health and safety protocol standpoint to try and have a season. Meanwhile, the NFL is pretending like it’s 2019, and preparing for business as usual. Now all of a sudden, everybody in their league is testing positive for COVID, and they are scrambling to shut down everybody’s facilities. Zeke Elliott test positive for COVID. That’s as surprising as knowing that Tara Reid got drunk and sloppy at happy hour. These guys are crazy to think they are going to be able to have fans in attendance at their games. Even Sean McVay has no idea how his players are supposed to be social distancing, yet playing football at the same time. These sports leagues aren’t built to be shutdown for a while. The revenue losses and impact to the leagues will be devastating. For that reason, they need to try and have a season. But to pretend like they can proceed like business is usual is foolish. Kyrie Irving must be running the NFL.

Monday Morning Coffee

June 15, 2020

Suddenly I’m getting nervous that sports might not be coming back. The NBA in particular. Kyrie Irving is trying to rally the players against re-starting the season in Orlando next month to instead, focus on solving racial injustice. He’s even got Dwight Howard on his side. I realize that Kyrie’s heart and intentions are in the right place, but the man’s emotions are more volatile than the Dow Jones. Those emotions are causing him to miss the point: NBA players and pro-athletes have a voice against racial injustice because they are playing ball and using that platform. So why shutdown that platform when you need it most? This is why you can’t trust a guy who thinks the earth is flat to lead this effort. Dwight Howard on the other hand gets a pass because the mother of one of his children passed away recently, so if he doesn’t want to play I can understand that. With that being said, not playing would be a grave mistake of both social and financial consequences, and I refuse to believe that NBA players will actually follow through on this idea. Not even 20% of the league was on Kyrie’s call Friday, and I doubt that all of them even agreed with what he was saying.

Then there’s baseball, which appears to be ending its disastrous labor negotiations. The players decided to do so because they believe the owners aren’t negotiating in good faith. Hard to argue with them knowing that Commissioner Rob Manfred can implement whatever length of a season he wants, and it will likely be around 50-games. The sticking point is that no matter how long the season is, the owners only want to pay the players for 50-games and no more. No matter what side you believe is right, both sides look like crap, and have no self-awareness. Each side keeps making dumb public statements trying to win over the public. Nobody buys it. If Rob Manfred really had any vision or guts, he would implement something that both sides wouldn’t be happy with. Instead, having this dude in charge is like having your 10-year old negotiate a divorce between two parents. Even if you put the money issues aside, it’s going to be hard enough to re-start the season in the midst of the COVID-19 resurgence. Plus, even if we get some Mickey Mouse of a season this year, I can guarantee a strike will happen in the near future given the lack of trust on both sides. MLB should just rebrand their league as MBL. My Bottom Line.

Reggie Bush is being welcomed back to USC! After 10 years of being exiled from the history of USC due to archaic NCAA rules, the Trojans welcomed him back with open arms. Even in the midst of all the scandals going on at USC, this just feels right. Just because Bush got caught accepting gifts doesn’t actually change what happened on the field. We know he was still great. He also made the NCAA tons of money while he comparably received very little. Aunt Becky’s kid wants to know when she will be welcomed back by the Trojan family.

Ray Ciccarelli is quitting NASCAR because they are banning the flying of the Confederate flag. Yea I know, I had to Google him as well to see who he was, but I can see why he can identify with them. Both he and the Confederate Army have 0 victories. Even if Ciccarelli wants to stand by his claim that flying the flag doesn’t make you a racist, what it does make him is completely clueless when it comes to American history. You’ve gotta give a lot of credit to NASCAR for taking stand against it, even thought they knew it might not be received well from a lot of their viewers.

Do you realize how absurdly awkward this whole topic of racial injustice has become? Think about this: we have a President of The United States who has not addressed the country during civil unrest because his base is largely racist. We have organizations like the NFL and NASCAR who have had to make “difficult” decisions around denouncing racial injustice because it might alienate some of their supporters. Think about how ridiculous all this sounds in 2020. Did I say 2020? I guess all kinds of absurdity is possible this year. I mean to say think about how ridiculous this sounds in this day and age. We are still dancing around people who are racists and protecting these dinosaurs who are out of touch with society. It’s like 2020 is the year people learned they need to wash their hands and that racism is bad. I know lots of people want to “stick to sports” but this is impacting every aspect of life right now, including sports.

Monday Morning Coffee



June 8, 2020

The NBA still has a lot of things to work through, but they are well on their way to beginning play again at the end of July. Unfortunately for teams like the Lakers and Bucks, they won’t get the benefit of home court advantage because there will be no fans. That’s a shame because home court means a lot in the NBA playoffs, and would have in a year like this. At this point, the Lakers will be lucky to get Jack Nicholson and a fan to be named later sent to Orlando to cheer them on. Maybe the NBA will throw in some free parking and open bar at Disney World, but that’s about as good as it’s going to get. Still, I like the Lakers chances in this kooky format the league was forced to come up with. I don’t think skills are going to be sharp with this much time off, so if you are a team that relies on shooting you might be in trouble. The Lakers rely on defense and getting easy buckets in the paint, which should serve them well.  

Apparently NBA players will be allowed to bring their families into the bubble in Orlando. For those of you unfamiliar with the Wide World of Sports in Disney World, it’s a park within the park. I’m curious which member of the NBA Players Association negotiated this. If anything it feels more like something the owners proposed, thinking they were doing the players a solid. In reality, the players can’t be happy because it will interfere with their social agenda. Then again, how do the players expect to sneak all those Tinder girls and their side pieces into the bubble in the first place? COVID was a tough blow, but now it’s going to be another tough couple of months for NBA side pieces. Keep your thoughts and prayers with them in this difficult year.

Drew Brees really stepped in it last week with his comments around anyone “disrespecting the flag”. His comments were certainly insensitive and hurtful to many. In fact, the next day, Travis Rodgers, Keyshawn Johnson and LZ Granderson not only condemned Brees on ESPN Radio 710 for his comments, but basically wrote him off saying they were done with him. While there’s no disputing the fact that his comments were insensitive, if you are just going to write people like Brees off after incidents like this, you’ll never see progress. It saddens me to have seen someone like Brees get completely crucified publicly, given everything he’s done in the New Orleans community. If anything, Brees has the ability to be a powerful voice in both the black community and the white community, leading the charge against racial injustice. In fact, not only did he apologize several times since then, he’s made it a point to publicly call out President Trump regarding his stance on this issue. Since then, LZ has written a very good article in the LA Times regarding the difference between being “non-racist” vs being “anti-racist”, which addressed Brees specifically. The type of action he’s taken in recent days seems a lot more “anti-racist”, and pretty impactful. Hopefully LZ, Travis, and Keyshawn can recognize this.

I’m not trying to stir the pot, but I’m going to stir the pot right now. Keep an eye on the Chip Kelly situation at UCLA. Let’s start with the fact that Kelly already has a growing perception that he’s a guy who barely cares about his job, and is just enjoying a fat paycheck. I also found it interesting that while in the NFL, several comments from his former players insinuated that he was either racist, or at least does a poor job relating to young African American men. Some of his former players in Oregon seem to disagree with this idea, but his tweets last week around George Floyd’s death brought this incident back to light. Kelly made some vague statements around unity, which three former players publicly criticized. It’s hard for me to imagine that Chip Kelly is a racist, but there is a quietly growing narrative that he’s having difficulty recruiting at UCLA because of this noise. Oh by the way, UCLA has a new Athletic Director, Martin Jarmond, who is the first African American Athletic Director in school history. Not so convinced? We are now living in a world where an LA Galaxy player was just cut because his wife made some racist comments on Twitter. The complexity of these situations is growing exponentially.

Chip Kelly

For years my cousin has been fuming about the fact that in the mid 90’s, he walked into a club in Miami and saw Dennis Rodman in the bathroom. He tried to talk to him and he completely ignored him. He saw Michael Jordan in the bathroom an hour later in that same club, and talked to Jordan, raving about what an engaging guy he is. I told him, Rodman probably was just having a bad day. I guess he was having a bad day too on Saturday night, since I saw him at Gulf Stream restaurant in Newport Beach. I was with someone who asked to take a selfie with him, and he said “Wooooooow! Noooooooooo!” Then walked away. To be fair though, he was hitting on a table with 7 girls in the minutes prior to that.

Finally, Barstool Sports has a very entertaining Instagram account, but they are 100% full of crap. They came out with a graph showing America’s favorite food chains by state. This is supposedly based on 2020 data from the Public Information and Statistics Society. Not even an NFL player suffering from CTE in California would choose Denny’s over In-N-Out. I don’t even think there is a Long John Silvers in Maine, and there’s no way Sbarro is the most popular in New York. Chuck E Cheese? Nobody is picking that as their favorite restaurant with a rat as their mascot. Barstool Sports is either just messing with us, or getting their data from CNN. Just another example of why 2020 is so screwed up.

Barstool Sports on Twitter: "What's the favorite fast food chain ...

Monday Morning Coffee

June 1, 2020

If you want to know just how creative NBA players need to be to exercise these days, all you have to do is take to the streets of LA and find Lebron and his teammates going for a bike ride to get their cardio in. With gyms and NBA practice facilities closed for long stretches, most NBA players idea of cardio is walking to their refrigerator to slam another snack. Instead, it sounds like Lebron and many of his teammates have been finding creative ways to stay in shape, and it looks like they might benefit from it a great deal when the season resumes in Orlando in July. Another thing they might benefit from is a 1-16 seeded playoff system, if the NBA goes that route. That would mean that the Lakers would be on the opposite side of the bracket as the Bucks, Clippers, and Celtics. I hope this happens just so I can see NBA Twitter’s head explode when they complain about the benefits the Lakers are getting. I’m sure all those people who mocked the Lakers for months for playing hard every night will say it was rigged, or argue an asterisk is needed if the Lakers end up winning an NBA title.

To baseball where everything is a mess, beginning with the Angels. In the last 10 years, Owner Arte Moreno can’t seem to do anything right. This man probably thinks Del Taco is too expensive for a meal, while an unreliable player like Josh Hamilton is worth $125 million. His latest blunder is just nine days before the draft, furloughing the area scouts who spent the past year evaluating draft-eligible players in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Area scouts are the among the lowest paid in baseball, and if they live in Orange County, they might as well be buying food stamps. They also so happen to be among the most critical personnel for a team that is putting the focus on rebuilding and player development. How are small market teams like the Brewers and Twins able to pay their scouts during this time, yet the Angels are not? Imagine these scouts jumping on with other teams just before the draft, and how much of a competitive disadvantage that would be for the Halos. Arte Moreno’s work from home stint clearly isn’t going very well.

As for baseball, the owners and players still can’t get out of their own way. The owners and players wouldn’t even trust each other with a cup of coffee, so it doesn’t look like they’ll be coming to an agreement anytime soon. There’s plenty of blame to go around. I blame the owners for not being reasonable on asking the players to take bigger pay cuts when they already agreed to one, and those players don’t reap the benefits of more successful revenue years. On the players side though, I blame them for being babies about safety and not more accommodating. The NBA and NHL players are committed to playing in another city for the rest of the season. Baseball players really can’t do this? They can even have their families with them. Baseball has never been the same since the season that was cancelled due to the strike in 94. Since there is even more to do now, people will care even less about it when it comes back if they lose another season. I put the majority of the blame though on Rob Manfred, who probably isn’t even qualified to lead a group of boy scouts.

Last week was obviously a rough week for the country, and served as a reminder for how hard it is to be black man in this country, and how much work we have to do to unite the country. However, we also learned that even in a riot, nobody will steal a Kirk Cousins jersey….

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I watched the Lance Armstrong ESPN 30 for 30 last night and I found it rather ridiculous. Whenever someone says “let me tell you my truth”, their credibility is in question instantly. I’m pretty sure there is just “the truth”, rather than your version of the truth Lance. The man’s legacy is complicated. He beat cancer, and raised a lot of money while creating a lot of awareness around it. But sadly, his cheating was a key to his success, even in a sport where everybody was cheating. He seemed inspirational on the surface, and I sure loved those Livestrong bracelets at the time. You can probably get one for less than the cost of a Happy Meal now. However, he destroyed the lives of those who dared speak truth. Stories like his leave us less able to be inspired the next time. That might be even more harmful than the rest of his peers that just cheated to try and win.

Lance Armstrong takes center stage after ESPN's "The Last Dance"