Monthly Archives: October 2020

Monday Morning Coffee

October 19, 2020

Look guys, I won’t lie. I pre-wrote this column when the Dodgers were trailing yesterday, ripping everybody in the organization to shreds. I’m happy to say I was wrong, and got to re-write it. The Dodgers are back in the World Series for the third time in four years, after overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the Braves. When the playoffs started, I said that the Dodgers could succeed if they relied on their depth, rather than over rely on one player like Clayton Kershaw or Kenley Jansen. That almost didn’t happen in game 4, when Dave Roberts and Andrew Friedman (yes I said Friedman), let Kershaw go an inning too long. They put him in position to fail. However, give Friedman and Roberts credit, because they stuck with Julio Urias yesterday late in the game when he was rolling, rather than going back to Jansen, which his computer usually tells them to do. Jansen and Kershaw will get their chance to be important contributors in the World Series, but there is no need to put them in position to fail. They have weapons in the bullpen. They have weapons in the lineup. They have good young starting pitching. The Rays are great, but if the Dodgers use that depth, they’ll bring home a championship. Corey Seager had a hell of a series, and Mookie Betts is worth every penny. The defensive plays he made alone provided so much energy to the team. Here’s to hoping Andrew Friedman keeps his computer running after last night, and doesn’t click on some malware by watching porn, giving his computer a virus. It’s no wonder the Braves blew a 3-1 lead though. Prior to moving to LA, the Clippers were the Buffalo Braves.

The Lakers are still slamming shots of Patron and showering themselves with champagne in Vegas after winning the NBA Championship. However, there’s already rumblings of some big roster changes next season. The biggest of these rumblings is that Chris Paul could be traded to the Lakers. On one hand, this could be fun and sweet justice because Paul should have been a Laker long ago. Paul is still a great player, and could probably make it work with Lebron and AD. Lebron would also be stoked because he could drink wine every week and get a head start planning his Banana Boat vacation with CP3. However, there’s too much risk here. The Lake Show would be trading 4-5 players just to make the salaries work, including the 3-point shooting of Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green. It’s also risky to have a top heavy big 3, where two of the big 3 are 35 years-of-age. More importantly though, the Lakers would be saying goodbye to any chance they have at signing Giannis next summer, or maybe even trading for Bradley Beal. There’s nothing wrong with running it back with the same group, especially since great chemistry matters.

Meanwhile, across the hall the Clippers hired Ty Lue as their next coach. However, they have some Kawhi Leonard drama to sort through. According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha and Joe Vardon, Montrezl Harrell, Lou Williams, and Patrick Beverley “bristled” over Kawhi being able to dictate his load management. In other words, they didn’t like the special treatment he received. Of course Williams and Harrell denied this was true on Twitter, but the fact this report is out there with their names attached to it is a big deal. One has to seriously question whether or not those three are going to be back with the Clippers next year, or at least not without repairing the relationship between Kawhi and those 3. Kawhi is also reportedly urging Clippers management to acquire a good point guard. I’m surprised he hasn’t told them he wants Paul George sent to the WNBA for a player to be named. Once free agency opens, it’s going to be fascinating to see how this drama continues to unfold.

To the NFL where the Rams got pounded by the 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Jimmy G looked like Johnny Unitas, while Jared Goff was more like Jared “Off” with all his missed throws. I know the Rams got behind early, but they needed to give the ball to Daryl Henderson more. He looks like the most explosive weapon they have on offense. The rest of the offense was totally out of sink against a 49ers team that was missing two of its best defensive players in Nick Bosa and Richard Sherman. The Rams are 4-2, but it’s starting to feel like their first four wins were just because they played a bunch of trash teams in the NFC East. Unfortunately, they can’t petition the league to play the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, and Redskins every week. Things aren’t going to get any easier next week against a Bears team that is starting to look really good.

The Chargers enjoyed a bye week, however, they are still licking their wounds from last Monday’s loss to the Saints. The Bolts are 2-15 in one score games since the start of the 2019 season. They can’t even stumble into a win in a close game this season. Even more sad is the fact it looks like they might have found themselves a superstar quarterback in Justin Herbert, yet can’t get it together. This man is a touchdown throwing machine, despite the fact he’s basically been throwing to Door Dash drivers for the past few weeks. The Chargers need to do everything in their power to support his success. In the NFL much of your success is all about the system and culture you go to. It’s not impossible to succeed otherwise, but its an uphill battle. Sam Darnold’s career stinks because he got stuck with the Jets. Patrick Mahomes career does not because he’s with the Chiefs. It’s like being born in the hood vs being born as a trust fund baby. Right now, the Chargers are making it look like Herbert was born in the hood, and need to fix that ASAP.

Elsewhere around Week 6 in the NFL, Tom Brady and the Bucs hammered the Packers. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t been dominated like that since going out with Danica Patrick. Baker Mayfield lived up to his named and was serving up turnovers like a baker in the Browns loss to the Steelers. The Jets got beat up by the Dolphins and should have all their games televised on Comedy Central from now on. Kirk Cousins was so bad yesterday against the Falcons, Vikings fans would take Dak Prescott one week after surgery instead of him. Derrick Henry was so good in the Titans win over the Texans, I’m beginning to wonder if he was made in a lab. The Giants have won 12 games in the last three years. 4 of them have come against Washington! Philip Rivers just got bullied by Twitter into playing an elite game in a win against the Bengals. Everything went great for the Eagles yesterday, except for the game against the Ravens. Cam Newton also looked more like Olivia Newton in the Patriots’ loss to the Broncos.

Finally, what a joke the Pac 12 is continuing to be, this time thanks to California Governor Gavin Newsom. I mean the Pac 12 clearly doesn’t need any help to be the laughing stock of College Football, but apparently Newsom thinks they do. Pac 12 parents will not be allowed to attend games to watch their kids play. So let me get this straight. Maybe 100 people are incapable of sitting socially distanced in a 90,000 seat stadium? People are allowed to eat at restaurants, fly on planes, and go to the beach with many more people around them in close quarters. I would say this makes no sense, but then again we live in California where nothing makes sense. Pretty soon Newsom is going to mandating that the trees in the forest put masks on to avoid catching COVID.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 12, 2020

In the words of the the late Chick Hearn, “The Lakers are the World Champions!” This one felt different, but still very special. One of the worst years in our life time started with the death of an icon, Kobe Bryant. This one was for Kobe and Gigi. Their passing devastated us all. However, this championship would make them proud, and gives the city of Los Angeles and Southern California something to feel good about. Everyone, including myself, owes Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka an apology letter, and a fruit basket. So many doubted the direction they wanted to take this team, and whether or not they were experienced enough to do this. Neither listened to the noise around them, and succeeded under the most difficult circumstances. As for Lebron James, remember when you thought he was only coming to LA for non-basketball reasons? No, he came to win more championships, and add to his legacy. That legacy isn’t done, and with 4 Championships and 4 finals MVPs with 3 teams, he’s making a great case to be the GOAT. His leadership has been tremendous, and the amazing chemistry this team has is a product of that. I also knew Anthony Davis was a great player, but when the Lakers gave up a truck load for him, I even had some doubts he was worth it. However, he was so good, the Lakers should send the Pelicans another draft pick this morning just because.

One thing I’ve never understood is how for an entire year, the fans and media did nothing but try to tell us how bad the Laker role players were. They’ve done nothing but play well in the biggest moments. KCP was reliable all year. Rajon Rondo is a championship player that raised his game. Dwight Howard didn’t just tell lame jokes and play video games. He found himself and was solid on and off the floor all year, while Alex Caruso is a success story for all G-Leaguers. Even Kyle Kuzma stepped up and played better defense than we’ve ever seen before from him. All of this happened while another key rotation player, Avery Bradley, was home. Bradley should be back next year as a key contributor, and the Lakers have a chance to defend their title with an even better veteran roster. Don’t expect to hear that though from all the media and other Laker haters.

You know who should feel like complete morons right now? Anybody that voted for Clippers President Lawrence Frank as NBA Executive of the Year. Frank assembled a team of front-running jerks that got their coach fired for underachieving in the playoffs, while mortgaging their future on a phony superstar in Paul George. Meanwhile, Rob Pelinka finished 7th in the voting. 7th! The guy that got the better Morris brother, and the guy who assembled a championship roster after Kawhi left him high and dry at the last minute. He also did this in a year where his best friend and God Daughter passed away. It just goes to show you that other NBA Executives weren’t going to vote for Pelinka because he got the Laker job when they didn’t even get to interview for it. They also hate him because he was an agent that played hardball against them. Now it’s Pelinka who got the last laugh last night. NBA Executives should be embarrassed for this, because they just showed they don’t have an ounce of objectivity in them. This is just another example of the Laker hate in the NBA being real.

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The Dodgers are back in the NLCS against the Braves. They swept the Padres which is only right. San Diego’s ugly uniforms look like they were designed by the inmates from “The Shawshank Redemption”. As for Atlanta, this series going to be scary. It’s sort of like all those years you beat up on your little brother, and now he’s a little older, bigger and stronger. That’s exactly what this Braves team is now that they have real pitching. Not the same little brother the Dodgers have beaten up on in the playoffs the last few season. Then there’s Kenly Jansen, who most of us wish ends up being quarantined for the rest of the playoffs, since he can’t even close a hot dog stand right now, let alone a baseball game. As I said going into the playoffs, the Dodgers don’t have to over rely on Jansen, Kershaw, or any one player in these playoffs, unlike years past. They have options. They can use Brusdar Graterol or Blake Treinen to close games. They can even use Dustin May. However, there is still a place for Jansen in the pen. It might not be late in games, but he can be used in certain middle relief situations with a short leash. This is a year where more depth is a huge advantage given the schedule. The Dodgers need to use that to their advantage, unlike the last few postseasons, and that should put them back in the World Series.

The Rams beat up on The Washington Football Team yesterday to improve to 4-1! Nice to see Alex Smith healthy, but I think everybody was cringing on every hit he took. Before you haters say the Rams’ four wins came against the NFC East, keep in mind that the 49ers and Cardinals have lost to crappy Eagles and Lions teams respectively. You can only beat the teams on your schedule, and the Rams have taken care of business for the most part. Jared Goff and Sean McVay basically just told everyone to go “dink and dunk that!”. They may have kept throwing short passes, but it was effective, and now it looks like every single running back on that team is dangerous. The 49ers have been banged up, but they also haven’t exactly been a model of consistency so far this season. The Rams have a great chance to go 5-1 next week against their division rivals.

Meanwhile, the Chargers and Saints are getting ready for a big Monday Night Football showdown tonight. This game probably doesn’t have the same “Kill Bill” revenge feel to it that it used to have when Drew Brees would go up against Philip Rivers, especially since both Rivers and AJ Smith are no longer with the Bolts. However, this is still a pretty important game for the Saints who are trying to move back into first place, and the Chargers, who are desperate for a win. The Bolts’ defense has been crippled with injuries, but the best thing going for them is Justin Herbert. He’s been so good that Anthony Lynn had to say “screw it” and name him the starting quarterback moving forward. You certainly have to feel bad for Tyrod Taylor, but it was the right decision, and the Chargers usually don’t make too many of those.

Elsewhere around week 5, JR Smith think Tom Brady is a fool for not knowing it was 4th down on the final play of the Bucs loss to the Bears. Two quarterbacks faced off in KC yesterday. One threw for 350 yards, 3 TD’s, and had a 129 QBR. The other was Patrick Mahomes. Shocking Raider win! The Ravens beat up the Bengals and made Joe Burrow look like a Pee Wee quarterback. The Texans remembered what it was like to win a football game. The Falcons are 0-5, and probably thought it was better to just not get a lead so they couldn’t blow it. The Jets are so bad, Adam Gase has probably asked his boss why they haven’t fired him yet. The Eagles lost again as well, and their receivers are playing like the football is infected with COVID:

Finally, remember when the LA Kings were a great team that was competing for Stanley Cups? That last cup came 6 years ago, but they’ve been rebuilding for the last two years. They now have the best farm system in hockey, but that might not get them to the playoffs for two more years, and might not truly get them competing for Stanley Cups for another 4 years. That’s more than a half decade of rebuilding. Since the Kings have not only one of the best, but one of the deepest prospect pools in the league, as well as boat loads of salary cap space, they should trade for an elite goal scorer. That scorer is Steve Stamkos. He’s elite, he just won a Cup, and has a contract that isn’t terrible given the Kings rebuilding window. Why not speed up the rebuild by trying to make that trade, since the Lightning are desperate to create salary cap space? Prospects are great, but the Kings can’t keep them all. They need to figure out who isn’t a fit for them, and use those players as assets while they still have value. I’m not sure this concept is familiar to Rob Blake, who inherited the job from someone and wasn’t initially tasked with a rebuild.

Monday Morning Coffee

October 5, 2020

Somebody must have told the Lakers that we are stuck with either Trump or Biden as our next President, because last night they played like they don’t want to join the real world and leave the bubble. There is no reason at all for the Lakers to be out-muscled in the paint on any given night, and surely not against an undermanned Miami team. Danny Green and KCP played like they had plane tickets already booked to Cancun. It didn’t help that AD had 3 fouls on him when he left his hotel room, but there was a total lack of focus. This kind of complacency is some crap that the Clippers would do, and I’m sure Lebron isn’t going to be happy about it. I fully expect him to crack the whip on his teammates between now and game 4. It’s clear that the Lakers started drinking their own Kool-Aid after game 3, and just thought the Heat were going to lay down, given that they were without two key starters. That’s definitely not something that a team led by Pat Riley and Jimmy Butler would do, and props to them for not giving up. It’s also a dangerous thing to do to give a team like Miami confidence, especially when there’s a chance they are going to get Dragic and Adebayo back in the next game, which will give them an emotional lift.

It turns out that “Playoff P” has now turned into “Layoff P”. Paul George’s disastrous playoff performance led to the firing of coach Doc Rivers last week. It’s a bold move by Steve Ballmer, but the results are all on him because it was a decision exclusively made by him, rather than the front office that he built out the last few years that everyone was raving about. Also, Phil Jackson isn’t coming out retirement to coach the team. Aside from the fact he and Jerry West don’t get along, Phil wouldn’t even coach Paul George over Zoom, let alone in person. This whole saga though is a reminder that some of these NBA media folks need their credentials and cable subscriptions revoked. They are all saying now that “the Clippers need better on court leadership.” They do? You told me for the last year that Doc was an elite coach, Kawhi was a phenomenal leader, and a better player than Lebron, better than Kobe, and a top 5 player ever. You are all fools and the internet has the receipts.

Well here we are again in October, with the Dodgers in the NLDS. This time it’s the Padres standing in their way. The Padres are going to try and make this a slugfest, in which their bullpen just outlasts the Dodgers pen. The Dodgers are going to need quality length from their starters, just like they got on Thursday with that vintage Clayton Kershaw performance against the Brewers. There’s a lot to worry about here for the Dodgers though: Walker Buehler’s blister, Clayton Kershaw’s past playoff issues, and perhaps most of all, Kenley Jansen. When I listen to Dave Roberts talk about Jansen, he sounds like a guy who’s had a girlfriend for years who’s just not doing it for him anymore, but doesn’t know a tactful way to break up with her. Pretty soon he’s going to be saying “it’s not you, it’s me.” Roberts is saying Jansen is his guy, but quietly pointing out the flaws in his performance, and also suggesting there are nights where other options might be better. That’s a scary thought since there have been so many close games between the Dodgers and Padres this season, and this series figures to be the same.

Meanwhile, the Angels GM search is underway, and it’s already looking like a joke. Team President John Carpino said he and Arte Moreno have compiled a long list of names, and they sound like they are going to take their time with the hiring process. Rumor has it they might really take their time with the search and go as far as Thanksgiving with it, but I’m not sure why anybody impactful would want to take a job midway through an offseason. Especially when that replacement can’t actually do anything to improve the club, in a job where they are supposedly expected to “win now”. The best part about what Carpino said is that “something is not right in our organization,” explaining, that “there are things in here that aren’t working.” You guys just figured that out John? The best example of this is the Halos using last year’s first round pick on a pitcher that was supposedly close to big league ready. They never called him up. The college pitcher drafted with the next pick is now pitching in the playoffs for the Chicago White Sox. That’s just one example of many of the Angels not being process-driven, and most of that failure is Arte Moreno’s involvement, since he views success as star-driven.

The Rams played yesterday’s game like they were trying to hurry and get to watching game 3 of the NBA Finals. They got the win over a crummy Giants team, but it was ugly. It’s almost like Sean McVay was determined to use only the last two pages of the playbook to try to secure the win. Sometimes I wonder if he really feels comfortable letting Jared Goff drop back and throw a real pass. You’ve gotta be happy with the defense, but there’s definitely concern with some of the inconsistency we’ve seen on the road on the offensive side the last two weeks. The Rams will have to avoid another let down next week against Washington. Then there’s the fight that took place between Golden Tate and Jalen Ramsey. I generally try to avoid domestic matters here on Jock Talk LA, but when they play out on the field like this one did, it’s pretty hard to avoid it. Ramsey and Tate will likely be suspended for all their antics, which can’t make McVay very happy.

Just when it looked like the Chargers were going to get some revenge on Tom Brady for all those times he did them dirty in New England, they find a way to blow it. That was one of the worst defensive performances this team has had in the last two years, and that’s saying a lot! Only the Chargers could find a way to spoil a brilliant performance from their rookie Quarterback, Justin Herbert, who had QB rating of 137.5, while making some unbelievable throws. Brady is actually on pace to throw more pick 6’s than Jameis Winston did last year, but it didn’t matter yesterday. Horrible mistake by Anthony Lynn to not take a knee near the end of the half near his own endzone, resulting in a turnover. To make matters worse, Austin Ekeler is now going to be down for a few weeks with a leg injury. I can’t wait to see how Anthony Lynn continues to try and keep a straight face while saying “Tyrod Taylor is still our starter”. Something tells me the Charger doctors’ are going to find something wrong with him for the next few weeks.

Elsewhere around Week 4 of the NFL, the Browns beat the Cowboys, and Jarvis Landry looks like a better quarterback than Carson Wentz. The Cowboys are 1-3 and still in 1st in the NFC East! The Raiders should change their name to the “Loss Vegas Raiders” after losing to the Bills. The Jets really need to stop drafting USC quarterbacks. Stay positive though Jets fans – you’ll probably get another top 5 pick that you can screw up again. The Texans are 0-4 and have a $258 million payroll. They might as well be burning money like the Joker. The Colts beat the Bears, and Phil Rivers is out here calling his opponents “fatty’s” Is Drew Brees still old and busted? Because he looks fine to me. Bill Belichick is probably trying to figure out how to get Patrick Mahomes to test positive for COVID before tonight’s game.

Wait, the Presidential Debate is over? But nobody jumped out and said “live from New York it’s Saturday Night”? Chris Wallace got treated like a substitute teacher. I haven’t seen anything that embarrassing since the Clippers last played. Stephen A Smith needs to be the moderator of the next debate. Calling it “a shit show” is really an insult to “shit shows” . Trump did more interrupting than Kanye in a room full of Taylor Swifts. The bottom line is that we don’t need to see 2 more of these. If anything, it’s going to make people not want to vote if they have to see these two go at it again. I certainly hope he recovers from COVID, but depending on how Trump’s recovery goes, we may be lucky enough to not get another debate.

It’s been a while, but The Walking Dead was back on AMC last night, and it was the season finale of Season 10. Let me say this, the show has lost a lot of characters due to contract disputes or other opportunities for the cast. However, to this point, I thought they’ve done a decent job of reinventing the show. With that being said, last night was kind of disappointing. Spoiler alert for those of you who didn’t see the episode, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. Beta is one of the most iconic characters in the comic, but he went down easier than the Lakers did last night against the Heat. There was no major battle between him and Negan like we saw in the comics. Lydia saved Carol from committing suicide. Doesn’t it feel like Carol was going to commit suicide several times in the last 10 years? Doesn’t it feel like you wanted to commit suicide after watching the last Presidential debate? Maggie has been gone so long, seeing her again really didn’t do anything for me. So apparently the Storm Troopers showed up. Does this mean Darth Vader is going to make an appearance in Season 11? Remember when we though we might get zombies when COVID started? Instead we just got a bunch of Karen’s. I don’t know what’s going to happen in Season 11, but we’ve made it this far and are so invested, might as well finish it out. I hope it’s better than the Season 10 Finale though.