Monthly Archives: March 2021

Monday Morning Coffee

March 29th, 2021

What a ride it is for UCLA Basketball! If I told you two weeks ago that this team was going to be in the Elite 8 you would have thought I was smoking crack. That game is going to be referred to as “The Shorts Game”. I think it’s safe to say John Petty’s shorts were an L for the Tide. Alabama shot free throws like DeAndre Jordan all game, which gave a big break to UCLA. However, the mental and physical toughness that Mick Cronin has instilled in his squad is amazing. ‘Bama was quicker and more athletic, but UCLA has guys like Jamie Jaquez that seem like football players playing basketball. I thought the Bruins couldn’t recover when the Tide hit that 3-pointer to send it to OT. Turns out it was just me that couldn’t recover. They did all this with no Chris Smith, and no Jalen Hill. They also did this without Daishen Nix, their top recruit, who was stolen by the NBA G-League after committing. Mick Cronin has every right to complain about that like he did last week, because Nix had already committed to the Bruins when he reneged. Cronin was on a roll last week too, and might as well have sounded like Rodney Dangerfield, describing the disrespect UCLA and the entire Pac-12 have gotten all season. That’s absolutely true but no matter what happens against Michigan tomorrow, UCLA should feel pretty good about the group they have and the identity that Cronin is bringing to the program.

Elsewhere around the NCAA Tournament, USC took down Oregon, and I think they actually have a shot to beat Gonzaga. The only question is whether or not Trojan alums will realize they have a team in the tournament before it’s over. After that huge run can you believe Oral Roberts lost on that last second rim job? That blows. Syracuse needed Carmelo Anthony to re-enroll in school to beat Houston. The Pac-12 should be sending Oregon State a thank you note after beating Loyola Chicago. That’s $6.72 million in NCAA units that will be distributed to everyone in the conference. With that half million dollars, ASU can build the new porn department they’ve always wanted, while USC and UCLA can finally afford to fire their football coaches.

To the NBA, where the Lakers are trying to stay afloat with Lebron James and Anthony Davis out for extended time. If the Lakers keep losing, Frank Vogel might lose his mind and dye his hair blonde like Kyle Kuzma. Even though they won the last two games, they have been so sloppy that the fake crowd at Staples Center should have had a refund. Ultimately, this team needs Lebron and AD back or else they are toast, but you can say the same thing about any team that loses their two best players. That’s why I think the Lake Show was smart to not do anything crazy at the trade deadline. I like Kyle Lowry, but he’s 35 years old, and I wouldn’t give up THT in a package for him, even if the Raptors threw in Drake. Rob Pelinka knows what he’s doing, and he showed it by signing Andre Drummond, which fills a big defensive need. Not sure what took Drummond so long though to decide. I think he was just trying to squeeze free dinners and lunches out of the Lakers, Celtics, Knicks, and Hornets. He’s also a decent offensive option with Lebron and AD out, but clearly none of the teams chasing him saw him do this…..

As for the Clippers, they made a bit a splash at the deadline by acquiring Rajon Rondo from the Hawks for Lou Williams. Let’s start with Rondo, who currently may seem old, injury prone, and unmotivated, but we said the same thing about him last year before the playoffs started. If “Playoff Rondo” shows up, it gives the Clippers exactly what they’ve been missing: a guard who can create, a good leader, and a high IQ player. As for Lou Williams, trading him impacts both basketball clubs, as well as The Gold Club. This dude was probably going to retire until he found out that he was going back home for some Lemon Pepper Wings, and high quality strip clubs. In all seriousness though, as good as Lou was for the Clippers prior to this season, both sides seemed like they were ready for a change of scenery. Lou was being phased out of the rotation, and after last season’s chicken wing fiasco, he seemed like a questionable locker room fit from that point on. The Clippers are a much less deep team than they were last year, but they’ve gotta hope their chemistry is better come playoff time.

The NBA trade deadline proved to be more entertaining than I thought. I love how NBA Twitter is acting like it’s 2011, and that Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, and DeAndre Jordan are still All-Stars. I’m not sure if any of those fans have seen those three play basketball of late, but it’s not pretty. The Rockets were prepared to trade Victor Oladipo for a stimulus check and one of Jimmy Butler’s old socks. Meanwhile, the Magic were busy trading so many players, their fans are about to demand a trade in the off-season.

I’m not sure if anybody noticed but the Dodger pitchers have been taking a beating for the last couple of weeks of Spring Training. Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Trevor Bauer have all been thrashed like rag dolls. Hopefully these guys, especially Trevor Bauer, start pitching with their eyes open. I’m a little concerned, but I’m also going to chalk this up to a little arm fatigue and lack of focus in in these tune up starts. Since the season is starting next week, my expectation is that the pitching will be as elite as we expect it to be.

Those LA Times columnists really need to stop drinking when they write their articles. Mike Digiovanna picked the Angels to win the AL West this season. He is citing the fact that Shohei Ohtani will be an X-Factor, while the Astros and A’s have lost too much. Apparently Mike hasn’t seen the Angels pitching, because it’s far worse than anything the A’s and Astros are going to throw out there this season. The Halos have an outside shot of making a Wild Card spot because they have Mike Trout, but unless Ohtani turns into a combination of Nolan Ryan and Barry Bonds, they are probably going to miss the playoffs again. I also love the story about the Angel fan that saved another fan from getting hit by a foul ball during a spring training game by using a beer as a shield. The Angels rewarded the fan by sending more beer to that section, but I’m sure Arte demanded that his staff send only Coors Light to save on costs, like he always tries to do.

Finally, last week Pepsi announced that they are partnering with the marshmallow brand, Peeps, on a limited edition soda. First of all, Peeps are absolutely sticky and disgusting, and there are far superior Easter candies: Cadbury Eggs, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs, among others. Second of all, a Peeps flavored Pepsi is nothing more than diabetes in a can. This has to be the worst idea ever, and there can’t possibly be any demand for this drink. More importantly though, for you marketers out there in various industries, this should serve as a reminder that no matter what your ideas are, they can’t be worse than this.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 22, 2021

Suddenly, things are looking up for the UCLA Bruins basketball team. UCLA stumbled into the NCAA tournament like Joe Biden trying to board Air Force One. Now they are suddenly dripping with self-confidence after a clutch win against Michigan State, and a solid win over BYU. There isn’t a single future NBA player on this team, but that doesn’t matter. Mick Cronin has them believing that if they can play hard defensively, share the ball, and attack their opponents constantly on offense, they will have a chance to win every game. He’s making the Bruin fans believe that too. I actually hate the fact they are favored today against Abilene Christian, because it gives Cronin ammunition to fire up his team as a disrespected underdog. Nevertheless, if the Bruins can pull off the victory today, an appearance in the Sweet 16 is something to feel really good about in this super weird, injury and Covid plagued season.

Elsewhere around the NCAA Tournament, it turns out the Pac-12 is actually really good at basketball, and that nobody really stays up to watch their games. PAC-12 teams are undefeated since the First Four began on Thursday. USC is suddenly a dark horse to get to the Final Four with Evan Mobley on their squad, and they should beat Kansas today as well, who is as overrated as KC BBQ . Then there’s Ohio State, who got Oral and still lost, as in Oral Roberts. I’m old enough to remember when everyone thought the Big 10 had the best college ball in the country. Looks like Texas gave up basketball for Lent. Too bad nobody told them you are supposed to give up things that are bad for you, rather than things you are bad at. I think my favorite part of the tournament so far was watching Wichita State take a 30 footer at the buzzer when they need a 2-pointer and a timeout. This tournament is Gonzaga’s to win until further notice. At this point we are all probably using our bracket’s as toilet paper.

I think it’s probably time to be concerned about the Lakers. Lebron is now out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain, and after seeing that on Saturday, Laker fans are probably blackout drunk. This was already getting dicey with Anthony Davis out, along with other rotation guys in and out of the lineup. Now the Lakers will be lucky to tread water until Lebron and AD come back, and that’s assuming they are able to come back. There’s still 28 games left in the regular season, so nearly two months, but the Lakers need to make sure they don’t free fall to lower than the 7th seed. Then they’ll be forced to play in a play-in tournament. That will cause fans more anxiety than trying to find a parking spot in downtown LA. I’m sure the Lakers are hoping they can sign Andre Drummond. Sure that would be nice, but for the time being, they need the likes of Kyle Kuzma, KCP, and Talen Horton- Tucker to step and and help them win games. That’s going to be a big change for KCP who has mastered the art of getting some good cardio in these games of late, and nothing more.

As for the Clippers, now there’s rumors around Lonzo Ball possibly being traded to LA. This sounds like a rumor that came directly from Lavar Ball, who is probably feverishly trying to end his American Airlines Frequent Flyer program, and get all his kids back to playing ball in LA. Sure Lonzo would be nice, but I don’t see why the Pelicans would trade him, let alone to a Clipper team that doesn’t have the draft capital they would want in return. I still think the Clips have a shot at Kyle Lowry though. The Raptors claim they are aren’t going to move him, but Wells Fargo also told you your stimulus check was already in your account. If the Raptors continue to sink like the Titanic, they could change their mind before this week’s trade deadline. However, if the Clippers can’t come up with another playmaking guard before playoff time, they should be feeling uneasy about the chances.

The Rams needed a deep threat and they got it. Ok, it wasn’t Kenny Golladay. It was a much older but cheaper deep threat in DeSean Jackson. The good news is that Jackson is always one play away from taking it to the house. The bad news is he’s always one play away from pulling a hamstring and being out for the season. The Rams were never going to end up with Randy Moss as their deep threat, and free agents always have their warts in the NFL, so this isn’t a bad option. They just need to keep him in bubble wrap to keep him healthy, and make sure he doesn’t get tackled.

Another week to go before the MLB season is upon us. The Dodgers are looking good in Spring Training, and so is Kenley Jansen. Funny because everybody is looking for every excuse to write this guy off, pretending like he’s incapable of closing a hot dog stand at this point in his career. However, Kenley still deserves every shot to be the Dodger closer this year. If he falters, the Dodgers will come up with other options as they successfully did last year. Nevertheless, he might still have more in the tank than you think.

As for the Angels, it blows my mind that people are ready to pay hundreds of dollars to go see the Halos play baseball in a reduced capacity Anaheim Stadium. Are we this desperate for baseball that we want to see a team with no pitching that will be out of contention in one week? I guess people are that tired of the pandemic. Dylan Bundy is still the best pitcher in their rotation, but something tells me he might revert to being Al Bundy once the season starts. What he did last year feels like somewhat of a flash in the pan. Mike Trout is going to be brilliant as always, but the Halos have given us nothing to believe that we’re going to see some breakout from a young hidden prospect their scouting department uncovered. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong, but don’t count on it.

Finally, the season finale of The Bachelor went down last week. It turns out that Matt really just needed therapy all along instead of going on The Bachelor. Michelle was savage in that episode and rightfully so. However, she and Katie got the golden ticket from Matt by becoming the next Bachelorettes. I’m surprised in all her honesty she didn’t give her true opinion about his beard. RIP to all the turtle necks that we saw Matt wearing this season. The fact he didn’t even try to get engaged was just a waste of time, as was talking to the guy who shows him the rings. Matt’s mom couldn’t even fake it for him. She said “feelings fade.” Matt’s brother also looks like Colin Kaepernick. Props to Emmanuel Acho, who did an amazing job and asked great questions we all wanted to know. He made it an educational experience. I just wish he asked Matt why he couldn’t find a suit that fits him. The Bachelor franchise really stepped in it though. They tried to create a more inclusive experience for the audience, which is admirable, but in the process they pissed off all those people, as well as other people that were fans of the show previously. I’m not sure where they go from here, but it’s going to be an uphill climb.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 15, 2021

The Lakers began the second half of the season on Friday, and despite the win, it looked much like the way they played in the first half. A slow start, and questionable engagement and energy at times. I still think the Lakers will be fine as long as they can get Anthony Davis healthy by the playoffs. That would make the Lakers the favorites to win a title, and get Lebron the ring he needs to get closer to Jordan, and tie J-Lo after she gets a ring from A-Rod. There’s also been too much talk around buyout additions for the Lakers and other teams. A buyout addition might help you win a playoff game or two, but everyone is pretending like the addition of one of these players will be like adding an All-Star. I will admit, LaMarcus Aldridge is interesting, but he’s not going to be a 30-minute per game player. I’m sure Magic wants to re-join the Laker front office for a week just to sign Aldridge, then leave again as a middle finger to Jim Buss. Ultimately, even if the Lakers can get Aldridge or Andre Drummond, we’re talking about somebody that’s going to play 15 minutes a game. If Anthony Davis is healthy, he’s going to absorb more of those minutes anyway. Also, prayers up for Jared Dudley, who tore his MCL over the weekend. He’s an important leader and locker room presence for the team, so hopefully nothing changes in that regard.

As for the Clippers, they really took a beating last night against the Pelicans. Kawhi is probably looking into how he can renew his Canadian work visa after that one. Actually, one of the most under reported stories around the Clips is Kawhi Leonard’s upcoming free agency this summer. Almost nobody is talking about it. Maybe it’s because Kawhi seemed so determined to play at home in Southern California, so some might ask why he would leave. Or maybe it’s because Kawhi doesn’t actually talk, so nobody knows how he really feels about being with the Clippers long-term. Nobody really knows how he feels about Paul George bricking shots against the backboard in big games, Ty Lue, or the fact the Clippers don’t have a point guard. All we know is he said he’s “concerned”, after last night. All of this is relevant because it could dictate what the Clippers do at the trade deadline. If they feel confident Kawhi isn’t going anywhere, we probably won’t see anything from them at the deadline. If not, the Clippers could try to make a move for the likes of Kyle Lowry or even Victor Oladipo. Also, this was a classic Kawhi interview last week.

To Spring Training where the Dodgers are looking good. Do you realize that last week, Clayton Kershaw gave up his first run in Spring Training in four years? I’m sure some Twitter trolls are thinking this is a sign of his deterioration, but it isn’t. It’s actually a reminder of his greatness. He also didn’t allow another run in the three innings after that, so it’s still been a solid couple of outings for him. So much talk about which Dodger pitchers are starting vs coming out of the bullpen, but I don’t really think it matters much. This is going to be a full 162-game season, so there’s plenty of starts available for every one of these guys. That’s much needed for a team that pitched into late October last year.

The Angels just made their best off-season move of the last five years. Unfortunately, it’s not a pitcher. It’s actually not even somebody that’s going to help them on the field. It’s somebody that will help them in the broadcast booth. Matt Vasgersian will be joining the Angels 3-man broadcast team. He’s a great guy, and a star broadcaster. I’m actually surprised he was in the Angels price range, given how good of a broadcaster he is, and how much of a cheap skate Arte Moreno is. He he counted against the luxury tax this would have never happened. Nevertheless, this will significantly improve the broadcast quality of the Halo games. Now if only they could improve the quality of the product on the field.

The good news is that UCLA Basketball is beating COVID. The bad news is that they aren’t beating anything else. The Bruins have lost four in a row, and are stumbling into the NCAA Tournament. They’ll be playing in the first four against Michigan State. I wouldn’t be surprised if they take a beating in that game. The frustrating part of this is that in the last four critical games, they blew leads, failed to execute down the stretch, and their offense disappeared like the stimulus check when it hits your bank account. I get that this team has injuries and is missing it’s heavy hitters, but all of these games have been winnable. I have zero confidence it’s going to get fixed in the tournament this week, because the team probably has zero confidence in their ability to make plays down the stretch. Still, I refuse to believe that Mick Cronin is a poor-man’s Ben Howland. We haven’t seen Cronin with elite talent yet, and I believe it’s coming. Ben Howland had elite talent, and in his final few years as UCLA coach, his squads looked about as competitive as this team does.

Are you ready to fill out your NCAA Bracket this week now that March Madness is upon us? Don’t bother spending 45 minutes on the bracket like you usually do though. Your mom will probably finish higher than you by picking winners based on who has the cutest mascot. Plus the guy who makes 14 different brackets will probably finish ahead of you, as will the girl who picked her entire bracket in 9 seconds. Do we even really know who the elite teams are in College Basketball anymore? Do we even know who the elite players are anymore? Are there any elite players? Sadly, this season USC might actually have a shot to get to the Final Four, and they have one of the best players in the country in Evan Mobley. Too bad the only thing on USC alums mind right now is how they can get Clay Helton fired. I’m not even sure they realize they have a basketball team.

The Grammy’s went down last night on CBS. It’s my favorite award show of the year because we get to enjoy the musical performances in addition to the awards. Dua Lipa killed it with her performance. She had Bad Bunny grooving to it. Beyoncé is going to end up with the most Grammy’s of all-time before her career is over. Post Malone pulled up to the Grammys like he used to be undefeated at WrestleMania. I’m not some huge Taylor Swift fan, but I respect her music, her star power, as well as the loyalty she has for her fans. Her not winning a Grammy at this point feels like it just violates the laws of nature. She’ll probably win Album of The Year next year too.

Finally, the season finale of The Bachelor airs tonight on ABC. Last week was really disappointing for most viewers. Rachel got a date with fireworks and her own house? That was favoritism at it’s finest. Plus, she got all that after spending the entire episode whining about Matt spending time with other girls. Overall though, that episode was boring, and Rachel’s dates were even more boring. Way to send Bri home on International Women’s Day, while keeping the racist around Matt! Bri is probably driving back to her office to ask for her job back right about now. Low key, the Bachelor producers are pretty savage for making Matt and his dad have that awkward conversation on TV. They absolutely did not need to turn the volume levels up for that oatmeal mushing scene. I’m horrified about Matt and Michelle’s skin after taking a butter bath. Even people from Pennsylvania are totally ok with never having a butter massage and milk bath at their spa day. The butter Matt used for Bri’s breakfast was probably the leftover ones from Michelle’s date. Matt has an identity crisis. He’s three different people with three different women. We’ll find out how it all ends tonight, even though we really already know. As for Chris Harrison, ABC really hasn’t made it clear if him not hosting The Bachelorette next season is just a temporary hiatus or not. As I’ve mentioned before, I hope it is temporary, because that actually will go further in improving the way people view diversity, and how they can understand it better.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 8, 2021

Team Lebron took down Team Durant in the NBA All-Star Game last night. I’m surprised Kevin Durant didn’t demand a trade to Lebron’s team at halftime. Lebron’s team was ridiculous, while KD drafted a team that might take the Lakers to 7 games. Lebron should have just changed into street clothes and sat the second half on the bench. He was pretty much done with the game after giving us a reverse dunk early on. Dame and Steph are aliens from outer space. It amazes me that any player could be that confident shooting from near half court on a consistent basis. Rudy Gobert just laying it up in an All-Star game is why people hate the Utah Jazz. Kyrie Irving going 100 mph while Kawhi just wanting to get the game over with is a hilarious contrast to watch on the same team. Kawhi also hates any game in which Doc Rivers is coaching him. Not sure who has a worse defense: Team Durant, Team Lebron, or Team Cuomo? Steph Curry was a delight in the three-point contest, but the dunk contest just didn’t have the names in it despite some nice finishes. I wasn’t into the whole weekend coming in, but they put on a good show.

There’s been tons of noise around Blake Griffin getting bought out and if he would be a fit for the Lakers. Griffin is like one of those old vintage Nintendo games you think is going to be great, but then you can’t even get to work properly because it’s so old. Aside from that, Griffin does not fill a need for the Lake Show. They could use a rim protecting rebounder, a wing defender, and some shooting. Griffin provides none of those things. More than anything, the Lakers need health and some rest. I wouldn’t expect any additions through the buyout market to make any significant contributions. Besides, the Brooklyn Nets have more money to spend on players who are bought out, and more holes on their bench than the Lakers do.

As for the Clippers, they stumbled into the All-Star break in similar fashion to the Lakers. I found it hilarious that the Clippers also leaked that they had interest in Blake Griffin. He also has no obvious fit for the Clips, and leaking their interest felt more like Steve Ballmer extending an olive branch to Blake after he had him traded to Detroit a few years ago. Then there’s Paul George who never ceases to amaze us. He missed Thursday night’s game with dizziness from too much caffeine. Are you kidding? This dude is going from “Pandemic P” to “Percolated P”. Don’t forget him enjoying himself too much a week after Christmas like he was 10-years-old. I only thought these excuses from PG-13 came in the playoffs, but apparently they come in the regular season now too.

To baseball where Trevor Bauer looked great in his Spring Training debut for the Dodgers in Arizona. Bauer was pitching with one eye shut, and striking out opponents in the process. What’s his next trick? Pitching with one-hand tied behind his back? As long as the guy is helping the Dodgers in games and not harassing people online, I’m ok with these antics. It’s actually making the game a little more entertaining for us, which is what baseball needs. Baseball also needs fans, and the Dodgers are going to get them on April 1st with limited capacity. Since the tickets are going for about $8K each, you should be able to take your average family of four if you take out a small line of credit.

The Angels are also getting some encouraging signs from Shohei Ohtani. It’s only Spring Training, but Ohtani is showing signs of being both the superstar pitcher and hitter they thought they were getting. It’s the pitching they really need, and Ohtani is throwing hard, and effectively thus far. Whether or not he can maintain that effectiveness while staying healthy remains to be seen. The Angels also look like they will admit 20% capacity on opening day, but Arte Moreno might want to ask himself if he’d rather keep the cardboard cutouts in the seats for now. Other than Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, I’m not sure how worth it people will find it to watch this team play in person in the middle of pandemic. Moreno is probably trying to find out how he can get a stimulus check from the government for “increasing his payroll”.

What a disastrous week for UCLA Basketball. They needed to win games against Oregon and USC to win the conference. Instead, they collapsed like a college kid after partying on a Thursday night. The Bruins couldn’t make a free throw to save their lives against USC, their offense got stagnant down the stretch, and their defense let them down when it mattered most. The worst part about it was the exact same issues troubled them days earlier against Oregon. UCLA is good, but just not good enough. They’ll make the tournament, possibly win a game, and that’s about as good as they can feel. As for the Trojans, most USC alums aren’t even aware they have a basketball team, except when they beat the Bruins. If anything, UCLA probably cares more about getting another shot against them in the conference tourney than going far in the NCAA tournament.

Finally, The Bachelor’s “Women Tell All” went down last week, and another big episode is coming up tonight. I like how Abigail and Katie were put on the hot seat during the last episode, when it was the other girls that were causing problems. Never thought i would ask myself if I like the women in Peter’s season more than the women in Matt’s season. I still can’t believe these girls are mad at Katie for calling them out for bullying. My favorite part of the last episode was when Anna said Chicago was a “small town”. That’s a real “Miss Teen South Carolina Moment”. Matt’s beard is amazing. It’s like he lost track of of time and still thinks it’s Movember. I have no idea why he was being apologetic toward Victoria than Abigail. Victoria’s acting in the episode should put her in line for an Emmy. She is like the person at the wedding who everyone gets nervous about when they are handed the microphone. They really did Heather dirty by practically giving her a seat in the studio audience section. I wish there was a live audience there so we could hear some boos for these terrible women. Brittany got more screen time on the Women Tell All than she did throughout the actual season. I like how Chris acted like we all cared about Pieter and were shocked by her exit. I’m beginning to wonder if Matt and Michelle participated in the Capitol insurrection for their final date?

Monday Morning Coffee

March 1st, 2021

The Lakers have looked good the last two games. Even though they dropped the hammer on the Warriors last night, this time of year is a coming out party for Laker haters. There’s bad news for those folks. The Lakers snapped a four game losing streak on Friday by winning against the Blazers. They were missing 2 of their 3 best players over that losing streak. We are two months into the season, and the defending champions had the shortest off-season in NBA history. You may recall two months into last season, they lost four in a row as well. These are the dog days of the season for a defending champion. For weeks the Lakers have looked like they would rather be home drinking wine, slamming pizza, and watching Netflix, rather than playing in these games. They’ve also been shooting like crap. After all that, they still have the second best record in the league, and the best defense in the league. If there’s one thing to be concerned about, it’s Lebron’s minutes. I’m glad he got to rest in the 4th quarter last night. I realize he wants to win MVP, but he knows that winning titles matters more than anything. Chain this guy to the bench at times to prevent him from being his own worst enemy. Other than that, the Lakers will be fine. As for last night’s broadcast on ESPN, Richard Jefferson’s commentary is gold. I could listen to this guy give his thoughts on street traffic. ESPN is lucky to have a funny talent like him, because they are running out of them.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are still hovering around 3rd place in the West after losing to the Bucks, but the trade rumors are still buzzing. ESPN’s Marc Spears is reporting that they are looking to acquire a veteran point guard by the March 25th trade deadline. Eric Bledsoe, Lonzo Ball, and Kyle Lowry seem to be the names that are coming up in these rumors. Ball is probably out of their price range, and while Bledsoe can be had, it would be like just ordering a chicken salad when you’re at a steakhouse. Lowry is the prize. He’d be a great fit, the Raptors need to get something for him before he hits free agency, and the Clippers have just enough pieces to get him. They would have to give up Terrance Mann since they have no picks, but have the salary to match with Lou Williams, Patrick Beverley, and maybe even Ivica Zubac. The Clips are still a contender, but without a move, there’s a lot riding on the shoulders of both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Spring Training is underway! That means the defending World Series Champion LA Dodgers have begun Spring Training Games. One thing I’m keeping an eye on is the closer situation. As of now Kenley Jansen is the Dodger closer, and rightfully so. However, Jansen is in the last year of his deal, and I can’t see him coming back after this season. That means the Dodgers need to go get themselves a closer in free agency, or groom one. Since investing in a free agent closer is usually about as bad of an investment as investing in GameStop stock, developing one is more ideal. I think the man for the job is Dustin May. His stuff is so good, if he told the hitters what he was about to throw, most of them wouldn’t be able to hit it anyway. He also throws heat. Even by putting May in the closer role, the Dodgers still have plenty of starting pitching options: Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, Trevor Bauer, Julio Urias, David Price, and younger arms behind them as well. It’s an embarrassment of riches that every other team envies, but this is one way to take full advantage of it.

As for the Angels, Albert Pujols and his wife have been making headlines with questions about his retirement. It felt like his contract would never end, but mercifully, this is the final season of his 10-year $240 million contract. However, Pujols told reporters that he has not decided if he wants to continue playing or not after this season. I don’t think the Angels care if he continues playing after this season, but it can’t be for them. Aside from the fact the Angels could use the money freed up from Pujols to spend on pitching, they also need to give every opportunity to some younger players to develop at first base. With Pujols around, he takes away from that, and at this point in his career, should be nothing more than a DH anyway. Knowing Arte Moreno though, we shouldn’t be shocked if he re-signs him.

To College Basketball, where March Madness is nearly upon us. The UCLA Bruins basketball program is in the mix for a tournament spot and has a big week ahead of them. Despite losing to Colorado on Saturday, the Bruins are hanging on to 1st place in the PAC-12. They’ve got big showdowns at home with Oregon and USC this week. They’ll probably need to win both games to finish in 1st. UCLA had more turnovers than Betty Crocker on Saturday, but they’ve gotta feel good about the fact they are shooting it better, and playing better defense than we’ve seen in recent weeks. They may not have stars, but they can still grind out some wins in all these big games they have this month.

I was both saddened and relieved when I heard about Tiger Woods car accident last week. I was relieved because we easily could have lost another sports icon one year after losing Kobe. However, I was saddened to know how far he’s fallen personally and professionally from being on top of the golf world. This man just came off of back surgery, and was struggling to get healthy to compete regularly on the PGA Tour. Now he has to deal with recovery from a broken leg. This is also a reminder that no matter how hard golf has tried to feed us “the next star”, none of them captivate us like Tiger Woods. Golf needs Tiger Woods again, and so do we as sports fans. Everybody should be cheering for that.

Anybody watch the Golden Globes last night? I needed to see it to humanize myself from COVID fatigue. Except it didn’t help all the Zoom fatigue I’m experiencing, since everybody was remote. I loved the SNL reunion they had with Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Tracy Morgan. The Crown really cleaned house last night on the awards. I was happy to see The Queen’s Gambit take home a few awards as well, which is a series I really enjoyed. Ben Stiller is clearly having a a strong pandemic. He died his hair gray, and made Banana bread into the shape of a Golden Globe Award. Angel Basset is 62? It should be illegal to look that good at 62. Al Pacino sleeping at the Golden Globes is the most I’ve ever related to a celebrity. On the other hand, if only everybody could look as energized and enthusiastic as Jane Fonda did last night at 83. Jeff Daniels clearly understands that it’s not about how many awards you win, but how many doors you have in your guest room.

Since I have covered The Walking Dead so extensively on Jock Talk LA over the years, I feel the need to address it. The season premiere went down last night, as we march toward the conclusion of the series this year. This show has taken a lot of body blows the last couple of years, with many key characters that have departed. However, I’m too loyal and invested to not finish up these last 20 episodes or so. And no, I’m not into these stupid spin-off series AMC keeps trying to force down our throats. There’s probably only a handful of characters whose fate I’m interested in. One of them is Maggie (a.k.a. – Lauren Cohen), who finally returned to the show last night after a long hiatus. She also has an excellent taste in apocalyptic hats.

Finally, The Bachelor is back on ABC tonight, and there is much to discuss from last week’s episode. That episode did nothing for me other than prove Serena is an idiot. I think she was more appealing to Matt because she wasn’t completely sold on him. That was also the dumbest rose ceremony I’ve ever seen. 3 roses for 3 women? It couldn’t have been any more anti-climactic. At that point Matt was giving out roses like he was Oprah. Is this season a record number of people who have taken themselves out of the race? I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody walk the Bachelor out like Serena did. He was getting sent home like he was Victoria. However, seeing that must have been sweet justice for Abigail fans, since Matt received the breakup talk he gave her last week. After Serena dropped that “you’re not my person” line, Matt is probably going to go on a series of Peloton rides to get that out of his head. I’m still not sure how Rachel didn’t break any bones on that skydive. It felt like my legs were gonna break just watching it. Just think, if we had not spent so much time watching these idiots argue, we might have actually received a back story on all these remaining women. The Women Tell all is going to feel more like a Game of Thrones battle at Kings Landing than an episode of The Bachelor. After seeing previews of Matt’s beard in future episodes, he looks more like he was spending time climbing the Himalayas looking for the Buddha, and asking “why?” That doesn’t look like somebody who found love. Then again, it’s also hard to imagine Matt not choosing Rachel in this process before it eventually doesn’t work out.