Monday Morning Coffee

June 16th, 2014

As a sports fan, you live for moments like Friday night at Staples Center.  What an honor it was to be there, watching the longest game in the history of the Kings franchise, and seeing Alec Martinez win the Stanley Cup for the Kings.  It wasn’t too long ago that I never thought I would see the Kings  win a Stanley Cup in my lifetime.  Suddenly, I’ve now seen two in the last three years, and one of the greatest runs in LA Sports history.  LA just went through the gauntlet.  They came back from 0-3 to beat San Jose in 7 games, defeated the Ducks in 7 games after trailing 3-2, took down the defending champion Blackhawks in 7 games, and defeated the Rangers in 5 grueling games.  These guys are going to party their asses off between now and September, and they sure have earned it!

Team Photo

When the Kings won their first Cup two years ago, I thought they could be a team that could have a few more runs in them.  Not 1980’s Edmonton Oiler dynasty, but a team that could win 2 or 3 Cups in 5 or 6 years.  However, not only have they won 2 titles in 3 years, you could argue if they had been healthy last year they might have three-peated.  Drew Doughty is only 24.  Jonathan Quick is only 28.  Anze Kopitar is only 26.  All of these guys are under contract for many years to come, so this team will likely continue to be in contention for the next few years.  I’ve gotta hand it to Dean Lombardi, who put this team together.  For years, I thought the man was taking this franchise on an endless rebuild.  Instead, he was in the process of building a dynasty.  Thank you Dean for making me eat crow.  My neighbors hate me for all the noise I’ve made during this playoff run, but I don’t care.  I can’t stop smiling.

Congrats to the Spurs for winning the NBA title over the Miami Heat.  Lebron played well, but just couldn’t get any help from Dwayne Wade, who suddenly looks old and out of shape.  Three straight beat downs by the Spurs?  Lebron can’t be happy with his teammates, but I still don’t think he’s leaving Miami.  He holds all the leverage, which means he can even force Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to take less to bring Carmelo to Miami.  As for Tim Duncan, he’s easily a top 10 player of all time, and the best power forward of all time.  However, anybody that says he is the player of the decade over Kobe Bryant, is simply obnoxious.  The Spurs have never repeated, while Kobe and the Lakers three-peated and repeated.  Kobe’s Lakers have owned the Duncan led Spurs head-to-head in the playoffs, and Duncan’s last title has come three years after the decade ended anyway.  Duncan is great, but his legacy isn’t Kobe’s.

Not Lebron

Elsewhere in the NBA…..I can’t wait to see what Donald Sterling does next.  Sterling is hiring private investigators to dig up dirt on the NBA.  Not because it’s going to help him get his team back, but just because he can.  This is going to get really good!  Meanwhile, Derek Fisher was hired by the Knicks, which is a solid choice.  The Knicks have stunk for a while, so Fisher can’t do any worse than his predecessors.  I’m not sure why Laker fans are so upset about this though.  Hiring Fish in LA would have been more of a science experiment.  I’d rather have a coach who actually has experience.  Glad to see Byron Scott get a 2nd interview from the Lakers as well.  That’s one of the best decisions this front office has made in recent memory.

Now that the Kings have raised the Cup, LA sports fans will unfortunately, be forced to turn their attention to the mediocre LA Dodgers.  With a record of 37-34 and tied for a wild card spot, things might not seem all that bad.  Then you realize that LA is only 15-19 at home, and 7.5 games behind the Giants in the NL West.  Oh yea…and they have the highest payroll in baseball.  The Dodgers need something to jumpstart them.  I’m not sure that sitting around and waiting for Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier to star earning their paychecks is the answer.  That means somebody has to be traded, and Joc Pederson needs to be called up to play.  The Dodger front office is about to take more heat than James Ramsey in Hell’s Kitchen, as most fans can’t even watch their games on TV, and the fans that are showing up are paying top dollar to watch an underachieving ball club.

Then there’s the Angels, who had a decent showing against Oakland, followed by a let down against the Braves this weekend.  And then there’s the Halo bull pen.  Let’s go for a live look at Ernesto Frieri now…..

Frieri Trash

Ok, so Ernie did have a stretch where he was closing out games, but in the last two weeks when he’s blown a save, he knows how to do it in spectacular fashion.  Is Scioscia really going to keep giving this guy the ball late in August and September with a playoff spot on the line?  I feel like I need a good bottle of scotch next to me to get through an inning with him on the mound.  Memo to Jerry Dipoto: find a couple of arms to put in your bullpen before the trade deadline.  That might make up for all your previous messes, and actually get your team back to the post season.

Ok, I get it.  It’s that time again.  The time where we act like we all really care about soccer for the next three weeks.  I do really hope the U.S. does make it out of “The Group of Death”, but it’s pretty hard to be optimistic when coach Jurgen Klinsmann doesn’t even think we have a chance.  Yes, I know ESPN probably took his comments out of context, but it’s still hard for me to believe he thinks we really have a shot.  I’m also a little bit interested to see if someone is going to get murdered during the World Cup, since we are talking about soccer fans in Brazil.  The US must defeat Ghana today, or else we go back to ignoring soccer for another four years.  We’ll also probably have to listen to this guy again….

Did anybody actually know that the U.S. Open was this weekend?  The only way NBC could have saved their ratings was if they showed a split screen of Paulina Gretzky in the gallery.

And finally, the season finale of Game of Thrones was on HBO last night, and quite an ending it was.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Let’s recap quickly.  Beyond The Wall, Jon Snow tries to negotiate with The King Beyond The Wall, but the negotiations are interrupted by  Stannis Baratheon.  Stannis asks Jon what his father would do with Mance, and Jon says show him mercy, and take him as prisoner.  Back at Castle Black, Jon helps burn the bodies from the battle.  Further north, Bran and his gang are ambushed by some crazy skeleton fighters, which results in the death of Jojen.  Bran escapes and meets the Three-Eyed Raven, who tells him he won’t be able to walk again, but will eventually learn to fly.  Brienne and The Hound do battle over Arya, and even though Brienne leaves him for dead, Arya gets away.  Arya boards a ship and then heads to the free city of Braavos.

In Kings Landing, things get crazy.  Cersei admis to Tywin that she has an incestual relationship with her brother.  Jamie frees Tyrion, and while trying to get away he finds Shay in Tywin’s bed.  The two begin to fight, and Tyrion strangles her to death.  Tyrion grabs a cross bow, and runs into Tywin.  Tyrion shoots his father twice, killing him, after he called Shay a whore several times.  Varys then smuggles Tyrion away on a ship, on the way to a free city.  Meanwhile, Dany is forced to put her dragons in chains, once she finds out that one of the dragons killed a three year old.

This was a very good season finale, and one that finally felt like a victory for “the good guys” which is rare in this show.  Jon meeting Stannis makes things more interesting in the north, but there was definitely a weird vibe going on with Jon and Lady Melisandre.  I’m really going to miss the banter between Arya and The Hound.  I think that we might see Tyrion and Arya actually meet in the free city they are going to.  It’s sad that Tyrion was forced to kill the woman he loved, but the shocking part was seeing Tywin die.  Now what is left of Kings Landing without a strong leader?  It seemed like an episode about some of the good characters breaking away and gaining freedom, like Arya, Tyrion, and even Jon to some extent.  However, I’m disappointed we didn’t get to see any further developments from Sansa Stark and Littlefinger.  There should be some great new story lines in the next season, but it’s going to be a long wait before the next season starts! Ugh, I have withdrawals already!




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