August 18th, 2014
All year long I thought it was the Cardinals the Dodgers had to worry about the most. It’s actually the Brewers. Over the last 10 days, the Dodgers have been owned by Milwaukee, losing 5 out of 6 games, and gunned down like a teenage kid by the cops in Missouri (too soon for that joke?). The Brewers beat both Clayton Kershaw, and Zack Greinke this past weekend, and were hitting the ball out of the park like the steroid era was back in full effect. The Boys in Blue may still have a nice cushion over San Francisco, but they can’t feel good about a potential matchup with the Brew Crew in October. LA’s middle relief has been inconsistent of late, and Brian Wilson isn’t earning a dime of the $10 million he’s being paid. To make matters worse, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Juan Uribe, and Hanley Ramirez were all placed on the DL last week. The Dodgers are near the top of the NL, but things aren’t going to be easy for them in the coming weeks.
Speaking of Hanley, the Dodgers have reportedly tabled contract talks with their shortstop until the end of the season. Ramirez had asked the Dodgers for a contract in excess of $100 million a few weeks ago, however, his inability to remain healthy has clearly created some pause for the Dodgers. Hanley’s bat is extremely valuable, but he’s also become a defensive liability at shortstop, and LA has a promising shortstop in the minors in Corey Seager. This is actually a very good thing. Hanley’s price tag is going to fall. At the most, he’s going to get around 3 years and $60 million, which is a price only the Dodgers can afford to pay. He’s also going to have to move to third base, which means Juan Uribe will be gone after next season. More importantly, this will be the start of the Dodgers developing more and more young players to inject youth into the team over the next few years, instead of spending money like a USC sorority girl at the mall on a Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Angels blew it yesterday. Even though Huston Street was due to blow a save, there is never a good time for it to happen. The Halos got more great starting pitching, and their bullpen was solid too, until the 9th, when Street failed to hold a 2-1 lead, and the Angels lost the game 3-2. Fear not Angel fans, you are right there with the A’s, battling it out for 1st place in the west, and you’ll get to play them 7 times in the next two weeks. There’s also another 3 game set in late September. That will decide whether its No Cal or So Cal that’s going to win the division. Even with Tyler Skaggs having season ending surgery, I still like the Halos chances with Richards, Weaver, Shoemaker, and even CJ Wilson, who for some reason you all hate. Maybe you all hate him because he’s down with those lame Christian Rock bands, but either way, Wilson is going to get his game together and surprise you doubters.
If there’s one thing that would really help the Angels it would be Josh Hamilton getting his game back together. This dude is cashing in $15 million in his checking account this season, and he’s got 8 home runs with a .266 average. I get that he was hurt for a few weeks, but this guy’s offense needs to check into rehab. I’m thinking the only way Hamilton is going to turn it around is if he starts boozing again. His teammates need to take him out in Newport for a night where he can go on a 24 hour binge, and get smashed. Desperate times call for desperate measures. It worked in Texas, so why can’t we get it to work in Anaheim?
I will never understand whose idea it was for a baseball manager to wear the same uniform that his players are wearing. Some of these guys just shouldn’t be wearing it, and have to be wondering why they have to look ridiculous 162 times a year. Can you imagine if they did this in the NBA? I’d love to see Phil Jackson or Greg Popovich wearing an NBA uniform, and you know it would include those ridiculous 80’s shorts that were so tight they’d be picking their wedgies all night.
Speaking of the NBA, Steve Nash just completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. He’ll be out for the next 6-8 weeks. Ok, Nash isn’t hurt yet, but he probably will be shortly after training camp begins. However, I’m not counting the Lakers out yet. LA has a new coach, who tends to overachieve in his first year wherever he goes. They also have one of the most NBA ready rookies from the past draft, and Kobe Bryant back. Houston lost two starters, Dallas overpaid for one Chandler and acquired another aging one, Portland might have caught lightning in a bottle last year, while Phoenix and New Orleans may not be playoff teams yet. I’m obviously painting a highly optimistic picture here. The most reasonable expectation is for the Lakers to finish 12th in the west, and for Kobe to be in and out of the lineup. Still, Phoenix and Portland were surprising last year. All I’m saying is, don’t be surprised if the Lakers are this year.
Just when you think Notre Dame is done disciplining a few football players for some academic issues, here comes another 4 football players that are about to get kicked off the team. Still, this isn’t really the total disaster that some people are making it out to be, as only two of the four players are starters. I still expect ND to be a 10 win team this year, and battling it out for a big time bowl game. As for the academic issues, this speaks volumes about Notre Dame as a University, and what it means to be a student athlete there. The university is actually conducting an investigation about academic fraud, which would be unheard of at an SEC school, and many other universities around the country. Athletes can’t get away with taking garbage classes like pencil sharpening 101, and ball room dancing at Notre Dame. They have to take real classes. That’s why it’s remarkable that Notre Dame is able to be as competitive as they are in sports, since they are recruiting the real student athletes.
This weekend I had the privilege of going up to Pebble Beach for the 64th annual Concours d’Elegance. For those of you unfamiliar with this event, it is one of the world’s largest exhibitions of exotic and expensive automobiles. Many of these are old vintage cars that have been restored. However, the cars that I enjoy looking at the most are the futuristic concept automobiles that are on display, or new ones that are debuting. One of these ridiculous cars was the Porsche 918 Spyder, which is actually a hybrid. By “hybrid”, I mean it can travel up to 18 miles on electricity. 18 miles???!!!!! Wow, way to do your part to help the environment Porsche! Look, I’m no tree hugger, nor do I hate on people who want to protect the environment. However, we need to stop building cars that go only 10-30 miles on electricity, and stop calling them “hybrids”, while pretending like we are doing are part. Especially at a price of $1 million for that Porsche.
Not long after last week’s edition of Monday Morning Coffee came out, we learned of Robin Williams sudden and tragic death. Thus, I would be remiss not to mention it this week. What I love about Williams is the fact that people of so many different generations can connect with him, and he found a way to make them all laugh. From his early days of Mork and Mindy, to making us all laugh in Mrs. Doubtfire, or even entertaining kids with his voice in Aladdin, he could do it all. People also forget that as funny as he was, it was his ability to be a serious actor, like when he won an Academy Award in Goodwill Hunting, that showed off his real talent. Many of us didn’t know how bad his addiction and illness was until now. It probably was his ability to laugh which kept him alive for so long, fighting that illness.