September 22nd, 2014
This week’s Monday Morning Coffee is actually coming to you from Cairo, Egypt, where I’m attending my cousin’s wedding. Since I’m on Egyptian time, it’s more like mid morning coffee over here. Being over here has made me realize that the United States is really the only country in the world where it is very uncommon for people to take a month off of work. Even though many of us have three weeks of vacation or more per year, it is frowned upon to leave your job for that long. In just about every other country in the world, taking a full month off is very normal. Then again, the fact your employer works you to the bone is probably a big reason why the US economy is where it is relative the the rest of the world.
Speaking of vacation time, the Angels can take a vacation for the next week until the playoffs start after clinching the AL West title last week. It’s strange that it was just 9 months ago that we were talking about how terrible the Angels pitching staff was, how Mike Scioscia’s act was wearing thin, how Jerry Dipoto was the worst general manager in Southern California, and how Albert Pujols was declining faster than the Middle East. Suddenly, none of that matters. The Halos found pitching, fixed their bullpen, and actually have one of the most explosive offenses in baseball. Now they are poised for a big run in the playoffs, and have a great chance to make it back to the World Series for the first time since the magic of 2002.
The Oakland A’s do realize that they are still in a playoff race right? It seems like all these veteran rentals the A’s picked is for nothing since their collapse is continuing. Good thing for the A’s the Mariners couldn’t take advantage of playing the lowly Astros this weekend.
As for the Dodgers, they are now on the verge of clinching the NL West with the Giants coming to town tonight. I’m sure most of you guys wanna freak out since LA blew a huge lead on Saturday, but reality is, the pen has been overworked in the past week, so that was bound to happen. On this road trip, the offense finally appears to be clicking on all cylinders. Matt Kemp is in beat mode, Yasiel Puig is snapping out of his funk, while Agon and Hanley are coming through as well. Ironically, it’s the pitching of late that could be concerning for LA. Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw were inefficient in their last starts, Hyun-Jin Ryu’s health is in question, and the middle relief appears to be a roller coaster ride at times. The Dodgers likely won’t have home field advantage in the NL playoffs either, but they do have the best road record in the NL, so they shouldn’t feel too bad about themselves
I’m still convinced somebody in the Dodger organization hates Matt Kemp. Kemp and Puig got in “an argument” earlier in the week because Puig wasn’t running hard on the bases, and somebody in the Dodger organization called the environment “dysfunctional”. Wow, two teammates having a disagreement and the clubhouse is going to hell? Sounds really likely for a team in first place in their division and battling it out for home field in the NL. Even if that were remotely true, you don’t have to like your teammates, you simply have to be professional enough to play with them and do your job on the field.
It was a quiet weekend of college football as far as I’m concerned: UCLA, USC, and my Fighting Irish of Notre Dame all had a bye week. Are the Bruins really ready to go on the road to play ASU on Thursday? My feeling is no, but Jim Mora is capable of pulling off some magic with some extra time to prepare. USC should bounce back against Oregon State, and Notre Dame should handle business against Syracuse next weekend. As for the weekend in college football, how annoying is Jameis Winston? I was so excited to know that he was suspended for his game on Saturday so we wouldn’t have to hear about him for a whole weekend, but instead, he pretty much stole the show from his teammates with his antics on the sideline. Meanwhile, Michigan has updated their logo…..
On to the NFL, where the Chargers are actually impressing me. Definitely a game I expected the Bolts to have a let down in, but they came up big against the Bills and overcame the injuries. As for the Seahawks and Broncos, I’m sure Denver fans are really upset over that loss, but most of them were too busy smoking weed in their parents basements since it’s legal in Colorado. Kirk Cousins is killin it, and he’s going to win the Redskins some games despite yesterday’s loss. The Rams are still the Rams. The Raiders are still the Raiders. The Jags are still the Jags, and Ryan Fitzpatrick suddenly remembered that he is Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Saints finally found the win column, the Vikings may be moving on from AP, which is terrible news for my fantasy team, and possibly great news for Jerry Jones. The Packers have protection problems, the Bengals have been impressive, the Ravens kicker is their best player, and the 49ers are crumbling. I’m still not sure who the Steelers are after three weeks, but I still know the Dolphins and Chiefs are two teams that won’t make the playoffs.
Finally, on to some puck, where training camp opens up this week for the Ducks and Kings. The Ducks training camp is headlined by Teemu Selanne’s book that was just released, where he rips Bruce Boudreau for reducing his role at the end of last season. Teemu was a great player, but this is just another example of a great player who hung around a little bit too long. Of course Boudreau isn’t going to play a 43 year old when he’s got younger studs to develop. The book just looks like sour grapes from the future hall of famer, which is sad.
As for the Kings, reports are they are all coming to camp in great shape. I’m not really sure how this is possible since they probably all partied their asses off all summer. The Kings were also nice enough to send me some game used water from game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Can we define “game used”? Did Dustin Brown swish it around in his mouth? Nice gesture for Kings season seat holders I suppose, but an interesting one. What was a really nice gesture was allowing season ticket holders to take a picture with the Stanley Cup last week. It was a very well organized event that took about 15 minutes to get done. Nice job LA Kings!