Monday Morning Coffee

Kemp home run

December 15th, 2014

I don’t even know where to begin to express my frustration.  When you have a leak under your kitchen sink, you don’t remodel the entire house, while not even fixing the leak.  This is exactly what Andrew Friedman and his band of small market jocks have done to the Dodgers.   They took a team that was on the verge of winning a World Series, and managed to put all kinds of holes in their lineup, because that’s what the computer told them to do.  This isn’t Tampa Bay, Oakland, Kansas City, or some other third world country.  It’s Los Angeles, where we actually have the financial resources to assemble a team.  Dee Gordon was a cost controlled, all-star 2nd baseman, who was only going to get better.  Matt Kemp is still the best hitter in the National League when healthy.  The Dodgers gave them away for a pile of crap.  Kemp is going to murder the Dodgers when he faces them 18 times next year with the Padres, while Joc Pederson probably won’t even be able to hit a baseball.   I also hope Corey Seager is good enough to play 3rd, short, and 2nd at the same time, since Juan Uribe, Jimmy Rollins, and Howie Kendrick are all free agents next year.  Somebody please take the kiddie Monopoly Board away from Andrew Friedman.

On the other hand, the Angels actually benefitted from the Dodgers small market stupidity.  They acquired left-hander Andrew Heaney, who gives them some much needed young pitching depth.  The Angels suddenly have some decent young arms: Heaney, Garrett Richards, Matt Shoemaker, Tyler Skaggs, and Hector Santiago.  That leaves the team in pretty good shape, as Jered Weaver gracefully ages, and CJ Wilson ungracefully stinks.  I think the Halos should take a chance on Stephen Drew, who played some 2nd base next year, and can at least compete for the job with newly acquired Josh Rutledge, from Colorado.  It’s a low risk move for the Halos, who also need Josh Hamilton to start earning his paycheck next year to make up for the offense that Howie Kendrick brought to the lineup.

Then there’s just nonstop drama with the Lakers.  Let’s start with the Jeanie and Jim Buss interview that they did together with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.  Just reading through the transcript of this interview made me uncomfortable.  When they discussed Phil Jackson, as I expected, Jeanie and Jim still had a major difference of opinion on what happened, and the only thing they could agree upon was that they had moved on.  However, what I found alarming, is that these two still don’t even seem like they are in agreement on the plan moving forward.  Jim was asked where the Lakers will be in 5 years, and he said back on top, while Jeanie said she’d like to know more about how that was going to happen.  She also didn’t really seem to give his plan to exclusively pursue free agents a ringing endorsement, and seemed more supportive of developing young players.  Even more shocking was the fact that Jeanie left the door open that it’s not totally improbable for the Lakers to trade Kobe.  I’m not even sure these two could agree on what to order for lunch.  The fact the Laker owners still aren’t on the same page tells you they’re in real trouble.

Congratulations to Kobe for passing Michael Jordan for 3rd on the all-time scoring list.  However, I’m going to lose my mind when the Lakers get the 6th of 7th pick in this years NBA draft, and have to give it over to the Suns.   Even Magic Johnson knows that the Lakers are better off losing right now, and there’s nothing wrong with him saying what many of the rest of us are thinking.  If Kobe weren’t playing every damn game like it was game 7 of the NBA Finals, the Lakers might actually keep their pick and speed up the rebuild.  I do find it amusing that people were shocked to see Kobe yelling at his teammates in practice and talking trash, like they’ve never seen an NBA practice before, or never knew he was doing this for the last 20 years.   You may not like his leadership style, but it has worked for him and the Lakers.  Still, Mitch Kupchak said he doesn’t see Kobe playing after next season, so enjoy him while he’s around.  For some reason, this feels like he’s putting Kobe on notice that the Lakers are planning on moving on after his contract is up.

It’s funny how the Clippers are currently the better basketball team in Los Angeles, but not a single person is talking about them.  Probably because they don’t exactly look like “Lob City” anymore.  They didn’t even look like “Lob Small Apartment Complex” this past weekend against Washington and Milwaukee.  The defense consistently stinks, and slowly, bigger questions are starting to be raised.  Is CP3 still the best point guard in the NBA?  I’m sure Stephen Curry, Tony Parker, and John Wall have something to say about that.  Is the CP3-Blake combo truly championship caliber?  The more I watch the team play, the more I think the 2nd round is as far as this core is going to go.

I think we can all agree that UCLA basketball just isn’t that good after watching them get dismantled by Gonzaga over the weekend.  This team definitely isn’t top 25 worthy, and they’ll be lucky to finish 4th in the Pac-12.  They only have two non-conference games left, and can you imagine what Kentucky is going to do to the Bruins next Saturday in Chicago?  This could get ugly.  I’m thinking the Bruins are going to lose by 30, and it’s going to feel like a #1 seed vs a #16 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

On to Week 15 of the NFL.  Looks like the 49ers have clinched a bye.  A bye in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th round of this year’s playoffs.  Weren’t the Chargers supposed to have a much improved running game this year? Keenan Allen isn’t even an elite receiver anymore.  Odell Beckham did more damage to Washington yesterday than the Obama administration.  Was that mental toughness I actually saw from the Cowboys last night in December?  I hear that Al Qaeda tortured its POW’s yesterday by making them watch the Jets-Titans game.  If you thought Thursday night’s Rams-Cardinals game was exciting, wait until next Thursday’s Jaguars-Titans game!  The NFC South doesn’t even have a team that would be bowl eligible if they played in the NCAA.   Can you imagine if you played a drinking game while watching that Cincy-Cleveland game where you took a shot for every time you saw somebody do that “Johnny Football” money gesture?  You would have been dead after the 1st quarter.  I think Johnny Football’s BAC was higher than his quarterback rating during that game.  The Raiders have released a new T-Shirt for their fans…..

Raiders T-Shirt

To the NHL, where ESPN posted an article this week about how the LA Kings are vulnerable, and could miss the playoffs.  The article talked about how the Kings are allowing opponents much greater possession time, easier entry into the zone, and more shots on goal.  After watching road losses to Montreal and Toronto, it’s easy to think that.  However, this is explained by everything I’ve been saying for months: the Kings style of play isn’t conducive to regular season success.  The Kings are defined by physical play, running into people, and wearing them down with their size.  This style takes a toll on the Kings themselves, and they cannot play like this for 82 games at a high level, which explains why the opponents possession and shot stats look so good.  It’s because the Kings aren’t knocking people off the puck like they do in the playoffs.  LA just needs to make sure they get into the playoffs, and they’ve got as good a chance as anyone to raise another Cup.

Big props to my high school alma matter St. Margaret’s, as the Tartan football team will be playing for the state championship this coming Friday at the Stub Hub Center in Carson!

Finally, another wild episode of Homeland last night on Showtime.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  What was Dar Adal doing in the car with Haqqani after they both fled the scene?  He had to have set up everything from Haqqani’s fake death, Sandy’s murder, Saul’s kidnapping, and the American withdrawal from Pakistan, all to force Lockhart out.  Most of the episode was Carrie playing cat and mouse with Quinn.  I think Carrie’s dad passing away was a reminder that she’s losing everybody: Brody, Ayaan, Fara, and now her father, which makes her seem so desperate to prevent Quinn from putting himself in danger.  Carrie is so screwed up that I think she acknowledge her daughter for about 30 seconds or so when Max embraced her.  This can only end with a showdown with Dar Adal, and some blood shed.  I’m thinking Quinn is the most likely candidate to die here, and possibly even Max, who seems to be losing his mind over Fara and could do something stupid.  Looking forward to the season finale next week!

Episode 411





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