Monday Morning Coffee


April 6th, 2015

Well last night was fun wasn’t it Laker fans? That beat down by the Clippers at Staples was about as expected as the drop in President Obama’s approval rating.  Any logical Laker fan probably didn’t mind though, since the Lakers need to make sure they go no lower in the lottery standings.  The lone bright spot has been rookie guard Jordan Clarkson though, even though he stunk last night.  Had Clarkson been starting since the beginning of the season, he might actually be Rookie of the Year over Andrew Wiggins.  Nevertheless, he should be an NBA First Team All-Rookie selection.  The four other spots are pretty much guaranteed: Wiggins, Nerlens Noel, Elfrid Payton, and Nikola Mirotic, but Clarkson has proven a worthy selection.  Clarkson will also create a financial dilemma for the Lakers in about a year.  He’s a bargain next year for only $845 K, but will be eligible for a contact as large as 4 years and $95 million.  It sounds insane for a guy this young, but it’s the NBA, where everyone is overpaid.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are now directing their complaints at their fans.  After last week’s loss against Golden State, Blake Griffin said, “home-court advantage is just not there for us.  If that’s how it feels in the playoffs, it’s not looking good.”  Blake went on to say “It’s kind of like when we play the Lakers.”  Since the Clippers are actually a halfway decent team now, they’ve had to increase their ticket prices, but that fact of the matter is that the fans (all 10 of them), are just not used to paying expensive ticket prices to see quality basketball.  Clipps President Gillian Zucker released a statement saying that if Clipper fans are going to sell their tickets, they should be sold to other Clipper fans.  How are they supposed to prove that they are Clipper fans?  By providing some type of evidence that they hate the Lakers?  There are all kinds of conspiracy theories here on what Steve Ballmer is doing, or planning to do for this franchise.  For now, it puts into perspective how bad things are for the Clippers, even when things are supposed to be good.  Hopefully CP3 will be able to walk again after Steph Curry took him….
On To baseball, where opening day has arrived for the Dodgers.  This is one baseball season I can’t say I’m really looking toward, and I’m anticipating a lot of aggravation watching the Dodgers.  Yes, this team is much better defensively than they were last year.  However, that’s about the only thing I see that’s improved.  The Dodgers have one legitimate power hitter in their lineup, in Adrian Gonzales.  Jimmy Rollins is a very high injury risk, and even though Howie Kendrick is a solid player, he shouldn’t be a cleanup hitter on any team.  The real wild card is Joc Pederson, who will need to ascend to stardom very quickly if the Boys in Blue are going to be an elite team.  The real problem though is the pitching depth and the bullpen.  LA is going to have issues relying on Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy as their #4 and #5 starters, and things could get even worse if Hyun-Jin Ryu is out for a while.  That’s more pressure put on Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.  The bullpen is a complete unknown, and will be tested early without Kenley Jansen.  The Dodgers may be a more harmonious and cohesive group this season, but that doesn’t mean they will be better.  This team will be lucky just to make the playoffs.

As for the Angels, we had some doubts at this time last year, but much fewer now.  On paper, the Halos look like contender.  The pitching looks solid with Jered Weaver, Matt Shoemaker, Hector Santiago, and eventually Garrett Richards.  Everybody hates CJ Wilson, but he could easily rebound and be serviceable like #3 starter for this team.  The bullpen looks pretty set with Mike Morin and Joe Smith setting things up for Huston Street in the 9th inning.  The lineup should provide plenty of production as well, anchored by the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, and Albert Pujols, who is still a productive player.  Even with some questionable production at 2nd and 3rd base, and the uncomfortable Josh Hamilton drama, the Angels should have plenty of fire power throughout their lineup. Speaking of Josh Hamilton, the Halos should be downright embarrassed by their reaction to the current situation.  It looks as though Hamilton will not be suspended by the league for his behavior.  Team President John Carpino said “It defies logic that Josh’s reported behavior is not a violation of his current program.”  What defies logic is that the Angels actually signed this guy, and are taking no accountability.  No matter how you feel about Josh Hamilton, the fans should be horrified by Carpino’s statement.   All the Angels care about is saving money, and trying to get out of some of the 3 years and $83 million that they owe Hamilton.  If the organization wanted to show some real class, they would have made a statement saying how much they cared about his well being.  You can bet the Players Association isn’t going to be too happy about this either, and many players are going to remember this when it comes time for their free agency.

It’s prediction time.  My division winners in the MLB this year in the AL: Orioles, Indians, Angels, and the wild cards will be Seattle and Detroit.  In the NL: Nationals, Pirates, Padres, and the wild cards will be St. Louis and Miami.  I’ve got the Orioles over the Nationals in the World Series.

What an upset that was on Saturday night in the Final Four.  That was the worst thing to happen to Kentucky since you weren’t allowed to marry your cousin.  A bunch of white guys haven’t caused that much suffering in Lexington since the Civil War.  Wisconsin was finally that matchup nightmare Kentucky was hoping to avoid, and the Badgers pulled it off.  Meanwhile, there wasn’t much drama in the Duke v Michigan State game.  The Spartans overachieved to this point in the season, but finally ran into a team that had superior talent.  Someone should tell John Calipari that he shouldn’t feel so bad because the NCAA is going to make him vacate all 38 wins he collected this season.  Just think how upset the Kentucky fans were after most of them probably lost all the receipts for all the gear they just bought the other day and now can’t return it.  Has this guy even left yet?

Speaking of the NCAA, USC should do everything in its power to take down the NCAA for how they handled the Todd McNair situation.  McNair’s professional career has basically been ruined after the NCAA linked him to the Reggie Bush situation, and in turn, he filed a lawsuit against the NCAA for defamation.  Everybody knows the NCAA’s rules are archaic, and many of their disciplinary actions over the years have been done just to make an example out of different institutions.  This couldn’t be more evident after documents were recently released that showed the unbelievable bias against USC that took place during this incident.  The NCAA eventually needs to go.  Everything that these guys do is simply not right.  The Trojan athletic department can take a huge step in taking these bastards down, so hopefully they do the right thing here.

So Shaka Smart decided to leave VCU for Texas?  What a joke!  It was only two years ago that Smart was offered the job at UCLA and turned it down.  He took Texas over UCLA?  i realize these aren’t exactly your grandfather’s Bruins, but does Smart realize that Texas is a football school?  This is just another reminder of how bad things have gotten for the Bruin basketball program.

This final week of the NHL season is going to be wild.  The Kings are currently sitting in the final playoff spot with four games to go, but they’ll have to battle it out with Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and San Jose to secure that spot.  LA looks so dominant at times, but Stanley Cup fatigue is an issue.  Amazingly enough, the Kings might even be able to get home ice advantage in the 1st round if they play well enough.  I’m thinking 3-1 with wins over Calgary and Vancouver will get the Kings in.  Whether or not they have anything left in the tank for the post season will be a problem for another day.  As for the Ducks, they are locked in a battle with the Rangers for the Presidents Trophy, but does it really matter? If I’m Bruce Boudreau, I don’t think i even want to win that thing, because having the best record in the league puts that much more pressure on the team during the playoffs.  That pressure has resulted in disappointment after disappointment in the last few years under Boudreau.

And finally, the final season of Mad Men got underway last night on AMC.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Here’s a quick recap of the first of the final seven episodes.  Don and the boys are entertaining models in the office, while Joan and Peggy are having a hard time being taken seriously by their male co-workers as they try to launch a high-end pantyhose product.  One of their meetings is nearly derailed by some sexists comments sent Joan’s way.  An elevator ride is even more tense when Peggy criticizes Joan for how she dresses.  Later, Peggy goes on a blind date with John Mathis’ brother-in-law, Stevie.  Peggy eventually ends up hungover and admits to desperately wanting a fairly tale romance.  Ken Cosgrove is urged by his wife to quit his job, but he refused, only to be fired later on.  When Ken is named the head of Dow Chemical, he tells Roger that he will be the client from hell.  Don is haunted by two women in this episode.  The first is Rachel Katz, who he had a relationship with many seasons ago.  He dreams about her in an audition, but then later on is shocked to learn she died of leukemia when he tries to set up a business meeting.  The other woman is a diner waitress, who Don thinks he recognizes, but for some reason can’t.  After several trips to the diner, these two get it on in an alleyway, before she tells Don to get lost the third time.

This was a pretty interesting start to the last season, and the theme was seemed to be choices that haunted different characters.  Betty, Megan, and Sally aren’t present in the episode, but seem to be connected to Don symbolically, and Don still has a long list of women waiting for his call.  However, when he wants more, he can never get it.  Just like from the waitress in the alleyway.  When Don discovers that Rachel passed away, and when her sister tells him that “she had everything”, it’s a slap in the face to Don, because he’s reminded that he doesn’t have “everything”, which is mostly family.  It looks like Peggy has a shot at happiness on her blind date, but we’re reminded of her bad choices in the past, and her difficult work schedule, which makes us think it will never materialize.  Joan is “filthy rich”, but that doesn’t appear to make her any happier, especially with the sexism she is experiencing at work.  Wealth also ruined Ken’s life, and he intends to make SCP pay for it.  Everything thus far suggests that the more things change, the more things stay the same with these characters.  They’ve experienced too much to change who they are in the next 6 episodes.  Looking forward to seeing whether or not that is really true.

Mad Men

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