Monday Morning Coffee

October 12th, 2015

It took a wild slide from Chase Utley, but the Dodgers narrowly avoided a disaster at the Ravine on Saturday against the Mets.  LA is fortunate to be going back to New York with the series tied 1-1.  The most overused term in sports is that something was a “dirty play”, or we should consider someone a “dirty player”.  It’s terrible that Ruben Tejada broke his leg, but Chase Utley was just doing his job, trying to break up the double play, and had no intention of injuring Tejada.  Sure that slide might have come a little late, but that doesn’t make it dirty.  If you have a problem with it, your issue should be with the rule, which doesn’t protect the infielder covering 2nd base.  Utley should not have been suspended, even with the late slide.  With that being said, they need to change the rule.  As for the series, Clayton Kershaw pitched well enough to win game 1, but the Dodgers just couldn’t give him any run support.   Don Mattingly probably should have given Kershaw the chance to clean up his mess in the 7th inning, but based on the disasters of the previous two seasons, I know why he made the choice he did.  It’s like choosing which Kardashian sister you have to sleep with… know you’re going to come out with an STD either way.  I can’t say I like the Dodgers chances tonight having Brett Anderson go against Matt Harvey.  However, if the Dodgers don’t have to face Jacob deGrom in game 4, this should go 5 games.  Jimmy Rollins and Kike Hernandez need to be in the lineup while Joc Pederson and Corey Seager need to take a seat.  I still like the Boys in Blue to finish it off at home in that 5th game….but just barely.

Speaking of baseball, I love how Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia checks himself into rehab for alcohol abuse right before a playoff game, and he’s practically viewed as a hero in the New York media.  Meanwhile, former Angel Josh Hamilton relapses and checks himself back into rehab, and he’s completely crucified by owner Arte Moreno, who did everything in his power to get rid of him and even not pay him.  Neither one of these guys are living up to their contracts, but the same situation handled completely differently.  I’d sure like to hear Arte Moreno’s explanation for this.

Speaking of alcoholics, let’s move on to the train wreck that is the USC Football program.  We saw the final episode of “Sark Tank” on Thursday night, when the Trojans got punked by Washington at the Coliseum.  Another instance of a talented USC team that was out coached, out muscled, and out classed by an inferior opponent.  That game seems small now in comparison to what lies ahead for the program.  Steve Sarkisian is simply not healthy enough to coach the team, and Pat Haden announced yesterday that he’s taking a leave of absence.  How bad is it? It’s so bad that Sarkisian couldn’t even come in and speak to the media about it and fake it.  It’s all leaking out now…..Sark showing up drunk on campus yesterday, getting lit up before the game at ASU, and the divorce he’s going through.  Now offensive coordinator Clayton Helton takes over as the Trojans are about to go through their most brutal stretch of the schedule.  Not only is a coaching change inevitable, don’t be surprised if Pat Haden loses his job as well.  Haden had the chance to put Sark on leave months ago, yet made an even bigger embarrassment of the program in the process by keeping him on.  The good news for the Trojan faithful however, is that the Chip Kelly to USC rumors make too much sense.  Kelly is probably dying to get to USC just as bad as USC wants him.  I don’t think recruiting is going to take too much of a hit because USC is always going to have something to sell.  In the meantime however, the rest of the season could be a rough ride, starting with next Saturday at rival Notre Dame.

I think we should start calling him Jim “Mid-Term” Mora.  He claims that his UCLA football players are negatively being impacted by the start of classes and mid-term exams, even suggesting that is to blame for their loss to ASU last week.  Oh my goodness… think that these guys actually have to go to class and not just play football? I guess the Bruins are really going to be screwed later in the season when final exams come around.  I would have thought by now Jim Mora wasn’t naive enough to think that the Pac 12 or the NCAA cared about “student athletes”.

Elsewhere around college football, those Notre Dame vs Navy games always make me nervous as hell.  Navy’s gimmick offense always keeps them hanging around for longer than they should, as was the case on Saturday.  Fortunately, the Irish were able to handle business in the end.  I’m looking forward to being there for the big Irish-Trojan showdown next weekend in South Bend.  My only fear is that the Irish will let up knowing all the drama going on at SC.  I think Oklahoma lost to Texas to insure that Charlie Strong would stay employed a while longer.  After Oregon’s loss to Washington State, Nike has placed Oregon on the trade block, and is looking to move them to another uniform maker ASAP.   The best tackle of the weekend was made by this security guard, who had perfect form taking down this fan……

On to week 5 of the NFL, where the Colts have earned their 3rd win of the season, clinching the AFC South Division.  The Matt Hasselbeck-Ryan Mallet QB showdown in Thursday’s game would have been a nice high school football matchup.  The Seahawks have fired the officials from Cincinnati for failing to seal a victory for them with a 17 point lead.  After getting benched for Dan Orlovsky in the loss to Arizona, Matthew Stafford has now retired, saying he’ll never be able to show his face in public again.  JFK could finish a drive better than the Lions could.  Greg Hardy and the Cowboys are the only thing in the world that can make people cheer for the Patriots.  I don’t think the Cowboys thought it would go this bad when Dez and Romo went down.  The Giants always seem to come up with the most insane catches.  DeMarco Murray had an amazing 9 carries on 44 yards yesterday, or what Trent Richardson would call “a great career”.

Let’s talk some NBA.  Look…..the Lakers are going to suck.  Anybody that tells you otherwise should be slapped and have their cable watching priveldges revoked.  However, they’ve finally got some young players you can get excited about watching.  D’Angelo Russell has some amazing vision.  Julius Randle is already playing like an animal, and is fun to watch when he gets the ball in transition.  I also really liked how the other night Roy Hibbert came to the defense of Randle when Trevor Booker started to get physical with him.  Booker slapped Hibbert, and was hit with a $250 K fine.  In a related story, Kobe sent Booker a check for $250 K, along with a thank you note, explaining that he’s been dying to slap Hibbert since he arrived in LA.  As for Randle, stuff like this has to get you excited….

As for the Clippers, Doc Rivers is already running his mouth like he usually does, and it’s already getting noticed by Klay Thompson and the Warriors.  Doc referred to the Warriors run last year as “lucky”, which Thompson took exception too, citing the fact that the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Rockets, who the Warriors handled in the following round.  So the Warriors were “lucky enough” not to play a Clippers team that wasn’t even good enough to advance to the next round? This just seems like another instance where the Clippers are coming across as cry babies to the rest of the league, and people are taking notice.  Doc Rivers also didn’t do much to take the pressure off his team last week by basically saying that if this team can’t get it done, they are going to blow it up.

On to some hockey.  Guys….it’s been a while since I’ve seen the Kings play, but someone refresh my memory: is giving up 9 unanswered goals to two non-playoff division rival teams from last year a bad thing? The Kings look like crap.  We waited 6 months for the Kings to come out and “avenge” missing the playoffs, and instead they took a dump in the first two games.  Have these guys tuned out Darryl Sutter? Milan Lucic already looks like a bust.  Kopitar doesn’t even look close to worth the $10 million per year he’s asking for, and the defense is nothing like it once was.  It’s only two games, but there’s some real concern for Kings fans.  Then there’s Dean Lombardi’s ridiculous statement to the media, explaining how he was “played” by Mike Richards.  Richards may be an ass hole for his substance abusing conduct, but you’re a fool for not cutting ties with him when you should have.  The notion that Dean was the victim here, which is what he’s trying to sell us, is ridiculous.  As the General Manager of any franchise, you have to be objective.  As great a job as he’s done putting together a couple of cup winning teams, his judgement may also lead to the rapid decline of this franchise once again.

Some good TV was on last night, starting with Homeland on Showtime.  Spoiler alert in case you have yet to see it.  Quinn has obviously been given assassination orders from Saul.  Am I crazy to think that his next target might be Carrie? The writers of the show are really trying to create this Edward Snowden like storyline with the leak in CIA documents.  I thought for sure that During was going to be killed in Lebanon, but then I remembered that Carrie is skillful enough to protect him.  I love that we got an action packed episode early in the season, but there’s just so many questions as to what direction the plot is going.  In any case, hope the show keeps up the blistering pace it started with this season.

Finally, the season premier of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Rick and his group have taken over Alexandria, and doing things in their own way.  I liked the episode, but came to some stark realizations.  I’m a little tired of the new character that Rick has become.  He’s bitter, he’s reckless, and eager to get things done regardless of input.  It’s become exhausting watching him, and the fact that he thinks Jessie will still fall for him after killing her abusive ex-husband (but father of her kids), shows me how skewed his worldview has become.  He also couldn’t be any more of a hypocrite when he says he won’t bury Pete in Alexandria because he’s a killer.  Morgan points this out by telling Rick he’s a killer too.  Then again, the people of Alexandria just don’t like Rick, but they are obnoxiously cowardly and weak.  Let’s be honest….they are all just food for the Walkers at some point.  Just like Carter was.  Abraham seems like something’s been knocked loose after Pete died.  What was with that pesky horn at the end of the episode? I have a feeling it’s coming from those evil Wolves, who are inevitably this seasons’ villain.  I’m content with the start to the season.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne and Lennie James as Morgan Jones - The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Danai Gurira as Michonne and Lennie James as Morgan Jones – The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

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