Monday Morning Coffee


Hanley Blast

August 26th, 2013

It was quite a run for the Dodgers.   After dropping two out of three to the Red Sox over the weekend, the Boys in Blue lost their first series since mid-June.  LA went 14-0-4 in that stretch before those clam chowder eating, terrible driving, “wicked” accent speaking Boston Red Sox beat them up at Chavez Ravine.  This could have very well been a potential World Series preview, however, fear not Dodger fans, this team is still in great shape.  The team didn’t pitch their top two starters in this series, and Hyun-Jin Ryu took the mound with the flu on Saturday night.  The Dodgers still have a 9.5 game lead over 2nd place Arizona in the NL West.  Besides, did you really expect LA to keep winning those games that Chris Capuano kept getting his ass kicked in every five days?

Meanwhile, I think it’s time for the Dodgers to at least pick up the option on the final year of manager Don Mattingly’s contract next year.  Mattingly has definitely earned his keep.  He’s taken the Dodgers from the 4th worst team in baseball, to the 2nd best record in two months.  He’s done this while dealing with a ton of injuries to the club throughout the year.  He’s also successfully managed two different teams:  A completely stripped down Dodger team at the end of the Frank McCourt era, and a team with much more star power in this years Dodger team.  The players like him, he’s managed the egos well, and he’s a huge part of LA building great clubhouse chemistry.  I’m sure the Dodgers have been keeping an eye on Mike Scioscia, but why mess with success?  You don’t need an organization made up of stars in every role.  LA should also think about that this winter before they start replacing Mark Ellis and AJ Ellis with free agents Robinson Canoe and Brian McCann.

Speaking of Mike Scioscia, he denied there is a rift between himself and general manager Jerry Dipoto.  This was a rather predictable move by the Halos skipper.  However, since these two are really “on the same page”, I’d hate to see how bad this team would be if they weren’t on the same page.  Scioscia claimed that their only real public dispute was when hitting coach Mickey Hatcher was fired last year.  “The one thing that I publicly disagreed with Jerry about, and we’ve talked about it too, is when he let Mickey go.  And that’s been it.”  Scioscia also also said “our  philosophies are right in line with anything we’ve ever done here.”

That couldn’t be further from the truth, but what can you expect him to say when he knows his job could be in jeopardy?  Scioscia and Dipoto have both said they want to focus on improving the pitching staff this off-season.  Have they talked with their boss Arte Moreno yet?  Because he’s probably going to want to waste another $200 million instead on signing Robinson Canoe.

Every baseball fan should be thrilled to know that Dodgers announcer Vin Scully is coming back to call games in 2014.  It will be Scully’s 65th season as the Dodgers announcer, which is remarkable for a man who is 85 years old.  Scully could probably read a phone book, and make it interesting for his listeners.  LA sports fans have been so fortunate over the years to have 3 legendary, hall of fame, announcers in their city:  Scully, Bob Miller of the LA Kings, and the late Chick Hearn of the Lakers.


Why can’t Lane Kiffin just pick a starting quarterback for the Trojans already?  This guy is more indecisive than a 17 year old girl right now.  Kiffin said that “ideally” they don’t want to have a two quarterback system.  Then he decides that both Max Wittek and Cody Kessler will play in the season opener at Hawaii on Thursday night.  SC hasn’t used two quarterbacks since the 1995 season, when Brad Otton and Kyle Wachholtz shared the role.  USC did win the Pac-10 title that year, but these types of systems don’t usually lend themselves to effective chemistry building.  Rumor has it that Kiffin was informed that if Wittek doesn’t win the starting job, he will end up transferring, which could ultimately force him to make a decision, rather than use two quarterbacks.  I’m sure right about now many USC fans are wishing that the Trojans would use two coaches as well.

After hearing reports that Lamar Odom has been missing for 3 days, there were many things that were going through my mind.  I know many of you are expecting me to cue up the jokes on this one, and even though there are probably a multitude of them I can throw in here, it just isn’t the time.  TMZ reported over the weekend that Odom has been battling a drug problem for two years, and that he could be addicted to crack cocaine or Oxycontin or Ambien.  His family reportedly tried to stage a drug intervention, but he refused, then took off.  Nobody has been able to contact him, and his family is speculating he could be on a huge drug binge.  I’m shocked that once the news came out that he was missing, few people reporting on it took it seriously.  Sadly, this is probably because his is married to Khloe Kardashian, who people just associate with fake drama.  On Sunday evening, a rep for Lamar confirmed he was fine, yet would not discuss his whereabouts.

The Lakers and Clippers had both reached out to Odom weeks ago to gauge his interest in playing for them.  However, now it’s clear why he hasn’t signed with either.  Both teams are concerned about his drug abuse.  According to the TMZ report, Odom went to drug rehab for three weeks last August.  He stayed clean while playing for the Clippers, but then began using hardcore recreational drugs when the Clippers season ended a few months ago.    Hopefully LO is ok, can turn his life around, and this story does not have an unfortunate ending.

And finally, Breaking Bad had another riveting episode last night.  Spoiler Alert for those of you who have it on DVR, and have yet to watch it.  In classic Breaking Bad fashion, just when Walter White gets away with something, another thing far worse happens to him.  In this episode, Walter gets the upper hand on his brother-in-law, Hank Schrader, when he makes a video tape confessing his criminal activity, but simultaneously makes Hank the patsy.  This was another brilliant move by Walter, especially considering that his confession brings up the fact he paid for Hank’s medical bills, which Hank had no idea about until seeing the video.  This ends the threat of Hank telling his friends at the DEA about Walter’s criminal activity.

However, a new threat appears to be emerging for Walt, and that is his former business partner Jesse Pinkman, who is angered by the discovery that Walt poisoned the little boy Brock.  Jesse is so angry, that he storms into Walt’s house, and starts pouring gasoline all over the place, presumably to light the house on fire.  I guess we won’t know until next week because that’s when the episode ended.

Several other key themes seemed to emerge from this episode.  Walt has become very good at manipulating people emotionally.  He has done it repeatedly to Jesse, and he even did it to his son, to prevent him from going to visit the Schraders.  The writers of the show also seem to be focused on colors and what they symbolize.  For example, during the meeting between the Whites and Schraders,  Marie wears black to symbolize her mourning for the family she thought she had, while Hank wears purple to atone for upsetting his wife.  In the previous episode, the writers tried to create symbolism by focusing on the colors of Lydia’s shoes.  Speaking of Lydia, her new business partners may be an additional new adversary for Walter.  That is not entirely clear after seeing the opening scene of last night’s episode, but it must have some significance.

The real question moving forward is whether or not Walter would kill Jesse to save himself.  For almost 5 seasons, the show has been built on the emotional relationship between these two.  Now it appears as though it’s ending will be very much revolving around this relationship.  As horrible of a person Walt has transformed into, I still can’t see him killing Jesse.  Walt came very close to getting caught by his brother in law, yet refused to kill him because he was family.  Jesse seems just as important to Walt as Hank is, so I can’t see him killing him, even if it means not saving himself.



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