Monday Morning Coffee

April 5, 2021

Saturday night was a reminder of what sports is sometimes: 99% kicks to the balls and 1% glory. If you’re a sports fan in SoCal, sometimes it feels like there’s a lot more glory than most, but not on Saturday night when UCLA lost at the buzzer to Gonzaga in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. The real pain is that reality finally hit everyone that the Bruins actually could have won this game and won a National Championship. They would have done it losing their two best players. Instead, it turned out to be the most painful and heroic loss in school history. I had my Adam Morrison crying tweets ready. Instead, I was crying. I blame this on Chip Kelly. He showed up to watch the game, which explains why nobody could play defense. The biggest underdog ever in The Final Four just delivered one of the greatest college games of all-time. It’s just a shame they came up on the wrong end of it. The referees didn’t do them any favors throughout the game either. Nevertheless, although the circumstances are a bit different, UCLA feels like it did at the end of the Final Four under Ben Howland. They have a program who has someone in charge who can sustain excellence, which had been missing previously. When you combine that along with the respect they earned from the nation, that’s something to feel really good about.

Elsewhere around March Madness, Baylor should be arrested for assault and battery after what they did to Houston in the semi-finals. It’s like the Houston Cougars turned into the Houston Texans once the game tipped-off. It’s no wonder Miley Cyrus was singing “Wrecking Ball” after the game. Speaking of Miley, there were probably a bunch of young people explaining to their parents who she is, and a bunch of parents explaining to their kids what songs she was singing. Not sure how the NCAA landed on her. I mean, they could have paid an actual cover band to perform these songs for a lot less. Then again, asking the NCAA to manage a budget, is like asking Enron to do your taxes.

To the NBA, where the Lakers are still trying to tread water with Lebron James and Anthony Davis nursing injuries, and now Andre Drummond. They got crushed like a grape by the Clippers yesterday. Meanwhile, Marc Gasol is complaining that he’s about to be demoted since the Lakers signed Drummond, and even suggested he might want out. However, I think Gasol is being short-sighted here. There’s still a role for him. Anthony Davis doesn’t like playing center. Gasol is also a better fit with the 2nd unit with ‘Trez occupying the post, so he can create space, as well as cover up defensively for what ‘Trez might lack. Of course this all could have been avoided if Lebron had just promised Gasol a role in Space Jam 2. I can just imagine him getting asked by every one of his teammates if they can be in that movie over the last couple of years. As for the team, I still think the Lakers have a ways to go before they slide all the way to the play-in tournament, as most people seem to think will happen. In fact, if the Lakers can get Lebron and AD back by the middle of April, I think they have a decent chance to make a run at one of the top 2 seeds, which is a more likely scenario than sliding all the way to the 7th seed.

The Clippers blowout win against the Lakers yesterday keeps them clinging to 3rd in the West. The Morris Brothers went up against each other again, or I guess I should say “The Morii” faced each other, which feels like an episode of an 80’s sitcom about two twin basketball players. The Clips are also expected to add Demarcus Cousins on a 10-Day contract, which is an interesting addition. It blows my mind that less than 4 years ago this guy was the best center in the league, and now he can barely get a 10-day contract from a team. He can definitely still give teams a big game from time-to-time. However, the real question the Clips have to be asking themselves is about Paul George. Coming into Sunday, in his last 8 games he’s shooting under 40% from the field and 34% from 3. Those numbers are far from what he was putting up when he claimed he was “back with vengeance” earlier in the season. George claims he still needs to figure out how to play through foot pain, from the bone edema he suffered earlier in the season. The only problem is, nobody knows how much of this is George really nursing an injury, vs an early showing from “Playoff P”. Especially when you see plays like this….

To baseball, where the Dodgers took 3 out of 4 from the Rockies to open the season. The offense looked sharp and they didn’t even rely on the the home run. That’s amazing because in Colorado, teams usually rely on the home run like Charlie Sheen relies on Tequila to get him through the weekend. The starting pitching also cleaned itself up after an ugly spring training. I’m not even worried about Clayton Kershaw, who may have given up runs on Thursday, but was just a victim of some fluky hits that weren’t hit very hard. However, I don’t understand why the Dodgers are putting Kenley Jansen in a 5-out save situation like it’s the 2015 playoffs. Not only is it 2021 where the Dodgers have a real bullpen, but this is also just the 3rd game of the season when this took place. I’m beginning to wonder if Dave Roberts wants Jansen to fail so he can find an excuse to move on from him. Jansen did fine, but I suppose only time will tell.

Apparently Joe Maddon must have been taking managing advice from Dave Roberts, because he also tried to get his new closer to record a 5-out save just a couple of days into the season. This time it didn’t work out so well, but the Angels still won and took 3 of 4 from the White Sox. Not only was Shohei Ohtani very good yesterday, but the Angels starting pitching was pretty good for three of the first four games. It’s pretty obvious the Halos are going to score runs. If they get that kind of pitching, making the postseason becomes a much bigger reality. That’s as long as they don’t throw the ball around the yard like little leaguers like they did last night. Thank goodness Ohtani was ok after that collision at home plate. Also, I can’t believe Tony La Russa is still managing. This guy is so old, I’m beginning to wonder if he was wearing a diaper underneath his pants last night when he was walking to the mound. It sure looked like it. He must be extremely bored and had to come back to work. Here’s a look at Jared Walsh’s walk-off homer to win-it last night.

Finally, there’s noise around the Chargers potentially selling the team. Dea Spanos, one of the four Spanos siblings, has filed a suit to try and compel the rest of the family to sell. It’s really amazing to me that the Spanos has managed to rack up $353 million in debt (even though it’s real estate related), since the NFL basically hands each team a check at the beginning of the year that covers all their expenses. This story has to be like porno for any Charger fan that is praying for new ownership. To me the lawsuit sounds like Dea trying to woo a big investor like Jeff Bezos to come up with a monster offer like $10 billion to buy out her and the entire trust. There’s no way the rest of the Spano family could come up with that kind of money. The same thing happened in Miami with the ownership of the Dolphins a few years ago. Still, there is a lot of noise that even if a sale of the team doesn’t happen now, it could very well happen in the next couple of years according to those that know Dean Spanos well. If nothing else, this should be the feel good part of the story for anybody that is still a Charger fan.

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