Monday Morning Coffee

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April 8, 2024

I think maybe it’s time for Anthony Davis to wear some googles. If he doesn’t, the next time he gets wacked in the eye, he’s going to look like The Terminator. The Lakers were getting healthy and rolling, and then suffered a big loss last night against the Wolves. That was largely due to the fact that Lebron was out with the flu and Anthony Davis got poked in the eye again and had to leave the game. The Lakers could conceivably still get the 6th seed, but moving up there will be much tougher after last nights loss. You can also kiss those hopes goodbye if Anthony Davis is missing any games with that eye injury. Sure they’ve given us reason for optimism the last two months, but as I said before, poor coaching has put this team is an unfortunate, no margin for error situation. Also unfortunate is this idea that Bronny James could enter the NBA Draft this summer. Lebron, please don’t ruin your sons career just because you want to play with him. You know damn well that Bronny has no business being on an NBA Basketball roster right now. Could it happen one day? Sure, but why damage his development by trying to force him into the league, just so you can play with him? Hopefully Bronny stays in college to play ball for another year, which is where he belongs right now.

The Clippers found the win column yesterday with a dramatic comeback win against the Cavaliers. However, the Clips should be getting very nervous right now about their health. All of a sudden, Kawhi Leonard has missed 4 straight games with a sore knee, and as usual this time of year, there’s complete mystery about when he could be available next. For a guy who told everyone he was determined to play a ton, which also got him an extension recently, this is not promising at all. Maybe it’s nothing and he’ll be back this week. However, Ty Lue said he was concerned, but hopeful he could return on Thursday. Yet, here we are a week later with no Kawhi. To make matters worse, James Harden is banged up too. There has to be some part of the Clippers that are saying “This isn’t really happening again is it?” I guess we’ll find out shortly if it really is.

That was a tough weekend for the Dodgers in Chicago. They dropped two of three to the Cubs. Bobby Miller had the worst birthday of his life on Friday, and the Dodgers defense let them down yesterday. The infield can’t field in good conditions, so you expect them to defend capably in bad conditions? Gavin Stone might be better than last year, but he’s still not quite ready for prime time. The good news is that Yoshinobu Yamamoto continued to look like an ace on Saturday, and Shohei Ohtani is now on fire at the plate. I’m curious to see how long the Dodgers roll with the James Outman, Gavin Lux, and Chris Taylor at the bottom of their lineup. The three of them collectively couldn’t hit water if they fell out of a boat right now. Outman seems very replaceable with another young prospect like Andy Pages in the organization. However, Lux and Taylor are expected to perform much better. and moving off them won’t be easy without a trade, or eating money.

Then there’s the Angels who dropped 2 of 3 to the Red Sox at the Big A over the weekend. Chase Silseth is complete garbage, and should only be on a Big League mound if he’s throwing the All-Star home run derby at this point. Griffin Canning is also not exactly developing into John Lackey for this franchise. The Halos are 4-3, but the pitching is trash, and their lineup is filled with scrubs hitting .150 or less, including Anthony Rendon and Nolan Schanuel. Who gives a damn about your on-base streak that got snapped when you can’t even hit .100 at the plate? Here come the Rays in to town for a 3-game set.

Although my bracket has been obliterated, I’m really lookin forward to seeing Purdue and UCONN tonight in the NCAA Championship game. Zach Edey vs Donovan Clingan is going to be like watching two Titans go at it. Meanwhile, congratulations to Caitlin Clark on a fantastic NCAA career. Despite South Carolina winning the NCAA Championship, people tuned in to see Clark play. I know everyone wants to point out what’s wrong with the men’s game with NIL and the transfer portal, but the women’s tournament had better ratings than tons of sports, so let’s not focus on what’s wrong with those sports but rather how great the women’s game is becoming. Also, smooth move by John Calipari coming to a deal with Arkansas on the day of the title game, so more people will be talking about that than tonight’s game.

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark pumps both fists during an NCAA tournament game against West Virginia

Finally, there’s now rumors that the Rams could trade up into the top 10 of this years draft. Looking at the Top 10, there’s two players that fit the bill: either Notre Dame offensive lineman Joe Alt, or Alabama Outside Linebacker Dallas Turner. Both would be fascinating selections. Turner seems like the most needed target, but he isn’t necessarily a franchise changer. The problem is after the 1st round, there’s a huge drop off in talent at that position. Since the Rams aren’t shy about making big moves and since they just lost Aaron Donald to retirement, sooner or later you would expect them to make a splashy move on defense. We’ll see when that comes though.

Monday Morning Coffee

April 1, 2024

The Dodgers took 3 of 4 with Cardinals to open their home schedule this weekend. That’s pretty good, but the really good news is their starting pitching. Yoshinobu Yamamoto had a really nice bounce back outing on Saturday. I don’t really know if he’s going to be elite yet, but he’s showing signs of a guy who is capable of making adjustments, and has a very high ceiling at only 25 years old. That’s a relief given the investment they made in him. Tyler Glasnow has looked great so far in his first two starts, and Bobby Miller was excellent as well. You put a healthy and effective Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw in this rotation later in the year, and this is going to be a very tough rotation come October. However, this is not a flawless team. Their infield defense outside of Freddy Freeman is questionable at every position. Not having Mookie Betts in their outfield severely weakens their defense there. They are also lacking some lefty options in their bullpen middle relief as well, which was exposed Saturday night. Nevertheless, there’s time to sort these problems out one at a time. As for the Shohei betting scandal, let it die until the MLB finishes their investigation. But in the meantime, I’d like to know who he’s taking in the Final Four next week.

Then there’s the Angels, who lost 2 out of 3 to the Orioles over the weekend. This has an extremely predictable feel to it. Mike Trout looks like the only capable dude in the lineup. Anthony Rendon can’t hit his way out of a paper bag, and the starting pitchers look like they should be serving In-N-Out Burgers instead of starting an MLB game. We’ve always known the pitching wasn’t good, but everyone wrongly assumes that the Halos will score runs. That would be assuming that Zach Neto, Nolan Schanuel, and Logan O’Hoppe all develop into productive Major Leaguers. However, betting on player development with the Halos is like betting on the lottery. There’s very little reason for optimism after just three games.

To the NBA, where the Lakers dominated the Nets yesterday. Lebron was making three-pointers like he was Larry Bird, and poured in a career-high 40 points and the Lake Show has now won 6 of 7. They are feverishly trying to catch the Kings or Suns for the 7th or 8th seed to make their play-in tournament path slightly easier. With 8 games left and Darvin “hands in his pockets” Ham still coaching them, I’m skeptical they can get there. Nice to see Gabe Vincent back in the lineup yesterday though. Not sure he is going to contribute much, but he can play defense when he’s in shape. As long he doesn’t bang his knee on another coffee table.

As for the Clippers they’ve righted the ship for the time being by beating up on bad teams. The latest was Charlotte yesterday. However, if you look at the standings, here come the Mavs, who are now tied for the 5th seed with the Pelicans. They are also 2 games back of the Clips for 4th. Part III of Clippers vs Mavs in a playoff series would be compelling, but given how the Clips are playing, might not be a series you would feel so great about if you’re a Clippers fan. There’s also continuous rumors now about whether or not Paul George will work out an extension with the Clippers. It’s taking an awful long time, and the Philadelphia 76ers are practically screaming from the mountain top that they are ready to pounce, like a dude courting a girl who has had a long-term boyfriend. However, I still can’t imagine PG-13 leaving LA, where he is from, for Philadelphia. I think this is a leverage play.

How is March Madness going for you? NC State, Alabama, UCONN, and Purdue. I’m sure that’s how we all predicted it right? UCONN and Purdue would be a great final, and NC State and Alabama are obviously massive surprises. However, I’m sure everyone is more delighted to see Duke lose to anybody than they would be to see ISIS lose any war. Zach Edey is a complete beast and looks like he’s just playing volleyball out there and not basketball. I’d love to see him go up again UCONN Center Donovan Clingan.

Finally, the LA Kings have 9 games left. They’ve lost their last two critical road games against division rivals, and they are hanging on to dear life to the last playoff spot. However, I for the life of me cannot figure out why this team absolutely hates young players. You cannot possibly tell me that this team wouldn’t be better off and with a higher ceiling with Brandt Clarke, Arthur Kaliev, and Alex Turcotte in the lineup every night instead of Andreas England, Alex Laferriere, and Trevor Lewis. This is the reason why the Kings can’t get any closer to Stanley Cup contention. It’s because their franchise is being run by foolish coaches and a foolish front office. Unless they somehow get Vancouver in the 1st round of the playoffs, they’ve got no shot of advancing in the playoffs, and that’s if they are lucky enough to get there.

CALGARY, ALBERTA - MARCH 30: Jonathan Huberdeau #10 of the Calgary Flames skates.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 25, 2024

Ok let’s get into this Shohei Ohtani gambling mess. You have to admit that the story is suspicious. For his translator, Ippei Mizuhara, to change his story to ESPN by saying he did have knowledge he was gambling, and then he didn’t have knowledge he was gambling is very questionable. Hopefully this story aligns with what Ohtani plans to say to the media today, when he is scheduled to address this subject. However, in my opinion, if Ohtani bet on something other than baseball and gets in trouble for it, I will give the guy a hug. Who cares if he decided to bet on some EPL soccer game last year? And who cares if he paid some bookie in California, where our state is run by idiots that couldn’t run a hot dog stand, and have yet to legalize gambling. Ultimately, I can’t imagine that Ohtani will get suspended, unless the FBI finds something highly illegal, since he’s basically a Golden Goose for the League. Meanwhile, don’t let all this distract you from the fact that Yoshinobu Yamamoto was complete garbage in his first game, and after a rough spring. Since he’s supposed to be their ace who is signed for the next 12 years, I’d say they should be concerned. Hopefully the guy can find his game immediately, otherwise he’s basically the Japanese version of Lance Lynn.

As for the Angels, I’m sure Arte Moreno wants to see Ohtani go down with a hard punishment from the gambling controversy. However, I’m sure Angels fans want to see that as well as Arte get punished for not signing Blake Snell, who signed with the Giants. Snell got a 2 year deal for $66 million, with a player option on year 2. The Angels were $37 million under the competitive balance tax and they desperately need pitching. They claim they want to win. Yet Arte is being stingy. Even more disappointing though is someone like Michael Lorenzen, a useful starting pitcher, signed for $4.5 million with the Rangers. The Halos couldn’t have done that either? I realize that Perry Minasian is extremely handcuffed by Arte, but if he thought they only had $30 million to spend, why would he spend it all on relievers? Still , Arte is the problem, and until that changes, it’s hard to see things getting any better for this franchise.

How is your March Madness Bracket going? I’m sure you’re probably losing in your office pool to the girl that picked winners by who had the cutest mascot, your mom, and some dude that made 12 different brackets. I’m sure John Calipari is going to punish all of his players by taking away their cell phones and BMW’s after they lost in the first round. If there’s one thing we’ve learned it’s that the one and done doesn’t work anymore if you want to win in the NCAA Tournament. You need good players that have played together for a long time. That’s why there’s actually hope for these mid major programs all of a sudden. Enjoy the ride and try not to take your brackets too seriously!

The Lakers took down the Pacers last night for their 3rd straight win. The good news for the LA is that they are now 7 games over .500 and putting further distance between themselves and the Warriors for 9th place. With that being said, they probably won’t catch the Mavs or Kings for 7th or 8th place. That’s a problem because they really need to stay on the opposite side of the bracket as the Nuggets, Kings, and Clippers. Why the Clippers? Because the Clippers matchup very well with the Nuggets, and actually have a chance to beat them when they are on their game. The Nuggets are currently in 1st place in the West, so that doesn’t help the Lakers chances of that scenario playing out, as it stands now.

As for the Clippers, there’s some cause for concern. They’ve lost 5 of 8 games and they haven’t beaten a team with a winning record in the last 3 weeks. Some of that includes game without Kawhi and PG13, but the concern is how they are losing games. In fact, when Paul George says “I don’t think we have an identity”, at this stage of the season, that’s problematic. I’m not sure it matters at this point who the Clippers play in the playoffs for their sake, but they need to start regaining some momentum quickly, or what was once a promising season will be lost.

I think when Aaron Donald retired about a week ago, we all kind of thought there was a chance he might return at some point. When I listened to him address the media for the first time a couple of days ago, I now believe there is no chance he is coming back. Donald said he simply doesn’t have the desire to do the work anymore that it requires to be an NFL player, let alone one as great as he is. I think it’s hard for most normal people to understand this when you are in your early 30’s, but the reality is being a professional athlete means you are in the top 1% or even less of what you do. It takes a tremendous amount of effort and preparation to be at that level year in and year out, and when you don’t want to put the work in anymore, it’s easy to see how one can get burnt out. At least the Rams should be able to look at this with some closure, and be able to move on from it and make plans.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 18, 2024

I’ve gotta start with the Rams. Aaron Donald surprised many of us by announcing his retirement last week. Look, it’s not like I expected this guy to play another 5 years, after he hinted he was considering retirement after the Super Bowl victory. However, I did think he was going to play for a couple of more seasons after he received a big contract. That’s a huge blow to the Rams Super Bowl chances next year after they re-loaded in free agency, and were poised to do the same in April’s draft. Now it’s imperative they take an edge rusher with their 1st round pick in the draft. However, it’s safe to say there will never be another Aaron Donald. He played for 10 years with the Rams, the only team he ever played for, won a Super Bowl, went to another, and was a Pro-Bowler every year he played. He’s 28th on the all-time sacks list, some might argue the best defensive player ever, and a sure first ballot Hall of Famer. There is definitely no replacing that, but he was definitely a privilege to watch. This also totally overshadowed the Jimmy G move as well, who will be a nice backup to Matt Stafford, and the other big moves they made for the offensive line and defense. At least that will make for good entertainment knowing about all the porn stars Jimmy G hangs out with off the field.

There’s a lot a lot of shakeups happening with the Chargers. Austin Ekeler is gone, signing with the Commanders. Mike Williams was released, and Keenan Allen was traded for a ham sandwich. They did bring in Gus Edwards and Will Dissly to help the offense. However, they only needed to release Mike Williams to get cap compliant, so it’s a little bit of a head scratching move. Justin Herbert can’t be happy because as of right now, he’s going to be throwing to Door Dash Drivers all season long. The Bolts seem like a really good candidate to trade their #5 pick for multiple picks, because they now have a lot of needs to fill. Nevertheless, we’re talking about Jim Harbaugh here, so you’ve gotta trust him.

NFL Free agency has been wild though. Kirk Cousins is living the American Dream, continuing to find teams to pay him huge money. Don’t you just love this country? The Ravens added Derrick Henry, which would be an awesome move if this were 2021. The Steelers signed Russell Wilson and trade for Justin Fields, and told Fields that Wilson will be the starter. That’s hilarious. It’s like when your mom and dad tell you that “you better be on your best behavior or so God help me I’m going to turn this car around and go home.” Good one guys, no way Fields doesn’t beat out Wilson for the job at some point. Has anybody informed the Cowboys that free agency started? I’m assuming no, since Jerry Jones claimed he was “all-in this off-season.”

Let’s get to College Basketball where we have to start with the ending to UCLA’s season last week. The Bruins put up a good fight against Oregon in the quarterfinals of the PAC-12 Tournament, but as usual, the offense was atrocious. Dylan Andrews, Lazar Stefanovic, and Jane Vide claim they are coming back next season. Nobody is certain about the rest. Adem Bona’s draft stock has dropped so much, he may end up coming back to school. Ultimately though, the most important question is if Mick Cronin is coming back. His name has been thrown around in the Louisville coaching search, as well as the Michigan search. Of course he has to rebuild the program at UCLA after all the departures, but there’s no reason to think he can’t. It might take another couple of years though because next years recruiting class looks rough, and UCLA is still figuring out how to get into the NIL game. UCLA should do everything they can to keep Cronin if he’s considering walking, including signing him to an extension. He’s the perfect coach for a transition into the Big 10 where they will have to grind things out both on and off the court to rebuild. As far as I’m concerned though, other than Bona and Andrews, every other player on this roster should be considered for replacement.

As for March Madness, good luck to everyone that has watched about 30 seconds of College Basketball this year and trying to fill out brackets. I’m sure the girl in your office who picks teams based on the cutest mascot will likely win your office pool, so why bother doing real homework? With that being said, UCONN seems like head and shoulders the best and most consistent team in the country. Houston, Purdue, and UNC were the other number 1 seeds, and seems highly unlikely all of them get to the Final Four. You’ve gotta love how Long Beach State announced last week they were firing their coach Dan Monson, then led his team to its first NCAA Tournament birth by winning the Big West Tournament. That’s really sticking it to your boss!

To the NBA, where let’s be honest: The Lakers are toast. They are now 3 games back of the 6th, 7th, and 8th seeds, so with 14 games left, there’s no way they will make up that ground. That means they will have to win two must win elimination games, most likely both of them on the road, just to get into the playoffs. I can’t say I like the Lakers chances in two road games, especially with Darvin Ham coaching them, who has completely botched this season, and may be the biggest issue with this team. They would be better off with Bozo The Clown behind the bench at this point, instead of the Bozo that’s already there. There’s now also the concern over Anthony Davis’ health, after he was poked in the eye over the weekend. Hopefully he’s only out for a few days if that.

Meanwhile, the Clippers have started to come back to the pack a little bit. They are now 4.5 games out of 1st place in the West, so getting the top seed seems out of the question now. However, the bigger concern is health. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but Kawhi had missed a few games recently with back spasms, and James Harden has been suffering from a shoulder ailment. There’s also a bit of concern that the Pelicans are breathing down their neck for the 4th seed, which would give them home court advantage in a potential 1st round showdown with the Clips. Considering the Pelicans won the season series 3-1, and bullied LA in the paint, that doesn’t really bode too well for them.

Believe it or not, the baseball season is upon us! The Dodgers get their season underway vs the Padres in Korea on Wednesday. Set your alarms, because first pitch will be at around 3:05 am Wednesday morning. Tyler Glasnow will get the ball for LA against Yu Darvish, and the following day it will be Yoshinobu Yamamoto vs Joe Musgrove. That brings us to the question of whether or not the Dodgers should be concerned about Yamamoto’s spring performance, where he sported an ERA over 10. My initial reaction is somewhat concerned. He’s signed to a 10 year deal, so you can’t not be concerned this early. He had a great first start, was a strikeout machine, and seemed to shutout teams easily first time through the order. However, his command and hard hit rate weren’t very good in his latter starts, which has to raise some eyebrows. Nevertheless, only time will tell how this guy will adjust and continues to craft his game against a whole new type of hitter than the league he’s been in previously. It also wouldn’t hurt to have Blake Snell’s phone number handy too.

Finally, as I said before, I will believe the Angels will sign Blake Snell when I see it. If you know anything about Arte Moreno, you know he’s a cheapskate. Ken Rosenthal reminded us of this on the “Foul Territory” podcast earlier in the week, saying his sources told him GM Perry Minasian has been lobbying Moreno all winter to sign Snell and JD Martinez. However, Moreno has told him “we’re not doing that” to this point. For a guy who started the off-season $70 million below last season’s luxury tax, he sure doesn’t seem to have much interest in winning. As if that’s not bad enough, Mike Trout is having one of the worst spring training’s of his career. He’s hitting .212 which is the second worst of his career, has a .270 OBP, the worst of his career, and 15 strikeouts, which is also the worst of his career. I’m not saying to put a lot of stock into spring training games, but considering how short this team is becoming on talent, his performance is a little worrisome.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 11th, 2024

Not bad Lake Show. The Lakers took down the Minnesota Timberwolves last night at Crytpo.com, and are now 5-2 in their last 7 games. The insertion of Rui Hachimura into the starting lineup has been great, and I’ll try not to focus on how stupid Darvin Ham is for playing Taurean Prince over Rui the entire 4th quarter. Anthony Davis really had a video game stat line last night. If D-Lo can look as reliable as he has in the past few weeks during the postseason, the Lakers can recapture the magic they had towards the end of last season. With 16 games left, the Lakers are just two games out of the 6th spot, and 1.5 out of the 7th spot. It just so happens they’ll get another shot against Sacramento on Tuesday, who sits in 7th right now. Let’s be honest though. The Lakers and their fans probably don’t care who they play in the playoffs, as long as they can avoid the Denver Nuggets for as long as possible.

The Clippers lost to the Bucks yesterday, but they have still been winning games, coming out on the right side of 4 of their last 6. However, they are now on the wrong side of the standings, 3.5 games back in the battle for 1st place in the West. I don’t know if the matchups really matter at this point in the West, because everyone will be tough 1-10, but they do need to hope their stars are healthy. They weren’t yesterday, but that’s also because they were likely keeping Kawhi and PG-13 in bubble wrap on the 2nd night of a back-to-back. After all, these days NBA players heads will fall off if they are forced to play in a back-to-back game. They also need to try and finish as high as possible in the standings, because in these playoffs, not having home court advantage in multiple rounds can be a problem.

NFL free agency is upon us. The Rams checked off one of their major to-do’s by re-signing offensive lineman Kevin Dotson. Dotson received a 3 year $48 million deal, which gives the Rams around $29 million of cap space left. Now they have 11 picks in next months draft, which creates all kinds of possibilities. There are plenty of stud running backs on the market, but they really don’t need one because they have Karen Williams, nor do they need much offensive skill position help. However, they do need beef up edge rusher, cornerback, and more offensive and defensive line depth. In the NFL, most guys that make out it to outright free agency aren’t like other sports. There’s an element of “reject” to them, that have flaws. For that reason, they should take their chances in the draft, especially since they’ve done well there recently.

As for the Chargers, the rumors have started that they are listening to offer for Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. Other sources are saying that other teams are waiting for the Bolts to cut those players so they can pounce. I think this is simply a case of the Chargers gauging the value on two high salaried players who could help them clear cap room. I don’t think they are going to cut them, and for those of you that think there is a Harbaugh issue here, there is no reason to think they can’t buy in to Harbaugh’s tough style. For all their salary cap problems, if the Bolts just cut Mike Williams, they’ll be in much better position to clean up their salary cap.

One week after thinking that Gavin Lux was going to cut it at shortstop, the Dodgers had seen enough, and announced Lux was moving to 2nd base and Mookie Betts was going to shortstop. This move seems very shortsighted. Mookie was a 6-time gold glover as an outfielder. We only saw 6-games of Gavin Lux at shortstop in spring training. Isn’t this the time to let him get his confidence up playing the position? They obviously like his bat and want to keep him in the lineup, so why can’t they utilize Miguel Rojas, who is a fine defensive shortstop, when they need the defense? The whole move seems very unnecessary to me, and even jeopardizes the health and effectiveness of one of their best players in Mookie.

How many more hints do the Angels need? Blake Snell is practically begging for the Halos to sign him. His camp is leaking to the media that he prefers to sign with them. Mike Trout is pleading with Arte Moreno to improve the team. Jock Talk LA is reminding them on a weekly basis how idiotic they look right now. Snell would be the ace of the team, and they have the money to do it. Yet somehow, Arte Moreno won’t do it. Nice to see Anthony Rendon back in the lineup yesterday though after sitting it out for about a week. Also glad his other job isn’t getting in the way of him showing up for work.

Well here we are, the PAC-12 Tournament. UCLA will have to win 4 straight games from Wednesday through Saturday if they want to get into the NCAA Tournament. The chances of that happening are like the chances of Jennifer Aniston going out on a date with me this week. Sure the Bruins have beaten Oregon State, Oregon, USC, Washington, and were competitive against Arizona at one point this year. However, this team looks like they have been mailing it in for the past three weeks. Do they have enough talent? Maybe. However, the idea that this team will suddenly gain the motivation and confidence to string together 4 straight wins this week seems just preposterous to imagine. Mick Cronin has been talking about life lessons to his team in the huddle the past couple of weeks, and now you expect me to believe he’s going to change those discussions to working toward getting into the NCAA Tournament? He would truly be the Wizard of Westwood if that happened.

I don’t really understand LA Kings fans. The trade deadline approached last week, and every fan in the week before didn’t want Rob Blake to make a move because they thought he would do something stupid. Then they started seeing other teams make moves, and they started screaming on Twitter that Rob Blake is asleep at the wheel. So which is it? The correct answer is the former. The Kings didn’t really have any cap space to do anything significant. Unless there was an elite goaltender available, which there wasn’t, trading more draft capital for a marginal upgrade would have been pointless. The reality of it is the Kings made their big move in the summer for Pierre-Luc Dubois, and it’s working out terribly. If they are eliminated early in the playoffs, or don’t make it there, they will need a new GM, a new coach, and some re-tooling of the roster.

Finally, why do we keep letting these older people present at Award ceremonies? Don’t get me wrong. I love Al Pacino, but he’s 83 years old. When he announced that Oppenheimer won “Best Picture” at the Oscars last night, I could barely understand what he was saying. These people should probably have to pass some basic test with their cognitive abilities to do this. Otherwise, just let them sit in the crowd and be pretty faces.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 4th, 2024

The Lakers have a Darvin Ham problem, and it reared it’s ugly head again on Saturday night. Finally, the Lakers get a great performance from D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura against the Nuggets, yet Ham can’t get out of his own way and benches them both in the 4th quarter. Instead he went with Cam Reddish and Spencer Dinwiddie, neither of which stood a chance guarding a Nuggets player. This team is definitely not as bad as it’s played under Ham with all his weird lineups, but it certainly will never reach it’s ceiling with him making the lineup decisions. I wish Rob Pelinka would go full on Andrew Friedman on him and tell him the lineups he needs to play. Somehow, despite these continuously dumb decisions by Ham, the Lakers are just 2.5 games out of 7th place, and 3.5 games out of 5th place in the West. Their schedule is tough as hell, but if they can lock Ham out of the building for the next few weeks, maybe they have a chance to move up.

There’s good news for the Clippers. Yesterday, they won a tough, physical battle with the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was low scoring, and it was the type of game they haven’t been able to win recently, with that exact length and physicality causing them problems. The bad news however, is that history is suddenly not on their side. Phil Jackson always said there was a rule that you had to win 40 before you lose 20 to be considered an elite team. In fact, 27 of the last 30 NBA Champions have won 40 before they lost 20 games in that season. This season, only the Celtics, Nuggets, Timberwolves, and Thunder have won 40 before they lost 20 this year, which means the NBA Champion will most likely come from that group of teams.

To baseball where the Dodgers have been rolling in Spring Training. winning 9 of their first 11 games. As I’ve mentioned before, nobody cares about the spring training record because it’s meaningless. However, there’s a few key takeaways here. First of all Gavin Lux and Max Muncy are looking like very capable defensive players on the left side of the infield. It’s early, but they appear to be in excellent shape, and been putting the work in for improving defensively there. I’m confident their offense will be there. To nobody’s surprise Shohei Ohtani is already putting on a show, and looks like he will fit in perfectly with Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. Now hear me out on this one. I realize that the Dodgers do not need Blake Snell, but they should seriously consider signing him given that his price tag is coming way down. I really want this to happen, mostly because I’m just dying to see everyone complain again that the Dodgers are ruining baseball. Still, they really could use him since Yoshinobu Yammamoto is used to a 6-man rotation, Tyler Glasnow has injury history, while Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Dustin May will not be available for a while since they are rehabbing from injury. I am completely aware how ridiculous this is, but if the guy is taking $25 million a year with a few opt outs, you have to consider it.

On the other hand, I have no idea what the Angels are doing not signing Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery. Their price is way down, and either one of them would instantly slide into their rotation as the #1 starter. On the bright side though, Anthony Rendon hasn’t said anything stupid in the past week though, which is always nice to see for the PR department. It’s really hard for me to imagine this team winning more than 70 games this season, unless of course they sign one of those front line starters.

What a completely pathetic showing by UCLA Basketball over the weekend. They lost a couple of more games to Washington and Washington State. Their only hope to get in the NCAA Tournament remains to win the Pac-12 Tournament, but your chances of winning the Powerball are higher than that. At this point the season has gone so badly, even Adem Bona might not even be drafted in the 2nd round of the upcoming NBA draft. He may very well need to stay in school for another year, which probably wouldn’t be bad for the Bruins. Ultimately though, other than Bona and Dylan Andrews, I think Mick Cronin can safely try and clean house and recruit heavily in the transfer portal. Unfortunately though, they don’t currently have a class of 2024 recruit that is ranked in the top 100 of the class. I’m not sure the transfer portal can fix this in one year.

It’s very cool, but also kind of surprising to see how much interest Caitlin Clark has created in women’s basketball, and women’s college basketball in particular. The hype around her is real, and not to take away anything from her, but in terms of accomplishments, even Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi, and Cheryl Miller accomplished equally as much if not more in college. In Stewart’s case, she even played in the era of social media. However, Clark has created buzz because she is the Steph Curry of women’s basketball, or even the Taylor Swift of the game. She’s more approachable, exciting, and easy to get behind for the average person because she feels relatable. In any case, she’s going to have a great finish to her college career, and I’m sure do great things in the pros as well.

It’s super sad to hear about the passing of NFL Reporter Chris Mortensen. Mortensen was 72 years old, and diagnosed with throat cancer in 2016. He was truly someone that I would almost consider part of my childhood knowing how respected he was covering the NFL for ESPN, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution before that. He was an award-winning journalist and actually a native of Torrance, CA. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family including his wife, Micki, and son, Alex.

Monday Morning Coffee

February 26, 2024

What a terrible game by the Lakers against the Suns yesterday afternoon. This team is just so unbelievably inconsistent I don’t even know anymore, and I can’t understand why the never play with any desperation or urgency. Lebron was absolutely right. On any given night they can beat anybody, and on any given night they can get their butts kicked. It would certainly help if they got their better defenders like Jarrod Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish, and Gabe Vincent back, but the harsh reality is Darvin Harm threw away 3/4ths of this season screwing around with lineups instead of building on the chemistry they had last season. He’s still finding a way to screw up the lineups by playing Taurean Prince more minutes than Rui Hachimura. Now, the problem is even if the Lakers go on the type of run they did last season, they still probably won’t get into the top 6 in the Western Conference. Heck, they have the 6th toughest schedule remaining in the NBA, to they will be lucky if they can just get to the 7th or 8th seed. Just to put this in perspective, the Sacramento Kings are on the same pace as last year for total wins, where they finished 3rd in the West. Right now, on that pace puts them in the play-in tournament. Yesterday’s loss definitely won’t help the Lakers cause. Now Lebron is reportedly looking for a 3-year extension after this year, at max money, taking him to 42 years old. Do both sides really want to sign up for this? I guess that’s more so a question for the Lakers, because most of us would sign up for anything for $180 million.

The Clippers might have a problem. Although they were rolling for about 40 games, now they seem to be having problems beating some of the top teams in the West. They got smoked by the T-Wolves and the Thunder, and heading into Sunday were tied for 3rd with the Denver Nuggets, and 2 games out of 1st in the West. Where the Clips need to be concerned is the fact that size and length bothers them a great deal, and their defense seems to be very poor against these elite teams. Whether or not Ty Lue can make the proper adjustments to offset some of these weaknesses remains to be seen, but that’s the only choice they have since we are past the trade deadline.

Spring training is underway in Major League Baseball! I certainly don’t like to draw any conclusions based on the play of a number of guys that will be delivering my Door Dash next week. However, it is exciting to see the Dodgers back in action, and what the potential of the lineup could look like. It should also be noted that they scored more runs in their first spring training game than the last two postseasons combined. That probably speaks more to their postseason ineptitude than anything else. More importantly though, Kike Hernandez is back in Dodger Blue! Who knew their was a Kike Hernandez sweepstakes though? Who does this guy think he is, Lebron James? I’m sure all the ladies in LA will be thrilled though that they get to see Kike in tight pants. I’m also thrilled to see Matt Kemp back with the organization in an Advisory Role. Welcome back home Matty! Looking forward to seeing the spring debut’s of Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto later this week!

As for the Angels, there are multiple sources indicating that the Angels are in good position to land either Blake Snell or Jordan Montgomery. I will believe this when I see it though. Other sources inside the Angels have apparently been debating this because they feel like the cost of a single one of those players might not make them competitive. If that’s true, then that’s just a complete loser mentality. Heck if you think you aren’t that competitive to begin with, then why not just blow it up and rebuild your franchise the proper way? Typical Arte Moreno mentality, which makes me think if they do come away with one of those pitchers, it will just be because of public pressure. Perry Minasian and Ron Washington also said they they felt they had enough depth at catcher to release Francisco Meiji, who also had a bad attitude and work ethic. If only they would send Anthony Rendon home for his piss poor attitude. I guess the $38 million they owe him for the next 3 seasons prevents that.

To the NFL, where the offseason is upon us. The Rams have over $50 million in cap space to play with, and a 1st round pick for the first time in ages. That means after a promising season, they have a chance to further improve their team. The first thing they need to do is continue to invest in their offensive line, so they can protect Matthew Stafford. They can do this by re-signing Kevin Dotson, and adding another interior lineman. They also need to add an edge rusher as well, which is a position you can never have enough depth at, as well as get some help at cornerback. They should also be considering finding Matt Stafford’s successor. That’s where the question becomes whether or not they want to use their 1st round pick on the likes of JJ McCarthy or Bo Nix. Especially since next year’s draft is not expected to have a lot of great QBs. This could be their chance to invest in a capable successor. However, knowing Les Snead, he probably has his eye on some stud to trade for with his 1st round pick and armed with tons of cap space.

Then there’s also the Chargers, who are working through their own salary cap problems. They are $45 million over the salary cap, and the biggest question is around what they do with Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams. Of course Bosa would generate a great deal of trade value, and Mack is coming off a great season, but the solution here is obvious. Just by cutting the injury prone Mike Williams and keeping the rest of the group, they would put themselves $35 million below the salary cap. Then of course they’ll have to decide if they want to invest in Austin Ekeler for another year. Ultimately though, if the Bolts are going to have a successful year, they will need to hit on a lot of their 2024 draft picks, and considering they have all 7 of them, they are in good position to do so.

UCLA’s at-large tournament hopes are officially cooked. After losing to USC at home over the weekend, the Bruins will only be able to make the Tourney this year if they win the PAC-12 Tournament. Plus at this point, their odds of winning the Power Ball seam a lot more likely given how they are playing. Mick Cronin showed how great of a leader he is by taking responsibility and accountability for the loss against USC, saying they had a terrible week of practice and he didn’t prepare them. However, the team simply cannot shoot, and guys like Adem Bona cannot take themselves out of the game with foul travel. All of that is too problematic for Cronin’s leadership to overcome. Meanwhile, Andy Enfield is probably asking to get fired as USC head coach. The Trojans have had an enormously talented roster, but despite the win on Saturday, are one of the worst teams in the PAC-12. I’m not sure USC cares enough though about basketball to make that change.

Finally, court storming became a very hot topic over the weekend after Duke was upset by Wake Forest, and Duke Forward Kyle Filipowski was injured when fans rushed the court. Although I love the fact that court storming happens, and it’s an amazingly cool moment, I can see why it is totally dangerous and should be banned. Are there ways to make it safer? Probably, but in reality, as cool as it is, fans do not belong on the court or field, especially wreckless teenage college students. I am amazed though at the number of people defending it, and trying to find ways to keep it alive in a safe way, even on social media. It’s almost like if it weren’t a Duke player that were injured, more people would want the court storming banned. Why am I not surprised? In any case, we’ll see if anybody can actually ban this, considering the NCAA is completely spineless and powerless in this day and age.


Monday Morning Coffee

February 19, 2024

Happy Presidents Day! That was easily the worst NBA All-Star Weekend of my life time. Every event progressively got worse and worse, with the peak of embarrassment coming last night in the main event. It really just underscores the fact that this generation of players is soft. They claim they don’t want to get hurt. Ok, but you put more effort into training in the summer, but aren’t worried about getting hurt there, so why is this any different? Everybody wants to be an All-Star, but nobody wants to actually own the responsibility of being an All-Star, which should include showcasing the stars of the league in spectacular fashion. That’s how it used to be. There are fans paying thousands of dollars in tickets on the secondary market to watch this crap. Yet the players are just disrespecting them by not putting any effort. The dunk contest on Saturday night was a joke without any big names. At least Jaylen Brown was a legit name that was man enough to do it, even if his performance wasn’t great. Everyone competes in the 3-point contest without fear of getting hurt, so why should the rest of the weekend be any different? Even the Jennifer Hudson halftime show was underwhelming after seeing Usher a week ago during the Super Bowl. On the bright side, that’s probably the most defense a Doc Rivers team has played in a while. Nevertheless, Adam Silver better fix this fast or else the All-Star weekend just needs to end or go the way of the Pro Bowl.

One of the most interesting developments from All-Star Weekend was Lebron James saying that he hopes to finish his career with the Lakers. For all the talk about teams like the Warriors calling and inquiring about trading for Lebron, it was all meaningless. I love Rob Pelinka asking Daryl Morey if Joel Embiid was available, when he called to ask about Lebron. I’m sorry Rob, I owe you an apology, as I wasn’t familiar with your game. You may or may not like the fact Lebron seems more likely to stay a Laker, depending on how you feel about Lebron, but I think it’s a good decision for both sides. Sure you can criticize the Lakers for how they do things. However, you can tell that Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka are very superstar player friendly, and know how to develop good working relationships with the likes of a Rich Paul. By keeping Lebron in purple and gold, it speaks volumes to the reputation of the franchise in getting superstar players to want to buy in and come to the Lakers. I’m not sure if the the Lakers are a championship team, but they are still a good team with Lebron, as long as Darvin Ham isn’t doing stupid things with the lineup. The West is also extremely wide open, even though Denver should be considered the favorite. It sure would help even more to get the likes Jared Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent, and Cam Reddish back in the lineup to shore up the teams defense.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are 2 games out of 1st place in the West at the All-Star break, and still looking like an excellent team. They have won 7 of their last 10 games, and their stars are healthy and playing at a high level, which is what they’ve always needed to succeed. With that being said, the loss to the Timberwolves last week provided some matchup concerns as we progresses toward the postseason. Specifically, do the Clips have enough size and physicality to win a 7-game series against bigger teams like the Wolves and Nuggets? It almost sounds weird in this era of NBA ball, but size and length in the paint does neutralize a lot of advantages on the perimeter. That can be a concern for a Clipper team who’s strength is on the perimeter and the wing in particular.

In College Hoops, that was a devastating loss by UCLA last night. They looked like they were on their way to a victory against Utah, and then Mick Cronin made a very regretful mistake: he called timeout after a clutch jumper by Dylan Andrews in the final seconds. That gave Utah the time to setup a play, which would eventually beat the Bruins at the buzzer. However, the game wasn’t really lost on that, and it was actually lost when Sebastian Mack found a way to get ejected earlier in the game. Ultimately, that means UCLA will have to win every regular season game from here on out, or win the PAC-12 Tournament. Both of which seem like an impossible task, after the hole they have put themselves in. I thought maybe this team might be able to pull it off and squeeze into the tournament, but their run was too little too late. It’s a shame because to Cronin’s credit, the team really was improving and getting better in close games. Still, the overall talent on this team has to be re-stocked to where it was the last few years. I’m confident that it will give their track record.

UCLA guard Will McClendon reacts after Utah center Branden Carlson scores with less than a second remaining.

Baseball Spring Training is upon us! The Dodgers will get the exhibition schedule underway later this week in Arizona. I know everybody wants to talk about Shohei Ohtani, and I completely understand why the coverage is all about him. However, what I really want to know is how nasty Yoshinobu Yammamoto is going to be. Reports are that his stuff has been absolutely filthy, and there is devastating movement on his pitches. What has me a bit concerned is that the Dodgers don’t plan on using a 6-man rotation this season, according to Andrew Friedman. This is a little surprising to me given how they’ve over-relied on their bullpen the last few years. There’s also the fact that Yammamoto will likely have to throw more innings this year than he’s ever thrown in Japan, Walker Buehler is coming back slow from Tommy John Surgery, and Tyler Glasnow has injury history. Even with the injuries to Clayton Kershaw and Dustin May, the Dodgers have enough manpower to go with a 6-man rotation from the get-go. However, if Andrew Friedman’s computer says no, then I guess we are all wrong.

As for the Angels, Arte Moreno created even more uneasiness last week with his comments to the media. Moreno basically said he has no plans to spend more money to improve the team, no plans to improve their spring training facility, and no plans to negotiate with the city of Anaheim to improve their stadium situation. All this, and he mentioned he plans to continue to own the team. When I first read this I thought it was an article from The Onion. I’m sure that’s what every fan wants to hear. If the Angels aren’t careful, they are going to quickly turn into the Oakland Athletics, but potentially even worse without the farm system they have. At least Mike Trout came out this morning and said that he doesn’t currently have plans to ask for a trade, but by the sound of it, it’s clearly something he has considered and might consider in the future. Leave it to Anthony Rendon though to reiterate that he’s basically just showing up for a paycheck, and that baseball isn’t really that important to him. This guy is probably going to ask if he’s earned enough PTO to take the next month off. Should be a great season in Anaheim. This team will be lucky to win 70 games.

Finally, the LA Kings righted the ship a bit last week, winning 3 straight games on the road, and a couple of in very dramatic fashion. With just 30 games left in the season, the Kings were on the verge of slipping out of a playoff spot before this run, which took firing their head coach, Todd McClellan. Of course it’s not the least bit surprising that promising young defenseman Brandt Clark entered the lineup and made an immediate impact, including scoring the game-winning goal on Saturday. Maybe if the Kings coaching staff and front office would come to their senses and start to play another promising young player, Arthur Kaliev, they might be even better.

Monday Morning Coffee

February 12, 2024

Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on winning their 2nd straight Super Bowl title, and 3rd in the last 5 years. The story is going to be how great Patrick Mahomes is (even though he sounds like Kermit The Frog), as well as how great Andy Reid and Travis Kelce are. However, it was all about the Chiefs defense this season, which got them through a very up and down season, and put them in position yesterday to to win the game in dramatic fashion in OT. I know we always like to kill the opposing team when they lose, and criticize them for all the mistakes they made, but the 49ers played a phenomenal game, and Kyle Shanahan is a great coach. I love how Mecole Hardman caught the game winning pass in the Super Bowl, and got about a 10 second interview on the podium. I guess that’s what happens when you have Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Taylor Swift on your team. Also, Taylor knows how to slam a beer better than most college frat guys.

As for the broadcast itself, in general, Super Bowl Commercials used to be much better than they are today. Everything is so much more conservative in nature, because everyone is so easily offended. With that being said, I thought the Dunkin Donuts Commercial was funny, because Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were very much themselves, especially with all the Boston-isms. I personally was a fan of the Christopher Walken BMW Commercial, mostly because I love a good Walken Impression. Other than that, the commercials were just ok. Usher’s halftime show was on point though. The guy has dance moves, and who knows how he does them in roller skates. I like how everyone thought Taylor Swift was going to just show up and perform, as if the Super Bowl halftime show is like some karaoke bar where you can just grab the mic and start performing.

To the NBA, where the Lakers stood pat at the NBA trade deadline last week. While I’m sure some of you may be dissatisfied, I can’t blame Rob Pelinka for taking that approach. There was no player available at this trade deadline that was going to move the needle for the Lakers and suddenly make them Championship favorites. At best, there were minor improvements that would have cost them far more than they were worth. On top of that, the Lakers best shot to improve this year is getting healthy, and playing more consistent lineups. Spencer Dinwiddie was arguably the best player available, and the Lakers got him for free. That’s how few impact players there really were. I realize this completely goes against most people’s strategy to just microwave a championship, but look around the NBA. The teams that are at the top of the West – Minnesota, OKC, the Clippers, and Denver – are all teams that have kept their cores together for a while. Let’s hope that in the last 30 games or so the Lakers can find that chemistry they did last year and build on it. No more screwing around with the lineups Darvin Ham!

I will never get tired of reminiscing about Kobe Bryant and how he made us all feel. Last week was another reminder of that with the statue of him that was unveiled in front of Crypto.com Arena. The fact that there are going to be three statues of him though is really unbelievable. It also serves as a reminder of just how loved this man is worldwide, especially in Southern California. I’m just astonished though that Vanessa Bryant has the strength to go through this whole ceremony two more times after all she’s been through. Then again, even more so than us, she and her family can never get tired of celebrating Kobe.

The Clippers are still rolling and are vying for 1st place in the West. However, one thing nobody is talking about is Kawhi Leonard as a potential MVP candidate. That’s mostly because he plays for the Clippers, which doesn’t even get you a decent table at an LA restaurant these days. However, over his last 31 games, he is averaging 26 ppg while shooting 56.7% from the field and 50.6% from three. There may not be a player who has been that efficient over that kind of stretch. The Clippers may actually be the only team right now that has the confidence that they could beat the defending champion Nuggets in a 7-game series.

To baseball where the Dodgers re-signing Clayton Kershaw last week was very exciting news! I realize that some of you will roll your eyes at the thought of this given some of his playoff woes. However, for those of you that only pay attention to baseball during the playoffs, let me remind you that Kershaw is still a very good pitcher when healthy. He was 13-5 with a 2.46 ERA, in a season where his healthy was spotty. He will be the Dodgers #3 or even #4 starter this year once healthy, which is a pretty nice luxury to have. He also won’t have to pitch a full season, which could make him that much more effective, and the Dodgers did need a left-handed starter in their rotation. There’s also some sentimental aspects of this. Kershaw really should retire a Dodger, he can’t go out like he did in his last playoff start, and he’s only 56 strikeouts away from 3,000 in his career. All of that deserves another go-around with the Dodgers. Now that that’s taken care of, why not bring back Kenley Jensen? He can still pitch and probably wouldn’t cost a whole lot either.

There is actually breaking news this morning here on Jock Talk LA, which is that DeShaun Foster is the new UCLA Head Football Coach. Before I get to DeShaun, let’s talk about Chip Kelly. The way this dude left is a complete disgrace. We all knew he didn’t care about UCLA Football, hated recruiting, and wasn’t interested in building relationships with alums. Still, Martin Jarmond and Casey Wasserman publicly stood up for him, suggesting our accusations were ridiculous. Well now that Kelly left the job for a demotion as Ohio State offensive coordinator, who looks foolish now? Those guys should be completely embarrassed today. It also goes to show you that college coaches are getting tired of having to recruit kids just to retain their own players and keep them from the transfer portal. Heck, the Boston College head coach left for an NFL Coordinator position with the Packers! The landscape is changing big time. Sure a name like Peter Caroll would have been awesome, but I don’t think he’s coming back to college football with the recruiting so much different now. With that being said, UCLA was given a gift by Kelly leaving. I don’t know if DeShaun Foster will be the long-term answer as head coach. However, I can guarantee you that Foster will care a heck of a lot more than Kelly, the players will like him, and he will make an effort to connect with the alumni. It won’t be an easy transition to the Big 10, but that was to be expected, whoever the head coach was.

Monday Morning Coffee

February 5, 2024

Let’s start with the obvious. The Lakers aren’t going to trade Lebron James, and I didn’t need Rich Paul to tell me that. The Lakers are built with Lebron and AD as their cornerstones, and despite the ups and downs, there’s no reason to move away from that right now. For those of you that want to rebuild, let me remind you of what rebuilding looked like for 10 years before Lebron showed up. Bill Plaschke, take a hike with your trade ideas! As for Thursday’s trade deadline, there is no big name player available that is going to change the Lakers fortunes. With the loss of Jarred Vanderbilt, the Lakers really need a point-of-attack defender like Dennis Schroeder, Tyus Jones, or Malcolm Brogden. Schroeder and Jones shouldn’t cost a whole lot, and maybe could even be had for some 2nd round picks. Too bad Gabe Vincent is about as useful as a door knob this season. I still have no idea how good this team can be, but they sure seem to show up against good teams. Just not the bad ones. Darvin Ham better stop screwing around with the lineups though with about 30 games left. They need to go about 18-13 to stay out of the play-in tournament. As for if Lebron is leaving in the off-season, this is one of those rare times I truly believe he has no idea what he’s going to do. If he wants to make max money, play with Bronny, be on a contender, and play in a city he finds desirable to live in, it will be hard to achieve all 4. He’ll have to figure out what he wants to prioritize, which is why he has that player option.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are continuing to roll, winners of 8 of their last 10 games, and trying to chase down the Wolves and Thunder for 1st place in the West. I doubt the Clips will do anything at the deadline. They already swung their big move of the season with the trade for James Harden, which seems to be working out for them right now. Congratulations to Russell Westbrook for hitting 25,000 career points. He’s certainly bought into his role on this team, which is a far more reduced role at this point in his career than he’s had on past teams, but that makes it better for everyone involved. Would have been funny if the stars aligned and Ty Lue was facing Doc Rivers in the All-Star Game. Even Doc thought it was ridiculous for him to be coaching. I always wonder if any of these guys actually want to be at the All-Star game, as opposed to just getting nearly a week off. My guess is they would prefer the vacation.

Let’s jump to the NHL, where you never want to see somebody lose their job, but the Kings firing Todd McLellan was that right move. Yes the players should feel really bad about it, but ultimately, the Kings still have young players they need to play more and develop to take to the team to the next level. McLellan wasn’t giving those young players the chance they needed, and his veteran players quit on him. The Kings have 3 wins in their last 17 games after starting the season looking like a real cup contender. The real question is if Rob Blake is going to be on the chopping block next if they can’t turn it around, especially after that disastrous trade with the Jets, which gave them a very disappointing Pierre Luc-Dubois. Only time will tell, but the Kings need to turn it around quickly.

Let’s go to baseball, where the thought might seem ridiculous, but why didn’t the Dodgers go after Corbin Burnes? The Orioles acquired the Brewers ace for a can of Coke and a bag of Skittles, mostly because he’s a soon-to-be free agent. The Dodgers have had such a great off-season the thought seems insane, but you can never have enough pitching, and they certainly had the prospects to make such a deal. Nevertheless, all eyes are on whether or not they can get another big bullpen piece, and bring back Clayton Kershaw. At the Dodgers fan fest over the weekend, Dave Roberts said he and Kershaw texted recently, and that they agreed to keep in touch. Unfortunately, this sounds like something you tell your colleagues when you’re leaving a job for another company, and then it never actually happens. We’ll see if Kershaw comes back, but it doesn’t sound too promising. He may just want to pitch closer to home with the Rangers.

Then there’s the Angels, who still aren’t spending a whole lot of money despite their bullpen additions. According to Jim Menolo and Jeff Joyce, on their XM/Sirius MLB hot stove show, they said it was “informed speculation” that the Angels aren’t spending money because the team is about to be sold. I’m not entirely sure I buy this story because even before Arte was looking at selling, this is how he’s managed the payroll the last couple of years. Nevertheless, if this is true, the timing would be somewhat tragic because it would be after Ohtani’s free agency, but I’m sure Halo fans would be excited to have an owner with deeper pockets and a modern baseball thinker moving forward.

I’d like to take a moment to expressed my condolences to the family and friends of actor Carl Weathers, who passed away last week. Weathers was an incredible American actor, who was featured in a number of movies that were significant to American pop culture. Most notably in the first 4 “Rocky” movies, where he played Apollo Creed, Colonel Al Dillon in “Predator”, Combat Carl in the “Toy Story” franchise, and Chubs in “Happy Gilmore”. The man was truly an icon, and should absolutely be celebrated!

We’re just a little less than a week away from Super Bowl 57, where the Chiefs and 49ers will have their showdown in Vegas. Even if you ignore the fact that the 49ers fan base is one of the most obnoxious in football, it’s hard to imagine San Francisco winning this game. The Chiefs have the 2nd ranked defense in football, which is something they aren’t notorious for, which has gotten them to this point. Of course Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Taylor Swift are great, but what really matters here is that Brock Purdy is going to have to find a way to beat the Chiefs defense, which has been spectacular all year. Outside of that I look forward to seeing all the bets on how much Taylor Swift will be shown on the broadcast!

This seems ridiculous to say, but the UCLA Basketball team can still win the PAC-12 regular season title. The Bruins have nine games left, and they are tied for 5th in the conference, but they are only 1.5 games out of 1st place. Considering they will play all the teams in front of them in those 9 games, they could easily get there. They would probably need to make quite a bit of noise in the conference tournament, if not win it, because they don’t have any signature wins against ranked teams. However, the development we’ve seen from Dylan Andrews, and Lazar Stefanovich has been impressive, and was on full display over the weekend in the win against Oregon. Don’t write this team off quite yet!

Finally, I can’t believe that Chip Kelly is actually considering NFL Offensive Coordinator jobs right now. On one hand, I think if he takes one, it would be a blessing for the Bruins Football program because they can get out of his contract, and move on from a guy who really doesn’t like his job. On the other hand, the fact Kelly is considering leaving tells you how far the program has fallen, and how much more difficult it will be in the short run when they move to the Big 10 next year. Still, let’s hope for the sake of the Bruins football program, Kelly decides to go to the NFL.