Monday Morning Coffee

October 2, 2017

Wow, USC is involved in another corruption scandal.  Who could have seen this coming? This is about as surprising as Donald Trump insulting somebody.  Assistant basketball coach Tony Bland is the culprit this time.  On the bright side, this makes him an excellent candidate to be the Dean of the medical school, which is facing a scandal of its own.  The corruption at USC is still at comedic levels a decade after the Reggie Bush and OJ Mayo violations, even after installing new leadership.   However, the NCAA either needs to abolish their archaic rules and start paying student-athletes, or make these violations punishable by criminal law.  I’m in favor of the former.

Speaking of the Trojans, on the field their sloppy play finally caught up with them.  You would have thought that USC had Jesus Christ playing quarterback, the way everyone was talking about Sam Darnold.  The Trojans could not convert a 3rd down to save their lives, and their offense is highly dependent on one or two explosive plays.  That’s not good enough against a quality Top 15 opponent like the Cougars.   I’m sure the story will be how much the injuries have hurt the team with no bye weeks, but this team looked questionable prior to being banged up.  I can easily see a couple of more losses with this erratic group.

Meanwhile, the Bruins earned an underwhelming victory at Colorado.  UCLA football success has been reduced to victories over mediocre programs in which they avoid embarrassment.  This game was more of the same, characterized by hero ball from Josh Rosen, and a running game that has disappeared like Hilary Clinton.  What’s very telling is that UCLA recruits three and four star players, while San Diego State takes the leftovers.  That San Diego State team held Stanford to 17 points, while UCLA gave up 58 to them.  This is all about coaching and it’s becoming more and more obvious that Jim Mora is the problem.

Elsewhere around college football, Notre Dame beat fake Miami (Ohio) over the weekend, which isn’t much to get excited about.  The Irish still can’t figure things out when they face anybody ranked in the top 10.  Meawhile, here’s an updated look at the rest of the college footballs rankings: 1. Alabama 2. Alabama’s backups 3. Alabama’s cheerleaders 4. Alabama’s practice squad 5. Clemson.

To the NFL, where I completely expected the Rams to get crushed like a grape against the Cowboys yesterday, but they proved me wrong.  I thought the Rams could only win when they played the 49ers on Thursday night with those pajamas they wore last week.  Instead, Todd Gurley looks like one of the best running backs in the NFL, and Jared Goff is finally commanding respect from defenses.  In fact, Gurley faced 6 or fewer defenders in the box on 16 of his 23 rushing attempts.  Goff isn’t Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers, but he’s not turning the ball over and making sound decisions.  The Cowboys are a great team and the Rams deserve credit, but they did start 3-1 last season.  I wouldn’t even be surprised if they took down Seattle next week, but I’m not exactly ready to call them the class of the NFC yet.

If the Chargers lose at home, but no Charger fans were actually there to see it, did it actually happen? The Bolts are 0-4, and their five fans are obviously very disappointed with their start.  As usual, Stubhub Center was filled with Eagles fans, and many of the best seats in the house were completely empty.  The Bolts look like a team loaded with talent, but they consistently come up short on offense, and are terrible at finishing games.  That was once again the case yesterday.  It’s not all bad news for the Chargers though.  First of all they get to play Eli Manning and the Giants next week, who are just as terrible.  They can look forward to seeing Eli have that “somebody shot my dog” look on his face with a victory.  There’s also the idea that if they keep losing, this is an excellent year to get a high draft pick and draft a successor to Philip Rivers.

As for the rest of week 4 in the NFL, the Saints and Dolphins game in London was so atrocious, England is considering declaring war on the United States after such an act of terror.  The Jets won a game and since they are supposed to be tanking, Todd Bowles will likely be fired after collecting two wins.  Only the Browns could make the Bengals look like a Super Bowl team.  If you threw something in the trash yesterday, you probably racked up more passing yards than Joe Flacco.  The Raiders suck again.  The Bills are 3-1 and the Lions look like one of the best teams in the NFL, so hell must have frozen over.  Matt Ryan should never ever play receiver again……

The Dodgers begin the playoffs on Friday, and Dave Roberts claims he’s not intending to use Clayton Kershaw on short rest.  That’s like going to a strip club and claiming your intention isn’t to get a lap dance.   The Dodgers claim they have pitching depth but we know they will use Kershaw on short rest, which hasn’t worked in the past.  October also means we can expect guys like Pedro Baez to blow games in the 7th and 8th, and for Kenley Jansen to be forced into ridiculous six-out save situations because the Dodgers don’t have any competent middle relievers.  These are the nightmares of recent postseasons that have haunted LA, and are sure to haunt them again.

Then there’s the Angels, who missed the playoffs again.  This is a good time to look back at Albert Pujols saying that he’s not concerned with the standings in April, but rather in September.   Maybe if Albert decided to show up in April and start earning his $240 million, the Halos might have enough wins to actually be in the postseason.   Everyone knows a win in April is one less you need in September.  Everyone except Albert and Mike Scioscia.

The Lakers started the preseason on Saturday against the Wolves, but they got some severely disappointing news on Friday.  Russell Westbrook signed a 5-year extension with the Thunder.  Westbrook will likely go on a massive shopping spree at Hot Topic with his $205 million but there’s greater repercussions than that.  That not only eliminates him as a potential free agent acquisition, but also hurts the Lakers’ chances of signing Lebron James and Paul George.   This is just another example of why free agency by itself is a horrible way to build a team.  It’s also an example of why it isn’t the best idea to give away young productive players like D’Angelo Russell for half a can of Diet Coke.

Finally, Hugh Hefner passed away at 91 last week.  Has there ever been anybody who has had more fun in life than Hef? Every man in America could only dream of living a life like that.   It was so fun, when he gets to heaven, he will wonder why it’s such a downgrade.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 25, 2017

The Rams and 49ers were shockingly able to provide us with one of the best Thursday Night Football games we’ve ever seen.  The Rams also put up 41 points, and coincidentally, 41 is the number of people that actually attended the last Rams home game.  In all seriousness though, Sean McVay deserves credit for turning the Rams offense around and making Jared Goff a competent NFL quarterback.  However, I still have no idea if Goff is Ryan Tannehill or Matt Ryan.  It’s hard to tell when both of your wins are against the Colts and 49ers.  It’s not hard to tell that the Rams defense is garbage.  They can’t stop the run, and their secondary is average at best.  Todd Gurley seems to think the 49ers still have Joe Montana and Jerry Rice because he thinks so highly of beating San Francisco, he says the Rams are going to go “whoop up on Dallas.”  If that happens, they’ve got my attention.  Until then, this team has simply improved from terrible to mediocre.

While most of the NFL players were taking a knee during the national anthem, the Chargers looked like they were taking knee the entire game in their humiliating loss to the Chiefs.  Even more humiliating is the fact the entire stadium was filled with fans off the opposition for the 2nd week in a row.  I don’t know why the league or Dean Spanos is surprised nobody cares about the Bolts in Los Angeles.  People in LA have been screaming for years that they don’t want the Chargers to come to LA, and now the league and Spanos have egg on their face.  Spanos is more hated than Donald Trump in Amerca’s Finest City, so there’s no way the team could move back without him selling the franchise.  If the league were smart, and don’t worry they aren’t, they would let Spanos sell the team for a fair price, then move the team back to San Diego and build a stadium themselves.  That would put the Chargers back where people give a damn about them.  In the meantime, nobody even cares they stink.

Elsewhere around the NFL, Kirk Cousins just forgot to preheat the oven, but he finally tore it up last night against the Raiders.  You like that? The Jaguars probably will never leave London after dominating the Ravens.  The Jets, Jaguars, and Bills all won by a combined score of 90-29, and the Bears upset the Steelers in OT.  The odds of getting hit by Hurricane Maria and a 7.0 earthquake at the same time are greater than that happening.  The Falcons reminded us that god just hates the Lions, while Tom Brady reminded us that he might be the GOAT.  To protest injustice, the New York Giants have decided not to show up in the win column this season.  The Bears Marcus Cooper thought he had a touchdown, and then blew it by celebrating too early….

To College Football, where USC continues to be underwhelming, yet continues to find the win column.  The latest uninspiring performance came against Cal, and required some big plays from the defense to remain undefeated.  The Trojans decided to show up for exactly three minutes of this game, which was just enough to avoid being upset by an unranked team.  Most Trojan fans are going to spin this as “we’re still undefeated which is what matters.”  However, the way they are playing is going to matter when they have to play at Washington State, vs Utah, and at Notre Dame in a few weeks.  Sam Darnold and the Trojan offense are finishing about as well as a 70-year-old dude without his little blue pill.  Things are about to get much tougher for Southern Cal, which means we’re about to find out if they can live up to the hype.

There’s absolutely no hype to the Bruins, who got dismantled again by Stanford.  For the last five years we’ve been waiting for Jim Mora to show us a team that would be tough enough and physical enough to beat Stanford.  Mind you, not all of those Stanford teams were national powerhouse teams either.  On Saturday, we saw a UCLA team that has no defense, no effective threat at wide receiver, and a frustratingly inconsistent running game.  The fact UCLA had a 100-yard rushing running back for the first time in two years was almost more aggravating.  I’ll give Mora credit for his recruiting, and ability to make the team more disciplined.  However, after a solid first two years, and three disappointing years after that, it’s clear he can’t develop his talent.  With every loss Mora gives us more false promises than a Presidential candidate.  I think we’ve seen enough of the status quo in Westwood.

The Dodgers may have clinched the division on Friday, but their bullpen has officially turned into a pumpkin and stinks again, with an ERA of 7 this month.  The pen is also giving up home runs like it’s the steroid era as well.  I guess this is what happens when you have the naive belief that starting pitching is overvalued, and you are forced to use exhaust your pen over the course of 162 games.  Nice work Andrew Friedman.  The Dodgers are also about to give up their lead on the Indians for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Then again, I’m not so sure why I’m worried about it because I have diminishing confidence in the Dodgers’ ability to get to the World Series.  I still have no idea why Curtis Granderson is playing everyday when he gives you a hit about once every 40 at bats.  Granderson must have some serious dirt on Dave Roberts because there is no explanation for this.  October is just around the corner and that means my biggest Dodger nightmares are about to arrive like the Grim Reaper standing outside my door.

Then there’s the Angels, whose odds of making the playoffs appear about as good as winning the Powerball.  Mike Scioscia’s new strategy is to pray his starting pitchers arm’s don’t fall off after five innings, and then hope one of his relievers don’t blow the game.  The Halos schedule down the stretch may be brutal, but that’s why they should have shown up for games in May, June, and July.  Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips were nice contributors for a few weeks, but don’t be fooled, the Halos are deeply flawed.  They need to reconstruct their entire roster, and could use an upgrade at literally every position other than centerfield and shortstop.  If the Angels hope to make the playoffs before Mike Trout’s contract expires, they should seriously consider this.

I’ve gotta hand it to Thunder GM Sam Presti for trading for Carmelo Anthony.  Presti basically gave up half a can of Diet Coke, and two pretzels for one of the best scorers in the NBA.  When you’re in a small market like OKC you have to know your window to win.  Presti realizes that with Russell Westbrook’s looming free agency, and working under a cheap skate owner.  Still, the Thunder are like everybody else and have no chance of beating the Warriors.  They very likely will be starting from scratch next year with Westbrook, Paul George, and Anthony departing via free agency.  I wouldn’t be shocked if two of those three players ended up on the Lakers.  Speaking of the Lakers, I’m still not really sure why they decided to sign Andrew Bogut.  There’s probably no center that is going to play more than 20 minutes in Luke Walton’s system, and those minutes should go to developing Ivica Zubac.

Finally, sports is supposed to unify society and help everyone rise above political differences.  I find it deeply disappointing that Donald Trump has escalated things with the entire sports world, tweeting that NFL players should be fired for kneeling during the National Anthem, and for uninviting Steph Curry to the White House.  At the same time though, I don’t think NBA players should refuse an invite to the White House, even if they don’t like Trump.  If players want to use their fame to make a difference and let their voice be heard, then why not take the opportunity to go to the White House and let your voice be heard in front of the most powerful person in the world? This would be more productive than having Lebron James, Steph Curry, and Donald Trump sling insults at each other via Twitter like high schoolers.

 

 

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

 

September 18, 2017

I thought the Rams actually had a good defense? The Rams were handing out rushing yards like they had a Groupon for them against the Redskins.  So much for the Rams getting Aaron Donald back and taking advantage of a soft early schedule.  That was a very winnable game they failed to take advantage of.  At least Todd Gurley looked as good as he was during his rookie year, and I guess we’re supposed to be excited that Jared Goff isn’t as crappy as we all thought he might be.  This team is still lacking a lot of talent, and it’s going to really show in the coming weeks against better teams.  They are also lacking some serious fan support too, with a reported 56,612 in attendance yesterday.  It feels like 25,000 of those people showed up disguised as seats.

Things were just as embarrassing in Carson, where the Chargers found a way to blow another game in dramatic fashion.  This time it was against the Dolphins.  You can take the Chargers out of San Diego, but you can’t take bad losses away from the Chargers.  After the team spent all week talking trash about Jay Cutler and how useless he is, they found a way to lose to his team.  For the 2nd straight game the Bolts lost on the leg of Younghoe Koo.  He should change his name to Younghoe Boo because the fans should boo him when he steps on to the field.  Oh and by “the fans” I mean the mere 25,000 that showed up to watch the team play.  The combined attendance of the Rams and Chargers was 81,000 this weekend, which is less than the 84,000 that showed up on Saturday to watch USC play Texas.  I can’t wait to see what the StubHub Center looks like when the Raiders come to town and the entire stadium is silver and black.

Elsewhere around the NFL in Week 2, Tom Brady went full on Katrina against the Saints and their bad defense.  The Patriots keep losing players to injuries but keep winning.  I walked to the fridge and picked up more yards than ‘Zeke Elliott did in the Cowboys’ loss to the Broncos.  Marshawn Lynch is the perfect Raider, and they dominated the Jets.  The Seahawks won but they score about as often as Steve Urkel.  The Packer defense was already in postseason form in their loss to the Falcons.  Andy Reid is going to celebrate the Chiefs victory over his former team by giving his cholesterol a shot of KC BBQ.  The Vikings should have just forfeited against the Steelers when they found out they had to start Case Keenum in place of the injured Sam Bradford.  The Ravens beat the Browns, but so does everybody.  The Colts found a better quarterback but couldn’t find a win against Arizona.  Starting Blake Bortles at QB is like having your football team destroyed by a hurricane every week, which the Jags learned in their loss to the Tennessee.  The Bears got destroyed by the Bucs, and are playing like Jay Cutler is still their quarterback.  Greg Olsen’s foot is broken and so is Carolina’s offense, despite their win against the Bills. The last time the Bengals scored a touchdown, Obama was still President.

To College Football where USC escaped with a win Saturday night against Texas, in a game that was nearly disasterous for their season.  Perhaps the Trojan players were star struck by seeing Matthew McConaughey on the sidelines, or just thinking about him selling them a Lincoln.  Just when you think USC has turned the corner, they come out flat against a team they should have blown off the field.  To make matters worse, Stanford lost to San Diego State, meaning that the Trojans haven’t  even beaten a ranked team yet, while struggling in two of their three wins.  Clay Helton was out-coached by Tom Herman, and were it not for some late game heroics, Sam Darnold was outplayed by a true freshman quarterback for Texas.  This is sure to hit them in the rankings, and has to make you skeptical.  I like how ten years later, this game was hyped up for “revenge” for what happened in 2006.  I’m pretty sure none of the current players on either side gives a damn about that, and are more focused on what party they are going to go to next Thursday night on fraternity row.

As for the Bruins, they suffered an embarrassment of their own by losing to Memphis.  I don’t care if the game was too early.  UCLA should never lose to a team like Memphis.  Do you really expect Josh Rosen to throw the ball 56 times, or any quarterback, and not throw two interceptions? Rosen’s ego can be irritating, but you can’t blame these losses on him when Jim Mora is asking him to play hero ball.  UCLA has no system and they have no running game.  It wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the Bruins get beaten like they stole something next weekend against Stanford.  As long as Mora is coaching this team, Bruin fans should buy a Vegas timeshare for their annual trip to the Las Vegas Bowl.

Elsewhere around College Football, Notre Dame did the UNTHINKABLE and knocked off an unranked Boston College team.  I’m waiting for the day Brandon Wimbush gets his head knocked off as Brian Kelly gets another one of his quarterbacks killed by letting him run around like he’s Forest Gump.  That’s what happens when the rest of your offense is inept.  The Clemson defense is the kryptonite to Lamar Jackson.  The SEC has announced they are demoting Tennessee to Pee Wee Football and will no longer be affiliated with the program.  Well at least they should announce that after Tennessee lost to Florida on a last second Hail Mary.  Rick Pitino made an appearance on ESPN’s College Gameday, but I didn’t realize that he buys his clothes at Baby Gap….

The Dodgers are really making a habit of this whole winning thing.  It was one thing to merely end that 11-game losing skid, but now they are hot again.  Cody Bellinger claimed that what helped the team get through such a rough stretch was having veterans who had been there before.  I didn’t realize that the Dodgers have players on their roster that have been on the team since 1958, because that’s the last time they had a streak that bad.  The Dodgers’ potential for playoff failure still scares me to death.  Somehow they found a center fielder that is worse than Joc Pederson.  Not only should Curtis Granderson be chained to the bench, but so should Yasmani Grandal.  Austin Barnes is statistically the most valuable hitter against right-handed pitching in the National League this year, so I have no idea why he isn’t in the lineup everyday.  Only two more weeks before the postseason, and the Dodgers have to worry about their pitchers being done after five innings, and their hitters being done after September.

The Angels sure are determined to make this AL Wild Card race interesting.  It sure would help their chances though if they didn’t keep losing pitchers to elbow tears.  The latest is JC Ramirez, who is done for the year, and possible next year too.  It’s almost like the team’s training staff is always finding new ways to get their pitchers injured.  Then there’s Luis Valbuena, who is perfecting his bat flip, even during those moments where he’s barely hitting the ball out of the infield.  Valbuena can’t even hit .200, meaning that never has an athlete that is so bad acted so cocky.  Valbuena’s antics actually angered Astros pitcher Mike Fiers so much, after giving up a home run to the Angels’ infielder, he threw at his head.  That got Fiers suspended for five games.  Fiers said he felt “disrespected”.  If you give up a home run to a guy who is hitting .200, you deserve to be disrespected and suspended.

In case you haven’t heard, the Lakers are retiring Kobe’s jersey on December 18th, when they host the Warriors.  They will also be retiring both his #8 and #24 jersey’s.  I think the #24 Kobe was much better than the #8 Kobe, and the Mamba reached the pinnacle of his career wearing #24.  That one should really be the only one to be retired, however, there’s probably no player in their right mind who would want to wear #8, so the Lakers might as well retire both jerseys.  By the way, the cheapest ticket to get in that game right now is $600.

The NHL preseason is underway, and it couldn’t have gotten off to a cloudier start for the Kings.  Defenseman Drew Doughty told The Sporting News that if the team didn’t start contending for Stanley Cups again, he would consider signing elsewhere when his contract expires in two seasons. When an LA Times reporter questioned him about this, he said he would love to finish his career as a King.  Drew, if you back peddle any faster, you will start moon walking like Michael Jackson.  The Kings are a lot closer to rebuilding than contending, and Doughty could easily leave the team in two years.  On the bright side though, the Kings Twitter account is run far better than that of the Ducks.  Here’s a look at their early season social media fail….

Finally, has ESPN’s Jamele Hill been living under a rock for the last year? She just witnessed complete carnage at her company, as a number of her colleagues were laid off due to declining ratings and more cord cutting.  We can attribute some of that to the fact that ESPN’s content has become more and more political, which has displeased viewers.  So what does Jamele do? She decides to go on some Twitter rant, ripping Donald Trump for being a racist, and called him a white supremacist.  Regardless of what you think of Donald Trump, if Jamele wants her political voice to be heard, she should just go join CNN with the 12 other people sitting at a desk screaming their biased opinions at each other.  I also like how hypocritical ESPN is after suspending Linda Cohen last spring for saying the network was getting too political, yet they did nothing to Hill for her unnecessary rant.  It’s also apparent to me that Colin Kaepernick has no desire to play in the NFL, because he came out and supported her rant on Twitter.  I guess the man just couldn’t get enough controversy in his life.

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

September 11, 2017

The Dodgers are collapsing faster than the state of Florida.  Oh wait, this must all be a part of Andrew Friedman’s plan right? The Dodgers must be sending a message to all the other teams in the NL, trying to make them overconfident come playoff time.  Those other NL teams must be real overconfident now because the Dodgers’ entire pitching staff looks like a bunch of stiffs.  This has to be the case since Dave Roberts assured us all a few days ago that the Dodgers will win the NL West.  Not even Clayton Kershaw can help the team find the win column, and suddenly the entire team can’t hit.  I’m beginning to think this is the law of averages catching up with the team at the worst time, because they are on the verge of one of the biggest choke jobs in baseball history.  Since Sports Illustrated came out with an issue asking if this is the best team ever on the cover page,  Perhaps the Dodgers would have better luck if Sports Illustrated’s next cover page said “Biggest Choke Job Ever?.  It’s officially time to panic.

Meanwhile, the Angels are still hanging in the AL Wild Card race, but are limping their way toward the finish line.  After avoiding a sweep yesterday against the Mariners, they Halos are just one game out of the final Wild Card spot.  However, Andrew Heaney looks more broken than those couples that win reality dating shows.  Garrett Richards looks like his arm could fall off any moment.  Parker Bridwell has remembered that he’s just Parker Bridwell.  This team has impressed me given how they’ve handled adversity, but since they have nine more games against Houston and Cleveland, I doubt they can make it through that field of land mines to make the postseason.

To the NFL, where the Colts made the Rams look like the 1972 Miami Dolphins yesterday at the Coliseum.  I’ll be far more impressed when the Rams manage to do this against a team that isn’t playing at a college level, which probably won’t be for a few more weeks.  Actually, I’m not even sure that Scott Tolzien played at a college level yesterday.  Of course Jared Goff is going to look like Joe Montana against a crappy defense like that.  The Colts lost by so many points, Chuck Pagano actually forgot who they played, referring to the Rams as the 49ers.  Don’t think the Rams managed to entirely avoid embarrassment for the week though.  The amount of empty seats at the Coliseum made the game look like a University of San Diego football game.  I guess this NFL in LA thing is really working out so far.

Elsewhere around week 1, apparently that judge had Ezekiel Elliott on his fantasy football team.  Elliott and the Cowboys got an easy win against the Giants.  First Hurricane Harvey, then losing to the Jags.  As if Houston hasn’t suffered enough.  Andy Dalton is already in playoff form, throwing four  interceptions in yesterday’s loss to Baltimore.   The NFL should spot the Browns 14 points in every game to make it more fair.  They could have used that yesterday in their loss to the Steelers.  Russell Wilson and his Seahawks got manhandled by the Packers yesterday.  He must have stopped having sex with Ciara again.  The 49ers barely scored more points than the San Francisco Giants yesterday.  Alex Smith is probably going to sit out of next week’s game with arm fatigue after throwing the ball more than 30 yards in the Chiefs win over the Patriots.  The Bills beat the Jets in a game that should have been called “the toilet bowl”.  Great special teams tackle by the Jets on themselves here…..

To college football, where the Trojans finally found what they were missing against Stanford: an elite quarterback.  The Cardinal had won 7 of the last 10 games against the Trojans, but Sam Darnold returned to the elite QB we saw for most of last season, leading USC to a big win.  The Trojan defense is nothing to brag about, but if Ronald Jones is going to run like Reggie Bush, and Sam Darnold is going to play like Matt Leinart, that won’t matter.  Nobody even heard of Deontay Burnett until the Rose Bowl last January, and now he’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Darnold’s four TD passes vaulted him back in the Heisman discussion.  The Trojans beat Stanford at their own game, running the ball, and playing a much more physical, ball-control game.  The only thing Stanford did better was drink more chardonnay during the tailgate.  USC should roll in their next two games against Texas and Cal, before facing a tough Washington State team on the road.

It would have been very “UCLA” of the Bruins had they lost Saturday’s game against Hawaii after defeating Texas A&M in dramatic fashion.  Instead, Josh Rosen picked up where he left off by throwing five TD passes, piling up 329 yards like he was playing a video game, and UCLA hammered Hawaii at home.  The Bruins did what they were supposed to do, crushing a team with inferior talent, but they still have plenty of issues.  The defense is banged up, the offensive line provides about as much protection as a broken condom, and they have no running game.  If Rosen can overcome all that and lead the Bruins to an upset road victory or two over the likes of Stanford, Washington, or USC, he definitely deserves to win the Heisman.

As for the rest of college football, nice job by the NCAA to schedule all of last weekend’s great games at the exact same time.  Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly says that the Irish are really close to being able to compete with any football team in the country.  After losing to Georgia at home, the Irish are 2-11 in their last 13 games against top 15 teams.  They are only a head coach away.  Looks like “The” Ohio State University has “The” worst pass defense in the country, and won’t be in this year’s college football playoff after losing to Oklahoma.  Baker Mayfield was savage putting that flag into the center of the Buckeyes logo after the win.  Here’s the Buckeyes new logo…..

Finally, I feel terrible for Florida, and my thoughts and prayers go out to the families that were impacted by the Hurricane.  However, why don’t these people evacuate sooner? The real problem is the name of the Hurricane.  Nobody is afraid of Hurricane “Irma”.  However, if you gave it an Arab name like Hurricane “Abdullah” or Hurricane “Muhammad”, people would run for the hills.  I also love the fact that these news reporters are practically in a contest with each other for an Emmy award while reporting on the Hurricane.  In fact, it’s getting so competitive we’re practically seeing field reporters blown away on live television, and they seem to be ok with it.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 4, 2017

Every blogger and writer has done it at least once before. You write your story or column before the game is over because you think the game has been decided. I was guilty of that last night when I thought UCLA would never rally from a 34-point deficit against Texas A&M. I was ready to trash Josh Rosen, and instead he shut me up for a week by throwing for 491 yards and 4 TD’s. I was also about ready to have Jim Mora fired and replaced with Chip Kelly, but I guess that will have to wait at least another few weeks. The Bruins showed they are entertaining and may win some games, but they are still deeply flawed. There is no running game, their offensive line is downright offensive, and they can’t tackle anybody. It’s probably only a matter of time before all this catches up with them. In the meantime though, they deserve credit for yesterday’s win, while Josh Rosen can go keep his grades up in those really hard classes he hates taking.

So this is the USC football team everybody waited eight months to see? I guess everybody was excited to see a team that tackles about as well as my high school varsity team did, and one that is made up of wide receivers that can’t even catch a cold? Despite beating Western Michigan, this looks a lot more like the disastrous team we saw at the beginning of last season, rather than the juggernaut we saw after the Rose Bowl. The Trojans don’t have much time to get their act together either, with Stanford coming to town next week. You can be assured that the Cardinal will be running the ball early and often, against the tackling dummies that appeared to be the USC defense on Saturday. Sam Darnold had what was easily his worst game as a starter. Even though it wasn’t entirely his fault, you’ve gotta wonder if the kid can live up to all the ridiculous hype he’s been getting since the end of last season. The Trojan faithful had better hope that this was simply a case of the boys doing a little too much early semester partying on fraternity row. Don’t be surprised if they drop slightly from their #4 ranking.

Elsewhere around college football, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame actually looked halfway decent against Temple. The Irish have talent, but they are being far more courteous to their fans this year by waiting until at least after the first week of the season to disappoint them. #1 Alabama looked strong in their win over #3 Florida State, in the cousins vs convicts battle. After the win, ‘Bama should be entitled to replace the Jets this season in the NFL. Tom Herman made his coaching debut for the Longhorns, and he learned that everything is bigger in Texas. That includes their losses, as they got beat by Maryland. This  Wyoming punter really put the “special” in special teams…..

The Dodgers have problems.  They aren’t new problems.  They are the same ones I was concerned about back in April.  When things really matter in October, they still don’t have any pitcher you can trust outside of Clayton Kershaw.  You thought it was Yu Darvish? Somebody needs to tell him “Yu Suck.”  Some of you are panicking because you are just noticing this now, but the last week has only reinforced what I’ve thought all year.  At the same time, Cody Bellinger should not only be rookie of the year, but also NL MVP because the Dodger offense has gone to hell when he’s been out of the lineup.  Curtis Granderon has been such a failure at the plate since he was acquired, all Alex Verdugo needs to do is hit .240 to make the playoff roster.  When it comes to pitching, this team is nothing but Clayton Kershaw and four guys carrying baseball gloves.


Meanwhile, the Angels better hope they make the playoffs because what they are doing is pure recklessness.  They just acquired Justin Upton and Brandon Phillips, who are both nice players, but are nothing more than two-month rentals.  The are depleting a farm system that is already devoid of talent.  As if that wasn’t reckless enough, they are sending Garrett Richards to the mound on Tuesday against Oakland, when he hasn’t even built the arm strength to throw 60 pitches.  60 pitches???!!! Why not just get some AAA scrub to give you three innings since it will be a bullpen game anyway? If Richards is supposed to be the Halos franchise pitcher, they certainly aren’t treating him that way.  If the Halos were going to acquire anything in August, it should have been pitching.  Instead, adding Upton and Phillips is like making a run to the store for some vodka and tequila in the middle of a party, when you really just need some ice.

To the NBA, where the Lakers avoided a disaster last week, after only getting fined $500 K by the league for tampering with Paul George.  This could have completely derailed the Lakers’ plan to sign two max level free agents, or even just George next summer, had the penalty been anything more severe.  Word is that Jeanie Buss was not pleased that her front office did this.  However, how can you blame Rob Pelinka.  This happens all the time.  How do you think that Chris Paul got traded to the franchise of his choice, the Rockets, three days before he was due to become an unrestricted free agent?  Since the Lakers still have the largest TV deal in the NBA, they will be paying $500 K fine like….

I don’t blame Aaron Donald at all for holding out.  If Donald were to simply play out his rookie contract and then go on to hit the open market, he would likely be in decline.  This is the only leverage he has, and since the Rams are a talentless team, there is no reason for them not to pay him.  Perhaps it would have been smarter not give Tayvon Austin an extension worth $28 million last summer.  The bad news for Aaron Donald is that the Rams might actually get off to a decent start since they aren’t really playing anybody in the first three weeks of the season.  However, when it’s all said and done, this is probably going to be no better than a 6-10 team.

Then there’s the Chargers.  With each passing day, the Bolts’ ownership must be considering jumping off the tallest building in Los Angeles, as they continue to walk down the path of irrelevancy.  The San Diego State Aztec football team had 40,000 people at their first football game on Saturday.  The Chargers drew half of that in their first preseason game.  You think that’s bad? The combined ratings for the Chargers and Rams final preseason game wasn’t even as great as the Raiders final preseason game that was shown on KTLA.  It’s still a Raider town, and the Raiders aren’t even coming back.

Brock Osweiler is the real winner after he got cut by the Browns.  He’s getting paid $16 million to not play for the Cleveland Browns.  Since he never got to actually play a game, it isn’t an unreasonable question to ask: is he the greatest quarterback in franchise history?

Finally, NHL training camps open in a little over a week from now, but the trash talking has already begun between the team Twitter accounts.  You have to love that Vegas is already well-versed at making fun of the Sharks.

 

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

August 28, 2017

Obviously I have to start with Game of Thrones after an awesome season finale.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  The Stark clan survived an entire season! I’m not sure who got more inches of Snow in this episode: Kings Landing, or Dany? Jon Snow looks like he just knocked up the Mother of Dragons, so I look forward to two pregnant queens battling it out on Real Housewives of Incest City next season.  Admit it: incest went down and you thought that it was ok.  Meanwhile Ser Jorah was probably crying in the next room, and I’m still not sure what Tyrion was doing awkwardly standing outside Dany’s room.   Love how Brienne and the Hound were acting like such proud parents of their little murder child, Arya.  I’m telling you, Cersei is crazy enough to kill Jamie if he betrays her, and she nearly did.  I wouldn’t trust her to tell me what she wanted on her pizza.  I don’t understand the Dragon’s blue fire.  Is it spitting fire? Ice? or a blue laser? This is going to trouble me until season 8.  Congratulations to the show producers for finally killing off a character we wanted to see die in Littlefinger.  This is me when I heard that we might have to wait until 2019 for the final season to start…..

So you think that Mayweather vs McGregor was a big fight? Wait until your wife finds out that you paid $100 for it.  They stopped that fight way too early.  For that price I expect to see somebody actually hitting the ground on a knockout.  It was a far better fight than most of us expected.  However, just as it started getting good, the referees pulled the plug.  Props to McGregor for making it interesting, but there were no losers in this one.  I guess that explains why Floyd wore a ski mask when entering T-Mobile Arena.  He was robbing the public of its money.  McGregor is taking home $75 million, while Mayweather is getting $100 million.  Coincidentally, 100 is the highest number that Floyd can count to.

Well Jared Goff is consistent.  He’s consistently inconsistent.  In Saturday’s loss to the Chargers, he turned the ball over twice, and couldn’t complete a pass for more than seven yards.  Wasn’t getting Sammy Watkins supposed to help stretch the field? The offensive line also continues to be a train wreck for the Rams.  Even more disappointing is the sparse crowd showing up for these games.  The Coliseum was less than half full on Saturday.  The Chargers couldn’t even fill a 27,000 seat stadium, and the Rams’ crowds have been getting smaller by the day.  While you may think this is just preseason and it’s no big deal, that shouldn’t be the case when you have two new NFL teams in the #2 media market in the country.  Watching these two teams makes me wish I had stared at the solar eclipse for longer so I wouldn’t ever have to watch them play football again.

The real rivalry that went down at the Coliseum on Saturday was the race between Keyshawn Johnson and Marcellus Wiley.  This should have been a giant mismatch, but Keyshawn didn’t seem to take it too seriously, so it ended up being far more competitive than expected.  Marcellus false started three times, and Keyshawn just barely beat him after that.  There seemed to be some controversy over the start of that race, so when they raced again, Marcellus beat him the 2nd time.  Say what you will about Keyshawn being the true winner here and the faster man.  However, Marcellus more than held his own and should not have even been in the final frame.  Keyshawn is a former #1 overall pick in the NFL people.  The man only narrowly avoided being embarrassed by a defensive end! He should still never hear the end of it from his colleagues at ESPN.

I’m not sure you people really understand the gravity of these Laker tampering allegations if they turn out to be true.  If the Lakers are forced to forfeit any future 1st round picks, they wouldn’t be able to move the Luol Deng contract.  If they can’t move the Deng contract, they can’t sign two max level free agents, which means you can forget about Lebron James coming here next summer.  The league might not even let them sign Paul George with their one max slot, and then they’d be totally screwed.  I was actually convinced Lebron James was going to sign with the Lakers until a few days ago when Ric Bucher reported that he’s headed to the Lakers.  If Bucher reported that the sun was going to rise tomorrow I’d be concerned the world was going to end.

Speaking of Lebron and the Cavs, there’s no way they are going to have this trade with Boston vetoed because of Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury.  They just can’t bring Kyrie back to Cleveland given everything that’s transpired between him and the organization.  As for the Celtics, Danny Ainge had a chance to flip that valuable Brooklyn 1st round pick for Jimmy Butler, Paul George, or DeMarcus Cousins.  Instead, he flipped it for a player who doesn’t play any defense, and is incapable of being the best player on a championship team.  How are the Celtics planning on defending people anyway now that they lost their three best defenders this offseason?  It doesn’t really matter though because Lebron could have Bone Thugs-N-Harmony as his teammates and still make it to the NBA Finals in the East.

It figures that the night the Dodgers get shutout at home, it’s the night they honored the LA Kings.  This past weekend was a perfect reason why I’d be worried about the Dodgers’ postseason hopes.  They play a team with some real pitching like the Brewers, and they can’t hit.  Sure they miss Cody Bellinger, but it feels like the law of averages could be catching up with Chris Taylor and Justin Turner.  They can’t be on fire forever, but LA better hope that fire doesn’t go out come October.  As for their pitching, Yu Darvish might not even be the Dodgers’ 4th best pitcher right now.  Rich Hil, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Kenta Maeda are all throwing the ball better.  I guess that might be the reason the Rangers gave him up at the 11th hour for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

Finally, Albert Pujols is statistically one of the least valuable players in the American League, yet somehow, the Angels are still in the AL Wild Card hunt with five weeks left in the season.  Pujols blew two opportunities with the bases loaded yesterday.  He’ll probably still be batting 3rd tomorrow as well.  I guess $240 million just doesn’t buy what it used to.  The Halos sure could use some better starting pitching, but they can’t be optimistic they are going to get it anytime soon.  Andrew Heaney hasn’t looked great since he returned from injury, while Garrett Richards is still two weeks away from returning, and might be held to a 60-pitch limit once he’s back in the rotation.  Is it even worth it to push two valuable young arms back in your rotation when they aren’t healthy or effective? The answer is no, but Arte Moreno would tell you otherwise, since all he cares about is selling tickets and entertaining rather than winning.  This is what Pujols looks like running to first base…….

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

August 21, 2017

Everything was going great for the Lakers until this weekend, when they found out they are under investigation by the NBA for tampering with Paul George.  This is like your ex-girlfriend trying to prevent you from ending up with the girl you know you’re going to end up with by trashing you on social media.  Every team tampers.  It’s simply the name of the game when trying to lure NBA free agents these days.  If the league cracks the whip on the Lakers and forbids them from signing Paul George, it would be shameful.  Meanwhile, Chris Sheridan has sources saying Lebron is leaving Cleveland at the end of the year.  Could he make it any more obvious that he’s planning on joining the Lakers?

To the NFL, where Jared Goff shocked most of us haters over the weekend with his performance against the Raiders.  The guy suddenly looked like he can play.  However, prior to that Sean McVay gave us reason to doubt him.  Every time McVay talks about Goff’s progress, the best thing he can say about him is that he has command of the huddles and is gaining respect.  That’s it?  What about his accuracy as a passer? Can he actually avoid turnovers? He did on Saturday, but even McVay sounds skeptical that he can be consistent.  Meanwhile, since the Chargers are giving out free tattoos to their fans, maybe they can pay for the Rams front office to get one across their forehead that says “sign Aaron Donald.”

Watching the Chargers and Saints do battle in practice, and in preseason last night can only make you look back on the Philip Rivers vs Drew Brees debate.  Brees got screwed in 2006 when Chargers GM AJ Smith told him he would be re-signed, even after his shoulder injury.  However, Smith went back on his word, ultimately letting Brees sign with the Saints, while giving the starting job to Rivers.  I’ve always felt bad for Brees because his heart was in San Diego, and he never wanted to leave.  However, had he remained in San Diego he would not have become one of the greatest quarterbacks the NFL has ever seen.  The Bolts would not have built the team around Brees the way the Saints did, allowing him to become the player he did.  That’s no disrespect to Rivers, who is a fine quarterback as well.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are still rolling despite yesterday’s loss to the Tigers.  However, Andrew Friedman finally stopped listening to his computer, and sent Joc Pederson down to the minors.  He found a way to replace him with Curtis Granderson, who is already contributing quite nicely.  Since only 30% of the fans in LA can see the Dodger games, I guess if the Dodgers win the World Series only 30% of the fans will get to see the parade.  Nobody should worry about comparing those great regular season Dodger teams of the past that failed in the playoffs to this one though.  That would be like saying the Presidential approval rating of the 1962 President is better than today……oh wait never mind! The Dodgers really are screwed.

Big win by the Angels yesterday that kept them tied for the last AL Wild Card spot.  That series should have been a sweep though because Friday’s loss was brutal.  I guess there’s only 40 more times or so where the Angels can disappoint their fans like that because something tells me the Halos will make it interesting, yet somehow, the pitching will let them down when they need it most.  I also can’t figure out why the LA Times can’t send an actual beat writer to cover the team, as opposed to just giving readers an AP article on their road games.  Mike Trout is the best player in baseball and Albert Pujols just hit his 600th home run, yet the Halos can’t even get any local coverage.

The LA Kings held a “State of The Franchise” meeting last week, and it was nothing but selling false hope.  They might as well have told their fans that they are going to be the same team that will try to be physical, but probably won’t be able to score.  Apparently Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar are going to score twice as many goals as last season, just because they are in better shape.  LA’s best hope is for their recent draft picks to turn into something, but that’s probably a couple of seasons away.

I tried to watch The Bachelor in Paradise, but it was terrible.  Somehow, the show managed to take all of the uninteresting characters from previous seasons, and combine them into one uninteresting hour of television.  Corrine and DeMario gave us some entertainment for exactly one episode, but the collateral damage left us with a discussion on sexual consent and race.  The show’s budget is going to hell too.  Chris Harrison has to be the lifeguard, and wardrobe won’t even buy him a bathing suit.

Finally, what an episode of Game of Thrones last night on HBO.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Read no further if you plan to watch it later.  Face it, we’ve reached the point where when one of your favorite characters dies you can probably deal with it.  However, when we lose a dragon, you’re heartbroken and want to call PETA.  That’s exactly what happened last night.  If you think that’s not strange enough, how many of us are rooting for incest to take place and see Jon Snow and Daeny actually hook up? It nearly happened last night, and I was shocked it didn’t.  The Night King would be both an excellent Olympic Javelin thrower, as well as a far better quarterback than anybody on the Jets roster right now.  Imagine what Donald Trump was probably thinking if he saw this episode.  “The White Walkers were peacefully protesting before a stone was thrown.  There is blame on both sides.”  Where does the army of the dead get chains to pull the dragon? Is there a Walmart north of the wall?  After episodes like that, I’m beginning to think HBO needs to include therapy in your subscription.  I think we need to face the fact that there’s a strong likelihood this season, and the series could very well have an unhappy ending.  One of Sansa, Arya, or Daeny seem most likely not to make it out of this season.  The show could tear your heart out next week, then disappear for a year.  Hard to tell if this is a TV series, or your ex.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

August 14, 2017

Roger Goodell has committed quite a few acts of cruelty during his time as NFL Commissioner.  The Bills topped all of those acts of cruelty last week by trading Sammy Watkins to the Rams.  This is called building a franchise reactively instead of proactively.  The Rams need talent and playmakers that can stretch the field, but they can’t be in the business of giving up high draft picks in the process. Watkins will probably suffer another injury boarding the plane that will keep out for 6-8 weeks.  If the Bills believed that Watkins was healthy, they wouldn’t have given up on him.  He’s a problem for the Rams now, but the bigger problem is their offensive line, which still pretty terrible.  Saturday’s preseason game against the Cowboys showed that problem on full display.

Speaking of the Cowboys, they learned that Ezekiel Elliott would be suspended for six games for alleged domestic abuse.  Jerry Jones is so upset over this, he’ll probably sign Lucky Whitehead and cut him again. I also like how every Cowboys fan on Twitter turned into an attorney once they heard this news.  Meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un will probably play in the NFL before Colin Kaepernick does.  The Falcons had a double digit lead on the Dolphins going into the 4th quarter of a preseason game, blew it, and lost. They’re already in playoff form.  Mike Glennon’s 2nd pass as a Chicago Bear was a pick six. He’s replacing Jay Cutler perfectly.  The NFL regular season is just a few weeks away!

There were 21,000 people at the Chargers game last night.  There were 25,000 people at the last LA Galaxy game.  After last night, LA officials are probably on the phone with the city of San Diego trying to figure out if there is a way the Bolts can move back there.

To baseball, where the Dodgers may have won two of three against the D’Backs earlier in the week, but they gave us a glimpse of where they should still be concerned come playoff time.  The bullpen.  In two of the three games against the D’Backs, the pen imploded in the 7th or 8th inning.  As great as the Dodgers have been this year, this is the same problem they’ve had in the postseason the last four years.  Even scarier is the fact the St. Louis Cardinals are knocking on the door of the playoffs.  As if I didn’t have enough nightmares from the recent Dodger playoff appearances.  Houston Mitchell of the LA Times says that we should stop worrying about what happens to the Dodgers if they come up short in the playoffs, because it’s like worrying about the traffic on the way home from Disneyland.    Houston forgot that we worry about the crowds at Disneyland and the traffic on the way home, but it doesn’t stop us from going.  It’s just part of being a sports fan.  We don’t stop being Dodger fans because they kick their fans in the balls every October, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less when it happens, or stop us from being worried about it.

Meanwhile, the Angels are now sitting in the 2nd Wild Card spot in the American League.  I don’t know if that says more about the Halos, or the fact that the rest of the American League isn’t very good.  This team is Mike Trout and a bunch of pitchers held together by duct tape and chicken wire.  However, that pitching staff might actually be getting some serious help in the next couple of weeks.  Andrew Heaney looks like he could be coming off the DL soon, and Garrett Richards could be coming shortly after that.  When you add those two guys to rookie Parker Bridwell, who is now 7-1 after yesterday, the Halos roster may be getting better when they need it most.

Lonzo Ball picked Lebron Over Kobe when asked who is better.  I realize that some Kobe fans probably want to burn Lonzo’s house down, impound his car, and eject him from the universe.  However, this was a shrewd move by Lonzo, who is angling to play with Lebron in 2018, when he will be a free agent.  Lonzo doesn’t always say a lot, but when he does, he gets it.

I like the Clippers new uniforms and all, but how often are they going to keep changing them? Steve Ballmer has been trying to establish a new brand and much different identity since taking over the team.  However, how can you establish that identity when you change uniforms more frequently than Zach Randolph smokes weed?

If Josh Rosen thinks the demands of being a student athlete at UCLA are unreasonable, then he can try being a regular student.  Like all the other students at UCLA, he can struggle to actually find a spot in the classes he needs for his major to graduate.  He can also get a job and pay for his education the way many others are, as opposed to the free education he is receiving.  Nobody said being a student athlete is easy, but Rosen shouldn’t act like he doesn’t have the opportunity of a lifetime in front of him.

Let’s talk TV, starting with The Bachelorette season finale last week.  How did Rachel ever leave Kevin Durant? They had so much in common, like the fact they were totally desperate and would do anything for a ring.  They each got one in 2017.  Everyone put her on pedestal when the show started, but she ended up disappointing many by choosing Bryan over Peter.  There’s nothing like wanting to be married more than wanting to be with the right person.  You thought Nick and Vanessa were the most superficial looking couple you’ve ever seen? Rachel just said “hold my beer”, and gave us an even more fake relationship with her and Bryan.  How does Bryan feel about the fact that his fiancé wanted to be with another man 24 hours before he actually proposed to her? That’s like winning by forfeit.  Bryan is to true love what chiropractors are to medicine: fake.  Unfortunately, Rachel was too busy flying around in helicopters, and having dates in Spain with too many guys to realize that is the case.  The season started off so promising, but had an unsatisfying ending.

Finally, Game of Thrones went down on HBO last night with another episode.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it so read no further if that is the case.  This episode wasn’t edge of your seat like last week but still pretty solid.  Nobody really thought that Jamie was dead after last week right?  You have to appreciate the alliances that are taking place here.  A coupe of bastards, two dudes who have been resurrected, a disgraced knight, a Wildling, a sorcerer, and the Hound, all team up to form a coalition with Cersei, who really wants them dead.  The Lannisters now look like they are screwed, but their fate will just have to wait until the battle with the White Walkers is over.  Something tells me Littlefinger is going to outsmart Arya, and will successfully drive a wedge between the two Stark girls with his latest move.  The biggest bomb of the show was Gilly mentioning Rhaegar being secretly remarried to Ned’s sister. That makes Jon Snow a true Targaryen, and gives him an even more rightful claim to the iron throne than Dany.  Jon touching the dragon might as well have been a DNA test to prove he’s a Targaryen.  Only two episodes left in 2017!

 

 

Monday Morning Coffee

August 7, 2017

I’m that guy.  That’s right.  I’m the grumpy Dodger fan that finds a way to remain skeptical of their World Series chances, even after putting together the best 50-game stretch in the last 100 years of baseball.  How can you blame me though? The team hasn’t won the World Series since 1988, while their middle relief and lack of starting pitching depth has let them down in the last four years of postseason play.  I’m not so sure that Tony Watson or Tony Cingrani can fix that relief problem, given their struggles against lefties this year.  Cingrani sounds better suited to be Italian seasoning on chicken, rather than a Major League pitcher.  As for Yu Darvish, he looked great in his debut, but knowing the Dodgers’ luck, he’ll probably pick up a blister shaking hands with Rich Hill and Brandon McCarthy.  Maybe Andrew Friedman should have acquired Steve Bartman at the deadline as a scapegoat if the Dodgers come up short in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the trade deadline came and went in disappointing fashion for the Angels.  The Halos are like a drunk ugly guy at the party who can’t get a ride home, but isn’t good looking enough to find a girl to hook up with.  They tried to get prospects for some of their relievers, but their assets weren’t good enough to help replenish their disastrous farm system.  They also aren’t nearly talented enough to compete for an AL Wild Card spot, let alone the AL West title.  It’s no wonder the Angels have no choice but to keep sticking Albert Pujols in the middle of their batting order, and Ricky Nolasco on the mound.  They have no better alternatives.  It would also be nice if Kole Calhoun didn’t step out of the batters box after every pitch.  The man has become the human rain delay.

Doc Rivers is out as head of basketball operations for the Clippers, but will remain coach.  That should insure that the Clippers will miss the playoffs next season.  Austin Rivers is probably wondering whether or not he’ll be traded anytime soon.  In all seriousness though, Doc Rivers trusts Lawrence Frank quite a bit, so I’m not sure how much they will disagree on issues anyway.  Doc also isn’t going to be interested in sticking around long if the Clippers miss the playoffs and are closer to a rebuild.  In any case, I think it’s safe to say that Danilo Gallinari plays and punches like a Clipper.  He couldn’t have begun his Clipper career in more typical fashion by breaking his hand on another player’s face.  He and Blake Griffin should call themselves the orthopedic front court duo.

Just one week into NFL training camp, the Chargers have lost rookie offensive lineman Forrest Lamp to a torn ACL.  You can take the Chargers out of San Diego, but you can’t take the injuries out of the Chargers.  Good thing GM Tom Telesco claimed his focus was on drafting players that he thought would remain healthy.  1st round pick Mike Williams is going to be hampered by a back injury this year as well, so the Bolts are clearly in mid-season form.  The Chargers not only can’t seem to get their draft picks right, but they also can’t seem to get their birthday’s right either.  They wished Williams a happy birthday when it was really two months away.

It’s great to hear that the 2028 Olympics are going to be back in Los Angeles.  Let’s be honest though, LA and Paris are really two of the few remaining cities that are capable of profitably hosting the summer games.  Part of the agreement includes several hundred million dollars up front that the city of LA plans to use for youth sports.  However, as a concession for deferring the games until 2028, LA could have extracted even more from the IOC, who really could have been put over a barrel.  Instead of utilizing existing spaces at UCLA and USC for an athlete Olympic village, LA could have had the IOC dump money into a new Olympic village, which could have been converted into low income housing.  That would help solve a few of SoCal’s current issues like homelessness.

Let’s talk TV.  The season finale of The Bachelorette goes down tonight on ABC.  However, the story of last week was the Men Tell All, which was extremely uncomfortable.  That episode was as dramatic as when Scaramucci got canned in the Oval Office, but with more attractive people.  Lee got absolutely crushed on national television, and spent two hours trying to avoid saying “I’m a racist.”  What happened to his thick southern boy accent?  Chris Harrison didn’t exactly help Lee’s cause either by putting him on blast by showing some of his previously racially insensitive tweets to the audience.  I’m still not sure if ABC should send a memo out to the public apologizing for casting a racist, or if they meant to do this to give us what they thought would be great entertainment.  Meanwhile, DeMario clearly missed the memo that he was supposed to wear a suit to the show.  He looked like he was getting ready to pick up a shift at the Olive Garden when it was over.  There should be a Men Tell All show for all the people Donald Trump has fired in the last six months.

Then there was Sharknado 5, which went down on SyFy last night.  Once again, this thing nearly broke the internet, dominating Twitter.  I know what you’re thinking: a tornado with sharks could never happen.  However, a Sharknado is ten times more likely than the Rams or Chargers making the playoffs, and far more realistic than CNN’s reporting.  I’ve gotta hand it to the producers.  They found a way to offend nearly every country in a two hour period.  I feel like Tara Reid’s entire script was her yelling “aaaaaahhhhhh” for the whole movie.  Where can I get one of those Gil helmets for Halloween? So many people died in Sharknado 5, I was beginning to think i was watching Game of Thrones.  More on that in a moment.  Of course they are coming out with Sharknado 6 next summer.    If Ms. Piggy and Michael Jackson had a baby, it would grow up looking like this.

Finally, what an unbelievable episode of Game of Thrones last night on HBO.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if that is the case.  I love how most people watching the episode probably weren’t even phased by the fact thousands of men were burned alive, yet the dragon took one spear and everybody was horrified.  I was most concerned that we could lose Dany because no significant character had died recently.  However, I did not want to see Jamie die either, which is ironic, because most of us probably have a soft spot for the guy that pushed a ten year old boy out the window when this whole thing started.  Speaking of that 10 year old boy, Bran is starting to get on my nerves.  He’s like your weird emo friend who you just can’t talk to anymore after he’s taken one philosophy class in college.  Arya is getting way too cocky with her sword skills.  I have a feeling it might actually get her killed.  Poor Sansa, all of her siblings have super powers yet what is hers? Attracting terrible men?  Robert Baratheon once said only a fool would meet the Dothraki in the open field battle.  I think we all know what he meant after that episode.  Do you realize that there has been a battle in every episode this season? Do you realize how wild the next three episodes are going to be? I don’t know how I’m going to wait another week for this.  Writing in a television series might have never been this good.

 

Monday Morning Coffee

July 31, 2017

Don’t be surprised or disappointed if the Dodgers don’t do anything much before today’s MLB trade deadline.  In two previous trade deadlines, Andrew Friedman has held on to his top prospects the way Charlie Sheen hangs on to bags of cocaine.  That was when there were real elite pitchers available like Cole Hamels, David Price, and Johnny Cueto available.  Today there’s nothing but a bunch of has-beens available like Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander, even though the trade value of the Tigers’ pitcher is enhanced by the fact his girlfriend is Kate Upton.  Improving the bullpen would be nice, and so would Yu Darvish, but this isn’t the trade deadline to go all out.  If Friedman didn’t do it then, he’s probably not going to do it now.  He doesn’t need to either.  As for Clayton Kershaw, the one positive about his back injury: he gets to rest his arm for the playoffs.

What are the Angels doing? They should be moving players at the trade deadline like they are having a clearance sale, just to do whatever they can to improve their farm system.  The Halos’ front office refuses to look themselves in the mirror and admit that they need to rebuild.  They might have Mike Trout, but they have no money to go get quality free agents, and no solid young players to build with.  By now, Bud Norris, David Hernandez, and Yusmeiro Petit should all have their bags packed.  Even Kole Calhoun could fetch some decent prospects.  Instead, the Angels will continue to fall out of the playoff race and come this winter, they’ll once again try to convince everyone that they are just a player or two away from contending.  That really means they are about to make another stupid free agent signing.

By now you have probably heard about how rough of a week NFL wide receiver Lucky Whitehead is having.  In fact, it’s probably the worst week any human being has ever had.  First his dog gets stolen by his ex-girlfriend, sold to some rappers who then held the dog for random.  Then he gets cut by the Cowboys after being accused of a crime he didn’t commit.  As if that wasn’t bad enough, he got claimed off waivers by the Jets.  At this point, he should probably change his name to “Unlucky Whitehead”, and request to go back to jail since that’s better than playing for the Jets.  You’ve gotta love the Cowboys’ logic.  Ezekiel Elliott was accused of multiple crimes, but he’s a great talent, so they protect him at all cost.  Whitehead was falsely  accused of a crime but since he’s not a great talent, the Cowboys cut him immediately.

Speaking of the NFL, the fact the Rams have been unable to come to an agreement with Aaron Donald just goes to show you how out of whack the NFL is.  Quarterbacks like Joe Flacco and Ryan Tannehill can make $20 million a year just for being mediocre.  Meanwhile Donald is one of the best players in the league, and he’l be lucky if he makes half of that.  The only thing exciting about the Rams this coming season is the fact that they have a fun training camp to go watch at UC Irvine.  They might be able to find better football players walking on campus though.  Not even an easier schedule can stop this team from being one of the worst in the NFL in 2017.

The Chargers also opened up training camp in Costa Mesa over the weekend.  I’m definitely intrigued at the thought of the Bolts playing in a soccer stadium, where the fans could provide an incredible home field advantage.  However, the Chargers division and their schedule, is way too tough to expect them to make the playoffs.  Also, the fact that Mike Williams is already injured is about as surprising as Donald Trump insulting his fellow Republicans.

I can’t believe people actually thought that Michael Phelps was going to get in the water next to a Great White Shark and actually race it.  I was shocked that those people walk among us.  It was actually bold enough for Phelps to get in the water and swim in an area that has been known to have Great White Sharks in it.  Even against the computer model shark, Phelps had no chance.  In order to train for the race he should have just had Ray Lewis chase him around with a knife.  The race would have been way more fair if marine biologists had injected the shark with the same weed that Phelps smokes.

The Bachelorette is back on ABC tonight for the “Men Tell All”, but last week’s episode had to make you laugh.   Rachel is of the opinion that when the show is over, she has to be engaged.  On the other hand, Peter has a take it a little more slow opinion that the rest of the world has, yet he is viewed as the crazy one.  I’m beginning to think Rachel’s dad would rather light himself on fire than end up on reality television, since it’s been two seasons that he decided not to be on the show.  The show has a tendency to make you think one thing is going to happen, in last week’s case getting rid of Peter, then does something totally different.  Peter is still in the game.  However, you know Rachel is mad at him because she didn’t even finish her glass of wine while she was with him.  Rachel never leaves an empty glass of wine people.  For those of you that like Peter, be afraid.  Be very afraid.

Finally, Game of Thrones went down on HBO last night.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you haven’t.  This was an amazing episode.  Lady Olenna just dropped the mic in spectacular fashion.  That woman showed that a dying rose can still kill a Lion.   The meeting between Daenerys and Jon didn’t go as smoothly as we thought.  She gave a long tale of how she struggled to get where she is now, and all Jon had to say was “I actually died and came back to life.”  I like how it no longer takes a full season for characters to travel from one part of the seven kingdoms to the next.  Jamie is going to kill Euron at some point.  Someone needs give Sansa their HBO GO password so she can go back in time and figure out what the hell Bran is talking about.  Then again, if he told you he’s the “three-eyed Raven” instead of the Lord of Winterfell, you would probably think he just got back from Burning Man.  The Lannisters look like they are winning the war for now, but something tells me they are going to blow it.  The next episode can’t get here soon enough!