Author Archives: omzzzzz

Monday Morning Coffee

June 24, 2024

For all the jokes about the Lakers hiring JJ Redick, I don’t really have a problem with it. They’ll be introducing him this afternoon at a press conference at 1:30 pm. From the start of the process, you knew he was a strong candidate. Sure the Danny Hurley thing came up to, but the process wasn’t nearly as disorganized as many of you are making it out to be. You can criticize the Lakers for not valuing coaches, or being too Lebron centric, but that doesn’t make this a bad hire. The reality of it is, Redick can’t be worse at this job than the coaching we saw last year from Darvin Ham. There were some absolutely awful decisions game after game. I don’t expect Redick to make those, and I expect a modern looking offense with continued accountability on defense from everyone. The real question is whether or not he will be well received in the locker room, and not just looked at as a coach for Lebron. If that happens, then I think this has the potential to be successful. As for the roster, my expectation is there will be a bit of a shakeup this week. Why? Because if D’Angelo Russell opts in, the Lakers keep their #17 max, while resigning Max Christie, they would have already reached the 2nd apron. That tells me moves are coming.

As for the Clippers, this Paul George situation has to leave you wondering how it ends. Suddenly, the Sixers don’t seem interested anymore. Probably because as we’ve seen before, PG-13 said something stupid. He said on a podcast that he just wants to play basketball the right way at this point in his career. Oh really? You just want to be aesthetically pleasing? Sure you do. It’s become obvious since he left OKC that he wants to be paid like a superstar player, but have no part of the accountability that comes with it. For a 34 year old who has had a history of injuries of late, after those comments, it’s no wonder teams aren’t lining up to pay him max money. For those reasons, I actually think he ends up back with the Clippers. They want him back at a price that works for them, and at this point, that price may now be more than everybody is willing to pay.

To baseball where the Dodgers are still winning, but dealing with more injuries. The latest to go on the DL is Walker Buehler. It’s really unfortunate to see him struggling since he came back from his 2nd Tommy John Surgery, but it’s really not that surprising. Pitchers that come back from a 2nd Tommy John’s surgery usually don’t have an easy time. Putting him on the DL to figure things out is definitely the right thing to do. However, the question is if there is still time for him to figure things out while he is a Dodger. Buehler is in the last year of his contract. There certainly is time, but he’ll need to figure those things out in the month of July before we see if he can be a playoff pitcher. I will never say anything bad about Walker Buehler though. He manned up and pitched in the NLCS a couple of years ago when his arm was cooked, while Max Scherzer showed he was soft as Charmin tissue paper because he claimed he had a little “arm fatigue”.

As if we didn’t have enough negative things to say about the Angels already, they got dealt another tough blow when Patrick Sandoval was placed on the DL with a forearm issue. This could easily be an elbow issue, and one that results in a major injury. The worst part about it is that believe it or not, teams were calling the Halos about Sandoval. He’s actually a player the Halos could have gotten some value for. He’s also under team control for two more years. Just to put it in perspective for you, A 27 year old pitcher who is 2-8 with a 5.08 era in the Angels organization is valued. That’s because even the rest of the league knows with some halfway decent player development, Sandoval has the talent to be something he’s not able to be with the Angels.

I have no idea what Kelly Stafford was thinking. Last week on a podcast, she revealed that in college she dated the Georgia backup quarterback, and even slept with him, just to make her now husband, Matt Stafford, jealous. You have 4 kids with the guy? Why bring that up publicly? I get that there is some entertainment value to it for her, but some of the things this woman says on these podcasts makes you wonder if Matt goes home and scolds her for saying things she’s not supposed to.

Tonight may very well be the most viewed hockey game in history. The Edmonton Oilers will try to make history tonight and come back from 0-3 deficit to win the Stanley Cup against the Florida Panthers, in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. The Panthers look absolutely shell shocked, and I’m concerned about their confidence that they can still win this series. I hope they remember that they are playing game 7 at home, where home teams usually win game 7. However, the Oilers have the best player in the world, Connor McDavid, and they’ve looked dominant for most of the last 3 games. With that being said, I would love to see the Panthers find a way to win. Connor McDavid is great, but let’s just stop it with all these ridiculous comparisons to Wayne Gretzky, who is the GOAT. Plus, I don’t want the Kings feeling good about themselves losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, otherwise it just gives them more reason to rinse and repeat. Also, if the Oilers win, it will really put a damper on all those jokes we make about Canadian Teams not winning the Stanley Cup in ages.

Monday Morning Coffee

June 17, 2024

What a sad day it was last week when we learned about the passing of Lakers great Jerry West. I don’t know if West was a better executive or player, but he was certainly elite in both. His impact on the NBA was so great, and at the same time he was classy, humble, and modest. If there’s one thing that saddens me however, it’s that he could not finish his career within the Laker organization. He left the Lakers to go to Memphis, Golden State, and then with the Clippers. He wanted to come back to the Lakers, but unfortunately, he became estranged from the organization, and they just didn’t see eye-to-eye on any form of a reunion. It almost feels wrong that the end of his life came as a part of the Clippers organization. Even former long-time Lakers trainer Gary Vitti said that what happened makes it hard to root for the Lakers. The Lakers statement on his passing was rather brief too, which certainly won’t help the negative perception about their relationship with West. Nevertheless, we should be celebrating him and his impact on basketball, rather than focusing on the negative. You have to love Jerry West though because the man said he would rather die than witness the Boston Celtics win another title.

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Speaking of the Lakers, the negative narratives that emerge about the Lakers organization never ceases to amaze me, especially after they were unable to lure Danny Hurley to coach the team. Apparently offering 6 years and $70 million to Hurley, which would have made him one of the top 5 paid coaches in basketball, suggests that the Lakers are poor and don’t have the financial resources to compete against wealthy new owners. Some of you people who cover the NBA need to take a rudimentary economics course, because the Lakers have the richest local TV deal in the NBA. They have no problem going over the luxury tax year after year. You can accuse them of not placing the proper value on coaches, or even having a very lean staff, but just because they do things differently than the poverty franchises you cover, doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Going after Hurley was an interesting out of the box idea you have to give them credit for, but offering him more than they did would have been a mistake for a guy that has never coached in the NBA. There is also very little historic success for big time college coaches transitioning to the NBA. Hurley got more press by turning down the Lakers offer, than he did by winning back-to-back titles at UCONN. However, he had no intention of taking the Lakers offer, unless they blew him away, and for the Lakers, they didn’t really need to. You can criticize the Lakers for a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them. Bring on JJ Redick.

As for the NBA Finals, there’s been more coverage around the Lakers, Caitlin Clark, and Charles Barkley than the Celtics and the Mavericks. It’s a cute little story when the Lakers aren’t in the finals, until you look at the dumpster fire of ratings compared to what they could have gotten with a better matchup. I don’t think anybody would mistake Luka Doncic for being a great defender, but it’s funny how after all the criticism he took in game 3, he turned into prime Dennis Rodman for a couple of quarters in game 4. Nothing would give Laker fans more joy than the Celtics being the first team in NBA history to give up a 3-0 lead in a best-of-seven and lose this series. But let’s be honest, you know it’s not going to happen and the Celtics will probably close out the series tonight in Boston.

I was really disappointed to hear Charles Barkley announce his retirement from TV over the weekend, which would take place after next season. You cannot have Inside The NBA without Charles Barkley, or Ernie Johnson, who are reportedly not leaving TNT. With that being said, there is a small part of me that thinks Barkley may have said this publicly to put pressure on both the NBA and TNT to come to a deal to keep the NBA on Turner. It’s a smart move because one can argue that “Inside The NBA” is actually a bigger brand than the NBA on TNT is. If the NBA does in fact move away from Turner (which I expect it to), then I think somebody will offer Charles enough money to make him change his mind. We’ll see how well this leverage play worked right after the NBA Finals, when we expect the league to announce their new TV deal with all their partners.

The Stanley Cup Finals are actually looking very similar to the NBA Finals, with Florida Panthers jumping out to a 3-0 series lead, while the Oilers came back to salvage game 4 of the series. I full expect the Panthers to close out the series tonight. This should be a reminder for the LA Kings. The Panthers roster is constructed exactly like the 2012 and 2014 teams were. No headline grabbing superstars. Just 20 dressed and fully committed guys who didn’t take a second of a shift off. It’s an entire team of warriors who were accountable, and a head coach who was tough as nails and expected a lot. I’m not sure that higher level of accountability exists within the Kings organization currently. However, the worst thing the Kings can do is feel good about themselves losing to the Oilers, just because Edmonton went to the final.

To baseball where the Dodgers got some troubling news over the weekend. Yoshinobu Yamamoto left Saturday’s game with tightness in his triceps and is headed to the 15-Day DL with a strained rotator cuff. Then Mookie Betts went down with a fractured hand after being hit by a pitch. This is not something the Dodgers can mess around with. They need to shut Yamamoto down until he is 100% healthy. More importantly, when he returns, they should go to a 6-man rotation. It makes too much sense. Yamamoto is pitching way more than he did in Japan. Tyler Glasnow has a history of injury. Gavin Stone is pitching more than he ever has. Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw, and Bobby Miller are all coming off injuries too. Now Mookie going down is going to hurt and offense even more that is just too feast or famine. In their first 10 games, they scored 5+ runs in each of them. Since then they’ve just just 5+ runs 10 times in 29 games. Acquiring .195 hitting Cavan Biggio isn’t the answer. This isn’t about adding a couple of slightly more productive bats before the deadline. Sure that will help, but they need to change their all or nothing approach at the plate. I’m still waiting for Andrew Friedman’s computer to figure that out.

We’re about 6 weeks away from the MLB Trade deadline, and the plan for the Angels is obvious to us, but for some reason it isn’t to Arte Moreno. It makes all the sense in the world for the Angels to trade all their players on expiring contracts. However, it makes even more sense for them to trade players with years of control remaining, and maybe even some of their young players with perceived high values. Since the Angels farm system and player development is complete garbage, it makes more sense to have players with an even higher upside than they currently have, who can overcome the lack of a development system. Of course Arte is dumb enough to believe that we think because the aging and injury prone Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon are on the roster, that the team is really a contender. They haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years, yet he thinks he can fool us into thinking they are good. For the sake of Perry Minasian, Arte should also give him the opportunity to prove he can do his job well, by giving him the green light to sell at the trade deadline. This of course is way too logical to happen though.

Monday Morning Coffee

June 11, 2024

I’m disappointed to hear that Danny Hurley is not taking the Laker job offer, but I’m incredibly impressed the Lakers tried. Their offer and vision was more than I would have ever expected from the Lakers, who typically go through coaches the way we go through underwear. For those of you Twitter heads criticizing the fact the offer was “only $70 million”, that would have made Hurley a top 5 paid coach in the league. This for a guy who has never coached a day in his life in the NBA, and the Lakers are being cheap? I can’t criticize Jeanie and Rob for that. One problem however, is that the perception of the Lakers head coaching job is that it’s not as great as it used to be. So now what? There really are not any big names available, so you’re probably looking at a JJ Redick hodge-podge type of staff put together, with hopefully some experienced assistant coaches. At this point its kind of like going back to your ex after it didn’t work out with the girl you left her for. She knows she was second choice, so it’s going to be an awkward conversation. In this case though, whoever the Lakers get as their next coach is probably going to feel like they are just a coach for the remainder of the Lebron James era in LA, and nothing beyond that.

As for the Clippers, it’s amazing to think Ty Lue got $14 million a year. It wasn’t that long ago Ty Lue was considered just a coach for Lebron. Suddenly, he goes to the Clippers, and he’s regarded as one of the best coaches in the league, and now paid like it. The truth is usually somewhere in between. Is he a good coach? Yes. If he one of the best coaches in the league? Ok probably not. However, he is certainly paid like one now. Now the Clippers next issue is figuring out how to keep Paul George, yet staying under first apron. So far, it’s not going that great, but we’ll find out a few weeks from now what the outcome is.

Bad news Laker fans. The Celtics look like they are well on their way to their 18th championship, which would give them one more than the Lakers. Boston took a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals against the Mavericks. Luke Doncic is still balling, but Kyrie Irving has disappeared like Hodini, and the Dallas role players don’t look anything like they did in the first 3 rounds of the playoffs. The Celtics aren’t even getting great performances of Jayson Tatum, but they are so deep it hasn’t mattered so far. However, I do love the fact that both Caitlin Clark and the Laker coaching search is getting talked about more than the Celtics right now. It just goes to show you how much relevancy the Lakers have in the NBA.

Speaking of Caitlin Clark, the WNBA is really blowing it, and so did the Olympic Team. The best thing they could have done for the Olympic team is put Clark on it. They would have gotten tons of people to watch their games that otherwise wouldn’t. As someone who is going to the Olympics, I can tell you I would have gone to one of their games if she was playing. Instead, I have no interest now. The players apparently got together and thought it would be a bad idea to have her on the team because her fans wouldn’t like that she wasn’t going to get a lot of minutes. Oh so now we are making decisions based on whether or not you’re going to hurt the fans feelings? These women are so jealous of Caitlin Clark it’s disgusting. She’s bring relevancy to a sport that nobody would otherwise give a crap about. The sooner these players can appreciate that the better off they are going to be, along with their sport.

The Dodgers took 2 out of 3 against the Yankees over the weekend in Bronx. That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Well yes, but their flaws were still on display, and had they not been, it could have easily been a sweep. The situational hitting for this team remains atrocious. They may have erupted for 11 runs in Saturday’s win, and got by with some crafty execution on Friday, but they were only 2-11 with runners in scoring position on Sunday. When you’re facing elite pitching in the playoffs, you have to figure out how to manufacture runs, and not wait for the long bomb. This amazing looking lineup is feast or famine. The defense could also use a boost too, as we saw with Andy Pages not being able to make a key play in center field last night. That’s probably because the Dodgers best outfielder is playing in the infield. The good news is that both the starting pitching and bullpen look great. However, the Dodgers need to find some good contact hitting bats that are good defenders before the trade deadline.

The Angels on the other hand lost 2 of 3 to the Astros at the Big A. They remain in last place in the AL West, and have the 4th worst record in baseball. If this team doesn’t trade the likes of Tyler Anderson, Luis Rengifo, and Taylor Ward before the trade deadline, they are completely unserious about building this team into anything remotely successful. Arte Moreno has reportedly not given Perry Minasian the green light to blow up the team at the deadline, and I really can’t imagine why. This team is terrible, and they badly need to re-stock their farm system with talent, since it is one of the worst in baseball. Of course even if they do that, they have terrible player development, so making those prospects successful is a whole different problem.

Finally, the Florida Panthers have a 1-0 lead over the Oilers after Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. This series feels like a coin toss, but if there’s one thing I’m sick of hearing, it’s the idea that the LA Kings should feel better about themselves because they lost to a team that is now in the finals. Look, you lost. You lost to the same team for 3 straight years. It should tell you that what you are doing just isn’t working and you need to do something completely different. It seems obvious to me, but unfortunately, I don’t think the Kings see it this way.

Monday Morning Coffee

May 27, 2024

Happy Memorial Day Everyone! I’m sure everyone is going to overreact to Rich Paul’s comments about Lebron being a free agent on Friday. Of course he’s a free agent people! Whether or not he opts out or not, for all intents and purposes, he has options. The outcome is rather predictable, as it always has been with Lebron’s free agency in the past, but Rich Paul didn’t really let anything slip on that podcast, so there’s no need to overreact. However, Rich Paul’s claim that Lebron is not involved in the coaching search is about as believable as Jennifer Lopez claiming she’s never had any work done. Actually, it would be almost stupid to not get his buy in to some extent, which he can admit. Unfortunately for the Lakers, it sounds like there is no chance of Donovan Mitchell becoming a Laker. Sam Amico reported earlier this week that Dan Gilbert would never trade Mitchell to the Lakers. That sounds like the kind of stupidity we’ve known from Gilbet for years. However, when you listen to the latest episode of the JJ Redick and Lebron James podcast, it sounds like both of them are bought into the idea of the Lakers having a roster of quality role players around Lebron and AD. That’s not a bad strategy, but whether or not Rob Pelinka can make that happen this summer remains to be seen.

As for the Clippers, the noise around both Paul George and Ty Lue, and their contract negotiations is getting louder and louder. Neither one are going very well. We now know the Clippers aren’t willing to give George a 4 year deal, but the Sixers and probably others are as well. The question is this: Is George is really willing to give up an extra guaranteed $60 million to stay in his home town where he is comfortable? And are the Clippers willing to let George walk if push comes to shove, rather than pay him the full max? I still think one side will blink first. However, if neither side does blink, it does make me wonder if Ty Lue will even want to sign an extension. I’m sure the Lakers and Lebron would be chomping at the bit to see how this whole thing plays out, but I still can’t see the timing working out in their favor, and the Clips allowing him to go across the hall to the Lakers. Also, who are the idiots that voted Kawhi over Lebron for 2nd team all-nba? This is simply voter hate, which we’ve seen numerous instances of.

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I really don’t understand why Caitlin Clark is getting so much hate. She is a phenomenal basketball player that is must see tv. People actually watched women’s college ball, and are now watching the WNBA because of her. I don’t care if she’s white, black, straight, or whatever. None of that matters. You should enjoy watching her play for what she can do. I don’t need the political noise behind it. It’s basketball and sports people. It’s supposed to unify us, so don’t let it divide us. As for her play, sure she has struggled a little in the early going, but she will figure it out and be the start we expect her to be. The talent is there which she put on display last week against the Sparks.

To baseball where the Dodgers are struggling at the plate. They’ve lost 5 in a row, their longest losing streak since 2019, and during their last 16 games, they are hitting .189 with runners in scoring position. During that stretch they are also scoring just 3.5 runs per game, a decline from their 5.5 runs per game before that. I know many of you are going to say they need to send Chris Taylor to another planet, put Andy Pages back in the minors, or make a trade for someone more consistent than Gavin Lux. However, the reality is that this is a much larger issue that has reared it’s ugly head in October very frequently with this organization. It’s about their overall philosophy at the plate. You can’t sit back and wait for the 3-run home run, even when you have Mookie Betts, Shohei Ohtani, and Freddie Freeman in your lineup. In the postseason, you will face elite pitching. You have to find a way to manufacture runs when you are struggling, or else you will go home quickly in the postseason. Just put the ball in play, bunt when necessary, move the runners over, be smart but aggressive on the base paths. That’s how you manufacture runs when you are struggling. Sure the Dodgers will fix this in the regular season, and they may even find some people in their farm system that can come up for a few weeks and give them some offense. However, if the don’t focus on manufacturing runs in October, they will continue to be vulnerable to those early exits.

I’m not saying it’s going badly for the Angels, but they are threatening to have worst home record in baseball in the last 85 years. They’ve lost 19 times in 25 home games, which is the worst winning percentage in that time. The only team with a worse percentage over a full season, according to StatMuse: the St. Louis Browns, whose home winning percentage was .234 (18-59) in 1939. To make matters worse, the Yankees are coming to town this week. At this point the Angels are just selling hope from their younger players like Zach Neto, Logan O’Hoppe, Nolan Schanuel, and Reid Detmers, but none of them are giving you a whole lot to be excited about. The most promising thing his franchise has to offer is the $12 ice cream cone with fruit on them they are selling at the Big A, which is a bargain by concession stand standards.

Last week an agreement between the NCAA and all 5 of the Power Conferences was announced, which settled an anti-trust lawsuit. This paves the way for athletes to be paid for their contributions rather than just for scholarship. What it really means for the time being is that schools can now pay athletes directly outside of NIL Money. NIL will still exist for athletes, above and beyond their now institutionalized salary. There’s still a lot to figure out, including how you pay one star athlete in say football, vs another? Also, what does this mean for all the non-revenue sports? While this does seem fair for the highest performing athletes, it could be a bit problematic for smaller schools. This really sets the stage for the larger power schools to widen the gap between smaller schools, since they will be able to pay star athletes more. It’s getting more complex by the day, and there is still a lot to unfold.

Finally, the LA Kings made another uninspiring choice. They removed the interim tag from head coach Jim Hiller, made him the full-time head coach, and signed him a 3 year extension. So let me get this straight…..the Kings don’t fire Rob Blake and Luc Robitaille, they won’t buyout Pierre Luc-Dubois, and now they extend Hiller. This franchise is so completely unimaginative, and then Rob Blake sits there at a press conference and tells you they just have to get a little more uncomfortable but this group has it. Give me a break Rob. You and your entire staff needs to pull their heads out and play the young players you have and develop them. Instead, you keep putting these useless veterans in your lineup, which lack size, grit, and toughness. If the Kings want to retain their tough gritty, and defensive identity that’s fine. However, they need the goaltending, size, talent and defense to match it. Until Rob Blake and his staff get that, this will be rinse and repeat.

Monday Morning Coffee

May 20, 2024

The last week at the NBA combine has been ridiculous. I’ve never seen press conferences held for kids that are not projected to be drafted. Bronny James was the first. To his credit, he seems like a great kid and handled it very well. However, why is Lebron in such a rush for his kid to get to the pros? Everyone is telling you that he isn’t ready yet. So why not let him go back to school and develop more? Yes Lebron, we get it, you want to play with your kid in the league. However, why not give him the best chance to succeed in the Association by letting him develop more in college? If the kid gets drafted, we really aren’t that far away from Lebron and Klutch demanding that he actually gets an NBA roster spot, and even gets some playing time. Imagine that…..you will have the sports helicopter parent and their kid on the Lakers! It could happen. This is exactly why the Lakers coaching job is viewed by others as a circus. You’re viewed as nothing but a figurehead that does whatever Lebron wants you to do.

One thing I’ve gotta say about the Clippers: they don’t lack self-awareness. President of Basketball Ops Lawrence Frank said they are trying to bring back their core of Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. He does acknowledge there is skepticism about the group given their advancing age. “I understand the skepticism of, ‘Hey, this is another year where you haven’t had the group [whole],’” he said.“But I would guard against the cynicism. Just because it’s happened [four straight seasons] doesn’t mean it’s always going to happen next year.” What’s the saying? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I’m always a believer in giving a group time together to develop chemistry and continuity. However, if a group like the Clippers is aging and getting less durable year after year, then building that continuity is nearly impossible. That’s exactly what happened here. Kawhi was fine for 68 games, and then given his knee issues, he was done. Why would we be led to believe things will be any different for him moving forward? Unfortunately for the Clippers, this is a business decision and not a basketball one given that they are moving to a new arena.

Speaking of the NBA, their television deal is up for renewal, and there are tons of rumors circulating about who will get the National Broadcast rights. Industry sources are saying that there is a handshake agreement with ESPN to continue with some of the games, as well as a new agreement with Amazon Prime in place. That leaves NBC and Turner fighting over the last share of games, and NBC is reportedly in the lead. That’s extremely bitter sweet for most long-time NBA fans. If Turner doesn’t have the NBA, we no longer get Inside The NBA with Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenny Smith. The show is honestly better than most of the games. That’s the bitter part. The sweet part? You get the super sweet John Tesh NBA on NBC music. I know what you’re thinking….would the entire cast move to another network? Well it seems as though Ernie Johnson has already told Turner he plans to stay there to continue his coverage of the NCAA and MLB simply out of loyalty. I guess Ernie has never seen Game of Thrones, because loyalty can get you killed. I think if we all got what we want, it would be NBC, TNT, Amazon, and get rid of ESPN and ABC with their left wing crap. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s either Turner or NBC who will be out, which means the death of something we all love.

To baseball, where the Dodgers took 3 out of 4 from the Cincinnati Reds over the weekend. Surprisingly, Shohei Ohtani had his first walk off winning hit in 4 years. Then again, you remember, how often could that have possibly have happened with a a terrible Angels team? Ohtani may actually be playing better than we’ve ever seen him, and the Boys in Blue have a very comfortable 7.5 game lead in the NL West. They are also solving some of their issues one at a time. Walker Buehler looked much better over the weekend in his 3rd start since returning to the mound. The Dodger pitching staff already has the best ERA in the National League, and the effective return of Buehler, and eventually Bobby Miller, Clayton Kershaw, and Dustin May has everyone salivating over their October potential. Their bullpen is also looking a bit better too with Blake Treinen back in the mix, and another lefty option Anthony Banda added to the mix. You’ve still gotta worry about the defense and situational hitting, but those problems may not get solved until closer to the trade deadline.

Meanwhile, the Angels actually won 2 out of 3 against the Rangers over the weekend, but they are still stuck in last place in the AL West. The worst part about the Halos though is that they are getting a worse and worse reputation by the day. Sam Blum, who covers the Angels for The Athletic, wrote an article last week about how the Angels have basically become a landing spot for Major Leaguers who wouldn’t be given a chance otherwise. The latest of those is outfielder Kevin Pillar, who was dumped by the AL worst Chicago White Sox. These comeback stories are nice, but the entire success of the season is dependent on the success of these players, which speaks very poorly about the ability of the organization to develop a robust minor league system. The noise about this is becoming louder and louder, and the Angels reputation is becoming worse and worse around baseball, and among their fan base.

Congratulations to Xander Schauffele on winning the PGA Championship over the weekend. I was really hoping that Scottie Scheffler would win it though, after he went through hell on Friday morning, getting arrested by a police officer after a huge misunderstanding. I can understand that police officers would be on edge after a pedestrian fatality, but they really need to make sure these officers know who the players actually are in these situations, otherwise they look foolish. Finally, a golf story that overshadowed Tiger Woods after all these years!

Finally, the NFL released their schedule last week, and the Rams have an interesting slate. They have the 12th hardest schedule in the league, so middle of the road really. They do play 6 playoff teams from last year, but 4 of those games are at home. The start of the schedule is tough because they’ll get the Lions and 49ers in 2 of their first 3. The finish isn’t exactly a piece of cake either against an improving Arizona team, and an always tough Seattle team. Their bye week is also a little on the early side in week 6, which isn’t necessarily ideal for an older Quarterback with Matt Stafford, but this should be a good football team, with a pathway to success this coming season.

Monday Morning Coffee

May 13, 2024

The Lakers coaching search is expected to ramp up this week. The hot rumor is that JJ Redick is the front runner for the job, and that the Lakers are intrigued with the idea of making him their next coach. I normally would not have a problem with this type of out-the-box thinking when hiring a coach who doesn’t have experience. The problem is the Lakers are intrigued for all the wrong reasons. Those reasons include the fact that Redick is cheap, and Lebron James likes him. That’s about it. The coaches with real experience like Mike Budenholzer, Ty Lue, and Jason Kidd are all locked up now, or are about to be locked up by their respective teams. The Lakers don’t really value that experience anyway, and probably don’t mind the fact they are off the market since coaching means little to this front office. Then there’s the issue of what the Lakers will do with the 17th pick in the draft. I know the Lakers want to package that pick in a trade for a star player, but that pick is worth a stick of gum and a pair of used Converse sneakers.

As for the Clippers, the Paul George extension talks have reportedly not been going well. The Clips have reportedly made George multiple offers at less than the max, but PG-13 has declined them. It makes perfect sense why the Clips would do this. They want to stay below the extremely punitive 2nd luxury tax apron. They were able to get Kawhi to extend for less than the max, so why shouldn’t George? Well that’s probably because George feels like he has been more reliable than Leonard from a health standpoint. If he decides to go to free agency, the Clips risk losing him for nothing to the Sixers or Magic. I still think when push comes to shove George doesn’t want to leave SoCal, he wants to make a lot of money, and he doesn’t want to deal with enormous pressure and accountability. He gets most of those things with the Clips, even if he takes a little bit less.

Elsewhere around the NBA Playoffs, Obi Toppin and TJ McConnell really turn into Shaq and Kobe against the Knicks. The Pacers went on a 34-9 run, and even Darvin Ham thought it was ridiculous the Knicks didn’t call a timeout. Karl Anthony Towns knows how to disappear like Hodini in every single playoff series he’s every played in, and it could cost the T-Wolves against the Nuggets. The Celtics have got to be the deepest and most talented team in the league and will probably take out the Cavs, but they may also be the dumbest team in the league given that they live and die by the 3. The Mavs and Thunder was looking like a really good series, but suddenly the Thunder look like SGA and a bunch of college kids from the West Coast Conference.

To baseball, where the Dodgers lost 2 out of 3 to the Padres over the weekend. The Boys in Blue gave up 6 runs in the entire series, yet they lost 2 out of 3. That’s insane, but it also goes to show you just how fired up the Padres have been getting when they play the Dodgers this year. I’m sure they will turn back into the Bad News Bears in their next game. It’s nice to see Walker Buehler back but you have to wonder what you’re watching with him so far. Is he just rusty? Or is he no longer as effective? It’s probably too early too tell, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that pitchers that have multiple Tommy John surgeries just aren’t as successful as pre-surgery. Smart move by Dave Roberts though to keep Shohei Ohtani from further injuring his back and pulling him out of the lineup. Speaking of Ohtani, when I watch how dominant of a hitter he is, I immediately think that I have no interest in seeing him as a pitcher. Especially if it prolongs his career and since the Dodgers are historically a pitching rich organization. I also think $700 million might not have been enough for him.

Then there’s the Angels, who lost 3 of 4 to the Royals. They are now in last place in the AL West, and have the 4th worst record in the Major Leagues. The most discouraging aspect of all this isn’t their record or the injury to Mike Trout. It’s the lack of player development. Reid Detmers was so promising the first month of the season. After looking like Randy Johnson, in his last 4 starts, his ERA ballooned to 8.74, with 9 walks, 27 hits, and 7 home runs. Griffin Canning and Patrick Sandoval have continued to be mediocre pitchers, and the young position players are no better. Nolan Schanuel is only hitting .221, Mickey Moniak can’t crack the Mendoza Line, and Zach Neto is only hitting .236 with a terrible OBP. If the Halos don’t move Brandon Drury, Carlos Estevez, Matt Moore, and anybody else at the trade deadline they can get value for, they simply aren’t serious about building a legitimate baseball team. I’m not sure I would think they are with Arte owning the team anyway, but without that it would certainly solidify that theory.

Monday Morning Coffee

May 6, 2024

The Lakers were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets last week, which shouldn’t surprise anybody, and neither should the firing of Darvin Ham just a few days later. The Laker front office saw what the rest of us did for months. Ham burned half the season screwing with the lineups, and it cost the team playoff positioning. Now what? Unfortunately, if the Lakers truly valued coaches, they would pick up the phone and at least try to get Greg Popovich or Steve Kerr to coach this team, and pony up the $20 million or so to get them. Instead, they will hire some coach that Lebron signs off on, will not cost them a lot, and who will be running to Dick’s Sporting Goods to figure out what equipment he needs for the job. Let’s be real, Ty Lue isn’t leaving the Clippers, especially since they know the Lakers are interested. As for Lebron, he’s not going anywhere, and nor should he. However, do we really need to sign up for a 3-year deal? Can’t we just call it one year with an option? The challenge now for this team is that the West has stars and teams that are ascending, like the Wolves and Thunder. Sure the Lakers can be a playoff team and hope things bounce their way, but unless they get a transcendent 3rd star, it’s unlikely they’ll win another championship in the Lebron era. A third star like that just isn’t out there, despite the names people are suggesting.

As for the Clippers they were also eliminated last week, this time by the Dallas Mavericks. This is everything about Kawhi Leonard. In 5 seasons with the Clips, Kawhi has only been able able to finish a season healthy in 2020, the year they blew a 3-1 to the Nuggets. He’s great when he’s healthy, but he never is when it matters most. The Clippers tried to place a greater emphasis on the regular season this year, but this is just what happens when your franchise player has a degenerative knee condition. However, the Clips have already committed to 4 more years of this. They saw two months of a healthy Kawhi, and apparently that was enough. But since they are moving to the Intuit Dome next season, they can’t go halfway with their commitment. They have to try and re-sign Paul George and James Harden. It’s going to hurt if they are over that 2nd tax apron, but they don’t have much of a choice. The question is whether or not George is going to hold it against them for trying to trade him, and if he cares more about the money he could get in Philly or Orlando, than staying at home with the Clips. My guess is that he will want to stay here for slightly less if Kawhi did. James Harden will probably stay too because he knows the strip clubs in LA are amazing.

Continuing our theme of elimination, the Kings got bounced by the Oilers for the third straight year in the playoffs. We told you this was going to happen back in October. This team needs more talent to get back to real Stanley Cup Contention. The only way they can get it is by playing their young players, and for some reason, Rob Blake, Luc Robitaille, and the million coaches they have gone through don’t want to give them that chance. The real madness though is that Rob Blake is going to be addressing the media today, which makes it seem highly unlikely he is going to be replaced as General Manager. Also madness would be not buying out Pierre Luc Dubois and his ugly contract. If they do, while letting Viktor Arvidsson and Matt Roy go, they might actually have some real money to go get a goalie and also re-sign Quinton Byfield. Of course this plan seems way too sensible, and since Luc Robitaille has a strong relationship with Dubois’s agent, he will likely be back to torment Kings fans next year.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are rolling. They swept the Braves over the weekend, and have now won 4 straight and 8 of 10 overall. That was the first series of the season where both teams were looking across the dugout from each other skeptical that their best was going to be better than their opponents. It sure looks like the Dodgers best is better than the Braves at this point. Although, I’m not sure that matters much until October, because sometimes you’re at your best and sometimes you aren’t in that small window of games. The really exciting news though is that Walker Buehler will make his return to the mound tonight, for the first time in two years. Clayton Kershaw and Bobby Miller threw off a mound as well in their return from injury. With Kershaw, I’d like to see him come back closer to August where he just gives the Dodgers three really good months of healthy pitching. They still need to figure out the bottom of their lineup, but putting Andy Pages there helps solve some of those problems for the time being. Of course when Shohei Ohtani is killing the ball like he did over the weekend, it’s easily to live with Chris Taylor in your lineup.

Meanwhile, the Angels are circling the drain, and it’s only May. They’ve lost 8 of 10 games after losing a series to the Guardians over the weekend. They’ve got the 4th worst record in baseball, and are tied for last place in the American League West. As if that’s not bad enough, Mike Trout is going to be out indefinitely with a meniscus injury he’ll need surgery for. The Halos say his season may not be over, but if it keeps going this way, why the heck would he come back and play again? The real unfortunate part of all this is that this is the 4th straight year Trout has suffered significant injuries. If the Halos tried to trade him now, they would likely get no good prospects in return, due to his massive contract another team would have to pay for. However, if they assumed most of that contract, they might actually get some decent players back. We’re talking about the best player in franchise history people! That’s how bad things are for the Angels. Why can’t this team just admit they are rebuilding and rebuild the right way?

Finally, Rams GM Les Snead was on a podcast with Rich Eisen, and he gave quite a bit of information about Aaron Donald. Snead said he expected Donald to retire, but also suggested that they would welcome him back if he decided around playoff time that he could put the Rams over the top. That would mean the Rams going to need to be pretty good without him, in order for him to want to come back for a short run. But the fact Snead mentioned all of that makes me think there’s a possibility that it could happen. In any case, I do think the Rams are still going to be pretty good next season.

Monday Morning Coffee

April 29, 2024

Let this be a lesson to everyone: NOBODY BEATS THE LAKERS 12 TIMES IN A ROW! The Lakers staved off elimination on Saturday night against the Nuggets, but let’s be real, this probably isn’t sustainable. They are coached by Darvin Ham, who can’t get out of his own way with every terrible decision he makes. The Lakers were reportedly upset with the fact Anthony Davis called out the coaching staff after game 2, saying there are moments on the floor the team has no idea what they are doing. Sorry you don’t like the fact the truth hurts. That’s the difference right now between the Lakers being a true championship team and what they are now. I have to say though, Lebron James is still amazing for being able to do what he does at nearly 40 years of age, and Anthony Davis is not only great, but now one of the more underrated players in the game. Aside from coaching, the Lakers need Rui, Austin, and D-Lo to deliver on a consistent basis, and they just haven’t in this series. I know the Lakers have had the lead for the majority of these games, but you are what the series says you are, and that’s down 3-1. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the Lakers got blown out tonight, but here’s to hoping I’m wrong.

As for the Clippers, they narrowly avoid complete embarrassment of blowing a 30 point lead, and managed to beat the Mavs in game 4. It was like Darvin Ham was coaching them yesterday, just forking over that lead. The series is tied 2-2 but they are in a very tough spot because it’s clear they are going to have to do this without Kawhi Leonard. He just wasn’t himself in the last two games he attempted to play, and it caused Paul George and James Harden to defer to him too much and throw off their games as well. Actually, playoff Harden no longer looks like a bad thing in this series, as The Beard has actually played pretty well. George had a huge first half yesterday as well, and made a clutch 3 late in the 4th to seal it. However, it’s hard to imagine the Clippers winning the series at this point without Kawhi, given all the fire power the Mavericks have. It’s disappointing for the Clippers and their fans, but this is simply what you have to live with when you sign a player with a degenerative knee condition.

Then there’s the debacle on the ice with the LA Kings, against the Oilers. Edmonton now has a 3-1 series lead after the Kings continued all their special teams miscues last night. LA finally tightened the screws defensively and got some good goaltending from David Rittich, but they forgot they actually have to score to win. This is a series between one deeply flawed mentally weak roster with no superstars, vs a mentally weak team with two superstars. That’s why the Oilers will always get the better of this matchup, but in the long run, neither team will win the Cup this year. Kings center PL Dubois should be completely embarrassed. This guy is making $8.5 million this year and is currently on the 3rd line, while going up against 3rd line players in this series. Even with those favorable matchups, he’s had very little impact. It’s bad enough the Kings hate their young players and won’t give them a chance to make an impact in this series, but they have no chance if guys like Dubois don’t show up.

Things have been looking better for the Dodgers over the past week. They took 2 of 3 against the Blue Jays over the weekend, and 6 of their last 7 overall. Tyler Glasnow and Yoshinobu Yamamoto are looking great as starters. Things are looking up for the bottom of the order too. Andy Pages has now hijacked playing time for the completely unproductive Chris Taylor, while Gavin Lux is even showing signs of life at the plate. The jury is still out on James Outman, who is now sitting against lefties, but let’s solve one problem at at time. The Dodgers have a showdown with the D’Backs, so they can start to build a bigger lead in the NL West if they handle their business.

Arte Moreno is HIM. The Angels now have the 4th worst record in baseball, yet the man is selling out a game for “Star Wars Night”. This guys greatness as a business man will be studied for generations. On the other hand, his incompetence as a baseball owner will also be studies forever. The Halos have lost 9 of their last 10 games, and things are spiraling downward each and every day. Anthony Rendon is now on the DL with his annual injury that’s going to keep him out for months. Not that he really cares about baseball. All of a sudden Mike Trout is struggling, which makes you wonder if the injuries have caught up to him and he’s in decline, hitting just .226. The Halos had 6 guys in their lineup hitting less than .230 on Saturday, and I haven’t even talked about how bad the pitching is. Why bother? This team is becoming more irrelevant in SoCal by the day.

The NFL Draft went down over the weekend, and the Rams had a very nice roster re-load. There was so much talk about drafting a QB, trading up for a big name, or drafting an offensive skilled player. None of that happened, and instead, the Rams made very sensible moves. They drafted 10 players over 7 rounds. 4 of them were on the defensive front, headlined by 1st round pick Edge Rusher, Jared Verse from Florida State. Losing Aaron Donald is tough, but a defense line of Verse, Kobie Turner, and Byron Young is a great young core to move forward with. It was also really cool to see FSU teammates Verse and Braden Fiske reunited, and the way Sean McVay and Les Snead made that phone call to Fiske, while Verse was pulling up to Fiske’s house.

Verse and Fisk Rams

Meanwhile, the Chargers did exactly what we thought Jim Harbaugh would do. They went with Joe Alt, an elite offensive tackle from Notre Dame, with the 5th pick in the draft. I realize many of you are screaming from the mountain tops that the Bolts need wide receivers and running backs. However, Harbaugh is trying to implement an entire change of identity with this football team, and it’s going to take time. That means beefing up on both the offensive and defensive line to become a much nastier and physical team. Alt is an elite lineman who is actually going to protect an even bigger asset they have invested in: Justin Herbert. The Bolts still did get Wide Receivers Ladd McConkey, Brenden Rice, Cornelius Johnson, and running back Kimani Vidal later in the draft. However, it’s much easier to find wide receivers and running backs than elite players at other positions. Trust in Harbaugh. He knows what he’s doing.

Monday Morning Coffee

April 22, 2024

Well here we are in the 1st round of the NBA Playoffs, and the Lakers are playing the Nuggets. It only took one game, but this already feels like a bad sequel to the horror movie. The Lakers had the Nuggets on the ropes in the 1st game, up by 12, then Denver came storming back in the 3rd quarter and put the game away. There’s no way the Lakers are going to beat the Nuggets playing with that undisciplined nonsense they were in the 3rd quarter. The shot selection was so poor, and Anthony Davis didn’t even touch the ball on so many possessions. If the Lakers have any chance, D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, and Rui Hachimura are going to have to play way better than what they did on Saturday. There’s a huge psychological piece to this series though that is of utmost importance. The Nuggets have beaten the Lakers 9 straight times. If the Lakers win one game in this series it will feel like an accomplishment. If they win two games it’s a miracle, any more than that and they should have a parade. Even Austin Reaves said it’s tough to play against a team that is so disciplined, and knows exactly what they want to run every time down the floor. In other words what he’s really telling you is that it’s tough to win when you have a coach that is a total buffoon.

Meanwhile, the Clippers beat up the Mavs yesterday in Game 1 of their 1st round series. The good news for the Clips is that not only are they up 1-0, but Paul George, James Harden, and Ivica Zubac all played really well. Russell Westbrook also had some nice contributions off the bench. The bad news though is that Kawhi Leonard did not play, and the comments from the coaching staff about his injury and availability are very vague. As long as Paul George and James Harden don’t revert back to their annual playoff disasters, they might actually win this series. I expect the Mavs to fight back and for their role players to play much better. However, the Clippers showed yesterday that they do have enough talent on their roster to win this series, even with Kawhi probably moonlighting with another job during the playoffs.

To baseball, where the Dodgers finally showed up and played baseball yesterday, blowing out the Mets 10-0 to get back in the win column. It was much needed because the Boys in Blue have just 3 wins in their last 10 games. The starting pitching is just fine, but the middle relief still stinks, and their offense is already in playoff form. They’ve struck out 63 times with runners in scoring position, which is more than anybody else in baseball. They’ve also gone 2-17 with the bases loaded this season. We’ve seen this over and over again. This team just sits back and waits for the 3-run homer, rather than figures out ways to manufacture runs when they are struggling to score. I also don’t expect the likes of James Outman, Gavin Lux, and Chris Taylor to hit .300 and be all stars, but I do expect them to hit like capable major leaguers. None of them have. Hopefully Andy Pages can solve some of that, and he gave us a flash of that yesterday afternoon.

As for the Angels, tough weekend for them getting swept by the Reds, and falling to 4 games under .500. Anthony Rendon suffered a hamstring injury, and knowing him, that probably means he’ll be out until August. Mike Trout is suddenly down to hitting .244, and there’s not much other production happening consistently in the lineup. Luis Rengifo seems to be allergic to playing defense, and the pitching is as bad as it usually is, with the exception of Reid Detmers. I know many of you are going to say don’t go to Angel games so you don’t put money in Arte Moreno’s pocket. Unfortunately, that strategy didn’t work so well in Oakland, where the team is now going to be moving to Vegas.

The NFL Draft is on Thursday night and I have no idea what the Rams are going to do. I think most people feel like they desperately need an edge rusher, especially after the retirement of Aaron Donald. However, Les Snead has a tendency to make some very splashy moves. I wouldn’t be surprised if he either made a trade to move up and get somebody he really likes to help his defense, or trade the pick for an impact defensive player and use some more of their cap space. I’m anxiously awaiting to see what goes down!

The LA Kings will begin their playoff series with the Edmonton Oilers tonight for the 3rd year in a row. Similar to the Lakers vs Denver series in the NBA, the Oilers have a total psychological edge on the Kings, knowing that they’ve beaten them the last two postseason. The Kings haven’t shown me anything this season that makes me think they are good enough to meet the moment and beat the Oilers at those critical points of a series. If the Kings have any hopes of winning the series, Quinton Byfield has to look more like the player he did for the first 3/4ths of the season, and Pierre Luc-Dubois will have to start looking a lot more like the elite center man he was expected to be, rather than the 4th line scrub level he has produced at. The Kings wanted the Oilers so they can exercise their demons of the past, and they are going to get what they want. I just have my doubts the results will be any different, and that will spell doom for the front office.

The Kings' Viktor Arvidsson celebrates with Quinton Byfield after scoring the tying goal in the third period Thursday.

If you’re a USC Football fan, you probably have very mixed feelings about the spring game. Miller Moss doesn’t look all that great. He threw two interceptions, and didn’t look elite. He gave you some hope in the Holiday Bowl, but now he just looks like “a guy” holding down a scholarship that you hope can just manage games. However, the defense looks much better, which Lincoln Riley hasn’t exactly been known for. Keep in mind that there’s 12 teams that make the College Football Playoff starting next year, so perhaps the Trojans have a tad more margin for error, despite playing in the much tougher Big 10.

Finally, the UCLA Bruin Basketball team has done a very nice job of rebuilding their squad. The Bruins added Oregon State transfer Tyler Bilodeau, adding more offense to their front court. This comes after the team previously announced the signings of small forward Kobe Johnson (formerly of USC), combo guard Skyy Clark (Louisville) and power forward Eric Dailey Jr. (Oklahoma State). All four newcomers averaged double figures in scoring for their previous teams and are considered tough, physical players who should fit Mick Cronin’s preferred style of play. I have no idea what this means in terms of just how good UCLA could be next year. However, what I do know is that this team will be much older and more experienced, than the youth they had on the team last year. That’s a smart move because the experienced teams have done well in the NCAA Tournament of late. Hopefully that experience is combined with good chemistry though to get the Bruins back where they belong.

Monday Morning Coffee

April 15, 2024

I know what you’re thinking. I was thinking it too. But don’t let your mind go there. The Lakers aren’t going to tank Tuesdays play-in game against the Pelicans for the 7th seed, just so they can avoid the Denver Nuggets in the 1st round of the playoffs. It’s way too risky. They would face a one-game do-or-die game against either the Warriors or Kings at home, and both could easily defeat them and end their season. They would probably also be much more fatigued going into round 1. Look if they lose on Tuesday, it’s a small silver lining, but they need to win. The Lakers have a tremendous matchup advantage against the Pelicans, as they showed yesterday. I expect a much closer game, but the Lakers should win that game. Assuming that Darvin Ham doesn’t do anything stupid. He must have Googled how to use a timeout prior to yesterday, because I was shocked he used one early when the Pelicans cut into their lead. His rotations were a little improved, but I still don’t understand how Max Christie can’t see the floor when he’s one of the best defenders and three-point shooters on the team. I’d rather see more of him than Gabe Vincent, who’s played 3 months of good basketball in the last few years.

Meanwhile, the Clippers wrapped up the regular season by resting a lot of player in their last three games, and they’ll face the Mavericks in round 1. This time, the Clippers have to be nervous. Not only are the Mavs a much better team than before with Luke and Kyrie, but the Clips health is in serious question. Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played in three weeks due to knee inflammation, and Ty Lue sounds extremely uncertain that he will be available. This is the exact nightmare scenario the Clips thought they were going to avoid this year. James Harden hasn’t exactly been super healthy of late either, but the Clips have to hope that 5 or 6 full days of rest and no travel will help them. If Kawhi isn’t available though, I think that’s going to be too much for the Clips to overcome this time.

To baseball, where the Dodgers dropped 2 out of 3 against the Padres over the weekend. The Dodgers still have the most wins in the NL, but they are still looking for more consistency from the bottom of their lineup with Chris Taylor, Gavin Lux, and James Outman. Lux and Outman are showing sporadic signs of life, while Chris Taylor still doesn’t have a pulse yet. I’m curious to see how long the Dodgers put up with this minimal production. On the pitching front, they did lose Bobby Miller to a shoulder injury for a period of time, which fortunately does not sound serious . This of course brings up the topic of injuries to pitchers around baseball. It’s simple to me: the human arm isn’t built to throw a baseball at over 90 miles per hour, and with the type of spin the pitchers are throwing with. In the 70’s and 80’s arm injuries were not as common in baseball, and we conditioned pitchers to throw well over 100 pitches. Today, they are told to throw as hard as you can for as long as you can, and then team will use tons of relievers to back them up. As long as that philosophy continues, pitchers will always get hurt.

After the details of the investigation around Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter and his gambling scandal were released last week, maybe now we can finally put this story to rest. For weeks, all we did was hear from those Junior FBI Agent Keyboard Conspiracy Theorists on Twitter, suggesting Ohtani was doing the gambling himself. Suddenly, those people don’t really have much to say anymore. The FBI has basically exonerated Ohtani after their investigation, and concluded that he is a victim of theft in this situation. Since we always seem to think the court of public opinion matters in these situations, Ohtani’s history should give you no reason to question his character, or to think he’s lying. It certainly didn’t seem to impact Ohtani on the field, since he’s been playing great baseball. However, I’m sure it’s a relief for him to have it behind him.

As for the Angels, they dropped 2 of 3 to the Red Sox over the weekend, and are now a game under .500 in the early going. The good news is that nobody in the AL West is tearing it up, and only the Rangers are a 1/2 game in front of them for 1st place. There are in fact a few positive things that are happening. They play good defense. Reid Detmers is emerging as a reliable starting pitcher. Mike Trout is doing Mike Trout things, and Taylor Ward and Logan O’Hoppe look good as well. The rest of their lineup however, has a lot of inconsistencies, and they don’t have a whole lot of pitching depth. It’s early and the Halos have a history of giving people high hopes in the month of April. However, if the Halos can find a couple of more reliable players, they might find a way to sneak into a wild card spot. Of course that means the ROI has to be there for Arte Moreno, who probably won’t see the value though, considering he didn’t see the value in Blake Snell.

Angels reliever José Suarez reacts after giving up a two-run home run to Boston's Masataka Yoshida at Fenway Park.

As many of you are aware, OJ Simpson passed away last week after battling cancer. I realize that the initial reaction of a lot of people was somewhat of a celebratory. However, the idea of thinking that way just seems weird to me. Yes, it totally obvious that OJ got away with murder. However, to say “he got what he deserved” or “I hope it was painful”, just feels like we’re turning ourselves into animals like OJ himself, if we take that approach. He was clearly ostracized from society after the murder trial, and while that’s not true justice for what happened to Nicole and Ron, it’s the punishment he got.

Congratulations to Scottie Scheffler on winning the Masters for the second time in his career! He was dominant from start to finish, and showed why he is the number one golfer in the world. It was also really good to see Tiger Woods finish the full round of 72 holes in a major, after coming off major ankle surgery. Just making the cut for Tiger is an accomplishment in itself, considering the guy can probably barely practice at this point. We definitely saw some flashes of brilliance from him the first two days, and then he struggled as the weekend came. Nevertheless, hopefully we can see him play in the PGA Championship, the US Open, and the Open Championship.

Scheffler toasts another triumph at Augusta National.

Finally, the LA Kings clinched a playoff spot last week with a win over the Flames. However, now comes the part we’ve all been waiting for. Who will they play in the playoffs? Who are we kidding though? They are going to play the Oilers for the 3rd year in a row. They will probably also be eliminated for the 3rd year in a row by them, given their inconsistencies. This feels like the 1980’s when the Oilers absolutely owned the Kings in the playoffs before the Kings traded for Wayne Gretzky. Here’s to hoping I’m wrong, but it’s hard to imagine them pulling this off.