Author Archives: omzzzzz

Monday Morning Coffee

September 19, 2022

The Rams finally looked like the Rams yesterday. No, I don’t care that they were outscored 17-3 in the 4th quarter. That happened because they shot themselves in the foot, and made fluky mistakes like turnovers and blocked punts. The defense is still showing that it is elite, and the offense is still explosive. The offensive line is still a problem though, as is their running game, but this was sa nice “get right game” for this team. Nice to see Allen Robinson out there getting more than just cardio, as he caught a TD pass and had over 50 yards receiving. By the way in case you didn’t notice, Cooper Kupp is really good at football. Big divisional game next week against Arizona on the road.

Looking back at Thursday Night Football, the Chargers did some Charger like things against the Chiefs. They were up 17-7 and then proceeded to hand the game over to KC like a 501C3 charity. For a while it looked like Justin Herbert was good enough to pull the Chargers out of this abyss of crazy losses. Except by the 4th quarter, it looked like Patrick Mahomes had his magic back, and an injured Herbert couldn’t overcome the typical miscues. What’s also not really helping is the fact that Brandon Staley is making some bizarre calls in every game. The fact Herbert wanted to continue to play is admirable, but the Chargers would have been smart to stop him from doing so and not risk further injury. Now it’s going to be an issue moving forward, even if he’s on the field in week 3.

Elsewhere around the NFL, Davonta Adams is probably going to demand a trade back to Green Bay after the Raiders blew it against the Cardinals. The Bengals lost to the Cowboys and haven’t been this embarrassed since before every game they’ve ever played before last season. The 49ers beat the Seahawks, lost Trey Lance for the year, and Jimmy G was actually cracking a smile under his face mask. Aaron Rodgers took out his frustration on the Bears as the Packers got a win, while Tom Brady took out his frustration on an IPad in the Bucs win over the Saints.

To the NBA where the Lakers still haven’t traded Russell Westbrook, but they did sign Dennis Schroeder to a one-year deal. Schroeder is actually a good player and a good defender, two things the Lakers really need, and he comes for a bargain. With Patrick Beverly, Schroeder, and Austin Reaves, the Lakers actually might have improved their shooting and their perimeter defense. I still think if they want to get anywhere, they will need to trade Russ, but this is a decent signing. As for the all the jokes about Schroeder not signing an $84 million offer 18 months ago with the Lakers, obviously a poor decision to gamble on himself. But hey….sometimes you gamble and win…..sometimes you gamble and lose!

Dennis Schroder might have made the worst bet on himself in ...

In College Football USC picked up another win, this time dismantling Fresno State on Saturday night. I’m pretty sure at this moment, there is no Trojan alum or fan that even remembers them dying for Urban Meyer a year ago. The Trojans are making it look that easy, and not only has the offense been looking like it’s straight out of a video game, but the defense has even shown up lately. That was evident on Saturday night, with some big statement shut down drives against the Bulldogs. There’s also plenty of energy back at The Coliseum with the stands full again. At some point the Trojans will be tested, but it will probably be a few weeks before that happens with Oregon State looming next.

I’m not sure what to make of UCLA Football though. They are still undefeated after escaping against Alabama State. They continue to take advantage of a weak schedule early on, but it also seems like at some point the schedule will catch up with them and they’ll get exposed in conference play. They should beat and awful Colorado team, but I feel like the jig will be up on Chip Kelly once the Bruins face Washington, Utah, and Oregon in three straight weeks. The question everyone has to be wondering is what it will take for Chip Kelly to get a contract beyond this year. Is it just beating USC? Or is it just making it to a bowl game? I think most UCLA fans are hoping the bar is a lot higher than that, but sadly, I’m not sure it is.

The Dodgers are showing no signs of slowing down after clinching the division last week. However, the real question is going to be what kind of health their rotation has heading into October. It seems like for now, Julio Urias, Clayton Kershaw, Tyler Anderson, and Andrew Heaney are the best bets to be healthy. It sure would be nice to have Tony Gonsolin back, and although he’s improving, he might not be fully stretched out to start in October. Also, the acquisition of Joey Gallo has proved to be phenomenal. The guy is swinging the bat like he’s an elite player again, and if he keeps this up in the playoffs, this team might actually win another World Series.

Finally, House of The Dragon on HBO went down last night with Episode 5. This episode had some real “Red Wedding” vibes to it. I feel like every episode Viserys banishes Daemon, yet he just walks right back in to Kings Landing like everything is cool again. Daemon also probably wants a mulligan after killing his wife, only to not get to marry Rhaenyra. You should clearly never go to a wedding in this series if your name is “Joffrey”. I feel like every episode Viserys just wants to build his Legos, but everybody is just stressing him out. That scene with Daemon and Rhaenyra is really beginning to test our values as viewers, because I haven’t heard anybody so completely outraged that those two could possibly end up together. I’m also mildly disappointed that we are going to see a set of some new characters, in particular a farwell to Milly Alcock as Rhaenyra, because of the time jump that’s about to take place in the show. We were just getting attached to them. Nevertheless, this show is killing it, and looking forward to what’s next.

Monday Morning Coffee

September 12, 2022

What a brutal first game for the Rams against the Bills on Thursday night. Buffalo basically “Negan’d” them on their home field. Cam Akers had the same number of rushing yards as Queen Elizabeth, the O-line was awful, Allen Robinson looked like he was back in Chicago, and Matt Stafford looked like he was back in Detroit. The good news for Robinson is that he ran a bunch of routes, so he at least got some great cardio in. The O-line is by far the most concerning thing for the defending champions. If they can’t protect Matt Stafford, they won’t be able to run the ball, and Stafford isn’t mobile enough to create offense. How long before the Rams make calls to Andrew Whitworth and OBJ? The only good news is that it seems to be a rough week for everybody in the division. The bad news is they have a lot to fix before week 2 against the Falcons.

Meanwhile, the Chargers got their revenge on the Raiders by taking them down yesterday at SOFI. Don’t be fooled by Twitter, as it was nearly 50/50 Charger and Raider fans in the building, and maybe even slightly more Bolts fans. Justin Herbert is amazing, and Khalil Mack is making that defense elite already. However, Brandon Staley looks like a kid who is just learning the Madden Playbook with some of the moves he’s making. Somebody unplug his PlayStation because if it weren’t for some terrible Derek Carr throws, this might have been a Raider victory.

Elsewhere around the NFL, Dak Prescott needs surgery and will be out, while Cowboy fans are blacked out after last night’s loss to the Bucs. Botox Brady wasn’t all that sharp, but good enough to win a game. Michael Thomas remembered how to play football again in the Saints comeback win over Atlanta. The jury is still out on Trey Lance, but I guess he’s not good enough to overcome 12 penalties and a Monsoon. The Lions are still the Lions. Baker Mayfield is still Baker Mayfield. The Colts finishing with a tie against the Texans is like taking a kick to the balls for Indianapolis. The Steelers took down the Bengals, in a game of “whatever you can I can do worse.” Tua owns Belichik and the Patriots, Lamar Jackson took his contract anger out on the Jets, Patrick Mahomes singlehandedly dismantled the Cardinals, and Aaron Rodgers probably needed to take more psychedelics to get him through that loss against the Vikings.

To the NBA, where I think it’s time we give up hope on the Lakers moving Russell Westbrook before the season starts. Whatever offers are out there, they seem to be requiring multiple first round picks, Westbrook, the Laker girls, and a copy of the Playboy that Jeanie Buss posed in. I personally think Buddy Hield and Myles Turner are worth two 1st round picks if the Pacers are willing to accept that. Apparently Rob Pelinka doesn’t think so. If it’s cap space the Lakers are concerned with next summer, Turner is a free agent, and Hield will be easy to move with one year left on his deal. Not to mention there are no elite free agents worth pursuing. Given that there will be no Westbrook trade, it looks like at best, the Lakers will be a fringe playoff team.

Ok USC fan I get it. You beat Rice and now you just beat Stanford. You’re looking good, but let’s not get too crazy yet. Some of you are pretending like USC just chased the Russians out of Ukraine. The Trojans are basically playing Big 12 Football: Basketball on a football field. No defense whatsoever. Pretty soon they might not even be hitting people. To be fair, you can’t help but be impressed with both Caleb Williams and Lincoln Riley, but there is still a lot of work to be done. They will best tested. Maybe not next week against Fresno State, but shortly after that. Vegas is apparently sold though, because the Trojans improved from 14-1 to 12-1 odds to win the National Title. USC is now up to #7 in the pool

As for UCLA, they took down Alabama State on Saturday, but the story of the game was the QB situation. Dorian Thompson Robinson was injured, and Chip Kelly is releasing about as much info on the injury, as the CIA releases classified information. Ethan Garbers came into the game and looked like a very capable QB. Call me crazy…..I’m sure you all have if you’ve been reading Jock Talk, but I want to see more of what that kid can do. I still don’t really think this team is that good, but there schedule is extremely soft, so they might win more games than you think, which means Chip Kelly might stick around a little longer. I’m sure something that every Bruins fan is just loving hearing.

What a wild weekend around College Football, and by “wild” I mean downright terrible for Notre Dame. The Irish were upset by Marshall over the weekend, and it’s becoming apparent their quarterback play is in shambles, as is their o–line. The worst part is their schedule gets even tougher. Clearly, Marcus Freeman wouldn’t trust Tyler Buchner with with a cup of coffee right now. Meanwhile, Texas A&M lost to Appalachian State, which means they will likely punish their players by confiscating all the Ferrari’s they bought them in the off-season. Alabama narrowly escaped an upset by Texas, and now the referees are probably the top candidate in the Heisman Trophy race as far as they are concerned. The upsets kept coming though with Wisconsin, Pitt, Houston, Florida, and Baylor getting their weekends ruined, and likely free falling from the Top 25.

This is the part of the Dodgers season where I’m getting nervous about injuries. Blake Treinen is back on the injured listed with shoulder troubles. Tony Gonsolin’s recovery from his forearm issue doesn’t seem to be progressing fast enough, and Gavin Lux is now banged up too. I’m beginning to worry that all of these key pieces are in jeopardy of missing the postseason. Then there’s Cody Bellinger, who continues to fall off a cliff in terms of production. There is simply no amount of quality defense Bellinger can play that can justify keeping him in the lineup with an average under .200. He’s become a strikeout machine, and an easy out for opponents. On the bright side though, Justin Turner has really caught fire, and been on of the best hitters in the NL in the 2nd half of the season. Nevertheless, the next few weeks for the Dodgers are going to be very critical in terms of getting healthy.

Finally, House of The Dragon went down on HBO last night with episode 4. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it yet. Did the King just Door Dash his daughter some Plan B after all her shenanigans? Rhaenyra really went off the rails in this episode. She nearly smashed her Uncle, did smash Ser Criston, lied on her mothers grave to her best friend, and then gaslighted her father into firing Otto. Weird because I still found myself in her corner after all that, given the world that they live in. It’s all clear now though: Daemon wants both Rhaenyra and the Iron Throne. Poor Viserys. It’s like he shows up to work in a family business everyday, but his family are all idiots. I’m beginning to think that the King is going to die in the next couple of episodes, and at that point all hell will break loose in terms of trying to vie for the thrown. The show is getting good already after four episodes. Looking forward to next week!

”

Monday Morning Coffee

September 5, 2022

Happy Labor Day folks! We’re only a few weeks away from NBA training camp opening up and much to the dismay of Laker fans, Russell Westbrook is still on the team. Frankly, most Laker fans are probably on Zillow everyday trying to find Russ a new home in Utah or Indiana. Both teams have very useful role players that could certainly make the Lakers better. However, there is a much more disturbing idea floating around out there. That idea is that the Lakers are trying to save cap space for next summer. That’s an absurd idea because Lebron James is 37 years old, Anthony Davis is in his prime, and the window to win is now. The only elite talent max level free agent the Lakers could pursue is Kyrie Irving, and they’ll never be able to open up a max level salary slot with LBJ and AD on the roster. I’ve also documented here before how Kyrie just isn’t worth pursuing anyway, because he’s not reliable. Hopefully the Lakers aren’t actually thinking this, because it’s an absurd idea. Trading the 2027 and 2029 draft picks is completely justified to move Russ for any combo of Buddy Hield, Myles Turner, Bogdan Bogdanovich, and Jordan Clarkson.

To College Football where USC opened up the season on Saturday at the Coliseum and dismantled Rice. I also made it a point not to create some cheezy tag line in this paragraph like “Trojans cook Rice”. Nevertheless, a new season with Lincoln Riley coaching and Caleb Williams at QB made this feel like a completely new era. It was probably weird for Trojan fans to see someone calling plays that weren’t out of some 1990 Techmo Bowl video game playbook like Clay Helton would. It was only against Rice, but there were a lot of things that USC can feel good about here, including an explosive offense, better play calling, and improved discipline. Apparently the LA Times was so excited about this win that they let people start commenting again on USC content, while you still can’t comment on other content. Props to those 60,000 people who braved the 95 degree heat at the Coliseum to watch the game.

Meanwhile, UCLA picked up a sloppy win over Bowling Green at the Rose Bowl. It took almost an entire half for the Bruins to realize that they needed to start playing football. Eventually, their talent was just too much for their inferior opponent, but there are already glaring weaknesses. Special teams are garbage and pass protection is non-existent. The fans were also non-existent, because there were only a reported 27,000 people in the stands. If you saw it on social media, it seemed for like 25,000 people showed up dressed as empty seats. Still, I can’t blame people for not showing up to watch an average football team in 100 degree heat. For all those idiots who respond to this by saying “well the SEC does this every year in places like Vanderbilt”, you’re forgetting a very basic fundamental principle. YOU DON’T LIVE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. YOU LIVE IN A PLACE WITH NOTHING ELSE TO DO.

Elsewhere around College Football, Ohio State took down Notre Dame in a battle of Top 5 teams to start the season. Buckeye fans claim that it’s been 31,354 days since Notre Dame beat Ohio State, but did anyone actually check their math? I mean these people did go to Ohio State so that’s questionable enough. Georgia crushed Oregon like a grape, and it’s clear the Bull Dogs have a bunch of kids that grew up on the “free lunch program”. Utah was upset by Florida, and Utes fans probably cured their depression by taking shots of ginger ale. Watching LSU and Florida State finish that game yesterday was like watching two drunk Bears go at it. It’s amazing how these coaches get paid tens of millions of dollars to screw up a game like that at the end. Perhaps Brian Kelly will really mean it this time, and actually execute his team.

To baseball where the Dodgers beat up on the Padres again over the weekend. The Boys in Blue had a bit of an up and down week, losing two of three to the Mets, before taking two of three from the Padres. The series with the Mets is a reminder that if these two teams meet in October, it should be a pretty back and forth series that is very even. The Mets made a couple of more big plays that was the difference last week, but it’s a big reminder that I’ve said before: if the Dodgers hit elite pitching, they’ll win the World Series this year. They didn’t quite do enough of that last week, but they’ve shown they can in the last month. The real question they’ll have to answer is which pitchers are going to be healthy enough to be on the playoff roster. It’s hard to imagine everyone will be, because there are so many question marks with health, but hopefully Tony Gonsolin, since he’s easily been the best pitcher in the NL this year. I also don’t know how the Dodgers can leave Trayce Thompson off the playoff roster with him playing like he’s Babe Ruth. Even if that means keeping Cody Bellinger at home, which is starting to makes the most sense.

The Angels are still putting out terrible lineups on a nightly basis and embarrassing themselves on the field. However, the good news is the rumors about who is interested in buying the team. The Golden State Warriors ownership group has interest, as does Stan Kroenke. Those are both owners that clearly have demonstrated success in building very modern day sports franchises with forward thinking strategies. That goes especially for the Warriors ownership group. Without a doubt, either one of those groups have much deeper pockets than Arte Moreno, and should fundamentally change how the Halos organization is structured. That’s going to be the most important part of a sale of the organization.

We’re just three days away from NFL Football. The Rams will kick off the season at SOFI against the Bills, in what is expected to be a very difficult first game. The Rams have a great team still, but it’s funny how everyone is basically expecting the Bucs and Bills to be in the Super Bowl this year. It’s almost like the Rams are flying under the radar and playing with house money in that sense. That’s probably because nobody ever expects any team to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, but don’t count out the Rams on this. Much of the NFC actually got worse, and the division really isn’t much better. As long as Matt Stafford’s elbow stays in tact, this team should still be in the hunt all year.

Finally, House of The Dragon went down on HBO last night with episode 3. So far, things are kind of crazy. We’ve covered 3 years of time in 3 episodes, and we already have a kid that was born and is 2 years old, in Aegon. The irony of this show is that in Game of Thrones everybody wanted to sit on the Iron Throne. In this show, Viserys doesn’t even really want the job, because he’s faced with alienating either his daughter or his son. Meanwhile, Daemon took the military support from his brother about as personally as Michael Jordan took everything. The battle scenes are incredible, the storyline is great, but it’s interesting that so far there are no light hearted characters we’ve seen yet like a Tyrion Lannister, or anybody that lightens the mood. We also don’t entirely know who the villain is either. It’s just a lot of intensity so far through three episodes. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s the difference in this show and Game of Thrones so far. We do have a clone of Jon Snow in Criston Cole, and a Daenerys clone in Rhaenyra. I also have no idea why the crab dude was significant or not, but the battle part was interesting. Nevertheless, I’m sure many of these questions will be answered shortly, but great TV so far.

Monday Morning Coffee

August 29, 2022

The Lakers made a notable move last week by acquiring Pat Beverley from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Before I give you my current opinion of him as a player, I gotta remind you all that he told Steph Curry, “the next five years are mine” and then got traded five times. Putting all the trash talking and obnoxious antics aside, if I’m going to be completely fair, I don’t think Beverley is the All-NBA defender he was two years ago as he’s aged, but he can be a strong leader, and probably a better defender and shooter than many of the role players the Lakers had on their roster last season. Losing THT is tough, but he doesn’t fit the Lakers timeline, so I’m ok with trading him. I also don’t like to look back at the sunk cost of paying THT over Alex Caruso, like many of you are doing. It’s an upgrade to what they currently have, although it has it’s imperfections. As for Russell Westbrook, I fully expect him to be traded after this, and for several high caliber, albeit expensive role players. We’ll see if that comes to fruition before training camp, otherwise, media day is going to be very awkward.

To baseball where the Dodgers not only lost Walker Buehler for the season, but will likely be without hi for all of 2023. That’s difficult to stomach for most teams, however, the Dodgers are deep enough to still contend without him. We got more evidence of that over the weekend, when they dominated the Marlins. I’m not sure Mookie Betts ever wants to leave Miami, after crushing 4 home runs in three games, and looking every bit like not just the NL MVP, but also arguably the best player in baseball. It’s also really good to see Dustin May back in the rotation and looking like a serious ace of the staff. This team has enough starting pitching, and probably enough in the bullpen, but come October, it’s just a matter of whether or not they can hit elite pitching, and whether or not Craig Kimbrel can keep it together. I wouldn’t exactly bet my house on the latter.

As for the Angels, the big news that was revealed last week was that Arte Moreno looking to sell the club. This is actually the best news that Angel fans could hope for. Arte Moreno didn’t have the money to invest in the team and make them competitive. Namely, when it came to scouting and player development. While a new owner doesn’t guarantee them success, it almost assures them of having ownership that will have deeper pockets than Moreno, and more likely to have a better organizational infrastructure. The bad news though is that it make take a while to fix the damage that has been done, and that they may even lose Shohei Ohtani to free agency before new ownership gets into place. It also assures the Angels of likely being bad next season, and no major free agent spending this off-season. Also at that point, Mike Trout could be in his mid 30’s, and past his prime. It’s a rough outlook in the short-run, but in the long-run, this is what’s best to make the franchise more competitive again. Angel fans can at least have a parade down Main Street at Disneyland to celebrate the departure of Moreno. Knowing him, he’ll probably go on Shark Tank and ask the Sharks for a $2.5 billion investment in his underachieving team with two of the best player in the world.

Allen J. Schaben –– – Anaheim Angels owner Arte Moreno signs autographs and poses with fans as he attends Angel Fest 2004 Saturday, Feb. 14, 2004 at Angel Stadium. Angel Fest continues Sunday.

I know it’s been a while since we saw UCLA Football, but here’s a reminder: Chip Kelly is still their coach. That’s not good. The Bruins won 8 games last year with a roster that was pretty good. USC was down, and they should have done more. This year, that roster isn’t nearly as good, even though they have an easier schedule. If they win 8 games with this team, I will be surprised. There’s more holes than swiss cheese on this roster, and it’s hard to imagine anything better than a middle of the road PAC-12 finish.

As for the Trojans, they should be much better this year with some elite coaching, but slow your roll on the expectations. USC is certainly a contender to win the division, and ultimately, the conference. However, to think they could compete for a National Title, or even a playoff spot at this junction is like believing in the Tooth Fairy. However, one thing USC can hang it’s hat on is the evolution of Lincoln Riley as a coach. Riley runs the air raid offense, and it’s known for not just evolution but misdirection. That’s something that was completely non-existent for USC under Clay Helton. That in itself is progress. It’s going to take some time to get back to where they should be as a program, but this is a good start.

Finally, I’m really excited about House of Dragons on HBO. There’s clearly a lot of pressure for it to live up to after a poor ending to Game of Thrones. However, the ratings are already there, as the first episode had ratings that were better than some of this years NBA Finals games. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching the first two episodes later. I fully expect Viserys to be dead within 6 episodes, if Game of Thrones taught us anything. Then I guess we can expect to see a lot of people getting killed. For that reason, better avoid naming your kids any characters in the show for now. I was sort of expecting the show to be about the Mad King, but then again, we already know what happened there. So this might actually be way more interesting in the long run. I’m sure everyone jumped out of their chair and did a little dance when they heard the Game of Thrones intro music at the start of the show. I don’t really like that look Alicent gave Rhaenyra like ” sorry bitch, I outsmarted you this time”. Feels like everyone is just pimping out their daughters at this point. The visual quality on this show has been incredible so far. This episode had a lot of backdoor politics, and ultimately, Viserys made an interesting choice to choose House Hightower instead of House Velaryon, which would have made way more sense politically. Looking forward to the next episode, as the story is off to a pretty fascinating start so far.

Image

Monday Morning Coffee

August 22, 2022

Last week Lebron James extended his contract with the Lakers for two years and $97 million. For those of you thinking this isn’t the right move you may have forgotten: Lebron can still be the best player on any given night. When healthy, he gives the Lakers a good chance against anybody, and that even goes for Anthony Davis. It also speaks volumes that this is the most amount of contracts that Lebron has signed with any team in his career, including the Cavs. So for those of you questioning Lebron’s loyalty to the Lakers, it’s there. This is also more than just about being comfortable in LA, it’s also the fact that he still believes he can take the Lakers on a deep playoff run. The Nets are now reportedly telling teams that Kyrie isn’t going to be traded, but that’s ok. As I said before, the Lakers don’t need Kyrie Irving. They need reliable role players, and they can still get that in a Russell Westbrook trade. It may take a draft pick or two, but there are deals that are still out there that can help the Lakers content in the West. More than anything though, health is going to be the key.

To baseball where the Dodgers are still dominating baseball, but they got some bad news last week about Walker Buehler. The ace of their staff is going to miss the rest of the season with an elbow injury. That’s disappointing news, but the Dodgers actually have enough pitching to get them through October. Julio Urias, Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, Tyler Anderson, and Clayton Kershaw if healthy, are all more than capable of winning a playoff game. October is going to come down to whether or not the Dodger lineup can hit against elite pitching, and they did so yesterday against Sandy Alcantara, one of the best pitchers in the NL this year. There’s also the closer issue, and at this point, I wouldn’t trust Craig Kimbrel to close a hot dog stand, let alone a baseball game. Evan Phillips is easily the Dodgers best reliever, and one of the best in the game. He’s so good, that his role in the postseason should just be to get the three most high leverage outs of any game, whether that’s in the 9th, or even before that. Getting Blake Treinen and Brusdar Graterol back will also help give the Dodgers more options than Kimbrel, and further reduce his role when he blows it again.

As for the Angels, they had another rough weekend. This time it was against the lowly Tigers. At least Mike Trout returned to the lineup. However, Joe Maddon decided to start talking to the Tampa Bay Tribune, and basically confirmed everything we thought about today’s baseball Manager. The Manager is nothing more than a figurehead that is taking game plan instructions from the front office. A Manager like Maddon, that gets to implement a game plan as he sees the game unfold, has become obsolete. He also further confirmed what we all knew: the Angels as an organization lack infrastructure. They lack scouting and player development largely, and that’s going to impact their ability to compete in the long run.

As you know by now, UCLA and USC are planning on making a move to the Big 10 in 2024. However, the rumor that the UC Regents could block this move is ridiculous. What is this some communist dictatorship? If you want to stop UCLA from leaving the Pac – 12 then maybe the Regents should have cared more about who was running their Athletic Conference into the ground for the last decade. This would be like Gavin Newsom telling people they can’t leave California, even though they want to move because taxes are just too high. It’s becoming more and more embarrassing to be a Californian everyday.

If you haven’t seen the Netflix documentary “The Girlfriend That Didn’t Exist” on Manti Te’o, you need to watch it. More than anything, everyone owes this kid an apology. He was duped in an era where nobody actually knew what “catfishing” was. In fact, online dating was really just taking off back then. For us to question his honesty, integrity, and sexuality was just wrong looking back on it. He was just a teenager, who frankly, handled everything as well as can be expected at that point in life. Considering the fact that the average NFL career is only 3 years, it’s pretty remarkable that he hung in the league for 7 years with all this nonsense hanging over his head. It actually makes me think he could have been really good had he not been dealing with the fallout of that for so long.

Everybody is wondering what’s up with Tom Brady’s absence from training camp. The rumors are that it’s his marriage and that he and Gisele Bündchen are having tension. I don’t know if that’s why he’s actually missing camp, but if there is tension it’s obvious why. Gisele has been trying to get her husband to quit football for half a decade, if not longer. Her husband has boat loads of money, is widely considered the greatest Quarterback of All-Time, yet he still wants to continue playing. Of course she’s pissed. She wants him to stay home, take out the trash, do the dishes, mow the lawn, and take care of the kids. She’s right though. I mean what more does the guy have to accomplish? I can’t blame him though for not wanting to do chores in that household. I mean mowing the lawn in the Brady household would suck because it’s probably the length of a football field, and taking out the trash would be brutal because the cans must be rolled down a driveway that is the length of three football fields.

The season finale of Better Call Saul went down last week and I have to say, it was a satisfying ending. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it, so read no further if you plan on watching it later. I never really thought it would come, but Saul had his redeeming moments. He had the Feds down from 86 years to 7 years, but then confessed to everything he had done wrong, and took his 86 years in prison. At the end of the day, Kim, and every single person watching, had way more respect for him with how things turned out. It was not the ending I expected when the entire series started, but was quite satisfying. It turns out that Breaking Bad is the greatest character transformation in television history, but this one is pretty good too, considering that Jimmy had multiple character transformations over the course of the series. That was impressive.

Image

Monday Morning Coffee

The History of LeBron James and Stephen Curry's Rivalrous Friendship | GQ

August 15, 2022

The NBA schedule for the upcoming season is slowly being leaked. I feel like at this point they are very reluctantly leaking that schedule though, and hoping for a do-over in the event a flurry of trades go down before training camp. The Lakers, Nets, Pacers, Knicks, and Jazz are all rumored to be interested in making some trades. In fact, I don’t even see how it’s possible at this point for the Lakers to come to camp with Russell Westbrook, the Nets with Kyrie and KD, the Knicks with Julius Randle, the Pacers with Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, and the Jazz with Donovan Mitchell. For all those teams it would be like coming home to your wife and trying to make amends after being out all night flirting with attractive women and telling them you want to marry them. Also, for those of you that think if the Lakers trade for Kyrie everything will be ok in Laker land, don’t forget that he brings a whole new set of problems. While negotiating with the Nets, Kyrie reportedly tried to get a guarantee that he didn’t have to play more than 60 games, or play in back-to-back games because he feels they are “inhumane”. This dude is making $34 million and apparently thinks he’s fighting in the Ukraine-Russia war. Unbelievable.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are just pounding teams right now. Despite their loss yesterday, they have been obliterating the league, racking up 12 straight wins, and cruising to the best record in baseball. Right now the best trade deadline move has been the Dodgers acquisition of last year’s version of Max Muncy, in exchange for patience. When Muncy, Cody Bellinger, and Justin Turner are hitting, this line up is nearly impossible to stop, because you know the combination of Betts-Freeman-Trea Turner at the top is going to. No Dodger fan can complain about the regular season domination, but let’s be honest, it’s all about October for this team. They will simply be judged by the results then, whether it’s fair or unfair. I also have some major “who do you trust” questions come October. Tony Gonsolin and Tyler Anderson have been so good, yet do we really think in a big playoff game we can give them the ball and expect elite performances from them? Craig Kimbrel has been garbage all season, yet they keep rolling him out there. Instead, I sure hope the Dodgers make use of guys like Blake Treinen or Evans Philips come prime time.

The Angels had themselves a nice weekend against the Twins, even though they are out of contention. However, something interesting is happening with the Halos. Since July 24, their starting pitchers lead the A.L. with a combined 2.73 ERA, and have allowed two-or-fewer runs in 16 of 20 games in that span. It’s fair to say their schedule may have eased up a bit, but more than anything it tells you where the problem is: the lineup. This team is regularly putting guys out there that can barely hit Major League Pitching. It’s going to take a lot more than a healthy Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon to solve this problem. It’s going to take resourcefulness and front office smarts. Two things that I’m just not so sure the Angels have at this point.

We’re only 19 days away from USC Football opening up against Rice. It’s been so long since USC has actually been good at Football, but now the hype behind them might be real with Lincoln Riley now coaching them. They have what could potentially be an elite Quarterback in Caleb Williams. However, one thing to keep in mind is that Lincoln Riley doesn’t do defense. Expect this team to score a lot, but also expect them to defend about as poorly as a parked car. For years, all I’ve heard from USC fans is that it’s all about just making it to the Rose Bowl, and winning it. However, I don’t buy it. The Trojans actually did that with Clay Helton as their coach at one point, but it still wasn’t enough. They want to be in the College Football Playoff, and compete for National Championships. That’s fine, just don’t pretend like it was all about the Rose Bowl, because it’s not 1984 anymore.

As for the UCLA Football Program, Chip Kelly described his roster construction as “year-to-year”. I think that also describes exactly how UCLA fans feel about him coaching their team. Kelly is mostly relying on transfers this year to get him by, and their are a lot of holes to patch up. There’s no question this year’s team is much worse than last year’s. However, one thing they do have going for them is the fact they will have a schedule that is softer than tissue paper. Not sure what that means for Kelly’s future beyond this year, but expect a mildly respectable, but nothing to brag about year for this program.

Finally, the series finale of Better Call Saul is going down tonight. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to watch it, so read no further if you plan on doing so later. The mystery of what happened to Kim Wexler was finally solved. She moved to Florida, like most Americans seem to be doing these days, and she’s actually alive. However, I would not be surprised if by the time this series is over, she dies. I mean, it would be somewhat on brand to make us think she’s going to live, only to kill her off at the very end. Although I wasn’t a fan of all the flash forwards and flash backs the last few episodes, the series finale should be exciting tonight because it’s at a point in time AFTER the Breaking Bad era. That means we don’t actually know what the fate of ANY of these characters are, even though we thought we knew earlier. I’m on the edge of my seat!

Monday Morning Coffee

August 8, 2022

Well we’ve reached August and the entire NBA is still being held hostage by Kevin Durant. However, now that’s it’s August, Lebron James is eligible to sign an extension of up to 2-years. I know there are some of you out there that think the Lakers should trade him and start over, or just let him walk, but let’s be real: you’re all crazy. Lebron may be 37 years old, but he is still a top 3 NBA player, and on any given night, could be the best baller in the association. You don’t trade him when you’ve still got Anthony Davis paired with him. You’re forgetting that it’s actually a lot easier to find capable role players than it is to find superstars. The Lakers have two stars and just need capable role players. That might seem impossible, because it would take trading away Russell Westbrook, which sounds too hard, but it’s actually not as impossible as you think. The Lakers may not be much of anything right now by Lakers standards, but they also might not be as far away as you think.

In baseball, the Padres traded for Juan Soto last week, which got me thinking: the Padres remind me a lot of the Clippers. By adding Juan Soto the Padres can boast a lineup with Soto, Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis, and even Josh Bell. That sounds nice on paper, but even before that trade the Padres were talented, and did nothing. They are even more talented now, but so far, doesn’t look like it will get them to compete with the elite of the NL. Same goes for the Clippers, who traded for Kawhi and Paul George three years ago, but it hasn’t worked so far. That’s not to say that eventually those moves can’t still work, but we’ve yet to see it pay-off for either franchise.

I’ll get to everything Vin Scully in just a moment, but first the Dodgers. They made no moves at the trade deadline, which frankly, isn’t the worst thing in the world. The Dodgers have the best record in baseball, and for the past week, made the Giants and Padres look like Little Leaguers. They certainly didn’t need Juan Soto. Could they have used some pitching or another closer? Of course. You can never have enough pitching. However, they have a boat load of players coming back from the IL: Chris Taylor, Justin Turner, Blake Treinen, Edwin Rios, Dustin May, and Walker Buehler. That’s an entire all-star team of players that can help. Considering the Dodgers have some transcendent level prospects in their system, there’s really no need to make a panic move and mortgage the future when they are still elite in the present. Clayton Kershaw’s back is a concern, but at least it’s not his arm, he’s got time before the playoffs start to recover, and the Dodgers don’t live and die anymore with each of his playoff starts.

I was extremely saddened by the passing of Legendary Dodger Broadcaser Vin Scully last week, but also, feel so privileged to have heard him. The man was 94 years old, and you have to feel happy for him that he worked all the way up until 88, and still got to spend time with his wife before he passed. This man could read a phone book, and make it interesting. That’s how good of a story teller he was, and his stories were fascinating during every game. I also love the fact that Scully was not a homer. He called it like it was during the game. An exciting moment was an exciting moment, regardless of whether or not it was the Dodgers or their opponents. The same can be said for fellow legendary LA broadcasters Chick Hearn and Bob Miller. This is not normal. You rarely get a hall of fame broadcaster working for your team. LA had three amazing ones. We are beyond spoiled here, but more than anything blessed to be LA Sports fan, especially thanks for Scully.


Meanwhile, the trade deadline came and went for the Angels, who sold off some spare parts: Noah Syndergaard, Raisel Iglesias, and Brandon Marsh for some prospects they hope will become useful. The real criticism they are receiving is that they should have traded Shohei Ohtani, which could have jump started the franchise with a boat load of high end blue chip prospects. However, their strategy unfortunately looks like it’s going to be nothing more than “rinse and repeat”, by just trying to fill holes this summer by signing free agents. That is unlikely to work for two reasons: there are too many holes, and Arte Moreno can’t outspend enough teams competing for elite players. Then again, the more I watch the Angels, the more I wouldn’t want Moreno to spend more money, because he spends it so poorly. Instead, he should be spending on scouting and player development. Half the Angels lineup on Saturday afternoon was hitting under .200. That just goes to show you what little depth this franchise has, and its lack of resourcefulness. I can’t see much changing without or without an Ohtani trade, as long as this fundamental structure remains in place.

In the NFL the Rams are continuing training camp at UC Irvine, as they get ready to take on the Chargers in their 1st pre-season game on Saturday. However, there is real concern about the elbow of Matthew Stafford. Sean McVay described it as “abnormal” which makes me wonder how this dude is going to last until February. It almost sounds like a baseball injury, that could potentially need Tommy John surgery. At this point every one of those 50 yard no-look passes I see him throw make me wonder if his arm is going to fall off like he were pitching for the Angels.

There’s a massage therapist convention that went on in Cleveland this weekend. DeShaun Watson must think this is some horrible joke the city is playing on him, and he probably desperately wanted to get into that convention. Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers mentioned he’s taking psychedelics, but he didn’t really need to tell me that it’s helping him be a better lover.

Finally, there’s only two episodes of Better Call Saul left. I have to say, the last two episodes have been a little disappointing and unnecessary. We had a great build up in the story line with Kim and Jimmy, they break up …..yea spoiler alert…….and then all we see are a series of flash forwards and flashbacks. Other than providing some nostalgia for Breaking Bad, the flashbacks and flash forwards are doing nothing for the story. Hopefully we’ll see a strong finish in the last two episodes for what’s been a great series.

Monday Morning Coffee

August 1st, 2022

Welcome to the MLB trade deadline edition of Monday Morning Coffee. Who needs Juan Soto when you have James Outman? Dude looks more like James “Hitman” in his MLB debut yesterday. If there’s anything the Dodgers need to do before tomorrows deadline it’s get a starting pitcher. They need some insurance if Walker Buehler doesn’t make it back, or Dustin May just can’t take on too much coming off injury. I can appreciate Andrew Friedman saying the Dodgers owe it to their fans to do the due diligence on superstars when they are available, but they don’t need any more stars just to have stars, like Juan Soto. This feels like a total role reversal from where I used to be with Andrew Friedman when he never spent big and I wanted him to, but now here we are. Of course I’d much rather see Shohei Ohtani in a Dodger uniform and it would be fascinating, but Arte Moreno would rather gargle with razor blades than trade his star player to his cross-town rival (at least in his mind). I am happy to see Dave Roberts begin to recognize that Craig Kimbrel actually sucks. The first step to solving a problem is admitting you actually have one. I’ve also decided that Cody Bellinger is basically Joc Pederson now. That’s fine, but just don’t expect him to put up MVP numbers again.

As for the Angels, with two months to go, they must be dying for their season to end. They lost 3 of 4 over the weekend to the Rangers, and they finished the month of July hitting under .200. That is shockingly bad baseball. As bad as this team is, they need to make a very important decision in the next 24 hours. They need to decide if they are going to continue to try and build a winner around Trout, Ohtani, and Rendon. I say that because this team and organization has too many holes to fill in one off-season, so they should start now. Otherwise, they should just start trading people now, including Ohtani. On the bright side, Mike Trout’s rumored back injury doesn’t seem as crippling as initially feared , and he might start swinging a bat this week. At this point, that’s the best news the Angels can get.

In the NBA, there’s still a whole lot of nothing to report about with the Lakers. They would love to deal for Kyrie Irving, but he’s not getting moved until Kevin Durant does, and nobody can meet the Nets insane asking price for KD. Yes it’s true that if the Lakers were willing to trade Anthony Davis they might have a shot at acquiring Durant, but there’s too many NBA politics for that deal to happen. Lebron and Klutch’s relationship with AD for one, and the fact Kevin Durant doesn’t really like Lebron or Kyrie anymore. That team would also be awful defensively without AD. The good news for the Lakers is Lebron sounds like he wants to stay in LA and sign an extension, and that Kendrick Nunn is actually healthy. Hopefully Nunn doesn’t bang his knee on a coffee table again.

There’s actually some big names still out there on the free agent market. Carmelo has yet to sign, and we’ve reached the annual point in the summer where everyone starts posting videos of him dominating dudes at 24 Hour Fitness. I actually wouldn’t mind Melo back on the Lakers for the minimum in a limited role. Dwight Howard is also out there, and it blows my mind that DeAndre Jordan was signed before him. Dwight didn’t have a great year last year, but if DJ can find a team, he should be able to. Otherwise, he can go to the WWE. It’s also amazing how obsolete of a player Montrezl Harrell has become. He was the 6th man of the year in 2020, and now he can’t even find a team.

I’d like to express my deepest condolences to the family of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who passed away over the weekend. Russell had an amazing basketball legacy, but his legacy and accomplishments during the civil rights movement was far more impactful. Russell is in a category by himself when it comes

to this, along with the likes of Muhammad Ali and Jim Brown.

In the NFL, training camps are open and the Rams are showing out at UC Irvine. The Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson wide receiver duo is already looking really good, and if OBJ somehow gets added to the mix then who needs a running game? Although I expect Cam Akers to look much better after having more time to recover from his Achilles tear.

Meanwhile, I keep asking myself if we’re going to fall for it again this year and pick the Chargers to make a deep run in the AFC. Honestly, the only reason why I like them is because of Justin Herbert. The Bolts have always had talent, but Herbert is a special talent that looks like he may just be able to overcome all the on and off the field ineptitude this organization has endured for many years.

Monday Morning Coffee

July 25, 2022

Russell Westbrook is still a Laker. Kyrie Irving is not. As it stands today, this Laker team probably isn’t going to be all that much better than last year. It’s not about Kyrie though, it’s about not having reliable role players that can shoot and defend. They can only get those by trading Russ. However, you people that want to criticize the Lakers for not wanting to part with multiple first round picks in a Russ trade must be the worst negotiators ever. I’m beginning to think you even go to Whole Foods and ask the cashier if you can pay even more for that rotisserie chicken than it’s listed for. Some of you also seem to think that Buddy Heild and Myles Turner are Larry Bird and Bill Russell. They aren’t, but I get it. You don’t like Russ and he’s not a good fit, but being a good NBA executive requires patience to get the right deal, which most of you don’t seem to understand. Give the Lakers time. If they look this way come October, then we can criticize.

Meanwhile, interesting back and forth between former NBA player JJ Redick and Clippers Executive Jerry West. Redick tried to be funny but was somewhat serious when he said that Bob Cousy played against “plumbers and fireman.” Jerry West fired back by saying that Redick was basically a nobody who averaged 12 points per game. What’s funny about this is that Redick is actually the plumber and fireman of his era. In general though, I hate comparing eras because the game and the resources are just different. Who is to say that if I put Bob Cousy in todays era, he wouldn’t be able to adapt himself to todays rules and be just as great? That’s why these conversations are so pointless.

The Dodgers at rolling. They just swept the Giants, and they’ve won 8 in a row. Mookie Betts is pretty good at this baseball thing. Freddie Freeman has also ended the drama and caught fire at the plate. The fact the Dodgers have opened up an 11.5 game lead in the West, and are just 1/2 behind the Yankees for the best record in baseball tells you how great their depth is, even with all the injuries. Still, you can never have enough pitching come October, which is why Luis Castillo and another reliever make the most sense to trade for by the trade deadline. Also, Trayce Thompson on the Dodgers is apparently like having Ted Williams on the team. He has definitely earned more playing time.

Andrew Friedman watches team drills.

Meanwhile, the Angels disaster is still ongoing after getting beaten up by the Braves for most of the weekend. The Halos win so infrequently, everyone was astonished they found the win column. Mike Trout looks like he’s going to be out longer than he initially thought. Also bizarre is the contract extension they agreed to with David Fletcher. Only the Angels could make a deal like this that was bad for both sides. Why would you want to extend a guy who is hitting .211? And if you’re Fletcher, why would you want to lock yourself into a low salary like that for 5 years? This basically re-affirms my believe that no matter what direction the Angels go in, they are likely to screw it up.

Finally, I’ve mentioned before how I can’t resent all PGA Tour members that are taking all that money with the LIV Tour. However, now it’s getting really serious: they might get Charles Barkley to do their broadcasting. Barkley admitted this is only about the money, which I admire, and can’t hate on him if he takes it. However, I’m going to be devastated if he leaves Inside The NBA on TNT for this. That show has always been phenomenal. Putting Barkley on TV to talk golf is completely nonsensical, but if someone Is dumb enough to triple is salary, he can’t say no.

Finally, I’m always fired up about Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. The epic coverage kicked off last night, which included an unbelievable shark encounter a diver had while in a plexiglass cage. Frankly, the diver is lucky to be alive after a Great White went full speed breaching through his cage. This may not have been the most responsible set up by the the Shark Week producers, but thankfully, nobody was hurt. Nevertheless, it did make for incredible footage.

Monday Morning Coffee

July 18, 2022

NBA Summer League is over, but over the weekend, Lebron made an appearance in an exhibition game at the Drew League. Look, it was fun and glad Lebron looks healthy, but let’s not get too excited about LBJ and DeMar Derozan flexing on a bunch of Door Dash drivers. Nothing could be more hilarious though than thinking that Kyrie Irving was going to play in that game, then no-showed. Now everyone knows how the Nets have felt for the last three years. Then there’s Russell Westbrook, who split with his agent over the weekend. Never in my life have I seen an agent make a statement like Thad Foucher did over the weekend, just publicly airing the dispute between him and his client. Foucher said he thinks Russ should stay with the Lakers to not diminish his value further, while it sounds like Russ wants to be traded. I’m not so sure either one of them have much say in the matter at this point, and neither do the Lakers. It’s really up to the Nets if they want to part ways with him, and until KD gets traded, that might not happen. The only thing that could really make all this happen is if Russ, Kyrie, and KD make things really awkward for the Lakers and Nets, and force their hand into taking action.

A separate NBA side story taking shape is that Donovan Mitchell is now available in trade talks. The Jazz are clearly selling off parts like a going out of business sale, and the Knicks are at the top of the list of teams chasing him. I love Donovan Mitchell, and he’s certainly a star player, but it would be very on brand for the Knicks to unload every future draft pick they own for a guard they have no idea how to build around.

To baseball, where the Dodgers have hit the All-Star break with the best record in the National League. The Boys in Blue swept the Angels over the weekend, outscoring them 22-3 in four games this season. However, the story around the Dodgers is the Juan Soto trade rumors. Soto turned down $440 million over 15 years. He’s a great player, but there is no MLB player worth that kind dollar figure, especially when you have to gut your farm system for him. Everyone wants to compare this to when Miguel Cabrera was traded from the Tigers in 2007. Cabrera had a nice run with the Tigers, but let’s not pretend it created some incredible power shift in baseball. The Tigers made it to the World Series once with him, and were eliminated four times in the playoffs with him. Soto is nice, but the Dodgers don’t need him. They need bullpen help, especially at the closer spot, and they need their ace back, Walker Buehler. Let’s be practical people, this isn’t fantasy baseball. Plus the reason the Dodgers opened a 9.5 game lead on the Padres is because the middle of their order started hitting. That’s not an unreasonable expectation moving forward.

.

Then there’s the Angels, who simply look like they have booked vacations to Cancun for quite some time. They enter the All-Star break with only 7 teams in baseball with worse records than them. They are much closer to tanking for the #1 pick than they are to a playoff spot. We should also stop talking about the idea of trading Shohei Ohtani or Mike Trout. Arte Moreno would never do that, since he cares more about selling tickets for people to see his star players. I’m also amazed that people are now turning on Mike Trout, like it’s his fault the team sucks. He’s still having a solid season, and despite some of the nagging injuries, he’s played in 85% of the teams games. Phil Nevin probably hates his job at this point, but Phil if it makes you feel better, so do most Americans!

With the All-Star game scheduled for Tuesday at Dodger Stadium, everyone is excited, but reminded of a big reality: Dodger Stadium is a terrible venue to get in and out of. The experience of watching a game there is fantastic, but it’s like the Hollywood Bowl, miserable to get there. I feel fortunate to get to go to Tuesday’s game, but if I leave now, I should make it there just in time for fist pitch. The problem is, there isn’t much of a solution for this one other than building a new stadium at a different site. It’s virtually one way in and one way out to get to the Ravine. Parking is awful, and there’s nothing that can be done to change that fundamental aspect of it. All this talk about the concession workers striking. I think they just didn’t want to have to deal with parking there during the All-Star game!