Monthly Archives: May 2014

Monday Morning Coffee


May 26th, 2014

How did this happen?  The Kings are suddenly up 2-1 in their Western Conference Finals best of 7 series vs Chicago.  In the last two games, LA has completely imposed their will in the 3rd period, and their offense has exploded.  The Blackhawks are still more dangerous than Justin Bieber speeding through a neighborhood with kids, and are still the favorites to win it, but things are much different than last spring.  The Kings physicality is wearing down the Chicago defense, the Kings are scoring goals, they are healthier, and Jonathan Quick is much better than last year.  Still, the Kings need to approach tonight as a must win, because they will need three opportunities to close out this Chicago team.  Especially since the Hawks are much better at home.

I love the fact that Tyler Toffoli, Jeff Carter, and Tanner Pearson are now universally known as “That’s 70’s Line”, and were referred to as that on multiple television networks on Saturday night.  I never imagined that Pearson would make this kind of impact in the NHL so quickly after being drafted.  Has anyone noticed how great the Kings special teams have been so far in this series?  Has anyone also noticed how badly the Blackhawks power play has been?  That’s because the Hawks power play coach is Jamie Kompon.  The same Jamie Kompon who ran a horrendous power play with the Kings during their 2012 playoff run.

That 70's Line

On to baseball and the Dodgers, where there’s some good and some bad to discuss.  Let’s start with the good, since Josh Beckett threw the 11th no-hitter in Dodger history yesterday against the Phillies.  I’ve gotta admit, I thought Beckett’s career was over after his season ending surgery last year.  I thought having him as our 5th starter would be a bigger mistake than marrying a Kardashian.  Instead, Beckett has completely re-invented himself by developing much more effective off-speed pitches, instead of overpowering fastballs, which have kept the hitters off-balance.  Beckett’s contract will be up at the end of the season, as will #4 starter Dan Haren, which gives these guys extra motivation each and every time they take the mound this season.  I think it’s pretty obvious that starting pitching isn’t the problem for LA.

Then there’s the bad.  We’re more than a quarter into the season, and the Dodgers are barely over .500, and trailing the Giants by 5.5 games in the NL West.  LA has the highest payroll in baseball, but looks like one of the lowest baseball IQ teams in the league.  Only two teams in the MLB have made more errors than the boys in blue.  Hanley Ramirez looks like a major defensive liability at shortstop, and Matt Kemp has not been the same defensive center fielder we used to see.  Offensively, these guys are ok, but not doing nearly enough to make up for what they are giving up in the field.  This team also commonly makes silly base running mistakes that cost them.  This is not Dodger baseball.  I realize it’s early, but these types of mistakes are very concerning, and make me question whether or not this is really a championship team.

It’s definitely not too early to draw some conclusions about the Angels.  The Halos season has been over around this time, during the last two seasons.  After nearly two months, they lead the Wild Card and are only 1.5 games out of 1st place in the AL West.  It’s amazing what a little starting pitching can do for you.  The only bad news is that Josh Hamilton had a setback in his recovery from his thumb injury.  However, for a team that’s top 5 in the majors in runs scored, I think they can continue to survive for a little without him.   Other than Detroit, there isn’t really a team in the American League that scares me right now.  Oakland us vulnerable, the rest of the central division is a train wreck, and the AL East is overrated by all those New York and Boston honks that think the world revolves around them.  The Angels should be feeling pretty good about things right now.

To the NBA, where the Lakers got some bad news this week about their lottery pick.  They’ll be picking 7th in this years draft, which was one slot worse than their 6th worst record.  I’d like to thank Mike D’Antoni for being an ass hole and winning a few extra meaningless games when he shouldn’t have.  I’m not saying that the NBA lottery is rigged, but they sure aren’t doing much to prevent us from thinking that.  I mean the odds of Cleveland getting the #1 pick in the draft three out of four years has to be less than 1%.  This is basically the NBA’s form of welfare.  There is simply no way that anybody wants to play in Cleveland, so its the only way they can get good players to go there.  It’s not like the Lakers can’t get a good player at #7, however, it’s going to a much slower rebuild than if they had a top 3 pick.

As for the coaching search, I will never understand why the Lakers continue to interview Mike Dunleavy every time their head coaching job is available.  The guy hasn’t had success in the NBA in more than 20 years, and has been out of the game for a while.  Another brilliant idea by Jim Buss.  Let’s be loyal to the guy who took us to the NBA Finals 24 years ago, when we got crushed, but screw Phil Jackson, the guy that is responsible for our last 5 championships!  Makes perfect sense.  Glad to see Byron Scott getting an interview, who as I mentioned before, would be an excellent choice, as would Lionel Hollins, who will be interviewed later in the week.  Neither one of these guys are “splashy” hires, but would be very good choices that know how to coach.

Finally, the mid-season finale of Mad Men aired last night, or “season finale” if you want to look at it that way.  Either way, it was the last episode until 2015, when we’ll see the final 7 episodes of the series.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see the show.  To recap quickly: Bert passes away at the same time Apollo 11 touches down on the moon, Jim tries to oust Don for breaching his contract, Peggy steps up and wins Berger Chef’s business with a great presentation, while Rodger saves the firm and Don’s job by striking a deal with McCann-Erikson.  Bert’s death meant that Rodger no longer had the votes necessary for Don to keep his job.  Rodger was also worried about the direction Cutler wanted to take the firm, which is why he struck a deal with McCann to buy SC&P, even if it meant bringing Ted back into the business.

This was an interesting and somewhat surprising way to end the mid-season.  There were no major cliffhangers.  Bert’s death was sad for those who have followed Mad Men from the start, but very necessary for advancing the plot for the last 7 episodes.  This partnership that is forming to work with McCann is a complete band of misfits, and it’s highly questionable how they will function together.  They simply made it work because they are going to make a lot of money.  The phone call between Megan and Don is strange.  First we think Don is moving out to LA.  Then it seems Megan doesn’t want him to come.  Then it seems like they are done for good.  However, we thought this at the end of last season, yet they remained together.  I would not be surprised if Megan is tied to the Charles Manson murder in the last part of the show.  Either she dies, or someone she knows is killed.  I also thought the musical at the end of the episode was a nice tribute to Burt’s character, although a very surprising finish.  It’s going to be a long wait until 2015, but should be a great finish to the series!

Draper mid-season finale



Monday Morning Coffee

Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game One

May 19th, 2013

This weekend was a complete roller coaster ride for the LA Kings.  I’ve gotta start with the bad because that’s most relevant right now.  The Kings went into Chicago yesterday for game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, and lost to the Blackhawks, 3-1, who have simply owned them of late.  It doesn’t matter whether the game is up-tempo, or slowdown and grind-it-out, Chicago is skillful enough to play both, and they showed it again yesterday, with another win over LA.  The Hawks win came playing the Kings grind-it-out style, which has to be discouraging for LA.  Unfortunately, this is just a bad matchup for the Kings.  The Hawks have incredible speed and skill, which makes the Kings vulnerable, and on top of that the Kings are coming off of back-to-back emotionally exhausting series.  It’s looking like another nice run for LA, will ended once again by Chicago, this time in 6 games.

As for the positive, the Kings completely dominated Anaheim in game 7 at the Honda Center on Friday.  Step aside John Gibson.  You’ve just been shown how a real game 7 is handled by the real American hero, Jonathan Quick.  As talented as the Ducks are, they simply did not have the mental toughness of LA when it was all on the line.  Justin Williams is as reliable as it gets when there’s a game 7, as he started the scoring, and heck, even Mike Richards scored.  When that happens, you know it’s your night.  Friday was hardly a road game for the Kings, as there were about 5,000 Kings fans invading the Honda Center.  By the end of the first period, Ducks fans were pissed.  My co-worker, who is a Ducks season seat holder, refused to hang out between periods, after some friendly pre-game exchanges.  It was a great series, and great for SoCal hockey, and this is probably the beginning of many more playoff meetings.  Don’t cry Corey Perry……

Corey Perry Tears

As for Teemu Selanne, it was a tough way to end his career, losing in game 7 on his home ice. However, very classy move by the Kings, to bang their sticks on the ice in appreciation, as well as by the Kings fans, who also gave Selanne a standing ovation when the game was over.  Teemu had a great career, but for god sakes, it’s time to hang it up.  Don’t be the Brett Favre of hockey!  The Ducks don’t need to blow up their core, but they definitely need to figure out their goaltending situation, and get some more toughness and grit.

On to the NBA, where the Clippers ran out of gas earlier this week against the Thunder, losing in 6 games during their 2nd round series.  This series was lost in game 5, when the Clippers blew a 7 point lead with 45 seconds left, which was easily the worst 45 seconds of Chris Paul’s career.  I don’t want to hear about how the Clippers got screwed by the refs when the ball went off Reggie Jackson.  The referees, didn’t make the Clipps choke away the lead, and they sure didn’t make them collapse in the 4th quarter of game 6 either.  Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook were simply better than Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.  The Donald Sterling sideshow probably didn’t help things, but the Clippers just aren’t good enough yet.  We thought the Clippers improved, but they still haven’t taken the next step.  The question is still whether Blake Griffin’s prime will coincide with CP3’s.

Meanwhile, the Lakers are getting ready for the draft lottery tomorrow night.  However, the Kevin Love rumors are heating up.  Unfortunately, the Lakers are about to learn what I’ve been screaming from the mountain tops for over a year now:  they need to start collecting assets to make trades for star players.  Even one lottery pick isn’t going to be enough to acquire Love.  The Lakers have nothing on their roster to trade because they are putting all their hope into signing big name free agents.  Teams like Boston, Houston, and Golden State have far more resources to pull off a trade for the likes of Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving, and any other big names that might become available.  Coincidentally, Golden State is one of the teams Love is interested in playing for.  In the meantime, Laker fans can only hope for luck in the lottery tomorrow night, and for Jim Buss not to screw up the next coaching hire.

To baseball, where much of the talk about the Dodgers has been about their TV issues, as opposed to what’s happening on the field.  As one of the fortunate people who can actually watch the Dodgers (or maybe unfortunate because I’m a Time Warner customer), it’s probably a good thing you are missing this part of the season.  The Dodger pitching has been getting destroyed of late.  13 runs against Miami? 18 runs against Arizona?  I haven’t seen this kind of meltdown since Mel Gibson went drinking in Malibu.  It feels like the Dodgers can only beat the D’Backs.  Oh wait, that’s because they can only beat the D’Backs.  LA is 15-19 against the rest of the majors, but has been dominating against Arizona, although they didn’t even look dominant against them over the weekend.  Nevertheless, the Dodgers offense was crummy, and their pitching was great.  Now its the opposite.  Hopefully by the time the rest of you can actually watch the games, the Boys in Blue will get it together.

It doesn’t look like TWC will strike a deal with other cable providers anytime soon, however, stop blaming the Dodgers people.  You all complained when you had Frank McCourt as your owner.  Now we have the highest payroll in baseball, and a TV deal to support a competitive product on the field for years to come.  If you don’t like it, go move to Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, or some other third world country, where you can enjoy a team with a lower payroll.  You’ll then be able to watch them on TV, enjoying a mediocre product.

One team you can see on TV that is playing good baseball, is the Angels.  The Halos took 3 out of 4 from Tampa Bay over the weekend, and continue to be in the thick of the playoff race early on.  The Angels are in 2nd place in the AL West, but 5 games over .500, and leading the AL Wild Card.  I know you all want to hate on Albert Pujols and his $250 million contract, but the dude is getting it done while Mike Trout is slumping.  Things only figure to get better when Josh Hamilton gets back, so Angel fans can feel good about what they are seeing thus far.

Let’s talk TV.  Starting off with Game of Thrones, which aired the 7th episode of Season 4 last night on HBO.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Let’s recap quickly: Tyrion tries to convince Jamie and Bronn to defend him in his trial by combat, but both of them decline.  However, the Red Viper decides to fight for him, in order to avenge his sister’s death, which was at the hands of the Lannisters.  Littlefinger admits to Sansa that he is in love with her mother, but then proceeds to kiss Sansa, which Lysa witnesses.  Her jealously leads her to threaten Sansa, by throwing her out of the Moon Door.  However, Littlefinger stops Lysa from doing this, and eventually throws Lysa out the Moon Door, and she falls to her death.  Daario makes sexual advances at Daenery’s, but she sends him out to recapture Yunkai.  Jorah then serves as the voice of reason, by convincing her to give the slave masters one last chance to live in her world.

This turned out to be a very exciting episode, with some nice plot development.  The death of Lysa was somewhat surprising so soon, but now it’s entirely unclear what Littlefinger’s plan is.  Now he has Sansa Stark, seems to be in love with her, but who are his other allies that will help him get what he wants? Oberyn (The Red Viper) is quickly becoming a great character, who everyone likes, because he’s trying to take down Cersei and Tywin.  The Daenery’s situation is beginning to make me nervous.  I don’t trust Daario, but she is putting a lot of trust in him, even with the advice given to her by Jorah.  I’m most worried that Daario, or somebody in her camp that is working with the Lannisters, and will try to kill her before the season’s over.  It’s really a shame that we have to wait another two weeks  to see the next episode, but it’s going to be an exciting last 3 shows.


Didn’t get to see Mad Men folks…’s waiting for me on my DVR.




Monday Morning Coffee


May 12th, 2014

For three and a half quarters yesterday, the Clippers looked like front runners.  They looked like a talented team, without the mental toughness to advance in the playoffs.  Then, Darren Collison ignited a fierce rally, and the Clippers were right back in the series.  Doc Rivers made a brilliant move, going small, which sparked the comeback from 16 points down in the 4th, and as large as 22 points in the first quarter.  In three of the last four games, the Thunder have looked like the more experienced team, and the better team.  However, the Clippers have some fight.  This series could go 7, but unless the Clippers can consistently defend and rebound, it’s going to be tough to advance to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history.  Anybody still think Westbrook and Durant can’t play together?  No way the Thunder breaks up that duo anytime soon.

Off the court, the side-show continues.  Shelly Sterling continues to show up to games, and publicly campaign to retain ownership.  I think it’s fair to say that the entire NBA Players Association is putting up with her still being a part of this for now, but want her out when the season is over, and rightfully so.  Meanwhile Donald Sterling apologized to CNN, and claimed that he was entitled to making one mistake after so many years as an owner.  Actually Donald, this is one of many mistakes you’ve made, and nobody is willing to put up with your racist crap anymore.    We all know you’re only asking for forgiveness because you’re about to get your franchise ripped from you.

As for the Lakers, their coaching search is moving slower than a Kenley Jansen fastball (more on that later), as no candidates have actually been interviewed yet.  In the meantime, Kobe Bryant is speaking his mind on the coaching search, Mike D’Antoni, his health, and the Lakers future.  Kobe appeared on Jimmy Kimmel earlier in the week to discuss all this.  It’s pretty clear that when you get older, you just don’t give a crap, you have no filter, and you speak your mind.  Kobe is at that point in life after listening to his comments on Kimmel.  Kobe actually said he “didn’t care” when D’Antoni got fired, and that he was not consulted on the last two Laker coaching decisions.  Weird, because it’s probably a good idea to make sure your best player and your coach can work together.  Are you listening Jim Buss?

Let’s talk puck.  The Kings and Ducks are locked up in a hell of a playoff battle.  After the Ducks 2-0 win on Saturday, the series is tied at 2-2, but it’s the Kings who are blowing it.  LA was up 2-1 in the series, and facing rookie goaltender John Gibson in game 4.  Instead of welcoming him to playoff hockey with a beat down, they made the kid look like the next Patrick Roy, by not putting any real pressure on him.  They never got any traffic at the net, never bumped him, and their power play was shit.  The Ducks went from being totally frustrated, to soaring with confidence, headed back to Anaheim for game 5 tonight.  The road team has won every game in this series.  You honestly think that trend is going to continue?  I think not, which is why the Kings are screwed, and are going to lose this series.


To baseball, where the Dodgers are getting owned by the Giants.  After LA’s bullpen imploded again yesterday, the hated rivals from the north have handed the Dodgers 7 of their 19 losses this season, resulting in a 4.5 game division lead over the boys in blue.  Kenley Jansen just isn’t getting it done.  Yesterday, he allowed 5 of the first 6 batters he faced to reach base, including a wild pitch.      Jansen claims he’s healthy, but his velocity is down, and he isn’t fooling hitters like he used to.  The Dodger players claim they are starting to play good baseball, and that they will be fine but that’s not how I see it.  LA has given those snobby, organic bastards in the north, the confidence that they can play with them.  The most key pitchers  in the bullpen aren’t pitching well, and that’s a scary thought for the Dodgers.  By the way, why don’t the Giants change their name to the “San Francisco Brandons”?  How many more Brandons can they add? Brandon Belt, Brandon Hicks, Brandon Crawford?  There’s obviously not enough of them on their team.

As for the Halos, they dominated in Toronto this weekend, and will be going for the sweep today.  Amazingly enough, the Halos are now two games over .500, and who actually remembers the last time that happened?  The Halos starting pitching has been sturdy, and their offense is explosive, even without Josh Hamilton.  Even more amazing is the fact that the Halos younger players like CJ Cron and Hank Conger are coming up big.  Not bad for a team that has been ranked as having the worst farm system in baseball.  The Angels are right in the thick of things in the American League race, and that is definitely not something we could have said at this point in the last two seasons.

Let’s talk TV.  Game of Thrones returned for another episode last night, and it was another good one.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to watch it.  Let’s recap quickly: Stannis and Davos pleaded the Iron Bank to take their side, but their efforts were unsuccessful.  Theon’s sister tried to rescue him, but failed, then Theon pleaded for mercy from Ramsay Snow.  Daenery’s sat on the throne at Meereen and heard requests from peasants and and lords.  In Kings Landing, Tyrion stood in chains and was on trial, judged by his father.  By the end of the episode, Tyrion demanded a trial by combat, since he knew he would be found guilty.

The highlight of the episode was Tyrion’s angry outburst when he knew his trial was more of a show, that was set up for him to be guilty.  The irony of all this is that he probably would have lived, even if he was guilty, since Tywin told Jamie that Tyrion would be sentenced to The Night’s Watch in The North.  Tyrion’s angry outburst seemed heroic, except since this is Game of Thrones, and he’s more of a good character, he’s probably going to die.  Looking forward to the last 4 episodes of the season!

On to Mad Men, where last night was the 6th episode of this 8 episode half season.  This episode was pretty eventful.  Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen it yet.  To recap quickly: Don’s niece, Stephanie, is pregnant in LA.  Don tells her to go see Meghan for support, and that he’ll come out and see them the next day.  By the time Don gets there, Stephanie is gone, right after Meghan had given her a check of $1,000 for support.  While in LA, Meghan throws a party, and afterward, she and another woman have a threesome with Don.  Prior to that, Don meets Harry at the party, they escape for a drink, and Don learns that Jim and Lou are pursuing Philip Morris. If they can get it, Don is out.  With this knowledge, Don crashes a meeting Lou and Jim are have with Philip Morris, where he tries to convince the tobacco company that he is the guy they’d want on the account, and even subtly threatens to work for the competition if he leaves the firm.

The Meghan storyline to Mad Men is getting extremely boring.  Her life in LA is really not that exciting, and there are many more characters that are more interesting.  I suppose Meghan was using the threesome as desperation to save her marriage, but Don was hardly even interested.  Don’s genius is obvious by the end of this episode, and I think we are all starting to get the feeling he’s going to end up back on top when it’s all said and done.  Notice I completely left out the Michael Ginsberg part of the episode. Who cuts out their nipple?  What a weirdo!

Don Draper ep 6



Monday Morning Coffee


May 5th, 2014

What a sports weekend we had, especially for our So Cal teams.  Starting off with the Clipp Show, whose week was more tumultuous than Lindsay Lohan’s acting career.  The Clipps overcame the Donald Sterling drama, and got by the Warriors in game 7 at Staples Center, to win their first round series on Saturday night.  Chris Paul was ailing, but he gave the Clippers enough to win.  Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan were animals in the paint, while JJ Redding looked like the 2nd coming of Reggie Miller.  If Vinny Del Negro were watching, he probably would have realized that you can actually win a game 7 by playing Jamal Crawford as well.  Now it’s on to Oklahoma City, where the Clippers are going to have their hands full with Kevin Durant and the Thunder.  I’m not sure how an injured Chris Paul will be able to contain Russell Westbrook, so Blake and DeAndre better start taking their game to a higher level if the Clipps are to have a chance.

As for the off the court drama, I’m not sure why Shelly Sterling thinks its appropriate to continue to attend Clipper games.  The players are pissed off about it, and even if she owns the team moving forward, that won’t be an acceptable solution for them.  Now, sources close to Sterling believe that he will sue the NBA for trying to force him to sell the team, which would prevent the franchise from being sold well into next season and beyond.  In that case, the real punishment for Sterling would be to make all his players free agents, and have Doc Rivers walk away, so he’s forced to operate a business taking losses, and eventually lower the overall value of the franchise.  The irony of all that would be that the Lakers might actually have a chance to sign CP3 this summer.

Speaking of the Lakers, the fans couldn’t be any more excited that Mike D’Antoni “resigned” earlier this week.  As I said last week, why keep a coach around for another year, when you already know he isn’t the guy?  The bottom line is that this was a disaster from the start.  D’Antoni had a great team to work with his first year, and managed to drive it into the ground.  This season, he had a mediocre team, that he managed to make terrible.  Now, who do the Lakers turn to?  LA claims they are looking to make “a splash”, which sounds like a ridiculous New York Knick move.  However, a fine choice would be former Laker Byron Scott.  Scott has won titles as a Laker player, has plenty of experience, knows what it means to be a Laker, and has coached teams to the Finals twice.  This may not be as “splashy” as the front office is hoping, but it is someone that can lead the Lakers while they rebuild, and when they are contending for titles again.

Magic Johnson sometimes forgets to think before he tweets.  He wrote “Happy days are here again! Mike D’Antoni resigns as the Lakers coach. I couldn’t be happier!”.  Really Magic?  As a former Laker owner, and one with aspirations of becoming an NBA owner again, have some professionalism!  What do you think this is Magic? Jock Talk LA?  

Ok, I admit it, I was mistaken, but boy am I happy about it.  The Kings not only survived game 6,  but they rose from the dead to beat the Sharks in 7 in round 1 of the NHL playoffs.  If that isn’t exciting enough, the Kings and Ducks finally met for the first time ever in the playoffs on Saturday, in a series that will determine who is going to the Western Conference Finals.  The Kings didn’t play anywhere near their best game, but they did force the Ducks to play their grind it out style throughout the game.  The Ducks looked like they were going to beat the Kings at their own game, until Marian Gaborik tied it with 7 seconds left, then won it in OT, which propelled the Kings to a 3-2 victory, and 1-0 series lead.  This is probably going to be a long series, but the Kings have an edge in grit, goaltending, and coaching.  In fact it was Daryl Sutter’s creation of the Kopitar, Gaborik, and Carter super line that led to this game winner….

The Kings fans are also traveling well to the Honda Center for the road games, so there isn’t much of a “home ice advantage” for Anaheim.  It’s absolutely ridiculous that we are stuck with listening to Ducks analyst Brian Heyward on NBCSN for this series.  For god sakes, he’s broadcasting from the Ducks bench! Why even hide the fact that he’s a Ducks homer?  I thought during the third period the guy was going to come out dressed as the Ducks Wild Wing mascot.  I also like how Anze Kopitar played a brilliant all-around game with three assists, and Heyward said Kopitar hadn’t done much all night.  Also, memo to Jeremy Roenick: his name is “Alec Martinez”, not “Alex Martinez”.  Seeing all the Ducks fans wear those ugly orange T-shirts makes me feel like all of Orange County lost a bet to someone.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are having their issue.  They may have swept the Twins earlier in the week, but their bullpen made every outing a damn adventure, then completely wet the bed over the weekend in Florida.  Friday, Jose Dominguez stunk it up.  Saturday, Brian Wilson continued to suck, and Chris Withrow completed the collapse.  Yesterday it was Jamie Wright.  Kenley Jansen has been struggling too.  Are there any reliable relievers left?  To make matters worse, the only outfielder that is earning his paycheck is Yasiel Puig, and he just slammed his grill into a wall yesterday.  Matt Kemp can’t find his swing, Carl Crawford is nothing like the player he once was, and Andre Ethier’s hitting is underwhelming.  The Boys in Blue will need to correct these issues fast, or else the Giants will widen their lead in the division.

As for the Angels, things really aren’t so bad.  The Halos are actually at .500, which is a huge positive from what we’ve seen the last two years.  Even though the Angels got pounded by the Rangers this weekend, the pitching is far more serviceable, and the bullpen even showed a slight improvement the last 3 games.  Hopefully now that David Freese has broken his finger, when he gets back, maybe he’ll remember how to swing the bat like a major leaguer.  Now the Yankees are coming to town, and even though they are in 1st place, they aren’t too much better than the Halos.  Will Hector Santiago ever win a game?  If so, the Angels might actually sweep this series.

Let’s talk TV, as Game of Thrones returned last night for another episode.  Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it.  Let’s recap quickly.  At Kings Landing, Tommen was crowned King, and Cersei approached Margery about whether or not she would be interested in being Queen again.    Cersei also admitted that Joffrey had his shortcomings.  In Mereen, Daenery’s decided against continuing on to Kings Landing, and instead elected to further strengthen her rule in Astapor and Yunkai, by trying to free others who have been enslaved after she left those communities behind.  Sansa and Littlefinger arrived at The Vale, where we learned that Littlefinger aligned with Lysa.  Lysa is in love with Littlefinger, and intends to marry him, although its clear he isn’t in love with her.  Lysa’s intention is to have Sansa marry her demented cousin Robin, but she also accused Sansa of sleeping with Littlefinger, which she adamantly denied.  Aarya continued to recite the names of her enemies, including The Hound, and we see her practicing her water dancing sword fighting technique.  The Hound ridiculed her for this.  Jon Snow and his forces invade Craster’s Keep, and eventually kill Craster and his men.  Bran and his friends escaped, and Bran considered meeting up with Jon, but his friends convinced him otherwise, because he would never let him find the three eyed raven and fulfill his destiny.  Meanwhile, Jon and his men burned down Crater’s Keep at the request of the women that live there.

This episode was a clear reminder of what this show is all about.  Sometimes Game of Thrones teases you into thinking you’re going to get what you want as a viewer, or that you might get a happy moment for the good characters, and then it pulls it away from you.  We thought that Sansa was going to some place better than Kings Landing.  Instead, she has simply exchanged one prison for another.  We also thought Jon Snow and Bran would be re-united.  Then we realize that Bran has been brainwashed by his loony bin friend, who tells him to continue on his journey.  I was also disappointed to learn that Daenery’s will not be conquering Kings Landing anytime soon, because she needs to go back to further establish her dominance.  More than anything, this episode was a reminder that the show just isn’t about happy endings for good characters.

Mad Men also returned last night as well.  Spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.  To recap quickly, Pete and Ted find an opportunity to pitch to Burger Chef.  It seems as though they want to put Peggy on this, however, Lou doesn’t like the idea, and sticks Don on her team.  Peggy thinks she is really being given Burger Chef when Lou offers her a $100/hour raise.  Later on she sees that she was set up to fail, as Don refused to do the work.  A computer is also being installed in the office, which was likely discussed by the partners, but excluding Don.  After Don has an interesting conversation with Lloyd from LeaseTek, he goes to see Cooper about pitching to LeaseTek, but his suggestion is brushed aside, as is Don’s importance to the firm.  Don gets angry, and then gets drunk in the office.  After a heart to heart with Freddy, he convinces Don to actually do the work, otherwise it is the other partners that will win.  Rodger and Mona also spend much of the episode trying to get their daughter from her “hippie house”, but by the end of the episode, are unsuccessful.  Roger is guilted by his daughter over leaving her every day he went to work.

This episode just showed how difficult it was going to be for Don to get back to the top of the firm.  It’s clear that the partners are looking to make life as difficult as possible for him, and set him up to fail, even if there is collateral damage involved, like being unprofessional towards Peggy.  However, the most symbolic portion of the episode was the 1969 Mets pennant that Don found in his office.  For those of you unfamiliar with who they were, they were a relatively unknown Major League franchise that came out of nowhere in 1969 to win the World Series.  This has to be symbolic of Don coming out on top at the firm, when this season is over.

Mad Men Episode 4