Monthly Archives: August 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Utley - Dodgers

August 24th, 2015

There is a major nerd crisis going on in the Dodger front office, and a disaster happening on the field.  They got swept away by the A’s and Astros.  Meanwhile, the front office thinks they are brilliant but they are about to get slapped in the face when LA misses the playoffs this year.  Last week they acquired old man 2nd baseman Chase Utley from the Phillies.  This is a great move…..if it were 2008.  What’s the plan next? Convince Roy Halladay and Brad Lidge to unretire?  I guess Andy Friedman thought the best way to jump start the Dodgers offense was by adding another .220 hitter to the lineup.  To make matters worse, he hasn’t fixed the bullpen.  For all his brilliance, he can’t fix the easiest part of a team to fix.  It cost them multiple times last week.  I mean for god sakes, if the Dodgers are so obsessed with 19 year old pitcher Julio Urias (who they refused to trade for David Price or Cole Hamels), just bring him up now and use him out of the pen!  All of those Atlanta Braves rejects the Dodgers acquired have a collective ERA of 8.  What they really need to do is start using a trash truck to shuttle relievers from the bullpen to the mound.  5 straight losses and it looks like this team is running out of gas before September even gets here.

The Angels won’t be sending the Dodgers any fruit baskets after the Astros opened up an even bigger lead in the AL West over the weekend.  The Halos took a Ronda Rousey like beating from the Blue Jays, and now even the Rangers have blown past them in the division.  Andrew Heaney doesn’t look invincible anymore, and the Angels most reliable starters are bleeding runs.  2nd base is a black hole, and the cast of characters they acquired in the outfield has been useless. Oh, and the extra kick in the balls is that Mike Trout looks like he’s going to lose his reigning MVP trophy to Blue Jays 3rd basemen Josh Donaldson.  The Angels remind me of a ship that is slowly springing one leak at a time, and once one leak is plugged, two more show up.  Seems like they need a real General Manager this winter before they start fixing them.  It sure would have been nice if that GM was Dave Dombrowski.  Then again, it’s going to be tough to get a real General Manager in Anaheim with Mike Scioscia proving recently that he had more power than ex-gm Jerry Dipoto.

On to college football, where USC coaches still act like buffoons.  Head coach Steve Sarkisian was speaking to a group of alums on Saturday for their football kickoff event, where he completely embarrassed the program.  Sark must have stopped by the Sigma Chi house for a few keg stands prior to showing up, because he was totally liquored up and slurring his words while speaking at the event.  He then proceeded to drop an F-bomb while introducing his team to donors, then claimed that Notre Dame, Oregon, and Arizona State suck.  By the way, Sark is a combined 0-9 against Oregon and Arizona State all time.  He then said a number of other inappropriate things while cussing some more, and he had to be pulled off the stage by Athletic Director Pat Haden and John McKay Jr.  Annnnnd……just like that Sark is on the hot seat.  He’s been rumored to have had some legendary drunk nights at local bars in Seattle, and seeing him at an event like this just confirms that he’s a PR liability.  The Trojans had better live up to that #8 preseason ranking, or else Pat Haden is going to kill Sark’s USC career faster than Waterworld killed Kevin Costner’s career.

Over in Westwood, Jim Mora Jr. is totally screwing with Jon Rosen.  This freshman stud should have been named the starting quarterback ages ago, but Mora is clearly trying to create some competition among him and soon-to-be backup Jerry Neuheisal.  Mora went off at Rosen in front of the media during a practice last week, where he ripped the freshmen after doing one lackadaisical drill at the end of practice.  Good thing Rosen’s dad isn’t a famous rapper, or else Mora might really be danger of his star freshman quitting the team.  Rosen has actually had the benefit of going up against a very good UCLA defense in practice, which should prepare him very well for his first game action in a couple of weeks.  There is simply no way that Mora goes into week 1 with Jerry Neuheisal as his starting quarterback. Even Neuheisal probably knows that.  But Rosen’s ego put off some people in the recruiting process, and Mora is aware of that.  He’s doing his best to keep the kid humble, which would be tough for any freshman starting quarterback at a big time university.  I like the motivation tactics by Mora, but it wouldn’t kill the guy to be a little more media friendly!

If I hear one more thing about deflate gate, I’m going to throw my television out the window.  At this point, Tom Brady is stomping his feet saying he’s only going to accept a punishment for obstructing the investigation and not deflating footballs.  The league thinks otherwise.  What I really want is for a judge to go “That’s it!… Mr. Brady and you Mr Goodell…’re going to jail!”  On the field, you’re probably losing your mind right now if you drafted Kelvin Benjamin or Jordy Nelson in your fantasy football league, since both are done for the season with knee injuries.  Speaking of injuries, football is back, and that means RGIII is injured! He’s about as durable as an IPhone charger.  I can’t believe any quarterback has to play behind that offensive line.  It’s just about time for both sides to split from one another for the good of the Redskins, and RGIII.  So let me get this straight…..RGIII thinks he is the best QB in the league, Tony Romo thinks the Cowboys will win the Super Bowl, the Eagles signed Tim Tebow, and Eli Manning thinks he should be the highest paid Quarterback? The league needs to drug test the entire NFC East immediately.

Nice move by the LA Kings signing veteran defenseman Christian Ehrhoff.  The Kings were badly hurting for some veteran depth on the blue line, and they got it for a cheap $1.5 million.  I’m still surprised that the Rangers took a chance on Jarret Stoll after he got busted for drugs.  I mean, they are taking a guy who loves dope, and putting him in a city with plenty of party action.  That’s like telling your friend that loves to sleep with Asians that he can’t do that anymore, and then sending him on a vacation to Thailand.

It’s amazing isn’t it? Caitlyn Jenner went from being admired for man slaughter to being arrested for manslaughter.  What a difference a space makes.

JR Smith is returning to the Cavs.  He celebrated by going to the bar and taking a shot.  And another……And another….

News broke last week that former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle is pleading guilty to child porn charges.  Looks like when Jared goes to prison, he will be tasting a different type of foot long from now on.

There was some good stuff on TV last night for a Sunday night in August.  First off, we had the Season Finale of Ballers on HBO.  I definitely love the show, and they should keep it going, but there wasn’t really a whole lot of adversity that any of the main characters really faced by the time the season ended.  It actually reminded me of Entourage, where the biggest problem facing the main characters was where they were going to go party.  In any case, it’s a show they can do a lot with, and should absolutely continue.  How likable of an actor has The Rock become?

Then of course there was the Series Premier of Fear The Walking Dead on AMC.  For several years, many of us have been watching The Walking Dead, and although we are hooked, we all wonder how the heck the illness and zombie apocolypse started.  After a 90 minute pilot that was the prequel to The Walking Dead, we have a little bit of an idea, but still nothing certain.  My only problem with the show thus far is that most of us are tuning in to get some answers, and there seem to be very little.  In fact, all we have seen so far is civilization right before it began to fall apart.  At the same time, a bunch of characters seem to consistently withold information from one another.  This is frustrating.  For instance, Maddie has a conversation with a troubled student who wouldn’t fully explain what he saw on TV, and what strange things are happening across the country.  I also get the feeling that watching this show will simply be like replacing one annoying set of teenagers on The Walking Dead with another set in Fear The Walking Dead.  The show has got my attention so we’ll see where it goes from here.

Fear The Walking Dead Premier





Monday Morning Coffee

Kobe Olympics

August 17th, 2015

We’re about a year away from the selection of the 2016 USA Basketball team for the Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.  Most of us seem to think that Kobe Bryant’s Olympic career ended in 2012, after winning his second gold medal.  Apparently, he and Jerry Colangelo, who is the chairman of USA basketball, think otherwise.  Colangelo said that he and Bryant have had discussions about him possibly being on the team next summer, if he plays well enough to earn a roster spot.  That conversation tells me that Kobe finally realizes that his odds of winning another NBA Championship before his career is over are about the same as my odds of marrying Jennifer Aniston.  An Olympic gold would be the next best thing to finish it up.  Problem is, I have my doubts Kobe can make it through an entire NBA season healthy enough to play.  Even if he does, whose roster spot would he take?  It would surely mean a promising young player like Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, or Klay Thompson would get left off the roster.  It would be a nice way for Kobe to end his career, but probably not a realistic one.

Speaking of Team USA, during their mini camp scrimmage that was aired on ESPN, Austin Rivers had a few things to say on Twitter.  Rivers said  “Straight up better than a lot of those dudes playing last night….. Have to prove that this year.”  Does Rivers mean he’s actually better at playing basketball than those dudes? He must mean beer pong, or bowling, or something else, because he couldn’t even stop Pablo Prigioni the 2nd round of the playoffs last year.  Oh, and then he must have forgotten about this moment too…..

Don’t you just love the NBA? The Cavs have yet to re-sign restricted free agent big man Tristan Thompson.  Thompson wants a 5 year $94 million contract.  $94 million for a guy that averaged 8 pts and 8 rebounds?  Typical NBA.  The only factor that could make this happen is Lebron James putting pressure on the Cavs to get this done, since they share the same agent.  I don’t care what Lebron says, signing Thompson to a deal that big would be idiotic.  He’s a nice player, but he’s not a max guy.  You have to draw the line somewhere.  Good for the Cavs for playing hardball.  If teams are going to give out max money like financial crisis bailout money, I’d like to personally declare myself an NBA free agent today.

On to baseball, where the Dodgers took 3 of 4 from the Reds over the weekend, but it’s hardly anything to get excited about.  For roughly the last 80 games, the Dodgers have been nothing more than a .500 team, and they’ve done that by beating up on scrub teams like the Reds, who have been waiving the white flag for months.  People want to blame Don Mattingly for the decisions he does or does not make with his bullpen.  However, Andy Friedman has given Mattingly nothing more than an empty water pistol to put out a forest fire.  Friedman has had nearly a year to fix a bullpen, which is the easiest area to fix, especially for a team with a unlimited financial resources.  Somehow, he’s managed to make the bullpen even worse than last year, The man just doesn’t know pitching.  He even had a chance to add another all-star starter which would put much less importance on a week ass bullpen, but failed to do so.  This is a team doing it with smoke and mirrors that’s going to get exposed come October.

As for the Angels, things aren’t much better.  They blew a 9th inning lead last night, and lost in extra innings to the Royals on Sunday Night Baseball.  They ended up losing 3 of 4 to KC, and now sit 3.5 games back of the Astros in the AL West.  They are also trailing by .5 games for the 2nd wild card spot.  Even though they seem to be within striking distance of the playoffs, the pitching is crumbling.  Matt Shoemaker suddenly can’t pitch, CJ Wilson is done for the season, and Jered Weaver is more unpredictable than Nicki Minaj’s hair color.  It’s gotten so bad that the Angels actually think Chase Utley might save their season.  Wouldn’t it have been easier to acquire a real impact bat a few weeks ago?  What they really need is an effective leadoff hitter.  No team in baseball has a lower OBA from its leadoff hitters.  That’s tough when you’ve got Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the middle of your lineup.

The NFL preseason games are pretty overrated, but they’ve provided us with some nice entertainment over the last week.  Phil Rivers played his hand very well with the Chargers, securing a 4 year contract extension with $65 million guaranteed.  For that price, I’m sure he’ll move his 65 million children to Los Angeles if he has to.  They say Geno Smith tried to punch back after getting his jaw broken.  He missed the punch by about 10 yards though.  Trent Richardson is amazing.  He’s the only running back in the NFL that knows how to run right into a pile of lineman instead of a gaping hole that will lead to the end zone when both are right in front of him.  You know it’s the preseason when Jay Cutler isn’t throwing interception and the Browns are winning.  Speaking of the Browns, Johnny Manziel really had to check himself after scoring a TD the other night so that he would not flash that stupid money sign he used to.  Even Tim Tebow managed to get into the end zone for the Eagles over the weekend.  Here’s a look at what was going on at the ESPN headquarters after that happened…..

Tebow ESPN

For a second there, Jay Day was beginning to look like the new Phil Mickelson, who was the lefty loser for so many years.  He finally broker through and won the PGA Championship over the weekend.  Meanwhile, Tiger Woods has fallen off a cliff and missed Saturday’s cut.  Do you realize in Tigers first 8.5 years as a pro, he missed one cut.  He’s now missed four of the last ten cuts.  He has literally lost his mind, more than his game.  You can’t free fall like that just off of losing a skill set alone.  Oh, I’m also pretty sure that when Jason Day loses, he still wins.  Meet his wife Ellie….

Jason Day's Wife


Monday Morning Coffee

Puig catch vs Pirates

August 10th, 2015

The Dodgers need to bring back their slogan “A Whole New Blue” from two years ago.  That’s because this team is more painful to watch than having blue balls.  This weekend’s series against the Pirates was a perfect example of that.  The Dodgers are a good team, but they don’t look ready to beat a great team in October.  After refusing to trade Yasiel Puig at the deadline, Don Mattingly is on the verge of benching him for his inconsistencies at the plate.   If Puig were the real superstar we once thought he was, we could live with some of his stupid mental mistakes.  However, now he’s just a guy.  Then there’s rookie Joc Pederson, who is baseball’s new Adam Dunn.  He’s either going to walk, strikeout, or hit a home run.  Lately it’s been mostly strikeouts, and the only thing keeping Pederson in the lineup is his defense.  This is all compounded by the fact that the bullpen is terrible.  How many times do I have to see Joel Peralta give up a bunch of runs, then have that “I’m so disgusted with myself” look on his face? It doesn’t matter how much money the Dodgers have.  They just don’t know how to play their cards right.

Then there’s the Angels.  They had a relatively free drama week, but they are still chasing the Astros in the AL West, and they’ll also need to fend off the Rangers.  First, the Astros made moves at the deadline to jumpstart their team, then Texas acquired notorious Angel killer Mike Napoli from Boston.  I’m not sure what exactly Bill Stoneman is waiting for… turn 72 years old?  The man has a part-time job and essentially has nothing to lose, yet managed to acquire every useless left fielder in the American League at the trade deadline.  Meanwhile, Yoenis Cespedes is already tearing it up with the Mets.  He sure would have been a nice bat to put next to Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.  Speaking of Albert Pujols, MASN’s Gary Thorne probably didn’t use the right adjective here on this play…..

To the NBA, where Kobe Bryant says the Lakers can “absolutely” make the playoffs this year.  That is true assuming LA is playing NBA 2K in rookie mode.  Kobe also said that he can envision himself finishing his career overseas before retiring.  This would really be a complete no-brainer if he has the opportunity to do so.  The Lakers are going to need some time to develop their young core.  Kobe isn’t going to stick around for that beyond this year, especially if the Lakers are going to ask him to take a pay cut from the $25 million salary he’ll be making next season.  The Black Mamba can easily go to Italy to play for an easy $50 million a year, where he’ll be playing a much less stressful 30 games a year or so.  If Kobe knows he can’t win another title before it’s over, he should go for another payday.  Speaking of Kobe, Brandon Armstrong is a former overseas player who recently made a video impersonating him.  Armstrong has also made numerous other hilarious videos impersonating NBA all-star’s on the court, including Lebron James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Tim Duncan.  Even the Mamba thought this was hilarious….

College Football is underway, and that means camps have opened for both USC and UCLA.  It absolutely blows my mind that Cody Kessler is in the preseason discussion as a potential Heisman Trophy Candidate.  Never in my life have I seen statistics as deceiving as this guy put up.  He has huge games against horrendous competition, and is nothing more than an average quarterback against real competition.  He also doesn’t take too many chances throwing the ball down the field, so naturally, his interception numbers are going to be low.  The Trojans have got some depth this year, but maybe not the star power they had in the past.  The non-conference schedule is pretty weak early, but things get tough down the stretch with games at Notre Dame, at Oregon, and at home against UCLA.  This has the makings of another 8 or 9 win season.

As for the Bruins, everything starts and finishes with true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen.  By all accounts, this kid is going to be good, the questions is how much time will it take?  The Bruins could be as good as an 8 or 9 win team if he learns slowly, or good enough to win the Pac 12 if he’s as good as advertised in his first year.  The early trip to Arizona and the late trip to the Coliseum will determine who is going to come out of the Pac-12 South.  The talent has been there for the last few years, it’s simply a matter of whether or not UCLA can come to play against the elite.

NFL Football is back! Ok sort of.  We got to watch the Hall of Fame game last night, which everyone salivated over, even if we get to see the starters play for a few seconds.  I’ve never really been a fan of attending preseason sporting events.  You pay regular season prices to see talent that probably won’t be playing during the regular season.  It’s even worse for season ticket holders, who are forced to actually buy those tickets with their season ticket packages.  Meanwhile, Alden Smith was released by the 49ers this past week under their “23 strikes and you’re out” policy.  Have the Cowboys signed him yet?  With Arian Foster set to miss part of the season, the Colts are now projected to clinch the AFC South when their week 1 game kicks off.  Amazing, Robert Griffin III has gone an entire hour at Redskins camp without suffering an injury, which sets a new personal best for him.

Finally, The GOP debate on Thursday night in Cleveland was simply epic television.  It felt like I was watching an episode of Saturday Night Live, especially every time Donald Trump opened his mouth. Trump may end up hurting the Republican’s chances in the long run, but his presence alone is generating the biggest and most attentive audience in American politics at this point.  In the most conventional of thoughts, most people would think Trump actually hurt himself with some of his smart ass comments.  However, when you have so many new people engaged in politics that generally don’t come out to the polls for elections, all bets are off.  There’s a great deal of frustration and anger that these new viewers have when tuning in, so in many ways, Trump is appealing to them.  The real surprise was actually that Jeb Bush didn’t do much to give people a reason to go the polls and vote for him.  There was simply nothing about him that set him apart.  There were other candidates like Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina that did well, but nobody outshined Trump.  I can’t wait for the next one of these in September.  You knew it was going to be a great two hours when Trump opened with this…..




Monday Morning Coffee

August 4th, 2015

Ok, so Monday Morning Coffee became Tuesday Morning Coffee this week.  I needed an extra day to rationalize my disappointment in the Dodgers.  I can’t accuse the franchise for being cheap.  I can’t accuse them for trying to develop their farm system.  I can’t even accuse them of not trying to build sustainable success.  However, what I can accuse them of is not taking advantage of their window of opportunity to win a World Series.  They failed to do that at the trade deadline when they had the opportunity to get Cole Hamels, David Price, or even Johnny Cueto.  Instead, we were left with a handful of underwhelming moves that you baseball nerds, who are super into analytics described as “cagey”.  Nobody cares if you are good for 20 years, but can’t win a World Series in that time.  The Dodgers have been a player or two away from it forever.  Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke won’t be here and performing well for an infinite period of time.  Why spend money getting rid of players and taking chances on a ton of prospects instead of spending that money on star talent while you have fewer but more quality prospects developing?  Grabbing another ace would have put them over the top, but they failed to capitalize.  They did sweep the Angels over the weekend, but that’s a small consolation.  It was fun while it lasted, but I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Dodgers for participating in the 2015 MLB season, because it’s virtually over now.

Meanwhile, the Angels are suddenly sinking like the Titanic.  After a brief stay in 1st place, the Astros swung a few deals at the trade deadline, and now have a 4 game lead on the Angels in the AL West.    The Halos badly needed a bat, but settled for some mediocre outfielders in Shane Victorino, David Murphy, and David DeJesus.  Bill Stoneman should have been more aggressive going after the likes of Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce, or even Justin Upton.  Even though the Angels roster is better than the rest of the division, the turmoil has been non-stop.  The latest issue came from CJ Wilson, who most fans would prefer if he and his contract were ejected from the universe.  Wilson has struggled on the mound, and now is claiming he will shut down his season to have elbow surgery.  Reports are however, that his teammates are angry with him, and think he can play through the pain.  Sounds to me like CJ is really getting backlash for a number of things.  It’s either that he publicly supported that bum Josh Hamilton, that he takes artsy photos, or that he seems more focused on his car dealership.  In any case, sounds like there’s a good chance CJ won’t be with the Angels next season.

Elsewhere around the MLB trade deadline, David Price was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays, which will allow him to unique opportunity of being able to miss the playoffs in another country.  The Mets’ Wilmer Flores was caught on camera crying during a game when he heard the rumor that he had been traded.  That rumor ended up not being true.  It’s hard not to cry when you realize that you can’t escape from the Mets.  Speaking of the Mets, they acquired Yoenis Cespedes from the Tigers.  I guess Billy Beane must have known something when he traded him from Oakland 2 years and 47 trades ago.

On to the Olympics, where I would like to thank the city of Boston for pulling out the running for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.  This was a mistake from the start, awarding the games to a city that had little to no desire to have them, and had no financial plan in place for them.  Meanwhile, Los Angeles is a city that is perfect for them, and far more economically viable than any other city in the running.  We could be ready for the Olympics in the next 5 minutes if it were necessary.  The existing venues and infrastructure are that good, and they will be even better in 2024 if and when a privately financed NFL stadium is built.  However, I still have no idea why the IOC continues to award the Olympics to countries that simply have no business hosting the games, like Brazil.  It was revealed last week that many of the bodies of water that the athletes will compete in are contaminated with dangerously high levels of viruses and bacteria, and that there is no way they can fix this problem by the time the games start next summer.  The athletes who spend much of their lives training for this moment should not have to make the decision of whether or not to compete, but many of them probably still will.  I’d like to see many of the IOC committee members get into that water before any of the athletes do if they think it isn’t a problem.

Byron Scott says that Kobe Bryant will likely see some time at the Power Forward position this season.  Say what?  Will this also be complementing Roy Hibbert when he is running the point? Congrats so Sasha Vujacic on returning to the NBA, after signing a one year deal.  The former Laker and “That Machine”, as they call him, once dunked on Lamar Odom in practice, and trust me folks, Phil Jackson had to shut the practice down and send everyone home.  How on earth is Josh Smith going to feed his family on the measly $6.9 million he is scheduled to make this season from the Clippers and Pistons?  Everybody should text “Smoove” to 12345 to donate $5 so his family won’t have to suffer.

We’re getting closer and closer to football season folks.  That means we are 6 weeks away from Tom Brady’s appeal of his appeal of his appeal of his suspension; Russell Wilson being unhappy about being paid $22 million per season; Browns fans looking forward to the NBA season after being 0-1; the Raiders winning…….the coin toss and then losing the game 41-6; Trent Richardson finishing with a career high 17 yards on 11 carries for his new team; and Chip Kelly trading DeMarco Murray for a bag of chips after a week 1 loss.  Speaking of Tom Brady, his 38th birthday just past, and Jock Talk LA was able to get a copy of his birthday wish list:

Brady Wish List

Finally, Ronda Rousey is unbelievable.  I’m not even an MMA fan, but her dominance is astounding.  Her fight against Bethe Corriea over the weekend was like watching a sledgehammer vs an ant.  Rousey finished her so fast, I felt like she could have won 12 more fights that night.  As for Corriea, she should be invited to play a walker on the upcoming season of The Walking Dead, since that’s about all that’s left of her.  Honestly, my only intrigue of watching Rousey at this point would be to start putting her up against men and see how long they can last in the Octagon against her.  I don’t think many would do well against her….