Monthly Archives: March 2022

Monday Morning Coffee

March 28, 2022

UCLA’s March run came to a brutal end on Friday night in the Sweet 16 against North Carolina. I realize you all want to talk about Mick Cronin’s rotations, and how he should have given his guys more rest, while also playing more of a defensive lineup. However, the Bruins still played well enough to win. Sometimes the other team just makes some crazy shots and there’s not much you can do about it. Nobody knew that Caleb Love was going to turn into the 2nd coming of Steph Curry in the final few minutes of that game. That’s March Madness and that’s sports. Now if only Jessica Alba were in Philly on Friday and at the game, we might be having a different conversation today. At least the Bruins got to fly back to Westwood, while when Arizona lost, they had to fly back to dumpy Tucson. UCLA will be pretty damn good next year as well, and Mick Cronin will hopefully be coaching this team for the next 20 years. Still, the frustrating part is that it felt like if the Bruins had pulled out that win, they had a very favorable path to winning a National Championship.

Some of you Laker folks are hilarious, including Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq says that if the Lakers get out of the play-in tournament they will beat the Suns in the 1st round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if there will be a play-in tournament opportunity for the play-in tournament. That’s how unsure I am that the Lakers will actually be playing in that tournament, especially after last night’s loss to New Orleans. It’s been 74 games people, and they have all been disastrous. Do you suddenly think that Lebron and AD won’t be taking opportunities away from Stanley Johnson and the Lakers are going to fulfill their true potential? They aren’t suddenly going to play like a championship team, even if you saw them play halfway decent for the past week.

To baseball where we are in the midst of spring training, and the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger is struggling again. Bellinger has been striking out more than Urkel did on Family Matters this spring. Coming into Sunday, he had struck out 14 of 19 times at the plate. That means you can expect him to change his batting stance about 64 more times this season, since his new stance doesn’t seem to be working already. The Dodgers have plenty of good players in their lineup, but having the “MVP level Bellinger” or at least 70% of him would go a long way to their World Series chances. Also, I wish the MLB would just make a decision on Trevor Bauer already. Either suspend him and give the Dodgers closure on the situation, or declare he can play and let’s move on. As for Dave Roberts and his “guarantee” that the Dodgers would win the 2022 World Series on the Dan Patrick Show, what else was he supposed to say? “We aren’t really that good and I don’t believe in this team?”

As for the Angels, Shohei Ohtani looked amazing in his spring debut last week. If Ohtani can be the Angels true #1 ace and win 15 games, and if Noah Syndergaard can be an elite #2, the Angels might actually be really good. That’s a lot of “ifs” and “mights” but not out of the question. What is in question though is where David Fletcher is going to play. Joe Maddon says that Fletcher could start at shortstop. What a great idea. Take your elite defending second basemen who can’t hit, and whose only value comes from defense, and put him a position where he isn’t an elite defender. Who needs analytics when you can just make these kind of idiotic decisions instead?

In the NFL, the Rams are still trying to lock up Aaron Donald to a contract extension. The reason why it’s taking so long isn’t because they don’t want to pay the man, but rather because they are trying to do some major salary cap gymnastics. Les Snead is clearly trying to bring back OBJ while also figuring out ways to improve the pass rush. Sounds like LA is out of the Bobby Wagner sweepstakes though, which would have helped a great deal. Hopefully when Aaron Donald gets paid, Urban Meyer will finally know who he is. Urban is probably also wondering why the Rams aren’t still playing in St. Louis as well.

W are down to the final 15 games of the regular season in the NHL, and the LA Kings are sitting in a solid playoff spot in the West. Despite the super slow pace of this rebuild, this is much better than many of us expected this season. However, these last 15 games will be tough with injuries to the Kings’ top 2 defenseman, Drew Doughty and Mikey Anderson, as well as two other veteran forwards. Jim Fox said it will take 93 points to get into the playoffs, which means the Kings would just need to go 6-9 the rest of the way, but that doesn’t seem like enough in a brutally competitive conference. I’m thinking 97 points gets them in the playoffs, which would mean they would need to go 8-7. I hate the fact they didn’t make a big trade at the deadline last week, but neither did their division rivals, who they will see a lot of in the next couple of weeks. Also, if Jim Fox says 93 points will get them in the playoffs, you have to think he knows what he’s talking about. I mean he’s even up to date on Fortnight!

Finally, I’ve been a huge fan of Will Smith’s for a long time, and was very happy to see that he won his first Oscar last night for his role in “King Richard”. However, slapping Chris Rock on stage was totally inexcusable, and it’s really a shame that it took away from his moment winning the award for best actor. Funny how the audience really seemed to think that Will slapping Chris was part of the show, but once he started yelling and cussing at Chris, things got awkward. You can also tell this incident wasn’t just about one joke that was made. In 2016, when both Jada and Will boycotted the Oscars, Chris Rock also took aim at them during his stand up routine at the Oscars.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 21, 2022

UCLA is going back to the Sweet 16 for the 2nd year in a row! Nice first weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the Bruins. The opening round against Akron was a game of survival, but Saturday night against St Marys was pure Bruin basketball.  Tough defense, efficient 2-point offense, and limiting the turnovers.  They will need to do exactly that when they play North Carolina on Friday night in Philadelphia.  The Tar Heels are suddenly playing like Michael Jordan and James Worthy still play for them, after eliminating defending champion Baylor.  UCLA will also badly need Jaime Jaquez healthy enough to be effective, after he rolled his ankle again on Saturday.  I have no doubt he’s tough enough to try to play, it’s just a matter of how good can he be.  If he’s anywhere near what he did on Saturday in the 1st half, the Bruins are a good bet to get to the Elite 8.  As I said last week, these aren’t easy games by any means,  but the road to the Final Four provides better matchups for the Bruins than if they were in any of the 3 other regions.

As for the Trojans, they lost a tough one to Miami in the 1st round of the tournament.  It came down to the final possession, but USC dug themselves a 13-point hole, turning it over 18 times in total.  There were 11 lead changes over the final 15 minutes, but missing six free throws didn’t help the Trojan cause.  Miami was just an older, more experienced team and it benefitted them, despite the Trojans having more talent.  It took USC a while to get over their nerves and the fact they were actually playing in the NCAA Tournament.  Their first half looked like they just finished a night of drinking at the Nine-O.  That’s a sign of a young team that at times, still needs to figure it out in the big moments.  Andy Enfield is a great recruiter, so I expect him to continue to follow the same blue print of young elite freshman talent.  However, fundamentals and emotional maturity for moments like these is something his coaching staff needs to instill, if USC is to make more runs in the NCAA Tournament.

I really thought there was a way to just avoid talking about the Lakers entirely in this column.  I can’t though because it’s the Lakers.  However, we’ve reached the point where this team is putting a disgraceful effort forward every time they play.  It’s embarrassing, and there is almost no professional pride.  The only thing left at this point is to enjoy Lebron getting 30 or more a night for the next dozen games.  Congrats to Lebron for getting to #2 on the all-time scoring list.  After Saturday’s loss to the Wizards, Frank Vogel said they didn’t play well with Lebron out of the game.  He should have specified which games he was talking about.  When I hear Stu Lantz and James Worthy talk about this team on TV, I feel like I’m a kid who just let his parents down in dramatic fashion.  Just get to the off-season already, let’s find out if heads will roll, and get rid of nearly all these players who don’t want to put the effort in every night.  Or in the case of Russ, who fit like a square peg in a round hole.

Spring training is underway for the Dodgers, and they finished up a big week by signing 1st baseman Freddie Freeman! Somehow, the Dodgers lost Corey Seager and Max Scherzer this off-season, yet on paper they are going to be better. Although six years is a bit much for a guy that’s 32 years old, credit to Andrew Friedman for spending the money when the time is right, and when there is an opportunity.   Look at me complimenting Andrew Friedman after all these years of me telling you he was some video game nerd that didn’t know what he was doing.  He commands my respect now.  I also like the fact they have about 10 starters, 5 of them are cagey veterans like Danny Duffy, Andrew Heaney, and David Price, who may be lottery tickets for success, but worst case they can eat some innings.  I was disappointed that Kenley Jansen took a one year deal in Atlanta.  The Dodgers still need a closer, until Blake Treinen proves to me that he can do the job. The only guy available who could fit the bill is Craig Kimbrel, who has been wildly inconsistent throughout his career, despite his big time pockets of success in Boston, and in Chicago.

As for the Angels, I’m not so sure the team is any better than last year.  They managed to get Noah Sydergaard, who they hope will be healthy and elite.  They did manage to beef up their bullpen too but that’s it.  Much of the potential success is if Trout, Rendon, and Upton stay healthy, and are playing at an elite level alongside Shohei Ohtani.  That’s a lot of “ifs” and things that need to go right to have a successful season.  Plus Arte Moreno just seems like the crotchety old man now, that just won’t spend money on fixing his leaky sink.  Instead he tells his wife that they are just going to end up buying an expensive Ferrari instead.

On to the NFL, where it’s been a busy week for the Rams.  They signed Allen Robinson, lost Von Miller to the Bills, traded Robert Woods to the Titans, and signed Matt Stafford to an extension.  Let me start with this, Allen Robinson has shown he can be a solid receiver in this league, but last year he was pretty terrible.  With an excellent QB like Matt Stafford does that change? I sure hope so, but I’m a little surprised.  Losing Von Miller hurts, but you can’t keep everyone.  I feel terrible for Robert Woods that he tore his ACL, never got to play in the Super Bowl, and then got dumped to Tennessee.  He’s a good football player, and a great guy to have in your locker.  He isn’t necessary though, and as much as I’d love to have OBJ back, they have other needs.  Re-upping Stafford was the right thing to do.  Hopefully he’s sobered up in time from the parade to sign the new contract.  This team has been in two of the past four Super Bowls.   For that reason, I think both Les Snead and Sean McVay have earned the benefit of the doubt.

Elsewhere around the NFL, the off-season is just wild.  DeShaun Watson committed to the Browns, which makes me wonder if he committed to them while being held up at gunpoint.  That seems like the only way somebody would live in Cleveland.  Then there’s Devante Adams signing with the Raiders.  I’m sure after that Aaron Rodgers is looking for a clause to escape his contract, which doesn’t even have the ink dried yet.  I’m looking forward to seeing Baker Mayfield traded next week for a tank of gas.  This whole moment between Trevor Bauer and DeShaun Watson got really awkward as well.

You may have noticed I’ve been a little bit light on my coverage of The Bachelor this season.  Why? Well ratings are sinking faster than the Lakers, and the story lines are getting tired and not believable.  This time, the Bachelor, Clayton, told three women he loved them on Fantasy Suite night.  He claims he even convinced himself he really was in love with them.  That’s adorable…..thinking you’re in love with three women, when you’re actually in love with private jets and basically getting laid whenever you want on National TV.  This dude probably believed Vladimir Putin when he said he wasn’t going to invade the Ukraine.  I’m not sure where the show can go from here.  They’ve gotta be running out of ideas to make things more dramatic and interesting, even while trying to go back to its roots of typical “white people drama”.  I’m also even wondering if someone can still command influencer power by being a contestant in the show.  It’s also totally not the same brand without Chris Harrison, no matter how hard they try.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 14, 2022

It’s time for March Madness! That means the UCLA Bruins are going dancing, but there wasn’t much dancing on Saturday night in their loss to Arizona in the Pac 12 title game. The good news is the Bruins have a nice path in the East to try and make a run to the Final Four again. They’ll take on Akron on Thursday, and if they continue to advance they would likely face St Mary’s and Baylor, two games that are very winnable. Judging from Saturday, I’m not saying the Bruins would have beat Arizona if their two big men did not get into foul trouble, but that’s actually what I’m saying. UCLA had some suspect pick and roll defense in the 2nd half without them, and that is something they can clean up. You have to be pleased with Johnny Juzang though and how much better he looked on Saturday. Arizona is great and they are a real contender to win it all, but their fans are worse than Vladimir Putin. Totally classless based on their treatment of UCLA fans, including the players parents.

Some of you USC alums probably forgot you had a basketball team as well, and it just so happens they are in the tournament. USC is the #7 seed in the Midwest and will face #10 Miami on Thursday in Greenville, South Carolina. Not only did the Trojans get totally disrespected with the #7 seed, but they got a region that is full of landmines and difficult to get through. Auburn and Wisconsin loom later on, and that’s about as much fun as playing with scorpions.

To the NBA, where the Lakers got dismantled by the Suns last night. Question for all of you….why the hell do we continue to watch these games? I know the Lakers are our team, but this is just damaging to our mental health. That game escalated faster than gas prices. Even Malik Monk said the team isn’t trying hard enough. They don’t care, so why should you? The blueprint is pretty simple at this point: if Lebron gets 50, the Lakers have a chance to win. That sounds reasonable doesn’t it? Despite the train wreck the Lakers are, the fact Lebron is in year 19 and leading the league in scoring is insanity. That is just a reminder of how great he still is, and how on any given night he’s still the best player in the NBA. What isn’t cool though is the fact that people are making this Russell Westbrook thing personal with him and his family. It’s basketball people. Don’t be idiots. Russ isn’t meeting expectations, but if you’re demeaning him as a person and his family, you are probably a senseless keyboard bully, that lives in your mom’s basement, asking when the hot pockets will be ready.

Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder, right, strips the ball from Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 13, 2022, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

In baseball the lockout is over and both spring training and free agency have started for the Dodgers and Angels. It’s so good to see Clayton Kershaw returning to the Dodgers. He’s a legend, a class act, and deserves to finish his career with the Boys in Blue. The Dodgers also need his arm to be healthy to add to their rotation. With the luxury tax going up and Corey Seager and Max Scherzer leaving, Andrew Friedman has money to spend like Kim Kardashian at South Coast Plaza. Freddie Freeman would be amazing, but I have a feeling he’s going back to the ATL since it’s taking so long for him to decide. I know it’s controversial…..but if that happens the Dodgers should try to sign Carlos Correa. That puts less pressure on them to sign Trea Turner next year, and gives them the ability to to DH Justin Turner. Yes I know he cheated, but baseball is filled with the cheaters historically. He’s still an excellent right-handed bat that is in his prime. He can probably also be had on a one-year deal with a high salary, and that’s an Andrew Freidman special. They also need a closer too, so if they can get Kenley Jansen back on a two-year deal at reasonable money, they should do it. I love spending other people’s money. Isn’t it fun?

As for the Angels, they kicked off the re-opening of free agency by signing Kurt Suzuki. This is Arte Moreno’s idea of trying to make the team better. Most Angels fans want this deal voided under the accusation of uhhh…..tampering prior to the CBA being agreed! I don’t blame them! I almost forgot the Angels signed Noah Syndergaard, which is nice if he’s healthy but they need more arms. It doesn’t look like Arte is going to pay for them though. The Halos really couldn’t have made a move like the Giants did for Carlos Rodon? I guess the new CBA didn’t make Arte any less foolish when it comes to paying for pitching.

The NFL Off-season is getting wild. Gotta start with the Chargers, who acquired Khalil Mack last week. The Chargers defense couldn’t stop anything when it mattered most last year, and Mack is still great when he’s healthy. The combo of Mack with Joey Bosa could give quarterbacks fits, which is huge considering how competitive the AFC West is looking. The Broncos made headlines this week by trading for Russell Wilson, so the QB’s in the West are loaded. Re-signing Mike Williams was also a solid move too. However, I’m sure for the next year we’re going to have to hear how the Chargers have the most complete roster in the NFL, until we wonder why they can’t win more games. It’s the NFL’s biggest conundrum.

Then there’s Tom Brady, who is coming back to football and not retiring. I guess gas prices are so high, even Tom Brady has to keep working. His retirement last 39 days. The MLB lockout lasted 99. You can be sure that Gisele is going to be making him sleep on the couch for a while after reversing his decision. How about the dude that paid $500k in an auction for the ball that was supposedly Tom Brady’s last TD pass? That guy is definitely punching air now. Now the Bucs become another team that is a real contender in the NFC.

Monday Morning Coffee

March 7, 2022

Let me start by saying this, even though the Lakers are a disaster, Lebron just reminded us on Saturday night of just how great he is. He became just the 4th player in league history over the age of 37 to score 50+ points. He won’t be here forever people so you have to appreciate the greatness you are watching. With all that being said, he said he was fueled by “desperation”. Funny, because I would think “desperation” would have kicked in before they cratered to 9th place in the West with just 20 games left in the season, and on the verge of missing even the play-in tournament. I guess Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, or some other Rams player needs to be in the building at all times for these guys to actually show up and play. Hope they are available every night for the next four months. Especially since every loss the Lakers endure, you’re going to hear more leaks like the one we heard Saturday, which trashed Russell Westbrook and indicated that many in the organization want him benched moving forward. Saturday was nice, but the Lakers are a bad team with or without Lebron James and Anthony Davis at this point. I was going to rattle off some joke about the Lakers being like the Russian army, but Saturday Night Live beat me to it!

As for the Clippers, we know they won’t get Kawhi back this season, and it feel like they won’t get Paul George back either. However, they are still a remarkable story with their ability to stay in playoff contention. I also couldn’t help but notice how Reggie Jackson was loving every single moment of embarrassing Russell Westbrook the other night against the Lakers. Jackson clearly holds grudges like he’s Aaron Rodgers, because he tore up Russ the other night, and clearly has some hard feelings after their divorce a few years ago in Oklahoma City. I thought these two were going to fight after this happened.

The MLB lockout continues, as I told you it would last week. We know for sure they are cancelling games, which means the heat is now on the players since they are missing game checks. These idiots were only $50K apart from making an agreement, yet they pulled the plug on the negotiation last week. Now they are starting from scratch. Of course it was Arte Moreno who opposed increasing the CBT threshold, which is so on brand for that cheapskate. Arte is probably tired of getting outspent by the Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox, so he was just taking it out on them by turning down that part of the deal. However, it’s the Angel fans that are tired of Arte and his foolish ownership style, dictating to his front office the moves that should be made. He’s also looking like the slum lord of the MLB, with sub-standard conditions for his minor leaguers. When the lockout is over, we’ll see if all this negativity around him ends up hurting the Angels in free agency.

Speaking of MLB teams spending money, my expectation is regardless of what comes out of the new MLB labor agreement, the Dodgers will have money to spend. They should do everything they can to quickly sign Freddie Freeman, then re-sign Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen. That would give the Dodgers an excellent lineup that is arguably even better than last year. It would also fortify their pitching staff, which is littered with young talent, but just needs a couple of wily veterans in the rotation and the back end of the bullpen. None of those three should cost the Dodgers an unreasonable amount on an annual basis.

To College Basketball, where UCLA was looking healthier and in good form on Saturday night in their win against cross-town rival USC. They are also still undefeated when Jessica Alba is in the building. The Bruins finished in 2nd in the Pac-12 for the regular season headed into the conference tournament. Everyone seems to think Arizona might be the best team in the country. If the Bruins are healthy, they are quite capable of beating the Wildcats, or any team in the country for that matter. Jamie Jaquez suddenly looks like he has two good ankles, Jules Bernard is balling, and Johnny Juzang is starting to get healthy too. Mick Cronin indicated Juzang is not ready yet, but he will be. Joe Lunardi has the Bruins at a #4 seed, but if they can win the conference tourney, they can easily be a #3 seed. However, in either case, this is becoming a very undervalued team by betting standards. UCLA has the 12th best odds in the country to win the National Title. When healthy, they are no worse than a top 5 team. That’s especially important for all of us degenerates out there ready to open our wallets to bet on the NCAA tournament.

The NFL off-season is quietly going well for the Rams prior to free agency starting. They got a commitment from Sean McVay to return, and now Ian Rappaport is reporting the Rams are planning on giving Aaron Donald a big raise. You really think Sean McVay was going to come back without knowing that arguably the best player in the NFL was coming back? If you did, you probably believe the last thing Joe Biden said too. Even if the Rams also bring back OBJ and Von Miller, repeating is always an uphill climb. However, the best thing they could have going for them is Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson potentially heading to the AFC. I know many have been reporting that Rodgers is going to go back to the Packers, but if so, then why hasn’t it happened already? I still think he’s leaving because he wants to stick it to the Packers front office. People who hold grudges do crazy things, and he looks like he’s ready to do something crazy. I also love how people are just dying to know what he’s going to do and frustrated he hasn’t made a decision. This unfortunately isn’t the Netflix series you can just blow right through to the end to find out what happened. You’ve all been ruined by streaming TV.

Lastly, nice episode of The Walking Dead last night on AMC. Of course Eugene did the equivalent of online dating and got catfished during the zombie apocalypse. That’s very on brand for him. Meanwhile, Carol is now curing cancer and taking down drug lords at the same time. This felt like the Ozark episode of the series. Her level of badass continues to rise. Lance is shifty and suspicious. I wouldn’t trust that dude to tell me what he wanted on his pizza. I’m getting major Gregory vibes here. This show is very weird about swearing. Apparently you can smash someone’s head in with a barbed wire baseball bat, but saying the F-word is off limits. How can you not love Princess at this point? She’s hilarious and thriving in the Commonwealth. Also, people will always open doors for you if you bring them food whether it’s in the apocalypse or not. Props to the show for providing us with content that we can use endlessly in gif’s on Twitter.