Monthly Archives: April 2022

Monday Morning Coffee

April 25, 2022

We’re halfway through the 1st round of the NBA playoffs, but the only thing people can talk about is the Lakers. I guess they must be pretty important to the ratings or something. Fans have kind of lost their mind though. I just saw a petition to get Russell Westbrook off the team. I want him gone and all, but how childish though. I signed it from two different devices. It’s funny how a few weeks ago everybody loved the idea of Quinn Snyder or Nick Nurse, but now after watching the 1st round, nobody wants to touch them. It’s also funny how each and every moment that goes by, you might actually realize how good of a coach Frank Vogel was. There’s a lot of work to do to clean up this mess, and I’m curious to see if the Lakers still ask stupid things of their coaching candidates: to pick their staff, and to take less than a 5 year deal. This mess is fixable, but it’s simply a matter of whether or not the Lakers will learn from their mistakes of the past.

I’ve seen about 3 episodes of the series “Winning Time” on HBO. It’s really good, and I plan to continue watching it. However, I can understand why Jerry West is upset. He’s portrayed like a complete lunatic that hates his job, and hates people. Magic is probably also pissed too because Cookie has to be raising an eyebrow knowing that they are portraying him having sex with every woman in LA in the 80’s. That’s not hard to believe though, and neither is how they portrayed Kareem, since he shunned the media in the 80’s. Unfortunately, as upset as West is, he, nor anybody else can do anything about it. It’s a TV series that is based on some true events, but obviously over-dramatized. West hasn’t been this embarrassed since he started telling people he works for the Clippers. Sorry Jerry, I know you want an apology and a retraction, but this is showbiz, and that’s not how it works in this case.

As for the NBA Playoffs, the Nets are on the verge of getting swept by the Celtics. It’s all fun and games to root for KD and Kyrie to lose because they are annoying, but then Laker fans realize the Celtics are in the finals, and they might have to jump off their roof. Kevin Durant must have given up shooting for Lent. He only had 11 shot attempts in game 3 against Boston. You know, KD left a championship dynasty with the Warriors where he was the best player, just because some 10-year olds on Twitter think his legacy isn’t worth crap and he had too much help. Now that he has less help, he’s not elevating his game in the playoffs. This is what he wanted, yet he’s not answering the bell. Yes, it’s completely unfair how we judge these NBA stars, but if KD is going to feed into the narrative, then he needs to step it up. Don’t ever try to tell me that KD is the best player in the world right now, because as great as he is, he’s not that. Also, I’m not saying the 76ers are going to blow a 3-0 lead in their 1st round series against the Raptors, but eventually someone will come back from a 3-0 deficit and win a series in the NBA. Any team coached by Doc Rivers stands a good chance of being the team to lose that series.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are rolling, taking 2 of 3 from the Padres over the weekend, and maintaining 1st place in the NL West. Cody Bellinger turns into Barry Bonds every time Clayton Kershaw pitches. Kershaw continues to look great, and Belly is looking a lot closer to the MVP we saw a few years ago. I’m not terribly worried about Mookie Betts and Max Muncy, who have been off to slow stars. Of course everybody wants to kill Mookie because of his monstrous contract, but the baseball season is 162 games, and we’re only 3 weeks in. If those two guys are hitting less than .200 at the all-star break it’s a conversation, but they certainly looked pretty good over the weekend, and they haven’t looked bad in their at bats. This is also what a “road game” looks like for the Dodgers in San Diego.

As for the Angeles, they had a rather disappointing weekend against the Orioles. They lost 2 of 3 games in a series they really needed to dominate. Ironically, it isn’t the starting pitching that has been the problem. It’s the bullpen and the bizarre managing decisions by Joe Maddon. Maddon is pulling his pitchers after 5 innings of domination, and 70 pitches. Then his $93 million bullpen is giving away games like they are some 501C3 charity. The best news for the Angels is really that nobody in their division, or even the entire AL looks that great so far. With four games coming up against the Guardians at home, the Halos really need to bank some wins in this part of the soft schedule.

Finally, a whole week went by and it was weird, the Rams didn’t actually acquire another superstar player. However, the got great news that 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel has requested a trade. That means every team in the division on paper is getting much worse, while the Rams have only gotten better. You can guarantee that Les Snead is calling the 49ers and at least trying to find out what it will take to get Samuel in a Rams uniform. However, John Lynch would rather get in the octagon with Aaron Donald before trading Samuel to his division rival.

Monday Morning Coffee

April 18, 2022

The NBA Playoffs are underway but sure enough, all people are talking about is the Lakers. That’s how amazing this franchise is. What’s not amazing though is the complete lack of self-awareness from Russell Westbrook. After his exit interview last week, Westbrook told the media that he wasn’t given a fair chance and wasn’t allowed to be himself. He also didn’t understand why he felt like he always had to prove himself to Frank Vogel. Somebody needs to show Russ footage of him blowing layups, dunks, and hitting the side of the backboard all season long. Philip Seymour Hoffman had a better jumper in Along Came Polly than Russ does now. I thought there was a small chance Russ could return next season, but now I think there’s no chance. The Lakers should be willing to take back long term contracts just to get rid of Russ, and find veterans that are better fits in the process.

Meanwhile, the Clippers season ended on Friday night against the Pelicans, during the play-in game. I really thought the Clips were going to take down Minnesota, and for sure the Pelicans. However, that Paul George Covid protocol did them no favors. You’ve gotta hand it to the Clips for playing their asses off all season without their stars. Still, I find it interesting that everyone thinks the Lakers can’t win anymore because Lebron and AD are always injured, when Kawhi and Paul George have missed even more games than those two in their time with the Clippers. Things look promising now for the Clips, but the last time we said they just needed to add a couple of stars to their team of nice role players, they ended up with lousy chemistry and getting bounced in the bubble. Mixing Kawhi and PG back into the fold sounds good on paper, but we’ll see if it is finally their year as we keep hearing.

I’m always amused about the prisoner of the moment story lines that emerge from the NBA playoffs this time of year. Some of my personal favorite from this year include the idea that Brandon Ingram is suddenly a better player than Anthony Davis. Or that the Lakers were foolish for giving up their entire young core for Anthony Davis, and that the Pelicans won the trade. I guess most of these delusional people forgot that the objective of an NBA team is to win a championship. The Lakers won one with Anthony Davis as a key piece of that 17 months ago. The Lakers young core is really nice because they draft well, but they were right to give them up for a guy that gave them a championship. It’s also adorable that everybody loves the Lakers young core now, when prior to the Anthony Davis trade, everyone was saying how much they stink. I guess the Lakers really do know what they are doing when it comes to drafting and developing players. Some of these people need their Twitter accounts revoked immediately if we’re going to start fact-checking these sites and all.

UCLA Basketball lost another key player last week. This time, Peyton Watson declared for the NBA draft, and hired an agent, assuring everyone that he isn’t coming back to school. I’m not sure who is giving Watson advice, but it sounds like the equivalent of taking financial advice from Bernie Madoff. A kid who is averaging 3 points and 2 rebounds as a freshman, and is projected to be a 2nd round pick, isn’t ready for the NBA. Especially with NLI opportunities to make money in college, Watson could have made money while staying in school. I told you last week that UCLA couldn’t keep all the talent on their roster, but Watson isn’t somebody I expected to depart. UCLA should still be great next year, but this one will hurt the program, and I fear it will hurt Watson too.

To baseball, where the Dodgers are off to a strong start after handling business against the Twins and Reds. They’ve won 6 in a row, and I was pleased to see Julio Urias and Walker Buehler turn things around in their last starts, and it’s also nice to see Cody Bellinger remember how to hit a baseball. He’s probably not smoking as much weed over the past week. All of you want to talk about Clayton Kershaw though. I get that we were all deprived of watching a perfect game, but removing him after 7 innings was the right decision. I’m more upset that the Dodgers didn’t use Blake Treinen to preserve the perfect game, rather than the fact they pulled Kershaw. He looks phenomenal, he’s coming off injury and a short spring training, and even he admitted he should have been pulled from the game. It was also super cold that day in Minnesota, which increases in the injury risk. Baseball has too many “get off my lawn” fans, and unfortunately, none of you will see it this way. However, this is the way the game is played and managed in the modern era whether you like it or not, so you might as well get used to it.

That was a big series win by the Angels over the Rangers this weekend with the Astros looming tonight. Unfortunately, it looks like they might be without Mike Trout after he took a pitch off the hand. At least nothing was broken, and he’s day-to-day. Coming into Sunday, the Halos were slugging their way to wins, leading the league in home runs. They are also getting some fantastic pitching from Noah Syndergaard, which is nice to see. If Shohei Ohtani can look like the ace we think he is, the Halos are a much different team than we think. There’s a lot of promising things when looking at the roster and the performance, but whether they can actually come through against the likes of the Astros and Mariners and the tough division games is what really matters. What’s not so great though is the Angels remote broadcast team. I haven’t seen anything this embarrassing since the Halos played ball last season. Matt Vasgersian called a home run a foul ball, and called a foul ball a double. They lost audio at one point, and then Vasgersian confused the broadcast freezing with the pitcher holding the ball for a long time. Now the Angels made a last second call to send a broadcast team to Houston for the next series. Arte Moreno must have gotten a 2 -for-1 deal on Spirit Airlines to make this happen.

The LA Kings are hanging on for dear life in the final 5 games of the season to try and make the playoffs. The Kings are 3 points ahead of Las Vegas with 5 games left. Vegas has one extra game to play, but a much tougher schedule. LA is also limping toward the finish line with Drew Doughty out for the season with a wrist injury, and their #2 defenseman Mikey Anderson out of the lineup with the always mysterious “upper-body injury” as well. Still, the Kings are back to being fun to watch again. That is when they aren’t giving up 6 unanswered goals to Minnesota and 9 goals to Colorado. You have to really hate your goalies to let them endure that kind of punishment.

Finally, I’m ecstatic that Better Call Saul is back on AMC tonight with the season premiere of the shows final season. This show isn’t Breaking Bad, but it’s still a masterpiece, and if you saw Breaking Bad, you’ll have a much greater appreciation for it. I’m still trying to figure out how 42-year old Aaron Paul is going to be playing 17-18 year old Jesse Pinkman on the show this year. Ultimately, there’s two things we are all dying to know: what happens to Kim? And do we get to see Walter White and Jesse Pinkman? We already know the answer to the 2nd question, but I guess the better question is how we see them. We have no idea on the first question, but I’m almost terrified to know the answer. Can’t wait!

Monday Morning Coffee

April 11, 2022

The most shameful Laker season ended yesterday in Denver. Thank God for that, but the shamefulness continued with the front office leaks. This time it was somebody leaking to Adrian Wojnarowki that Frank Vogel will be fired. If Woj said it, it’s gotta be true, and I can’t blame him for doing his job. However, I do blame the classless idiots in the front office who couldn’t just wait 12 hours until the man was respectfully relieved of his duties. Since Vogel is holding onto the job in five minute increments at this point, he’s likely to be fired by the time you read this. The one thing I can’t understand is that for a franchise that does things so differently than others, why not do something different and keep Vogel? Only an idiot would think that this season’s outcome was his fault. He’s only getting fired because optically they have to make it look like they are trying something different. He led you to a championship 18 months ago, now suddenly he’s a scrub coach? This is a roster issue that will be difficult, but not impossible to fix. Heck if the Lakers are just willing to take back contracts beyond next season, they might actually be able to find a decent deal for Russell Westbrook. The real question people should be asking themselves is if it’s Rob Pelinka who should be making those deals anymore.

As for the Clippers, they are very quietly going to be matching up with the Minnesota Timberwolves tomorrow night in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament. The Wolves have been solid this year, however, the Clippers suddenly have a lot of confidence with Paul George coming back as well as Norman Powell. I think everybody forgot that Normal Powell actually plays on this team, and that the Clips performed the equivalent of armed robbery at the trade deadline on the Blazers to get Powell and Robert Covington. I’m sure Pat Beverley will be looking for his revenge here, but I like the Clips chances of taking this one. I also have to wonder if they win, whether or not we will see Kawhi.

To baseball, where the Dodgers dropped 2 of 3 in their opening series against the Rockies over the weekend. You probably shouldn’t panic 3-games into a 162-game season, but there are a few things to raise your eyebrows at here. Apparently nobody told the Dodgers that spring training was over, because they are approaching these games with the urgency of the Lakers. The “historic offense” is also being carried by Gavin Lux and Austin Barnes through three games. I expect a lot more production when your lineup has Freddie Freeman, Mookie Betts, and Trea Turner (among many others). More concerning though is the performance of Julio Urias, who’s velocity was down, and was rocked for the second straight outing, if you’re including spring training. With that being said, all three of those games were winnable, and the Dodgers still probably win the last two if they just make a play or two more.

As for the Angels, it was a rough opening weekend, dropping 3 of 4 to the Astros. I know Halo fans don’t want to panic either, but the slow starts, especially against divisional foes the last couple of years don’t exactly make you feel all that great about this weekend. Joe Maddon insisted that the Angels are very close to the Astros right now, but I’m not so sure about that from what I saw. I’m also not sure why Anthony Rendon was resting on Sunday, three games into the season. I guess he needs an extra day of rest to spend that $36 million he is making this year. The Ohtani-Trout-Rendon combination didn’t yield much against the Astros, but much of that was due to some stellar defense played by the ‘Stros. On the bright side, the Angels have to feel pretty good about the starting pitching they got in all three games, since the bullpen and the offense was to be blamed for the three losses. The Angels better plan on taking care of business this week against the Marlins and Rangers, two teams that should have no business winning a series against the Halos.

In College Hoops, it’s bitter sweet news, but Jake Kyman is transferring from UCLA to Wyoming. Kyman is a sharp shooter that could not find consistent minutes on a very deep and talented UCLA team for the last couple of seasons. He also approached Mick Cronin about what he could do to get more minutes, but unfortunately, there wasn’t much. Kyman is also a Bruin through and through, with both of his parents being alumni athletes as well. With that being said, UCLA is not going to be able to keep everybody, and find minutes for all the talented players that they have. Kyman is an unfortunate reminder of that, and you can be sure he won’t be the only one that has to make this kind of decision because it’s best for his college career.

The Masters went down over the weekend, but the story wasn’t Scottie Scheffler winning. Nor was it the azaleas. It was Tiger Woods, who was back on the course after suffering a catastrophic leg injury a year ago. There are some athletes you have to enjoy while they are still around because they are so special, and Tiger is just that. He didn’t come close to winning, but he put together a fantastic first round, and still gave us some tremendous shots over the weekend. His drive and will to win is still there, and he’s what actually makes watching golf interesting for the average fan. I’m very happy to hear that Woods is committing to The Open in a couple of months, and we can only hope that he is not only healthy, but even healthier than he was coming into The Masters.

Finally, the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead went down on AMC last night. Spoiler alert for those of you who have yet to see it. This episode was a fight to the death with Maggie and Leah. You didn’t really think TWD was going to take Maggie from us too did you? That was one hell of a fight and I admit I was a little stressed, but thank god Daryl saved the day by killing Leah. I can’t imagine how Glenn would feel about all this right now though, knowing that Maggie is somehow trusting the guy that murdered him. Or even the fact that Negan is babysitting his kid. It’s crazy to think that happened 6 years ago. I have a bad feeling though that we will end up losing Rosita sometime in the final season. We lost her in the comic, so I’m sure they have some ridiculously tragic death planned for her in the fall. It was a solid mid-season finale, and I’ve gotta give the writers credit for how they re-invented the show. I’m over 10 years invested, so I need to see it to the end, and looking forward to it come the fall.

Monday Morning Coffee

April 4, 2022

Hey Lakers, lose my number! I don’t want to hear anything from your sorry asses for the next 6 months. I’ve never been so embarrassed to be a Laker fan. This is by far the most disappointing season in Laker history, and this weekend was the final dagger, with losses to the Pelicans and Nuggets at home. I don’t care if Lebron and AD have missed as many games as they have. This team should at least be able to make the play-in tournament. I don’t see the Clippers in the lottery without Kawhi and Paul George. I also don’t see the Nuggets falling apart without Michael Porter and Jamaal Murray. The lack of effort and lack of professionalism on this squad all year has been simply disrespectful to the fans that support this team. They don’t even deserve to be in the play-in, let alone the playoffs. Will even half of this team even be on any NBA roster next year? I have my doubts. That’s how sorry the roster construction has been, and not sure how much better it’s going to get moving forward. Lebron is also up for a contract extension in August. I’m not so sure he doesn’t sign it, but I’m also not so sure that would be a good thing for the Lakers.

As for the Clippers, things are actually getting a bit interesting for them. Paul George made his return to the floor last week, and looked really good in the process. They took down the Jazz, and then blew out the Bucks, albeit with both teams missing a lot of players. Nevertheless, if the Clippers can survive the play-in, they may even get Kawhi Leonard back. That would make the Clips an extremely dangerous #7 or #8 seed in the Western Conference. The role players on this team are suddenly finding themselves, including the likes of Luke Kennard and Robert Covington. Suddenly all those Clipper jokes aren’t so funny to the Suns or Grizzlies, who might have to face this monster in the 1st round.

To baseball, where the Dodgers made a massive trade last week, sending AJ Pollock to the White Sox for closer Craig Kimbrel. I actually thought this was an April Fools joke at first, but it’s true. It also made a lot of sense. The Dodgers needed a closer with the departure of Kenley Jansen. Considering Kimbrel has just one year left on his contract, it’s a reasonable gamble. He has been pretty up and down though. When Kimbrel is on, he’s great. When he’s not, he’s downright awful. In his first spring training outing with the Dodgers, he was awful. Nevertheless, it’s spring training. AJ Pollock was really one of the best hitters in the NL last year, even though he stunk in the playoffs. He was a great Dodger though and he will be missed, but there are enough guys that need at-bats that can more than effectively replace his bat. That Kimbrel arm thing before every pitch though is kind of annoying.

As for the Angels, MLB Network ranked Shohei Ohtani #1 and Mike Trout #2 in their player rankings. First of all, no disrespect to how great Shohei is, but just because Mike Trout strained his calf last year, the media got amnesia and forgot that he’s still the best player? Makes no sense. Then there’s the Halos releasing Justin Upton, and just eating $28 million. I know the Angels are trying to go young in the outfield with guys like Brandon marsh and Jo Adell, but if the Halos are going to to keep making $28 million mistakes, they are going to keep spinning their wheels at .500. Upton was actually having a decent spring. I know a few people have suggested he ends up with the Dodgers, but the Boys in Blue just traded away AJ Pollock to create some more playing time in the outfield. They don’t need another outfielder.

In the NFL, the Rams have done it again. They’ve acquired another star player by signing linebacker Bobby Wagner to a 5-year $50 million deal. I’m sure everyone is wondering how the Rams can afford another star. The Rams just have smarter people upstairs, including Les Snead, and many others that draft well and get a lot of quality starters on the cheap. They also understand the importance of stars and chasing championships when you’re playing in the LA market. That you have to appreciate. Now the Rams have replaced Von Miller with another defensive star who has just as good of a resume, and they once again have three elite defenders: Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and Wagner.

Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed The Grammy’s last night and it is by far my favorite award show. Amazingly, we had an award show where nobody got slapped, and the topic of conversation afterward was not that slap. Doesn’t that feel like it happened 10 years ago, given all the commentary that’s happened since? As for the show itself, this clip will give you a nice summary.