Monthly Archives: August 2022

Monday Morning Coffee

August 29, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday Morning Coffee

August 22, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday Morning Coffee

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

August 15, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

August 8, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Morning Coffee

August 1st, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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