March 30, 2005

Link-O-Rama

No, you're not imagining things, this week's Link-O-Rama comes a day early. In preparation for a family event that will have me wearing a suit and tie for the first time in nearly a decade, I am taking a rare three-day weekend from blogging. I'll be back Monday for all sorts of Opening Day goodness, and in the meantime here's some stuff to tide you over.

  • I have officially given up on the Timberwolves. Yes, they are riding a four-game winning streak, but they are 2.5 games out of playoff contention with just 11 games to go and their schedule still includes back-to-back road games against Phoenix and Sacramento, and home games against Denver, San Antonio, and Seattle. In other words, their chances of going 9-2 to close out the year (or something similar, which is what they'll need to make the playoffs) are slim.

    The good news -- and this is really grasping for straws -- is that the Wolves will have a lottery pick for the first time in a long time. Actually, the last time the Wolves even picked in the top 20 was back in 1999, when they drafted Wally Szczerbiak out of Miami of Ohio with the sixth pick and William Avery from Duke with the 14th pick. Avery turned out to be one of the biggest busts in the history of a franchise filled with spectacular busts, but Szczerbiak turned out about as well as could have been expected.

    Anyway, I really think the Wolves should look at grabbing a point guard. Sam Cassell is a free agent after next season and is clearly on his last legs. Whoever they pick could back up Cassell for a year and then take over as the starter in 2006-2007. Interestingly, this figures to be a pretty good draft for point guards. Here are the top 10 point guards who will likely be in the draft, according to ESPN Insider:

    1) Chris Paul, Wake Forest
    2) Deron Williams, Illinois
    3) Raymond Felton, North Carolina
    4) Daniel Gibson, Texas
    5) Ronnie Brewer, Arkansas
    6) Guillermo Diaz, Miami
    7) Monta Ellis, Lanier High School
    8) Mardy Collins, Temple
    9) Jarrett Jack, Georgia Tech
    10) John Gilcrest, Maryland

    Basically, I'd be thrilled with Paul, Williams, Felton or Gibson, although I'll admit I haven't seen Gibson as much as the other three. Felton in particular is the type of up-tempo, pass-first point guard that I like, and his improved shooting this year is impressive. Not that I don't like Paul or Williams, of course, but I think Felton has a better shot at being available when the Wolves pick. The Wolves are a team in need of a massive overhaul, as the core of their roster got old in a hurry this year. Unless they can find some way to turn Cassell into a younger star player, the only way to rebuild things with Kevin Garnett's salary on the books is to draft well and develop young players.

    The Spurs have done this with guys like Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, and the Wolves need to start doing it with Ndudi Ebi and whoever they snag with their upcoming lottery pick. And yes, I know no one thinks Ebi can play and that he is looking like a bust, but I'd like to actually see him play 20 minutes a game before I decided that for sure. The guy was an absolute stud coming out of high school just two years ago, considered as good or better than any number of guys who will be first-round picks this year. It's time to see what he can do, because giving up on a high-school draftee this soon is crazy.

  • Speaking of basketball, the seemingly annual mass exodus from the Gophers is currently taking place. Kerry Wooldridge and Miles Webb are heading elsewhere in search of playing time, and seven-foot recruit James Davis' legal troubles will keep him off the team next year (and possibly for good). I will refrain from making predictions about next year's team or the future of the program, since I was so utterly wrong about this year.
  • Getting back to the Timberwolves for a moment ... Don't laugh, but here's a guy I think they should go after hard in the offseason. Seriously. Per-40-minute averages: 18.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.1 steals, 0.9 turnovers, 57.3 eFG%. Incidentally, the fact that he has played just 25.4 minutes per game this year is a major mark against Sam Mitchell in his first year on the job, albeit only one several.
  • Here's a scary story from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus. The highlights:
    Sixteen students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, including 11 members of the football team, were arrested this week for their alleged involvement in a retaliatory attack off campus.

    According to the Indiana Borough police, the students broke into a house on Wayne Avenue on Feb. 16 just before midnight in retaliation for a fight that had occurred at a party a week earlier between Dean Papougenis, a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, and IUP's backup quarterback, Danny Harris.

    Andrew LaScola, a 22-year-old sophomore at IUP, said he was in his room at the house, along with five other people -- including Papougenis -- when they saw an estimated 35 men walking across the parking lot toward their house.

    Can you imagine looking out your window and seeing an angry mob of football players on their way to your front door? Is there a worse feeling in the world than the one you'd have in that situation? From what I gather, this backup quarterback got beat up by a guy at a party and then got a couple dozen of his football-playing buddies to come to his rescue ... a week later. This is like two kids getting into a fight in the sandbox and the loser going to get his older brother, except like 50 times worse.

    Here's the money quote:

    "I think they took it too far," LaScola said.

    What is this world coming to when you can't get into a fist fight with a backup quarterback without risking getting your ass kicked by an entire football team?

  • Remember Matt Riley, the left-handed pitcher I suggested the Twins trade for yesterday? Well, it's too late. The Orioles dealt him to the Rangers about 10 hours after I made the suggestion.
  • Some guy named Jim Ingraham at something called the News-Herald of Northeast Ohio thinks that the Indians will win the American League Central this year. His incredibly in-depth analysis includes gems like this:
    Starting rotation

    If you combined the two teams' five-man rotation, here's how I'd rank them 1-to-10: 1. Johan Santana, 2. Brad Radke, 3. Jake Westbrook, 4. Sabathia, 5. Millwood, 6. Carlos Silva, 7. Lee, 8. Scott Elarton, 9. Kyle Lohse, 10. Joe Mays.

    EDGE: Indians.

    Yeah, that makes sense.

  • ESPN Insider's latest NFL mock draft has the Vikings ending up with Mike Williams (WR, USC) at #7 and Dan Cody (DE, Oklahoma) at #18. Sounds pretty good to me, although I wish I knew enough about this year's crop of defensive ends to say for sure which one I'd rather have.
  • If you don't already make Athletics Nation a part of your daily reading (and why not, exactly?), make sure to head over there today to read about Tyler Bleszinski's experience hanging out with and interviewing a whole bunch of the Oakland A's. Blez was schmoozing with Billy Beane, Barry Zito, Rich Harden, and Eric Byrnes, interviewing Huston Street, handing out AN's "In Billy We Trust" t-shirts, showing off pictures of his new baby girl in a gigantic-looking A's hat, and generally just living the dream of the team blogger.

    Go check it out. The pictures of Blez posing with various players while always sporting the "I can't believe this is happening" look on his face is worth the price of admission. You know, if there was a price of admission. Oh, and seeing pictures of Zito wearing the exact same thing at night and then the next morning is interesting too, in that whole "gee, I wonder what he did last night" sort of way.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Five Questions: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (by Rob McMillin)
    - Five Questions: Chicago Cubs (by Bryan Smith)
    - Giving Up The Long Ball (by Tom Meagher)
    - Ten Things I Didn't Know Last Week (by Studes)

    Twins Notes

  • Here's a note of interest from Sunday's Washington Post:
    Matt Riley, who pitched in a minor league game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday, likely will be traded. Several teams, including Texas and Minnesota, have expressed interest in Riley. It appears though that neither the Rangers nor Twins were able to match up on a trade.

    Matt Riley is Baltimore's version of Michael Restovich, a once-promising prospect who is now out of options and not a big part of the team's long-term plan. I'm not sure if the Orioles are interested in Restovich, but I would love to see a Restovich-for-Riley swap take place. Riley could step in as the second lefty in the bullpen for the near term instead of the proven mediocrity known as C.J. Nitkowski (which, if you've looked at his career numbers, is being kind), and potentially move into the rotation at some point.

    Riley has struggled through a ton of injuries since the Orioles picked him in the third round of the 1997 draft and he is just 4-4 with a 5.40 ERA and 74-to-62 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 85 career innings with Baltimore. On the other hand, he is still just 25 years old, he is a left-handed pitcher with good stuff, and his minor-league numbers are very good. Riley has a 3.54 ERA and 136-to-55 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 119 career innings at Triple-A, including a 1.71 ERA in 10 Triple-A starts last year.

  • Another available guy who I would love to see the Twins go after is Brooks Kieschnick, who was recently released by Milwaukee. Kieschnick is a legit two-way player, with a 4.59 ERA in 96 innings over the past two years and a career hitting line of .248/.315/.444. He's not great at either hitting or pitching, but when the two are combined he becomes a pretty valuable bench player. Of course, he has a lot less value to an AL team than he would in the NL, and the Twins have already filled their "left-handed bat off the bench" job with Terry Tiffee. In other words, Kieschnick doesn't really have a fit on the roster, but in theory he would be a nice spare part to add.
  • The Tampa Tribune ran a nice little puff piece on Johan Santana yesterday, including stuff like this:
    "He's the first guy to the ballpark," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "By the time I get there, he and his sidekick Carlos Silva are already on the bikes, jabbering things in Spanish that I don't understand, just having a great time."

  • Minnesota sports fans have been pretty lucky, because for every superstar local athlete like Randy Moss, we've had Santana and Kevin Garnett, who come across as legitimately great guys. Of course, we all thought Kirby Puckett was a hell of a guy at one point too, so youneverknow.

  • Spring training stats are almost completely meaningless, but it is still nice to see that nearly every Twins position player is having at least a decent spring at the plate. Of the 15 guys who still have what I would think is a reasonable chance to make the team, six are hitting .300+, 11 are hitting .275+, and everyone but Restovich, Nick Punto, and Luis Rivas are hitting at least .260.

    The Official Whipping Boy of AG.com is hitting .171 against major leaguers and went 0-for-6 in a minor-league game the other day. The Twins are spending $2.6 million between him and Juan Castro, which is a bargain when you consider that breaks down to about $4,000 per out.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - The Biggest Deals of All Time (by Studes)
    - Five Questions: Oakland A's (by John Gizzi)
    - Five Questions: Arizona Diamondbacks (Robert Dudek)

    March 29, 2005

    Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves

    With the news (or at least implied news) that Terry Tiffee has made the Twins as the left-handed "bat off the bench" that Ron Gardenhire is constantly lusting after, the rest of the roster is starting to come into place. The only problem is that the numbers don't seem to add up. Assuming the Twins open the season with 11 pitchers (I think they should go with 10, but that's never going to happen), here's how the position players break down:

    C    Joe Mauer
    1B Justin Morneau
    2B Luis Rivas
    SS Jason Bartlett
    3B Michael Cuddyer
    LF Shannon Stewart
    CF Torii Hunter
    RF Jacque Jones
    DH Lew Ford

    C Mike Redmond
    IF Matthew LeCroy
    IF Juan Castro
    IF Terry Tiffee

    Those are the 13 guys who would appear to be locks to make the team, which leaves one spot left for a fifth bench player. The candidates are Nick Punto and Michael Restovich, along with Corky Miller if you believe Gardenhire's statement the other day about potentially opening the season with four catchers. I'm going to assume Miller isn't a serious option, which leaves Punto and Restovich fighting over one spot.

    Both players deserve to make the team. Punto showed last year (.253/.340/.319 in 38 games) that he is a solid utility guy, he is cheap and relatively young, and he gives the team a decent alternative to make Luis Rivas sweat a little bit at second base. Restovich has been languishing at Triple-A for years now, he is also cheap and relatively young, and he has done a nice job when given a chance with the Twins (.274/.364/.442 in 61 games).

    Perhaps most importantly, both players are apparently out of options (Restovich's option situation has been made public, and a little digging seems to put Punto in the same boat). Assuming that's true, what it means is that the Twins can no longer send them down to the minors without first passing them through waivers. The chances of either Punto or Restovich going through without being claimed by another team seems slim, which means the Twins either keep them on the roster or lose them.

    So what will happen? I honestly have no idea. I agree with keeping Tiffee on the roster, because he gives the team a relatively good backup at both infield corners, as well as a nice switch-hitter off the bench. Restovich would be a very solid backup outfielder, particularly if Gardenhire ever realizes that benching Jacque Jones against lefties is a good idea. He won't, of course, which basically just means Restovich would be around as a pinch-hitter and potential replacement should any of the outfielders go down with an injury.

    I also like Punto quite a bit as far as spare-part middle infielders go, but he is very redundant at the moment. He does nothing that Juan Castro can't do. Or rather, Castro does nothing that Punto can't do, but makes a guaranteed million dollars a year for the next two seasons doing (or not doing) it. That means Punto is the utility infielder who is expendable (since I don't see the Twins buying into the theory of "sunks costs"), which is just about the opposite of how it should be.

    The Twins appear to have backed themselves into a bit of a corner with the Castro signing. He was brought in to provide a veteran option at shortstop should Jason Bartlett need more seasoning at Triple-A. Bartlett has been very impressive this spring, making the need for that nonexistent. Instead, Castro is now being cast as the backup middle infielder, a job he could fill reasonably well. The only problem is that there is no need for him to fill it and no need for the Twins to pay him a million bucks a year to fill it when Punto could do the same job for the league minimum.

    Without Castro around, the Twins would suddenly have few decisions to make and they would be looking at a solid, standard bench. Mike Redmond backing up Joe Mauer behind the plate; Matthew LeCroy serving as the third catcher while being available to pinch-hit, back up Justin Morneau at first base, and sub for Lew Ford as the designated hitter; Tiffee backing up Morneau at first and Michael Cuddyer at third, while providing that all-important lefty "bat off the bench"; Punto backing up Rivas at second and Bartlett at short; Restovich backing up Jones in right, Shannon Stewart in left, and giving the team a power bat off the bench.

    A backup catcher, two backup infielders, a backup outfielder, and a guy who can play catcher and first base. Toss in the fact that Jones and Ford can each sub for Torii Hunter in center field if needed, and you have a nice, versatile roster. Instead, now the team is facing the prospect of either losing Restovich and having two utility infielders or keeping Restovich and losing Punto while paying someone a million dollars a year to do what he does. And all because they are locked into paying Castro a premium to do a job he no longer has to do (and wasn't all that qualified for in the first place).

    Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Five Questions: Florida Marlins (by Aaron Gleeman)
    - Blast From The Past: Jimmy Wynn (by John Brattain)
    - Five Questions: San Francisco Giants (by Steve Treder)
    - Five Questions: Pittsburgh Pirates (by Tom Talavage)

    March 28, 2005

    Notes from the Weekend

  • In what I think fits the often-misunderstood definition of irony (or not, I could be guilty like everyone else), I have been working on a lengthy piece on the subject of insomnia for my magazine writing class while simultaneously suffering from a severe case of it myself. As many of you who check for and receive new entries here during the wee hours each morning already know, I am a "night owl." Actually, calling me a "night owl" is like calling Anna Benson "outspoken." When I am on what I would consider a good sleep routine (for me at least), I am a night owl. When my sleep routine is going badly, like it has been lately, I am definitely a pretty severe insomniac.

    In the past when I've fallen into a rut when it comes to getting sleep at normal hours and getting enough it, I have been able to crash for a couple days and get back to semi-normalcy. That's no longer the case, because I have what is for me a fairly strict daily schedule. I work six mornings a week for Rotoworld, produce an average of five entries per week here, and write anywhere from 2-5 columns per week over at The Hardball Times. That doesn't count school (which I'm sure will please my mom) or my job at Insider Baseball, which hasn't quite gotten into full swing yet.

    I'm not sure why I'm writing about this, since I'm confident that 99.9% of you don't really care or find it interesting, but it seemed like a reasonable thing to do while I sit here at 9:26 on a Sunday morning, having last slept ... well, to tell you the truth my internal clock is so screwed up right now that I'm honestly not even sure when. Wow, what a downer I am. Sorry.

  • On what is hopefully a much less depressing subject, here are some "interesting" search engine queries that landed people at this blog over the weekend:

    - "Sexy Pictures Jay Payton"
    - "Does Mark Bellhorn Have a Wife"
    - "Kevin Garnett and Wife"
    - "What Does Halle Berry's Sister Heidi Berry Look Like"
    - "Terrell Owens Homophobia"
    - "Gay Twins Free"
    - "Mr. Clutch"

    For a while, in the very early days of this blog, the #1 source for visitors was people searching for "Jennifer Aniston's Butt" on various search engines. It was worth like 50 new visitors every day, back when my mom represented about 10% of my total audience. Actually, I just did a Google search for that exact phrase and guess what? AaronGleeman.com is still the #2 search result. I have never been more proud of the work I've done here.

  • As if the Aniston's butt thing wasn't enough to convince me that I've really done something with my life, here's another search-engine related tidbit: Up until a little while ago, someone searching for "Aaron Gleeman" would be asked, "Did you mean Aaron Gellman." It was Google's not-so-subtle way of telling me that I wasn't really worth searching for. (Whereas Gellman, who is apparently a big deal in the world of "transportation," was.)

    Well, that has all changed. Not only are you no longer asked if you meant to search for someone else if you type in my name, a "Did you mean Aaron Gleeman" pops up if you accidentally leave off a letter and search for "Aaron Gleema." I discovered this because, along with questions about the wives of various athletes, someone found their way here over the weekend while searching for Mr. Gleema.

  • As a result of writing about music for two days last week, I got an enormous number of song and artist recommendations. The most surprising thing? That many of you are apparently big fans of Liz Phair. Seriously, who would have guessed that? Anyway, I listened to most of the suggestions and downloaded about 200 new songs since Friday (I had to do something while I was awake for so long, right?). I didn't stumble across any artists that I now love after never having heard of them before, but you guys did open my eyes to some lesser-known songs by people I already liked.

    By the way, a few e-mailers asked me who my favorite singer/group is, since I never really mentioned that last week. Do you want to take a guess? Go ahead, I'll give you a few seconds. Okay, ready? My all-time favorite musical artist is ... Al Green. And it's not particularly close, either. Any e-mails criticizing that selection will immediately be deleted. I'll stand by silently while you all bash John Mayer and James Taylor, but bashing Reverend Al is where I draw the line.

  • I've done my almost-monthly updating of the sidebar and links. Mostly I just added links to the three other sites I write for on a regular basis and deleted a few links to some other sites I don't typically visit on a daily basis. In light of the huge number of requests for links I get every week, I have decided (albeit for like the 50th time) to limit the links on this blog to sites I visit on an everyday basis. That way the "blogroll" isn't 300 links long (which I think is useless when I see it on other sites) and you know that if you see a site linked on here, it is one I genuinely frequent.

    As always, I apologize to anyone whose site I deleted, as well as those people who have asked me for links in the past without me giving them out. In my defense, I think this is a fair way to do things in that the links I do give out have some value or legitimacy, and I have been pretty good about linking to a ton of different sites each week in my "Link-O-Rama" entries. Don't let that stop you from holding a grudge though, because I certainly wouldn't.

  • Okay, that seems like more than enough minutiae and navel-gazing for one day, doesn't it? See ya tomorrow with some notes on the Twins (you know, because this is supposed to be a baseball site and all).
  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Five Questions: Chicago White Sox (by Studes)
    - Five Questions: New York Mets (by Jeremy Heit)
    - Five Questions: Philadelphia Phillies (by Bill Liming)

    March 25, 2005

    Link-O-Rama (and the iPod Shuffle Aftermath)

  • Here's an actual excerpt from an instant message conversation I had with my mom yesterday morning:
    Aaron Gleeman: Loads and loads of porn, most likely.

    It's better if I leave out all context, trust me. And yes, I realize that's not an actual link, but it does set things up nicely for ...

  • ... speaking of instant message conversations, the person behind the green door at Defamer chatted it up with comedian/actor David Cross via IM and the result is ... well, it's pretty damn funny. I was a big Cross fan after seeing his HBO comedy special a few years ago, but then I heard him sit in on the "news" a few months ago on Howard Stern's radio show and he was absolutely awful. He also tends to bore me when he goes off on his long political rants. With that said (I have something nice I wanted to say about him ... be patient), he makes up for all of that with his "IMterview" with Defamer.
  • Speaking of my mom, she was quoted in the Minneapolis Star Tribune the other day.
  • Friend of AG.com Will Young penned the Minnesota Twins preview over at Baseball Think Factory. Once upon a time I wrote the Twins preview over there (back when it was Baseball Primer), a fact that really has nothing whatsoever to do with Will's preview (which is quite good, as readers of his blog would expect).

    On a related note, now that I'm finished with the Top 50 Prospects series, the next thing on my agenda for The Hardball Times is my Twins preview. You would think writing a few thousand words about the Twins would be easy for me, but it is more difficult than you'd imagine trying to come up with new and exciting ways to say that Luis Rivas stinks year after year.

  • Friend of AG.com Eric Neel has a great guest piece on Dodgers announcer Vin Scully over at The Baseball Analysts. I obviously didn't grow up listening to Scully or anything like that, but from the moment I first heard him doing Dodgers games on MLB Extra Innings for DirecTV a few seasons back, I was absolutely hooked. I find that the majority if sports announcers annoy me a great deal, but I will literally watch an LA game simply because Scully is calling it.
  • Remember good old Bobby Kielty, the guy I thought was going to be a star? Turns out he apparently went insane.
  • One of the longest-running baseball bloggers, Geoff Young, has moved his fantastic Padres blog, Ducksnorts, over to the All-Baseball.com family. If you hurry up and go there right now you can see Geoff looking the best he has ever looked.
  • I'm not sure how I feel about this, but friend of AG.com Paul Katcher recently named this blog one of "26 Essential Sites for Yankees Fans." I'm willing to forgive Paul because he made a Seinfeld reference while saying something nice about me, but to be honest I'm a little uncomfortable being recommended as a place for Yankees fans. I'm kidding, of course. Sort of.
  • Is anyone else who watches Inside the NBA really weirded out by the fact that Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith constantly talked about what might happen in the Western Conference playoffs if Tim Duncan went down an ankle injury, and then Duncan actually did go down with an ankle injury? Incidentally, Barkley ranks right up there with Scully on the I'd-watch-just-to-hear-him scale.
  • Remember yesterday, when I shuffled my iPod, listed the first 40 songs that popped up, and invited you all to "send any and all snide remarks and pithy comments"? Well, needless to say you did. Here are just a few ...

    From Patrick:

    I think Dennis Leary said it best:

    Does that mean I can sue Dan Folgerburg for making me into a p**** in the mid-70's. Is that possible, huh? Huh?! "Your honor, between him and James Taylor I didn't get a b*** job 'till I was 27 years old. I was in Colorado wearing hiking boots eating granola. I want some f***ing money right now!"

    Lose the James Taylor now.

    I figured John Mayer's name being on the list would get the most negative reaction, but apparently James Taylor is still the man for the job.

    From Arthur:

    The thing that jumped out at me was the shocking lack of ANY female artists. None. Zero.

    I mean, did I miss one? I'm not talking Madonna or Celine here. Women can rock. Seriously. No Janis Joplin, no Joni Mitchell, no Grace Slick-led Jefferson Airplane, no Concrete Blonde, no Breeders, no Pretenders, no X (with Excene), no early Bonnie Raitt, no Marianne Faithful (some of the harshest lyrics ever), not even Heart or Fleetwood Mac?

    I worry about your ability to relate with the ladies. No, I don't mean trying to pick up some shiny co-ed with a well placed Alanis Morrisette or Avril Lavigne reference. I mean actually listening to what someone like Liz Phair or Tori Amos (well, in the first couple albums anyway) has to say about the whole ex/relationship thing.

    I'm no sensitive ponytail man, I just think your missing out on some amazing artists. Just 3 or 4 on the list and it wouldn't be so strange, but NONE?

    Also, no Warren Zevon? And where's the '80s stuff? No INXS? No U2? No R.E.M.? Hell, no Wang Chung?

    But on a positive note, "Walking in Memphis" was a nice surprise on the list. Great tune.

    That's a long e-mail, so let me take a moment to respond. First of all, I'm a big Warren Zevon fan and I have about 4-5 of his songs in my iPod. I think some e-mailers were under the impression that the 40 songs I listed where the only songs in my iPod, since I got a bunch of "hey, why don't you have X in your iPod" e-mails, but that's not the case. Those are just a random sampling.

    Second, I didn't realize until Arthur pointed it out that I didn't have a single female artist represented, and it does surprise me. With that said, I obviously like male singers better. I'm not sure what I can say. I like male comedians better too, is that wrong? And guess what? I'm not a big fan of women's sports either. (Oh no, I can almost hear the avalanche of e-mails heading my way ...)

    Also, on the long list of things that might hurt my "ability to relate with the ladies," the songs on my iPod are probably near the bottom. And really, I listen to music because it sounds good, not because I want to know what someone "has to say about the whole ex/relationship thing." Just because someone is singing that stuff doesn't make me any more interested in hearing it.

    But by far my favorite part of Arthur's e-mail is when he says: "But on a positive note, 'Walking in Memphis' was a nice surprise on the list. Great tune." Why is that my favorite? Because about 10 minutes after he wrote that I received this e-mail ...

    From Kirk:

    Walking in Memphis is quite possibly the worst song ever written. Other than that, you're forgiven.

    Together, those two e-mails represent the epitome of reader feedback.

  • In addition to asking for e-mails from you guys, I also suggested that other bloggers out there make a list of the first 40 songs that pop up on their iPods.

    I'm sure I'm missing a few, but here's at least a partial list of the blogs/bloggers who took me up on my challenge:

    - Christian Ruzich at The Cub Reporter ("Because Gleeman told me to.")

    - Brad Dowdy at No Pepper ("To say my list and Aaron's are different would be the understatement of the year.")

    - M.O. at Mariner Optimist ("As for his comment on Maroon 5, and having to admit that he liked one of their songs, I must say that I've enjoyed EVERY Maroon 5 song I've heard, which I think is all of them.")

    - Lumpy at Lumpy's Blog ("I don't really have much to say about that list, some of it is quite embarrassing.")

    - Steve Silver at SteveSilver.net

    - Will Young at Will's Minnesota Twins Page ("I swear to God I didn’t know I had #25 on my computer. I’m also slightly ashamed of #9. On the other hand, I like #19 so deal with it.")

    - The Knicker Blogger at KnickerBlogger.net ("So here is my wide variety of complete crap.")

    - A Mets Fan at Moist Happenings ("Feel free to make judge me based on 1.5% of my library.")

    - Jacob Lewin at The Launching Pad ("My initial reaction is that I don't seem to have that much variety considering that I have over 6200 songs in my library.")

    - Daniel Judge at Random Thoughts ("Please don't judge me by these 40 songs ... although, I'm sure most of yours would be worse.")

    - Jason Turner at Randomness of Me ("Some songs I am mildly embarrassed by.")

    - Bill at Vague Space ("I doubt anyone reading this will enjoy it, especially since no one I know likes my music. Oh well. Maybe Gleeman will link to this like he said he would.")

    - And last and certainly least, Dan Lewis at Walk-off Balk took my request for "snide remarks and pithy comments" to an extreme level. I'm not sure why I'm linking to and quoting someone who went out of their way to be a jerk to me, but what's the difference. I'm sure he has a good reason (and I did ask for it, sort of).

    Here goes:

    Aaron Gleeman, who used to write a good blog about baseball and now writes one about poker, his journalism classes, the size of his bladder, and hot babes he likes, went out on a limb and posted the first 40 songs his iPod pulled up when programmed to "shuffle".

    Actually, I find that to be an amusing opening paragraph. Jerky, but amusing nonetheless. It would be particularly amusing if it weren't, say, written about me. The rest of the post is quite long and not that interesting, so I'll just give you a couple "highlights":

    If Paul McCartney, why "Maybe I'm Amazed"? If Guns 'N Roses, why "Patience"? If Neil Young, why "Old Man"? This smacks of someone who doesn't bother to own the albums and instead opts to hunt down and pay 99 cents for already vastly overplayed material.

    [...]

    He's got the pedestrian guitar wanking of Jonny Lang, John Mayer, and Stevie Ray Vaughn, artists dismissed outright by every serious blues aficionado in existence.

    One of my least-favorite types of people in this world are the ones who think something is bad once it becomes popular. I'm sure you all know plenty of people like that -- apparently Dan is one. Imagine, someone actually liking well-known, oft-played songs. Oh, the horror!

    Why "Maybe I'm Amazed," "Patience," and "Old Man"? I dunno, how about because I enjoy listening to them? Apparently I should have based my musical taste on making myself feel special for picking obscure songs. And why should I care if an artist has been "dismissed outright by every serious blues aficionado in existence"? That's like a guy asking his buddies if they think his girlfriend is attractive, and then dumping her if they say no. As someone once told me, "You're the one who has to f*** her, so what the hell do you care what they think?"

    Dan also goes on to mention the "utter crap that defiles Aaron's list," calls "Space Cowboy" by the Steve Miller Band "one of the most horrific things ever committed to magnetic tape," and finishes up by saying "I was just trying to get some hits via Gleeman."

    Mission accomplished, jackass! For more examples of some guy named Dan Lewis being too cool for the room while mocking my musical tastes, head over to ... well, I'm not going to bother linking to it twice. You can scroll up and find it if you want to.

  • See ya Monday ...

    Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Top 50 Prospects of 2005: 1-10 (by Aaron Gleeman)
    - Five Questions: Texas Rangers (by Tom Meagher)
    - Five Questions: Detroit Tigers (by Brian Borawski)
    - Fantasy: Closer Rankings, Part Two (by Ben Jacobs)

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