August 12, 2005

Link-O-Rama

  • It looks like the cat is out of the bag on Bill Simmons' upcoming book. There's no "release date" listed yet and it ranks just 36,421st on Amazon.com as of last night, but my prediction is that it eventually ends up as the best-selling sports book of the year. My other prediction is that Simmons' rabid fans, of which I am one, consider the book a disappointment. Personally, I'm sick of reading about the Red Sox at this point.
  • Here's a funny shirt about White Sox fans that I saw on Tony Pierce's blog the other day. And yes, I realize it's only mid-August and the Twins are already out of the AL Central race. That doesn't make jokes about the White Sox any less funny.
  • I happen to think this site -- from the title to the commentary -- is a little over-the-top, but I'm glad someone has the energy to keep up with all the nonsense spewed on ESPN and ESPN.com every day. I gave up trying a while ago simply because the sheer volume of it overwhelmed me.
  • This site made me laugh, but then I showed it to someone who doesn't watch Family Guy and they didn't see what was so funny about it. I think it's the sailor's hat.
  • Is it just me, or does it seem like the "hidden-ball trick" should be attempted more often?
  • I spend way too much time linking to articles I'm mentioned in and not nearly enough time talking about my relatives showing up in the news. So click here and scroll down to the third-to-last paragraph. That's my uncle, who told me the last time I saw him that he wants "to learn how to box and shoot a gun."
  • I saw this animation on Pearly Gates a couple weeks ago and it reminds me how I feel sometimes when I'm writing about the Twins. As I've always said, there's only so much Terry Mulholland you can take before your head simply explodes.
  • Whereas I was simply content calling Felix Hernandez's performance against the Twins Tuesday night "damn good," Seth Stohs broke the eight shutout innings down pitch-by-pitch. Pretty cool stuff.
  • And speaking of King Felix, over at Baseball Analysts Rich Lederer has an interview about the best pitching prospect in baseball with none other than Bert Blyleven.
  • Here's an article about Johan Santana written by Blue Jays closer Miguel Batista. Oh, and as if that weren't enough it's in Spanish.
  • Finally, Gordon Wittenmeyer, the Twins beat writer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, has an article in today's paper entitled, "Twins' plan needs to be retooled." Here's one particularly interesting part (admittedly taken completely out of context):
    In fact, the pitching has exceeded expectations. But almost everything else about the Twins' big plans has gone wrong since March.

    Replace Corey Koskie with Michael Cuddyer? Cristian Guzman with Jason Bartlett? Doug Mientkiewicz with Justin Morneau?

    That was the plan. The low-revenue Twins had cycled out veterans for young players the year before, and the year before that, and continued to win divisional titles - getting better along the way, some argued.

    But with less than two months remaining in a season that appears headed toward one of the more disappointing finishes in recent team history, the Twins are faced with deciding how much of that two-year plan still makes sense.

    "It's caught up with us offensively this year, with a lot of young hitters,'' said manager Ron Gardenhire, who also said he is more focused on trying to correct that in the next few weeks than focusing on changes for next year.

    Now, no one is going to argue that Michael Cuddyer, Jason Bartlett, and Justin Morneau have had great seasons, but take a look at this:

    FIRST BASE                AVG      OBP      SLG      OPS
    Doug Mientkiewicz .247 .332 .428 .760
    Justin Morneau .248 .318 .455 .773

    SHORTSTOP AVG OBP SLG OPS
    Cristian Guzman .188 .233 .270 .503
    Jason Bartlett .226 .299 .330 .629

    THIRD BASE AVG OBP SLG OPS
    Corey Koskie .246 .310 .396 .706
    Michael Cuddyer .268 .344 .425 .769

    If you want to argue that the Twins replaced Doug Mientkiewicz, Cristian Guzman, and Corey Koskie with the wrong players or that the replacements haven't produced the same sort offense that those three provided in the past, that's one thing (well, actually two things). But to argue that replacing them, period, has in any way been a mistake is silly.

    Guzman is hitting .188/.233/.270 for the Nationals and has been one of the worst players in all of baseball this season. Koskie has a .396 slugging percentage for the Blue Jays and spent much of the year on the disabled list with a broken thumb. And Mientkiewicz has a .760 OPS for the Mets, has been in and out of the lineup, and is now on the DL himself.

    As disappointing as you may think Morneau, Bartlett, and Cuddyer have been this season, they've all been better than the guy they replaced. Oh, and you also can't overlook the fact that Morneau, Bartlett, and Cuddyer combine to make about $1 million this season, while Mientkiewicz, Guzman, and Koskie will make about $12 million.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - The Day The Music Died (by John Brattain)

    Today's Picks (86-73, +$1,180):
    Chicago (Buehrle) +125 over Boston (Wells)

    Sunday's Picks:
    Tampa Bay (Kazmir) +160 over Cleveland (Lee)


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