August 18, 2005

Link-O-Rama

  • ESPN.com's Bill Simmons was a Clippers season ticket holder last season and thus saw plenty of new Timberwolves point guard Marko Jaric. I was disappointed by the trade the Wolves made to get Jaric last weekend, sending Sam Cassell and next year's first-round pick to the Clippers. Unfortunately, Simmons' scouting report on Jaric didn't exactly change my opinion:
    Since Marko wasn't a true point guard, couldn't create his own shot, and had no leadership abilities whatsoever, I never understood what he brought to the table -- he's your classic Euro who looks great on paper, but when you watch him night after night, you can't stop picking his game apart. He's also one of the five or six worst decision makers I've ever seen at the end of games, the kind of guy who leaves you shaking your head as you're walking out of the arena, saying, "How could they have the last shot and not even hit the rim?" I couldn't stand him.

    Ouch.

  • Sticking to the same subject, Cassell had some interesting quotes responding to the trade in Thursday's Minneapolis Star Tribune:
    They're going to be at the bottom again. ... I know for a fact that Kevin Garnett is disappointed. Kevin wants some guys he can go to war with. ... If they think Marko Jaric is a replacement for me, they're out of their minds. I'm happy for him. I'm happy he got paid. But that's not an upgrade. As players, we know.

    At the very least watching Jaric this season will be interesting, because clearly the Wolves see something in him that the majority of people do not. They've apparently been trying to get him for quite a while now and gave up an awful lot for the right to hand him a six-year, $40-million deal.

    As for Cassell, he wasn't exactly able to "go to war" much last season, and he'll turn 36 years old in November. Also, most wars involve playing defense, as well as offense, and Cassell was about as interested in that last season as I am in the WNBA.

  • I linked to this last year and it got a nice response from Twins fans, so I'm hoping you guys will again flock in droves to "The 2005 Scouting Report by the Fans for the Fans." It is run by friend of AG.com Tangotiger, and basically involves fans filing their personal scouting reports on players. The end result is usually pretty interesting, so head over there and tell the world what you think of Shannon Stewart's throwing arm or Matthew LeCroy's speed.
  • I read a news story the other day that described how the Canterbury Park Card Club, where I have played poker on several occasions, saw their profits dip last quarter:
    Canterbury Park Holding Corp. profit fell 27.9 percent in the second quarter of 2005, as gains from poker were offset by competition from online gaming, the company reported Friday.

    That's a huge dropoff for a business that was reportedly booming, but it should come as no surprise to anyone who has read my numerous rants about the problems with live poker. As I wrote after coming back from the card club in June:

    Every time I play live poker, I find myself wondering why exactly I am there, rather than just playing online. There are so many advantages to playing online that it seems silly not to, yet there is something continuously appealing to me about driving somewhere and waiting on a list for an hour to play at a slow pace with weird people.

    Add in having to tip dealers and waitresses while sitting in a smoky room and perhaps the profit loss would be more accurately characterized as "only 27.9%."

  • Here's a blast from the past that snuck up on me: Denny Hocking has been playing for the Royals for the past two weeks. Not playing well, mind you, just playing.
  • Was anyone else extremely bothered by the fact that Randy Moss saying he occasionally smokes marijuana being the lead story on both ESPN.com and FoxSports.com yesterday? Really, that's the single most important sports story in the entire country? I'm not even sure it's a story, period.
  • On the off chance that my recap of the events didn't quench your thirst for information about a bunch of guys going to a convention, Chris Dial recently posted his version of the 2005 SABR convention over at Baseball Think Factory. And for additional visual evidence, including pictures showing Yours Truly looking particularly bloated, check out Matt "Mr. High Standards" Rauseo's photos at his blog.
  • Speaking of that, this isn't a link but rather just a question: What did fat guys used to do in the summer back before long, baggy shorts were popular? I was thinking about this Sunday morning at around five (don't ask), as I took my dog out wearing boxer shorts and a t-shirt. Thankfully everyone else in the neighborhood was sleeping.

    But let's say it was noon, everyone was out doing work on their yard, and I couldn't get away with wearing shorts that hung past my knees. Frankly, I was a little disgusted by the amount of pasty, white leg I saw Sunday morning, so I can't even imagine what someone who isn't me would have been faced with had they come out to grab their newspaper or something.

    I believe someone should undertake a study designed to determine the correlation between having a fat guy in a neighborhood prior to the baggy shorts era and the number of people in the neighborhood who gouge their own eyes out with plasticware. I'm guessing the correlation is similar to the one between OPS and runs scored.

  • I had the pleasure of meeting Aaron Schatz of ESPN.com Page 2 and Football Outsiders last night, when he signed copies of Pro Football Prospectus at The Bookcase of Wayzata. It's always nice to finally meet someone you've been "internet friends" with for years, and Aaron is a great guy. He also runs an awesome site that put out an excellent book, so if you're into sabermetrics and you're a football fan, it is a must-buy.
  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - News, Notes and Quotes (August 19, 2005) (by Aaron Gleeman)
    - Thar She Bl-O's!! (by John Brattain)

    Today's Picks (87-78, +$790):
    New York (Mussina) -110 over Chicago (Garland)

    Saturday's Picks:
    Milwaukee (Sheets) -130 over Houston (Rodriguez)


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