March 14, 2006

Link-O-Rama

  • Well, I've officially made it. Other people are now hitting on women at bars by claiming to be Aaron Gleeman. The result? "Needless to say, they weren't impressed." Yeah, it has never really worked for me either.
  • As part of my ongoing attempt to take over the entire internet by appearing on every baseball-related website ever created, I was recently interviewed about the Twins by Baseball Digest Daily.
  • (Those of you who still haven't seen Sunday's season-opening episode of The Sopranos yet will want to skip the next paragraph, as it reveals a minor plot spoiler.)

    Does anyone know exactly how they were able to film the scene where the guy hung himself? Now, I realize we're at the stage where just about anything is possible with special effects, but it seemed to me that the entire scene was shot with a single camera and there wasn't any breaking away. Was it some sort of trick photography or is there a way to pull off the stunt without the stunt guy actually killing (or at least significantly injuring) himself? I am fascinated by this, as if it were a major plotline.

  • As I've written about before, I am frequently amazed by the odd search-engine queries that cause people to show up here. This one, which someone used to get here last week, is one of my favorites.
  • Here's a new Twins blog that is worth checking out: For the Love of the Game.
  • I've been on a major diet for about two months now -- I'm down 40 pounds, if you're curious -- but even when I was eating anything and everything I don't think I would have enjoyed a "doughnut burger."
  • In the least-shocking bit of news I've heard this month, the idiot who attacked Royals coach Tom Gamboa during a game a few years ago has violated his parole. The idea that someone gets only 30 months of probation for assaulting another person is appalling to me, so I'm glad to see that a harsher punishment is in store now. I'm not sure why he had to commit another crime before we realized he was no good, as getting drunk at a baseball game and beating up a coach seems like a decent indicator on its own.
  • On second thought, I take it back. The least-shocking bit of news I've heard this month is actually that the ratings plummeted after Howard Stern was replaced by David Lee Roth. I'd be shocked if there was a single person surprised by this, including Roth himself. It's like replacing Albert Pujols with Nick Punto, in that there's just no way for it not to be a disaster.

    Here are some specific details:

    Arbitrend ratings released yesterday show that in January, Roth's first month, WFNY's morning share among its target audience of 18- to 34-year-olds fell from 13.8% to 1.3%.

    In other words, he lost about 90 percent of the audience. Even that seems high, because I'd like to see the 1.3 percent of people who actually listened to Roth's show. I'm guessing most of that number came from people who forgot to change the settings on their alarm clock and kept waking up to Stern's old channel out of habit.

  • Not only is Joe Mauer one of the best catchers in baseball, he's also starting to win bets for me.
  • Someone who used to ref my junior-high basketball games at a local community center is now coaching in the NFL:
    Ex-Gophers receiver Tony Levine has gone from being an assistant coach at Southwest Texas State, to Auburn, to Louisiana Tech and to Louisville, and now he has become an NFL assistant coach with the Carolina Panthers. He takes the place on the Panthers staff for new Vikings special teams coach Paul Ferraro.

    Fun fact: Tony Levine is the only referee to ever slap me with a technical foul.

  • He's pitching for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic, but Johan Santana must be having flashbacks to his run support-deprived 2005 season with the Twins. Santana has a 2.16 ERA in two starts ... and he's 0-2.
  • Back-to-back disappointing seasons seem to finally be getting to Kevin Garnett, who said the following after a loss to the Suns Sunday:
    I'm looking for the right word here. I don't like to speak from a frustrated mind, But you're playing one of the best teams in the damn league and you're not hyped, you're not up. The atmosphere in here is like we won. This s*** hurts, y'know what I mean?

    I really hate ... I try to keep things in house, but there's a certain tone [we need] in there, man, and we're going to keep that. And if you can't [abide] by the tone, you won't be here. You won't play. I don't sign nobody's checks, but you've got to be prepared and ready to play, man. I don't know, as a team every night, whether we're ready to do that. The focus is, it's got to hurt when you lose. I don't know if it's like that.

    I am always the first person to defend Garnett when it comes to just about every criticism and I certainly agree that the rest of the team has really let him down. Through a series of questionable front-office decisions the supporting cast simply is not there for the Wolves to be a contender, regardless of how well or with how much passion Garnett plays. Too many people fail to understand that, which is why I think much of the criticism Garnett gets is misdirected.

    With that said, some of the blame does fall on Garnett's shoulders. Back in January I wrote that he needed to take more shots, because lesser players taking them instead was hurting the Wolves' offense. He still refuses to take a larger role in the offense, and in fact has shot less as the season has gone on. The Wolves aren't going to be very good with this roster regardless of how often Garnett shoots, but there is no excuse for one of the best, most efficient offensive players in the league taking 15.8 shots per game on a horrible team.

    There are 25 players who shoot more times per game than Garnett and 31 players who use up a higher percentage of their team's possessions, which is an absolute joke. The Wolves' defense this season has been just fine, but the offense has been one of the worst in the league. As long as Garnett continues to pass up shots like he's a second or third option, I won't have nearly as much sympathy for his frustrating situation. If you're going to go down, at least go down swinging.



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