January 12, 2007

Link-O-Rama

  • If you thought the Twins replacing Tony Batista with Nick Punto at third base last season was a dramatic upgrade, wait until you see how Justin Timberlake traded up.
  • Twins blogger Trevor Born--who I endorsed during my question-answering binge this week--made a guest appearance on Michael Rand's Minneapolis Star Tribune blog the other day to endorse USC offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin as the next Gophers football coach. I've heard similar sentiments from several people who're also very intrigued by Kiffin, but it looks like plenty of USC fans would be equally thrilled if Kiffin took the job.
  • While at the Winter Meetings last month, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune told me that the Baseball Writers Association of America was voting on whether or not to allow "internet writers" into their club. I got the sense that LEN3 thought it was the same kind of no-brainer move I did, which you'd expect from the Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com, but apparently not everyone thought the same. In discussing this year's Hall of Fame voting, ESPN.com's Jim Caple passes along this tidbit:
    The BBWAA just voted NOT to allow Internet writers into the organization, apparently preferring to wait and see whether this Internet thing catches on first, or perhaps just wait until there are no longer any newspapers in existence.

    It has always seemed laughable to me that the BBWAA hasn't included internet-only writers, but it's downright unbelievable that they've now gotten together to actually vote against allowing them. As Caple points out, he and several others in ESPN.com's impressive stable of writers (Peter Gammons, Jayson Stark, Jerry Crasnick) are only allowed in the BBWAA because they initially got in while working for newspapers. If they hadn't started that way, they wouldn't be allowed in.

    The list of "print writers" who've chosen to become "internet writers" is an incredibly long one and will only continue to grow. So far it's been convenient that guys like Gammons or Stark retain their BBWAA membership due to past print work, but the problem is that much of the next generation of baseball writers will be skipping the middle step of working for newspapers. In the wake of their decision, the BBWAA might as well change its name to the Newspaper Baseball Writers Association of America.

  • On a related subject, this is the opening sentence from an actual e-mail I got from a friend in the newspaper world earlier this week:
    After countless meetings about declining ad revenue and readership, I'm jumping the sinking ship that is the newspaper industry and heading for the bright lights of the Internet.

    Lucky for her, she has absolutely zero interest in voting for the Hall of Fame.

  • It's way too early to speculate about this stuff and picking him seventh overall might be a stretch, but here's the early leader in the clubhouse for "guy I think the Vikings should draft."
  • Keira Knightley isn't really my "type" (so far as an incredibly beautiful actress could avoid being my type, of course), which my frequent and public ogling over the likes of Elisha Cuthbert, Jessica Alba, and Keeley Hazell would attest to. With that said, I find myself surprisingly drawn to her latest appearance in a bikini. This might come as a shock, but I think she does an occasional sit-up.
  • Meanwhile, Cuthbert recently went out in public dressed in what is probably as close to the opposite of a bikini as you can get without involving a potato sack, yet still managed to look quite fetching. And I don't even like hockey.
  • About 15 years ago, I took a vacation to Disney World with various members of my family. While there, one of my younger cousins (who shall remain nameless, because I'm a nice guy) punched Mickey Mouse right in the face when he came over to our table during dinner one night. It remains one of the most absurd things I've ever seen and may very well be my cousin's defining moment in life regardless of whether he goes on to become president or cure cancer.

    No cartoon mouse in his right mind would ever think of tracking down a six-year-old who was crazy enough to deliver a completely unsolicited right hook to his nose over dinner, so my cousin is probably safe. Unfortunately, there may have been some unforeseen consequences for the rest of us, because after all these years it seems the characters at Disney World have finally decided to fight back.

  • In addition to serving as Tiffany Simons' co-host on NBCSports.com's "Fantasy Fix" show--they're the good-looking duo who class things up before throwing it to me--my colleague and RotoWorld football guru Gregg Rosenthal now has a blog on NBCSports.com. I spend as much time as possible talking football with Gregg, because he knows far more about the sport than anyone who's willing to talk to me on a regular basis, so I can safely give his new blog my highest possible recommendation.

    Actually, Tiffany has a blog on NBCSports.com too, although hers has a lot less football analysis and a lot more gloating about her alma mater stomping Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl. On the other hand, I'm fairly certain Gregg was never a Miss Florida contestant. Incidentally, NBCSports.com also launched a new poker blog this week, which looks promising for those of us who are already hooked on Poker After Dark.

  • Speaking of poker, it was announced this week that the 2007 World Series of Poker will begin on June 1, with the Main Event starting on July 6. I subtly pitched the idea of me heading to Las Vegas to cover the WSOP for NBCSports.com, sort of like what I did from the Winter Meetings, and it wasn't immediately shot down. In other words, my life-long dream of watching people play cards in between drinking with Pauly McGuire remains intact.
  • Apparently the Gophers don't even need to have a basketball coach in order to lose local players to Wisconsin.
  • I'm sure AL MVP Justin Morneau is enjoying his time with new girlfriend Krista Martin and she may very well be a wonderful girl, but I'm pretty sure Derek Jeter is perfectly happy with the spoils from his second-place finish. A basketball coach once told me that "second place is just the first loser," but this picture suggests he had no clue what he was talking about.
  • If a local pro team passes on a local college star and no one cares, did it really happen?
  • The fact that I'm now regularly featured on NBCSports.com's video reports means anything is possible when it comes to previously shy writers going on camera, but I still never expected Bill Simmons to start announcing college basketball games. I don't think I've heard Simmons say more than 50 words, but I still say stick him in a three-man booth with Marv Albert and Charles Barkley, and let them do every major sporting event until one of them dies. Beats the hell out of Thom Brennaman.
  • "What if Bill Belichick met Ron Burgundy?" Greatest thing in the history of mankind or merely brilliant?
  • Back in October, I created a WhatIfSports.com "Hardball Dynasty" league for readers of this blog to join me in. I was overwhelmed by the response, as about 200 of you expressed interest in grabbing a franchise, but unfortunately there were only 31 other spots available. Season 1 of "Gleeman World" is nearing a close and I'm proud to announce that my Minnesota Fatboys were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs after winning the AL North with a 91-71 record.

    I remain convinced that I was dealt an unusually weak roster when the league was magically created from scratch by the WhatIfSports gods, so I'm happy that they were able to overachieve by so much. Beyond that, I'm thrilled with how the league turned out. I started it in part because I had some bad experiences with shady owners in a public Hardball Dynasty league and creating a private league filled with readers of this blog fixed that problem.

    We had a couple owners whose interest waned due to real life getting in the way, but the league was filled with friendly, competitive guys who made tons of trades, filled the message board with chatter, and were active throughout the season. We're now looking for a handful of new owners to step in and take over existing franchises. If you're one of the 170 or so people who missed out on your first chance for a spot, e-mail me again and I'll put you on the waiting list this time around.


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