February 9, 2007

Link-O-Rama

  • For those of you wondering what Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have been up to this winter, the Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com, LaVelle E. Neal III, had an update in the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
    Morneau and Mauer attended the Justin Timberlake concert at Xcel Energy Center. Mauer, impressed that Timberlake plays multiple instruments, gave the performance a thumbs up.

    Normally I'd say something pithy here, but as one of the world's only admitted (straight) male John Mayer fans, I probably don't have much room to comment. (Unfortunately I'm too much of a loser to attend his concert in St. Paul next week.) Meanwhile, Jason "NO IDEA" Williams of the St. Paul Pioneer Press--who's not to be confused in any way with the Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com--got Mauer to reveal a few more details about his offseason, including the fact that he's no longer "dating Miss USA."

    Mauer then sent shockwaves through the local dating scene when he explained his current status by saying simply: "I'm single. I'm young." Roughly translated, I believe that means something like: "Ladies, please take a number and I'll get to you as soon as possible." Since he's a Justin Timberlake fan, any woman who catches Mauer's eye before Valentine's Day next week can be pretty sure of what she's getting for a present.

    UPDATE: Speaking of Williams, here's an interesting (and completely unsubstantiated) note from an anonymous commenter on the state of the Pioneer Press' Twins coverage:

    You might not have Jason Williams to kick around much longer. Rumor has it that Gordon Wittenmyer is going to Chicago to cover the Cubs and that Williams might be getting a new job too. St. Paul is already advertising for one of the jobs.

    For all you journalism school graduates out there, start polishing up those resumes!

  • There are all kinds of intriguing plot lines in the story of Harold Reynolds' departure from ESPN last year, but here's the one I find most shocking: "Reynolds was expected to make $4.875 million over a six-year deal." I may print that sentence out and laminate it, so I can look at it every time I question why exactly I'm going on camera for NBCSports.com. Interestingly, it looks like Reynolds made about $8 million in a dozen seasons as a player.
  • Of course, on-camera appearances or not, I still have a face for blogging--or, if you prefer, for being the 21st-best Twins player of all time--which is why only one cast member from NBC's "Fantasy Fix" show has an entire page devoted to them on NBCSports.com. Plus, she also has better novelty t-shirts than me.
  • Speaking of having a face for blogging ... yeesh!
  • Shannon Stewart signed an incentive-laden one-year deal with Oakland earlier this week, so I decided to check out Athletics Nation to see what A's fans were saying about the move. It seems to be getting thumbs up from almost everyone over there, which is how it should be given how little the A's are risking to bring him in. With that said, I had to laugh when I saw Tyler Bleszinski write that Stewart "is very good defensively when he's healthy."

    Bleszinski also wrote that Stewart "can be a really great leadoff hitter," but that's merely highly questionable at this point, while the premise that he still has the ability to be an asset on defense is downright absurd. Here's the scouting report I gave on Stewart's defense back in May:

    Anything hit in the air to left field is an adventure, as Shannon Stewart tracks the ball like he's on skates with his eyes closed. And whether by ground or by air, once Stewart picks a hit up off the grass his rainbow throws to the cutoff man allow runners to consistently take extra bases.

    And that was written before a foot injury sidelined Stewart for all but nine of the Twins' final 120 games.

  • I barely leave the house under normal circumstances, let alone in below-zero weather, but I drove about an hour round-trip through the snow and cold Tuesday to attend a photoshoot. It's nothing close to being pictured alongside Bill Simmons and Will Leitch in Sports Illustrated, but the opportunity was interesting enough that a media whore like myself couldn't possibly turn it down. The experience made me think back to what I'm pretty sure was the first photoshoot I ever took part in.

    Way back in 2004--which might as well have been a different century in blog years--the Star Tribune ran a story on Twins bloggers that included a picture of John Bonnes, Ryan Maus, John Betzler, and Yours Truly. Interestingly, three-fourths of the people in the picture have given up regularly blogging. You'd think that some of the novelty involved in profiling bloggers would have worn off now that newspapers themselves almost all have bloggers, but I doubt it has.

    I still expect the local media to do something about bloggers next month, just because that's what happens when spring training rolls around. The Washington Post got an early jump on the competition this week with a nice article on Nationals bloggers, including friend of AG.com Chris Needham. It stands out from cookie-cutter "meet the bloggers" pieces by focusing on how a diverse group of people are brought together through their intense passion for baseball (and writing).

    Perhaps I've just been asked about writing from bed too many times, but I'm sick of the "look at the wacky bloggers" angle that's almost always played up in such articles. Instead, I think the interesting angles are the people behind the blogs, the people reading the blogs, and what about the current state of sports fandom makes blogs such a popular medium. There's a fascinating article to be written on the subject, but SI failed miserably and newspapers don't seem interested in anything beyond fluff.

  • Barring someone from the outside writing that fascinating article, we'll have to stick with bloggers writing about themselves, which is what Evan Brunell did recently for a journalism class.
  • Back before he left the Star Tribune, I was never a big fan of Dan Barreiro's columns. However, I've always been a fan of his radio show, because he's able to be cynical and biting there in a way that he seemingly couldn't be in print. Or at least that's what I thought. It turns out, the blog version of Barreiro is a lot more like the radio version of Barreiro than the newspaper version of Barreiro, which is why I've been checking out his blog on a daily basis lately. Blogging definitely agrees with him.
  • Meanwhile, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this is the best blog ever written by an All-Star starter.
  • U.S.S. Mariner is one of the few non-Twins team blogs that I make sure to read every day, but this brilliant entry from Derek Zumsteg goes above and beyond even their lofty standards.
  • Is this what a desperate act from a dying industry looks like or is it merely a misguided waste of money? "Newspapers start $75 million campaign to fight image of decline."
  • Here's a promising new blog about Minnesota sports. Like 99 percent of all blogs, old or new, it's far more visually appealing than this one. Sorry.
  • AG.com was a little light on content this week--although I did reveal my top five Twins prospects and marvel at the power of Gary Gaetti's mustache--but I've been busy writing elsewhere. I penned team previews for the Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks over at NBCSports.com, and also wrote an article on draft strategy for Rotoworld (with Johan Santana mentioned prominently).

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