March 22, 2007

Link-O-Rama

  • I'll try to make this an especially long Link-O-Rama, because my guess is that I probably won't have the necessary energy to put something lengthy together next Friday. Consider this note a preemptive apology. The final walk-through for my new house is Thursday afternoon, I'm heading to the James Morrison concert at the 400 Bar Thursday night, and the closing for The House That Blog Built is Friday afternoon. Under normal circumstances that qualifies as about three months' worth of activity for me.

    If anyone else is planning to go see Morrison Thursday night, let me know and I'll look for you. I've somehow managed to talk two cute girls into going with me, so I won't look quite as dorky as I would have standing all by myself, and I'll gladly buy a drink for any AG.com reader in attendance. If you're on the fence about going--it costs $12 and I think it's a pretty small show--here's a clip of Morrison doing an acoustic version of "This Boy" to sway you:

  • I'm not familiar with Morrison's opening act, Jessie Baylin, but the songs on her MySpace page sound pretty good and she's nice to look at.
  • Despite some initial concerns, it sounds like Joe Mauer's leg injury isn't overly serious, but just in case, here's everything you could ever possibly want to know about a "fibula stress reaction."
  • Here's an amusing quote from a big-league general manager talking about an immensely talented young starting pitcher:
    He's trying to become a man, and we're not letting him. It's time to let him. He's stupid young. It's ridiculous. That is so forgotten because ... he's sure of himself and he's never done anything wrong. People look at him like Bob Gibson. But he was a child last year.

    In theory that quote could have been from Terry Ryan talking about Matt Garza, except the Twins aren't going to "let him" do anything but beat up on Triple-A hitters to begin the season and there's slightly less than a zero-percent chance that Ryan would ever use the phrase "stupid young" in a positive way. To find out which GM actually said it, and about which young pitcher, click here.

  • Strange but true: A year ago today I was featured in Sports Illustrated. At the time I was quite certain that being pictured with my Boston Terrier alongside Bill Simmons was going to be the highlight of my life, but in the year since I've dropped 90 pounds, signed a multi-year contract with NBC Sports, and bought a house. Plus, I even exchanged e-mails with Simmons, using the whole SI connection to keep him interested long enough for a few back-and-forths. In other words, SI should really feature me now.
  • I enjoyed this great clip of Adam Sandler subbing for David Letterman earlier this week, but most of all came away from the whole thing convinced that Matzah Ball should be Letterman's permanent replacement.
  • Over at SI.com, friend of AG.com Alex Belth did a very nice job interviewing the man who recently became the blogosphere's all-time leader in wins, ERA, innings, and strikeouts, Curt Schilling. Here's my favorite part:
    SI.com: Do you think that Internet-based baseball analysts and writers should be available for BBWAA awards and Hall of Fame voting?

    Schilling: Oh, it'll come full-circle at some point. Why wouldn't it? They already have a much larger impact than the Murray Chass' of the world would like to believe. I mean, you've got guys who are putting out what I know to be legitimately valuable statistical information and its relevance to a game in a win or a loss at Baseball Prospectus. Then you have guys that I'm not too fond of, like Murray Chass, who says, "What is VORP and who cares?" It was a stupid article. The only thing it did was show his ignorance to me in modern day baseball. Because those numbers do matter, those numbers do have value. Do they have value to me in getting a player out? No. But I would tell you that there are a lot of front offices that use those numbers for a lot of important decision making.

    I'll be curious to see how Schilling's blogging holds up once the regular season gets underway, but so far he's pumped out plenty of interesting content and even posted yesterday's news about Jonathan Papelbon moving back to the bullpen before just about every mainstream media outlet had it.

  • Along with Schilling, Gilbert Arenas, and Pat Neshek, Curtis Granderson has now joined the still-short list of legitimately outstanding players who write a regularly updated blog that's worth reading.
  • I occasionally get complaints about my Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com updates, but thankfully they're greatly out-numbered by comments in favor of the ongoing topic. Every once in a while I even receive a passionate e-mail supporting the OFGoAG.com cause, like this one from a reader who I've decided to spare some public embarrassment by calling simply Matt K.:
    I do think you should make Jenna Fischer the OFGoAG.com. I realize it isn't meant as a deep expression of your feelings about the universe, but it would be nice to pick someone who is a decent combination of cute-and-hot, and seems to have something of a brain. (I'm not kidding myself, of course--I'm sure, as a Hollywood actress, that she's on her way to being incredibly narcissistic and self-important. Sad.)

    It would be a nice way to set yourself apart from the image of "bloggers" and "statheads" as assumed by idiots like Chass and Reusse, and, indeed, picking Fischer over the usual string of untalented, quasi-pornstars and bimbos would be the "smart" move in making a choice off the beaten path not unlike someone realizing that Matt Stairs was a much better hitter than Garret Anderson in their respective primes.

    I'm not sure how much of that I even agree with, but it's nice to know that my linking to pictures of good-looking women for no real reason beyond that fact that I enjoy looking at them has such a profound impact on some of you. In an effort to help you decide if she's indeed the Matt Stairs of women, here's Jenna Fischer's spread in Wired Magazine. Stairs has a career OPS+ of 118, but I suspect he's never looked quite this fetching while wearing nothing more than a bunch of post-it notes.

  • If Fischer is equivalent to Stairs, does that make former OFGoAG.com Elisha Cuthbert comparable to Garret Anderson? Either way, I'm really not sure what to make of this.
  • I had such low expectations when it came to the University of Minnesota's search for a new men's basketball coach that yesterday's hiring of Tubby Smith came as a complete shock. I laughed at the people who suggested big names like Rick Majerus or Flip Saunders could possibly be interested in the position, and would literally have believed that the Gophers hired Saul Smith before I believed they got his father.

    Smith is not without faults and there aren't a whole lot of Kentucky fans who're sad to see him go, but it's a no-brainer move for the Gophers. I would love to hear exactly how this whole thing came about and what kind of sales pitch athletic director Joel Maturi gave to Smith. Even if reports about Smith stepping down from Kentucky to avoid being fired are true, it's fascinating that he'd choose a low-rung Big Ten school over any number of more appealing jobs, including a couple in the same conference.

  • A study may have shown that Minnesota has "the nation's shyest men," but at least we aren't into necrophilia with large animals like our neighbors to the east.
  • I already linked to this Wednesday when ranking Tim Lincecum the No. 10 prospect in baseball, but it's definitely worth repeating: Carlos Gomez took a fascinating, video-aided look at Lincecum's unique delivery over at Baseball Think Factory.
  • Here's a nice article from the Los Angeles Times about former Gophers star and current Angels bench player Robb Quinlan.
  • One week after the Minneapolis Star Tribune let 24 staffers go, the Boston Globe followed suit by cutting its newsroom staff by the same number. Meanwhile, longtime Timberwolves beat writer Steve Aschburner, who was among the two dozen employees bought out by the Star Tribune, has surfaced covering the NBA over at AOL Sports. Of course, as someone in the comments section will surely tell us, none of that is evidence of the newspaper industry declining. Seriously, someone will say that.
  • If you participated in Tom Tango's "community forecasts" that I linked to yesterday and feel like making a few more Twins-related predictions before Opening Day, check out the ongoing player-by-player "community projections" over at Twinkie Town.
  • Last but not least, I've been talking with Star Tribune blogger Howard Sinker about setting up a get-together for blog-reading Twins fans in early April, so look for details relatively soon. If we can draw a solid crowd, including what I hope will be a good showing from the plentiful Twins blogosphere, it's something we could set up somewhat regularly throughout the season.

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