April 12, 2007

Link-O-Rama

  • After examining this collection of assorted pictures featuring NBA players' wives and girlfriends, my conclusion is that Kevin Garnett has done very well.
  • If for some strange reason you only watch one eight-minute video about botched wrestling moves this week, make it this one. Brock Lesnar's part is my favorite.
  • Joey Gathright might be stuck at Triple-A after spending most of last season in the majors, but at least he can jump over a parked car (which is especially amazing after you watch the Lesnar clip).
  • The Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, had an amusing note earlier this week about how the unusually cold weather still impacts the Twins despite the Metrodome's presence:
    Some players--especially those from Latin American countries--have never driven in snowy conditions in the Twin Cities. That subject was brought up to Twins catcher Mike Redmond, who was a teammate of Twins second baseman Luis Castillo with the Florida Marlins.

    "Considering I'm not even sure Luis knows how to even get to the ballpark, it will be tough for him, let alone to drive in the snow," Redmond said. "I would want to alert the Minneapolis-area commuters that Luis Castillo would be driving in the snow, because that would be scary. Truly scary."

    Castillo, who has never driven in the snow, was unaware of the forecast. "I don't know what I'm going to do," he said. "I better go slow." By the time the Twins took the field for early stretching, Redmond had promised to bring Castillo to the park today.

    Luis Castillo made it to the ballpark for the game in question and scored what proved to the game-winning run against the Yankees.

  • It's been a great week for Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidates, both past and present. Jessica Biel is in some new Nicolas Cage movie, wearing towels and bed sheets. Jessica Alba is in some new Dane Cook movie, wearing bubbles and bed sheets. Jenna Fischer is in a new Will Ferrell movie, but she's not wearing bed sheets. She is, however, giving interviews about "12 hours of constant boob play" as it relates to this video (don't worry, it's safe for work).
  • I tend to criticize a lot more than I praise when it comes to the local media, so I want to make sure to point out what a fantastic job Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune did Thursday in debunking Jon Heyman's misleading and ultimately inaccurate report about Johan Santana on Sports Illustrated's website. I recapped most of the details in this space yesterday, but it certainly warrants a second mention.

    My job at Rotoworld requires me to read the local newspaper coverage of every major-league team on a daily basis, which is a big part of why I've come to respect and appreciate the work LEN3 and Christensen do covering the Twins for the Star Tribune. I've gotten used to them doing solid work based on good reporting, but Christensen using his new blog to release information well ahead of the newspaper's print edition is a nice little bonus.

    To compare Christensen's follow-up with Heyman's original report is like a "do" and "don't" of sports journalism. Heyman used baseless speculation to produce a report that made little sense, while Christensen spoke directly to the source and got a clear denial along with interesting facts that hadn't been revealed previously. He's understandably hesitant to criticize a fellow reporter too much, but in using his blog to walk us through the process of investigating Heyman's claims, Christensen wrote:

    It just isn't true. La Velle, [Jim] Souhan, and I started working our sources and came to realize just how off-base the SI report was.

    Christensen expressed some frustration that he had to waste an entire day "chasing a non-story," but in the end his hard work quickly squashed a false rumor and means that we know more about Santana's ongoing contract negotiations than we did before.

  • While Christensen is using his blog to break stories and dispense important information, LEN3 is apologizing for the lack of content on his blog:
    I certainly expected to do more with this blog than post lineups. Bear with me for a few more days as I try to get on a schedule here. I haven't unpacked from spring training yet.

    I still have high hopes for LEN3's blog, but I'm not surprised that he's found it difficult to be a good blogger while taking care of a full-time writing job. Welcome to my world.

  • If this trend continues much longer, pretty soon all us bloggers won't be the only ones writing about games from our parents' basement.
  • I'm sure most of my season-long Twins predictions from Opening Day will end up being wrong, but "Dennys Reyes will see his ERA quadruple" is sadly looking a little too good. While posting a 0.89 ERA last season, Reyes allowed a total of five earned runs in 50.2 innings. It took him just three innings to allow five earned runs this year.
  • The Big Lead is one of my must-read blogs and their interviews with mainstream media members are perhaps my favorite blog-produced series. The questions are so good and the interviewees are usually so willing to give honest answers that they're interesting to read whether I've heard of the person previously or not. This week's version, with Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post, is a perfect example.
  • Ramon Ortiz and Carlos Silva have combined for a 1.34 ERA in 26.2 innings spread over four starts, and even Sidney Ponson wasn't quite as bad as his horrible first-start numbers suggests. It's a long season, so two weeks and a total of five starts aren't going to change my overall opinion, but so far at least Terry Ryan has been very right and I've been very wrong. As Ortiz said after beating the Yankees Wednesday, "You know what happened? I've got a good pitching coach."
  • I'm a sucker for a pretty girl in a baseball hat, even when it's the Yankees.
  • The Twins finally unveiled the official plans for their new ballpark yesterday, but for whatever reason I'm not overly thrilled with how everything looks. It seems like more of a hitter's ballpark than I would have liked to see and the overall design leaves something to be desired even ignoring the lack of a retractable roof. With that said, it beats the hell out of the Metrodome and I'm already looking forward to Opening Day, 2010.
  • It's not quite George Foreman naming all five of his sons George Edward Foreman, but Kelvim Escobar's two sons are apparently named Kelvim Jr. and Kevin.
  • With their bullpen somewhat thin due to minor injuries, the Twins called up Glen Perkins from Triple-A prior to last night's game and demoted Chris Heintz. The move means Ron Gardenhire will go from making the mistake of putting both Joe Mauer and Mike Redmond into the lineup against right-handed pitchers (like he did Monday against Carl Pavano) to making the mistake of being afraid to use both of them against left-handed pitchers (like he did last night against Casey Fossum).

    For all the talk about how much flexibility Heintz supposedly added to the roster, his only action came in a blowout loss to the Yankees. In reality, all Heintz did was temporarily remove Gardenhire's irrational fear of losing the designated hitter, which is both unlikely to happen and far from a disaster if it does. And for all the talk about how having Heintz around was important because it would make it easier to give Mauer time off, he started at catcher in each of the first nine games.

  • Perhaps it just seems this way relative to the person being replaced, but ESPN's new ombudsman is off to a surprisingly good start.
  • Former Twins prospect J.D. Durbin has very specific tastes, but he may have to go looking for what he likes in Pawtucket after the Red Sox claimed him off waivers from the Diamondbacks (who claimed him off waivers from the Twins) with the sole purpose of sneaking him through waivers themselves.
  • Finally, if you haven't already, please check out my call-in reports for NBCSports.com's "Fantasy Fix" show. On Tuesday I talked to co-hosts Gregg Rosenthal and Tiffany Simons about the storylines from the season's first week, and on Thursday we discussed what some early-season performances mean for various players.

  • Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.

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