July 12, 2007

Link-O-Rama

  • Following in the footsteps of Jason Tyner in Tampa Bay several years ago, it sounds like Carlos Quentin Bobblehead Day will go on without him later this month in Arizona.
  • In what is probably a too-close glimpse into my life, the other day I spent about 20 minutes debating with someone who shall remain nameless whether or not Eddie Harris from Major League was a 200-game winner. On the heels of that fascinating discussion about a fictitious movie baseball player comes friend of AG.com Matt Casey's in-depth look at the movie All-Star team over at NBCSports.com.
  • Over at Baseball Prospectus, David Laurila recently interviewed Joe Mauer about an assortment of interesting topics. Among them, his thoughts on the "most important" offensive statistic:
    I'm not a big numbers guy outside of win-loss, but offensively it would probably be on-base percentage. I'm hitting in the third spot, and the middle of our order is pretty good with Cuddyer, Hunter, and Morneau behind me, so if I get on base one of them will probably drive me in. Baseball is a numbers game, and that might be the most underappreciated one.

    As a follow-up to that, here's how Mauer describes "a quality at-bat":

    Seeing a lot of pitches, fighting bad pitches off--basically, just waiting for a pitch you can handle. Whether you're a power guy, or more of a slap hitter guy, if you find a pitch you're comfortable in handling, that's a quality at-bat. If you get on base or drive a ball up the gap, you pretty much know you had a good plate appearance. But it's mostly about making sure you get your pitch.

    Finally, asked about whether or not he'll remain at catcher long term, here's what Mauer said:

    I don't know. I love catching, and hope to do it as long as I can, but if switching positions means that I can add years to my career, I'm all for that. I want to stay behind the plate as much as I can, though. I think I can be a great catcher for some time.

    [...]

    Both physically and mentally, catching wears on you. Let's say you take a Pudge Rodriguez and put him at first or third for his whole career--I'd bet you that his offensive numbers would go up. So I think it's just the nature of the position. With me behind the plate, I think our team is better as a whole.

    It's a shame that Torii Hunter can't lend Mauer some of his media-driven outspokenness once in a while, because he's clearly got a lot of good stuff to say.

  • I can't remember ever seeing Hayden Panettiere act in anything except for when she was a sports movie tomboy, but the latest evidence suggests that I've been missing out.
  • Not only has Knicks forward David Lee been hanging out at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, he's apparently dating former World Poker Tour hostess Sabina Gadecki.
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman opined that Luis Castillo "continues to perform as well as any second baseman in the league." In reality, Castillo's modest .684 OPS ranks 10th among AL second basemen, with Brian Roberts, Dustin Pedroia, and Placido Polanco each above .800. Hartman is no doubt concentrating on Castillo's nice-looking .305 batting average, but even that ranks just fourth among AL second basemen and, as discussed here yesterday, it's incredibly empty.

    Also from Hartman's column comes a note about Minnesota potentially being sanctioned to hold MMA-style fight cards in the future, with Brock Lesnar possibly headlining a show at some point. Of course, Hartman makes the common mistake of referring to mixed martial arts as "ultimate fighting," which is like referring to basketball as "NBA." He also describes the sport as "a combination of boxing and wrestling," which is like describing basketball as "a combination of bouncing a ball and running."

  • For what seems like the dozenth time in the past month, the Star Tribune ran an article about the horrible housing market. When I bought my first home back in March, I got the sellers to drop their original asking price by about $15,000, but apparently I should have held out for more. Oh well.
  • With the A's in town, St. Paul Pioneer Press sports gossip columnist Charley Walters suggests that the Twins might be interested in Dan Johnson, while Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle opines that Mike Piazza might be a better fit in Minnesota. For now at least, the Twins will wait for the ever-elusive (and perhaps non-existent) "healthy" Rondell White while installing Garrett Jones at designated hitter, which isn't likely to work out very well.
  • Ick.
  • One of my pet peeves when it comes to the mainstream media is the refusal to accurately attribute information that comes from websites. If a reporter from one newspaper references something from another newspaper, they make it very clear where that information came from. Meanwhile, if that same reporter gets information from a website, they often say that it was "from the internet" or "found online," as if anything not printed on paper comes from an anonymous trash heap.

    For instance, earlier this week the Seattle Post-Intelligencer referenced a ProspectInsider.com report about Mariners top prospect Adam Jones potentially being called up from Triple-A, except they couldn't be bothered to actually give the website address or name the person who wrote the report. Instead, the newspaper referred to the source as merely "a website" and "the web report," as if doing that would have seemed anything but absurd had the same information come from a newspaper or magazine.

    Because the information comes from a website, it's somehow not worthy of the same treatment? The information is good enough to reference and discuss, but the source isn't good enough to be properly credited? At this point, with a huge percentage of newspaper audiences coming from online readers and most newspaper websites housing blogs that are written by reporters, what exactly is the point of treating websites like anonymous masses? A guide to giving blogs credit is definitely needed.

  • Meanwhile in Seattle, the Mariners are not only reading blogs, they're using the information they find on them and giving proper credit. Imagine that. Felix Hernandez and pitching coach Rafael Chaves read Dave Cameron's brilliant pitch-charting analysis over at U.S.S. Mariner and have credited him with helping change King Felix's first-inning approach. If I were setting the betting line, I'd make something similar happening with the Twins and this blog as a 3-to-1 underdog against hell freezing over.
  • Speaking of King Felix and the Post-Intelligencer, here's an amusing note found in the newspaper earlier this week:
    Bullpen coach Jim Slaton was near rookie reliever Brandon Morrow in Seattle's dugout when the benches cleared during the top of the seventh Sunday. Morrow is a valuable property, and Slaton wanted to make sure that the kid didn't get hurt even as Morrow wanted to get in the middle of the rumble. As it turns out, however, Morrow isn't the most valuable property.

    "I was holding him back, but then I saw Felix Hernandez coming out of the dugout," Slaton said with a laugh. "I said to Morrow, 'Don't be offended, but here comes Felix.'" So Slaton got his arms on Hernandez and made sure he didn't get himself inadvertently hurt.

    Mainstream media members take note: Before referencing the above quote, I named the source and even linked to it. Crazy, I know, but for some reason attributing it to "a newspaper" or "a printed report" would have seemed kind of silly.

  • According to friend of AG.com and Baseball Think Factory writer Chris Dial, Hall of Famer George Brett enthusiastically told him the filthiest joke he's ever heard when they met years ago, despite the fact that Dial was a complete stranger to him. As if that wasn't enough reason to become a huge Brett fan, now we know that he's learned how easy it is to fall in love with Baseball-Reference.com.
  • The Twins lost Kevin Cameron in the Rule 5 draft this winter, only to watch him post a ridiculous 0.31 ERA in 29.1 first-half innings working out of the Padres' bullpen. Buster Olney of ESPN.com asked Cameron about leaving the Twins organization:
    I was a little bummed out when they didn't put me on the 40-man, but obviously, it worked out for the best. The Rule 5 draft is always a crapshoot--you never know what will happen--but I couldn't be happier here in San Diego.

    On a marginally related note, the Twins waived Alexander Smit from the 40-man roster yesterday and former assistant general manager Wayne Krivsky quickly claimed him for the Reds. Smit was a mess at high Single-A, posting a 5.86 ERA while walking 26 batters in 50.2 innings, but he's still just 21 years old and ranked as the Twins' No. 10 prospect heading into the season. Losing him for nothing after losing No. 18 prospect Alex Romero for nothing this winter is discouraging.

  • For fellow fans of The Adam Carolla Show, here's a collection of every broadcast in the radio show's history broken down into clips that you can download. Between those Carolla clips, Howard Stern, Bubba the Love Sponge, and Poker Wire Radio, I've been listening to a whole bunch of radio recently. My TiVo is getting lonely.
  • Not even hockey beat reporters are safe from the seemingly never-ending newspaper cuts.
  • Because the decision to hire Rickey Henderson as their new hitting coach is an absolutely brilliant, inspired move that's sure to lead to all kinds of amusement, I'm somewhat willing to overlook the fact that the Mets designated 48-year-old Julio Franco for assignment just a few hours later.
  • Seriously, where were all these prostitution rings run by teenagers when I was in high school? Along with walking barefoot in the snow for five miles to and from school--uphill, no less--back in my day we had to fail miserably in our attempts to actually talk girls into having sex with us. Times sure have changed.
  • Here are a pair of new blogs started by AG.com readers: Josh's Thoughts and Coast2Coast Sports.

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

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