August 31, 2007

Link-O-Rama

  • As if being a blogger with a 2.38 career ERA wasn't already more than enough to make Pat Neshek the Official Relief Pitcher of AG.com, something that he wrote on his site earlier this week cements that status. Frustrated by various media members suggesting that "hitters have figured him out" because of a recent rough stretch, Neshek wrote that "blogs are going to be the place where people start turning for in-depth analysis" because "these guys back up their comments." He went on to write:
    For example if Aaron Gleeman would write something with the headline "The League is Figuring Him Out" I know he would have concrete stats detailing things like BA during second time facing player, 3rd time, 6th time, 100th time. I know he would then go out and do some crazy statistic adding up the entire leagues 2nd, 3rd, 4th at bats against me and lay it out and I would read it and go man, this guy is right.

    It's interesting to see that sentiment coming from an actual big-league player, because similar feelings were behind my starting this blog back in 2002. Along with simply wanting to write for an audience, I was frustrated by the level of Twins coverage available from mainstream outlets. Too often I found myself wondering where the evidence was for a statement someone made or questioning an opinion that seemed illogical. It's great to know that Neshek thinks I've provided a valuable alternative.

  • The first step of my master plan is now complete, so it's only a matter of time.
  • For 45 solid minutes of interesting, humorous, unique, and insightful basketball talk, check out Bill Simmons' recent ESPN.com podcast featuring new Suns general manager Steve Kerr. Somehow I doubt that Timberwolves general manager Kevin McHale would come across quite as well.
  • I'm stealing this from Will Young's blog, but it's too good not to share:

    On top of Nick Punto being the worst hitter in all of baseball, you've got to think that few players in the sport's history have failed on more bunt attempts during a single season. In most cases a hitter would seemingly either begin to actually lay the bunts down successfully or cease being asked to do so on a regular basis, but somehow neither scenario has played out with Punto.

  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that the Twins' difficulties in Cleveland extended beyond the field:
    Some loudmouthed fans gave members of the Twins bullpen a hard time early in the series. Twins players responded by dousing the fans with water.

    Neshek and his fellow relievers apparently took great offense to repeated taunts of "you guys probably hit only marginally better than Punto," which was obviously uncalled for.

  • I have no idea why, but this amused me. "You are Peter Gammons!"
  • I'm fairly certain that none of the girls from my elementary school have turned into incredibly fetching celebrities, but if they had there's probably a good chance that I'd be looking as short-sighted as some guy named Ross who went to grade school with former Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Jessica Alba. I'm generally not in favor of quoting acceptance speeches from the Teen Choice Awards, but it's not every day that two of my great passions in life, Alba and baseball, mix:
    I would like to dedicate this award to a young man who has been on my mind for the last 19 years: Ross. Ross didn't love me. I was pigeon-toed, I had a sway back, I was slightly cross-eyed, buck-toothed, I sucked my thumb. Look at me now, Ross! Look at me now! He promised that if I kissed him he would choose me for baseball ... I was still chosen last. I never trusted men again.

    Ross apparently wasn't very good at math back then.

  • As someone who's been endlessly amused and fascinated by the immortal Ned and his crutches of destruction, I'm happy to announce that he's a first-ballot inductee and the only member of Deadspin's second Hall of Fame class.


    The man is truly a legend.
  • AOL Fanhouse is one of the few blogs that I make sure to check multiple times every day, and Jamie Mottram's baby just celebrated its one-year anniversary.
  • Along the same lines as the Alba and baseball mix comes Alyssa Milano modeling her new line of baseball clothing for women. Aside from the mixed feelings I'd have if attractive women began wearing Yankees outfits--I'd probably have to stop wearing this shirt--I'm hoping that Milano's clothing line really takes off.
  • SI.com's Jon Heyman, who got my dander up earlier this season for some questionable reporting about Johan Santana, recently wrote the following in response to a question about considering stats like Value Over Replacement Player or Runs Created in a discussion of MVP candidates:
    I am more interested in "wins created" than runs created. And the day I consider VORP is the day I get out of the business. The idea of the MVP is to honor the player who has had the biggest positive impact on the pennant races.

    A popular sentiment among veteran sportswriters when something like VORP gets brought up is to say, "I have no idea what that is, but I'd never pay attention to it." That stance has always fascinated me, because it's essentially bragging about being ignorant and trying to impress people by your lack of an open mind. Heyman isn't quite at that level with the above comments, but it still reveals plenty about his personality and analytical ability. It also makes me (and Neshek!) less likely to value his opinion.

  • For once, worlds colliding sounds pretty good.
  • I'm sure Tigers fans have their share of complaints about manager Jim Leyland, but I'd sure love to hear Ron Gardenhire make a comment like this when asked about a struggling young player (in this case, rookie Andrew Miller and his 5.63 ERA):
    This kid's going to be a real prized pitcher in the big leagues. It appears at this point that we asked a little much. It's a tough task for a kid one year out of college. But he's got so much ability. He's going to be a prize.

    If Gardenhire ever made a comment like that about a player under the age of 30 it's likely that it wouldn't end up quoted in a newspaper anyway, because all the reporters on hand surely would have fainted.

  • I'm still amazed that something like this didn't happen when I interviewed Gardenhire at the Winter Meetings in December.
  • If Gardenhire had decided to beat the crap out of me that day in Orlando, I'm sure the Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com, LaVelle E. Neal III, would have had my back. Actually, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have, and it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway when Jason Williams and Kelly Thesier jumped in alongside Gardenhire. Speaking of the OTBWoAG.com, LEN3 was recently interviewed about the life of a beat writer over at Twins Territory. Thankfully, we no longer have "NO IDEA" what the job entails.
  • From one member of the tribe to another, congrats.
  • As someone who was the sports editor on his high-school newspaper--unlike the Minnesota Daily, they didn't know any better--I'm fairly certain that MTV's upcoming show about a high-school paper will be the most boring offering in the long and storied history of boring reality shows. While fascinating to me, talk of heads, decks, nut graphs, and inverted pyramids generally don't grab ratings. Plus, it's my experience that people working on high-school newspapers don't have faces made for television.
  • Meanwhile, friend of AG.com Thor Nystrom has failed to follow in my footsteps, landing a spot on his college newspaper. One day, maybe he'll be featured on a boring reality show.
  • The San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this week that the Twins were the last team to call the A's about potentially acquiring Mike Piazza, but only "made a few tepid inquiries a month ago."
  • Lowly bloggers like me may not be on the newspaper world's radar, but some big boys have taken notice of the declining industry and are trying to take advantage online. While often opining about the newspaper business, one thing I've always suggested is that as the mystique of print gradually wears off, newspapers will simply become one of many media outlets fighting for an audience online. That fight appears to be starting and I look forward to watching.
  • A new blog to check out: PG Sportsworld.
  • Beginning Monday my "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld switches from baseball to football, with the NFL season officially kicking off Thursday. It always bothers me that I cease writing about baseball right when the season is really getting interesting (at least for teams other than the Twins), but such is life in a world where fantasy football is king. One of the benefits to Rotoworld's relationship with NBC Sports is that we can team up to offer something like the $100,000 Fantasy Challenge.

    The new game is free to play and involves plenty of interesting strategy that you won't find in a typical head-to-head fantasy football league. Basically, you stack your lineup with whoever you want each week, with the caveat that you can only use a player once during the regular season. In other words, you can start LaDainian Tomlinson, Peyton Manning, and Chad Johnson in Week 1, but then they're all off limits for the rest of the year.

    Not only is it an interesting twist on typical fantasy leagues, it's easy to sign up for, the whole thing is free, and you can win $100,000. Rotoworld even has a weekly strategy column designed specifically to help you win the money. Plus, with $100,000 on the line I'm officially giving everyone permission to use the "sorry honey, I'm working" excuse when a wife, girlfriend, mother, or daughter (or all four, I suppose) tries to guilt you into not spending so much time on your fantasy teams.

  • Speaking of fantasy football, what does it say about me that I think this is a fantastic idea?

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

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