September 7, 2007

Link-O-Rama

  • When it rains, it pours. One week after former Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Elisha Cuthbert broke up with her hockey-player boyfriend, Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Jenna Fischer filed for divorce from her movie-director husband. If this pattern holds, Jessica Alba, Keeley Hazell, and Heidi Klum should be single by the end of the month. Ladies, you know where to find me.
  • Speaking of Fischer and her crush-inducing Pam Beesly character, the outtakes from the recently released third-season DVD of The Office are definitely worth watching.
  • The bad news for friend of AG.com and Twins blogger Trevor Born is that he was recently rejected by the Minnesota Daily. The good news is that he still has eight more rejections to go before tying my record of being turned down nine times in four years. The even better news is that he recovered from the disappointment to land a job with the Associated Press. For better or worse, if that had happened to me after being rejected for the first time as a freshman this blog probably never would have existed.
  • Speaking of college and blogging, there's apparently now a $10,000 "blogging scholarship" that's awarded annually, which really makes me feel old given how few people at the University of Minnesota even knew what a blog was back when I started doing this in 2002.
  • Breaking news: Not only does Bill Simmons have hairy legs that he doesn't mind sharing with the ESPN.com audience, his arms look like they were torn from Robin Williams' body. We kid because we care, of course, but judge for yourself:

    OK, so he's more like a poor man's Williams, but you get the point. Incidentally, I've quickly become a huge fan of Simmons' weekly ESPN.com podcast and the most recent episode features two of the three people I picked to attend my fantasy dinner. Like Samson, perhaps the hair is the true source of his power.

  • One of many unfortunate side effects of the changes going on at the Minneapolis Star Tribune is that former Gophers basketball beat writer Jeff Shelman is now covering higher-education news. Shelman will undoubtedly do a fine job in that role as well, but it's unfortunate that the Star Tribune is pulling reporters away from beats they've excelled at covering. It's even more unfortunate that the newspaper's sports section is now dominated by Sid Hartman and Jim Souhan.

    Souhan spent this week hiding behind an anonymous second-hand source to irresponsibly accuse Joe Mauer of making up an injury, when anyone with five minutes and access to Google knows that wasn't the case. Meanwhile, Hartman used his prime newspaper real estate to suggest that "Ron Gardenhire should be named American League Manager of the Year" because "it's amazing they were able to hang in there as long as they did given the number of injuries they've had this year." Right.

  • Growing up in Highland Park, I spent an awful lot of time at the Ford-run little-league fields that were recently closed after high levels of arsenic, copper, and iron were found in the soil. I'm currently looking into whether or not that had something to do with the Jason Tyner-like lack of power that I displayed during my career there. Suffice it to say that I wasn't close to cracking this list.
  • Another Highland Park native, Jack Hannahan, was traded to the A's in mid-August and has taken advantage of an Eric Chavez injury to claim the starting job at third base. A former third-round pick who's played seven seasons in the minors, Hannahan has hit .265/.398/.471 with several clutch hits in 21 games with the A's. During a recent interview with Athletics Nation, A's general manager Billy Beane had plenty of nice things to say about him:
    Jack has been given that opportunity and he's a player we've always liked. When Chavy went down we thought, who are we going to get to play third base, and we thought, let's give this kid a chance. We wanted to draft him years ago. ... We've been looking for that kind of power and on-base in the middle of the lineup for a few years. Jack certainly has a long-term future here.

    Of course, no matter what he does with the A's I'll always remember Hannahan most for starring in the greatest basketball game that I've ever witnessed in person.

  • Understatement of the week (and perhaps the year), courtesy of Star Tribune broadcast sports columnist Judd Zulgad: "There are times when Twins television announcers Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven can prove frustrating." Zulgad actually went on to give the FSN duo a compliment that I happen to agree with regarding the handling of Scott Baker's recent no-hit bid, but that's an amusing way to lead into praise.
  • Former No. 2 overall pick Darko Milicic may not have mastered the whole basketball thing quite yet, but he's apparently become incredibly skilled at post-game tirades. The lesson? Any story that involves someone actually having to type "expletive for lady parts" over and over again is a good one.
  • Who knew that foreign tennis players were so funny?
  • The mass exodus from newspapers to websites continues.
  • A couple weeks ago I complained about the Star Tribune's lack of Francisco Liriano updates, but the Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com, LaVelle E. Neal III, came through with a lengthy update on Liriano over the weekend. The short version is that he's close to throwing off a mound and remains on track for next season. "Everything is perfect," Liriano said. "I haven't been feeling any soreness or any pain. If everything goes the way it is going now, I think I will be ready by spring training."
  • There aren't a whole lot of blogs that are truly unique and cover new ground at this point, including this one most of the time, but East Windup Chronicle is definitely one of a kind. Written by a native Minnesotan and Twins fan who's living in Taiwan, the blog is "a journal of sports, art, politics, and culture from the Pacific Rim." Among other things, the site figures to be a good source of information on Asian baseball prospects. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
  • As if being married to one of the women from The View wasn't bad enough, Tim Hasselbeck was released by the Giants over the weekend.
  • Torii Hunter has reportedly turned down a three-year contract extension worth $45 million. Rather than rehash my thoughts on his pending free agency, I'll point you to what I wrote on the subject when reports of Hunter turning down the Twins' offer first surfaced last week.
  • I'm a goner if this report is true, but I plan to go out with buttery fingers.
  • Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals doing a live, human beat box-enhanced version of "Steal My Kisses":


    As always, comments about how I have the musical taste of a 17-year-old girl are encouraged.

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

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