September 27, 2007

Link-O-Rama

  • I learned an awful lot from Minneapolis Star Tribune investigative reporter Paul McEnroe while taking his class at the University of Minnesota's journalism school, but I don't think he ever covered what to do when someone tries to run you over with their car.
  • Not wanting to admit that he's joined the ranks of bloggers after ripping them in the past, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti has taken to calling his new blog a "perpetual web column," which is perhaps the only description of writing that's confusing and silly enough to make "blog" sound clear and appealing. Normally I'd make some sort of snide remark here, but Mariotti refusing to call himself a blogger is one of the best things that could possibly happen to bloggers.
  • Speaking of good things happening to bloggers, Jamie Mottram has left AOL FanHouse to become "Senior Editor of Blogs & Community" at Yahoo! Sports. Yahoo! Sports has brought in a ton of big-time talent over the past year or so, both from online and print, and given what he did to turn AOL FanHouse into a traffic-producing content machine Mottram may quietly be one of the most important. I'm curious to see what a big-name site can do with someone who truly understands blogging in an important role.
  • Prince Fielder is now the youngest player in baseball history to hit 50 homers in a season and an intriguing sub plot to that milestone is the fact that he seems incredibly motivated to out-shine his estranged father, Cecil Fielder. Prince said that he didn't care what happened to home-run ball No. 50, but hopes to hit and keep No. 52 because "my dad had 51 ... then, he can't say anything." Here's more:
    [The MVP] would be a cool award to get but that's not something I think about besides the fact my dad never did it. If I do get it, that shuts him up again. ... That's what drives me. People said I was too big and all this, and the only reason I got drafted was because of the name. That's why I'm so passionate about playing. I don't mind people comparing me to him but I'm a completely different player. One day I want people to mention my name and not have to mention his.

    Like Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. before him, Prince is well on his way to making sure that Cecil goes down as "Prince Fielder's father." Of course, given the well-known drama between them and the fact that he's quoted as calling his dad "not really the brightest guy" in the same article that produced the above quotes, even that might not make Prince happy. He's definitely someone to root for (and not just because he looks like me in a uniform).

  • You know you're reading a good news story when it includes someone being quoted as asking, "Can you do something about the two people having sex in the women's restroom stall?" I suspect that my fellow Minnesotans won't be surprised to learn which sporting event the story takes place at. Yet another reason why I probably should have thought twice before going to the University of Minnesota.
  • It's not quite having sex in a bathroom stall at a college football game, but the New York Daily News and New York Post provide some interesting details from Stephon Marbury's court-room testimony earlier this week. As the newspapers detail, Marbury allegedly had sex with a 22-year-old Knicks intern in the backseat of his car. Even better, the intern previously had sex with Marbury's cousin, who was with him at the strip club where the car was parked.

    The above picture shows an obviously distraught Marbury leaving the courthouse.

  • Johan Santana's final start of the season Wednesday ending after three innings because of a rain delay was bad enough, but mother nature also cost Santana his fourth straight strikeout crown and snapped his 123-start streak of lasting at least five innings. Santana struck out just four batters before the game was put on hold, which enabled Scott Kazmir to overtake him for the MLB lead by striking out 10 batters last night. Here are Santana's year-to-year strikeout numbers:
    YEAR      SO      SO%
    2004 265 30.1
    2005 238 26.2
    2006 245 26.5
    2007 235 26.8

    Kazmir struck out 26.9 percent of his batters faced for a total of 239. As for the streak of 123 straight five-inning starts, it's the third-longest of the past 50 years behind Curt Schilling (147) and David Cone (145). Between the lost strikeout crown, snapped streak, career-high 13 losses, league-leading 33 homers allowed, and a 3.33 ERA that's his worst since 2001, much will likely be made of Santana having an "off year." While true to some extent, Santana's xFIP shows that it wasn't off by much:

    YEAR     xFIP
    2004 3.28
    2005 3.35
    2006 3.42
    2007 3.56

    Santana's 3.56 xFIP is his worst in four seasons as a full-time starter, but it still ranks third among AL pitchers, behind only Erik Bedard (3.14) and Felix Hernandez (3.49). He ranks ahead of every other starter in the league, including popular Cy Young candidates like Josh Beckett (3.60), C.C. Sabathia (3.63), Fausto Carmona (4.00), Dan Haren (4.00), John Lackey (4.10), Kelvim Escobar (4.32), and Chien-Ming Wang (4.36).

  • Friend of AG.com and Baseball Musings blogger David Pinto has gone against the recent trend of sportswriters leaving print for online by stepping away from Baseball Prospectus to join The Sporting News. TSN has completely fallen off my personal radar despite my being a subscriber many years ago, but I do know that they've made an excellent hire in Pinto, who's partially responsible for me starting this blog way back in 2002.
  • I realize that it can't possibly compare to last week's epic "Touchdown, dude! Touchdown!" clip in terms of all-time great videos, but "He squeezed his hamburger!" is pretty solid.


    If for some reason you can only waste your day watching one 51-second video of an incredibly startled guy making a ridiculous face while his friends laugh at his expense, make it that one.
  • As a couple dozen e-mailers have pointed out to me, the star of the aforementioned "Touchdown, dude! Touchdown!" video is actually actor/writer Tony Barbieri playing a character named "Jake Byrd" that he does for Jimmy Kimmel Live. At first that revelation made me sad, but after thinking about it for a while I'm fairly certain that the video's genius actually increases.
  • The original Official Whipping Boy of AG.com, Luis Rivas, was called up from Triple-A by the Indians when rosters expanded on September 1 and had the best game of his career Wednesday. Starting at second base because the Indians already had their playoff spot locked up, Rivas homered and tripled in the same inning on the way to going 3-for-5 with four RBIs while missing the cycle by a double. The homer was his first since September 13, 2005.
  • I had no idea about this until it was mentioned during Sunday's game, but Mewelde Moore of the Vikings was selected out of high school as a center fielder by the Padres in the fourth round of the 2000 draft. While playing baseball part time, he attended Tulane and became just the second player in NCAA history to total 4,000 rushing yards and 2,000 receiving yards in a career. On the baseball side, Moore never made it out of rookie-ball while hitting .210/.294/.284 in parts of three seasons.
  • I've heard people suggest that Kristin Cavallari from Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County is famous despite possessing no discernible skills or accomplishments, but I would argue that looking like this is a major skill and an impressive accomplishment.
  • I'm assuming some sort of editing error is to blame for me not being included among the Maccabi Games alumni, because surely my six-point performance against Toronto during the 1998 games in Detroit will never be forgotten.
  • I'm always surprised to find out that people remember things that I've written in the past.
  • Friend of AG.com and ESPN.com contributor Paul Katcher once wrote that "people who write open letters are hacks," which is immediately what came to mind after seeing this in the Star Tribune earlier this week. Shockingly, it's not the first time.
  • Here's a new blog that's worth checking out: On the Mark: Minnesota Sports. Stop by and say hello.
  • All you ever wanted to know and more about Luis Castillo joining the Mets.
  • In honor of his upcoming concert at the Fitzgerald Theater, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Paolo Nutini doing a live version of "Jenny Don't Be Hasty":


    Enjoy the final weekend of the Twins' season and come back Monday for the first entry of a too-long offseason that I have some (hopefully) interesting Twins-related projects planned for.

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

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