October 23, 2007

The Answers (Part 2: Random Questions)

Opening the floor up for questions last week led to over 100 being submitted between the comments section and e-mails. In an effort to respond to as many of them as possible, I addressed questions on baseball-related topics in a separate entry yesterday and will tackle the non-baseball topics today.

Would you eat the moon if it were made of spare ribs?

No, I'm back on a diet.

Ever thought of expanding AG.com to include a Vikings blog during the Twins' offseason?

Football is at best my third-favorite sport and from September to January I write about it six days a week over at Rotoworld, so when it comes time for this blog that's just about the last topic on my mind. Plus, at this point regularly blogging about the Vikings sounds like some sort of court-ordered punishment for law-breaking writers.

Can you settle on an Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com?

Apparently not.

When does the real debate about the next Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com start?

The debate is always ongoing.

Who is in the pool of candidates?

Previous titleholders Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba, and Elisha Cuthbert will always be factors, but the top candidates at this point are Keeley Hazell and Jenna Fischer. However, they've been the leading contenders for several months now and the throne remains vacant, so it's safe to say that I'm waiting for a new third-party candidate to emerge. As Saint Augustine once said, "Patience is the companion of wisdom."

If forced to choose between the two, would you rather watch an hour of Nick Punto at-bats or listen to an hour of a Jeff Straub podcast?

This is an easy question, because I'm a huge Jeff Straub fan. The podcast that he devoted to me was absolutely brilliant and a true comedic masterpiece, even if he didn't mean for it to be that way. I linked to the podcast here, tried my best to keep the site that hosted it from censoring him, and made sure that everyone in my family listened to it. In particular, my grandfather seems fascinated by Straub, bringing him up often. Meanwhile, everyone just tries to forget every Nick Punto at-bat they've seen.

Any good restaurant recommendations in the Highland Park neighborhood?

I grew up in Highland Park, but spent most of my childhood eating at chains and haven't lived there in about eight years. With that said, there's a good Chinese buffet on West 7th Street called Buffet King.

Who is your favorite ESPN.com writer?

Last week in this space I discussed being a huge Bill Simmons fan and I've talked several times in the past about idolizing Rob Neyer, who was basically my introduction into the world of baseball analysis. Beyond Simmons and Neyer, I also enjoy John Hollinger, Peter Gammons, Len Pasquarelli, Keith Law, Chad Ford, Jerry Crasnick, Eric Neel, D.J. Gallo, Jonah Keri, Marc Stein, Matt Mosley, and Mike Sando. And I'm sure there are another handful of names that I'm forgetting.

Can you get me a date with the hot girl from your NBCSports.com videos?

Tiffany Simons is easy on the eyes, likes sports, has a good sense of humor, and is extremely nice, so my guess is that she has enough suitors to avoid getting hooked up via my blog. With that said, there's a chance that I could get you a date with her co-host, Gregg Rosenthal.

Do you think that you'll ever beat me in checkers?

This question comes from a fellow University of Minnesota journalism-school student who faced off against me in virtual checkers hundreds of times over the course of a semester while we sat in the computer lab during a "magazine editing and production" class, which perhaps provides a glimpse into why I never did graduate.

This summer you wrote that the breakdown of your air-conditioning unit had a negative impact on your mood and ability to blog. Yet you've also expressed an extreme dislike of indoor baseball, specifically the Metrodome. How do you reconcile these two opinions on climate control?

Baseball is meant to be played outside. Sitting around the house and typing on a laptop is meant to be played inside.

Do you have any interesting pre-SABR convention travel plans coming up?

The annual Society for American Baseball Research convention tends to be my lone vacation each year, although next week I'm flying to Milwaukee for a long weekend. I'm fairly certain that three nights in Milwaukee isn't most people's idea of "interesting," but I'm looking forward to it. Other than that, it's all work and no play until the 2008 convention in Cleveland.

Are you going to the Winter Meetings again?

It doesn't look like it. A big part of why NBCSports.com sent me to the Winter Meetings last December was that they didn't have any other baseball writers on staff yet. Now the site features columns from Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News and Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald, both of whom will presumably be at the Winter Meetings for their newspapers anyway.

Better career: Adrian Peterson or Reggie Bush?

I wrote about favoring Adrian Peterson over Reggie Bush when they were both still in college, saying the following about Bush when he was nearing the end of his Heisman Trophy-winning season back in 2005:

I still have some questions about his ability to be an every-down back in the NFL, particularly near the goal line, and I wonder how he'll fare when he doesn't have as many opportunities to run in open space.

I got quite a bit of criticism for that and for favoring Peterson, but my feelings haven't changed. Bush is a fantastic talent and I'm sure that he'll have a great career, but so far he's averaging 3.6 yards per carry and 7.6 yards per catch. Peterson is leading the NFL in rushing despite having two-thirds as many carries as his closest competitors. For as much national attention as Purple Jesus has gotten already, the hype would be off the charts if the Vikings would actually get him the ball 20 times per game.

If you stopped linking to pictures of scantily-clad starlets, would you lose readers? And if so, how many?

I receive more e-mails and comments about the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com stuff than just about anything else, which you can see from the multiple OFGoAG.com-related questions today. While the dominant topic here is the Twins, this blog has also always covered stuff that has nothing to do with baseball and everything to do with whatever interests me. It's possible that certain non-baseball topics push people away, but the odd mix of topics is likely a big part of why many people enjoy the site.

Would you anticipate gaining new readers (presumably female) from such a change?

Perhaps, but not many. First, the linking to pictures of women is generally reserved for Friday entries, which are pretty clearly not related to baseball for anyone who wishes to skip them rather than be offended. Beyond that, the actual number of links to "pictures of scantily-clad starlets" tends to be pretty minimal. For instance, last week's Link-O-Rama contained only one such link and the same is true for the previous week's entry.

In fact, the Link-O-Rama on October 5 was completely devoid of such links, which caused someone to leave a note in the comments section that read: "No links to hot women? You're losing it, Gleeman." I once assumed that this site's readership was pretty close to 100 percent male, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the number of regular female readers over the years. Plus, if someone is truly offended by non-nude pictures of beautiful women, then I don't mind not having them as a reader.

Why don't you write for The Hardball Times any more?

I co-created The Hardball Times along with Matthew Namee back in early 2004, and for several years I served as editor-in-chief and near-daily columnist while running the site alongside Dave Studenmund. Unfortunately, I had to give up my involvement in THT as part of my contract with NBCSports.com and Rotoworld, but the site and its annual book are thriving without me and remain must-reads for baseball fans.

What is your official title at Rotoworld and NBCSports.com?

It says "Senior Editor" on my business card.

Who do you think is a better wide receiver, Randy Moss or Terrell Owens?

Terrell Owens is obviously very good, but when healthy and motivated there are few wide receivers in NFL history who can compete with Randy Moss.

What are your thoughts on "suiting up" to go to a casino?

I'm not sure what this means, but generally speaking I'm in favor of anything that promotes gambling.

What should have been my reaction when some random guy at Canterbury Park told me that I look like Nick Punto? Was it merely an attempt to put me on tilt?

Punto doesn't strike me as a bad-looking guy. If the person at Canterbury Park had told you that you hit like Punto, then those might have been fighting words.

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

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