Otis Nixonlooked to be approximately 48 years old when he was playing center field for the Twins in 1998, but now he's actually 48 years old and is writing a book about his life "in the belly of the beast."
Two weeks ago in this space I passed along some gossip from the Bubba The Love Sponge radio show about how Timberwolves guard Marko Jaric once "dated" Penthouse Pet Jaime Hammer. At the time I wrote that Jaric "must be doing something right" despite being an overpaid role player because "Hammer probably isn't the only woman he's dated who makes a living by being attractive." Little did I know at the time how right that was.
Jaric is reportedlynow dating (without the quotation marks) Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima and being with her has seemingly improved his on-court performance. Jaric is averaging 15 points and six assists per game over the past two weeks after averaging just five points and two assists in 70 games last season. As teammate Mark Madsenexplained: "Ever since he started dating Adriana Lima, he's a new man. He's flying all over the court. He dunked! I've never seen him dunk." A comparison:
That's Hammer on the left, the NBA's luckiest player in the middle, and Lima on the left. It took me about 15 minutes just to find a picture of Hammer that features her in some level of clothing, which shows the great lengths that I'm willing to go for my readers. UPDATE: There's also this.
If you've ever wondered what Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com LaVelle E. Neal III looks like while doing his job, here's your chance:
And yes, it's every bit as thrilling as it appears. Sadly, no one snapped any photos of the assembled media at Ron Gardenhire's winter meetings press conference last year, when you would have seen me front and center playing reporter-for-a-day with my little notebook. Gardenhire got more dressed up this time, ditching the sunglasses-around-the-neck look that he sported last year. The first person to identify every media member in the above photo gets a free year's subscription to AG.com.
Here's the winner of this week's Ridiculously Homerish Thing Written By Sid Hartman:
Manager Ron Gardenhire has shown his ability to keep clubhouse problems from escalating out of control.
Does it count as "escalating out of control" when a pitcher takes a baseball bat to the manager's office door? Or how about when one of the team's star players attempts to punch another of the team's star players in the face, but misses and hits one of the team's worst players instead? Apparently the Twins' clubhouse would be like Thunderdome if Gardenhire wasn't so great at keeping things calm.
Speaking of Torii Hunter's attempt to punch Justin Morneau in the face, Hartman's colleague Jim Souhan predictably opined in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that his beloved "face of the franchise" only "did so because he thought that's what his manager wanted." Such a prince, that Hunter.
What do you get when you combine Hartman's obliviousness with Souhan's horrendous analysis? St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sanseveresuggesting that the Twins should acquire Jonathan Papelbon, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, and Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox. But wait, the idea that the Twins could somehow pry those five players away from Boston actually isn't the most absurd part. Seriously.
Among the players Sansevere thinks the Twins should send back to the Red Sox in his proposed trade? Free agent Carlos Silva, who the team has absolutely zero control over and can sign anywhere. A well-paid, high-profile writer who's long been employed to provide sports analysis for a major newspaper, Sansevere finishes his embarrassment of a column by writing: "I have just one question. What's Twins general manager Bill Smith waiting for? He should have this deal done by now."
Anyone wanna buy a newspaper?
For someone reason I often forget to include Marisa Miller when the subject of Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidates comes up, which is clearly a mistake.
Having seen his last MLB action in 2005, former Twins prospect Matt Kinney is heading to Japan, potentially setting up a historic Kinney-Lew Ford matchup in 2008.
As a Dan Barreiro fan from way back I'm glad to see him sign a new contract, but hopefully at some point within the next six years he'll stop the illogical ax-grinding against Kevin Garnett and Joe Mauer.
One thing that you can always count on is that when a mainstream media member mentions me in a positive light while doing an interview somewhere, I'll link to it (scroll down to the final question).
As a longtime Adam Carolla fan, I couldn't possibly be rooting any harder for former Eagles running back and kick returner Vai Sikahema. I've never actually heard Sikahema speak, but nothing would make me happier than to see them fight for the co-host job.
One of the Diamond-Mind keeper leagues that I'm in suddenly has several openings. It's a hardcore, time-consuming league and we're looking for people who have previous Diamond-Mind experience. If you're interested and fit that bill, drop me an e-mail.
Get the 22nd edition of the New York Times bestselling Baseball Prospectus Annual. Edited by Aaron Gleeman, it features a foreword from Twins pitcher Glen Perkins, a Twins team chapter written by Gleeman and Parker Hageman, and 600 pages of analysis, projections, essays, rankings, and in-depth coverage of all 30 teams.