January 4, 2008

Link-O-Rama

  • This month's Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine (the one with "2008 top doctors" on the cover) includes an article profiling the Twin Cities' "most informative, entertaining, and useful websites." Dozens of sites are mentioned in the piece, but AG.com is lucky enough to be one of five featured sites that are given a half-page review. Here it is, for those of you who can't get your hands on the actual magazine:

    Having the NFL Network on the screen behind me is a little weird, but there was no baseball on at the time and it was decided that football was the next-best option. If you can look beyond my oddly gigantic hands to glance above the television, you'll see my beloved TiVo, a framed "Homer Hanky" from 1987, an Al Newman bobblehead, and a Dave Winfield autographed baseball. Fun fact: Not visible is the Jack Daniel's bottle that was used to prop up the "Homer Hanky," which doesn't normally sit there.

    For those of you who aren't world-class squinters, here's the text of the review:

    Aaron Gleeman always wanted to be a newspaper sportswriter, but as a college student with little experience, he could never get his foot in the door. So five years ago he took matters into his own hands and started a baseball blog online.

    Today, Gleeman, at the young age of twenty-four, may be the envy of many newspaper sportswriters. Sports Illustrated has called his Twins blog one of the best in the country, and it has led to a full-time sportswriting gig for NBCSports.com and Rotoworld.com, along with syndication on several other sites, including USAToday.com.

    He recently bought a new house in Minnetonka, where he often writes from the comfort of his bed in front of a large TV. His blog, now read by 100,000 fans a month, is savvy and opinionated and fortified with reams of in-depth statistics.

    "My viewpoint is very clearly as an outsider, because I've never been in a press box or locker room," Gleeman says. "When I put forth an opinion on something, good or bad, I always try to base it on evidence, fact, and logic, which I think is often lacking in the world of sports columnists."

    And what about his dream of being a newspaper sportswriter? "Given the state of the newspaper industry," he says, "I feel just fine about where I'm at and what I'm doing."

    I'm fortunate to have been featured in quite a few similar articles over the years, yet it never ceases to amaze me that a two-hour photo shoot and lengthy interview ends up becoming one picture and 225 words in print. I'm not complaining, because the review is very flattering and the picture isn't half-bad considering what the poor photographer had to work with, but it always reminds me how great it is to have unlimited space here. For instance, I can spend 225 words discussing a 225-word profile of me.

    Thanks to Matt Smith for penning such a nice review and Vance Gellert for making me look somewhat presentable against all odds.

  • It wasn't quite on the same scale as the mention in Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, but Phil Miller of the St. Paul Pioneer Press quoted me in an article about Jason Pridie last week. I've spent a lot of time here praising LaVelle E. Neal III and Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, because that's my newspaper of choice and they both do a great job covering the Twins. With that said, the easiest way to my heart is through plugs and Miller included mentions of AG.com and Rotoworld.

    Miller's mention came as a surprise, because I've never interacted with him in any way and tend not to discuss Pioneer Press articles much in this space. Plus, the man he replaced as the newspaper's Twins beat writer, Jason Williams, wasn't much of an AG.com fan (to put it mildly). LEN3 remains the Official Twins Beat Writer of AG.com, but Miller is a few friendly e-mails and another couple plugs away from applying some serious pressure.

  • Because of the odd power that one random mention of a topic or person can have when it comes to search engines, one of the earliest traffic-drivers to this site was people arriving from Google or Yahoo! after typing in searches for "Jennifer Aniston's butt." Five years later, I take comfort in knowing that it's still going strong and remains perfectly capable of driving (or stopping) traffic.
  • After spending the past month writing about Kyle Orton's historic neck beard on a near-daily basis over at Rotoworld, it amused me to read the following note in the Chicago Sun-Times:
    Kyle Orton had a response for everyone offering him grooming advice: "Certainly with the wind, it was cold, but I have a beard so that helps out a little bit. It's kind of warm in this area."

    Orton is clearly this generation's Samson (or perhaps Samson was his generation's Orton) and my hope is that someone is removing all the razors from Tarvaris Jackson's house right now.

  • Elisha Cuthbert was not happy when told recently that her regrettable haircut and ridiculous glasses are keeping her from being a serious candidate to reclaim the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com throne:

    Of course, hair grows, glasses can be removed, and she still looks like this, so all hope is not lost.

  • Speaking of former OFGoAG.com title holders, here's a random picture: A pregnant Jessica Alba walking the streets of Los Angeles with Steve Nash and his wife. I'm still waiting for photos of Keeley Hazell hanging out with Al Jefferson.
  • On a somewhat-related note to my quote from Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine about feeling "just fine about where I'm at and what I'm doing ... given the state of the newspaper industry," here's an excerpt from a recent New York Times article about the current state of sportswriting:
    ESPN and Yahoo Sports are on a furious hiring binge, offering reporters and columnists more than they ever imagined they could make in journalism. And ESPN, in particular, has gone after the biggest stars at newspapers and magazines, signing them for double and triple what they were earning — $150,000 to $350,000 a year for several writers, and far more for a select handful.

    Some print publications, notably Sports Illustrated, have selectively tried to keep up with the lucrative ESPN and Yahoo offers, to retain some of their writers or attract new ones. But for the most part, newspapers, though they are being forced to raise some salaries, cannot keep up. Several say they are suffering through the worst talent drain their editors can recall.

    ESPN and Yahoo! are obviously special cases, but as I've repeatedly discussed here over the years that trend stretches across the online world to varying degrees and will only get worse for newspapers. Money flows right alongside readership and print no longer has a stranglehold on the audience.

  • As a long-time Adam Carolla fan I've listened to nearly every episode of Loveline, but because the American version of The Office was only in the middle of its first season at the time it didn't make much of an impression on me when Jenna Fischer appeared on the show back in 2005. Thankfully there are archives of such things online and my frequently mentioning Fischer and Carolla in this space caused someone to send me a clip of an OFGoAG.com contender chatting with my second-favorite radio host.

    Cuthbert also appeared on Loveline back in 2004 and unlike Fischer's appearance I definitely recall listening. In fact, I remember thinking at the time that Cuthbert was interesting, pretty down to earth, and even a little funny, but it's also possible that she actually sat completely silent for two hours. Hearing the show shortly after watching The Girl Next Door may have skewed my perception a bit and I'm afraid to give it a second listen.

  • Speaking of the Ace Man, this series of events and this official announcement made me very happy.
  • Will Young put together an outstanding eight-part series called "A Contentious Season With The Ace Lefty," which details the last time that the Twins put a Cy Young-winning southpaw on the trading block:

    Part 1 ... Part 2 ... Part 3 ... Part 4 ... Part 5 ... Part 6 ... Part 7 ... Part 8

    I highly recommend setting aside some time and reading all eight parts, from start to finish.

  • If you missed it yesterday, thanks for reading over the past year.
  • Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Linkin Park doing a not-safe-for-work version of "Bleed It Out" at Live Earth:


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