When two of my favorite sportswriters get together to discuss one of my favorite television shows, it's definitely worth listening to. An hour-long discussion about The Wire between Bill Simmons and Jason Whitlock couldn't help but be highly entertaining, and they even veered off into an interesting tangent about one of my pet topics, the newspaper industry. Plus, hearing one grown man call another grown man "Big Sexy" at the end of a serious, in-depth conversation made the whole thing even better.
I'm heading to New York next week to shoot some season-preview episodes at the NBC Sports studio, so you'll be able to definitively see why my face was made for calling in over the phone.
Along with discussing his impending free agency and how it relates to Jonathan Papelbon, a recent article in the Boston Herald noted that Joe Nathan "has the lowest ERA of any reliever with at least 200 innings since 2004." That's the year when Nathan joined the Twins and during that four-year span he's gone 19-8 with a 1.94 ERA, 160 saves, and a 355-to-80 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 282.1 innings.
Pat Neshek paid me a random compliment earlier this week on his (non-permalink enabled) blog, writing: "I love his site!" I'm occasionally asked if "the Twins" read this blog and always reply that it's pretty unlikely, but it's nice to know that at least one player is a fan. And the feeling is definitely mutual. As I've written several times before, between his fantastic on-field performance and unique off-field personality it's difficult not to be a huge Neshek fan. He is, after all, the Official Relief Pitcher of AG.com.
Regular Star Tribune readers will surely recognize John Millea's name and face (he's the guy in the middle, holding the bat), because he's been covering high-school sports (among other things) for the newspaper since 1991. The two guys flanking him on either side, Brian Stensaas and David LaVaque, are familiar to me because they were both sports editors at the Minnesota Daily and both rejected me for a position on the staff.
LaVaque e-mailed me a couple years ago and suggested that it was time to "shed the enormous chip on your shoulder regarding not getting hired at the Daily." I'm of the opinion that my disappointing experience there has driven me to find success, so I'm in no hurry to remove whatever chip remains on my shoulder, but any grudge that I'm holding isn't necessarily directed at LaVaque or Stensaas, who were both perfectly friendly to me in person.
They're not alone in turning down my attempts to join the student-run Daily, because there were a total of nine rejections during my four years at the University of Minnesota. The people doing the rejecting and the circumstances involved in the rejections changed throughout the years, while the one constant in every situation was obviously me. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that while my feelings about the Daily in general remain unfavorable, I'm glad to see Stensaas and LaVaque doing well.
I'm asked every week to plug various new blogs in this space and can't always oblige, but one way for bloggers to guarantee themselves a link here is to marry the sister of my best friend growing up. It works every time.
In honor of The Wire sadly coming to an end Sunday, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Steve Earledoing a live version of the show's theme song, Tom Waits' "Way Down in the Hole":
In addition to singing this season's version of the song, Earle also plays Bubbles' sponsor Walon.
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.