April 4, 2008

Link-O-Rama

As you may have noticed, the look of this site has changed slightly over the past few days. The basic layout and color scheme remain the same, but the sidebar has shifted from the left side to the right side while expanding in size and the entire site is now centered (depending on your monitor settings). I'm not much for change, generally speaking, and my initial reaction to anything I'm fond of changing at all is typically negative, so I understand if many of you feel the same way about the new look.

With that said, my primary goal with the layout here has always been to keep the site looking simple and clean, and I think that remains true. The site hasn't changed much visually for several years, so it seemed like a good time for a fresh coat of paint. Plus, the expanded sidebar seems less intrusive on the right side than it would have on the left side. Of course, my "design" skills rival Nick Punto's "hitting" skills, so I'm certainly open to suggestions for ways to improve the site's look.

Feel free to voice your opinion about the changes, although this setup will probably be staying for at least a little while. For nearly six years this site was designed for monitors that were 800 pixels wide and apparently that ceased being the standard size a couple years ago without me getting the memo, so the new layout attempts to make a little better use of the available space. With that incredibly boring bit of "news" out of the way, let's get to the links ...

  • Francisco Liriano made his first minor-league rehab start yesterday at high Single-A, turning in the following pitching line:
     IP     H     R     ER     SO     BB     HR
    5.1 6 4 4 8 2 0

    Four runs on six hits over 5.1 innings against Single-A hitters is obviously far from good news, but the eight strikeouts are nice and Liriano kept the ball in the ballpark while showing decent control. Kevin Slowey suffering a biceps strain yesterday afternoon potentially opened the door for the Twins to push Liriano's timetable up, but it sounds like they've smartly decided against that.

  • Marko Jaric may not be the world's smartest backup point guard, but it was still only a matter of time before he did the math.
  • The following video is only two minutes long, but it's a jam-packed 120 seconds. First there's Jeff Brantley stressing the importance of giving away an out down two runs in the ninth inning, as if bunting in that spot is anything but a horrible bit of strategy. Then there's Brantley loudly proclaiming that Edwin Encarnacion is "not a clutch hitter" seconds after an on-screen graphic shows his .360 batting average with runners in scoring position. And then there's Encarnacion making Brantley look very, very silly:


    I'm normally not much of a Thom Brennaman fan, but he at least does his best to combat the incredibly aggressive stream of stupidity that's flowing from his broadcast partner.
  • This seems like a dream job, but I'm told that the benefits package is lacking.
  • After sitting through an angry, anti-blogger diatribe by recently bought-out New York Times columnist Murray Chass, Jon Weisman penned a fantastic piece attempting to make sense of the whole thing.
  • Christina Aguilera's neighbors are reportedly upset because she likes to go skinny dipping in her pool at night while "making sexy noises" with her husband. Seriously. My favorite quote: "There are a lot of old people who live around here and they don't like noise after the dinner hour." Meanwhile, I've lived in my "new" place for over a year now and couldn't pick my neighbors out of a police lineup.
  • If you thought it was strange living in a world where Forbes names Kevin McHale the best general manager in sports and the Wall Street Journal names Ron Gardenhire the best manager in baseball, try wrapping your head around the idea of the Associated Press Sports Editors naming Bill Plaschke the best newspaper sports columnist in the country ... for the third time in four years.
  • On a related note:
    U.S. newspapers suffered their worst drop in print advertising sales since industry record-keeping began 57 years ago, hammered by the housing-market slump and competition from the Internet.

    Last month it was reported that the country's top 20 newspapers have collectively lost about 10 percent of their overall print readership during the past four years, which works out to around 1.4 million copies in daily circulation, so it only makes sense that advertising revenue would follow.

  • Every once in a while it's nice to remember the good old days.
  • This week's NBCSports.com "Fantasy Fix" show features me talking with Tiffany Simons and Gregg Rosenthal about early season injuries and players who won jobs during spring training:


    Near the end of the video, you can hear me fawn over Carlos Gomez's Opening Night performance.
  • In the lineup Wednesday despite being hit on the elbow by a Juan Rincon fastball the night before, Torii Hunter took the opportunity to inform a new group of media members that he's a tough guy:
    I'm the ironman. I'm old-school. I play no matter what, unless I can't move.

    When he wasn't busy publicly criticizing teammates for not playing through injuries, the self-proclaimed "ironman" who supposedly "plays no matter what" missed an average of 20 games per season from 2001-2007, including years with 64, 24, 15, 14, and 14 missed games. Just saying.

  • Jim Mandelaro of the Rochester Democract and Chronicle wrote an article examining what figures to be a strong Triple-A team that will likely send plenty of players to Minnesota throughout the season.
  • Earlier this week Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune provided an update on Corey Koskie's ongoing health problems.
  • Carlos Silva spent four seasons with the Twins, making a total 124 starts, and never once threw as many as 115 pitches in any of them. Then he departed this winter as a free agent, signing with Seattle, and threw 116 pitches in his very first start with the Mariners.
  • With baseball starting up this week, I'm back to writing my "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.
  • Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Jason Mraz doing a live, acoustic version of "Geek in the Pink" at some tiny venue in Paris:


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

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