May 15, 2008
If you guessed David Ortiz, then you're only off by 100 pounds and 230 points of slugging percentage.
I thought I had earned my stripes there. I had a tough role. You'd go a week without playing, but I thought I did my job. I guess they didn't think about that when they made the decision. I'd like to get a shot at them. I know that.
A couple days before chatting with Kornheiser on the radio, LeBatard wrote an excellent guest column over at The Big Lead in which he discussed the changing sports media landscape. LeBatard has long been one of my favorite mainstream media personalities and provides a unique perspective because he's a veteran newspaper columnist despite being in his 30s. LeBatard's whole piece is a must-read, but here's an excerpt that seems particularly relevant to this blog:
Not dying, dead. They're dead. It's the same feeling that the buggy whip manufacturers must have had when the first car left the assembly line.
Minnesotans know as well as anyone that there's no shortage of dead weight in the sports sections of newspapers, but it's a shame that good, smart writers like Kornheiser and LeBatard are often the ones stepping away for other opportunities while much of the dreck remains. It's like taking the most popular meal off a menu because the entire restaurant is losing money, although in Kornheiser's case his column writing had been minimal lately and in LeBatard's case the newspaper didn't have any choice.
For all the access we have, Old Media sometimes doesn't do as much with it as we could. Baseball, as one example, seems to be covered better and more accurately underground, in the mathematical community, than it is anywhere in American newspapers. It is staggering how much more people without access sometimes can know than people with access. So sometimes the guy on his couch is smarter than the guy in the press box, and the fan should have both options and be discerning.
Aschburner and several other prominent ex-Star Tribune employees landed at upstart non-profit site MinnPost, which recently celebrated its sixth-month anniversary by announcing some fairly promising readership and revenue numbers. I'm plenty biased, of course, because along with employing Brauer, Aschburner, and a whole lineup full of veteran journalists who exited the newspaper world MinnPost also runs a weekly column from me.
A compelling argument can be made for Simmons being the single most influential sports writer of my lifetime, because he's played a huge role in the ongoing shift from print to online all while becoming immensely popular, with a devoted readership that dwarfs the combined efforts of most newspapers. He's reportedly under contract through 2010, but within days of expressing his displeasure with ESPN, Simmons started up a personal blog and posted a 15,000-word story that he wrote a decade ago.
Yes, I still work for ESPN. No, I'm not writing for ESPN.com as much--my choice, not theirs. That's just the way it will be from now on, unfortunately. I'd have more to say, but I'd end up being profane and I don't want to offend Buzz Bissinger.
I still love writing my column and only re-signed last year because I really did believe that we had hashed out all the behind the scenes bullshit and come to some sort of agreement on creative lines, media criticism rules, the promotion of the column and everything else on ESPN.com. Within a few months, all of those things changed and certain promises were not kept. It's as simple as that.
You'll also notice that my shirt comes straight from "The Tony Soprano Collection For Fat Guys".
Prior to this week I can't recall ever advising someone to pay a debt in pennies or reading an article about a future Hall of Famer paying a debt in pennies, so the fact that both things happened within a 10-hour span has thoroughly shaken my belief system.
When pitcher Josh Fogg approached his locker Wednesday afternoon, he found it nearly walled off with blocks of pennies. To be exact: 60 boxes of pennies in $25 increments. Griffey was the culprit. Fogg said the "reason is probably not to be discussed in the media," but the scuttlebutt was that it was from a bet. "I didn't think he could do it," Fogg said. "I told him he couldn't get it done."
Griffey was tickled to see Fogg's reaction to the gag. He said each box weighed 16 pounds. "Basically he has 60 bowling balls in his locker," Griffey said. Griffey wanted the pennies to arrive in money bags but said he felt bad someone at a bank would have to count the bags upon their return. Fogg has in his possession 150,000 pennies, or $1,500.
UPDATE: Now with visual evidence.
Needless to say that the blogging world has spent the past month on pins and needles regarding my rice-buying experience, so I'll be kind enough to provide an update. As much fun as it was spending $2,500 on rice, I've put an end to that about $2,400 too late by purchasing a Panasonic rice cooker and 25-pound bag of rice for a total of about $75. The first batch came out beautifully, but as they say in the news business, stay tuned because this story is developing.
For years now my favorite meal in the world has been "hunan chicken with carrots, baby corn, and extra rice" from Yangtze in St. Louis Park. I can say without even an ounce of hyperbole that I've ordered it 500 times. The other day they raised the price a couple dollars, informing me that the cost of rice had risen too high for them to stick with the old amount. That didn't bother me at all, especially after seeing a "Skyrocketing rice prices has Sam's Club limiting sales" headline on CNN.com.
However, the good people at Yangtze then informed me that even before the price increase the cost of each order had already included $5 to account for the seemingly minor "extra rice" part. So now, after ordering the exact same thing from the exact same restaurant multiple times per week for the past 7-8 years, I've come to the startling, highly disturbing realization that I've likely spent somewhere around $2,500 on white rice. If only Guinness had a category for carbohydrate-based stupidity.
Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.