May 22, 2008

Link-O-Rama

  • My MinnPost colleague Pat Borzi wrote an interesting article this week examining the potential food options for the Twins' new ballpark and made this brilliant suggestion for a signature item:
    Sweet Martha's cookies. This is such an automatic it's not even funny. What's better than the smell of freshly baked cookies? Sell 'em in a Twins bucket, and let people bring the bucket back for discount refills. If they sell nothing else in the ballpark, they've got to sell these, provided Martha's owner/namesake Martha Rossini Olson can swing it. Olson did not respond to a phone message, but a Martha's rep told MinnPost in an email, "The Twins have been in contact with Sweet Martha's and it is up in the air whether or not they will be included in the new ballpark."

    As someone who once went to the Taste of Minnesota with an empty backpack, filled it with buckets of Sweet Martha's cookies, and then immediately drove home, this really needs to happen. I'm perfectly willing to be morbidly obese for the remainder of my unhealthy, fat-shortened life if it means being able to eat those cookies while watching the Twins play outdoors.

  • Speaking of people gorging themselves on food at the ballpark, it sounds like Monday night's new all-you-can-eat promotion at the Metrodome had a few issues.
  • Last week's Link-O-Rama included a note about Padres front-office member Paul DePodesta's new blog and this week he posted an amusing anecdote about scouting high schoolers:
    Sometimes the gamesmanship goes a little too far. A few weeks ago I was leaving a high school game and on my way to another one. I was expecting to be in the car for at least an hour, so I planned to stop at the bathroom before leaving. With no indoor bathroom in sight, the port-o-potty on the way to the parking lot was the only option.

    As I approached, I thought I heard a voice. It was only when I reached out my hand to grab the door handle that I heard the voice loud and clear. It was a scout, inside the port-o-potty, on his cell phone reporting what other teams were in attendance at the game. Out of respect for his effort (and sacrifice), I kept walking.

    In talking about DePodesta's blog last week my guess was that "we can expect something similar from a Twins front-office staffer in May of 2058," but now we can probably change that to 2075 or so.

  • Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Keeley Hazell's sudden and increasing tendency to wear clothes would be far more upsetting if she didn't look so good in them. Meanwhile, fellow OFGoAG.com candidate Marisa Miller has looked better.
  • On a related note, by scrolling down the newly updated right-hand sidebar you'll see that there's now an Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com timeline and list of current candidates. The throne has been empty for over a year and my mind is finally almost made up on the next title-holder, but much like the new AG.com logo the actual decision may come down to a reader vote. Stay tuned.
  • Incidentally, if you have any thoughts on the site's new look or any ideas for additional things that should be added to the sidebar, feel free to let me know.
  • My friend and Rotoworld colleague Matthew Pouliot was recently profiled by the Wall Street Journal. Pouliot is the biggest content source and one of the primary driving forces behind the world's largest fantasy sports website, so it's great to see him getting some much-deserved props. When he takes a rare vacation and I'm asked to help fill in, it immediately becomes clear how ridiculously hard he works. The lengthy article is well worth reading, but you can also watch a video version of the profile:


    My favorite part is the discussion of his personal life and video game-playing habits.
  • Speaking of Rotoworld, managing editor Gregg Rosenthal stumbled across a now-hilarious version of the site from way back in 1999 and found the "writers wanted" note from 2003 that led to his hiring. Rosenthal is responsible for me joining Rotoworld a couple years later, so needless to say that the old stuff is fascinating to me.
  • Last week Bill Simmons complained publicly about his strained relationship with ESPN and started a personal blog where he posted an old 15,000-word article. This week he posted more old articles on the blog, accused ESPN.com editors of censoring his jokes, and invoked the character Mitch McDeere from The Firm. It must be incredibly liberating to have "f*** you money."
  • On the other hand, unhappy or not this week Simmons also penned a new column for ESPN.com in which he addresses AG.com favorite John Mayer's "big year" and recorded a new podcast featuring another AG.com favorite, Chuck Klosterman. Simmons and Klosterman are two of my absolute favorite writers, so hearing them chat for an hour was great, especially once the conversation inevitably turned to writing.

    Not only did Klosterman literally make me laugh out loud with a line about wanting to be elderly and eat soft food at a nursing home, he smoothly reversed the interview by questioning Simmons about how his life and writing have changed as a result of ESPN fame. Simmons squirmed plenty, but eventually revealed some interesting details. Also of note is that he either declined to address his apparent feud with ESPN or whatever discussion he had on the subject was completely edited out. Give it a listen.

  • Adam Everett was placed back on the disabled list yesterday, hours after being described in this space as "clearly having problems making even routine throws with his still-balky shoulder." With Alexi Casilla and Howie Clark already up from Rochester to replace Nick Punto and Matt Tolbert, the Twins turned to the final potential middle infielder on the 40-man roster, promoting Matt Macri from Triple-A. Macri ranked No. 37 on my annual list of the Twins' top 40 prospects and got this write-up:
    Originally taken out of an Iowa high school by the Twins in the 17th round of the 2001 draft, Matt Macri opted for college instead of signing and played three seasons at Notre Dame, batting .367/.465/.667 in his final year. Selected by the Rockies in the fifth round of the 2004 draft, Macri hit well between two levels of Single-A to begin his minor-league career before batting just .232/.293/.370 with a 66-to-22 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 84 games at Double-A in 2006.

    Asked to repeat Double-A last season, Macri bounced back by hitting .298/.349/.502 with 11 homers, 34 total extra-base hits, and a 58-to-20 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 79 games. Traded to the Twins in August for Ramon Ortiz, Macri moved up to Triple-A and finished the season by hitting .286/.322/.554 with four homers in 17 games. Macri now carries a .282/.350/.467 hitting line in 296 career games, with solid numbers everywhere except for the season at Double-A in 2006.

    He's played all over the infield defensively and is considered a solid glove at third base, so it's easy to see Macri emerging with a major-league job at some point. On the other hand, he turns 26 years old in May, doesn't have much plate discipline, and has struck out in 21 percent of his career trips to the plate. He might be stretched as an everyday player, but being productive platooning against left-handed pitching is doable and the Twins' system lacks good bats, let alone infielders with power.

    Brian Buscher is batting .312/.392/.504 in 35 games at Triple-A so far this season, while Macri hit just .263/.324/.434 in 29 games prior to the call-up, but defensive versatility is obviously the Twins' primary concern at the moment. With Punto due back from the DL as soon as next week Macri's first stay in the majors figures to be a short one, although if the Twins are convinced that he can passably handle shortstop and second base he should strike them as a superior option to Clark.

  • Double knockouts are always amusing:


    Not quite Rocky Balboa versus Apollo Creed, but it'll work.
  • I've been catching up on Alan Sepinwall's outstanding television writing since stumbling across his blog and Newark Star-Ledger column a few months ago, so it was great to discover that he went back and reviewed every episode of one of my all-time favorite shows, Freaks and Geeks, years after it was unfortunately canceled about 10 seasons too soon. Reading through Sepinwall's entertaining recaps made me sad all over again.
  • For years now Howard Stern has suggested--usually in regard to Billy Joel divorcing supermodel Christie Brinkley--that for even the most beautiful women in the world there's always one man sick of being with her. That always seemed absurd to me, but perhaps there's some truth to it after all.
  • It's about time that the always amazing comments section at the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website gets some national attention.

    UPDATE: This one is pretty good too.

  • Friend of AG.com Chris Jaffe wrote a great column this week at The Hardball Times looking at the many amazing facts from the sadly now-completed Julio Franco era.
  • My on-camera career somehow continues to roll on against all odds and multiple chins. This time I'll be appearing on FOX's "Sports Primetime" show Sunday night with Doogie Wolfson. We're scheduled to be the second half of the 10 o'clock news, but FOX airing a NASCAR race may push things back to 10:45 or so. I'm giving serious thought to breaking out a sport coat for the occasion, so you'll definitely want to tune in.
  • Finally, someone e-mailed me a few days ago complaining that the weekly AG.com-approved music video is never a country song. There's good reason for that, although the one recent country song that struck me as semi-listenable is Keith Urban doing "You'll Think of Me":


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

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