August 21, 2008

Link-O-Rama

  • First Batgirl, then Will Young, and now Ubelmann. Sadly, real-life responsibilities have robbed the Twins blogosphere of another great writer. Luckily, I'm in no danger of getting a life.
  • Slamming someone in the face with a shaving cream pie is not all fun and games.
  • Now a mother, former Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Jessica Alba is making the most improbable, dramatic comeback since Josh Hamilton. Expect her to be traded for Edinson Volquez shortly.
  • Of course, being a mom didn't stop Kate Beckinsale from finishing third in the recent OFGoAG.com voting and it doesn't stop her from looking like this in a bikini.
  • In order to protect the identity of the person involved let's just say that the managing editor of a very popular sports website recently pointed me to Chickipedia and said: "You're the first person I thought of." It's nice to be the baseball blogosphere's foremost pervert.
  • New Deadspin staffer Clay Travis is willing to go to great lengths for an exclusive.
  • Joe Posnanski of the Kansas City Star has long been my favorite newspaper columnist, but after launching a personal website last year he became my favorite newspaper columnist-turned-blogger. Now he's been hired by Sports Illustrated, which while excellent news probably makes any potential "favorite" titles way too long. He's just really, really good.
  • A friendly warning to all the celebrities out there: Blogging is harder than it looks. Especially if you're from Chicago and can't correctly spell "Michael Jordan."
  • Also harder than it looks? Actually eating the Michael Phelps diet that was linked to in this space last week. Meanwhile, the world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, has the same diet as the average 12-year-old.
  • Phelps has obviously become the star of this year's Olympics, but Bolt's performance strikes me as more impressive, or at least more relevant to the overall world of athletics. There's zero question that Phelps dominated his sport on a historic level, but "swimming" is a lot more specialized and niche-like than "running." Being unbeatable in the pool doesn't translate to much else without water involved, but running ridiculously fast translates on at least some level to nearly every major sport.

    If given the choice between being the world's greatest swimmer and the world's fastest man, my guess is that most people would pick the latter without giving it a second thought. Seriously, imagine being so fast that you can coast to the finish line while showboating and still blow out a collection of the world's greatest runners ... in a race that essentially lasts 10 seconds. Suffice it to say that you won't see many articles wondering if Phelps could possibly have a future in the NFL.

  • On the other hand, you will see at least one article pondering whether or not Phelps is "a douche." Also in Bolt's favor is that he doesn't have to worry about suddenly being at very high risk for a sexually transmitted disease. Yet another situation where running would come in more handy than swimming.
  • Regardless of where you stand on the "Phelps or Bolt?" issue, one thing is clear: My employers are doing pretty well this month.
  • It comes about five years too late, but Jennifer Love Hewitt finally agrees with the advice that losers like me have been giving her for a decade:
    I wish I had been nude from the time I was 12 until I was 28. I looked great! I want to tell all young girls to walk around in bikinis all summer and enjoy it. I want to tell them to never, ever feel bad about anything, because there will be that one day in your 20s when you'll eat a hamburger and actually see the hamburger on the side of your leg. Initially it's shocking, and you think, Whoa, I have to actually think about what I eat and work out double the amount I did before.

    In terms of timing, her revelation is a bit like someone on their death bed noting that not smoking three packs of cigarettes every day for 50 years would have been a smart move. Hopefully this is sufficient motivation for the world's scientists to get working on a time machine.

  • Remember the good old days when magazines used to actually employ fact-checkers? Someone at Orlando Magazine needs to be shown Baseball-Reference.com. Or, you know, Google.
  • Here's Sarah Silverman, unknowingly (it seems) providing a definition of irony:


    Oh, and the above video also provides a decent definition of "not safe for work," so be warned.
  • Last week the Twins made a trade with the A's for Gary Gaetti's son, Joe Gaetti, who'd been let go by two teams despite hitting .284/.366/.511 in six minor-league seasons, including .284/.360/.543 in 80 games between Double-A and Triple-A this year. Gaetti debuted at New Britain over the weekend and homered in his first at-bat. Unfortunately, it was also his last at-bat, because Gaetti tore his Achilles' tendon while rounding the bases and will miss the remainder of the season.
  • My keeper-league fantasy football draft has been unfolding via e-mail all week. My team didn't start out very pretty, because last season's keepers like Ronnie Brown, Laurence Maroney, Travis Henry, Vince Young, and Marc Bulger have since seen their value dip so much that they weren't even worth retaining under the protection rules. Regardless of sport or league I'm not really used to doing a whole lot of rebuilding, but the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Draft Guide got me through it.

    From the constantly updated player profiles and detailed projections to the in-depth sleeper picks and customizable cheat sheets, trusting the Draft Guide gave me a ton of confidence despite spending the past six months focused almost entirely on baseball. This is half-plug and half-testimonial, but either way if you're going to be drafting between now and Week 1 you should definitely have the Draft Guide by your side. My fellow keeper leaguers especially will benefit from the keeper-specific analysis.

    QB: Jay Cutler, Matt Schaub
    RB: Jonathan Stewart, LenDale White, Selvin Young, Chris Johnson
    WR: Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Donald Driver, Ronald Curry
    TE: Kellen Winslow

    That's what my team looks like with five rounds to go, and considering how things looked before the draft putting together that group in a 12-team league is a minor miracle. Gregg Rosenthal convinced me to buy into his Cutler hype, so if lives up to his billing as "the next great quarterback" Rosenthal will be my hero. For the most part this space rarely contains gratuitous plugs for Rotoworld stuff, so trust me on this one. Get the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Draft Guide.

  • Finally, some practical advice that can be applied to important, real-life situations that people find themselves in every day.
  • Whenever the subject of the newspaper industry's rapidly declining print circulation comes up in this space, several commenters inevitably mention the growing number of people who read newspapers primarily online. That always struck me as a very fair point and a very important distinction to make, but apparently that's not necessarily the case.
  • When a longtime AG.com reader gets a job covering the Twins for MLB.com, metrics like "Defensive Efficiency" start popping up in articles.
  • For too long my non-online reading was pretty much limited to the baseball books that publishers sent me because of this blog and my association with The Hardball Times, but for some reason lately I've gotten back to reading tons of non-sports books. I'm planning to put together an all-in-one review for later this month, but in the meantime here's an amusing excerpt from Nick Hornby's brilliant debut novel High Fidelity:
    These people look as though they wouldn't have had the time to listen to the first side of Al Green's Greatest Hits, let alone all his other stuff (ten albums on the Hi label alone, although only nine of them were produced by Willie Mitchell); they're too busy fixing base rates and trying to bring peace to what was formerly Yugoslavia to listen to "Sha La La (Make Me Happy)."

    So they might have the jump on me when it comes to accepted notions of seriousness (although as everyone knows, Al Green Explores Your Mind is as serious as life gets), but I ought to have the edge on them when it comes to matters of the heart. ... Maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as a consequence we can never feel merely content: we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heels happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship. Maybe Al Green is directly responsible for more than I ever realized.

    That passage doesn't even begin to do justice to what is an excellent, hilarious book, but as a huge Al Green fan it made me smile. All of which is why this week's AG.com-approved music video is Reverend Al performing "Sha La La (Make Me Happy)" on Soul Train:


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

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