My "live chat" over at Rotoworld yesterday went extremely well. There were a total of 3,575 questions asked by 1,838 participants, which is pretty insane given that it was basically just me discussing Jay Cutler, making jokes about Gregg Rosenthal, and dropping Seinfeld references for two hours. There were so many questions pouring in that it was tough to keep up, but the actual program was very easy to use and I'm planning to give it a try here soon. If you're interested, here's the transcript.
Incidentally, quite a few AG.com readers must have been involved, because there were 50 or so Keeley Hazell-related questions submitted (it took amazing restraint to answer only one of them).
Speaking of Hazell, after an unfortunate drought last month my scouts are finally sending in tons of Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com links. Of course, as usual none of them are evenremotelysafeforwork.
Richard Hoffer of Sports Illustrated recently wrote an excellent piece about Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully, who even at 80 years old still makes me tune into Dodgers games just for him every night. Also, my offer still stands: "I'd pay a month's salary to replace Bert Blyleven and Dick Bremer with Vin Scully, even for a season."
When they're not running two "Gleeman World" franchises in Hardball Dynasty, friends of AG.com Keith Arnold and Phil Arnold found time to launch a new site called Road to Gameday, featuring their cross-country trip to "chronicle college football's best rivalries, traditions, campuses, and tailgates." If you're a football fan or just enjoy oddly amusing videos, it's definitely worth checking out. Plus, sending them readers makes me feel less guilty about taking one of Keith's top prospects in the Rule 5 draft.
It's pretty tough for a 45-year-old man to look cool playing softball wearing jeans and orange shoes while smoking a cigar, but Michael Jordan definitely pulls it off.
After a one-week hiatus, my weekly segment on "The Power Trip Morning Show" with Mike Morris, Cory Cove, and Chris Hawkey resumes at 8:00 a.m. today. You know, because there's nothing better than breaking down the Twins' depressing 5-9 road trip on the radio at eight o'clock in the morning. To listen online, click here.
At 31 years old and four years removed from an MVP-caliber season, Daunte Culpepperannounced his retirement yesterday while saying that he's been unfairly kept out of the NFL. While there's perhaps some truth to his complaints, at the end of the day he was a shell of his former self after a major knee injury in 2005. It's tough to come back from that as a 275-pound running quarterback who never made the world's greatest decisions as a passer, but for a brief window he was pretty spectacular.
Judging from this video, Pro Bowl tight end Chris Cooley, his ex-cheerleader wife, and his Redskins teammates recently engaged in the world's worst fantasy football draft:
Seven minutes of jam-packed goodness co-starring Fred Smoot, with lots of confused people staring blankly at cheat sheets before trying to draft someone who went off the board three rounds earlier and rookie Colt Brennan inexplicably taking LenDale White about 50 picks too soon.
After a grand total of three mixed martial arts bouts--including one loss--Brock Lesnar is now slated to face one of the greatest MMA fighers of all time, Randy Couture, at UFC 91 in November. It seems short-sighted at best for the UFC to throw Lesnar into the fire so quickly, but if 10 million people buy the fight on pay-per-view Dana White and company probably won't care whether he's truly ready. Couture is 45 years old and hasn't fought since last August, but he's probably the smart bet.
Joining forces with NBCSports.com a couple years ago led to the cancellation of my "Pick of the Day" gambling column over at Rotoworld, but apparently everyone is fine with football picks. My hope is that having my against-the-spread picks displayed in public on a weekly basis will keep me from feeling the need to actually hypothetically gamble on games, but then again that was also the theory behind my latest weight-loss program and the pounds aren't exactly flying off me. My record so far is 1-0!
September means roster expansion for MLB teams and earlier this week the Twins' seven call-ups were discussed inthis space. My hope was that friend of AG.comAndy Baldwin would be among the Mariners' call-ups this month, but unfortunately his early season struggles at Triple-A probably kept the 25-year-old Minnesota native (and son of my uncle's childhood friend) from being added to the 40-man roster this year.
Baldwin had a disastrous April in his first taste of Triple-A, but went 10-4 with a 4.33 ERA and 79-to-30 strikeout-to-ratio in 133 innings from May 1 on, which is plenty solid given that the Pacific Coast League as a whole had a 4.85 ERA. He's never missed many bats despite standing 6-foot-5 and throwing very hard, totaling 469 strikeouts in 722 career innings. Instead, he's an extreme fly-ball pitcher who pounds the strike zone, which interestingly makes him similar to most of the Twins' pitching prospects.
Baldwin played college ball with Jacoby Ellsbury at Oregon State and was taken by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2004 draft, before being traded to the Mariners for Jamie Moyer in mid-2006. With a 4.41 ERA and 469-to-141 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 722 pro innings he's obviously not an elite prospect and his 26th birthday coming up next month means that the clock is definitely ticking, but Baldwin is good enough to get a shot in the majors and he's someone to root for.
It took 17 years and 362 pro homers, but 36-year-old journeyman Scott McClain finally went deep in a major-league game Wednesday. A 22nd-round pick way back in 1990, McClain reached Triple-A for the first time as a 23-year-old in 1993, but little did he know that he'd spend the next 10 years there (plus four more in Japan). Setting aside time in Japan, he hit .271/.357/.484 in 6,702 trips to the plate spread over 1,664 games in the minors prior to Wednesday. Crash Davismarvels at his persistence.
It upset me when the Timberwolves drafted Kansas guard Mario Chalmers in the second round only to immediately trade him, but his career is off to a dubious start. ESPN.com reports that Chalmers and Kansas teammate Darrell Arthur "were thrown out of the NBA's rookie transition program after being caught in their hotel room with marijuana and women." Interestingly, a poll asking "how much does it bother you if athletes use marijuana?" shows that over half of 125,000 respondents said, "Not at all."
Finally, in honor of Chalmers this week's AG.com-approved music video is Jason Mraz performing a live version of "Live High" in Amsterdam (where else?):
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.