January 2, 2009

Link-O-Rama

Tomorrow is my 26th birthday, but I've never been enthusiastic about birthdays and at this point it'll just mean that there's one fewer day to work on the annual Rotoworld baseball magazine before it's due at the printer next week. For anyone wondering, being in charge of a 150,000-word magazine that gets put together during the month or so surrounding Christmas, New Year's Eve, and your birthday eventually just causes those events to lose all meaning. Plus, if you round up I'm now 30 years old, which sucks.


Chuck Norris unfortunately does not share my birthday, but these people were born on January 3: Mel Gibson, Eli Manning, John Paul Jones, Bobby Hull, George Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, A.J. Burnett, Danica McKellar, Victoria Principal, Stephen Stills, Robert Loggia, Dabney Coleman, and Hank Stram. That collection of names has to be among the worst for any birthday, right? Seriously, the pickings were so slim that Alisha Klass, Michael Restovich, and the state of Alaska nearly made the cut.

With that exciting celebration out of the way, here are the links ...

  • As Charles Barkley learned the hard way this week, sometimes honesty really isn't the best policy.
  • Official Mainstream Newspaper Columnist of AG.com Joe Posnanski recently posted an interesting blog entry about the questions asked by reporters and included this amusing aside:
    Of course cheering in the press box DOES happen in America, though the culprits are usually the sorts of people that everyone else in the business calls "foofs." I would say "foof" is a difficult word to define precisely--it has a multitude of meanings and shades. ... A foof person is not exactly a bad reporter or a clueless homer or someone who asks players for autographs on the field. A foof is the person who everyone sees in a press box and wonders, "How the heck did he/she get in here?"

    I'm rarely accused of being a "homer" and would never care enough to ask players for autographs, but my guess is that quite a few reporters wondered "how the heck did he get in here?" after seeing me in the media room at the winter meetings last month. Or maybe it was just me doing the wondering.

  • Speaking of Posnanski, apparently good blogging runs in the family because his brother chronicled his amazing weight loss while dropping over 200 pounds in 2008. As someone who lost 92.5 pounds only to gain a big chunk of it right back a couple years later, reading about Tony Posnanski's dramatic transformation makes me equal parts inspired and depressed. Sadly, the only thing worse than being fat is being fat again.
  • Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com runner-up Marisa Miller's latest photo shoot involved wasting a whole bunch of perfectly good Fruit Loops.
  • A couple months ago University of Minnesota journalism student Cody Zwiefelhofer chose me to be the subject of an assigned profile story he was writing for a magazine class and you can now read the lengthy finished product by clicking here.
  • Rarely is a cover version of a song significantly better than the original, but I'm sure we can all agree that Mariah Carey can't hold a candle to Korean singing sensation Dong-Won Kim:


    Most people who watch that video will focus on the actual performance, but my initial reaction was that Kim's version really just highlights some of the most ridiculously awful lyrics in song-writing history.
  • I'm now on Facebook, although much like with MySpace it's unclear to me what the point is exactly.
  • To celebrate the new year, Chris Jaffe examined the history of The Hardball Times and determined that the site has produced 2,649 articles since it launched in early 2004, including at least 10 articles from 36 different writers. Not surprisingly THT boss Dave Studenmund leads the way with 235 articles, including at least two dozen each year. However, it's shocking to me at least that some chump named Aaron Gleeman ranks second with 233 articles and until last month was the site's all-time leader:
    Aaron Gleeman: the Babe Ruth of THT. They used to say Ruth's 714 home runs was a record that may never be broken. Gleeman's 133 articles in one year is a similarly Ruthian figure. It's extra impressive he did it in barely three-quarters of a year.

    Heck, forget the articles for a second. Please note Gleeman was also the site's chief editor, giving him a hand in all other articles. Plus he ran the site. It's Ruthian--if Ruth won 20 games the same season he hit 60 dingers while telling the owners how to run things. THT now has about five people making up for what Gleeman did that one year.

    Part of my joining Rotoworld and NBCSports.com unfortunately involved stepping away from THT after co-creating the site with Matthew Namee, so sadly my byline hasn't appeared there since 2006. While penning 133 articles in one year has allowed me to linger around in THT history, the workload doesn't seem all that extreme even now. After all, both then and now my yearly blog entry count at AG.com has been much higher than 133. Plus, my article count at Rotoworld for 2008 was well over 200.

    In 2004 my gig at Rotoworld was just starting, but as Jaffe notes my THT duties included running the site in addition to writing. Plus, 2004 was actually midway through my college career, which may help explain why there's no diploma hanging on my wall right now. All of which is an overly self aggrandizing way of saying that when you really love to write and really hate school pumping out 133 articles in one year is nothing. Although that's not the first time I've been accused of having "a Ruthian figure."

  • Kim Kardashian has been hooked up with Reggie Bush for quite a while now, but her less attractive sister apparently digs ball hogs with neck tattoos.
  • Despite his blog-hating ways columnist Patrick Reusse has long been one of the bright spots in the Minneapolis Star Tribune sports section, but he'll be cutting his writing workload in half after accepting a new job as host of KSTP radio's morning show. Starting at 5:30 a.m. each day makes for a rough gig, but the following note from the station's press release announcing the hiring outlines the part of the job that Reusse will probably dislike most:
    In addition to new on-air responsibilities, Reusse will contribute with a show blog and other content on the station's website.

    As Reusse wrote not long ago while seemingly equating blogging to homelessness: "Journalism is getting very crowded in this new age of the blogosphere, with the internet giving anyone with an opinion and a computer a venue to vent." Funny how things can change. Welcome to the blogosphere, Pat, and please try to keep the "boot licking, obfuscation, and grandiosity" to a minimum. After all, "we're going to be colleagues."

  • Apparently the International Sports Press Association agrees with me.
  • Katy Perry's music is still more or less unlistenable, but who knew?
  • Friends of AG.com Keith and Phil Arnold recently finished their season-long road trip traveling to the best college football games in the country each week, and the result was amusing videos, lots of good blogging, a SportingNews.com gig, and one photo of an Arnold brother in a Twins hat embracing a girl decked out in Under Armour gear and a Florida Gators beanie. In other words, Road to Game Day lived up to its billing as "the greatest traveling college football website in the history of the internet."
  • Between equally glowing reviews from Bill Simmons and Mick Foley, I'm itching to see The Wrestler.
  • My idea for this week's AG.com-approved music video was "New Happy Birthday Song" by NOFX and my fallback plan was "Lisa It's Your Birthday" by the famous Bart Simpson-Leon Kompowsky duo, but sadly there doesn't appear to be a great video version of either song online. Instead, here's the far less amusing Paul McCartney performing "Birthday":


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