March 18, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• Being a millionaire doesn't mean what it used to, or so all the millionaires say.

Summer Anne Burton is drawing all 295 baseball Hall of Famers and her work is pretty cool.

Jeff Van Gundy is my favorite NBA announcer, but this is still pretty scary.

• Congratulations to my main man Darren Wolfson for becoming a father Saturday. I predict they'll have a father-and-son television or radio show before the kid is out of kindergarten.

• Call me crazy, but I vote for Padma Lakshmi doing more "Top Chef" episodes in a bikini.

Bryce Harper's minor-league at-bats will have a sponsor.

• After five years as the Twins beat writer for MLB.com Kelly Thesier has left the job for a new gig as a communications manager with the LPGA. I was (too) tough on Thesier when she first started at MLB.com, but her improvement over the years was remarkable and she always took my criticisms in stride, or at least managed to act very friendly the few times we met in person. Best of luck to Kelly in the golf world and thanks for five years of Twins coverage.

Thesier's replacement is Rhett Bollinger, who's been helping to cover the Angels and Dodgers for MLB.com since graduating from USC in 2008. I don't know much about him beyond that, but I definitely recognize his name from various MLB.com bylines over the years. Actually, that isn't entirely true. I can also confirm that Bollinger has exceptional taste in bloggers and/or is smart enough to suck up to the jerk who was often critical of the person he's replacing.

Either way, welcome! You can follow Bollinger on Twitter.

• I'm sad to note that Nate Dogg passed away at age 41. His mid-90s peak coincided perfectly with my getting into music and after my dad got me a CD player boombox for my 11th birthday "Regulate ... G Funk Era" was one of my first purchases. Seventeen years later I still have all the words to "Regulate" memorized and marvel at Nate Dogg's ability to turn the phrase "and it's going real swell" into a viable rap lyric. Hopefully his next stop is the East Side Motel.

Terry Ryan and Bill Smith may provide some insight into why only three current MLB general managers are former MLB players.

• For years Jon Krawczynski has been the most underrated sports writer in Minnesota while covering the Twins, Timberwolves, Vikings, and seemingly every other local team in the relative obscurity that comes with being part of the Associated Press content machine. Now he's finally getting some attention, but unfortunately it's because NBA referee Bill Spooner filed a lawsuit against Krawczynski for this January 24 post on Twitter:

No one will ever confuse me for a lawyer, but I can't imagine how someone could win a lawsuit over that. How does Spooner prove he didn't say that, let alone prove damages and whatever else is required to win the case? Beyond that, by suing Spooner has ensured that thousands and thousands of people read Krawczynski's original tweet, which was initially seen by at most his 2,000 followers and was only re-tweeted a dozen times before the lawsuit news broke.

• Speaking of the Associated Press, they'll now be asking Krawczynski and other MLB writers to pen "hometown" versions of game recaps in addition to standard stories so local newspapers not staffing games with their own writers can better use the content. That helps newsrooms that have suffered through big staff cuts, but it'll also lead to even more cookie-cutters recaps. Or as AP sports editor Terry Taylor said: "They were more concerned with just getting it fast."

• Everything you ever wanted to know and more about Adrian Beltre and head rubbing.

• My latest podcast discovery is "The Best Show On WFMU" hosted by Tom Scharpling, who is somehow consistently entertaining and funny while doing a three-hour show with zero breaks. He rants about various topics, takes calls from an odd and amusing cast of regulars, breaks in and out of an ultra-sarcastic persona, often has big-name guests from the comedy and music worlds, and sprinkles in fake guests played brilliantly by Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster.

"The Best Show" is truly unlike anything I've ever listened to before and I'd probably classify it as an acquired taste because of the quirkiness and many inside joke-like aspects, but I've very quickly burned through two years of the decade-long archive and am convinced Scharpling is a genius. Along with hosting my new favorite podcast, he was a "Monk" writer/producer, wrote NBA articles for Slam magazine, and is doing a new television series with Paul F. Tompkins.

• In a rare trip to the movie theater I saw "The Adjustment Bureau" last week. I'm a sucker for that type of science fiction plot and the overall conceit of the movie was very intriguing, but the actual execution was disappointing, especially in the final half-hour or so. Despite some solid performances from Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, and especially Anthony Mackie it left me feeling like Philip K. Dick's story had been wasted. Grade: C-plus.

• This guy must really hate Fan Graphs.

Jim Nantz may be CBS' lead announcer, but for me there's no question that Gus Johnson is the true voice of the NCAA tournament and Greg Bishop of the New York Times penned a very good profile of the undisputed king of exciting calls.

• Also in the New York Times this week, Grant Hill wrote an excellent response to Jalen Rose regarding the portrayal of Duke players in ESPN's new Rose-produced "Fab Five" documentary. Hill's entire piece is really good, but the last line is spectacular.

• I'll be rooting for Tim Collins this season, at least whenever he's not facing the Twins.

• I don't watch many network television shows at this point, but four of the spots on my DVR are filled with Thursday night NBC comedies and I'm thrilled that "Community" and "Parks and Recreation" have both been renewed for next season along with "30 Rock" and "The Office."

Tim Lincecum spent the offseason trying to put on weight and revealed his methods, which led to a whole bunch of baseball scribes writing articles about how he often got three double-doubles, two orders of fries, and a half-chocolate/half-strawberry shake from In-N-Out. I guess that's a lot of food for someone listed at 165 pounds to put down, but as a longtime fatboy it hardly seems worthy of such shocked coverage. On a related note, I've started another diet.

• I'm writing some lengthy season preview articles over at Hardball Talk, including this one on the AL Central's worst team and this one on J.J. Hardy's new team. Check 'em out, please.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Regulate" by Nate Dogg and Warren G:

http://www.minnpost.com/braublog/2011/03/14/26601/nba_ref_sues_ap_sports_reporter_over_twitter_tweet

12 Comments »

  1. These link-o-rama’s are great thanks. I totally agree with your take on Jon Krawczynski being an underrated sports writer in Minnesota. Never met him but between correspondence on Twitter and listening to him on local sports talk radio programs, you couldn’t find a greater person. I don’t know how this goes anywhere in court. The lawsuit smells like defecation, not defamation.

    Comment by bennyc50 — March 17, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

  2. Thanks for linking the Grant Hill piece. Phenomenal.

    Comment by Joe — March 18, 2011 @ 12:53 am

  3. Grant Hill is a good guy and all, but he seems to have missed the point. As have his readers, apparently…

    Comment by hmmm — March 18, 2011 @ 12:56 am

  4. I agree with hmmm. Grant Hill is a great guy, and his opinion is well stated, but it’s sad that Jalen Rose is being publicly crucified for giving an honest assessment of how he felt about Duke as an 18 year-old freshman from Michigan.

    Comment by Kopy — March 18, 2011 @ 8:21 am

  5. Agree with the previous two posts. The piece by Hill is very well written, but it seems to miss the point. Jalen Rose made it clear that those were his (and many others that he grew up with) feelings as an 18 year old at Michigan. Hill’s writing suggests that it is Jalen’s current thoughts. When watching the documentary, that isn’t the case and Rose shows he has a lot of respect and admiration for Hill.

    Comment by Gary — March 18, 2011 @ 8:40 am

  6. Agreed — the Hill episode shows that nuance and shades of gray are lost on a lot of people today. When you dig into it a little bit, it was really not as negative as people portray and folks like John Feinstein, who should know better, were and are spreading some misinformation.

    Comment by funoka — March 18, 2011 @ 9:58 am

  7. I love those Summer Anne Burton drawings.

    Comment by Bryn — March 18, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

  8. As a tall, lanky, and far too skinny dude myself, the news about Lincecum’s eating habits is far from shocking. I’m “blessed” with superhuman metabolism, and due to other personal health issues, often speak with doctors and dietician’s about my diet and the food I eat. Their recommendation on calorie intake for me to add weight/build muscle is 10,000+ per day (combined with exercise of course). That’s about 14 Double Quarter Pounders w/Cheese per day if you’re wondering. (and I’m in no way shape or form trying to brag to anyone who struggles with their weight, as my issue with putting any on is just as big for me personally, physically, and mentally)

    Comment by Steve L. — March 18, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

  9. As a tall, lanky, and far too skinny dude myself, the news about Lincecum’s eating habits is far from shocking. I’m “blessed” with superhuman metabolism, and due to other personal health issues, often speak with doctors and dietician’s about my diet and the food I eat.

    Well, enjoy it. I used to have that too, and then one day I didn’t. It was a rude awakening. If you’re older than 30 or so, then you might be fine. If not, well, it might not last forever…

    I’ve got a friend who is like you. I used to be like him, too. Sadly, my days of high calories and no worries are in the past…

    Comment by Son of Shane Mack — March 18, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  10. Just Remember just because Fan Graphs says this is what player X was worth last year doesn’t mean he should be getting paid anything close to that amount.

    Sometimes, obviously, a player will get paid more than what he’s “worth” other times it will be less. It is proven that the amounts of time a player should be payed less is more than a player who should be getting more.

    There are many many variables Fangraphs doesn’t take into account…. Career Years, (Mauer ’09) ..position scarcity or Injury history of deemed player and many many others….

    Comment by Steve Hoffman — March 18, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

  11. LOVE the Best Show on WFMU! You should check out the four CDs of calls under the Scharpling & Wurster name taken from the show, also.

    Comment by Nathan Lind — March 19, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

  12. I third your endorsement of The Best Show on WFMU. It’s brilliant.

    Comment by Ted — April 15, 2011 @ 12:07 pm

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