August 31, 2013

Twins trade Justin Morneau to Pirates for Alex Presley and Duke Welker

justin morneau trade

Waiting until the last moment just hours before the August 31 deadline for postseason eligibility, the Twins traded Justin Morneau to the Pirates for Alex Presley and a player to be named later believed to be Duke Welker, saying goodbye to one of the best hitters in team history after 11 years. Morneau passed through waivers unclaimed two weeks ago, meaning the Twins were able to trade him to any team, but interest in the 32-year-old impending free agent was minimal.

Picked by the Twins in the third round of the 1999 draft out of a Canadian high school, Morneau emerged as a stud prospect in 2001, made his MLB debut in 2003 at age 22, and replaced Doug Mientkiewicz as the starting first baseman in mid-2004. After some initial growing pains he was one of the elite left-handed bats in baseball, hitting for both average and power with low strikeout rates while racking up huge RBI totals behind on-base machine Joe Mauer.

He was named AL MVP in 2006, finished runner-up for the award in 2008, and hit .298/.372/.528 with an average of 30 homers, 40 doubles, and 120 RBIs per 150 games from 2006-2010. That includes hitting .345/.437/.618 with 18 homers through 81 games in what was shaping up to be a career-year in 2010, until Morneau slid into second base trying to break up a double play against the Blue Jays on July 7 in Toronto and took a knee to the helmet.

Morneau suffered a concussion, missed the final three months of the season, and has never been the same, hitting just .256/.316/.412 in 330 games since returning from the brain injury in 2011. It's a damn shame, because Morneau was an exceptional all-around hitter at the absolute peak of his skills and formed a near-perfect pairing with Mauer in the middle of the lineup. Mauer got on base, Morneau knocked him in, and the Twins boasted two of baseball's top dozen hitters.

Unfortunately it's been three years since Morneau was even an above average first baseman, let alone an impact bat, and watching him hit .230/.282/.467 with a 36-to-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 41 games since the All-Star break provided little reason to believe that's going to change. He still has some value, particularly if the Pirates shield him from left-handed pitching, but Morneau simply hasn't produced enough at an offense-driven position to remain in the Twins' plans.

Rather than watching him leave for nothing a month from now as a free agent the Twins picked up potentially useful players in Presley and Welker, saved some money, and sent Morneau to a team with a chance to make a deep playoff run. Just in case you weren't already rooting for a team that hasn't had a winning record since 1992, the Pirates have Morneau as their starting first baseman and Francisco Liriano as the No. 1 starter.

alex presley trade

Presley and Welker are a modest return for a big name, but accurately represent the type of diminished value Morneau has at this point thanks to his remaining salary, mediocre production, and impending free agency. Presley turned 28 years old in July and was drafted in the eighth round out of the University of Mississippi in 2006, so he's a non-prospect whose most likely fit is a fourth outfielder with plus speed and experience in all three spots defensively.

Presley had a nice 52-game stretch for the Pirates as a 25-year-old rookie in 2011, but struggled in an expanded role last season and has spent most of this year at Triple-A. Overall he's played 285 games at Triple-A in parts of four seasons there, hitting .309/.377/.460 while averaging 13 homers and 28 steals per 150 games. He draws a decent number of walks, doesn't strike out much, and shows a fairly typical platoon split for a left-handed hitter.

In his various stints with the Pirates totaling 204 games Presley hit .261/.299/.419 with an ugly 138-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 699 plate appearances. He'll need to control the strike zone much better to have any kind of sustained success in the majors, but he showed decent power and while the on-base percentage isn't pretty a .718 OPS isn't that far below the .750 average for MLB outfielders. Given the current state of the Twins, he could be a regular for a little while.

Welker is a 6-foot-7 reliever with a mid-90s fastball and was the Pirates' second-round pick in 2007 out of the University of Arkansas, but he's already 27 years old and has all of one career appearance in the majors. During the past two years Welker struck out 94 batters in 93 innings at Triple-A, which is good but not great for a hard-throwing reliever, and his control is terrible with 4.6 walks per nine innings.

He also has a 2.91 ERA and .219 opponents' batting average with just three homers allowed in 385 plate appearances at Triple-A, so it's easy to see why the Twins would take a flier on the big, hard-throwing right-hander, but for now Welker is merely a bullpen lottery ticket. He could fill a middle relief role next year, although the Twins were already pretty deep in right-handed bullpen options and will soon need to find room for Michael Tonkin too.

Because of how things ended with Morneau in Minnesota and because the concussion (and other injuries) robbed him of a typical decline phase it's somewhat difficult to evaluate his place in team history. It's natural to wonder what could have been if Morneau hadn't suffered a brain injury, but what actually was ... well, it was pretty damn good for a long time. Here are the Twins' all-time leaders in adjusted OPS+ among hitters with at least 3,000 plate appearances:

                     PA     OPS+
Harmon Killebrew   8018     148
Rod Carew          6980     137
Joe Mauer          5060     135
Tony Oliva         6880     131
Bob Allison        4643     131
Kent Hrbek         7137     128
Kirby Puckett      7831     124
JUSTIN MORNEAU     5350     121
Corey Koskie       3257     116
Chuck Knoblauch    4573     114

Even with the concussion cutting his peak very short and hastening his decline Morneau's adjusted OPS+ ranks eighth in Twins history at 121. His adjusted OPS+ was 128 before the concussion and 99 after it. His other all-time Twins ranks include second in slugging percentage, third in homers, fifth in doubles, extra-base hits, and RBIs, sixth in total bases, seventh in games and hits, eighth in walks, and ninth in runs.

I'll always imagine what could have been had Morneau stayed healthy, but I'll also remember his incredible raw power, his ability to do damage spraying line drives from foul pole to foul pole, the little inhale he took in the moment just before bat met ball, and the corkscrew follow-through that ended with the bat raised above his head. Morneau was a helluva player for the Twins, but it was time for both sides to move on. Here's hoping he gets some big hits for the Pirates.


This week's blog content is sponsored by Ticket King, a local ticket broker that doesn't charge check-out fees, offers in-store pickup, and specializes in Twins tickets. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

August 30, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• Sunday afternoon "Gleeman and The Geek" will be broadcasting live from the Minnesota State Fair at the KFAN booth near the grandstand. We're doing an extended two-hour show from 4-6 p.m. and there are bleachers set up so people can hang out, eat food, and watch the show, so it would be great to to see some podcast listeners and blog readers there.

• I've had a running bit on Twitter this season in which I tweet out "Glen Perkins, proven closer" after he converts a save. It's part appreciating how great Perkins has been and part mocking the silliness about the Twins needing a so-called "proven closer" when they traded for Matt Capps. Perkins and his wife Alisha Perkins have done a lot of charitable work with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and now they're selling "Proven Closer" t-shirts to raise money:

Proven Closer shirt

As you can see, in addition to the "proven closer" label it also features a sketch of Perkins zipping up his fly, which he did mid-save earlier this season. I think it's a funny shirt being sold to benefit a great cause by a pair of good people, so I highly encourage everyone to join me in buying one.

UPDATE: I think this midnight conversation shows everyone's true colors perfectly.

• I defy anyone to find a better video of me hitting a milk carton for home run with a bowling pin in someone's kitchen.

• Remember the various fake movies that were featured in "Seinfeld" like "Rochelle, Rochelle" and "Prognosis Negative"? Someone went and made posters for all of them.

• Does a concussion mean it's time to move Joe Mauer away from catcher?

• Every row of this picture from 2001 adds a new dimension of fun. Row 1: Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Row 2: Jennifer Lopez and Chris Judd. Row 3: Jimmy KimmelTriumph The Insult Comic Dog, and Carson Daly. Row 4: Fred Durst. What a time to be alive. I started blogging the next year.

• I've been conducting similar experiments for years, but a lot more data needs to be collected.

• I'd love to hear the story being told by the guy in the middle wearing a Twins jersey. Based on his act-out and the reaction of the woman sitting next to him it seems like a great one.

• Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips freaked out at a reporter and angrily mocked him for one of the few physical traits that society hasn't deemed off limits.

• On a related note, I really liked Will Leitch's article about the athlete/reporter power struggle.

• I have a couple openings in my "Hardball Dynasty" league on WhatIfSports and the new season begins next week. If you're interested in joining, please read this first.

• My favorite scene from this week's "Breaking Bad" was the waiter offering table-side guacamole during an extremely tense meal, so imagine my delight when the actor, Guy Wilson, reached out to me via Twitter to say he's a fan of my writing. Worlds colliding!

• Speaking of great "Breaking Bad" scenes from this week, remixing Hank and Marie watching Miley Cyrus is what makes the internet so wonderfully stupid:

That's just good internetting.

GIF magic, starring Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Fernandez.

• As mentioned on this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode, I hung out in Uptown until 4:00 a.m. Saturday night. Part of the festivities involved seeing Vikings fullback Jerome Felton at Bar Louie around 1:00 a.m. He couldn't have been nicer to my group of drunken doofuses, answering stupid questions about Christian Ponder and, as the bar closed and we exited together, giving out high-fives and hugs. And then 36 hours later the NFL suspended him for substance abuse.

• I had a discussion about this topic Saturday night, so this website comes in handy.

• In addition to recapping my late evening, on this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode fill-in producer Kate Butler set me straight about what may or may not be a turn-on for women.

Michael Baumann of Grantland wrote a good article about Justin Morneau that captures a lot of my same feelings on the subject.

Marlon Byrd was traded by the Mets on "Marlon Byrd t-shirt night."

• I'm very late to the party, but after recently discovering Jason Isbell's music I've downloaded every song and am pretty much listening to him non-stop. He's coming to Minnesota in October to play the Varsity Theater--where I saw stand-up comedians John Mulaney and Carmen Lynch be hilarious this spring--and I think we should all go. Together, even, if you know me in real life.

• Just missing the cut at No. 25: "Wanna try to get a date on the radio at the State Fair?"

• St. Cloud Rox employee Michael Johnson found some footage of our party bus outing in June.

• This week's reminder that I went to journalism school.

• One of the more mind-boggling responses to criticism that I've ever seen: "I've got a wall full of plaques from various writing awards in my home office. If you'd like I can list them for you."

Alan Sepinwall interviewed "Parks and Recreation" creator and former baseball blogger Mike Schur about his new show, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." Schur is great and the cast includes longtime AG.com favorites Chelsea Peretti and Andre Braugher, so I'm really looking forward to it.

• As usual, I feel the same as Larry David.

Alex Karpovsky is one of the best things about "Girls" on HBO and Netflix just added a few of the movies he wrote, directed, and starred in. Definitely worth checking out.

• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:

- "Jerome Felton girlfriend"
- "Terrible Gleeman"
- "Whatever happened to Joel Zumaya?"
- "Heavy guy diet failure"
- "Why did the Twins sign Mike Pelfrey?"
- "Gilbert Gottfried depressed on Howard Stern"
- "Robin Tunney socks"
- "Paulie Walnuts hair"
- "Dana Wessel and Randball's Stu obsessed with Link-O-Rama"

• Finally, in honor of Felton this week's AG.com-approved song is "Ridin" by Chamillionaire:


This week's blog content is sponsored by Ticket King, a local ticket broker that doesn't charge check-out fees, offers in-store pickup, and specializes in Twins tickets. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

August 28, 2013

Does a concussion mean it’s time to move Joe Mauer away from catcher?

joe mauer first base

Talk of moving Joe Mauer from catcher to another position has been common since 2004 when his rookie season was ruined by knee surgery and got loudest when he spent half of 2011 on the disabled list, but recently he's been so healthy and productive that it's become little more than a whisper. Unfortunately the volume is rising again because Mauer is on the DL and out indefinitely after suffering a concussion while catching last week. It's a very complicated question.

Since coming back from his injury wrecked 2011 season Mauer has hit .321 with a .410 on-base percentage and .460 slugging percentage in 1,149 plate appearances. Among all catchers with at least 600 plate appearances during that two-year span Mauer leads MLB in on-base percentage, ranks second in batting average a few points behind Yadier Molina, and is tied with Molina for second in adjusted OPS+ behind Buster Posey.

However you slice it Mauer has been one of the three best-hitting catchers in baseball over the past two years and his combined .321/.410/.460 mark during that time is nearly identical to his .323/.405/.468 career line. And looking at his career totals paints Mauer in an even better light, because he's maintained his level of excellence for a decade. Here are the hitting leaders among active catchers with at least 1,000 career plate appearances:

BATTING AVERAGE            ON-BASE PERCENTAGE         SLUGGING PERCENTAGE
JOE MAUER         .323     JOE MAUER         .405     Buster Posey      .497
Buster Posey      .312     Buster Posey      .379     Brian McCann      .477
Yadier Molina     .285     Carlos Santana    .365     JOE MAUER         .468
A.J. Pierzynski   .284     John Jaso         .364     Carlos Santana    .446
Jonathan Lucroy   .281     Ryan Hanigan      .364     David Ross        .442

Mauer has the best batting average by 11 points over Posey and at least 38 points over everyone else. Mauer has the best on-base percentage by 26 points over Posey and at least 40 points over everyone else. And he ranks third in slugging percentage behind Posey and Brian McCann. Add it all up and here are the active catching leaders in overall offensive production according to OPS, adjusted OPS+, and weighted on-base average:

OPS                        ADJUSTED OPS+              WEIGHTED ON-BASE
Buster Posey      .876     Buster Posey       146     JOE MAUER         .377
JOE MAUER         .873     JOE MAUER          135     Buster Posey      .376
Brian McCann      .827     Carlos Santana     128     Brian McCann      .355
Carlos Santana    .811     Brian McCann       118     Carlos Santana    .353
Miguel Montero    .780     John Jaso          114     Miguel Montero    .340

In terms of career-long production Mauer and Posey are the players with an argument for being the best-hitting catcher in baseball and Molina enters the mix if the most recent two seasons are given more weight. Mauer has also been an asset defensively, throwing out 43 percent of steal attempts this season and 33 percent for his career compared to the MLB average of 25 percent. And for whatever value you choose to place in Gold Glove awards Mauer has three of them.

Whether you focus on recent performances or career-long track records Mauer stands out as one of the two or three best catchers in all of baseball and certainly has a strong argument for being the best catcher considering he's maintained elite status for much longer than Posey or Molina. However, if you take his 2012/2013 numbers and make those same comparisons to first basemen (and designated hitters) instead of catchers Mauer slides down the rankings a bit:

BATTING AVERAGE            ON-BASE PERCENTAGE         SLUGGING PERCENTAGE
Joey Votto        .324     Joey Votto        .451     David Ortiz       .589
JOE MAUER         .321     JOE MAUER         .410     Chris Davis       .585
David Ortiz       .318     David Ortiz       .406     Edwin Encarnacion .546
Allen Craig       .310     Prince Fielder    .383     Joey Votto        .533
Billy Butler      .303     Paul Goldschmidt  .378     Paul Goldschmidt  .518
                                                      ...
                                                      JOE MAUER         .460

If you compare Mauer to first basemen rather than catchers he falls behind Joey Votto as his position's king of batting average and on-base percentage, although Mauer still ranks second in both categories for 2012/2013. However, the big change is that while slugging .460 gets Mauer ranked among the top half-dozen catchers for 2012/2013 it would place just 20th among first basemen and designated hitters during that same time. Here's a look at overall production:

OPS                        ADJUSTED OPS+              WEIGHTED ON-BASE
David Ortiz       .995     David Ortiz        166     Joey Votto        .419
Joey Votto        .985     Joey Votto         163     David Ortiz       .415
Chris Davis       .941     Chris Davis        151     Chris Davis       .396
Edwin Encarnacion .922     Edwin Encarnacion  148     Edwin Encarnacion .391
Paul Goldschmidt  .896     Paul Goldschmidt   141     Paul Goldschmidt  .382
...                        ...                        ...
JOE MAUER         .870     JOE MAUER          140     JOE MAUER         .379

Mauer narrowly misses cracking the top-five first basemen in OPS, adjusted OPS+, and weighted on-base average for 2012/2013, ranking sixth in all three categories. Beyond focusing on where he'd stand relative to the truly elite players at each position, his place relative to the average at each position would also fall. Mauer has an .870 OPS for 2012/2013, which is 22 percent above average for a catcher versus 12 percent above average for a first baseman.

As a catcher Mauer is arguably the best at his position and no worse than the top three, producing 20-25 percent more offense than an average player. As a first baseman he'd have zero claim to being the best at his position and realistically slot somewhere in the 5-10 range, producing 10-15 percent more offense than an average player. Or, put another way: By moving from catcher to first base he'd go from elite to merely very good and All-Star spots might be hard to come by.

Of course, it's not as simple as looking at where his production would rank at a new position. By moving away from catcher and avoiding the daily physical toll Mauer should in theory be able to stay healthier, play more games, and increase his offensive output. So perhaps instead of being a top-three catcher for 135 games he'd be a top-eight first baseman for 155 games. And maybe he'd go from a top-eight first baseman to a top-five first baseman by not wearing down as much.

None of that is set in stone, however. For one thing simply playing first base or even designated hitter doesn't make someone immune to injuries and wearing down, as Justin Morneau has sadly demonstrated. There's also no guarantee that moving out from behind the plate will automatically increase Mauer's output at the plate. Mauer's odds of staying healthy and upping his production should be better at a position other than catcher, but it's impossible to know for certain.

Having a great-hitting catcher impacts a lineup a few ways, because in addition to being a strong bat his presence also keeps the team from having to use a weak-hitting catcher and leaves a spot open for another strong bat who doesn't have to be much of a defender at first base, an outfield corner, or designated hitter. If the Twins move Mauer they'd have to find a new catcher who'd be a sizable downgrade offensively and they'd have one less spot for a defensively challenged bat.

In terms of in-house options to replace Mauer at catcher Ryan Doumit is under contract for 2014, Chris Herrmann is holding his own as a rookie, and Josmil Pinto is a step away from the majors at Triple-A. Of course, Doumit catches like a designated hitter, Pinto might end up at designated hitter, and Herrmann is a 25-year-old with a .372 career slugging percentage in the minors. It's not a terrible set of options, but that mostly just speaks to the overall weakness of the position.

Another potential issue with a position switch is that assuming Mauer's production declines as he gets deeper into his thirties like the standard aging curve he'd remain an above-average catcher for much longer because the bar is so low at the position. First base is a much different story, as a decline-phase Mauer hitting, say, .285 with 10 homers and a .750 OPS, would drop to the bottom of the positional pile pretty quickly. He's signed through age 35, in 2018.

Ultimately, though, here's why the speculation about Mauer changing positions has started up again after being dormant for a while: Catching puts players at much higher risk for concussions and none of the above numbers will mean anything if Mauer's career is derailed by brain injuries like Morneau and Corey Koskie before him. Mauer is a great catcher and might "only" be a good first baseman, but a good first baseman is more valuable than a catcher disabled by brain trauma.

This is an impossible question to answer definitively, because brain injuries are so unpredictable that even MLB organizations with $100 million payrolls and doctors with high levels of expertise and decades of experience struggle to effectively diagnosis and treat concussions. In general the amount of Mauer's value that comes from being a catcher and in turn his all-around value are often undersold, but the "should Mauer change positions?" question is no longer just about value.

For a lengthy discussion about a potential Mauer position switch, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.


This week's blog content is sponsored by Ticket King, a local ticket broker that doesn't charge check-out fees, offers in-store pickup, and specializes in Twins tickets. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

August 26, 2013

Gleeman and The Geek #108: Brain Injuries and September Call-ups

Topics for this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode included Joe Mauer's concussion and potential position switch, September call-up possibilities, dating at the State Fair, where Aaron Hicks starts next season, runners in scoring position problems, staying up all night, the plan for Kyle Gibson, mailbag questions from listeners, not eating Justin Morneau's contract, trying to stay realistic with Miguel Sano, and hypothesizing about turn-ons for women.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 108

In addition to the direct download link above you can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

Note: For next week's "Gleeman and The Geek" show we'll be broadcasting live from the KFAN booth at the Minnesota State Fair from 4-6 on Sunday, September 1. You can come hang out near the grandstand and watch the show from the bleachers a few feet away or you can just wave to us as you walk by on the way to Sweet Martha's Cookies. Either way, we'd love to see some listeners there and it should be fun.

kfan booth state fair


This week's blog content is sponsored by Ticket King, a local ticket broker that doesn't charge check-out fees, offers in-store pickup, and specializes in Twins tickets. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

August 23, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• Thursday morning I was a guest on Paul Allen's show live from the KFAN booth at the State Fair. I had zero idea what they had planned, but much like last year it turned into an excuse to find me a date on the radio and in front of fair-goers sitting on bleachers watching us. Things got awkward and (hopefully) funny enough that I stayed on for three segments. You can listen to the first part here and the second part here. And then let's agree to never speak of this again.

• Ain't no party like a Corey Feldman party because a Corey Feldman party ... looks really sad.

Joe Mauer is the latest on a long list of catchers suffering concussions at an alarming rate.

• Alcoholism-enabling news of the week: "Australian researches have found a way to improve the hydrating qualities of beer without compromising on taste and ... may even have found a way to avoid a post-drink hangover."

• My favorite moment from this week's "Breaking Bad" episode was an easy choice. And the guy on the left, Bill Burr, is a great stand-up comedian who also hosts a very good podcast.

• Not only is "Community" creator Dan Harmon returning to the show next season, Jonathan Banks is joining the cast after brilliantly playing Mike Ehrmantraut on "Breaking Bad."

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we tried to figure out how the Twins' rotation can avoid being terrible again next season and examined the two major types of Twins fandom.

St. Paul Pioneer Press photographer Ben Garvin made a stop-motion video of his magic beard:

Us beardos have to stick together.

Delmon Young has been reunited with the Rays six years after they traded him to the Twins.

• Every six months or so Peter Gammons takes a seemingly random shot at me on Twitter for some reason. I try not to get worked up about it, because he's one of the best baseball writers of all time, he's been nice to me personally, and he turned me on to Susan Tedeschi years ago.

Will Leitch, formerly of Deadspin and currently of Sports On Earth and New York magazine, invited me on his podcast to chat about old-school blogging, staying away from steroids, and why Gammons likes to jab at me. I've been online acquaintances with Leitch for a decade or so and we were even featured together in a Sports Illustrated article alongside Bill Simmons, but I'm not sure I'd ever actually spoken to him before. It was fun and I think you'll enjoy listening.

• I can only assume that my working from home as an internet baseball writer played a big part in Google naming Minnetonka this year's "eCity of Minnesota." Whatever that means.

• Exactly how discouraging was Kyle Gibson's first taste of the big leagues?

• Grantland followed Hannibal Buress around with a camera as he worked on jokes.

• As a longtime John Mayer fan a lot of this stuff makes sense to me, but it's probably not a winnable battle at this point. His new album is good, though.

• If only for nostalgia I wouldn't mind the Twins signing Johan Santana to a cheap deal.

Morgan Murphy is hilarious on Twitter and pretty damn funny on stage too. Woo!

• MLB formed a seven-person committee of SABR members to incorporate as 25 percent of their Gold Glove award selection process. And my favorite part is that the man wearing these socks is one of the seven chosen. You probably didn't realize I was hanging out with defensive experts.

• Angels manager Mike Scioscia claims the A's never taught Grant Green how to bunt, but his story doesn't quite check out.

• My fellow Howard Stern fans will enjoy this: Within the span of around 72 hours this week "Baba Booey" was mentioned during a Padres broadcast and on "The Newsroom":

That made me feel slightly better about still watching "The Newsroom."

• I had an in-depth discussion with Glen Perkins about what it takes to be a closer.

• Honestly, sometimes I wish my fans would dial back the praise just a little bit.

Clayton Kershaw is a bad, bad man.

• I finished re-watching "The Sopranos" via HBO GO, devouring all 86 episodes in 84 days. I'd like to write something substantial about the experience at some point, but the short version is that I loved the show even more the second time around and certainly appreciated many of the themes more as a 30-year-old than as a 20-year-old. Here's a collection of my tweets about re-watching the show, in reverse order.

• Any movie co-starring Adam Scott and Robin Tunney can't help but be good and "See Girl Run" is definitely worth checking out on Netflix. Scott did steal my tuxedo t-shirt look, though.

• I was home from the State Fair by 11:30 a.m. on opening day and left without eating anything. And that might be my only State Fair appearance of the year, although I'm reconsidering because Julie Klausner is hosting the Walker Arts Center's "internet cat video festival" there Wednesday. I'm not sure what that is, exactly, but I do know she's great.

• I'm tempted to go check out "Wits" at the Fitzgerald Theater because they have a bunch of good comedians scheduled as guests and must-follow tweeter Alison Agosti writes for the show.

Tom Segura might be my pick for the most underrated stand-up comedian and he also co-hosts a good podcast, so not surprisingly he was a great guest on Marc Maron's show.

• This week I re-upped my yearly subscription to Baseball-Reference.com's Play Index, which is the most indispensable research tool in sports and probably my favorite thing ever.

• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:

- "Inga Hammond and Scott Erickson"
- "Girls Gone Gleeman"
- "Lindsay Lohan baseball"
- "Lean Cuisine keeps me in shape"
- "Paulie Gualtieri tattoo"
- "What size shirt should a 265-pound man wear?"
- "St. Paul chubby chasers"
- "Something so ugly that it's beautiful"
- "David Fincher babyface"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Cover Me Up" by Jason Isbell:


Interested in sponsoring a week of AG.com and advertising your product, service, local business, or website directly to thousands of readers each day? Click here for details.

Older Posts »