August 16, 2013

Link-O-Rama

Wanna see Jared Burton punch Brian Duensing?

LaTroy Hawkins, who's getting another chance to close again at age 40, got hit in the bollocks. And yet he still won't wear a cup.

• "Doctor offers free plastic surgery in exchange for dream dates" is a story that has me curious about the blogger equivalent.

• And speaking of the blogger equivalent, "burglar left bruised and bleeding by retired 72-year-old boxer" is a pretty great headline.

• How good has Oswaldo Arcia been as a rookie and how good can he become long term?

• While searching for a photo to use for that Arcia post I stumbled across this beauty featuring Arcia, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, and FSN sideline reporter Jamie Hersch.

Francisco Liriano is so busy throwing complete games for the Pirates that he has neither the time nor the energy to bother with hitting.

• And because he can't be any worse than Liriano in that last video, Parker Hageman of Twins Daily might take an at-bat against Glen Perkins. I want to be there to podcast the magic.

• Happy birthday to Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis, who turned 30 years old. It's all downhill from here, trust me.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we again learn that John Bonnes isn't needed.

• Oh nothing, just Nick Punto hitting a homer and then doing a postgame interview with a Punto jersey-wearing Danny DeVito on the field at Dodger Stadium:

Punto does kind of have a Charlie Day vibe.

• It turns out not all Bar Mitzvah parties are created equal. Way back in 1996 my party featured basketball and swimming rather than a full-scale burlesque show. We did have pizza, though.

• I'm thinking of applying to the Twins' "social media suite" for the free food. And also because the application asks for a count of Twitter followers, Facebook friends, and ... LinkedIn connections.

• During my weekly half-hour chat with Paul Allen he welcomed Cory Cove into the KFAN studio to tag-team mock me for winning a bunch of money playing poker at Canterbury Park. And then I threw Nick Nelson under the bus to save myself.

Jeff Sullivan of Fan Graphs wrote a very good article about the Twins pitching staff's historic inability to generate strikeouts.

Carson Cistulli of Fan Graphs chatted with one of my favorite baseball beat reporters, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

• And speaking of MLB beat reporters, Deadspin's efforts to identify the best and worst covering each team was kind of disappointing in that they left the worst spots blank a lot.

• Congrats to former "Gleeman and The Geek" guest Ben Goessling, who left the St. Paul Pioneer Press to become ESPN's new Vikings beat reporter. Newspapers continue to hemorrhage talent.

• Wanna be the Minneapolis Star Tribune's new Vikings beat reporter?

• According to a University of Georgia study 28 percent of journalism school graduates wish they'd chosen a different field, which actually doesn't sound all that high to this non-graduate.

Jonathan Abrams' article about Jonny Flynn for Grantland is a must-read for Timberwolves fans, David Kahn haters, and people who simply enjoy shaking their head in disbelief.

• St. Paul Central graduate, Ricky Rubio fan club president, stand-up comedian, and "Parks and Recreation" writer Joe Mande is finally doing something with his life.

• I'm almost finished re-watching "The Sopranos" and by far my favorite part has been getting to re-hear Paulie Walnuts pronounce "Baja Fresh" again:

I laughed as hard at that two days ago as I did 10 years ago and can't explain why in either case.

Rickey Henderson's high school yearbook picture from 1976 is spectacular.

• For my fellow insomniacs, Allie Shah wrote about the struggle to sleep for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, including how "young people, in particular, might be setting themselves up for future problems because of their round-the-clock devotion to mobile devices and social media."

• I really hope everyone listened to me and signed up for the light rail pub crawl/Twins game on September 14, because just look at this shirt.

• Mazel tov to the Phillies for releasing Delmon Young, who refused an assignment to Triple-A.

Manny Ramirez is probably done after being released from Triple-A by the Rangers, but don't forget what a monster he was for 15 years.

"Blue Valentine" is one of my 10 favorite movies, so I was incredibly excited for Ryan Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance's second collaboration, but "The Place Beyond The Pines" was underwhelming. Not bad, certainly, but also nothing special overall. Another fairly new release that I rented this week, "Mud" starring Matthew McConaughey, was much better.

• As someone who obsessively watches "Chopped" on Food Network and obsessively listens to podcasts, chef Alex Guarnaschelli's interview with Marc Maron was amazing. She quoted "Bull Durham" and talked about listening to Notorious B.I.G. and is basically a perfect human.

• "Doodie Calls" with Doug Mand and Jack Dolgen is always funny/weird, but Annie Lederman was a particularly great guest.

Alex Rodriguez, as explained by detective Frank Pembleton.

• If you're into supporting worthwhile projects via Kickstarter check out Hunter Weeks' "feature-length film about the oldest people in the world and their lessons for living life right."

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

- "Jim Thome naked"
- "Jim Thome shirtless"
- "Lean Cuisine chicken enchilada suiza makes me sweat"
- "Brendan Harris attitude"
- "Otis Redding baseball cards"
- "Tevin Campbell radio interview"
- "Mae Whitman pornstar lookalike"
- "Who is Dana Wessel?"
- "Bar graph showing pork chops and mutton chops"

• Finally, because I've listened to it about 100 times in two weeks despite not being sure if I love it or hate it this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Reckoning Song" by Asaf Avidan:


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.

December 14, 2012

Link-O-Rama

This week's Link-O-Rama is super-sized and some of the stuff is a little dated because the Twins selfishly bumped the links in back-to-back weeks by making Thursday trades ...

Last month Joe Christensen and Phil Miller swapped Minneapolis Star Tribune beats, with Christensen moving to Gophers football and Miller taking over the Twins. And now the St. Paul Pioneer Press is changing their Twins coverage too, with John Shipley shifting to an unnamed beat and former "Gleeman and The Geek" guest Ben Goessling moving to the Vikings. It's a shame we never got to see Goessling cover the Twins full time, because he's great.

• NBC Sports and Yahoo Sports are partnering up, which has the potential to be huge in the online sports content world and means I'm no longer allowed to search for things via Google.

David Brauer of MinnPost put together a very cool project and I'm probably not just saying that because I rank 16th.

Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated wrote a lengthy, well-done profile of the NBA's leading stat-head, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

• On a related note, stat-head/writer John Hollinger has been hired away from ESPN.com by the Memphis Grizzlies.

• This actually seems sort of brilliant to me, but then again ... nevermind.

• Thanks to everyone who listened to this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode. We set a record for most downloads in one day and may set a record for most overall downloads.

Hannibal Buress was incredibly funny three Saturday nights ago at Acme Comedy Company in downtown Minneapolis, doing an hour of great material that was totally different than his recent album. His opening act, Drew Michael, was very good too. I'd never been to Acme before, but it's a really nice club and we had a good time hanging out in the bar afterward. I'll definitely be back. And if you've never seen Buress, here's an example of his current stuff:

Despite being a huge stand-up comedy fan I hadn't seen much live, but last month I saw Buress, Amy Schumer, Dave Attell, Jim Norton, and Artie Lange. And now it's all I wanna do.

• Last month KFAN had the fourth-highest ratings of any sports radio station in the country.

• Wednesday night I talked Twins and various other topics for two hours over at TwinsDaily.com. If you missed it, you can read the lengthy transcript.

• It took me 19 days to read the extended, 1,152-page version of "The Stand" by Stephen King. I'm a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic and King has an amazing ability to bring that world to life while developing compelling characters across numerous storylines. Some of the supernatural stuff frustrated me because I was so into the people and places portrayed as relatively realistic, but "The Stand" definitely ranks as one of my all-time favorite books.

The time Louis C.K. met Luis Tiant.

• Not surprisingly, Rasheed Wallace is responsible for my favorite moment of the NBA season.

• It's been years since I left The Hardball Times, but the website I co-created back in 2004 is stronger than ever and they've partnered with Fan Graphs to publish this year's "The Hardball Times Baseball Annual." So many good writers, so much good analysis, so worth it.

• As someone who recently lost 150 pounds and will probably always struggle to keep the weight off I love reading other stories like this in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

• It took 10 years, but I finally discovered the secret to generating blog traffic.

• I've played 40 seasons of "Hardball Dynasty" on WhatIfSports without ever really thinking to write about the experience, but Carson Cistulli of Fan Graphs has been in my league for two weeks and he's already churning out some interesting articles about the game.

• Speaking of Cistulli, congratulations to him for being voted into the Baseball Writers Association of America. And congratulations to the authors of his inexplicably immense Wikipedia page for finally having some decent material.

• "Aaron" ranked just 65th on the list of most popular male baby names for 2012 and some of the top-ranked names make me preemptively sad about our future as a nation.

• My fellow longtime Howard Stern fans will be interested to discover what Dominic Barbara is up to these days.

• In preparation for John Bonnes' month-long Australian vacation he finally showed me how to actually record, edit, and upload the podcast and we also created a video demonstration:

A few weeks ago we also shot a "Cribs"-style tour of my house that I'd avoided linking.

• Just imagine Ron Gardenhire's reaction to this news.

Torii Hunter could use a hug.

• Plan your work, work your plan.

• After seeing this I feel like a piece of meat.

• I sent this link to my mom and she thanked me for it.

• Great moments in winter meetings baseball reporting.

• More great moments in winter meetings baseball reporting.

• Two weeks ago we recorded "Gleeman and The Geek" at New Bohemia Wurst and Bier Haus in downtown Minneapolis. I liked it a lot--great beer selection, good food, nice place--and the manager turned out to be a podcast listener, so check it out next time you're downtown.

• "Stop Podcasting Yourself" is always great, but their recent episode with guest Katie-Ellen Humphries was especially fantastic and a lot of what they talked about hit close to home.

• One of the few movies I saw in a theater this year, "The Queen of Versailles," is available on Netflix instant. Despite not being about the Twins' former MVP it's really, really good.

• Two-time "Gleeman and The Geek" guest and one half of the podcast's "official couple" Kate Agnew got some nice pub for her new gig with Girls In Tech Minneapolis-St. Paul.

• New blog to check out: A Bit Of Randomness by AG.com reader Casey Knollmaier.

Jerry Rodes is the band behind one of the two "Gleeman and The Geek" theme songs that we use each week and just released a new album that's available on iTunes. They're nice guys, good musicians, and podcast fans, so I'd love it if everyone checked the album out.

• Finally, in honor of their new album coming out this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Be Excellent" by Jerry Rodes:

This week's content is sponsored by DiamondCentric's new "Game Six" shirt, commemorating one of the most exciting moments in Minnesota sports history.

April 6, 2012

Twins Notes: The Smiles Are Returning To The Faces

Little darling, it's been a long, cold, lonely winter
Little darling, it feels like years since it's been here
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say, it's all right

Little darling, the smiles are returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since they've been there
Here comes the sun
Here comes the sun, and I say, it's all right

Little darling, I see the ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear
There goes the sun
Here comes the sun
And I say, it's all right

- "Here Comes The Sun"

• Reminder: I'll be watching the Twins' opener against the Orioles this afternoon at Wild Boar in Hopkins with my "Gleeman and The Geek" co-host John Bonnes and some other familiar names. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05, so I'd encourage everyone to leave work early and join us for some baseball and beer. Click here for more details.

• Here's the Twins' lineup for Game 1 versus right-hander Jake Arrieta:

1. Denard Span, L        CF
2. Jamey Carroll, R      SS
3. Joe Mauer, L          C
4. Justin Morneau, L     DH
5. Josh Willingham, R    LF
6. Ryan Doumit, S        RF
7. Danny Valencia, R     3B
8. Chris Parmelee, L     1B
9. Alexi Casilla, S      2B

I'd have sent Chris Parmelee to Triple-A to begin the season, but if you assume that those nine players must start on Opening Day that's exactly what my batting order would look like. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it's something.

• I wrote all the season previews for AL Central teams at HardballTalk and concluded that the Tigers are clear front-runners, perhaps more so than any other team in any other division, while the Indians, White Sox, Royals, and Twins are each very capable of finishing anywhere from second place to last place. If everything breaks right for the Twins staying in contention deep into the season is possible, but my guess is that they finish right around .500.

• While a .500 record may not sound very optimistic, Las Vegas has the over/under for Twins wins around 73, which is higher than only the Astros and Orioles, and ESPN.com's season simulation based on Baseball Think Factory's excellent ZiPS projection system has the Twins going 70-92. They were so awful last season that improving by 15 games would still leave them at 78-84, so .500 would be quite an accomplishment.

Jason Marquis needs to build up his arm strength after leaving spring training to be with his family following his daughter's bicycling accident, so he's agreed to an assignment to Double-A and will have his turn in the rotation skipped at least once. And thankfully his daughter is making good progress in her recovery.

Scott Baker exited yesterday's minor-league start after just 11 pitches, so it doesn't sound like he'll be returning from elbow problems any time soon.

• As if the Twins didn't have enough question marks, Buster Olney of ESPN.com crunched the numbers and found that they have the toughest early season schedule in the league based on 2011 records.

• In addition to being an excellent guest on this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press also wrote a lengthy, even-handed, and interesting article about all things Joe Mauer. Once you're done reading it follow Goessling on Twitter and bookmark his blog. Good writer, good guy, and good addition to the local Twins media.

• As someone who loves the Twins and The Big Lebowski this commercial is pretty great:

"The Big Hrbowski" is the role Kent Hrbek was born to play.

• For months Terry Ryan insisted that Trevor Plouffe would be used exclusively in the outfield after his disastrous rookie showing at shortstop, but now that the Twins don't have a true backup shortstop on the roster suddenly Plouffe is in the infield mix again. Plans changing was the theme of this spring, but giving Plouffe some chances at second base or third base is a worthwhile idea while they try to figure out where he fits offensively and defensively.

Seth Stohs has a complete rundown of all the minor-league rosters over at Twins Daily. Of my top 10 prospects, Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario will be at low Single-A Beloit, Oswaldo Arcia and Levi Michael will be at high Single-A Fort Myers, Aaron Hicks and Alex Wimmers will be at Double-A New Britain, Joe Benson and Brian Dozier will be at Triple-A Rochester, Kyle Gibson will be rehabbing Tommy John surgery, and Liam Hendriks will be in the majors.

• Parmelee working his way on to the Opening Day roster left the Twins short a Triple-A first baseman, so they acquired Matt Rizzotti from the Phillies for cash considerations. As a 26-year-old career minor leaguer available for basically nothing Rizzotti is hardly a prospect, but he's consistently had very impressive numbers that include a .295/.392/.511 line with 24 homers, 34 doubles, and 79 walks in 139 games at Double-A last season.

Matt Bashore starred at Indiana University and was the Twins' supplemental first-round pick in 2009, but arm problems have limited him to just 19 career innings and he was released last week. They also released 2009 third-round pick Ben Tootle, a hard-throwing right-hander whose career was similarly ruined by injuries, and Dustin Martin, an outfielder acquired from the Mets along with Drew Butera in the mid-2007 trade for Luis Castillo.

Joel Zumaya underwent Tommy John elbow surgery last week and instead of putting him on the 60-day disabled list all season the Twins released him. And despite his one-year contract supposedly being "non-guaranteed" they're apparently on the hook for his entire $850,000 base salary rather than the initially reported $400,000.

• Back in December the Twins traded Kevin Slowey to the Rockies for marginal prospect Daniel Turpen and then six weeks later the Rockies traded him to the Indians, who were looking for rotation help following Fausto Carmona's arrest on false identity charges. Cleveland gave up a better prospect for Slowey than Colorado did, yet even with Carmona still out of the picture the Indians decided to send Slowey and his $2.8 million salary to Triple-A.

Pat Neshek had a 0.00 ERA with eight strikeouts and zero walks in nine innings this spring after signing a minor-league deal with the Orioles, but they sent him to Triple-A anyway.

Matt Tolbert, did not make the Cubs on a minor-league deal and will begin the season at Triple-A Iowa.

Cristian Guzman, who was attempting a comeback at age 33 after sitting out all of last season for personal reasons, was released by the Indians.

Johan Santana returned from shoulder surgery to throw five scoreless innings in his first start since 2010.

Jason Bulger and Steve Pearce both signed minor-league contracts with the Yankees after being released by the Twins in the middle of spring training.

• If you're interested in keeping tabs on Twins prospects this season Twins Fan From Afar is a blog you should definitely check out, as Andrew Walter will attending games in New Britain, Connecticut and writing about the Double-A team that includes top-40 prospects Hicks, Wimmers, Chris Herrmann, David Bromberg, Deolis Guerra, and James Beresford.

• For anyone who plays Hardball Dynasty on WhatIfSports.com my league is looking for a couple new owners and our next season begins soon. Before contacting me, click here.

• If you impersonate Bert Blyleven on Twitter he will tell you to "get a life a-hole."

• Last but not least, thank you to everyone who stopped here during the too-long offseason. My goal each winter is to find enough interesting stuff to write about that most of you keep showing up, but I'm ready to talk about actual games again and look forward to my 11th season of blogging. Thanks for reading AG.com, thanks for following me on Twitter, thanks for listening to the podcast, and thanks for supporting my work at NBCSports.com and Rotoworld.

And in what has become an Opening Day tradition, this is Richie Havens singing my favorite version of "Here Comes The Sun":

December 2, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• You never, ever mess with a man's beard.

• Science seems fun.

• How strong is Mila Kunis' grip on the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com title? Michael Idov of GQ described her as "the Jewish mother" and I didn't immediately repossess her crown.

• This week's podcast might have been my favorite episode yet and not just because a woman brought us cupcakes. Shortly after starting to record the show a random drunk guy came up to our table and berated us for "talking about things that don't even matter." He was wasted on a Tuesday night and wearing a newsboy cap, so we all just kind of stared until he angrily left.

• I tuned in for the debut episode of Baseball Wives on VH1. My condensed review: By far the worst thing I've ever seen on television. I will watch it every week and analyze it like The Wire.

Jason Kendall's ex-wife Chantel Kendall is my favorite Baseball Wives character, so naturally we became Twitter pals. One step closer to Baseball Blogger Wives becoming a reality (show).

• Someone broke into White Sox general manager Ken Williams' home, drank beer, ate pizza, wore his World Series ring, and defrosted lobster.

• And somehow that wasn't even the weirdest break-in story this week, as a woman watched streaming video and gave play-by-play commentary to police as her home was burglarized:

Pretty impressive response time by the cops, too.

• NBC canceled Prime Suspect just as it was starting to get good and pulled Community off the midseason schedule. There's still some hope that Community will live on, but unfortunately the ratings have never come close to matching the show's brilliance.

• In happier NBC news, Louis C.K. is back on Parks and Recreation and Sarah Silverman might be getting her own show.

• If anything can stop people from hating Netflix bringing back Arrested Development can do it.

• Stand-up comedy lost another great one way too early.

Ben Goessling is leaving MASN in Washington, D.C. to cover the Wild and Twins for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Not only has Goessling done an excellent job covering the Nationals, he's a former Minnesota Daily staffer. I've been critical of the Pioneer Press, but he's a very good hire.

• Speaking of the Nationals, they promoted Matthew LeCroy to Double-A manager at age 35.

• Wanna feel really old? Ken Griffey Jr.'s son is a high school football All-American.

• Jewish porn superstar James Deen is "almost like a guy you'd just hang out with at Hebrew school." Obviously my getting expelled from Hebrew school opened the door for him.

• My hypothesis for this story is that several fathers were afraid to admit they recognized her.

• This is obviously the greatest website of all time.

• On a related note, the boys at The Basketball Jones remaking Full House is brilliant:

Best shot-for-shot remake of all time?

• For a quirky, independent movie that sort of resembles my high school experience, check out John C. Reilly, Jacob Wysocki, and Creed Bratton in Terri. He has nicer pajamas, though.

• I also saw Attack The Block recently and it was one of my favorite movies in years.

George Clooney and I lead slightly different lives.

Nick Bilton of the New York Times speculates on what we've all suspected: Airlines make you turn off electronic devices for no good reason.

• "Like an old lady driving an Oldsmobile in a parking lot when everyone else is driving BMWs" perfectly describes my continued Blackberry usage.

• "Hey girl, wanna go look at some graves?"

Bill Belichick with a late bid for quote of the year.

• And they say working at a newspaper isn't fun any more?

• One-stop shopping for all your rapper soundboard needs, which are no doubt immense.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Reigning Sound doing "Stick Up For Me":