October 4, 2013

Link-O-Rama

Before getting to the links, I just want to say thank you to everyone who stopped by AG.com, followed me on Twitter, came to various get-togethers, and listened to "Gleeman and The Geek" this season. Being a Twins fan hasn't been much fun lately and at times writing and talking about a third straight 95-loss team felt more draining than rewarding, but knowing there are so many other people out there who also can't bring themselves to look away helped me keep going.

This was my 12th season blogging about the Twins and fan morale has never been lower during that time, but if you can stand all the losing there are certainly plenty of interesting aspects of a rebuilding team. It'll be business as usual here this offseason, which means weekly podcasts, my annual Top 40 Twins Prospects series, lots of free agency analysis, next-day break downs of any moves that happen, and player-by-player outlooks. And lots of other stuff too. Thank you.

• My favorite sentence from this excellent New York Times article: "A recent six-month fling with a 90-year-old woman he met at synagogue did not work out." Happens to the best of us.

• Back when I was shopping for a house I remember really enjoying looking at all the real estate photos online, but this website allows you to enjoy them on another level.

• Here's my analysis of the Twins bringing back Ron Gardenhire and his entire coaching staff.

• Incidentally, regardless of your opinion about Gardenhire re-signing his sunglasses placement and overall style during the press conference were amazing.

• Nothing has ever given more hope to the hopeless than 15-year-old George Clooney.

• For this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we tried something new by recording from the Target Field stands during one of the final games of the season and the results were interesting.

• For those of us in mourning after the "Breaking Bad" finale there's always the Latin American version starring Walter Blanco. There's a trailer and everything:

Can't wait to see what they do with the Todd character.

Francisco Liriano had a fun Tuesday night. And a few dozen internet friends who got together to watch him beat the Reds had fun too. I even dug this out of the closet for the occasion.

• If you want to read all about Liriano's big night, Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette put together a nice quote-filled story on deadline.

• Five years later, Chuck Mindenhall of MMAFighting.com wrote a lengthy article about the night everything came crashing down around Kimbo Slice.

• This is more or less how I watch sporting events at home, but he's taken things to another level.

• "Gleeman and The Geek" regular Kate Agnew was featured in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

• General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies might hire a stat-head to do ... something.

• There has since been backtracking, but that doesn't change the grossness of #playyousissies.

• SABR announced that next year's convention in Houston will be held from July 30 to August 3, which is less than ideal for me because it's during the trade deadline and will be 1,000 degrees.

David Temple and Than Tibbetts are the only tuba players I know/am willing to associate with, so this is how I choose to imagine their day-to-day lives:

Temple says I'm not the first person to make that joke, but that's just the sign of a great joke.

• We'll be recording the next "Gleeman and The Geek" episode Saturday at 612 Brew's (totally free) Octoberfest event. Beer, food trucks, live music, and at least one podcast. Should be fun.

• Living legend Carson Cistulli chatted with my hero Rob Neyer, so how I could I not listen?

• Twins social media guru Keith Beise, who got guilted into inviting me to the Deckstravaganza event last month, did an interesting interview about his job.

• Last week Keith Moyer was kind enough to invite me to chat with his sports journalism class and one of the students, Mike Potter, has a Gopher sports podcast that you should check out.

• I highly recommend checking out Nightingale restaurant/bar on Lyndale Avenue in Uptown. I've been there twice now and loved the vibe and crowd both times. They also have maybe my favorite bartender of all time, so look for the guy stumping people with hardcore baseball trivia. And the Minneapolis Star Tribune just said they have one of the Twin Cities' best hamburgers.

• I sat a few seats over from Corey Koskie at Target Field last week, which reminded me that he's one of the most underrated players in Twins history.

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

- "Aaron Glee"
- "Can you safely carry a child at 245 pounds?"
- "How will the Twins look next year?"
- "Bill Smith tough decisions"
- "Rob Dibble's ex-wife"
- "Michael Keaton married again"
- "Will elliptical give me my six-pack back?"
- "Aaron Gleeman on Tinder"

• Finally, in honor of the Twins' season mercifully coming to an end this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Love Is A Losing Game" by Amy Winehouse:


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September 20, 2013

Link-O-Rama

Nick Punto had his most Nick Punto moment ever, sliding head-first into first base on a single to the outfield. Randball's Stu may have to update his oral history of Punto's head-first slides.

Baseball America's article naming Byron Buxton as their minor league player of the year is essentially porn for Twins fans.

• "Breaking Bad" fans will enjoy this Yelp page.

• As an embarrassed, longtime BlackBerry user I can safely say most of these reasons are bullshit.

• My blog-mate Craig Calcaterra showed why I almost never call into radio shows when invited.

• There's a ton of dead weight on the Twins' roster, so who will they get rid of this offseason?

• Thanks to everyone who attended the "Grand Drunk Railroad" event Saturday. It was a major success, as more than 100 people joined the light rail pub crawl in the afternoon and the group continued to have fun at night despite the Twins-Rays game being delayed by rain, thanks in no small part to Glen Perkins buying us a round of beers from the bullpen. It went so well that we'll definitely do something similar again and we're already brainstorming other get-together ideas.

• We recorded this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode at various stops along the pub crawl, so it features multiple special guests and everyone getting progressively drunker/weirder as the show goes on. I already posted a bunch of videos and photos from the event on the episode page, but here are a couple more pictures of the podcasting in progress:

pub crawl podcast

We're recording a new "Gleeman and The Geek" show this weekend at New Bohemia's inaugural beer fest, where a taster pass gets all-you-can-drink beer from 10 different breweries.

• More people will probably click on this link than watched the Astros on CSN Houston.

Chiara Atik of How About We explains why I'll never stop tweeting at Jon Taffer.

• One of my rules is that whenever Lizzy Caplan appears on a talk show I'll link to it.

• During my weekly half-hour chat with Paul Allen he grilled me about a first date, I complained about getting a ticket driving to the studio, and we brainstormed questions for Terry Ryan.

Todd Helton is one of the most productive home hitters in baseball history, but Coors Field is all over the list.

• After six years as Minneapolis Star Tribune editor Nancy Barnes left for the Houston Chronicle.

Conan O'Brien playing "Grand Theft Auto" made me also want to play the game without a clue.

• I have no idea how to handle this emotionally.

• One second on the internet is plenty of time for anything.

• In real life Jonathan Banks is very different than the Mike Ehrmantraut character he played on "Breaking Bad." But he's no less fun to watch.

• After watching last week's "Breaking Bad" episode I wondered on Twitter what happens if no one ever tells Huell he can leave that room now and it turns out someone did the research:

I watched that for ... well, longer than I'm comfortable admitting.

• This conversation started at 1:30 a.m.

• Uh oh. It turns out NBC has had a hidden camera in my office this entire time.

• One of my favorite stand-up comedians, Gary Gulman, is performing all this weekend at the comedy club in the Mall of America.

• Netflix recommendation: "Starlet" is a well-done, small-scale story that avoids the usual movie cliches and features two really strong lead performances by unknown actresses.

Alison Agosti is always one of my favorite podcast guests and she was great on "Hey, Teens!" with Eric Gosselin and Jon Wiener.

• "Parks and Recreation" writer (and former AG.com commenter) Harris Wittels had a funny, interesting chat with Marc Maron.

• Two of my favorite podcasts joined forces when Graham Clark from "Stop Podcasting Yourself" was on a live show with Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris from "Jordan, Jesse, Go!"

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

- "Byron Buxton's mom"
- "Grand Drunk Railroad"
- "How did Meatsauce from KFAN lose weight?"
- "Nick Punto head-first slide"
- "Ben Grieve net worth"
- "Jim Souhan is the worst"
- "Gillian Jacobs introvert"
- "Connie and Aaron play me"
- "Tevin Campbell radio interviews in 1999"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Humpty Dance" by Digital Underground:


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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:


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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:


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January 25, 2013

Link-O-Rama

John Bonnes, Parker Hageman, Nick Nelson, and Seth Stohs from Twins Daily are hosting a get-together Saturday night at Hubert's across from the Metrodome. It starts at 6:00, which is when TwinsFest ends for the day, and I'm told there will be several rounds of free beer and prize giveaways. I'll be there, probably hanging out until they kick me out, and would love to see some AG.com readers and "Gleeman and The Geek" listeners there too.

Delmon Young's one-year contract with the Phillies includes a be-less-fat clause that basically would pay the 238-pound "outfielder" $600,000 for losing eight pounds. I've asked to renegotiate my contract with NBC to include the same clause, at which point they'd owe me $11.25 million.

• Another week, another missed connection for me.

• Seriously, how did I not make this list?

• As someone who never knows how to get anywhere and often previews the route via Google street view this was pretty great.

• This is definitely the first time in my life I've ever been referred to as "hot." Well, sort of.

• Rotoworld's annual "Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide" is now available online and in magazine form, featuring about 10,000 of my words.

Sammy Sosa talked to HardballTalk's automated Twitter feed.

• Like me, David Brauer of MinnPost dropped out of the University of Minnesota to become a full-time writer. Unlike me, the prospect of returning to school--three decades later in Brauer's case--apparently doesn't make him physically ill. This is how I imagined Brauer's first class:

And then presumably he'll join the diving team.

• My blog-mate and lifelong Cardinals fan Drew Silva wrote a touching tribute to Stan Musial.

• I've often talked here about the potential downsides to having "access" and Jeff Sonderman of Poynter put together some interesting notes on how that applied to the Manti Te'o story.

• I watched "Breaking Bad" when it first aired on AMC in 2008 and gave up after a few episodes because it seemed cheesy to me and none of the secondary characters were compelling. Since then basically everyone I know has fallen in love with the show, so I gave it a second chance and re-watched it from the beginning on Netflix instant. And it's amazing. I watched all 54 episodes in nine days and can't wait for the final eight episodes to air on AMC this summer.

I still think the first handful of episodes are mediocre at best, but I've never seen a show improve more dramatically and once it gets cooking "Breaking Bad" never lets up. From the second season forward nearly every new character introduced is compelling, including a few of the best regulars in recent television history, and the show's narrative and visual styles are fantastic. If you haven't yet, definitely check out "Breaking Bad" on Netflix or Amazon.

• And for everyone who's watched "Breaking Bad" already, you'll enjoy re-watching my favorite scene from the fourth season. Such a great quote/delivery.

• Speaking of great AMC shows, Pete Campbell apparently has sideburns now.

This beauty arrived in the mail yesterday as a late birthday present, which gives me an idea for a new weekly podcast segment and should come in handy tomorrow night at Hubert's.

• Speaking of the best characters in recent television history Robert Chew, who was excellent on "The Wire" as Proposition Joe, died at age 52. My favorite Prop Joe moment:

Compelling arguments from both sides, really.

• Friend of AG.com and Fan Graphs writer David Temple, with whom I've consumed many beers, started a new baseball podcast that's so professional sounding he's calling it a radio show.

• In addition to being a Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver was into sabermetrics before such a thing actually existed and the author of a must-read book.

• A couple weeks ago I noted that Bill Burr, Nick Offerman, and Tom Segura are all performing in Minnesota within the next two months and now John Mulaney can be added to the list of good stand-up comedians doing shows here soon. I'm thinking of going to all four.

Terry Gross' interview with Jimmy Kimmel was funny and touching and just great.

• Two of my longtime favorite writers/online buddies got new gigs, as Kevin Pelton goes from Basketball Prospectus to ESPN.com and Chris Wesseling goes from Rotoworld to NFL.com.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we discussed whether the Twins can truly be done pursuing starting pitching and what happens when the person cutting your hair wants to talk about nothing but prostitutes killing their customers.

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

- "What if I forget what flavor my Lean Cuisine was for rewards?"
- "What does an 11 x 16 bedroom look like?"
- "Drew Butera girlfriend"
- "How long for pounds to show up?"
- "Older women who have lost 50 pounds"
- "Jon Rauch father"
- "Solomon Burke underrated"
- "Nicholas Batum languages spoken"
- "Gus Johnson millionaire"
- "Baseball sex blog"

Finally, in honor of Brauer going back to school this week's AG.com-approved music video is Chuck Berry with "School Days" from 1958:

This week's blog content is sponsored by Fresh Brewed Trivia at Granite City in Rosedale Center on Tuesday nights, where you can drink $3 tap beers and win prizes. Please support them for supporting AG.com.