April 17, 2015


"Gleeman and The Geek" is officially back on the radio, starting our fourth season on KFAN this Sunday at 4:00 pm. As always you can listen live on 100.3-FM and KFAN.com streaming audio or you can continue to listen to the show as a podcast via however you've been doing that already. We broadcast an hour live on the radio and then record another hour afterward in a side studio without any commercials, gluing the two pieces together for the final podcast product.

Rob Neyer of FOXSports.com wrote about my NBCSports.com blog-mate Craig Calcaterra and the criticism that comes with criticizing other writers.

• A national security expert wrote in the Washington Post that MLB forcing fans at every ballpark to go through metal detectors is "pure security theater" and "laughable."

Dana Wessel told the cute story of how he unexpectedly met his idol.

• I need two new owners my "Hardball Dynasty" league on WhatIfSports. Click here for details.

• You can't wear a spiked leather wristband and not expect people to mock it. Well, you can. But then it'll be even funnier.

• There's a vacant lot next to Calhoun Square and this summer Prime Time Wrestling "is planning five free outdoor shows" where "attendees just need to bring their own lawn chairs."

• I put together a guide to where the Twins' top 40 prospects are playing in the minors.

• If you like Boston Terriers, junk food, or dating you'll love this as much as I did:

The lesson to be learned is that meatballs are great.

• On a related note: This is a perfect representation of what life is like with a cat.

• Coincidentally the Cubs called up No. 1 prospect Kris Bryant on the same day his service time had been delayed long enough to push back his eventual free agency by an extra year.

Bryce Harper is still the youngest player in the National League.

• Grantland's oral history of the Orland Magic's non-dynasty was really good and included this what-if scenario from Shaquille O'Neal's agent about the Wolves winning the 1992 lottery:

Shaq was never adamant about going to L.A. or any big market. He went to LSU, so it wasn't like he was saying, "I need to go to some big market." Our strategy wasn't to force anybody to go anywhere. Maybe if he was picked by Minnesota he might have said, "I don’t want to go there."

Instead the Wolves picked third, missing out on both O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning.

Flip Saunders will surely disagree, but three-point shooting and playoff teams go hand in hand.

• It was another awful Wolves season, but television analyst Jim Petersen provided an ideal mix of passion, opinion, criticism, knowledge, and analytics. He's proof stats on TV can work.

• In the rare instances when the Twins talk publicly about their use of "statistical analysis" it comes across as rudimentary.

• Twins president Dave St. Peter took some shots at me during a Q&A session at the Minneapolis Star Tribune's new building and in doing so coined the phrase "Gleeman disciple."

• Seinfeld plus Limp Bizkit amused me way more than it should have:

The internet is an amazing place.

• As a Food Network viewer and Deadspin reader Drew Magary's appearance on "Chopped" was magical from start to finish.

• The photos from my podcast co-host John Bonnes' trip to Las Vegas are fascinating and scary.

• Congrats to Stu Neuman, Jon Marthaler, Brandon Broxey, and Clarence Swamptown on "The Sportive" winning the City Pages award for "2015 Best Sports Podcast."

• Restaurant recommendation: The Strip Club is a cozy gem in St. Paul. Tim Niver and Christy Niver treated us like family, every dish was fantastic, and I'm still thinking about the pork belly.

• Netflix recommendation: "Bloodline" is a slow burn, but Kyle Chandler, Linda Cardellini, and Ben Mendelsohn are all great and I enjoyed the 13-episode first season.

Jason Isbell has a new album coming out in July. His last album was amazing, as were the two lives shows in Minnesota that I went to.

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

- "How did Aaron Gleeman die?"
- "Kid trips over man"
- "Spoon and Stable what to order"
- "How hard did Bert Blyleven throw?"
- "Heaviest center fielders"
- "Paul Molitor shirtless"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth:

This week's blog content is sponsored by Uber, which is offering a free ride to first-time users who sign up with the promo code "UberGleeman."

January 28, 2015

Twins Notes: Parmelee, Swarzak, Pelfrey, Boyd, Gladden, and Santana

Chris Parmelee Twins

Dave St. Peter and Jacque Jones were great guests at the second annual "Winter Meltdown" event Saturday night, but unfortunately due to technical issues their interviews were not properly recorded for "Gleeman and The Geek" purposes. We'll do our best to recap all the details on the next episode, but for better or worse the only people to hear the pair of half-hour interviews will be those who attended the event.

• Let go by the Twins after a combined 20 years in the organization, Chris Parmelee signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles and Anthony Swarzak signed a minor-league deal with the Indians. Parmelee, who was the Twins' first-round pick in 2006, hit .249/.317/.390 in 273 games. Swarzak, who was the Twins' second-round pick in 2004, posted a 4.48 ERA in 440 innings. They were both essentially replacement-level players in Minnesota.

• On a related note, Parker Hageman of Twins Daily looked at the Twins' bad run of drafts from 2006-2011 and how it helped lead to their current struggles.

• General manager Terry Ryan continues to ride the Mike Pelfrey train, telling reporters asking about a potential move to the bullpen for the rehabbing right-hander that he's "more interested to see what he can do as a starter." Pelfrey is 5-16 with a 5.56 ERA in 34 starts for the Twins and has a 4.55 ERA in 183 career starts. He's owed $5.5 million for 2015 because Ryan misguidedly signed him to a two-year contract extension in December of 2013.

Hudson Boyd, who was the Twins' supplemental first-round pick out of a Florida high school in 2011, has been suspended 50 games after a second positive test for a "drug of abuse." Boyd was billed as a big, hard-throwing starter prospect with lots of upside, but he's yet to advance beyond low Single-A and has a 4.27 ERA with just 153 strikeouts in 219 innings as a pro.

Johan Santana's latest comeback attempt has been derailed by more shoulder problems, but let's not lose sight of how amazing he was before his body broke down. Careers, compared:

                      IP     ERA+     WAR     WIN%
Sandy Koufax       2,324     131     53.2     .655
Johan Santana      2,026     136     50.7     .641

Sandy Koufax was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1972.

Zero players received enough votes to be inducted into the Twins' team Hall of Fame this year and the player getting the most votes was Dan Gladden, who hit .268/.318/.382 in five seasons for the Twins and is now their radio analyst. In terms of on-field performance, Gladden is not one of the top 50 players in Twins history.

David Schoenfield of ESPN.com tried to figure out "who had the worst defensive season ever?" and his answer is going to rile up a lot of Twins fans.

• With a month and some change before Opening Day, my best guess at the 25-man roster the Twins will start the season with includes a few potential moving parts.

• For anyone who felt that FanGraphs' projections for the Twins were too pessimistic: Baseball Prospectus projects the Twins to have MLB's worst record.

This week's blog content is sponsored by Uber, which is offering a free ride to first-time users who sign up with the promo code "UberGleeman."

January 15, 2015

Twins Daily’s second annual “Winter Meltdown” event

Winter Meltdown 2015 logo

Twins Daily's second annual "Winter Meltdown" event is January 24 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on the Saturday night coinciding with Twins Fest. It'll be at Mason's Barre, one block from Target Field, and guests include Twins president Dave St. Peter, former Twins outfielder Jacque Jones, and former Twins catcher Tim Laudner. Plus me, John Bonnes, Parker Hageman, Seth Stohs, Nick Nelson, and various other Twins bloggers and local media members.

For just $30 you get exclusive access to the private event, including Q&A sessions with St. Peter, Jones, and Laudner, along with two free beers courtesy of 612 Brew, a custom-made, limited edition "Winter Meltdown" pint glass featuring the logo shown above, admittance into a raffle for Opening Day tickets, and all-night drink specials. Last year's event was incredibly fun and sold out beforehand, so you'll want to get tickets now and secure a spot. Click here to sign up.

Who: Gleeman, Bonnes, Hageman, Stohs, Nelson, St. Peter, Jones, Laudner, lots of Twins fans

What: Twins Daily's second annual "Winter Meltdown" event

Where: Mason's Barre at 528 Hennepin Avenue, one block from Target Field downtown

When: Saturday, January 24 from 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Why: Because if we're going to root for a losing team we might as well have fun doing it.

How: Buy tickets before it sells out by clicking here

For more information about this year's event and a recap of the fun had at last year's event, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.

October 31, 2014


Shea Serrano at Grantland paid tribute to my beloved Mase and it's basically perfect.

• Rapid City, South Dakota native Becky Hammon is now the first female full-time coach in NBA history and Howard Beck wrote an excellent article about her life.

• Pitches of 97 miles per hour or faster this season: Royals 2,287, Twins 1.

Joe Maddon, who reportedly never even talked to the Twins, is set to become Cubs manager.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we discussed all the reasons why there was never any chance of Maddon coming to the Twins and learned valuable lessons about parenting.

Steve "Randball's Stu" Neuman asked WCCO news anchor Jason DeRusha to personalize the "Four Things You Need To Know" segment for him. And so DeRusha did, hilariously:

"Sure, a real man who lives in the St. Cloud area would change his own oil."

• Too little, too late. I've moved on, BlackBerry. And everyone else has, too.

• Well, except for Kim Kardashian apparently.

Torii Hunter cemented his status as baseball's most beloved homophobe.

• As a big fan of "would you rather?" this Katie Notopoulos survey amused me greatly.

• Sometimes when you "deep Google" someone there's no turning back.

• In honor of Timberwolves season starting, here's a picture of 13-year-old me wearing a blunt hat and posing with rookie-year Stephon Marbury.

• Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders has tweeted only three times in the past eight months and they're all amazing.

• If someone claims Alex Gordon would have scored from third base to tie Game 7 of the World Series, please show them this:

Would have been a helluva way for the season to end, though.

Parker Hageman and Dan Anderson of the "No Juice" podcast had Twins president Dave St. Peter as their guest this week.

• City Pages had big shoes to fill, but they found a good blogging replacement for Aaron Rupar in Ben Johnson, who once did a nice job writing this about me for the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

• There's a new restaurant coming to Lake Street called Prairie Dogs, which will have hot dogs, "handcrafted" sausages, and local beer. I suspect I may be there a lot.

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

- "Nick Blackburn was a top prospect"
- "Scott Erickson and Inga Hammond"
- "Is Sid Hartman Jewish?"
- "Lonnie Smith running over catcher"
- "What is throwing shade?"
- "Jon Taffer hair plugs"
- "Ben Revere bulge"

• Finally, in honor of seeing him perform live at Target Center during halftime of the Wolves' home opener Thursday, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice:

This week's content is sponsored by Harry's Razors. Go to Harrys.com and enter in the promo code "Gleeman" to receive $5 off your first order.

October 15, 2014

How much payroll space do the Twins have and will they actually spend it?

pohlad ryan st.peter

In the Twins' second season at Target Field their payroll rose to a franchise-record $113 million, but that dropped to $100 million the next year and then dipped below $90 million in each of the past two seasons as general manager Terry Ryan declined to spend a significant portion of the ownership-approved budget. Here's what Ryan said recently when asked about the team's lack of spending and self-imposed payroll decline:

Payroll will not be an issue. Our payroll is sufficient to [field] a winning team. There are playoff teams with lower payrolls than ours. We can't use that as an excuse. ... I spent plenty. Our payroll was pretty stiff, very respectable.

The payroll Ryan calls "pretty stiff" ranked 24th among 30 teams and, based on comments from Ryan and Twins president Dave St. Peter, will almost surely rank even lower in 2015. He's right that the Twins' payroll was enough to field a winning team, but suggesting their payroll should be low because "there are playoff teams with lower payrolls than ours" is like suggesting they should hit fewer home runs because "there are playoff teams with fewer home runs than us."

This season MLB teams that spent more than $100 million made the playoffs 47 percent of the time, while teams that spent less than $100 million made the playoffs 20 percent of the time. All six division-winning teams spent at least $105 million and the average payroll of the six division winners was $147 million. When asked about next year's payroll, St. Peter told Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

We haven't finalized a 2015 budget, [but] I can assure you, we don't see it going down significantly.

So this is where the Twins are at heading into the sixth season of a publicly funded ballpark that was supposed to boost their spending relative to the other 29 teams: "Assuring" their fans who're frustrated and disillusioned following a fourth consecutive 90-loss season that the team's already below-average payroll won't be "going down significantly" at a time when television and internet revenue is skyrocketing across baseball.

More than half of MLB teams exceeded $100 million in payroll this year, including 10 teams above $125 million and two teams above $200 million. After dumping various high-salaried veterans in trades, the Twins ended up spending around $86 million on payroll. St. Peter's comments certainly make it seem likely that their 2015 payroll will once again be below $90 million, which won't leave much room for offseason spending thanks to the following players being under contract:

Joe Mauer          $23.0 million
Ricky Nolasco      $12.0 million
Phil Hughes         $8.0 million
Kurt Suzuki         $6.0 million
Mike Pelfrey        $5.5 million
Glen Perkins        $4.7 million

TOTAL              $59.2 million

Beyond those guaranteed salaries, the Twins also have these players eligible for arbitration:

Trevor Plouffe      $4.3 million
Tommy Milone        $2.8 million
Brian Duensing      $2.5 million
Jordan Schafer      $1.5 million
Anthony Swarzak     $1.4 million
Eduardo Nunez       $1.2 million
Casey Fien          $1.1 million

TOTAL              $14.8 million

Those salaries listed above are MLB Trade Rumors' arbitration projections. At least a few of those arbitration-eligible players should be non-tender candidates, so the Twins could cut them loose at no cost. But if they were to retain all seven arbitration-eligible players their payroll commitments would approach $74 million. Toss in the $7 million or so required to fill out the rest of the roster with minimum-salaried players and the Twins would already be over $80 million.

Front office mistakes led to losing teams, which led to attendance declining, which led to revenue decreasing, which led to payroll dropping. In their final season at the Metrodome they spent $65 million. Six years and one new ballpark later their payroll has settled around $85 million. Whether or not you think spending drives winning, unspent money isn't set aside for future payroll and it's hard to see how that money simply staying with the Twins' owners benefits the team or its fans.

For a lengthy discussion of how preseason expectations translated to regular season success this year, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.

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