January 31, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• I was chosen as/rigged the voting to be a finalist for Vita.mn's "crush contest" and got invited to a photo shoot/party Wednesday night, so now there are more pictures of me on the internet. This one is my favorite because it perfectly shows the effect I have on women:

crush party

There's a lot more where that came from.

Jon Bois' season-ending edition of "Breaking Madden" is pure genius.

• Someone mapped out the location of every place mentioned in Tom Waits songs.

• I was an in-studio guest on KFAN for the first time in a couple months and Paul Allen basically staged an intervention. Depending on your point of view, it was radio gold or a train wreck.

The Onion is giving me some good ideas: "New Dating Website Helps Plus-Size Jewish Plane Crash Survivors Find Love."

• I thought about moving into one of the new "luxury apartments" in Uptown, but for better or worse various friends talked me out of becoming that type of person.

• 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.

• This is just a great picture of Sid Hartman and Glen Perkins.

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode was recorded live in front of a 300-person crowd at Twins Daily's inaugural "Winter Meltdown" event, with special guests Twins president Dave St. Peter, my mom's favorite handsome athlete Scott Erickson, and Miguel Sano documentary filmmaker Jon Paley. I love the look on St. Peter's face as I ask him some dumb question:

st. peter meltdown panel

Me posing with Erickson is pretty good too.

• As a huge DMX fan and a frequent party bus passenger, this was amazing.

• Good collection of the Twin Cities' best late-night breakfast spots, including some of my favorites like Rye Deli and Hell's Kitchen.

Anna Kendrick is the best.

Elijah Aaron's cover of "No Scrubs" is as entertaining as the song could be without Chilli.

• Whole lotta Minnesotans flying to Colorado to get their legal pot on, but the true pros drive.

• As the world's biggest J. Cole fan his birthday gift from Jay Z made me smile.

Chipper Jones is a superhero.

• My idol Rob Neyer is leaving SB Nation for FOXSports.com.

Craig Calcaterra let his 10-year-old daughter write a guest post for HardballTalk.

• For the same money, would the Twins have been better off with Matt Garza or Ricky Nolasco?

• My favorite scene in television history:

Susie Greene is a saint.

• I wrote the Twins essay in this year's "Baseball Prospectus" book, which is now available.

• I'm glad the Twins finally put Chuck Knoblauch in the team Hall of Fame. He's one of the 10 best players in Twins history.

"Metrodome Lashes Out at Twins in Final Interview."

• Old friend Scott Baker signed with the Mariners.

Tina Fey was delightful on "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee" with Jerry Seinfeld.

• I don't even like this song, but Kendrick Lamar screaming "tater tots!" is my new ringtone.

John Mulaney's stand-up special "New In Town" is one of the best hours of comedy I've ever seen and now it's on Netflix.

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

- "Dick Bremer net worth"
- "How much does Louis C.K. weigh?"
- "St. Louis fried rice"
- "How long can you survive without food?"
- "Aaron Gleeman height"
- "Geraldo Rivera vs. Frank Stallone"
- "Robin Thicke socks"
- "Sid Hartman old"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Bad Self Portraits" by Lake Street Dive:

January 27, 2014

Gleeman and The Geek #130: Winter Meltdown with Dave St. Peter and Scott Erickson

This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode was recorded live in front of a 300-person audience at Twins Daily's inaugural "Winter Meltdown" event, featuring special guests Twins president Dave St. Peter, former Cy Young runner-up Scott Erickson, and Miguel Sano documentary filmmaker Jon Paley, along with appearances by Parker Hageman and Seth Stohs. Listen as St. Peter gets laughs at my expense and Erickson wows the crowd with his handsomeness.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 130

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

Mid-interview with St. Peter:

st. peter interview

Posing with my mom's all-time favorite baseball player:

aaron and scott erickson

January 24, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• Saturday night's Twins Daily event is almost sold out again even after jamming in some more tickets, but we're hoping to record the panel discussions for a podcast that everyone can listen to later and you can submit questions for Twins president Dave St. Peter and my mom's all-time favorite player Scott Erickson.

• Grantland's oral history of "Swingers" is really good and nicely presented too.

• I never knew goats fainting was an actual thing, but now it's all I can think about.

• If you're like me and think the law banning the sale of alcohol on Sundays is outdated, absurd, and annoying you'll want to sign this petition. It's the only political cause I've ever cared about.

• Having an essay in the new "Baseball Prospectus" book is one of the great thrills of my life and 18-year-old me would be giddy. It's ready for pre-order, with February 11 as the shipping date.

Mike Axisa of CBSSports.com put together an all-time single-season Twins team, although including the Senators kind of ruins it for me.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode John Bonnes couldn't stop laughing at me for being a human man who may or may not have attended a kite festival.

• I watched all 14 minutes of "pissed off goalies" and would have gladly watched another 14:

Patrick Roy seems like a maniac.

• This is my personal brand now.

• Three months ago police killed a guy in my neighborhood and now there was a SWAT team standoff, which is why I'm moving to Uptown for some peace and quiet.

• It wasn't really my style, but if you're looking for an apartment in Uptown that's spacious and charming with a really nice landlord go check out this place.

• If the Uptown move doesn't work out I'm thinking of just buying the house from "Roseanne."

• President Carter, Young Money Democrat.

• I'd kind of like to make a mockery of the Star Tribune's "crush contest," so go vote for me.

UPDATE: Mission accomplished, I guess.

Ricky Rubio was the cutest, again.

• Friend of AG.com Maggie LaMaack's unstoppable, take-no-prisoners media blitz continues, including this gem: "LaMaack, meanwhile, has shattered her iPhone again."

• If you don't know a woman who would wear these you're doing something wrong with your life.

• Sunday night I watched a grown man I consider a friend do this and I'll forever be thankful that we caught it on video:

If you're curious, he called that "super-manning" the beer pong table.

• This is what it looks like when I dress up and pretend to like soccer in the name of friendship and morning drinking. And I apparently saw something incredible happen.

Possum Plows' latest is a Frank Ocean duet cover, which as you might expect is directly in my wheelhouse.

Phil Mackey is Judd Zulgad's new co-host on 1500-ESPN, replacing Jeff Dubay and leaving Patrick Reusse on his own in the afternoons.

• I loved Morgan Murphy's new stand-up comedy special on Netflix.

Hannibal Buress is coming to the Varsity Theater next month. I saw him at Acme Comedy Company last year and he was fantastic.

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

- "Consistently good podcasts"
- "Was Denard Span once called the next Kirby Puckett?"
- "Former friends catching up"
- "Are people nicer now that you've lost weight?"
- "Marc Maron hair transplant"
- "Lizzy Caplan facial hair"
- "Did Joe Mauer switch teams?"
- "Why do men have beards?"
- "Aaron Gleeman at Stella's in Uptown"
- "Traveling to New Zealand"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Born Sinner" by J. Cole:

December 13, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• I'm co-hosting an event during TwinsFest next month with John Bonnes, Parker Hageman, Nick Nelson, Seth Stohs, and the whole Twins Daily crew. Saturday night, January 25, we'll be getting together for beer and baseball at Mason's Restaurant downtown, which is one block from Target Field where TwinsFest is taking place this year for the first time. We're calling it "Winter Meltdown" and we'll be joined by special guests, including Twins president Dave St. Peter.

winter meltdown logo

Space is limited and we expect the event to sell out, so reserve your spot as soon as possible.

UPDATE: Wow. We sold out all 125 tickets to the event in three hours this morning.

Jason Kubel is coming back to the Twins.

• We live in a world where the best-looking baseball manager is a Jew who went to Dartmouth.

• On a related note, Ron Gardenhire took the news of his 28th-place handsomeness finish well.

• Being chosen for the Best of Minneapolis Beards is arguably the greatest honor of my life, even if I had to guilt world-renowned beard curator Megan Weisenberger into including me.

• On a related note, Robinson Cano broke up with the Yankees and the very first thing he did was grow a beard.

Scott Boras threw some shade at Jay Z and even dragged Rihanna into it.

Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times wrote an absolutely fascinating investigative piece shining a light on the Mariners' dysfunctional front office, with tons of damning quotes.

• I've never been prouder of something in my entire life. Journalism school was worth the money.

Ben Revere was the cutest kid of all time.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode our waitress says she loves me and I waste no time reciprocating, showing once and for all that I have zero commitment issues. We also talked about lots of baseball stuff, if you're into that for some weird reason.

• "Gleeman and The Geek" is available on Stitcher now, giving you another way to consume us.

Amy Poehler is the best, so I really liked Alex Scordelis' feature (and accompanying photo shoot) on her in Paper magazine. My favorite part:

Poehler laughs loudly at the thought of her tipsy Bostonian parents celebrating a Red Sox win. I ask if she thinks she's a generous laugher. "I don't break in scenes, but I do laugh too much," she says. "I was just directing Broad City, and the sound guy asked me, 'Can you laugh less during the takes?' And I was like, 'I can't promise you anything.' I like to laugh a lot. I have a crazy maniacal laugh that I try to maintain through diet and exercise."

And thankfully, the internet being the internet, there's a video compilation of Poehler's laugh:

For me, that's second only to the sound of rain falling in terms of soothing noises.

• NL MVP Andrew McCutchen proposed to his girlfriend on "Ellen."

• Sad news about snuggle-for-pay not making it in Wisconsin, because I was looking into buying a franchise in Minnesota. And it seems like my favorite baseball player of all time would have been interested in opening a Chicago-area franchise.

• OK, who wants to get me this for Christmas?

Ann Friedman of Esquire wrote an interesting article about how men and women view dating someone taller or shorter than them and why everyone should be more open-minded.

• There was a discussion on Twitter about the blogs people had as teenagers and eventually quit, which I didn't realize was an option. It got me digging through my archives and I stumbled across this post from March of 2003--when I was a 20-year-old college student--and it's amazing how little has changed since then.

"Why I'll Never Ask A Guy Out" by Malina Bickford made me sad, because think of how many potential love connections never happen due to men being clueless. We need help sometimes.

• 18.6 million people watched "The Sound Of Music Live" on NBC, including one man with Pizza Luce and a crappy attitude.

• One of the original baseball bloggers, Jon Weisman of Dodger Thoughts, has a new job working for the Dodgers.

The latest from my future wife.

Ron Coomer is leaving FOX Sports North and K-TWIN to be the Cubs' new radio analyst.

• You know you've established a reputation when six different people send the same link.

• I enjoyed Chelsea Fagan's list of "24 rules for being a gentleman in 2014" even though No. 2 basically ruled me out and I failed about 10 of them.

• My crush on Lizzy Caplan knows no bounds:

She's such a f-ing delight.

• We're recording a new "Gleeman and The Geek" episode Saturday afternoon at HammerHeart Brewing Company in Lino Lakes. We'll get started around 2:00 p.m. and much more importantly we'll be done podcasting and ready to have some beers around 3:30 p.m. Come hang out.

• I've never been to see "Wits" at the Fitzgerald Theater before, but their Valentine's Day show guests are basically hand-picked for me: Marc Maron, Jason Isbell, and Amanda Shires.

• Speaking of which: Step 1 to becoming a guest?

• I'm using this as my excuse for everything now.

• In preparation for this week's chosen song, here's a complete list of things Tom Waits misses about the woman in "Hold On":

- Charcoal eyes
- Monroe hips
- Hair like wind
- Crooked little heart
- Broken-China voice

I've been on a real Waits kick lately, which believe it or not means I've been in a good mood.

• AG.com favorite and Twitter must-follow Alison Agosti has a new gig writing for "Late Night With Seth Meyers."

• I really enjoyed "Drinking Buddies" starring Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, and Ron Livingston. B-plus movie with A-plus work from Wilde in the role of Holly Manthei.

• Nothing to do with anything, but I randomly think of this scene every few months.

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

- "Jon Taffer hair transplant"
- "Twins baseball rumors"
- "Husband got fat and lazy drinking beer"
- "Did Meatsauce Paul Lambert go to college?"
- "Marney Gellner favorite country songs"
- "Ron Coomer net worth"
- "Tevin Campbell big boner"
- "Tom Colicchio wearing glasses"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the aforementioned "Hold On" by Waits:


This week's blog content is sponsored by 6300 Steakhouse at the Embassy Suites, an American steakhouse with a Cajun flair that features hand-cut steaks, seafood, sandwiches, burgers, and homemade Jambalaya. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

April 17, 2013

Twins Notes: Four hits, two strikes, leading off, and mystery pitchers

joe mauer four hits

• Monday night Joe Mauer went 4-for-5 with a homer and a double for his 20th career four-hit game and then he followed that up Tuesday night by going 4-for-5 for his 21st career four-hit game, which ranks fourth in Twins history and third in Twins history through age 30:

OVERALL                      THROUGH AGE 30
Kirby Puckett      47        Kirby Puckett      33
Rod Carew          42        Rod Carew          29
Tony Oliva         28        Joe Mauer          21
Joe Mauer          21        Tony Oliva         15
Chuck Knoblauch    15        Chuck Knoblauch    15

You certainly wouldn't know it based on this week, but strictly in terms of racking up hits Mauer is at a small disadvantage because he draws so many walks, especially compared to a free-swinger like Kirby Puckett. Here's the Twins' leaderboard for games getting on base at least four times:

OVERALL                      THROUGH AGE 30
Rod Carew         117        Rod Carew          84
Kirby Puckett      94        Joe Mauer          79
Harmon Killebrew   92        Chuck Knoblauch    76
Joe Mauer          79        Kirby Puckett      59
Chuck Knoblauch    76        Kent Hrbek         59

"Four-hit game" rolls off the tongue a lot smoother than "four-times-on-base game" but as always walks are a good thing too. Either way, Mauer is ridiculous right now.

• Three of Mauer's four hits Monday night came with two strikes, which prompted manager Ron Gardenhire to comment:

One of the best hitters I've ever seen with two strikes. It's incredible how he can go deep into a count and never panic, never have any fear, have a nice swing and barrel it just about every time.

Thanks to Baseball-Reference.com recently adding splits data to the already amazing Play Index here are the active leaders in batting average and OPS with two strikes:

TWO-STRIKE AVG                 TWO-STRIKE OPS
Todd Helton        .263        Albert Pujols      .789
Juan Pierre        .261        Todd Helton        .784
Ichiro Suzuki      .260        David Ortiz        .698
Albert Pujols      .258        Ryan Braun         .697
Joe Mauer          .256        Miguel Cabrera     .696
                               ...
                               Joe Mauer          .668

As you might expect, guys with low strikeout rates have the best two-strike batting average and guys who're simply great all-around hitters have the best two-strike OPS. Mauer ranks fifth in batting average and 17th in OPS with two strikes.

• Last night Gardenhire moved Aaron Hicks out of the leadoff spot for the first time, which got me thinking about the history of Twins leadoff hitters. First, here's a list of the most starts in the leadoff spot in Twins history:

Cesar Tovar        742
Chuck Knoblauch    695
Denard Span        549
Zoilo Versalles    547
Dan Gladden        478
Kirby Puckett      417
Jacque Jones       320
Shannon Stewart    313
Lenny Green        263
Hosken Powell      225

Zoilo Versalles and Dan Gladden are two of the five most-used leadoff hitters in Twins history despite posting on-base percentages of .299 and .318 in the role. Jacque Jones and Hosken Powell weren't a whole lot better at .329 and .327, although at least Jones also slugged .472 for the highest mark by a Twins leadoff man. In all 25 hitters have started at least 100 games in the leadoff spot for the Twins and here are the leaders in on-base percentage:

Chuck Knoblauch    .399
Steve Braun        .386
Lyman Bostock      .362
Otis Nixon         .360
Shane Mack         .359
Shannon Stewart    .358
Luis Castillo      .357
Denard Span        .354
Lenny Green        .350
Larry Hisle        .348

As part of my "Top 40 Minnesota Twins" series I compared Steve Braun to Chuck Knoblauch and called him one of the most underrated players in team history. Braun played in a low-offense era, so his OBP was even better than it looks. The worst OBP by a Twins leadoff man with at least 100 starts belongs to Carlos Gomez at .280, which won't surprise anyone. Hicks has led off 10 times so far, which ties him for 69th in Twins history with Pedro Munoz and Mark Davidson.

• Hicks tied the all-time record for most strikeouts in a hitter's first 10 career games:

Aaron Hicks       2013     20
Brett Jackson     2012     20
Matt Williams     1987     19
Russell Branyan   1999     18
Ray Durham        1995     18

There's no real positive way to spin 20 strikeouts in 10 games--particularly when combined with just two hits--but Matt Williams and Ray Durham went on to have very good, long careers and Russell Branyan was a productive slugger for quite a while. And just short of cracking the above top-five is Giancarlo Stanton, who had 17 strikeouts in his first 10 games in 2010 and is now one of the elite hitters in baseball.

• Just a few weeks ago Terry Ryan said this about Hicks as the Opening Day center fielder:

The guy has earned it. I find it almost humorous that people are talking about service time, starting the clock. We didn't trade Span and Revere to stall the next guy. ... I can't ever feel guilt about stopping a guy that deserves to be there because I know if I put myself in that man's shoes, I would be severely disappointed.

Are we trying to win, or what are we doing? Can you imagine if we sent somebody out that did what the kid did, and I had to look at Willingham and Morneau and Perkins and Mauer and those guys that are trying to win, and I'm going to stop that guy? I just don't believe in that. I hear this stuff. Not here.

"Earning" something by playing well for 20 spring training games can be a funny thing, although perhaps not as "humorous" as Ryan found the service time discussion.

Oswaldo Arcia's first taste of the big leagues lasted all of one game before Wilkin Ramirez returned from paternity leave, but he managed to get his first hit, make his first error, and have Mike Trout rob him of his first extra-base hit. And now with Darin Mastroianni going on the disabled list Arcia is coming back up after a 24-hour demotion to Triple-A. Arcia debuted about three weeks before his 22nd birthday, making him the 10th-youngest Twins player since 1991:

Joe Mauer           20.352
Cristian Guzman     21.016
Luis Rivas          21.017
Johan Santana       21.021
Rich Becker         21.221
Pat Mahomes         21.247
A.J. Pierzynski     21.253
David Ortiz         21.288
Francisco Liriano   21.314
Oswaldo Arcia       21.341
Javier Valentin     21.359

I believe the technical term for that list is "mixed bag." Jim Manning was the youngest player in Twins history, debuting in 1962 at 18 years and 268 days. He pitched seven innings that season and never played in the majors again. As for Arcia, it may take a trade or an injury but the odds seem pretty strong that he'll be a regular in the Twins' lineup for good by August. I rated him as the Twins' third-best prospect coming into the season, one spot ahead of Hicks.

• It's possible that the Twins demoted Liam Hendriks to Triple-A primarily because the various off days mean they won't need a fifth starter for a while and liked Pedro Hernandez more as a bullpen option during that time, but clearly their faith in Hendriks isn't very high right now. Faith in a pitcher with an ERA near 6.00 tends to be minimal and I've never been especially high on Hendriks as a prospect, but writing him off after 22 career starts would be a mistake.

Compare the following three Twins pitchers through 22 career starts:

                 IP      ERA     SO9     BB9     HR9
Pitcher X       118     5.63     5.4     2.5     1.4
Pitcher Y       137     5.40     3.8     2.2     1.6
Pitcher Z       121     5.20     6.5     2.1     1.5

One set of those lines is Hendriks and the others are Brad Radke and Scott Baker, who also frequently got dinged early on for not throwing hard and giving up too many homers. I'm certainly not suggesting he's the next Radke or even the next Baker, but if there's any benefit to being a bad team with a poor rotation it should be having few qualms about giving a 24-year-old like Hendriks an extended opportunity to sink or swim in the majors.

• Back in January team president Dave St. Peter was our guest on "Gleeman and The Geek" and we asked him if the Twins' recent struggles played a part in the inability to sign some free agent pitchers they targeted. St. Peter denied that was the case, repeatedly saying that "dollars and years" were the main factor:

No. It's dollars and years. It's dollars and years. And at the end of the day, a player might have Option A and Option B, depending where they're from. He may be able to take less in Option A, but at the end of the day it's ultimately going to come down to dollars and years.

I found that interesting at the time, because it seemingly differed from some previous things said by other members of the organization. Fast forward to last week, when Jesse Lund of Twinkie Town interviewed assistant general manager Rob Antony and got a much different answer to a question about the inability to sign targeted pitchers:

We made very competitive offers to a couple pitchers, and maybe even better offers than what players signed for. You get into a situation when you're coming off of two 90-plus loss seasons, some pitchers, and to their credit they are looking to land in a place where they'll get a chance to win, and some teams can just offer that and a player will look at it and believe it more so than when we say "Hey, we're trying to win, too." ...

So we tried to get some guys. We went after some free agents who basically didn't have a lot of interest in coming here, just because they thought that at this point in their career they wanted to win and they thought they could get the money and win somewhere else better than ... be in a better situation than they would be here.

That's about as far from "dollars and years" as you can get.

Glen Perkins continued his recent media tour by talking to my favorite interviewer, David Brown of Yahoo! Sports. It's great, because how could it not be? For example:

DB: How are you personally coping without Denard Span? I don’t think I’d be doing too well.

GP: This is the first year since 2004 that we won't be teammates. It's weird. I unfollowed him on Twitter. I guess that's my coping mechanism.

Perkins actually unfollowed Denard Span right after the trade in January, later refollowed him, and then unfollowed him again. I know this because Span pointed it out each time on Twitter.

• On a related note, Span had no idea what a double-switch was until this week despite playing two dozen interleague games under NL rules while with the Twins. And also, you know, being a professional baseball player.

Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus did some really interesting research about catchers and framing high and low pitches, with Mauer playing a prominent role in the analysis.

Chris Jaffe of The Hardball Times tells the story of the time Bert Blyleven charged the mound.

• For a lot more about Hicks, Hendriks, and Arcia, plus the Twins' premature press release, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.


This week's blog content is sponsored by DiamondCentric's new GAME SIX shirt, commemorating one of the best moments in Minnesota sports history. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

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