August 10, 2012

Link-O-Rama

Eric Chavez throwing the ball back to an unsuspecting Cody Eppley is GIF magic.

Nicolas Batum's nut-punching above replacement level is off the charts, which is no doubt why the Timberwolves made such a strong run at him this offseason.

• See, now they're just taunting me. Might be time to evaluate some other candidates.

• In honor of Usain Bolt's latest gold medal the New York Times created a fascinating video showing the evolution of the 100-meter dash at the Olympics. Humans are pretty amazing.

• I'm pretty sure Google has been listening to Gleeman and The Geek and is now inventing things specifically for me.

Sid Hartman's recent Minneapolis Star Tribune column includes a note saying that "it's unlikely 1500-AM will carry Twins broadcasts beyond this season."

• For anyone interested in local radio ratings, my MinnPost colleague David Brauer has the latest numbers and analysis. Short version: KFAN continues to dominate.

• Update on my all-Chinese food diet: I ate hunan chicken from Yangtze almost literally every day for an entire month and gained 10 pounds. I'm not sure what was accomplished, other than learning I'm still capable of being a fastso, but now I'm back on the low-calorie wagon.

• Behold, the worst play of the season:

On a related note, for as awful as the Twins have been since the beginning of 2011 they've got 20 more wins than the Astros during that time. Seriously: 112-162 compared to 92-182.

Ricky Gervais is the latest comedian to ride in Jerry Seinfeld's car and go for coffee.

Amelia Rayno of the Minneapolis Star Tribune wrote an excellent article about Corey Koskie's life after a concussion ruined his baseball career.

Tim Allen, who blogged excellently and creatively about the Timberwolves at Canis Hoopis since 2009, committed suicide at age 29.

• Turner Broadcasting bought Bleacher Report for $175 million.

Frank Viola's daughter, Brittany Viola, finished 15th in the Olympic diving semi-finals.

Carson Cistulli put together some good advice for how to become an internet baseball writer, although he oddly left out "be incredibly handsome."

• As always my favorite podcast guest, Chelsea Peretti, was great on Doug Loves Movies with Doug Benson, Sarah Silverman and Anthony Jeselnik. And my friend and former Rotoworld colleague Gregg Rosenthal was actually in the audience.

• Speaking of Peretti, she makes a cameo appearance in this amusing compilation video of all the times Louis C.K. has said "I'm sorry" on Louie:

Also: Joan Rivers.

• Freakonomics Radio explains why getting a college degree isn't always so valuable.

• On the other hand, things are looking up for journalism school graduates these days.

• Old school Orioles catcher Gus Triandos had a very memorable place in The Wire world, but the show had plenty of other sports-related story lines too.

• It turns out the Minneapolis Star Tribune headline about "weed dating" was a false alarm.

• Tuesday morning I was getting tweets saying stuff like "do you really wear tuxedo t-shirts?" and "what's with a polka dot fanny pack?" and "uh, you may want to turn on KFAN." I listened to the podcast later and heard Paul Allen and Marney Gellner discuss "Girls Gone Gleeman" without me even being present, including Gellner replying "I follow him on Twitter and his mom is a sweetheart" when asked if she knew me. Which, really, should be on my tombstone.

• I was in-studio to defend my honor yesterday and PA threw a curveball by actually wanting to talk Twins for a while. We eventually got to the "Girls Gone Gleeman" situation, which now includes at least one legitimate applicant. And if you listen to the podcast you can hear PA's reaction when I strip down to reveal an actual tuxedo t-shirt that was shipped overnight via Amazon.com just for the occasion. In other words, things are getting very serious.

• And because KFAN clearly hadn't devoted enough airtime to my love life this week, two hours later PA cold-called me at home live on the air to deliver some breaking "Girls Gone Gleeman" news. FSN sideline reporter Robby Incmikoski was in-studio at the time, so we became pals again and at some point I agreed to let him serve as a special guest judge for the dating game-style show we're planning at the state fair. He seems excited about it, at least.

• I've been on Twitter for three years and this is by far my most successful use of the medium:

It turns out running your fingers through my hair can be very addicting.

• On a related note, looks like we'll be doing a live Gleeman and The Geek show from the KFAN booth at the state fair on August 26. My guess is we'll take lots of audience questions, so if you've ever wanted to see John Bonnes arguing with me in person this is your big chance.

• Your weekly reminder that Vin Scully is the best.

Jon Weisman is right: This picture made me smile.

• For some reason my rush-delivered tuxedo t-shirt did not come with any huge guns.

What music would you listen to if you'd been deaf for your entire life and could finally hear?

In which I sing a Beyonce song to Danny Valencia.

• If you look up "hero" in the dictionary ... well, you'll see a definition. Also, this Julie Klausner story is pretty great.

• If you're into basketball, sports betting, poker, or (like me) all of the above Jay Caspian Kang's podcast interview with longtime AG.com favorite Haralabos Voulgaris is a must-listen.

• Back by popular demand, this week's most amusing, weird, and random search engine queries that brought people here:

- "Bert Blyleven fart"
- "Boof Bonser salary"
- "Brian Dinkelman salary"
- "J.J. Hardy wife"
- "Can a catcher also play outfield"
- "Ben Revere throwing arm"
- "Michelle Beadle twinkie"
- "Chelsea Peretti drugs"
- "Parker Posey weight"
- "Dirty slide slow pitch softball"
- "Joe Thurston ex-girlfriend"
- "Tsuyoshi Nishioka error"
- "Christopher Nolan baseball"
- "Fat man stuffing his face"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the album version of "Where We Gonna Go From Here" by Mat Kearney:

This week's blog content is sponsored by DiamondCentric's new "Walks Will Haunt" t-shirt, which looks good on any Twins fan. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

July 20, 2012

Link-O-Rama

(Our whole crew, including me in the middle and Bill Parker talking to Robby Incmikoski.)

I spent yesterday afternoon at Target Field watching the Twins-Orioles game in FOX Sports North's suite. Along with a few other bloggers I was invited there to try the "Game Connect" platform that incorporates play-by-play, statistics, scores, social media, and a bunch of other stuff for an online supplement to the game-watching experience. It's definitely worth trying, especially if you're like me and typically watch Twins games on FSN with your computer nearby.

(After seeing John Bonnes' tweet they actually asked to do this and who was I to say no?)

FSN treated us too well. Becky Ross and Laura Beshire were great hosts, plying us with beer and food. Angie Avestruz and Kaylin Cockriel--also known as "The FSN Girls"--couldn't have been nicer, even when John Bonnes creepily used Twitter to peer-pressure them into running their fingers through my hair. And sideline reporter Robby Incmikoski hung out, interviewed me on television, and was incredibly nice despite me often being critical of him and FSN.

 (Nick Nelson was more focused on his beer and sunglasses than my FSN television debut.)

And then after the game we put the finishing touches on a fun day at the Fulton Tap Room. You can find some more pictures and details about the whole experience on my Twitter page. Thanks to FOX Sports North for reaching out to the bloggers and thanks to everyone involved for being so damn nice. And last but not least check out "Game Connect" the next time you're watching the Twins on FSN, if only so they don't regret inviting me. OK, now on to the links ...


• As always, Louis C.K. is the best.

Pete Rose is getting his own reality television show and it sounds as bad as you'd expect.

• Yesterday morning during my KFAN appearance with Paul Allen the inevitable happened, as PA and my mom joined forces in the name of ... well, listen for yourself.

Heidi Klum was the first Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com way back in 2002 and suffice it to say she's aged a whole helluva lot better than I have.

• Friend of AG.com and former Gleeman and The Geek guest Lindsay Guentzel made it to the MLB Fan Cave's final seven, but after four months in New York she was voted out this week.

• Speaking of which, this week's Gleeman and The Geek show was our 50th episode, which means only 450 more until my mom is allowed to come on as a guest.

• Having reached the point where losing more weight isn't really possible--I'm down under 170 pounds after being 355 pounds on March 7, 2011--for the past two weeks or so I've been on a Chinese food and gum diet mostly just to see what happens. And despite getting takeout from Yangtze in St. Louis Park literally every day I somehow haven't gained any weight. Order the "hunan chicken with just carrots and baby corn." It'll change your life.

• Jets coach Rex Ryan went from 348 pounds in late 2009 to 242 pounds now, although he underwent lap-band surgery rather than relying strictly on diet and exercise.

Pete Caldera is officially the coolest beat reporter in baseball. And best-dressed, too.

• Nationals first-round pick Lucas Giolito has $2.9 million and a signed lightsaber from Samuel L. Jackson hanging in his room.

• If you're into statistical analysis for basketball, Court Vision's graphics showing exactly where rebounds wind up based on where shots are taken are pretty great.

Bert Blyleven had a perfect response to Reggie Jackson: "God gives us many holes in our body and he just spoke out of the wrong one."

• As someone forced to use a Blackberry for work, the company's situation is depressing.

• This will probably make it even more confusing when I try to explain where I work to people.

• Congrats to my HardballTalk blog-mate Craig Calcaterra for being named "internet writer of the year" by the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

• Looking at Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Kelly Brook is just like riding a bike.

Darren Wolfson's ongoing coverage of the Timberwolves' offseason has been a must-read at 1500-ESPN and his lengthy article breaking down the Nicolas Batum drama was excellent.

• Except for the parts about leaving the house and hanging out with strangers for three hours this sounds like a great way to watch a Twins game at Target Field.

Paul F. Tomkins filmed a series of short video interviews with interesting actors, comedians, and musicians over drinks and they're all worth watching.

• Netflix instant recommendation: Rampart, which stars Woody Harrelson and convinced me even further that he's one of the best, most versatile, and most underrated actors around.

• On a related note, one screenshot can tell the story of a crazy evening.

John Legend was a great guest on The Champs with Neal Brennan and Moshe Kasher.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Legend singing the hook to "Do You Wanna Ride" by Jay-Z:

This week's blog content is sponsored by Ballplayer: Pelotero, a controversial new documentary about baseball prospects in the Dominican Republic starring Miguel Sano as a 16-year-old.

June 22, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• Fat-O-Meter update: I'm down to 168 pounds, compared to 355 pounds on March 7, 2011. Back on March 7 of this year I wrote about having lost 153 pounds in one year, but since then I've lost another 34 pounds to bring the grand total to 187 pounds lost in 472 days. I'm trying to think of interesting ways to write, talk, and chat about my weight loss, because whenever I mention it here or on Twitter it gets a far larger response than anything about baseball.

Here's a recent picture of me at around 170 pounds with my dad on Father's Day, along with a picture of the two of us when I was 355 pounds:

Not exactly the most flattering photos, but you get the idea. I realize at this point many of you are likely sick of hearing about my ongoing weight loss effort, but for those of you who remain interested in the topic please let me know what types of additional content related to the weight loss you'd like to see. Articles about specific aspects of my process? Podcasts devoted to weight loss and dieting? Q&A sessions? Let me know, via the comments section or e-mail.

• Last reminder: This year's SABR convention is in Minneapolis next week. Come hang out.

Congrats to Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Marisa Miller. It was a helluva run.

• Suddenly the fact that he regularly throws 100 miles per hour is the least interesting thing about Reds closer Aroldis Chapman.

• Imagining basketball stat-head LeBron James is pretty funny.

Geoff Schwartz, who signed with the Vikings in March, and Mitchell Schwartz, who was the Browns' second-round pick in April, are now the first Jewish brothers in the NFL since 1923.

• Do the Twins have a new long-term building block in Trevor Plouffe? I'm glad you asked.

• On a related note, all the cool kids at Target Field will wear this "Plouffe! There It Is!" shirt.

Padma Lakshmi covered in chocolate is a compelling advertisement for anything, always.

• Nationals manager Davey Johnson on Rays manager Joe Maddon: "I don't know him that well, but I thought he was a weird wuss anyway."

• Speaking of which: Throwback uniforms for a team that didn't exist yet? Sure, why not.

Jack White's appearance on Marc Maron's podcast was incredibly good.

• Friend of AG.com Bill Parker wrote an interesting article about the Twins' increasing efforts to engage fans via social media.

• Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis shoots a basketball with Rick Barry's form and Shaquille O'Neal's accuracy:

And apparently she was so ashamed that she couldn't show her face for days.

• When he feels like playing tournament poker Phil Ivey is absolutely ridiculous.

• Compelling evidence that Mad Men is in fact a documentary, at least when it comes to dating.

January Jones as a redhead just inspires unflattering comparisons to Christina Hendricks.

• Baseball's leading thief had his wallet stolen at gunpoint.

Jim Rome took his television show from ESPN to CBS Sports Network and went from 442,000 daily viewers to 40,000 daily viewers. As always, no one is a bigger star than ESPN itself.

• Turner is reportedly in talks to buy Bleacher Report for $200 million.

• Because the story of Brien Taylor wasn't sad enough already, apparently.

• I try not to excessively plug my day job here, but I've written a dozen or more posts on Hardball Talk every day this week and I'd love it if every AG.com reader checked it out. If you like me and you like baseball, I promise you'll like it (and the rest of NBCSports.com too).

Chelsea Peretti is one of my favorite stand-up comedians, podcast guests, and Twitter follows, but she's no longer a writer on one of my favorite television shows.

• I was sad when TNT canceled the highly underrated Men of a Certain Age, but at least Ray Romano can have a guest role on an underrated show that didn't get canceled, Parenthood.

Esther Povitsky has gone from "Little Esther" the oddly lovable character in the powerful world of Joe Rogan's podcast to getting her own television show on MTV.

• I wrote way too many Twins notes yesterday.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the aforementioned Jack White and Ruby Amanfu performing "Love Interruption" on Saturday Night Live:

June 15, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• It turns out that Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis apparently doesn't own a mirror.

Pete Campbell has established himself as the Chuck Wepner of Mad Men.

• It got my hopes up, but "Cougars move to reclaim Midwest" was just a misleading headline.

• My weekly appearance on KFAN with Paul Allen included the usual Twins talk but was mostly about my never-ending supply of beautiful female groupies. And for anyone who listens to the appearance, know that I played this in the car while driving home from the studio (alone).

Aubrey Huff was on the bench for Matt Cain's perfect game and then injured his knee tripping over the dugout railing in an attempt to celebrate.

• Sad news about one of the best pitchers in Twins history, as Dave Boswell passed away this week at age 67. Boswell, who debuted with the Twins as a teenager in 1964 and spent seven seasons in Minnesota, ranked 36th on my list of the best players in team history.

• Was last night's season-worst outing against the Phillies the start of Scott Diamond coming crashing back down to earth? I'm glad you asked.

• So far at least Bryce Harper looks like the best 19-year-old hitter in baseball history. He's also the leader in the clubhouse for best quote of the year: "That's a clown question, bro."

• In less than two weeks the annual Society for American Baseball Research convention will be in downtown Minneapolis at the Marriott City Center from June 27-July 1. I've attended every SABR convention since 2004 and obviously won't miss this one. Some parts of the convention require registering, but as my annual convention recaps show I go mostly to talk baseball, hang out, and drink beer. And you certainly don't need to be a SABR member for that.

• This week Tom Scharpling did his 500th episode of The Best Show On WFMU, which gets my vote for the most underrated consistently hilarious thing ever. It'll change your life.

• If you're interested in being an AG.com "sponsor of the week" click here for details.

Minka Kelly seems nice.

• I finally convinced my brain it was safe to empty my closet of clothes I wore at 355 pounds and buy new clothes to wear at 175 pounds. I'm still trying to decide what to do with dozens of XXXL shirts, but for now this is what a fatboy's entire wardrobe looks like piled on a couch:

Donating to charity is a good idea, except my brain remains convinced I'll need it all again.

• People: Still the worst.

• Deadspin gave Jay Mariotti the attention he deserves.

Stephen Strasburg made his 30th career start this week--with a 12-month break for Tommy John surgery included--and his overall numbers are pretty crazy.

• It took long enough, but Mark Wahlberg can finally make something of his life now.

• I wish I could get as excited about anything in life as my mom and aunt were to watch TNT's reboot of Dallas on Wednesday night. And apparently they weren't alone.

Henry Hill, who was portrayed by Ray Liotta in Goodfellas and often called Howard Stern's radio show to promote public appearances while in witness protection, died of natural causes.

• Suffice it to say that mixed martial arts and Anderson Silva are a bigger deal in Brazil.

• Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Lizzy Caplan starring in a new Showtime series called Masters of Sex is probably the greatest idea in the history of television.

In which Nick Blackburn is Jodie Foster and Kyle Kendrick is Matthew McConaughey.

Preach, brother Patrick!

• I realize year-old movie reviews are sort of pointless, but they're also kind of my specialty here and I finally saw 21 Jump Street. It exceeded expectations more than any movie I can remember, with tons of big laughs. And not only that, on the way to the movie theater I saw a car pull over and a woman get out to puke on the sidewalk. One of the highlights of my life.

• I also saw a rare new release in Bernie, which was more weird and interesting than actually good but did feature Jack Black doing a nice job stepping way outside of his comfort zone.

• One of my favorite podcasts, You Had To Be There with Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer, is coming to MTV as a late-night talk show.

• Reminder: Gleeman and The Geek is live on KFAN this Sunday at 4:00, right after the Twins-Brewers game. My co-host John Bonnes is on vacation, so we'll have a couple special guests.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the longest song in my iTunes library, David Gray's cover version of "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" by Soft Cell:

This week's blog content is sponsored by PickPointz, where you can make predictions, pick games, and win prizes for free. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

June 8, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• In fairness to new Vikings fullback Jerome Felton, who among us hasn't been arrested while in the drive-thru line at McDonald's?

• Craziest sentence I've read in a long time: "Police said that Carter then cut off pieces of his skin and intestines and threw them at officers." And the rest of the story is similarly insane.

• Nerds need to get their head out of a spreadsheet and watch a game read a dictionary.

• Up is down, black is white, and the Minnesota Twins are drafting power arms.

• Sure, going to 6,000 different Chinese restaurants is impressive, but what about me going to the same Chinese restaurant 6,000 different times?

• Renewing the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidacy of Kelly Brook is like riding a bike.

• My weekly appearance on KFAN with Paul Allen involved some NBA chatter along with talk about the Twins' turnaround, what to make of Francisco Liriano, and how batting average on balls in play factors into analysis of hitters. You can listen to the entire appearance here.

Jeff Manship may not seem like a particularly tough name to spell, but facts say otherwise.

• My first thought after reading this story? Even that guy/chair had a live-in girlfriend.

Jamie Anne Royce's list of "things you should know before you date a writer" is funny/true.

• People: Still the worst.

• I'm willing to pitch in some of my salary if NBC makes a run at MLB broadcasting rights.

Jose Berrios, the high school pitcher from Puerto Rico drafted by the Twins with the 32nd pick they got as compensation for losing Michael Cuddyer, had a great reaction to the news:

 And that was before he looked up the slot signing bonus amount for his pick: $1.55 million.

• Rochester Century pitcher Mitch Brown was drafted 79th overall by the Indians after the Twins passed on the local right-hander at 32, 42, 63, and 72. Slot value for his pick: $640,000.

• Why did the Twins choose Byron Buxton over Mark Appel? I'm glad you asked.

• Some context for Buxton negotiations: No. 1 pick Carlos Correa has already signed for $4.8 million and No. 5 pick Kyle Zimmer signed for $3 million.

• This is like one of those "pick any three people to have dinner with" questions, come to life.

• Actually, in reading Maxim's oral history of The Wire it might be more interesting to see what they did after dinner. "We smoked a lot of good weed, did a lot of strip clubs. A lot of that."

• On a related note, Anthony Bourdain is leaving the Travel Channel for CNN, which seems like an odd fit but probably won't matter as long as he sticks with the No Reservations tone.

• Phillies manager Charlie Manuel is the new MC Skat Kat.

Terry Francona has ... well, let's just say remarkable self-esteem. And also a towel.

• I've been saying that Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija looks like the doll from the Saw movies, so a Twitter follow found proof.

• FX pairing Louis C.K. with Jim Jeffries is brilliant, assuming you like filthy, hilarious people.

Jamie Moyer quickly found a new home after being cut by the Rockies and the 49-year-old is now on the same team as J.C. Romero, Lew Ford, and Pat Neshek.

• The fastest man in baseball is on pace for 160 steals.

David Brauer of MinnPost reports that the St. Paul Pioneer Press "is offering buyouts across all departments" in what is another sad development for the local journalism scene.

• As someone who got good grades at the University of Minnesota despite frequently skipping classes, rarely doing any homework, and eventually dropping out this seems like old news.

Barry Zito is selling his $11.5 million house because he didn't like commuting to the ballpark.

Scott Aukerman, who runs the Earwolf podcast network and has a new television show on IFC that debuts tonight, got the New York Times profile treatment.

• We just passed 200,000 downloads for the Gleeman and The Geek podcast. To everyone who listens: Thank you so much ... and maybe leave an iTunes review?

Tiffany Simons is on vacation, so naturally I filled in on HBT Extra for yesterday and today.

• Within his interesting Trevor Plouffe analysis, Parker Hageman of Twins Daily suggests my weight as the new "Mendoza Line." Of course, even Mario Mendoza could hit above .175.

• According to Pew Research Center's study 15 percent of American adults with a computer use Twitter, which is nearly double the total from 18 months ago. I joined Twitter in mid-2009 and can't imagine life without it, as it's become essential for my job and time-wasting ability.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the studio version of "The Basement" off Eric Hutchinson's new album:

This week's blog content is sponsored by PickPointz, where you can make predictions, pick games, and win prizes for free. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

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