October 11, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• This week the New York Times' "fashion and style" section featured an article by Matt Haber about Minnesotans trying to date in Uptown. It was met mostly with derision, as locals felt it was cheesy and cliche-filled. And it definitely was, as the intro makes very clear:

As night-life emissaries go, one could do worse than Robert John Wayne, a 31-year-old artist here who happily told a recent visitor about everything from an indigenous delicacy called the Juicy Lucy (a burger with cheese baked into the patty) to what women want, something Mr. Wayne should know, seeing as how he's dating four of them.

"Nobody's exclusive," he said "That's what dating is." Mr. Wayne, who described his work as "graffiti realism," was at Mortimer's, a wood-paneled bar on Lyndale Avenue in the swath of Minneapolis known as Uptown.

However, as someone who started hanging out in Uptown recently I mostly found it amusing and made a joke about what a quote of mine would've looked like in the article. And then a few days later friend of AG.com Randball's Stu wrote a brilliant parody of the Times article starring local sports bloggers for the Minneapolis Star Tribune's site. I'd suggest reading the Times version first and then reading Stu's version, because it's a masterful spoof, but here's how it begins:

As night-life emissaries go, one could do better than Aaron Gleeman, a 30-year-old Minnetonka sports blogger who wearily told a recent visitor about everything from a baseball statistic called FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) to what women want, something Mr. Gleeman shouldn't know, seeing as how he recently asked one if he could live-tweet their date.

"It's an endless series of half-starts and missed opportunities," he said. "That's what dating is." Mr. Gleeman, who described his work as "sitting at my computer and writing about baseball as I wait for death's sweet embrace," was at Stella's, a multi-level bar in the swath of Minneapolis known as Uptown.

And then it just keeps building from there. As one of the main characters I'm biased, but it's one of the funniest things I've ever read and so perfectly matches the tone and structure of the New York Times version. My sincere hope is that for the rest of my life whenever anyone Googles me that article is the first result they see. Also, you should follow Stu on Twitter for more genius.

• Here's a non-parody response to the New York Times dating-in-Minnesota article that's also interesting. I'm definitely very guilty of No. 2 on her list and thought for a second she might be talking about me with the quote: "We had a really awesome date and then he bailed on the second date citing 'baseball' as the reason."

• So the Twins are hiring a "full-time data engineer" and OH MY GOD LOOK AT THE COMMENTS.

• Going back to read the stuff about Christian Ponder from right after the Vikings drafted him is quite an experience.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we talked a ton about Ron Gardenhire, sung the praises of 612 Brew, and unknowingly had our picture taken from across the bar.

• I'm probably Hawk Harrelson's biggest/only fan in Minnesota, but Awful Announcing's lengthy compilation of the season's best "Sad Hawk" moments is undeniably magical:

Harrelson is the Vin Scully of freaking out on the air when things go against the White Sox.

• Speaking of which, Scully will record your outgoing voicemail message for $299 and the money goes to Autism charity. "Hello, this is Vin Scully. You’ve reached Aaron, but there’s zero chance he wants to talk to you, or anyone, on the phone. Seriously, just text him. But leave a message if you want to, I guess."

• Scully's radio call of Juan Uribe's series-winning homer was predictably lovable.

• No one ever listens to me about John Mayer, but maybe you'll listen to Molly Lambert and Tess Lynch.

• Seriously, are any of you even real?

• Twins Daily's annual "Offseason Handbook" is available for presale, so order now and you can get tons of great content featuring analysis of free agent and trade targets, payroll breakdowns, and organizational depth charts for just $4.95. Not only is it a worthwhile product for a very fair price, buying the "Offseason Handbook" also supports all the free content John Bonnes, Parker Hageman, Nick Nelson, and Seth Stohs churn out at Twins Daily all season.

• Hageman's year-end collection of Twins numbers has lots of interesting tidbits.

• I'm not on Tinder, in part because I have a Blackberry and in part because it sounds awful, but if I were on it I'd follow this guy's lead and exclusively talk to women in rap lyrics.

David Ortiz celebrating with Koji Uehara is not safe for work.

• America's highest-paid sportswriter.

• It might be time to re-think America's drug laws now that they're hurting our chubby comedians.

Aubrey Plaza behaved around Chris Bosh the same way I'd behave around Aubrey Plaza.

• In addition to being one half of my favorite podcast, Dave Shumka also writes funny stuff for CBC Music, like how WebMD would diagnose Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus based on their lyrics.

• Take two minutes and see why Jen Kirkman is great:

Related: My mom really liked that video.

Michael Rand is now shooting daily videos for the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website and his latest captures the pure, unadulterated Dana Wessel Experience.

Gabe Vodicka of Flagpole wrote a really good article about Jason Isbell's success as a solo artist, struggles with substance abuse, and songwriting prowess. I'm going to see Isbell at the Varsity Theater in a couple weeks and couldn't be more excited about it.

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

This exchange made me chuckle. Funny how fast it goes from strong opinion nationally to being nice locally.

• Also: Presented without comment, other than to say those all occurred within 24 hours.

Amy Poehler wrote about working at an ice cream parlor for The New Yorker.

Marc Maron's new stand-up comedy special "Thinky Pain" is now available on Netflix and I love that the first person you see and hear is Tom Scharpling giving a pep talk.

• I enjoyed Todd Barry's chat with Natasha Leggero.

• Does anyone in or around Green Bay have any leads on lodging for Packers-Vikings weekend next month? I'm thinking about driving there with a bunch of doofuses, but hotels are all booked up and we'd rather not make a trek from somewhere like Appleton. We're willing to get creative.

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

- "Professional baseball duos"
- "Aaron Gleeman hot wife"
- "What if I eat Green Giant steamers every night?"
- "Nick Punto head-first slide"
- "Influential conservative podcasts"
- "Aaron gettin fat"
- "0.25 pounds in one day is how many pounds in one year?"
- "Lori Loughlin socks"

• Finally, because I stumbled across this video and immediately fell in love with both the singer and her acoustic rendition of the Whitney Houston song this week's AG.com-approved music video is Possum Plow's cover of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody":


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May 17, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• We spent 20 minutes talking about this story on this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode, but the headline should be enough to draw you in: "Tammy Jung, 23, feeds on 5,000 calories a day through a funnel in hope to become an obese internet star." Also: NSFW (sort of).

• Gophers football assistant coach Matt Limegrover lost 175 pounds via gastric bypass surgery.

• This is the reason why I'm afraid to get married. Also, girls have cooties.

• Seriously though, if you were in prison for a year what's the first thing you'd wanna do once you got out? OK, so maybe the second thing. And feel free to throw on some jeans and a t-shirt.

• Having reserved a "party bus" for an outing next month I'm starting to think maybe we should scratch LeSean McCoy from the guest list.

• I did a podcast that isn't mine and swore a lot "like a true baby."

• If you watched this week's "Kitchen Nightmares" in which Gordon Ramsay quit for the first time in 100 episodes you'll love this follow-up to the insanity of the restaurant owners.

• I've long been mostly ambivalent about "The Office" and Thursday night's finale didn't change much, but it was great to read the story of how a superfan/blogger landed a speaking role.

Joe Mauer is now the active career leader in batting average.

Byron Buxton hit a walk-off grand slam Thursday night at low Single-A and there's video.

• Last week I mentioned the Michael Schur/Ken Tremendous-created show on FOX co-starring Andre Braugher and Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Chelsea Peretti. Here's the first preview for "Brooklyn Nine-Nine":

As far as network sitcoms go that looks pretty decent, albeit predictably broad. I'll check it out.

• Speaking of Peretti, she joined Adam Scott and Harris Wittels for another silly installment of "Farts and Procreation" on "Comedy Bang Bang." At this point the inside jokes have inside jokes, but I love it.

• Learning that the "Seinfeld" finale aired 15 years ago this week makes me feel old, but not as old as knowing that most of my wardrobe is still white sneakers, dad jeans, and collared shirts.

Bryce Harper somehow avoided a serious injury despite crashing full speed, head first into the outfield wall like he was someone at a mall who didn't notice a glass door in front of them.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode it finally occurred to me that I can choose the intro and outro music now that we're on the radio. I'll let you guess how long it took before Mase made an appearance. Oh, and also John Bonnes was on vacation and Parker Hageman subbed for him like Lou Gehrig stepping into the Yankees' lineup for Wally Pipp.

• I do about 90 percent of my interacting with people via Gchat, so I enjoyed this quiz.

• I was out of town at the SABR convention when Jason Tyner hit his only career homer and two people called me to break the news. It was memorable for the people actually involved too.

• I try not to link to a ton of my HardballTalk posts here in the hopes that most AG.com readers are already reading that stuff too, but just a reminder: I write about baseball all day, every day at HardballTalk on NBCSports.com. I also babble about various things all day, every day on Twitter.

• I checked out the British television show "Pulling" after comedian Rob Delaney recommended it on Twitter and ended up watching the entire series in less than a week. Here's a sample:

It's a bit like if "Sex and The City" were actually funny, but also the characters were crazy.

• I also started watching the HBO show "Enlightened" and like it a lot, but now I'm mad at myself for not realizing that and telling other people to watch before it got canceled.

• The constant shit-talking between Marc Maron and Kumail Nanjiani on "Doug Loves Movies" completely derailed the show and was also extremely funny.

• If you weren't already a Marc Gasol fan his dropping Winston Wolfe quotes in postgame interviews should seal the deal.

• My favorite moment from my weekly appearance on KFAN with Paul Allen came during a break, when he turned to me and asked: "Do you like '90s rap?" And that was after I'd outed myself as a Hawk Harrelson fan.

• I finally saw "Jack Reacher" and it was like an action movie parody. Cheesy dialogue with never-ending cliches and over-acting. So bad. And the Wikipedia page for the Jack Reacher character in Lee Child's novels is hilarious.

• Two of my favorite Minnesotans, Kulap Vilaysack and Joe Mande, teamed up on this week's "Who Charted?"

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

- "Kevin Correia stopped throwing fastballs"
- "Fee clip art of umpires fighting"
- "Gleeman gum"
- "Who does Clete Thomas play for?"
- "Porn star that looks like Kate Mara"
- "Started watching 'Dawson's Creek' on Netflix"
- "Marc Maron shirtless"
- "How much does Kate Upton give to charity?"
- "Where is Joe Christensen and who is Phil Miller?"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is a live version of "Sail" by Awolnation:


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February 8, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• ZiPS projections for the Twins are now available and in addition to being really ugly they have a bad personality too.

Zach Lowe, formerly of SI.com and now of Grantland, is my favorite NBA writer, and he chatted with Will Leitch about nontraditional paths to sportswriting and blending statistical analysis with old-school reporting. Just really good stuff from two really good writers.

• Typos can be fun sometimes.

• A glimpse at my mom being a parents-versus-technology stereotype.

Mark Willis has been designing soccer-style MLB jerseys and posted his AL Central creations, including a surprisingly understated Twins version that would no doubt sell amazingly well.

• "Delmon Young striking out looking" by Jeff Sullivan of Fan Graphs is a must-read.

Torii Hunter Jr. signed to play football at Notre Dame.

Todd Helton, who's earned more than $150 million playing baseball, got a DUI while going to buy lottery tickets at a gas station in the middle of the night. Helluva mug shot, too.

• Netflix released the first season of "House of Cards" and it took me just 48 hours to watch all 13 episodes. And that was me actually trying to pace myself. Kevin Spacey is incredible in the lead role, everything about the show is HBO-caliber from the characters and storylines to the acting and look, and I'm completely smitten with Kate Mara. I've already pitched hiring Zoe Barnes for HardballTalk to my bosses at NBC. If nothing else she's familiar with social media.

• Mara has single-handedly put Mila Kunis' status as Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com in jeopardy after nearly three years with the title. When told, this was her reaction. Or maybe this.

• According to Variety, approximately 25 percent of Netflix users who watched the first episode of "House of Cards" finished all 13 episodes within five days. My people!

• And now we're all going through the six stages of grief together. I'm currently stuck on Stage 5.

• Netflix announced that the first episode of "House of Cards" is available to everyone through the end of February, even if they don't subscribe, so I highly recommend checking it out.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode John Bonnes tried his best to stop me from talking about "House of Cards" for 90 consecutive minutes and we also took a team-by-team look at the AL Central and discussed Dave St. Peter's dimples.

• This week's "The Ultimate Fighter" episode had an incredible knockout and the quick reversal in everyone's reaction made for compelling drama too:

Nothing mixes humanity and fighting like a heartfelt "I'm sorry" to an unconscious person.

Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone needed couples therapy, basically.

• I would award Jason Whitlock a Pulitzer Prize for unintentional comedy.

• Twins prospect Aaron Hicks makes good use of Twitter.

Jonathan Rauch of The Atlantic wrote an interesting article titled "Caring For Your Introvert" and the opening paragraph might as well have been written specifically about me:

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

He goes on to talk about how introverts are often perceived incorrectly as arrogant or aloof, which is something that's definitely been an issue for me. Good article and hits close to home.

• On a related note, I was on television this week (sort of).

• "Replacement-level player" isn't just an abstract idea, as Dave Cameron of Fan Graphs shows.

Jack Morris, who previously did some part-time radio work for the Twins, was hired by the Blue Jays as their new radio analyst.

• NFL.com has great audio of both teams during the final minutes of the Super Bowl, including Joe Flacco suggesting Ravens on the sideline should run onto the field to stop 49ers kick returner Ted Ginn if he looked headed for a touchdown. My favorite part? Matt Birk hearing that and reacting like you would when a drunk buddy wants to do something crazy: "Why can't you?"

• On a related note, this is a great story about a Ravens player who didn't get much attention for saying something good and a sportswriter who thanked him for it.

• For one day at least I actually liked Curt Schilling.

Jacob Wheatley-Schaller of Vegas Watch is my favorite gambling-related follow on Twitter and this e-mail is an example of why. Being a degenerate is amazing sometimes.

• If you're into human trafficking the Super Bowl is great.

Adrian Peterson's legend continues to grow.

• Listening to Chelsea Peretti's latest podcast reminded me that I wore Michael Jordan cologne throughout junior high, but don't let that stop you from listening to it.

• My favorite part of this slow-motion video of Kobe Bryant dunking on the Nets is spotting John Legend and Chrissy Teigen freaking out in the background:

And of course Teigen tweeted about it afterward.

• "SimCity" and "The Sims" are basically the only non-sports computer/video games I've ever played, so I enjoyed "A History of All Things Sim" by Rob Lammle of Mental Floss.

• While this article was intended to show how amazing Kevin Durant is at basketball it also did a nice job showing how great Kirk Goldsberry is at writing about basketball.

Anna McDonald of ESPN.com has an in-depth look at how the Cardinals and general manager John Mozeliak use sabermetrics. As co-creator of The Hardball Times this made me happy:

For now, Mozeliak's desk offers a clue to one way the Cardinals have maintained a competitive edge since he became general manager in October 2007. There are a few black binders scattered about on his desk. There is also a copy of "The Hardball Times 2013 Annual" on top of a pile of papers. When I ask if it is all right if I mention that he reads these sabermetric books, Mozeliak smiles and with the tone of confidence only a GM with one World Series championship under his belt (and plans for more rings in the future) can have, says, "Sure."

Makes for an "interesting" comparison to the Twins, huh?

• FX's website has the first three episodes of Jim Jefferies' new show "Legit" available for free. It's not as good as Jefferies' stand-up comedy (yet), but it's also not bad.

Scott Aukerman hosting Gillian Jacobs and "Garry Marshall" is a prime example of why "Comedy Bang Bang" is such a great podcast.

Mel Brooks is 86 years old and still the best.

Spencer Hall of SB Nation wrote some really good stuff about Randy Moss' career.

• The greatest website of all time, Baseball-Reference.com, turned 13 years old this week. I want to live in a world where creator Sean Forman is more famous than Kim Kardashian. But also a world where Kardashian runs a baseball stats website.

Tom Scharpling and Jesse Thorn joining Julie Klausner for her 100th episode of "How Was Your Week?" is like when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade in Miami.

• As a big mixed martial arts fan I'm happy to see NBC get into the MMA game.

• Minnesotan and AG.com reader Michael McGivern could use your help getting into the MLB Fan Cave after being chosen as one of the 50 finalists.

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

- "Maura Tierney glasses"
- "Aaron Gleeman age"
- "Billy Bragg baseball"
- "Linda Cardellini podcast"
- "Top prospect Samuel Deduno's future role"
- "J.J. Hardy naked"
- "Maria Bello looks like Kate Beckinsale"
- "From out of shape and overweight to badass"
- "Anna Chlumsky feet"
- "Yuengling in Minneapolis"
- "Lean Cuisine spring rolls anxiety"

• Finally, because it's sad to think some people like The Black Crowes' cover and haven't heard the original this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Hard To Handle" by Otis Redding:


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August 27, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• The good side and bad side of working from home, accurately presented in cartoon form.

• All that money bloggers save by living in their parents' basements is now coming in handy.

• I'm proud to say that Time magazine named Rotoworld one of the 50 best websites of 2010.

Macaulay Culkin turned 30 years old yesterday. I'd normally make some sort of joke, except he's been dating Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis for nearly a decade.

Hawk Harrelson thinks umpire Joe West is conspiring against the White Sox, which sure is fortunate for the Twins.

• If you're not clear exactly what a "shit-eating grin" looks like, see the face Roy Oswalt made while playing left field in the 15th inning Tuesday night.

• Let's just say Jay Mariotti doesn't take the "practice what your preach" approach to life.

• My head exploded while trying to think of the best possible ball-related joke for this story.

Matt Capps feeding Adam Dunn with his hands on Top Chef was pretty hilarious, but Wilson Ramos will probably be better on a future show.

• AMC's upcoming new series The Walking Dead looks amazing.

• Speaking of amazing AMC shows, Christina Hendricks is still spectacular looking without the 1960s wardrobe.

• The greatest broadcaster in baseball history is coming back next year, and Ryan Longwell, Steve Hutchinson, and Jared Allen didn't even have to talk him into it.

• It took some digging, but I've uncovered a worse "specialist" than Randy Flores.

• Mighty Mighty Bosstones frontman Dicky Barrett is also the announcer on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Jimmy Kimmel recently joined the band by playing bass clarinet at a recent show:

At least he picked the one ska band that all wear suits and ties.

• Like father, like son (except for the whole being great at basketball thing).

• Not surprisingly, mainstream media members still treat one of their own a lot different than a blogger in a similar situation.

• The results of this study on baseball teams and access match what's going on locally.

Tom Tango launched his annual "scouting report by the fans for the fans," which is your shot to play a scout by entering in personal observations about the players you watch on a regular basis to become part of the huge collection of scouting reports compiled entirely by fans. Take a look at the instructions and details, and then go to the Twins page to mark down what you think of, say, Delmon Young's "instincts" in the outfield.

• Just in case you thought the stereotype about Polish people was in danger of dying off.

• Last week's Link-O-Rama featured a funny music video by the band Don't Stop or We'll Die. Their drummer, Harris Wittels, left a nice note in the comments section:

Thanks for linking my band's video, Aaron! I know nothing about baseball, but my boss Ken Tremendous seems to like ya!

Ken Tremendous is the pen name Michael Schur went by when he blogged about baseball at Fire Joe Morgan. He's also the co-creator of Parks and Recreation on NBC and Wittels writes for the show. I'm not sure if that qualifies more as "brush with greatness" or "worlds colliding" but either way I enjoyed it.

Jason Whitlock's exit from the Kansas City Star turned into an epic radio appearance that I'm sure makes him an even more polarizing figure than before.

Bert Blyleven is one of just three pitchers to reach 1,000 career strikeouts at a younger age than Felix Hernandez did earlier this week.

• Because my greatest skill in life is growing facial hair, I typically try to hit every data point on the spectrum in a given week.

Al Newman is the new head baseball coach at Apple Valley high school.

• Here are some highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- White Sox reportedly planning waiver claim on Manny Ramirez
- Albert Pujols and Joey Votto must go through Omar Infante to win Triple Crown
- Behold: The most Jon Heyman tweet in the history of Jon Heyman tweets
- Bobby Jenks comes up big for worn out White Sox bullpen
- Dan Uggla reportedly seeking five-year extension worth at least $55 million
- With contract up season, would Joe Girardi want to replace Lou Piniella in Chicago?
- Billy Butler is closing in on the all-time record for double plays
- Johnny Damon turns down Red Sox, saying: "I'm not going"
- Dusty Baker taking his time deciding on Reds extension offer

• Finally, if you like soul music and don't care about curse words your mind should be blown by this week's AG.com-approved music video, which is Cee-Lo Green singing "F*** You":