February 15, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• One of my favorite reality television shows, "Bar Rescue" on Spike, is back for another season and the episodes are available for free online. I'm joining forces with fellow Jon Taffer devotees Parker Hageman and Dana Wessel in an effort to get the show to do an episode in Minnesota. So far this is the extent of our campaign, so obviously we're open to ideas. Let's make it happen.

• If this ever happens to me at a bar I'm going on a rampage and hopefully we'll be recording the podcast at the time so everyone can hear me murdering people.

• Now that he's replaced Joe Christensen on the Twins beat Phil Miller launched his new blog on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website.

Mike Berardino, who was formerly a longtime South Florida Sun Sentinel columnist, has been hired by the St. Paul Pioneer Press as their new Twins beat reporter.

• Sometimes it's tough to tell the difference between spring training reports from beat writers and erotic fan fiction intros.

• If you've ever doubted the genius of Michael Schur/Ken Tremendous, he just cast the always amazing Andre Braugher and AG.com favorite Chelsea Peretti for his next FOX show.

Francis J. Underwood, sabermetrician.

• In elementary school my class sold Kirby Puckett candy bars for some sort of fundraiser and my mom just bought a bunch of them from me and then let me eat them all, which explains a lot about my life and is also relevant to this shocking Deadspin investigation.

• I'll have more on this next week, but the Twins signed Rafael Perez to a minor-league deal.

• There is no age at which men are immune to the charms of Connie Britton. And if you're not going to read this whole thing then why even bother having the internet or a computer or eyes?

Francisco Liriano broke his arm at home, but it wasn't from falling in the bathroom. No, it was actually even weirder than that.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode "horseplay" and "natural stank" were discussed at length while a woman named April occasionally chimed in.

• On a related note, I'll marry any woman who wears this on our first date.

• In his new book Mike Piazza talks about taking karate lessons to prepare for revenge against Roger Clemens. This is how I imagine those lessons:

Mediocre movie, but that scene gets me every time.

• This is crazy and all, but to lose "only" $13 million on $1 billion worth of bets isn't too bad.

• My blog-mate Craig Calcaterra explained what going to the doctor for an annual checkup has to do with sabermetrics.

• On a related note, here's an example of the type of fan mail we receive at HardballTalk.

• Nearly a decade after beginning her memorable two-year run as Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Elisha Cuthbert is Maxim magazine's pick for "television's most beautiful woman."

• I'm proud to have convinced Scott Olstad to put together a collection of his 10 favorite Otis Redding cover songs for The Current's website.

• If you're interested in the history of great music and the impact of technology on art the Dave Grohl-directed documentary "Sound City" is a must-watch. Can't recommend it enough.

"Searching for Sugar Man" is another documentary that's definitely worth watching. I won't give away much, but it's a fascinating story that got me thinking about how context is everything.

Trevor Bauer is the next Shaquille O'Neal.

• By far the worst e-mail I've ever gotten.

Alex Pappademas of Grantland went on tour with "Community" creator Dan Harmon and wrote an amazing article about it.

• I started watching ABC's cooking show "The Taste" because of Anthony Bourdain, but have kept watching it because of Nigella Lawson.

Lenny Dykstra's son and Tony Soprano's daughter are having a baby.

• This week "Gleeman and The Geek" passed 500,000 total downloads, so thanks to everyone for listening and for spreading the word about the podcast.

• Giants teammates Tim Lincecum and Hunter Pence are the cutest:

I miss the long hair, though.

Carl Pavano talked about rupturing his spleen while shoveling his driveway and it was gross and scary and crazy.

"What is a badass?"

• Hard to believe, but unless he's a liar this guy turned 52 years old this week.

• The good news is that I bought a red hat, changed my name to Max, and moved to New York.

• Rays reliever Joel Peralta suffered a sandwich-related injury.

• Bloggers seem contractually obligated to hate "Girls" and Lena Dunham, but I watched the first five episodes of Season 2 in one sitting this week and still liked it. I'm constantly confused by who the internet decides to collectively hate or love, but she seems pretty great to me.

• I already liked Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried a lot, but now he's one of my favorite athletes.

David Brauer's return to college hilariously involves having to take freshman comp.

Sh*tty "New Yorker" Cartoon Captions.

• If you saw Mavis Staples on the Grammys, please note that Bob Dylan wanted to marry her.

• My childhood, represented by 29 pictures from one evening that I remember watching.

Jon Marthaler, Brandon Broxey, Clarence Swamptown, and Randall's Stu have started a new podcast about Minnesota sports called "The Sportive" that everyone should check out.

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

- "Chinese food weight gain 2012"
- "Aaron Gleeman fat"
- "Chelsea Peretti naked"
- "Tosoni toes"
- "Todd Glass baseball"
- "Nineties sex symbols"
- "Zoe Barnes wardrobe"
- "Zoe Barnes hair part"
- "Sid Hartman girlfriends"
- "Ricky Rubio's neck tattoo"

• Finally, in honor of Valentine's Day this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Wicked Games" by The Weeknd:

January 11, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• Now that I know Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis can cook I'm strongly considering being attracted to her.

Joe Christensen and Phil Miller have officially switched Minneapolis Star Tribune beats, with Christensen moving to Gophers football and Miller taking over the Twins.

Lindsay Lohan hasn't started making porn movies (yet), but she has started making movies with pornstars.

Life imitates an Alanis Morissette song.

• Going behind the scenes of HardballTalk reveals an important discussion between co-workers.

• I probably listen to more podcasts than anyone in the world, so I don't say this lightly: Jeff Garlin talking to Larry David for an hour might be my favorite podcast ever.

Last week's missed connection was a false alarm, but this one has to be me, right?

• On this week's episode we asked listeners to submit some designs for a potential "Gleeman and The Geek" t-shirt and so far I've received three of them. You can see one here and one here, and here's the third one just because I think it's the most amusing:

In a lot of ways that might be the most accurate portrayal of two people ever, but for now at least we'll keep looking. I'm offering $50 and a free t-shirt to the creator of any design we use, so if you want to put your skills to work please e-mail me.

• There's a lot of really good comedy coming to Minnesota soon. Nick Offerman will be at Mill City Nights on February 18, Tom Segura will be at Acme Comedy Company on February 23, and Bill Burr will be at the State Theatre on March 23. My dad has had a "poker club" for around 50 years and I'm thinking about starting a "going to comedy shows" club.

• Speaking of Offerman, even as a big "West Wing" fan I didn't remember his time on the show.

• Mystic Lake is also opening up a new comedy club in addition to the big showroom where I saw Artie Lange, Dave Attell, Jim Norton, and Amy Schumer a couple months ago. I'm sensing an oncoming battle between my love of stand-up comedy and my love of not leaving the house.

• In terms of this week's best oral histories, it was a tie between Nick Punto sliding into first base and the history of "Good Will Hunting." Punto would have won if he ran through the bag.

• I watched the fascinating, well done, and weird documentary/mystery "The Imposter," which tells the incredible story of a 13-year-old from Texas who went missing in 1994 and was found four years later in Spain, reuniting with his family. Or so it seemed. An artfully layered narrative of interviews, news accounts, and dramatic recreations shows nothing was as it appeared, from the disappearance to the return to the family's reaction. Highly recommended.

• And in a story with some eery similarities to "The Imposter" a 5-year-old abducted from Indiana in 1994 was found this week living (and married) in Minnesota.

Jonathan Abrams of Grantland has quickly become one of my favorite long-form writers and his latest gem is about the intertwined careers of Rasheed Wallace and Jerry Stackhouse.

• Save the date: Twins Daily is planning a post-Twins Fest get-together on January 26 at Hubert's across from the Metrodome. I might be there doing some podcasting and I'll definitely be there doing some drinking.

• For some reason Louis Amundson botching the layup in the middle of a blowout loss makes this Ricky Rubio pass even more ridiculous.

Through his first seven games back Rubio has 25 points and 35 assists.

Jon Heyman being Jon Heyman. And again. And again. And again.

• Numerous incidents of drunk driving, spousal abuse, and various other crimes go unpunished by MLB every season, but they continue to suspend minor leaguers for smoking pot.

• What should the Twins do with Brian Duensing?

• "Gleeman and The Geek" listeners who enjoy when we're interrupted by a drunk person will be delighted by this week's episode, which also included Parker Hageman of Twins Daily joining me for a lengthy discussion of the Twins' involvement in sabermetrics.

• On a related note, I highly recommend the buffalo chicken panino at Panino Brothers in Eden Prairie. It was so good that I barely regretted going off my strict calorie limit and only forced myself to go twice as long as usual on the elliptical machine afterward.

This tweet is more or less Twitter in a nutshell, complete with the inevitable your/you're error and so much more.

• Thinking someone is great looking is a powerful thing. For instance, I paid to watch Emily Blunt in "Salmon Fishing In The Yemen." And it wasn't bad!

Michael Keaton on "WTF" with Marc Maron was so damn good.

Couper Moorhead of NBA.com wrote an interesting article showing how teams are adapting defensively to the increased focus on corner three-pointers.

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

- "Craig Calcaterra's skinny Jewish friend"
- "Van Morrison divorce"
- "Lazy 19-year-old living at home"
- "Troy Aikman's kids"
- "Aubrey Plaza ties up guy"
- "Jim Thome sex life"
- "What does one pound feel like?"
- "Chuck Knoblauch fat"
- "Mixed wrestling Alison Brie"
- "Terry Kunze college stats"
- "Jason Kubel's sister"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Grace Potter (sans The Nocturnals) singing an acoustic version of "Stars":

Interested in supporting AG.com by becoming a "sponsor of the week"? Click here for details.

December 14, 2012

Link-O-Rama

This week's Link-O-Rama is super-sized and some of the stuff is a little dated because the Twins selfishly bumped the links in back-to-back weeks by making Thursday trades ...

Last month Joe Christensen and Phil Miller swapped Minneapolis Star Tribune beats, with Christensen moving to Gophers football and Miller taking over the Twins. And now the St. Paul Pioneer Press is changing their Twins coverage too, with John Shipley shifting to an unnamed beat and former "Gleeman and The Geek" guest Ben Goessling moving to the Vikings. It's a shame we never got to see Goessling cover the Twins full time, because he's great.

• NBC Sports and Yahoo Sports are partnering up, which has the potential to be huge in the online sports content world and means I'm no longer allowed to search for things via Google.

David Brauer of MinnPost put together a very cool project and I'm probably not just saying that because I rank 16th.

Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated wrote a lengthy, well-done profile of the NBA's leading stat-head, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.

• On a related note, stat-head/writer John Hollinger has been hired away from ESPN.com by the Memphis Grizzlies.

• This actually seems sort of brilliant to me, but then again ... nevermind.

• Thanks to everyone who listened to this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode. We set a record for most downloads in one day and may set a record for most overall downloads.

Hannibal Buress was incredibly funny three Saturday nights ago at Acme Comedy Company in downtown Minneapolis, doing an hour of great material that was totally different than his recent album. His opening act, Drew Michael, was very good too. I'd never been to Acme before, but it's a really nice club and we had a good time hanging out in the bar afterward. I'll definitely be back. And if you've never seen Buress, here's an example of his current stuff:

Despite being a huge stand-up comedy fan I hadn't seen much live, but last month I saw Buress, Amy Schumer, Dave Attell, Jim Norton, and Artie Lange. And now it's all I wanna do.

• Last month KFAN had the fourth-highest ratings of any sports radio station in the country.

• Wednesday night I talked Twins and various other topics for two hours over at TwinsDaily.com. If you missed it, you can read the lengthy transcript.

• It took me 19 days to read the extended, 1,152-page version of "The Stand" by Stephen King. I'm a sucker for anything post-apocalyptic and King has an amazing ability to bring that world to life while developing compelling characters across numerous storylines. Some of the supernatural stuff frustrated me because I was so into the people and places portrayed as relatively realistic, but "The Stand" definitely ranks as one of my all-time favorite books.

The time Louis C.K. met Luis Tiant.

• Not surprisingly, Rasheed Wallace is responsible for my favorite moment of the NBA season.

• It's been years since I left The Hardball Times, but the website I co-created back in 2004 is stronger than ever and they've partnered with Fan Graphs to publish this year's "The Hardball Times Baseball Annual." So many good writers, so much good analysis, so worth it.

• As someone who recently lost 150 pounds and will probably always struggle to keep the weight off I love reading other stories like this in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

• It took 10 years, but I finally discovered the secret to generating blog traffic.

• I've played 40 seasons of "Hardball Dynasty" on WhatIfSports without ever really thinking to write about the experience, but Carson Cistulli of Fan Graphs has been in my league for two weeks and he's already churning out some interesting articles about the game.

• Speaking of Cistulli, congratulations to him for being voted into the Baseball Writers Association of America. And congratulations to the authors of his inexplicably immense Wikipedia page for finally having some decent material.

• "Aaron" ranked just 65th on the list of most popular male baby names for 2012 and some of the top-ranked names make me preemptively sad about our future as a nation.

• My fellow longtime Howard Stern fans will be interested to discover what Dominic Barbara is up to these days.

• In preparation for John Bonnes' month-long Australian vacation he finally showed me how to actually record, edit, and upload the podcast and we also created a video demonstration:

A few weeks ago we also shot a "Cribs"-style tour of my house that I'd avoided linking.

• Just imagine Ron Gardenhire's reaction to this news.

Torii Hunter could use a hug.

• Plan your work, work your plan.

• After seeing this I feel like a piece of meat.

• I sent this link to my mom and she thanked me for it.

• Great moments in winter meetings baseball reporting.

• More great moments in winter meetings baseball reporting.

• Two weeks ago we recorded "Gleeman and The Geek" at New Bohemia Wurst and Bier Haus in downtown Minneapolis. I liked it a lot--great beer selection, good food, nice place--and the manager turned out to be a podcast listener, so check it out next time you're downtown.

• "Stop Podcasting Yourself" is always great, but their recent episode with guest Katie-Ellen Humphries was especially fantastic and a lot of what they talked about hit close to home.

• One of the few movies I saw in a theater this year, "The Queen of Versailles," is available on Netflix instant. Despite not being about the Twins' former MVP it's really, really good.

• Two-time "Gleeman and The Geek" guest and one half of the podcast's "official couple" Kate Agnew got some nice pub for her new gig with Girls In Tech Minneapolis-St. Paul.

• New blog to check out: A Bit Of Randomness by AG.com reader Casey Knollmaier.

Jerry Rodes is the band behind one of the two "Gleeman and The Geek" theme songs that we use each week and just released a new album that's available on iTunes. They're nice guys, good musicians, and podcast fans, so I'd love it if everyone checked the album out.

• Finally, in honor of their new album coming out this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Be Excellent" by Jerry Rodes:

This week's content is sponsored by DiamondCentric's new "Game Six" shirt, commemorating one of the most exciting moments in Minnesota sports history.

November 9, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• Changes at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, as Joe Christensen and Phil Miller are swapping roles in 2013, with Christensen covering Gophers football and Miller covering the Twins. I'm sad to see Christensen leave the Twins beat he did so well while increasingly blending stats into his work and being nice/understanding to bloggers. With that said, Miller is an excellent writer, an even better guy, and was stellar on the Twins beat in his St. Paul Pioneer Press days.

• "Saturday Night Live" really ought to just have Louis C.K. host every week.

• I'm thinking about getting a similar tattoo that reads "You've Made A Terrible Mistake."

• I saw Artie Lange, Dave Attell, Jim Norton, and Amy Schumer perform a great stand-up comedy show Saturday night at Mystic Lake Casino. One of the running jokes of the night was how no one--comedians or audience members--could drink, but apparently that's all changing.

• Now the real insanity test will be if I keep watching "Survivor" after Jeff Kent's crazy exit.

• If we pretend for a moment that the Twins might actually sign a top-of-the-rotation starter, who are their options?

• This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode was recorded Sunday at Stella's Fish Cafe and featured me getting so annoyed with John Bonnes that I threatened to punch him in the face. After the podcast mercifully ended we headed upstairs to hang out with a few dozen people who got together in the name of charity to watch the Vikings game, at which point Bonnes thought it would be a great idea to shoot this four-minute (four-minute!) video of me:

My co-stars are Dana Wessel of 1500-ESPN, Chris Long of KSTP, and Heather Balgaard of being completely ashamed to appear in the above video.

• And speaking of Bonnes' anti-semitism discussed in the video, congrats to Delmon Young!

Charles Barkley leaving "Inside The NBA" would make me incredibly sad, but in the meantime at least this was funny.

• Sideline reporter Robby Incmikoski is leaving FOX Sports North to take a job in Pittsburgh, where hopefully the bloggers aren't such big jerks and he can live in peace.

• Say what you will about Tim Tebow, but the man has good taste.

• Remember all those "best shape of his life" stories from spring training? How did those players actually fare this season?

• Once upon a time Brien Taylor was a No. 1 overall pick and baseball's best pitching prospect. Now he's going to prison for selling crack.

Melky Cabrera is a finalist for the "Heart and Hustle" award despite his suspension.

• This is definitely my favorite form of child abuse.

• I have no doubt this show would be terrible and no doubt I would watch it.

• One of the most amusing knockouts you'll ever see.

• Baseball Think Factory is where all the good international scouting directors got their start.

• If you liked the Pepsi commercial in which Kyrie Irving was made up to look like an old man and played basketball you'll really love the new version with Irving and Kevin Love:

Love does a pretty convincing job stumbling around the court initially, although the whole being 6-foot-10 thing is tough to hide.

Andrei Kirilenko and Nikola Pekovic made Alexey Shved cut his hair.

Gregg Popovich's contempt for in-game television interviews is already in midseason form.

• Any fellow Maximum Fun podcast fans want to go with me to this convention next year? I'm mostly serious, I think.

• Speaking of which, for anyone into podcasts I wrote a lengthy article reviewing my favorites.

• In at least one key area Bryant McKinnie hasn't lost a step since leaving the Vikings.

• Old friend Mike Redmond has replaced Ozzie Guillen as Marlins manager and weather-wise Miami is a pretty good locale for naked batting practice.

• Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis is good story and his wife is a great story.

• Popeyes is trying to move into KFC's turf in Minnesota.

Carson Cistulli's chat with Matt Klaassen was very enjoyable if you're interested in two baseball writers talking about anything but baseball.

• AG.com reader Mike Fuchs compared Target Field to six other ballparks he visited recently.

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

- "Dana Wessel hair"
- "Gleeman and Christopher Walken"
- "Jose Mijares girlfriend"
- "Jacqueline Bisset podcast"
- "Snoop Dogg bobblehead"
- "Statistical analysis for hire"
- "Nude party notes"
- "Marijuana and Chinese food"
- "How many donuts would equal 40 pounds"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Don't Sweat The Technique" by Eric B. and Rakim:

January 24, 2012

Twins Notes: Morneau, Slowey, Turpen, Putnam, French, and Tolbert

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune traveled to Arizona to see Justin Morneau's workout routine and wrote a lengthy article about his latest comeback. Morneau revealed that he had concussion symptoms as recently as last month, which is awfully worrisome considering his initial brain injury occurred nearly 18 months ago and he still hasn't begun taking batting practice or fielding ground balls. Here's more of what Morneau said:

I wouldn't say the head's perfect yet ... but what I was able to do today is miles ahead of where I was at this time last year. I've had problems with focus. Your mind kind of wanders, I guess, because your brain's so exhausted from trying to interpret what your eyes are seeing.

Not exactly encouraging with spring training around the corner, and lost in all the concussion concerns is that he also underwent neck, knee, foot, and wrist surgeries in 2011. Christensen writes that Morneau still lacks feeling in his left pointer finger, needs treatment on scar tissue in his knee, and has a big bump on his foot. And oddly the wrist injury has somehow flown under the radar despite being the official reason for his trip to the disabled list in June.

At the time little was said about the actual cause of the wrist injury and that remains true, as Christensen says that "his left wrist began bothering him in May" and "when he returned two months later, the wrist was still a big problem." Morneau eventually had surgery to "stabilize a tendon." And that's about it, except Nick Nelson of TwinsCentric reported way back in June that "Morneau's wrist injury was the result of a locker room tirade after a strikeout."

• Last month the Twins traded Kevin Slowey to the Rockies for minor leaguer Daniel Turpen, dumping him for a marginal pitching prospect following a drama-filled year during which neither side came off looking good. At the time he was slated to be Colorado's fifth starter and Slowey avoided arbitration by signing a one-year, $2.75 million contract, but the Rockies later traded outfielder Seth Smith for two potential starting pitchers and decided Slowey was expendable.

Six weeks after acquiring Slowey the Rockies traded him to the Indians, who wanted rotation help in case Fausto Carmona's legal situation in the Dominican Republic keeps him from being approved for a visa. Not only is he returning to the AL Central after the Twins banished him to the NL and the worst possible environment for a fly-ball pitcher, the Rockies managed to swap Slowey for Zach Putnam, who's a better prospect than they gave the Twins to get him.

Putnam is far from elite, but he's a 23-year-old former third-round pick with strong numbers in the minors and Baseball America ranked the right-handed reliever as the No. 10 prospect in the Indians' farm system. Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has a lower opinion of Putnam, ranking him No. 20 in Cleveland's system, but still likes him more than Turpen. In fact, you'll be hard-pressed to find a prominent prospect analyst who doesn't have Putnam ahead of Turpen.

So how did the Twins trade Slowey for a marginal prospect only to see him swapped six weeks later for a younger, better prospect? Well, for one thing the Rockies sent $1.25 million to the Indians along with Slowey, whereas the Twins simply wiped him from their books. Beyond that Carmona's legal issues presumably meant the Indians were willing to give up more for Slowey than six weeks ago. And the Twins may have balked at trading him within the division anyway.

Ultimately the odds are against Putnam or Turpen having a significant impact in the majors and it's tough to place a value on how much of a prospect upgrade $1.25 million can buy, but given how the Twins mishandled the situation from start to finish their trading Slowey with his value at an all-time low becomes doubly frustrating when another team got more by letting him sit on their roster for a month. There wasn't even time for Slowey to piss off the Colorado media.

• In trying to figure out how much room the Twins have under their self-imposed $100 million payroll limit my assumption has been that Joe Nathan's buyout was part of the 2012 money. However, according to Christensen the Twins actually view the $2 million as part of "last year's books." If true, that means they should have more than enough payroll room to add a veteran right-handed reliever like Todd Coffey or Dan Wheeler or Brad Lidge or Chad Qualls.

• They won't be among the 25 non-roster players invited to spring training, but Luke French and Brad Thompson are the latest minor leaguers collected by the Twins. French was a decent enough prospect to be traded for a half-year of Jarrod Washburn in mid-2009. He's struggled in the majors with a 5.00 ERA and 79-to-57 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 155 innings and got killed at Triple-A last season, posting a 6.27 ERA with 30 homers allowed in 146 innings.

Thompson briefly had some success as a middle reliever for the Cardinals in 2005 and 2006, but struggled after that and the Twins are his fourth organization since 2010. He's still just 29 years old, but Thompson's fastball tops out in the high-80s and his career strikeout rate is 4.2 per nine innings. To put that in some context, Nick Blackburn has averaged 4.3 strikeouts per nine innings. French and Thompson are both destined for Rochester.

Matt Tolbert, who the Twins dropped from the 40-man roster shortly after the season, inked a minor-league deal with the Cubs.

• We're recording a "Gleeman and The Geek" episode tonight, so if there are some questions you'd like to hear answered on the podcast leave them in the comments section.

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