October 31, 2014

Link-O-Rama

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Well, except for Kim Kardashian apparently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

October 29, 2014

Twins Notes: Molitor, Maddon, Lovullo, Colabello, Buxton, and chafing

Joe Maddon Rays

• After interviewing a surprising (to me, at least) number of outside candidates to replace Ron Gardenhire the Twins have settled on a final three of Paul Molitor, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Torey Lovullo. Molitor was on Gardenhire's coaching staff, Mientkiewicz managed the Twins' high Single-A team, and they're both longtime members of the organization. Lovullo has no real ties to the Twins and is portrayed as being very stat-head friendly, so I'll be shocked if gets the job.

Because the Twins' manager search is still unresolved Joe Maddon opting out of his contract with the Rays led to some speculation about their chances of hiring him. General manager Terry Ryan then fanned those flames by publicly commenting on Maddon, seemingly making it very clear that he thought highly of and had interest in Maddon. However, according to multiple reports the Twins never even contacted Maddon. Anyone shocked probably isn't much of a Twins fan.

• For a lot more about the Twins' managerial search and why Maddon was never going to happen, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.

• Gardenhire has publicly been supportive of Molitor's candidacy to replace him, but this tidbit from Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press was interesting:

Molitor's addition to the staff caused Gardenhire to chafe at times behind the scenes, especially early on, considering their shared expertise when it comes to infield play.

For years fans and media members wondered why Molitor wasn't being added to coaching staff and there was speculation that Gardenhire was against the idea. Molitor was finally added to the staff in October of last year and less than 365 days later he's a finalist to replace Gardenhire, with the assumption that he's been the favorite the entire time.

• On a random note: While looking at his Hall of Fame playing career I thought this comparison of Molitor through age 31 and Joe Mauer through his current age of 31 might interest people:

THROUGH AGE 31          MOLITOR    MAUER
Batting Average          .299      .319
On-Base Percentage       .360      .401
Slugging Percentage      .435      .459
OPS                      .795      .860
Games                   1,282     1,298
Wins Above Replacement   40.8      46.3

Anything portraying Mauer in a positive light angers a lot of people these days, but whatever.

Chris Colabello joins the lengthy list of Twins to play through an injury and perform horribly, admitting that he suffered a thumb injury on April 23 and "still feels numbness and tingling" six months later. At the time of the injury Colabello was hitting .346. He continued to play for the next month, going 8-for-73 (.110) with 28 strikeouts before the Twins demoted him to Triple-A. He returned later and hit .222 in 19 games before being sent down again.

According to Colabello's hometown Worchester Telegram he "glued cotton to his batting gloves and tried a thumb protector" to alleviate the pain and "didn't tell the media in Minnesota" about the injury. Berardino also reports that "a Twins official rejected that notion" of Colabello being injured when asked in June and "suggested it was purely a matter of timing and confidence." As usual the tough-guy culture of playing through it helped neither the player nor the team.

Parker Hageman of Twins Daily notes that Twins pitchers combined to throw a grand total of one pitch 97 miles per hour or faster this season. It was by Lester Oliveros, in September. By comparison, every other team in baseball threw at least 75, all but four of the other teams threw at least 150, and half of the teams threw at least 500. Kansas City led MLB with 2,287 pitches of 97 mph or faster. Again, the Twins threw one.

• Last month I examined the 40-man roster and identified 19 players the Twins could potentially drop. So far they've dropped four of them by declining Jared Burton's option for 2015, cutting Doug Bernier and Yohan Pino, and selling Kris Johnson to a team in Japan. Johnson and Alex Presley were the Twins' haul from the Pirates in exchange for Justin Morneau. They combined to play 31 games for the Twins and were both sent packing for nothing in return.

Byron Buxton's injury wrecked season keeps getting worse. Playing in the Arizona Fall League after missing all but 31 games of the regular season with a wrist injury and a concussion, Buxton fractured the middle finger on his left hand while attempting to make a diving catch. In the grand scheme of things a busted finger isn't a big concern, but the missed development time for a 20-year-old is lost forever.

• Wins by American League Central teams from 2011-2014:

Detroit Tigers       366
Cleveland Indians    325
Kansas City Royals   318
Chicago White Sox    300
Minnesota Twins      265

And that's not even counting postseason wins.

• Outfield defense played a huge role in the Royals' success this season and according to Ultimate Zone Rating their outfielders were 60 runs above average. Meanwhile, the Twins' outfielders were 36 runs below average according to UZR. Improving the pitching staff is obviously very important, but don't discount the negative impact defense and specifically outfield defense has had on their runs allowed totals. Oswaldo Arcia's continued presence makes big improvements tough.

• In the 23 years since their last World Series title the Twins have a 1,777-1,908 record for a .482 winning percentage, including 6-21 in the playoffs.


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

May 16, 2014

Link-O-Rama

• Being able to "mute" people you choose to follow on Twitter is the most Minnesota thing ever.

• What's with the New York Times being obsessed with Uptown? And will Randball's Stu write a parody article about this one too?

• It's reassuring to know that Jay Z joins me on Team Rihanna.

• Also, if Rihanna and Drake can't make it work what chance do the rest of us have?

Aaron Rodgers is apparently dating Olivia Munn, which sounds fun except he probably has to watch "The Newsroom" in a non-hate watch way.

Jon Hamm is playing in the celebrity softball game at Target Field during the All-Star break so that he can see what a real man like Jim Thome looks like in 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.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode we discussed the whole Apple/MLB ruckus that got us kicked off iTunes and how we ended up on Keith Olbermann's television show.

Drew Butera took the mound for the Dodgers and, just like he once did for the Twins, looked like a really good pitcher:

I seriously think Butera should become a catcher/pitcher, ala Brooks Kieschnick. Why not?

Mike Redmond's preference for nude batting practice is always a great story, but especially when it's being told by Vin Scully.

Ben Revere's honeymoon in Philadelphia appears to be over. Great smile, though.

• "Gleeman and The Geek" producer Kate Butler sent me this article literally while she was running our live radio show, so you know it's extremely important.

• I wanna sit around and listen to Richie Havens with Joe Maddon.

Malik Bendjelloul, who directed the Oscar-winning documentary "Searching for Sugar Man" about Sixto Rodriguez, committed suicide at age 36.

Matt Williams and Kirk Gibson are the cutest:

Also worth noting: Gibson cheated.

• It sounds like the Twins have been unhappy with Aaron Hicks for a while and now they're telling the media about it.

Oswaldo Arcia is finally healthy, so naturally the Twins demoted him to Triple-A.

• I found this at my mom's house on Mother's Day, so for any parents out there with a sense of humor ... be careful what you wish for.

• On a related note, this is the best, most fitting picture of me and my mom that I could possibly ever find.

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

- "J.J. Hardy syphilis"
- "First base baseball"
- "Why pou got back to baby size"
- "Kent Hrbek net worth"
- "Leroy Hoard wife"
- "Do feet change shape with weight loss?"
- "Chris Colabello the real deal"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Empty" by Ray LaMontagne:


This week's blog content is sponsored by R.F. Moeller Jeweler's repair department, which is recognized as the premier jewelry repair facility in the Twin Cities. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

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: