• I've been using Uber a lot lately and it's amazingly easy/pleasant compared to cabs. If you use this promo code you get $20 off a ride and I get $20 too, which allows me to drink Jack Daniels all across this great state of ours. Give it a shot. Why not?
• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:
- "Hairy twins"
- "Ricky Rubio tattoo"
- "Can I eat baked chicken wings after late-night workout?"
- "Did Brock Lesnar play for the Minnesota Twins?"
- "Greg Gagne net worth"
- "Minnesota Twins players with beards"
- "Can you break your ear cartilage?"
- "Kevin Slowey shirtless"
- "I'm a teen and I want to work at Pizza Hut"
• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "So Special" by Lil Wayne and John Legend:
Advertise your product, service, business, or website to thousands of people each day and support the free content on AG.com by becoming a Sponsor of the Week.
• 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 withWill Leitch about nontraditional paths to sportswriting and blending statistical analysis with old-school reporting. Just really good stuff from two really good writers.
• 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 withKate 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!
• 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" episodeJohn 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.
• 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.
• 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 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.
• 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 Formanis more famous than Kim Kardashian. But also a world where Kardashian runs a baseball stats website.
• Tom Scharpling and Jesse Thorn joining Julie Klausnerfor her 100th episode of "How Was Your Week?" is like when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade in Miami.
(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 Bonnescreepily 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 ...
• 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.
Get the 22nd edition of the New York Times bestselling Baseball Prospectus Annual. Edited by Aaron Gleeman, it features a foreword from Twins pitcher Glen Perkins, a Twins team chapter written by Gleeman and Parker Hageman, and 600 pages of analysis, projections, essays, rankings, and in-depth coverage of all 30 teams.