February 17, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• I'll be hanging out at Smalley's 87 Club in downtown Minneapolis tonight, raising money for charity and supporting Lindsay Guentzel's bid for the "MLB Fan Cave" contest. My podcast co-host John Bonnes will also be there, along with Nick Nelson and Parker Hageman. And depending on how things go, we might even record a "Gleeman and The Geek" episode in front of an actual audience for the first time. Here are the details:

Who: Gleeman, Bonnes, Guentzel, Nelson, Hageman, and more

What: Blogger get-together, MLB Fan Cave voting party, charity fundraiser

Where: Smalley's 87 Club at 100 Sixth Street downtown

When: 7:00 p.m. Friday night, February 17

Why: Drink beer, talk Twins, win prizes

It'll be fun, trust me.

• I've spent 29 years thinking I was pretty weird, but then I read about this guy.

Jeff Sullivan at SB Nation collected footage of the 10 worst swings of the 2011 season.

• I can't imagine why Ricky Rubio wouldn't spend $500,000 on this.

• If you've ever wondered what famous literary characters would look like if drawn by police sketch artists, this is your lucky day.

• When does getting cut from a basketball team qualify as the good news? When the reason you were cut involves "male enhancement pills."

• I normally mock people who bring signs to sporting events, but this is an obvious exception.

• My beloved Hardball Dynasty league on WhatIfSports.com starts a new season next week. If you're interested in joining, click here for more details.

Louis C.K. is nearly everyone's favorite comedian at this point, but only because he evolved:

On a related note: George Carlin was pretty great.

• After being on life support for years my 1994 Grand Am finally died. I'm having a difficult time deciding on a replacement, in part because it would be nearly impossible to pick a car that wasn't a huge upgrade and in part because I know absolutely nothing about cars. I drive so infrequently that spending more than, say, $5,000-$7,500 seems sort of silly, which has me wondering if leasing might be my best option.

An argument against leasing is that you don't own the car, but if you're only spending $7,500 to begin with owning that car a few years later barely has value anyway. For similar money in a cheap lease you can get a significantly newer, better car for three years. My dream scenario is that a nice reader with a car dealership wants to trade an inexpensive lease for Official Car Dealership of AG.com status and various other ads/plugs, but I'd settle for some advice.

• What did Royals fans do to deserve this?

• Quote of the week, from television writer Alan Sepinwall about Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke playing himself on Luck: "The sabermetric side of me can't stand the guy."

Jon Heyman can't stop being Jon Heyman.

Tony Gwynn had a facial nerve transplant during a 14-hour surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his cheek, which is yet another reminder that using smokeless tobacco is stupid.

Matthew Leach is almost as good at photo-bombing as he is at writing for MLB.com.

• Also good at photo-bombing? Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Lizzy Caplan.

Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition cover model Kate Upton is helping Justin Verlander, David Price, C.J. Wilson, and Jay Bruce sell video games:

There are so many possibilities for a joystick-related joke that I'm not even going to make one.

• Texas Christian University is apparently a lot more fun than the name would suggest.

• How did Allen Iverson burn through $150 million by age 35? Practice.

• If you've ever seen me reference the "defensive spectrum" and wondered what it meant, read this article by friend of AG.com Jay Jaffe.

• As an 18-year-old wannabe writer I attended a sports journalism event at the University of Minnesota during the Final Four in 2001. Lots of big-name media members were there, but none impressed me more than Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe. This week he announced his upcoming retirement on Bill Simmons' podcast.

• In light of his Grammy performance earlier this week, it's important to remember certain things about Chris Brown.

• Netflix recommendation: I put off watching Buck despite hearing it was great because a documentary about a horse trainer didn't sound all that interesting, but ... it's great.

• Baseball Prospectus should definitely give Kevin Goldstein's girlfriend her own column.

Carl Pavano got married, apparently.

• It's now the law that the Twins and White Sox are "arch rivals."

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Whitney Houston singing a live version of "How Will I Know" from 1986:

August 5, 2011

Link-O-Rama

This week's Link-O-Rama is sponsored by Minnesota's top variable frequency drive company, IDEAL Service, so please help support AG.com by considering them for your industrial electronic needs ...

• I didn't realize it until afterward, but Monday marked the ninth anniversary of this blog, which started on August 1, 2002 with a post about A.J. Burnett being overworked by the Marlins. That night the Twins beat the White Sox behind Eric Milton's three-hit, 11-strikeout shutout and Michael Cuddyer's grand slam. Two months later the Twins made the playoffs for the first time since 1991, shortly after that Burnett blew out his elbow, and now here I am.

I started as a 19-year-old in search of a writing outlet while home from college for the summer and now I'm a 28-year-old lucky enough to write about baseball for a living. In between seems like kind of a blur, but I know that without this blog and the people who read it I may never have gotten the opportunity to make a career out of something I love and for that I'm forever grateful. Whether you've been here for nine years or this is your first visit, thanks for reading.

There but for the grace of blogging go I.

• This is one service that the YoYo Donuts near my house does not provide.

Joel Lovell's lengthy profile of Louis C.K. in GQ magazine is well worth the read.

• In one of the most disappointing revelations in cinematic history, Mila Kunis has admitted to using a "butt double" in Friends With Benefits. As the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com explained:

I showed side boob and I figured I can't just give away everything all at once. I gotta let it all out in little pieces here and there.

Legally, does that count as a binding contract?

• Kunis defending Justin Timberlake by yelling at reporters in Russian was fun to watch.

• In one of the craziest plays you'll ever see Brendan Ryan caught Oakland's defense napping for an "infield triple."

• Picture of the Week: Jimi Hendrix gets his hair done while reading Mad magazine.

Kate Upton saying she "prayed every day" to look like Kate Upton has made me reconsider everything I've ever thought about religion.

• In honor of Randy Moss' retirement, here's a commercial he and Jason Williams did for Nike that I thought was pretty badass as a kid:

Still is, actually.

Bethlehem Shoals was an awesome basketball blogger, but he might be even better writing about Otis Redding, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and the history of "Try A Little Tenderness."

Latrell Sprewell is still just trying to feed his family in Wisconsin.

• Of course, Sprewell is a piker compared to Stephon Marbury.

Marko Jaric is faring slightly better after leaving the Timberwolves.

Kevin Durant scored 66 points in a Rucker Park game and the video is excellent.

• For a 51-year-old fat guy Stan Van Gundy can still handle the rock pretty well.

• After seeing Half Nelson and Blue Valentine during the past week I've officially become a Ryan Gosling fanboy, which is something I never expected to write. Blue Valentine is definitely worth renting, while Half Nelson is a must-watch for anyone with Netflix instant.

• To anyone who made the mistake of not watching already: Netflix instant just added the first four seasons of Mad Men. Pour yourself an old fashioned and watch all 52 episodes. Trust me.

• In odd marriage news, Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari broke up before their wedding while Gene Simmons and Shannon Tweed are now engaged after 28 years and two grown kids.

• Cavallari has rebounded with ... the kid from Boy Meets World? Sure, why not.

• Even my mom would begrudgingly admit that George Clooney made a solid rebound choice.

Alex Rodriguez being investigated for "playing in an underground, illegal poker game where cocaine was openly used" makes him significantly more likable. Even if he isn't very good.

• Oh great, now my hopes are up for a Friday Night Lights movie.

• Now that everything has been settled, the worst part of the NFL lockout is without question HBO skipping Hard Knocks this season.

Community was already one of my favorite shows, and now they're adding Omar Little and Bill Haverchuck to the cast for next season. Omar comin':

It sounds like Michael K. Williams had a good first day on the set, too.

• People who insist on saying happy birthday to every "friend" on Facebook deserve this.

• Maybe it's not too late for me to become a newspaper reporter after all.

Sarah Hyland provides a compelling sneak preview of next season's Modern Family.

• Versus is becoming NBC Sports Network, which means I'm a step closer to that cooking show I've always wanted. "Aaron Makes Stuff With Rice And Oyster Sauce" is the working title.

David Cameron, whom I got a chance to meet and play poker with at the SABR convention, has been diagnosed with leukemia. Whether you like his work as Fan Graphs managing editor or just hate when bad things happen to good people, root for him.

• I'm on board the Rick Adelman bandwagon, which guarantees David Kahn won't hire him.

• I'm thrilled that 1500-ESPN decided to dump Colin Cowherd's syndicated show and replace it with a local host. My nomination: Darren Wolfson.

• In related news, Sporting News Radio just became Yahoo! Sports Radio, with lots of Yahoo! writers getting their own shows. KFAN-1130 will air some locally, I believe.

UPDATE: And now more intrigue in the local sports radio scene, as David Brauer of MinnPost reports that KFAN is switching from AM to FM.

• Want to feel old? Raul Mondesi's son just signed with the Royals for $2 million.

• For any DIPS and/or FIP doubters out there: When position players pitch they have the same batting average on balls in play as actual pitchers pitching.

Fedor Emelianenko went from the top of the MMA food chain to washed up in three fights.

• I was feeling good about our recent traffic at HardballTalk, but then I saw that my colleagues at ProFootballTalk had 3.9 million page views in one day. To put that in some context, AG.com has had a total of around 13 million page views ... in nine years.

Curb Your Enthusiasm fans will like Jeff Garlin's appearance on The Sound of Young America.

• I've now been on Twitter for two years and 7,000 tweets later can't imagine life without it.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is The King of Soul singing what will always be my favorite version of "Try A Little Tenderness":

July 15, 2011

Link-O-Rama

This week's Link-O-Rama is sponsored by the Minnesota band Shoveldance, so please help support AG.com by checking out their new album ...

Joe Mauer and his girlfriend received the paparazzi treatment in Duluth, of all places.

Justin Timberlake got my vote for All-Star game MVP after trolling Joe Buck on the air.

• And runner-up on my MVP ballot was Kate Upton for her performance in the celebrity game.

• I've never hung out in Miami with Minka Kelly (yet!), but did see enough of the All-Star game to say Derek Jeter made the correct choice.

• I'm not usually big on collecting bobblehead dolls, but the set of all 25 players from the 1991 championship team being offered by the Twins next week looks pretty great. Hint. Hint. Hint.

• Take away the beard and Zach Galifianakis is just a nerdy looking high school kid. Literally.

Mila Kunis is on the cover of the latest GQ magazine and not only does the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com look spectacular enough to make iced coffee an effective photo shoot prop, the first word she utters in the accompanying interview is "oy." She may hold the title for a while.

• Meanwhile, not everyone is as comfortable speaking Yiddish.

• As great as the Kunis cover is, it might not even be the best photo shoot in this month's GQ.

• I'm glad to see Stringer Bell and Omar Little could settle their differences in the afterlife.

• Best opening paragraph of the year? "A Russian man who tried to rob a hair salon ended up as the victim when the female shop owner overpowered him, tied him up naked and then used him as a sex slave for three days." On a related note, robberies are up 500 percent in Russia.

• Let's hope Bryce Harper's plate discipline proves better than his tattoo discipline.

• For those of us with clear eyes and full hearts Robert Mays' oral history of Friday Night Lights on Grantland is pretty spectacular.

• Also spectacular? This collection of every "y'all" from Connie Britton:

Definitely one of the best moms in television history.

• And just like that, another blogger was born.

• Slideshows usually annoy me, but I'll make an exception for Aubrey Plaza.

• My aunt, Jane Gallop, has a new book out that everyone should buy. Here's a review quote:

Gallop is one of the small handful of critics who are keeping close reading alive. With this volume, she illuminates the stakes in paying such careful and loving attention to the words by which writers are turned, and turn themselves, into authors: stakes made visible on the relational field joining reader and author in an intimate bond that’s desirous, companionate, aggressive, indecent, sustaining, disturbing, unstable, and, when elaborated by a critic and thinker as gifted and incisive as Jane Gallop, also endlessly productive.

She's also a great aunt and has been incredibly supportive of my writing career, so order it.

• It's official: America's Next Great Restaurant is the most misleading title in television history.

• My first thought after reading this story? Hopefully this guy isn't as annoying as John Wayne Bobbitt was during his 15 minutes of fame in the 1990s. Also, ouch.

• Thanks to the internet I didn't have to watch the ESPYs to know Serena Williams was there.

• Last week I heard Scott Boras discuss "managing the media" during his speech at the SABR convention, so suffice it to say his latest headline grab doesn't surprise me.

• This could be an interesting way for mainstream media sites to make their comment sections less mind-meltingly awful, if only since it removes the ever-dangerous anonymity from the mix.

Zach Lowe of SI.com wrote a nice piece on why David Kahn's ongoing push for an up-tempo offense is, like many things he says and does, sort of silly.

• My idol Tom Scharpling took a break from steamrolling chumps to be interviewed by AV Club.

• Podcast recommendation: Julie Klausner's predictably charming and hilarious appearance on "Jordan, Jesse, Go!" with Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris. And her own podcast is great too.

• ESPN3.com is showing live coverage of the World Series of Poker main event all weekend.

Matt Kemp and I live basically the same life.

• My perception is skewed by spending a week at ballparks in California, but it occurred to me that fewer men and more women wearing baseball hats would make the world a better place.

• One of the upcoming sponsors of the week had to delay their date, so if anyone is interested in stepping in to sponsor the week of July 25-31 click here for details and let me know.

• Finally, in honor of my fantastic trip to Long Beach and the surprising lack of drama in the LBC this week's AG.com-approved music video is Snoop Dogg with a live version of "Gin and Juice":

April 8, 2011

Link-O-Rama

I'm bummed out about Tsuyoshi Nishioka, but the links must go on ...

• I've been trying to make the switch from sportswriter to pimp for years.

Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian are still going strong and the former Gopher obviously has "The Kardashian Effect" to thank for becoming one of the NBA's most improved players.

Vin Scully is a big fan of the Honky Tonk Man. Greatness appreciates greatness, obviously.

Charlie Sheen's live show went about as well as should have been expected.

• Speaking of Sheen: Take a number, pal.

• Do all these people moving back into their parents' basements realize they're now obligated to become bloggers? Oddly, my mom threatens to move into my basement on a weekly basis.

• Whenever the level of discourse in the comments section gets me down I remind myself that about one percent of AG.com readers comment regularly. Apparently that's true for most blogs.

Mark Cuban was hanging out in the Hardball Talk comments section, which moves him ahead of Colby Rasmus' dad and Curt Flood's son as our most famous commenter.

• Today's technology would have ruined a bunch of Seinfeld episodes.

Wearing swimsuits remains her specialty, but Brooklyn Decker looks decent in clothes too.

Karl Pilkington is ratings gold.

• I wrote a lot of sentences this week, but this one was definitely my favorite: "Admittedly you can't invite Minka Kelly over to hang out in an earplug." Controversial, but true!

• I haven't danced since leaving the bar mitzvah circuit in 1996 and things have changed quite a bit since then based on Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Kate Upton's impromptu "Dougie" lesson at a basketball game:

My specialty back in the mid-90s was awkward slow dances set to Boyz II Men songs.

• I'm dumbfounded how baseball "analysis" this mind-bogglingly bad gets into any mainstream publication, let alone the New York Times. It would have been a better fit on April 1.

• How long did the New York Times have an Elizabeth Taylor obituary ready to go before she actually died last month? Well, at the bottom of the piece was this footnote: "Mel Gussow, the principal writer of this article, died in 2005."

• Red Sox sideline reporter Heidi Watney narrowly avoided death by chicken and waffles.

• Here's a handy recap of my Twitter exchange with Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, who called me out (sort of) after hearing me talk Twins with Cathy Wurzer on Minnesota Public Radio.

• As my NBCSports.com colleague Craig Calcaterra notes, the Indians treat their bloggers far better than, say, the Twins.

• Friend of AG.com and local Associated Press reporter Jon Krawczynski is standing his ground in the face of a ridiculous lawsuit by NBA referee Bill Spooner.

• A former NBA referee tried to beat up Dominique Wilkins at a Hawks game in Atlanta. Based on the mugshot, he failed.

Gus Hansen might be even better at dating than he is at poker.

• My initial reaction after reading this sad story? Even that guy had a girlfriend.

Ken Rosenthal is the Brother Mouzone of baseball reporters.

• In addition to being the youngest champion in UFC history Jon Jones excels at apprehending thieves on the way to pre-fight waterfalls.

• I've never seen Brock Lesnar be more likable or interesting than in this interview with Ariel Helwani, who also switched gears for a hilarious MMA-driven chat with comedians Jim Norton and Robert Kelly.

Jose Canseco's twin brother Ozzie Canseco tried to impersonate him in a "celebrity boxing" match worth $10,000, but the tattoos gave him away.

• Not surprisingly, the best comedy on television has a great blooper reel:

In related news, my crush on Aubrey Plaza has grown even stronger.

• I can't blame HBO for canceling In Treatment given the lowly viewership numbers, but as one of the few people to see every episode from all three seasons of the Gabriel Byrne-led drama I'll definitely miss what was a truly unique, marvelously acted show.

• In much better television news AMC and Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner have worked out a deal to ensure the show will run at least two and possibly three more seasons, although the bad news is that new episodes won't begin again until 2012.

• One positive is that should give Jon Hamm plenty of time to shave, put on some socks, find a nice suit, and ditch the Cardinals hat for a little pomade.

• This could revolutionize television and movies or it could be nothing, but Netflix is getting into the content-creation business and their first partnership is with David Fincher.

Zach Galifianakis is creating a show starring one of the few comedians weirder than him.

• Not that this should surprise anyone who's seen her in Boardwalk Empire on HBO, but Paz de la Huerta seems like fun.

• Here's the fatal flaw of these never-ending Domino's commercials: Their new chicken is awful. I'm a fatso who ate chicken wings from Pizza Hut multiple times per week for months, yet even I'll never get it again. Also, what good is having a "rate our chicken" survey on the actual box? Are people supposed to fill it out and bring it back to the restaurant?

• I'm going to be honest about something embarrassing: As a kid I used to like the baked ziti.

• Friend of AG.com and Minneapolis Star Tribune writer Phil Miller got an "honorable mention" for best "game story" of 2010 from the Associated Press Sports Editors.

• Google discovery during the NCAA tournament: Marv Albert's real name is Marvin Aufrichtig and he'll be 70 years old in June.

• If the Timberwolves finally win the draft lottery, here's the guy they'll almost certainly pick.

• If you're into the NBA and interesting artwork, check out this site.

• Along with hosting my latest podcast obsession,Tom Scharpling had an interesting history as a basketball writer.

• My favorite podcast this week was Conan O'Brien's appearance on "WTF" with Marc Maron.

• Where do you stand on The Great Ketchup Debate of 2011?

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Steve Earle singing "I Feel Alright" live:

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