September 28, 2012

Link-O-Rama

Glen Perkins took Joe Posnanski pitch-by-pitch through a recent save against the Yankees and it was a great read for a whole bunch of different reasons.

• My favorite headline of the week/weak: "Wisconsin man busted for curbside sex with couch."

• Mental Floss did an incredible amount of research to basically show my childhood was a lie.

• At this point Mila Kunis is putting her Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com title at serious risk.

• Based on a Wall Street Journal study MLB's most biased announcer ... well, you may want to sit down for this shocking revelation.

Louis C.K. hates wearing a suit, but it was probably worth it just for this one picture.

• An alternate headline for this news story could have been: "Why people still watched the NFL even though the replacement referees were a complete joke." Gambling is a helluva drug.

• Congratulations to my blog-mate Craig Calcaterra for his well-deserved spot on this prestigious list. My tweet game remains flawless, of course.

• And then Calcaterra went and got himself on Deadspin again for an even better reason.

Torii Hunter Jr., a top-ranked high school wide receiver from Texas, has committed to play football (and baseball) at Notre Dame.

• How did the Twins' pitching become such a mess? I'm glad you asked.

• It takes a very special talent to make a legal deposition worth watching and Lil Wayne is that very special talent:

"He can't save you" is a phrase I'm going to work into my everyday usage.

• All things considered the "Full House" cast holds up pretty well 25 years later and I'm happy that Lori Loughlin remains the show's best-looking (non-John Stamos) person at age 48.

David Simon revealed that HBO once turned down a spinoff of "The Wire" that would been all about Tommy Carcetti's political career. Dang.

• For some reason this kind of reminds me of Paul Allen and "Girls Gone Gleeman."

• My mom's review of this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode: "I liked it because it sounded like you guys drank a lot."

• Also, for anyone who already listened to this week's podcast: Kate Agnew, whom we mention as being, among other things, diabolical, blogs at Kate's A Cliche.

• An update for anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of "Gleeman and The Geek": Our last eight episodes have averaged 9,600 downloads, including at least 7,500 per show. That's way above and beyond our wildest expectations and it's great to know the audience hasn't ditched us since shifting back to podcast-only mode after six months on the radio. Thanks to everyone who listens and please keep recommending it to new people throughout the offseason.

• Two things are for sure: One, this definitely isn't too little too late. Two, that was sarcasm.

• My instincts that told me not to bother seeing "Trouble With The Curve" seem to be correct.

• Never forget the night Manute Bol started launching three-pointers, because I won't.

Kevin Love is the new Jon Rauch.

• Perhaps the last strong candidate for "catch of the season" came from an unlikely candidate.

• SABR announced the dates for next year's convention in Philadelphia, so you know where I'll be from July 31 to August 4 even if being on a vacation during the trade deadline is tricky.

• "Stop Podcasting Yourself" has become my favorite podcast and this week's show with stand-up comedian Kyle Kinane as their guest was especially good.

Zach Galifianakis' appearance on "Who Charted" was podcasting at its finest, including his appraisal of "Lights" by Ellie Goulding: "That song seems like it was sung by a woman who talks about tree houses a lot."

• Netflix instant recommendation: "Neds," which is a Scottish film about unstable families, gangs, bullies, and how things can unravel in a hurry for a kid thrown into the fire. Really good.

• I found the best IMDB page, in case you were wondering.

Ben Collin is one of the most creative Twins bloggers around, but he's also a meteorologist and weather-related software developer looking for work.

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

- "Rob Dibble ex-wife"
- "Ate fried rice and lost weight"
- "Bernardo Brito"
- "Glen Perkins hazing"
- "How to lose pounds on a scale"
- "Women wearing baseball caps"
- "Nick Punto false hustle"
- "How much does Louis C.K. weigh?"
- "Sergeant Slaughter porn"
- "Knife-throwing injuries"

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Mr. Carter" by my favorite deponent, Lil Wayne, and featuring Jay-Z:

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September 8, 2010

Twitter Mailbag: Answers

Last week I asked for mailbag questions submitted via Twitter, so here are about 1,200 words worth of me answering 140-character queries ...

@JosephKrueger: Of all the Twins' prospects, who are you most excited to see in the big leagues one day?

It seems like this question boils down to upside, so I'll pick Miguel Sano. He's been crushing the ball in the low minors at age 17 and is definitely much different than the usual hitters the Twins go after. Could be a bust, could be Miguel Cabrera, and we probably won't know either way for about five years.

@bertrecords: Should the Twins re-sign J.J. Hardy for 2011?

Technically they don't have to re-sign him because J.J. Hardy is under team control for 2011 as an arbitration eligible player, but whether or not to non-tender him is essentially the same question. Hardy's offense has been disappointing, he's struggled to stay healthy, and recently he's made some poor throws, but for the most part his defense has been outstanding and his .696 OPS is actually right around the position's MLB average of .699. I'd like to see him back.

@T_Charbonneau: What's a good place to check for Type A and Type B free agents as they stand right now?

MLB doesn't officially make that information public, but MLB Trade Rumors reverse-engineered the rating system and provides regular updates on everyone's status.

@hinkstar: Is Danny Valencia eligible for Rookie of the Year?

Yes. He'd never played in the majors before June.

@jwursu: I know minor-league success is the best predictor of long-term success, but are there exceptions who don't come back to earth?

There are absolutely exceptions, although for the most part track records prevail over the long haul, good and bad. Denard Span is an example of someone who drastically out-performed his minor-league track record in 2008 and 2009--leading to all sorts of speculation about why he was faring so much better--but unfortunately this season he's hit just like he did in the minors. There are plenty of exceptions, but you won't come out ahead betting on them.

@hubakin: If and when Justin Morneau returns, who do you see losing playing time?

It would make the most sense to sit Michael Cuddyer against right-handers and either Jason Kubel or Jim Thome against left-handers.

@ScottStenzel1: What do you think the Twins' contingency plan would be if Morneau still isn't ready to go next year?

When a player has a broken leg or a torn elbow ligament it's easy for a team to plan for their absence and find a replacement, but the incredibly unpredictable nature of concussions makes that pretty tough. Cuddyer, Kubel, and Delmon Young are all under contract for next season, so the Twins could potentially just try to re-sign Thome and trot out the same group they have been since Morneau went down. There are no real impact bats in the upper minors.

@MNTwinsGUFS: Who's your favorite current Twins player?

Probably either Joe Mauer or Thome.

@jstorlien: If Kyle Waldrop and Anthony Slama join the bullpen next year, which current relievers are most likely to be traded?

Overhauling the bullpen for next season wouldn't require any trades, because Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Jon Rauch, and Brian Fuentes are all impending free agents.

@BobStutelberg: How did the White Sox let the Twins get Brian Fuentes?

Couple reasons. First and foremost, they spent $4 million claiming Manny Ramirez off waivers, so also claiming Fuentes and the $1.9 million left on his contract may not have been an option. Beyond that, Chicago's best reliever this season has been left-hander Matt Thornton and they added a second potentially dominant lefty by calling up this year's first-round pick, Chris Sale, who's been almost unhittable so far.

@Leb13: What happened with your weight loss?

Same thing that always happens. I drop a bunch of weight, stop eating right for a couple days thinking it'll be no big deal, and a month later I'm back to the old fatso routine. Pathetic, really.

@SixHoleMN: At what point is Brian Duensing's performance thus far likely indicative of future success?

This depends largely on how you view that "performance." Brian Duensing has posted a 2.80 ERA in 183 career innings, which is a huge change from his mediocre track record in the minors, but his xFIP is a far less spectacular 4.43. I continue to think he'll be a solid mid-rotation guy.

@brandonwarne52: Is Cuddyer overrated?

Definitely. Cuddyer makes $10 million per season and some people act as if he's in the running for team MVP, yet he's hitting .275/.340/.424 this year and has a career line of .270/.343/.452. His defense is overrated when people focus on his good arm instead of his poor range and his offense is overrated when people focus on his nice-looking RBI totals rather than his mediocre overall production. Cuddyer is a perfectly solid player who's paid like and treated as a star.

@jbohrerUW: Do the Twins have any flame-throwing prospects we can expect soon?

Not really. Starters like Kyle Gibson, David Bromberg, and Alex Wimmers are promising and close to the majors, but definitely not flame-throwers. In general the Twins just don't go after high-velocity guys much, although 2009 second-round pick Billy Bullock throws very hard and had 105 strikeouts in 74 innings as a reliever between high Single-A and Double-A this year.

@JosephKrueger: Is it worrisome that the Twins' minor-league teams have struggled for the most part this year?

A little bit, in the sense that their Double-A and Triple-A teams struggling speaks to the lack of MLB-ready impact prospects, but typically win-loss records in the minors don't accurately show the strength of a system's prospects.

@cttacheny: What's one stat announcers could refer to that would help end the obsession with batting average?

OPS would certainly be the easiest and most accessible, but I'm not sure why it would have to be just one stat. I'd be happy if announcers talked more about walks and extra-base hits and on-base percentages rather than just saying stuff like, "Smith is hitting .284 this season."

@JMSemiz: Mary Kate or Ashley?

I was always more of a Lori Loughlin guy, then and now.

@MNTwinsGUFS: Who's your favorite all-time Twins player?

Johan Santana or Matthew LeCroy.

@JosephKrueger: Who is your least favorite Twins player of all time?

Purely in terms of my emotional reaction to someone, I'd say Luis Rivas. He infuriated me not only because he was a terrible player, but because the Twins and many fans assumed he had significant potential simply due to being young. He hit .262/.307/.383 and played bad defense, yet was the Twins' starting second baseman for five seasons. They finally let him go in 2005 and despite being only 25 years old Rivas played a grand total of just 83 more MLB games.

@jwursu: Harmon Killebrew eulogized Kirby Pucket by calling him the greatest Twin ever, but is he?

By beginning a Top 40 Minnesota Twins series back in 2006 my intention was to have provided the answer (or at least my answer) to that question by now, but I got sidetracked a few times along the way and unfortunately the whole project stalled at No. 15. I'm definitely planning to re-start the series this winter, so I'm hesitant to do a short answer because it's a complicated, interesting question and I hope to write a ton about it soon. So, for now ... "maybe."

July 9, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• Internet declares: "The feeling is mutual, Prince."

• I'd like to believe a large number of these were purchased ironically.

• I've once again missed my chance with Jenna Fischer.

Basketball-playing brothers Scientific Mapp and Majestic Mapp think this guy's name is silly.

• Whatever rare condition this woman has, I have the exact opposite.

Lori Loughlin is the Jamie Moyer of good-looking women, still getting it done at age 46.

• It seems like Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert took the LeBron James news kind of hard.

• My take on James: I have absolutely no problem with him choosing Miami, but he went out of his way to make the entire experience as painful as possible for Cleveland. In hindsight a guy from Akron, Ohio being a Yankees and Cowboys fan probably should have been a pretty huge tipoff, but it takes a special kind of man to go from the most beloved to the most hated athlete in the history of his home state by his own doing (and with Stuart Scott/Jim Gray involved).

Delmon Young is having a much better year than his older brother.

Johan Santana bounced back pretty nicely from losing to the Twins.

• My favorite headline of this week: "Lindsay Lohan punched by waitress on 24th birthday." Hey, it's the thought that counts, right?

• Speaking of Lohan, she apparently only dates Jewish girls now, which means my mom would be thrilled to have her as a son.

• New team. New plate discipline. Same old Torii Hunter throwing teammates under the bus.

• Sadly the Arrested Development movie likely will never be made, although perhaps Hollywood will reconsider after seeing Buster Bluth, action star:

That show getting canceled still upsets me.

• One of the craziest Win Probability Added graphs you'll ever see.

• As if the first two episodes of Louis C.K.'s new FX series Louie weren't spectacular enough, Ricky Gervais guest-starred on this week's show. And here's another hilarious scene from the previous episode.

Jake Peavy is likely out for the year with a gross-sounding "detached" shoulder muscle and Gordon Beckham has been terrible, but the White Sox have won 22 of 27 games and are now reportedly looking to trade for Adam Dunn.

• I've thankfully never watched the show, but my new goal in life is to be able to this.

• It'll be tough to blame Jim Joyce for this one.

• I actually know someone who was in the Duluth prison with Jerry Koosman and he was sad to see him leave because the former Twins pitcher was such a nice guy and good story-teller.

• As a big Sara Bareilles fan I enjoyed her live, streaming interview with the Associated Press.

Ozzie Guillen may be sick of Twitter, but I'm more addicted than ever.

• As always, the easiest way to ensure a link here is to say something nice about me.

• Now that I'm no longer writing the "Daily Dose" column at Rotoworld each day I've expanded my duties at Hardball Talk on NBCSports.com, pumping out an average of a dozen blog entries per day this week alongside Craig Calcaterra's usual 500. Some of the highlights:

- Don't look now, but the Royals are winning with Ned Yost
- Josh Johnson quietly moves past Ubaldo Jimenez as first half's top pitcher
- Brandon Webb still hoping to make 6-8 starts this season
- Cubs closer Carlos Marmol piling up strikeouts at historic rate
- Matt Stairs ties MLB record with 20th career pinch-hit homer
- Does a three-homer game mean Drew Stubbs is destined for stardom?
- Jonathan Sanchez is first pitcher since 1999 to win with 6+ walks and 3+ wild pitches
- Jordan Zimmermann takes first step on long road back from Tommy John surgery
- Marlins demote struggling starter Chris Volstad to Triple-A

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the aforementioned Bareilles doing a live version of "Many the Miles":