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:

September 17, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• R.I.P., White Sox (April 5, 2010 - September 16, 2010)

• Her control and velocity weren't quite as good as the last time she threw out a first pitch, but Marisa Miller still looked great on the mound at AT&T Park.

• I'm willing to undersell any and all pay-to-follow Twitter offerings. I'll even toss in a Facebook friendship.

David Brown of Yahoo! Sports is one of my favorite interviewers and Vin Scully is the best announcer of all time, so when they get together for a chat I link to it.

• Believe it or not this is what an Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate looks like after hours of makeup.

• Baseball has proven really difficult for the Royals, so they're giving another sport a try.

• I let my nerd flag fly and brought my laptop to the 1500-ESPN studio for the past two nights. Thanks to Darren Wolfson and Joe Schmit for having me on "Twins Wrap." It was lots of fun.

• My never-ending quest for new podcasts to devour recently led me to discover Jesse Thorn and his pair of great shows. One is a relatively formal, NPR-style interview series called "The Sound of Young America" and the other is a more laid back comedy show with co-host Jordan Morris called "Jordan, Jesse, Go!" Both are excellent podcasts, in large part because of Thorn's incredibly dry yet goofy sense of humor and easy going yet intelligent conversational style.

Plus, he's a big baseball fan and even interviewed Bill James on an episode of "The Sound of Young America." If you're into smart, lengthy interviews listen to Thorn's chats with Louis C.K., Nick Hornby, Adam Carolla, Martin Starr, and Paul Rust. And if you're into funny stuff, check out basically anything in the "Jordan, Jesse, Go!" archives. Thorn is great, Thorn and Morris are a great duo, and both podcasts have quickly become part of my daily listening routine.

• Friend of AG.com Jay Jaffe wrote a nice tribute on the 40th anniversary of my favorite book.

• If you see Kevin Mitchell on a golf course don't ask the former MVP if you can play through.

Torii Hunter is $5,000 poorer because Hideki Matsui hit a triple.

• My fellow Friday Night Lights fans will really enjoy Diablo Cody interviewing Kyle Chandler:

Coach Taylor couldn't possibly have been more charming.

• There are two extraordinarily promising 20-year-old rookie hitters in the National League this season. One is showing historic power and the other is showing historic on-base skills.

• I could definitely see paying a la cart prices for long-form writing online, but unfortunately I suspect I'm in the minority.

• Speaking of good long-form writing, Nicholas Dawidoff's profile of Rex Ryan in the New York Times is a must-read for anyone who enjoyed Hard Knocks on HBO.

• And speaking of the Jets, a female sports reporter told a story about why Orel Hershiser's good-guy reputation is deserved.

• Apparently sometimes "saddest" can be just a synonym for "greatest." After all, she's "up 22 percent in popularity this week."

• I blame Brooklyn Decker for this.

• My favorite television writer, Alan Sepinwall of HitFix.com, gave one-sentence reviews for all the new network shows this season and sadly not one of them struck me as particularly worth checking out. Thank god for the other 500 channels.

• I'm moving further and further down the list of the best writers in my family.

• NBCSports.com unveiled a re-design this week and it looks pretty sweet.

• I'm really hoping this becomes the new Rick-rolled.

• As if I needed any help getting fatter, a restaurant called Yo Yo Donuts just opened up about a block from my house. So far I've been too scared to even check it out, because obviously no good can come of this.

• I'm addicted to WhatIfSports.com's Hardball Dynasty game and my league has one franchise open with a new season set to begin next week. Hardball Dynasty is not fantasy baseball, but rather an incredibly detailed simulation of running a fictional MLB organization from rookie-ball to the majors, so due to the steep learning curve and time commitment required we're looking for an owner with previous Hardball Dynasty experience. If you're interested, let me know.

• Here are some highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- Clayton Kershaw is 22 years old and really, really good
- Joe Morgan's opinion about the Cy Young debate is exactly what you'd expect
- Carlos Marmol has the highest strikeout rate in MLB history
- Mariners to fire professional scouting director over Josh Lueke controversy
- Manny Ramirez comes up empty as White Sox's playoff hopes slip away
- Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma said to be eyeing MLB
- Fredi Gonzalez turns down interview for Cubs' manager job
- After 10 seasons and 1,500 games Michael Young is finally playoff bound
- Livan Hernandez was a one-man gang in Atlanta

• Finally, in honor of the White Sox this week's AG.com-approved music video is "All Over Now" by Eric Hutchinson:

July 16, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• Much like me, Chris Webber has had just about enough of David Kahn.

• Aw, cute. Nick Punto is trying to grow a Carl Pavano-like mustache.

John Sickels projected the career stats of Rick Vaughn from Major League, which is the type of thing I find endlessly amusing. Given that there's basically a website for everything at this point, someone really needs to create a Baseball-Reference.com-style setup dedicated to the careers of players from baseball movies. I'd sponsor Roger Dorn's page.

• I plugged my most recent blog entries into this website that promises to "analyze who you write like" and it spit out Stephen King. Naturally.

• I've always believed pretty girls in baseball hats was basically the perfect combination, until I saw supermodels in baseball uniforms. The game was nice and all, but this picture was clearly the highlight of the entire All-Star break.

• As if Louis C.K.'s new show on FX wasn't amazing enough already, in this week's episode he name-dropped Jamie Moyer in the middle of a sex scene.

Seth Stohs, John Bonnes, Nick Nelson, and Parker Hageman have partnered with bloggers from other teams to produce a massive, 160-page "Trade Deadline Primer" with player profiles, essays, prospect reports, trade scenarios, and all kinds of other good stuff. I got a look at the product at the latest TwinsCentric gathering and was impressed by the content and layout. They put tons of work into the project and made something very worthwhile, all for under $10.

• Which former Twin is among the best players never to make an All-Star team?

• I tried to sound extra smart for my appearance on Minnesota Public Radio earlier this week. Also, more people have contacted me after hearing my MPR interview than ever contacted me following an appearance on KFAN or KSTP or any other stations. I'm not sure how to explain it, other than maybe just the novelty factor? Anyway, give it a listen.

• My first (and probably last) restaurant review.

• I'm shocked that something like this has never happened involving A.J. Pierzynski.

• If you only watch one video of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh turning heel as the nWo, make it this one:

If you didn't laugh at that, you either didn't watch wrestling as a kid or you don't have a soul.

• Anyone still think the Heat will struggle to fill out the rest of the roster with solid players? I'll be shocked if they don't win 60-plus games in Year 1.

• This is what it looks like when Will Ferrell invades the workspace of an MLB.com writer.

• I'll assume Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven finished sixth.

• Just in case her stellar acting work on Modern Family wasn't enough to make you a big Sofia Vergara fan, there are also these pictures.

Dennis Green's son Jeremy Green lost his ESPN.com job following his recent arrest on drug and child pornography charges. Would it be in bad taste to make a "he is who we thought he was" joke?

Scott Boras comparing Prince Fielder to Mark Teixeira is more reasonable than you might think, but Fielder still looking an awful lot like he did in this picture is why many people have a hard time buying it.

• Poker player Ted Forrest was already in good shape at 188 pounds. Then someone bet him $2 million that he couldn't lose 50 pounds in two months. Now he weighs 138 pounds and has $2 million. The morale of the story is that all my repeatedly unsuccessful weight-loss attempts have lacked is someone willing to bet me a whole bunch of money. Well, that and willpower.

• Naming the five center fielders with 400 or more homers is a pretty good trivia question even if you get Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Mickey Mantle, and Duke Snider as "hints."

Joe Rogan talks mixed martial arts backstage at one of his comedy shows. Good stuff.

• Clearly my problem is that I don't tell enough lies. Or leave the house.

• Just in case you thought the people involved in the actual process put any kind of thought into anything All-Star related, they don't.

• I'm intrigued by this, mostly because Sports Illustrated and Turner Sports already produce so much quality content on their own, but "challenge ESPN.com" is often planned for and, aside from perhaps Yahoo! Sports, never accomplished.

• Here are some highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- Justin Morneau likely bound for disabled list with concussion
- He's alive! Carlos Beltran finally returns from knee surgery
- Yunel Escobar may have "attitude problems" but he also has a good track record
- Angels stick with Scott Kazmir despite MLB-worst 6.92 ERA
- Edinson Volquez on the verge of return from elbow surgery
- Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce, together again at ESPYs
- Mariners promote last year's No. 2 overall pick Dustin Ackley to Triple-A
- Pedro Martinez won't be re-signing with the Phillies and may not pitch at all
- Royals promote 21-year-old stud prospect Mike Moustakas to Triple-A

• Finally, in honor of the Twins' current state this week's AG.com-approved music video is a live version of "Looking For Answers" by Susan Tedeschi:

June 11, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• Who among us hasn't been tempted to break into a donut shop at three in the morning?

• After one career start, Stephen Strasburg has an xFIP of -0.50. Seriously.

Carrie Underwood would immediately become an Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com contender if all she did was play softball.

• I'll be hugely disappointed if the person who eliminates Jamie Hector from this weekend's paintball tournament featuring The Wire cast members doesn't yell: "My name is my name!"

• Is it really possible that the entire landscape of college athletics conferences is changing and all the Big Ten ends up with is Nebraska? If they're going to 12 teams, why not go all the way to 16 and at least get Kansas (and Kansas State) in for basketball? I have no allegiance to the Big 12, but for some reason the whole thing makes me sad.

• In case there was any doubt about The Roots being the best part of Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, this should settle it. Gotta love Ice Cube bleeping himself throughout.

• Twins second-round pick Cartier Goodrum wasn't the only amazing name drafted this week.

• Gophers catcher Kyle Knudson was drafted by the Twins in the ninth round and two of his teammates were also picked by other teams. Catcher/outfielder Mike Kvasnicka went to the Astros a dozen spots after the Twins selected Alex Wimmers and reliever Seth Rosin went to the Giants at No. 138. As former Twins blogger Trevor Born points out in the Minnesota Daily, the last Gophers position player to be drafted higher than Kvasnicka was Brent Gates in 1991.

• My two favorite radio personalities of all time, together in one awkward picture.

• Not surprisingly, Phillies fans get their drinking careers started very early.

• Re-runs of Seinfeld have grossed $2.7 billion (yes, billion) since the show went off the air 12 years ago, with most of that money going to creators Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. As the latter would say: "Pretty, pretty, pretty good."

• There's zero doubt that this hilarious mockumentary about Ralph Macchio will be significantly better than the sure-to-be-horrible Karate Kid remake:

"You sure, Ralph? I mean, the cuddling is your favorite part."

• Just because I haven't linked to any pictures of Marisa Miller in a while.

Ozzie Guillen is unhappy that his son Ozney Guillen (no, that's not a typo) warranted only a 22nd-round pick, but he was actually just one of five managers' sons to be drafted this year.

• Speaking of Guillen, general manager Ken Williams sounds ready to blow up the White Sox.

• This actually isn't that far off from what my elliptical machine looks like with a laptop perched on top and the ability to wedge an IBM Thinkpad between the handles was purely coincidence.

• Here's everything you ever wanted to know about The Hardball Times and my involvement, including an exclusive photo from our first staff meeting.

• This year's World Series of Poker is underway in Las Vegas and Tom Dwan was very close to winning millions of dollars in side bets from a bunch of the high-stakes players.

• ESPN is gradually expanding to various markets with "local" sites like ESPNNewYork.com and ESPNLosAngeles.com, but now SB Nation (which runs Twinkie Town) is taking a Blogger-based approach to the same process. Newspapers may be in the death rattle stage, but that doesn't mean there will be a shortage of sportswriting jobs in the near future.

• Speaking of newspapers, if you've watched television during the past couple decades you've probably seen this one a few times.

Jason Heller of A.V. Club provides a guide for getting as obsessed with Van Morrison as me.

• Their owner Frank McCourt is going through a messy divorce, so the Dodgers are seemingly taking advantage of the draft's failed-signing compensation rules to make things easier on him financially.

• Of course, the Dodgers aren't so strapped for cash that they can't pay a Russian "healer" to "send positive energy over great distances" for the past five years.

• After two seasons HBO recently canceled one of my favorite underrated shows, The Life and Times of Tim, but there's a chance it could wind up another channel.

Jay Mohr appeared on Adam Carolla's podcast and discussed his now-inaccurate reputation for being a jerk, which fittingly was my impression of him before hearing him be a great guest.

• Speaking of great podcast guests, Steve Nash was excellent with Bill Simmons. One of my favorite players on and off the court.

• Blogging for the past eight years finally paid off this week, as a longtime reader sent me 110 hours of Karl Pilkington (and Ricky Gervais/Stephen Merchant) audio. Sadly though, none of you have sent me the audio of Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Diora Baird's recent appearance on Loveline yet. You guys are really slacking off.

• Some of the highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- Kosuke Fukudome living up to "Mr. April" label
- Indians send Matt LaPorta back to Triple-A
- Chone Figgins not happy about move to bottom of Mariners' lineup
- Pirates calling up Jose Tabata and Brad Lincoln
- Brandon Wood's struggles carry over to Triple-A
- Randy Wolf allows five homers in loss to Cubs

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Elvis Costello singing "Alison" during his first ever television appearance: