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 22, 2011

Link-O-Rama

This week's Link-O-Rama is sponsored by Wholesale Gold and Diamond Distributors in Minneapolis, so please help support AG.com by considering them for your jewelry needs ...

• Not that it was ever tough to sell me bacon in the first place, but this is especially effective.

Bruce Willis has never looked so good.

• Earlier this week the Twins sold $391,000 worth of bobblehead dolls in one day.

Jay-Z and Kanye West teaming up for the sample-filled song "Otis" is interesting, but mostly just reminds me how awesome Otis Redding was.

• Sure, but at least it's a really great face.

• Congratulations to Jonah Hill for losing a ton of weight, although unfortunately for his career this means Hollywood will have to find a new fat guy to co-star in every comedy movie.

David Brauer of MinnPost reports that Chip Scoggins will soon become the Minneapolis Star Tribune's newest sports columnist after years of covering the Vikings alongside Judd Zulgad.

• Someone tell Adrian Peterson to get in line.

• I'm still grieving the end of Friday Night Lights, but Connie Britton has already moved on.

Friday Night Lights was able to squeak out five great seasons despite poor ratings, but sadly the similarly underrated and underwatched TNT show Men of a Certain Age isn't so lucky.

• Cleveland starter Justin Masterson shut out the Twins for 7.2 innings Tuesday night despite throwing a fastball on 103 of his 104 pitches.

• If you turned off last night's Twins game early, you missed Wilson Betemit make one of the worst throws in baseball history.

• I've never seen an episode of iCarly and presumably never will, but there's a big The Wire fan on their writing staff who deserves credit for this scene:

For anyone not smart enough to have watched The Wire already, here's the original scene.

• I'm not sure if Ron Gardenhire really loves Japan women's soccer, but we definitely know he pays off his bets.

• Rochester lost 18-3 yesterday and Toby Gardenhire threw a scoreless ninth inning.

• I'm hoping Rihanna has started a new fashion trend for exceptionally good-looking women.

• His bat no longer works like it once did, but Torii Hunter celebrated his 36th birthday earlier this week by announcing that he doesn't have erectile dysfunction.

• Grantland inducted my favorite book of all time, Ball Four, into their sports book Hall of Fame.

• It's been more than a decade and this still makes me sad and furious at the same time.

• As usual, things are going really well for the Canseco brothers. Jose has had a tough week.

Paz de la Huerta gives good interview, particularly for an insane person.

• Tuesday night's Conan had Marc Maron and Susan Tedeschi, which means they were just a Mila Kunis short of creating a show specifically for me.

Wonderful news for Jenna Fischer is slightly less wonderful news for her Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidacy and The Office.

Danny Valencia and Chris Perez had a sleepover.

Michael Rand posted a picture of what his Minneapolis Star Tribune colleague Patrick Reusse looked like in the 1970s and it's way too good not to share:

Mind. Blown.

Howard Stern won't take him back, so Artie Lange is doing a new sports radio show.

• Listening to Jonah Keri's podcast as Jon Weisman brought up my name and said nice things about me pretty much made my week. Us original baseball bloggers have to stick together.

• I actually thought about flying to Philadelphia just to steal all the tea.

• Congratulations to Sam Miller for his new gig at Baseball Prospectus and congratulations to Baseball Prospectus for hiring one of the best baseball writers around.

Ozzie is getting upset.

• One of my favorite writers, Clay Travis, launched a new site called Outkick The Coverage.

• Podcast recommendation: Nick Adams was great as a guest co-host on "Jordan, Jesse, Go!"

• I've extended the AG.com "sponsor of the week" program into September and October, so if you're interested in reserving a spot check out the details and current openings.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Tedeschi and her husband Derek Trucks doing a live cover version of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" by Bob Dylan:

April 23, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• My fellow writing nerds will be glad to note the Associated Press finally changed "Web site" to "website" as the approved usage. I've always written it that way, but then again I'm a rebel.

Kate Beckinsale is really good at working out. Or at least looks really good working out.

Andre Dawson was way better at playing baseball than he is at owning funeral homes.

• Speaking of funerals, I really enjoyed reading this Chicago Sun-Times piece on the White Sox.

• As part of the team's "social media strategy" the Indians have created a quasi-press box at Progressive Field reserved strictly for bloggers. I'd love to see the Twins do something similar and have suggested it to a few people within the organization, but that seems highly unlikely to say the least. My press pass came via NBCSports.com and definitely not this blog.

• Strange as it may sound, my personality likely being classified somewhere between "loner" and "hermit" often keeps me from realizing that real, live people actually read this website, but once in a while that changes and it has happened plenty this month. I met a ton of incredibly nice AG.com readers at the TwinsCentric event and was amazed by how many media members in the press box reacted kindly to being introduced to me. And then I got this in the mail:

There was also a hand-written note attached from a reader named Matt that read: "I saw this record and immediately thought of you." And really, if this blog does nothing else the idea that people who read it might immediately think of me when they stumble across an Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix record is more than enough for me. Actually, in over seven years of blogging readers have sent me two unsolicited gifts.

One is the above Redding/Hendrix album and the other was a copy of British men's magazine Zoo Weekly with about a dozen pages devoted to Keeley Hazell in various states of undress. That obviously qualifies as a gift-giving exacta and if not for the fact that Chinese food doesn't travel all that well through the mail I'm confident you'd nail the trifecta. You guys are like the John Paciorek of blog readers. Thanks.

Haralabos Voulgaris, who in addition to having a great name and being a well-known poker player also made his living betting on basketball and does lots of intriguing statistical analysis, recently made his picks for the NBA's worst defenders and ... well, congrats to Jonny Flynn.

• Compared to some of the reaction in the comments section here following my Delmon Young vs. Jim Thome entry, this comment an NBCSports.com reader left at Hardball Talk was funny: "How come you never say anything negative about the Twins?" That's comments, in a nutshell.

• That comment from Hardball Talk was left on an entry about Ike Davis, who along with being a good first base prospect called up by the Mets this week is former Twins closer Ron Davis' son. He was born in Edina and is a much-needed addition to the member-of-the-tribe lineup.

• Seems like Coachella was a good time for flip-flop wearers:

My favorite part is that he takes a break in the middle to hit on a few girls.

• Congratulations to my favorite announcer for his 60th anniversary calling Dodgers games.

• Last week I noted the great job Phil Mackey and Tom Pelissero are doing reporting on the Twins for the recently revamped ESPN Twins Cities website. Their radio colleague and longtime Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse agrees and used Twitter to offer some sage advice for the two upstarts:

Pelissero and Mackey keep tearing it up  for 1500espn.com, but I'm getting worried about the lads. They are working so hard for the website I don't  think they are leaving enough time to consume proper amount of adult  beverages. When I was young and covering ball, we gave it an effort but also had our priorities--3 hours of drinking per day at minimum.


So, here's old Uncle Pat's advice, boys: Keep the  tradition of sportswriting alive. Work a little less, drink a lot more. I gave that same advice to Strib colleague LaVelle E. Neal years ago, he took it to heart and look what a happy, well-rounded man he's become.

Being teamed up with Mackey on the radio has given me a whole new appreciation for Reusse and sitting behind him in the press box was one of the highlights of the my Target Field opener experience. Seriously.

• This is Week 12 of my latest weight-loss effort and I'm down 64.5 pounds. I've also recently discovered a 260-calorie meal that I really like in the Thai Style Chicken by Lean Cuisine, which includes a little rice, some surprisingly high-quality chicken, and a few vegetables mixed with a tasty sauce. For just 260 calories, four grams of fat, and three dollars I highly recommend it.

• Speaking of the weight-loss effort, I was never all that into Food Network, but since starting my diet I've been watching it non-stop. I'm not sure whether it somehow decreases cravings or is just a way to punish myself, but at this point the channel dominates my DVR. My favorite show is Chopped, but I've watched and enjoyed nearly every show in the lineup despite having zero ability or inclination to cook anything. Also, I'm getting old.

• In other television news Curb Your Enthusiasm is thankfully coming back for an eighth season on HBO and NBC renewed Parenthood, which I've enjoyed despite some uneven episodes.

• One of the better Willie Mays Hayes impressions you'll ever see:

The announcing is pretty amusing too.

• We may have finally found some people with worse musical taste than me.

• Former Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Jessica Alba provides a reminder that she's still alive.

Ed Price of Fanhouse recently wrote about the Twins' bullpen, but any worthwhile points he made were obscured by personal attacks and every tired anti-sabermetrics cliche in the book.

• Next time you halfheartedly try to identify the letters on an eye chart, think of this.

• My favorite Bert Blyleven quote this week: "Kevin Slowey is just a hugger. Guys hug all the time, it's OK."

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

- Joe Maddon says ump Joe West is 'inappropriate'
- Aaron Harang thinks his struggles are 'bad luck'
- Chad Billingsley and the Dodgers are searching for answers
- Angels sticking with Brandon Wood ... for now
- GM says 'nothing physically the matter' with Madison Bumgarner
- Miguel Cabrera in some elite company at age 27

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Corinne Bailey Rae singing "Closer" live:

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