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:

March 18, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• Being a millionaire doesn't mean what it used to, or so all the millionaires say.

Summer Anne Burton is drawing all 295 baseball Hall of Famers and her work is pretty cool.

Jeff Van Gundy is my favorite NBA announcer, but this is still pretty scary.

• Congratulations to my main man Darren Wolfson for becoming a father Saturday. I predict they'll have a father-and-son television or radio show before the kid is out of kindergarten.

• Call me crazy, but I vote for Padma Lakshmi doing more "Top Chef" episodes in a bikini.

Bryce Harper's minor-league at-bats will have a sponsor.

• After five years as the Twins beat writer for MLB.com Kelly Thesier has left the job for a new gig as a communications manager with the LPGA. I was (too) tough on Thesier when she first started at MLB.com, but her improvement over the years was remarkable and she always took my criticisms in stride, or at least managed to act very friendly the few times we met in person. Best of luck to Kelly in the golf world and thanks for five years of Twins coverage.

Thesier's replacement is Rhett Bollinger, who's been helping to cover the Angels and Dodgers for MLB.com since graduating from USC in 2008. I don't know much about him beyond that, but I definitely recognize his name from various MLB.com bylines over the years. Actually, that isn't entirely true. I can also confirm that Bollinger has exceptional taste in bloggers and/or is smart enough to suck up to the jerk who was often critical of the person he's replacing.

Either way, welcome! You can follow Bollinger on Twitter.

• I'm sad to note that Nate Dogg passed away at age 41. His mid-90s peak coincided perfectly with my getting into music and after my dad got me a CD player boombox for my 11th birthday "Regulate ... G Funk Era" was one of my first purchases. Seventeen years later I still have all the words to "Regulate" memorized and marvel at Nate Dogg's ability to turn the phrase "and it's going real swell" into a viable rap lyric. Hopefully his next stop is the East Side Motel.

Terry Ryan and Bill Smith may provide some insight into why only three current MLB general managers are former MLB players.

• For years Jon Krawczynski has been the most underrated sports writer in Minnesota while covering the Twins, Timberwolves, Vikings, and seemingly every other local team in the relative obscurity that comes with being part of the Associated Press content machine. Now he's finally getting some attention, but unfortunately it's because NBA referee Bill Spooner filed a lawsuit against Krawczynski for this January 24 post on Twitter:

No one will ever confuse me for a lawyer, but I can't imagine how someone could win a lawsuit over that. How does Spooner prove he didn't say that, let alone prove damages and whatever else is required to win the case? Beyond that, by suing Spooner has ensured that thousands and thousands of people read Krawczynski's original tweet, which was initially seen by at most his 2,000 followers and was only re-tweeted a dozen times before the lawsuit news broke.

• Speaking of the Associated Press, they'll now be asking Krawczynski and other MLB writers to pen "hometown" versions of game recaps in addition to standard stories so local newspapers not staffing games with their own writers can better use the content. That helps newsrooms that have suffered through big staff cuts, but it'll also lead to even more cookie-cutters recaps. Or as AP sports editor Terry Taylor said: "They were more concerned with just getting it fast."

• Everything you ever wanted to know and more about Adrian Beltre and head rubbing.

• My latest podcast discovery is "The Best Show On WFMU" hosted by Tom Scharpling, who is somehow consistently entertaining and funny while doing a three-hour show with zero breaks. He rants about various topics, takes calls from an odd and amusing cast of regulars, breaks in and out of an ultra-sarcastic persona, often has big-name guests from the comedy and music worlds, and sprinkles in fake guests played brilliantly by Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster.

"The Best Show" is truly unlike anything I've ever listened to before and I'd probably classify it as an acquired taste because of the quirkiness and many inside joke-like aspects, but I've very quickly burned through two years of the decade-long archive and am convinced Scharpling is a genius. Along with hosting my new favorite podcast, he was a "Monk" writer/producer, wrote NBA articles for Slam magazine, and is doing a new television series with Paul F. Tompkins.

• In a rare trip to the movie theater I saw "The Adjustment Bureau" last week. I'm a sucker for that type of science fiction plot and the overall conceit of the movie was very intriguing, but the actual execution was disappointing, especially in the final half-hour or so. Despite some solid performances from Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, and especially Anthony Mackie it left me feeling like Philip K. Dick's story had been wasted. Grade: C-plus.

• This guy must really hate Fan Graphs.

Jim Nantz may be CBS' lead announcer, but for me there's no question that Gus Johnson is the true voice of the NCAA tournament and Greg Bishop of the New York Times penned a very good profile of the undisputed king of exciting calls.

• Also in the New York Times this week, Grant Hill wrote an excellent response to Jalen Rose regarding the portrayal of Duke players in ESPN's new Rose-produced "Fab Five" documentary. Hill's entire piece is really good, but the last line is spectacular.

• I'll be rooting for Tim Collins this season, at least whenever he's not facing the Twins.

• I don't watch many network television shows at this point, but four of the spots on my DVR are filled with Thursday night NBC comedies and I'm thrilled that "Community" and "Parks and Recreation" have both been renewed for next season along with "30 Rock" and "The Office."

Tim Lincecum spent the offseason trying to put on weight and revealed his methods, which led to a whole bunch of baseball scribes writing articles about how he often got three double-doubles, two orders of fries, and a half-chocolate/half-strawberry shake from In-N-Out. I guess that's a lot of food for someone listed at 165 pounds to put down, but as a longtime fatboy it hardly seems worthy of such shocked coverage. On a related note, I've started another diet.

• I'm writing some lengthy season preview articles over at Hardball Talk, including this one on the AL Central's worst team and this one on J.J. Hardy's new team. Check 'em out, please.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Regulate" by Nate Dogg and Warren G:

http://www.minnpost.com/braublog/2011/03/14/26601/nba_ref_sues_ap_sports_reporter_over_twitter_tweet