February 8, 2013

Link-O-Rama

• ZiPS projections for the Twins are now available and in addition to being really ugly they have a bad personality too.

Zach Lowe, formerly of SI.com and now of Grantland, is my favorite NBA writer, and he chatted with Will Leitch about nontraditional paths to sportswriting and blending statistical analysis with old-school reporting. Just really good stuff from two really good writers.

• Typos can be fun sometimes.

• A glimpse at my mom being a parents-versus-technology stereotype.

Mark Willis has been designing soccer-style MLB jerseys and posted his AL Central creations, including a surprisingly understated Twins version that would no doubt sell amazingly well.

• "Delmon Young striking out looking" by Jeff Sullivan of Fan Graphs is a must-read.

Torii Hunter Jr. signed to play football at Notre Dame.

Todd Helton, who's earned more than $150 million playing baseball, got a DUI while going to buy lottery tickets at a gas station in the middle of the night. Helluva mug shot, too.

• Netflix released the first season of "House of Cards" and it took me just 48 hours to watch all 13 episodes. And that was me actually trying to pace myself. Kevin Spacey is incredible in the lead role, everything about the show is HBO-caliber from the characters and storylines to the acting and look, and I'm completely smitten with Kate Mara. I've already pitched hiring Zoe Barnes for HardballTalk to my bosses at NBC. If nothing else she's familiar with social media.

• Mara has single-handedly put Mila Kunis' status as Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com in jeopardy after nearly three years with the title. When told, this was her reaction. Or maybe this.

• According to Variety, approximately 25 percent of Netflix users who watched the first episode of "House of Cards" finished all 13 episodes within five days. My people!

• And now we're all going through the six stages of grief together. I'm currently stuck on Stage 5.

• Netflix announced that the first episode of "House of Cards" is available to everyone through the end of February, even if they don't subscribe, so I highly recommend checking it out.

• On this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode John Bonnes tried his best to stop me from talking about "House of Cards" for 90 consecutive minutes and we also took a team-by-team look at the AL Central and discussed Dave St. Peter's dimples.

• This week's "The Ultimate Fighter" episode had an incredible knockout and the quick reversal in everyone's reaction made for compelling drama too:

Nothing mixes humanity and fighting like a heartfelt "I'm sorry" to an unconscious person.

Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone needed couples therapy, basically.

• I would award Jason Whitlock a Pulitzer Prize for unintentional comedy.

• Twins prospect Aaron Hicks makes good use of Twitter.

Jonathan Rauch of The Atlantic wrote an interesting article titled "Caring For Your Introvert" and the opening paragraph might as well have been written specifically about me:

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

He goes on to talk about how introverts are often perceived incorrectly as arrogant or aloof, which is something that's definitely been an issue for me. Good article and hits close to home.

• On a related note, I was on television this week (sort of).

• "Replacement-level player" isn't just an abstract idea, as Dave Cameron of Fan Graphs shows.

Jack Morris, who previously did some part-time radio work for the Twins, was hired by the Blue Jays as their new radio analyst.

• NFL.com has great audio of both teams during the final minutes of the Super Bowl, including Joe Flacco suggesting Ravens on the sideline should run onto the field to stop 49ers kick returner Ted Ginn if he looked headed for a touchdown. My favorite part? Matt Birk hearing that and reacting like you would when a drunk buddy wants to do something crazy: "Why can't you?"

• On a related note, this is a great story about a Ravens player who didn't get much attention for saying something good and a sportswriter who thanked him for it.

• For one day at least I actually liked Curt Schilling.

Jacob Wheatley-Schaller of Vegas Watch is my favorite gambling-related follow on Twitter and this e-mail is an example of why. Being a degenerate is amazing sometimes.

• If you're into human trafficking the Super Bowl is great.

Adrian Peterson's legend continues to grow.

• Listening to Chelsea Peretti's latest podcast reminded me that I wore Michael Jordan cologne throughout junior high, but don't let that stop you from listening to it.

• My favorite part of this slow-motion video of Kobe Bryant dunking on the Nets is spotting John Legend and Chrissy Teigen freaking out in the background:

And of course Teigen tweeted about it afterward.

• "SimCity" and "The Sims" are basically the only non-sports computer/video games I've ever played, so I enjoyed "A History of All Things Sim" by Rob Lammle of Mental Floss.

• While this article was intended to show how amazing Kevin Durant is at basketball it also did a nice job showing how great Kirk Goldsberry is at writing about basketball.

Anna McDonald of ESPN.com has an in-depth look at how the Cardinals and general manager John Mozeliak use sabermetrics. As co-creator of The Hardball Times this made me happy:

For now, Mozeliak's desk offers a clue to one way the Cardinals have maintained a competitive edge since he became general manager in October 2007. There are a few black binders scattered about on his desk. There is also a copy of "The Hardball Times 2013 Annual" on top of a pile of papers. When I ask if it is all right if I mention that he reads these sabermetric books, Mozeliak smiles and with the tone of confidence only a GM with one World Series championship under his belt (and plans for more rings in the future) can have, says, "Sure."

Makes for an "interesting" comparison to the Twins, huh?

• FX's website has the first three episodes of Jim Jefferies' new show "Legit" available for free. It's not as good as Jefferies' stand-up comedy (yet), but it's also not bad.

Scott Aukerman hosting Gillian Jacobs and "Garry Marshall" is a prime example of why "Comedy Bang Bang" is such a great podcast.

Mel Brooks is 86 years old and still the best.

Spencer Hall of SB Nation wrote some really good stuff about Randy Moss' career.

• The greatest website of all time, Baseball-Reference.com, turned 13 years old this week. I want to live in a world where creator Sean Forman is more famous than Kim Kardashian. But also a world where Kardashian runs a baseball stats website.

Tom Scharpling and Jesse Thorn joining Julie Klausner for her 100th episode of "How Was Your Week?" is like when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade in Miami.

• As a big mixed martial arts fan I'm happy to see NBC get into the MMA game.

• Minnesotan and AG.com reader Michael McGivern could use your help getting into the MLB Fan Cave after being chosen as one of the 50 finalists.

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

- "Maura Tierney glasses"
- "Aaron Gleeman age"
- "Billy Bragg baseball"
- "Linda Cardellini podcast"
- "Top prospect Samuel Deduno's future role"
- "J.J. Hardy naked"
- "Maria Bello looks like Kate Beckinsale"
- "From out of shape and overweight to badass"
- "Anna Chlumsky feet"
- "Yuengling in Minneapolis"
- "Lean Cuisine spring rolls anxiety"

• Finally, because it's sad to think some people like The Black Crowes' cover and haven't heard the original this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Hard To Handle" by Otis Redding:


This week's blog content is sponsored by Rotoworld's annual "Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide," which is available in both magazine and online versions. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

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":

May 6, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis has a fool-proof plan to meet Barack Obama that should delight the president's body man, former Duke basketball player Reggie Love.

• He'll obviously land on his feet and maybe even get a more prominent overall gig elsewhere, but CBS letting Gus Johnson go after 16 years because of a monetary disagreement is terrible news for everyone who loved him calling NCAA tournament games. There's never been a more perfect match between announcer and event, so hopefully both sides reconsider.

Randy Moss' daughter, Sydney Moss, is a 5-foot-11 high school basketball star in Kentucky and recently committed to the University of Florida after averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds per game as a junior.

• Lindsay Lohan's version of community service seems fun.

Dick Kaegel of MLB.com describes how the Royals have all but ditched in-person "advanced scouting" in favor of video analysis. As manager Ned Yost put it: "You don't need an advance scout anymore. You've got everything at your fingertips. Everything I need or we need to see is on the video."

Kris Humphries has his hands full with Kim Kardashian, literally and figuratively.

Trey Kirby interviewing Amar'e Stoudemire's personal stylist is spectacular enough, but the photo of Stoudemire sitting next to Anna Wintour really takes things to the next level.

Ozzie Guillen was suspended two games for tweeting, which merely adds to his legend.

• At around 2:00 am Wednesday night the few hundred fans left at Fenway Park for the Red Sox's marathon game with the Angels serenaded Kevin Youkilis with a personalized version of "Just A Friend" by Biz Markie:

My childhood smiled.

• Judging by his scores John Smoltz is closer to coming out of retirement to pitch again than he is to making the PGA tour.

• My favorite part about 26-year-old Scarlett Johansson continuing to date 50-year-old Sean Penn is this report that "she's at his house most nights and has been accepted by his teenage sons." Not mentioned is their confusion about winning the lottery without buying a ticket.

• Journalism tops The Daily Beast's list of the "most useless degrees." Even more useless than a journalism degree? Spending four years in college without getting a journalism degree.

• According to the latest Audit Bureau of Circulations report the Minneapolis Star Tribune owns the 17th-largest daily newspaper circulation in the country at 296,605.

• I watched every episode of America's Next Great Restaurant on NBC, but a combination of diet and laziness precludes me from going to the Mall of America to give Soul Daddy a try. I'm fairly certain most people don't want their soul food healthy, so what are the odds it'll still be open by the time my diet inevitably fails?

• Sad story, but this never would have happened if she was actually 50 feet tall.

• My old cantor got arrested for a DWI going to my old high school when his wife "called police to report that he'd be showing up at the school and that he was driving under the influence" at 5:45 pm. I could write another 500 sentences about that one sentence, but I won't.

• On a related note, Derek Lowe's life is like The Fast And The Furious films, except sweatier, drunker, and with a higher ground-ball percentage.

• If you enjoyed 500 Days of Summer and watch Community you'll love 500 Days of Britta:

I'm definitely in favor of Zooey Deschanel and Gillian Jacobs teaming up for the sequel.

• One of the best side effects of NBC Universal combining with Comcast is the Versus channel's website and excellent MMA writer Ariel Helwani folding into NBCSports.com.

• From the shoplifting arrest and plea agreement to his side of the story, nothing about Mike Leake's situation makes sense to me.

• I'm not really sure what took me so long aside from being the world's oldest 28-year-old, but I finally tried Skype this week and was basically amazed by the entire thing. I lost my Skype virginity taping an episode of HBT Daily with Craig Calcaterra in which we discussed Francisco Liriano's no-hitter. He was gentle and wearing the headset made me feel sexy.

• My second Skype experience was even better, as I recorded a late-night podcast with Marc Normandin and Matt Kory from Red Sox Beacon in which we talked about the Twins-Red Sox series and re-wrote the script to the upcoming Moneyball movie. As someone who listens to no fewer than 25 podcasts per week it was a lot of fun to appear on a podcast that can actually be found on iTunes and we chatted for about 45 minutes, so please give it a listen.

• If you're more into radio than podcasts, you can listen to my appearance on Minnesota Public Radio talking Twins with Cathy Wurzer.

• Marrying a former Miss Michigan isn't as great as it sounds, as Charlie Bell has learned.

Sammy Sosa likes to laugh at NBA playoff games.

• Congratulations to friend of AG.com Chris Jaffe, who won the Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award for his incredibly detailed book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers, from which the Tom Kelly section was excerpted here last year.

• Due to the strong response to my note about wanting to partner with AG.com readers who have interesting and worthwhile stuff to advertise I'm going to start a "Sponsor of the Week" program soon that will keep the site's overall advertising to a minimum while highlighting one advertiser per week for supporting the blog. I've begun reserving weeks, so to promote your thing to the thousands of people who visit this space every day drop me an e-mail for details.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the original version of "Just A Friend":