• "Cornbread-coated pulled pork mac and cheese wedges" is essentially my dream food.
• Randy Mossis a prime example of why you can't trust old white dudes who write sports columns for newspapers to form your view of a person.
• Zach Lowe of Grantland examined the rapid decline of the post-up big man in the NBA, which is relevant to the Wolves choosing Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns.
• Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal put together in-depth, stat-driven scouting reports on all of the top prospects in the draft, including Okafor and Towns.
• And last but not least, here are some nice highlight videos of Okafor and Towns in college:
I'm worried that the Wolves picking a traditional back-to-the-basket big man who can't stretch the floor or protect the rim is a mistake in 2015, which is why I'm hoping they'll choose Towns despite every indication being that Flip Saunders prefers Okafor.
• If you like interviewers interviewing interviewers Marc Maron's chat withTerry Gross was fun.
• Friend of AG.com Liz Wellesubbed forClarence Swamptown on "The Sportive" podcast much like Tom Brady filled in for Drew Bledsoe as the Patriots' quarterback.
• I'm a loyal Bitesquad user, but Postmates is a new service delivering food and basically anything else around the Twin Cities. Delivery fees are waived until the end of the month and if you sign up using the promo code "wtrq" you can also get a free $10 credit.
• Some of this week's weird and random search engine queries that brought people here:
- "Is Meatsauce Paul Lambert a bit?"
- "Wilson Ramos trade good or bad?"
- "Dick Bremer salary"
- "Best beard on the Minnesota Twins"
- "Livan Hernandez hit someone with a golf club"
- "Danny Valencia character issues"
- "Glen Perkins looks rough"
- "How to pick the best kid to play shortstop"
• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "Somebody" by Natalie La Rose:
• 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 withWill Leitch about nontraditional paths to sportswriting and blending statistical analysis with old-school reporting. Just really good stuff from two really good writers.
• 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 withKate 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!
• 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" episodeJohn 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.
• 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.
• 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 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.
• 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 Formanis more famous than Kim Kardashian. But also a world where Kardashian runs a baseball stats website.
• Tom Scharpling and Jesse Thorn joining Julie Klausnerfor her 100th episode of "How Was Your Week?" is like when LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined Dwayne Wade in Miami.
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. Burnettbeing 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.
• 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.
• 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 Adelmanbandwagon, which guarantees David Kahn won't hire him.
• 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 onThe Sound of Young America.
• Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunishas 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.
• 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."
• 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 Youkiliswith 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.
• 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?
• 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 likeThe Fast And The Furious films, except sweatier, drunker, and with a higher ground-ball percentage.
• If you enjoyed 500 Days of Summer and watch Communityyou'll love500 Days of Britta:
I'm definitely in favor of Zooey Deschanel and Gillian Jacobs teaming up for the sequel.
• 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 Bellhas learned.
• 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.
Get the 22nd edition of the New York Times bestselling Baseball Prospectus Annual. Edited by Aaron Gleeman, it features a foreword from Twins pitcher Glen Perkins, a Twins team chapter written by Gleeman and Parker Hageman, and 600 pages of analysis, projections, essays, rankings, and in-depth coverage of all 30 teams.