August 7, 2013

2013 SABR Convention Recap

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Last year's Society for American Baseball Research convention was in Minnesota, but while a home game for my annual baseball-and-booze fest might sound appealing it fell a little bit short of my past convention experiences. I go to SABR conventions as an excuse to see my longtime friends from Baseball Primer (now Baseball Think Factory) and my slightly-less-longtime friends from previous conventions, but I also go to see new ballparks and close down bars in different cities.

Last week's trip to Philadelphia for this year's convention hit all the right notes and solidified why I've now attended 10 consecutive conventions since nervously going for the first time in Cincinnati as a 21-year-old in 2004. Within minutes of checking into the downtown Marriott on Wednesday afternoon I was in the hotel bar sitting next to two friends--Joe Dimino and Matt Rauseo--whom I met in Cincinnati after "meeting" on Baseball Primer years earlier.

And within seconds we picked up where we always leave off, drinking too much, talking baseball too loudly, and goofing on each other ... well, it's probably the right amount. I imagine it's like a high school reunion, except with people you actually look forward to seeing. Over the course of a decade many of us have spent 40 days of our lives together basically acting like idiots. It's my favorite week of the year.

i love spreadsheets

(Dial models the perfect wardrobe for a SABR convention.)

We were soon joined by BTF regulars Chris Dial, Anthony Giacalone, and Mike Webber, each of whom I met at the 2004 convention and each of whom rank among my favorite people. After multiple beers we added a few more to the group, including former Hardball Times writer Larry Mahnken, Baseball-Reference.com god Sean Forman, Penn Relays director Dave Johnson, and Minnesota blogger turned Philadelphian Stephen Silver, whom I met locally way back in 2003.

For dinner we decided on The Farmer's Cabinet, a hipster-y, saloon-style restaurant/bar heavy on craft beer, locally sourced food, and waiters with ironic mustaches. We devoured a bunch of good meat and wine before heading to Moriarty's Pub, where (I learned later) my "Gleeman and The Geek" co-host John Bonnes and his Philadelphian wife once hosted their groom's dinner. Much like I imagine the Bonnes crew did that day, we tried to drink the place out of Guinness.

Moriarty's Pub has a narrow, long setup and our group was cramped around the bar, mostly standing. An attractive 20-something woman who appeared to be on a date got up from one of the two seats we weren't occupying, turned to me, and said forcefully: "No, you can't have that seat. I'm just going to take a piss." I replied something along the lines of "oh, okay, no problem" to which she responded with an arm punch: "Don't lie, I saw you eying it!"

phillies game new seats1

(My view at the Phillies-Braves game Friday night.)

She was right, of course, and that early interaction was representative of my experience with Philadelphians in general during the five-day trip. Aggressive, sometimes hostile, and almost always ultimately friendly and fun. With the added bonus of a very weird, distinct accent that made both men and women sound like mechanics who'd just climbed out from under a car with oil stains on their jumpsuit. It's city full of Jon Wurster doing his Philly Boy Roy character.

We left Moriarty's at 2:00 a.m. and stumbled back to the Marriott as Dimino made sure everyone within a five-block radius knew he'd be interested in consuming a cheesesteak. Once we got inside the hotel we found a small group of SABR members doing baseball trivia in the lobby, which extended the evening by an hour and led to the trivia organizer repeatedly suggesting to Dimino that he should "maybe think before you speak" as the answer attempts got sillier and sillier.

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(Shot from one of the longest and quickest-moving lines I've ever been in.)

I woke up bright and early the next afternoon, just in time for lunch with Forman, Dimino, Webber, Rauseo, and Fan Graphs writer David Temple at Reading Terminal Market, which is a cross between a farmer's market and the world's greatest food court. I ended up eating lunch there three days in a row, including back-to-back trips to the jam-packed DiNic's for the roast pork sandwich that was named the best sandwich in the country by the Travel Channel.

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(The crowd for Thursday afternoon's Phillies player panel.)

While eating we brainstormed how to fix the usually boring Home Run Derby by adding a contest for inside-the-park homers starring speedsters like Ben Revere and Billy Hamilton, which is the sort of topic that lasts 30 seconds in most groups and 30 minutes at a SABR convention. Back at the hotel I went to a Phillies player panel featuring Brad Lidge, Gary Matthews, and Dickie Noles, which Lidge stole with funny, interesting stories while Matthews wore a cool hat.

sabr player panelgroup

(From left to right: Lidge, Matthews, Matthews' hat, Noles.)

Liz Roscher of The Good Phight hosted a meet-up at The Fieldhouse, where the crowd included Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus, Bill Parker and Mike Bates of SB Nation, and a bunch of Phillies fans who didn't believe me when I tried to pass myself off as Bill Baer from Crashburn Alley (and HardballTalk). After lots of Yuengling about 10 of us headed to a hole-in-the-wall called Giwa for Korean barbecue, which was so good that I'm now in search of Minnesota equivalents.

drinking and giwa

(Staying hydrated with BYOB while waiting for the food at Giwa.)

Stuffed with rice and meat, we waddled to McGillin's Olde Ale House, which is the oldest Irish bar in Philadelphia and was a great spot until open-mic night started and a guy with an acoustic guitar took the stage. That was our signal to exit and we went back to The Fieldhouse ... where the original group was now doing karaoke. You haven't lived until you've heard Bates sing "I Touch Myself" and then once you do hear it you're no longer into living.

bates karaokestar

(Bates singing "I Touch Myself" while in a Denard Span shirsey.)

I switched from beer to Jack and Coke, which became my primary drink of the convention in part because the caffeine kept me up all night without the benefit of my usual late-afternoon nap. And also because, you know, whiskey. Having downed a sufficient number of those I exited the karaoke fest and staggered back to the hotel lobby, where I found living legend Carson Cistulli and Temple in the middle of recording an episode of Fan Graphs Audio and decided to crash it.

cistulli and temple

(Cistulli and Temple engaging in what is commonly referred to as Podcast Gold.)

From there I went back to The Fieldhouse for a third time, drank them out of Jack Daniels (they ran out, seriously), and closed the place down while joined by the usual crew plus two "Gleeman and The Geek" listeners who happened to be in Philadelphia. And then a handful of us retreated to Dial's room until 4:00 a.m. or so for more drinking and some very loud arguing about Dave Kingman, collusion, 500 homers, and the Hall of Fame. You know, standard stuff.

sabr room drinking1

(Our bar once the actual bar kicked us out.)

I emerged from my coma at noon the next day and hit up DiNic's again for another sandwich with Rauseo, Giacalone, Dimino, and Dimino's buddy Clayton. After lunch we went to a Mitchell and Ness store with an incredible selection of vintage jerseys and a sound system pumping old-school hip hop. It was basically my favorite place on earth. With the afternoon killed, we took the subway to Citizen's Bank Park to see the Phillies-Braves game as part of SABR's group outing.

sabr subway

(How many SABR members does it take to ride the subway to a baseball game?)

SABR's section was 418 and my seat was in literally the third-to-last row in the entire ballpark, so before the first pitch was thrown some of us walked around the ballpark and ended up watching the entire game from the 100 level standing in the open concourse behind Delmon Young in right field. Young went 3-for-4 with a homer that landed about 15 feet away from me and we also saw Curt Schilling inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame.

phillies ballpark2

(The seats I was supposed to sit in for the Phillies-Braves game.)

Big names like Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, and Dick Allen were in attendance, John Kruk introduced Schilling for what was a shockingly brief speech, and Darren Daulton got a standing ovation from the crowd one week after being diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 51. Oh, and one random guy noticed my "Thome Is My Homey" shirt and introduced himself by simply saying: "F-ing Thome, right?!" Right.

phillies game sabr1

(My actual "seat" between a White Sox fan and the world's smallest human.)

Riding the subway back I sat next to a guy singing "It's Getting Hot In Here" at the top of his lungs and then my group of idiots got lost underground in what seemed like the opening scene of a "Judgment Night" sequel. After trying a few locked doors, I gave up and said: "Guys, we can make a life here." Once we escaped the group expanded to include Cistulli, Temple, and other luminaries, who closed down the hotel bar after a staffer told us he needed to vacuum the place.

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(Temple giving my camera a dirty look in the otherwise emptied-out hotel bar.)

Not satisfied Dial, Dimino, Rauseo, Temple, Johnson, and longtime SABR buddy Mike McCullough took the festivities to my room, where hotel security knocked on the door at 3:00. We scrambled to hide like cockroaches while one of us answered the door with a promise to keep quiet and then essentially resumed screaming about flipping the lineup with relief pitchers and the value of Tiger Woods' life compared to my life until 4:30 a.m. Amazingly, security never returned.

sabr room drinking2

(Our bar once the actual bar kicked us out, the sequel.)

Up again at the crack of noon, I decided that making a longer, less-drunken appearance on Fan Graphs Audio might be fun and put out the Twitter bat-signal for Cistulli:

cistulli bat-signal

That's how things work in the high-stakes world of podcasting. We recorded an 84-minute episode that contained approximately 84 seconds of baseball talk, leaving a solid 82 minutes for our now-standard topics of comedy, mortality, religion, and the flaws of family members. Cistulli is one of my favorite people, online and in person, and as a devoted listener of his podcast it's always a lot of fun to be a guest. If you like me even a little bit, you should definitely listen.

pointathipster

("Witness, would you please point to the man who allowed Gleeman on his podcast twice?")

For our final night in Philadelphia a group of 10 walked to China Town for dinner at Sang Kee Peking Duck House, where the authentic Chinese food was balanced nicely by a big-screen television showing a replay of Wrestlemania. Back at the hotel our evening was made infinitely more entertaining by being joined in the lobby bar by a wedding party featuring a great-looking bride and a dozen great-looking bridesmaids.

btf chapter meeting1

(Baseball Think Factory's annual midnight chapter meeting.)

It was like watching one of those wild-life shows, except in this case the predators had absolutely no ability to catch their preferred prey. At one point a few of us spotted a guy from the wedding party schlubby enough to potentially pass for a SABR member talking up perhaps the least-attractive woman in the room. After their conversation she proceeded to follow him around while we offered running color commentary like a baseball broadcast. This went on for an hour.

socks and me tweeting2

(Just a picture of me sitting on the floor of a hotel room, tweeting alongside Dial's socks.)

Unlike the previous night, when we got kicked out at 2:00 a.m. in favor of vacuuming, the combination of a SABR convention final night and a raucous wedding party ensured no hotel employees would be encouraging us to leave. When the bar had to stop serving at 1:30 a.m. our waitress came up with a good plan involving multiple buckets of beer on ice, which fueled our silliness for quite a while longer (and led to a gorgeous $301 bar bill).

sabr bar bill1

(This is what a smart waitress thinking on her feet looks like.)

With a 9:00 a.m. train ride to the airport looming I called it quits around 3:00 a.m., officially putting an end to my 10th consecutive SABR convention. Nothing has really changed since that first convention in 2004. I still hang around with most of the same knuckleheads, plus some newer knuckleheads we've added to the group over the years, although there's a little stronger sense of "aren't we a little too old to be doing this?" permeating everything these days. But damn is it fun.

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Next year's convention is in Houston and there's no way I'd miss it.

For more on my SABR convention experience, including what my voice sounded like after arriving home Sunday, check out this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode.


This week's blog content is sponsored by the Twins Daily light rail pub crawl/Twins game, where you can join Aaron Gleeman, John Bonnes, Parker Hageman, Nick Nelson, and Seth Stohs for a day of bar-hopping and baseball on September 14. Space is limited, so book your spot.

July 3, 2012

2012 SABR Convention Recap

As a Minnesotan news that the annual Society for American Baseball Research convention was coming to Minneapolis this year initially made me sad after attending eight consecutive SABR get-togethers in Cincinnati, Toronto, Seattle, St. Louis, Cleveland, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, and Long Beach. For me a big part of the fun has always been traveling to another city, seeing games at an unfamiliar MLB ballpark, and generally just feeling like I'm on an actual vacation.

(Our remake of Reservoir Dogs, from left to right: Jaffe, Dimino, Milazzo, Moore, Gleeman.)

At times it did feel weird to have it in my backyard, but as someone who lives in the suburbs and tends to stay home most nights going out eating, drinking, and shit-shooting with a bunch of non-Minnesotans in downtown Minneapolis for four days was an incredibly good time. Toss in a few local friends joining the fun, perfect weather, and the chance to see everyone fawn over Target Field and the convention experience proved to be every bit as great as usual.

(My seat at Target Field on Wednesday afternoon.)

Wednesday afternoon I headed to the Marriott, met up with my convention roommate and longtime SABR friend Joe Dimino, and walked to Target Field to watch the Twins-White Sox game with John Bonnes and Christine Bonnes. Three of my favorite people and first-row seats down the right field line made up for an ugly Twins loss and after baking in 90-degree sun for six innings we retreated to the in-park Town Ball Tavern for beer and air-conditioning.

(Intro to the hotel bar, from left to right: Temple, Leja, Webber, McCullough, Gleeman, Traven.)

That night I went to dinner at Hell's Kitchen with old convention friends Dimino, Mike Webber, Anthony Giacalone, Anthony Milazzo, and Mike McCullough, plus Fan Graphs and CBS Sports writer Jack Moore, Baseball Prospectus writers Bill Parker and Michael Bates, former AG.com sponsor of the week David Temple from TCPC Services, and Hardball Dynasty leaguemate Kevin Leja. Great food, better company, and I was smitten with our tattooed waitress Alexia.

(Webber and McCullough enjoy some local Grain Belt Premium at Hell's Kitchen.)

Back at the hotel with, among others, Mike Emeigh of Baseball Think Factory, Liz Roscher of The Good Phight, Cee Angi of Baseball Prospectus, and Wendy Thurm of Fan Graphs we had an intense debate about which MLB player put on the most weight during his career--Tony Gwynn was the consensus choice--and then closed down the bar. Predictably but stupidly I overslept the next morning and missed Twins president Dave St. Peter's opening remarks.

(Left to right at the hotel bar: Dimino, Emeigh, Temple, Roscher, Webber, Thurm, Parker.)

Instead the first thing I saw after groggily stumbling downstairs was a bunch of guys arguing about Lou Gehrig's career RBI total, followed by longtime friend and Hardball Times writer Steve Treder's excellent presentation about how 19-year journeyman Ducky Schofield was basically the Forrest Gump of baseball history. From there I went to The Local for fish and chips and big gingers with Giacalone, McCullough, Moore, Webber, and Kyle Eliason.

(Left to right at Brit's Pub: Moore, Gleeman, McCullough, Bonnes, Milazzo.)

After lunch I saw Paul Hensley's presentation about the Twins' almost-dynasty of 1965-1970, which is a topic that interests me following my "Top 40 Minnesota Twins" write-ups of players on those teams. Parker, Bates, and Angi hosted a Platoon Advantage happy hour get-together at Kieran's. Bonnes hung out, as did AG.com reader and local horror writer Axel Kohagen, and I had a great chat about the online baseball writing world with Angi, Moore, and Roscher.

(Switching to bourbon neat after three hours of Jameson seemed like a good plan.)

Once happy hour was over a big group of us went to Ike's Food and Cocktails for dinner followed by drinks outside on the patio at Brit's Pub, which was just about perfect way to end a fun official first day. We closed Brit's down, of course, and I successfully got Moore hooked on big gingers before I eventually ceased with the Jameson and tried to make Angi and my HardballTalk blogmate Craig Calcaterra proud by switching to neat bourbon.

(Ryan speaks to the people smart enough to set an alarm clock Friday morning.)

And then because I don't learn from mistakes I overslept again the next morning, missing Twins general manager Terry Ryan's one-man "panel" appearance. Once awake I ran into old friend Darren Wolfson of 1500-ESPN and KSTP-TV, who was shooting a piece on SABR for that evening's news. Giacalone gave a really good presentation about MLB's expansion in 1969 and I also saw Robert Garratt's presentation about Alvin Dark's controversial career.

(My famous "Jay Leno concentrating while sitting between Bates and Parker" impression.)

Lunch and margaritas at Masa followed with a group of 17 that got broken into three tables, with mine consisting of Giacalone, Dimino, McCullough, Eliason, and Hardball Times writer (and fellow SABR convention recapper) Chris Jaffe. It was outstanding Mexican food for not a ton of money. That night was SABR's group outing to Target Field for the Twins-Royals game, with a stop at Kieran's first for some more Jameson.

(Left to right at Masa: Jaffe, Dimino, Gleeman, Eliason, McCullough.)

I paid $40 for a Skyview ticket to the Twins-Royals game and then ended up not even finding my seat, instead standing around the open concourse chatting with SABR executive director Marc Appleman, Baseball-Reference.com creator Sean Forman, SABR web editor Jacob Pomrenke, and AG.com reader Hans Van Slooten. Once back at the hotel bar we learned that the Royals were also staying at the Marriott, which proved amusing (to me, at least).

(Left to right at Target Field before Friday night's game: Gleeman, Jaffe, Forman.)

I shared an elevator with former Twins reliever Jose Mijares and his incredibly good-looking girlfriend, although I was too worried about the flash or picture-snapping sound effect on my new phone going off to take a photo. I did, however, take a creepy photo of Salvador Perez after he silently sat alone on the same bar stool for two hours. And after drunkenly talking about going for 2:00 a.m. breakfast at Hell's Kitchen my dieting willpower narrowly saved me.

(Perez sitting alone at the hotel bar, with a cameo from Wyers.)

I woke up just in time for lunch Saturday, going to The Newsroom with a huge group that included most of the aforementioned usual suspects and Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus, whom I'll always remember sitting next to at Angels Stadium for Mike Trout's first big-league hit during last year's convention. After lunch I saw Garratt's presentation about Candlestick Park and Michael Humphreys' presentation about re-examining the value of defense.

(Too many people to name--and me way in the back--at The Newsroom.)

That essentially marked the end of the actual convention, but the fun was just getting started. Instead of going to the second game of the Twins-Royals doubleheader we decided to watch the game outside at Brit's. What started as a group of six having dinner at 6:00 p.m. turned into a group of 25 having drinks until they kicked us out at 2:15 a.m. I got a chance to catch up with former Twins blogger Will Young and Nick Nelson of Twins Daily stopped by briefly.

(Outside at Brit's Pub, listening to Forman and Webber.)

I had a great time talking about a whole bunch of stuff with Webber and Forman, who in addition to running the world's greatest website is also one of the people I look forward to seeing most every year. Eliason and Giacalone attempted to give me a post-weight loss pep talk about hitting on women--including Eliason hilariously suggesting that I visit his tailor--and I racked up a $94 bill despite eating less than $15 in food. In related news, vodka is good.

(Still outside at Brit's, left to right: Treder, Jaffe, McCullough, Eliason, Giacalone, Dimino.)

I had a tremendous drunken just-before-closing conversation about baseball writing, mothers, and phobias with Fan Graphs writer, editor, and podcaster Carson Cistulli, who cemented his status as one of my favorite people. As the bouncer was overseeing the group's exit a person who shall remain nameless asked him: "Can you tell me where to find the women who make bad decisions?" He wasn't sure, so instead we just decided to make our own bad decision.

(Still outside at Brit's and our group has multiplied.)

Apparently after the bars close at 2:00 a.m. the only place open downtown is Pizza Luce, so of course that's where I stumbled with Giacalone, Dimino, Milazzo, Moore, and Eliason. As if that wasn't dumb enough, once there we learned there was a line out the door filled with similarly stupid people and security guards were insisting on a (redeemable) $5 cover charge before frisking everyone on the way in. It was smelly, drunken, crowded, out of my element bedlam.

(Waiting in line for Pizza Luce at 3:00 am, which could have been the last picture of my life.)

We were in line behind three women in skintight white dresses, one of whom dropped her purse on the sidewalk as cash spilled out. Giacalone scooped up the money and handed it back, to which she said: "I'm sure glad you aren't poor." As we walked to the hotel chomping on pizza, a passer-by yelled: "They didn't slice you, huh? They let you get out of there with that Pizza Luce?" Oh, and a guy with two women on his arm asked for directions to Sex World.

(Mary Tyler Moore's nightmare starring Dimino, Milazzo, McCullough, Gleeman, Treder, Moore.)

And that's how my convention actually ended, eating pizza while stumbling back to the hotel at 3:30 a.m. with friends new and old, which I can assure you is a lot more fun than it sounds. I even managed to have the "guy who has lost 185 pounds in 15 months" part of my brain overrule the "guy who drank way too much and used to weigh 355 pounds" part of my brain enough to throw out the second slice after a few blocks, which I'm counting as a victory.

As has been the case since 2004 the SABR convention was my favorite four days of the year and while Minneapolis hosting the festivities changed some of what I love about the vacation it was great to hang out downtown with a mix of local and SABR friends. And the weather, Target Field, and great bars and restaurants made Minnesota a top-notch venue. Next year's convention is in Philadelphia and I'm already looking forward to regretting the cheese steaks.

June 29, 2012

Gone Nerding

I'm at the annual Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) convention--which happens to be in downtown Minneapolis this year--so blogging will be on hold until next week. My apologies for the lack of a Link-O-Rama, but in the meantime check out this St. Paul Pioneer Press article about the Twins' involvement with sabermetrics. And if you're interested in updates on my SABR convention experience, follow me on Twitter.

This week's blog content is sponsored by Curt's Salsa, a locally owned salsa company that believes in fresh ingredients and rooting for the little guy. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

June 15, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• It turns out that Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis apparently doesn't own a mirror.

Pete Campbell has established himself as the Chuck Wepner of Mad Men.

• It got my hopes up, but "Cougars move to reclaim Midwest" was just a misleading headline.

• My weekly appearance on KFAN with Paul Allen included the usual Twins talk but was mostly about my never-ending supply of beautiful female groupies. And for anyone who listens to the appearance, know that I played this in the car while driving home from the studio (alone).

Aubrey Huff was on the bench for Matt Cain's perfect game and then injured his knee tripping over the dugout railing in an attempt to celebrate.

• Sad news about one of the best pitchers in Twins history, as Dave Boswell passed away this week at age 67. Boswell, who debuted with the Twins as a teenager in 1964 and spent seven seasons in Minnesota, ranked 36th on my list of the best players in team history.

• Was last night's season-worst outing against the Phillies the start of Scott Diamond coming crashing back down to earth? I'm glad you asked.

• So far at least Bryce Harper looks like the best 19-year-old hitter in baseball history. He's also the leader in the clubhouse for best quote of the year: "That's a clown question, bro."

• In less than two weeks the annual Society for American Baseball Research convention will be in downtown Minneapolis at the Marriott City Center from June 27-July 1. I've attended every SABR convention since 2004 and obviously won't miss this one. Some parts of the convention require registering, but as my annual convention recaps show I go mostly to talk baseball, hang out, and drink beer. And you certainly don't need to be a SABR member for that.

• This week Tom Scharpling did his 500th episode of The Best Show On WFMU, which gets my vote for the most underrated consistently hilarious thing ever. It'll change your life.

• If you're interested in being an AG.com "sponsor of the week" click here for details.

Minka Kelly seems nice.

• I finally convinced my brain it was safe to empty my closet of clothes I wore at 355 pounds and buy new clothes to wear at 175 pounds. I'm still trying to decide what to do with dozens of XXXL shirts, but for now this is what a fatboy's entire wardrobe looks like piled on a couch:

Donating to charity is a good idea, except my brain remains convinced I'll need it all again.

• People: Still the worst.

• Deadspin gave Jay Mariotti the attention he deserves.

Stephen Strasburg made his 30th career start this week--with a 12-month break for Tommy John surgery included--and his overall numbers are pretty crazy.

• It took long enough, but Mark Wahlberg can finally make something of his life now.

• I wish I could get as excited about anything in life as my mom and aunt were to watch TNT's reboot of Dallas on Wednesday night. And apparently they weren't alone.

Henry Hill, who was portrayed by Ray Liotta in Goodfellas and often called Howard Stern's radio show to promote public appearances while in witness protection, died of natural causes.

• Suffice it to say that mixed martial arts and Anderson Silva are a bigger deal in Brazil.

• Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Lizzy Caplan starring in a new Showtime series called Masters of Sex is probably the greatest idea in the history of television.

In which Nick Blackburn is Jodie Foster and Kyle Kendrick is Matthew McConaughey.

Preach, brother Patrick!

• I realize year-old movie reviews are sort of pointless, but they're also kind of my specialty here and I finally saw 21 Jump Street. It exceeded expectations more than any movie I can remember, with tons of big laughs. And not only that, on the way to the movie theater I saw a car pull over and a woman get out to puke on the sidewalk. One of the highlights of my life.

• I also saw a rare new release in Bernie, which was more weird and interesting than actually good but did feature Jack Black doing a nice job stepping way outside of his comfort zone.

• One of my favorite podcasts, You Had To Be There with Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer, is coming to MTV as a late-night talk show.

• Reminder: Gleeman and The Geek is live on KFAN this Sunday at 4:00, right after the Twins-Brewers game. My co-host John Bonnes is on vacation, so we'll have a couple special guests.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is the longest song in my iTunes library, David Gray's cover version of "Say Hello Wave Goodbye" by Soft Cell:

This week's blog content is sponsored by PickPointz, where you can make predictions, pick games, and win prizes for free. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

May 4, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• What an incredibly sad way for one of the greatest baseball careers of all time to end. Damn.

Jered Weaver's no-hitter against the Twins involved an added degree of difficulty.

• SABR announced that Terry Ryan, Dave St. Peter, Roy Smalley, and Ron Coomer will be among the speakers at this year's convention in Minneapolis, which begins June 27. It'll be my ninth consecutive SABR convention and I'm hoping to see a ton of AG.com readers there.

Kate Upton may not be much to look at, but she's a great dancer.

• It'll be tough to top Tim Welke for worst umpire call of the 2012 season. Or the decade.

• I had a great time talking Twins and blogging/media with Paul Allen on KFAN earlier this week and the full appearance is available online. And as always you can hear Gleeman and The Geek live on KFAN at 4:00 on Sunday.

• My podcast co-host says I look like Richard Lewis and there's never been violence, yet Vikings running back Caleb King nearly killed a man who said he looks like Eddie Murphy.

• This story explains why I don't date or go to the dentist. Better to play it safe.

Shaquille O'Neal has single-handedly made "Shaquille" into an actual name people use.

Happy birthday to Jessica Alba, who was 22 years old when she captured the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com title, 24 years old when she lost it to Elisa Cuthbert, and is now 31.

• On last week's Gleeman and The Geek episode we discussed dipping Francisco Liriano in chocolate and inviting Delmon Young to a Hanukkah party. And also some baseball.

• As someone who once had a conversation with his grandmother about the origins of Kim Kardashian's fame this video of three grandmothers reacting to her sex tape is amazing:

Ray J has to feel pretty good about their review of his performance too.

• Last night Bryce Harper became just the fourth teenager since 1980 to bat third in a major-league game. And he drove in the game-winning run with an opposite-field double.

• I'm not sure if this is ironic, exactly, but it's definitely something.

• Imagine the amount of shit being talked in the fire extinguisher community this week.

• Who is the fastest man in baseball? If you don't know him yet you soon will.

• Minor leaguers are frequently suspended for marijuana usage, but players on 40-man rosters aren't even tested for it.

• Congrats to friend of AG.com and original Dodgers blogger Jon Weisman for his promotion at Variety magazine.

• Podcast recommendation: Jesse Thorn's lengthy chat with Michael Ian Black on Bullseye was a great mix of funny, serious, and interesting.

• For now they're both in the "very good but not great" category, but I'm glad to see that HBO has renewed Girls and Veep for second seasons. I'm still bitter about Luck, though.

• At the risk of going against blogger stereotypes I've been working outside on my balcony now that the weather is so nice, but the fact that laptop screens become nearly unreadable in sunlight makes it tough. Does anyone have a suggested easy fix that doesn't look ridiculous?

• Netflix recommendation: Bill Cunningham New York, which is a documentary about a weird and talented and loveable and obsessed man who found a job he truly loves.

• To preview the Twins-Mariners series I did a Q&A with Jon Shields of Pro Ball NW.

• I've linked to him before, but as always Edward Thoma of the Mankato Free Press is doing some very good Twins blogging.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Ingrid Michaelson doing a one-woman band cover version of "We Found Love" by Rihanna without using any instruments:

This week's blog content is sponsored by One Stop Insurance, which helps Minnesotans find the best value and protection in an insurance company. Please support them for supporting AG.com.

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