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.

March 4, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• Next time someone complains that professional athletes are overpaid, show them this.

• I'm convinced this will happen to me some day, except with Pizza Hut and chicken wings.

Rest in peace, Uncle Leo. And my condolences to Cousin Jeffrey at the parks department.

Mila Kunis wasn't actually nominated for anything, but the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com still managed to win the Academy Awards. Hopefully she will always remember who blogged about her obsessively before it was cool.

Ozzie Guillen basically told Bobby Jenks to check himself before he wrecks himself.

Dr. Dre, Sedale Threatt's ex-wife, Burning Man, and the greatest sign-off to a hand-written love letter of all time: "I'm bout to pass out girl, wish I was up in that ass."

• It never occurred to me that "eating full boxes of Cap'n Crunch" was odd until a big deal was made of CC Sabathia stopping that practice, which is one of many reasons why we're around the same weight and he's 6-foot-7.

• On a related note, I'm not much for feet but there's no doubt Rex Ryan and I could hang.

• Phew. Glad that's settled, finally.

David Brauer of MinnPost writes that things are looking up for the Minneapolis Star Tribune's website, which is a good sign as mainstream outlets figure out how to make money online.

• Not sure if "Where's Waldo?" is even still around, but this needs to replace it immediately.

• Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke dances to "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. Sort of:

He seems very undecided about the hat's value.

Doc Gooden and Doc Drew is a sad combination.

• Oregon State defensive lineman Stephen Paea bench-pressed 225 pounds 49 times at the NFL scouting combine, which set the record and earned him the right to be called "hoss" by the always awesome John Lott.

• Such a simple concept and such an amazing site.

• In retrospect, I'm amazed that no one thought of this life-changing invention before now.

• I went into a Borders recently to use a gift certificate before they close up shop and just kept thinking "I can get this cheaper online." Big bookstores like Borders put a ton of mom-and-pop shops out of business because they could sell at a discount thanks to buying in such massive bulk and now Amazon.com is essentially doing the same thing to the big boys. The whole thing is kind of sad, but then again books are cheaper and more readily available now than ever.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote a very good profile of Bill James.

• Baseball-Reference.com mastermind Sean Forman is among the recipients of the Society for American Baseball Research's annual Henry Chadwick award. Well-deserved and then some.

• I'll remember these rules if I ever make it back into another pressbox.

Alyssa Milano is having her first kid and Jessica Alba is having her second kid. Oh well.

Bill Simmons is launching a new, ESPN-funded website and some of the details have leaked out, including his hiring of personal favorites Chuck Klosterman and Katie Baker.

• Meanwhile one of my favorite sports sites, AOL Fanhouse, is no more, as Sporting News sadly bought the name and let go of the many excellent writers who deserved a much better fate.

• Fanhouse is gone, but at least this epic e-mail chain lives on. Craig Calcaterra is everywhere.

• Speaking of Craig, he fell in love at first sight with Jeff Francoeur.

• Way before Rob McElhenney was on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia ... well, just watch this:

My favorite part is the attempt to keep things casual with the ultra-scripted "hold up."

Funny podcast of the week: Zach Galifianakis on "Who Charted?" with Howard Kremer and Kulap Vilaysack.

Bryant McKinnie is doing his best to prepare for the potential NFL lockout.

Dennis Green's son and former ESPN.com writer Jeremy Green is expected to serve at least five years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges in Connecticut.

• When great beards meet, everyone wins (except Baron Davis, who was traded to Cleveland a couple days later).

• ESPN just got a whole lot more stat-heady.

• Here's a unique look at how Kevin Love fills a statsheet by Matt Scribbins of HoopData.com, who actually e-mailed me saying I should give the article to my NBA-loving mom. I did and the last part made her sad.

• This is definitely one of the better bobblehead giveaways I've seen. Design and function!

• Here's the best argument yet for buying an iPad, although I wouldn't know where to begin.

• A pair of new blogs to check out: Twins Territory Talk and Off The Bench.

• Here are some highlights from my NBCSports.com blogging this week:

- Carlos Ruiz's wife gave birth exactly nine months after Roy Halladay's perfect game
- Elijah Dukes arrested, accused of hitting pregnant ex-girlfriend
- Brandon Phillips wants a long-term contract extension, but do the Reds?
- Ron Gardenhire says Brian Duensing will "absolutely" be in Twins' rotation
- Garret Anderson retires after 17 seasons and 2,529 hits
- White Sox giving Dayan Viciedo a look in the outfield
- Austin Kearns was arrested for a DUI in Kentucky last month
- Jeremy Bonderman is "likely going to sit this year out"
- Carl Pavano seriously considered one-year offer from Yankees

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is "He Won't Go" by Adele: