April 22, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• Every cop's fantasy, starring Sofia Vergara.

• Humble bragging is sweeping the nation and the Wall Street Journal talked to the man behind the phenomenon, Harris Wittels, who once upon a time left a comment here. #humblebrag

• I'm not sure what took them so damn long, but better late than never: NFL Network will be replacing Matt Millen and Joe Theisman with Mike Mayock for their Thursday night games.

• Quote of the week: Royals manager Ned Yost on Billy Butler wanting to play first base: "I'd like to be an astronaut."

• This was the same excuse I used for skipping class in college, with the only difference being that no one on the entire campus knew who I was.

Elisha Cuthbert is back on television. I'm unlikely to watch the former Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com's new show, but I am fully committed to looking at any screen caps posted online.

• Friend of AG.com Phil Mackey has been named "best sports talk radio host" in Minnesota by City Pages, which is remarkable considering he didn't have a full-time on-air spot until leaving 1130-KFAN for 1500-ESPN about 18 months ago and might be even better covering the Twins as a beat reporter than he is as the co-host of an afternoon show. Not bad for a stat-head.

• Stat-head setup man? Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard reads Fan Graphs.

• As a white, point guard-playing kid I owned his Sacramento Kings jersey and proudly wore it while attempting ill-advised but fancy passes, so this news makes me feel both sad and old.

David Carr of the New York Times wrote an interesting profile of Michael Klingensmith, who has helped turn the Minneapolis Star Tribune around since taking over as publisher in mid-2008. He's a native Minnesotan and "a serious Twins fan" who utilizes "statistical data to help guide product improvements." And under his watch the newspaper is one of the few in the country on an upswing. Meanwhile, the St. Paul Pioneer Press' website sadly remains nearly unusable.

• As someone who greatly prefers using Tweetdeck to the actual Twitter interface I'm worried about what may happen now that Twitter is in talks to buy Tweetdeck for "around $50 million."

• Marlins left fielder Logan Morrison has become one of my favorite players thanks to his great tweeting.

• Not that you can tell a ton from a 92-second clip, but HBO's upcoming new series Lucky looks pretty good and it's definitely star-studded.

Bonus points for using the World Series of Poker intro jingle.

• Thanks to a government crackdown the online poker world has basically been ruined, leaving tons of people out of work, taking away recreational enjoyment from part-timers like me, and even impacting television programming on numerous channels.

• Now that online poker is banned I feel the same about playing poker as I do about hosting a podcast. I'd really like to do both, but ultimately it takes a backseat to my even stronger desire not to leave the house or invite relative strangers over to my house. Helluva catch-22.

Buster Posey's sister can out-hit your sister.

• My mom's all-time favorite athlete is much better at pistol-whipping than he was at dieting.

• After six weeks of dieting I'm down 40 pounds, which sounds misleadingly great because of how much weight fatsos like me have to shed in the first place. I'm still fat enough that telling someone how much weight I've lost only leads to them thinking: "And you still look this bad?!" I've been counting every calorie and working out an elliptical machine every day, but once my calorie intake loosens up a bit this alcohol-to-calorie chart will be very helpful.

• Up until six weeks ago I was one of the leading donut consumers in the country, yet I had no idea that many (and perhaps even most) people spell it "doughnut." I also had no idea that a "free year's supply of donuts" could cost you $237.

Bill Simmons continues to build an excellent writing staff for his upcoming ESPN-funded site, hiring Bill Barnwell away from Football Outsiders.

Evangeline Lilly is either pregnant or there will soon be a disheveled yet still incredibly great looking blond woman with an Australian accent looking for her son again. Whatever the case, I think we can all agree that the kid's name should be Aaron.

• Following the latest veteran media member to write a really dumb thing about sports, David Matthews of The Good Men Project wonders how long before more of the higher-quality online writers land full-time gigs and how many of them will be forced to quit in search of non-writing jobs that actually pay the bills. I've been fortunate in that respect, but many good writers are not as lucky and having to live on income from AG.com would have forced me to quit long ago.

• After reading this news I'm thinking about suing myself for being paid almost no money from 10 years of blogging here. We'd probably settle out of court.

• Speaking of real life getting in the way of good blogging, Stick and Ball Guy has hung up the keyboard. I enjoyed SBG's community of bloggers and readers so much that it remains the only other blog on which I've ever regularly posted comments and I also enjoyed attending several in-person get-togethers with SBG and friends. He'll be missed, but the community has decided to go on without SBG by starting up a spinoff site that is definitely worth checking out.

• I was surprised to learn that an average of just 22,000 television sets were tuned into each Timberwolves game this season and even more shocked to find out that didn't even rank them among the NBA's least-watched teams.

• I'm not sure $105 million in added risk makes much sense for the Brewers, but Ryan Braun is now signed through 2020.

• I'm excited that Friday Night Lights is back for a final season, although the scene in the first episode where the new guy dribbles and shoots free throws like he's never played the sport before despite supposedly being a basketball star has me re-thinking my love for the first four seasons. It might even keep me from bidding on more than a dozen items in this auction.

Vanessa Hudgens either needs to get much fatter or hire a new public relations person.

• Reds pitcher Mike Leake was arrested for allegedly stealing $60 in shirts from Macy's.

• When the Timberwolves fired Dwane Casey they were 20-20. They are 90-280 since then.

• I saw these guys do a presentation at last year's SABR convention. Very interesting stuff.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is The Black Keys doing "Heavy Soul" live:

February 4, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• If you don't think this will soon be hanging on my wall, you clearly don't know me very well.

• NHL goalie fights are pretty funny to begin with, but NHL goalie fights ending after one punch are hilarious.

Henry Abbott of ESPN.com took a very interesting look at the difference between perception and reality when it comes to Kobe Bryant and "clutch."

• An army of Christina Hendricks look-a-likes sounds fine to me.

Rob Neyer is for me what Bill James was for many baseball fans in the 1980s, shaping the way I watch and write about the sport to the point that I've basically been attempting to do a semi-passable Rob Neyer impression for the past decade. He's the first online writer I read on a regular basis and I remain a huge fan, so much so that I've never really gotten over being starstruck when I see him each year at the Society for American Baseball Research convention.

When it comes to bringing sabermetrics to a mainstream audience Neyer has been the single most effective baseball writer of all time, and that includes James. This week, after 15 years of great work at ESPN.com, he decided to make a change and is now the national baseball editor at SB Nation. And not only didn't he take even one day off between jobs, Neyer is churning out more content than ever at his new home. Congratulations and good luck to one of my heroes.

Justin Kubatko of Basketball-Reference.com wrote a guest column for the New York Times on Kevin Love's unique brand of greatness this season. And somehow he's not an All-Star (yet).

• I'm willing to help Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Jenna Fischer reach her goal.

• An unlikely radio partnership between friend of AG.com Phil Mackey and longtime Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Patrick Reusse has been so successful that 1500-ESPN has decided to expand their show by another hour each afternoon. In addition to more Mackey they smartly also lured Judd Zulgad away from KFAN, where the fantastic Star Tribune reporter had been an exclusive Vikings analyst. It almost makes up for the times they mistakenly put me on the air.

Least surprising news of the week: A.J. Pierzynski is friends with the guys from Creed.

• As a lifelong Minnesota it takes a lot to impress me regarding winter driving, but this did it:

If you look carefully, I think the other car has a "Geek Squad" logo on the door.

Eric Stonestreet is outstanding on Modern Family, but his greatest contribution to society will always be snapping a picture of Minka Kelly and Sofia Vergara posing together at the Golden Globes and posting it on Twitter.

• Twins president Dave St. Peter is now on Twitter, so you should probably follow him.

• Based on this lengthy article in New York magazine I clearly picked the wrong type of website to start nine years ago.

• I finally saw "The Social Network" this week. I liked it a lot, and the script and acting were so good that I would've happily watched it go on for another five hours, but for whatever reason it struck me as just short of being great. My primary takeaways from the film: 1) Rooney Mara is responsible for everything, ever. 2) Guys named Zuckerman should never interact with Aryan twins. 3) Don't throw beer. Grade: A-minus.

Apparently the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com liked "The Social Network" too.

• Now that he's dropped the price, I think we should pool our money together and buy Shawn Green's house.

Seth Stohs' annual "Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook" is now available for purchase and you should buy it. Seriously. I can't stress this enough: You should buy it. Not only is it a great read and an amazing value at $14.95 for 170 pages, Seth has spent thousands of hours and most of the past decade churning out good baseball writing that can be enjoyed for absolutely free. Paying him 15 bucks for a good product seems like an easy way to show support. Do it.

• My latest podcasting discovery is "Pop My Culture" with Cole Stratton and Vanessa Ragland, which is basically hour-long, mostly silly conversations with various comedians and actors. For instance, here's one with longtime Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Linda Cardellini.

• If you have Netflix streaming and are as into offbeat documentaries as me, check out "I Like Killing Flies" and "I Think We're Alone Now." Both are equal parts engrossing and weird.

• Last weekend I had dinner at Mix Fusion Bistro in Eden Prairie and the food was every bit as good as when I reviewed the restaurant after it opened in July, with an added bonus that lots of people were there this time. Chalk one up for customers eventually finding a good product.

• I've done a 180-degree turn on the Super Bowl, going from initially believing in the Steelers as small underdogs to now thinking the Packers will win and cover the 2.5-point spread. For a slightly more comprehensive analysis of Sunday's matchup, read this.

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

- Red Sox want David Ortiz to continue facing lefties even if he can't hit them
- White Sox GM after making 1984 trade for Ozzie Guillen: "I think we just signed a jockey"
- Andy Pettitte's retirement (and Jamie Moyer's injury) means no active pitcher has 200 wins
- Chris Carter is going to be disappointed when the A's send him to Triple-A
- Lance Berkman criticizes the Rangers in explaining why he chose St. Louis over Texas
- Royals' projected 2011 payroll is $33 million (or $2 million more than Alex Rodriguez's salary)
- If healthy, Jesus Flores could be trade bait for the Nationals
- LaTroy Hawkins expects to be ready for Opening Day after shoulder surgery

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Little Richard singing "Long Tall Sally":

January 28, 2011

Link-O-Rama

• The concept of gravitational pull in picture form, starring Kim Kardashian at an NBA game.

• Last week former Gophers football star Laurence Maroney was arrested for marijuana and gun possession in St. Louis after attending a Rick Ross show and his mugshot is spectacular.

• Google has the power to make or break billion-dollar businesses by adjusting some settings.

• As someone who's been blogging for nearly nine years without a single break of more than a few days and has no plans to stop any time soon, this article on "blog quitters" confuses me.

• When you try to imagine the men capable of moving from January Jones to Jennifer Aniston to Scarlett Johansson in the span of months, Jason Sudekis probably doesn't top the list.

• To be honest, I'm surprised the percentage is that high.

• On a related note (sort of), I can think of worse ways to go.

• I haven't linked to anything about Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Kate Beckinsale in a while, but thankfully she's still super good-looking. Phew.

• Must-Read Article of the Week: "Sabermetrician in Exile" by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.

Well done, Kevin Love. And well done, Timberwolves.

• If you missed Ricky Gervais' incredible monologue at the Golden Globe awards, here it is:

Gervais no doubt angered enough big names that he'll never, ever be asked back as host, but hopefully they haven't ruled out Karl Pilkington.

• Gervais' brilliant hosting kept me tuned in for the entire show, but the highlight was Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis holding hands and hopping with Emma Stone. Obviously.

• Or you could just, you know, pay someone to shovel your driveway. Either way.

• As someone who's arranged his life so that about 99.9 percent of all social interactions occur online, I really enjoyed Katie Baker's essay about her old internet persona. One day I'll reveal that I'm actually a 15-year-old girl, but until then keep thinking of me as a 28-year-old fat guy.

Dan Levy of Press Coverage speculates that the newly formed NBC-Comcast combo is more or less going to take over the online sports world. No big deal.

• My fellow Modern Family and Parenthood viewers should read this story about Craig T. Nelson turning down one for the other because of money. Probably worked out for the best, because he's good on Parenthood and Ed O'Neill is great on Modern Family.

• Speaking of Modern Family, something about Sofia Vergara starting her own clothing line for Kmart and also serving as the products' model seems sad in an "attention Kmart shoppers, no amount of inexpensive, mass-produced clothing will make you look like one of the best-looking humans in the world" sort of way.

Carla Gugino is still incredibly underrated, even if it took Esquire Mexico to remind me.

• Must-Listen Podcast of the Week: Jonah Keri and Alex Belth spent an hour chatting about everything from The Big Lebowski to baseball blogs, and it would have been a great listen even if they hadn't name-checked me about halfway in.

B.J. Raji's post-touchdown shimmy in the NFL title game Sunday is my favorite fatboy dance since Chunk did the truffle shuffle in "The Goonies."

If you enjoyed it too, thank Dom Capers.

• I can remember my 16-year-old self reading the Sports Illustrated profile of Tamir Goodman, so the follow-up a dozen years later was very interesting.

• Thanks to everyone at the Beckett Media office in Dallas for being so friendly to me last week while we put the finishing touches on the annual Rotoworld baseball draft guide. It should be hitting newsstands in early February, with Albert Pujols on the cover and well over 100,000 words from me, Craig Calcaterra, Matthew Pouliot, Drew Silva, D.J. Short, Eno Sarris, Thor Nystrom, Nate Stephens, and Jesse Burkhart.

• Incidentally, the room Beckett had me work in featured a framed Mark Brunell jersey, walls plastered with old magazine covers, and Ricky Martin collectibles. I felt right at home.

• After watching "Winter's Bone" on the flight back from Dallas last week, I'm pretty convinced the movie would have been much different had Jennifer Lawrence worn this the whole time.

• I'm not even from Seattle, but this sounds fantastic: "Kemp scores a layup-and-one with this happy hour."

• I haven't tried this yet, but it sounds like an intriguing option for some AG.com poker games.

• I'm proud to be a very, very, very small part of this.

• Question of the Week (in the form of the AG.com-approved music video): Is Billy Joel's song "Only The Good Die Young" more anti-religion or pro-having sex with Catholic school girls?

July 16, 2010

Link-O-Rama

• Much like me, Chris Webber has had just about enough of David Kahn.

• Aw, cute. Nick Punto is trying to grow a Carl Pavano-like mustache.

John Sickels projected the career stats of Rick Vaughn from Major League, which is the type of thing I find endlessly amusing. Given that there's basically a website for everything at this point, someone really needs to create a Baseball-Reference.com-style setup dedicated to the careers of players from baseball movies. I'd sponsor Roger Dorn's page.

• I plugged my most recent blog entries into this website that promises to "analyze who you write like" and it spit out Stephen King. Naturally.

• I've always believed pretty girls in baseball hats was basically the perfect combination, until I saw supermodels in baseball uniforms. The game was nice and all, but this picture was clearly the highlight of the entire All-Star break.

• As if Louis C.K.'s new show on FX wasn't amazing enough already, in this week's episode he name-dropped Jamie Moyer in the middle of a sex scene.

Seth Stohs, John Bonnes, Nick Nelson, and Parker Hageman have partnered with bloggers from other teams to produce a massive, 160-page "Trade Deadline Primer" with player profiles, essays, prospect reports, trade scenarios, and all kinds of other good stuff. I got a look at the product at the latest TwinsCentric gathering and was impressed by the content and layout. They put tons of work into the project and made something very worthwhile, all for under $10.

• Which former Twin is among the best players never to make an All-Star team?

• I tried to sound extra smart for my appearance on Minnesota Public Radio earlier this week. Also, more people have contacted me after hearing my MPR interview than ever contacted me following an appearance on KFAN or KSTP or any other stations. I'm not sure how to explain it, other than maybe just the novelty factor? Anyway, give it a listen.

• My first (and probably last) restaurant review.

• I'm shocked that something like this has never happened involving A.J. Pierzynski.

• If you only watch one video of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh turning heel as the nWo, make it this one:

If you didn't laugh at that, you either didn't watch wrestling as a kid or you don't have a soul.

• Anyone still think the Heat will struggle to fill out the rest of the roster with solid players? I'll be shocked if they don't win 60-plus games in Year 1.

• This is what it looks like when Will Ferrell invades the workspace of an MLB.com writer.

• I'll assume Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven finished sixth.

• Just in case her stellar acting work on Modern Family wasn't enough to make you a big Sofia Vergara fan, there are also these pictures.

Dennis Green's son Jeremy Green lost his ESPN.com job following his recent arrest on drug and child pornography charges. Would it be in bad taste to make a "he is who we thought he was" joke?

Scott Boras comparing Prince Fielder to Mark Teixeira is more reasonable than you might think, but Fielder still looking an awful lot like he did in this picture is why many people have a hard time buying it.

• Poker player Ted Forrest was already in good shape at 188 pounds. Then someone bet him $2 million that he couldn't lose 50 pounds in two months. Now he weighs 138 pounds and has $2 million. The morale of the story is that all my repeatedly unsuccessful weight-loss attempts have lacked is someone willing to bet me a whole bunch of money. Well, that and willpower.

• Naming the five center fielders with 400 or more homers is a pretty good trivia question even if you get Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Mickey Mantle, and Duke Snider as "hints."

Joe Rogan talks mixed martial arts backstage at one of his comedy shows. Good stuff.

• Clearly my problem is that I don't tell enough lies. Or leave the house.

• Just in case you thought the people involved in the actual process put any kind of thought into anything All-Star related, they don't.

• I'm intrigued by this, mostly because Sports Illustrated and Turner Sports already produce so much quality content on their own, but "challenge ESPN.com" is often planned for and, aside from perhaps Yahoo! Sports, never accomplished.

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

- Justin Morneau likely bound for disabled list with concussion
- He's alive! Carlos Beltran finally returns from knee surgery
- Yunel Escobar may have "attitude problems" but he also has a good track record
- Angels stick with Scott Kazmir despite MLB-worst 6.92 ERA
- Edinson Volquez on the verge of return from elbow surgery
- Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce, together again at ESPYs
- Mariners promote last year's No. 2 overall pick Dustin Ackley to Triple-A
- Pedro Martinez won't be re-signing with the Phillies and may not pitch at all
- Royals promote 21-year-old stud prospect Mike Moustakas to Triple-A

• Finally, in honor of the Twins' current state this week's AG.com-approved music video is a live version of "Looking For Answers" by Susan Tedeschi: