September 9, 2003
A little of this, a little of that
No one topic jumps out at me for today, so I figured I'd touch on a few things...
First of all, for those of you who have emailed me wondering how I did in week one of the "Football Picks" contest that I am in, you don't have to email me to find out (although I certainly don't mind). Just head over to SethSpeaks.net, which is the site that is running the entire contest. If you go to the "Football Picks Page" you can get updates on how everyone did last week, what everyone's picks are for the current week and the official standings.
I think I did "okay" for the first week. I finished 10-6, which tied me for 4th place among the 9 "experts." I was at 10-4 and looking good after Sunday afternoon's games, but then I dropped the Sunday night game and the Monday night game. I am hoping once I get a chance to see a few more teams play and also get a chance to study some team stats and all that, I will start to do a little better. As always, I will keep you updated (so you don't have to email me about it...unless you really want to, of course).
Speaking of emails...
Remember last month, when I wrote that entry about Twins uber-prospect Joe Mauer? It generated quite a bit of email response, and I had a back-and-forth email exchange with a loyal reader named "Mike," who is not quite as high on Joe Mauer as I am.
Mike is a big fan of Toronto catching prospect Guillermo Quiroz and Yankees catching prospect Dioner Navarro. I am not quite as high on either of them (although I really like Quiroz quite a bit), and I told Mike that I thought Anaheim catching prospect Jeff Mathis was my pick for the second-best catching prospect in baseball right now, behind Mauer.
Mike responded with an interesting proposal:
"I suggest a friendly wager. I'll take Guillermo Quiroz and Dioner Navarro, you can have Joe Mauer and Jeff Mathis. The measuring stick will be total Runs Created for the years 2005-2008. If I win, you'll buy two top-priced tickets for me for a Blue Jay game in Toronto against the Twins in 2009 (if you come to Toronto for the game, you're welcome to join me). If you win, I'll buy two top-priced tickets for a Twins game for you in Minnesota against the Jays in 2009.
What say you?"
First of all, I love bets like this. Actually, what am I saying, I love all bets. I think that if I ever get really rich and have a ton of expendable income, I could definitely see myself becoming addicted to gambling. It's just my personality, I am willing to bet on literally anything.
And there is nothing more fun than betting on what is going to happen to a bunch of 20 year old baseball players in the years 2005-2008. I like Mauer and Mathis, he likes Quiroz and Navarro. The odds are pretty good that at least one of them will never be any good and probably 2 or 3 of them will be simply mediocre. But that's the beauty of prospects.
So, I'm here to say that I accept Mike's wager. I'm also here to say that I think there is probably about a 0.000005% chance that either of us will remember that we actually made the bet by the time 2009 rolls around, but that's really beside the point, isn't it? I mean really, 2009? Do you realize I will be 26 years old in 2009?! Man, that is scary to even think about. I'm still worried that at some point in 2005 or 2006 my mom won't let me bring home my laundry for her to do once in a while, so I can't even begin to think about 2009!
Staying with the emails...
Over the last few weeks, I have received a tremendous amount of emails on one subject. You may remember last month I applied for a job at the Minnesota Daily and then interviewed for the job. I can't begin to tell you how many emails I have gotten from people over the last few weeks, wondering about what happened with that. It's touching really, that so many of you would care enough about that sort of thing to want to be updated on it.
Anyway, let me just say that I am not trying to keep any secrets from my loyal audience, because that's not my style. I'll write about pretty much anything, as long as I think it's interesting enough for you to want to read. I haven't written about it because...well, nothing really happened. I applied for the job, I got a call to come in for an interview, I went to the interview and then...nothing. Literally nothing.
It's now a month later and I haven't heard back from the Sports Editor at all. I tried to contact him a couple of times and never got a response. So, at this point, I think it's obvious that he either died or I didn't get the job. I am obviously more than a little disappointed that I didn't get the gig, this being the FOURTH TIME that I have applied for it in the last 2+ years and all, and it is also a little strange that the guy never even got back to me, even just to say "thanks for applying, but we chose someone else."
To be honest, I'm not sure what the deal is. There were four positions open, including an internship - all of which I made it very clear I would love to fill. I gave some writing samples and the guy I interviewed with made sure to tell me that he frequented this blog and enjoyed reading it (which I took to be a great sign). And I don't think the interview went poorly. I could, of course, be way off-base and maybe I came across as a lunatic, but I actually think it went fairly well. So, basically, I am stumped.
People keep telling me to keep applying, that "I need to be persistent" and "show that I really want the job." But that's the same thing I heard the other 3 times I applied. At some point, I think a time comes when one has to stop trying to get on their college newspaper. I'm not sure that getting turned down 4 times in a little over 2 years is that point, but it's definitely pretty damn close, and there is only so much rejection one person can take from the exact same source.
I find it hard to believe that the other applicants for what was a very low-paying position covering volleyball and gymnastics and track-and-field for a college newspaper were so much more qualified than I am, so either I am a horrible interview or there is something else going on. Or maybe a whole bunch of incredibly smart and gifted journalists with tons of experience decided to apply for the sports internship at the Minnesota Daily at the same time I did, who knows.
But hey, not getting that job gives me more time to devote to writing great blog entries for you all to enjoy, so that's good news, right? RIGHT?!
Actually, now that you are stuck with me for a while and I am "stuck" writing about baseball and not men's water polo for $6 an hour, I wanted to bring up a couple of things I have been thinking about...
1) As many of you know, I am currently unemployed. The only real income that has come my way recently has been the various (and very generous) PayPal Donations that about two dozen of you decided to send me over the last two weeks or so. And, while the amount of those donations has been way past what my expectations were, they still aren't enough for me to tell my mom that this blog is my job and not have her reply with some pithy comment.
So, what I was wondering was whether or not everyone here would be incredibly offended if I tried to get a few very small and unobtrusive advertisements on this website? I'm talking really small and subtle stuff. No flashing lights or sound effects, no pop-up ads, nothing like that. Just a couple of small text ads that could be on the left side of this page, or at the end of entries or something like that. What do you think?
I am sort of against the idea myself, to be honest, but trying to transform this blog into a somewhat viable source of income seems like a worthwhile venture for me at this point. The second part of this question is, assuming you are not completely offended by the idea of a few small ads, that I have no idea how I would go about trying to get those advertisers.
Recently BaseballPrimer.com and a few other websites that I frequent have signed up for a program called "Google AdSense," which basically places a few ads on your site and then pays you when people click on them. I applied to Google and was turned down, for reasons that I haven't quite figured out (sounds kind of like the Minnesota Daily thing again, huh?).
It's not because I don't get enough traffic, because (and this is in no way meant to be a knock against Larry Mahnken or his site) I get more traffic than the "Replacement Level Yankees Weblog" gets and it recently was approved for Google Ads. And it's not because I was, until this week, hosted by Blogspot, because that is what Mahnken's site is hosted on. I asked Larry what he thought and he said that it's possible Google denied my application because of the PayPal Donations link I have up and/or because of the links to books on Amazon.com that I have had in the past. Apparently they don't like any competition, although I'm not sure how asking for donations from readers is the same as advertisements.
Fortunately, I have a large group of loyal readers, many of whom are a lot smarter than I am, so I figure at least a few of you would have some suggestions for other ad programs that I could use or - and this would be ideal - maybe you are actually part of a business of some kind that would be interested in placing an ad on this site directly. That would be perfect, of course - I'd get a little cash, you'd get an ad placed in front of thousands of die-hard baseball fans every week, and I would feel a lot better about the situation knowing that the ad was for a place that employs a fan of this blog. And if it is a product or service that is somehow related to baseball, that would be even better.
If you have any comments, suggestions, ideas, etc., please email me.
2) Another issue that I have been thinking about is the idea of using some "Guest Columns." In the 14 months that I have been doing this blog, I have posted a brand new article pretty much every single weekday, give or take a few times when I had a real excuse not to. And I have used a "guest column" just two times - once in June of 2003 and once in November of 2002. So, basically, it has been all me, all the time.
And that's not a bad thing obviously. I mean, you guys apparently like to read my writing, which is why you come here every day. But, at the same time, I get emails all the time from people wondering if I would be interested in publishing something they have written. It has definitely always been something I am willing to consider.
I could use a day off every once in a while and I am sure you could use a day away from me once in a while too. Plus, I guarantee there are some great ideas for articles in the heads of the people who read this blog. On the other hand, I don't want to just say "If you want to write something for this blog, email it to me," because then I will get a whole bunch of submissions and I may not like all of them.
So, I was wondering if any of you had an idea for how I could integrate some guest columns into this blog, without simply getting an onslaught of submissions, which would lead to me turning lots of them down (and after the Minnesota Daily and the Google Ads, that's the last thing I want to be doing).
One idea would be to have a contest. People send something in and I could get a few of my baseball blogging buddies together to judge the submissions. We could pick the top 5 and debut one each week or something? I think that would be pretty fun and wouldn't place all of the blame on me if someone's work got turned down!
I really love the idea of giving someone an audience that they otherwise wouldn't get a chance to be in front of, whether that is a reader of this blog with an idea for something he has wanted to write about for a long time or a blogger who doesn't have as large an audience as I do and wants a chance to introduce himself and his writing to a couple thousand people.
Anyway, it is an idea and something that I think can work, but I'm not quite sure what exactly the best way to do it is yet. Again, if you've got any suggestions, I'd love to hear them, so email me.
While watching the Twins drop their second straight game to the White Sox last night, to fall behind 2 games in the division, I heard the following said by the two men who are paid money to provide insight on the television broadcast:
Dick Bremer: Carl Everett is a switch-hitter, but he is batting left-handed now against a left-handed pitcher.
Bert Blyleven: The Twins tried to turn him around last night too, so maybe they have the scouting report on Everett.
Bremer: Yep, maybe they know about an injury or something.
I generally like Dick and Bert, but sometimes I wonder why people in their position are so afraid of even the most simple statistics. Maybe they have a scouting report on Everett? Maybe they know about an injury?
I've never seen a scouting report in my life and the only way I would know about an injury is if I read about it on ESPN.com, but I am also fully aware of the difference between Carl Everett hitting left-handed and Carl Everett hitting right-handed.
AVG OBP SLG
Left-Handed .294 .383 .561
Right-Handed .260 .333 .398
AVG OBP SLG
Left-Handed .284 .357 .530
Right-Handed .259 .314 .406
If the Twins need a scouting report or some inside information on an injury to tell them that Carl Everett hits better left-handed than he does right-handed, they have some serious problems.
Link of the Day:
Kevin Millar sings "Born in the U.S.A"
Without a doubt, one of the funniest things I have ever seen. Apparently, Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar recorded a video of himself lip-synching (and "dancing") to Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A" back in 1989, when he was 18 years old. Someone dug up the video (which I am sure Millar is real happy about) and it is now Boston's version of the Rally Monkey. There are just so many funny things about the video that you simply need to watch it.
Minnesota (Santana) -115 over Chicago (Garland)
Cleveland (Sabathia) +120 over Kansas City (Anderson)
Total to date: + 3,295
W/L record: 233-226 (4-1 yesterday for +370, including picking a 20 year old making his MLB debut to beat Randy Johnson. And look at that, I'm over the 3,000 mark!)
*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****