October 15, 2004

Weekend Stuff

I am working on (or at least I'm supposed to be working on) a couple of fairly big assignments for my journalism classes that are due early next week, so today's entry is going to be a little on the light side ...

  • One of the things I've typically noticed about White Sox blogs is that they annoy me when they talk about how good Chicago is or how good/bad Minnesota is. I'm sure it's the same way when White Sox fans check out this blog, as I certainly have not been all that kind to the White Sox over the last couple years.

    With all that said, I have found a really good White Sox blog called "Cheat's ChiSox Blog." It not only features a lot of good sabermetric-style analysis with a very objective view of the White Sox and the rest of the American League Central, the writing is also enjoyable. I highly recommend it, at least as highly as I can recommend something that is devoted to the White Sox. Plus, it's always good to keep up to speed on the enemy.

  • Would you believe I'm just one of 50,954 people going to school at the University of Minnesota? That makes me feel so special and unique, and it makes the U of M the second-most attended school in the country, behind only Ohio State (50,995). My pledge to the university is that I will stay here until we are solidly in the #1 spot, and I don't care how long it takes.
  • Now that I've moved completely into the poker obsession phase of my life by purchasing my own set of poker chips, I've been attempting to get comfortable doing some of the more basic "chip tricks." It is actually harder than I thought it would be just to get decent at chip shuffling, let alone some of the other cool stuff the guys on TV do effortlessly.

    I found a site called "Poker Chip Tricks" that has step-by-step instructions for mastering various tricks, as well as video assistance. While I am probably a little too clumsy to ever master any of the good tricks (I can barely shuffle cards, let alone chips), hopefully the site can help a few of you.

  • ESPN.com has a "Relative Power Index" page that ranks MLB teams by using their win-loss record and strength of schedule. For those of you into college basketball, you're probably already familiar with RPI rankings, which are always closer to the NCAA tournament seeding than any voting-based rankings.

    Anyway, according to RPI, the top four teams in baseball this year are St. Louis, Boston, New York and Houston. Not exactly shocking news, but I thought it was pretty interesting that the rankings nailed the final four teams. By the way, the Twins ranked 12th, behind all the playoff teams and four others that missed the postseason, mostly because they played the single weakest schedule of any team in baseball.

    This is something I've ranted about before, but when people talk about the Twins' success over the last three seasons, the #1 thing that is overlooked is just how awful their competition in the AL Central has been, relative to the league's other two divisions. I love the Twins more than anyone, but I don't think they would have made the playoffs even once had they been stuck in the AL East or West.

  • And last, but definitely not least, the stats for the recently-completed 2004 season have been added to Baseball-Reference.com. Some of you might not think this is a big deal, but for baseball geeks like myself, this is like Christmas morning.

    It's also likely what will be taking up huge chunks of my time this weekend, while I should be doing school work. There are times when I head over to Baseball-Reference to look up something simple and get lost there for hours, clicking through all the links and stumbling across players and teams and stats I never knew about before.

    If you haven't yet immersed yourself in the wonder that is Sean Forman's masterpiece of a website, clear off your schedule, click on this link of Barry Bonds' page, and when you're done marveling at his numbers (a 260 OPS+ this year?!), just click around for a while and see what you stumble across.

Today at The Hardball Times:

- When it Rains it Pujols (by Brian Gunn)

- The Importance Of Strike One (and Two, and Three), Part Two (by Craig Burley)

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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