March 24, 2005

The iPod Shuffle

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but I was talking to someone earlier this week about being embarrassed to actually like a Maroon 5 song and I thought it might be kind of interesting to put my (generic) iPod on shuffle and see what the first, I don't know, let's say 40 songs are that come up.

Keep in mind now that this sort of exercise can really only lead to you guys mocking me for my musical taste (or lack of), so it takes some guts to do it. Music is one of those things where you're bound to say you like a song that someone else thinks is complete crap. And I also fully admit to liking a wide variety of complete crap.

Also, I realize 99% of you couldn't care less, but oh well ...

1) Led Zeppelin - Over the Hills and Far Away
2) Bill Withers - Use Me
3) John Mayer - Love Soon
4) Billy Joel - Piano Man
5) AC/DC - Highway to Hell
6) Richie Havens - Here Comes the Sun
7) Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg - Nothin' But a G Thang
8) Al Green - How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
9) AC/DC - Back in Black
10) Joe Cocker - A Little Help From My Friends
11) Led Zeppelin - Ramble On
12) Otis Redding - Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay
13) Jimi Hendrix - Johnny B. Good (Cover)
14) Guns and Roses - Patience
15) AC/DC - TNT
16) Foo Fighters - Times Like These (Acoustic)
17) Lynyrd Skynyrd - Simple Man
18) Al Green - Here I Am (Come and Take Me)
19) Neil Young - Old Man
20) Warren G - Regulate
21) Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings
22) The Who - Baba O'Reilly
23) Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed
24) ZZ Top - La Grange
25) Steve Miller Band - Space Cowboy
26) Al Green - Love and Happiness
27) Notorious B.I.G. - Mo Money Mo Problems
28) Stevie Ray Vaughan - Pride and Joy
29) Jonny Lang - Red Light
30) Allman Brothers - Jessica
31) Bob Seger - Beautiful Loser
32) John Lee Hooker - Boom Boom
33) James Taylor - Carolina on My Mind
34) Van Morrison - Domino
35) Paperboy - Ditty
36) Marc Cohn - Walking in Memphis
37) Train - Meet Virginia
38) Nas - Street Dreams
39) Bush - Glycerine
40) Ice Cube - It Was a Good Day

Feel free to send any and all snide remarks and pithy comments to me via e-mail. In looking at the 40 songs that popped up first, it probably could have been worse. For any other bloggers out there reading this (baseball or otherwise), I challenge you to do the same thing and open yourself up to the barage of criticism and mockery that is sure to be heading my way right about now. Seriously, I double dare you. I'll link to it.

Today at The Hardball Times:
- Top 50 Prospects of 2005: 11-20 (by Aaron Gleeman)
- Five Questions: Seattle Mariners (by Jeff Shaw)
- Five Questions: Cincinnati Reds (by Greg Tamer)
- Fantasy: Closer Rankings, Part One (by Ben Jacobs)

March 23, 2005

The Restovich Dilemma

I'm very happy about the ever-increasing chance of Jason Bartlett opening the season at shortstop. However, the domino effect his making the team could have on the roster is really infuriating. With Bartlett starting, the Twins would likely keep Juan Castro and Nick Punto as backup infielders.

That strikes me as something straight out of the Department of Redundancy Department, because a team doesn't really need two light-hitting utility infielders, particularly when they've got a light-hitting (and supposedly slick-fielding) second baseman. (That would be Luis Rivas, for those of you who are new here.)

So if Bartlett makes the team, the Twins will pay Castro a million bucks a year for the next two seasons to start once a week and play late-inning defense every few games after Matthew LeCroy pinch-hits for Bartlett or Rivas. And they'll then keep Punto around for ... well, I'm not sure what he would have left to do with Bartlett starting and Castro playing defense. But whatever it is that Punto would do, it would come along with the team potentially losing Michael Restovich.

Restovich is out of options, so he either makes the team or has to be passed through waivers before he can go back down to Triple-A for the 50th year in a row. And according to the Official Twins Beat Writer of La Velle E. Neal's recent article on Restovich:

Barring an injury, Restovich can make the team as a backup outfielder. The Twins' five-man bench -- if Jason Bartlett opens the season at short -- would look like this: Restovich, catcher Mike Redmond, designated hitter Matthew LeCroy and infielders Nick Punto and Juan Castro.

But there's one problem. "I'm going to have a lefthanded pinch hitter off the bench somehow," Gardenhire said.

Keep in mind that, unlike Punto if Bartlett and Castro are also on the team, Restovich would actually have potential uses throughout the course of a season. He could be a good pinch-hitter (although he's not left-handed, so Ron Gardenhire wouldn't use him) and he would make an excellent platoon partner for Jacque Jones out in right field. And yes, I realize I've said that same thing about a dozen outfielders over the past few years, but it remains true.

The Castro signing struck me as a poor move when it happened and it has somehow gotten worse since then. Castro has already committed seven errors this spring when defense is his only possible asset and he was brought in as insurance for Bartlett not being ready.

But because Bartlett appears ready, that leaves Minnesota with a crappy infielder making a million bucks a year to fill a role Punto could fill for $300,000. Not only that, having to keep multiple utility infielders weakens the bench and may cause the team to lose someone who is relatively young and potentially useful.

Isn't it funny how even when something goes my way (Bartlett playing well this spring and possibly becoming the starter at shortstop), I can find something to complain about? Just killing time until Opening Day, that's all.

Today at The Hardball Times:
- Top 50 Prospects of 2005: 21-30 (by Aaron Gleeman)
- Five Questions: Milwaukee Brewers (Tom Meagher)

March 21, 2005

Plug Day

I've been working on a whole bunch of different stuff lately ...

The second installment of my Top 50 Prospects series is up over at The Hardball Times. This one covers prospects 31-40 and, like the first installment, includes a Twins prospect.

- Top 50 Prospects of 2005: 31-40
- Top 50 Prospects of 2005: 41-50

Keeping with the prospect theme, I've started my third season of covering prospects over at It is a subscription site, but if you're a serious fantasy player it is, without question, worth the money. Insider Baseball has all sorts of fantasy related content on a weekly basis, with tons of in-depth stat-crunching stuff that is pretty unique and valuable. My role is basically to cover the minor leagues like a blanket.

I'll be profiling a handful of prospects each week and will also be constantly updating a massive database of prospects that includes top-50 lists and skills grades for pitchers and hitters, team-based rankings, updates on players who make their big-league debuts, and a whole bunch of other cool stuff. Basically, if you're in a hardcore keeper league or eight, with a focus on acquiring young talent, this is exactly what you've been looking for.

So go check out the website: I don't get a commission for you signing up and my salary doesn't go up if their readership increases, so I'm just genuinely recommending it as a worthwhile, subscription-based site.

And last but certainly not least, my latest Rotoworld column is ready for mass consumption. This one takes a look at some intriguing spring training battles that are going in various infields, including a look at the Twins' shortstop situation. Go check it out.

Today at The Hardball Times:
- Top 50 Prospects of 2005: 31-40 (by Aaron Gleeman)
- Five Questions: Washington Nationals (by Craig Burley)
- Five Questions: Toronto Blue Jays (by John Brattain)
- Fantasy: Shortstop Rankings (by Ben Jacobs)

Revving the Engines

Lost in all the exciting NCAA Tournament action (my bracket is already such a mess that I'm ashamed to have wasted time filling it out) is the fact that Opening Day is right around the corner. In preparation for the glorious end of yet another far-too-long baseball offseason, we are turning it up a notch over at The Hardball Times. As the great Izzy Mandelbaum once said, "It's go time!"

It's not that we haven't been busy during the offseason -- we've had at least one new article each weekday since Doug Mientkiewicz caught the final out of the World Series and I have personally written three dozen columns during that time -- but we are now really getting back into the in-season groove.

Starting today, we are publishing in-depth previews for all 30 teams. I'll be penning the Twins preview, of course, and my fellow THT authors Studes, Steve Treder, Tom Meagher, Larry Mahnken, Ben Jacobs, Brian Gunn, Craig Burley, Brian Borawski, and John Brattain are covering teams between now and Opening Day as well. Plus, we have some great "guest" writers lined up for various teams, beginning with Bradford Doolittle of the Kansas City Star previewing the Royals today.

Also starting today is my third annual Top 50 Prospects series. I'll be counting down from #50 to #1 this week, ranking and discussing 10 prospects each day, culminating with my Top 10 prospects on Friday. Today's installment covers prospects 41-50 and leads off with a certain injured Twins outfielder. The Twins are fairly well represented in the top 50, although not quite as well as in past years.

Last Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of The Hardball Times. On March 15, 2004 Matthew Namee and I welcomed everyone to a new baseball website, introduced THT as "a place where you can come to find great writing about baseball," and promised that we'd "have new content each and every weekday." In the year since, we've published over 1,000 articles and two books, and have seen our daily readership surpass even my most optimistic expectations.

I thought about writing a column about our first year, thanking the readers and everyone else who made it possible, but I decided that a better way to say thank you would be to simply do it all over again for another season. So if you don't already, consider making THT part of your daily reading routine as we unofficially kick off our second year today. We have four articles for you to enjoy, covering a wide variety of topics, and we'll have a whole new set of articles for you tomorrow.

Today at The Hardball Times:
- Top 50 Prospects of 2005: 41-50 (by Aaron Gleeman)
- Five Questions: Kansas City Royals (by Bradford Doolittle)
- Roberto Alomar: A Forgotten Legend? (by Matthew Namee)
- Fantasy: Third Base Rankings (by Ben Jacobs)

March 18, 2005


Why is it that upsets like UAB over LSU and Wisconsin-Milwaukee over Alabama become so obvious only after the fact? Both outcomes make complete sense now, but for some reason neither made sense when I was filling out my bracket. When it comes to NCAA Tournament pools each season, I end up saying "wait 'til next year" faster than the Devil Rays.

Okay, enough complaining, let's hit the links ...

  • Friend of Paul Katcher seems to come up with a class, must-read column/list for Page 2 every couple months. The latest is Paul's ranking of the "Top 100 Sports Movie Quotes." I defy you to read the article and not enjoy it. Go ahead, try. The best quote is #44, particularly because it was said by an actual person, but my personal favorite is ... ah hell, I can't decide. Seriously, go read it.
  • A friend of that I've actually met, Scott Lange, is now part of the writing team over at The Cub Reporter. I have no real feelings either way about the Cubs, but I still find myself there every day.
  • Congrats to friend of and journalism school classmate Than Tibbetts, who recently won an award for his outstanding work at the Minnesota Daily. I will be absolutely shocked if I don't see Than's byline regularly in a big-time newspaper within the next few years.
  • Whatever you do, do not under any circumstances click here unless you are interested in staring at some amazing pictures of the former Official Fantasy Girl of The last time there was a comeback like this, the 1951 Giants were involved. And yes, that would make Elisha Cuthbert the Dodgers.
  • Friend of (I know I'm saying that a lot lately, but I guess I have more friends than I used to) Stick and Ball Guy wrote an interesting review of The Hardball Times' Bullpen Book. SBG also alerted me to that article on Luis Rivas that got me all hot and bothered yesterday.
  • Did you realize you can trade pretend "shares" of this blog? It looks interesting, but I have no clue how it works and I'm guessing I don't have the mental capacity to understand it. Someone once tried to explain how the real stock market works to me in very simple terms and I lasted about 30 seconds. Each share of is apparently worth $3,405.90 in pretend money, which of course does me no good whatsoever.
  • I'm not sure how my gigantic ego and I missed this when it first came out, but I was mentioned in an article about blogging on None of you care, I know, but I think my mom prints that sort of stuff out and shows it to my grandparents or something.
  • It isn't a link, but I needed a place to share this: I recently watched all 18 episodes of Freaks and Geeks and I was legitimately sad and depressed when the credits started rolling on the last one. The fact that a show like that can get canceled so quickly while an abomination like According to Jim stays on the air long enough to get syndicated is one of the more appalling aspects of our society.

    In fact, I literally just got angry typing that paragraph. Seriously. I feel robbed for not being able to see the rest of what would have been a great, long-running series. Oh, and here's a little tidbit: Linda Cardellini (who, incidentally, I am completely ready to marry), was playing Lindsay Weir when she was 24 years old in real life. She turns 30 in June, which completely blows my mind. Go buy the DVD and then you too can be angry and depressed about a TV show.

  • And finally, this is an actual e-mail I got from the "Assistant Director of Residential Life" at the University of Minnesota:

    Wednesday, March 16, 2005

    To All RBC Residents:

    This morning the RBC Facilities staff discovered extensive damage in the RBC Clubroom. Either last night or early this morning someone/or a group of people damaged the control panel for the TV and lights and smeared butter on the walls, floor/carpet/furniture, window blinds, etc., poured salad dressing on the floor and crumbled cookies throughout the room. We are in the process of determining the cost of the damage that was done, and the cost of repairs for the control panel.

    The Club Room will be locked until further notice. The Club Room can be reserved through the RBC business office for CA or Community Council programs and events.

    If any of you are aware of who may be responsible for this damage or have any question's, please contact the business office at 625-8784, the Information Desk at 625-8786 or a Community Advisor.

    Lisa Schulte
    Assistant Director, Residential Life

    People are really wonderful, aren't they?

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - All Batted Ball Types, All The Time (by Tom Meagher)
    - Ten Things I Didn't Know Last Week (by Studes)

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