October 20, 2005


  • I get a kick out of people who are completely delusional. I'm not talking about people who simply don't have a great grip on who they are, but rather the people whose opinion of themselves is almost completely opposite of reality. Because of that, I took great pleasure in reading the following about Royce Clayton in the Arizona Republic:

    Shortstop Royce Clayton indicated Thursday that he appears headed toward free agency, where he believes his market value will be greater than the one-year offer the Diamondbacks presented this week.

    Clayton, a Valley resident, would prefer the security of a multiyear deal, and he says he took a hometown discount to play this year and doesn't expect to do it again for the Diamondbacks, who are believed to have made an offer worth around $1.5 million.

    "Knowing that the average major league shortstop is making between $4 million and $5 million," Clayton said, "it would be a disservice to my family to entertain that offer after I put up the two types of seasons that I did."

    In case you're wondering about these two great seasons Clayton is referring to, he hit .279/.338/.397 in 2004 and .270/.320/.351 this year. Those numbers are bad enough taken at face value, but become even worse when you consider that he put them up while playing for the Rockies and Diamondbacks, who play their home games in two of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in baseball. Oh, and Clayton turns 36 years old in January.

    Clayton's statements are like if I tried to sell my 1994 Pontiac Grand Am that occasionally fails to start and has an air-conditioner that works about half the time by saying, "Knowing that the average blue car sells for between $10,000 and $20,000, it would be a disservice to my family to entertain that offer after it drove like it did over the past two years." If there is any justice whatsoever in the world Clayton will have to settle for a spring-training invite and a non-guaranteed minor-league deal this spring.

  • This may come as a huge shock to everyone, but Jessica Alba looks really cute playing video games.
  • Not only can A.J. Pierzynski induce bad calls out of umpires in key playoff games, it turns out he is also an accomplished jello-shooter.
  • Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks the Minneapolis Star Tribune's re-designed website stinks. Seth Stohs, who is far less likely to criticize something than a jerk like me, had this to say about the new online layout:

    I hate to say this. I was a daily reader of the Star-Tribune online site. OK, fine, I would check it out a couple of times a day. It was a great source for information. I have to admit that its new format is awful. It is far more confusing. I don't understand how they could have thought that it was in any way easy. Maybe the online format was done to help the actual newspaper sales? Maybe others will become so frustrated with this horrible new format that they will have to go out and buy the newspaper! That is good news for the St. Paul Pioneer Press because I have started going there now for more sports information.

    So not only have the people in charge at the newspaper decided to put all their time and money into making things look better (rather than, say, making it read better), they've done a poor job of it. You know, because I needed it to be more of a challenge to get to Shecky Souhan's latest batch of one-liners.

  • Ryan Kobliska, whom I'm happy to report is in the AG.com fantasy basketball league, has an extremely good preview of the University of Minnesota basketball team over at his blog, Hawkeye Hoops. He breaks down the team's strengths and weaknesses from last year in a sabermetric style, and then provides in-depth stats and comments for each player.

    For instance, did you know that while Vincent Grier led the Gophers in scoring last season, he was just the fourth-most efficient scorer on the team? Or that the Gophers had the stingiest defense in the Big Ten last year by a fairly wide margin? By the way, for those of you who have been e-mailing me about joining the fantasy basketball league ... sorry, but it filled up about three hours after I posted about it Monday.

  • If you're not already visiting Dead Spin on a daily basis, you're really missing out. This week's highlight? Will Leitch's field trip to Quite Frankly With Stephen A. Smith.
  • Remember in last week's Link-O-Rama, when I linked to a Wired article about bloggers making money and said, "I remain convinced that a decent living can be scratched out solely from blogging if it's done right, although I have about a dozen too many other writing gigs (and not nearly enough money in the bank) to find out if I'm right"?

    Well, Wayne Hurlbert over at WebProNews.com actually devoted a column to it. I'm looking into hiring Hurlbert to walk around with me on a full-time basis for the sole purpose of introducing me to people, because he really makes me sound quite successful.

  • I can't remember the last time I was simultaneously this excited and this prepared for disappointment regarding a movie sequel: Saw II is apparently coming soon to a theater near you.
  • Paul Shirley had a blog on NBA.com last year describing his life as the 12th man on the Phoenix Suns. He's still trying to latch on with a team for this season, but wherever he ends up Shirley will be writing about his experiences at ESPN.com. I criticize ESPN.com a lot here, but this is a great move.
  • Speaking of criticizing ESPN, can you imagine how many negative things George Solomon would say about the network if he weren't working for them?
  • Larry Bird added to his considerable legend by tacking on three years to a man's jail sentence without even trying.
  • The Raptors began preparing for their horrendous season by losing to an Israeli team led by NBA reject Anthony Parker, who is under no circumstances to be confused with Eva Longoria dater Tony Parker.
  • Here are the links to my Football Daily Dose columns over at FoxSports.com this week: Monday ... Tuesday ... Wednesday ... Thursday. And in case you need to be convinced that reading my writing about football is worthwhile, here's an excerpt from yesterday's column:

    The Cardinals are playing coy with their quarterback situation, which is funny considering their quarterback situation consists of either starting Josh McCown or Kurt Warner Sunday against the Titans.

    "We made the decision, but we're not going to make an announcement until it's time to play the ballgame," coach Dennis Green told the Arizona Republic. "We're not going to make a big deal about it." The only problem is that making a big deal about it is exactly what Green is doing. His non-decision is getting daily coverage in the Arizona media, and the team went so far as having both McCown and Warner share the podium when speaking with reporters Wednesday.

    If ever there was much ado about nothing, this is it. It's like someone taking you to Pizza Hut for your birthday and telling you to keep your eyes closed because they don't want you to see what kind of pizza you're getting. It'll be a secret until the pizza comes out, but you'll still be eating Pizza Hut either way.

    See, I can make pithy comments and bad analogies about multiple sports.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - The Big Threes (by John Brattain)
    - Monkey Off Their Backs: Astros reach the World Series (by Brian Gunn)
    - The Windowbreakers (by Steve Treder)

    Today's Picks (126-106, +$2,060):
    Kansas City +1.5 (-110) over Miami

    Saturday's Picks:
    Virginia PK (-110) over North Carolina
    Northwestern +13.5 (-110) over Michigan State
    Iowa -2.5 (-110) over Michigan
    Texas Tech (-110) +17 over Texas

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