August 3, 2006


  • This news is really disheartening (although the pictures attached to the story do cheer me up a bit).
  • When two titans in their field square off in a battle for the ages, there can be no loser.
  • Many fans have reportedly lost interest in boxing recently in favor of the UFC, but I've discovered a sure-fire way to revitalize the sport.
  • Among Will Young's many brilliant photo-shop efforts this season, this one is definitely my favorite. Also, after careful consideration I'm officially onboard with "F-Bomb" as Francisco Liriano's nickname. I even did my best to push the nickname on non-Twins fans earlier this week.
  • As a college drop-out, seeing the following headline in the Minneapolis Star Tribune last week made me smile: "College degree becoming less than a piece of paper." Of course, the actual article didn't even come close to matching the tone of the headline and included this closing paragraph:

    Still, a college education can be a ticket to higher-paying jobs. College graduates earned an average $51,206 last year, while high school graduates earned $27,915, according to Census Bureau figures. Those with no high school diploma earned $18,734.

    I'm not sure how that translates to a "college degree becoming less than a piece of paper," but then again I probably don't have the education necessary to write attention-grabbing headlines for a living. The numbers quoted above appear to show that a college degree is worth an extra $20,000 or so per year, but there are all sorts of other factors involved in those wages.

    For instance, I would suggest that college graduates, as a group, are smarter and harder-working than non-graduates. Because of that, you'd expect them to receive higher-paying jobs regardless of their education. In other words, do they make more money because they have a college degree or are the people in position to earn higher wages more likely to pursue a college degree?

    In baseball terms, it's like saying first-round picks play an average of five seasons in the big leagues, while players taken in the later rounds average only one year in the majors. Is the primary reason that those first rounders end up having significantly longer careers that they were drafted earlier or were they drafted earlier because they were more likely to have longer careers to begin with?

    It's a chicken-or-egg question and it's possible that I'm too biased to see it clearly. If I could go back in time, I'd skip college altogether, save the money spent on fours years of tuition, and get a head start on finding a job. Of course, if I did that then I wouldn't be able to complain about the Minnesota Daily, so it's probably a wash.

  • On a somewhat related note, here's one of the many interesting book-related facts collected by Dan Poynter (by way of Jeff Jarvis):

    The median household income for book buyers is $41,600, compared to $35,300 for all adults.

    If all these numbers are to be taken at face value, a college degree is worth an extra $20,000 per year, while simply buying a few books is worth an extra $6,000 per year. Now, $14,000 is certainly a lot of money, but taking a trip to Barnes & Noble doesn't involve biology lectures or calculus tests. By the way, do you see what I mean about it being a chicken-or-egg situation now?

    Normally I'd make some sort of sarcastic comment about how graduating from college and buying books leads to untold millions, but Poynter also notes that 42 percent of college graduates "never read another book" after finishing school. I find that almost impossible to believe, but I've probably done enough quibbling with data already today.

    Among the countless other interesting book-related notes Poynter passes along is that 81 percent of people feel they "have a book inside them." As you might expect, I'm in that group (though not literally, because that'd be really uncomfortable). And yes, all of this is just an elaborate excuse for me to bring up the fact that The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2007 is available for pre-order.

  • One of the more interesting aspects of this year's World Series of Poker Main Event is the number of non-poker celebrities playing. Celebs like Jennifer Tilly, Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, and James Woods have shown a legitimate interest in poker over the years, while many others probably see the $10,000 entry fee as a relatively cheap way to potentially get some publicity.

    If your acting career isn't going well, going deep in the world's biggest poker tournament could get you back in the spotlight. Dozens of well-known actors, musicians, and athletes were among the 8,778 players in this year's ongoing Main Event. That poker has become mainstream enough for celebrities to actually use it to increase their exposure shows how much things have changed in just a few years.

    With that said, without question the biggest change in the poker world is that people who look like this are now professional poker players and people who look like this are now cashing in $10,000 buy-in tournaments. Meanwhile, people who look like this are still dreaming about finding a backer to play next year. As usual, Tao of Poker has all your WSOP-related needs taken care of and then some.

  • Trevor Williams of the Brainerd Dispatch recently interviewed me for a column about baseball websites. Along with the usual stuff about this blog, I also share some exclusive details about my golfing career.
  • After taking Kansas City reliever Leo Nunez deep last night, Josh Rabe now has three homers in 29 at-bats as a major leaguer. Prior to being called up last month, Rabe had a total of four homers in 316 at-bats at Triple-A Rochester. Whether Rabe co-signed Jason Tyner's deal with the devil or this is another feather in hitting coach Joe Vavra's growing cap, I'm enjoying the unexpected power display.

    I also enjoyed Brad Radke showing that one bad start against a good lineup wasn't the beginning of his demise. Even with a rough outing against the Tigers last weekend, Radke's eight innings of two-run ball against the Royals last night made him to 6-2 with a 3.35 ERA over his last 13 starts dating back to late June.

  • I can't quite decide which is more damning about the state of the mainstream media: This clip or this news.
  • I'm not normally much of a theater fan--I once fell asleep during a Broadway performance of Rent in New York--but here's a play I can definitely appreciate: Theatre De La Jeune Lune will be performing the brilliantly-titled comedy Johan Santana's Perfect Game at this month's Minneapolis Fringe Festival.

    Here's a description of the show that playwright Jonathan Wemette passed along:

    Set at an apartment in Minneapolis' Cremette Historic Lofts, unlikely roommates Paul and Ben realize the true power of classic baseball superstition when they discover that their clasped hands hold the fate of Johan Santana's success.

    This revelation arrives in the seventh inning of a Minnesota Twins game against the Detroit Tigers, as Santana pitches to Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez ("the most deceptively nicknamed player in the major leagues").

    When Ben's girlfriend, Claire, arrives with her own agenda for the night, her plans threaten to destroy the cosmic bond that could clench the impossible. Do Ben and Paul hold the Minnesota Twins' first-ever perfect game in their hands? Find out, in the funniest two innings the Fringe will ever play.

    For more information on Johan Santana's Perfect Game, including show times and how to purchase tickets, click here.

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