May 17, 2007


  • I tend to pick on Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Jim Souhan, calling him "Shecky" because of his tendency to fill columns with lame attempts at humor in the form of hacky one-liners and forced pop-culture references. I'll admit to getting a kick out of seeing other people refer to him using that nickname, but every once in a while I reconsider whether the constant jabbing is warranted. Thankfully, whenever I begin to have doubts, Souhan seems to write something like this:

    This position is about as fashionable these days as cell phones the size of Cornish hens, but I agree with Twins General Manager Terry Ryan. Ryan has responded to cries for the acquisition of a righthanded bat by arguing that one hitter would do as much good for the Twins as a Dixie cup of water would do for the Boundary Waters conflagration.

    Those are the first two sentences of a column about baseball that appeared in the sports section of the No. 1 newspaper in a major market earlier this week. Seriously. Coming right out of the box with "cell phones the size of Cornish hens" is certainly a bold decision in that it's completely random, painfully forced, likely fails to resonate with a huge chunk of the audience, and ultimately makes little sense. Of course, actually being funny or informative or interesting would be even bolder. So yeah, Shecky it is.

  • When two of my all-time favorite people get together to talk boxing and mixed martial arts, it makes for a great podcast.
  • As someone who recently bought his first home in Minnesota, I was surprised to read the following in an article about the current state of the country's real-estate market:

    In the Midwest, existing home sales fell 6.1 percent to a pace of 1.5 million units. The median single-family home price was $154,600, down 2.8 percent from a year earlier.

    To put that in some context, the article lists the median single-family home prices as $336,200 in the West, $268,900 in the Northeast, and $177,800 in the South. Sadly, no word on what the median home prices are for guys who write about baseball from bed.

  • Deadspin's Will Leitch is slightly better at blogging than singing.
  • Friend of and fellow Twins blogger Trevor Born wrote an excellent piece in the Star Tribune about the impact GPA requirements have on high-school athletics. I'm 24 years old and know how to use a computer, so I don't actually pay to have a bunch of articles printed on paper and delivered to my doorstep each morning, but I'm told that Born's piece appeared on the sport section's front page. I think that officially makes him the LeBron James of sportswriting, because Born's still in high school.
  • To me, stuff like this is what the internet will always be made for.
  • After Mother's Day dinner, my family was sitting around talking and the subject of The Office came up. Apparently the fact that Jenna Fischer is a strong Official Fantasy Girl of candidate is well known in the people-related-to-me demographic, because my 15-year-old cousin asked if it was true. Actually, she got sort of a disturbed look on her face and I think her exact words were, "You really like the secretary?"

    I tried to explain the attraction to Fischer (by way of Pam Beesly) without getting too creepy, although I'm not sure if my uncle (her father) chiming in to agree with me helped or hurt that effort. What I am sure of is that our little discussion--and in-depth, back-and-forth debate about the attractiveness of a woman who's clearly extremely attractive--appears to have jinxed Fischer. Here's a report from the New York Post's famous "Page Six":

    "The Office" star Jenna Fischer won't be going back to Buddakan any time soon. The pretty brunette was celebrating her series being renewed Monday night with friends when she slipped on the restaurant's marble steps and fractured four bones in her back. A friend said she spent the night in St. Vincent's hospital and had to cancel an appearance on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" and a Harper's Bazaar shoot. Fischer's rep, Lewis Kay, said yesterday she's "doing much better and is resting at her hotel. Her husband [director James Gunn] flew in to be with her."

    Ouch. Incidentally, James Gunn is the brother of Brian Gunn, who's a friend of and occasional contributor to The Hardball Times.

  • With Fischer sidelined, Jessica Alba has taken full advantage of the opportunity to jump right back into the race.
  • Formers Gophers wrestler and WWE star Brock Lesnar is scheduled make his MMA debut on June 2 against 7-foot-2, 355-pound Hong Man Choi (not only is that a real name, he's a legit fighter). Also on that fight card: MMA legend Royce Gracie and longtime NFL wide receiver Johnnie Morton.
  • The Twins wasted yet another strong start from Johan Santana yesterday afternoon, getting shut out by Fausto Carmona to complete a three-game sweep at the hands of the Indians. Santana has a 3.26 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 58 innings, but he's just 4-4 because the offense has given him horrible run support. The lineup has scored 0, 3, 2, 3, 3, 6, 2, 3, and 7 runs in Santana's nine starts, which works out to a pathetic average of 3.2 runs per game. The AL as a whole is averaging 4.7 runs per game.

    Santana hasn't been the league's best pitcher through six weeks of the season, so right now it's a non-issue. However, if he ends up turning it up a notch and finishing the year at the top of the AL, the lack of run support will likely cost him the Cy Young award. And if you don't believe me, look back to the 2005 season, when Santana was clearly better than Bartolo Colon in nearly every possible way, yet lost the Cy Young award because he managed just 16 wins thanks to horrible offensive support.

  • Yes, yes he is.
  • The Big Picture continued their ongoing series of outstanding interviews with bloggers by talking to Henry Abbott, who turned his True Hoop blog into a full-time gig with
  • When I first read that University of Georgia golf coach Todd McCorkle "shared a sexually explicit Paris Hilton video with the team" I thought two things. One, that's really odd. Two, it's amusing that there are enough sexually explicit Hilton videos that you have to refer to it as "a" instead of "the." After reading a little bit further, I realized that McCorkle coached the women's golf team. Let's just say that I understand why he was fired.
  • Which inner-circle Hall of Famer is next on the chopping block? On the same day,'s front page featured Scoop Jackson calling Roger Clemens "the most selfish man in sports" and Jemele Hill calling Brett Favre "a selfish brat." already made it abundantly clear that Barry Bonds is the worst person in the history of mankind, so I suppose at some point you have to move on to ripping other historically great athletes in order to "shock" the audience. You know, since "writing good articles" was apparently never an option.
  • Are any readers planning to watch UFC 71 at one of the local bars and restaurants that are showing the pay-per-view? I'd love to watch Chuck Liddell fight Quentin Jackson, but I'm not so sure I want to drop $40 to do it.
  • Back in March, while suggesting that going with Ramon Ortiz, Carlos Silva, and Sidney Ponson in the starting rotation would likely lead to another poor start, I wrote the following:

    I've gotten comments along the lines of: "What's the big deal? The Twins can always ditch them and bring up the prospects." While technically true, that line of thinking ignores several key points.

    First, games played in April and May count as much as games played in August and September. The Twins dug themselves out of a deep hole last year, but planning to do the same every season is hardly a successful strategy. The AL Central may contain four of the 10 best teams in baseball this year, and the Twins will almost certainly need every win they can get.

    After getting swept in Cleveland, the Twins are 18-22 and seven games back in the AL Central. After 40 games last season, the Twins were 17-23 and 9.5 games back in the AL Central. I hope they kept their shovels.

  • This week's "Gleeman Report" video on focuses on two of baseball's top starting pitchers going down with injuries. I also did my twice-weekly call-in segments on's "Fantasy Fix" show. Monday's show included my usual waiver-wire suggestions and me inserting Tiffany Simons' name into a famous Satchell Paige quote. Thursday's show featured Tyler Bleszinski of Athletics Nation talking about the A's many injuries and talk of my mom's favorite player.

  • Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.

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