January 20, 2008

The Answers (Part 1: Random Questions)

Opening the floor up for questions last week led to over 100 being asked in the comments section and another two dozen or so being sent in via e-mail. Responding to all of them would be pretty tough, but I'll tackle as many as possible by breaking up the answers into two entries. Below you'll find the first installment, which covers questions that I'd classify as "random." That means stuff about this blog, my personal life, and basically anything that's not directly related to the Twins.

Is this the worst list of questions that you've ever gotten?

Yes, and it's not even close.

Do bloggers have groupies?

They do, but unfortunately most of them look an awful lot like the blogger.

What references/websites do you use for your statistics?

I use Baseball-Reference.com and The Hardball Times most often, but also find plenty of numbers at Rotoworld, Fan Graphs, Retrosheet, Baseball Prospectus, The Baseball Cube, ESPN.com, MLB.com, and MiLB.com (plus several other places that I'm probably forgetting).

If you could have dinner with any three people in the world, who would they be?

I've actually answered this question before as part of the "Better Know a Citizen" series at Stick and Ball Guy's blog. I'll say now what I said then: Howard Stern, Adam Carolla, and Bill Simmons. Among people I've never met, those are my three favorite.

How do you remain so interested in baseball when a guy like Johan Santana gets offered $20 million for four years and says, "Sorry, not enough"?

Why should Johan Santana agree to a four-year deal worth $80 million when he can easily get $125 million or more by not accepting it? I'm unable to grasp the logic in ceasing to be interested in baseball because a great player isn't willing to accept significantly below-market pay for the prime-earning years of a career that will likely be over before he's 40 years old. Beyond that, do you stop enjoying movies because Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt turns down a $20 million offer to star in one?

If offered sound advice on improving your prospects with women would you be interested?

Sound advice? No. Horrible advice? Maybe.

What have you been working on for Rotoworld since the NFL regular season ended?

One of the reasons why the amount of content here has been somewhat lighter than usual lately is that over the past few weeks I've been working pretty much non-stop on the annual Rotoworld Baseball Draft Guide. Most of the writing and editing work for the 160-page magazine is finally complete, but tomorrow morning I'm flying to the Beckett Media offices in Dallas to put the finishing touches on the whole project.

Last year's business trip to Dallas involved sitting behind Mark Cuban at a Mavericks game, actually putting some of the skills learned in journalism school to use, getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the top-secret Beckett Grading Services facilities, witnessing a city cancel school because of what couldn't have been more than a quarter-inch of snow, closing down a Hooters after a hard day of editing, and successfully talking everyone at Beckett into featuring Santana on the cover.

My goal for this year's cover? Pat Neshek.

Are we ever going to see another installment of the Top 40 Minnesota Twins series?

Of course. My ability to research and write the Top 40 Minnesota Twins series depends largely on how much of my time is spent on my actual job, so working non-stop on the magazine has made it tough to continue the series since naming the No. 16 player in Twins history last month. I'm midway through the write-up for No. 15, so hopefully I'll be able to finish that and then get going on No. 14 after returning from Dallas. In the meantime, here are links to the first 25 installments of the 40-part series:

- #16 Corey Koskie
- #17 Earl Battey
- #18 Rick Aguilera
- #19 Dave Goltz
- #20 Camilo Pascual
- #21 Gary Gaetti
- #22 Zoilo Versalles
- #23 Cesar Tovar
- #24 Shane Mack
- #25 Brian Harper
- #26 Eddie Guardado
- #27 Larry Hisle
- #28 Tom Brunansky
- #29 Kevin Tapani
- #30 Jacque Jones
- #31 Butch Wynegar
- #32 Al Worthington
- #33 Greg Gagne
- #34 Matt Lawton
- #35 Steve Braun
- #36 Dave Boswell
- #37 Jimmie Hall
- #38 Eric Milton
- #39 Scott Erickson
- #40 Randy Bush

Who do you support for president?

Jim Souhan, with Sid Hartman as his older, more experienced running mate, but only on the condition that they both cease writing columns for the Minneapolis Star Tribune once they take office.

Would you be willing to wear a t-shirt saying "Free Jason Kubel!" if I got a bunch of them printed?

Sure. I regularly wear a Gophers football t-shirt, so I'm not exactly picky.

What about wear it on television?

This seems like a trick question, unless you mean wear it while literally standing atop a television set.

Does Elisha Cuthbert flipping off the camera last week help or hinder her chances of being the Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com again? I got the impression that it helped, but to me it should only help Jenna Fischer's chances because she seems sweeter.

When a former OFGoAG.com wants to improve her chances of reclaiming the throne, flipping off some paparazzi while wearing a skimpy bikini is probably the way to go. Jenna Fischer's sweetness (or at least her character Pam Beesly's sweetness on The Office) certainly plays a major factor in her being an OFGoAG.com contender, but my aunt recently came up with a theory on why I'm such a big fan of Fischer/Beesly that has me reconsidering her chances. Seriously.

When are you going to crown a new OFGoAG.com? It's been long enough, you should be able to pick by now.

It's been over a year since Elisha Cuthbert was stripped of her title and it's unfortunate that the throne has remained vacant for so long, but this obviously isn't a decision that should be taken lightly or rushed. Each of the three previous title-holders--Cuthbert, Jessica Alba, Heidi Klum--clearly emerged from the rest of the pack to claim OFGoAG.com honors and I'm waiting for a similar emergence to take place this time around.

Keeping Cuthbert on as the interim OFGoAG.com was always an option and going with Fischer or Keeley Hazell as the fourth OFGoAG.com certainly wouldn't be a mistake, but by being patient my hope is that a clear choice will step forward. As always, suggestions are encouraged, especially if they come with photographic evidence. Sadly, it looks like Alba is no longer a factor. Actually, between Alba and Klum procreation has ruined some pretty good OFGoAG.com careers.

Would you ever consider doing a football/Vikings blog during the offseason?

I write several thousand words about football over at Rotoworld every day from September to January, so short of some kind of football-blogging grant from the government you'll probably never see much Vikings-related stuff covered in this space.

What's your dream car? Dream car that you can reasonably afford?

I'm not really much into cars. I've owned two in my life and their combined value at the time that I've owned them is probably less than $3,500. Of course, if my daily commute to work involved actually leaving the house I might feel more compelled to get a better ride.

How does Jesus feel about the Red Sox?

He's a big fan of Kevin Youkilis and Theo Epstein, although I don't own a shirt for that.

Back in the early days (before you and your freakishly large hands were regular sights in national magazines), what did you do to draw readers to your blog?

I'm asked this question quite often and wish that I had a better answer to give, but the truth is that I didn't do anything particularly unique. I started this blog in August of 2002 and basically just did my best to pump out new content that was worth reading on a daily basis. At some point a few other blogs gave me some links and the ball started rolling. Unfortunately, it's a lot tougher to gain readership by word of mouth when you start from scratch at this stage.

Back then there were only a handful of prominent baseball blogs, but now most teams have at least a dozen devoted to them. My advice would be to write as much as possible as often as possible and to become involved in the blogosphere by liberally linking to other sites. That makes other bloggers likely to return the favor and once they do you want as much good content as possible to get those new readers hooked. If you write good stuff, people will hopefully stumble across it eventually.

Is there one male in the world who wouldn't go to Cabo San Lucas with Jessica Simpson on their weekend off?

You may have had a hard time finding someone to pass that up a month ago, but my guess is that right now the one guy who could probably be counted on to turn it down is Tony Romo.

What non-baseball-related vacation would you most like to take?

I'm not sure, but for some reason going to Cabo San Lucas with Jessica Simpson on my weekend off comes to mind.

Are you going to Cleveland this summer for the annual Society for American Baseball Research convention?

Absolutely. In fact, my hotel room is already booked and the convention isn't until June. Barring the whole Simpson-in-Cabo thing coming true--and really, there's probably not much more than a 40-45 percent chance of that happening--going to the SABR convention is my lone vacation each year.

How do you feel about MLB.com Twins beat writer Kelly Thesier? Personally, I can't stand her parroting of the front office and her ever-present optimism about the Twins and their sometimes questionable decisions.

On a personal level, I think Kelly Thesier is great. We met face-to-face at the winter meetings in Florida last offseason and she was very friendly to me despite us both knowing that I'd written plenty of critical things about her work. On a professional level, I'm not a big fan. To be fair she's in a somewhat difficult position, essentially being paid by the team that she reports on, but I've intentionally avoided reading much of her recent work after initially finding it lacking on a number of levels.

How many words per minute can you type?

I'm not sure, but it's definitely a lot. For some reason I actually took a "keyboarding" class while in high school and remember doing pretty well on the speed tests, but can't recall any specific numbers. That may have been my all-time favorite class, because the teacher was so disinterested and the workload was so minimal that I spent each hour listening to Howard Stern's radio show on my Walkman. That may help explain why Highland Park Senior High isn't considered the world's greatest school.

Will you be making an appearance at TwinsFest this year?

I haven't been to TwinsFest in at least a decade and almost surely won't be going this year unless there's some sort of blogger get-together being planned. Autographs don't interest me one bit and I've been to enough baseball card shows to last a dozen lifetimes.

How much e-mail do you get that you would consider rude and offensive, and how do you handle it?

The number of "rude and offensive" e-mails that I receive has significantly decreased since installing a comments section here a couple years ago. On the other hand, the number of nasty comments are far more plentiful than the number of nasty e-mails ever were. It makes sense, because commenting can be done more anonymously than e-mailing and there's a built-in audience for the nastiness, which seemingly appeals to the people who might say something "rude and offensive" in the first place.

What do you like on your pizza?

I'm a big believer in the combination of pepperoni and sausage.

Why do you dislike Joe Buck so much? I've read some of your reasons over the past year or so, such as his outrage over Randy Moss' touchdown mooning celebration in Green Bay and his Shecky-like persona, but is there something deeper there?

He strikes me as a world-class blowhard who thinks that he's much funnier than he actually is, often ignores doing his job in favor of pushing some agenda, and has gotten to the top of his profession in large part because of nepotism. Toss in some specific events, such as his laughable overreaction to Randy Moss pretending to moon a hostile crowd in Green Bay, and you can see why he causes me to hit the mute button. His dad was great, though.

Do you think that the force-out rule is the stupidest one in the NFL? It's not flag football, right?

As someone who was once involved in a brawl at a youth league flag-football game, I'm not sure how to answer this.

Would you have pulled the plug on Shana Hiatt as host of Poker After Dark on NBC? What do you think of her replacement and your new NBC co-worker, Marianela Pereyra?

I'm a Shana Hiatt fan, but her job on Poker After Dark seemingly involved being attractive and speaking for approximately 30 seconds per episode, and my sense is that she was getting paid an awful lot to do that. Marianela Pereyra doesn't appear to be any more or less capable than Hiatt and is likely paid a fraction of the salary, so it's a bit like the Twins calling up a prospect to replace a high-priced veteran. I've watched nearly every episode and the show would be just as good without any female host.

How drunk was Gavin Smith on the show last week and will they ever invite him back?

I'm sure that Gavin Smith was somewhat drunk, because he was drinking at the table, but it seemed like he was playing it up a bit. He's a big guy and has a reputation for drinking a lot, so sipping a couple glasses while playing poker seemingly shouldn't do that much damage. They should definitely invite him back, because he's both a good player and extremely entertaining. I'd highly suggest checking out the podcast that Smith co-hosts with Joe Sebok and Bart Hanson over at Poker Road.

What's your favorite power tool?

I'm pretty sure that this means we've officially run out of decent questions.

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.