August 1, 2008
Like a child actor on a long-running sitcom, I've grown up on this blog. Or at least whatever growing up I've done has been chronicled here. If you'd told me back in 2002 that this blog would be around six months later, I'd have been surprised. If you'd told me back in 2002 that this blog would be around six years later and would be largely responsible for most good things in my life ... well, I'd have stared blankly at you like people back in 2002 stared blankly at me when I tried to explain what a "blog" was.
Whether this is your first day here or you've been around for all six years (hi mom!), thanks for stopping by. My dream has always been to write about sports for a living and while this isn't quite the path that was stuck in my head growing up, it's been an amazing experience full of wonderful opportunities and I couldn't be happier with how the ride has gone so far. And none of it would have been possible without this blog and the people who read it, so thank you.
While my head tries to wrap itself around the fact that I've been doing this for six years, here's the usual assortment of Friday links ...
They'd blow up a half-dozen balls, smack them around the section for a few minutes, and then watch as one particular female usher would angrily grab them and pop each one while scolding everyone. And then 15 minutes later another half-dozen beach balls would be flying around the section. It was oddly pretty fascinating and there must have been at least 25 balls involved, which made life miserable (or perhaps more miserable) for the usher.
Near the end of the game Will grabbed hold of a beach ball and popped it with the pen he'd been using to keep score, which incensed everyone around us. A fairly loud chant of "a**-hole, a**-hole, a**-hole" immediately started--which Greg and I giddily took part in--and throughout the last couple innings Will was heckled from all sides by some legitimately furious people. Among the many things that angry fans called Will was "ball-point pen guy," which is a nickname that I'm really hoping sticks.
"Wear black and wear layers."
A few things. First, the guy's initial e-mail led off with: "Usually your blogs are great. They make a lot of sense. I agree with the majority of them." Seriously. Things were going smoothly until "however" and then it fell apart in a hurry. Beyond that, someone suggesting that "all you do is kiss Ron Gardenhire's ass" is spectacularly amusing to me and probably to anyone who's read this blog for any length of time. As you might guess, our e-mailer began reading the blog last week after hearing me on KFAN.
You can look at all the bogus sabremetric stats you want, and twist any stat to say what you want it to say really. Sabremetric stats are a terrible representation of a player's effectiveness. Everyone seems to worship a guy like Joe Mauer. I'm sure those sabremetric stats you lend so much credence in say he's great. However, when I watch him play, I see a powerless black hole in the #3 spot in the order. I see a mediocre game caller and a guy who lets way too many balls go between his legs. I see a giant rally killer in the middle of the lineup that always finds a way to ground into a double play when the Twins need runs the most.
You can kiss Gardenhire's ass all you want, and you too excessively in my opinion, but he is one of the worst in game managers in baseball. Between what you've said on Morris' show and in your blogs, all you do is kiss Gardenhire's ass. I'd love to see anything where you don't. Do forward me these blog entries, if they even exist. You're blog would be for everyone if you knew what you were talking about. your garbage sabremetric stats are just filler due to your lack of actual opinion on anything. You should be ashamed for putting such garbage on your site!!!
Brian Bannister has gone 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA against the Twins, but one of my rules is that whenever a stat-head pitcher uses a website co-created by me to analyze his performance via one of my go-to stats and gets an article written about his doing so by always awesome Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnanski, I'm willing to overlook his beating my favorite team. Pat Neshek and Bannister really ought to hang out.
Brian Bannister feels nervous over breakfast. And when Bannister feels nervous, he goes to the numbers. In rough times, he has always found comfort in numbers. "Look at my xFIP," he is saying as he pulls out a few pages he printed off the Internet site, "The Hardball Times." ... At the moment--it is Thursday morning, just 36 hours before what might be the most important start of Brian Bannister's still budding career--he is dying to understand what the heck has happened to him.
"Look," he says, and here is his row of xFIP numbers: 2006: 6.29. 2007: 5.14. 2008: 4.59. "Look at that," he says again. "I'm actually pitching better than I was last year. My xFIP is down. It's just that I got lucky last year." Then he stares at the numbers for another few seconds, and he offers a frustrated smile because he knows that, in the end, nobody else really cares about his xFIP.
As someone who grew up wanting to write for a newspaper and ended up making a living online, I've been fascinated with the rapidly changing media landscape. Because of that fascination it wasn't so long ago that this space was regularly filled with news of the latest print-to-web switches taking place across the country, but over the past couple years newspaper departures have become so common that it now hardly seems like news at all. Good luck, Roch.
Interestingly, the new-and-improved Paul Byrd is scheduled to face the Twins this weekend.
Paul Byrd ... credited former major leaguer and current Twins broadcaster Bert Blyleven for a new grip on his slider that resulted in added effectiveness against left-handers. Blyleven's advice pertained to the curveball he threw in his long career, but Byrd applied it to a slider because he doesn't throw a curve. "I struck out three left-handers with it," he said.
Once you're done here, check out my latest "Daily Dose" column over at Rotoworld.