February 10, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• If only I could have paid off my losing Super Bowl bet the same way as Maria Menounos.

• This post-Super Bowl column in the Boston Globe is everything wrong with sportswriting.

• I wrote a guest column for Baseball Prospectus, which has been my dream for 15 years.

• KFAN is the eighth-highest rated sports talk radio station in the country.

• I sometimes feel guilty about Link-O-Rama being sexist, so here's something for the ladies.

• I'm starting to think some of these "parents groups" should be more parenting.

• Finally, conclusive evidence that I've spoken to a woman.

• This week's "Gleeman and The Geek" guest, Lindsay Guentzel, was chosen as a finalist for the MLB Fan Cave contest, so go vote for her a few thousand times.

Jose Reyes' dreadlocks sold for $10,200 on eBay. Seriously.

• I'm actually kind of surprised it took this long.

• Obviously the solution is to start using books as toilet paper.

• Just in case you need a pep talk after a long week, Coach Taylor is always here for you:

Can't lose, obviously.

• I've been watching the Starz series Boss on Netflix. It can get a little too cheesy at times, but Kelsey Grammer is great in the lead role and the show is definitely worth watching.

• And after mentioning Boss on Twitter one of the supporting actors randomly replied to me.

• We're doing very important things at Hardball Talk.

Ozzie Gullen, mocking Baseball Think Factory regulars since 2012.

Old habits die hard, even when your entire writing career has been spent on the internet.

• How many episodes of a new television show should you watch before you give up on it?

• This is the best decision rabbis have made since expelling me from Hebrew school.

• I'd love to have sat in on the meetings where this horrendous idea was approved.

• It took one week for former Harvard point guard and NBA journeyman Jeremy Lin to become every Knicks fan's favorite player.

• I'm not really the target demographic for Smash, but I look forward to running into Katharine McPhee at the NBC holiday party.

Kendrick Perkins needs to learn that the key is being the source of the negativity.

• I moved out of St. Paul at age 17, so obviously this happened.

• And to think, this man dated Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com Mila Kunis for many years.

• Something tells me Terry Ryan won't be joining Twitter any time soon.

• Finally, this week's AG.com-approved music video is Basia Bulat signing "Before I Knew":

February 8, 2012

“Gleeman and The Geek” #27: Baseball Boyfriends

This week's episode of "Gleeman and The Geek" was recorded at Wild Boar in Hopkins and our special guest was FSN on-air talent and "MLB Fan Cave" hopeful Lindsay Guentzel. She drank vodka, I drank beer, and John Bonnes drank ... water. Topics included the good and bad sides of female baseball fandom, Ron Gardenhire's preferred lineup, the lack of veteran relief help, John's payroll chat with Dave St. Peter, my nerdiness, and pursuing a career in sports media.

Not included: Lindsay becoming our first guest to sing karaoke after the podcast was over.

UPDATE: MLB has chosen Lindsay as a finalist, so go vote for her several million times.

Gleeman and The Geek: Episode 27

In addition to the direct download link above you can also subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

February 7, 2012

Me at Baseball Prospectus

My excitement about this may be difficult to properly convey because I've been writing about baseball on the internet for a decade now and am fortunate to have had my byline appear in all sorts of great places, but today I have a guest column at Baseball Prospectus and ... well, the 15-year-old me who read every Baseball Prospectus book cover to cover and printed out Baseball Prospectus articles to save in three-ring binders would be giddy right now.

And the 29-year-old me, while admittedly being embarrassed that the 15-year-old version was such a massive nerd, is pretty damn excited too. Thanks to Ben Lindbergh and everyone else at Baseball Prospectus for letting me write something for the place that likely shaped the way I think and write about baseball more than any other. I can say without an ounce of hyperbole that seeing my byline at Baseball Prospectus has been a dream for 15 years. Please read it:

Lose-Lose Situation: Revisiting the Johan Santana Trade

February 6, 2012

Twins Notes: Relievers, starters, outfielders, draftees, and signing an MVP

Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com has the details of Joel Zumaya's one-year deal with the Twins. He's guaranteed $400,000 even if they cut him during spring training and that would turn into $850,000 if Zumaya is on the Opening Day roster, with another $900,000 in potential bonuses based on appearances. If he were to stay healthy and effective for the entire season Zumaya could earn a total of $1.75 million.

Of course, Zumaya hasn't stayed healthy and effective since he was a 21-year-old rookie in 2006, so when he signed my assumption was that the Twins would still look to add another veteran right-hander for the bullpen. At this point, however, that looks increasingly unlikely, as capable relievers continue to sign elsewhere for modest one-year contracts and minor-league deals with no indication that the Twins will snatch one up.

I wrote about the bullpen last week, noting that the Twins' impatience led to overpaying Matt Capps in an obvious buyer's market and is extra frustrating when combined with the apparent unwillingness to spend even $1 million more to address a clear weakness. Since then Todd Coffey signed with the Dodgers for $1.3 million and Chad Qualls signed with the Phillies for $1.15 million. They had plenty of chances to cheaply add a decent setup man and refused.

Terry Ryan said that he views the rotation as a strength, which might be true relative to the rest of the team but certainly isn't true relative to the rest of baseball. Last year Twins starters combined for MLB's fifth-worst ERA and while they might be healthier this time around the front four of Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, and Nick Blackburn made 104 starts in 2011. Jason Marquis replacing Brian Duensing is the only real change and he had a 4.43 ERA.

Clearly the rotation is capable of being better and healthier, but when Pavano is your Opening Day starter and both Blackburn and Marquis are taking the mound every fifth day it's tough to see the group as anything but below average even if you're optimistic about Baker staying healthy and Liriano being way closer to the 2010 version than the 2011 version. My blog-mate Matthew Pouliot projected numbers for all 30 rotations and has the Twins in the bottom five.

• Ryan and Ron Gardenhire have both made it very clear that the starting outfield will be Ben Revere in left field, Denard Span in center field, and Josh Willingham in right field. Assuming that Span is healthy after missing much of last year following a concussion, obviously. Trevor Plouffe is no longer viewed as an infield option and platooning his right-handed bat with the left-handed Revere in left field would make sense, but as usual with Gardenhire that's unlikely.

• With the No. 2 overall pick in June's draft and seven of the first 100 picks the Twins will have MLB's highest signing bonus allotment at around $12 million, according to Jim Callis of Baseball America. February speculation is mostly silly, but Baseball America's early ranking has Stanford pitcher Mark Appel first, followed by high school pitcher Lucas Giolito, high school outfielder Byron Buxton, Arizona State shortstop Devin Marrero, and Florida catcher Mike Zunino.

Camilo Pascual will be this year's inductee into the Twins' team Hall of Fame, which should please Patrick Reusse and the other local media members who've stumped for him in recent years. Pascual, who pitched in Minnesota from 1961-1966, ranked 20th on my list of the best players in Twins history.

Tom Kelly will also have his numbered retired by the Twins, which rendered the normally stoic former manager speechless during the Diamond Awards banquet last week. "Tom Kelly Day" at Target Field is scheduled for September 8, when he'll join Harmon Killebrew, Kirby Puckett, Rod Carew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, and Bert Blyleven as retired numbers.

Chris Colabello is one of the more intriguing minor-league signings in an offseason filled with them, as the 28-year-old first baseman joins the Twins after winning MVP of the independent Canadian-American Association. Colabello has hit .317/.390/.541 in seven years in the CAMA, including .348/.410/.600 with 20 homers in 92 games last year. Not only was he MVP of the CAMA, he was Baseball America's choice as player of the year in all independent leagues.

Luke Hughes injured his shoulder while playing back home in the Australian Baseball League and the Twins have pulled him from the Perth Heat's roster for the championship series.

Justin Morneau denied Nick Nelson's report that his wrist surgery stemmed from an injury that occurred during a clubhouse incident.

• Old friend Pat Neshek, who split last year between the majors and Triple-A for the Padres, signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles.

• Because the Twins are seemingly done adding players this offseason, it's worth noting that their current roster doesn't fare very well based on early projections.

• Finally, just a heads up: My annual series ranking and profiling the Twins' top 40 prospects will begin either later this week or early next week. I'm putting the finishing touches on it now.

February 3, 2012

Link-O-Rama

• These would be the latest fashion trend for bloggers, except we don't wear pants.

• I was a guest on "Fan Graphs Audio" with Carson Cistulli and had a great time chatting about non-baseball stuff for around 45 of the 50 minutes. We discussed the Twins briefly at the end, but not before talking about Louis C.K.'s greatness, how getting rejected made me start blogging, the downside of having to wear pants at work, being propositioned for sex, the advantage of having a name that starts with back-to-back A's, and high-brow versus uni-brow. I think you'll like it a lot.

• Congrats might be the wrong word, but Darren Wolfson and Joe Schmit made Deadspin.

Jon Heyman made Deadspin too and as Hardball Talk readers know it was a long time coming.

• Grown men getting angry at teenagers for changing their minds about which college to attend is one of the weirdest things about sports, especially when the decision-making is based on food.

• I'm worried that my soulmate might die before we even have a chance to share a meal.

• Bad news for Matt Garza, but it only seems fair given how the Rays stole him from the Twins.

• I'll bet even Jim Marshall is confused about how this happened.

John Bonnes called in sick for this week's "Gleeman and The Geek" episode, so I poured myself a scotch and babbled for an hour.

Blake Griffin's dunk on Kendrick Perkins earlier this week was one of the best you'll ever see:

"Oh me oh my!"

• This deserves a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting.

Royce White was the lead story/photo on ESPN.com, with an article about his on-court success and off-court difficulties written by former Minneapolis Star Tribune beat reporter Myron Medcalf.

• Twenty years from now I'm sure his therapist will say this was really healthy.

• In that case, I'll take World to cover the spread.

• If you like soul music as much as me, D'Angelo simply getting back on stage is good news.

Jimmy Kimmel was an excellent guest on Marc Maron's podcast and I especially enjoyed their discussion about two of my favorite things, holding grudges and napping.

• Focusing on NBCSports.com stuff meant ending a five-year run as editor-in-chief of Rotoworld's fantasy baseball magazine, but I still wrote several articles and the online version is available now.

Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press wrote a nice article on Terry Kunze, with whom I've been fortunate enough to watch a bunch of basketball games over the years.

• Proving that I'd make an excellent television executive, Official Fantasy Girl of AG.com candidate Lizzy Caplan has been cast as the lead in a new Showtime series with "sex" in the title.

Kevin Love celebrated his $62 million by taking a Luis Scola fastball to the ... well, you'll see:

Houston's announcer also coined a new phrase in describing the play: "The Love Stomach."

Scott Aukerman and Harris Wittels doing a lot of drugs, recording their experience at a Phish concert, and then later commenting on the recordings made for a pretty great podcast.

• Netflix recommendation: Jens Pulver: Driven, a very gritty, compelling documentary about MMA fighter Jens Pulver, from his difficult upbringing and early UFC success to his comeback attempt.

• It's reassuring that one of my favorite comedians, Chelsea Peretti, was funny seven years ago.

Evan Silva's "matchups" column has been a weekly must-read throughout the NFL season and his Super Bowl breakdown is no different even if I disagree with the ending.

• One of the best and longest-running baseball blogs went back to its roots after leaving ESPN.

• There might finally be a good reason to attend White Sox games at U.S. Cellular Field.

• Both my IBM Thinkpad and backup IBM Thinkpad died more or less of natural causes on Sunday, so I decided to take the plunge and get my first Macintosh computer. I got plenty of warnings that it takes some getting used to and even then the number of subtle differences are more frustrating than expected, but after five days with a Macbook Pro it's easy to see why the cult of Apple has so many members. And the Apple Store employees in Ridgedale Mall were incredibly nice and helpful.

• Person you should follow on Twitter: Than Tibbetts, who keeps AG.com running behind the scenes, answers my annoying tech questions, and consistently passes along good Link-O-Rama material.

• Finally, in honor of Etta James passing away recently this week's AG.com-approved music video is her 1968 classic "I'd Rather Go Blind":

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