Thursday, July 31, 2008

Links of the Day 7/31/08

Kind of last minute, but I'm guest blogging the heck out of BMR. Check it out.

It's never too early to bash Notre Dame.

This is one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen....

EDIT: As I'm sure you figured out, that was the wrong BMR link. Add my on Facebook though, if you want. My name is Ryan.


Trade Deadline Break

I could go overboard and write about MLB’s trade deadline today. Obviously, there have been some spectacular trades--some loved by the fans, and some not. Some even lead to bad grammar, like this poster spotted at Progressive Field in Cleveland:

I find few things harder to tolerate than obviously misplaced quotation marks. It’s not sarcasm (around the word “trade”, I might believe that explanation). Use underline or bold or asterisks for emphasis!

But I’m not going to do that.

I didn’t write last week because the hours I normally should’ve written, I was in Chicago, touring Wrigley Field. Stupidly, I forgot to upload those pictures, and the cameras are at home and I’m not, so instead I’ll share the photos I did download. (Hey, between four girls, we took 808 pictures in six and a half days. Be glad I didn’t upload them all!)

First, I have to send a kudos to the staff at Wrigley with Wee Sister and two of our friends, in our Annual Girls’ Trip. We arrived ten minutes late for our tour, because it shouldn’t have taken over an hour to get from our hotel to Wrigley, but it did. We walked up to get our tickets from Will-Call, and the person had our tickets out, and knew who I was before I even said anything. She said we were late, but pointed out where we could go in. The guy inside the gate unlocked the gate to let us in, and walked us to our tour group, where we were able to slip in unobtrusively. Our tour guide was funny, but very knowledgeable on the history of the Cubs and the stadium, and shared details of the stories that were lore, and explained why either they probably did happen, or why they probably were just stories. (As a bonus, he was cute, too!)

From Chicago, we continued on to Cleveland, to watch three baseball games at Progressive Field (obviously, the Twins were in town, because that’s what the Annual Girls’ Trip is about: watching the Twins play on the road). We watched the game from three different views:
Upper deck, behind home plate.

Lower deck, left field.

Cheap seats.

Things to note when going to Progressive Field:
Parking is found all over the city, and prices could vary greatly. The first day we parked in some old parking ramp that was a little creepy, and paid $20. The next two days, we parked much closer to the stadium in a newer/nicer parking ramp, and only paid $10. We didn’t check out the trains to see if that would work.

The gates open an hour before the game, except for Gate C, which opens earlier for fans who want to watch batting practice (but fans are only allowed in selected areas). We, of course, did not know this and stood around waiting for the gates to open the first night.

In an effort to make sure Indians’ fans get excessive calories, the stadium does not allow you to bring your water bottle, but you may bring juice boxes. While I understand not allowing disposable water bottles, it’s a bit annoying to not bring a polycarbonate water bottle, which is clearly not disposable, and I will be taking home with me. I hate leaving my seat during the game, so the drinking fountain option was highly inconvenient.

You may bring your own food, which is good because the food selection is very limited. The usher at the door recommended to us that we forego buying food at the stadium and bring in our own. However, you may not bring in a whole pizza, but you may bring in single slices.

While they don’t allow noisemakers, they do make a special exception to the annoying guy with the drum. Anyone who’s listened to Indians’ games knows what I’m talking about. We found him annoying.

These benches were very cool. They spelled out “Who’s on first?”

One of their in-game contests, not quite as famous as Milwaukee’s Sausage race, was their condiment race. I believe Onion won twice, and Ketchup once, while we were there:
It was a cute race; something to distract the fans while the players meandered on and off the field between innings.

We were there for hat day, so we had our trip mascot model it for us:

On our trip back to our frightening hotel Saturday night, we stopped at Ghetto K-Mart. We were bewildered that you could buy Twins boxer shorts there (along with Indians boxers, pajama pants and shirts, as well as Red Sox shirts):

Wee Sister and I will hopefully be heading to Kuaffman Stadium next weekend. I’ll try to share pictures then.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

24 more hours til the trade deadline.

As we approach the deadline, which will be tomorrow at 3 in the afternoon, it appears all the big deals have been made. CC Sabathia, Rich Harden, Joe Blanton, Xavier Nady and now Mark Teixeira have all been moved. It seems that most of the names that pop up are swiftly traded, which is definitely counter to previous years. Furthermore, most of the top teams have made their big splash already this year, with the Cubs, Phillies and Brewers adding a top flight pitcher and the Yankees and Angels have found themselves a bat. There really is only one big name still floating out there for a contender to add in Jason Bay, and the Rays seem to be keen on him, and the only other possible big trade seems to be one involving Manny Ramirez, but that seems like it would be more problematic for the Red Sox than beneficial.
So what can we expect tomorrow? Probably a lot of small deals, most of them should be unexpected names switching uniforms, mostly because the rumors have been focused on the big names. The Twins, White Sox, Mets, Marlins, Cardinals, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are within 5 games of first in their respective divisions and have not made any big moves, nor were they mentioned above. None of those teams is the type that is renowned for making a big trade, and it appears that this year will be more of the same.
In the AL Central, the Twins are batting around Latroy Hawkins and Rich Aurilia, while the White Sox might be looking for a reliever like Will Ohman, but Kenny Williams has said he will probably not have an active deadline. The Mets and Marlins are each looking for a a bat, in the Mets case a corner outfielder like Raul Ibanez and the Marlins a catcher like Gregg Zaun. The Cardinals, Dodgers and Diamondbacks have made no indication that they will be doing anything.
So, after such an active offseason, and an active July, is it possible that the trade deadline is a dissipointment? The way I see it, if anything really happens tomorrow, it will be a pleasant surprise. If anything does happen, I'll be back with some sort of recap on Friday.

Also, all the information I found up there was gleaned from a page that will be refreshed continuously tomorrow, MLB Trade Rumors.


Links of the Day 7/30

The comments on this are brilliant. Brilliant because they're on the Star Tribune's Randball.

This is just weird. Thanks China.

"The earth moved — and there was an earthquake, too, in Southern California, for real on Tuesday." That's a start. A lame start.


There has to be a way to tie the two together

There was an earthquake in the Los Angeles area today, centered near Anaheim. Also, the Angels made a move to acquire Mark Teixeira, arguably the biggest bat on the market. There has to be a way to tie those two headlines together. Your thoughts, TJ Simers?
Dodgers have no moves as Angels shake it up

Come on media! You're better than this! How about, the Angels shake up roster, correct faults. I'm looking at you Bill Plaschke. I expect to see that when I wake up in the morning.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Links of the Day 7/29/08

It's not often that ESPN gets a story that covers multiple sports like this. What a coup!

I'm tardy, but White Sox site Life in the Cell had a preview the big series between the Twins and Sox.

People must be clamoring to work at this facility.


Monday, July 28, 2008

I'm thinking of doing the Tour de France

Really, I think I would be a shoe in. Look at the facts: I have been riding bikes since I was like, 6. I'm a prodigy. I've always wanted to go to France. I'm very good at peeing in a cup, and I've never once failed a drug test.
Still, after all the doping scandals of the past several years, many more riders were busted for having something funny in their pee. At this point, it's becoming clear that having untainted urine is a skill, and it happens to be a skill I possess. Hell, I could do the Tour with training wheels. I'm taking my share of the profits of the Times and buying me and my Schwinn a ticket to France.

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Links of the Day 7/28/08

Remember Fernando Tatis? He's still playing, and playing well!

Fantastic work by Will Ohman.

Could LaTroy Hawkins be making a return to the Twins? There has been a decided absence of LaTroys in the news lately.


Introducing Mike Jones

If you find yourself at Aqua downtown this fall, ladies, and this svelte gentleman comes along and tells you that he's a Viking, well, it's true. This is Mike Jones (don't act like you don't know the name), and no, he did not buy that jersey at a San Diego pro shop. He really is a professional football player, and was a member of the Chargers and Bears organizations last year. Never mind the homicidal look on his face, as that's popular among linemen in the NFL. What intrigues me the most about Mr. Jones.... well... Did he run afoul of a witch doctor?


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Links of the Day 7/27/08

I missed this earlier, but here is an excellent take on the Francisco Liriano situation.

People are beginning to notice that we Minnesotans are pretty easy to read.

Brett Favre.


I continue to be obsessed with the trade deadline

I have a theory. Bill Smith was waiting for the end of the Cleveland series to make a hard push for Casey Blake. Then, today, the Indians sent Blake to the Dodgers for a hefty bounty. I think this will lead to Smith shaking up the roster a little bit more forcefully than he had initially intended, rather than standing pat as many think he should.
The team is young enough that there will still be a solid core no matter how many young prospects we send away. No doubt, the Twins are in dire need of a right handed bat, and currently, the most available players are third basemen. What about Brian Buscher? Well, Buscher, who is taking over at third with Mike Lamb proving to be ineffective (I bet he recovers just fine next season, by the way) and Nick Punto being Nick Punto, is a lefty. Also, even with Buscher playing at third, the Twins have only won three times since the All-star Break. The right handed bat is paramount.
Not only that, the solution is staring us in the face. Our current DH, the two headed monster of Jason Kubel/Craig Monroe are outfielders by trade. Carlos Gomez has been terrible lately. Until he works out his issues, the Twins can shift Denard Span to his natural position in center and Kubel/Monroe into right, while Buscher moves to DH. There are ideas out there.
So how about this. How about a list of 5 trade possibilites for the Twins in order of likelihood. Of course, it all depends on whether or not the Twins want to pull the trigger anyways.

5: (Colorado) Garrett Atkins and Brian Fuentes for Kevin Slowey, Garrett Jones and Danny Rams

I'm not so good at the prospect thing, but if the Rox are going to give up Atkins and Fuentes, they are going to be asking for a lot. A solid starter and a couple of big hitting prospects for the trouble. And if the Twins are going to be acquiring Atkins, who isn't nearly as good away from Denver, they will likely seek to bolster their bullpen as well.

4: (Seattle) Adrian Beltre for Kevin Slowey and Jason Pridie

Slowey is clearly the highest worth trade chip the Twins have that they might be willing to move. Liriano will move into his spot in the rotation. And the Mariners have been asking for the moon for a couple years of Beltre, so a Major League pitcher and a top center field prospect still may not be enough.

3: (Cincinnati) Edwin Encarnacion and Jeremy Affeldt for Michael Cuddyer, Brian Buscher, Steven Singleton, Steven Tolleson

It seems like a steep asking price for Encarnacion, but bear in mind that if he was playing for the Twins this season, he would be leading the team in home runs. By 3. Additionally, he is only 25, and this would definitely not be a rental. Cuddyer, already feeling the squeeze from a new crop of young outfielders will be going to an environment where they will be clamoring for veteran leaders next year, should the Reds move Adam Dunn or see Ken Griffey Jr. retire. The problem with this, is that this blockbuster is one that seems more likely to occur in the offseason rather than right before the deadline.
2. (Los Angeles) Andy Laroche for Anthony Swarzak

With the Dodgers adding Blake, Laroche is once again blocked. This could be a good opportunity for the Dodgers to move him and look for a pitching prospect in return. Laroche would definitely qualify as a long term solution at third as well.
1. (Texas) Hank Blalock for Boof Bonser and Matt Moses

A couple of failing and failed prospects should be sufficient for Blalock. Bonser has had recent success and theoretically could recover and become a starter once again. I wouldn't be surprised. That upside should be tantalizing. Moses was once a number one draft pick. Perhaps he just needs a change in scenery. As for the Rangers, how bad can they feel about dealing a guy who had surgery to remove a rib last year?

Obviously, I am not a GM, and I don't often need to concern myself with the inner workings of a teams farm system, but these are all trades that seem like they could happen in the next week. Watch the Twins go get Manny Ramirez now.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Links of the Day 7/26/08

The Dodgers are close to acquiring Casey Blake for a package including Carlos Santana. Smooth.

This is going to be great for when I'm always frickin' working on Sunday night.

My favorite part of this story is that the NBA may have applied for a patent and misspelled what they were patenting.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Exploring the Vikings' competence

While I was mired in computer hell, I kept seeing this article by Jim Souhan. He delights in the change of pace, that for once the Vikings are competent. Have been since that whole Love Boat fiasco. I totally agree. Well, except for a few things.

- He mentions that the top three guys in the organization have stepped up to build an impressive roster, including Jared Allen, which isn't so much a necessary roster move as it is completely ignoring the real problem with the team.

- "Tampering is only a bad idea if you get caught." The Vikings got caught. And for Brett Favre.

- The offense is still terrible, despite having Adrian Peterson.

- Bryant McKinnie, Koren Robinson, Darrion Scott, Dwight Smith, et al.

- Ooh, how about signing a wide receiver to be their top wideout when, the previous year, he was the second receiver on a terrible offensive team, worse than the Vikings? And on the team he is coming from, he is being replaced by a corner back!

But other than that stuff, the Vikings are totally competent.


Links of the Day 7/25/08

Here are a few things from friends of the Times that you may have missed while the computer exploded.

Of course, I have to start with the phrase "Crotch Cam". Don't ask why, I just have to.

Boiled Sports takes Devin Hester's side. As do I, by the way.

The Twins found some irregularities on their Wikipedia pages.


Technical Difficulties Resolved

The issues with the computer have been resolved. I'm going to wait to get back to posting until tomorrow though. In the mean time, I got some Colts apparel in the mail today (I believe I mentioned it a couple posts back) and with it, they had an ad for this site. So, come on Victoria Times readers, let's band our resources together and purchase a part of an archaic, astroturfed dome with a nylon roof and hard plastic seats, and bring it to Minnesota, because we have nothing like that here!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Technical difficulties

The official Victoria Enterprises computer has imploded, for the most part. Depending on what Best Buy can do, I may or may not be back tonight or tomorrow. If any thing crazy happens, I'm sure Steve or Beth will be on top of it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

See Justin? This is why you don't touch White Sox

Ever since that unholy union between Carlos Quentin and Justin Morneau behind the plate at Yankee Stadium, Justin Morneau has hit .188 with one home run. Meanwhile, Quentin has hit .357 with two homers in the same stretch. What have you done, Quentin? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!??!

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Links of the Day 7/21/08

There were a few factual errors in the preview of the Colts this season. Did they mention that I met Tony Dungy though?

Patrick Kane's pre-rookie card.

So this happened. Women drivers.. Am I right guys?


Sunday, July 20, 2008

A big day for my right hand

Today was a pretty spectacular day for me. I worked overnight last night at Real Job Inc. and got off at 6. I went immediately to bed, because I had to be downtown for the Twins game in the afternoon. Made it down there, had some pretty awesome seats right above the visitors bullpen. I got to see Vicente Padilla's mullet up close. I got to see Eddie Guardado warming up. There was a strange smudge on his crotch that I don't want to know about but at the same time find myself morbidly curious about.
After the game, I met one of my sports heroes. Coming from a baseball game, it was one of those incidents that you would never in a million years have expected. You see, at the Mall of America, leaving the transit station, I passed by a car unloading. I happened to look at the gentleman getting out and it was none other than Tony Dungy. Tony Dungy!
Typically, I'm a pretty quiet, shy type, but how many times am I going to be in Minneapolis and have a chance to meet the coach of my favorite team, particularly the one that plays in Indianapolis? Not very often.
So, I turned and I said "Mr Dungy!" and he perked up and looked at me, so I knew it was for sure him. The Colts polo shirt helped with the ID as well. "Huge Colts fan!" I excitedly told him, wearing my Twins garb. He offered his hand and we shook hands as he thanked me for being a fan. I couldn't really think of anything else to say, because I wasn't planning on bumping into Tony Dungy today, so I just said "Go Colts!" and walked away. Some people might be embarassed, seizing up like I did, but not me. That was pretty loquacious by my standards. And it looked like he was going to take the train to the airport, so I did what a responsible fan would do and let him be on his way.
The best part was the genuine smile Coach Dungy had when we shook hands. I like to think that he appreciated someone being polite to him. He willfully shook my hand and wasn't pretentious about it at all. He's bigger than I expected too, but at the same time almost grandfatherly.
Oh, by the way? That Colts polo that Coach Dungy was wearing? I bought online at the Colts pro shop. That's right. I get my fashion tips from Tony Dungy.
Then, I played softball, Didn't go well. I vented my frustrations on the steering wheel and hyperextended my right ring finger. D'oh.

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Links of the Day 7/20/08

The first pro team in Oklahoma will be named the Thunder. Meteorologically accurate.

Padraig Harrington won the British Open for the second straight year. He's like an Irish Tiger Woods.

The current conversion rate isn't listed. but I have at least 600 billion Zimbabwean dollars just laying around.


Saturday, July 19, 2008


With Francisco Liriano's discontent with the Twins organization, MLBTradeRumors had a post on the topic, and it was the subject of quite a few comments. This was my favorite little sequence:

"su r u telling me jt that the twins have never been guilty of this? when a kid says michael jackson molested him it doesnt just make it true but it gets your attention because of past instances. if the twins werent cheap and shady in the past liriano wouldnt even be mentioning this stuff. the twins have a reputation for this and thats why there is a story. " - Joelcards

"You're likening the Twins to a pedophile? I'm at a loss. Really. " - JT

"all im saying is if i was a parent i wouldnt my kids around jacko and if i were a player i wouldnt want to play for the twins. " - Joelcards

Also, Jackson and the Twins were at their best in the late 80s

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Links of the Day 7/19/08

In Europe, those affiliated with soccer are heroes because of their actions on the field or in the front office helping their team achieve on the pitch. In the States, those affiliated with soccer are heroes because they wrestle with naked guys on planes.

The Rangers were shut out for the first time this season, and Boof Bonser factored in that.

What is it with the Twins and injured fingers?


Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm confused by Francisco Liriano

All right, Francisco, we get it. You have otherworldly talent that you think is being wasted in the minor leagues. Understandable. You were phenomenal a couple years back before your arm fell off. It's taken a while to get it reattached, and at the beginning of this season you had some lingering arm-falling-off rust. You seem to be shaking off that rust and tearing up Triple A at this point. Good for you. The thing is though, the starting pitchers on the roster are doing pretty OK.
Of the young starters, Kevin Slowey has the lowest ERA at 4.26 which is hardly objectionable. The one stinker in the bunch is Livan Hernandez, but there is some value in veteran leadership. The best spot for you on the current roster is in the bullpen, but I suspect you wouldn't like that much either. Can you play third base?
Also, the Twins aren't about to succumb to your whininess and screw over another of their prospects who has posted an ERA better than 11.32 in the bigs this year. That would mean the starter, the one who has struggled, that we would want to get rid of is Livan. Side note to agent Greg Genske: Livan is also your client. How does he feel about this grievance you're filing? Who else do you want the Twins to dump in order to get Liriano in the bigs?
I guess what I'm trying to say is, there isn't some sort of organizational conspiracy to keep Liriano in Rochester. Just do a better job of keeping your arm attached and soon your time will come.

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Links of the Day 7/18/08

Pretentious jerk Greg Norman is near the top of the British Open after two rounds.

Finally, Ohio State fans agree with the rest of the world.

Oh yes, the Brett Favre saga continues.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Links of the Day 7/17/08

Kevin at BMR, who also writes for the Fanhouse answers a question... The Fanhouse is reworking their URLS. This explains the Dugout.

So, this is good news. Or not.

So... Does this mean third jerseys are allowed again? Will Minnesota scrap those ugly red sweaters?


That's a wrap

What if I told you that the Detroit Tigers should have been declared the winners of the 2006 World Series? You’d probably lock me away, but hear me out.

In the 2006 regular season, the St. Louis Cardinals won the NL-Central with 83 wins--just two games over .500. But that was enough wins to get them into the first round of playoffs. The Tigers had 95 wins during the regular season--or, a whooping 14 games over .500--and yet only came in second place in the American League Central. However, it was enough wins to get them into playoffs as the Wild Card.

In the first round of playoffs, both teams had three wins to advance. In the second round, both teams had four wins to advance. And in the final round? The Cardinals had four wins, while the Tigers only won once.

A little math will tell you that in 2006, the Tigers had a total of 103 wins. The Cardinals only had 94. Therefore, by rights, the Tigers should have won the World Series, and the Cardinals stole it from them, right? Sure, the Cardinals won four in a best-of-seven series, but they had less wins total. Yes, they had three more wins in the final round, but they had nine runs less in total. Something is clearly flawed here. The team with the most over-all wins should win, right?

Prior to 1969, there were no playoffs other than the World Series. Before that, the champions of both leagues would play each other in a best-of-seven series (or best-of-nine, for a few years). Under those rules, the World Series would’ve pitted Mets versus the Yankees, both of whom led their leagues with 97 wins--and neither of whom made it to the World Series in 2006. If you go before the Leagues were divided into three divisions, the Tigers were in the AL-East, and wouldn’t have been in the playoffs (the Yankees had 97 wins in ’06). Without the multiple playoff rules, the Tigers and the Cardinals wouldn’t have had a chance of the World Series title.

It sounds like I’m controlled substances and have a misguided view of how sports should work, right? It’s like saying the Patriots deserved to win the Super Bowl in February 2008, because they were undefeated before then. Of course not! The reason for the playoffs are for great stories, surprising upsets, etc.

And yet, that’s been the view of this year’s Home Run Derby. Josh Hamilton hit 28 home runs in the first round (to Justin Morneau's eight), and didn't even need to hit in the second round (but hit four anyway) while Morneau got nine to move on. After two rounds, it was Hamilton clearly--clearly!--edging out Morneau, 32-17. That's a 15 home run difference.

Granted, the home run derby is no where near as big of a deal as the World Series or the Super Bowl or the Stanley Cup*, it’s still a case of "who gets hot when." No one should take away from Hamilton’s awesome performance in the first round. That was amazing to watch. The kid has great talent, and a great story. The thing is, Morneau got the hits in the playoffs. As great as Hamilton is and as impressive as he was during the whole contest, when it all came down to the final round, he didn’t have enough get the win. Just like the 2008 Patriots.


*NBA will be included when they get a cool name, rather than “NBA Championship”.

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One quick reminder about the Twins

As it is July and the Twins find themselves once again in contention, trade banter is being kicked around. You've heard it here, I'm sure and clicking over, perhaps to other baseball sites or newspapers or whatever, you've heard the various rumors. The most prominent right now is that the Twins may be interested in Adrian Beltre of the Seattle Mariners. I'm not really a fan of this deal. The Twins and their fans, historically have put way too much influence on batting average, and not things like home runs or on base percentage, which are two things that Beltre brings to the table. I just don't think Gardenhire will be patient enough to let Beltre be successful. Perhaps Edwin Encarnacion in Cincinnati will be the better choice. I think so.
But that's not why we're here. There are plenty of places throwing around speculation and offering up opinions. I have noticed a theme in the various comments here there and everywhere. They tend to go something like this:
That's an excellent idea. Adrian Beltre would fill a lot of holes for the Twins. Too bad the Twins never make a big splash at the trade deadline, and they won't make any trades.
Sure. This has been a complaint of mine the past few years. There is something we need to take into account though; the Twins have a new GM. Past few years? Terry Ryan was the GM. This season? Bill Smith. Different guys. Bill Smith has already proven himself to be a guy that is willing to shake things up and rebuild his team, executing two huge trades this offseason, including one that was of his own creation, the Garza-Young deal. So, yes, the Twins haven't, historically, made big splashes at the deadline, but the Twins also, historically, haven't had Bill Smith as their GM.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Links of the Day 7.16.08

Vefore we move on, check out the previous post. I found the picture I was originally referring to. Ugh.

Ballhype, which is one of our top referrers (thanks Ballhype!) just got purchased by someone else. No changes are expected at this time.

Ken Rosenthal was not a fan of how the All-Star game worked itself out. Well, thats too harsh, but he thinks contingencies need to be developed.

If you can't be safe at a Russian rave, where can you be safe?


An All-Star image to make you sick

Fortunately, the picture of Carlos Quentin and Justin Morneau in a loving embrace is not yet out there.

EDIT: Oh wait, here's that picture. There's some deniability, but I know what I saw.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Links of the Day 7/15

Going back to the Derby of last night... Fire Joe Morgan expresses a similar opinion to my own, but funnier.

Speaking of the Twins, Twins Fix breaks down the rationale behind perhaps acquiring Adrian Beltre.

And lastly, this probably isn't good. But at least the Colts have Jim Sorgi in emergencies, right? Right?!


Monday, July 14, 2008

The Home Run Derby

Today was one of those days where things worked out well for the fans but not so much for ESPN. Yes, it was the Home Run Derby tonight (no, not that one) and I was expecting a cynical post tonight. ESPN puts Chris Berman on these games, which is, of course, annoying. The problem is, we could really have NBA Jam do all the commentary and have it more insightful than Berman. Boom shakalaka!
As ESPN does, they picked their favorite competitor, in this case, Josh Hamilton. They talked about him even when he wasn't batting, commenting on his wonderful story. Even after Hamilton got his second place finish, instead of going to interview the winner, Justin Morneau, Erin Andrews spent some quality time with Hamilton. Then, instead of being a blubbering quote machine, he spent the entire interview praising Jesus and thanking God for delivering him to such as wonderful position in life. Silly ESPN. To come from the depths from whence Hamilton came, there had to have been some sort of spiritual turn around. Frankly with what he has gone through and the resounding success he's been met with since cleaning up his life, the gentleman was bound to be grateful. In the secular media, Hamilton's legitimate faith was pretty much the best way to derail his popularity. Nevertheless, his visage is the one on the home page.
In the final round, the ESPN golden boy was trumped by taciturn Canadian Justin Morneau. They didn't have a lot to say about Morneau, except that nobody expected the Twins to be where they were this season. As much as Hamilton, Morneau seemed overwhelmed by the fact that he was there as well. Really, it was two likeable guys that were likeable because of who they were and not because of the way they were portrayed in the media. Perhaps they were likeable because they couldn't be portrayed in the media.
I actually enjoyed this derby.


Links of the Day 7/14/08

Beth was kind enough to solve yesterday's mystery. But since when is the Dugout a team? (or, maybe not)

Another annoying Packer finally retires.

A quasi=sports related interview with Kevin from the Office.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

A murder mystery

Ok, until we find the body, it's not really a murder mystery. Let's at least call it a missing person case. Rather, a missing website. Or website feature. Let's just call it a mystery. Namely, what happened to The Dugout? Where is it? Even the RSS feed at their old site won't load to tell me what happened. Sure, if you plumb the internets, you can find old stuff if you know exactly the title you're looking for, but lo! the writer's visage is no longer there, and it is no longer in any easily serchable category. Furthermore, if you click on the author (in this case B)'s name, it takes you to... NOWHERE! Well, ok the Fanhouse main page. And FURTHERMORE, I find nary a mention of the fate of the Dugout anywhere else on the entirety of the interwebs!
So, what happened? I have two theories. First, Major League Baseball found out and put out a cease and desist order on the site. AOL, not looking to get bad press or run afoul of Bud Selig, quietly squashed the category, leaving a nation to weep. The Dugout was, admittedly, one of the most defamatory and cruel sites out there (OH BOIIII NO JOO DINT!) to players, and as such I wouldnt be entirely surprised if that was the case. Fortunately, the archives are still there at the old National Lampoon site, so if it is an MLB issue, maybe their legal tentacles haven't reached that far.
Second theory? Technical mishaps at AOL. But why would it take an entire weekend to fix?! This is AOL! Nibbles the hamster is up and running after 4 hours on the DL!
More information as details warrant.


Links of the Day 7/13/08

Jayson Stark goes crazy with his mid-season fun facts.

Jose Canseco and Vai Sikahema punched each other in the head, repeatedly. How do you think it turned out?

Let's see, two actors filming a movie in Shreveport, Louisiana, got into a bar fight. Any guesses on the topic? I'll give you a hint: Everyone's going to like and respect it at the beginning, but by the end everyone is going to wish it would just be over.


Brett Favre tomfoolery

Let's talk about Brett Favre. Hypothetically, let's talk about Brett Favre. Let's go ahead and say that the Packers cut him and he went out and signed with one of the NFC North teams. How would the fan base react? Let's poke around the division.

Minnesota: What? No! He's the most hated person in Minnesota sports! We're doing so good with our team, We have a great running game, and a pretty good defense, and an awesome running game! I'm sure Tarvaris will be fine this year. All he has to do is hand the ball off! We have a fantastic running game! I don't know that I would be able to sleep, knowing that my team's fate was being influenced by Brett Favre. Besides! We don't need him! Wonderful running game!

Chicago: I know that he's been such a mortal enemy for so many years, but Jesus, we were really beginning to think that Kyle Orton was the answer to our quarterback problems. Kyle Orton! I mean, we brought in Kordell Stewart for a year! Seriously, we've never had a quarterback. The best in our history was like, Jim McMahon. That's not very good. So yeah, Brett Favre. Whatever.

Detroit: We still have a football team?

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Links of the day 7/12/08

The Wild continue to tweak the roster, adding some guy I've never heard of and Krys Kolanos.


Lastly, thunderstorms are cool.


Friday, July 11, 2008

The FOMI (Fat Old Man Index)

Ryan's popular post from the other day got me thinking about the fattest teams in baseball. The list he discussed was actually the heaviest teams, but I was curious to see which team truly is the fattest, so I ran the calculation for each team's body mass index. Unfortunately, that wasn't a whole lot of fun either, because the White Sox were still the clear winners at the nearly obese 29.3 rating. Also, 21 teams have an average height of 6'1" while 7 are 6'2" and the shorty Astros and Giants are 6'0", so the BMI's pretty closely followed the weights. So since conveniently provides the teams' average ages, I decided to take this a step further....

...I came up with the Fat Old Man Index (FOMI) to see what teams had the fattest, oldest guys. All I did was simply multiply the team BMI by the average age, so for you math junkies out there, the expanded equation is FOMI = Age*((WT*703)/(HT^2)). The Fattest, Oldest team is still the White Sox, scoring a 861, but now coming in at 2nd with 855 is the 6th lightest team in the league, the Astros, who shoot up the list for being one of the 2 shortest teams and also being the oldest team in baseball. The Rays and Marlins are at the bottom of the list, 2 young, tall, skinny teams.

The only trend I could really tell from this list (because success has nothing to do with it when you have the White Sox and Red Sox at the top with the Astros, and the Rays and Marlins on the bottom with the Royals) is that the old, fat teams seemed to get paid a lot more than the young, skinny teams, and that seems to make sense. Power hitters are typically bigger and get paid more, and lower paid teams usually have a lot of young guys because they are just happy to be in the majors. But you can see from the list the added bulk and experience doesn't have a whole lot to do with success this year. In fact, salary doesn't have much an effect on success any more either, but that's another math-filled post for another day.....

Links of the Day 7/11.08

Here are today's links, which I am able to write undeterred by storms or anything.

Justin Morneau had himself a game yesterday.

I enjoy sending this image to Vikings fans. It sends them into conniptions.

Tiger Woods could see a 10 dollar bill while walking up the fairway and would make more money by not stopping to pick it up.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Links of the Day 7/10/08

I don't know that I can muster the links today, because we ust had an AWESOME storm roll through. I'm a meteorologist after all. Anyways, I at one point had plenty of time, but after taking pictures and video of the storms, I now don't.

Anyways, here's what the locals are saying about the storms.

And a quick recap of the Twins game from last night. I don't want to talk about it.

Boiled Sports gets fashion conscious.


Contract Inanity

According to a article, Alex Rodriguez will lose $200,000 because he terminated the contract that he signed with the Rangers that was passed to the Yankees. He re-signed a contract with the Yankees, making more money for a longer time. The Yankees don't offer contract bonuses for All-Star Appearances (probably because it's expected their large fan base will get people in who don't deserve it...although this year it’s not true!). But the Rangers did, and he used to have a $200,000 bonus for getting voted onto the All-Star team.

What shocked me about the article is that Chipper Jones didn't even realize he had a contract provision that gave him a bonus. Grady Sizemore said he wasn't aware that his All-Star selection had an escalation in the value of his option for 2012. He lets his agent deal with that stuff.

That's a sad state of affairs. They don't know--or care--what's in their contract? Let's contrast that to Curt Schilling, a player I don't necessarily like, but I have to respect his negotiating these items into his contract: $333,333 for each of six weigh-ins per year (if he meets certain criteria, no doubt set by the team to keep him in shape, but still awesome he could work it into a bonus), six season tickets to State Street Pavilion in lieu of outdoor seating, use of team uniform for charitable events, and day-care for all home games. Now that's a contract.

If I were a general manager, I would not encourage "fun" clauses in the contract. I would make it mandatory. It doesn't even have to be related to baseball. If your hometown hockey team beats the team's local hockey team, you're required to volunteer ten hours at the local hospital. Every time you're the last one on the plane, you have to bring in cookies to share after the next home game. Let's be a little creative, people. If you're not going to get creative with your contract, you might as well just get a straight salary.

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Grammarians in the Canada

According to the TSN video summary, there is pretty big news coming from the NHL. Apparently, former Ottawa netminder has found work in the Russia. Perhaps he will clean himself up, playing in the Mytishchi, but frankly, everyone knows they have blow in the Russia too.

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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Links of the Day 7/9/08

I promise you, I will not be writing up the day's links will intoxicated. Last night was weird.

Speaking of beer, here is what the Big Ten teams would be if they were beer.

Hines Ward, now a member of the Orlando Magic.

Robert Weintraub's days at Deadspin are done.

The internet is wonderful

I'm not going to lie to you. I'm a little drunk right now. That being said, I just want to mention something that happened the other day in a short post. First, YardBarker picked up on my CC is fat post, and made it a feature post on their main page. For someone who isn't even part of the Yard Barker Network, this was exciting. I mean, later that day, John Lackey had a post on there. Me and John Lackey, on the same site. That was exciting.
Later, FanIQ linked to the Yardbarker post. In that I was called a "Poor SOB" and "bored". Such is life I suppose.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Links of the Day 7/8/08

The Wild recently signed one of these guys, which is pretty depressing. Also, this might be the best hockey related posts in the history of ever.

Joe Christensen says that the Twins agree with my original opinion, that they shouldn't be very active at the trade deadline. (Tim Dierkes highlights this point as well, and compliments Victoria Times commenters. Well done, people!)

Look out! It's Dr. Stat!


It's the All-Star game

That's been my most common refrain when it comes to the Midsummer Classic. Not to rehash what was said when Beth gave the same sermon, but I just wanted to illustrate what I think the purpose of every individual group is when setting the All-Star rosters.

The Fans: Since this is a game that is supposed to feature the stars (it being the all-star game, not the "players with the best first half of the season game") I'm all for fans and their idiocies picking the most popular players in the game. It's how people will eventually tune in, if they get to watch players they like. Most people don't care whether or not Ian Kinsler is having a breakout year, but by golly they've heard of Dustin Pedroia. Let them have their Dustin Pedroia.

The Players: The players should be picking guys who have excelled in the first half, rewarding and recognizing their own. If you think there was a snub, then blame it on the players.

The Managers: Terry Francona and Clint Hurdle are charged with the task of A) making sure all teams are represented (a good rule, because it means all the stars of the leagues teams are involved. All-star. Get it? When the Twins were beginning to get bad, I would only watch the game when Kirby Puckett was in. I don't see why Kansas Citians would be any different when it comes to Joakim Soria.) and B) winning the game. The manager has no responsibility to the fans, essentially, or the players. Jason Varitek clearly is not in the discussion for top backstops this year, buthe is on the All-Star team, likely because Francona believes that he can handle the pitching staff of the American League.

With all that being said, I don't want to hear any more complaining. Please.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Links of the Day 7/7/08

The Wild added Owen Nolan last night. He was on NHL '94, which means he's sort of old.

Rafael Nadal won Wimbledon in what was an epic match.

Keith Law
takes exception with some all-star roster moves.


Milwaukee struggles to become fatter

Back when Andrew Bogut was drafted by the Bucks, some people were wary of the pick, saying that he wasn't a good fit in Milwaukee. I responded by asking how a giant white dude wouldn't fit in Milwaukee. But that's not true. No, the fine people of Wisconsin don't judge you by the color of your skin, but rather, they embrace morbid obesity.
Milwaukee is a disappointing 9th in the league in terms of weight, despite Prince Fielder. Naturally, the Brewers needed to appease their fan base by acquiring a front end starter and another fat guy, so they are acquiring Indians' ace C.C. Sabathia. Can you imagine these two in uniform together?

Be sure they sit on opposite sides of the plane. But even if they do add the third heaviest player in the league, the Brewers will still only be the fourth fattest team in the league. What three teams are inhibiting eastern Wisconsin's lust for angioplasty related greatness?

3. New York Yankees
To be fair, much of the team has gained weight through steroids (I'm looking at you Giambi) and a lot of the heaviest guys taken into account are on the 40 man roster and guys I've never heard of, like Chris Britton and Andrew Brackman, but adding Sidney Ponson (above) didn't help. Joba Chamberlain could also afford to lay of the post game spread.

2. Washington Nationals:
Washington on the whole doesn't seem like they are all that obese, but they have a couple of players, but guys like Johnny Estrada and Wily Mo Pena are surprisingly heavy. Like I said, not notably a chubby team, but they do happen to have the only two players in baseball that outweigh Sabathia in Jon Rauch and Da Meat Hook, pictured with his 80 pounds lighter brother, Delmon.
1. Chicago White SoxThe Sox are deceptively bulky, like guys like Jim Thome and Andy Sisco, who are tall men to begin with, and not overtly fat. Make no mistake though, with Juan Uribe as the shortstop, things are bound to get thick in a hurry. The team has 6 players of the 40 man roster over 250 pounds! Adam Russell, Thome, Toby Hal, Jose Contreras, Sisco and the delightfully chubby Bobby Jenks. Hopefully Jenks' picture up there feeds Boilerdowd's taste for manboobs. They seem poised to make a run for the pennant, but I suspect they will get winded before they get there.

So, Brewers, the bar has been set. Do whatever it takes to acquire Dmitri Young at the trade deadline.He yearns for your local mayonnaise infused cuisine.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Links of the Day 7/6/08

Been gone for a few days, let's catch up with a couple of links, eh?

ESPN seems to believe that Brett Favre, were he to come back, would be a perfect fit in Minnesota. I can't tell you how much I want this to happen. Green Bay and Minnesota would explode.

The Wild continued their active offseason, signing former Dallas forward Antti Miettinen. Zidlicky and Miettinen are sure to be popular jerseys in Minnesota.

Lastly, the Twins have been amazing.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

And I'm back

I'm back from Vaction! I'll be posting tomorrow


Thursday, July 03, 2008

All-Star Voting

Ryan's gone! Time to stage a rebellion and take over the blog!

It’s not popular among avid sports fans to say that they’re in favor of fans voting for the All-Star (or Pro Bowl or whatever) players. Fortunately, I’m sitting in the relatively safe environment of the internet, and can stand up and say this: I am in favor of the fans voting for the All-Stars. I just wish the fans weren’t idiots.

Fans persist on voting for guys based on historical performance. I know Jason Varitek was a great catcher. But I know he’s getting into the twilight of his career. He’s no longer the top player in MLB at his position. Kids like Russell Martin, Joe Mauer, and Brian McCann have taken over that role.

David Ortiz continued to garner votes despite the fact that he’s been injured since the end of May, and there’s no saying he’ll be able to play at the All-Star game. His production, although still good, is down from his past years. (Although it’s a relief that he’s gaining the votes in the DH category, rather than at first base.)

And yet, I still can’t complain. The All-Star game isn’t for the players. It’s for the fans. By allowing the fans to vote, you’re making them a part of the game. I also have a feeling that it’s a bit of an honor for the players to be voted in by the fans. Sure, it’s an honor to have the respect of your peers and make the player vote, but how special is it for a guy to gain wide-spread respect across the entire country--or world?

The problem is the blind voting. I don’t mind young children voting for their home team no matter what. There’s something special about childish complete trust and faith in their team and players. But, I’m sorry; I’m a Twins fan, and I love Brendan Harris, but he’s not an All-Star. In my multiple votes, Brendan likely got one vote, but otherwise it went elsewhere (although, to be fair, I can’t remember who anymore). Sure, I give an extra bonus to hometown players. Even if Joe Mauer the clear-cut American League best catcher, he still would’ve gotten my vote, because he’s been outstanding. There are arguments over the best first baseman, among them Justin Morneau, so my vote can go that way.

I also wish there was a way to limit things to one vote per person. It would give a clearer perspective of the general fan population, but there’s no way around it. Even in the US elections, where there are measures in place to keep people from voting multiple times, I’m sure it still happens (I don’t know how, but I read stories every once in a while).

At any rate, fan voting is good. Having one player from each team is good.

Also, I’m a little frustrated with the sports writers who write off the Twins record because they went 14-4 against the National League. Every other American League team faced the National League, too. I’m not saying that they’re playoff contenders, but it’s not like they had an unfair advantage to gain their record. I’m off my soapbox now.

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Things are going well

So, the Twins won again today, winning yet another series, this time against a team that is not in the National League. Green Bay is trying to stoke a rivalry with Minnesota again. The Wild are reminding us that hockey is never more than 2 months away, continuing to sign free agents, today resigning Kurtis Foster.
So, seeing as I have apparently fixed everything in Minnesota sports, I'm taking a vacation. I'll be somewhere where there is no internet (maybe not running water, either) and getting back late Saturday. Beth or Steve might post, no promises. Check your Google feeds, I suppose. Have a happy 4th everyone! Go America!


Links of the Day 7/2/08

Naturally, all those videos bit it after I posted them. Lets try this. Here's Marek Zidlicky, Andrew Brunette and Craig Weller.

More talk about the Wild, if you're inclined.

This... This is gross. One more month until the Olympics!


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Video summary of the Wild's day

The Minnesota Wild got off to a fairly quick start to the free agent signing period, faster than the other Minnesota team that I'm particularly fond of when it comes to adding players, in any case. In any event, here's what they did, along with a bit of a video for each player.

First, the Wild added depth at the blueline, acquiring Marek Zidlicky from Nashville. Someone in Tennessee is going to be sad to see him go.

Next, Andrew Brunette returned to Minnesota, three years after winning the hearts of hockey fans in the state by guiding the team to the Western Conference Finals.

Not but a few moments ago, Craig Weller, formally of Minnesota-Duluth, lately of the Phoenix Coyotes was signed to replace the now departed Todd Fedoruk. His video is the most awesome.

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Links of the Day 7/1/08

With day one of the Free Agent Season underway, the Wild reacquired Andrew Brunette and traded for defenseman (or defenceman if you prefer) Marek Zidlicky. I will be purchasing my Zidlicky jersey post haste.

Yet another opinion on the Twins potential activity this trade deadline.


is awesome.


How does a 19 year old celebrate?

With beer, naturally. After winning the Women's US open, Inbee Park was doused in what appears to be Bud Light. Stop sullying the good name of golf, ladies! Beer is not meant to be poured over other members of your group, but rather drank!
But seriously, if you are going to shower an underaged golfer in beer, at least make it local. For shame.

Photo Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Free Agent Frenzy

I find roster management in the NHL to be fascinating. Things aren't going well? Make a 7 player trade to shake things up. July 1st? Sign 14 players and take a look at the next season. Chemistry in this sport is crazy.
To catch you up with the Wild, the team of record here at the Times, the rights to Brian Rolston have been traded to the Lightning, and it looks as though he won't sign there. Maybe the Wings. Pavol Demitra, not finding enough other Pavols in Minnesota, is out, perhaps to Vancouver. With the cap space that clears out, the Wild are looking to make a splash, but the free agent market sort of sucks. There's Marian Hossa, who people seem to think the Wild should pursue, but in all reality, they'll probably reacquire Andrew Brunette and call it a day.
But you know what? The NHL is crazy. Anything could happen, anyone could sign anywhere. In fact, I'm skating for the Panthers tomorrow. I'm not very good, but that could net me a 1.2 million dollar contract there anyways.