Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Big Ten deserves all the hype it can get

It's not often that I take issue with a particular piece written by someone else (usually it's their work as a whole, like with Jim Souhan), however Ken Davis' assessment of the Big Ten conference raised my dander a little bit. He asserts that the Big Ten doesn't deserve the hype, nor do they deserve 7 bids to the Big Dance. His primary argument is that it is because the conference is poor offensively.
Of course, anyone who has watched the Big Ten this year knows this is an unfair assessment. The conference is just an exceptionally strong defensive group, that has demonstrated the ability to run with higher scoring teams (Purdue versus Oklahoma) and make high flying teams grind it out at their level (Michigan versus UCLA). That they are scoring so few points against one another despite being able to compete outside of the conference shouldn't be a condemnation of their ability, but praise of a deep conference.
Davis also cites the teams record versus the Big East (arguably the best in the land this year) and a near .500 record against another supposedly superior conference, the ACC as reasons why the Big Ten shouldn't be getting bids. He does not cite records against the Big 12, SEC, or Pac 10, the other 3 power conferences, all of which are definitely off this year. This is an argument not necessarily that the Big 10 is good, but rather the conference deserves the 7 or 8 bids. Three of the 6 power conferences are week, and the mid-majors don't have multiple teams deserving bids this year. [UPDATE: The Big Ten went 2-1 vs the SEC, 5-2 against the Big 12 and 1-1 against the Pac 10]
Take a look at Minnesota and Michigan, two middle of the pack teams in the Big 10. They had two losses combined in the non-conference schedule. Minnesota went undefeated, including wins against Louisville and Virginia. Michigan's losses were at Maryland and in a neutral site against Duke. They also netted wins against the Blue Devils and against UCLA.
The Big Ten isn't a flashy conference that doesn't look good until you look at what they've done. Not many people, including Mr. Davis, take the time to do this. To get their attention, the conference needs all the hype it can get.

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Links of the Day 2/28/09

This is a few days old, but this is EXACTLY what I don't like about Nick Punto.

I'm done trying to figure out the Big Ten.

My dreams are dashed as Albert Haynesworth doesn't sign with the Colts.


Friday, February 27, 2009

The Boras technique

Team: We can't go any higher than 15 million for 4 years.

Boras. No lower than 30 million for 5.

Team: 20 for 4.

Boras: 30 for 5.

Team: Fine, you clearly have better offers elsewhere.

Team 2: 30 for 5? Absolutely not. 15 for 4.

Team 3: Not on your life.

Boras: All right Team 1, I'm back. 30 for 5.

Team: Didn't you talk to a bunch of other teams? Why are you back here? We told you we couldn't go better than 20 and 4.

Boras: 30 for 5.

Team: 20 and 4

Boras: Ok fine, 20 and 5. With a fifth year at 10. And you have to pay him in those huge Publisher's Clearing House checks. And instead of checks, you have to say they are cheques.

Player: Boras, you're fired. 20 and 4.

Boras: I am the best negotiator of all time.

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Links of the Day 2/2709

Bad news for the Phillies' Scott Eyre, who is stuck amid the Stafford financial scandal.

Nice work, Mississppi.

Apparently the nation's capital hates Pittsburgh. Who knew?


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Links of the Day 2/26/09

Oh... uh... TMI.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are bad at EVERYTHING.

Oh, like we didn't already know that Omar Vizquel had quick hands.



There's a lot of pain in this story, but there is a good side.

Short story: two high school rival teams--schools about 2 1/2 hour drive between them. One team goes to play against the other in a scheduled game, but the mother of the captain of the home team died that afternoon. The game was delayed, and the home team didn't have a full team, what with a grieving captain and friends supporting him, but they started play anyway. The captain showed up in the second period, and asked if he could play. He wasn't in the original line-up, so the referees pointed out that he could play--but it was an automatic technical foul and the visiting team got two free throws. The visiting team was down by two points. Knowing the situation, they tried to decline, but the referees wouldn't let them.

When the visiting team coach asked who wanted to throw the free-throws, the captain of that team said he would. As he was about to walk onto the court, the visiting coach said, "You know you're going to miss, right?" The player nodded. He proceeded to miss both shots--not even near misses. There was no chance either basketball was going to get in the net. In fact, they barely left his hand. The visiting team was applauded by the home team and the fans.

Some might wonder why the referees didn't let the visiting team decline the technical foul. I don’t. The rules are there. We can’t expect referees decide what's an appropriate action for the situation; there’s too much room for argument. Instead, the referees left the sportsmanship up to the visiting team. The visiting team could have taken those two shots and tied the game honestly. They could’ve felt their obligation to sportsmanship was shown by trying to decline the technical foul. Instead, they knew what true sportsmanship was. They couldn't decline the technical foul, but that didn't mean they had to accept their fate, either.

As the coach said: "This is something our kids will hold for a lifetime," Rohlman said. "They may not remember our record 20 years from now, but they'll remember what happened in that gym that night."

Sportsmanship is knowing you did the right thing for the right reason. The referees did the right thing: their job is to enforce rules, whether they want to or not. It’s the job of the team and the coaches to decide the right course of action in the situation. These are two rival teams who will respect each other. There will not be accusations of cheating, because they can trust each other to play the game with honor and respect. It’s not winning at all costs--the love of the game comes first.

The visiting team lost, by the way. But I'm pretty sure they wouldn't have it any other way.

Timberwolves update: 18-39 (0-4 since last time, 14-24 since McHale).

Marian Gaborik Injury Status: Players feel that Marian Gaborik healthy could result in more wins.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's slow times...

A real conversation between Steve and I tonight.

Ryan: Any post ideas for me tonight?

Steve: It's slow times. There were some Spring Training games today.

Ryan: Yeah... February sucks.

(Also, the Twins have Luis Matos?!)


Links of the Day 2/25/09

Happy Lent everyone, let's check out some links.

Not typically a fan of the NBA, but this was pretty good.

Boof Bonser needs some surgery. Wait, was this bad news?

Aaron Curry's hard work in college definitely is paying off.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Who is Number One?

[Photo: AP Photo/Stew Milne]

Let's see...Oklahoma has lost two in a row. North Carolina lost to Maryland. Connecticut lost to Pittsburgh. That same Pitt team just lost to Providence. So does that mean that we can finally get out of the major conferences, which can't seem to put forth a dominant team and go to, um... these guys? Or, you know, we could just make Louisville the new number one. I don't think they've lost anything lately, right? Hmm... Calipari or Pitino... It's like I'm looking for Al Pacino's brother.

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Links of the Day 2/24/09

The Vikings solving all their problems by trading for Sage Rosenfels. Sage..... Rosenfels.....

It's odd that the Twins only ave 2 players on the Top 100 prospects list.

Rich Eisen is one smart cookie.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Watching the NFL Scouting Combine

Yesterday, I had a headache....a bad headache. So bad, that I went to bed at 9 PM, which was so early that I didn't get Ryan's text message asking me to make a post yesterday, which is another reason why we didn't have one. Now, if I lived in Minnesota like Ryan, it would have been a great day to have a headache, since it looks like they had a high of 18 yesterday. Here in Arizona, it was 80, so yeah, it was a pretty crappy day to have a headache.

But the headache allowed me to do 1 thing at least. I watched the QB, WR, and RB drills of the NFL Scouting Combine on the NFL network. Here are my groggy, blurred thoughts about what I saw while sprawled out on the couch.

- I learned in previous years that Mike Mayock is a homeless man's Mel Kiper. If there was no such entity as the Kiper, Mayock could possibly look like a good college talent to NFL team needs matcher, but you can't stop the pure genious that is Kiper. I wonder how much it would cost the NFL to steal him from ESPN (after he is thawed from his cryogenic chamber of course) for a few days.

- Anyone that drafts Oregon's Jaison Williams desperately needs to get their head examined. This man's hands are made of a material so hard, it could probably cut diamonds. On maybe the most important day of his entire life, he dropped just about everything that was thrown to him, including a bunch of passes that hit him right in the hands.

- I only got to see the second group of QBs throw, and I really didn't think any of them looked all that impressive when trying to hit recievers running routes.....especially when you consider this was indoors, with no coverage on the recievers, and no pass rush... I think the quarterback that performed best in these drills was actually Central Washington's Mike Reilly, who consistently hit his man in stride. Reilly is the kind of guy that probably won't get drafted or will be a late round gamble, but some of these small school guys can impress in the pros.

- Mark Sanchez also looked pretty bad in the passing drills. Is it possible that USC's system was hiding his true talent all along?

Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

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Links of the Day 2/23/09

Are Marvin Harrison's days in Indy numbered?

Charles Barkley is coming to my neighborhood!! Possibly wearing pink...

The worst made up music artist names ever


Modem Issues

This weekend, Steve and I went hunting pigs in Texas from our helicopter. When I got back, my router was busted. It comes back to life periodically, but probably not long enough for me to give you all appropriate links posts or anything like that. Steve will be back tonight, to give you real posts. My router is on the way in the toilet again.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Links of the Day 2/22/09

Some jackass questions Jim Calhoun's (Connecticut's basketball coach) salary. Jackass is summarily berated.

Corey Koskie is still trying to come back.

First Gaborik, now Brunette starts missing games? Sheesh.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dude, where's my Blackberry?

Rob Antony: Have you looked in your desk?

Bill Smith: Yep, it's not there.

Antony: Did you put it on the sink or something when you were brushing your teeth?

Smith: No....

Antony: I use mine in the kitchen all the time. Did you leave it by the toaster or something?

Smith: The toaster? No.

Antony: Maybe you were on it in the car and you couldn't put it back in your pocket, so you left it in your cup holder. Is it in your cup holder?

Smith: Checked! Not there!

Hours later......

Antony: Maybe in the clubhouse towards the end of the season?

Smith: Checked there like 5 times!

Many more hours later........

Antony: Did your dog eat it?

Smith: Trust me. I would know by now. Oh well. It will turn up.

Months later......

Smith: Hey Rob! Guess what?

Antony: You have tater tots in your lunch?

Smith: Yeah! And I found my Blackberry! It was in my other pants!

Antony: Hahahahaha! I bet you have a ton of messages!

Smith: Hahahahahahaha! People have been trying to get a hold of me all offseason!

Antony: Hahahahahhahahahha!

Smith: Hahahahahahahahhahahahahaha!

[Twins sign Joe Crede]
[Twins make offer to Juan Cruz]


Links of the Day 2/21/09

A few days ago, a bus accident injured many members of the Carolina Hurricanes' AHL affiliate.

Former wrestler Vern Gagne involved in a sad incident.

A pretty cool way to meet someone famous. I'll admit, the Shaqtus seems like a cool guy.


Friday, February 20, 2009

I smell a rat

Jon Heyman is reporting that the Twins are signing Joe Crede. The problem? This was reported at 4pm this afternoon. Two hours later, ESPN hasn't reported it. The Twins site hasn't mentioned it. None of the local papers or news agencies have discussed it. So what the heck is going on?

That being said, I am fully in favor of the addition of a right handed bat and a guy that will play the left side of the infield, especially one that has been a great hitter as recently as 2 years ago. It would be no surprise if Crede decided to sign quickly as the Indians today designated Andy Marte, a guy the Twins have been after before. Also, this would mean that the beard will finally be gone.

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Links of the Day 2/20/09

If The Whole Nine Yards taught me anything, it's that organized crime is rampant in Montreal.

With the always exciting Purdue - IU game upcoming, is it possible that it's not really all that much of a rivalry any more?

Tonight is the last night for Late Night with Conan O'Brien. A look back...


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Fan of the Game

This isn’t in-depth, really. It’s just a commentary on life.

Last Saturday, I attended quite possibly the worst hockey game I’ve ever attended. While the team I was rooting for lost, it was a miserable loss--in fact, I daresay, in some ways it was worse than being shut out. The point is, the team had a 3-0 lead after the first period, and proceeded to lose 3-5. It was like the Tale of Two Teams: in the first period, the home team dominated and played like a team, while the visiting team looked like they couldn’t keep up. For the next two periods, the visiting team seemed to play crisply and cleanly, and the home team looked like they hadn’t played hockey with each other ever before. I’m sure the fans for the visiting team left the area pleased with their decision to attend, but the home team’s fans were less than pleased.

This made me realize one of the things I’m grateful for baseball. The home team played on Saturday, and didn’t play again until tonight. There were five days between games for the fans to stew about the state of their team. Now, it’s not often that hockey games are spread out so far, and its not unheard of for games to be back-to-back (as in, one night after another). But they’re not played regularly with a grueling schedule (the sport of hockey itself is more grueling, with the possible exception of the starting pitcher in baseball).

That’s what I’m grateful about baseball. While every game is important (ask the White Sox and Twins how important every game is. If one team had won one more game in the course of 162, that team would’ve won the AL-Central division with no contest), you have to move on from a loss. It’s required, because within two days, there’s another game (two exceptions: game before the All-Star break, and the last game of the season). In fact, while hockey players might play two nights in a row, baseball players are grateful for the rule that they’re not allowed to play more than 21 days in a row--and that double-headers (two games in one day) are rare.

I’m not comparing the toughness of the sports, just to clarify. Each sport has its challenges and there’s no way to compare apples to parakeets. And it’s not really how tough the fans are, either. It’s just a comment on the different aspects of difficulties for fans.

Timberwolves update: 18-35 (1-1 since last time, 14-20 since McHale).

Marian Gaborik Injury Status: I’ve heard he’s skating, but that’s all.

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Links of the Day 2/19/09

Remember how I wennt to Alabama last year? Well, there was a HUGE rumble at the building I saw the game at. I don't think it had anything to do with me.

On this same note, I'm actually 30. True story.

This is pretty amazing. Shot off the crotch, than the mascot falls THROUGH the hoop.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Jajuan Johnson is amazing

As much as people want to say that Robbie Hummel or Chris Kramer are the heart and soul of the team. I disagree. Hummel has been injured most of the year and Kramer is what I call a showboat hustler, hitting the floor whenever possible (not necessarily whenever necessary). The thing that gets crowds and teams fired up come tournament time is a clutch basket. The Boilers are at their best when E'Twaun Moore is cutting to the hoop and hitting clutch threes. More importantly, they step up their game when Jajuan Johnson, the Jaraffe is making his silky smooth mid range jumpers and crashing the offensive glass. I haven't found video of it, but below is a picture of a new element of his game that came up against Michigan State. The thunderous dunk:
I love me some Jaraffe, man.

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Links of the Day 2/18/09

Some odd endorsements of years past.

Yes, TV has reached a new low.

With a lawsuit like this pending, hilarity will ensue.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

All too fleeting

Finally, Nick Punto will be wearing another uniform!

Unfortunately, he'll be back in a Twins uni in April. Super duper frowny face.

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Links of the Day 2/17/09

Steroids: Not Bud Selig's fault.

Speaking of steroids, here's something about A-Rod's stupid press conference today.

Also via Deadspin... this is awesome. Nice work, Fox.


Monday, February 16, 2009

Pitchers and Catchers!

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Links of the Day 2/16/09

Shameless self promotion! Anze Skywalker beats Dwayne 'Death Star' Roloson.

More from the world of annoying on-screen graphics.

Check out Zambrano's moustache!


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Fox really loves annoying on screen gimmicks

Above you see Digger who is apparently a gopher. He made his debut today at the Daytona 500 and was even more pervasive than Jeff Gordon's eyebrows. He makes me yearn for Cleatus. I never thought I would say that.

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Links of the Day 2/15/09

Hard to play in a tournament when your visa gets revoked.

This is either a trophy or a gift for a young girl.

Who dares right ill of Bobby Jenks? Eh, he doesn't care.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Valentine's Day letter

Dear Bill,

I knew from the moment you started as the Twins GM that you were the GM for me. You took the reins of the team and wanted to change things. You wanted to make this a team that was strong from in terms of pitching, defense AND offense. You were dealt a bad card with the Johan Santana situation, but you made due, netting what was presumably the best package on the table and sending him out of the division. You also addressed the teams need for a right handed hitter and acquired Delmon Young by sending off surplus pitching in Matt Garza. Garza, it appeared, wasn't going anywhere with the Twins, and even with Santana and he gone, the Twins had plenty of pitching.The other problem was with the left side of the infield. You added Mike Lamb and Adam Everett, one for his glove, one for his bat.
Now it appears, after some tough times last year, you are succumbing to the pressure of fans, management and idiot sportswriters. Delmon Young hit .290 and hit 10 homeruns last year at age 23. It wasn't a regression if you look at the course of the season, but rather a very similar season, statistically, to what he did the previous season in Tampa. If you look at it over the course of one season, he improved dramatically. In fact, he was, without a doubt, the best right handed hitter on the team last year. Of course, your critics want you to get rid of him. I have no idea why. Why not Carlos Gomez, who is terrible?
Also, you have received criticism for dealing away Garza. I deem Garza's success in Tampa as the "Kyle Lohse" effect. He was a jerk who needed someone to tell him off. It took the Rays organization, apparently, to set him on the path for success. Besides, the rotation you have is spectacular. The teams' success can be traced directly to the pitching whch broke down at the end of the year, thanks in large part due to mismanagement of the bullpen which led to all around fatigue.
Another critique this offseason is the lack of a third baseman. Last year, you added Mike Lamb who, in previous seasons has been reliable mostly as a bench player and acceptable as a starter. He was also known for some lengthy slumps, but equally capable of very good hot streaks. Unfortunately, he entered a Twins uniform and went into a slump. I think I can forgive you if you are a little gunshy on the prospect of adding a free agent third baseman.
I guess, Bill, what I'm trying to say is, don't ever change. Don't let people convince you to re-sign awful but scrappy guys like Nick Punto when they are more likely to hurt than help the team. Continue to build your team. Screw everyone else if they would rather watch bunting than home runs. You're trying to build a winner using common sense. Go Bill Smith. I like you just the way you are.

- Ryan


Links of the Day 2/14/09

Happy Valentine's Day, here are some old links.

About time the FBI got around to checking things like this out

Bloggers also use PEDs

Who would win the dunk contest if only baseball players were allowed in?


Friday, February 13, 2009

The Final NFL Power Ranks

Better late than never right? I usually have been posting the weekly power ranks every Tuesday after the week's games, but I've been a little sidetracked the past 2 weeks. So pretend it's February 3rd, and enjoy the final power ranks of the season.

As I said 2 weeks ago, the Patriots were completely screwing up my ranks, but the Steelers, who I vehemently was rooting against in the Super Bowl, could have been my saviors. The Cardinals just didn't have the record, schedule strength, or defensive rank to climb to the top of the ranks by winning the Super Bowl, but sitting in 3rd, the Steelers were just 1 win away from finishing the year as both the Super Bowl champs and in the top of the ranks.

With their win, the Steelers finished the year as #1, pushing the Patriots and and Ravens back a spot each. The Cardinals loss dropped them from 6th to 11th, allowing a few other teams to move up a spot or 2. And yes, its pretty bizarre that the Bengals and 49ers switched spots yet again, but both teams were extremely close and benefitting from their division rivals success throughout the playoffs.

So after this 2nd year of doing the ranks I'd have to say I'm pretty happy with them. I think the only thing I might change for next year is some sort of way to penalize teams that miss the playoffs so they don't pull a New England and pop up to #1 the week before the Super Bowl. New England was a bit of an oddity though, since they finished the season 11-5 and won their final 4 games in a row. Power ranks are really a measure of "who is the best right now" instead of "who is the best over the whole season" so recent W-L record carries a decently large weight in my formula. When the season ends, I freeze that total for the non-playoff teams, so New England's winning streak to end the season was giving them the upper hand over teams that actually made the playoffs because 11 of the top 12 teams (the playoff teams) ended their season with a loss, hurting their recent success score.

I was pretty happy with the reweighting of some attributes that I made and the addition of turnover ratio as an attribute. Some teams were absolutely attrocious at holding onto the ball, and they got killed in the ranks for it, even if they had a good record, and in the end, the ranks were right (I'm looking at you Denver). The ranks also did a great job predicting the some of the "sleeper" teams. The Falcons and Ravens were much higher in my ranks than in most "expert" ranks all season, and Week 1's #1 team, the Eagles, stayed in the top 10 for 18 of the 21 weeks this season even though a lot of people left them for dead. The Eagles playoff run didn't fool anyone at the Times.

So here are the final ranks for 2008:
1. Steelers - 77.55 - +2
2. Patriots - 73.35 - -1
3. Ravens - 71.86 - -1
4. Colts - 71.46 - E
5. Eagles - 68.87 - E
6. Dolphins - 65.51 - +1
7. Giants - 63.30 - +2
8. Falcons - 62.78 - +2
9. Titans - 62.67 - -1
10. Panthers - 62.07 - +1
11. Cardinals - 60.50 - -5
12. Bears - 59.32 - E
13. Chargers - 57.23 - E
14. Saints - 51.98 - E
15. Vikings - 50.97 - E
16. Jets - 49.64 - E
17. Texans - 49.29 - E
18. Buccaneers - 46.28 - E
19. Redskins - 46.18 - E
20. Packers - 44.30 - E
21. Cowboys - 42.76 - E
22. Bengals - 42.34 - +1
23. 49ers - 42.33 - -1
24. Bills - 39.62 - E
25. Raiders - 36.70 - E
26. Broncos - 34.45 - E
27. Jaguars - 34.21 - E
28. Seahawks - 32.21 - E
29. Browns - 32.08 - E
30. Chiefs - 22.19 - E
31. Rams - 16.21 - E
32. Lions - 11.50 - E

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Links of the Day 2/13/09

Happy Friday the 13th. I continue to be behind with my links.

Lil Wayne made an appearance on Around the Horn. Believe it or not, he won!

Yes! Baseball is almost here!

Sportswriters in Michigan are different. For example, Sid Hartman is incoherant because he's old.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

“What’s so exciting about hockey? It’s just like soccer!”

A while back, I read online a comment by someone who wasn’t a hockey fan but watched a hockey game. They were trying to get into hockey and just couldn’t find the enjoyment. As they said, it was just like soccer, a sport that’s just not a big spectator event in the United States.

Many people explained the skating as being the key factor. Once you know how hard it is to skate, it’s easy to appreciate what these guys can do. This is true. It’s easy to see guys running around on ice skates, and feel like they’re running. But those who have balanced on skates know that it’s not quite as easy as running (after time, I would assume it becomes like running to hockey players. As one becomes more comfortable on skates, one doesn’t have to think about what they’re doing.) If you want to stop, you don’t just quit moving your legs--skates still glide. Also, try controlling a little piece of hard rubber as it slithers around on ice--not with your hands or your feet, but with some extension added to your hands. It’s not easy to control.

But there’s a second level to hockey. A hockey rink is approximately 200 feet long by 85-100 feet wide (depending on which rules are used: international and North American). A soccer field is 300 feet by 180 feet. Professional hockey players can reach speeds of 20 miles/hour. I’m not entirely certain how fast soccer players can run (the internet has failed me on that), but I’m feeling confident that it’s not quite as fast. Based on the playing field of soccer being approximately two (international) to three (North American) times as big as the soccer field, and the soccer players moving more slowly than the hockey players, the action in hockey is more compacted than soccer. The physical play of hockey (with checking and such) adds to the excitement. There is more adrenaline in the game. Plays need to be set up that much quicker.

I personally don’t find soccer that exciting because it’s slower paced. (And, yet, I love the slowest-paced “real” sport out there, baseball, but that’s for the poetry and precision of the game. But baseball is two days away, and that’s for-ev-er!) Watching guys run from one end of the field to the other, over the large field, doesn’t hold my interest. I like playing the game, being part of the action, but I’ll pass on watching if possible. I love the fast pace of hockey. Just because the puck is at one end of the arena is no reason why two seconds from now the other team will score. There’s uncertainty. It takes longer for a soccer ball to get down the field.

In awesome news: Twins Pitchers and Catchers must report to Spring Training on Saturday! Spring is almost here!

Timberwolves update: 17-34 (0-3 since last time, 13-19 since McHale). They’re winning 1/3 of their games, which is quite a bit to ask for, when you think about it. But save your sanity and don’t.

Marian Gaborik Injury Status: I think I’m getting a cold. I have no idea if Marian Gaborik is.

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Links of the Day 2/12/09

I've fallen way, way behind in my reading of the internet, so forgive me if some of these things are about 4 days old..

Baseball Prospectus has the Twins going 79-83 this season. But still, second place!

Not long until Tony Hawk goes bad, right?

In case your cell phone service is interrupted, this might be why.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The difference between America and Korea

As Beth mentioned the other day in the comments of my post on the Korean baseball team, South Korea only has around 250 surnames. Obviously, this is different in America, what with our ethnic diversity and what have you. In some cases, however, people feel the need to go with diverse first names as well.
Sometimes, they just like to spell regular names in unusual ways. Such is the case of this handsome fellow:
Steffphon Pettigrew plays for Western Kentucky as a shooting guard. As far as I can tell, Mr. Pettigrew is a nice enough guy and a good contributor for the Hilltoppers. Also, the first F and the PH are silent.

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Links of the Day 2/11/09

Brett Favre probably retires.

A lawsuit alleges that Roberto Alomar has AIDS, knowingly spread it.

The evolution of a Wiki page.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is it possible A-Rod did everything right?

Let's take a brief look at A-Rod's current situation and take what he has said to be mostly truthful. Statistically, the evidence is there that, in fact, he was mostly truthful. 2001-2003 were three of his best power years, though by his own admission, the Ballpark at Arlington is a better hitters park.
But just think of his situation. He was 25 years old and had just signed the richest contract in major league history. Expectations were reasonably high, and he wanted to meet them. Look at the team that he joined in 2001. Rafael Palmeiro. Ken Caminiti. Ruben Sierra. Randy Velarde. Take an impressionable youngster wanting to succeed and throw him with veterans such as these, and they will undoubtedly steer him in the wrong direction.
Additionally, at the time of his use, there was no penalty for the use of his steroids. From the standpoint of an owner paying a guy 25 million dollars a year, wouldn't you want players to do everything in their power to win? Especially if it was something that wasn't punishable by the league? Now, obviously, with such stringent policies regarding steroid use, even as an owner desperate to win, you wouldn't want your guys using if only to avoid suspension. He claims he stopped using in 2003, and indeed, he hasn't tested positive since. In short, nobody has proved that A-Rod has done anything that was disallowed by baseball.
As for the testing, he didn't try to skirt it, didn't avoid it, he just did it. He took the test and failed. So did 103 other people. Thats 3-4 other guys per team. If the players on the 40 man rosters at the end of the season were the ones tested, thats almost 9% of players in major league baseball. Clearly, it was a leaguewide problem.
Even though A-Rod was the only one identified by SI, he didn't take the opportunity to assign blame elsewhere, even though he justifiably could have. He could have blamed the Rangers for forcing him into steroid use. He could have blamed the Players Union and Sports Illustrated for throwing him under the bus for failing to keep what was supposed to be an anonymous test and making it public. But he didn't. He claimed he was stupid and naive, and thus far, the evidence seems to indicate this was the truth.
So far, in my mind, the worst thing A-Rod has done has been lying to Katie Couric. But goodness, who hasn't done that? At the time, however, think of the consequennces had A-Rod told the truth in this instance. Sure, A-Rod would have saved some of his own credibility, but it would have been ruinous for baseball. A-Rod says he used steroids, then MLB would have been questioned as to why he never tested positive. Then MLB has to divulge the fact that he did indeed test positive. Why wasn't the test reported? Why wasn't A-Rod suspended? It saves a little face for baseball that the specifics of the test were released with the positive test.
I don't think A-Rod has really done himself a huge disservice. I think, if anything, he has toed the company line, be it for the Rangers or the league, and in the end, he has been the one thrown to the wolves. If anyone should come out of this looking bad, its those organizations and not Rodriguez.

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Links of the Day 2/10/09

This should make Steve happy. Is it possible Frank Thomas is the best clean hitter of our generation?

We're mostly jaded to the steroid thing at this point, right? Is there anyone who we might be surprised to hear is on 'roids?

Looks like the T-Wolves are in line for a top pick!


Monday, February 09, 2009

The WBC is coming!

The World Baseball Classic is just around the corner. I know some aren't fans of it, but I think it's great because I love baseball, and this is really just baseball for the sake of baseball. Players, I think, have learned their lesson from the previous incarnation of the WBC on the proper level of exertion (exert! it's a good substitute for Spring Training!), which will make this another fun event. Of course, my favorite team will again be Korea. Their roster includes:

Hei Chun Lee
Jae Woo Lee
Seung Ho Lee
Bum Ho Lee
Dae Ho Lee
Seung Yuop Lee
Byung Kyu Lee
Jin Young Lee
Jong Wook Lee
Taek Keyn Lee
Yongkyu Lee

At some point, I want this exchange.

"They are going to the bullpen and bringing in Seung Ho Lee."
"Wow, we haven't heard Lee's name much..."

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Links of the Day 2/9/09

The Legend wants to bring back some old logos. I'm fully on board with the Brewers' glove, not so much the Bucks' old logo.

We all know how I feel about Oregon's uniforms. They suck just as bad in basketball.

The Pro Bowl was yesterday. I watched Hole in the Wall on Fox instead.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Let's talk about football

It's Sunday, and I miss football. The Pro Bowl, obviously, doesn't count. It's what Thursday Night Smackdown is to Olympic wrestling.

Since I've proven to be excellent at whining about my teams, I figured I would assess the Colts, my football team. I complain about the Twins pretty regularly, but I think my Twins fan readers should know that I am a general malcontent and am not just bashing Minnesota.

Anyways, the colts head into the offseason with three primary needs. First is defensive tackle, second is linebacker and third is a wide receiver to pick up where Marvin Harrison will leave off. In my opinion, especially after watching the Colts blow it against the Chargers, it became frighteningly apparent that the Colts linebacking corps needed someone that could rove across the middle and prevent the short passes. The problem is, by the time the Colts pick comes around, there won't be anyone worthwhile on the board at linebacker and frankly, they never pick one in the draft anyways

Even though the linebackers are even less talented than the defensive tackles, it's more pressing that they address the DT first. The Colts have always won by scoring a lot of points, not by holding teams to very few. The very least they can do is try to slow the opposing offense down, make them pass it more so the ball gets back in Peyton Manning's hands quicker. I would argue that this task is important enough that the Colts should address it via free agency, acquiring a guy they know can do the job, rather than someone that might do the job. Look for Indy to push hard for Albert Haynesworth.

The trick in the draft will be to replenish the offense. Getting a wide receiver will make the team better next year, because Peyton Manning will be able to incorporate him into the offense. The Colts will be nearly unstoppable if they add Haynesworth and a guy like Hakeem Nicks in the draft.

Will that happen? Remains to be seen.

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Links of the Day 2/8/09

Say, weren't you in the Super Bowl?

It's really just a matter of time before this lady gets caught with a bong, isn't it?

Oh good, the Twins don't want to pay Joe Crede. Why would we need him anyways?


Saturday, February 07, 2009

BREAKING: The Padres are my new NL team

On the Padres, Cliff might be the left fielder AND the second starter.


Links of the Day 2/7/09

The Twins signed someone! Luis Ayala is the new guy in the Minnesota bullpen.

Alex Rodriguez tested positive for steroids in 2003. I can honestly say I didn't see this one coming.

Great news about Kenechi Udeze, who missed 2008 with leukemia.


Friday, February 06, 2009

This blog don't got no swagger

The video highlight of Wednesday's signing day was, undoubtedly, Dre Kirkpatrick and his commitment to Alabama. First, after having two hats on his table (and looking stoned out of his mind) he gives away his choice by saying the Texas hat has no swagger. Then, he promptly opens a duffel bag. Then a white garbage bag. Then a red box (whoomp, there it is!). Then another bag which was in the box. THEN a different hat than the Alabama hat he already had on the table. It confused several people, making them think he was going to play for the Braves.
Mr. Kirkpatrick gets several points for showmanship. Of course, he'll now spend the next 4 years getting lit up by SEC quarterbacks, but good for him.


Links of the Day 2/6/09

Richard Zednik in a video that doesn't involve substantial blood loss, but just a really good goal.

I'm sure everyone played G-E-I-C-O as a kid right?

I don't care if he was wrong. Well done Lane Kiffin.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Get Out of Jail Free

First, I would like to congratulate the Vikings, who have not lost a Super Bowl in 31 years! Sure, the Steelers need to be congratulated for winning the Super Bowl this year, but I’d like to point out that they lost in the Super Bowl 13 years ago.

When soldiers return from war, they go through a period of debriefing and training to get them re-adjusted to normal life. Life in a military war zone isn’t like life in a relatively peaceful area. After spending a year in England, the directors of the program gave us articles to remind us that the culture shock we faced when we moved to England would very likely re-appear when we returned home--because we had adjusted to British life, and would need to re-acclimate ourselves to American life.

And yet athletes return home, retire, etc., with no such training. Michael Phelps is such a boy. He spent years training, became a sensation with his Olympic medals, returned home…and was caught smoking pot. Many kids smoke pot, illegally, and it never makes headlines. Phelps, being famous, will be noted if he smokes pot. People know him and recognize him. A picture of a random kid with a bong, would be enough to make people sigh in disappointment, but we wouldn’t talk about it later.

This is not to excuse Phelps. The authorities and family and friends of the person pictured will always care when anyone does something wrong. This is illegal activity, no matter how common or uncommon it is (I have no idea). He should face the same consequences as anyone else.

In fact, that’s where we go wrong. We tend to treat the famous as invincibles who can never do wrong. We let athletes get away with so many things because of the pressure of their societal position, but we have trouble drawing lines. Everyone wants to see the socially awkward kid in detention, but no one wants to see the popular kid there, even if they committed the same infraction.

Athletes may have more social responsibility than others, but in compensation, they have a lot of advantages over the working class. They get a lot of free things--meals, clothes, etc. But they should not get a free pass on life.

Timberwolves update: 17-31 (1-3 since last time, 13-16 since McHale). A bad week for the Timberwolves. Or a week of normalcy after a few weeks of outliers; whatever.

Marian Gaborik Injury Status: He may possibly be ahead of his rehab schedule, and may actually start to ice skate again next week. Whoa.


Links of the Day 2/5/09

One day, Beth or Steve might make a list like this about the Times.

This is how I ended up going to Purdue (heads would have been Oxford)

My sentiments exactly.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Comparing two waterborne heroes

Two American heroes caught my eye today. I think they are pretty much the same. Let's take a look.

Michael Phelps: Has earned 14 Olympic gold medals in swimming.
Chesley Sullenburger: Landed a plane in the Hudson River, saving the lives of 150, all of whom had to swim (or float) to nearby boats.

Michael Phelps: Appeared in many commercials following the Olympics, most while wearing a Speedo.
Chesley Sullenburger: Appeared at the Super Bowl while wearing a suit.

Michael Phelps: Busted using a bong at a frat party. Probably using his celebrity to get out of any consequences. Lauded for his honesty.
Chesley Sullenburger: Unable to return a library book (it was in the cargo hold on his plane, now in the Hudson). Probably using his celebrity to get out of any consequences. Lauded for his honesty.

Pretty much the the same guy, right?

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Links of the Day 2/4/09

Hockey players fight because they learn it from their parents.

Just because, here's the latest edition of Bracketology. Purdue vs. North Dakota State. Hmm.

Purdue a 4 seed, of course, if the Boilers can deal with Robbie Hummel's injury.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

I have a problem

Gambling is typically a ruinous endeavor that typically falls under the category of "vice". Across the board, people will tell you gambling, like with sports betting, is "bad". I would generally agree. Except when it's awesome. Let me introduce you to Cent Sports, a free, legal sports betting site. Odds are, unless you are a truly gifted gambler, you will never see a dime from this adventure. Of course, you never have to pay a dime either. Everyone wins!
Cent Sports makes their money off of advertising, and it gives you free loose change to gamble with. You start with a dime, provided by Cent Sports, and should you ever drop below the dime, they will give you a new one. If you ever win enough (20 dollars) you can cash out, but that's damn near impossible, frankly. I have one friend who is at $1.98, and he's had an amazing run so far.
Anyways, I am not here to promote Cent Sports (though if you do sign up, be sure to add me as a friend!). I am here to admit that I spend way too much time on it. Last night, I wagered 5 cents on a lightweight boxing match from Japan between Takeharo Shimada and Jose Alfaro. I know nothing about boxing. In fact, the internet apparently knows nothing of Takeharo Shimada. I don't know what happens. I've been frantically looking for results to the Shimada-Alfaro bout. Again, I bet $.05 on it. I've parlayed tennis with second flight British Soccer. I've bet several times on the Sun Belt conference. I can't stop. I can't stop gambling.
And it's awesome. I haven't lost any money, even though I'm terrible at it. I'm trying to find out more abnout all these other sports I would otherwise be uninterested in, like the NBA, Argentine Soccer or, of course, boxing matches from Japan that are apparently phantoms.
So yeah, if you know who won the Shimada-Alfaro bout, could you let me know?

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Links of the Day 2/3/09

Jason White, an obviously better player than Larry Fitzgerald, mysteriously is not in the NFL.

The Patriots will enter next season as the Super Bowl favorite next year. Wow.

I do not understand the Twitter, but this seems cool


Monday, February 02, 2009

Stop it.

Excuse me, ESPN? Knock it off. Yes, it was a good game yesterday, but frankly, I can think of 2 games in the last ten years that were better than yesterday's game!
(Rams - Titans in 2000 and the Giants-Patriots, uh... last year. How short is your memory, ESPN?)
Also, what is wrong with Chad Forde's face? He looks like he's trying to say something nice about Vin Diesel's acting.

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Links of the Day 2/2/09

With football season over, you may want to head to Raleigh and hang out at Bates Battaglia's bar. Yeah, Bates Battaglia!

Porn interrupts the Super Bowl in Arizona. Oops.

And a look back at the Super Bowl from KSK.


Good God give this man some oxygen

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Ryan's Super Bowl Prediction

Much has been made of the Cardinals being the perennial doormat that somehow managed to make it to the Big Game. Now, the talking heads say, they are a different team. Well, sort of. They are still the doormats of the league, but now they are in a different league. They are now the "worst team to ever play in the Super Bowl". The last 9-7 team to make the Super Bowl in a non-strike year (not to mention the only other 9-7 team in a non-strike year) was the Los Angeles Rams in 1979. They also captured the imagination of America before they faced the Steelers. The Cardinals, like the '79 Rams, will lose 31-19.


Links of the Day 2/1/09

Michael Phelps, smokin' the reefer. Why did this party at an American school end up in a British tabloid? Clearly, you don't know enough about British tabloids.

Former Boilermaker Rod Woodson and former Viking Randall McDaniel were elected to the NFL Hall of Fame. So, what's the hold up on Cris Carter getting into the Hall?

Rafael Nadal is your Australian Open Champion.