Thursday, April 30, 2009


Drat. Ryan posted a lazy cop-out post, which means I can’t. I’m actually going to have write something charming and witty! The unfortunate thing is, I woke up this morning with the knowledge of an 8:00 am meeting at work about a project I didn’t think warranted any discussion, and not even an inkling of a topic sitting around. So, um, sorry?

I have season tickets for the Minnesota Twins. Every year in October or so, I send them money, and every year just before the season starts, they send me 81 tickets. I don’t even come close to using all of them (some get wasted, and others are given away; at $3.08/ticket, I don’t worry about it). (Note: This will change next year when the new stadium opens, and the Twins won’t let me have insanely cheap tickets). The seats are general admission, but I always sit with the same group. One guy mentioned on Tuesday that he ran into a casual fan on his way in, who was worried about the Twins pitching. My friend said that he wasn’t so worried about the pitching as he was the hitting. Looking at the scores (the Twins have been outscored 93-116), that might be surprising, but he’s probably right.

Look, all Twins fans know our bullpen is shaky at best. Some of the relievers have proved themselves to be good, but they’ve also proved themselves to be vulnerable, too. If their innings can be limited, the weakness should be protected from too much abuse.

The Twins starting pitching rotation for 2009 started 128 of 163 games last year, with a 3.96 ERA. Now, any one of them could fall apart, but their minor league records suggest otherwise. Will they do as fantastic as 2008? Possibly, but maybe not. But the odds favor more Baker and Liriano’s ERAs coming down than staying where they are.

The Twins haven’t had a right-handed hitter for a couple of years now. Sure, they’ve had guys who held the bat right-handed, but that doesn’t mean they’re right-handed hitters. Their most consistent hitters right now are all left-handed: Span, Morneau, Kubel, and presumably Mauer. Their best right-handed hitter for average and power is Brendan Harris who has 40 at-bats (Morneau has 88). Right-handed Joe Crede is up there in power, but his Mendoza-esque .212 batting average probably doesn’t inspire fear in opposing teams.

The Twins have been lucky that Mauer and Morneau (and Span) have shown they hit left-handed pitching not significantly worse than right-handed pitching. It slightly neutralizes the problem of opponents bringing in a left-handed pitcher, but it isn’t ideal. Ideally, they’d have a batter (or two) who killed left-handed pitching.

This isn’t part of the Problem Positions series of Ryan’s, because it’s not a particular position on the field, but rather a position in the line-up. (The Twins Position in Need is third base, pending how Joe Crede works out.)

Joe Mauer Injury Status: Reportedly, he’s back in Minnesota and will be activated from the DL tomorrow. Uncertain who will be leaving the Twins.

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Links of the Day 4/30/09

Melvin Mora just doesn't want to go to Norfolk, it seems.

Happy Gilmore knew what he was doing.

Does Dick Bremer like Jose Morales maybe just a little too much?


A lazy cop out post

I'm posting fairly late tonight, because I'm a delinquent. Anyways, since you will undoubtedly have something informative and fun to read from Beth, I don't want to disappoint you with my abysmal attempt at something clever. Anyways, here's a video of Manny Ramirez playing cricket.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Links of the Day 4/29/09

I like Mike Leach more and more every day.

Speaking of Texas Tech and crazy coaches, the Netherlands learns a valuable lesson in how you talk to Bobby Knight.

Megan McLain has some other new Raider teammates.


The post where Steve makes a "Brokeback Mountain" joke in the comments

Scott Baker looks like Jake Gyllenhaal, right? I'm not the only one that thinks so am I? Unfortunately, all the pictures on the interwebs involve him grimacing as he pitches or covering his face with a hat or towel. There are no pictures of Jake Gyllenhaal doing anything but staring deep into your soul. But seriously, next time he's on the hill, take a look.
Maybe they swapped places since they look so much alike. That would certainly explain Baker's slow start. It would also go a long way towards explaining Rendition

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Links of the Day 4/28/09

Joe Sports Fan continues to obsess over the baseball cards of yore.

Who had the best mock draft? Mike Mayock who got less than a third of them right.

Jacoby Ellsbury is cashing in on his recent stealing of home.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Position in the Spotlight: The Introduction

I'm introducing a new feature here at the times. Steve and I were talking about how various positions are always stocked with talented or popular players. Take the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, for example. Every city in the country has a position that the pay attention to the most, where incumbent people taking over that role are put under a greater degree of pressure, and for whatever reason, it seems that someone always comes through.
Over the course of the next few months, Steve and I will be examining 31 cities or regions across the country and evaluating which sports position has been the most historically significant for that city. Not only that, we want to make sure that the city still values that position above all. For example, during the 90s, the role of Vikings' receiver was quite important, however in the next decade, the role of receiver has been diminished, and the teams onus has been placed on running back.
So we'll be featuring two of these cities a week, generally going from smallest city to largest, and would love your input. We'll start later this week, with Steve taking a look at Buffalo. I'll be eying New Orleans next week. I hope you find this as interesting as we do!


Links of the Day 4/27/09

Yeah, it's late. My bad.

Carl Edwards was fine, but a few people in the grandstands were not so fortunate after his incredibly crash. (By the way, heck of a week at Talledega.)

Orange and Blue or nothing, Broncos. All part of the 50th anniversary throwbacks for the AFL teams.

Tony Dungy is going into prison ministry. First on the list? Mike Vick.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pick #168 Oakland Raiders - Megan McLain, SS, U of Buffalo

The Raiders continued to draft players that were off the radar of other teams, drafting Megan McLain, a 5'6 senior out of the University of Buffalo. The Raiders claim she is a strong safety.
"I never even played football before!" the giddy new Raider said, "but when Mr. Davis said that they liked my speed, I was like, OK!"
McLain won the MAC championship this year in the women's 100m dash. When asked how she felt about the position the Raiders were assigning her to, she said, "SS. Is that short stop?"

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Links of the Day 4/26/09

I don't often give you NASCAR links, but I watched this live, and I have to say, I watched in horror. I link because Carl Edwards is OK.

Rangers coach John Torterella freaks out on some fans. He was suspended for today's game.

The Colts drafted Purdue QB Curtis Painter in the 6th round today. Colts fans are not happy.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pick #32 Pittsburgh Steelers - Evander "Ziggy" Hood, DT, Missouri

Last pick of the day for me. It's been fun. I'm thoroughly surprised that Rey Maualuga is still available. I'm just as surprised that James Laurinitis is out there. Where will they go? Will one of them land with the Colts (no)?
Roger Goodell informed us that the Pittsburgh Steelers, World Champion Football Super Bowl World Champions (PSWCFSBWC, for short) selected Ziggy Hood. It's a good pick, I think. The Steelers always have good linebackers, and this will free them up to make some tackles.

Song: Wyclef Jean - Two Wrongs

That's it! I'm done! Go outside or something!


Pick #31 Arizona Cardinals - Beanie Wells, RB, Ohio State

Whew. Mom is off the line. And what's this, Pedro Gomez in Arizona? This is stranger than Sal Pal in New York. The conversation about Beanie Wells continues. After Herm Edwards provides his disjointed opinion, they start showing the highlights for Mr. Beanie before a pick is even made. They seem pretty sure of themselves.
They did, naturally. Also, I just realized that I started writing "Arizona Wells". Also, Stephania Bell just came on screen and so, while trying to "Arizona Wells" I wrote "Arizonia Bells". Lastly, who is Stephania Bell?

Song: Cranberries - Dreams


Pick #30, Tennessee Titans - Kenny Britt, WR,

Keyshawn Johnson has informed us that the Titans historically do a good job making picks "for them". I'm not sure what that means. Does this mean they were in the Browns board room when Tim Couch was selected? Anyways, they cut to Beanie Wells in his living room, which is odd, given that they have a couple good running backs already. Do they need more? Naturally, this leads to a discussion on Beanie Wells.
AH! MOM PHONE CALL! MUST SHAKE HER! Can't provide insight on Kenny Britt! Colts should have picked him.

Song: Van Halen - Jump


Pick #29 New York Giants - Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina

All I can do is sigh. This is a player that I would have liked to see in Indianapolis. Nope. You could say that the Colts shot themselves in the foot, not picking him. Ha! Because, see, the hole at wide receiver for the Giants was caused by Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg What? Give me a break, I've been doing this for over two hours now.
Hey wait! Why isn't Sal Paolantonio in Philadelphia?

Song: Led Zeppelin - D'yer Maker


Pick #28 Buffalo Bills - Alex Wood, C, Louisville

Kiper - "The Bills --"
Berman - "I really like this pick, Mel"
Kiper - "What the Bills get --"
Berman - "The Bills, circling at least one wagon!"

Shut up and let the man talk! Seems like a good pick, getting ready to patch that O-line. By the way, the Maria Sharapova/Matthew Stafford thing on E:60 doesn't look forced at all.

Song: Chris Brown and Li'l Wayne - Gimme That


Pick #27 Indianapolis Colts - Donald Brown, RB, Connecticut

I didn't think I could be dismayed by the Colts' first round pick, but here I sit. I don't understand how an undersized running back helps Joseph Addai. He'll be just as injury prone, and not very likely to block. The defense will still be bad. The receiving corps is still missing a third receiver. The fine folks of ESPN seem to like the pick, but it fills me with infinite sadness.

Song: Varuca Salt - My Sharona (the remake!)


Pick #26, Green Bay Packers - Clay Matthews, LB, USC

The Packers traded up to get ahead of the Colts. Who could they be picking? My first instinct is that they are looking at a wideout. The commercial break was interminable. Someone tell me who they are nabbing! Oh, there's Roger Goodell.
Clay Matthews was certainly a player that the Colts could have used, but frankly, I'm more worried about the middle of the defense, and Maualuga is still on the board, as is James Laurinitis. Oof, a long name either way. We can tell that the Eric Mangini is of the same camp as Bill Belichik, as they both continue to trade down.
Before that pick is taken care of, they bring out members of the US Military. Biggest cheer of the night. Good for you, New York.

Song: Usher ft. Ludacris - You Don't Have to Call


Pick #25, Miami Dolphins - Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois

Davis got himself drafted thanks to being the only good player for Illinois in the Rose Bowl last year. Davis is getting mobbed in Illinois (or wherever he is). I wonder what that phone call must be like on the other end of the line. "Hi, this is Bill Parcells. It looks like we're going to be picking you. We're happy to have you in Miami" (unintelligible noise on the other end) "Great!"
I worry about Davis' tackling ability, but he certainly has the speed to keep up with a guy like Randy Moss. Meanwhile, the Colts are two picks away. Who will the Patriots going to pick to screw them over?

Song: Cash Money Millionaires- Bling Bling


Pick #24 Atlanta Falcons - Peria Jerry, DT, Ole Miss

Jerry was a need pick for the Falcons. The best news for me is that this takes away the one player I didn't want the Colts picking. Not saying he's a bad player, just that I would like to see Indy go after a linebacker or a Hakeem Nicks.
So, second Ole Miss player off the board in a row. They won the national title last year, right? Just like Virginia the year before?

Song: CCR - Have You Ever Seen the Rain


Pick #23 - Baltimore Ravens - Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss

The Patriots went ahead and traded out of their pick. I didn't really expect them to hang around there. Who would they have picked? Do they have any weaknesses to patch with a first round pick? Not really. So the Ravens went ahead and finally picked Michael Oher, who I finally am sure is the last player out of the green room.
After everyone telling us about how great Oher's story is, coming off the streets of Memphis, adopted, then given the opportunity to play football, I was sort of sick of hearing about him. After seeing him interviewed though.... well, Steve Young said it the best "That was a top 5 interview". First, he was both nervous to talk to Erin Andrews, and second, he was visibly emotional. "I would have been happy going in the 7th round." Great scene. First person I'm legitimately happy to see get selected.

Song: America - Horse With No Name


Pick #22 Minnesota Vikings - Percy Harvin, WR, Florida

Mercy. For a team that seems to have so many of those "character flaws" that many worry about, you would think that the Vikings would avoid a guy like Percy Harvin. But no, that's fine, go ahead Minnesota, go with Harvin. He's quick, sure, but he's not REALLY a wide receiver and he's not REALLY a running back. The last thing someone as stupid as Brad Childress needs is any complications. Everyone on the show can't stop talking about how many character flaws Harvin has. Nobody has made the correlation between Harvin and Randy Moss, both pick #22 and frought with problems coming out of school. The difference is that Harvin isn't nearly as good.

Song: Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven (it's a long song)


Pick #21 Cleveland Browns - Alex Mack, C California

The most surprising thing here is that the Browns actually made a pick. They went after Alex Mack to help bolster their offensive line and improve the offense in general. No, the Alex Mack you are thinking of is actually Larissa Oleynik. Now, the Vikings are picking quickly.

Song: Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven


Pick #20, Detroit Lions - Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Oklahoma State

The Lions have their second pick, earned with their trade with the Cowboys for Roy Williams. Steve Young is pleading for an offensive lineman. The Lions need an offensive lineman. Instead, they went with Brandon Pettigrew, a tight end. Again, its a situation where a very good player is going to a situation, Detroit, that is not right. Of course, all those linemen that were not supposed to be there are still there, and they get to pick again at #33, so maybe that's what they were thinking.
Still, sort of sad to see a guy go where he shouldn't. Depressing. Also depressing, Bea Arthur died today.

Song: Dane Cook - Dream House (yes, I like Dane Cook. Sue me.)


Pick #19, Philadelphia Eagles - Jeremy Maclin, WR, Missouri

The Browns just don't want to pick today. The Eagles have traded up to take the Browns' pick and seem to want to nab a wide receiver. Wow, Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin could be a big time receiving tandem for Donovan McNabb. About time, am I right Donovan? Now that you only have a couple years left in Philly, of course.
Maclin has "great burst", which sounds disgusting. I anticipate he will be a good receiver in a West Coast system, but he doesn't seem llike a burner. The hilarious thing about all of this is that the Eagles traded to get ahead of the Lions. That's right. The Eagles legitimately thought there was a chance the Lions would draft a wide receiver.

Song: Creedence Clearwater Revival - Proud Mary


Pick #18 Denver Broncos - Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee

Ed Werder s thoroughly convinced that the Broncos will be taking Robert Ayers. Ed Werder is usually as reliable as someone with a mustache can be. Before the pick is in, Chris Mortenson decides to remind us that Josh McDaniels is only 33! John Gruden was fired! This guy needs more time on air before his head explodes.
Anyways, Werder was right. The Broncos went with Robert Ayers, defensive end from Tennessee. This leads to a lot of confusion. Why did the Buccaneers trade up? Does that make any sense? I thing everyone assumed that the Broncos needed to go defense, especially after adding Moreno already. Good news for the Browns that the Bucs didn't think their trade through. Way too many B teams right there

Song: Kool and the Gang - Kung Fu Fighting


Pick #17- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman, QB, Kansas State

Note to ESPN/ABC: People watching the Draft do not want to watch Desperate Housewives. Incredibly, the Browns traded down again, which seems to suggest to me that they will be taking Josh Freeman or a linebacker to take it away from the Broncos. Wasn't Kansas State absolutely atrocious last year? Why is everyone high on Freeman? Anyways, the Browns got an extra pick. The Buccaneers went ahead with Freeman, marking the second time the Browns have made a trade and allowed the team they traded with to select a quarterback. That's sort of strange, huh? Anyways, I don't really like this pick, because I don't think Josh Freeman is all that good. Will he be able to work in the pocket with protection? He certainly didn't have it in Manhattan. Well, hey, good luck to you Josh, Bucs.

Song: The Knack - My Sharona


Pick #16 San Diego Chargers - Larry English, LB, Northern Illinois

Steve Young and Key hate the Chargers defense. They are intent on San Diego picking defense, but with Maclin still on the board, doesn't that seem just as likely? It turns out, the Chargers wanted to reward a poor guy who played in the MAC. Larry English, apparently, has an incredible motor. Of course he does.
I am of the opinion that the Chargers would have been better served going after Maclin, especially with Shaun Phillips and Shawne Merriman at line backer already. Wait, is Larry English allowed here? Shouldn't he be Sean English?

Song: Jay -Z - Lucifer. (Forboding)


Pick #15 Houston Texans - Brian Cushing, LB, USC

I don't think the fine folks of southern Texas are going to take kindly to that long hair, surfer boy. You'd best get a hair cut before you run off to play for the Texans. Erin Andrews cut off Roger Goodell to interview Cushing, and frankly, you should know better than to get in the way of the sideline princess. Cushing's steroid allegations proved to be false. Looking at the guy, however, he seemed more like he could be on some other drug.

Song: Gorillaz: Feel Good Inc.


Pick #14 New Orleans Saints - Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State

Herm Edwards wants to ask you one thing! Just one thing! Before he can get the question out, Berman cut him off and started talking about how smart Jenkins was. Nobody seemed surprised by this pick, and all around everyone seems happy. A Saints fan in the crowd has a poster with a "Big Board" with Malcolm on the top. The scary thing is, it wasn't really a taunting or gloating sign, it was actually legitimate if poorly drawn. Either the Saints have nerdy fans, or they are pretty bad at keeping secrets.

Song: Collective Soul - She Said


Pick #13 Washington Redskins - Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas

Orakpo is an animal, and was the best player available, far and away, A good, solid pick for the Redskins, though I expected them to nab Jeremy Maclin. I think that means the green room is empty now, right? Either way, this will give the Redskins a formidable d-line with Albert Haynsworth in the middle as they square off against Eli Manning, Tony Romo and Donovan McNabb
In previewing the possible picks for the Saints, they cut to Connecticut DB Donald Brown sitting all alone in his living room. Sad.

Song: Outkast - Bombs over Baghdad (still! It was a quick pick!)


Pick #12 Denver Broncos - Knowshon Moreno RB, Georgia

When coming back from commercial, they cut to Knowshon Moreno playing cards. That's pretty cool. The Moreno pick was quickly followed by appropriate bashing of Josh McDaniels. Oh! Holy crap! The Redskins are already picking!

Song: Outkast - Bombs over Baghdad


Pick #11 Buffalo Bills - Aaron Maybin, DE, Penn State

It's Aaron Maybin. Aaron Maybin is the lucky player that gets to start his career in the same locker room as Terrell Owens! Speaking of Terrell Owens, let's spend more time talking about him instead of the pick that was just mad! Thanks ESPN ass-hats! But really, Maybin was the wrong pick here. The Bills don't really have an offensive line, and if they plan to allow their offensive skill players to excel, they needed to bolster that. Instead, they have just dropped Jason Peters. Don't get me wrong, Maybin is a fine player and will help, but I think they maybe should have gone after say, Michael Oher.

Song: Johnny Cash - I've been Everywhere


Pick #10 San Francisco 49ers - Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech

Crabtree is the new Sanchez. Everyone should pick Crabtree, no matter who else is on the board. Despite the fact that he has nobody to throw to him, Kiper 4 seem to want the Texas Tech wideout to go to San Francisco. Hopefully Mr. Crabtree just doesn't like Oakland and is OK with the Bay Area in general.
Crabtree will be going to hang out with Mike Singletary in San Francisco, which will certainly straighten out any of his character flaws. Vernon Davis and Crabtree are now part of the same receiving corps, which I find mind boggling. Perhaps Alex Smith's career is now in order with someone to throw at.

Song: Fountains of Wayne - Stacy's Mom


Pick #9 Green Bay Packers - B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

Another ACC player picked? And this time, he's going to a team that essentially doesn't even need him! I had heard great things about Raji, about how dominant he is on the inside and what a hard worker he is. When they cut to him, he sort of looked like some sort of idiot manchild, and was sweating just by sitting there. Well, maybe Green Bay is the right place for him then, given his problem with the heat.
Defensive picks are not sexy (especially with the sweating) so the dumbfonded ESPNers got Raji's highlight video out of the way even before the pick was announced, then went back to talking about just how crazy it was that Michael Crabtree was still available. According to Erin Andrews, a member of the Crabtree family sighed in relief when the Raiders made their pick. So, good for Michael Crabtree, not going to Oakland

Song: Smash Mouth - All Star


Pick #8 Jacksonville Jaguars - Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia

Well, I guess I was wrong. Someone is about to be very happy to get Michael Crabtree. The Packers, perhaps? Anyways, Eugene Monroe has a Michael Strahan like gap in his teeth, which, I don't know, helps with ventilation? Yeah, that will be good in Jacksonville. Or something. Again, I am perplexed as to why so many people get selected from Virginia. Why aren't the Cavaliers any good? Shouldn't they be good? Doesn't the ACC suck?
Getting ready for the next pick, it's apparent that B.J. Raji will be the next pick, going to the Packers.

Song: Ja Rule - Holla


Pick #7 Oakland Raiders - Darius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland

Uh..... Um...... Uh.... I have literally nothing nice to say about this pick. Are the Raiders daft? Have they not heard of Michael Crabtree? Hakeem Nicks? Jeremy Maclin? Seriously? Everyone on the set seems to think this is a horrible pick. Holy moly. The Raiders and Herm Edwards seem to be the only players that think this is a good pick. Meanwhile, the Chargers and Broncos have to be happy that the rest of their division can't make a good pick.
Now, with Crabtree and Maclin still on the board, Michael Smith still has the Jaguars taking Eugene Monroe. Eh. Probably not.

Song: Smashing Pumpkins - 1979


Pick #6 Cincinnati Bengals, Andre Smith OT, Alabama

At one point, Andre Smith was thought to be the top pick in the draft, but after getting suspended for his bowl game, getting fat and missing the combine, his stock slipped. Naturally, with his character issues, he will be a natural fit for the Bengals. Since the world was already bored with offensive tackles, they had to immediately cut to Shelley Smith and Mark Sanchez. He's excited to go to New York. You're kidding me.
Back at the desk, to hear Steve Young talk, he seems to think the Bengals are going to be an absolute train wreck. Keyshawn Johnson seems to think that a tubby offensive tackle will make Chad Ocho Cinco happy. I guess Key would know about making crazy wideouts happy.

Song: Foreigner - Waiting for a Girl Like You


Pick #5 New York Jets - Mark Sanchez, QB, USC

Why is there some European guy as the CEO of Kentucky Fried Chicken? That is exactly what's wrong with America. Anyways, the Browns traded out of their pick, and the Jets moved up. I should have figured everything out when they came back from commercial to raucous cheering. Interesting that Eric Mangini let his former team, the Jets, have the pick. They cut to Mark Sanchez putting on a jacket, and Berman said that they were "investigative reporters" so they assumed he was the pick. Obviously, they were right, but think about that. Keyshawn Johnson an investigative journalist.
Anyways, after the pick, they cut to the crowd where people were crying, both out of joy and out of absolute chagrin. My favorite were the two guys holding their heads in disbelief just repeating "horrible". Among the joyous was a guy wearing a Wayne Chrebet jersey. Delusional all around. I love the draft. The Browns did a wonderful job with this trade, picking up the Jets 1 and 2 as well as 3 players, including QB Brett Ratliff, because apparently you can't have enough quarterbacks.

Song: Petey Pablo - Boy's Bathroom (ha!)


Pick #4 - Seattle Seahawks - Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest

First, check out Walter Football's mock and what they said about people being idiotic for thinking that the Chiefs should take Tyson Jackson. Nice. Michael Smith made his first appearance of the draft after a commercial break and told us all about 3-4 defenses.
After everyone spent a lot of time telling us all about how the Seahawks should take Sanchez, Seattle went ahead and nabbed the best player in the draft, Aaron Curry. It's too bad he has to go off to Seattle, tucked away out of the media spotlight, because he seems to be a really great guy. That's especially hard to find in linebackers, who are notoriously insane (Ray Lewis, Joey Porter, et al). Mortensen felt the need to slip in a "Aaron Curry loves football, but so does Tyson Jackson!" before prognosticating the Browns pick. I guess he was the one who wanted Jackson in Kansas City.

Song - 50 Cent, Wanksta


Pick #3 - Kansas City Chiefs -Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU

Quite the goings on with Jason Smith. The entire Smith family appears to be in New York and on stage. There is a little intrigue with the Chiefs going into the pick, as now they could look for Michael Crabtree, Aaron Curry or Tyson Jackson. They seemed to like Jackson, though everyone else says Curry. Before hand, ESPN brought Herm Edwards out on stage. I wonder if they will have any other use for Edwards before the day is over. Steve Young, just before the pick was made freaked out about people who don't love football.
Anyways, after all that, the pick is in, and it's the second pick that Kiper has hated in a row. I'm not a big fan of it either. I didn't think Jackson would even be in the top 10, but if the Chiefs thought they needed a DE then I guess they had to. Oh wait, I don't think Jackson was even the best DE in the draft. Ouch. But he does look like the Predator, so thats something

Song: Beastie Boys - Brass Monkey.


Pick #2 St. Louis Rams - Jason Smith, OT, Baylor

I would literally not be surprised to see the Rams take anyone with this pick. The word has been that they were going with an offensive tackle, and all the guys at the desk seem to think the Rams needed a "tough guy". Is Jason Smith the guy? Maybe. The Rams built their championship team starting with Orlando Pace a decade a go. Jason Smith seems like he has a little more panache than Pace (he's wearing a purple tie!), so maybe he will be one of those "face of the franchise" type of guys. Kiper seems to think the Rams should have gone with Mark Sanchez. I bet until Sanchez goes, Kiper thinks that team should have picked Sanchez.

Song: The Killers - Mr. Brightside


Pick #1, Detroit Lions - Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia

And Stafford gets booed immediately. Well, I hope it's not Stafford getting booed, but rather the Lions for the idiocy of picking a quarterback when there is absolutely no chance of him succeeding because your team is so terrible. The only way Stafford will be in the league more than three years is if the Lions start Daunte Culpepper this season while the team adds players that could help him out. The Lions needed to build from the inside out and Stafford definitely needed to go somewhere else.

Now, something lame. The song playing on my computer at the time the pick was announced: When Love Comes to Town - U2 and BB King


Welcome to the draft live blog!

Yes, it's that time of year again. The draft starts officially in 11 minutes, but we know already that Matthew Stafford is the first pick, and he will be going to Detroit. More on that later. In the mean time, sit back and enjoy the ride, and please, drink along to the half assed drinking game listed below...

Drink when...

the words motor, upside, or potential are used.

there are boos

a draftee looks disappointed by something, be it being selected by the Bengals or being interviewed by Shelley Smith.

McShay and Kiper argue

yet another talking head is introduced.

I'm going to take the dog out, but I will be back promptly with the first pick!


Links of the Day 4/25/09

Remember to stay here for a draft live blog. The draft, by the way, can't start soon enough. Good to know they went ahead and started the draft coverage at 11am anyways.

Milton Bradley's problems all started when he started playing baseball.

The Lions, foolishly, are going to pick Matthew Stafford at #1.

All right, one more mock draft.


Friday, April 24, 2009

MLB Network... Worth the price

First off, allow me to remind you that I (and perhaps Steve) will be taking part in the Victoria Times' second annual NFL Draft Live Blog. Of course, with all the football goodness here tomorrow, I feel it would be inappropriate to bring more football upon you today.

So, who's ready for the Yankees-Red Sox this weekend?! If you were to look at the TV schedule, you would have to assume everyone. After being asked if the Yankees were on ESPN all three games, one of my Yankee fan coworkers informed us that no, only two games of the series would be on ESPN. One game was on Fox.
I know MLB Network can't say this, but this is the best reason to get the Network. Outside of Red Sox or Yankee fans, everyone hates those teams. Nobody, aside from those two fanbases want to watch one game of the series, let alone three. The coverage has saturated our sports media, and, speaking for other non AL East fans, we are flat out sick of them.
Enter MLB Network. They have a responsibilty to represent all of the teams in Major League Baseball. If you want to find out just how bad the Royals actually are, you could WATCH them! You will get updates on the Reds! Fantastic.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, if you want to watch baseball (when the Twins aren't playing), you owe yourself to tune into MLB Network. Of course, this time around, the NHL playoffs and the NFL draft will be ongoing as well.


Links of the Day 4/24/09

The ACC-Big Ten Challenge schedule has already been released for next year. Minnesota at Miami and Purdue hosts Wake Forest, highlighting the games VT readers would be most interested in.

In case you haven't heard about the Rick Pitino extortion allegations.... weird.

The Jaguars also got new uniforms. Awful.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Home Field Advantage?

In most sports, teams have a home field (or court or ice) advantage. But thanks to the wonder of Small Sample Size theater, sometimes home isn’t Home Sweet Home. I am referring to the 2009 Minnesota Swarm.

The Swarm finished their season in fifth place in their division (of six teams, but everyone knew that, right?). Their away record was 4-4, which is pretty good. Breaking even on the road is often enough to get a team to the playoffs. However, when the home record is 2-6, that changes things entirely. Of the 12 teams in the NLL (National Lacrosse League, of course), only one other team had a losing home record; but that team also had a losing road record.

The reality is, in games wherein fields are specifically laid out, the how field/ice/court advantage are somewhat illusionary. (Baseball is an exception, because fields can be different, and teams can be built to take advantage of their parks’ dimensions’.) There can be the extra adrenaline from the fans, but there is nothing physical stopping a team from winning--or losing--anywhere, depending on how good they are. It’s a matter of raising the energy level no matter what the fans in the stands are doing. I’m positive that fan energy can inspire a team, but an away team needs to base their energy as a reaction to the other teams’ energy levels.

But there is one small part of a home field that can bring a home field advantage. While the dimensions are the same, every place has weird quirks a team might learn. A basketball player might know that in a particular place in the court, the ball bounces funny--and take advantage of that to try to force the opponent there. A hockey player might know the puck bounces funny off the boards in a particular corner, and use that to his advantage. A football player might have a better idea of quirks of the field--including things like the wind and weather. (As stated earlier, baseball can take advantage of home field advantage from the beginning.)

Home field advantage requires players to pick up on the quirks of their home field. They are things that are picked up over time. A conscientious player may pick the quirks up earlier, while a less studious player might pick them up subconsciously.

But like anyone, players do appreciate the home field advantage of having the fans on their side. It’s much easier to play your best when people are rooting for you to do so.

Joe Mauer Injury Status: He’s playing in extended spring training, and seems to be doing quite well against, y’know, rookie players...


Links of the Day 4/23/09

The Twins should have hoped for more rain...

The Atlanta Hawks game last night was interrupted by.... a Hawk.

Hilarious. Inappropriate, unintenttional, but hilarious.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our bullpen features this guy?

Things didn't go so well for the Twins in Boston today. It was mostly the pitching, as it has been lately. The starters have been underwhelming, but early in the season many are. They'll get through it. The real problem, I think, is the bullpen. At this point, the healthy pitcher with the most innings is..... R.A. Dickey. R.A. Dickey. Robert Allen Dickey. He who the Mariners let go because he didn't quite cut it (the Mariners started a fellow named Chris Jakubauskas tonight). He who is so bad at playing baseball that even Wikipedia doesn't even have a picture of Mr. Dickey on the field of play, but rather WATCHING baseball. So, there you go. The problem with the Twins is the atrocious bullpen. Problem solved.

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Links of the Day 4/22/09

Most fans of the NBA also play Warcraft, in case you didn't know.

The Lions have a new logo! Now, to replace the team....

Michelle Tafoya is coming back to Minnesota. You know, Michelle Tafoya!


The Draft starts at 3pm this year

In previous years, the NFL Draft always started at 11AM. It was a spectacular day of just talking about football and the new players entering the league. It tended to take about 6 hours. Now, they chopped 5 minutes per pick in the first round and have dropped a whole round from day one. As a result, the shorter day 1 draft coverage will start 4 hours later than usual. I can only imagine this will mean more time for a 17 hour pregame show.
Maybe there are some other uses for the delay.

- Berman thinks of more witty puns for "B.J. Raji" that are not racist.
- The extra delay will work Kiper up into even more of a fervor.
- Todd McShay can put the final touches on round 7 of his Mock Draft.
- The Lions get to wait an extra 4 hours before completely blowing the draft.
- The Vikings get 4 more hours to convince themselves that they do not need a quarterback
- Sal Paolantonio gets to spend more time with his Philadelphia concubines.
- Chris Mortenson will report and retract 15 more stories.
- Matthew Stafford insists that he is no better than the third pick.
- Jets fans get too drunk to boo.
- The world realizes that they have a little crush on Sage Steele, the quiet girl who was always there when you needed her.
- Brett Favre unretires

The Lions are on the clock!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Links of the Day 4/21/09

As I suspected, Frank Caliendo is done.

As usual, I'm behind on this one... Lewis Jackson busted on Easter for a little smokin' and drinkin'.

Hey! The Timberwolves won something!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Mere days to the draft

Now that Matt Millen is on board as an analyst for ESPN, I can't help but hope he works the draft. Can you imagine what he'll say after the Lions inevitably pick Matthew Stafford?
"Well, he's a quality QB, but I don't like him going to an environment where he's got nobody to throw to." Again, I will be liveblogging that, and if Steve can manage, he will be there as well. Wee! Draft!

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Links of the Day 4/20/09

4/20! Woooo! I don't know what this means

Aaron Gleeman digs deeper into this Juan Morillo fellow.

Since its 4-20, how about an appropriate look at Dazed and Confused filming locations. (Might not be safe for work)

Last but not least.... We interviewed ESPN's John Buccigross at BMR.


Am I the only one?

The only one who is reminded of a certain Twins great by a current certain player?

Lets see.... slightly overweight, but thought to be a good hitter. Frustrating to watch at times because of his willingness to swing at just about anything (DY at the balls in the dirt, Kirby at any fastball above his belly button). Off the field problems (DY before his career really started, Kirby fell apart afterwards).
I don't know, if Delmon can develop a fan friendly personality, they seem like they could have fairly similar careers. Keep this in mind. Kirby's breakout season was as a 26 year old in his third season. Delmon, at this point, is still 23 and in his 4th season. He feels to me more like the heir to the Puckett throne than Torii Hunter did. Well, as an offensive threat, anyways.
After watching him against the Angels, Jason Kubel is the Twins' new, uh... Randy Bush?

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Links of the Day 4/19/09

Kevin McHale is a climatologist. Maybe that explains his miserable basketball team.

The Nationals can't seem to get anything right.

I can't believe this is actually news.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

The least likely cycle ever

Let's just look at Jason Kubel's cycle again, in all it's majesty. What is more unexpected... a Grand Slam to cap it, or Jason Kubel hitting a stand up triple? The natural cycle, capped with a Grand Slam. Incredible.

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Links of the Day 4/18/09

A dramatic comeback for the Twins yesterday. Jason Kubel!

In other Twins news, they have designated Phil Humber in order to get their hands on Juan Morillo. Yes, THAT Juan Morillo.

ESPN continues to not care about hockey.


Hey, what happened to Telly Hughes?

Remember last year's sideline reporter for the Twins, Telly Hughes? He was generally disinterested and just seemed like he didn't want to be here. It was always an interesting cutaway, when the witty, hilarious Dick 'n' Bert combo would go to Telly, who seemed like he just arrived in the outfield bleachers after downing three or four 6 dollar beers at the Dogs and Suds.
I was intrigued watching early this season. They didn't even mention his departure when I was watching. It turns out, Telly is over in Milwaukee now, falling asleep during Brewers games. Was this a promotion? Probably not.


Friday, April 17, 2009

Links of the Day 4/17/09

All hockey links!

Doug Risebrough, surprisingly fired!

The Blackhawks nip the Flames in overtime.

Roger Millions, a Canadian, says a word that s not safe for work there or in America on live TV


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Links of the Day 4/16/09

John Madden has announced his retirement. Frank Caliendo undoubtedly to follow suit.

Ozzie Guillen almost quit. If he does, can the Twins steal Don Cooper?

I didn't mention this yesterday, but seriously... how DOES a cat sneak onto the field?


And so it goes

As the lone Minnesota Timberwolves reporter for the Victoria Times, a blog based in Minnesota (but not limited to Minnesota sports), I take my job very seriously. For example, I think it’s my duty to report to you that the Timberwolves season has officially ended. I was surprised to find out. It’s not like I went to a single game this year, or know anything about the NBA, but apparently their season is 82 games. Hey, learn something new every day!

I also learned that their slogan for 2009-2010 season has been announced "Year of the Fan".


I have to say, it’s pretty nice of them to honor the fan who sat through the entire season. Or at least we assume it’s that person, and not just some random fan. Anyone who sits through an entire year of a bad team deserves to be honored for their dedication (I’ve sat through bad months of Twins baseball and will continue to do so; it’s miserable as a fan of the team. I’m a fan of the game, which is why I continue to attend). Based on the Timberwolves record, it was probably just the one fan that they're honoring. You know you're having a bad season when another local team (the Minnesota Wild) sarcastically feels better about their defeats because at least they're not as bad as you.

The Timberwolves ended their season with a 24-58 record, being 20-43 since Kevin McHale took over mid-year. That means Kevin McHale 31.7% win percentage. The Timberwolves in general had a 29.2% win percentage, and quick math will tell you that the previous coach had a 21.1% win percentage, but with the ever-important limited games statistic that needed accounting for.

What I found unique about this situation is that the head coach, for once, made the bed he had to lay in. Kevin McHale had been the general manager--the guy calling the shots about who played for his team, and who didn’t. If desired, Jacques Lemaire (of the Minnesota Wild) and Ron Gardenhire (of the Minnesota Twins) don’t get to pick the players (while Doug Reisbrough and Bill Smith don’t call the plays used by the manager/coaches during the game). Kevin McHale had no such excuses once he took over. He chose the players for his team when he was general manager, and he coached his team when he was coach. He can’t blame anyone else--other than the players--and those players were picked by him.

Timberwolves update: 24-58 (0-3 since last time, 20-43 since McHale).

Joe Mauer Injury Status: He might start a rehab assignment in the next couple of weeks. It all depends on how running goes.

Scott Baker Injury Status: They say he’s healthy, but after checking last night’s box score, I disagree.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Jackie Robinson Day

On the 62nd anniversary of his major league debut, we just want to say thanks, Jackie. Everything you had to deal with to break the color barrier paved the way for great guys like Ken Griffey Jr. to entertain us for all of these years....and for guys like Barry Bonds to mutate themselves at age 37 and destroy all of the home run records, all while being a complete ass to everyone. Too bad you're still not around to witness some of the great players you inspired...and talk some sense into some others.

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Links of the Day 4/15/09

Greg Paulus just WANTS me to hate him.

Heath Bell says what we're all thinking. Sad that it has come down to Heath Bell.

Isaiah Thomas on South Beach. That's going to be bad news.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Google Analytics

I added Google Analytics to track things for the site, to learn more about you, my readers. Here is what I have found out since I added Analytics towards the end of March.
We have had readers from many foreign countries, the expected; Canada, the UK, China, and some more exotic; Norway, Sudan and Brunei.
While we have had readers from the Sudan, we have not had anyone stop by from South Dakota. Or Vermont, West Virginia, Nebraska, Mississippi, New Mexico, Utah, Idaho or Alaska.
Things that people have searched for and found the Times:
"Spaghetti Jimmy"
Brian Buscher wife
"Jay Cutler" pudgy
Brian Bellows is a superstar
episode of Mayne Event where Kenny Mayne makes fun of a Ravens backup tackle
meaning of snelly
Michael Cuddyer overrated
and my personal favorites: "how much steroids do professionals take" and "Milton Bradley hits wiener mascots"
The most common keyword thus far? Eric Devendorf. Seriously.


Links of the Day 4/14/09

Another tough day in baseball as Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas and former Rookie of the Year Mark Fidrych die suddenly.

Read what a Syracuse writer had to say about Eric Devendorf. I feel vindicated.

The Pensblog has set up a tournament pick pool, like the NCAA basektball tournament for the NHL Playoffs. The best part is, it's for charity. Sign up.


Thoughts on Jacques Lemaire

It was a very busy weekend, as you may have figured out by now, and no news was bigger for Minnesotans than the retirement of Wild coach Jacques Lemaire. He was the face of the Wild franchise since the genesis of the team, more than any player that the has worn the uniform.
Lemaire never really stepped out from behind the bench to create a lot of sound bytes or did anything foolish. He was a composed, brilliant teacher who not only instructed strategically, but also by example. In a sports world, in a sports market where so many do unforgivably dumb things, the most resounding criticism of Lemaire has been that he is too boring. He ignored the calls to add a little life to the team, and instead chose to be successful on his own terms, methodical though they were. On a personal note, not only did he look like my dad, he had the same temperment as well. It will be stranger having Lemaire gone than Marian Gaborik for most of us.
The question now turns to who Lemaire's successor will be. I think the Wild will promote from within. I don't know much about Mario Tremblay, but I do know a little more about Mike Ramsey. He used to have a sporting goods store out by my house, and whenever we would go there, his attention to the kids coming in there to buy equipment was impressive. It's a small sample size, but it seems like Ramsey has the same makeup as Lemaire. Working under him for the past decade probably only furthered that mentality for Ramsey.
Either way, if the head coach position is kept in house, the team will be in good hands. Thanks to Jacques Lemaire for so many years of great service, and giving the team the model for future success.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

Links of the Day 4/13/09

Did you enjoy your weekend? Boy I sure hope so.

Are you ready for the NHL Playoffs? The Wild, sadly, will not be joining the fun.

Angel Cabrera now has two US wins. The US Open and the Masters.

Denny Neagle
has no shame.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter

Busy weekend, what with the Holiday, so I'm going to officially take it off (starting with yesterday) Steve may stop by, I know he has something brewing. In the mean time, Happy Easter! Enjoy some Tom and Jerry


Friday, April 10, 2009

Links of the Day 4/10/0

The crash that killed Nick Adenhart touches close to home for one blogger.

Check out the MLB standings. They will blow your mind.

The Masters is underway. Meet your first round leader.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Links of the Day 4/9/09

Angels rookie pitcher and top prospect Nick Adenhart killed in a car accident after making his first start of the season.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are in the Playoffs. Let that sink in.

They still don't have the charm of Bemidji State, however.


Short and Sweet

This is going to be short and sweet, ‘cause I’ve gotta get some work done if I hope to make it to this afternoon’s Twins/Mariners game in downtown Minneapolis. Let’s give you a quick update of the three teams about whom playoffs can be discussed. (MLB has played 3 of 162, at most. If anyone has anything more to discuss than they did two weeks ago, they’re psychics.)

The Timberwolves are out of the playoffs. In fact, the first team not in the playoffs in the division (Phoenix) has 19 more wins as of this date. The Timberwolves can’t make up the 24 games they’d need to make the playoffs. The math is complicated, but trust me, I majored in English!

The Wild haven’t been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs (at least last I checked). However, in order for the Wild to make the playoffs with two games left (I’m attending tomorrow!), they need wins in both games, and they need other teams in their conference to cooperate by losing. The other teams have not been cooperating to date, and the Wild have trouble winning multiple games in a row, so hopes are not particularly high.

As for the Swarm lacrosse team, they’re tied for third place in the 6-team division with 3 other teams. Considering the Swarm have scored the least goals and given up the most goals, playoffs seem like they’re going to be a stretch.

Timberwolves update: 24-55 (3-1 since last time, 20-40 since McHale).

Joe Mauer Injury Status: He’s caught bullpen sessions, done some hitting…all that’s left is running. Everyone says that he should be back by the end of April, but these are the same people who insisted he’d be ready for Opening Day.

Scott Baker Injury Status: He was put on the DL just after my posting last Thursday. He will start tonight for the Fort Myers Miracle, in hopes to return to the Twins next week.

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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Is England like the ACC?

I caught the tail end of the Champions League coverage on ESPN2 today. Of the 8 teams remaining to get soccer's top club prize, four of them hail from England. So I ask, is England to the European soccer world what the ACC is to college basketball?
That is to say, is the entire Premiership hated by those that don't have a team involved, as the ACC is? The Big East doesn't work, because as much as you may hate UCONN, you can't possibly have a deep seated feeling about Depaul. Besides, the conference is always competetive and fun to watch, thanks in large part to the fact that there are 40 teams in the conference.
No, the ACC has a few teams at the cream of the crop, and if you don't have a dog in that race, you pretty much don't like the race as a general rule. It's one thing to hate North Carolina or Duke or Wake Forest who are always at the top of the conference, but also rans like Clemson and Boston College are disdained as well. Is it the same way in England? Arsenal and Man U and Chelsea despised for their success, but are Tottenham, Everton and West Brom hated for the association?
Making matters more interesting, it seems that English teams are the only ones getting any airplay on ESPN. Does anyone know?

(Sorry, I needed to step away from angry Twins related screeds. It's only game 2!)

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Links of the Day 4/8/09

George Mason's pep band will be playing for Bemidji State. Thats pretty cool.

Michael Jordan sounds less than pleased to be a Hall of Famer.

Yeah, this one's a weird story. We're getting invaded by Canada!


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Twins fans hate Delmon Young

I went to the game tonight (great game, by the way). Unfortunately, it seemed to be redneck night at the Dome, and we were smack dab in the middle of them. Of course, not all Twins are as asinine as these particular 4 that were surrounding us, but there were a couple of things that I was able to extract from them.

1. They really do not like Delmon Young. When he threw to third after Yuniesky Betancourt's single, trying to nip the sluggish Wladimir Balentien, the folks to my right screamed a guttural "meathead!" Ooooh. Burn.
After a line out to deep center in the 9th, after working Brendan Morrow for a few pitches, those same fellows determined that a) they should have put in Kubel, who "has the sweetest swing on the team" (Mauer?) and b) after the horrible performance (0/4, 1 K 2 LOB) he should be benched tomorrow. I agree. For that matter, lets hold Morneau out, as he is 0/Season and today had 1 K and 3 LOB. God, Morneau sucks.

2. After Carlos Gomez was retired in his first at bat, they said "aren't you glad we have him instead of Santana?" I wasn't about to remind them that, had we not made the trade we still wouldn't have Santana either. Better Gomez than nothing. To add to it, when Phil Humber came in and pitched ball one, they immediately said "ugh, him too", in reference to the Santana trade. Of course, Humber got out of the inning unscathed, and Gomez later doubled and drew a key walk in the 9th inning rally.

3. Every time Nick Punto did anything, the hooted and hollered. I would generally let this slide, because he is a fan favorite despite the fact that he is an overpaid utility infielder. After the previous two points, however, they lost all credibility.

4. There was a little kid behind us that kept yelling pearls like "Let's score more runs!" And "Throw good pitches! When they hit it, get the ball!". It was freat, because after he would say things like this, the Twins would pull through! It was brilliant.

Oh well, Twins win. I just hope people keep their stupid, unfounded opinions to themselves next time I am there and just cheer for their own damn team.

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